This article, K21 - Attache Case, is still being written by its owner BlackRoseIXA. They apologise for the inconvenience.
CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE
IN NEED OF MAJOR REWRITE DUE TO OVERALL PACING AND LENGTH
Monday... My shift starts at 9... Time to get up from this comfy bed and onto my feet. This is my daily routine and has been for the last six years: bathroom, make sure my teeth haven't suddenly rotten away overnight, brush-brush-brush, then the shower which takes a little over 30 minutes. Get out, get the towel and wrap it around myself, then find what I'll wear today... And tonight.
My name is Cereza Rodriguez, and I work as a singer for a place called Georgio, where my boss said that he wanted some kind of smooth, ambient voice to favor the atmosphere of the place. I wasn't interested at first, but then I thought about what's happened to me before. I've just gotten out of college, out of the grading system, out of my parent's home, and out in the world so I can make it mine. Then I remembered that I left college with nothing to show for it, the biggest waste of four years, and my grades didn't paint a good picture of my future, which led to my parents just kicking me out.
I took the job and haven't left since. Even if I left now, I wouldn't have any other place to go: it's become a second home to me. Though it's hard to believe that I've been working nights there for six years. It feels like it was only yesterday when I took my chances there... Anyway...
I pick out a duffel bag first and throw it outside the small closet. It pick out some conservative clothing (shirt and jeans, with boots and a sweater) and then this silk-smooth dress, glittered so that it would make me shine when the lights hit me. One of the guys working at Georgio, David, bought it for me as a birthday present, though I think he were just doing it in some vain attempt to get me to like him. As if I care anyhow, I got free stuff from the whole affair. I folded the dress carefully and put it inside the bag, then started to put on everything else.
I was ready to go over there and rehearse the songs I'll be singing tonight. I reach out for the door and open it forward when it bumped into something in the way.
"The hell...?" I let a thought of mine slip from my lips as I force the door open, knocking over the shit some asshole put in front of my door. I close the door and check what kind of crap was left for me to find. It was a silver case with a black handle and a combination lock. It had a note on it which said FOR THE SINGER FROM GEORGIO. This is meant for me...?
I pick it up and it's somewhat heavy, but not enough so that I can't carry it. I decide to bring it over to my boss to ask if he knows anything about it. I rush over there across the busy streets, since I live so close to it. I enter the place head straight for the back, ignoring all else around me. I burst through the push-open double doors and almost knock over one of my fellow employees over to the ground. I get stopped by the guy I almost made fall.
"What's the rush, Cereza?" He asked me, while I moved the case in my left hand around.
"I found this thing today with a note on it for me." He had this puzzled face on before smirking, trying to hold back from laughing, the fucking bastard.
"So? You wondering if that thing is a present from the boss?" His voice was slightly cracking, probably over the anger I'm expressing.
"No, I'm wondering how someone managed to find out where I lived from where I work." He reaches out his hand, and by instinct, I give him the the duffel bag. He takes it over to a set of lockers and puts it over the whole thing.
"Well, let's try to open it then. To see what's inside, though." That's right, I was in such a hurry to find out what this thing was that I forgot about check exactly what this shitty thing is. I nod while I set the thing on the table.
"Shit, I gotta take this crap out." I look over to him, as he grabs a tray with shot glasses on it and carries it out, but he stops to look over to me.
"Try to open it while I'm away." I flip him off while he smirks and walks out the door. I go over to the combination lock: it has three slots that're on the letters T, R, and B. Next to them is a slide, probably meant to open the case itself when the combination is correct. I decide to pull the slide to the right, but after a few nano inches, it gets stuck before I have to left go, it springing back to where it started. I was hoping whoever left this for me was stupid enough to leave the correct combination on it when he left it for me.
I try to change the first, sliding it down, getting Y. I decided to flip through the first slot so I knew all the possible letters for it. It's a ten-sided with Y, B, R, A, M, E, S, D, C, and T. I try to check the second one, but it's jammed. I struggle to force it to cycle, but it won't budge. For now, it's stuck on R. I go to the third one and, luckily, it's not stuck. It's the same as the first slot, so all of them are the same.
Suddenly, the double doors open and the guy quickly comes up to me. He looks like he's just brushed death's shoulder, and knows it. He whispers in my ear.
"A couple of guys are looking for you and that case... And they have guns..." Shit...! What the fuck is this case?! I try to force the thing open but it won't even budge...!
"Fuck opening that thing, get out of here!" He pushes me towards the backdoor exit and throws the case at me, but I catch it before it hits me in the face.
"I'll buy you time, now hurry!" He tries to calm himself down, but I don't see him leave the room... I rush out the room and onto the back alley of the bar. I can't believe it... Who the fuck decided to give this shit to me?!?! Shit, I can feel the adrenaline pumping inside my body...! Why me...?! Why do I have to be the one that's given this shit!? You know what, I'm going to pack my shit up so I can run away, far from whoever the fuck has it in for me! And you know what, fuck this case! I threw it as far as I could in some direction, I didn't care where.
All I care about is me. Without me, I can't be alive right now...! I run back to my place, but I suddenly smell smoke near... No... My apartment complex is engulfed in fire... I can see police have already blocked off the area and that a fire department truck is there, trying to kill the fire with a water hose... I turn around and try to run elsewhere, anywhere else, anywhere but here... I see two guys run down the path I was going just a few seconds ago... I run the other way, but suddenly... An iron pipe is quickly heading towards my hea-
It's a Wednesday, about the 16th or 17th if I remember correctly. Doesn't even matter, though, because it's still the same shitty day to me. I have nothing else but this apartment and my intellect. I could've done anything in the world, be a doctor, a businessman, a politician, anything. However, I chose the profession of writing stories, being an author. It's because, unlike any other job, I wouldn't have to bullshit to anyone who was listening, or be a hollowed-out piece of shit with no sense of morals... Though, now that I actually think heavily about it, this was all probably just to spite my rich parents.
Though this career of being a writer has led to this form of thought that everything in the world is useless in a way. Because of this, I haven't been able to keep a stable work ethic or even meet deadlines. Instead, all I've ever gotten to do are respond to places elsewhere in the world firing me for negligence and my overall attitude towards my various bosses. Doesn't matter right now, though, since I've joined with a magazine that's also lenient with release dates.
Anyway, the real point to all of this foreplay, let's call it, is just so you'd know about me before I tell you about what happened a few days back. I received an attache case, silver in color, with a jet black handle and letter combination lock, from my landlord. He said that someone dropped it off the night before, with a note for me saying to "publish this" to the world. Well, that's just it, isn't it? What am I supposed to be publishing if I can't even open the damn thing? I guess he or she didn't bother to even give some kind of hint as to the right combination, or was in some kind of hurry to even think about such a thing.
I tried so many combinations, but none of them have been working so far: CAB, ARM, DRY, MET, DYE, DAB, REM, CRY, CAD, ACT, ARC, BET, TRY, BED, MAC, SAM, DEB, MAS, CAM, RAM, MAR, ARB, TAM, CAT, TAC, CAY...
At some point, I decided to take a crowbar to it, but it wouldn't even budge (though I did significantly ruin the chrome paint job). I swung a hammer against the sliding mechanism, but the thing must be some kind of durable shit, as it was my hammer that lost out. I was planning to invest in something with a little more cutting force like maybe a chainsaw or maybe some thermite, but if I'm supposed to document the fuck's inside of this thing, I can't let the fucking thing get destroyed. And that I'd be kicked out of my home in a heartbeat, so no, I'm not going to get myself worked up and lose everything I own over something I don't know.
I finally decided to go somewhere out of the way so I can open this shit in private. Make as much noise as I need to, in order to get this damn thing open. I put the case near my door as I get ready to leave.
I don't know why, but I was born with a sort of frail body: I don't have much outward muscle or strength, nor a good looking complexion. I've got bags and wrinkles under my eyes, and a fair amount of scrapes and bruises all over. I'm also what you'd call an albino: white enough to hide in fogs and with iris's red enough to match the blood inside my veins. Because I was born like this, I have to live with all the shutters down on my windows, and have little to no light hitting me.
So when I have to go out into the streets, I have to make sure that I'm not fucked over when I have to be in the sun for an extended period of time. So I got out a white t-shirt and a black long-sleeved shirt, put them on with black over white. I wore my black jeans and black boots, with the rest of it going up my ankle being covered with the leg ends of the jeans. I went to my drawer and found a pair of single-lens goggles (my eyes are sensitive too), putting it so that it would go over my ears, but the thing wants to rest in the middle of my ears. Then there's the issue of covering up my mouth, so I got out a rectangular piece of black cloth and wrapped it around my face, it covering everything from my chin to my nose.
I went into my closet and grabbed one of many black trench coats with a rounded collar. I easily put it on and zipped it up so that covered me. Everything 'cept for the top of my head, which is technically being covered by my long black hair, and my hands. Wearing gloves takes away from the feeling of being able to touch things. Sure, I can feel the edges, the curvature, and the depressions in things, but I wouldn't be able to feel the texture of it, smooth or rough, sleek or scratched up, strong or hollow.
Anyway, I went to my door and grabbed the case, and then grabbed the doorknob and twisted it. My door went wide open as I walked right out, closing it behind me. As soon as it complete shut close, a card popped out from the wall next to my door. This is my apartment complex's solution to someone trying to lock pick an apartment's door open through the keyhole. If you don't have the card made specifically for that apartment, you won't get it. The landlord, supposedly, has the master copies to the codes for all the apartments, so that if someone who lives here loses their card, he just prints out a new one for them.
I take my card, white in color, and with a strange bar code running down it, and with the title APARTMENT 412 CARD running along the other side. I shove it down into my pocket and then walk out to the elevator. I go to the panel and press on the 1 button, and then wait as it slowly ascends up, or descends down. I like to play a game here where I see how many times I can push the button before the elevator gets here, but I'm in the middle of doing something important. Though by now, I would've pressed it 19 times.
The two doors slide open, revealing the elevator inside. It's a unimpressive interior: basically just a metal box with a few bars on the wall and a light built into the ceiling. I walk inside and wait for the doors to close automatically. They do and I descend downstairs. I put the case on the ground and wait, crossing my arms while I look at the panel above the doors: we're still on 4 out of 8 lights.
Patience isn't really one of my best virtues, as I uncontrollably tap my foot, counting the clanging sounds its making. I immediately feel the sudden urge to smoke a cig in here, as I reach into my pockets. It's not there. It's not there? How is it not there? Did I leave it upstairs? Am I going to have to wait for this thing to reach the first floor and then go up again? I'll look like a complete moron if there's people downstairs. You know what, fuck the cigs, I can survive without smoking.
This monologue has made the wait time slightly quicker, as I finally reach the first floor. The double doors open as I walk out into a single hallway with two doors on the right wall: the one closest to the elevator is the entrance to the bathrooms, and the far one being the entrance to where the landlord works and stays. I walk down the hall as I notice walls: dark brown coloration on the bricks with white cement breaking things up. The floor's an aged white with a square tile pattern, the ceiling being the same, but with transparent tiles in the middle with bulbs inside.
At the end of this hall is a two way, the left just leads to a storage unit, while the right is where the exit is. I turn right, and I see a window on the right wall, with the landlord right inside. I try to pass him by and hope he doesn't notice me walk out.
"Hey, Jap!" Well, shit. Why does he have to call me Jap? If I did care for what that cro magnon had to say, I'd be offended. By the tone of his voice, I can tell he has something to say to me.
"...What is it?" I said to him.
"You left this here last night. I thought you were an avid smoker." He pulls from a drawer my cigs and places them on the empty frame of the window. So that's where they were. My whole mini-crisis over it was pointless, huh? Actually, it was pointless to begin with.
"...Thanks." I grab the pack and thrust it down my pocket. I walk to the door without interruption. Knowing how I am, he's seen me walk out like this already more than he can count, probably explains why he doesn't question... Anything about the getup. Anyway, I pushed the door open and took my first step outside, as I saw that the sun was rising.
I raised my empty arm to the point where I could see my wrist. There was my watch, an analog one with hands instead of just a digital layout. I bought this a few years back simply because it showed more emotion than most clocks nowadays. The actual clock part of it was made of metal, given a nice chrome paint job and waxed to almost function like a mirror too. It was held around my wrist by two leather straps which connect to a single piece of metal.
The time is 5 am. The place I'm going to should be open by now. I walk off into the almost vacant streets of the city, lugging the case around while the occasional onlooker would spot me and comment on how "weird" I look. Usually, though, they'd just ignore me, go on their own business (like me) and spend the day as planned. It's almost comforting when I walk down a block without a soul in sight for miles, as I can just think to myself.
