Casa do Diaño: The Fool

by

HR-Kain

Chapter Fifteen: Is It Me You're Looking For?

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A note from HR-Kain

I'm back, guys! I deeply, deeply apologize for taking so damn long to update. I've been home in the US for a few weeks now and haven't had a lot of time to write with the holiday season and all. I wanted to have this posted around Christmas, but I sadly didn't get the chance to. But! I at least get to say that I posted this before the ball dropped at midnight on New Years Eve! So there's that, I guess.

I hope you guys enjoy this update! Merry (Very Much Belated) Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

You know, for how great this trusty snowmobile was, it was really slow.

Then again, I suppose anything would be slower than a giant goddamn snow wave.

The afternoon sun did nothing to calm the cold breeze within this small town. Leroy was already half a mile up the road before I could even get close enough for bits of frozen rain to start hitting me in the arm. I tried revving up the motor a couple of times in the hopes of getting his attention, but he either didn't hear me, or simply chose to ignore me. I'd like to think it wasn't the latter; you know, considering he was the entire reason I was here in Norte District to start with? I mean, you don't just tell somebody to find you and then make them chase after you. This ain't some kinda romantic fairytale about a runaway princess and her misunderstood scoundrel. This story, currently, was about two scumbags who needed each other to make it big in a screwed-up place. The chase can be forgiven for a love story, but not for this story, pal!

So I cleared my throat, hoping my voice wouldn't lock up on me again. “Leroy! Hey! Wait a minute!” Thankfully, the black bastard heard me this time and raised an arm up. He opened his hand up wide and, next thing I knew, the road was suddenly covered in a thick sheet of slick ice. This certainly helped me speed up so I could catch up to him, but I had to be careful not to steer any unless I really wanted to spin out and crash against a telephone pole. Leroy, still surfing along the snow, waited until I was next to him before he said anything.

“It's about time your voice worked properly, sir! You ought to go to bed at a narmal time in the evening! Doctors say that helps with paralysis!” I grinned, glad that he was willing to shoot the shit with me during his massive hurry to kick some, presumably, French ass. “It's kinda hard to get sleep when you're drivin' through the fuckin' woods all night, pal!” He gave a hearty laugh, looking over at me for a moment. “I'm going to make the educated guess that you aren't from the countryside!”

Hmm...what gave it away?

My charming personality, my tenacity, my completely reasonable reaction to sleep deprivation, or—

“Y'know, I ain't exactly seen any shops sellin' campin' supplies—” “In the heart of New Yark City?!” he interrupted, flashing me a shit-eating grin afterward. I gave him a look, furrowing my brow. “M'apologies, sir; that accent of yours just makes me think you're going to tell me a starry about a bloke named Vinny who acted the maggot for your sister!” Oh ha ha. “Says the guy who sounds like he's gonna pull a pot of gold outta his ass so he can relieve himself of his rainbow-diarrhea!”

To this jab, Leroy laughed again. He then looked at me with his brown eyes and said the words I'd been waiting for him to say ever since we met on that ship. “I think I'm going to like you, sir! You're everything I hoped you'd be!” I cocked an eyebrow, smile widening. “You remember me, then?!” “Of course I do!” he responded, “I made a beam of light shoot out of your mouth, didn't I?!”

Oh yeah.

I suppose he did see somebody through that red portal.

“As you can see, I found your sawrry ass!” He grinned wide. “So you did! But you brought trouble with you, it seems!” Now it was my turn to laugh. “That's for the burn on my arm, yah jackass!” Leroy ran a hand over his buzzcut. “M'apologies for that! Perhaps I'll explain my actions once we take care of these muppets!”

Just what I wanted to hear, my man.

I think I'm gonna like you, too.

“Sounds like a plan, son! Where are we meetin' these French pussies, anyway?!” His face lightened up brightly at the phrase “French pussies”. “They want us to meet them at this little nightclub further up narth! It's called “O Príncipe Modesto”! Roughly translates into “The Modest Prince”; a fitting name, to be sure!”

“A fitting name”? What? Leroy, what are you smoking? What kinda schmuck names their joint “The Modest Prince”? Sounds like an incredibly sarcastic nickname someone would give an overly-sheltered herb who tried to throw a party once upon a time. The result? He replaced the spiked punch with fresh milk and the sexy guitar solos with a collection of twangy country songs preaching about how you should wait until marriage to have sex. He also invited your grandma to the party, who probably spent the entire night showing your friends embarrassing baby pictures that your parents gave her a long time ago. You brought a hot date, but don't expect a blowjob during the drive home, buddy. Hell, you'll be lucky to even get a kiss outta her! In fact, let's just go with the assumption that she'll very likely dump your ass once the night is through.

