Chapter 33: Fable
I was nervous for our next event. I had no way of telling if killing Mankoy would make or break Aarei. My gut told me to convince Aarei to let it go, but how could I deny Aarei his revenge on someone who violated him? If someone took advantage of me, I'd want to see justice done.
"Got the necessary tools?" I asked as we headed for the event that Mankoy, and other countless guests with a name and title worth knowing, were attending. He handed a bag to me to let me look. "Damn, that's heavy." I peeked inside. "Is that a nail gun?"
"This one looks expensive."
"It was. It'll be worth it."
"I'm sure it will." I rummaged to see what else he had. "I assume you made up your mind about what you want to do to him then?"
"With some research, yeah. Because I don't have all the time in the world to draw this out and a lot of what I wanted to use can't be bought or sold, my options were a little limited."
"Care to share?"
"You'll see. I just need to get him alone."
Story was already at the site waiting on us. He had four other targets on his list of people to take out tonight. They were all workers under Mankoy who had a project involving new slave trade routes. With those men all out of the way, the plans or project would never see the light of day. It would likely put Bionette out of a pretty serious payday and piss her off too. The Time fragment was severing some big ties he had with very powerful people.
I didn't want to ask Story what the outcome would be when he assassinates these people, already having a good idea what the answer would be. I doubt he'd care about any of the results.
The place of the party was a towering citadel for the rich and wealthy. Extravagant blinking lights led to the casino on the first floor. The event itself was supposed to take place on the second and third floor where the dining room and lounge were, but I have no doubt I'll find a good percentage gambling. Its primary use was being a five star hotel, making the building 24 stories in height.
There were patrolling cars, police, guards, and even dogs. All the entrances and exits were being attended by multiple persons, all checking in with one another frequently. The line to get in was crazy.
Because I couldn't convince Aarei of a wig, he just died his hair blond. It surprisingly put a few years on him. I think the reason was because it made him look less depressed and therefore less associated with the gothic youth. It was a task in itself trying to find a decent wardrobe for the occasion. All the kid owns are jackets, skinny jeans, and T's.
As for me, I had to take out all my piercings and put on an itchy black wig. I had to wear contacts too to get the red out of my eyes. Normalcy is stupid. I hate it.
"Mankoy will recognize me, even with a hair change. He might not remember who you are though," Aarei explained to me. "Pick a character to play when you find him. Tell me when you're able to get him into the first floor bathroom. I'll have it blocked off from anyone else."
"Any requests? "Let's take a piss! Together as buddies!"" I gave him a ridiculous scenario that I could try to run through.
"I'm pretty sure only girls do that."
"Yeah, you're right. I'll be using this then." I showed him a bottle of pills. "This will make him throw up a few times. If he's civil about it, he'll find a bathroom to do it. I'll just make sure it's the first floor." I gave Aarei an earpiece with a microphone to put in his jacket pocket. "We can to work like real spies now! No, under cover agents! We've got the gadgets and everything."
"Does this work?" Aarei talked loud into the speaker on purpose when I turned my earpiece on to test it. I flinched and flashed him a look. He gave me a guilty grin.
We came to the meeting place and had a hard time believing that the man before us was Story. I think it was mostly the lack of his asymmetrical black and green hair that threw us off. It was a single short length of solid black. He was in full suit and tie, slim and fitting. His hands were showing and his fingers lacked his infamous armor. He even had contacts in his eyes just like me to turn them grey instead of bright yellow.
He saw us. "Took you forever. You make a good blond, kid."
"We're not even late. Don't give us that sass. You look weird trying to look normal."
He only looked at me apathetically, waiting to see if I had any other comments to make before proceeding. "How far can you jump?"
"How far is far?"
"I haven't measured it. Tell me what we're jumping and I can give you an estimate."
"It's impossible to climb near here with the security as it is, but we can climb the top of other scrapers and jump from roof to roof until we reach our goal. They're all built close to each other in our favor. Mostly flat tops too. Can you make that happen?"
"Easily. How far can you jump?" I figured I'd ask.
We decided on a structure far away and tall enough to start from. We were almost half a mile from our target, but we had no one to stop us from climbing to the top. Story mapped out which route to take.
The wind blew fairly strong from so high up. This is exciting. I haven't gotten to do this in a long time because of Aarei.
"Know where you're going?" Story asked in the end.
"Remember, contact me when you're done. Ready?"
I looked over at Aarei and he nodded. I possessed him and Story gave me a weird expression, still not used to seeing the trick done.
Story then vanished and appeared on the roof of the adjacent building. The fuck? He disappeared again, visible on yet another roof corresponding on the path we were to take. He waited for me before moving again.
I backed up and ran, taking a mighty leap to follow him. I landed and sprinted into the next jump. It was stunts like these that made me feel like I was part of the Matrix. They should call me Neo because I was badass like him.
The night and height kept us invisible to anyone who might have been patrolling by. I hopscotched our way to our destination without the slightest issue, meeting him on the last landing. I separated myself and caught Aarei to gently sit him down.
"You're like the night crawler guy from X-men," I said to Story.