I'm making a beeline for the place, using the most direct route possible for this. I can't waste time on this. Though I'd still like to know what this is. For all I know, I'm carrying around a mini-explosive, just ready to go boom. Either way, I need to know what's inside so my sense of curiosity can be satisfied. Only now does it dawn on me how heavy the case is, though it might just be a case of me not having muscle to carry this around like a normal person.
I arrive at the place, and I check my watch once more. Around 6:45 am. I made pretty good time, considering the distance. It's a hardware store that's had rumors of being able to crack locks and safes floating around for ages. I push the doors open and the smell of iron and oil suddenly invade my sense of smell. I remove the goggles, lifting off the tinted nature of my environment caused by it. I can see how cramped everything is, right now to the fact that every section is right next to each other.
Right now, though, I don't plan to buy anything here. At least, not any tools or materials. I look left and see the cashier waiting behind a counter, right next to a cash register and a black monitor. I walk up to him and place the case on the counter.
"What can I help you with sir?" The guy sounds like he just woke up, or bored out of his mind. I pull the cloth and goggles off so that my full face can be seen.
"Damn, you look a corpse." He said to me while having a stupid smirk stretched across his face. He's also snickering a little from his joke. Fuck you too, cashier. It's people like you that make me spend all my time home, away from you people. I hold in the thought in, though, and placed my hand on the case.
"I was hoping you've help me open this case. I was a present from my brother, but he forgot to give me the correct combination." A lie. A lie we both knew was bullshit. That was the password you're supposed to use for these people.
"Sure, I can help you, for a little of some lettuce." I rummage through my pocket for my wallet, pulling out the money they want.
"Come with me." He goes to the back, with me following with the case. He unlocks the door and we end up in the back alley. The rest of the alley ways have been blocked off with metal doors, so that no-one can see what's going on here, probably. He looks at me.
"Put the case right here." He pats down a wooden chair with no back. I lay it right there, while he gets out a torch and a piece of scrap metal.
"Make sure not to burn what's inside, okay?" I warned him. If he burnt it, all of this crap would've been for nothing.
"Don't worry, my hands are the best in this city." The best of this city, huh? Why does that not calm me? Anyway, he puts on a safety mask and a blue, thick apron, with long, black gloves. He sits in front of the case and turns on the torch, a small blue flame bursting out of the tip. He puts it on the sliding mechanism, sparks flying as a result. He then tries to shove the thin scrap into the lip of the case, but it isn't doing anything.
"So, what're you doing?" I asked to pass the time while he opens the damn thing.
"I'm trying the melt the metal of this lock here, and using the straight piece of metal to separate the melted metal before it cools down. But..." Huh? Why'd he stop?
"But what?" I blurted out.
"The metal here should be bubbling up, but it's barely doing anything..." What? Is that case that strong...? He tries applying pressure against the tip of the torch, but all its doing is scorching the finish on the paint job. He turns off the torch and looks at the side of the case, which now has a black mark on it. He looks over to me.
"You see that bucket right next to you?" He points to the right of me and I turn to that direction, seeing a medium-sized bucket with yellow handle.
"Can you be a dear and fill that with water?" I sit there for a moment and give him a stare that immediately turns him back to the case. Soon after, I get up and do so, finding a water faucet outside. I wait for the thing to fill up, as I can hear the guy getting up from here. What kind of shit am I dealing with here? A brief case that doesn't fucking open? Just what thing did I get handed? I mean, it withstood a blowtorch. What's so valuable inside that the damn thing that's carrying it was made to be practically indestructible?
The bucket is filled up, and I take it to the guy. He grabs it and dumps it on the case, the scorch marks fading away to show that the case hasn't changed at all.
"I don't know what to tell ya, that's about the only trick I have." I don't even want to hear it, as I pick up the now wet case and walk out.
"...Thanks for the money!" He yelled out to me while I left the store and turned to the next street alley I could find... I wanted to flip him off and beat the shit out of him... Then pick off the cash I wasted for his "services". I can't hold it in any longer... I'm getting too pissed off from this shit... I hide out in the alley with most shadows and throw the case to the ground...
"Damn it!" I kick the damn thing! I need release, so why no release it on the thing that's frustrating me! I may write articles on fucking shit with "utmost unbiased opinions", but that doesn't mean I have patience! I keep kicking the damned thing, but like everything else, the case is winning the war of durability against the bottom of my boot...!
"Why won't you open?!" I'll probably attract a crowd by this point, but I don't care anymore...! I just want this damn thing open!! I yell as I get on my knees and start smashing the top of it with my bare hands...! I've turned into the equivalent of a primate...!
That's when I heard it, right behind me, the cocking of a handgun. I stopped still, feeling like part of me died as I heard that one sound. And it seems the rest of me will die to the rest of it. I try to turn around, but the guy is too quick, pressing the barrel against my back... I can feel it...
"How about you give me the case right there?" His voice sounds smooth, but much of its undertones become lost on me when I'm reminded of the gun poking at me...
"You mean this case...?" I tried to sneak a peek as I turned my head towards him. He pushes the barrel against my back again, signalling me to turn my eyes straight forward.
"Nuh-huh, keep looking straight for me, will ya?" I can hear clanging behind me, but I could be wrong. My senses could be going haywire due to the anxiety and panic flowing through my body... I can feel like eyes twitching, almost flipping through the various ways I can die here... I can feel the sweat dripping from every pore, almost making a waterfall on the way down... I could just shit myself right here and it'd be justified...
But no... I wouldn't be killed... Not here...! Not now...! I clench my right hand into a fist and quickly turn around.
"That alley, over... There..."
"Ugh..." I'm still in the alleyway... I... Survived...? Wait, the case...! I quickly attempt to get up, but I just fall to my knees and hands... My body is rattling, shuddering in pain... I soon realize that my senses have been dulled... I can barely even hear myself breathe...
Soon, this sharp pain suddenly impacts the back of my head... I groan in pain as I crawl against the brick walls of the alley... I push my back against it so I can be sitting, as I grip the back of my head with both my hands... I look at my hands, stained with the crimson blood that's likely flowing out of some open wound...
I start to regain enough sense to scan my surroundings for the case, but it's nowhere to be found... I blame myself for this shit... Ugh, my head... I grasp the back of my head with my left hand as I lift my other arm to the front of my face, so that I can check the time...
Around 5 pm. Shit, I've been out cold for nearly 11 hours... I just sit there for a couple of minutes, trying to regain composure over what's just happened... Or what happened some time ago...? Fuck... I see a metal pipe next to where I was lying just a few moments ago... It has a dent in it, with some blood splattered on it... I guess whoever held me up knocked me right out used that...
I can't really remember the events in between me being clocked with a piece of metal and me waking up now. Though I remember the guy running away with the case now... Then there was this middle-aged man with slicked-back hair who asked me where "he" went... I pointed to that direction and he said thanks, before calling his partner who was there to probably follow him... Out of these three men, I only know of one of their names. Kent. Imagine how many Kents there are in this damn city... And what if it's just a nickname...?
Fuck... I slide up against the brick wall until I can finally stand on my two feet... My head pain is still there, but it's more manageable now. I decided to head home and just rest, tell my boss online about my head injury so I can fully recover... But I decided to get myself some "insurance"... I went out elsewhere to find myself a gun... A pistol, preferably...
Nowadays, you'd need to go through a lot of bullshit in order to even get a license to own one at all, let alone in your home and on yourself. However, I know places that sell the shit cheap without any of that crap getting in the way. I've known about the place since about college, when the few friends I had found out about it themselves. It's been three years since then, but I heard the place was still open from one of those friends a few months back. I just hope that it didn't get raided within the month I've heard about it.
It's still up, and I manage to walk in and out with a gun from about the early 22nd century. A Wolf & Granin .32 Defense. This kind of handgun was made for self-defensive purposes, though that didn't stop it from being in a number of hold-ups and shoot-outs.
Apparently, according to the guy selling it to me, some ruffed up douchebag who'd fit in more in some homeless camp in the asscrack of this country, the specific Defense that I had bought was picked up from a shoot-out between two gangs a few years back. Doesn't matter in the long run, though. The guy only told me this probably as some kind of weird sales pitch or something like that. At least I have something that'll protect me if someone tries to come after me again. I leave the place and head home.
Now, the place is filled with people, either trying to leave work for their break or just trying to have a good time. Some are just trying to get home, like me. Now, I blend into the crowd, especially when they wear black. I could easily do a disappearing act right now if someone was chasing me, but no-one was. At least, not obviously enough that I can tell. I have to admit, because I'm just some asshole that writes articles and occasional book, I haven't had experience with these kinds of things. Doesn't matter at all, though, because right now, my life could be at risk.
I arrive at the complex at around 9 pm. I head through the double doors, and it seems the landlord is too busy watching TV to really care about me. I head to the elevator and press the 4 button. It opens, I enter, it closes, I wait. My impatience is getting to me, as I look at the lights once more above the doors, still on 1 out of 9. But my impatience isn't unjust. If someone followed me to that store, then someone might be following me here. Maybe not for the case itself, but for information about the case. I'm not about to let myself be pushed around by some fucking lowlife looking for whatever's inside that damn case. At least, not again.
I reach the fourth floor and quickly head to my room. I fumble through my pocket and pull out my card, shoving it into the card feeder. It takes it in and I can hear the lock snapping up, which signals to me to grab the doorknob and twist. It opens and I enter, immediately locking the door behind me. I take out the gun and put it on my desk, then take off everything else. The trench coat, the shirts, the boots, the cloth, and the goggles. Everything but the jeans and my watch.
I sit down and prepare the gun. If someone was following me, they might bust through the door. For now, though I should probably-
"Don't worry, he's not going to hear me." I hear it. A guy outside my door.
"Tell me, why would we even go find this guy again?" I recognize the voice. It's that guy that held me up at point-blank range. Despite the whispering tone, I know that voice anywhere. This time, I'm prepared, as I quickly grab the gun from my desk and get up from the chair. I aim the gun at the door, as I seem to be shaking in terror... I know why... It's that thought that's echoing through my mind right now... What if I miss? What if I get shot? What if I die...?! Oh shit, the door's opening...!
I aim the gun and pull the trigger...!
It was a Thursday, about the 10th, when I got my hands on a silver, metal suitcase that was supposed to be delivered over to some lab in Sector III for further testin'. Well, that was the story I was told, anyway, when I interrogated the guy who was protectin' it. I shot him, of course, and took off with the suitcase. My bosses in Sector I ordered me to take the thin' off his hands, which I did, and then transport it back to 'em at Georgio, that bar in the lower-class section. They, in turn, would call up the people who were supposed to pick it up and make an offer.
I might've known every detail about the suitcase, but they didn't tell me what was inside. When I asked what those Chinese people shoved inside, they told me "it was none of your goddamn business" or somethin' like that. I tried openin' it durin' the downtime, but none of the combinations I could think off worked. I think the lock is bogus, since they also said that there's a "trick" to openin' it. Whether they know how to open it or not, I don't know, since they were pretty adament about me not knowin' what's inside.
So here I am, sittin' in a rented apartment, watchin' the news, waitin' for the deadline. It seems no news over my little "event" at the airport has spread, or if it has, it's bein' covered up as somethin' else. Maybe a jet failure, or an unfortunate accident. What's inside this case must be really important to whoever made it. Or whoever wants it. That is, whoever isn't the people I work for. All of this cover up shit, either because it's really fuckin' important, or really valuable. Eh, not like I'll ever get to see even a hundredth of that payload, knowin' how my bosses work.
I decided to take a good look at the case durin' the downtime. It was polished so nicely, that it almost worked as a mirror to look at my rugged face. The edges were protected by black guards that were more ruffed up, though I think that's the point. A black handle at the top of it, made of the same stuff as the guards, or at least felt and looked like it, and right next to it was the bogus lock. Three slots with the same ten letters all across: M, E, S, D, C, T, Y, B, R, and A. On the side of the case was some markin's, Japanese or Chinese in look, at least to me: 부문세연구소.
I put the thin' down on the floor and sit back in the hard bed; the mattress' sprin's seem like they're tryin' to jab me in the back, or they might just rip through the fabric at any moment. I need to smoke somethin', so I stuff my hand down my front pocket for my pack. I pull it out and open it up: no cigarettes inside. Well shit. How am I supposed to relax without a cigarette hangin' off my lips?
