by Dan Boyce
Can a mother resist the call of revenge?
Blood SongAbout 3900 words
Two candles lit the empty concrete room. A single metal door broke monotone texture. In the middle a dark suited man kneeled. Candlelight caused shadows to dance on a photo just in front of the man’s crossed legs. It showed a moment of joy between a mother and her son with sunlight cascading down through green leaves. The mottled light glinted off the gathered drops of water on their clothes. Grey clouds could be seen retreating in the distant blue sky.
The candlelight played in his short, dark brown hair. He raised his arm and metal slashed across his other cufflinked wrist. Blood splattered the captured image tainting the joy it held. Opening his lime-tinted eyes, the man coughed up words that dripped with power. The sharp tang of methane filled the room and the air became moist with rot. It left a sticky film over everything. A deep bass note hit the walls and a fine dust rained down.
The door opened and light flowed around the shadow of a man. The lime eyed man spoke with a musical voice. “It is done. Steven Harris is your target. Kill no one else.” His mouth twisted into a smile. “She will do the rest.” The man turned and the letters S.W.A.T. shone across his back in bright white.
The heat of the still summer night could not escape the white windowless van. It swirled around the air and crept into Steven’s pores. It suffocated him. His fast breath made the woolen balaclava covering his face heat up quickly. Sweat dripped, stinging his eyes and obscuring his vision. He heard more than saw Terry seated beside him. It was all his fault. He convinced Steven this would be cool. It would pay off all his debts and still leave him with something extra to play with, and Terry had all the best toys. Powders, needles, pills in every colour of the rainbow, whatever Steven wanted he had.
Steven pulled at the mask.
“Keep it on fuck face,” Terry said. His white teeth shone through the split in his own mask.
“Where are we going anyway?” Steven asked. No-one had told him what was happening, only that it would be a quick smash and grab.
“We’ll just be making a quick withdrawal before it gets to the bank.” Marco twisted around from the van’s driver seat while pulling his own mask on. “Nice and simple.”
Is anything ever simple? Before Steven could voice his doubts Terry leaned over.
“Here. This’ll take the edge off. Free of charge even.” He deposited a small yellow pill in Steven’s palm. It quickly disappeared with a gulp as the hot van pulled to a stop.
“Right this is it. Steven, get out and open the amoured van’s back door. It’s been left open. Terry, you follow and grab the bags.” Macro instructed.
Steven leapt out of the van almost tripping over his own feet. Giggling from the effects of the pill, Steven found that the mask had swum back up his face blinding him. Terry ran into him yelling, “Come on fuck face! Get your fucking ass moving!” The mask frustrated Steven. It held back the world and he wanted to see it. Steven revealed his face. As soon as Steven touched the armoured vans door sirens screamed around the corner with red and blue lights flashing. Something stung Steven in his cheek and a great pain slowly spread out across his face. He touched his cheek and his hand came away red. People in black uniforms holding guns ran towards him yelling words that escaped his understanding. He did the only thing his body knew how to do.
He ran and hid. He made a call to the only person his muddled brain could take comfort in.
“Mum.” The word became distorted from his injury and tore new levels of agony across his face. “So ‘uch wud.” He sucked air in threw the new hole. A coughing fit shook him as blood dribbled down into his lungs. “Ease hel’ ne. In alley near ‘ank. I’n sorr… aaahhh.” The pain overcame him. The phone fell from his sluggish fingers. A musical voice within the pain called to him. It hinted at being something large and powerful. Something that can take his pain away. Steven gave in to its call and his heart slowed then stopped.
In the bowels of the city Abigail held her son’s body. Blood dribbled from the gapping crevice in his cheek and saturated her floral dress. Stroking his face she could feel the hair just starting to form on his chin, hinting at the man he would never become. The last time she saw her son angry words had burned the few remaining bridges between them. He had said he was a man now and she had to let him go. She could not teach him the lessons she had learned. Lessons of love, of loss and of guilt.
Raising her gaze to the stars she knew she should be angry or sad. Instead she felt disconnected, held apart from herself. She could almost see her emotions running beneath the surface of her thoughts but something hid them in the shadows of her mind. Her son’s bloody face rose in her thoughts like a murdered sunrise blazing with hatred and rage. She could see the strength and the power, the pulsating fury promised. It needed her to exact revenge against those who did this to her son. It strove against the protective wrapping she enshrouded herself in. The force of its will threatened to drown her in a sea of wrath. Falling tears landed on her hands and smeared what remained of her son’s life. Life she brought into the world and helped to shape. A life that now drained indifferently down the gutter of an uncaring city. She tasted the salty waters of her love, and like the sky above, that love grew dark and menacing.