“We'll be the judges of that later! For now, we need to focus on how to get to this place! I trust you know the way?!” He laughed again, looking forward. “Indeed I do! You just go straight on this road until you start seeing some bright neon signs! Don't worry, there won't be as many of them there as there are in Oeste District, so it will be easy to spot in the dark of night!” An open smile spread over the lower half of my face. “That's what I like to hear! How far away is it?!”

He turned to look at me again, sporting another shit-eating grin. “A hundred—two hundred miles, maybe?!” “Good!” I shouted back, “If they doan wanna see us until tonight, then that gives us plenty of time!” Leroy once again laughed.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was when the bastard pulled a fast one on me. “Actually, it will only take me an hour to get there! You, on the other hand…” He snapped his fingers. Next thing I knew, the ice vanished right from under me and my snowmobile slowed down drastically. “Meet me in the jacks when you get there!” Leroy called out, now soaring ahead of me on his giant snow wave. “Wait a minute—hey!” I tried to shout out, but to no avail.

Well, that was just great. The back I'd been rested on decided to end the piggyback ride—just like that. Why? He clearly wanted me to go with him, so why make me trail behind? Did he have a plan? Was he testing out my loyalty or some shit? He oughta know that I ain't got a reason to betray him. Why would I? I ain't got any other friends in Casa do Diaño! He was the only sonuvabitch that went through the trouble of contacting me once it was settled that I'd be coming to this island. Well, I mean, Zombie Bastard and Genghis Two did, too...but they hardly count.

In a matter of seconds, Leroy Barris was completely out of my line of sight.

I threw my left hand up while my right hopelessly squeezed the throttle.

Where the ever livin' fuck are “the jacks” supposed to be?!” I shouted at the lousy sonuvabitch.

And so I drove where Leroy had told me to drive; straight on down the road.

Oddly enough, I didn't come across anybody else during the entirety of the trip; no doubt my new friend's doing.

However, while it made the journey easy for me, it also made it seem much longer than it already was.

And lemme tell you guys...it was certainly a long fucking trip.

How long, you ask?

Let's just say that I was thoroughly convinced Leroy was pulling my leg when he gave me directions to this joint.

After all, one can only stare at endless nothingness for so long until the desperate need to scream and hit something takes over.

Or, in this case, the desperate need to hit someone...that someone being Leroy in the case that I was right.

For once, I was glad to be proven wrong whenever I finally did arrive at the meeting place.

It was well past midnight by the time I started seeing signs of civilization. The tell-tale coolness of mucus oozed from my nostrils like a slowly drawn bath and the all-too-familiar tickle in the back of my throat made one thing perfectly clear; I was getting sick. Not mad sick, obviously...just the common cold. A little rest and some chicken noodle soup would do me a world of good. However, I was gonna make Leroy cough up the dough for my antibiotics if it turned into something more severe like pneumonia.

All this made me realize just how much of my time I'd spent outdoors in Casa do Diaño's outrageously brick weather as opposed to staying warm in my hotel room. I ain't had a proper night's sleep in what felt like a month. All this driving and searching was beginning to take its toll on me and my body was determined to make damn sure I knew it. However, I couldn't allow myself to crack. I needed to find my place in the midst of this disastrous Broadway production. I'm gonna make it big in Casa do Diaño or die trying. Besides, all this no sleeping business was good preparation for when Heidi has our baby. Can't lament lost sleep when you rarely have it anyway, right?

The very moment the glare of yellow-green light pierced my eyeballs, I turned off the main road and parked my snowmobile in front of the source. Like Leroy said, the poorly named piece of—I mean “O Príncipe Modesto”—was a rather unimpressive looking establishment located in the middle of Butt-Fuck, Egypt. The size of the building reminded me of a large storage shed; bigger than the standard size of your typical garage, but smaller than most warehouses. Its exterior left much to be desired. The candy-apple red paint had mostly peeled itself off the building, revealing the ugly, chalky wall underneath. The title of the nightclub was written in hot pink paint over the entrance, aka a single wooden door.

It looked like the joint sold several thousand doll—err...I mean fichas worth of white horse daily while fronting as a crappy Mexican restaurant. I mean hell, there wasn't a single goddamn light-bulb on this building! If it weren't for the neon “OPEN” sign flashing behind the building, there ain't no way I would've been able to spot this place in the dark! And you wanna know the saddest part about this entire situation? It still wasn't too totally different from any of the rustic pits over in Oeste District.

The hell you got me into, Leroy?” I muttered under my breath as I opened the door and stepped inside.

