Authors: Logan Patricks
I grinned. “I’m sure there’s someone in this brothel, female perhaps, that can grant you that kindness.”
Beau nodded. “Perfect.”
Braydon and I sat outside on a wooden picnic table by the parking lot. I had left Beau inside, to be attended by the girls, after paying them a generous sum, which included any damages to the place.
Braydon fired up a cigarette and offered me one.
“No thanks,” I said, “Never got into the habit.”
“Good on you. It’s a filthy one anyway.”
Now that he was fully clothed in his old faded jeans and leather motorcycle vest, we could begin talking business.
“I hear you’re good at extraction,” I said.
“The best,” Braydon replied without blinking. “There’s no one that I can’t break out.”
“That’s what Beau said. However, I’m a little skeptical of taking his words at face value.”
“I don’t blame you. Beau is a sneaky little shit.”
“He saved your life, didn’t he?”
Braydon took a deep drag of his cigarette. “That he did,” he finally said. “I guess in the end, you can always rely on family.”
“Funny, back in the brothel, I was convinced you were going to murder him,” I pointed out.
He shrugged. “We were just roughhousing, that’s all.”
“I think you broke his ribs.”
“He’s a big boy. Broken ribs are a superficial wound anyways. They’re quick to heal.”
He had a point there. “Has Beau given you an idea of what needs to be done?”
Braydon nodded as he dropped the cigarette to the ground and put it out with the tip of his steel-toed boot. “I heard bits and pieces of it. It doesn’t sound easy. At the site of extraction there’ll be maximum security and armed guards. With the location being at an airport as well, there’s going to be additional airspace monitoring.”
“Is the extraction situated at the airport going to pose a huge problem?” I asked.
“I could come in with a chopper firing bullets at 625 rpm from a turret for distraction. We get one of your guys to bungee down there and pull your man out via parachord. We then fly off into the sunset.”
“It doesn’t sound very stealth to me.”
Braydon laughed. “Look at me. I’m a seven foot goliath who drives a Harley. The only way I know how to do things is loud.”
“My sister is temperamental. At the first sign of trouble who knows what she’ll do? My guess is she’ll execute our man right away, just because she can.”
Braydon rubbed his chin. “Stealth it is then. Can you get me a layout of the airport?”
“My source tells me it’ll be at a military site, so finding a detailed layout might be difficult. They don’t keep any electronic files, only physical ones up at the Pentagon.”
“I guess we’re going in blind then.”
“What?” he asked.
“I got a few tricks up my sleeve as well. I’ve got someone working to knock out the grid supplying the airbase.”
“That’ll certainly help with stealth.”
“It will,” I agreed.
Braydon ran his hands through his thick, black hair and then rose from the bench. “Well Shadow, I guess I’ll sign myself up for this little suicide mission of yours. It sounds like it’ll be too much fun to miss out on. Did Beau give you details of my account, and where to transfer the money?”
“Yes. You get half now,” I said.
“That was the agreement,” Braydon confirmed. “Meanwhile, get me the name of that military airbase. I’ll do some recon on my own time as well as survey the layout of the land. I’ll give you the details of the plan the night before extraction day.”
“That’s tomorrow,” I pointed out.
Braydon smiled, as if taking enjoyment out of this entire thing. “Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
“Is one day enough time for you to recon?”
Braydon walked over to his bike and put his helmet on. “We’ll have to see, won’t we? If we end up lying in a ditch by the side of the road, chances are I probably needed more time.”
“Kumquat,” I said.
“What about it?” Reiko asked. Her eyes were glued to the intricate network of computer screens in front of us.”
I took a seat in front of my own set of screens which served as the visual interface of our mini control centre. “During lunch, we were talking about things that annoyed us. I didn’t say anything then but kumquat annoys me.”
“The fruit?” she asked.
“No the word. There’s something about that word that seems unnatural to me, that and the word ‘moist.’ Put those two words together and I’m ready to cut someone.”
A moment of silence elapsed between us.
“I hate the word cunt,” she finally said.
“Don’t most women?”
“I guess I’m most women then.”
“Trust me Reiko, you definitely aren’t,” I assured her. “Many of them can’t hold a candle to you.”
Reiko smiled. “Thanks. You also, Aria. You’re something special.”
Ah friendship—it was so nice to have it again.
“So, what’s the plan with all these computers?” I asked, deciding to turn my focus back to the task at hand.
