A year has passed since my first kill. Kills have gone by since then, and several more are sure to come. Heaps upon heaps of bodies removed from this blue and green sphere because of me. The number of crimes I've thwarted isn't the only thing that has grown, I've grown. Almost getting caught after my first kill made me discover my own carelessness. This is something I can't afford to be.
I started to develop restrictions and guidelines to follow on my strolls across the city. Days after my first kill, I was informed the person I killed was named Alfonso Alvarez. Alfonso had apparently departed from Jalint with desires of a fresh-start, having faced numerous legal troubles there. I choose not to buy into the fairy tale, and I hold the belief he had no intention of changing.
After all, the woman screaming the trunk of his car was his wife. Once fleeing Jalint, he went onto play a part in formulating one of the most prominent gangs in the area. The gang, Maher, is held as the culprit for several crimes committed throughout the area. The murdering and raping of innocent people, and the distribution of massive quantities of illegal narcotics. If Alfonso actually ever intended on turning over a new leaf when he came to Acera, he didn't.
Despite his heinous antics though, Alfonso had found himself a following. A gang composed of several individuals that would literally die for him, or else. According to the reports I discovered the following morning, I was mere minutes away from being caught in the act. They discovered the body only minutes after I got home. I was grateful to discover that even though I was careless that night, I didn't leave any evidence pointing in my direction.
Police labeled the reason behind his murder as drug-related. They said that it was done by the members of an opposing gang. In other-words, they had nothing. Absolutely nothing. Demands were made for what I was doing to continue, and I obliged to the requests. What I had done to Alfonso accomplished more than just relieving me of a little bit of anger. It truly worked as a treatment to the disease. And I felt better than I had ever felt in my life. I felt in control of my future.
Things didn't have to work out as well as they did for me on that night, and things likely wouldn't work out that well again. From there, I began to fully understand the errors in my ways, more and more, after they were made. I started to get to know the people I was hunting. What made them tick. I explored the whereabouts of their origin, and decided whether they met requirements of my prey. And for the times I didn't, I at least made completely certain they deserved it. I was a little fish in a big pond, and I knew I needed to pick my battles wisely and slowly advance to bigger targets.
Sometimes you have to crawl before you can run.
These experiences led to growth in myself. I am no longer just a vigilante sporting a sweatshirt and a ski mask, I am something different entirely. I have my own identity and with time, I have successfully brought fear into the minds of many.
This small dose of fame and notoriety led to me developing a distinctive look. It might have made sense trying to blend in with the crowd. Disabled me from drawing too much attention to the crimes I have committed, but, perhaps arrogantly, I wanted credit for my work, even if it wasn't directly given. I wanted for people to have some idea what they aimed their fear toward.
I solved much of my financial situation by raiding my victims of all the money they had on their person, ranging from pennies to a substantial amount.
As it turns out, criminals have the tendency to have a lot of money on them at most times. Who'd of thought?
I used the money to build myself a unique ensemble. One that would not only send shivers down spines, but provide protection. I dressed myself in dry, citron-colored boots, and gloves, a dark body-suit with dark-yellow streaks featured on the middle of the leggings and on the right side of the chest. The color of death and the color of joy intermingling. And while death may very well overwhelm the joy, it remains in-existence nonetheless. Lastly, all of this is followed by the balaclava I wore on my very first kill.
Something of sentimental value, I guess.
Draped over the mask is a hood. I also wear a dark gold cape made partially out of Kevlar, much like the rest of my attire. Fuck anyone that rolls their eyes about the cape. I like it.
A switch-blade was hardly a weapon to be used in fighting situations, and so, I carefully crafted together two short, wooden pole-like staffs I now use daily. And when I say I carefully crafted them, I actually mean I bought them on the internet for what I was surprised to find was a very reasonable price. They are both black as night and have glistening gold on the ends. They are not necessarily deadly, but it's safe to say they are capable of getting the job done. Even if this wasn't true, I still have the switch-blade in my back pocket, just in case.