"Because I love being compared to a blue creature with a tail. It's a different process anyway, not at all like Kurt Wagner."
"You know, I met a whore the other day who said her name was Mystique. I think she might be your long lost mother."
This got a laugh out of him. "You alright, kid?" he asked Aarei who nodded.
"It takes a little out of him whenever we come together."
Story raised an eyebrow at my wording.
"Get your head out of the gutter, man. You know what I meant."
His smile didn't fade as he headed for the door leading to the stairs. He successfully kicked it in when he found it locked.
Aarei got to his feet and we followed him to the top floor. "How did that not trigger an alarm?"
"Because I'm amazing," was his only explanation.
We found the stairwell leading to the rest of the floors and headed down. Aarei and Story broke off from me when we got to the third floor. That was my first stop.
I was careful not to bump into anyone incase I accidentally phased through one and someone saw. That always raises the alarm for people. On the streets they couldn't always do something, but in an event, news can travel like a good gossip topic in high school. I also didn't want to make it obvious that I was looking for someone or something.
Most of the men were older and heavyset, completely unattractive but laughed like they were the best things in the room. The women were young and skinny, dazzling in skimpy "formal" dresses and large diamonds.
They spoke of business and future plans for their companies. It was boring and shallow. I also didn't know most of the guests or their line of work. They could have all been planning to put a bomb together to destroy the planet, and I wouldn't know. Or care. I'm completely out of place here. I don't understand this life style. I don't get these people or their interests.
Because it was harder to do laps around the room checking every person to see if Mankoy was near, I basically just had to read people's auras as a group. I have his casual hues memorized that I can pick out of a crowd.
In 10 minutes, I could tell that he wasn't on the floor, so I tried the next. The only person I ended up running into was Story.
"How's it going?"
"Two down. Two to go." Damn, he works fast.
"I told you already. I'm amazing. Mankoy is on the first floor if you're still looking for him."
I found the guy within five minutes of my descent to the ground floor.
He was conveniently standing around chatting with someone with a drink in hand. This day is going well. It was loud, not just with music, but with voices too. The games, that people with gambling issues were somehow drawn to, also made obnoxious noises. It was a good place to kill someone.
I discreetly got a single tablet out of the bottle and kept it between my fingers. How to approach this, I wonder. Hmm… I've always wanted to play the part of the drunk. That sounded fun. Time to make an ass out of myself.
I made sure I had a wine glass before I started to stagger my way towards Mankoy. "I'll be sending him your way soon," I said to Aarei, looking like I was mumbling to myself as drunks normally do. Honestly, I wish I could have done the Captain Jack Sparrow walk over to Mankoy, but that was much more drunk than I needed to play. I would have brought too much attention to myself and they'd surely throw me out. One day, I'll find a reason to Sparrow my way over to someone.
"I'm ready when you are. I'll remove the sign when you contact me again."
I parked myself near Mankoy, leaning against a slot machine. I then bumped into him as if not seeing him around the corner of the machine. If I make this quick, he won't have time to fully recognize me.
He spilled a little of his drink in the collision and I swiftly dropped the tablet in. It dissolved in a matter of seconds, leaving no visible trace.
"Oh, sorry." I stumbled two paces back waving my hands at my chest for him to see that I wasn't armed or meant any harm. I kind of wanted to stab him though. I didn't feel right without my katanas at my hips.
"One too many, my friend?" Mankoy smiled at me.
"Yeah, probably. Sorry about that."
"No harm done." He was ready to continue his chat with whoever was in front of him after he sipped his drink, but the gag reflex already began. He put his hand over his mouth.
"You sick?" I asked. "There's a bathroom over there." I pointed for the big public bathroom.
"Yes, I'll be right back," he managed to get his pardon out before heading in the direction.
I looked at the man Mankoy was just conversing with. "Looks like he had too many too."
He gave a half smile and left, not wanting to stick around to replace Mankoy with me to chat with. He was kind of rude, but I wasn't going to judge.
I followed Mankoy who was doing a good job at keeping his composure. "Make way for him," I told Aarei.
He turned around a corner leading into a mini corridor going into the men's restroom.
I strode behind him silently and set up the signs that Aarei had in place to keep everyone out for the full 20 minutes that we were there. I didn't look at it, but I'm sure it said something about maintenance and to please use the facilities upstairs.
The bathroom was long and too white to be considered a place people piss in. Stalls and urinals lined the right wall as sinks claimed the left.
I took another quick look back to make sure no one was coming in with us and stood at the sink next to the one Mankoy was using. I washed my hands as he puked. Looks like he couldn't make it to the toilet in time. "You know, Mankoy, you've made quite an enemy for yourself," I said calmly and grabbed a few paper towels to dry off. I started taking my contact lenses out.
He looked over at me from the sink. "Do I know you?"
"We met once." I took the wig off, unable to put up with it anymore if I didn't have to.
"Wait, you're that Fable guy!" He was too busy identifying me to see Aarei coming up behind him.
"Yeah, I brought Aarei with me too."
