The Writer's, artist's & reader's Guild

The Face of Fear: Chapter Seven

faceoffear7

Young Anthony’s training was rigorous and contained a variety of exercises. His second father would take him out to the jungle to practice the kalis and kris while at the same time teaching him the others skills he might need in combat. It was important that the young man was as well rounded as possible and instead of becoming overtly muscular like some of the Balinese tribesmen who had arms like tree trunks, but could not move with the grace as a slimmer man. Wayan’s goal was to mold Anthony in his own image, lean and lithe with a clear definition. It was what had made him such a phenomenal and sought after soldier of fortune throughout the isles. Wayan sent him climbing trees to hone the strength in legs and finger strength and from the tops leap from milk wood to milk wood. Pushing off and grabbing on to the twisted branches and swinging on to the next one. He would hang upside down for hours, from time to time sitting up to tone his stomach muscles for a strong core was the key to controlling the body. Some mornings they would venture to the coast and leap from the white cliffs into the clear blue water repeatedly doing flips, spins and rolls into the deep. As the years passed Anthony notice his body changing from the softness of childhood to the toned solidity of a Balinese warrior. He scaled the trees and rock walls with ease, somersaulted without using his hands and could avoid the reeds that Wayan tried to slap him with while he tried to slice the sticks placed in a circle around. As he matured into a young man he was also evolving into a tanned and toned soldier.

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Entering the building had been the easy part. Everything had been as they had been told. The guards were doing their rounds so were away from the front desk so they avoided unwanted questions and whatever nurses who might have been on duty in the middle of the night paid little attention to them as they walked with a purpose. Thorne carried a snub nosed revolver in a holster under his suit jacket, while Charles and Jensen each had sawed off shotguns strapped under their armpits, hidden by their coats. Sure it would make noise once they offed the police officers and the snitch, but that was how they liked it and at this hour they would be out of the hospital long before the boys in blue had a chance to even get into their cars. The security guards they wanted to avoid before they reached their destination since they most likely  ask them some uncomfortable questions and they would be forced to kill them on the spot and they didn’t want to have to do that so early on. Quickly they entered the elevator and rode it up to the fifth floor. It landed there with a friendly ‘ding’ and the doors gently eased open to reveal the white corridors of level five. The first hing that greeted them, and with open arms no less, was the likeness of the Virgin Mary. A full body statue made from red stone stood before them, eyes downcast with a look of sadness on her face. Charles, the religious one of the group, swallowed hard, which he always did when confronted with his Catholic beliefs and made the sign of the cross as the others passed with smirks on their faces, Jensen even rolled his eyes.
As they moved along the corridor, past several doors, with only the sound of their shoes on the wooden floor, they could hear voices, most likely coming from the reception area. Thorne stopped and put his arm to halt his friends. He listened intently, two voices; a man and a woman. Probably a nurse and a security guard or possibly a cop. He put his hand in his under his coat and cocked his revolver and at the same time he could hear Jensen and Charles ready their shotguns. He nodded and they continued to walk.

Luckily enough it had not rained the past couple of days, but the night air added its own brand of dampness to the roof on which Tony was crawling. Seeing as how he was still wearing The Face it was foolish to try to enter the hospital through the front entrance and he felt he had gotten quite adept at opening windows from the outside. He walked on all fours, gingerly placing one foot and one hand down at the same time, looking like a camel against the moonlight. He could of course have walked upright, the roof of the building was completely flat, but he didn’t want to raise suspicions among nightwalkers, who might begin to wonder at the shape atop the hospital in the middle of the night. He had scoped out the structure from across the street before scaling the walls and believed he knew where the room was located. Climbing the brick building was not a problem as he swung from nook to cranny, rested on window ledges until he finally swung over the roof top. He had chosen to move up on the back of St. Mary’s so he would be forced to cross the roof due to the fact that room 506 was facing Grand Avenue that ran outside. Anything to avoid detection. Once he had reached the opposite end he leapt down onto a balcony that replaced the seventh floor level at the end facing the street. Swiftly he jumped up on the railing turned so that his back faced the street and dropped down, only to catch the edge of the balcony with his hands, allowing him to hang from it. He had positioned himself so that he was hanging perpendicular to the window below, all he needed to do was drop down and catch himself on the sixth floor windowsill and he did. He felt his shoulders strain from the pull of the drop and catch, but his toned arm muscles could handle it. He swung from side to side in order to steady himself. He through a glance below to make sure that there still was a window there. He wanted to move quickly because he was out in the open for all to see, the exact thing he was trying to avoid. He repeated the previous motion and once again felt the strain as his fingers caught the edge of the sill, he winced, this time it hurt. As he passed the glass he saw the light from the inside and two policemen standing with their backs to the window.

