When Worlds Collide

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  She pushes open the door soundlessly, her faithful forty-five in her other hand and resting on her wrist. As the dark gap before us widens she returns her palm to the gun, cupping the stock again and poking at the pitch curtain with the barrel.

  Painfully slowly she advances and I find myself terrified at the prospect of following her. The sawn-off is slippy in my sweaty palms and I hope she cant hear it rattling ever so slightly as my hands tremble. I’m trying desperately to exude professionalism so she won’t regret bringing me along, but I don’t know how well I’m doing. She’d told me this was a simple job. There’s only one mark, one she promises will be an easy takedown.  Now I can’t help but imagine the horrors of a complicated one.

  She had chosen the shotgun. Fourteen hours ago, when I was standing in the armoury and looking at the wall full of weapons she’d tossed it nonchalantly at me, as if this wasn’t a big deal. I recognized it immediately of course – it was the one she’d sawed herself when she was fourteen. She almost loved it as much as the pistol. I felt like all my birthdays had come at once.

  The apartment is silent, dimly lit by the light that bleeds in from the corridor. Faith moves with a determination and direction that scares me a little. I’ve never seen my sister like this, she’s always so light hearted back at home. Even in training she’s constantly messing around, her sharp wit and acid tongue second only in speed to her blindingly fast fists. But now, in the heat of a job, there is no warmth, no jokes or smiles. I wonder if she is different when she works alone. Is she so intently focused because she thinks she has to look out for me? Or is the job not as simple as she had explained on the long drive over here. Was she keeping something from me?

  She moves from the main room through the only other door and I follow obediently, not wanting to be left anywhere alone with only my own reactions to keep me safe. It’s a bedroom, judging by the large rectangular shape that can only be a mattress lying in the corner. There’s a small red LED light blinking beside it, intermittently lighting up an array of small buttons it rests next to – a phone. The entire place smells bad but in here it is definitely the strongest, the way our fridge smelled when we came back from our six month … vacation to Italy. I do my best to keep my gags to myself but the stench of death is so strong my eyes water. Upon closer inspection the duvet is flat. The small studio apartment, it seems, is empty.

  Still, I don’t want to be the one that breaks the silence. I don’t much enjoy the idea of opening my mouth and tasting the reeking rot that is so thick on the air either. It turns out to be the right move – Faith, it seems, has not finished looking. She approaches a door on the wall I hadn’t been able to make out before – an en-suite? – and leans up against the wall beside it, motioning silently for me to do the same. I get on the other side and nod. I see her frame tense and relax, tense and relax, before finally she finally makes her move.

  In one violent motion she spins to face the doorway and, using the momentum from the manoeuvre, swings a crushing roundhouse into the wood, snapping the door from its hinges and sending it spiralling into the darkness of the bathroom. She follows it in instantly and has cleared the space before it even finishes clattering into the bathtub opposite. I barely get my foot across the threshold before she says, “It’s clear.”

  She flips the light on in the bedroom as she walks out, leaving me alone in the small linoleum-tiled space behind her. If this was indeed our mark’s residence, they have a strange range of surprisingly normal toiletries lining the sink. Moisturiser, skin revitalizing cream. Tampons?

  “Where is it?” I ask, following my sister’s D&D rule despite what I had just discovered. Distance and Dehumanize. It’s the only way you get to sleep at night. Or so she says. From what I’ve heard at two am it doesn’t seem to work so well.

  I come out of the bathroom and find Faith crouched down next to the phone. She pushes a button with the tip of her gun and a sharp beep splits the air, followed swiftly by a voice. 

  “I guess you’re already on the road. When you get to mom and dads could you tell them I’m running a little la-,” the voice pauses momentarily, “wait, why am I even leaving this.”

  The caller hangs up with a click and the room plunges back into silence.

  “I think we have your answer, kiddo,” Faith says, smiling at me across the room. I force one back her way and breath a sigh of relief to myself that for now, at least, there’s no killing to be done.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
Shit’s about to get real here at Blame Per Diem. This right here is the first part of a crossover – worlds are about to collide. Come back tomorrow to see the outcome of such an impact. It’ll be intense.

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~ by Joseph Blame on September 24, 2010.

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