The interior of the nightclub looked a whole hell of a lot better. The white marble walls were decorated with several pieces of modern mosaic artworks; most of them being naked women posing on couches or dinner tables. Victorian-styled chandeliers hung over the dance floor, though it appeared that somebody had modified them so they could paint the room with ultraviolet light. This was a smart move, in my opinion. Candles can only provide so much light and, I dunno about you, I'd personally like to see how the girl I'm dancing with looks; even if she's hidden behind purple light at the time I'm eyeballing her. Dark light was better than no light, after all.

Speaking of people, there was one thing I instantly noticed upon entering this nightclub. What that thing was, ladies and gentlemen, was that this joint attracted a specific group of individuals. These individuals, both male and female, wore their hair down to their asses. Everything on their bodies was colored pitch black—well, everything but their flesh; that shit was as pale as a ghost. Some people were covered from head to toe in tattoos while others had about seven or eight different piercings in their face. The clothes appeared to be tight-fitting, half of the outfits sporting chains either on their pants or around their necks. To top it all off, they all danced to Bauhaus playing loudly over the sound-system.

I came to two different conclusions here. These guys were either vampires, or just apathetic goth kids. Considering none of them were freaking out over me—a human—walking into their club, I assumed the latter was probably the more accurate explanation. And so I proceeded onward into the club while listening to Peter Murphy's somber voice. Here was hoping I could figure out what the hell Leroy was referring to when he said “meet me in the jacks”. Damn Irish and their fucking slang; good thing I never use slang.

White on white translucent black capes, back on the rack...”

Upon getting closer to the crowd, I noticed that the central heat was working well.

I mean very well.

To avoid sweating too much, I removed the scarf around my neck and stuffed it into my coat.

Bela Lugosi's dead, the bats have left the bell tower—”

I began to push through the crowd, hoping to find either Leroy or one of our mutual French buddies in the oddly non-ultraviolet lighted hallway just past the bar.

“—the victims have been bled red velvet lines, the black box...”

Around the time of the lyric “the black box”, some pale broad with a septum piercing was pushed—or maybe thrown—against my chest.

Bela Lugosi's dead...”

Sure, one could write it off as an accident...but I knew better than that when she started stroking my stubble while seductively rubbing her ass against my crotch.

Bela Lugosi's dead...”

I would've pulled away sooner, but I was caught off guard by her glow-in-the-dark contacts staring right into my eyes...

Undead, undead, undead...”

After a moment, I snapped back to reality.

I was here to settle some business; not to dance.

Besides, I already got somebody much prettier to do this sorta thing with at home.

And so I pushed her away and continued onward.

Undead! Undead! Undead! The virginal brides...”

Once Peter began singing about flowers in deathly bloom, I finally managed to escape the dance floor. It only took one glance over at the moderately populated bar for me to see that no recognizable person of interest was enjoying a glass of cold piss-water. This told me one of two things: either I was late to the party, or Leroy's stupid leprechaun-speak was referring to some other place. Okay, so I knew now to rule out the bar in my search for “the jacks”. While I was at it, I decided to rule out the dance floor as well; unless Miss Bull Ring was a friend of his, I seriously doubted he wanted to discuss a game plan around a bunch of moody kids turned on by the color black.

So what else was left?

One of the designated smoking rooms?

They do play games of “Blackjack” there, so maybe the slang is just a play on words?

Or perhaps it's the back of the club?

Back—jack?

Or maybe it was something completely unrelated like the goddamn shitter or something.

Hmm...it was one of the only other rooms in this tiny joint…

Going with my hunch, I stepped into the hallway and spotted the two stick-people doors. Upon entering the men's room, my eyes felt like they were on fire. “Agh—fuckin' Christ!” I growled after slapping my right forearm against my face. Who the hell was in charge of lighting this place? The club lobby had ultraviolet light, the hallway appeared to be lit in normal incandescent light, and then this fucking room was so bright that you could swear you were stepping into the sun. Goddamn LED lights...why? Why do you need this much light in a bathroom?! C'mon people, all you're gonna do in a public restroom is either drain the pipes or take the Browns to the Superbowl; ain't no motherfucking reason you need to risk losing your eyesight here!

Sir? Is that you?”

I heard Leroy's voice, but refused to move my arm away from my eyes. “Yeah yeah, I'm here. Where are you?” Using my other hand, I felt around the walls to see if I could find the light switch. Hey, this bastard made me drive all the way to this shithole by myself without so much as a simple explanation for it. Compare that to having just one conversation in the literal dark and you can see that I was being merciful in this. At least my hunch led me in the right direction.

The sound of a single stall door swinging open and slamming against the wall rang in my ears. “Aye, aren't I glad it's you this time! It got old having to explain m'self to all those—” He stopped mid-sentence right around the time my fingertips barely kissed the light switch. My guess was that he caught me red-headed in the act of killing the ridiculous brightness of the room, but if you think for one second that that stopped me from flipping the damn switch, you're dead wrong. Once the deed was done, I dropped my arm and opened my eyes. Ahh, sweet, dark bliss. Sure there were still some LEDs over at the sinks, but the distance made them less painful to look at. I don't know if I'll ever understand Casa do Diaño's bright light fetish.