Abigail ran her hands down her face leaving eight streaks of crimson. It created a mask for her humanity and wiped away the facade of sanity leaving only a consuming hunger for vengeance. Her son’s blood did not care for tears and loss. It screamed for action. Let the world see what had become of her son. Let them see what would become of those who took him.
Standing, she stared at two bright lights flickering in the growing red pool. Each a light she needed to put out. Her sanity cracked as a flood of rage crashed against her soul. It filled her with a power that promised her absolution and screamed to be used. She could feel the cords of its will wrap around her, taking control. Its tendrils threaded their way within her, through her. It suffocated her sense of self. Another mind wove amongst her blood and amassed itself behind her eyes. A new navigator showing her the way to retribution.
It marched her directly to a nightclub called The Pitt, past the line snaking out the front. A bouncer stood in their way reading from a list, and like Charon on the river Styx, he alone allowed entry to The Pitt.
“Back in line lady. No free passes tonight.” He continued to read from a clipboard. When The Mother did not move he glanced up and saw her mask. “Jesus lady, you okay?”
“Go home. You look fucked up.” She looked over his shoulder and caught a glimpse of a young man who might be her target. The bouncer pushed her back as she attempted to force her way in. “I said go home, woman.”
She reached up and placed her hand on the bouncer’s chest. “Let me in.” She whispered through gritted teeth. Never before had she felt so angry, so determined.
The bouncer gripped her hand hard. “Look woman, I’ve been nice so far, now fuck off!” She could feel blood pulsing through her body. It flowed down her arm and focused on her hand. She felt the essence of her son push it. The bouncer crashed through glass entry. The multi headed snake gasped and the crowded sea parted. She stared wide-eyed back at them, shocked at the sheer strength she had just exhibited. The blood had no patience, and like a hook in to her abdomen it pulled her forward.
Inside the music pounded everyone with a damaging base. A spiky blond head bopped along in front of a group of girls easily half his age. Their only focus being the small white package held high in his hand. Unheeding of the throng of people, she pushed forwards and tapped Terry on the shoulder.
“Terry.” She said. “TERRY!” The sheer force of the sound blew the many speakers in a shower of sparks. It knocked Terry down. The crowd stared at The Mother like a school of gaping fish while coloured lights continued to crisscross the dance floor in a mockery of the silence.
Terry tried to get up but found the Mothers foot on his thigh. “Where is my son?”
“Wha-.“ He looked up at her. The crowd swelled as people gathered to witness. Men labeled security attempted to push their way through. The wall of spectators held them back.
“Where is my son? I want him back.” The bloods’ desire for pain swept down her leg and Terry screamed as his thighbone snapped. She grabbed his now useless leg and dragged him past the shocked crowd. Terry shrieked as bone punctured his skin.
The human made snake cringed back as she emerged from the Pitt with her prize. Swinging her arm around, she threw Terry into the street. He screeched as he hit the pavement, blood splattering the black tar. Others oohed with him in imagined pain. She started to question her monstrous strength but the blood tore her questions apart in a barrage of rage. Glaring down at Terry she focused on the task at hand.
“Where is my son, Terry?” she asked.
“Gaaa - Who the fuck are you?”
“Who’s?” He squeezed the question out through the pain. Murmurs echoed him in the crowd.
“Harris?” He managed, fear rose like bile from his stomach as he lost control of his bladder. “He’s fucking dead. It was all Marco’s idea. I swear.”
“Where can I find him?” The Mother wrinkled her nose at the stench wafting from him.
“I don’t fucking know. Ask Nixon.”
The name sounded familiar and yet it evaded her. It hid behind her memories like a hunter stalking its prey. An alien awareness curled about her mind with an impression of cracked leather and aged paper. Great lime green eyes sort her out and forced the blood to rise. Her renewed rage centered her, reminding her of her purpose.
“Bitch. You don’t know nuffin.” Terry spat. “You don’t know how fucked you are.”
She wiped away the spittle that landed on her arm. “Where is he?” The look in her eyes left no doubt as to Terry’s fate. He knew he stood alone with the many-eyed snake merely a passive witness.
“Fuck you.” He screamed as she stepped on his swollen thigh. “Marco’s at the casino.” He held his leg as tears fell into his sobbing mouth. “Please don’t tell him I told you. I’m begging you, please?”
“That’s the least of your worries.” She then released the thin leash on the monster inside. Terry’s screams echoed down the street. The snake collapsed into chaos. The pleas and cries of help from those trodden under foot joined Terry in a melody of death.