As they turned round the corner that led from the corridor to the reception area the trio saw the big desk and behind it a blond nurse most likely in her twenties. She was in an engaging conversation with one of the elderly security guards who was leaning over the desk and resting on his elbows as they walked up in a neat row. The guard fell silent when he noticed them and the nurse soon followed suit once she noticed that something was amiss. The setting was ideal for them, they had met their first obstacle exactly where they had wanted it to happen, in the open area of the reception. The hallways would have been too narrow to maneuver and their would have always been the risk of being hit by a random spray of shotgun pellets. They had a clear view of the corridors that branched off from the hub as well as the two adjoining wash rooms. The guard straightened up and pulled his pants up by way of tugging at his belt, unclear if it was supposed to look menacing or not. He moved some gray strands that had fallen behind his right ear and moved it across the bald spot that was the top of his head.
‘Hello there fellas, what do you need?’ He said in a quivering voice, placing his right hand on the pistol at his hip. There was perspiration on the top of his lip and his fingers twitched.
‘ Where here to visit a buddy.’ Thorne took charge. ‘Martin Lindquist in room 506.’
‘Visiting hours are over.’ The nurse said, with quite the decisive tone, as she picked up the black receiver of her internal phone.
‘I think we’ll see him anyway.’ Thorne shrugged and looked at the others.
‘We have special permission.’ Charles chimed in.
The nurse went for the numbers on the telephone as the guard upholstered the pistol. ‘I’m going to have to ask you to leave.’ He said in a harsh, but broken tone.
Thornes revolver barked loudly as he fired at the nurse. As she was turned towards him at that instant, with her finger hovering above the call button the bullet hit her squarely in the center of her forehead sending a spray of blood, skull fragments and gray matter behind her. Limply her body collapsed to the floor, bouncing off the desk first. The movement of leveling the weapon at the now expired woman had caused Thorne to stand sideways so when the security guard’s pistol fired it tore a hole in his coat instead of his chest. The elderly man emptied his clip continuously in the same general area in quick succession and as the weapon clicked a blast from Thorne’s right side sent the lower half of his body to explode in a wave of red. The shotgun blast from Jensen had nearly cut him in half and he was now gasping for breath in a pool of crimson and innards. Once the ringing in their ears had stopped they could hear the footsteps of the police officers approaching.

Tony hadn’t quite figured out how he was going to enter the building. First off he hadn’t scoped out where the police officers watching over the man would be standing. In his ignorance he had figured they would be in room 506, but they were obviously standing outside, that complicated things. He looked to the left, where he assumed the room was located, but there was no window there, and he was just about to swing to his right when he noticed that the officer moved down the corridor at some speed. Tony pulled himself up do that he was resting on straight arms, unsheathed his kris with his right hand while balancing on the left and slid the blade under the window frame. He pushed down on it and the window opened and to avoid having to go through it again he quickly shoved his fingers in the crack before it fell back down. The kris fell and he saw it tumble down to the ground below, he’d have to recover it once he was done. With some effort he pushed the window upward wile still balancing on his left hand and swung both his legs over the sill so that he could slide inside. He heard shouting and the unmistakable deafening sounds of gunfire coming from down the hall. He unsheathed the kalis and brought it round, he shook his arms to get the blood flowing through them, he was not prepared for whatever might lie ahead and he was not too keen on the prospect of a fight with rubbery, lactic acid filled limbs. He noticed that he was standing outside room 506 and slipped behind the door. The room was dark except for the machines that lit up the form of the young man who lay in the bed, covered by a single sheet. His eyes were open, the noise from outside most likely had woken him up, Tony could see two tiny pinpricks reflected in the orbs. It was tense, the man obviously could not quite see him as he stood there; a silhouette against the light that escaped the door.

