Sin City


It was quick like a knife.  Slick, and coated in precision.  It was meant to be greater than God, but not even the dealers could give it a nod.  It was fierce, so much so that it was feared.  Like a devil wrapped it bacon it was acidic and greasy.

The lights shone straight until the left one wobbled and winked out.  The radio was loud, the driver was drunk, but he drove straight.  He hit the curve at a cool ninety and let the bottle slide over to his awaiting hand.  He took a swig and hit the next gear.  The car lurched forward and topped out.

There was a flash as the lightning highlighted the nearly hidden cop car.  It whirled and flipped on its lights.  It shrieked and chased.  It was in a grove of trees that the two drivers finally came together.  The officer sloppily hopped out of his car and sprinted over to the old one ahead.  He used his steno as cover in the rain.  As soon he rapped upon the window there was a burst.  At the same time another bolt hit the tree in front of the winked out headlight.  The greasy devil held an old earthly revolver in one hand and his bottle in the other.  The officer slumped and fell as the grove caught aflame amidst the rain.  The last words the cop ever heard were the ones that bled through the static and rain, “he was lookin’ for a soul to steal.”

The driver drove– more crookedly than before, but still straight enough to find the road back to hell.  The road to hell is always straight, but the driver is always crooked.  The left headlight winked back into existence and the two marched along to the town that always needs two working lights.  One red and one black.

Jack and the Lilac Butcher


Epilogue

          It was dusk.  All was quiet.  The neighborhood was coated in darkness.  It was thick.  A few lights dimly shown through the leaves of the numerous trees that dotted the hilltop.  No one would expect him, much less her.  He was alone just like always. He could see the moon.  It hung in the sky like a shy sun.  It goaded him.  It tried to show his location, but even the moon cast shadows.

          He had been here many times before.  Usually he would come in the daylight, but today was after all a special occasion.  He had killed before.  When he was young he always enjoyed capturing stray cats or dogs and ‘playing’ with them before bagging them and tossing them in the river.  He had become quite good at it actually.  First it was a simple smack to the head and then the one time he used a sharp rock and saw the first real spray of blood he knew he had to find a knife.  The next day he stole one from his father’s butcher shop.  He had never been sure if his father had known.  That night when his father back-handed him to the stone fireplace causing his head to rocket with pain and his lips to tremble with blood he had a fleeting thought that maybe his father had known about the knife, but he had never been certain.  Plus, the next hit from his father made him forget that last thought so it was a rather moot point anyhow

          The day after that he took his black-eyed self and used the knife for the first time.  He caught his ‘first’ prey behind the house and used the knife on it over and over again.  Splashing himself with blood until he became scared that he might be caught and hurriedly cleaned up and threw the remains into the river to reside with the others.

          He smiled at the thought of his childhood and shook himself to the present once more.  Behind his back his co-workers had described his smile as murderous and he smiled again at the irony.  Tonight was special.  He had hunted and killed the most dangerous game before, but he felt more alive tonight than before.  Perhaps, because it was a full moon?

          He had been waiting in the carriage house for hours waiting…waiting for the perfect moment.  The way the moon had begun to shrink away told him it was time.  It had given up.  He slowly began to creep out of the carriage house making sure he didn’t make even the slightest of a noise as he slipped out of the backdoor which he had left slightly ajar for just this moment.  He clicked it behind him and began to move between the decorative foliage as he headed toward the main house.  It was large almost manor sized.

 “The rich always have a way of living in grander don’t they?” he thought.

          He reached the maid’s entrance and opened the door without hesitation.  How sad and humorous was it that the lady of the house was the person to provide him with an easy, afterhours entrance without even knowing it? Again he chortled to himself at the irony.  He was a ghost to most.  People told him things without even realizing it or caring.

          He silently fell into the shadows of the house and moved across the kitchen to the stairs.  He crept upwards.  It seemed almost as long as he had hidden in the carriage house, but he knew it had only been a couple of seconds…a minute at most.  He had finally reached her door.  He had dreamed about this moment for several nights and he had to wait to calm down from his excitement.  He didn’t want to be careless.  He finally grasped the doorknob and turned it…first a quarter turn, then finally a full one after hearing no rustle from the other side.

          Once the door was open enough for him to crouch through he was quick and efficient.  He stood, strode across the room swiftly, slipped the knife from his sleeve –the very same he had stolen years earlier- and began to stab.  She screamed and thrashed as the blood soaked through her expensive sheets and coated his face.  She desperately tried to escape, but it was already too late.

