The hot Miami sun shines down upon a simple, intimidating grey building. A tall fence, topped with barb wire surrounds the facility. Heavily armed guards patrol the grounds inside, and stand at the main entrance. It is the place they put the worst criminals, or those with access to the funds that would get them out of average prisons.
Inside, two well-armed guards escort one such inmate down a dull, grey hallway. The man’s name is Hyden. An older man, he looks more like a blue-collar worker than the leader of an expansive criminal empire. He shuffles along, the shackles on his ankles slowing his usual confident stride. His hands and arms, although cuffed at the wrists, are strong and rough from years of work that has made him the man he is today. The orange jumpsuit hides a body formed from years of hardship and punishment, although recent years have softened it a bit. His black hair, lined with strands of grey, is wet and slicked back, touching the his back collar. His face isn’t anything remarkable. Wrinkled and worn by time, he looks like many from Cuba or somewhere in South America that came to the United States for a better life. But his eyes tell a different story. They are intelligent, dark, and vacant, like a shark. Only his eyes reveal his true nature, that of a predator.
The guards stop at a steel door with a small glass window the size of a fist. One guard pushes Hyden against the opposite wall, nearly mashing his nose. The other unlocks the door and opens it.
The guard holding Hyden leads him into the room. He sits him in one of the two chairs closest to the door. He chains his shackles to a steel loop in the floor and threads the chain of his handcuffs through a loop in the steel table.
The guard looks up at the man sitting across from Hyden. “You’ve got five minutes.”
“Of course. Thank you.” the other man replies.
Hyden raises his gaze upon this man. His dark, custom-tailored suit with just a hint of a metallic sheen is beyond even his well-paid lawyers’ finances. The man’s features seem to be chiseled from an olive-hued marble. The heroic jaw, the dignified nose, the prominent brow, the dark, intense eyes, the thick, slicked, black hair, everything about him is perfection. The man answers the question of what a Greek God would look like a suit that cost as much as most people’s yearly wages. Besides the man’s dark, intense eyes, only one other thing raises a red flag in Hyden’s mind. The man’s hands. They are not soft or pretty. They are strong, powerful, brutal.
“You’re too pretty to be a lawyer.” Hyden snickers as he sits back. “To get in here requires either big balls, or big money. Which is it?”
“Both.” the man replies in a smooth, deep voice with a hint of an Italian accent.
“You got a name, handsome?”
“Jericho Mars. I represent the Caperelli family.”
Hyden raises an eyebrow. “Mars?”
“After the Roman god of agriculture, and war.”
Hyden smiles. “You don’t look like a farmer.”
“You do not look like a free man.” Jericho replies, a cool smile on his lips.
Hyden’s smile fades. “I had dealing with Marciano Caperelli years ago.”
“My father. But that has nothing to do with my being here. But the woman known as Andreas Pry is. How did you come into contact with her?”
Hyden looks upon Jericho with growing incredulity. “Do you know who I am? Do you know where you are? You’re in my city!” He lifts his hands, rattles his handcuffs. “I’m in here because I allow it! I’m not some mouth-breathin’ snitch, and I’m not impressed by the suit or the looks, pretty boy! I’ve seen a lot of your kind. Hot-shot punks, trying to make a name. I’ve buried a lot of them too!”
Jericho seems unfazed by Hyden’s rant. He looks upon Hyden with his dark, cold eyes.
Hyden stares right back, also seemingly unfazed.
“My apologies.” Jericho finally says, almost reluctantly. “I do know who you are, and where I am. You have worked hard to make a name for yourself. Your very existence shows an enduring determination, a strength of character few have been able to match.” he pauses, allowing Hyden to bask in his compliments. “But you are here because of a woman. Two women in fact. You ex-wife Maria, and, in a less direct way, the woman I seek, Andreas Pry. According to my easily blackmailed or brutalized sources, it is not looking good for you. The sun is setting on your little empire, and you know it.”
Fury fills Hyden’s eyes. His teeth grind as his jaw clenches. He would love nothing more than to strangle the life from this punk.
“Despite your rude words from before, and your hateful thoughts now, I did not come here to disrespect you, Hyden. I came here to help. But only, if you help me.”
Hyden’s fists, the knuckles turning white from their tightness, slowly, reluctantly, begin to loosen. “What do you want to know?” he asks quietly, unsure of what he hates more, the events that have led him here, or that this young punk is right.
“Did you personally deal with Ms. Pry?”
“No.” Hyden murmurs, leaning forward. “One of my guys, Mr. Goldman. He went to deal with a problem. Ran across this Pry chick.”
“Where is Mr. Goldman now?” Jericho asks, intently.
“Dead.” Hyden replies.
“I see.” Jericho murmurs. He brings his hand up to his chin and looks down as he thinks.
“Who is this woman to you?” Hyden asks, his mind working at what little details he has.
