The Deal: Sinners Heart Part 1

Friday, 15 January 2016

Beads of sweat dripped into my eyes, almost blinding me, as I sprinted towards the abandoned abattoir. Ahead I could see my newest target, an overweight street hustler who goes by the name of Slick, crash through the main door of the gothic building.
   I was surprised at how fast the fat bastard could move and even more surprised at how just unfit I had become over the years. Wiping a thick layer of sweat from my forehead, I slowed my pace down to a fast walk as I entered the building through the same door as my target.
   Slick knew he was fighting for his life now. This wasn’t going to be a simple beat down like he was used to from the cops or his fellow street urchins. He knew I was out to take his life and I knew he would do whatever it took to stay alive. Caution was the key word when you had to chase after your prey.
   The door way opened into what looked like a small office. There was a couple of overturned desks, a smashed computer and plenty of obscene graffiti on the once white walls.
   I figure it had probably been the manager’s office at some point in its history, or possibly even a reception area for the drivers bringing in the livestock.
   In the near distance I could hear the crash of metal against metal and quickly moved in that direction. This time I choose stealth over speed. He was still in the building and thanks to only a few shafts of pale moonlight shinning in through the shattered windows, he was just as blind as I was.
   I felt confident that he wasn’t going to be leaving the building by own his accord this time. I moved to the doorway near the far end of the room, its door propped up against the wall, long removed from its hinges.
   Beyond the office lay the main killing floor. The area of the building where the animals would be brought through and slaughtered one by one, each receiving a single bolt to the head. Not exactly the best way for an animal to die but probably about the kindest a cruel race like us could think up.
   ‘It’s over Slick!’ I shouted out into the vast room. I wasn’t expecting an answer, but if he was stupid enough to reply to me then it would help me pin-point his location more accurately.
   ‘Fuck you!’ Came a rattled, wheezing voice. For a career con-artist I was surprised at just how stupid he was being. But then again all intelligence goes out the window when you have the hitman from hell chasing you.
   ‘No thanks.’ I shouted back. On the floor just beyond the doorway I could see the shape of a meat hook and moved to pick it up. ‘I know plenty of women willing to do that for me.’ I wanted to try and keep him talking as I moved quietly in his direction.
   ‘What do you want from me!?’ He cried out and for a moment he actually sounded like he genuinely didn’t know.
   The meat hook felt heavier than I had imagined it would be as I slapped its hooked blade into my open palm. Edging along the ceramic tiled wall, and heading towards the far right of the building I decided to elaborate on my predicament.
   ‘You have in your possession a very valuable Gold chain that was stolen from my boss some time ago. He knows you still have it and I will get it back one way or another.’ I kept my voice loud enough so that he could hear me but also soft enough to try and reduce the threat level.
   If he had any instinct for self-preservation his next tactic would be try and bargain with me. It was a classic scenario that I had dealt with countless times before.
   ‘I don’t have your stupid necklace. I pawned it a few days ago at Harry’s Pawn Shop on Tenth Street.’ He was starting to calm down a little as he began to think that he might have a chance of walking away from this situation unharmed.
   If only you knew the truth you fat fucker. I thought to myself as I continued through the darkness, following the sound of his voice as it led me closer to another room where the animals would be cut up for their meat.
   ‘Are you absolutely sure about that?’ I asked, reaching the wide doorway which led to the gutting room as I called it. The roof at that end of the building had been badly damaged by the various storms that came and went through the years which was good for me since the huge gaping hole allowed moonlight to flood inside and give me much better vision.
   ‘Of course I am. I’m only interesting in making a few bucks to feed my family. If I had known it was going to cause this much problem I would never have took it off him.’ He was on the verge of tears now, which was exactly what I wanted.
   But I found myself faltering as he spoke.
   ‘Who did you take it off?’ I asked, becoming more curious as to what kind of story he was going to make up to cover his sorry ass.
   ‘I don’t know, some big guy dressed like a monk. But he was creepy as all hell. Hardly spoke a word to me. He just pushed the necklace at me and I gave him a couple of bucks for it.’
   Now I was truly curious. My mind flashed back to my meeting with Pertilius in the apartment of the thief who had stolen Beelzebub’s soul. Surely he wouldn’t be up here on the Earthly plane, trading ancient relics that where obviously very important to his master, my boss, just to make a few bucks?
   ‘His robe. Was it black?’ I asked, just a few feet away from the opening to the next room.
   There was a moment of silence as Slick thought about my question. Con artists usually had very good memories but old Slick wasn’t up there with the crème of the crop. In-fact he spent more time in jail than he did out conning people of their hard earned money.
   ‘Yeah.’ He shouted eventually. ‘It had strange symbols on the cuffs and the hood. I don’t know, like magic symbols I guess. I thought he was just another whack job looking to score a few bucks so I played along.’