The old man let out one final breath as Jensen walked over to him. He had wanted to end it with another blast, but he had been saved the trouble of wasting another shell. Suddenly one of the bathroom doors burst open and another elderly guard appeared, gun held high. This one had a flat top haircut and a barrel chest reminiscent of a marine. At the same time the two police officers came round the corner, both aiming slide action shotguns at anyone who might be in their way and screaming at the trio to drop their guns and get down on the ground.. Jensen became confused at where to focus his attention being that he was in the middle of two threats and that Charles could not use his weapon for fear of hitting him as well. Thorne took out one of the policemen by firing three shot into his chest and he fell over and skid across the floor leaving a trail of red. At the same instant the guard fired at Jensen, who tried to spin out of harms way, but was struck in the shoulder. He dropped to a knee, just as the second officer fired sending shots his way and blowing his hat off and scraping his scalp. It gave Charles the opening he needed and aiming high he sent a hail of shots towards the head of the second officer, who catching only some of it, dropped his rifle and doubled over. The guard, still standing on the threshold of the bathroom leaning against the door to hinder it from closing on him and forcing him to move, pointed his gun at Jensen who  was still kneeling in the lake of blood. He squeezed the trigger, but the thug had already rolled forward in a tumble over the dead body of the other guard causing his coat to become soaked in crimson, coagulating liquid. Charles was busy reloading his weapon thinking to himself that he should have brought something capable of firing more than two shots at a time, rather than going for an item with the destructive power of his double barreled sawed off piece. Thorne spent his remaining two bullets in his revolver on the guard who vanished back into the bathroom with the door taking the hits as it swung back and forth on its hinges. Thorne cursed and tossed his weapon to the side and headed over to the downed officer. Jensen rolled to his feet in front  of the wounded policeman who was clutching his face after the pellets had dug themselves into his skin and he shoved the double barrels of his gun into the man’s chest. The blew right through the upper torso, coloring the ceiling a deep red and making parts of lungs, the heart and bone fragments rain down. Jensen used the man’s body as an umbrella, still holding the body up with his shotgun. After the rain had stopped Jensen dumped the body to the side and rose, covered in blood and gore, he turned to Thorne who had just ripped the weapon from the hands of the other police officer and was joined by Charles, whose shotgun was locked and loaded.
‘We’re wasting time.’ Thorne claimed. ‘We need to get on with it. The traitor need to be silenced and the guard in the bathroom need to be dealt with so that we can get out of here. I’m sure we’ve made enough noise to alert the authorities.’
‘If nothing else these guys have already used their radios to call the station.’ Charles pointed to the police radios attached to the shoulders of the dead men.
‘I’ll take the old man in the toilet.’ Jensen said as he reloaded his shotgun, after pulling it out of the dead body. ‘You guys take care of that Lindquist kid.’ He went for the doorknob of the bathroom but found that it was locked. He sighed and nodded to the others to go.

Martin Lindquist was paralyzed in his hospital bed. He had been woken from a feverish dream, glowing red eyes coming at him in the dark, by gunfire. There was running outside his the room and he slowly came to the realization that his days were numbered. He knew enough of organized crime and the one he had infiltrated in particular how these things usually went down. He had once been part of a similar incident when going out with Baz Peterson. A small time dealer had threatened to blow the whistle, to go to the cops, and the big boss had wanted him taken care of. Baz, Martin and some guy referred to as Rosy Anderson went uptown to meet the man. He ended up being dumped off the sixth street bridge and into the Root River with several bullet holes in his body. Rosy had wanted to torture and string him up as a warning, but Black Diamond, whoever or whatever that was, wanted no trail, nothing that could lead to questions. Even though Martin had taken no part in the killing he had witnessed the cold action by the two men. They had given no quarter, just entered his apartment, pulled him out and emptied their guns into his body, he hadn’t even gotten the chance to defend himself. This was what awaited him. Sure the police officers on duty might be able to delay the inevitable, but if the men coming for him were anything like Peterson they didn’t stand a chance.
The door to his room gently opened and he steeled himself for what was about to come, but instead of the barrage of bullets that he was expecting to riddle his body a figure slipped in through the small crack of the opening. He it happened so fast and the light from the outside temporarily blinded him so that he couldn’t make out the figure clearly. As his eyesight slowly adjusted back to the dark of the room he stared at the person, who remained at the door seemingly listening for what was going on outside the room. It looked as if the figure was naked, but as he concentrated Martin could see the shape of boots on the feet and gloves covering the hands and the head… The head had a strange shape, not the type of irregular silhouette created by back lit hair, but caused by something else and when the figure looked at him he saw the red glow of two very familiar eyes; it was the thing from his dreams. He started to squirm and as he did the thing quickly moved towards him, in his hands it carried that nasty, wavy blade he had used to separate Martin’s leg from the rest of him. He began to shudder and opened his mouth to scream when a gloved hand covered his mouth. The light from the little lamps on the machinery next to his bed lit the beast partially and showed a figure dressed in a skin tight suit in blue and red, a spiked belt at the waist and a terrible, angular face with fangs and a sharp nose, piercing red eyes staring right through his very soul.
The figure slowly raised the blade to its mouth that at the moment was closed so that the fangs protruding from the lower jaw was the only thing visible. ‘Be quite.’ It hissed in the voice of someone wearing a mask, a man. ‘I’m not here to hurt you, I need your help, but we don’t have time to talk now.’ The sounds of battle had stopped and Martin could hear two sets of feet come closer to his room. ‘Hang a pillowcase in the window outside your room if and when you want to talk so that we can take this organization down.’
Martin nodded and the dressed up man slowly backed towards the door.

