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Rain pounded the roof of the abandoned warehouse, and when thunder sounded and lightning struck, Christopher bellowed laughter. It reminded him of the explosion at his old school, of the flames and force of that blast, and how the onlookers had screamed in terror. All in all it made his day sweeter. Chris took a sip of coffee, and relaxed into his reclining armchair. How could things get better than this?
The answer came almost immediately, and he could almost see the word before him, as if it was burned on his eyes.
He had thought it had been exacted five months ago, when the school had been destroyed, but he had been wrong. Two of the people who had run down his brother had cheated death, cheated him, and he meant to have them soon. Oh, so very soon.
One of the two survivors had merely passed through the educational system and had graduated a year before Chris’ massacre. His name was Jonathan Miles (Such a typical name for a football player) aged twenty years old; he currently lived in an apartment somewhere in this same town, somewhere in Bakersville, and had a job at a local convenience store. It wasn’t far from either the rubble of the old school or from Christopher’s hideaway, and he was going to be first on his list.
The second, however, was the driver. THE DRIVER! Oh the pain he would suffer once
Chris got his hands on him. He would PAY.
Christopher let himself calm down, and then stood. He heard the back door of the warehouse open, and he recognized Reina’s footsteps at once; he could hear the carefulness and grace of every step, and was at once glad to have such a good partner.
“Reina.” He called out. “Do you have new information on the...the driver?”
Reina came in to the room and paused and brushed her black hair aside. It appeared that she didn’t have an umbrella, as she was soaking wet. Christopher went over to hand her a towel, but before she took it she pulled him into a hard kiss, and he could smell the minerals of the rain on her.
When they parted she said, “Yes, I do.” Reina handed him a manila folder and started to undress. Christopher took her wet clothes, put them in a washing machine in the corner, and gave Reina a new outfit from the dryer. After this, Chris sat down in his chair and looked at the documents.
They were very pleasing indeed. Inside the manila folder was a treasure trove of information about The Driver. He was a senior this year, and due to the effects of the massacre he currently lived and attended school in a town north of Bakersville called Wauseon. The address was listed along with where he usually hung out and what after school activities he did. Already the beginnings of plans were forming inside Christopher’s head, and all he had to do was choose one that looked promising and develop it into absolute perfection. He was not only good at this, but great. It was his passion.
“Reina, are not going to wash off the rain?” She was still standing there looking at him, undressed.
“I was wondering if I should ask you to join me.” Reina said.
A rueful smile played across Chris’ face. “And will you?”
Christopher strode over and took her hand, and he did join her.
After they were done they began preparing for the operation to kidnap Jonathan, each of them selecting their own tools. Christopher preferred to wear something inconspicuous, like a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Due to the rain he also donned a jacket. However, Reina had something else in mind.
“Do you really have to wear the black-leather duster?” Christopher said. “We’re trying to eliminate the probability of someone remembering us.”
“Do I tell you how to plan?” Reina said, slipping a flash grenade into her pocket.
“Then don’t tell me how to carry them out.”
He chuckled. “Very well, you haven’t steered me wrong yet.”
Reina finished early, so she watched him complete all his preparations. Christopher clipped a single can onto his belt, a can filled with dimethylheptylpyran: knock out gas. Under his armpit he put first a gun holster, and then lifted the pistol that went into the holster in front of him to admire it.
“You say I’m conspicuous when you’re toting that?” Reina said. And she was right. It was a 175th anniversary colt revolver, firing eight .45 bullets a round. It was pitch black, and of a polish so deep it looked like it absorbed all light around it. The real glory was the twenty-four karat gold patterns on its 7 and a half inch barrel.
“If everything goes the way I want it, I won’t need it.” Christopher slid the weapon into its holster with a satisfying clack. “Besides, its badass.”
Five minutes later they were in a small blue car going north on Main Street, going the exact speed limit. Christopher was driving, and while he did the car’s speakers played a Beethoven piece, the same one he whistled to as he laid half-bricks inside Bakersville High School. Both he and Reina hummed along.
They turned into an alley and pulled in behind a dumpster, hiding them from someone looking into the opening between buildings. Christopher shut off the car and turned to Reina.
“You know what you have to do. Just wait for me out here, but if I can’t get to you and things go wrong, go to the second safe house. The signal is this.” Christopher tapped a button on his watch and something beeped inside Reina’s duster. “I’ll see you soon.”