Besides this, there have also been several other changes about my routine as well since my first time.
Before, I ignorantly waltzed around trying to find evildoers with a switch-blade in my hand and a ski mask on my face, hoping I wouldn't be detected. Since then, I have evolved and I have grown more discreet. On the rooftops is where I garner the edge over my prey, where I lurk in the darkness, and where I calculate. I wait for my opposition to travel to a desolate location, and that is when I strike. A snake sinking his teeth into his prey and injecting them with poison, that is what I am. These methods are the reason why none of my prey have managed to escape my clutches.
None expect for one, Allen Young.
Spending five years in solitary confinement for arson, Allen attempted to subtract the population of his wife.
It was a failed attempt.
After being released from prison, he was astonished to discover his wife had a restraining order against him. This restraining order did more than help protect her. This restraining order not only kept him from coming within one-hundred and fifty feet of his ex-wife, but kept him from getting anywhere near his daughter.
This did not sit well with Young.
This was not something he could move on from and his rumbling frustration refused to recede. Young would soon begin searching, trying to find the whereabouts of the family he had abused prior to all of this. It wasn't long before he found them. He set out on accomplishing what he failed to do over half a decade ago, and he succeeded.
The sound of sirens going off, the blinding lights reflecting off everything in sight, and a gathering of people in horror. This grisly scene is all there was to keep her company that day as the medics attempted to resuscitate her mother. The mother had choked out of consciousness, and then harshly bludgeoned with a crowbar by the man that once claimed to love her. Still alive for a few minutes, she inevitably died before they could do anything. The little girl, the child who lost her mother, currently resides in a psychiatric hospital, because she can't interpret what she witnessed that day.
As for her father, I look down at him from a rooftop, waiting impatiently for him to leave the bar he inhabits.
I am waiting to kill him.
He spends his days sipping alcohol from a glass, disguising what's there as acceptance. I can see the resemblance he has to me. Both indulging ourselves with an addiction because we are afraid to face life without it.
Justice hasn't been served and it never will be. I can't bring back a child's mother, nor can I justify the obstacles she has faced. What I can do is give her father what he deserves. I can't scribble over the writings, but I can kill the author. Allen Young managed to escape imprisonment for his crime by distancing himself entirely from his previous life. He fled to a new state, changed his name, and began life anew. He wadded up Allen Young and threw him in the trash before digging Branden Cutler from the garbage.
He'll soon realize there isn't power in numbers, I will kill both of them. Alas, taking out the trash isn't something that can be accomplished without a posed dilemma. Branden Cutler is the only individual that has escaped from one of my executions, and because of that, he knows I am after him. Cutler desperately attempted to make his peers believe he had been attacked by a masked man carrying two sticks, but it was to no avail.
He preached and preached about this masked man, referring to him by the name of Poison, and swore he was after him.
He managed to create something that has been told around the realms of the bar, a drunk story, but for the most part, it fell on deaf-ears. They thought of it as nothing more than the words of a delusional drunk. Oh, Branden, you and your stories. The idea of somebody killing off criminals and wrongdoers should have seemed logical to some, considering the number of murders occurring over the last twelve months. Although, I would like to say I have tried to keep as tight of a lid as possible on my existence, that would be a blatant lie. The truth of the matter is I can't live without the credit. I say it again! I want credit being redirected to something, whether it's a person or an idea. I like it when my work is recognized, especially when the picture I've been painting is as nice as I think it is. Leonardo da Vinci is looking down at me in awe, right now.
Regardless of the fact he is an unemployed alcoholic, Allen still had contacts, letting him scrape together enough money to get him some form of protection. It is what brought me here, on the rooftops, lurking in the shadows, staring at the bar where Branden has found salvation.