I get up and throw the empty pack away in the small trash bin right next to the door. I try to leave, but then I remember the case. If I leave it here, someone might come for it. And then my bosses will come for me. I quickly pick it up by the handle and jet out of the door. I'm headin' to some convenience store I passed on the way to this motel kinda place.
It's not far, only a couple of blocks away. Walkin' there should be possible for me. There's barely anyone out on the streets right now, though that might be 'cause it's dark as hell out here.
I see the store, right off in a corner between Hudson Ave and Benett Street. The front's dirty, but I can't really complain, so I enter through the windowed door. The place looks less grimy as the front, but still dirty. No-one, but the cashier is there and some kid sweepin' up is there to greet me. I walk to the cashier, a very Asian lookin' old man who's wearin' a hunter green polo and a pin sayin' Hello!.
I look behind him and see the different brands of cigarettes, in all kinds of names and colors. Black on white, blue on yellow, red on white, blue on some kinda faded green. With names like Marro, Kiesman, Turiabo, and other random assortments of letters that were only made just to have a unique name. My brand's among 'em, called Heinmen's with a red on black scheme.
"I'd like a Heinmen's single pack." I let go of the case while I reach out for my wallet. I lift it out of the pocket inside my jacket and pull out a simple five dollar bill. I place it on the counter, while he goes to get out the pack, which seems to be locked away behind a slidin' glass door.
Suddenly, I get an idea, though an admitin'ly racist one. I want to see if this guy knows what the Asian on the case says. I place the case on the counter as well, just as the guy's already turned around with the pack in hand.
"Hey, can I ask somethin' of you?" I try to sound as polite as possible, 'cause I'd rather not deal with anymore trouble today.
"What's the Japanese on this case say?" Again, I try to sound as polite as possible, but it seems that the guy got pissed off over what I said.
"...It's Korean, you dolt!" I almost flinch, expectin' a slap in the face, but he seems to hold it in.
"Um, sorry, it's just that I got my hands on this specific case, and I don't really know that much Korean... You do you know what it says?" He seems to calm down after I say that, as he just stares straight into my eyes.
"I don't know no Korean. I only know what it looks like, not how to read it." Huh? How does that make sense? How does one know what it looks like without knowin' what the fuck it means? Oh whatever, at least I know what the hell language it is. I say goodbye as I leave the place and head back to the motel. I light up on my way, leavin' behind a trail of smoke.
As soon I reach the place, I place the case under the bed and go to sleep, simply 'cause I've had enough of today's crap. All I want is tomorrow's crap. That's when I remember. Yeah, I'm supposed to get the case over to Georgio. With that in mind, I close my eyes and drift into unconsciousness.
I wake up on Saturday, the 12th. It's time to go to that place, Georgio. I've heard a lot of good and bad about that place, like the food either bein' some of the best hidden away in this city or bein' worse than eatin' straight out of a septic tank. Though I've heard people mostly go there for the mood of the place, the atmosphere. I wonder how it is, though I guess it has to be good in order for my compatriots to be waiting there for me to do this transfer.
I get dressed and head out, with the case in hand. It's early mornin', so the streets are almost deserted, with the occasional guy or gal sittin' in the street, tryin' to stave off a hangover from last night. I just leave 'em be, while I just walk over to where Georgio is. It's a long distance, but nothin' my legs can't get done. Though it dawns on me just how heavy this case when you spend hours carryin' the damn thin' around.
I eventually reach the place, and the front looks nice enough. But I don't really have much focus right now to let it run loose on the details of this place. That's simply 'cause my feet are killin' me. Really, after I get a nice stack of money, I'm gettin' myself those gel insoles you put in the shoes.
I go through the double doors, and the place looks nice. Looks can be deceivin', though. With the unique architecture and this focus on an old style of buildin', it must be tryin' to hide some kinda major flaw. There's somethin' off about this place, I know it. I can feel it...
What the fuck am I thinkin' about...? I gotta stay focused. I look around, but it seems that barely anybody's in today, or at least not right now. I see to the right of me a bar counter and I immediately head there. I sit down on one of the seats in front, which is pretty much just a round cushion attached to a black pole, and just lay against the counter. I turn my head to the guy operatin' the place, this thin white guy with black hair and a young face.
"Get me an Adios, on the rocks, hold the gin." That's about a mixin' of Vodka, Tequila, and Rum. It's a nice drink to get hammered to. At least, for me. I remember a friend of mine drinkin' it and thinkin' that I must have no sense of taste. The guy comes up with my drink in a small shot glass, which I instantly grab and chug down within a second. Ah, I feel refreshed, almost takes my mind off the pain that's stin'in' at my feet.
Hours pass as I wait at the counter, puttin' my feet on the case to make sure no-one can grab it without me knowin'. The day outside turns to night, the almost vacant interior starts to become packed, and suddenly I can feel that atmosphere I've heard so much about. A slow melody, from some harp or whatever they call that weird heart-shaped thing, plays in the background, and I can hear this smooth silk voice comin' on.
What sounds like a piano joins on the music, and I just take another gulp of my drink. Honestly, it's not my kinda music, I'm more into a faster pace of song, like acid jazz or somethin'. I look over to the gal singin', and it's this sexy-lookin' woman in a crimson red dress that's in one piece. She's blacked haired, with some of it tied up to the back, with it reachin' down to about her curved hips. I feel like I'm bein' drawn in, before I snap to my senses. I take another quick gulp of my glass, turnin' back around towards the bar counter.
I suddenly hear two old guys talkin' over the music; some guy with slicked back hair and a tan trench coat is talkin' to a grey haired employee. They seem to be old friends, as they seem to be headin' to the back of the place. Suddenly, I feel someone tappin' their fingers on my shoulder. It turn my head to whoever is behind me, and to my surprise, it's Richard Beller, one of my bosses.
He's a very old-fashioned business guy, who's willin' to grasp onto anythin' he can get his hands on, and 'cause of that, he's the one who assigned me to steal the case. He looks very nice-lookin' this evenin', wearin' a two-piece black suit, a white shirt underneath and a blue velvet tie. He's about in his 40s, with a little wrinkles here and there, the most prominent one bein' at the connection between the bridge of his nose and his forehead, right in between his eyes. He also has straight black hair, with some grey comin' from the back of his scalp. He almost looks happy in his own way, as both him and I takes a second to stare down at the case that's sittin' at my feet.
"We're goin' to sit at that booth over there." He points to a booth that's directly in a corner of the buildin'. He walks over there, with another guy goin' over there from the entrance. It's another one of my bosses, Marshall McCormick, a guy that's wanted by police for a gang shootin' a few years back. Too bad the cops are too incompetent to even get a trail on him, let alone find him. I order another Adios before I move over to where they're now sittin', takin' both the glass and the case with me. The room's not too crowded for me to not get through it, as I manage to get to the booth in just a couple of seconds.
The two of 'em sit on one side of the booth, which was against the wall, with Beller pointin' for me to sit on the other side, which I do. Now that I get to see Marshall up close, he's dressed up for a celebration as well; with a suit like Beller's, but with a black shirt under the jacket and a white tie. I have to ask.
"What's the occasion?" I asked to the two, Beller leanin' forward and signalin' to me with a single ahnd to do the same, so I did.
"We were at a party just a few hours ago. Harper's son got married today." He whispered to me, and after he stopped talkin', he layed back against his seat before adjusting his jacket. Harper is one of my "co-workers", one of the oldest in our "business". Honestly, I'm surprised he doesn't have grandchildren yet.
"Where's the case?" Marshall snarled out with an annoyed tone to it, and 'cause I already fear him enough, I immediately placed the case on the table.
"Here it is, for your viewin' pleasure, gentlemen." I said, tryin' to sound as sort of polite as possible, as I push the case towards 'em. Beller latches onto it with both hands, and looks at the wider side of the case. He flips it and sees the Korean letters.
"This is it..." He seems to slightly grin while lookin' at it.
"What's with the Chinese on the front?" Marshall asks as he looks at what is supposed to be Korean, and it seems that Beller already knows, as he just turns his head towards his compatriot with this intense, annoyed stare that replaces his smile just a second ago.
"It's Korean, you dumbass." Beller looks back towards the case after he says that to him. I wonder if he knows what it says. Marshall just sits there for a moment, as if analyzin' that comment and lettin' it sink right in.
"...How the fuck am I supposed to—" He quickly stops himself while shakin' his head, "...If you know what language it is, what does it say?" Marshall asks for me, while Beller is still scannin' the case with his eyes and feelin' the surface with his hand.
"Sector III. The thing inside was made in Sector III." Beller explains that much to Marshall, while I just sit on the sidelines, waitin'.
"Xander, what about the Asian you kindly borrowed this case from?" Beller casually said to me, leanin' forward with an inquisitive look on his face. I should've said before that my name was Xander.
"He's practically sleepin' like a baby." I said to him, and he seemed to get the implications, restin' back on the seat while lookin' back at Marshall, with a slight smile on his face.
"Good. Well, we'd best be off." Beller takes the case and climbs out of the seat, with Marshall followin' behind. I guess I should go as well. No sense for me to stay here unless I want to suck in more the ambiance. I get up from the booth and make a beeline towards the exit, where I see it's now completely dark. Honestly, a lot of this shit is really sketchy to me, especially when I think back to two days ago.
I had spent most of my time that Thursday waitin' in my car for that plane to arrive: a white private jet that had an unlisted number on its side. Before then, though, I had went through about four packs of Heinman's and a quarter of whiskey. Whiskey, for some reason, makes me more focused instead of disoriented, so I've always used it for important shit when I have to perform it perfectly. So there I was, all prepared for this shit, when it finally came.
It was still up in the air, so I dashed over to where it would land, accordin' to the information I got on it. It was gonna land right next to Hangar 3, about a mile away from the airport's main buildin', so I waited, hidin' against one of those stair thin's used to make a plane's passengers exit out into the lot instead of inside a buildin' or somethin'. The thin' landed and rolled right up next to Hangar 3, stoppin' eventually. No-one's there to meet the plane, so I rush over to where the exit panel is, so on the left side of it. I pulled out the gun and turned off the safety, aimin' it at the panel.
When it opened, I saw a security guard-lookin' guy about to exit it. Not anymore, as I shot him right in the chest, shoulder and head. The guy got sent back by the impact and fell against the wall behind him. I rushed into the plane and aimed the gun into the cockpit, shootin' at the two pilots that were inside in rapid succession. One of 'em tried to attack me, but before he knew it, he fell over dead on top of his buddy. Over to the right, I saw more security guards runnin' towards me, armed with guns too.
I quickly grabbed the first guy and put his body in front of me, usin' him as a meat shield. I went ahead and put my gun over the corpse's shoulder, shootin' the rest of the oncomin' guards. They fell over either on the seats or on the floor, which fuckin' annoyed me as I had to walk over their stupid corpses. I went to the back, when I saw some Asian guy in a black suit and red tie tryin' to open up the other exit panel on this plane. When he saw me, he must've shit himself mentally as he backed up against the back of this place.
I saw it, handcuffed to his right hand, the silver case that I need. I aimed my gun at him, and he started beggin' for his life. He had to dead, though, so I got closer, so that I wouldn't miss. No-one would miss at this range, I thought, as the guy whimpered like crazy while I pressed the barrel of my pistol against his temple. That's when he tried to bluff me, in some idiot attempt to scare me or somethin'.
Talk about that case causin' an a world of problems if it left his hands began to spew from his mouth like bullshit was literally bein' blasted out his mouth, but I didn't want to hear anythin' about it. Besides, at the time, I thought it was probably just a bluff anyways, so I pulled the trigger when he was mid-sentence and it was all she wrote for that Chinese asshole. No blood splatter or anythin', just two holes in his head leakin' out on either side. After seein' that, I shot at the handcuffs to break 'em off, and took off with the case.
Thinkin' about it now, while I walked back to that motel, it makes me wonder. Was the shit he was sayin' about the case just somethin' he made up to protect himself or true? Otherwise, my bosses wouldn't be interested in such a thin' if it caused so much trouble to even get. Honestly, I feel that it could be beyond my own understandin' of it all.
"Xander..." Huh? I suddenly hear a voice callin' out to me. I look behind me, but I don't see anyone stoppin' for me, or anyone I know. Honestly, it sounded a lot like Beller. I try to take another step when I heard it again.
"Xander, in the alleywa—" The voice coughed, and that's when I realized it was comin' to the right of me, inside the alleyway of two buildin's I didn't take the time to identify. I ran in and saw Beller, leanin' against a dumpster with the case right next to him. He was caked in blood and holes, with some drippin' from his head, hands, and suit. The case was also covered in the shit too, with it almost splattered like someone threw paint on it.