The Mother watched the blood being absorbed into her skin as she walked away from the corpse. The rage had been fed.
The casino stood as a monument to the money that ebbed and flowed through its cashier’s window. Neon lights of alternating pink, purples and blues washed those congregating to the empty promise of grand prizes and huge profits. It existed for people to wallow in misery as much as to feed their hope.
Marco sat amongst the murmurs’ and clinking chips at the high rollers poker table. The air of the pastel coloured room had become electrified as small fortunes crossed the narrow green felt. A wall of accumulated chips fortified him against the enemy.
The near silence broke as the door burst inwards. An airborne security guard landed with a crack on the table’s edge. Screams of confusion and fear followed him. Marco flung his arms around his wall.
The Mother entered the room. Her eyes focused on Marco from behind the glowing red streaks running down her face.
“You.” She pointed. “You killed my son.” The people fleeing towards the exit gave her a wide berth. The room stood empty but for the two of them.
Marco glanced around for a way out. Apart from a long fall out a closed window, the only exit held this insane, blood-faced bitch.
“You stole him from me. And now I want him back.”
“I don’t know what the FUCK you’re on about?”
She picked up a single yellow chip from the table that separated them. “Steven. You killed him.”
“Like fuck I did.” He tried to keep the fear out of his voice. “The cops di…”
“Where is the other?” She interrupted rolling the yellow chip back and forth over the back of her knuckles.
“Huh?” He needed time to think. Who was this woman and how the fuck did she find me?
“The one who helped you take Steven away from me. Nixon.” She stopped twirling the chip and shut her eyes tight as a torrent of images leapt at the name. “Where is he?”
“Look bitch,” Marco said slamming his hands down on the table. Anger erased his fear. “I don’t know who the fuck you think you are but you’re really giving me the shits. Now fuck off before the trouble starts.” He lifted one side of his jacket to reveal a gun.
Her eyes open. Underneath she could feel the blood begging to be used. It tugged at her, demanded satisfaction.
“The trouble,” blood oozed out of her fingers coating the yellow chip red. “Has already begun.” With a quick thrust the chip became a bullet. Marco flew backwards from the impact. His legs kicked the table and sent a speckled shower of chips in to the air. Tendrils of red snaked out from The Mother and plucked the discs from the air. It turned them into a bombardment of red that slammed into the table and wall.
Three angry barks came from the gun peeking over the table. Risking a quick glance, Marco saw the woman lying still in a pool of crimson. He hid his gun away and kicked the prone body. Blood dripped from his shoulder as he ran from the room.
Pulling his mobile out, he made a call. “Is Nixon in? It’s Marco… Well fucking get him then.” He covered his shoulder as he wove his way downstairs to the main entrance. “We got a problem... Alright, I do... Yeah I know you didn’t order it. I fucked up okay?... Yeah, well we wouldn’t have been caught if that fucker hadn’t been shot... No, his fucking bitch of a mother just turned up... What? No. I don’t know how she fucking knew... Whatever. Doesn’t matter now. She’s dead... Yeah, alright. Be there soon.” He hung up. “Fuck!”
In the room the red pool had disappeared and three small metal objects fell to the carpet as The Mother got up. The only evidence of her injuries was her white skin shining through three small holes in her red stained dress. Her eyes were no longer brown, just a solid ball of blood. A flick of her wrist sent a stream of red out that licked the misshapen cylinders up to her fist.
A building of steel and glass stood alone as a giant amongst midgets. The freezing wind whistled around protruding statuettes lining the rooftop, each with a face frozen half way between rage and agony.
Marco got out of the taxi and went straight for the dark glass doors. Inside, Hand the security guard, trotted up with a puppy dog smile. “Marco man, I just wanna thank you again for... Shit man, are you okay?” Hand spied the dribbling blood from between Marco’s fingers.
Marco turned on him and vented the built up frustration and fear over having to face Nixon. “Shut up. Just shut up okay! FUCK!” The lift doors opened to deliver him to the 35th floor.
Hand sat back at his station. “Wanker.” He muttered. Scanning the black and white images in front of him, he watched people pass like mindless zombies. He pointed his finger at them and mimed shooting them. Blowing his index finger he spotted one woman just standing in the middle of the plaza, staring at the camera. Grabbing the joystick Hand zoomed in.
Nathaniel Nixon sat in his high backed chair, framed by books that covered every subject of depravity imaginable. Journals of madmen jabbering on the injustice of demons leaned against Grimoires detailing the acquisition of an unwilling soul.
“No Marco. I will not help you with this.” Marco tore his eyes from the forbidden texts at his boss’s song like voice. “You disobeyed me and sought profit elsewhere, again. You know that I can not condone this.”