When he tried to kiss her, she stopped him saying, “Don’t, it feels like were saying goodbye. Wait until you make it back safely.”
“It’s a deal, then.” He said. Christopher pulled the jacket’s hood over his head, and checked his revolver. All eight bullets were in the chamber, so he snapped it into place, stepped out of the car, and continued out into the rain.
It was dark outside now, and Christopher’s inexpensive sports watch proclaimed it was a quarter past ten. The rain was hot, and as he made his way to the front of the apartment building it pounded on him in bouts, almost hindering him. He pulled a small pair of binoculars from his front pocket, and saw what there was to see in the convenience store. Through the rain he was hard to find, but eventually Christopher spotted his target.
“There he is.” Chris whispered as he spied one of his brother’s killers. Jonathan was working the cash register, and right now he was ringing up groceries for a burly looking old man.
That done, Christopher turned to the front doors of the apartment building and took out a duplicate key. This was one of two Reina had given him. This first one unlocked the front doors, and the second one unlocked Jonathan’s apartment, room number nineteen. He used the key marked fnt drs, and entered the apartment building.
It surpassed Christopher’s thoughts of how it would appear: the building was a dilapidated mess, with the yellowing wallpaper peeling in great rolls, and the carpet was missing in a few places. But worst of all was the smell. It reeked of dead animals and the after-leavings that came from them.
Sighing, he walked down the long corridor to the apartment of Jonathan Miles, and went in. If the smell in the corridor was bad, then this smell was horrifying. The room Christopher walked into was a sty of wrappers, food trays, and other assorted byproducts of a nineteen year old. However, there was a leather backed chair in the corner with a reading lamp next to it, so Chris chose the most promising of his target’s reading material and turned on the light.
The following hour and thirty minutes passed by in a daze. Chris barely paid attention to the book in his hands, and instead chose to imagine how to proceed with the following conflict. He could either A. Pull out his gun and force the gas onto Jonathan that way or B. Wait by the door and immediately shove the gas in Jonathan’s face. He also factored in what Reina would do. In the end Chris selected the latter choice, B, for it would not only be easier but, remove the chance of his target screaming for help. Lord knew Jonathan would scream enough once he was taken to the warehouse and questioned.
A click in the door alerted Christopher. He clicked off the lamp and moved in behind the door, waiting for his prey. As he unhooked the can from his belt, he smiled, yet, frowned after he heard simultaneous speaking and laughter.
Laughter and speaking required more than one person, and if so insinuated that Mr. Miles had a guest, and by extension meant that the plan was now going to be altered. Chris had expected Jonathan to come straight home, but he hadn’t expected him to snag a few beers and a friend first. Chris waited for the situation to reveal itself, and put the hand that wasn’t on the can on the cool metal of the revolver. His smile returned.
The door burst open and nearly slammed Christopher into the wall. Jonathan, along with what appeared to be a middle-aged woman, drunkenly wobbled through the door. The door swung back and clicked into place, revealing an incredibly agitated Christopher.
Jonathan and the woman engaged into something that should not to be referred to on this page (or anywhere else for that matter) and would have gotten quite far if Chris hadn’t coughed into his hand.
“Wh-Who the hell’re you.” Jonathan managed.
Chris simply walked over and sprayed him in the face with the gas, causing Jonathan to slink to the floor and begin snoring loudly. Any finesse and hot-dogging was lost when the door slammed into him. The woman, too surprised to register what just happened, chuckled suddenly.
“Did you see the look on his face?” The woman asked Chris. “It was like, ‘doy!’” Her chuckles turned to giggles, and then to laughter. When it did, Chris laughed right along with her, and they laughed for a few minutes. Every time they started to bottle down, Jonathan’s gas-sprayed face popped into their heads, and they laughed ever harder. Finally Chris got control of himself, though he still had something bubbling in his throat.
Chris said, “Like a cartoon character that just got hit with a mallet.” He flipped Jonathan’s resting body over on its back, and dragged him to the door. “You know what? I really like you woman, what’s your name?”
“Donna, honey. Donna Hughes.” The woman said.
“Well Donna, this guy was probably paying you right?”
“Yes, he was.”
