The Deal: A Cold Night In New York Part 4

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Stunned, I ignored the small river of blood streaming down my face, and watched the remainder of the guards’ body first drop to its knees and then fall flat on to the floor, blocking the way for anyone who could not climb over him.
   I looked at the small, golden bullet in my hand. It seemed to glow brighter than it had done earlier when I took it from the man the world not only despised but respected out of pure fear.
   It took a few moments for me to recover from my awe of what had just happened, but the constant reminder that I was on a time limit forced me back in to reality. I had probably only minutes left before the deal would be broken.
   Keeping that in mind I continued on down the hallway, leaving the headless corpse of the security guard behind for some other poor soul to discover, which I assumed in a busy place like a hospital wouldn’t be long at all.
   Operating room three was situated near the next corner of the hallway at the end, just before one could turn left and carry on to the other rooms. The cacophony of noises, desperate and angry voices demanding medical instruments and medicines I had never heard of before, grew louder as I reached the doors leading into the room.
   When I looked inside through the lettered glass panels I could see at least four people milling around this wrinkled old man with various tubes coming out of his arms, nose and throat. There was a moment of doubt inside me as I wondered if I had reached the right room, but when I noticed one of the men inside, dressed in green scrubs, begin to cut along the patients forehead I felt more certain than ever that I had finally recovered my target.
   In my awe at what I had done to the security guard a realization had dawned on me just before I was about to enter the operating room: I had forgotten to take the big guards revolver. I was still without a gun, yet as I clenched tighter on the bullet in my hand, I somehow knew that I had the only weapon I was going to need to see this thing through.
   Knowing was one thing, but I certainly did not feel I was capable of taking on a minion as powerful as I had been made believe he was. I could only hope my secret weapon was going to be enough.
   So, drawing a deep breath I pushed through the double doors with their bright red lettered glass panels, and begun the fight to keep my life and give a new one to the woman I had loved for so long with all my heart.
Now, more than ever in my life time, I badly needed to succeed. Not for my own gratification, or for my own wealth, but for someone who gave me everything and asked for nothing in return.
   The surgeon, along with the three other occupants turned to stare at me as I entered the room. Covered almost head to toe in blood, I must have looked like the victim of a street attack or worse, but instead of being offered help and solstice I was greeted with anger.
   ‘What the fuck are you doing in here?’ Screamed the surgeon, the mask may have covered his snarl, but I could see the rage in his eyes.
   ‘I’m here to finish what I started at the beginning of this evening.’ I said bluntly. I was neither confident nor scared. I just wanted to get it over with.
   ‘I’m trying to save this man’s life. You coming in here covered in blood is going to cause all sorts of infections he may not heal from.’ The anger in the surgeons’ voice waned and gave way to an almost pleading tone.
   ‘Trust me. Infections are the least of his worries where he’s going.’
   The surgeon, scalpel in hand, charged towards me as I made my way towards him. Once he was close enough I swung my right hand round in an arch, my fist connecting hard with the man’s cheekbone.
   There was the familiar sound of bone being broken as his head twisted all the way round beyond the point it was naturally capable of going while attached to his neck. As his body fell to the floor I continued onwards to the bedside of the soon to be late Jim Mancini, a one-time mob boss and soon to be ex-friend of the king of hell himself.
   The remaining occupants of the room, well the ones who could still walk at least, looked at me with fear in their eyes before they glanced at each other and then decided that bolting for safety was better than trying to save this wretched old man’s life.
   I allowed myself the few moments it took for the two female nurses and male doctor to jostle each other through the double doors. A few seconds later and I could hear the distinct sound of a woman screaming as they discovered the body of the guard out in the hallway.
   Time is always a factor in any job that I do, but none more so than what I had to do tonight. If it had been any other job I would have made the effort to hide the guards body, that way it cut down on the amount of people who would be actively searching for me by the time I got out of the building.
   Well, that was another time and probably soon to be another life. In the meantime I had to at least try and see this thing through. I turned my attention back to the old man lying in the bed.
   There was a silence in the air broken only by the occasional beep from the heart monitor. The surgeon had managed to cut a slab of skin neatly across the forehead of the soon to be dead man and he had folded it back over the targets eyes like a makeshift blind fold.
   I could see the small hole left behind by the bullet that should have ended his life, and I could not but help wonder if the surgeon had managed to prise the mangled piece of lead from his skull before I made my way into the room.
