Nov 27, 2015

Black Stained Winter: Chapter 10 - "Skirmish Above The City"

“Ugh,” a man’s grunt can be heard under the moonlight. Two day has passed since he fought with his contract and lost. Yes, he hate to admit it but he lost. He, a trained assassin, lost in a battle to a barehanded homeless man.

He slowly lifts his head and look around. He’s still there. He’s still in the park where he fought the homeless man. He’s still in his trademark white hooded jacket from that day. In fact, he hadn’t got the chance to change. Right after he managed to escaped, he passed out. Luckily for him, he fell in a secluded part of the park thus no one found him.

The assassin stands slowly and leans his back to the nearest tree. His body hurts all over. Everytime he breaths, he feels pain on his chest. He slowly run his hands on his chest. A sudden sharp pain tells him that his ribs are broken. The punch from the Hobo must’ve been so powerful to be able to broke his ribs easily.

He pushes himself away from the tree using his right hand when suddenly pain strikes his arm. It looks like his right arm is slightly fractured. He tries to move his arm around and decided the damage isn’t too bad unless it takes some strain.

After feeling that he’ll be able to walk for some distance, he goes through the shrubs into the concrete pathway that connected to the main street. As he walks, he rummages his pocket and found some money in it. He needs those to get something to eat for he hasn’t eat anything for two days. 

The night is still young and the street is still filled with commuting people. The road is busy with cars going in both directions stopping only when the traffic lights turn red. The assassin in white walks among the crowds, eyes scouring trying to find place to eat.

He walks his legs toward the first place that catch his attention. A well-known fast food chain. He walks through the automatic door and get into the line. The place is crowded and noisy. No wonder, it’s dinner time. People look toward him as he enter the place with slight annoyance. It seems they’re not comfortable with his appearance covered in dirt and some hints of blood here and there.

“Hey, how are you? Bad day?” The young guy manning the register politely asks as soon as the assassin comes to the counter.

“Yeah, something like that,” his answer come out sounds tired.

The cashier catches the hints and decided to not engage this customer with idle chit chat, “So, dine in or take away?”

The hungry man looks over his shoulder. He prefers to eat in the crowds, blending it. The crowds provide passive defense. He’d looks less suspicious in the middle of people and harder to find. But, in this particular time, that is not the case. With his battered looks and  messed up appearance complete with dirt and blood, he would stand out instead. People attentions will be drawn to him and make it more easier to find him.

“Yeah, I don’t think dine in would be a good idea,” he signalling the cashier to his appearance.

“Um, yeah, I agree with you on that. So, what’s the order then?”

He orders two biggest burgers the place has and a pack of fries. He pays it and as soon as the order’s ready he grabs it and walks through the exit. As soon as he exit the building, he opens his brown paper bag and grabs a burger. Without wasting any moment he opens the paper wrap and chow the burger down. He’s so hungry and the taste of food on his mouth is exhilarating.

The man keeps eating down his burger and finishes right in front of an old hotel. It’s the place where he stays in this city. The hotel looks run-down and slightly dirty with walls covered in graffiti. The street where it is located is dimly lit. Some homeless people can be found resting in the dark alleys. This area perhaps what’s considered as the slum of the city.

The assassin enters his room in the top floor of that old hotel and locks the door behind him. His body feels heavy and really need a nice rest. But, before that he need to get cleaned and satisfy his growling stomach first. 

He puts the paper bag on the table near the window and reaches inside to grabs a handful of fries. Some pieces of fries fallout from his hand as he shove them into his mouth. Feeling bad wasting food, he bends down to picks the fries.

*crash*

Out of nowhere, something flies in really fast from outside the room through the window and barely misses the assassin’s head. It penetrates and leave a small hole and cracks on the window. The assassin instinctively ducks and hide below the window. He looks at the floor and founds a bullet stuck on the wooden floor.


“A sniper?” He wonders. He’s not sure why there’s a sniper trying to kill him. Although his body needs a good rest, there’s no way that he can rest while being targeted like this.

Judging from the angle of the shot, he speculates that the sniper is on the roof across the building. He then moves to the cupboard while trying to avoid getting seen from the window. As he open the cupboard while being hidden, another shot is released. This time it shatters the window as it goes through and struck the cupboard doors.

Seeing how the sniper is so eager to plants a bullet on him, the assassin become reluctant to approach the cabinet. He needs to replace his daggers that he lost on yesterday’s fight. But, doing so means that he’ll be seen from the window. Yet, without his daggers, he wouldn’t be able to give a decent fight, especially with his current condition.

After thinking of ways to handle this situation, he quickly runs to the bed while pulling out its sheet at the same time and never stop moving. As soon as the sheet’s off, he throws it up to the air toward the window.

“Tch!” In a roof far from the old hotel, a man is irritated when his view is blocked by a white sheet. He keeps his eyes on the scope, trying to find opening for a clean shot. Besides, how long can a sheet stays in the air? There’s also the chance that his target use the blind to exit the room which will make it hard to locate him.