“I’ve managed to hack into the grid,” Reiko said. “What you see in front of you is the entire electrical subsystem of Hoverton County, the exact location where Lincoln’s big rescue is going to take place. At the tip of your fingers is complete control of their distribution system. You essentially have power over their power.”
I was intrigued. I took the mouse and clicked a green square on what looked to be a geographical mapping of the area. I watched with childlike curiosity as it turned red.
“You just knocked out power to their entire cottage country district,” Reiko said.
“Seriously?” I clicked it back to green.
I quickly clicked on another green square. “And what did I do there?”
“You just shut down one of their prominent manufacturing plants,” Reiko sighed.
“What did they make?”
“Oops, better turn that one back on as quickly as possible,” I said, as I converted everything back to its natural state.
Reiko furrowed her brow. “Look, I know it seems fun, clicking buttons and causing people’s days to grind to a halt, but I’m going to point out that the more you disrupt the balance of their current electrical system, the more someone’s going to suspect that something is wrong and start looking into it. No one knows I have access to this and I’d rather keep it that way.”
I nodded. “Gotcha. Fly low under the radar.”
Reiko leaned back in her chair and rubbed her eyes. She looked exhausted. I wondered if she was getting any sleep.
“Cairo still upset?” I asked.
She shook her head. “Let’s not mention his name.”
“Maybe Shadow can talk to him when he gets back. Or even I could.”
“No. Leave him alone. I don’t want anyone getting involved. It’s something that needs to be worked out between Cairo and I, if that dumb oaf will ever talk to me that is.”
“Let’s focus on the plan. Shadow said that you’d be able to man the second control center. It’d be great help to have two sets of eyes on these eight screens. It decreases the probability of error.”
“Use me however you wish,” I said, “As long as I’m doing something to help get Lincoln back.”
Reiko seemed to space out for a moment.
“What are you thinking?” I asked.
“How awkward it’s going to be to see Lincoln again,” she said. “Seeing as he’s the main reason why the love of my life hates me.”
I had never thought about the potential seismic shift in our social circles by reintroducing Lincoln into our lives. Would things be weird between us? How would he react when he sees Shadow and I together? How would
react for that matter?
“We’ll manage,” I replied. “Things can’t remain awkward forever.”
“I’m not so sure about that.”
“It’ll all work out,” I said doing my best to sound confident, despite sharing Reiko’s fears. “Now how about you give me a proper rundown on this power system you hacked into, just so I’m not completely lost during this complex rescue attempt.”
Reiko smiled. “You got it. If we execute this flawlessly and get Lincoln back while taking down Calisto in the process, then maybe—just maybe—things will go back to the way they once were.”
I thought about all that I lost over the past few months along with all that I have gained. One thing was for sure, there was no going back to yesterday.
That life was long dead and gone.
It wasn’t until I reached the last security perimeter, that I was finally caught.
I was slipping. When it came to break outs and escaping captivity, I had a fairly high success rate.
Today’s black mark was certainly going to affect my percentages.
I won’t go into details about how I MacGuyvered the hinges off the steel door using a penny, a paper clip, and a thumbtack (which Calisto had used to hang the photo of Aria and I, kissing), nor how I dispatched the first guard with a soaked towel, and the second guard with the first guard’s gun.
What I will say was that when I hacked open the electronic door with the sweet promise of freedom on the other side, Calisto was waiting for me dressed in her ‘Sinister’ garb.
Standing next to her was Buchanan with a shotgun in his hands and a smug grin on his face. I hoped his balls still hurt.
“We’re not done with you yet, motherfucker,” Buchanan said as he pointed the shotgun straight at my head.
I sighed as I dropped the gun and raised my hands behind my head. “It was worth a shot.” I looked straight into Calisto’s bloodthirsty eyes.
She looked back at me. There was something wicked in her glare—something cold and inhuman. It was unsettling.
If you peeled her skin off like a grape, surely underneath was a wolf, lying in wait.
“Your trial is about to start,” she said. Her voice was scrambled into a deep baritone, void of any emotion.
I was taken aback. “My trial? You’re shitting me, right? If anyone should go on trial, it should be you for all the blood on your hands.”
At this point I expected Calisto to come back with something witty, but she said nothing. Instead, she turned around and walked away from me, into the faint orange glow of dusk.
And then Buchanan punched me in the face.
“Motherfucker,” he hissed.
I regained my footing and ignored the throbbing pain shooting up the side of my cheek. He pointed the shotgun at my forehead.
“Let’s go asshole,” he said.
I was too tired to retaliate and I figured I didn’t have the energy to kill a third man, especially one as seasoned as Buchanan.