Jericho pushes his chair back and gets to his feet. “Thank you for your time Mr. Hyden. For your assistance, I will contact our lawyers. Perhaps they may be of some help with your court case.”
Hyden tries to stand up, but his shackles and handcuffs, looped through steel rings in the floor and table, force him to sit back down. “What? That’s it!”
“I am afraid so.” Jericho replies as he walks past Hyden.
“Wait!” Hyden pleads, trying to reach out to Jericho. “I can help. My people can help! We can get information!”
“I have information.” Jericho lies, trying to sound indifferent. The Caperelli family hasn’t stepped foot in America, or had contacts here, since the attack on his father and mother in New York City, on the eve of the Black Wave Event. He hopes Hyden’s desire for freedom blinds him to these facts, as he reaches up to knock on the door to tell the guard he’s finished.
“You’ve got what?” Hyden growls, his desperation and anger fueling each other. “A vague description, based on rumors, of a woman that I’m betting you thought was dead and gone! That isn’t information, that’s wishful thinking!”
Jericho’s hand pauses a few inches from the door. A smile touches the corners of his lips. It vanishes before he turns back to Hyden. He raises a questioning eyebrow.
“I’ve got connections across the country, and beyond. If we could come to some sort of arrangement…” Hyden trails off, hopeful.
“What kind of arrangement?”
“You help me. I’ll help you.”
Jericho stands motionless. He raises his hand to his chin and lowers his eyes thinking. At least, that is what he wants Hyden to believe.
Hyden sits motionless as well. It’s been a long time since he’s had to beg. He doesn’t like it, and he definitely doesn’t like this punk. He imagines burying him under his new pool, or dropping him in the Everglades and watching as he’s eaten by alligators.
“You would be willing to form a partnership?” Jericho finally says.
Hyden smiles. “Of course! I’ve always wanted to work with the Caperelli family, since before the Black Wave Event, and that unfortunate incident.”
Jericho hides his approval. He has Hyden where he wants him, and much more quickly than he expected. He walks back to his chair and sits down. “What do you propose?”
Hyden leans forward again. “One call, and I can have my people digging up all kinds of information on this bitch Pry. In return, you help with my freedom.”
“I am not really a lawyer.” Jericho replies, smirking.
“No, but perhaps you could help me in other ways.”
Jericho regards Hyden, implying concern. “That would be a large trade.”
“If you want this woman bad enough…” Hyden says, trailing off, looking at Jericho, digging up some of his old charm. “Besides, this would be just the first of hopefully many future endeavors between our two organizations.”
Jericho looks at Hyden, lessening his faux concern. “Perhaps.” he pauses before adding, “I would also need to arrange travel for some of my associates.”
Hyden smiles eagerly, nodding. “Of course! Travel for your associates will be easy! They’ll have first-class accommodations, passports, –”
Jericho reaches forward, startling Hyden with his speed. He grabs Hyden’s left hand with his right. “My associates are not ones for first-class. They are more of the irregular type.”
Hyden looks puzzled at Jericho, until he feels his left hand grow cold. He looks down and see Jericho’s hand changing color, from his normal olive-tinged to a more grey tone, like that of the steel table.
Jericho closes his right hand on Hyden’s left. “If you get my meaning.”
Hyden tries to pull his hand from Jericho as he feels his fingers being crushed. The sudden and exquisiteness of the pain makes him cry out.
Jericho releases Hyden’s hand. He balls his steel-like hand into a fist and slams it on the steel table. It makes a loud, resonant metal-on-metal sound, and leaves a small dent.
Hyden favors his left hand, looking with surprise at the mark left on the table.
Jericho’s right hand quickly returns to its normal color. “Do we have a deal then?”
Hyden doesn’t respond right away, he has a hard time taking his eyes off the dent in the table. Finally, he looks up and nods. “You do for me, and my boys will do for you.”
“Good.” Jericho stands and offers his right hand to shake.
Hyden is hesitant to reach out with his right hand. But once he realizes Jericho’s hand is normal, he shakes it.
After they shake on it, Jericho goes to the door and knocks. “We are done.”
A guard unlocks and opens the door. “What was that noise?” he asks.
Jericho looks around and shrugs. He turns back to Hyden, patting him on the shoulder. “I will be in touch.”
Hyden nods, still favoring his hand. “Very soon.”
After Jericho is gone, the two guards from before enter the room. They unlock Hyden’s hands and feet, help him up, and escort him back to his cell.
Before the guards leave, Hyden approaches one of them. “I’ll need to make a call tonight.”
“Yes Mr. Hyden.” the guard replies, without turning around.
Hyden sits back down on his bed, rubbing his left hand, hoping that their arrangement is successful, so he can show his ‘appreciation’ to Jericho.
Pry: The Ghosts of Promises Past: Jericho Mars Copyrighted © 2013 Mark James MacKinnon. Any use of these characters, without permission, is strictly prohibited. Any similarities to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.