Marco bowed his head in shame. Somehow the man knew everything. “I understand, sir.” Only one future loomed before those who displeased Nixon.
The immaculately dressed man watched Marco squirm. “I can, however, offer you some assistance. I believe you know the cost.”
A flicker of hope passed across Marco’s face. He didn’t believe in that supernatural bullshit. If Nixon wanted his soul, let him. He was just ecstatic that he got to walk out of the room alive where many had not. “Thank you, sir.”
Nixon smiled and offered his hand. “Good. Then it’s a deal.” Marco’s palm felt pleasantly warm in Nixon’s. A faint tingle made its way up Marco’s arm and settled in his chest. “Go home Marco.”
Marco opened the mahogany doors to escape while he still could but almost ran into a bloodied and sobbing Hand leaning heavily against the doorframe.
“I’m s-sorry.” Hand whimpered through bubbling snot. Tendrils of red slipped around his limbs and he rose off the floor. His eyes widened and his body stiffened. His arms tore from his torso in a shower of blood. The body hit the carpet with a wet thud.
In the doorway stood The Mother.
“Marco, you escaped me once. I will NOT let that happen again.” She said stepping over the corpse of Hand. Marco stepped back and glanced to Nixon.
Nixon raised his hands. “This was not part of the deal.”
“Fuck it.” Marco pulled out his gun. “I killed you once bitch and I can fucking do it again.” Two shots bucked the gun. The woman stumbled but did not fall. “Just fucking die!” He shouted as he pumped more bullets into her. Each caused a small fountain of blood to erupt, but still she did not fall. The gun clicked empty four times before Marco realised he had run out of bullets. The woman placed her hands around her wounds. er body spat the small metal cylinders out.
“Each of these screams to me for your death.” She held the spent bullets up. “I am here to deliver.” Before Marco had a chance to react she shot forward in a blur and shoved the metal down his throat. A scarlet river followed them down into Marco. He cried crimson tears as the blood filled every available space in his body. It leaked from his nose and ears. An ammonic stench filled the room as he stained in pants in a reddish brown. His eyes exploded in streams of red. He fell limp to the floor. A lifeless body in a warm coloured room lined with old leather books.
A sharp metallic odor of spent power invaded the room. Abigail’s lead filled limbs dangled at her sides. Her bones stood out under her stark white skin. She wavered drunkenly on her feet and fell to the floor in a tangled heap.
A coppery smell drew Abigail from a deep slumber. She had dreamt of stormy red seas, throwing her adrift under a hate filled sky. She remembered a barely heard sound, muffled by a locked door. A word that held the power to shatter chains and cleave through forests. A word that captured her identity. A word issued by a familiar voice. Someone she remembers loosing. Someone who meant everything to her. Someone who called her simply, Mum.
Abigail woke and levered herself off the floor, her hands sticky with blood. Her large brown eyes searched the room for some familiarity. “Where am I? Who are you?” he saw the body of Marco leaking over the floor. “Oh my god. What happened?”
“Interesting. You don’t remember?”
“I remember Steven and blood. So much blood.” Clear tears fell as the memories of the atrocities she had committed flooded through her. What kind of monster had she become that could do those dark deeds? She was just a mother. The faces of the people she hurt swam before her eyes, accusing her of murder.
Nixon walked around his desk and looked down at her pale face. His lime-green eyes delved deep inside her like icy fingers. He pierced her stained soul and twisted it out. Her last feeble grasp of sanity gone.
Nixon ran his hands down her shoulders. “It’s over.” One hand slid behind him and pulled a large dagger from the hidden sheath in his belt. “It’s all over now. Go be with your son, Abigail.” Her face whitened in shock. “I am Nixon.” He whispered. With a swift thrust he pierced between her ribs and into her broken heart. Her arms reached out to the darkness that loomed before her. His lime green eyes were the last thing she saw.
Nixon held Abigail’s body at arms length. “You served your purpose well.” He whispered and dropped the empty carcass. From his pocket he drew a red stained photo and tossed it on to Abigail. It floated down spinning to land on her outstretched hand.
Kneeling, Nixon pressed his palm down and entered Marco’s chest. With a twist and a sucking sound he pulled his hand back out. In his palm sat a small yellow light with floating black veins. A face formed in the light silently screaming in agony and hate. Nixon brought it closer to his lips.
“No one disobeys me Marco. No one.” He said swallowing the writhing face. Nixon smiled as it struggled down his throat to join the countless others.
Sirens invaded the peaceful quiet of his office. “Time to move on.” He told the bloody mess and dissolved in to the air.