"What the hell happened to you...?" I asked when I crouched right next to him.
"...Some people ambushed me and Marshall... while we were goin' back with the case..." He sounds like he's about to cough up a lung in any second. Either that, or gasping for air like he can't even breathe properly anymore.
"They smashed our car... I managed to get out... But Marshall... They fucked him up... He died screamin'..." he said while almost sobbin', tryin' to look away, like he witnessed what they did to him...
"...They saw me... And did all this shit..." He keeps goin', while I can just kneel there, just lookin' at what looks like a completely broken man. He puts his hand on the case, as he struggles to keep himself from shakin'. He pushes it against the concrete floor towards me, scrappin' against the gravel as it touches my knee.
"Take the case, Xander... Back to your place... Hide it..." He coughs more until he just falls over to the side, his back scrappin' against the dumpster before makin' a thud on the ground. He just fuckin' dies with his eyes almost wide open. Well, I gotta heed the words of a dead guy, especially if he's my boss. I take the case once more and run away, back to the motel, back to my home.
Once I get there, I throw the case onto the bed and lock the door behind me, so that I can lean against it and regain some air. Breathin' in and out for the meantime, I can literally feel my heart beatin' inside my throat, as if I was ready to cough the damned thing out.
I slide against the door to the ground, sittin' there until I've calmed down enough to think rationally... I get up and check on the case, which has blood splatter on it. I wonder if it's Beller's blood... Or even worse, Marshall's... I can't keep the case like this, so I take the damned thin' into the bathroom. I turned on the faucet and cupped my hands to catch the water bein' dispensed out... I throw it onto the case, makin' a loud splash when it hits the surface of it... I grab a folded white towel and just start wipin' away all the blood stains I can see...
I realize that I'm also rubbin' away at the Korean on the case, but I don't care at this point anymore... I'm probably goin' to die over this case, and now that the two who assigned me to this job are dead, I don't even know what's supposed to be inside... This is shit... I think I understand what that guy was sayin' a while back, about this thin' causin' a whole lot of problems if it left his hands... Too bad I can't take back what I did... Though if that was possible, people wouldn't realize their fuck up, would they...?
While I was deep in thought, I've finally cleaned off the blood, though I probably ruined the paint job as it doesn't really gloss in light anymore. Who cares, though, right? I take the cloth I was usin', which was overtaken in crimson, and just shove it into the trash can that was sittin' near the entrance to the bathroom. I then took the case by its handle and carried it to the bed, where I then threw it to the ground and kicked it beneath the bed. I sat on the bed and held my head in my wet hands.
I try to breath in and out, almost like I'm tryin' to calm myself down... What am I goin' to do...? I can imagine someone's lookin' for Beller right now, or has just found his corpse without the case and now searchin' for my ass... I can imagine someone burstin' through the door and gunnin' me down where I sit... I can even imagine tryin' to go buy somethin' down at that convenience store and someone just shootin' me in the head in front of the fuckin' clerk... All I can really do right now is ask myself the same question over and over again... What am I goin' to do...?
Suddenly, I hear a ringin' sound, and immediately, I turn to the phone, which sits on a night stand opposite to where I am on the bed. Honestly, I've been too caught up in all of this case business to even examine the details of the dirty room I got myself into, let alone the phone that was there. It was the sort of phone you'd find in those old movies centuries back, and it really does look like it was that old. I can't help but feel that not answerin' would be the best choice, but my curiosity is winnin' out against me. I crawled to the phone and picked it up. I held the thin' itself to my right side, and I can already feel like hesitatin'...
"...'ello?" I managed to muster up the courage to say that, and waited for the person on the other end to respond... Then this long silence started to linger, which started to take its tole on me and my heart. It beated rapidly to the point where I could actually feel it tryin' to leave my chest through my throat... The silence continued and I started to imagine why he, or she, wasn't answerin' me... Might they be tracin' me through this call so they can find me...? I fuckin' hope not...
"Hello, Xander." Finally, a voice... But it isn't a welcomed reprieve from that silence, as his tone makes him out to be forbodin', full with power, with a deep bass to his tone of speakin'... The rest of it, I can't pick up due to how I'm talkin' to him and how it sounds sort of static-y...
"I found Mister Beller, but it seems that you've found him first." He sounds surprisin'ly calm for someone lookin' for that case... I look back to where the case is, under the bed...
"...I dunno what you're talkin' about..." I said to him in an attempt to bullshit him, but it'll probably just fail... It was worth a try, though.
"You know well what I want. And you have it. I know you have it. Meet me behind that convenience store near your room at the motel..." What...? He knows where I am...? I immediately jump towards the window on the opposite site of the room, ignorin' the base of the motel telephone bein' pulled off the top of the table and makin' a loud thud on the carpet floor. I push away the cheap, shitty curtains away, seein' no-one hangin' around outside... I feel like one of those crazy assholes to hole up in their house because they're afraid of everything... My eyes feel like they're about to burst out of my head as I keep tryin' to find if someone is watchin' me...
"...You should know where it is. Unless you've already forgotten about last night's trip for cigarettes." He even know about that...?! Wait, was he followin' me...?! I step back to the receiver, hunched over it with my single open hand, grabbin' at one of the edges of it...
What...? He even knows about that...? Did he fuckin' follow me...?! I stop lookin' out as soon as I hear that, quickly headin' back to the nightstand. I end up kickin' the base as I walk back, almost fallin' because of the fuckin' thing.
"Shit...!" I end up sayin' that out loud as I pick up the base and almost throw it onto the table. It rattles while I hunch over it, my open hand grippin' the edge of the table. It seems like he didn't even hear me, as he keeps talkin'...
"And I do have a personal inquiry, Xander. Heinman's? It's like smoking a blunt from the leaves!" He starts laughin' to himself... He's tryin' to play me AND mock me...! That bastard...! I can feel my hands shakin' from both fear and anger... If I can't control myself, I might accidentally break the phone... Either that, or stab my nails deep into the wooden table the rest of the phone is sittin' on... He seems to stop after a few seconds, endin' his little laughin' fit with a sigh...
"...Deliver the case in three hours, and I will spare you experiencing the gory death of little bitch Marshall." Is.. Is he tryin' to give me an offer...?
"Is that a deal, Xander?" I can feel a swellin' of emotions goin' all throughout my body at once. At one point, I'm scared shitless about what might happen to me, even more so than in some kinda gunfight... At least there, I can defend myself just fine... On another side of myself, this might be my chance at survival... I can get out of this situation without even losin' a pint of my own blood... My overall interest in survival is overridin' my fears, so...
"...Yes..." I said it, I actually said it. I can't take it back now...
"Good boy. Don't forget, Xander. Three hours. Convenience store." He hanged up the call, just as I now think about what might happen... Knowin' these kinds of people, the guy will shift me on the deal... I'm probably goin' to die... And I can't really run away, since he knows where I am at all times... Am I just lookin' at this situation in a negative light...? Nah, I'm justified in feelin' this way... If I'm goin' to die, I'm goin' to die with a gun in my hand...
I went to the mini-fridge that was also next to the bed, opposite to the nightstand, and opened the door. I took out the bottle of beer that was inside and tried to open it. Before I do, though, I saw a white sticker on the side that said I had to pay eight bucks for it. I almost laughed, mostly 'cause I'm basically not goin' to pay for this shit anyway. You can't pay for shit when you're dead, right?
I ripped that fuckin' sticker off and popped open the bottle with my thumb, the cap flyin' and hittin' the ceilin' before landin' on the floor. I looked up and saw the dent it left. I didn't really give that much of a rat's ass, as I chugged the bottle down my throat, and let that burnin' feelin' of alcohol run down my throat... I began to feel some of it drippin' out from the corner of my lips, but as long as I can drown my sorrows in this shit, I couldn't care less... As soon as the bottle was empty and placed it on the bed, then I felt the sticker I had ripped in my hand. I crumbled up that piece of shit remainder of sticker in my hand and throw it against the wall...
Everythin' became a blur shortly after... It was like I was dreamin' a particularly bad dream that night... I wasn't even conscious for most of it, though I could tell I was walkin' the now crowded streets... The conversations between groups of people which passed me just mixed together into this white noise that was as ear-bleedin'ly painful as it was fuckin' annoyin'... My feet somehow felt like they were in pain, but at the same time, perfectly fine...
I could even feel the weight of the case, which was bein' carried in my right hand apparently, becomin' lighter over time... Damn, my sense of reality is fucked up right now... It's like havin' smoked some bad drugs that expired two years ago or somethin'...
By the time my eyes began to see clearly, I was in front of that convenience store, still as dirty lookin' as yesterday night... I'm guessin' I'm supposed to meet 'em in the back...? I see an alleyway right of the entrance and start walkin' there, though I start to notice somethin' right off... The case is shakin' more when I walk than it was durin' all my trips walkin' everywhere... Another thin' I notice is that my vision's still impaired, so when I looked at the case, it was still a fuckin' blur.
Who cares what the case looks like, though, right? I'm goin' to either die here or die elsewhere right now. I might as well brave it and walk right in. Just in case, I pull out my gun and turn off the safety on it. I put it back inside my jacket and began to walk right in once more. I end up on the back of the store, and there they were.
Three guys on each side, with a guy in a white suit in the middle of 'em. He was old, older than my now dead bosses, with completely grey hair that was slicked back, and wrinkles all over. He began to speak.
"Welcome, Xander." It's the same asshole from the phone... I stopped for a moment after realizin' that before I continued... I walked to the middle of his line of sight and put the case down next to me...
"I thank you for not bein' stupid enough to try and run." The man smirks while he shoves his two hands down his pockets. He then looks at the case.
"Is that it?" He asked, with me pickin' it up once more and showin' it to him.
"Yes. This is the case." I said, tryin' to make myself sound like I'm filled with confidence. When I look at him, it seems like he's seein' through my ruse.
"Where is the symbol on the side?" He said while starin' directly at it.
"I cleaned it off along with the blood that splattered on it..." I explained to him, which he seems to take very well. He suddenly looks behind his back to one of this men and gives 'em a signal with a single hand. The guy reaches into his jacket... I see the handgun bein' pulled out, and I try to draw mine, but I was too late...
A sharp pain, right in my chest... It feels like a knife is in there, twistin' into my organs... I uncontrollably shake as blood leaks out from the hole, with me tryin' to cover the wound with my hand... I just got shot, right in the chest... Soon enough, I fall over face first to the ground, spittin' out blood to my right... Onto the case itself...
"I guess you cleaning it really was pointless, wasn't it?" He laughs as he approaches me... At least, that's what it sounds like as everythin' starts to become a blur... The only thin' I can see is the case... Which suddenly leaves my sight as the sound of footsteps go away from me...
"I really have to thank you for bringin' this to me." I can hear it, the case bein' thrown to the ground. I have to... I try to reach into my jacket, but it's takin' too much strength from me to even move my arm... I can even feel the texture of the handle with my fingertips, but I can hear him tryin' to open it... I have to hurry...
"S-shit! You, give me a gun!" He's havin' difficulty openin' it, but... He's goin' to shoot it open...? It doesn't matter, since I finally got a firm grip on the handle of my own gun... The next problem is pullin' it out, but it's goin' faster at least... Though... I can feel my life leavin' me as more and more of that crimson liquid spills out of my body... I look down, seein' the pool that's formin' around me...
I muster the strength to look in front of me to see him, just about to open it... He shoots the gun at the lock and it breaks... But... I just realized somethin'... It's not the same lock... That's not the case... He opens it and realizes it too... A long silence starts as he looks into the case... To see nothin' inside... I managed to pull out the gun and aim it at him...
He turns to me, with this face of pure anger... It just completely transforms into an expression of shock and terror as he sees the gun bein' pointed right at his face... I pulled the trigger... And before he even realizes it, he falls over with a hole right where his jugular is... I can see the bullet hole puncturin' a hole like a needle piercin' through cloth... Some blood spurts out from the hole, leaving a sort of travel as he falls on his back, either dyin' or already dead... The guys around him jump at the gunshot, some quickly seein' if their boss really just croaked like a bitch in front of 'em...
I drop the gun as the last bit of strength leaves me... All of my senses are goin' into this blur... The sounds of the dead man's friends get drowned out by this buzz, right up against my ear, ringin' out... So, this is how it feels to die... The last thoughts runnin' through my mind are all about that case... Where did I hide it? What was inside? Why did I have to die for it? Well, I guess I'll never...
