Two women walked down an alley most cops wouldn’t enter. In the shadows, illegal activities were committed. Life was washed away in a swirl of alcohol or with the push of a needle’s plunger. Bodies merged and thrust, but it wasn’t love, it was lust and the need for cash. It was the modern-day version of Sodom.
A lone light over a heavy steel door with a small slot was the only source of illumination. As the two women approached it, the light revealed the harshness of their appearance. Both were skinny, their sinewy frames barely covered in clothes no self-respecting stripper would wear. The chill of the night cut through them like so many things in their miserable lives. Like those things, they tried to ignore it. They might be in their early twenties, but the life they lead had aged them, hardened them. The only solace they had was that they could share their woeful lives.
One of them, Lynn stopped beside the steel door. She pulled out a pack of crumpled up cigarettes and a lighter with some logo long since worn off from use. She popped a cigarette into her mouth and ignited her lighter. The flame flashed upon her leathery and harsh face. As she sucked on the cigarette, wrinkles and lines drew down towards her lips, revealing a life-time’s worth of smoking. As she exhaled, her eyes dulled as her fix was fed just as lighter clicked off.
She leaned back against the wall and offered one to her friend.
Chantel nodded and pulled a cigarette from the pack.
Lynn exchanged the pack of smokes for her lighter. The flame licked out and Chantel quickly lit her cigarette.
Chantel looked attractive compared to Lynn. Her eyes and face still held a bit of her youth, but whoever she was had been beaten down and hurt. She pulled back from the flame and inhaled, brushing her dark hair from her face.
Lynn continued to lean against the wall, chugging through her cigarette. Chantel absently puffed on her cigarette, keeping an eye on the unseen people and things going on in the alley. The slightest noise drew her attention. There was a hint of fear at what she couldn’t see. But there was a viciousness there too. Like a feral house cat that dimly remembered the sweetness of a home, but now only knew how to fight and survive.
“You actually gonna leave Angelo?” Lynn asked indifferently.
Chantel didn’t hear her. She looked 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 pushed off the wall and punched Chantel. “Come back to earth bitch!”
Chantel recoiled, looking at Lynn. “What?”
“You. Leave Angelo.” Lynn repeated.
“Yeah.” Chantel replied. She turned away, looking up at the buildings beyond the alley. “I wanna go to Vegas.” she added dreamily. “Start fresh. See the sun. Feel warm again. Ya know?”
“Oh ya, I know.” Lynn answered, 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 said, tilting her head upwards. “Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Dying.” she added, sounding lost, drowning.
“If we die, darlin’, we’re goin’ to Hell.” Lynn commented, finishing off her cigarette and tossing it into the darkness. “At least we’ll know everyone there.”
Lynn turned and pounded on the door. It creaked open on it’s own. “What the fuck?” She pushed on the door and heard yelling. She turned back to Chantel. “Somethin’ goin’ on inside.”
Chantel barely heard 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 imagined standing on top of one of them, looking out over the city before jumping off.
“Hey!” Lynn yelled, grabbing Chantel’s arm. “C’mon!”
Chantel allowed herself to be pulled inside.
Lynn walked further inside, eager to see what is going on.
Chantel stopped near the door and saw the body of the doorman, minus his head. Blood still poured from his neck. Seeing the reality of death right in front of her snapped her out of her dark dreams. She looked up and followed after Lynn.
They came out on the main floor of the underground club. Chairs and tables were knocked over. Glasses and bottles were broken. There were people here, and they left in a hurry. She heard men yelling, barking orders, and bellowing threats. She headed across the main floor to a back room that was for gambling. The door was wide open, poker cards and chips everywhere, along with more dead bodyguards. In the center of the room, a group of Angelo’s men stood, their guns drawn, looking intently towards two people in the middle of the room.
Chantel found Lynn grabbing handfuls of spilled cash and poker chips. She walked past Lynn and climbed up on a table to get a better view.
“What do ya see?” Lynn asked as she stood, stuffing cash into her top.
“Angelo.” Chantel replied. “Someone has him from behind. He’s holding a knife to Angelo’s throat.”
“Who’s the guy?”
“I don’t know.” Chantel said. “I can’t make out who it is. But he doesn’t look right.”
“Hey, there’s Mikey. He might know somethin’.” Lynn said and headed off towards some guy in a suit.
Chantel hopped down from the table. She replayed 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 was fear, they just thought it was anger. But she had seen his true face, his true emotions. He could be tender and sweet when he wanted something. But when he didn’t get it, his gentle hands became hard and merciless. His sweet face became enraged and cruel. She knew, without a doubt, the look on his face right now was fear.
Lynn jogged back to Chantel, smiling like a demonic high school girl 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 formed in Chantel’s mind.