“With all due respect, sir, you're better off just letting your eyes adapt to the light. You aren't going to go blind, I swear!” Leroy said with a lighthearted chuckle. He had taken off his scarf and unzipped his parka, revealing a gray t-shirt underneath. I glared at him, trying to ignore the colorful circles still floating around the room. “Give me one reason not to snuff yah right in the fuckin' jaw.” He crossed his arms, still grinning like an idiot. “Maybe I just wanted to race you? See if I could beat you to the coppers? I see now that a garden snail could not only outrun you, but call his buds and have them beat you as well!”

Yerp, we gotta joker here, folks.

“Hows 'bout I beat you now? Make it even?” I growled, getting up in his face. He stepped back, pressing his hand against my chest to keep me back. “Calm down, I'm just taking the piss out of you is all!” I continued to grill him, not backing down. “Then why did you give me the slip? Test my loyalty? Test my endurance?”

He shook his head. “No sir. I just figured that we needed somebody here to make sure these poncy arseholes weren't planning on setting up some kind of trap for us.” He then did a quick finger gesture, pointing at both himself and me. “There's only two of us, lad. There's no telling how many of them will be waiting for us. I can control liquids...and in a place where beer—a liquid—is sold by the minute, I'd say my skill is pretty useful to our cause. You? I'm not too sure you can do much of anything other than fire a gun and throw a couple of punches. It's best if the strongest of us goes to survey the area hours before the company is expected to arrive, just in case.”

Is this punk calling me weak?

You call a motherfucker who killed a regenerating zombie weak?!

“I'm perfectly capable of handlin' myself, wiseguy. I doan need you to protect me like some kinda damsel in distress.” His grin widened, likely amused by my reaction. “I know that, sir. Why do you think I allowed you to make the long drive by yourself? Sure, I cleared a path for you, but on an island where everybody has a trick up their sleeve, there wasn't anyway of knowing that you'd actually get here in one piece. And seeing how you're standing right in front of me at this very second, I'd say you've proven your mettle.” Leroy patted my left shoulder. “Besides, it appears that you didn't hear me when I said that I was coming here to make sure a trap wasn't set up for us. That has nothing to do with how strong either of us are. Loosen up and ignore that chip on your shoulder, friend!”

I snorted.

I do not have a chip on my shoulder.

Fuck you talking about?

“So...” I said, backing up a little, “...any sign of our pals?” “Not from I've seen, sir,” he said, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “I arrived a few hours before the club was supposed to open, so I waited around outside for the daars to open. Once business was up, I stayed at the bar and watched all the dark leather fetishists dance like their nana just died. As it got later, I made for the jacks and waited for you.” I squinted at him. “You stood outside in the cold waitin' for this shithole to open?” He held his hands up, shrugging. “The weather doesn't really bother me all that much. Does it you? I thought New Yarkers were okay with the cold. I hear the snowfall gets pretty bad this time o'year.”

I smirked. “It ain't anythin' close to the snowfall on this fuckin' island, buddy. I'll tell you that right now.” His hands returned to his pockets. “I'll take your word for it, si—” I held my hand up, interrupting him before he could say the word for the millionth time since meeting me. “Stop callin' me “sir”. Call me “dude”, “man”, or just fuckin' anythin' else.”

Leroy smiled again. “I'd rather call you by your first name, in all honesty.” My hands went into my pockets as I looked away from him. I knew this part was coming eventually, but it didn't make it any less unpleasant for me. “Gen...Gene.” He crossed his arms. “You sure that's your real name? You don't sound very convincing.” Buddy, it's a whole helluva lot more convincing than my actual name. “It's Gene. Short for Eugene.” He sighed, seeing right through me like glass. “Sir, we need to be able to trust each other if we're going to be warking together to face these gangsters. You know my name already; it's not fair that I'm exposed to you while you keep getting to hide behind a mask.”

Now it was my turn to sigh.

He was right.

He was right and I knew it.

Fuck me, why couldn't this guy be dense like everyone else?

So I took a deep breath and looked him in the eye, preparing the inevitable wisecracks. “...Genghis…” I forced out through clenched teeth, “...Genghis Dillinger Boy.” Luckily, I didn't hear any immediate laughter after saying my name out loud. Instead, Leroy just nodded and offered a reassuring smile. “Your parents must've been an interesting breed.”

That earned a big ol' snort from me.