The alarm is blaring... Damnit, I don't even want to get up today... I wait for it to stop, but it just keeps going and going and going... I look the damn thing... It's 6:02 am... On a Sunday... I get up and look around me... I'm in my room, dimmed with very little light coming through the blinds...
I get up and stretch out my arms, yawning at the same time... I better head to the bathroom... Damn, that party last night was too much for me... Music loud enough to break eardrums, lights that would make any epileptic have a heart attack twenty times over, and enough beer to give you alcohol poisoning... Good thing none of the above happened to me...
I've already opened the door to the bathroom and walked in front of the sink... I turned the knob right of the faucet and it released the water from it... I cupped my hands under the flowing water, and it began to fill... I splashed it in my face, and I already feel awake now. Though I also just splashed the rest of the room.
"Well shit..." I got one of the cloth towels that was laying on the sink counter and wiped off the evidence of a splash. When I was done, I found that it also picked up the grime from off the floor... I threw it into a small basket besides the entrance and grabbed another one, wiping all the water off my face. I also threw that one into the basket before leaving to go change into something more suitable...
I went to the seat that was planted right beside my bed, which has an enormous stack of folded shirts, pants, shorts, my underwear, and other stuff. I held my hand onto the side of the stack and slid out a black T-shirt and some jeans from the bottom of it. I pulled off the shit on me and threw it onto my bed, while putting on the shit I just got out.
Despite that splash of water just a few seconds ago, I'm starting to feel like crap already. Suddenly, there's this vibrating sound coming from my bed. I feel around for it and find that it's coming from the pair of pants I just pulled off. I grabbed it and got out my phone, which is displaying a screen with a green and red circle at the bottom and a pic of my uncle. Seems he's calling me... He flicked my finger across the screen from the green circle, accepting the call. I put the phone besides my ear.
"Where the hell are you, Tom?!" The voice on the other end of the call is clearly angry... I was supposed to be at his place of business a few hours earlier...
"Sorry," I said, while trying to make a believable excuse in my head, "I, uh..."
"Don't even try that excuse shit with me right now," My uncle said with such a tone that I couldn't even think of anything besides how pissed he sounded, "Just come to the bar, and we can sort this shit out there." He hangs up immediately after saying that, something sounding like a little blip sounding once for a brief moment. I press the power button on the right side and slide the phone into my pants pocket. I better get over there before he gets the chance to decide on what he'll do to me...
I looked at my nightstand, sitting right next to my bed on the left, and saw my crimson wristwatch. A gift from my dad, who gave it to me a few years ago. I grab it and strap it onto my wrist, positioned so that I can check the time by facing the palm of my hand in front of myself. I swiftly pass my bathroom and into the living room of my flat, quickly sprinting across the small two-seat couch and small TV, and towards my door. I unlock it and quickly lock it back up once I'm outside. I run down the stairs adjacent to my room and head for the lobby.
The only thing on my mind is that I better hurry up...! I don't want to give the man to think of some way of punishing how late I am... I go out the door, pulling on the single handle, and—
"AHHHH!!!" I immediately trip over something that was apparently placed in front of the entrance of the small apartment complex. I managed to break my fall with my arms, extending them out to the ground as I now fall casually to the floor. I get up and wipe off the little bits of gravel that got stuck onto the palm of my hands, and immediately turn to see what it was that made my trip.
It was some kind of metal briefcase with a black handle and black ends on each edge of it. It looked like it was abandoned here, and with closer inspection, it had seemed to have been through hell and back. It had what looked like wiped away gloss finish which shined in the sun, but the rest of it was just a plain silver. It had a combination lock right next to the handle, which was placed with three letter A's. I grabbed the handle and lifted the case from the ground, but there's a struggle as the thing is heavy. I don't know if it is the case itself or the contents inside.
As I lift it off the ground, I see a piece of poorly folded paper that was beneath the case. Maybe an explanation for why this is in front of the complex? I pick it up from off the ground and unfold it. Immediately, the familiar stench of beer catches my attention, as if whoever left this was an alcoholic. It's a plain piece of lined paper with random-looking chicken scratch written on top of it with black ink. It's as if I'm looking at an abstract line drawing until I finally see the letters they were meant to be written as.
I feel like I'm translating a foreign language as I read out the following:
For whOever finds This cAsE, haNg onTo it
At least, that's what it looks like to me. It seemingly also has some miscellaneous letters mixed in, like the person who left this had no clue to actually spell this at the time. I might as well hang onto the case... I dunno, maybe I'll get something out of this? I fold the paper in a more neater form then put it down my pocket. I lug the case with me to my uncle's place, which is eight blocks away. I can manage with the extra weight and all, though as I get closer and closer, my fingers seemingly start to go numb. Probably due to the weight being too much for them to bear.
Fortunately, I manage to get to the entrance before my hand just straight up falls asleep. It's a small place, about 15 meters stretching across the strip next to a beauty parlor and a GDU (General Drug Unit), this drug place that legally sells medication, vitamin-related stuff, among other things. I don't know why my uncle bought this place, but he got it when I was little, so I can't complain much about it. It's a ten meter walk to the back, via a two meter wide alleyway in between the parlor and the bar.
At the front, there's a set of blacked out windows, but with good enough eyes, you can see right inside. There's a bar counter located to the back of the place, with the rest being occupied by numerous tables. I have never seen this place full, only sporadically taken up by one or two people who just sit at the bar counter, drinking away at whatever they ordered, be it whiskey, vodka, tequila, or any other substance like that.
I go through the alleyway, and see the graffiti on the brick walls. Despite the complicated way they were spray-painted, they all say simple things like CUNT or BITCH, with the only one that has more words to it being MOTHERFUCKER, located at the end. My uncle wanted to clean these up, but hasn't gotten the time for it. I already know that I can't remove them, I tried once already. So I just ignore them and walk down the alley.
I end up in the back and it smells like shit. To be fair, though, it's always smelt like shit and alcohol here. It's dank and dirty, sludge almost everywhere from when a garbage truck tries to lift off the garbage can and ends up spilling out some of the content onto the concrete floor. The concrete in question used to be a dark grey, now it's just a faded wash of random splatter of many colors. My uncle likes to say that the many colors is the vomit from when one of the customers ends up hurling out their breakfast, lunch, and dinner laced in the colored drink they had at that particular time.
I managed to not step in it, despite it having already solidified and plastered itself onto the concrete like gum does. I just don't want to be even near the stuff, let alone close enough for skin contact. At the back door, I pull on the U-shaped handle bolted onto it and swiftly step inside. I let the door swing close behind me as I look at the same old surroundings. A small and narrow kitchen that's bathed in white, fluorescent lights, which hang over the room in long, rounded bars. The buzzing sound is unavoidable when using these kinds of fixtures, though that's not much of a problem when the chefs work overtime.
That is, if we had any chefs. Just a few kilometers away is that fancy place, Georgio, and they always take up both any potential business and any wandering person capable of serving up the kind of food made here. Most of the time, it's either really amateur cooks with no real idea of what they're doing (at least, according to my uncle), or it's a friend in the family that's taking up the role of chef in here. Rarely, I see my uncle back here, cooking up something because there's absolutely no-one else around to help. That excludes me, because I can barely make anything edible worth a damn.
I move over to the other side of the kitchen, passing by the grills, the fryer, some sinks, a sort of large and wide microwave, and a rotisserie to get to the small lockers. We used to have a separate locker room, but that got smashed down, mostly because there was barely any use for it, and the kitchen needed expanding for the new stuff that was going to be put in at the time. So now, there's a small set of about three unpainted metal lockers, with only a sort of sliding mechanism acting as the lock. While they're small, they have enough space, especially mine, to fit in the case.
I shove it right in, though, in order to finally close it firmly shut, I had to slant it until it was rubbing against the confines of the locker. I shut the small sheet that's supposed to be a door and turn my attention to the two doors in front of me, which lead into the front of the bar.
I walk through, pushing both doors out to the sides with my two arms as I look into the front. Five wooden tables, each with two black plastic folding seats, are scattered all around with no real sense of space on the part of whoever arranged everything this way. Everything is colorized in orange, as the lights hang above the room with an orange-red glass covering the bulbs. It's barely noticeable, as the orange blends with the wooden floorboards and most of the wooden furniture, unless you're looking for it, like I am.
A hint of alcohol stirs in the air, me immediately trying to cover my nose from the smell. I hate it. At least, I can't stand it. I smell it everyday at school, it just reeks from my fellow classmates like they're bathing in the stuff. I mean, I can handle beer, but not when I want to just get through my day.
I manage to adjust myself enough to accept the stench and move on. Then I hear a voice as I step forward.
"Hey Tom," the voice of my uncle rings out behind me, while he stands behind the bar counter, resting against the counter top with his arms while his eyes look right at me, "you're late." I turn around to meet his stare.
"Yeah, I know, uncle." He breathes in as he stand up straight, his eyes still on me.
"I thought I told you to call me by my name." he said to me as he moved from where he was to the double doors I just stepped out of. He strolls through the kitchen, while I follow right behind him. He stops right in front of the sink and seemingly shows it off to me. I look inside, and there seems to be a plethora of food-stained plates and dirty drink glasses stacked on top of each other.
"Clean all of this up," he said to me as he walked past, throwing a pair of yellow latex gloves into my hands before stepping back to the front. I look at him as he leaves and then turn my gaze back to the sink. It's almost a joke. We're never busy enough for these plates to stack atop each other like this. Then I realize that they've been stacking since about the start of the week, with the plates at the bottom (that're in view) have what looked like mold growing on it until I saw that it was just the remains of ketchup and mustard.
This is my Sunday, cleaning the dishes at a place that never gets that much business, until closing. My uncle spent his time out in the front; he rarely comes back here unless he wants to cook something himself. Early on, some of the few people that actually work here came in through the back. I don't know them very well, despite being with them, here in the back, most of the day.
They talk among each other, while I just go on my phone and check on my friends through their accounts on social media. They're going out to a party, apparently, at an abandoned house in the slums down south of here. I might've gone, but I have no interest of getting wasted the day I have to go back to school. Though, I wish I could do that that without any consequence on my part. It's not like I'm learning anything worth learning.
I just sit there by the metal door leading to the alley, my phone in my hand, looking at status updates until I notice it's almost 9 pm. For a brief moment, I realize how it felt like only a few hours have passed since I finished with that stack of plates, but then I get over it.
I get up and walk out into the front, seeing a customer at the bar counter, almost completely resting on it, with a drink in his one arm, the other hanging down loosely. My uncle is just leaning against the large shelf of alcohol behind him before he turns his sight at me.
"I have to go," I tell him, "it's 9 pm." He just nods his head and points to the back, signalling me to leave. I immediately do so, stepping back into the kitchen. I reach for the door before I remember. Yeah, the case, I almost forgot. It got it out of my locker and left.
The part of town I'm in is mostly devoid of what the big section of this state has to offer. I once went there to visit my sister and her then-new apartment with my parents, and there, I just saw people seemingly wasting away. Prostitutes on street corners, who move to hide when the police patrol the area as we walk past, party-goers who have seemed to make a profession out of tearing it up or whatever walking by, smelling of alcohol and sweat. A few people with actual jobs keeping to themselves as junkies they walk past try to offer them a variety of drugs that they can't even pronounce with much effectiveness.
Here, none of that. And nothing to replace it. Either some people who're walking home from a party elsewhere, or some other thing that makes an addition to the empty sidewalks and streets. When I'm walking home, there's almost no noise, no offers of smack or crack, no anything really. Actually, now that I think about it, there is a noise; some kind of technological buzz that seems to surround the area. I don't know what it is, but it's everywhere. I used to it, so it doesn't bother me as much, but at seemingly random times, I just notice that soft humming sound barely registering in my ear.
There's almost barely anything but the small buildings around me, and the street lamps that shine their orange-yellow light on top of me. I look at my watch, the time being 9:18 pm. I really need to get home. I hate being out here late at night. I don't know if some kind of gang might show up if I stay here. I started to pick up the pace, almost breaking into a hard joy as I turn the corner.
I get home, and, after looking at the time, 9:31 pm, and then remembering the weight of the case in my hand, decide to check it out. I look around for a place in my apartment so that I can do it sitting down. My bed, which is against a corner of the room, might be good, but nah. I have a small table in the middle of the small room I pay rent on, but it's cluttered with random trash on top, empty water bottles and crumbled up pieces of paper making up most of it. I pull over a waste basket I have by the bathroom and slide the trash right inside.
