Author: Epic Legkicker PM
A mafia organization called the Shadow Gate Gang runs into trouble during a war with another group, the Third Hand, in the not-so-far future. With blood spilled daily and threats all around, some cling onto what little good can be found.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Crime - Chapters: 7 - Words: 14,780 - Reviews: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 07-27-12 - Published: 05-30-12 - id: 3027581
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
In order for us to make a buck, it's time to end another's luck...
It's the 2100's, and a lot has changed, but much of the world still remains the same. Galactic shipping organizations now send cargo on imports and exports to newly transformed planets much like Earth. This multi-billion dollar industry has its downsides, though, as it has attracted the attention of organized crime. Embezzlement, smuggling, intimidation, and murder is their game, as the mafia and gangs compete to extort this new medium of vast wealth and profit. It's a dangerous life when one lives this way, when blood spilled means simply another day's pay.
Chapter 1: Dropped at the Shop
Date: Monday, June 10, 2104
Location: Downtown Plucketsville (Suburb of New Menesa)
Point of View: Toro Occhio (Bull's Eye), also known as "T"
It was raining. Water droplets thumped against the rim of my grey and white pinstriped fedora and echoed noisily as vibrations ran through my head. I did my best to tune it out. I dragged my right foot, clad in a black dress shoe, to the side, sliding it through a patch of slippery mud as I lay on my stomach on a wet, grassy hill.
A black poncho covered most of my body, shielding my suit as best it could from the warm summer drizzle. It was humid out, and the parts of my body that weren't soaked from rain were now sticky with sweat, including my hair, which felt pasted to my forehead.
I was laying prone on a hilltop near a tan-colored, brick church building. I was in the right corner of the church's front yard, tucked behind a row of bushes that wrapped around the perimeter of the lawn. To my right was a grouping of two pine trees, and to my left was a square, wooden platform that sat beneath a large bronze bell. I was pretty well hidden, especially in the dim, fading light of the gray-skied evening.
An occasional car passed by the three-way intersection below, splashing through a large pool of water that lay right in the middle of the crossway, in a low part of the road. The sidewalks on either side of the streets were all bare and empty.
To my right was a cluster of residential homes, and to my left sat a few small businesses, including a mechanic, hardware store, and a bar. Directly in front of me, across the intersection, was a black and red brick building with a row of four large windows in front.
Neon signs sat in the windows, advertising beer and cigarettes, and I realized how badly I wanted a cigar myself at that moment. A red, yellow, and white sign lay above the windows, and above a glass door, reading, "Tom's Stop 'n Shop." Inside the store, I could see the various isles of drinks, snacks, and other goods, illuminated by overhanging fluorescent lights. Hustling between the front and a shady back room was a middle-aged man with a red mustache and messy red hair.
I rolled slightly and pulled up my left arm. The chrome wristwatch I was wearing read, "9:55p.m." Tom's shop would be closed by 10. I pulled the grey and white pinstriped sleeve over my watch again and adjusted the black leather glove on my left hand before settling back into a prone position.
It was Monday, as always, because that's when I liked to do my hits, unless Father said otherwise, of course. It took about a week to learn my target, who they were, where they went, and when they were most vulnerable. I then enjoyed giving them one last weekend alive before doing my dirty work. That worked out if they were simply late on their royalty payments too, because we often gave them until the first Monday of the new month to pay off their 'debt.' Tom was different though.
Tom had been late on payments, and the Collectors had given him one more weekend to come up with the money or face a 'penalty.' The due date was last Sunday, and when Pres had come back to collect his due, Tom had been waiting. He'd called the cops on us and set up a little sting operation to get us back for all the harassment. It would've worked, if we were just a simple street gang out to make a few bucks. Tom should've known though, not to mess with the Shadow Gate. Pres and the Shooters arrived alright, but they weren't stupid.
They sent a lone Shooter in on his own to rough up Tom and demand the money, even putting a gun to his head. That little stunt was enough to provoke the cops into action, and they promptly arrested the man. Sure, we lost a brother, but he was just a Shooter, one of the newer recruits and a low-ranking soldier of the clan. His sacrifice was worth it to ensure Pres didn't get taken in, because as far as Collector's go, there was no one like Pres.
After they'd spotted the cops from their scouting point a safe distance away, Pres and the rest of the Shooters made a hasty retreat back to headquarters, where they informed Gov. Danilo of Tom's unfriendly treachery. Gov. Danilo took the news straight to Father, and Father put a green light on the hit. That's where I come in.