“If you call workin' as a mechanic for twenty years interestin'.” He chuckled weakly. “Maybe not to you, but to somebody. I can't even remember what my parents did for a living.” I gave him an uneasy smirk. “I know.” To that, Leroy didn't respond. We instead gave each other a look that spoke a whole bunch of unspoken words between us. Words of understanding, words of condolence, words of mutual respect. What we were to each other became abundantly clear to me at that moment in time.

Ever since the day I reached out to him in that alleyway, we must've had some kind of spiritual connection between us. I didn't understand how it worked nor will I ever quite understand it, but somehow I was able to communicate with him as an adult during a time when the both of us were little boys. This led to him growing up and reaching out to me; fifteen years in the making for him, but completely out of nowhere for me. And despite only having a few conversations with each other, we were both still able to get each other without saying too many words regarding our strange history; mind you, Heidi was the only other person I could do this with.

We stayed like this for a minute or two, ending the conversation with a smile on both of our faces.

Well then, why don—”

Leroy was interrupted by the sudden ringing of his cell phone.

He flashed me a wide grin.

Time for a little smoke on the water?”

I waggled my eyebrows.

Fire in the sky, Leroy. Fire in the sky.”

The two of us waited in the back of the nightclub for an hour. Besides a couple of dumpsters, the gig had a couple yards of free space protected by a ten-foot-tall metal fence. The weather was a bit brick, but we didn't care. Leroy kept his blood pumping by doing warm-up exercises; one-handed push-ups, jumping jacks, some limb stretches—the works. As for me, I lit up a cigarette and paced back and forth while mentally psyching myself up.

You might be thinking, “Ain't it a better idea to do what he's doin', Genghis? After all, you're about to get into a huge rumble with these guys.” True, we are going to be fighting some tough dudes in a little while. True, you need to be physically prepared to take these bozos out. However, your muscles ain't shit if you ain't got the correct mindset.

Think about it for a hot minute, will you? You got two guys about to square off. One guy is pumped so full of steroids that he ain't seen his cock in a week. He's pissed off, but lacks the mental capacity required to understand that anger alone is not enough to win a fight. On the other hand, you have a guy who ain't quite as muscular as Captain No-Nuts, but has major beef with his opponent for whatever reason. Whether the hulking freakshow stole his girl or simply stepped on his toes one too many times, this guy is out for blood. He's fantasized about all the different ways he can hurt this sonuvabitch and knows damn well that any one of those methods are fair game in a street fight. Tell me, who do you think is gonna win: the roided up gorilla who only really knows how to scream and flail his fists around like a spastic retard, or the lunatic who ain't afraid to play dirty?

I hope you all unanimously voted for the lunatic in this scenario.

Otherwise, I gotta wonder what kinda fantasy world you live in where brawn trumps brains on a daily basis.

Besides, I needed some kind of edge to help me against these super-powered freaks. As much as I didn't want to admit it, Leroy was right. Other than my lovely Myra, all I had to bring to this brawl was my raw strength. And, quite frankly, no amount of exercise was gonna help me out here. If I was gonna win this without having to rely on Leroy's bullshit water powers, my mind needed to be clear.

Well...not crystal clear maybe...but clear enough for me to focus.

Thinking is hard sometimes, you know?

Our fair weather friends finally made their presence known in the middle of me smoking my second cigarette within the hour. They decided to arrive through the open back as opposed to entering through the gloom and doom parade inside the club. From the distance, there appeared to be around six of them. However, I wasn't gonna be surprised if more snakes came slithering our way whenever the going got tough. After all, they were messing with some real rugged sons-of-bitches tonight.

Once the Frenchies got close enough, I noticed that they were all wearing hoods. Not culty “sacrifice your first newborn to Satan” type of hoods, but hooded jackets baggy enough to sag down to their kneecaps. Even the hoods themselves were too large for them—covering almost the entirety of their faces. I understood that these poncies were trying to look tough for our rumble, but I couldn't help but snicker at their fashion choice. “'Ay Leroy, think these fuckwads can actually see the goddamn fence in front of them?” I said while my cancer stick was hanging from my lips. “I'm hoping they walk into it,” my partner responded, chuckling.

Sadly, they all noticed the fence and climbed over it. Me and Leroy watched in silence as they did it. They eventually approached us, stopping about four feet away. I took one final drag on my smoke and dropped it onto the ground, stamping it out with my boot. “You're late. Those hoods make it hard to see where you're goin'?”

Instead of acknowledging my remark verbally, our opponents instead removed their hoods and revealed their faces. One was a pretty redhead; presumably Miss Amelia. The other five were men; three of them being familiar faces. Two of those faces were the bozos ranting about me in the alleyway the other day.

The third was an especially familiar face for both me and Leroy.

However, I was having a hard time understanding why he was here.

The last time I saw him, he was covered with icy rain spikes.

...

My eyebrow cocked upwards.

