After enduring the trials and tribulations bestowed upon us, we made it out of the mess by the skin of our teeth. A few were realized though. The first is we aren't going about our new found friendship in the right way and the other is that by continuing down this path, our eventual failure has been made inevitable. We can't afford to sloppily create plans and can't allow for our focus to be redirected elsewhere. Last is that Jacob Nelson isn't the individual we should be targeting, and it's possible he may not have even been responsible for the murders committed before.
Jacob could have been simply a decoy, someone chosen to take the blame for a crime he did not commit.
Something came over me when the multiple-colored flames blazed and sent me doing the mambo with uncertainty and confusion. The question being asked in the previous chapter of our story is being asked again, leaving us to eagerly search for who our target should be.
In addition, the wondrous mystery of who left the Nelson household in ashes is now constantly hammering on our minds. Alas, the day is beginning to darken, the story-book is closing, and the remaining sands are slowly slipping to the bottom of the hourglass. Tonight isn't to be a night spent targeting a particular individual. Our focuses have been swayed away from the man who set the Nelson families house aflame for the time being.
We are going to do what I have acquired comfort in doing, we are going to lurk in the darkness and allow for the prey to expose themselves to us. Much rather be slicing a blade across the throat of the murderer of Jacob Nelson, but that isn't enough to overshadow the present.
“Are you sure you're up for this, you seemed a little bit out of it after the fire,” Belladonna asks worriedly.
“Throughout my life, I have been faced with hundreds of things I haven't necessarily understood. This isn't one of those things. This is what wakes me up in the morning, knowing that somebody else won't be able to,” I respond with complete confidence.
The truth is it doesn't matter whether or not I am feeling “out of it”. Being “out of it” is completely irrelevant, because nobody is going to take this away from me. Many nights for the last year have been dedicated to this and many bodies have fallen beneath me. It doesn't matter how many changes I am dealt with, whether it be a father finally deciding to enter my life or the meeting of a fellow traveler heading closer and closer toward the brick-wall.
This is one of the things that will remain constant forever.
This is one of the things that will never change.
Belladonna nods with somewhat of an understanding of what I had said before we find ourselves at the rooftops. Both of us dressed in our respective attires and clutching our weaponry tightly. We stand, waiting for somebody to give us justification for what we do, and the littlest of justification is all I want. It's all I need.
Rain clouds defile the sky all around us, but there remains glimmers of light radiating from the moving traffic. The gleams of moving cars elucidate the darkness and vanquish the night.
I watch the cars go by.
We look earnestly afar from the rooftop for something to feed our quench for a vindicator. For someone that could bring the snake from its hole and once again let him inject, as he always does, and will always need to. It's strange, crimes are committed daily, but scarcely do I catch a hand in the cookie jar. The disruptive shrieks of a small child pierce my ears.
This sounds promising.
Belladonna and I leap to the next rooftop before hearing the sound of a gun firing.
We continue to look, trying to find where the bullets had been fired, we finally find what we have been searching for. A dark alleyway, we see in a puddle of her own blood, a lady laying dead. A small boy, possibly her son, cradling her hand with tears streaming down his eyes. A mugger watches as the child begs for his mother to wake up, showing absolute apathy.
The mugger turns from the sobbing child and begins to walk away, he accomplished everything he wanted to. The necklace of the child's mother dangles in the man's left-hand, while he holds a gun in the other. Belladonna and I descend slowly from the rooftop. Stealthily as possible, we land in-front of the child, and behind the mugger. The child looks at us nervously for a moment, and I put my fingers to my lips, asking him to remain quiet.
The kid obliges to the best of his abilities, but remains shaken. This child is never going to be the same again. This child will forever be forced to wander searching for salvation. His eyes are already noticeably sunken in, and what was likely a youthful complexion looks wrinkled in depravity. Ladies and gentleman, this is what trauma looks like when it happens! The type of trauma that makes someone into a murderer, or a drug-addict, or an alcoholic, the kind-of trauma that leads to the self-loathing of an abusive husband or an absentee father. I hated the boy for feeling it. I hating the man for causing it. I hated me because I mocked it. I hated me because I knew I wouldn't be able to fix it. Make him feel better. I couldn't do it. I can't. He won't. He'll suffer.
This is something I can't bring myself to accept.
We make our way forward with cruel intentions on our minds before I drop my staffs on the ground, alerting the mugger. Belladonna glances at me with eyes filled with bewilderment before the mugger turns around, warranting everything that I needed to drive a knee to his kidney.