“Someone ain’t gettin out of here alive.” Chantel replied absently as she headed off towards the bar. She hopped up and over and disappeared behind. She came back up with a pump-action shotgun, which she quickly loaded. She reached under again and pulled out a hand gun and tucked it into the front waist of her skirt.
She hopped over the bar and pushed her way through the crowd of men with the shotgun.
She stepped out in front of Angelo. The person that held him turned to put Angelo between him and Chantel.
“Hey honey.” Chantel said in a cool, almost sweet voice. “You want me to kill this fucker for ya?”
Angelo laughed. “Yeah baby.” He looked back at his captor. “She’s a nasty bitch, freak. You better let me go.”
“Really.” His captor said in a gravelly, quiet voice.
“‘Kay baby.” Chantel said. “But after this, I’m leaving.”
“I’m gone, baby. Outta this city, outta yer life. Deal?”
“Fuck you.” Angelo replied, his fear slipped away, his anger rising.
“That freak is gonna cut you–” Chantel began.
“Shut the fuck up!” Angelo yelled. “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 looked at Angelo and knew he meant every word. She had heard of what he had 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.
A cool certainty washed over Chantel as she smiled. “Too bad.” She fired the shotgun, blasting a massive red hole in Angelo’s chest.
Angelo’s captor dropped his limp body. It made a wet splat on the floor.
The others looked on in shock and silence.
The silence was broken by Chantel as she started to laugh, looking at the dead body that was Angelo. He held so much power over her, put so much fear into her. To see him lifeless on the floor, at her hands, was a euphoric release of that power and fear. She had never been so happy to see someone dead.
Someone from the crowd yelled. “Kill’em!”
One brave soul charged up behind Chantel.
A knife whirled out of the darkness from the freak assassin, whipping past Chantel, finding a home in the one brave soul’s face.
The freak assassin stepped into the light. He was a walking arsenal. Guns, knives, ammo, he had it all in spades. But it was his head that made Chantel’s breath catch in her throat. He had a wolf’s head. He had dark-colored fur on his neck, with lighter coloration on his throat. His snout and face were dark save for white around his eyes and ears. But it was his eyes that were the most striking. They almost glowed bluish white. It was then that she remembers who the freak assassin was, the being who seemed half man and half wolf.
“Wolf Eyes.” Chantel said aloud in awe.
When Wolf Eyes spoke, his teeth glistened like a hungry predator. “I like you.” he said in a voice that sent chills through Chantel. She wasn’t exactly scared of him or his haunting nature, she found him enthralling.
“Thanks.” Chantel mumbled in a daze.
“But they don’t.” Wolf Eyes added. He drew a gun as he leapt past Chantel, firing into the crowd.
Others came around, their weapons drawn. Chantel lifted her shotgun and unloaded on anyone she saw.
Wolf Eyes and Chantel stood back to back, firing on the crowd. Bullets whizzed by their heads, striking others. When the shotgun was empty, Chantel clubbed someone with it before tossing it aside. She pulled the pistol from her skirt’s waist band and continued her onslaught. Wolf Eyes barely moved. But when he did, it was quick and purposeful. When a weapon was done, he dropped it and pulled another. Every shot they unleashed found a home, creating clouds of smoke and blood. Screams of anger quickly turned to screams of pain and death.
It seemed like forever, but it was all over in a little over a minute. Many lay dead on the floor while others ran for their lives.
Only Wolf Eyes and Chantel remained, their backs touching. Both splattered by blood from those that actually got close before being blown to pieces.
Chantel’s eyes were wild, manic. Her breathing was heavy and ragged. It was the most alive she had felt in a long time.
Wolf Eyes was calm, like this was all nothing to him.
Both turned and face each other, weapons pointed at each other.
“You gonna kill me now?” Chantel asked.
Wolf Eyes grabbed her gun.
Chantel pulled the trigger.
Wolf Eyes smiled as he tossed the gun aside.
Chantel turned to run, but Wolf Eyes grabbed her and threw her to the ground. She rolled onto her back, just as Wolf Eyes leapt upon her, a knife in his hand. He ran the trip of the knife between her breasts, not cutting clothes or skin.
“You’re leaving town.” Wolf Eyes said, not making the distinction about whether it was a question or a suggestion.
“Or you could kill me.” Chantel replied, 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 faded. He released Chantel and stood, turning away from her as he sheathed his knife.
Chantel slowly got to her feet, looking at Wolf Eyes, puzzled.
“Everything changes.” Wolf Eyes said. He turned 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 turned and left, disappearing into the shadows.
Wolf Eyes words weighed on Chantel.
Distant police sirens pulled her out of her thoughts. She headed off into the shadows and left her old life behind.
“Tales from the Infinatum”, “Chantel”, “Wolf Eyes” 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.