Left with no other option, I allowed him to lead me to my trial.
Judge, jury, and execution.
“Lincoln Richards, how do you plead?” the judge asked.
“You haven’t even read me the charges yet,” I pointed out.
I had to give Calisto credit, when it came to authenticity for these insane farces, she was the queen.
She had hijacked an entire courthouse and filled it with an audience, including a jury. Despite them wearing masks—similar to the ones worn at Shadow’s birthday party—I could tell who many of them were.
They were all traitors, members of the old Midnight Society who had abandoned Shadow to join Calisto’s new organization, the Revanants.
I stared at them with contempt.
“There are multiple charges brought against you, Lincoln. The first charge being a degenerate filth, living a life filled with lies,” the judge said. His mask was that of a hellish bull, a perfect fit for the man’s deep, monolithic voice.
Odin London, longstanding member of the Midnight Society, and recent traitor. It probably also didn’t help my case that the man hated my guts. His gleaming bald head, square jaw, and broad shoulders reminded me of a shaved gorilla. His wits however, were that of an owl.
A few years ago, when a spot opened up on the Midnight Society’s council, all heads turned to Odin to take it. It was almost a guarantee.
However in I came, like a thief in the bushes, and snatched the position away from him through shrewd negotiations and manipulative tactics.
Did I feel bad about it? Nope. If Odin were in my shoes, he’d have done the same.
Still, that didn’t stop him from being bitter.
“Your honor,” I said, lacing my voice with as much sarcasm as I could muster, “This entire trial is a joke.” I turned to jury. “You are all pawns,” and then finally, to the spectators filling the benches, “And you’re all idiots.”
Immediately the courtroom broke out into an uproar.
Odin smashed the gavel down with ferocity. “Order in the court.”
“Give me a break,” I said. “How about we skip this idiotic dramatic display and just tell me what my punishment is. Death? Fine. Torture? Eat fleas, all of you.”
There was a brief hush before Sinister finally spoke. “We are giving you the opportunity to prove your innocence in all the charges brought against you.”
I shook my head. “We all know the last thing I am is innocent. The million dollar question is how do the rest of you nut monkeys compare to me? How about we start with you, Calisto?”
Suddenly her solemn tone took on another demeanor. She pulled off her ridiculous mask, and revealed the delicate features of her ravishing—but psychotic—face.
Ugh. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to fuck her or kill her.
Probably the latter.
“Lincoln,” she said, her voice filled with false sympathy. “I’m here to help you.”
“Well, you can start by drowning yourself,” I said.
She smirked. “Picture this less of a trial but more of a confession. I want you to reveal all your sins; get them all off your chest.”
“I confess, an hour before we had sex one time, I had intercourse with another girl. I wanted to tell you, but being the unscrupulous wench you were, you went down on me too fast. You probably got a good taste of her in your mouth.”
Calisto raised a brow. “Who?” she asked.
“Like I’d tell you.”
Truth was, the woman was in this room now, and chances were she was sweating in fear. All I had to do was say her name and I was sure Calisto would take care of her. One less member of the Revenant’s to worry about.
Since I wasn’t that cruel of a man, I kept my mouth shut instead.
The Revenants’ followers, these rich fools who worshipped Calisto blindly, were nothing more than disposable pieces in one giant chess match.
“Order in my court,” Odin said. “Lincoln, are you ready to hear your charges?”
“If I have no other choice.”
Calisto walked up to me, her body still draped in that black, baggy costume. She leaned in and whispered into my ear. “You have no choice, but trust me Lincoln. I’ll give you a gift at the end of this, one that you’ll never expect.”
“I’m convinced you already gave me herpes, you trash bag hoe.”
The gavel came down again, echoing throughout the room, silencing all the commotion.
Odin swallowed and then began to speak, annunciating every word carefully. “Lincoln Richards, you are charged for adultery.”
Adultery? Were they serious? I couldn’t help but break out into laughter.
I raised my left finger, the one where a supposed ‘wedding band’ was glaringly absent. “May I present to you, exhibit A, my finger. It’s not the one I want to show you all at the moment,” I began, “But I’m sure I’ll have an opportunity for that after. Notice the absence of any type of symbol of commitment.”
Odin ignored my comments. Instead, he addressed to the entire courtroom. “I give permission for members of this court to announce any and all claims to this accusation towards the defendant.”
What the fuck kind of trial was this? It felt more like a witch hunt than anything. It wouldn’t be long before I ended up nailed to a cross while these animals threw stones at my head and pierced me with spears.
