“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
Major General James “Mad Dog” Mattis.
Journal 24, Pg. 71
July 29th, 2015.
While I can’t imagine what kind of impact this scatter-shot-ing of rambling words would have I find myself hoping they will make their way into trusted hands. I never knew how to show it.. but I wanted so bad for people to see inside of me. It’s an easy admission when writing a wayward memoir at the foot of Deaths’ doorstep.
I’ve labored for years over a woman and at the end I’m not mourning the lost of love, I am finally learning to be thankful for such a wonderful opportunity.
It shouldn’t have been awarded to a man like me. Maybe that is what this last sabbatical is all about; an attempt to leave a lasting mark on this world, to take some of this bad and use it for good. Less a martyring and more a pilgrimage.
To find myself less wanting and more worthy for what was once gifted to me by a bohemian beauty.
“Of course you’re going to try to get up,” He snarled through grit teeth, the sharp tone delivered from a sinister-cut sneer. It’s scythe shaped and every bit as lethal. “an’ you know what? When you bleed out on the fuckin’ pavement before you can go out and get yourself killed? — I’ll laugh.” Wafting smoke plumed all around him in an almost artistic fashion, drifting in a complimentary way; an un-ashed cigarette held firm while producing the cloud, as if trying to frame that annoyingly perfect ( and smug ) face.
“Good to see you too,” Dryly croaked in return.
It’s fair. There’s a renewed clarity to those dull greys, the numbing of the pain killer was the steroid needed to be able to boost himself upright. Judas admirably fought through each grimace and wince, but it wasn’t like hurting was a new concept to the contract killer.
Judas didn’t have a lot in the way of friends. In fact it’s fair to say he’s none. If there was someone who earned the moniker it was the flawlessly faced Jackal. Thing was, when Judas and the long lost Lover went their own way this very friend never forgave him for what he viewed as a betrayal; that trespass cost Judas both the love of his life and the only person he’d confided in outside of her. As was the case with every best tragedy the long lived episode of loneliness was by way of his own design.
His own damn fault.
It felt like every inch of him was on fire.
Pain rocketed him to the present while trying to simultaneous ricochet him to that familiar unconsciousness he’d been so warmly comforted by minutes prior. Maybe it was a placebo effect but the minute Judas removed the I.V. a jolt of red-hot-agony hit him like a literal wrecking ball, the quick-spreading burn reverberated throughout all his badly battered body.
“How long have I been out?”
Taking in the atmosphere it was obvious where they were. Judas old haunt, the apartment owned just before turning to the darkness.
“’bout,” Side-longing the clock. “sixteen hours. Doc’ thought you’d die but I knew I wasn’t gonna get off so easily.”
Despite himself, Judas perpetual glower brokered a small, sincere smirk, carried on a bark of laughter. That chortle lost momentum when a sigh of anguish red-lighted it.
They fell into a silence. Silence was something they once shared with a genial ease, while everything between them was crass and terse it was all done amicably. That belonged to an early chapter — now it was uncomfortable and severe. Not just because of the history but the very set-in-stone future.
“You know you do this and you’ll end up dead.”
“Better than than the alternative.”
Again, silence. The last great adventure of their ragtag group was the one which damned them. Judas took an awfulness inside him on their last mission.
We put demon to paper and think it’s well enough. In this world of make believe the truly heinous stuff isn’t of a physical manifestation — it’s a consciousness, a presence. This voracious void which sought to siphon out all the good in the world, lure in innocence so that it could suffocate it with shit and sin was all but impossible to kill. It’s an ancient evil we find in the darkest recess of our mind and while we entertain it as an unspoken part of ourselves it’s anything but. It’s a vileness gifted to us by a living Darkness. One they foolishly hunted.
An un-killable Thing they relentlessly pursed despite the inevitability of failure.
It could not be killed or cast into some biblical abyss so they did the next best thing. Judas was a monster and what better cage to keep an awfulness than in something that was made of the same stuff. Set the Monsters upon one another. They housed this Demon inside of their homemade savage; Judas would be the prison they used to incarcerate a true-born Evil.
