A slow, cold wind passed through the concrete room. The light of night illuminated the half-constructed building, a moon which glowed bright over the city of neon signs skyscrapers. Despite the honks of horns and distant chatter of people a wall of tension blockaded the building from any commotion. Five men armed with sub-machine guns stood around one bound in a chair, a strongly built man with many wrinkles and a bald head. His bloodied face showed no trepidation, eyes steeled to the man in front of him who shifted a cigar between his lips.
He chuckled smugly and stroked a hand through his tidy, slick black hair. He blew some smoke into the bound man’s face but no reaction surfaced upon his wrinkled features.
“Lovely day to die, isn’t it?” A smile curled over his lips as he gazed into the distance. He watched as cars moved along asphalt and people walked by, oblivious to the events occurring on the second floor of the half-constructed building. A content sigh escaped his lips as he turned to the man again. “Isn’t it, Tobias? Great day to die.”
Tobias remained expressionless yet his cold, gray eyes burned with fierce hostility. “Maybe if you weren’t so deaf you wouldn’t have to repeat yourself.”
Tobias watched as the gang leader straightened out his gray suit with a twinge of anger in his eyes. He gazed to his cohorts as if trying to comprehend the words just uttered but Tobias saw the gesture like a kid trying to find acceptance from his peers. The leader let out a loud, forced chuckle that caused his cronies to join in and make Tobias twitch a bit in anger. His resolve strengthened when the mobster backhanded his face, a gesture which silenced the other gangsters.
“Smug bastard,” the mob leader spat out as he restrained himself. He dusted his suit off and puffed more smoke into Tobias’s face. “You fuck with me you die like a bitch. That mouth of yours won’t save you this time.” He lifted his sub-machine gun and prepared to fire.
“Wait,” Tobias calmly said as some blood trickled down his lip. “Give my sunglasses back. For a dead man’s sake.”
“You ain’t gonna carry them to hell with you,” the mobster said with a scoff. Tobias growled low as his captor placed pressure upon the gun’s trigger. The sound of tearing flesh and cracking bone quaked through the building as blood splashed across Tobias’s face and clothes. When his eyes opened he saw the remains of the mobster’s open skull spilling across the cold concrete floor.
The rest of the mobsters stared aghast at the corpse. Their guns shifted away from Tobias and toward the urban jungle, aimed haphazardly by trembling hands. Who was the target, and where was he shooting from? None of them prepared for the next shot as it pierced through a comrade’s heart. While his blood painted the floor the remaining gang members abandoned reason and ran down the stairs as fast as their legs could muster.
Tobias sat in quiet meditation as gunfire erupted from below. He licked the blood from his lips and spat on the gang leader’s corpse without opening an eye. He sighed as approaching footsteps made their way to him and the savior removed his bonds.
The man before Tobias dressed as an urban soldier in all aspects of the role, completely covered in pitch black fabric and topped off with a thick, bulletproof vest lined with pockets all around and a radio with a permanent cord to an earpiece. A combat helmet and gas mask concealed every part of the man’s face yet Tobias’s stern, blank expression came to life in the form of a small grin upon seeing him. Once the soldier secured his MP5 and removed the rope from Tobias’s legs they nodded to each other.
“Where’s Ezekiel?” Tobias asked as he scanned the roofs of various buildings. The soldier said nothing and instead dug through a pocket and handed Tobias a radio with a permanent earpiece attached to it. He took it, setting it into the pre-set holder attached to his thin, plastic-like bulletproof vest and listened for anything through the earpiece.
“Idiot,” a calm voice said through the line. “Now every drug lord in a twenty mile radius is going to wonder what happened to their shipment lackey.” Tobias opened his mouth but the soldier tapped on his shoulder and pointed down the stairs. Any urge to retort vanished from Tobias’s mind as the sound of footsteps below caught his ears.
“Count?” Tobias said sternly as the two leaned against the sides of the stairway. “Argus, hand me that Uzi.”
“About ten.” Ezekiel paused as he watched Argus hand Tobias the SMG from the gang leader’s corpse. “My vantage point can’t clear the ground floor. They all have Uzis so try not to get yourselves killed.”
“We’ll be waiting,” Tobias said without acknowledging Ezekiel’s sardonic quip. As Tobias kicked the gang leader’s corpse over and retrieved his sunglasses the sound of footsteps rose through the air amidst the clamor of flinging orders and rustling weaponry. Tobias looked to Argus, pointed to him and then made a sweeping, horizontal motion with his finger. Argus nodded and aimed his MP5 down the stairs while Tobias checked the Uzi and did likewise.
