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Urban Hero: The War Not Yet Won

Derek chuckled, but softly, so softly that not even the mice crawling on the floor boards could hear him.
Yet even though the whisper and the source of comic amusement were separated by a street and two brick walls, the boy flung his head up as if he had heard something.
Derek peered above the window, the silence unbearable. This was the clever killer, the one who had almost taken his life. Derek took good note of his appearance, he was shorter then Derek’s stunt double who now lay lifeless on the on the floor, probably less then six foot, his muscles were well formed but wiry, as if still in their transition to full bloom, the kid didn’t look like he had even reached his twenties. His hair was long, black braids pulled back by a bandana where they stood up in unruly places. His skin was black too, that much Derek could tell, nothing more for the white stripes across his face were dizzying and left none of his features recognizable.
Derek reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. Centering the zoom on the Urban Hero’s face, he pressed the center button and was rewarding with a satisfying click as the boy’s image saved to its memory. Now it was time to get away.


Derek started his computer, it was the day after he had almost been assassinated, his nerves had finally settled. He had rented a small mansion outside of New York.

He was still shaken, to think how close he had been to death. At the last moment, before the taxi had dropped him off, he had called his look alike to meet him at the adjacent building and had swapped his team of body guards and sent them into the original building while he had snuck into theirs. He then was able to view the gruesome spectacle made of his men from a safe distance.

This kid had gotten on his bad side, it wasn’t smart, to get on Derek’s bad side. But Derek Jackson wasn’t about to just go after him and throw caution to the wind, although yes, he was going to go after him.

The video chat popped onto his screen, he was scyping an assassin and the sniper he’d employed was already at the other end.
“Bon Sware, Mister Jackson.”
Derek stiffened but put on a lazy smile. He was talking to perhaps the most dangerous man in Europe.

“Hello Raphael a la Reynard,” his voice caught but he cleared it. Raphael wore a tuxedo with signature vixen lining, and a red paper boy hat that hung down over his eyes. He was small, thin, pale and slyer then the cleverest fox. An air rifle lay across his lap, “what is the job?”

“Assassination.”

“Obviously, but who? You know I don’t do presidents, anymore.”

“No, nobody will miss this kid. I sent you an email with his photo.”

“Is this the only clue I have to go on?”

“The photo was taken last night in St. Louis, in a warehouse at 356 Jefferson Avenue, after he killed half my men.”

“Impressive. I’ll do it for eighty grand not including flight expenses.”

“You’re on,” Derek signed out of his computer. A moment later his phone rang.
You’ve got mail, his phone sang out happily as his fingers lit up the screen. Derek’s eyes narrowed as the fluorescent lights bit into them, a short text was scrolled out on the phone.

I know where to find the Urban Hero, I can get him for you.

Derek replied to the unfamiliar number. Where?

The response was instant. I have a price.

What? Derek’s fingers shook with anticipation.

I kill for you, you kill for me.

Who?

The fox must die.

Derek didn’t need to know French to understand what that meant. This person wanted him to kill Raphael. It was an understandable request. You don’t become an assassin and expect not to make a lot of enemies. But how did this person know where to find the Urban Hero?

A moment later Derek was tracing the numbers origin while scrolling through Raphael’s blacklist, looking for people who would hold a grudge against him.
The options were numerous, the French man had reportedly killed over a hundred people, who knows how many other murders had gone unreported. Almost all of them were comprised of politicians or major monopoly owners, two kinds of people who were likely to have heightened security. Derek thought it was amazing he had avoided the police this long.

Derek wasn’t going to let an opportunity like this go to waste. He would give Raphael a chance, maybe a week to work his magic and try to flush out the Hero, but if he didn’t succeed by then, then his corpse could be exchanged for the Urban Hero.

A week passed by before Derek could fill up the slots vacated by his dead bodyguards. Raphael had left a message to call him, Jackson pulled up the contacts on his phone; this call could determine the assassin’s survival.

“Have you killed the Hero?”

“No, but…”

Derek hung up. A moment later his phone vibrated, informing him of unread texts.

Wait monsieur, I have a hostage.

Bring him over, Derek replied, moving his fingers speedily across the keypad.

I’m at the gate.

Derek knew that, already his men were leaving to escort him and his captive into the mansion. They did not take long.

Raphael was less intimidating in person, being the size of a child, but all the more mysterious. He wore his crimson paper boy’s hat, with his signature vixen line bomber jacket, but his general appearance was more rugged. He needed a good shave, and his leather clothes were smeared with mud and brick dust to blend him with the dirty stones of St. Louis.

He escorted the prisoner on his own, holding the man in custody with the end of his rifle.

He pushed the prisoner onto the coach. Derek beckoned for the assassin to stand by his side, knowing the how effective Raphael’s icy blue eyes were when it came to interrogation.

The captive was thrown down on the floor. He was a pale, sallow looking youth dirty blond hair and scars all up and down his arms. His wrists were bound by wire which cut into his hands as he strained against them.

“How do you know he was working for the Urban Hero?” Derek placed a napkin of cologne against his nose to fight back nausea; the captive reeked of sweat and blood.


Raphael gave him a shove. “Trap, that’s what it was. I followed the Urban Hero’s trail from where I picked it up fresh in the warehouse; it looped around the city, becoming very warm at places only to drop off into dead end where I would wander aimlessly about for a while as I searched for new clues. In the end I tracked him to a deserted underpass where he disappeared again, this time however he left a trap for me.” The captive mumbled something from beneath his gag, the assassin slapped him. “This one is fast; if I was anyone else I’d be dead. As it were, I refrained from killing him because I thought you’d want a hostage.”

For the first time Derek noticed that the prisoner’s sleeves were bloodied not from scratches but from two open bullet wounds on the wrists. Jackson sighed; it was a shame he would have to kill such an excellent marksman.

Raphael removed the gag, forcing the captives head up to meet Derek’s gaze.

“I got a message for you Mr. Jackson!” He spat at nothing in particular. “You stupid, you think you can use you money to kill the hero, you stupider then me.”

Derek sneered. “What does your hero have that I can’t obtain?”

“He got the city. He got loyalty. We die for him!”

“No!” It was too late. Before either of the captors could reach him the prisoner had smashed his head against the floor with such force he cracked his skull and lay lifeless on the granite, blood pooling out around him.

Mr. Jackson turned around slowly to glare at the Frenchman. “He’s got the advantage.”

Raphael raised an eyebrow. “Why, what does he have?

Derek palmed his face, pulling the wrinkles away from his eyes as he vented in frustration, “They love him.”

Raphael sneered. “People who are so eager to kill themselves, I will get him from you, no problem!” He paused. “But considering he has such and advantage I require another fifty thousand.”

Derek smiled slightly, “we have other plans for you, my little French man.” Two of his body guard stood up and grabbed Raphael’s arms, restraining him. “Somebody else can get me the hero, but he has a price.”

Raphael laughed. “You think I’m stupid?” Before any of the body guards could react he smashed the butt of his rifle underneath his boot. From it their issued thick colomes of smoke, one of the body guards started to choke and collapsed on the ground. Instantly the other one threw Derek across the room, away from the putrid fumes. Drawing his revolver he turned to kill the Frenchman but Raphael had grabbed his rifle and scampered away. At last the body guard could hold his breath no more, drawing in a short gasp of air, he collapsed upon the carpeting. Derek peeked above the coach, holding a napkin to his mouth and a pistol tightly clenched between his fingers. The only thing the assassin left behind was a thin piece of paper, carelessly tossed on the floor. Jackson made sure the smoke had dispersed before picking it up.

I’ll be back, it read.



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