It was a tome-written evil, a gaping void that would eventually take control from even the steel-willed assassin and break him. Soon Judas would just be another victim of the Darkness. None of them wanted to acknowledge it at the time but an ill-fate seemed rather iron-clad. Judas last ride wasn’t just a guns-blazing tribute to some shitty eighties rock song; it was a last ditch effort to do something decent.
“You got to do it when it’s time.” The pseudo-authority of the demand seemed to rub the concrete-kid wrong, that devil-may-cry brazen was adopted once more in the form of another shit-eating-grin.
Cavalier to a fault and for anyone else it might have come across as callous .. Judas understood; understood that this was the one man whom knew that there was too much at stake to allow personal investment to jeopardize the integrity of a mission they had all sacrificed so much for.
They didn’t need to get dramatic. This was a fairy-tale world without the neapolitan ending. Scary shit was out there. Most of the time it won. There was no script, no reassurance that it would all work out. Men like this didn’t hug goodbye.
The Jackal slowly smoked his last cigarette.
Judas limped around the apartment, collecting the nefarious supplies of his pernicious profession.
Neither said goodbye. There was no hug, or Roman-esque clap of the arms. It was business as usual. He’d buried too many men better than Judas to give him any kind of special consideration. Picking up the pieces of the broken hearted beauty in the aftermath of Judas, whom seemed to have done his namesake proud.
It’s a trespass so resounding that no sacrifice, no matter the nobility of it, could make amends.
“Had to be a fucking nightclub,” Murmured through a haggard sigh. “I swear these people don’t even try to be original. You’re sure all the Trinity will be there?”
Across the way is the informant of the hour, a street-savvy two-timer who’d a penchant for making good on every lie. Carlos nodded. “.. This is a big hit man, if you miss just gettin’ this is gonna put my ass in a fucking sling.” Judas wasn’t the missing kind, while some coined this as reckless and wild there was one thing perpetually being over looked: Judas was a consummate professional and as good a killer as anyone whoever lived.
“Even if they got a name like Trinity – like – for real — Trinity?” The attempt at levity would have been cut short by some kind of uncomfortable bout of stoicism, except for this time. Instead the good natured jab, delivered an a well-worn grin was taken in patient stride.
Judas half stood, half drug himself out of the booth. “Fuck if I knew, probably because it sounds mysterious .. would be funny if there was four of them though, right?” It’s enough to etch a degree of sincerity to the faux-smile carved across Carlos gamblers countenance.
The slip was veiled with a narrowing gaze; concealing that a good-natured quip would have any kind of home in a black heart two-timer such as the informant. Visage shifted from speaker to fat-fit-envelope, ripe with money, being shoved across the burnished table. The stone-cold man was frighteningly relaxed, given what he’s plotting.
That didn’t surprise the Coyote-bred-hustler, he knew what this was.
Acceptance, the first step toward peace.
“Good luck.” While it was packaged as a cursory send off the big man deliberated on the small sliver of kindness. They didn’t see eye-to-eye on much. Still, this was another bad who knew what it was to try to be better than what nature and nurture intended.
Finally, the fucking fight.
Distorted garbage vomits out high-priced speakers, the rumbling bass is rip-roaring off every wall, thundering through each gyrating body. Judas is the lone constant in a sea of swarming bodies sloppily swaying. It’s come center-stage and for a second time in as many days he’s feeling it.
That eerie, pulse settling calm. Violence is coming and while his body is taut as a hard-spun spring he’s watching the world move at a crawl. They know he’s here. This isn’t some low-rent operation and now is the time to see the power behind the masquerade which lorded over him all of his life. The first to address him is an absolute behemoth. The kind of titan that made even the big bodied Judas seem a waif. While the crooked toothed goon knew about the steel-eyed banshee it paled when in comparison to what Judas knew about him.
Right handed, boxer, good center of gravity, known for an ego as big as those burly fist. Fredrick, thirty-seven years old — dodgy left knee and a history of traumatic brain injuries.