“He told me he loved me,” I heard one woman scream from across the room. I turned around and saw Naomi Woodrow wearing her minx mask.
I had my own secret nickname for her—the beautiful bigot. For the most part she was a delight with the exception of her extreme case of Xenophobia. “The whiter, the righter” had always been her motto.
No thank you.
“I told you I loved you?” I asked, failing to recall that moment in my collective memory.
“Yes, just before I allowed you to tie me up, blind fold me, and fuck me in the mouth.”
“That sounds like something I’d do,” I admitted.
She made a sound that was a cross between a hiss and a growl. “This man has no morals. He thinks it’s his right to take ownership of your sex, instead of a privilege.”
“Sometimes, it’s a curse,” I said as I turned my head in Calisto’s direction.
Calisto smiled at me. “Oh honey, you don’t know the half of it.”
Odin’s voice thundered throughout the courtroom. “Anyone else?”
“He did the same to me.” Jeanette Singh, the Indian princess who was also a demon in the sack. She taught me a great many things in the tantric arts.
I returned the favor by filming the entire thing on my phone, which unfortunately was hacked into and uploaded onto the worldwide web. It was quite the scandal.
Of course, the people responsible for the leaked photos were now all dead—on her orders no doubt—and I’m sure Jeanette wished the same of me. Sadly, because of my status as one of the Midnight Society’s council members at the time, I was untouchable. Now the Midnight Society was dead, so to speak, and Jeanette was out for blood; my blood.
“He violated my trust while we made love. He filmed the entire thing, and then the press got hold of it. To this day, my empire has never recovered. My shares are still at an all-time-low.”
“Technically, you can blame the financial collapse for that as well as your substandard sweat factories that manufacture your shoddy products,” I pointed out. “With regards to the financial crisis, we had all voted and agreed to implement and execute the collapse when we thought the economic world was getting too comfortable. The blame can’t rest solely on me.”
Jeanette made a sound which oddly enough was similar to the hissing and growling noise that Naomi made. Maybe there was something going around?
“Do you deny filming me?” she spat.
“No, I will admit to that. Charge me for voyeurism then, though I highly doubt that’s a crime punishable by death.”
She ended her accusations with the simple word, “Asshole.”
“I’ve been called worse.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Buchanan readjust his shotgun. He must have thought this trial was a joke as well. I could tell he wanted to get straight to the execution part.
“I ask for any members of the court today who have felt wronged by Lincoln and his adulterous ways to rise now.”
Oh boy, here we go.
I closed my eyes and listened to the shuffling sounds of the congregation. When I opened my eyes again I wasn’t surprised to see that almost half the woman, less than forty years of age, were standing. Yes, I admit, when it came to beautiful woman I had an utter and complete lack of self-control.
I noticed that there was one man standing as well, who stuck out amongst the crowd of women like a throbbing erection.
“Travis?” I asked the man wearing the rhino mask. “Why the heck are you standing?”
He looked around the room and then shrugged. “You still owe me fifty-grand, you fucking mooch. Every time I ask for it you keep brushing me off.”
“I do no such thing,” I replied.
“Look, I hate to cut you off…” I really didn’t, “But I’m in the middle of arguing for my life here. Let’s take this up another time during a game of squash or something.”
“Enough,” Odin said as he turned to the jury. “Members of the jury, you have heard the charges brought up against Lincoln. How do you find the defendant?”
One woman from the jury stood, wearing a serpent’s mask. Alexis Rose. I fucked her just before a boardroom meeting one time. I accidentally left remnants of my orgasm on the collar of her black dress shirt which she hadn’t noticed. I didn’t bother to tell her either. Needless to say, she received some awkward glances throughout the entire meeting.
“We find Lincoln guilty of adultery.”
I rolled my eyes. “Of course you do.”
Odin looked at me with burning eyes. “The court has found you guilty. You will now be punished.”
Fine, so be it. My body had been pushed to the brink before. I handled it then and I’d handle it now. I would not allow these mindless fucks to see me break.
I waited for my punishment to come, which I figured would come in the form of Buchanan inflicting as much pain on my body as possible.
That wasn’t my punishment.
The doors to the court room opened and men, all wearing owl masks, dragged in a woman with them.
She was silently crying. I took a closer look at her, and much to my horror, realized I knew this woman from another life. It had been years since I last saw her but her delicate visage had remained the same.
It was Karina, my first love, and the woman whom I lost my virginity to.
They were going to murder her before my very eyes.