I'd been a member of the Shadow Gate Gang for over eight years, and had been there when the new Father took over from his actual father and put the gang on its way to the top. I was one of only two Strikers in our entire central branch of the organization, the other being Cecchino Preda, a new guy to the fold who'd only been striking for about 6 months or so. The organization ran pretty smoothly. At the bottom were the Slippers, new men we sent out to be hired by shipping organizations. Their job was to 'slip' off with at least 10-15% of all imports or exports within their respective organizations per week.
The goods were then resold carefully by our Smugglers, whose job it was to make sure our stolen freight got to customers unharmed and without the law's detection. There were also Shooters, roughly on the same level as Slippers and Smugglers, but who regularly packed heat. It was their job to intimidate rivals and tribute-payers, as well as to lure the law away and pull off low-pro hits on occasion. The Shooters often accompanied Pres, who was one of only two Collectors that worked for the gang.
Collectors went out and gained the clan more clients, intimidating them into paying royalties and using force if necessary. They had a pretty high-profile job, because they handled both the clan's rep and a lot of our cash flow. Collectors were on the same level as us Strikers, and we were both above the Shooters, Smugglers, and Slippers.
To become a Collector or a Striker meant at least 2 years of service and a lot of 'proving' oneself in service of Father and the clan. Finally, overseeing us were the Governors, and there were four of them. One Governor watched over the Slippers, one over the Smugglers, one over the Shooters, and one over both us Strikers and the Collectors. The Governors reported directly to Father, whom owned and oversaw the whole thing.
As a Striker, I was the clan's number one assassin, even over Preda, thanks to my seniority with the clan. The difference between a Striker and a Shooter was simple, results. Shooters didn't have to have any magnificent skill with a gun, they just had to intimidate and kill. Their jobs were always messy, and they were low-pro, because Shooters had a high probability of getting caught before the end of their first year. This made them highly expendable.
Strikers, however, were not generally thought to be expendable, because, to be Striker, you had to be proven to be both loyal and good, damn good. You had to be able to kill high-profile targets, swiftly and silently, without getting caught or leaving any real trail for the cops to follow. I loved the job. I wasn't sent out every day on grunt missions, but given 'assignments' to be completed by a certain date. It was usually pretty standard. By the time a target was assigned to me, they'd already been green lighted for murder, and I was the one who would take them out.
I learned up on my target, followed them closely for about a week, gave them their last weekend, and had the job done by Tuesday, every time. Not only did the job pay well, but I was my own boss while out in the field, and was given a load of respect back at headquarters for my lethal skill. The one thing you never wanted to do was become attached to your victims, but that was hardly something I had to worry about, because while others saw people, I saw dollar signs.
My nostrils flared and my eyes perked up, a grin coming over my lips as I saw the lights of the store go dark. I reached over and uncapped the scope on my Browning .270 bolt-action rifle, which was propped up on a collapsible bipod. Easing forward, I knelt into the gun and put it against my shoulder, closing my left eye as I looked down the scope.
I didn't want to shoot Tom while he closed up the front door, for fear that it would set off an alarm, and I didn't want to wait until he took off down the sidewalk, because it would be that much harder to hit a moving target. Luckily, he was about to provide me with a perfect opportunity. To the left of the glass door sat a white and gray ice cooler that Tom would lock up every night right before he left. I waited as the predictable store owner appeared from the shadows and into the streetlight.
I could see the golden keys he used to lock the main door dangling from his hand as he approached the cooler. Taking in a deep breath, I waited, watching as he bent over to put the lock on the ice. I could see the crown of his head, light reflecting from his hair, just above the arch of his back. I put the crosshairs on him and locked up my muscles as my finger slowly drew back the trigger. I followed through, bringing my finger all the way back.
The silenced weapon discharged, sending a round clean through Tom's head. He lurched forward, and I could hear a high-pitched clang as the bullet passed through and impacted the cooler. Tom slid down, a red trail of blood streaking across the side of the ice container as he dropped down to its left, collapsing onto the ground. I stared for a moment, blinked, and then came back to focus.
I put the caps back on the rifle's scope and folded up the bipod. Standing up, I dashed along the back of the church, away from the scene. I made my way across the back yard as the rain picked up again, laughing to myself as I held the rifle in my right hand and kept my hat on with my left. Still smirking, I made my way to a black car parked in a gravel parking lot. I put the gun in the back seat and fired up the engine, speeding off into the night. "Mission accomplished."
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