The snap of the left was lightning quick and both impact and aim was ferocious as well as dead-on, it smacked hard against the spire of a wide-set nose and the telltale crack was bone giving way, the concussion enough to rock back that big head. Blurred vision didn’t help and by the time he’s made sense of the cheap-shot the fleet-footed assassin is gone. It all made sense a moment later when a vice-like grip captured around that tree-trunk of a waist, aided by a second hand snaking from the opposite direction to join the first. The massive man is hoisted off of his once trusted feet.
This isn’t some novice brawler yet the prospect of fighting a man equal in size, twice as fast and ( in the more functional sense ) stronger was a losing one. He’s unconscious by the end of the suplex.
It’s as if grotesque and resounding impact of flesh against marble was the gun-shot to set the whole shit-storm into motion. A dozen men are working through the thicket of people, tossing the intoxicated masses by the wayside. There’s little resistance from the dead-eyed menagiera of bodies but their compliance doesn’t make it any easier to wade through them. Security congregated around their fallen accomplice in time to hear the cry of an alarm, the club is doused in a torrential downpour. It’s an instant too late. That piercing cry harrowed through the inebriation, the shrill of the fire alarm turned this place into even more of a madhouse.
Pandemonium reigned supreme. Confusion caught like a wild-fire. Their head of security was hamstrung. It dawned on each of them, almost in unison — they’re all in one place.
The grenade surreptitiously slipped beneath the now unconscious mans’ prone body ignited, the sheer blast radius is enough to kill every one of them and a few haphazard club-goers. Sure, the road to vindication might get muddled by the innocent collateral damage but Judas wasn’t a morale man; he’s cracking eggs for an omelette.
With a now cleared dance-floor and a swept-panic herding everyone to the exit he’s a clear-cut path to the next level of the club.
Taking each stair three at a time, the cat-quick assassin is intercepted by two of the more seasoned in the Syndicate. They aren’t some knuckle-dragging bruisers, the first is a woman who’s an affinity for blades and the other is a smooth-talking sophisticant that’s known for killing with anything but kindness.
The way they fight it’s obvious they’ve worked in tandem before, each step is calculated as a well choreographed dance. Just like any orchestrate one misstep is going to be noticed, it’s going to be noticed, damning and can throw off all that precious timing. Absorbing a hard kick to a badly bruised midsection wasn’t ideal but it allowed him to trap the aristocratic mans leg — a violent twist dislodged it from the joint, that satisfying howl let Judas know he’d effectively taken this one out of the fight.
At a cost.
The trade off was the blade-loving harlot scored a nasty cut across the top of Judas left arm, the bite went so deep an immediately white-washing-coldness ran down the length of the wounded appendage. She’s a cruel cunt and it’s only then Judas realized she’d offered her partner up as a distraction. Discarding the man with a pivot, tossing him down the stairs he’d run up a minute prior, the sickening snap of more broken bones made for an anguished soundtrack.
Now she can afford to be patient, she’s tip-toeing in a half circle to keep Judas corralled. Judas is out of time, the Trinity — the undisputed leaders of all the Syndicate — was probably on the move somewhere out the back. The bloodied blade, a wickedly hooked dagger that’s viciously serrated, is taunting with the smattering of blood dulling its sheen.
Death wasn’t going to be kept waiting and as such was the case neither would Judas. Rolling forward in one bounding leap where she’s expecting him to veer level or nimbly duck right neither is the case. She’s shocked to find the straight forward jab found purchase, that she’s run the blade clean into an exposed — even inviting — gut. The problem is that now she’s being snatched by her pretty little neck, the problem is even with one one good arm Judas seemed to have the strength of any ten men. It’s a trade off, death for death; a sacrifice she wasn’t yet ready to make.
Hurling her ass clean over the rail where those over-priced heels clipped the spire to send her tumbling head over feet into the hardwood dance floor below. She’ll live, but judging by the bone jutting out of her ankle she’ll never dance again.