Leroy dropped to his knees, fear written in his face.

Well well. What do we 'ave 'ere?

He had long brown hair, white dress pants underneath his jacket, shiny black oxfords, bags under his eyes and thick mutton chops.

Minus the ugly scars on his face from him and Leroy's last encounter, Louis Couture didn't look a day older than he had back in 1974.

“H-H...How? How are you standing there? How are you not dead?!” Leroy exclaimed. Louis gave him a wide, toothy grin. “You are not ze only one who knows a few magic tricks, Mister Leroy Barris.” The French gangster held his arms out, eyes glittering in the moonlight. “You Americans are all ze same. Coming to Casa do Diaño and zinking you can take over what is mine. After decades of making a name for myself in zis foreign land, I 'ave acquired so much power zat even death itself cannot 'old me back!”

Leroy was shaking.

I could only imagine the influx of emotions poking into his noggin like a syringe.

“My parents just wanted to start over!” he shouted angrily, “They didn't come to Casa do Diaño to challenge you! You murdered two innocent people, Louis!” The smug sonuvabitch cackled in an obnoxiously high pitch. “You truly believe zat? Do you 'onestly believe your mother and father wouldn't of attempted to stand against me sooner or later?”

He stepped toward Leroy, kneeling down to his level. “Your motherland is a nation rich with violent 'istory and pious ramblings about 'ow free you are!” He put his palm against Leroy's cheek, cupping his face. “But your freedom 'as always been a myth, young Leroy. You Americans 'ave always been shackled by your own greed; whereas I, ze one and only Louis Couture of Caen, France, 'ave greatly surpassed ze inner burdens of ze average white man and 'ave risen to ze top of Oeste District's crime syndicate.”

Riiight.

A man who pulls a gun on a preschooler taking a piss is certainly somebody who would know a thing or two about overcoming greed.

“What about me then? Why did you try to kill me?” The Frenchman stood up. “You're an American, are you not? Zat's a good enough excuse for me.” Leroy stood up and screamed his next words. “I was a child, Louis—a little boy! What reason could I have possibly had to try undermining your operation?!” Louis smirked. “You were a loose end. I zought maybe you'd die on ze streets before too long. When I saw you in zat alleyway, still alive as you were ze day I left you, I knew I needed to remedy my error lest you grow up 'ungry for my blood.”

I snorted loudly, sick and tired of listening to this Frenchman's annoying voice.

“Boy, it must suck losin' that necromancer of yours, then. Not only did a little kid ice your ass fifteen years ago, but now nobody will be able to bring you back after that kid ices you again.” Louis looked over at me, grilling holes through me. “Indeed, I 'ave come to understand zat you are responsible for Gustave's death.” I put my hands on my hips, flashing him the biggest, shittiest grin I could muster up. “There was nothin' to it! Even broke that one loser's neck back at your base!”

That earned me a good 'ol snarl from him. “And you 'elped yourself to my favorite coat and 'at, I see.” I ran a hand down my chest, winking at the Frenchman. “Like it? My girl thinks it makes me look like one of those noir detectives from the 1940's. Drives her wild, man; gotta thank yah for the generous donation.”

He spit on the ground. “Filthy pig! You will pay for your insolence!” I popped my knuckles. “Then why doan you shut up and show me a little magic trick, then?” He lunged at me, but Leroy tackled him onto the ground before he could reach me. Once that happened, Louis' lackeys all rushed toward us—rather, toward me.

Uh-uh; we ain't having that shit.

I whipped out Myra and quickly fired two shots. One went through the fat-alleyway goon's head, killing him instantly. Remind me again, wasn't this the guy bitching about a “mortal man” killing Gustave? Seems to me like this guy was talking out his ass much like the so-called “powerful necromancer” was. But I digress.

The other bullet went for his skinny prick of a friend...but was deflected by a shiny force field. Ah, so he's got those kinda powers. Cheap motherfucker. At least there's only five of them now, right?

Amelia leaped over Leroy and Louis and tackled me onto the ground, knocking the fedora off my head. “Better play fair, creep!” she shouted in a...surprisingly American sounding accent; mid-western like Paul Sadler. She tried to pry the revolver outta my hand, but let go when I bit her hand as hard as I could. The redhead wailed about the pain in her pretty little hand and I pistol whipped her offa me.

Meanwhile, Leroy and Louis were really doing a number on each other. The two men were rolling all around the ground, throwing punches like there was no tomorrow. Leroy had managed to open old wounds on the French gangster's face while sporting a busted lip and nose of his own. I had a feeling that if Louis wasn't the boss of these guys, Leroy would've already killed most of them with his abilities. But alas, the keyword here was “if”.

For the time being, Leroy Barris saw nothing but his parents soaking in a large pool of blood.