I couldn’t see any kidney dishes containing human skin or other matter so I assumed it was still in there somewhere, probably rattling around in what was basically and empty shell if my new employer was to be believed.
   I clenched my fist around the golden bullet as hard as I could, my finger nails digging deep into the soft flesh of my palm, which in a strange way helped to re-enforce that for now          I was still very much alive.
   Raising my hand above the comatose man’s head, I was about to bring it down hard on his exposed forehead like a hammer, but I stopped in mid-motion when the heart monitor suddenly started to beep more and more frequently as the old man’s heartbeat began to rise and rise.
   He was waking up. Suddenly all the anticipation and fear from earlier that evening came washing back over me again as it had done when I first broke into Mancini’s apartment.
   Even though he and his expensive lover had been laying sleeping I had been feeling even more unsettled than usual because of what I was about to do, and of-course after my little deal brokering session with the horned one down below it all made sense why I had been feeling that way after all. I wasn’t here to take away the life of another human but a demon, something that I thought had never existed in any kind of reality.
   ‘You didn’t think I was going to let you take me back to him this easily did you?’ When Argatol spoke his voice was low and growling like a wild animal, but it also sounded old.
Old? No that was wrong, it sounded ancient. In a way that made sense since him and his master have been kicking around since the beginning of time.
   From under the cover he raised his right hand towards me, clasped in his fist was the butt of a gun I recognized all too well.
   It was my own. Now I knew why it had not been on the front seat as I expected. When the two vehicles collided and Mr Wannabe demon lord in the bed had been sent hurtling through my windshield he must have had enough time to reach out and grab it.
   I may have the ability to punch like a God, well at least while the bullet was in my grip, but I was pretty certain my eternal life part of the deal had not been finalized yet. I was going to need to buy time while I thought of a way to get that gun from him.
   ‘This is pretty puny for a big shot hell beast like you.’ I said, staring straight at the barrel of my own revolver.
   ‘I have lived for countless centuries. I have conquered lands, men and woman alike. I am not the puny one.’ Said Argotal. I could sense his rising resentment of me already and I had not even struck a blow.
   ‘Yet here you are, lying in a hospital bed with a hole in your head. Doesn’t seem like something I would expect a demon such as you to have to go through.’ I was starting to feel more confident now, even though he was still holding the gun I felt like I was gaining ground on him.
   I watched as he raised his free hand up towards the slab of skin that was once his forehead. He slowly peeled it back until it was lying flat against his skull once more, albeit it was going to need some stitching if he wanted it to ever stay in place.
   Once the demon in an old man’s body could see again, his black eyes were staring straight at me, trying to probe my very soul for something, anything, that would break my armour and allow him to reduce me to a jabbering wreck before he finally put me out of my misery with my own gun.
   ‘It is a small indignity I must suffer to keep this pathetic shell.’
   ‘Yeah, I forgot you don’t have the same kind of power as your boss.’ It wasn’t until I spoke those words, that I realized one could actually hit a nerve with a demon. As it turns out they were rather sensitive creatures in their own way.
   ‘He’s not my boss.’ Spat Argatol. There was no mistaking the venom in his voice now. ‘I’m the one who feeds him the souls that give him his very power and I get nothing but scraps from his table.’
   ‘Ah you’re the jealous type. I always thought it was Death who handled the grunt work of getting souls from this world to the next.’ I couldn’t help but smile, even though I knew I was only stoking the flames of his anger.
   ‘Death is nothing but a nomad soul, unwelcome and unwanted by any of the Gods.’
   ‘Seriously? I thought his job would probably be the one most of your kind wouldn’t mind having a shot at. At least he does something productive with his day other than taking drugs and screwing prostitutes.’
   ‘I am not ashamed of enjoying human pleasures, especially the greatest one of all. The one that makes me feel…how would you say…warm and fuzzy inside.’
   There was a teasing in his voice, the venom had gone and now he was the one who had focused in on something. This was bad considering I was the one standing without a gun.
   ‘Well it obviously isn’t love considering the trail of bodies you have left behind over the years.’
   ‘Your right and each of those life’s I have taken have been a great pleasure for me. Far greater than any drug induced euphoria or sexual contact which is why I’m going to enjoy this…’
   The room resonated with the clash of a gun being fired and then my own scream as the hot lead tore into my right cheek. The pain was unlike anything I had experienced and what made it worse was the fact that it seemed to slow as it tore apart my flesh, and not slow like the way a normal bullet would lose its velocity after hitting so many obstacles in its path.

No, something was making the bullet come to a stop and it did, buried deep in the soft flesh of my cheek, and just before it would shred the bone which came after it.


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