Tales from the Infinatum: Chantel

Two women walk down an alley most cops wouldn’t enter. In the shadows, illegal activities are committed. Life is washed away in a swirl of alcohol or with the push of a needle’s plunger. Bodies merge and thrust, but it isn’t love, it’s lust and the need for cash. It is the modern-day version of Sodom.

A lone light over a heavy steel door with a small slot is the only source of illumination. As the two women approach it, the light reveals the harshness of their appearance. Both are skinny, their sinewy frames barely covered in clothes no self-respecting stripper wouldn’t wear. The chill of the night cuts through them like so many things in their miserable lives. Like those things, they try to ignore it. They might be in their early twenties, but the life they lead has aged them, hardened them. The only solace they have is that they can share their woeful lives.

One of them, Lynn stops beside the steel door. She takes out a pack of crumpled up cigarettes and a lighter with some logo long since worn off from use. She quickly pops a cigarette into her mouth and ignites her lighter. The flame flashes upon her leathery and harsh face. As she sucks on the cigarette, wrinkles and lines draw down towards her lips, revealing a life-time’s worth of smoking. As she exhales, her eyes dull as her fix is fed just as lighter clicks off.

She leans back against the wall and offers one to her friend, Chantel.

Chantel nods and pulls a cigarette from the pack.

Lynn exchanges the pack of smokes for her lighter. The flame licks out and Chantel quickly lights her cigarette.

Chantel looks attractive compared to Lynn. Her eyes and face still holds a bit of her youth, but whoever she was has been beaten down and hurt. She pulls back from the flame and inhales, brushing her dark hair from her face.

Lynn continues to lean against the wall, chugging through her cigarette. Chantel absently puffs on her cigarette, keeps an eye on the unseen people and things going on in the alley. The slightest noise draws her attention. There’s a hint of fear at what she can’t see. But there’s a viciousness there too. Like a feral house cat that dimly remembers the sweetness of a home, but now only knows how to fight and survive.

“You actually gonna leave Angelo?” Lynn asks indifferently.

Chantel doesn’t hear her. She looks down the alley, seeing the street lights beyond, the cars going somewhere, and people laughing and talking about lives she has been denied.

“Hello!” Lynn pushes off the wall and punches Chantel. “Come back to earth bitch!”

Chantel recoils, looking at Lynn. “What?”

“You. Leave Angelo.” Lynn repeats.

“Yeah.” Chantel replies. She turns away, looking up at the buildings beyond the alley. “I wanna go to Vegas.” she adds dreamily. “Start fresh. See the sun. Feel warm again. Ya know?”

“Oh ya, I know.” Lynn answers, taking a drag on her cigarette and blowing the smoke at Chantel with a look of jealousy. “‘Cept yer Angelo’s fav. He’ll kill ya before he let you go.”

“Ya, I know.” Chantel says, tilting her head upwards. “Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Dying.” she adds, sounding lost, drowning.

“If we die, darlin’, we’re goin’ to Hell.” Lynn comments, finishing off her cigarette and tossing it into the darkness. “At least we’ll know everyone there.”

Lynn turns and pounds on the door. It creaks open on it’s own. “What the fuck?” She pushes on the door and hears yelling. She turns back to Chantel. “Somethin’ goin’ on inside.”

Chantel barely hears Lynn. Her eyes are fixed on the Twin Towers, standing so far away, yet seemingly so close, peeking between the other buildings like giants. She imagines standing on top of one of them, looking out over the city before jumping off.

“Hey!” Lynn yells, grabbing Chantel’s arm. “C’mon!”

Chantel allows herself to be pulled inside.

***

 Lynn walks inside, eager to see what is going on.

Chantel stops near the door and sees the body of the doorman, minus his head. Blood still pours from his neck. Seeing the reality of death right in front of her snaps her out of her dark dreams. She looks up and follows after Lynn.

She comes out on the main floor of the underground club. Chairs and tables are knocked over. Glasses and bottles are broken. There was people here, and the left in a hurry. She hears men yelling, barking orders, and bellowing threats. She heads across the main floor to a back room for gambling. The door is wide open, poker cards and chips everywhere, along with more bodyguard bodies. In the center of the room, a group of Angelo’s men stand, their guns drawn, looking intently towards two people in the middle of the room.

Chantel finds Lynn grabbing handfuls of spilled cash and poker chips. She walks past Lynn and climbs up on a table to get a better view.

“What do you see?” Lynn asks as she stands, stuffing cash into her top.

“Angelo.” Chantel replies. “Someone has him from behind. He’s holding a knife to Angelo’s throat.”

Who’s the guy?”

“I don’t know.” Chantel says. “I can’t make out who it is. But he doesn’t look right.”

“Hey, there’s Mikey. He might kno Somethin’.” Lynn says and heads off towards some guy in a suit.

Chantel hops down from the table. She replays what she saw, particularly, the look on Angelo’s face. He was scared. She’s never seen that look of fear on his face before. The others probably don’t know it’s fear, they just think it’s anger. But she’s see his true face, his true emotions. He can be tender and sweet when wants something. But when he doesn’t get it, his gentle hands become hard and merciless. His sweet face becomes enraged and cruel. She knows, without a doubt, the look on his face right now is fear.

Lynn jogs back to Chantel, looking like a high schooler with gossip. “Ok, that dude wit Angelo is that freak assassin we’ve heard about. He jus walked in, took out the doorman and a few others before grabbin Angelo. But they guaran-damn-tee he ain’t gettin out alive!”