Down the hall Charles and Thorne could hear Jensen trying to force the bathroom door open by shouldering and alternately kicking it, but without success and he didn’t want to waste another shell by blowing the lock off. It was understandable that he didn’t want stand with only one round left, facing a possible hail of bullets. With their weapons at the ready Thorne grabbed the door handle of room 506 and turned it. Without warning the door flew open with force and knocked Thorne over, crashing into his head first. He rolled over to the wall and tried to find his bearings. His hat had flown off and there was a deep gash in his forehead causing blood to flow down his face. He was disoriented, probably concussed and attempted to resume his upright position climbing the wall with his left hand. Charles had jumped back when the door opened and had seen his colleague get knocked down. Instinctively he pulled the trigger of his gun and blasted a hole in the door. It swung back slowly and he could clearly see that there was no one behind it. He sidled up next to the hole with his gun raised and slowly moved his hand towards the handle trying to avoid the crater left from his shot. It caused his arm and the right side of his upper torso to cover the door, but he had no other choice, he wasn’t about to become visible through his own handy work. It was still, apart from Jensen working on the bathroom and Throne struggling to get to his feet and breathing heavily.

Tony had stepped back into the dark once he had kicked the door open. He had planned for it to catch whomever was trying to enter by surprise and he was fairly certain it had succeeded, at least the door had hit a body on the other side and the shotgun blast affirmed his belief that hostility was behind it all. As he backed off he caught a glimpse through the hole and saw a man in a trench coat and dark suit clambering against the wall with blood pouring from a nasty wound in his head. It made him fairly certain that whoever were in the hallway had bad intentions on their minds. The door moved ever so slightly, as if it shivered at the touch from someone on the other side. Tony rolled his shoulders to try to loosen them up from the strain of the climb. Once the handle began to move again he flipped the blade so that it pointed towards the floor and the pounced. The point of the kalis dug through the wood like so much soft butter and he felt it cut into something very different on the other side. A man cried out and Tony pulled his weapon free, tumbling backwards on the floor and coming to standing position, reversing his momentum he ran forward and like a long jumper he leapt into the air and planted both his boots on the door, sending it flying off its hinges. He landed on his back, relaxing his body to avoid injury and risk of losing his breath.

Just when Charles had reached the handle of the door he felt a sharp, biting pain in his shoulder blade. He had always prided himself in not showing weakness when hurt, but the pain from whatever it was now digging into his body was too much for him to bare. White hot and ice cold at the same time as steel cut through muscle, sinew and tissue, grinding against bone and then the intrusion vanished, but the pain remained. He slumped against the door, feeling the warmth of his blood freely flow under his suit, down his entire body and pooling in his shoes. Thorne had risen and was leaning against the opposite wall, his friend’s cry of pain had jarred him and now the were staring at one another, both bloodied, both breathing heavily, both furious. He could see it in Charles’ eyes, there was a fiery rage there that usually spelled the end for those who might try to oppose them. They had both been hurt before, it was nothing new to people in their line of work. They had powered through it and always ended on top, that is how you stayed relevant and in demand, it was not going to be any different this night. Whomever was hiding in that room, be it Lindquist, another cop or something else they were going to meet their maker and it was going to hurt. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as Thorne cocked his revolver he had managed to recover from the floor. It was sticky with his blood, but it would serve its purpose. Before he could make another move the door flew out once again, this time off the frame itself, most likely due to the integrity of it had already been compromised. Charles was knocked off his feet and flew like a rag doll across the hallway and crashed into the same wall Thorne was leaning against. Sliding to the floor his body left a bloody print on the white paint tracing his trajectory. Thorne stared into the opening left by the missing door and saw a pair of red points in the dark and figure that slowly rose from a crouching position and as it unfolded a long wavy sword appeared at its side. He raised his revolver and fired, but the figure was no longer there, instead it was next to him. A quick movement before Thorne’s face and the revolver clattered to the floor with his hand still clutching it. He stared at his hand as it bounced on the floor and he blinked at it in disbelief and then looked up, staring into a horrible face with huge incisors, red piercing eyes and a nasty snarl and then he faded into darkness.