Christopher took Jonathan’s wallet out of his back pocket and tossed it to her. “Take it, and keep your silence. This man isn’t going to need it anytime soon.”
To that Donna Hughes had no response.
Chris carried Jonathan slung over his shoulder, and had already thought of what he would say if someone confronted him about it. He had a little too much to drink, he would say to the person, I’m going to take him back home to his family. The problem with this was that while Christopher was twenty-one, Jonathan was clearly underage, and Chris would have trouble explaining that.
He never needed to though; the rain was enough of a reason for most people to stay inside. This made Chris chuckle a little, but it hurt his already aching abdomen.
Reina was waiting in the car. As soon as he had tumbled Jonathan into the back seat of the car and sat in shotgun she kissed him.
“I thought something had gone wrong, it took you nearly till midnight.” She said.
“There was a bit of a surprise, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. Quite funny actually.” Christopher said with a smile. Reina started the car and drove them away.
“Why? What happened?” She always loved it when he told stories; he said them in a way that always made her laugh until tears came to her eyes.
“Well, I was all ready to pull out the gas and get the target, when all of a sudden I hear not just one voice but voices, on the other side of the door. One man, one woman. I clipped my can back, and was about to pull out my gun when the door popped open and wham, knocked right into me. I was so pissed I didn’t say any of my crap.”
“You mean your usual bull****?” Reina said, already chuckling.
“Yeah, yeah.” Chris agreed. “But by the time I gathered myself they had almost already started rounding the bases! I couldn’t freakin’ believe it! So I took the gas can and sprayed him in the face. His face! It was hilarious! He looked he was just smashed with a mallet by Wilde Coyote! And the girl was laughing too! That was the best part! So I put him on my back and came here, giggling. Anyway, how did you fare?” He asked finally.
“Not so well…” Reina said sullenly.
“Because you weren’t here.”
Jonathan awoke with a croak, wondering where he was. He heard mumbling, voices muffled like they were underwater and very far away. There were two of them, as far as he could tell, and they seemed to come from behind him and whatever he was laying on. The (table?) thing had a cool, metallic surface, and when he tried to move his arms or legs he found that he could not, for they were restrained. Someone must have heard him struggling, because now he could hear footsteps coming toward him.
He suddenly was filled with terror, and with every step it grew.
…lack. clack. Clack. Clack. CLACK. CLACK!
Jonathan tried to scream, but only a whistling sound came from his sore throat. It was over. He didn’t know how but it was all over.
“Looks like our guest finally decided to wake up.” A feminine voice said.
“Yeah, looks like it.” A male voice this time. Jonathan didn’t like this one, it sounded pleasant at first, but once you got through the careful tones you couldn’t help but be amazed at the anger, the hate, behind it.
A cloth was lifted from his eyes, but as soon as it was Jonathan was blinded by a white light right above him.
Christopher didn’t overlook the cringe on his face. “Light a little too bright for you, huh Jonathan. Well tough. You didn’t give my brother the luxury of his own life, so why should I give you the luxury of seeing clearly.”
After his eyes adjusted, though, he could see Christopher just fine, and boy did he regret that. His eyes were that scary. Horrifying in fact. One look into those pools and you would turn tail and run; run and just keep on running. And then hide. The iris’ that were usually an auburn-brown had not turned into a black mass, but a deep blood red.
Jonathan finally managed to get a few words out, but they were just a garbled mess. Chris took this in stride.
“I got you; the gas hasn’t completely worn off yet. Till then I want you to flick your thumb either up or down, yes or no, you understand? Give me a thumb up if you understand.”
Jonathan, too scared to do anything else, flicked both his thumbs up. His hands were shaky though.
“I like it, I like it. The Fonz, huh? Why don’t you give me an ‘eeeeii.’”
And to Christopher and Reina’s amazement he actually tried to do just that. They weren’t in a laughing mood though. Chris simply shook his head.
“My, my, my. That’s just sad. Any who,” Christopher said clapping his hands, “It’s time for some question and answer Jonathan. We’ll start simple, all right?”
A thumb up.
“Is your name Jonathan Miles, do you live in apartment number nineteen in the Bluing Apartment complex on 6000 Main Street, Bakersville Ohio, and do you work at the convenience store across the street from there, on the plot 6111 Main Street?”
Two thumbs up for all three.