So while he dealt with the demon from his past, it was my job to watch his back. In order to do that, I had to take out these other bozos before they took us out. After Amelia was knocked out by the butt of my gun, The Amazing Spirit Cocoon and his two pals split off. The two nameless goons both attacked Leroy while the protected coward himself lunged at me. The first thing I did when he got in my face was kick him in the balls. Hey, what else can I fucking do to this guy? My bullets ain't nothing to his retarded force field!

Luckily for me, my foot was good enough to incapacitate him—at least for a little while.

While he was down, I took the opportunity to go stop Louis and his men from triple-teaming Leroy. I grabbed a hold of a some tall dude...only for him to suddenly turn his head around. And I mean completely around—like “I ain't got a fuckin' spine” type of completely around. Before I could properly react, he headbutted me hard. I knelt down, pressing my palm against my forehead.

Genghis!” came Leroy's voice from within the pile of men. Yeah man, I know—I'm on my way. I stood back up and yanked on Colonel Backboneless' arm. Once he was against my chest, I let go of him and wrapped my arm around his neck, putting him in a headlock. “Va te faire foutre!” the Frenchman barked as I pulled him away from the others. He put up quite the struggle, but was ultimately ended once Myra pressed her lips against his head and kissed him goodbye. Once the blood splattered out of his head and the life in his eyes disappeared, I let him fall onto the ground. Sorry buddy; maybe you shoulda left your brain at home instead of your spine.

I then took two seconds to open up Myra's cylinder.

Five rounds loaded.

Used three.

Two bullets left.

Bet your ass I'm loading my girl up with all six rounds once she's empty.

No more playing it safe.

After closing her back up, I was shoved onto the ground. I quickly got to my knees and turned to look at my attacker. That's when my eyes were bestowed upon a rather horrific sight. The fat goon that I shot—the one I thought I killed? Yeah, he was now standing over me...cradling his decapitated head in his left arm. You know, I only fired a bullet through his skull—that's it. I didn't…

No Genghis, don't get woozy thinking about how that head came off his body; now ain't the time for that.

Est-ce le meilleur que vous pouvez faire, sale graisseur?” the decapitated head taunted in a sing-songy tone of voice. Focus, Genghis...focus. I swallowed hard and shoved Myra's barrel against his abdomen. He threw a punch that hit my jaw just as I pulled the trigger, filling his stomach up with lead. The bastard socked me hard enough to make me bite down on my tongue...hard. You bet that hurt like a bitch. After spitting some of my blood into the palm of my hand, I looked over at the headless freak and saw that the shot had knocked him down. Of course, I doubted that he'd stay down long. And so, with one shot left in my revolver, I jumped on top of the French motherfucker. I then pressed the barrel against his heart and pulled the trigger.

Shot through the heart.

And I'm to blame.

...you're welcome for the earworm, ladies and gentlemen.

“Guns are for cowards!” came Amelia's voice again, catching me by surprise as she tackled me onto the ground yet again. Seriously, what was with these guys and tackling people? Are we playing football or something? And this was the second time now that Miss Amelia had me pinned down. You know, I never thought I'd see the day where I was unhappy about an attractive woman sitting on top of me.

Just saying.

After hitting the ground, I accidentally let go of Myra and let her drop next to me. The redhead then started to backhand me repeatedly in the face. “Says the lady hangin' around a bunch of super-powered French zombies!” I growled, grabbing her waist in the attempt to push her off. “Fuck you!” she responded, spitting in my face.

Feisty broad, ain't she?

Too bad she was about to be thrown off that high horse of hers.

That the best you got, bitch?!” Amelia screamed and raised her hand up to hit me again, but stopped whenever my hands wrapped themselves around her throat. Her eyes widened, emitting a bunch of rasps through her constricted airways. I squeezed hard, slowly over-powering her enough to eventually find myself on top of her.

Say goodnight, Princess,” I sang while pressing my thumbs into her trachea. She wheezed and gasped, desperately trying to escape. However, my thighs were pressed tightly against her legs, trapping her on the ground. Now, I ain't the kinda guy to assume all women were physically weak creatures...but this broad would have to be pretty damn strong to lift my two hundred and ten pound ass off her body.

Just as Amelia was beginning to black out, I was suddenly knocked off her whenever some hard object hit me in the back of the skull. Next thing I knew, I was being viciously pummeled by the faggot with the force field and the faceless goon that had formally been helping Louis keep Leroy at bay. It didn't take long for Amelia to get back to her feet and join in on the beat-down. “Écarte ses jambes, les garçons!” the pretty gangster shouted at her boys.

You guys already know that I don't know really any French words.

But I'm fairly sure “Écarte ses jambes, les garçons!” means “Kick him repeatedly in the nuts!”