I clumsily lift the case onto the table, slamming it against the hard reinforced plastic surface. I put it on its side, having the combination lock face me. It still has the three As from this morning. I roll my thumb against one of them, sliding it to the next letter in the cycle, which was M. I cycled through them all and the following ten combinations were in this order;
E, S, D, C, T, Y, B, R, A, and M.
I start to think about the simple math in place here; imagine the disks being the places for ones, tens, and hundreds. The hundreds are separated by ten letters. Let's assign M as 0. MMM is the start of what I'm calling the M series for now. The tens are separated by ten letters as well. Only the tens and ones change in the M series, leading to about 100 different combinations with the hundredth M stuck where it is. The disks add a 1 out of 10 chance, and when multiplied, we end up with a 1 out of 1000 chance of getting this all right. That is the best case scenario. I get to work on it, despite the odds, and start inputting the various combinations.
This took an hour of my time, starting from M to onward. I stopped after I realized I need to go to sleep. I stood up from the table, leaving the case on it as I shuffled to my bed. Throwing myself onto the the soft mattress, I grabbed the sheets and covered myself, while I position my head right on my pillow. The mattress decompresses where I am, basically letting me somewhat sink into the memory foam inside. I close my eyes, letting reality around my person simply fade into the background. I am now excluded from the activities of this country until 5 am.
The blaring sound of an alarm jump starts me for today, as I attempt to lift myself off the bed... I groan in pain while adjusting my shoulders and, soon after, rubbing the back of my neck. I rotate my head around as I get off the bed and press the sleep button on the clock. 5:01 am. My class for today starts soon. It's Science. I sigh as I remember that I have US History today. I've had to endure that shit for four months now, what I call the American Circlejerk. That about sums up how I feel about this shit.
The education system in this country sucks.
Though, I can adapt to this pseudo-science for a grade... I don't think why I should have to adapt to their stupid, dimwitted scientific ideas, mixed in with religious ideals that make no sense in terms of scientific reason. I sigh as I think about the situation I've found myself in when I was born in this country. I hold my head with a single arm as I realized I had Science afterwards. All the science that would actually be of practical use in life is something I have to find on the internet in order to know.
I just stare off to the blank, white wall in front of me, thinking if I can just sleep in today. I can't, though. Even if I have to sit through History and Science: American Rewrite Edition. I get up, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, and rub out of my eyes that gunk that mysteriously pops up while I'm asleep, flicking it elsewhere. Walking to the front of the bed, I find my book-bag, a leather satchel, leaning against the bed frame, and immediately grabbed the sash that it was connected to. I put the bag on, letting the sash rest against my left shoulder, and having the bag rubbing against my right thigh.
I also grab my phone and red watch, stuffing one in my pocket while wrapping the other around my wrist, same position as yesterday. I'm at the door when I remember the case, still sitting on top of my grey plastic table. I might as well take it with me, I think. Maybe I can try to solve it during the breaks in between my classes? I quickly go to pick it up, and it almost seems lighter to me. Maybe because I've already gotten used to lugging it around?
I leave my apartment and head off to my school campus. I'm a college student, you see, and I'm trying to get a masters degree in law. I want to sort of be a lawyer when I go out into the workforce. That is, a workforce that doesn't do dishes. I have to spend a few more years of regular college before I can even get the chance to attend some law school elsewhere in the state, or even the country. Because of that, I have to keep my grades high enough so that they don't just boot me out. I mean, if I ignored every other class besides my Law class (which is just a sample of what law school would be like), they'd expel me in a heartbeat.
After managing to walk throughout the city, I get to the small campus, packed around businesses that almost act like defense towers or barricades that encircle the area. Around the campus, besides the buildings, is a large wall of chain-link fences meant to keep out people who wanted to come inside without any good intentions. Personally, I'd like a day where a wild gunman just went crazy and shot everywhere on the side of the building opposite to where I was. Just so I can leave for the day and not have to deal with the bullshit that constantly gets shoved down my throat.
After a while, I manage to get to my class, this room that's designed in such a way that, from the back, the height of the room becomes more and more lower until you get to where the teacher is stationed. I sit in the back, observing the entire room from my high vantage point, while placing my bag to one side and the case on the other. I lean forward against my table, this elongated piece of solid reinforced plastic that stretches from one edge of the room to the other. All other rows of tables are like this. I cross my arms while my eyes stay fixated on what's below me.
The class is somewhat empty, with only me and a few clustered groups of people sitting in this vast classroom. They have conversation among themselves, though I can't make it out properly. They seem to be enjoying themselves, though, so it has to be something in their lives specifically. At least, that's how I rationally think of it.
Most people my age seem to have nothing better to do than waste their time doing frivolous activities while accomplishing absolutely nothing. All they seem to talk about it what parties they'll go to, or what they're going to see on that particular week. Now, I like to party, but I consider it something to do after finishing something that has taken so much time to get done. That logic cannot be applied to parties whose only reason for existence is because it's the weekend.
That's when I felt a tapping on my shoulder, forcing me to look in the direction of whoever's next to me. A friend of mine stands there, a white haired guy named Aaron.
"Hey, you white haired bastard!" I blurted out to him, and he just lightly punched the back of my head. I look at him as he moves to the opposite side of me.
"Hi, fucker." Saying that laughingly to me while he lets himself fall against his table seat, he puts down his bag besides the case, his eyes immediately being drawn to it.
"What's with the case, Tommy?" He inquired as he went to grab the case, lifting it up to analyze it more effectively.
"I found it yesterday when I going to work," I told him while turning my attention away from the rest of the room. He fiddles around with the case, rolling the dials around on the locks, before noticing something about it. I tried to say something before being immediately hushing me, as he slides the middle dial back and forth.
"So, you found a case with a fake lock?" What? He puts the case back down as he looks straight at me, his blue eyes gazing at me, seemingly peering down mine like trying to figure out what's wrong with me.
"What're you talking about?" I asked, absolutely confused as to what he was saying. Why would the lock be fake? It just couldn't be... Could it...? He sat there, silent, before averting his gaze, moving back to the case that was sitting on the ground. He picked it up once more and placed it on his lap, facing the lock at me.
"See, when a dial on this sort of lock twists around," he started to explain to me while placing his finger on one of the dials, almost about to play around with it some more, but instead halts himself as he kept talking. "...it snaps due to a small notch inside the ring that's supposed to allow it to open." He then turned that dial, no sound nor friction coming out of it, as if just rolling in place. "However, your case here doesn't have the sort of thing. Unless this is electronic, you have a fake lock." He said while turning and twisting the case around so that it faced him once more. He then took note of the letters, muttering something to the effect of "why the fuck it is letters...?" under his breath.
I just sat there, looking at him, my thoughts in complete disarray. I never even noticed that the dials never made any noise, let alone say anything about it. He observes the case like some alien thing, perplexed by its simple existence, while I can I just stare at the master doing what he does best. He's the guy who showed me the flaws of our society and, with particular detail, the education system that the two of us are subjected to every day. So he's always been more ahead of me when it comes to catching onto certain things around us.
He places the case back on the ground, his hand meeting with his chin, while his stare is still on it.
"There's something inside, no doubt about it... It's just that the perceived way of opening it is just not viable." He muttered out to himself and, by mere presence, I, while remembering that I was the one who brought the case to his attention. "So, you found this?" he asked me while his eyes move back onto me as his center of attention.
"Yeah..." I said with a shy inflection, looking down at a case that has a fake lock. I spent all of that time, trying to solve a fake lock that doesn't do shit. I feel ashamed.
"Well..." He started to speak, crossing his legs while preparing for when he leans against his seat during class. A short pause before he continues, "it's nothing to be ashamed of, Tommy." He's trying to make me feel better about this, seeing right through me.
I just stay silent, letting him just get off the topic and observe the room like I was doing just moments before. I can still see the master at work, as he gazes at the crowd of people down where we are, and softly muttering self notes about what they're talking about. Soon enough, the other students begin to flood into the room, filling it to max capacity while the instructor finally appears after a few minutes of just complete white noise. People's conversations amongst each other are suddenly halted when the instructor starts to write their lesson onto the whiteboard that's behind them.
This starts the bullshit, as the instructor begins to talk about the Yellowstone Eruption. The man began to spout on about the eruption being caused by sabotage from the other countries who wanted the United States to be devoured in volcanic smoke, but they lost control and accidently clouded the world in the shit. At least, that's the summary, because I wish to relieve you of what the specifics of what this man is talking about.
I knew this was complete and utter bullshit because Aaron has personally told me what actually happened beforehand so that I actually know; the Yellowstone supervolcano was on the verge of erupting at that point in time, during the 2030's. It was already being predicted by vulcanolists, but it was being ignored until finally in 2034, where the government began evacuating people from the immediate range, except for those who weren't capable of paying for those kinds of services, or simply minority groups. Then the eruption happened, shooting out what was calculated as 220 metric tons of sulfuric ash in what was recorded as the loudest sound ever made in human history, as it was heard clearly in every corner of the planet.
The story being told by the instructor was simply a lie to make America seem better and the other countries worse to these brainless morons all around me. You can tell, with how there's no explanation as to how this was made possible, or how the other countries managed to prematurely erupt a supervolcano. Only Aaron and I snickered during this lecture. The rest of my fellow student body ate this shit up like they were supposed. Thus, in the utter silence of people cativated by this compelling story about America being a victim of global betrayal, the two of us were snickering.
The instructor stopped and looked up at us, asking us the question "What is so funny, mister Newell and Dror?" Aaron spoke for the two of us.
"Nothing, professor." We stopped our snickering as the two of us sat through the rest of this completely fake crap. This kept going for about an hour before a bell rung for us to leave. Let me sum it up: more bullshit. The rest of the class left, having taken down notes for the day, while me and Aaron got ready to leave. We are the only ones in the room, along with the instructor, who sits at his desk and fiddles about with his computer. I was all ready to leave, but Aaron was just sitting there, observing the instructor as he typed up his reports, the grades for the other classes he had to input into the system, and other such things.
"I have to ask him." Huh? I looked at him confused. "Ask him what?" I inquired of him, Aaron just averting his gaze onto me.
"I have to ask if he knows what's coming out of his mouth is bullshit" No. Bad idea, I think. I mean, if this guy is vindictive, he'll probably end up holding Aaron back or something as some form of punishment. We can just pretend to be ignorant like the rest. I never get to say anything, though, as Aaron stops me at the first word.
"Tommy, just meet me outside." He said to me as he walks down the ramp, taking his gaze off me while he approached the instructor. I reluctantly go off and leave the room. My next class isn't for another four hours, so I thought I'd prepare mentally with Aaron for the bombardment of bullshit that would come from Science. Outside, I just sit out in this large open courtyard, making up the empty space in between the other buildings that are inside the campus. I sit on this hollow square-shaped bench, letting my bag fall against the grey concrete with a soft thud. I placed the case right besides me, while I reached inside my bag for a book.
I like to read most of the time. Only during the lulls of very specific days and during the somewhat long breaks in between classes do I get to indulge in this hobby of mine. My favorite author is this Japanese writer and columnist named Shinichiro Rokatsu. In fact, the book I pull out, a hardcover one in complete black, except for the title, is written by him. One of his booked entitled The Immortal Heart, which is a compilation of his work from... I check the back of it, suddenly curious who published it.
There's nothing. I guess all of this is just a time waster, since all I can do is wait for both Aaron and the next class. I look up, expecting Aa
Today is Friday the 18th, 2121AD. I got a call, a job offer. It was some English-sounding person who asked me to eliminate a man with slicked-back hair and a silver case with a black handle. His name is Philip 'Phil' Borrowman. They told me that he was dangerous and was holding onto something that belonged to them. They also said, no matter what happens, don't harm the case itself. They didn't say anything else about the case or what I should do about it. I just assume I leave it alone.
They gave all the relevant data on him: 58 year old Caucasian male with graying hair, a moderate build, wrinkled, and, the most important piece of information of them all, he's an Elemental. An Elemental of Fire, for the past 4 decades. Unlike most people, I don't have any kind of hatred for him, since I don't even know the guy and I'm not all about that hype about treating fire Elementals like they're demons or some shit like that.
- This is purely business that I'm going to kill him. It might make for a good story for people who hate Elementals, though.
They also told me that he'd be at a train station with the case the next day, at 12 pm. I asked for the pay, they said the magic word that makes even me stammer: 2.5 million euros. They must really want this guy dead with how they're willing to pay that much for making his blood splatter.