An idea quickly forms in Chantel’s mind.

“Someone ain’t gettin out of here alive.” Chantel replies absently as she heads off towards the bar. She hops up and over and disappears behind. She comes back up with a pump-action shotgun, which she quickly loads. She reaches under again and pulls out a hand gun and tucks it into the front waist of her skirt.

She hops over the bar and pushes her way through the crowd of men with the shotgun.

She steps out in front of Angelo. The person that holds him turns to put Angelo between him and Chantel.

“Hey honey.” Chantel says in a cool, almost sweet voice. “You want me to kill this fucker for ya?”

Angelo laughs. “Yeah baby.” He looks back at his captor. “She’s a nasty bitch, freak. You better let me go.”

“Really.” His captor says in a gravelly, quiet voice.

“‘Kay baby.” Chantel says. “But after this, I’m leaving.”

“What?”

“I’m gone, baby. Outta this city, outta yer life. Deal?”

“Fuck you.” Angelo replies, his fear slipping away and his anger rising.

“That freak is gonna cut you–” Chantel begins.

“Shut the fuck up!” Angelo yells. “You think you can get one up on me? You leave, I’ll track your skanky ass down. And when I find you, I’ll make sure your lady parts never work right again.”

Chantel looks at Angelo and knows he means every word. She’s heard of what he’s done to girls who stood up to him. Disfigured face. Cut-up body. When he and his crew were done, they didn’t look like women anymore. Just bloody messes.

Chantel smiles. “Too bad.” She fires the shotgun, blasting a massive red hole in Angelo’s chest.

Angelo’s captor drops his limp body. It makes a wet splat on the floor.

The others look on in shock and silence.

The silence is broken by Chantel as she starts to laugh like someone who had been tortured all their life, only to discover it was as easy as killing one person to be free.

Someone yells from the crowd. “Kill’em!”

One brave soul charges up behind Chantel.

A knife whirls out of the darkness from the freak assassin, whipping past Chantel, finding it’s home in the one brave soul’s face.

The freak assassin steps into the light. He’s a walking arsenal. Guns, knives, ammo, he’s got it all in spades. But it’s his head that makes Chantel’s breath catch in her throat. He has a wolf’s head. He has dark-colored fur on his neck, with lighter coloration on his throat. His snout and face are dark save for white around his eyes and ears. But it’s his eyes that are the most striking. The almost glow bluish white. It’s then that she remembers who the freak assassin is, the being who seems half man and half wolf.

“Wolf Eyes.” Chantel says aloud in awe.

When Wolf Eyes speaks, his teeth glisten like a hungry predator. “I like you.” he says in a voice that sends chills through Chantel. She isn’t exactly scared of him or his haunting nature, she finds him enthralling.

“Thanks.” Chantel mumbles in a dazed way.

“But they don’t.” Wolf Eyes adds. He draws a gun as he leaps past Chantel, firing into the crowd.

Others come around, their weapons drawn. Chantel lifts her shotgun and unloads on anyone she sees.

Wolf Eyes and Chantel stand back to back, firing on the crowd. Bullets whiz by their heads, striking others. When the shotgun is empty, she clubs someone with it before tossing is aside. She draws the pistol from her skirt’s waist band and continuing her onslaught. Wolf Eyes barely moves. But when he does, it’s quick and purposeful. When a weapon is done, he drops it and pulls another. Every shot they unleash finds a home, creating clouds of smoke and blood. Screams of anger quickly turn to screams of pain and death.

It seems like forever, but it’s all over in less than a minute. Many lay dead on the floor while others run for their lives.

Only Wolf Eyes and Chantel remain, their backs touching. Both splattered by blood from those that actually got close before being blown to pieces.

Chantel’s eyes are wild, manic. Her breathing is heavy and ragged. It’s the most alive she’s felt in a long time.

Wolf Eyes is calm, like this was all nothing to him.

Both turn and face each other, weapons pointed at each other.

“You gonna kill me now?” Chantel asks.

Wolf Eyes grabs her gun. Chantel pulls the trigger.

Click. Empty.

Wolf Eyes smiles as he tosses the gun aside.

Chantel goes to run, but Wolf Eyes grabs her and throws her to the ground. She rolls onto her back, just as Wolf Eyes leaps upon her, a knife in his hand. He runs the trip of the knife between her breasts, not cutting clothes or skin.

“You’re leaving town.” Wolf Eyes says, not making the distinction about whether it’s a question or a suggestion.

“Or you could kill me.” Chantel replies, feeling afraid and excited. “It doesn’t matter to me anymore. It’s all the same. Life. Death. This city or another. Nothing changes.”

Wolf Eyes menace fades. He releases Chantel and stands, turning away from her as he sheathes his knife.

Chantel slowly gets to her feet, looking at Wolf Eyes, puzzled.

“Everything changes.” Wolf Eyes says. He turns to face her, looking at her with his incredible blue eyes. “Whether we want them to or not. Whether we plan them, or they just happen. Each change is a chance for something new. Something better.”

Wolf Eyes turns and leaves, disappearing into the shadows.

Wolf Eyes words weigh on Chantel.

Distant police sirens pull her out of her thoughts. She heads off into the shadows and leaves her old life behind, she hopes.

Tales from the Infinatum Copyrighted © 2011 Mark James MacKinnon.

Any use of these characters, without permission, is strictly prohibited. Any similarities to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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