He is accompanied by a trio of prodigious individuals, each one more gargantuan than the next. I am not intimidated by them, but it remains effective in stopping me. I don't know these individuals nor do I have any reason to believe they deserve the conclusion of their lives to occur any quicker than it already will.
The last time I attacked Allen Young, it was while he was walking to the trash heap he calls a home. He managed to escape from death's grasp by the skin of his teeth, but that won't happen again. I can only pray my prey will send his bodyguards elsewhere after a false sense of security reels in its head. This is, of course, assuming he even actually leaves the bar tonight, and allows for my wipers to take him off my window.
Hours go by of me waiting and checking the watch I am not wearing. I am starting to believe he isn't leaving the bar tonight. If this is the case, I have wasted an irreplaceable night, a night that could have been dedicated elsewhere. A night that could have been dedicated to ridding the world of somebody else.
I turn, ready to go on my merry way only to see a man standing on the opposite side of the rooftop looking back at me. A man is looking back at me. On the roof-top. He stands. Calm.
The grim look on his face and his diabolical glare are enough to pierce through me.
The aged man wears a tired expression, he has a face that could tell many stories if one were willing to listen, the face of a man that has seen a lot in his years. Thick, dark hair runs from the top of his head and almost to his shoulders, his hair, while not receding, in the very least shows noticeable graying. He has a long beard to match, and it covers a good portion of his face. He is dressed in brown boots, faded jeans, a white t-shirt with dampers of either dry blood or mud, and a leather jacket which hides itself in the darkness.
I am taken by surprise by this, but am not panicked. Something about this particular person seems oddly familiar. A figure that has been seen in my life before, whether it be for a glance or a prolonged period of time. Who is this man? I begin to back away, not taking my eyes off of him while doing so. The feelings are astounding and breathtaking. I have seen him before. I've seen him before, but where?
“Hmm... I don't know if I would have went with the costume,” the man of such familiarity utters.
The man's voice is deep and without much in the way of emotion. He looks at me as if he is trying to figure out exactly what he is dealing with. I look back at him trying to do the same. If he had been aware of the lives I've concluded in the last twelve months, he would rip his eyes out and offer them to me as tribute, or at least he'd be a little more cautious. The little intrigue I have for this man goes away though.
If Branden Cutler plans to spend his night on a drinking binge then there is no reason for me to stay. It is too late for me to squeeze a kill in, but there is still time to scrape together what is left of the night. I walk away. This man isn't a threat.
The man reveals a gun, once hidden under his jacket. Quickly and at an accelerated speed seeming too fast for me to fathom, he exposes his gun and sends a number of bullets my way. I am not given sufficient time to react or attempt at dodging but instead stand watching as they drive into my chest. The bullets force me to stumble backward, nearly taking me off of my feet in the process. My attire is primarily Kevlar, I can endure the bullets and reduce the impact. Nevertheless, I am taken aghast.
Who the hell is this man!? Is this another one of Allen Young's hired help? If so, how did he know I'd be hiding on the rooftops?
“At least you got that part right,” the man praises with a less than impressed stare spread across his face. He walks forward.
If it had been a mystery before then it has now become obvious he is not afraid of, or intimidated by me. I am not in control. And the brick-wall. Always. He is looking for a fight. And I want to give him one. I walk on. I have been hoping for better game, and it looks like my wish is this old man's command. Maybe my next wish will be granted and I'll be given some gasoline to set him on fire with. Maybe I can borrow some from Allen Young?
I have my staffs ready and I am determined. I run fourth. Focused, I attempt driving one of the staffs to his chest, but instead, the man grabs the staff from my clutches and flings me to the floor. I strike the ground roughly and slide on the rooftop, feeling the floor scrape at me. I come within feet of sliding off the edge of the roof, but manage to refrain from doing so and prorogue my death.
I stare down at the gathering of vehicles in the parking-lot as the wind blows my hood forward and the sky cries upon me with tears that dampen my clothes. I look back at the old man, not allowing for myself to lose focus.
