Authors: Andrew Q Gordon
5032 Capital Circle SW
Ste 2, PMB# 279
Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Andrew Q. Gordon
Cover Art by Paul Richmond
Cover content is being used for illustrative purposes only
and any person depicted on the cover is a model.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Dreamspinner Press, 5032 Capital Circle SW, Ste 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886, USA.
Digital ISBN: 978-1-62380-520-3
Printed in the United States of America
To Michael & Isobel
Forever won’t be long enough.
started as “a purpose with power” morphed into the final version that is
. The first conversation I had with Jian about my idea for the book is saved in my e-mail account. If ever there was an instance of “it wouldn’t have happened without you,” this is that time. Without that initial nudge from Jian, I’m certain this idea would never have moved beyond the concept in my head.
Even though my name is the only one on the cover, there was a host of people who helped get it to this stage. Anyta as always proved to be an invaluable resource as part mentor, part cheerleader, and part critic. I’m certain everything I’ll ever write will be influenced by her steady hand and insightful comments.
Last, I want to say thank you to the readers and site administrators at Gay Authors. The support and encouragement from the readers is part of what empowered me to not only write, but put my words out there for anyone interested to read. To Myr, Dan, Robert, CJ, and Joe, without you, there would be no site for people like me to grow as a writer.
March 23, 2010—Journal Entry 39-24
died tonight. An innocent. Someone who should have lived. I felt their death. I feel the innocents who die. They call out for vengeance.
Standing in the middle of an open space, I barely notice where I am. It doesn’t matter. This neighborhood is like a hundred others, a thousand others I’ve visited around the world. Drugs are sold here, and people fight for “turf” as if there was nothing else out there. This could be anywhere, but it’s Washington, DC. PCP is the poison they sell here, and they sell a lot of it.
Their curiosity has a hint of fear. They don’t know what I am. Am I a cop? Is this a setup? This is the part I like most, where my very presence makes them uneasy. Who stands silent in the middle of the field? I’ve been here five minutes without speaking or moving.
They have no answers, only questions. In that we are alike.
Someone died tonight. An innocent. Someone I’m here to avenge.
Movement on the street. They made a decision: not a cop, not a buyer. My presence is now irritating, bad for business. Like a pack of hungry jackals they come at me from all sides. Too bad for them. They should have stayed hidden.
Cautiously, they approach my position. Why move when they’ll come to me? They’re not smart enough to understand what’s happening, but it’s not their fault. This place is all they know, and this is how unwanted strangers are dealt with around here.
Three walk up to me, trying to keep me from noticing the four who are sneaking up from behind. Two of the three have guns, tucked into the back of their pants. The third has a chain. Two more guns approach from behind, along with a tire iron and a bat. Fools. Such punchless weapons can’t kill me. By the time they learn, it will be too late.
Of the seven, only one is my target. He’s in front of me. His friends are guilty by association. If they run, maybe I won’t follow them, not today at least. Not unless they kill an innocent.
It’s time to clear my mind, get ready. I want this over so I can leave.
Someone died tonight. An innocent bystander who was not part of the violence. The killer is among them. I can feel it.
“Whatchu doin’ here?”
The speaker is my target. He already has his gun out. The same gun he used to kill the innocent.
“Looking for you.” My voice, when I use it, is raspy and cold. Like so much else about me, it has been altered over the years.
“Me?” He turns to his friends, laughing. “What, you gay or sumthin’?”
“Yes.” There’s no need to explain. I don’t get extra credit for letting them know why I’m here. I prefer to watch them struggle with my presence.
“Either way, you gonna be dead in a minute.”
The four behind me move closer. Now I can smell not just them, but their weapons as well.
“Not me,” I tell him slowly. “You.”
They attack first; they always do. So predictable. This time they are particularly stupid. They just don’t know it yet. I convince their minds I’m standing between the two groups, when I’m three feet to their left. They fire at where I am not. Three go down immediately. My prey is not one of them. Let the cops sort that out.
Too fast for any to follow, I move behind my target. Like so many others, he believes there are no consequences, so he does what he wants. So foolish. They’re wrong. I’m their punishment.
Hiding my presence from the other three who are still standing, I take control of the gun in his hand. His friends call out, asking what he’s doing. I answer for him.
“Taking out my competition.” I give them a crazy laugh, the sound a mad person would make. I squeeze the trigger and deliberately miss. My captive knows what he’s doing, but not why. He also knows he’s a dead man.
Stepping back, I release my hold on him just as his friends decide his time is up. This time, he fires at the friends I turned into enemies. One drops, but he’s outnumbered. The gun goes off again. This time it’s firing wildly. It is the last thing he does before the two survivors shoot him repeatedly.
Five bodies. Five young men dead. Five sellers of poison who will not kill an innocent victim again.
The streets are now silent as the last two dash off. I’ve decided I will see them before I leave. They have something else I want: money. Quickly, I search the dead. They were dealers who kept their money close. Good for me, bad for their families.
Even before the sirens can fill the night air, I am done. Almost six thousand dollars. Not bad, but there is more nearby. A wail fills the courtyard, followed by a dozen more. Their families found out they are dead.
Hidden, I watch as the mothers, sisters, girlfriends race toward their fallen loved ones. “Loved one” is being generous. Three of the five are searched immediately. So much for being missed. When the search finds only empty pockets, the screams grow louder.
Several men, associates of the dead, glide over, searching for signs of trouble. Pawing the dead, they do not find the weapons or drugs they sought. I have those too. Soon they’ll belong to the police.
Amid the confusion, I move further into their den. In this maze of filthy rooms and squalor lie more guns, drugs, and money. The dead told me where to find these things, and I’m in pursuit of my treasure. The police can’t do much, constrained by the law as they are. I don’t worry about such things. I am driven by a purpose I can’t control.
Someone died tonight, someone who was not innocent. Vengeance is satisfied, and the innocent may finally rest.
to the shadows of the platform, Gar still stood out. Not many people in this part of town favored long greenish-gray trench coats, even on a spring night. People stared at him. He looked like a stereotypical forties G-man, minus the fedora.
Intrigued, people snuck peeks at the stranger. They were curious but cautious. Then again, they could have been avoiding him because he was projecting discomfort and it affected everyone around him. He wasn’t “working” at the moment and didn’t want trouble.
Silently, he glanced at the signboard. Next train, one minute. Exhaling, he wondered why he bothered trying to get to know the new city. He wouldn’t be in DC long. Fortunately, the Purpose didn’t care where he went or how long he stayed.
The Orange Line train to Vienna pulled up, and he shrugged. Fine, so long as it took him away from here.
Looking for a seat, he absently tapped the bulges in his pockets. They would have been much bigger, except he only kept the money, not the guns and drugs.
No one had seen him put fourteen guns and thirty-two vials of PCP on the hood of the chief’s squad car. Even if they were looking, they wouldn’t have noticed. He made sure of that. The “blood money” he kept to support himself. That, and it kept the guilty from spending it when it was in his pocket.
Scanning the near-empty car, he ignored the few passengers already seated. They were all but invisible to him. Nameless, faceless, lacking anything to catch his eye, Gar’s only interest in them was their total disregard of him. Unless he was working, he didn’t bother much with the world around him. Why should he? He wasn’t really part of their world, other than to punish the guilty.
Approaching a bench close to the door, he noted a passenger in the front seat. White, mousy brown hair, slight figure. Nothing remarkable. Like the others, Gar meant to ignore him. Until the kid looked up.