We buried Riv the next day in a small grave behind the hotel. Lance cried, KJ just looked pissed off. No one said much, but there wasn’t much to say anyway. They both wanted revenge. I couldn’t blame them. They deserved it. If they both played by my rules, on my time, they would get what they craved, what they deserved. And so would I.
KJ filled in a few more of the details on what they had done to get Trystix’s attention and therefore his retribution. KJ, Riv, and Lance had all worked for Trystix briefly in some capacity, but they’d all been fired once Lena had been diagnosed with the fever. Trystix called them street trash and blamed them for getting her sick, which made no sense. They had never even met Lena. The trio was a little disgruntled about it, so they decided they would try and rebel against Trysticorp. They would try and help the other “street trash.” On top of all of that, KJ’s mom had previously had the Red Rose Fever. Unfortunately, she hadn’t been able to afford any medication due to the escalated prices of Trysticorp’s street vendors. A second misfortune: none of the other 'street trash' would help fight against Trystix.
KJ had found their guns in the attic of his mother’s house after she died. The only one with any experience shooting guns was Riv, and something told me that he wouldn’t be shooting anything anytime soon. They barely knew how to load them, but they were willing to wave them in people’s faces to try and intimidate them to get what they wanted. That’s what they had done to the vendor, followed by a few punches to the face and stomach. That wasn’t good enough in the real world; like I had told KJ the day I met them, the guns work better when the safety isn’t on. They were terrified to actually kill something, which meant to me that they shouldn’t be involved in this kind of thing. But I did tell them that I would help them get revenge, and I aimed to fulfill that promise. I may be a criminal, but I still keep my word.
I spent a lot of time with KJ for the next couple of days. I filled him in on who I was (vaguely) and what I was doing and, more importantly, why I was doing it. He listened intently, absorbing the information quickly. I showed him the map I’d made and asked him for his input on the targets. He may not be a weapon of war, but he was sharp. He was also angry, which helped fuel him to the cause. He suggested that he and Lance take one of my targets on the same day I took one of the others, causing more and more chaos all at once. I loved that idea, but I didn’t have a lot of faith in he or Lance.
“Are you sure he’ll be solid?” I asked again, for about the thousandth time.
“Devil, he may be dumb, but he’s as mad as an alligator getting a root canal. He’s a good driver too, if we had a car…”
“Yeah, about that…I think it’s time I borrow one from Trystix.”
“Really, Devil. And how do you plan on that?”
“I have the code to the building he stores his cars in.” I said with a grin. KJ smiled.
“Oh, you’re a bad one, Devil. You think he can spare two?”
“No, I don’t think he can. But he’s going to.” I smiled again. KJ laughed.
“Tonight. Get ready. Get Lance ready, too.”
I released KJ to do what he needed to do before our breaking-and-entering that evening. I told him to have Lance and himself ready in three hours. He would need some bolt cutters, pliers, and his guns. I reached into my backpack and pulled out my dark clothes and a lighter. I checked to make sure my gun was loaded, though I hoped I wouldn’t need it. I pulled out the hunting knife and put it in my pocket. I took a breath, trying to steel my nerves to what was coming. I was excited, thrilled even, but I was a little nervous to have to worry about having partners. I’ve never been much of a team player. And I don’t share my art with just anyone. If they got in the way, they were disposable to me.
I spent some time thinking about my sister. It was her birthday too, after all. I hadn’t been that close to her, but she was still my sister. I thought of my niece and holding her in my arms. Suddenly, I knew I was ready. I was about to wage war on the man who’d killed them both. And he deserved nothing less. My resolve hardened, my focus was now on a beautiful disaster.
KJ and Lance knocked on my door a few hours later, looking scared to death. They looked like the part, dressed all in black. Lance was carrying a small black tool bag. I don’t think he’d smiled once since Riv had been killed. I looked into the eyes of my recruits, hoping that they would live long enough to have a taste of vengeance.
“The plan is simple; get in, get a couple cars, and get out. Nothing fancy, hopefully no human contact. But I’ve got to know you’ve got it in you to take care of business if it comes up. If you hesitate, you’ll die. If we run in to someone, knock them out if you can. If not, shoot to kill. Do not hesitate. Ever. We only get one shot at this. Understood?” I said.
“What are we going to do once we have the cars?” Lance said.
“Drive like Hell itself is chasing you. KJ, guide Lance to Stu’s. We’re starting it off with a bang tonight. We’ll meet there. That‘s when the fun begins. Now, let’s get started. We’ve got a bit of a walk.”
We started out heading east towards the warehouse. None of us said much, just kept our heads down while walking quietly. Seconds passed, feeling more like days. Cars passed us on the street frequently at first, but the closer we got to our destination the became more sparse. Trystix didn’t want to attract attention to his warehouse, so he put it in a low traffic area. I can’t say I blamed him, but that only played into our advantage on this night.
We finally got to the outer fence of the warehouse and stopped. I turned to my companions, ready to give orders. Lance was way ahead of me. He pulled out the bolt cutters from his bag and began snipping at the fence. I raised an eyebrow and looked at KJ, who just smiled and shook his head. Lance made quick work of the outer fence, pulling back a small section that we could crawl through. I nodded approval to him, then slithered through the opening. KJ and Lance followed. We walked to the main entrance and I punched in the code. Amazingly enough, it still worked! I couldn’t believe that a man like Trystix could be so involved with himself that he’d forget such serious security breaches. The door swung open, and we stepped through. It almost seemed too easy.