One unfortunate soul turned into the stairway and Argus hosed him down with lead. From behind the turn an Uzi popped out and fired randomly in hopes of hitting something, but the gracefulness of Tobias’s aim caused the assailant to lose a few fingers as a few bullets tore through the hand. The wielder wailed in anger and pain as the limb disappeared and smeared blood over the section of wall.
“Follow my lead!” Tobias made his way down the stairs and turned. Two bullets ejected from his gun and two foes fell down the stairs, swiftly shot in the head. Argus leaned on the other side of the stairway and opened fire while Tobias crouched behind a stack of concrete slabs. As the gangsters recovered from the suppressive fire Argus slid behind another stack of concrete slabs, narrowly escaping the hail bullets that imbedded themselves beside the cover.
“Argus!” Tobias pointed to him and made a sweeping gesture. Argus nodded, and in unison they flanked from both sides through a rain of gunfire. A trail of smoking concrete, broken rock and retaliatory shooting followed in their wake along with a new corpse here and there, and the pile only grew as they advanced.
The two regrouped behind a thick wall of rusted barrels sitting underneath a scaffold. Argus pocketed the empty magazine from his MP5 while Tobias slid his magazine over the floor. Like loose cannons the remaining gangsters opened fire on the poor piece of plastic and metal, utterly tearing it to shreds.
Tobias scowled as he reloaded. “Jesus Christ.” He looked to Argus, who wiggled a gray canister grenade in a gloved hand and tossed it around their cover. As the sly soldier expected the gangsters opened fire on the poor item and screamed in horror as a blinding light emitted through the area. The two continued advancing and knocked out any remaining stragglers. Argus silenced the last wailing gangster with a boot to the face and then tossed Tobias a roll of plastic restraints where the two bound and sorted out the remaining gang members that still breathed.
Tobias dropped a thug into the row of prisoners and then looked to Argus with friendly disappointment. “We had bullets to spare. Could’ve saved that flash bang for something more worthwhile.” Argus stared at him and made some hand signs. After literally five seconds Tobias responded with hand signs and caused Argus to lift his hands up with disbelief.
“Funny my ass,” Tobias barked out with a slight frown. His willpower focused on forcing the smile down but it inevitably surfaced alongside a chuckle.
“Yes, very funny, brother.” The cold tone of the voice turned their attention to an Asian man in a red suit and no tie. His ragged, black hair dangled beneath dark eyes that critically stared at the two. His hand took the cigar from his mouth as it blew out a thick trail of smoke. His other hand made no movement as it stuck to the grip of the Barrett sniper rifle resting over his shoulder.
The three fell in silence, the smoke from Ezekiel’s cigar trailing through the cold night air. Argus looked between the two and then began gesturing to Ezekiel.
“I can see that,” Ezekiel sharply replied as his eyes glared at the unconscious gang members. “And what do you think the police will do, hm? The head has been corrupted and the rest have followed.”
Tobias furrowed his brows as his brother tapped some ashes from his cigar. “Not all of the police are corrupt.”
“True,” Ezekiel said as his glare intensified toward Tobias. “Only the important ranks are corrupt. The mindless fools underneath them can do nothing but blow.” A sneer formed over his face as he watched Tobias scowl heavily. The elder brother found no chance to respond as Ezekiel turned and walked off with a calm grace. “Do whatever you wish. I’ll be waiting in the car, brother.” Tobias’s scowl deepened at the last word and he stared as Ezekiel turned around a maroon trash container and disappeared.
Tobias swallowed his pride and cleared his throat. “Text Jenny and tell her to forward the police here.” Right on queue Argus whipped out his phone and did so. The two departed beyond the construction site and to the streets where a black SUV awaited them and a seething Ezekiel sat with arms crossed in the driver’s seat.
Before the two entered the vehicle Argus tapped on Tobias’s shoulder and gestured.
“He drives better angry.” Argus tilted his head at the words.
“He talks less when he’s angry.” Tobias clicked his tongue and opened the car door. An enlightened Argus put a thumb up as he entered the SUV, and once the latch clicked Ezekiel revved the engine and burned rubber on the asphalt. Argus hugged one of the armrests and braced for a speedy drive but the car jerked and slowly entered the main lane. Argus’s fears eased as the SUV drifted smoothly through traffic. He slumped down in his seat and closed his eyes as the gentle swaying of the car rocked him to sleep.