Chapter 2: On the Streets
Day in, day, out, he was lonely and afraid. His work suffered, and only he knew why. It pained me to do this to him, but I had to. His uncle was coming. Vince woke up, got ready, was driven to work by a stranger, and then tried and failed to concentrate at work. No deviation, no change. Every night he dreamed the same dream, tormented by his forgotten past. He remembered his near-fatal knee injury. Every night he woke up in a cold sweat, always the same way, after the same dream. Yes, there were some special events. His birthday passed on December 21st, and I sent him a beautiful knife—an icy blue blade with an ornate wolf-head handle, yet still razor sharp. Technically, it was always his, but I had kept it for him. Christmas and Easter, feasts he (and I) find ridiculous, also passed. His work recovered, and his job was saved. Summer arrived, and he felt somewhat depressed. Kids ran around outside, and though he longed to join them, to spend his pent up energy, his boss and the oppressive heat kept him inside.
After almost a year without me, that energy was finally able to be spent. On the 21st of June, Vince was called into the city for a business meeting. It goes well; Vince’s boss was very pleased and was considering raising Vince’s pay. However, much more important things are about to occur.
Vince was running late for the train, and the fastest way there, perhaps the only way to get there on time, was through a very dangerous alley that the police refuse to enter for fear of what will happen. Vince, however, had none of that knowledge and therefore none of that fear. He entered. So did I.
I wanted to call out, to warn him, but I knew that doing so would alert the gangs, so I waited. I quietly stalked behind him, his guardian and protector. There was a dark gloom about the place, and it seemed as if we were being watched (or more accurately, he was). I could tell that he was beginning to feel uncomfortable. I wanted to scream out “No! Keep running! Don’t slow down!” for that is exactly what he does. I saw, however, the shadows of heavily armed thugs in windows, and I think he did too. I suddenly realized how incredibly scary the place was, seemingly straight out of a horror movie. The windows were boarded up, but with cracks for shooting. Garbage littered the street, among it broken guns and ammo cartridges. There was a smell of drying blood coming from the nearby dumpster.
I entered a building silently, having seen a sniper rifle in the top window and realizing that it would silence my friend, unless I silenced it. I crept up the stairs and through the hallways until I came to a room with a man aiming the rifle I had earlier observed. I crept behind him and gutted him neatly, for there was no time for honor. I took control of the gun, and watched the scene unfolding below me. Out stepped five men, all heavily armed, and I could feel there were more hiding.
One of the five was huge, and carried a large knife and a sub-machine gun. He was clearly a leader, and walked slowly towards Vince. Vince was scared, and took a sep back. I hoped to the gods that he had his knife. The leader laughed and issued a challenge. I couldn’t hear exactly what he said, and never bothered to ask, but the gist of it was simple. You give us everything you have, or we kill you. If you try to hide something, we will kill you, only more painfully. After we have killed you, we will take everything you have. To his credit, Vince pretended not to be scared, and sought a way out of the situation.
While my friend was being threatened, I turned my attention to more important things. Making sure my little gun was silenced, I searched for targets and slowly picked off those gang members in the opposite building. “I will deal with the ones in my own later,” I thought. I hit seven all together. One skinny kid with a bandana, two muscled guys holding pistols, a fat one with a pistol, a sniper, and two with machine guns. Naturally, I used tranquilizer darts that were very conveniently nearby (I think so they could torture victims). I then turned my sights to those below, but it seemed Vince was taking care of the.
Apparently the boss had told his henchmen to grab Vince, who stabbed one(he did have the knife) and hit the other hard before holding the knife to his throat to stop any shots. The leader laughed, and yelled “Snipers!” at the top of his lungs. Vince looked around worriedly while I sighed with relief. I had one gun, and had used it to take out the other sniper.
When no shot came, the leader yelled to his boys to go check on it, but I didn’t notice because I was laughing so hard at his anger—it was so absurdly funny. My bad.
After about a minute or so, the door creaked open behind me and I stiffened. I realized my mistake, and was praying I could survive, for Vince. I turned slowly and saw a man standing there. “What do you think you’re doing?” he was saying. “Shoot alr—wait, who the hell are you?” I ran at him, closing the distance before he could bring his gun to bear. I knocked it out of his hand, and drew my knife, identical to Vince’s in all ways, except it was red rather than blue. He smiled, thinking he had the upper hand (as he was a trained knife fighter) and drew his own. I taunted and angered him to the point where he was reckless. He lunged, I dodged, he fell, I stabbed. I knew I didn’t have much time.
I grabbed the rifle and removed the longer barrel, lending accuracy for mobility, and still using the darts. I ran downstairs, shot a man, and kept running. Two came out of nowhere and shot at me—and then another from the other side. They all fell quickly to my rapid fire. I ran to a window, and shot out, hitting one gang member fighting Vince, who had knocked out the one he had been holding and was now fighting three others. “That’s odd,” I thought, “Where’s the leader?” I discovered the answer on my own soon enough.
I heard a noise behind me, turned, shot, and missed. It was the leader. I shot again—but my gun was empty, and he knew it. I threw it at him, making him drop his own gun, and giving me time to draw my knife. He drew his, and suddenly we were dueling. He was good, much better than the others—but I was better.
I forced him back outside, where Vince had felled one man and was fighting the other. He was clearly exhausted, and wouldn’t last much longer. I had to win fast. I feinted right, stabbed left, ducked, pivoted, rolled right, and stabbed again. This time I found my mark, hitting the leader in the side. He fell like the dense rock he was.
Vince stood, helpless, before the last gang member. “Ahem,” I said loudly, and the idiot turned, giving Vince the opportunity to kick his legs out from under him. The poor fool banged his head on a rock, and was out cold. I helped Vince up, removed my mask (I had been dressed in all black, including hangs, feet and head) and told him we had to leave. “Again?” he asked sadly. “Again.”
We arrived at a house where I knew we would be safe. We entered carefully, and immediately he asked “Why?” My response was simple. “He found us, your uncle did. And he wants you dead.” “Why?” I sighed, knowing that I would finally have to tell him, after all these years.
“Vince—I think you’d better sit down.”