I took the job. Only a moron with no sense of money would decline, and besides, I can handle Elementals pretty well, given the distance I can be away from them. I need to plan this hit out, make sure that nothing is out of my control. No incidents, no mistakes, no nothing, this job gets done perfectly and flawlessly, period. I got out my favorite sniper rifle from a black industrial case. I cleaned every component to a clear shine, and then assembled it to make sure it stays together for this job. I doubled checked for any kind of anomaly all around this gun, or anything that could cause a jam at an inopportune time.
I separated the rifle once more and placed each piece carefully in the black case, then close it with two locks on each side. I placed it aside while went to get ready my clothes for tomorrow. My apartment's a shithole, with random tuffles of clothing, dirt, and dust building up on the floor, the furniture, the doors, etc etc etc. The only place that wasn't like this, for my job after all, was a room converted into a sort of office. Clean floors, clean walls, clean desk, clean desktop, and clean printer. A lot of the money I make for this shit is mostly spent on my rent for this place, food, laundry for my work clothes, and my computer.
Speaking of which, a piece of paper starts being printed out, on it was a greyscale picture of Mr. Borrowman. Probably got sent to me so that I don't just end up shooting the wrong guy. I pull the paper out and fold it into a small rectangular shape, small enough to fit into my pocket. I threw the thing on the desk after making sure it fit, then went back to pick out the clothes. A standard business suit should do nice, since it would be during the lunch break hour of the day for the offices. At least, that's what I remember from a previous job.
The only major detail of this job still undecided is where my vantage point is. I can't just shoot him in the face and be done with it. Police would have me in just a couple of minutes if I just went in, not giving a damn, and shot him at point blank range with a 9 millimeter. Besides, an Elemental's probably not going to be happy if a gun is pointed right into their face. He'll probably give me a nice facial, considering he's a fire Elemental.
So there needs to be a place where I can shoot this guy without him knowing I'm there. Immediately, I grab my keys, all of which consist of the key for my apartment, and a key for a safety deposit box. I start walking outside, and making a direct trip towards the train station they mentioned, the Metropolitan Terminal. Taking a train there shouldn't be difficult. Hell, they're meant to go there.
I end up taking a subway over there, the trip overall lasting about 20 to 30 minutes. Feels longer, though. Especially with the many stops that had to be made, and the fucking people who would come in. These bitches who wouldn't shut their traps for one damn nanosecond fed me up with their bullshit about shopping for some crap. It all was white noise, though, compared to the asshole with portable speakers that thought me and the rest of the passengers were interested in his shitty taste in techno music or whatever trash was blasting throughout the car. I might've liked it, or at least gotten used to it, if it wasn't for the fact that I was more focused on the volume almost making my ears pop. If I didn't have any self-control, I'd probably snap his neck right then and there.
Finally, it was over as the intercom finally announced "Now stopping at Metropolitan Terminal", and when the doors opened up, sliding to the sides, I stepped out among the hundreds of others with me. In front of me was two sets of long stairs, with single line escalators on either side. I looked up into the rafters, because I really want to find a vantage point where I can get away immediately. I could see the vague shape of a door, shrouded in shadows, overlooking the waiting area, where whole rows and columns of seats were bolted to the ground. I discreetly went through the employee area of the entire building, sneaking past people working here and finally getting upstairs.
I tried to open the door from the other side, but it seemed locked, for obvious reasons. I could kick the door in, but that'd make too much noise, and the last thing I really fucking want is getting screwed over. Instead, I came prepared, as I pulled out two slimsticks of metal, one that was straight and the other being crooked at the end. I inserted both into the keyhole and attempted to push down the tumblers. Eventually, after a few minutes of messing with this shit, I heard the lock shift and I turned the doorknob.
I opened the door and what waited for me was a catwalk for what I assume is for repairing the hanging lights and hanging banners for certain events. The catwalk stretched from where I stood to the opposite side of the building, with another door that I didn't even notice while looking around. I left my case at the door, having it act as a doorstop while I explore. Making sure I didn't accidentally make noise with my footsteps against the surface of the catwalk, I looked down at the crowds below my feet. This is perfect for this kind of job.
I rushed out of there as soon as I could, leaving the case up on the catwalk for when the awaited day comes. I managed to slip through the employees' sight and end up back in the crowd. I look up, seeing the catwalk I was on and crack a slight smile, knowing what I was about to do when the time came. Hopefully, no-one notices that I left the door up there open.
I end home, done with my sort of scouting, and rest on the black leather couch in my living room. About the only thing I own that isn't involved in my job that looks actually nice. Certainly feels nice, too, like I'm resting on a cloud or something. Cost about ten thousand to get it imported from Sector IV. I just sat there, watching the news on my shitty boxed television.
Apparently, there was a murder around the area, the bodies of about four gangsters left in the backseat of a car. Richard Beller, Octavius Tyrone, Xander Hughes, and Marshall McCormick were their names. The police are looking for the guys responsible, but are classifying the whole thing as some kind of gang dispute. I once met Marshall, for a job where he hired me to kill some asshole he was angry at. Too bad I ain't getting any contracts from his ass anymore. He always payed so much for just one target.
- I just realized how much of a greedy son of a bitch I am at that point.
I sat up against my fancy couch and kept watching the news some more. More bullshit awry as a car chase apparently happened across a not-too-busy block and a half. They're looking for these assholes too. Soon, I can see another news story playing in my mind: man shot in the head at subway station.
After that news story, nothing else comes up, like they just ran out of interesting shit and just began talking about celebrity crap, the movies that are coming out now, and other such crap that takes me to my limit. I turn off the shitty TV and stand up from my fancy couch. I run off to my office room and sit at the desktop, clicking the left button of the mouse twice to get it off sleep mode. The stupid, plain background flashes on, with a baby blue solid color, with my browser minimized on the side. I'm practically just killing time, looking at stupid shit I have no interest in.
- I have very little interest in much things anymore.
The world is a piece of shit anyway, so why should I devote my time to the most moronic shit it can produce? It's why I'm not in business, police, medical shit, or anything like that. I have no patience for it. It's why I kill people for a living. I don't care if they're morons, smartasses, or anything like that. As long as I get to release some pent up aggression while being paid for it.
- To think, I used to be such a nice person.
I get up and walk out of that room, throwing the seat against the desk and pressing the power button for a moment, putting it on sleep mode. I look at the clock on the table next to my door: 9:38 pm. Explains why I feel tired. Well, half-explains it. I walk to my bedroom and throw myself on my shitty bed, wrap myself in my shitty sheets, and lay my head on my shitty pillow. The shitty mattress feels like it's stabbing my back with the springs. Yeah, my bed comes from a pre-memory foam era, that's how shitty it really is.
After a few minutes of getting used to the springs digging into my back, I close my eyes. I know my alarm will wake me up, so that I can go take some poor asshole's soul with a high-caliber round. Right through the skin, through the skull, through the brain, through the skull again, through the skin again, through the hair, and finally through the poor asshole sitting or standing behind him. I'm going to be sort of sorry for whoever he leaves behind. Then I'll probably get over it as I take a picture of the whole thing to send over to my employer. I need proof that I did it, that I managed to kill the motherfucker the way I said I was going to do it. That way, I can get my money, and move on to the next job that needs my attention.
- After a few minutes, I start to dream. I've officially left this stupid, backwards planet for the next nine hours.
Let me sum up for you the dream I had: a childhood memory where I ended up running from school. I don't know how I did it, or why I did it. I just did it. Maybe I was sick of the classwork or whatever the fuck. Maybe I wanted to go home early like the other kids I kept hearing about. I don't know why I have this dream. I don't look into it that much, since I live a shitty life. How else do I describe what I do? I live in shit, with a shitty bed, shitty TV, shitty clothing, shitty work, shitty everything. The only things I own that aren't shit are a fancy black leather couch, a nice computer, a black suit with red tie, and an up kept sniper rifle. That's it.
- I kill people for a living. I kill people for a living. I kill people for a living. I kill people for a living. I smile a little.
That is the only thing I find funny anymore. That oxymoron of killing stupid or smart individuals for a living. I know, I'm very stupid, myself. How else do I decide this profession was a good idea?
The next day, on Saturday, I wake up at exactly 9 am. I get up, grab the suit, put it all on in an almost ritualistic fashion, then get the keys. I always worry a little, so before I head there, I make my way to that safety deposit box I own. It's a few blocks away, on Martin Luther King Boulevard, where a whole row of them sit, bolted to the ground. Just one of them is colored a vibrant green. At least, I think that's what it's supposed to be.
After what looks like years of use, the boxes look like they have decayed away and become a faded tan green color, with patches of ripped paint showing the rust underneath. As I walk down the rows, knowing the number I'm looking for, I can see few of these things ripped out from where they were placed. Either that, or just simply gone, probably stolen at some point. A bunch of savages live in this town, I like to think. Otherwise, I can't explain to myself the crazy shit these kinds of people get up to.
I see the box I'm looking over, a black, square plate saying C62 facing me with a lock hole on the left side of the small door. Pull out the keys and I shove the one for this box right inside. I hear the lock shift as I twist it counterclockwise, pulling on it like a handle to reveal the contents. A 9 millimeter handgun lies inside, something of a contingency plan of mine. More often than not, there tends to be someone else around trying to fuck with my setup.
I take the gun and shove it inside the pocket inside my suit jacket, then close that deposit box. I twist clockwise and lock it, take the key, then shove it down my left pants pocket. I walk off before looking at my watch. 9:28 am is the time. I have all the time in the world, but I'll keep this pretty simple. I head to the Metropolitan Terminal for the second time this week, but somehow, the same shit happens again. I get on a subway and the same bitches get on board today. They ramble their mouths about their day, despite it not fucking starting, as they say. I tap my feet as I realize that trip is taking longer than yesterday, with more stops at random other terminals that I have no interest in.
Then suddenly, my heart stops as that asshole with the portable speakers comes on board again, with more techno shit bursting out at a volume that should be blowing those small little things out like a fuse. I tap my feet as I realize that my suffering is being prolonged. As if acting as counterbalance for what I'm about to do.
Thankful, I manage to get my ass out of there as the subway car doors slide out of my way. I step up the stairs and back into the large open area, flooded from head to toe with people trying to get somewhere. I know where to go, as I quickly go through the path I took last time. Into the employee area, past the employees themselves, and up the stairs to face the door. I opened it and it was still unlocked from yesterday, a sudden jolt of excitement rushing through my body for a short moment as I step out onto the catwalk.
I walk out to where I left my case, and there is it, ready to go. I kneel down in front of it and start unpacking. I get everything assembled in rapid succession, managing to hit about 11 am exactly. That, however, immediately tells me that I have to be up here for about an hour. While nothing goes on, I just sit against the catwalk's support with my rifle laying on my lap. I just look at the time in ten minute bursts while allowing the thoughts on my mind to be opened up.
- 11:10 am.
What kind of guy like little Phil got the attention of Sector IV people, let alone enough anger to order a hit on him? Maybe that case is property of theirs. I doubt it, though... I've seen this before on a much smaller scale. It's either Philly's case and Sector IV wants it, or it's someone else's property and this is just a conflict of interest at the end of the day. Phil, man, what the fuck did you do to deserve this swift, impending embrace of death?
- 11:20 am.
I have to wonder, why do I do this shit sometimes? Taking people's' lives? It pays well sometimes, but most of the time, I have to deal with killing horrible boyfriends or husbands who wronged their girlfriends or wives. Rarely, it's the other way around. Doesn't say anything to me, though. I've probably been designated the go-to assassin for severely pissed off bitches and whores.
- 11:30 am.
There's a sort of balance to the world, I like to think. In this completely grey world, the only thing that is even slightly clear is the equilibrium of joy and suffering. For example, I know a lot of bourgeois people find joy in the suffering of those who can't even get one trillionth of their salary. Those same poor people find joy when one of these rich assholes makes a mistake and loses their big business, becoming one of them in almost a month.
- 11:40 am.
Speaking of this grey world, I don't know. It's like the only difference between the Sectors is that they're talking about different things. Besides that, they remind me just people yelling right into each others faces. Actually, they remind me just a fist, crashing against the face of another Sector, with the same happening to it. Repeat indefinitely. Repeat without failure. Repeat even when the opponent is laying on the ground, spitting up both blood and teeth, and begging forgiveness.
- 11:50 am.