“Good. Just wanted to make sure there weren’t any other side effects from the gas.” Christopher began pacing back and forth at Jonathan’s feet. “Do you know who I am?”
A thumb down.
“No? Then let me introduce myself. I am Christopher Rinehart, and this is my fiancée Reina Amaya. Since I already know your name let me ask you this: does my name mean anything to you?”
A thumb down again.
“That is saddening. I would have hoped that one of my younger brother’s killers would at least have known his older brother.”
A thumb sideways and a shrug.
“I’m sorry, but to put it in a very cliché way, I ask the questions, not you. However I am even more amazed as to how you forgot the name of the person you killed that night, the night where you and three of your friends ran over my little brother and drove away. That night stayed in my mind forever.
“I think you’ll be surprised to know that I was the one responsible for the explosion at Bakersville high, and that I am also the one who is now going to kill you for what you took away from me.”
Jonathan started struggling and freely weeping in front of Chris. It was hopeless. His eyes reminded Chris of a cow led to slaughter, rolling in circles and bloodshot.
“Relax, Jonathan, not yet. Or maybe not at all, if you tell me what I want to know.” And this was the crucial point where Christopher allowed a tiny seed of hope to be planted in Jonathan’s heart. On the inside Chris was laughing like a maniac.
“Can you speak yet Jonathan?”
Jonathan attempted to and only made garble.
“Alright, I’ll let you rest for now, and do so by telling you a story.” Chris sucked in a deep breath and began. “Not so long ago, about four years now, there were four buddies all piled in a small van, driving down the road. All of them were drunk, none of them could drive well, but they chose to be going fifty-five on a thirty-five mile an hour road anyways.
“Not so far away just off the side of the road, was a freshman. His name was Zachary. Zachary Rinehart. Zachary knew he shouldn’t be out this late, but had a very good reason to be out; he’d been helping out the neighbors by babysitting the kids, and chose not to burden them by walking home, instead of having them drive him. Though I think he wouldn’t mind to ask them to if he had known what was coming.
“The buddies in the car began swerving over the side of the road and back, kicking up gravel and dirt in many clods. As luck would have it, the boys began swerving farther and farther down into the grass. And finally, what they should have seen and avoided easily if sober, became nearly invisible to them intoxicated.”
Chris’ voice became rough and heavy. “What they didn’t see, but certainly felt, was the front bumper of their car ending the life of my innocent little brother.”
When Christopher reached into his jacket, Reina stopped him.
“Not yet,” She said. “He hasn’t learned what he’s done.”
Jonathan had no idea what the significance of Chris reaching into his jacket was, and only sat with that seed of hope in his pocket. The poor fool.
“You’re right, Reina, thank you.” He pulled over a small chair and sat in it, slumped. “Jonathan, can you speak?
“Yes.” It was very weak indeed, but the voice of Jonathan Miles was heard by them nonetheless.
“Tell us what happened.” Chris said bluntly.
“It was an accident, man. We had just finished up at a party, and Jimmy didn’t think he had driving duty, so we were all drunk.” It was very slow, but Jonathan’s voice was steady. “And man, we played rock, paper, scissors to decide, and Jimmy lost but…man, I had nothing to do with it, just let me go!” His voice picked up pace and volume. “Just please don’t kill me! We didn’t mean to!”
Chris was up in a flash, hand on Jonathan’s throat squeezing hard. “Now listen to me, and answer true. Were you in the car, Jonathan, when you knew you all were drunk? When you knew you shouldn’t have had any of yourselves driving. When you KNEW that you shouldn’t have anything to drink in the first place?”
“Yes man, yes! Just don’t kill me!”
“No!” Christopher yelled. “You just admitted to me that you had a hand in my brother’s murder and expect mercy!? How DARE you! I refuse to ask any more questions of YOU! I will get what answers I need from THE DRIVER! Not YOU!”
Out from Chris’ jacket came the revolver, and Jonathan’s already diminished seed of hope was crushed. “NOW DIE!”
The gun unloaded all eight rounds into the body. The first bullet hit a person, but the rest hit but a corpse.
And just like the when he pressed the button on his watch five months ago, he laughed. Better still, he had one more person to laugh with, and they both laughed in harmony.
“One more to go, Christopher, one more to go.”Reina said in between bouts of laughter.
Christopher embraced her with the words, “Don’t I know it?”