And then, the sheet flies through the window with high speed and breaking what left of the window in the process. It then falls down as if it is heavier than just a sheet and disappear from the view obstructed by the buildings.

“Really clever, Vahn,” the sniper instantly rises from his laying down position as soon as he realized that his target was inside the sheet. He takes his equipment case and quickly jumps from roof to roof until he finds a spacious roof without anything to cover. 

He knows his target speciality and how good he is on climbing walls and attacking from blind spot. He stands in the center of the roof, away from the ledges. His scoped rifle ready at his hands pointing forward. He looks around to all side and constantly turns his head to cover every side. This is to render his target’s speciality useless. With him far from the ledge and being extremely vigilant of his surrounding, it will be hard for the assassin to do a surprise attack.

In the middle of tense waiting, the sniper hears a sound behind him. His heart’s beating fast as he think, “Is that him?” He quickly turns toward the source of the sound. If that’s his target, then a mere second wasted could be his demise. But, when he turns, there’s no one there. Just the view of taller buildings far in the background.

Realizing his target tactic, he quickly turns around and there he is, in the air mid-jump, wearing a white outfit stained with blood and dirts, and daggers in both hands; the assassin. He already really close to the sniper and dagger ready to slash. With this distance, trying to aim and shoots is still possible yet extremely dangerous, especially with how quick the assassin can swing his dagger.

Without wasting any moment, the assassin slashes his dagger with intent to kill. The sniper turned faster than the assassin expected. The sniper raises his rifle and blocks the dagger. The second dagger comes toward the sniper’s neck, but he has anticipated it. After he blocked the first dagger, he charges forward to even get closer to the assassin and out of the dagger’s way.

The sniper charges with his shoulder and hits the assassin hard on his chest. The assassin gets thrown backward and fall to the ground. His broken ribs pierce his lung after getting slammed with the sniper’s shoulder. His chest hurts so much that he can’t wake up. Slowly, blood starts flowing out of his mouth.

Seeing the assassin’s condition, the sniper’s surprised. He raises his rifle and keep its nozzle aimed at the downed man. The assassin looks badly injured, but the sniper doesn’t want to take any chance. Afterall, he feels that it was too easy.

“That was disappointing, Vahn,” the sniper slowly walks toward Vahn, the downed assassin.

“Charles,” Vahn looks at his attacker, “What the hell?”

With rifle still aimed at Vahn, Charles stops before getting too close to Vahn. “Nothing personal,” he says, “The Masters give out the order to eliminate you.”

“What? Why they…. Did I do something wrong?”

“Does beaten by a homeless man and too many witnesses ring a bell?”

Vahn stunned. Just that? Just because a reason as simple as that the Masters, leader of his assassin guild, want to erase him? He thought he was a valuable member of the guild. Dozens of targets eliminated, contracts closed, and when he did one mistake they want to eliminate him. Is he just another disposable asset?

Thinking that he is thrown away by the guild undoubtedly angers him. His fists clenches and teeth grits. Slowly rage starts to fuel him. After all his faith on the guild, he can’t die before confronting the Masters about their decision to kill him.

In a split second, Vahn throws one of his dagger toward Charles and rolls away. The dagger only brushes Charles’s cheek but enough to make him lose his focus on Vahn. When Charles looks at Vahn’s direction, a glinting sharp metal is already very close to his neck. His rifle is too long to shoot at Vahn that’s now so close to him. Instinctively he raises his hand and catches the dagger. His right palm bleeds badly but that’s much better than getting his neck sliced open.

Vahn releases his dagger that was catched by Charles and without hesitation grabs extra dagger that he brings, ducks, and swings it toward his opponent’s stomach. He moves so swift and gracefully as if his injuries are healed. It is not. He still feels the pain. The faster he moves, the more painful it is for him. But, his rage and anger overwhelms the pain. He doesn’t care about the pain. He just want to beat the shit out of Charles.

The swiftness of Vahn’s movement catches Charles off-guard. He is a sniper and obviously not used to close range melee combat, especially not one with the speed of Vahn’s attack. He tries to jump back away from the danger of cold metal. Unfortunately, he’s not fast enough. The dagger sliced open his stomach even after he jumped back. Although his insides are unharmed, but his stomach bleeding profusely.

Charles runs backward ignoring his wound, trying to create distance from Vahn. Yet, Vahn closes the distance in mere seconds, keeping Charles from able to aiming his rifle correctly. Charles has no other options other than dodging and blocking the dagger’s attack. Afterall, he doesn’t have anything for close-range combat other than punches and kicks. 

Without stopping, Vahn delivers attack after attack. Charles can only dodges, blocks, and trying to create enough distance for him to be able to shoot. Every now and then Vahn’s dagger grazes Charles, adding more wounds. Charles need to end this quick before he bleeds out.

