Ruthless, A Short Story


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The pub’s heavy wooden door swung inward on its creaky hinges. A chill wind gusted into the room, followed by two beings who stepped through the threshold; both salted with snowflakes that had fallen on them outside.
First was a man of average height, fit-looking, and dressed in black pants and a dark teal hooded jacket. His face was mostly obscured by the hood on his head, but the end of glasses peeked out from under the cowl. His shoulders were hunched, and his mouth twitched spasmodically; he looked nervous.

Behind him strolled a figure that could not have carried himself any more differently. Tall and lean, but lithe-looking and powerful, this man walked with a lazy, leonine air about him. He was clad in dirty-brown advanced-looking armor on his lower half, with a green t-shirt and faded leather jacket. A cloth sash was tied around his waist, and a bullet-filled bandolier was slung across his torso.

He followed close behind the hooded figure, his black boots, with metal-capped toes, treading silently on the tavern’s rough floor. His silvery, mirrored aviator glasses caught the dim light, and a dark, sickly-green spiraling tattoo glowed faintly on his face. His hands and lower wrists were covered by leather gloves, with sharp metal studs on the knuckles. His hair was cut into a short, mussed Mohawk, and his chin was covered in stubble.

There was something odd about how the duo walked. They moved very slowly, and very close together, with the man in sunglasses almost pressing into the other. For a brief instant, the first sped-up slightly, revealing for a split-second that his follower carried a firearm, a silver semiautomatic Beretta, which had been thrust into the man’s spine a moment before. Snarling quietly, the gunman grabbed his prisoner by the shoulder, and pulled him back again, hiding the weapon once more. He bent his head down to whisper into the scared man’s ear; unheard by any but the captive.

“Bad idea, mister man,” the gunman said, baring his teeth into a savage and slightly insane grin, revealing wolfish canines and the occasional gold tooth. “See, while the boss wants to deal with you himself, know that he told me I had the right to get rid ‘o you, if the circumstances dictated that. Frankly, I think it’d be more fun. Also, I’m a bit of a butter-fingers; this trigger could…slip. Accidentally, of course.” He giggled slightly, moving forward.

A moment later another walked through the door, following the first pair closely. He was clad completely in black, dressed in cargo pants and a hooded, zippered jacket, underneath which contained an armored vest consisting of protective pads fixed to a tight fiber jumpsuit beneath. A charcoal belt loaded with ammunition was strapped diagonally around his torso, also holding a sniper rifle in place on his back. Although none could see, he bore several other weapons, hidden from sight. The hood covered most of his face, but two small glints of amber could be seen in the darkness as the light reflected off his eyes. His eyes glanced around the room as he walked; his slow but leisurely pace seemed daunting. His hands lay at his side, covered by ebony gloves.

He seemed totally calm, but on the inside was always aware of everything around him, due to a sense of wariness earned from long years of experience. He walked around with no fear of showing his rifle, as he knew no one would be stupid enough to try to do something while he carried it. And if they did, he would dispose of them quietly, promptly and sufficiently without a moments’ hesitation.

The trio continued their silent march through the bar, walking past the counter and many tables; the wood flooring underneath their feet creaking as they walked. Finally, coming to a secluded corner where two darkly-clad men sat, they stopped. The first wore a black trench-coat with a forest green scarf wrapped around his neck. His long, black hair was parted in the center, draping over his black sunglasses, hiding most of his facial features; the rest cloaked in shadow. He remained perfectly serene, smoking an auburn cigar; the gray smoke rising in front of his face.

The second bore a navy blue jumpsuit and hooded cloak, with a golden-hued vest armored with protective pads beneath. His timberwolf hair faded to silver at the temples, most of his face left exposed although still hard to see, due to the shadows around him. A large mug sat on the wooden table before him, half-empty. His hands were crossed across his chest in a leisurely fashion as he leaned against the back of his chair. His hazel eyes contained an evil gleam to them, sparkling in the light of the fireplace mere yards away.

The fire sent a warming breath of air into the room, warming the trio as they approached the two dark beings. A chandelier hung nearby, with cream colored candles lit around the bronze structure. The overhead beams became a lighter color as the light hit them.

“Greg, Ivan,” a deep voice broke the cold silence, coming from the one in blue and gold, “I see that you have completed your mission successfully.”

The one standing upright in black named Ivan Petrov simply nodded.

“Yo, boss,” the brown-clad being, the one known as Greg Sykes said, stepping forward and giving a swooping bow too low and exaggerated to be considered polite, “We got him, just like ya asked…alive.” The pair seemed odd together; one almost always silent and calm, the other obviously outgoing and savage.

“You have done well,” a soft, sinister voice sounded, coming from the ebon-clad person. He turned his gaze to the hunched man. “Step forward.” Seeing that the prisoner remained firm in his footing, the dark being nodded to the two behind him; the one in brown shoving him forward with a push from his pistol. The man nearly collided with the table. A gleeful, wolfish grin manifested itself on Greg’s face, as he reveled in his cruelty.

Although no one could see due to the dark glasses the powerful being wore, his eyes stared at the prisoner while the one in blue spoke again, “You know what happens to those who betray The Black Fist, don’t you, traitor?” He said the last words with contempt, stressing the last syllable to make his distain clear. The man remained silent.

“They are killed,” the navy-clad man continued, pausing before starting again: “Yet not just merely killed. Tortured, until they beg for death.” Fear was apparent in the detainee’s eyes as he trembled where he stood. “You chose to leave The Black Fist and try to become an honorable man once again.”

There was silence for several moments before the one wearing the emerald scarf spoke again, in his same, unchanging voice, “You chose poorly. None cross Martin Veracruz and survive long enough to boast of it.” Suddenly his pupils enlarged beneath his black lenses, and a thin, crimson beam shot out from the core; the streak slicing through the air and reaching their target within less than a millisecond, creating a brief flash of red. The ray of disintegration hit their victim, slowly ripping away at the man’s skin and causing terrible agony.

The traitor screamed in pain as other barflies quickly came to the noisy spot, accusing the four of the murderous deed. Ivan, without turning his head and with his back turned to the man running toward them, quickly spun his arm, bending his wrist upright to reveal a stainless steel dagger which sliced through the drunkard’s body as he ran toward the scene; the blood sputtering out from his insides.

“Let that be a warning to you,” the one clad in blue shouted over the commotion to the other men standing there as he, Martin Veracruz, and Greg moved toward a back exit. Ivan faced the mob, his hands outstretched in front of him, and his palms open; each with an Assassin’s Blade held at his wrist and extending slightly past his middle finger, ready to dispatch any of the mob that came near.

They made no move, seeing their dead comrade lying on the floor in a bloodied mess. Ivan pushed the wailing prisoner—still screaming in pain and wishing he could die so the pain would stop—out of his way and followed the three others out of the bar and into the white snow.

As Greg was nearly gone from the scene, he turned around to face the mob, loading an explosive bullet in his pistol. He fired; the projectile flying past Ivan’s ear mere centimeters away. Ivan performed a flip with amazing speed, and, just as the orb hit its target—a glass lantern—Ivan was gone from the scene, jumping through the door and performing a somersault as he landed in the snow; the bar exploding behind him. He stood up calmly, following the three ahead of him as the pub erupted in flames.

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