The world is on repeat. It's just forcing itself to repeat its own stupidity like a broken record. If I was lucky, I would've been born into a world that just didn't give much of a shit anymore. However, I am not lucky, so I live in a world that does give a shit. About what is the question. It's like this entire shitty situation is only going on because of necessity, and they didn't even fucking bother to make up a reason. Meanwhile, I am here, sitting on a catwalk, with a gun on my lap, ready to kill an old man named Phil Borrowman, with no interest towards the entire job except the money.
- I kill people for a living. I kill people for a living. I kill people for a living. I kill people for a living. I smile a little.
12 pm comes and I twist around on the catwalk, rifle in hand as I look down onto the crowd. I can see Mr. Phil Borrowman coming into the terminal, a silver case in hand, with his other one in a pocket. A lit cigarette hangs from his lips, the smoke rising up to the ceiling before dissipating. If it was more serious, it could've messed up my sight a little. If anything, it's an extra fun thing for me, as I think about how he has a controlled fire just a few inches away from his face.
He sits at the row of seats, meant for people to wait at, as I aim the rifle right at his face. Then I see it. The look of a man who has given up on life. Like he's anticipating his own inevitable death or something. He puts the case on his lap and seemingly sighs, throwing the lit cigarette into a nearby trash bin. Then he just sits there. And sits there. And sits there. That same expression on his face of utter detachment from reality.
- It's like he's broken.
I start squeezing the trigger a little... It's like I'm being taunted by this man... He doesn't give a shit that he'll die... He has that case on his lap, is it bullet-proof? Nah, even if it is, he doesn't know I'm here...! A barrel aimed right at him, with a trigger ready to be pressed with my single finger, and a bullet ready make a clean hole through his fucking head!
He stares off elsewhere, and I decide to turn my gaze there as well, a couple of men in black suits coming his way. They look Asian. I avert my sight back to little Phil, and he's gazed off elsewhere, with me following to a couple of more slant eyed G-Men passing through the crowd, towards him... What the fuck did this guy do? I turn my sight back to him, and he still looks like he doesn't care...!
"Police!" I suddenly hear being yelled out at the entrance, as a couple of cops come rushing out of where I had just come from, handguns drawn, as they made a beeline towards little Phil... I turn my sight back to him, again... As if instantaneous, my heart beats faster as the thing he looks at terrifies me.
- He looks up at me. He looks up at me. He looks up at me. He looks up at me. He looks up at me.
His eyes meet mine and it's like I'm staring down a wild animal, ready to rend me to pieces! Yet he prolongs the whole thing for his own enjoyment! Well, fuck you! Fuck you, you piece of shit! I'm not dying today! You are! I squeeze the trigger, and the sudden recoil of my rifle nearly dislocated my shoulder! It's as if time freezes for a split second, me seeing the high-caliber round twisting in the area in a slant degree, moving fast enough to almost immediately hit its intended target!
Time resumes for me as the bullet penetrates his head with such force, it's like a mini-explosion! Blood sprays out to all the people unfortunate enough to be in front of this gory display! The dead body of little Phil slumps over to the side, his silver case, now splattered in his own crimson blood, falls to the ground. He ends up falling on another guy who was sitting next to him, the man cursing and fidgeting as a corpse lays on top of him!
The blood pumping through my body stops and I calm down, finally... I look at the scene myself, as police try to seal off the area around the dead man, trying to wonder where the bullet that killed him came from. I quickly snap a picture of that prick's dead face, expressionless and hollow. I quickly dismantle the rifle and place every piece back into my case, running off with it and blending into the crowd.
I did it, I killed who they wanted to kill, and I managed to get away with it. I go down to the subway, proud of myself and happy at the amount of money I'll be getting for this done hit. I end up in an empty car, with just some asshole with spiky brown hair sitting down at the two-seaters, not making any noise. I sit down at one of the two-seaters by the door, with my carrying case sitting next to me. I can't help but smile at how easy this whole thing was.
- Then the man stood up from his seat, started to walk past me. That's when I saw a gun pointed at my face.
"You just killed a good friend of mine." The man said to me, with a voice that almost sounded disproportionate from his appearance. He looked like any other punk, but had a voice that was smooth, yet experienced. He just looked at me with a slightly amused expression on his face.
"See, I'm going to kill you now." I just look at him, and ready my hands. I plan to grab the barrel of his gun and pull out my own. Then bam, another head shot. I quickly try to grab the barrel of his gun, but it's like he knew my plan even before I did, as I get kicked in the chest. The wind is knocked out of my body as I gasp for breath. I fall over on the ground, in a sort of fetal position as I try to recover the oxygen that had just vacated my body...
"Nuh-huh, time to die." I look at him, and his eyes just stare at me. Despite his bemused look, his eyes look completely enraged... Then I hear a gunshot. I can feel the bullet shredding through my brain, making coleslaw and mashed up grey matter of it. I really feel my head being drilled open at my forehead, then come out the back with the same force. The blood spurting out of the hole catches my attention. Soon enough, all feeling leaves my body at once. All attempts of trying to get up go out the window as all of my limbs go limp. I lose consciousness. I think I'm...
My name is Hong Xue, I am a 35 years old male and I work for the People's Government of Asia. As of March 8, 2121, I have been assigned to deliver the latest creation to come out of the elusive Sector III Laboratories to correspondents in the American Confederation. More specifically, in the city of New York, where they'll supposedly refine whatever I bring over to them, then send it back to the homeland for further tests. My role in this is simply to carry and protect said creation from point A to point B.
They didn't tell me much of anything besides my job and that I'd be flying in a private jet with Sector I tags so I can land within the country of America without much trouble. I would be escorted by about a dozen bodyguards, though I have no ideas as to the capabilities of these guards. Hopefully, I don't get to find out when we land. That won't be for a long time, though, as the trip will take about 15 hours to complete.
On the 9th, I get picked in front of my home to be driven down to where the jet awaits my arrival. There, they'll presumably hand me the item and then send me on my way. Finally, I would start my 15 hour flight to America.
When the day came, I decided to wear a black suit with white shirt underneath, with blue tie, and pack up more clothes for the trip. I shoved everything I could conceivably fit into a single bag then just waited inside my cozy home for the car to pick me up. I don't think much of this little trip, since this is just business when it boils down to what's at work here. Though, it's a more leisurely version of work, and with that mindset, I poured myself a glass of beer, the kind of beer that makes you grow hair on your chest and face, and swished it down my throat.
The burning feeling alcohol usually has on me stayed in the back of my throat, even when drowning it out a few minutes later with a glass of water. It stayed when the car finally came by my home, so I had to endure it while also getting to my job at hand. I locked up my house and went about my path as I entered the car, and it drove away. I could see from the back seat my house disappearing into nothingness as we were getting far enough to see the horizon line take over where we just were.
This was an hour long trip, as I waited in the back of this large car, trying to bid my time and make sure I don't bore myself to tears. This is only a preview of what I have to endure for 15 hours in a row, without break.
I managed to get through the hour of nothing happening, what a relief, and am escorted out of the car. There, I am met with one of my associates, who handed to me the attache case. He didn't say anything. We went through security, cleared every step of the way without any questions asked. Perhaps they were told of this mission, or just told to let me through while holding the purpose of said mission to themselves? I didn't ask.
My associate finally said something when he turned to me after we saw the jet that would take me to the United States.
"This is important, Hong, so don't fuck it up." He spoke tersely to me, while patting my shoulders. I don't know whether to be honored about this or dejected that I'm being treated like this. He then pulled a set of handcuffs from his left pants pocket and shackled the case handle to the wrist of my right hand. I lifted it up to meet my eyes, observing the handcuffs essentially lock me with this somewhat small box.
That was when I noticed the weight of the case. It felt like carrying a small anvil with my small finger. I don't even know how I didn't realize how heavy this damned thing was when I was strolling across the airport. I let it fall to my right side, while my associate looked at me for what felt like a minute. He didn't say anything else, instead pointing towards the jet. I took the hint and went my way. No goodbyes were exchanged or anything like that.
I made my walk towards the jet, white with a single red stripe stretching across its body from the front to back. As I approached it, I saw the bodyguards or, at least, what I presume are the bodyguards entering the jet via a hatch on the side that's open and acting as stairs. Once there, I climb up the three steps and came onto the jet. I took in the interior of the plane; on the left, the cockpit sits, with two people already inside, while the right, I see row after row of seats going down until the rest is blocked by a dark red tarp.
I don't bother the pilots when I peer inside the cockpit, before I take my time to observe the rest of my surroundings. The seats are of a dark red leather, while the arm rests which stick out of the sides are a contrasting white. The walls are white as well. The ceiling is high enough for me to be standing and walking the way I usually do without hunching forward for space.
The bodyguards are scattered around the front of the plane, sitting by themselves, doing their own thing to keep themselves from boredom. One is reading a magazine, another is just looking out the window, the view being of the several hangars sitting outside. I don't bother them when I pass through the nine rows of seats that came between me and the crimson tarp.
I moved the tarp to the side as I hunched forward, entering a section that's just like the front. Another crimson tarp is on the other end of the jet. Another set of nine rows of seats stand before me. More of the bodyguards sit inside, though they turn their attention to me this time. I have to inquire.
"When do we get off the ground?" I asked, expecting at least one of them to get up and answer me. Fortunately for me, one does sit up from his seat and turn his entire body to me.
"We will be departing for the American Confederation in approximately twenty minutes, sir." He said to me, soundly as if he wants to be as frank as physically possible. The man in question is wearing a black suit, and soon I realized they all were wearing the same kind of suits. He didn't say anything else after that.
"Good." I said as I continued walking down the path of the red tarp. He sat back down, while the rest turned their attention back to whatever they were doing. I didn't care enough to make note of what they were doing. I repeated myself as I moved the tarp to the right, hunched down, then passed through. Finally, something different, as I saw a large rectangular table, seemingly bolted to the floor of the jet, and seats circling around it. They were bolted to the floor as well.
The seats are just like the ones in the last two cabins that are right behind me. I have to wonder who designed this. I step deeper into the room. I take in the room, looking at the table and its wooden maple pattern, the smooth coating that makes the light reflect off it like glass. I sit on the seat at the far end, lifting the case and placing it onto the table.
Here, I get to finally take in the appearance of the case in question. It's this glossy silver for the entire body, except for the black edges, which have this rubber look and feel. I suppose it's so that the main body of the case doesn't get dented. The handle is just a solid piece of reinforced material. I don't know what is it, but it must be strong enough to withstand the total weight of whatever's inside.
I then saw the lock right next to the handle, three disks that's supposed to display letters. I didn't care to note what they were, simply because I know it's a fake lock. Well, fake in the sense of it opening the case. It contributes to it, but it's not the thing that ends up opening it at the end of the day. I turned the case and looked at the black symbols that were painted onto the side. Korean, they said it was written in during the briefing for this little excursion, saying something to the effect of Sector Three Laboratories.
I just sit there for about 15 minutes, waiting. My fingers tap against the flat yet spiky surface of the case, acting as a sort of metronome. I can tick away the seconds with each slamming of the tip of my index, while I wait with a view of the outside on either side of me. I can feel my fingernail being pushed back by each tap I make on the case, leaving a part of my fingerprint on the shiny surface. I hear footsteps and clatters outside that red tarp approaching, the sign for me to stop myself from slowly etching the imprint of my finger on the case.
An arm pushes past the tarp, a single man in black walking in. He stops there and stands staight, looking right at my general direction, like I'm not even there.
"We'll be taking off now, please fasten the seatbelt," he tells me, and I immediately do so, though I do somewhat fumble with the whole thing. He's still standing there, looking right at me. Actually, I can't really tell because he decided to wear shades inside the airplane. He might be looking at the case instead, which is proven when he tells me, "hold onto the case firmly."
I take the thing off the table, resting it comfortably on my lap. Finally sastisfied (or, at least I assume he was sastisfied), he left me alone without a further word.
- Current Length: 44 pages
- The Singer: 3 pages
- The Writer: 8 pages
- The Dealer: 10 pages
- The Student: 10 pages (current)
- The Hitman: 8 pages
- The Hunter:
- The Businessman: 3 page (current)
- The Mover:
- The Investigator:
- The Transfer:
|K21 - Dusty Blinds · K21 - I'm With You · K21 - Prayer · K21 - Kindred · K21 - Degenerate · ...|
|Prequels & Stand Alone Stories|
|Vallarian Trilogy · Ortus Continuity · Antecedence Double Trilogy · Artificial Elemental Trilogy · K21 - Broken Faith · K21 - Substantial Illusions · K21 - Judgement In Duty · K21 - Aces High · K21 - Limitless Sun · K21 - Distorted Closure · K21 - Loose Ends · K21 - Attache Case|