 As she started to choke out on her own blood he paused and crouched…he whispered, “It’ll be alright.  We’re having fun, right?”

Seattle

          “Fuck,” said Ryan in pain.

          Half-heartedly Jack replied, “What?”

          “I just burned my tongue on my coffee.”

          Jack just shook his head, and continued eating his scrambled eggs and browns.  The diner was quaint and sat nestled in downtown Seattle.  Not close enough to the Sound to see the water, but close enough to hear the ships passing in and out of port delivering fresh goods to one of the more prominent harbors in the Northwest.  It was cool and crisp, with a slight drizzle in the air that glistened once combining with the reflective nature of the diner’s glass.  The drips and drops coated the glass that Jack peered out of, and in reverse the newly etched glass read, ‘Miss Victory.’

          It had been a slow week, and he honestly would have retorted a quick quip to Ryan’s pain, but he was feeling rather stoic lately and was lost in his thoughts at the moment anyhow.  Nothing interesting had crossed his desk in several months; he and Agent Ryan usually ended up splitting their time between finishing paperwork and boring guard details that usually ended with a round of thanks from some miscellaneous VIP that Jack honestly could give a shit about.

          “Where we headed this time?  Portland?  Further South to California?”

          “Nowhere actually,” Jack replied solemnly.

          “What?” Ryan said with a slight lisp because of his burnt and probably now swollen tongue.

          “Nowhere, presently.”

          “No assignment…really?”

          “Not yet.”

          “This is bullshit,” Ryan said as he gobbled up the last bites of his steak.

          “I know, I know,” Jack said solemnly, and then added “Grab your coat. We’ll head to the office and see if something has come up since yesterday.”

           They paid for their service and Ryan donned his tan trench while Jack grabbed his fedora and placed his jacket over the nook of his elbow and forearm.

          “Trolley?”

          “Yes,” Jack said, “The rain is a little heavier than usual, and like our assignments I’m feeling lazy.”

          Ryan merely smirked.  They headed on out and caught the nearest trolley without much effort and were on their way to the Seattle downtown Pinkerton office.  Within a couple of minutes they were off and briskly walking the block or two it took to reach the front doors of the Northwest branch of the Pinkerton office.  It was still drizzling, but it seems to have started to lighten with several streaks of light streaming through the clouds almost like a less colorful parade.  Standing at the door was a heavyset man of about thirty-five.  He didn’t look opposing at first glance because of his calm demeanor, but Wayne was more than just a doorman.  He was trained to handle ‘trouble’ and on more than one occasion had handled ‘trouble.’

          They showed their IDs and walked on through without the slightest indication that Wayne had even noticed them.  The building was fairly new.  The building boom was in full swing and it seemed as if structures had sprung up everywhere.  Taller and taller each time Jack thought to himself.  Jack and Ryan hopped aboard the elevator and began to upward.

          “Do you think we’ll have anything?” Ryan queried.

          “Who knows.  I’ve seen stranger things happen.  Remember when Reynolds caught that bank robber while he was taken a piss?”

         “Yeah, yeah, didn’t he ditch his partner to take a leak while he was grabbin’ a snow cone or somethin’?

          “It was a Cannoli, but anyhow, yeah he went around to the alleyway to shake the snake without knowing that the bank around the corner had just been robbed and the fucker was bookin’ it down the same alleyway right at him.  That fat bastard Reynolds tackled the guy with his dick out and everything.  I think he got a fuckin’ commendation out of it too.”

          “Lucky fuck,” Ryan sputtered through quiet laughs.

          “If Reynolds can catch a bank robber with his slong we can get a decent case today.”

           The elevator reached its destination and slowly bobbed to a stop. Jack grabbed the metal grate and slid it open with ease.  There were Pinkerton agents and interns hustlin’ and bustlin’ to and fro with stacks of papers.  Several arguments were in session like usual, but none seemed even a hair past a healthy debate.  Jack strode to the back of the office, straight down the middle of chaos with Ryan in tow.

           “Worthington!” Jack’s boss snapped from entrance of his office.

          “Yes sir” Jack hastily replied.

           It was one of the few times that Ryan ever heard his mentor’s voice waiver.

           “Probably the only bastard here with bigger balls than Jack,” muttered Ryan to himself.

          “You too Ryan.”

          Just as quickly as Jack he hurried into the boss’s office.

         “Word has it you guys are bored of guard duty.  Is that true, Worthington?”

          “Not bored per se. More.” Jack began.

          “Shut up Worthington” the boss finished for him.

          Ryan smiled.

          “Wipe that retarded smile off your face boy.  You two are going to Spokane.”