The man he had seen through the hole in the door previously collapsed on the floor following his hand, briefly the united in a heap. Another man, dressed exactly like the first one lay against the wall, blood flowing in a constant stream from somewhere. Tony assumed it was the one who had been behind the door the second time. The man was panting heavily and stared at him in fear, at the Face to be more precise. He momentarily glanced over to his right and Tony followed his gaze to a sawed off shotgun. He kicked it down the hall and the man shook in fear at what was going to happen next, but Tony let him be, he needed survivors and in the following instant he heard a shotgun blast and the sound of splitting wood coming from the reception area, he hurried off, leaving the two men to their bleeding.

Jensen had become fed up with trying to break down the door by his physical force alone. He was wasting time and the law would arrive at the scene at any moment. He needed the witness done with and out of his hair so to speak. There was commotion over by room 506, his colleagues were seemingly running into more trouble than they had bargained for, but he was fairly convinced that they would deal with it accordingly. One shot from his gun was all it took to blow the door open. He aimed for the lock and half the door and some of the frame had sent splinters flying both through the bathroom and the hallway. His ears played that familiar ringing tune in his ears that only a well played shotgun could produce. The door swung out on its hinges and was followed by a couple of bullets that passed through his coat. He stepped back and loaded another shell into the spent chamber and walked inside to an empty bathroom. The sinks were to his right and on the opposite were three stalls, all of which had their doors shut tight. This was going to be both easy and fun for him. He chuckled as he took careful steps forward and then he caught something in the mirrors hanging above the sinks. It appeared to be a figure in a tight fitting suit of red and blue, but the thing that had caught his eye at first were the two points of light that seemingly emanated from two eyes situated in a ghastly face. He spun round and fired a round back from where he had come, but the doorway was empty and now he stood there with only one round left in his smoking shotgun. The figure stepped into the doorway again, Jensen was relieved that his mind hadn’t played a trick on him. It stood at least six feet, lean and muscular dressed in a skintight fabric and that awful face was obviously a mask now that he got a good look at it with its fangs, protruding red eyes and horn like appendages. The man, for a man it most likely was, held a wavy sword in his right hand, slick with blood. Jensen didn’t think he acted and fired his second shot at the man who slid across the floor to avoid the blast and caught his shin with his boot. Jensen toppled forward, gun flying, and would have landed on his opponent had he not rolled past him. He landed hard, losing his wind and getting tangled in his coat. The trio was unused to this kind of combat, they would more often than not get in, kill and then leave. After what seemed like forever he managed to get to a standing position and in the process had fished his switchblade from his back pocket. The man in the mask was also up, standing with his sword at his side, facing Jensen who was crouching with his own blade at the ready. He lashed out aiming for the man’s abdomen, he wanted his death to be painful and slow. The figure sidestepped and Jensen jabbed at thin air and as he hyper extended he left himself open to a knee to the ribs. Once again the wind went out of him and he felt the wet snap of bones breaking in his chest. Struggling for breath he moved sideways and fell against one of the stall doors, one hand on his torso and the other still clutching the knife. The figure strode towards him with great calm, the blade still calmly at his side. Jensen thought he could hear the sounds of sirens in the distance and coughed as he tried to take a deep breath. He furrowed his brow and let out a gargled scream as he flew at the enemy.

Tony sidestepped the man, also dressed like the two he had already combated, who came at him while trying to scream although it more sounded like the gurgling when someone drinks from a bubbler. He blocked the switchblade coming at him with his left arm and then pierced his gut with the kalis, pushing his entire weight back so that it went clean through and dug deep into the door behind. The man’s eyes went wide and Tony could see his pupils dilate as he struggled with the reality of his new found situation. Blood bubbled up through his mouth and his hands struggled to grab The Face in one last desperate attempt at winning the battle. Tony quickly released him by pulling the kalis out, out from the wood of the door and the soft tissue of the man’s abdomen. With a final gasp his eyes went blank as he slowly slid down to the tiled floor and lay in an unnatural pile. Tony has also heard the sirens outside and decided then and there that he dared not take a chance at talking to Lindquist when the police more than likely were bounding up the stairs. To go out through the window he came would be madness, he would most likely get caught or at least be noticed, he ran back to the reception area calculated in his head where the streets outside lay from his vantage point and then moved through another room where an old woman lay petrified with her covers pulled up to her chin as he flung the window open and vanished into the night.

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