   As far as I remembered seeing, Pertilius was the only brother in his order with those symbols on his robe. But it made no sense for him to be here trading in ancient artefacts, if indeed that was what the necklace really was.
   Those lovely folk down in hell weren’t exactly well known for their honesty and it was certainly possible that this could be some sort of rouse. A means to get me to do more of the brothers dirty work, while I was also working for their master, or our master as it was for the time being.
   I had thought it strange that Satan himself would waste my time and energy on such frivolous items. After all he has gone countless centuries without caring about them, so why should he suddenly be interested in them now?
   As various thoughts floated around in my head I noticed I had neared the doorway and when I looked down at the concrete floor I could see a shadow being cast from the other side of the doorway.
   At first I thought it was my own, but as I waited a few seconds for my vision to focus properly in the poor light, I noticed it was way too fat to belong to me. The meat hook I held in my right hand began to glow along with the gold band on my finger. The gold band that was my power supply when it came to dealing with the scum from hell, or in this case, the scum that was going to hell.
   However I had one last question before I permanently removed Slick from the streets of New York.
   ‘Did he say anything? The monk. Did he speak at all?’ I was certain the answer would be no, but was surprised when the fat hustler replied.
   ‘Yeah. He muttered something like heart of the sinner, or some such crap. I wasn’t really interested. I just wanted to get the gold chain from him and then make him go away. He really freaked me out.’
   The heart of the sinner. What the hell did that mean? It was a question I was going to have to ponder on later. Right now, I had a job to do.
   Gripping the steel hook as tight as I could, I swung it fast and hard in the direction of where I thought the fat mans head would be behind the wall.
   An agonized scream filled the air and a flock of birds who had been nesting on the roof of the building suddenly took flight away from what they thought was danger. I pulled the hook towards me and watched as Slick stumbled out of the darkness and fell to his knees in-front of me.
   The hook had punctured his right temple and burst through his eye socket, from which a stream of crimson blood was now pouring. He quivered before me in fear, and I couldn’t deny that it actually felt quite good. I used to feel like shit for days at a time after a contract had been completed, but this time I felt excited, happy even. And the thought of what I was about to do next began to put a smile on my face.
   ‘Slick. You really should have learned to stop taking things that do not belong to you.’ I said, and then the screams began as I twisted and turned the hook until it was free of his head.
   He looked up at me with his remaining eye. Lips quivering and his body wracked with pain and fear. I couldn’t explain why, but as I looked down on him I could feel nothing but hatred and contempt, and something inside, the really nasty part of me, was determined that his death was not going to be a quick one.
   I raised the bloody hook above my head.
   ‘Please…Please don’t kill me…I…’ It was too late to beg.
   I brought the hook down hard, smiling as I heard the tip of the blade break through the top of his skull and bury its self in the soft tissue of his brain. My pleasure seemed to grow as I pulled the hook free and watched the fat, greasy old street urchin convulse violently on the floor. Blood poured from his nostrils and mouth making him choke.
   It took around fifteen minutes before his body finally went limp and his soul was now safely in the possession of the Grimoyles somewhere in Hell. I stood there looking down at his lifeless body, a feeling of glee washing over me as I thought about him being stuffed into a tiny cage and then racked to a torture table each and every day for the rest of eternity.
   What the fuck is wrong with you? Screamed a voice inside my head. You’ve just murdered a man and you’re standing there on the verge of a hard on.
   The voice was right. There was something very wrong with this situation. I had never felt anywhere near close to good when I had to take someone’s life and yet here I was standing over a man I had just butchered with the biggest smile on my face possible, like I had just won the lottery.
   However the smile quickly faded when I realized that even though he was dead, Slick still hadn’t told me where the necklace was. Normally I would have started to panic, but I felt certain that he still had it on him, and after a quick check of the inside of his jacket I found not just one but three gold chains.
   I noticed, however, that only one had a small gold pendant in the shape of a heart. On the heart was etched flames licking at the sky above. That had to be the one I was after. It seemed obvious, and going on previous experience, what I was looking for always seemed to be the obvious choice.
   ‘There’s nothing like watching a man who enjoys his work.’ Came the unmistakable voice of Satan from behind me.
   As if out of instinct I closed my hand over the chain I thought was the prize and left the other two dangling over my open palm.
   ‘I wasn’t expecting your company.’ I said bluntly, all feelings of happiness quickly dissolving into a stagnant hatred for the beast posing as a man.
   ‘Most people never are.’ He said cheerfully. ‘I’m glad to see your playing by the rules Samuel. I would hate to have to void or deal. Especially when our relationship seems to be getting warmer.’


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