I am impressed with Allen Young's choice of henchman.
“You fuel yourself entirely on anger. This might end up being your downfall. Calm yourself,” the man in the leather jacket explains. “It's also ill-mannered and impolite for you to not share your weaponry with someone that hasn't a weapon to fight you with.”
I climb to my feet with a smirk on my face. I am not angry for being bested, but instead, I rejoice in the fact I have found a more than worthy foe. I found somebody that offers me more than Allen Young could, I have been offered competition. I swipe toward him, hoping to redeem myself, but the man moves out of the way in the nick of time, stopping my desires dead in their tracks. The man dodges the maneuver as if he knew I was going to deliver it before I did.
He tries to drive one of the staffs across the side of my skull. I duck beneath it. I whip the only staff still in my clutches toward his legs, hoping to bring him off of his feet. The old man jumps over it.
He moves better than a man his age should.
Lacking hesitation, he tosses one of my staffs off of the rooftops. I hear the sound of it hitting one of the cars below us.
Off the distraction, the man clubs me over the back of the skull with his gun.
Everything slows down and for some reason, I don't feel any pain. I feel disconnected to everything that's happening, like he knocked me out of my own body.
I am sent flying off of the rooftop by him, about twenty or so feet. I actually have time to contemplate before falling directly onto the hood of a car with a violent thud.
Everything returns to normal now, and my body feels tight. I don't think I can move. I avoid hitting the windshield, but the slam is harsh over the hood. Trickles of blood pour from my mask and I see Branden Cutler, alongside his bodyguards, looking at me with looks of both surprise and something close to happiness.
Whoever the hired help is that sent me off of the rooftop, he earned his paycheck.
“Ain't no one wanna believe me when I said I was attacked by you. I have a feelin' they'll believe me now if I bring you to 'em. They'll believe that Poison exists,” Branden says with a look of joy on his face, maybe because he knows I hate that name, or maybe because he isn't completely insane.
I gaze off as his bodyguards start to move toward me with vile intentions on their mind. Absolutely helpless to defend myself.
Branden pushes past them like an obnoxious kid that wants to have the first turn on the slide, picking up one of my staffs.
Branden looks at it, the very same staff I once tried to kill him with, and yells out with a drunken and dimwitted smile. He pulls back with the stick over his shoulder and whips it across my chest. I lay lifeless and defenseless on the hood of the car.
The sound it makes as it collides into my chest is loud. I think I can almost hear my ribs break in two after each time the weapon smacks against me. I know I can feel it.
The gusts of wind depleting out from me and the feelings of defeat slither in. Blood starts to gush out of my mouth, muffling my emotionless grumbles of agony. It will not be long now before it is over. The curtain has come up only to go back down again. The show is over.
Branden continues a moment longer and then stops, he isn't satisfied by simply brutalizing me with one of my own weapons. He grabs me by the arm and yanks me from the hood of the car. I fall, tumbling to the asphalt. I lay there, cringing in pain. There is nothing I can do.
“I wanna know who tried to get rid of me, stand your ass up!”
I return to my feet, the lethargic movements in my disposition, I doubt I can stand for long. The credits will be rolling soon.
Branden stares at me with an irritating grin on his face. It alone is enough to give me a second wind. I throw a directionless punch at him I don't think even connects. Still, he drunkenly spirals until falling to the ground. But before I can build up any sort of momentum, one of the bodyguards cuts me off with a boot to the chest, I drop to a seated position.
I rest helpless and vulnerable, once more with my head against the headlight of somebody's car, once again ready for the beating to end. I have gone out swinging. That much is for certain. Branden charges toward me with fire in his eyes, the same kind of fire that took a little girl's mother away from her. He drives his boot to the side of my skull. My head crashes through the headlight of the car.
I lose consciousness.
The string has been pulled. The light is out. The last thing I hear is the sound of four bullets being fired.