And then, Vahn stops. His body is taking it’s toll. With rib punctures his lung, moving around extremely like he just did is destroying his lung. His chest is now so painful that even rage is unable to keep him from moving. He feels something coming out from his throat and coughs up blood. Lot of blood.

Charles isn’t wasting this chance. He steps back and aims his rifle at Vahn. Without hesitation, he pulls the trigger.

*BANG*

A bullet rips through the air and hits Vahn on his shoulder. Pushed by the force of the bullet, he’s pushed back several steps, but still able to stand. He’s gasping loudly trying hard to suppress the pain he feels on his body.

Seeing Vahn still stands after the shot, Charles becomes aggravated. He shoots another bullet to Vahn, and just like before, Vahn pushed back several steps yet still standing. He looks at Charles with sharp gaze and filled with killing intent. Feeling uneasy from that gaze, Charles unleashes barrage of bullets into Vahn until he falls.

There, high from the ground, Vahn lays on the cold night in his own pool of blood. His breath is heavy, his vision getting blurry, and his white clothes now stained with red blood. Charles approaches Vahn slowly, although with that amount of blood, he is sure that Vahn can’t do anything anymore.

“Sorry, but this is my order,” Charles aims his rifle toward Vahn’s head. But before he’s able to pull the trigger, he sees a black mist fall passes him. He looks up and sees a huge amount of black mist pouring down seemingly from nowhere. It keeps pouring down when when Charles realize it, the black mist is already an ankle deep and keep on rising.

“Urgh! Arrrrrggghhhh!” Vahn screams in pain when the mysterious mist starts blanketing him. hearing the painful screams of his old colleague, Charles intents to shorten his suffering. But when he wants to shoot him, Vahn is already engulfed by the mist. Charles can still hear Vahn’s scream from inside the thick blackness.

And then, he feels it. The black mist is not an ordinary mist. It tries to latches into Charles. He can feels it slowly crawling on him and trying to get inside. He even feels something is already crawling inside him.

“What the hell?” He swings around his rifle, trying to wipes the mist, but only manages to slow it down. If he’s there any longer, the black mist would consume him.

“Sorry, Vahn,” Charles swiftly run across the roof trying to escape it. He jumps to the nearest roof and turns to see the mist. The mist is unable to cross the gap between the roofs and falls down. Somehow, the mist disperse way before it touch the ground as if it suddenly loses its substance.

Charles pants. He’s already escaped the mist, yet he still feels something crawling all over his body. He looks to the roof across and sees it already disappear under the black blanket. It’s silent. Vahn can’t be heard anymore and his body is somewhere under the black mist.

It’s done, he thinks. He was nervous on taking one of his fellow colleague. He knows that both of them are highly trained killer and killing Vahn wouldn’t be an easy feat. It wasn’t easy, sure. But he did it anyway. And now, it’s time for him to return back to the guild. He needs a good and nice rest and someone need to treat his wounds.

“See ya, Vahn,” Charles looks at the black mist and pays his last respect to his old comrade. Even when he’s the one who killed Vahn, the fact that they were working together is still true.

Out of sudden, from inside the mist, something is jumping out. Still engulfed by the mist, it launches straight toward Charles. When the mist surrounding it dissipates, its identity revealed. It’s Vahn. He’s still bleeding heavily, yet able to move as if those wound is nothing. Weirdly enough, there’s seems to be black mist seeping out from all over his body.

This sudden appearance catches Charles of guard. Vahn now already in front of him with anger shown on his face and eyes turns red. Without hesitation Vahn throws a powerful punch to Charles stomach. Charles unable to reacts and gets thrown back to the wall from the force of the punch. He coughs up some blood and the wound on his stomach get wider and blood more profusely.

Charles can’t comprehend where did Vahn suddenly get this much power. Even without his wound, there’s no way he could be this strong. A single punch somehow able to throw him tens of meters.

He tries to gather all of his energy to get up quickly. But when he looks forward, Vahn inexplicably is already in front of him. The distance between them shouldn’t be able to be covered in such short time. Yet, there Vahn is, already in close range.

“Argh,” with a swift movement, Vahn thrust his hand into Charles and penetrates him all the way through. His hand burst out from Charles’s back covered in thick blood. Blood flows out from his mouth.

Vahn push Charles with the other hand and pull out the piercing hand from Charles. A huge amount of blood gushes out from the gaping hole on Charles stomach. He staggers back to the wall and slides down. Without able to lift his head, without able to utter any words, Charles lets out his last breath.

All the mist mysteriously disappear. What left above the roof are the body of a dead sniper and an assassin with black mist seeping out. The assassin looks at the sniper’s body and then turns his head toward a green patch seen in the far. He runs to the edge of the roof and jumps into the night, leaving his old comrade’s body alone and cold under the moonlight.

1 comment:

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