Why do I say this?

Oh, no reason...other than these guys suddenly grabbing my legs, spreading them, and then taking turns stomping my dick.

For a short time, I had become a tenor—maybe a countertenor.

Oh yeah, we're talking “posh, middle-aged English lady” tone here.

Fucking OW.

LEROY!” I screeched in quite possibly the sissiest voice to ever come out of my vocal chords. I'd request all of you to not judge me here, but all you dudes reading this already perfectly understand just how painful this shit was. It don't matter if you're the biggest pacifist on the planet or just as rugged of a sonuvabitch as I am, chances are really high that you've been hit in the testicles at least once in your life. And always—always—it will be one of the worst physical pains you feel that ain't related to broken bones or other injuries like gunshots and knife wounds.

To all you women out there...consider yourselves lucky.

Thankfully, Leroy managed to ignore Louis for just long enough to notice I was in a bind. Before these losers knew it, my super-powered friend summoned these strange blood spikes and shot them straight toward us. One spike went right through the unnamed gangster, killing him instantly. The other guy made his force field return, but Leroy's bloody spike broke through it and pierced his heart. Amelia was unharmed from the attack, as she had hid behind the cheap motherfucker and used him as a meat shield.

Four down, two to go.

I assumed the redhead was left speechless by Leroy's powers or something...considering nobody seemed to take advantage of me while I was in my temporary, but still fragile state. That was fine by me; it allowed me to roll over and watch the final moments of Leroy and Louis' big brawl. By this point, both men were bloody messes. The Frenchman's face was completely covered in red, teeth stained with his life essence. Leroy, on the other hand, had more blood on his arms than he did his face; my guess was that he'd been wiping his face clean every time he regained control of the fight. The men were no longer wrestling with each other on the ground, but were now on their feet and having a rather intense stare-down with each other.

Time to die, you filthy animal,” Louis grunted, only now pulling out his pistol. Why did he wait this long to do that? He could've easily won this fight already if he hadn't! Stupid, stupid man. “C'mon, Leroy! Take this French pussy out!” I shouted, finally working to push myself off the ground. My friend looked over at me and winked. Next thing Louis Couture knew, Leroy slapped the gun out of his hand and wrapped his hand around his throat. The Frenchman tried to defend himself, but was unable to escape his own blood now stabbing his face like an acid bath. “Mère de Dieu! Épargnez-moi de ce destin!” were Louis' last words before Leroy spat out another blood spike, piercing through the gangster's throat.

He let go and allowed him to drop to the cold ground, dead for the second and final time in his sad, pathetic life.

“Great job, Le—” I was interrupted by somebody suddenly shoving me back onto the ground. “You son of a bitch! I'll kill you both for this!” came the livid voice of Amelia, who had now decided to return to the land of the living. The first thing I noticed when I looked at her was that she had grabbed Myra from off the ground and pointed her in my face.

Oh, this was going to be amusing.

“What happened to “guns are for cowards”, baby?” I asked her, flashing her a smug grin. The broad was shaking in anger. “A coward like you deserves a coward's death!” she screamed. Amelia pulled the hammer back on the gun and pressed the barrel against my forehead. “Say goodnight, Prince,” she said, mimicking my sing-song tone from earlier.

She pulled the trigger.

Click!

No bang.

I laughed wickedly at her feeble attempt at killing me. “The tank is all dried up, sweetheart! Completely outta gas!” Amelia pulled the trigger a few more times, desperately trying to make it shoot. “Dammit!” she shouted, raising her arm up to chuck my gun over the fence. Of course, I wasn't about to let that happen; nobody tosses my baby around like a rag-doll. I kicked her right knee cap, which stopped her from tossing the gun. After kicking her in the other knee, she fell to the ground, dropping Myra beside her.

...

I returned to my feet and stood over the pretty redhead.

Once she sat up, I flashed her another smug grin just before crouching down to pick my revolver up.

You know, Genghis Dillinger Boy,” came Leroy's voice from behind me, “I think you and I will have a real craic working together.”

Craic”?

The fuck was that?

I doan know what that means,” I responded, not looking away from Amelia, “but I'm guessin' it's a good thing?”

He chuckled.

Yes, friend. It's a good thing.”

I returned the chuckle.

In that case, I agree one hundred percent.”

I pistol whipped Amelia in the skull and watched her lose consciousness.

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A note from HR-Kain

The song that plays in the middle of this chapter belongs to Bauhaus, not I. Though I wish I was musically talented enough to make a cool sounding song that goth kids dance to in nightclubs. Sigh...one can dream, right?


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About the author

HR-Kain

  • Just Your Everyday Maniac

Bio: Writer, Teacher, Reader, Traveler, Film/Music/Video Game Enthusiast, Professional Cat Petter

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