Now the darkness is coming on, the one both inside of him and the one inviting him over to the other side. There’s a keep-sake protruding out of his gut in the form of a knives hilt, the nerve damage cascaded over the now numb left arm also a product of that lethal edge. Worse yet he can’t even rip the germinated handle out of that bloody abdomen for fear of bleeding out.
The trail lead to a loft with a two-way mirror overlooking the whole scene below, where the product of Judas bloodletting is witnessed first hand. Body parts which once belonged to smartly dressed security men scattered to every corner. A whining woman pathetically crawling over the blood-soaked floor.
Enervating sight dulled, vertigo and nausea hot on the heel of it.
Unconsciousness and probably death would have taken him at that very prime moment, instead there’s a ruckus startling him back to the present. Outside.
Wet from the rampant rain of a still bothersome fire alarm, favoring the left and limping — he’s not quite cutting a menacing look when staggering into the street. There he’s greeted by three strangers, the masterful maestros of his and so-many other fates. The surprise of seeing Judas emerge is short-lived, they are career manipulators and constantly wearing one guise or the next. Even when unaware they wouldn’t be caught as such.
Caveat that with the fact that each of them climbed the ranks of this insidious, death-dealing organization, having most likely started somewhere near the bottom. You don’t get gifted to the upper echelon by way of nepotism in this industry, you fucking murder your way to the top. They aren’t doe-eyed prey, instead he’s immediately greeted with a look all too familiar.
One he’s witnessed in the mirror nightly.
She’s not really here.
This is death.
I’m just a foolish boy still chasing a long dead dream. She’s present but I can tell it’s not in the name of love.
The softness gives way to a hard-line, regal mannerism. She’s humoring me with a well-worn smile.
Even if this is my illusion, my dream, I rest my head against her; I sink into her.
That frigid, all consuming emptiness is gone. The light is gone.
All of them draw as one, the lone gunman in this western isn’t a hero; the three clean-cut across aren’t any better — bandits and bastards square off with each other. It’s a cacophony of noise is an ugly epilogue but death was rarely a pretty affair.
As was with the now broken woman so is it with these sordid three, they’re gambling Judas will seek refuge behind some kind of cover.
They bet their life on the fact he’s still value in his own.
Instead? The tall-standing goliath doesn’t run from the judgement of each round fired off. It’s a form of judicial – spiritual, universal, or however you wish it defined – sentencing. He’s a knack for romanticizing what it is he’s done and now doing.
A pound of flesh is taken with each biting bullet — this body is useless in the wake of retribution.
Judas isn’t trying to win, hell he’s not even trying to survive; the cadence of breath is stabilized long enough to squeeze three rounds. Precise. The kind which take the life clean out of someone. The alleyway is a smokey haze, three lifeless bodies are about to be joined by a fourth. Judas unceremonious fall is not without merit, as consciousness is fleeing him for the last time the fruits of this arduous labor are bore witness to.
The Trinity has been driven into the dirt.
The head of the very snake that stole his innocence. Better yet, as the blanket of eternity drifted over him he wasn’t going to succumb to that demon; the demon housed inside such a badly fragmented soul. The Darkness promised they could rise again, they could rule a weak world and yet while it pleaded from a pedestal of vagrant fear he’s instead elsewhere.
Judas smile is aimed at the indifferent heavens; the sharpened skyline will not gift a reprieve and the starless-ness is somehow a sick, poetic comfort. This will not be a fairy-book ending. The police will think it drug related, some back-alley nonsense, never knowing the truth — the magnitude of it.
At the end Judas Entreri died in a nameless alley, in a city he hated, where nobody knew his name — but unlike the awful end so cryptically promised to him, it was in the name of love.
While they wouldn’t know why, countless children would live an ordinary and loved life because of the sacrifice made by one brazen, stone-faced bastard.
And at the end, when it’s so terribly cold and irrevocably dark, I felt her anew.
Even now, a world away; she is with me — and I know death is only the beginning.