"What?" He just barely got a glimpse of Aarei before his face was smashed into the mirror. He got his head knocked into the sink a few times too before being pushed to the floor. He held his bleeding face, too shocked to call for help yet as he tried to scoot away.
Aarei got on top of him and covered his mouth. "If you scream, I'm going to make a bloody mess of you," he whispered darkly to him. He had him well pinned and scared shitless. He let go of his mouth. "Remember me?"
Mankoy nodded ferociously, not playing dumb in hope that it would save him some future pain.
"Wonderful. You remember my dear ol' dad, right?"
He nodded again.
"And you remember what you guys did to me?"
"Aarei, I'm sorry."
"Oh? That's kind of you. So thoughtful. Maybe I'll be sorry too once I'm all done." He sounded like a sadist. Aarei doesn't usually do sadist. He was pulling it off pretty well at the moment. His aura was changing to a new color too. A color I've never seen in him before.
"Aarei, whatever you're thinking about doing-."
Aarei shoved a cloth in Mankoy's mouth and duct taped over it. "Grab his arm, Fable," he demanded. His aura hues continued to warp into something I didn't like.
I got one arm as Aarei got the other, helping him quickly drag the man across the room where the bag of tools were resting on the floor. We pinned Mankoy against the wall.
"Palm facing us and lift him up. Let's crucify this bitch to the wall."
Good thing I'm tall enough for this task, because Aarei sure isn't. I got a fist of the man's shirt and slid him up the wall until his feet were dangling a few inches off the floor. Then I held one of his hands in place while Aarei held the other after getting his nail gun ready.
Mankoy shook his head, trying to scream, but got nothing other than muffles. His kicking wasn't going to get him anywhere either.
Aarei placed the gun to the man's left palm and pulled the trigger, the nail piercing through his hand and pearly wall. The nails were long enough to stop at the perfect length in order to keep the limb in place and not have a shallow puncture. "I believe, in ancient history, back when they still legally crucified people, they actually drilled the nail into the wrists, not the middle palms. Otherwise the nail would just tear right through when gravity took its course as the cross was placed upright." He gave him a history lesson as he shot him in the wrist too. "Modern days, people seem to think that only three nails were used on those with the death sentence. It's not true. They used over 10 sometimes." He put another two nails into his wrist before having me move so that he could continue on his next hand. He repeated his process. "Did you know that the feet were actually nailed to the side of the post? Not one foot over the other?" Aarei went on to remove Mankoy's shoes. "Since I haven't an actual cross constructed for you this evening, I'll just continue to use the wall."
Mankoy was crying in pain, wanting so bad to remove himself from the predicament, but hadn't the willpower to tear his hands all the way through. He wasn't ready for some Saw movie stunt to fight for his life. My attention wasn't on him though.
Aarei bent Mankoy's knee and leg up so that his foot could rest flat on the surface. Then he placed the gun to his foot and pulled the trigger again. The sound of the nail going through the flesh was like a juicy crunch. It's cringe worthy for those with inexperience in this line of work. "It's not going to look exactly like a crucifixion when it's all done, but you'll understand the key points." He put the next nail into the other foot.
He was talking crazy, but what did I expect to come from the mouth of someone taking his childhood rage out on a person responsible? Aarei had never tortured anyone before, but he was doing a damn good job of it now without flinching or shaking. He didn't miss a beat.
He took in a deep breath and I saw a wicked smile on his lips. He put his gun down rummaged the sack for something else. "I'm glad you remember, because I remember too. I remember this position, even. I was on your end of course, being helpless and at someone else's mercy." He started unlooping Mankoy's belt. "I remember you taking off my pants." He pulled down his pants and underwear to leave him exposed. He gripped a hunting knife. "And fucked me!" He put the blade in to carve out the man's privates. "And cut me up for the sake of your fucking rituals to please the Gods! For six years, I had to put up with you sick twisted fucks! And it's not fair that you only get to suffer for two minutes to repent for all those six years. Not a single moment of this is fair." I'm surprised the man wasn't passed out yet. "But regardless, please tell me, was it worth it? Was it worth every time you stuck your dick where it didn't belong?" He got in Mankoy's face. "I hope it was. I mean, this is some pretty crazy shit to go through if it wasn't even worth it, right?" he laughed. "This has got to suck really bad for you if you didn't enjoy every moment of that like I'm enjoying every moment of this." He finished and reclaimed his gun, jamming it under Mankoy's chin. "And, by the way, I'm not sorry. I bet you're really fucking sorry, but I'm not." He pulled the trigger for the last time and casually dropped his tools over the bag.
"Aarei," I spoke to him softly.
"Hold on. Not done." He unzipped his pants and relieved himself on Mankoy's corpse. "Now I'm done. Let's get out of here."
I about called Story when I noticed him standing a few feet away. "How long have you been there?"
"End half. I wanted to see what would become of my old friend." He got a picture of it on his phone. "I've already taken care of my guys. I'm ready to leave whenever you two are." He eyed Aarei who was gathering everything together.
"Is there something wrong, Fable?" Aarei asked me at last when I didn't move from my spot right away as they started for the exit.
"No. Nothing's wrong."
Next Book: Gift of Death