Everything looked as it had before, with the addition of the squad car I had borrowed previously. A window was kicked out, which explained how Vic had escaped and made it to the rooftop in time to kill my sister. I walked past the car, lightly touching the side of the vehicle. There was a huge dent in the driver’s door from where I had slammed it into the owner of the car. I wondered why Vic didn’t take this car to Tryst Tower. That would have made sense…Vic really wasn’t the smartest person, I guess. I scoffed and continued towards the car I wanted.
I had known the exact vehicle I wanted to take the second I had decided to steal one; a Jeep. I had always wanted one, and there was a black one with my name on it at the far end of the garage. I made my way toward it as KJ and Lance looked around in awe. I opened the door to the Jeep, smiling as I did. The smile disappeared rather quickly.
“Freeze! You are all under arrest!” A man in a police uniform was sitting in the passenger seat with a gun pointed in my face. He kept the barrel trained on my face, and his safety was DEFINITELY off. Go figure that when I try to have a little style it ends up biting me in the ass.
“All right, man. You got us.” I said as I raised my hands above my head. With a fleeting glance, I saw KJ duck behind a car and pulled out his gun. I couldn’t see Lance anywhere.
“Don’t say a word! Don’t say a word!” He said as he crawled across the seat and stood before me. He looked familiar somehow…
“All right, officer. Calm down. You’re in charge.” I said.
“Damn right! Damn right! Turn around!” I did as I was told. This was not going the way I’d planned it. “Now, hold still and put your hands behind your back!”
“I can’t hold still if I’m putting my hands behind my back.” I said. Then I felt a crack on the back of my skull. I started seeing spots in my vision, like little stars falling from the ceiling.
“Keep your damn mouth shut while I tie this…” He said. Wait a minute…Did he say tie?
“Lost your cuffs, eh? Back to the stone age I guess.” Crack. Again, I was seeing stars. He tied my wrists together with what felt like rope or twine, then hit me again.
“Call your boys in. You cost me my job, now I’m taking you in on citizen’s arrest. Mr. Trystix will give me a medal for this.”
“Sorry man, but I don’t know you.” I said.
“No? Look at that squad car that has my body dented into it. Remember me now?”
Then it clicked. This was the same cop, or former cop I should say, that I had attacked and stolen his car. Now it made sense. Another loose end…
“Oh, I get it. How’s the hip by the way?” I asked. Then another crack. Only this time it wasn’t me. The cop went down, grabbing at his leg. I turned around to see Lance with a tire iron. He struck my captor from again behind the knee,, then on his spine. The cop went limp.
“Friend of yours?” Lance asked me.
“Let’s just say I’ve left a loose end or two. I’m not perfect, either. I just don’t know how he knew we’d be here.”
“Well, let’s not repeat the same mistakes.” said KJ, who had started walking toward us. He raised his gun slightly, aimed at the former officer’s head. Bang.
I was a little taken back by what had just happened. I hadn’t expected much from either of these two, let alone something so soulless, but they’d both become cold enough to do what was necessary. I don’t love blood on my shoes, but I don’t love being arrested by a washed-up cop either. I looked at each of them with a very serious expression.
“If we get caught, we’re all getting crucified for this.” I said.
“We know.” Lance said.
“Good. Let’s give them a reason to try and stop us then. Lance, can you cut me out? Then put our friend in the squad car. KJ, find some gasoline. We’re going to start our party a little early. I’m a little worried how it is that our little friend knew we were coming. I’ll try and find some towels, then we’ll soak them in the gas. Then we’ll bring the noise. Lance, move this Jeep and your car out of here when you finish with Officer Dead.”
KJ and Lance went to their tasks quickly and efficiently. There was a pile of old shop rags near the front of the warehouse. I grabbed a couple bottles of oil and an extra can of gasoline and brought them near the squad car. I dipped the towels in the gasoline and oils then placed them on strategic cars in the garage. I walked around and opened the gas tanks on the motorcycles, dumping some of the contents on the floor. This place was going to burn, and it would burn fast. KJ and Lance finished moving our vehicles, then looked to me for more instructions.
“Get out. It’s about to get very, very hot in here. Drive to Stu’s. I’ll meet you there. I can’t be worried about you two while I do this.”
“You sure, Devil? We could help..?” KJ asked.
“No. Go. Go now. Now!” I yelled. They did as they were told.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the lighter. It was time, finally. Still, I hesitated. Something felt like it was missing…Then I realized it; this looked too random. I walked to a desk in a corner and grabbed a bottle of flourescent spray paint. I walked outside and wrote a small message on the parking area.
Nemesis has returned. This is my city. This is my vengeance. This is only the beginning. It’s time to balance the scales.
Smiling, I tucked the spray paint into my pocket and went back inside. Then, the lighter returned to my hand like it had a mind of its own. Needless to say, it was nirvana. I lit a small towel and threw it towards the squad car. Within seconds, the entire room was ablaze. The smoke was intoxicating. I stood there a moment, feeling the heat beneath my skin. My entire being wanted to stay and be consumed by the fire, to feel the heat ignite my soul, but my work wasn’t done yet. I turned and ran as fast as I could towards the road beyond the fence. A few seconds more passed, and then the fireworks started. Windows blew out, raining glass everywhere. Gas tanks started exploding. The entire warehouse erupted into an inferno of oily black smoke and orange flames. One explosion knocked me off my feet, sending me sprawling across the concrete. I got up and brushed myself off, laughing. I started walking towards the Jeep parked just outside the fence. I smiled the entire walk.
I hadn’t had this much fun in ages.