The man wallows in agony.
Gasping for air.
He is gasping for air he doesn't deserve to breath.
I follow my assault with a right hand that sends him blundering backward. The mugger tries to stay on his feet but ends up falling to the ground. The man crawls away from me and points his gun in my direction. The intentions he has are to no avail due to Belladonna clubbing his hand with her unsheathed sword.
This is all his hand needed to realize even it didn't want to be around this man. It flies off of his arm and falls to the ground, leaving blood spurting around like a hose. The man yells manically before I grab him by his black denim jacket and pull him back to his feet. The man squirms free by pulling the jacket off and continues to crawl away. I watch him squirm. His body feels almost one with the blackness of the pavement, and he crawls away like a worm.
I can hear his heavy breathing, his “oh no, oh shit' hyperventilating, and it reminds me of what a child looks like after he loses a parent. He is like the little boy shivering behind us. He is lost in the world. He doesn't know what to do. But he knows that he wants to get away. From what? He'll soon find out.
I move forward fast and wail my foot across the top of his head, leaving him wallowing in pain as his head crashes hard to the ground. I pull him back to his feet by his white t-shirt and throw him against the wall of the alleyway. The fountain of blood spraying from his hand hasn't subsided, and neither has his yells of agony, which serve as nothing less than a gentle rhapsody softly blasting itself against my eardrums.
“Why?” I ask, showing the frustration in my voice.
I could feel my heart begin to grow more and more heavy, and my veins stretching against my skin. It was enough to cause discomfort. The sort-of feeling that might make someone think they're having a heart-attack, or like they're feeling too much adrenaline for one person.
“Why, what?” the man responded, failing to come across nonchalant.
“Acting stupid isn't going to help you here. Your life is going to come to an end one way or the other, but you can shorten the suffering. How can you justify taking the life of a mother, and ruining the life of a child?”
“I ruined that kid's life, are you fucking kidding me!? The bitch was loaded, that kid won't have to work a day in his life, hell, the kid probably has people to do all of the work for him!”
I stop for a second. Not to reflect what he said. Not to even attempt at fathoming it. I don't care who the boy is, but my anger has grown.
“That will do nothing but numb the pain that you have caused him today,” I retort. Tremendous anger.
“He'll get over it,” the man fires back.
“Is that what you think? You've scarred this child, and he won't look at it with only a glance. You've left him with a lasting aftereffect of misery, you've killed everything of him. His innocence, and everything he could ever hope to be, and why? So, you could buy yourself another meal? You don't deserve to live.”
“I'm sorry!” the man cries insincerely.
That's what always happens. Always fucking happens. It's pathetic, and I hate it. A man with no worries except his machismo. And then, a man dwindles into the sad and disgraceful heap I already know them to be. It's old and right now, I hate it.
I really, really hate it.
“You haven't even begun to understand just how sorry you are.”
I release the mugger from my grasp and I walk away.
I am too disgusted to feed on my prey.
The hunger is gone.
I am full.
Belladonna looks at me for a moment, and I stare back at her before looking at the sickening man beside us. Belladonna takes the hint and leaps into the mix by throwing the man skull first into a glass window on the side of one of the buildings.
The window shatters and causes all of the fighting movements of her adversary to disintegrate. The sound of the glass breaking is loud, but the man's screams are inaudible. She pulls the man away from the window and he falls lifelessly to his knees. She looks at him for a moment, a precise moment, one that feels almost robotic. No remorse. Just procedure. She decides to put the final nail in his coffin by using her sword to slice at his neck.
The mugger falls to the ground.
He is dead.
I turn away and walk forward toward the sobbing child.
He looks at me with his big bloodshot eyes.
Terrified, but I could sense his gratitude that the man is dead and never coming back.
“I'm sorry,” are the only words I can muster up as I drop to one knee and place my hand on the sobbing child's shoulder.
The child shivers for a moment before looking at me with a scared-look on his face. There is nothing I can say that can possibly diminish the pain he is being forced to endure. The splashes and waves he will face.
The child's jeans and light-blue t-shirt drenched in the blood of his mother.
The mother he will never see alive again.
We hear the sound of police sirens going off, somebody has called in the bullets fired and screams of terror.
I reluctantly pick up my staffs.
Belladonna and I flee the scene leaving the child to spend the rest of his life with uncertainty, and in dismay, leaving the boy to look at the brick-wall towering over him.