by Kate Reznik
Who is the Revenant?
<I’m gonna die!> James thought as he sprinted down the deserted street, save for a few high-priced parked cars and a rare crumpled paper shuffling by with the cool breeze, hoping he’d lost his pursuer.
<He saw me…! How could I be so stupid?> The shadows of the night lurked furtively as James ran past each street light, always trying to pick up more and more speed, with each strenuous leap forward. The fear that the Revenant was after him was real – as real was the sound of his heavy breathing and of the footsteps clapping with the sidewalk. The tall city buildings always silent witnesses to the unspoken crimes committed when the blanket of night settled in, and late into it when the busy streets became quiet and ominous for just a few hours.
James` green eyes stole a quick glance over his shoulder, not to lose momentum, to see if the Revenant was behind him. The glance sent images back to his brain of an empty street, and for a moment James instinctively stopped to catch his breath, and take a better look behind him, at the shadows down the street.
Like a flash of pain jolting through his body, James remembered what happened to the last one who tried to escape and stopped for a brief moment… he was dead. It was not the fear of dying that pushed James to run again, but of how he would die and from what circumstances.
<He’s gonna kill me…> he reminded himself, somehow hoping those thoughts would persuade him to run faster but he couldn’t, because his heart threatened to explode in its thin cage. He knew none of his refinement, status or money would save him from his stalker this night.
Suddenly, as if by impulse, James slowed down and came to a stop, just long enough to see what was down the alley to his right. His long curly hair continued to bounce as he wheezed. He strained to listen to the sounds behind him, but could not block out the deafening screech in his ears that grew louder the longer he ran. Deciding it was a better option, he bolted down the dark passage. That cold, damp, deep alley, alive with evil secrets of its own.
But James didn’t care: The Revenant was after him! He had to escape. Had to get to the end of that pathway, because then another block or so and he was safe… but he was so damn fast! James didn’t know where he was, couldn’t see him or hear his footsteps behind him. But James knew the Revenant was that good!
<Can’t stop running… gotta keep running…> Past the busted lamp overhead, past the first two garbage containers… just keep running! What James failed to notice, though, were a single pair of pale eyes open just as he went past them – so pale they seemed to glow in the darkness – and the figure that had been standing there, waiting, suddenly broke through the shadows.
A single clear shot was heard echoing in the baleful alley, as James felt the bullet lodge itself in his right calf. James cried in pain as he stumbled forward, onto the jagged asphalt, bleeding. His mind vibrating with fear, he quickly wiped the sweat off his forehead from getting into his eyes, and glanced back once more before he tried to scramble up in one last, desperate attempt to save himself. And then… he turned and his eyes scanned the black boots before him, the black pants and shirt, and the strapping body wearing them that belonged to the Revenant. It was when the Revenant replaced his semi-automatic hand gun in its holster that James noticed the other weapons secured to his body. It was in this moment that James considered re-establishment ties with his religion, if only it would save him.
The Revenant’s foot cracked James' ribs as it came in contact with his chest. James screamed in pain, as he tumbled onto his side, holding his torso in agony. The assassin planted his foot firmly on James` left knee and reached for the ankle, pulling towards him like a disobedient lever until a dry crack echoed down the alley. James` screams drowned out the fading echo, and the Revenant repeated the process on the other leg, breaking it without hesitation. Again James bellowed in agony, but knew that if he did not speak now, the Revenant would not offer the opportunity,
“I’ll tell you where he is!” Desperation had made James betray his leader. The Revenant squatted over James, lifted his torso off the ground by gripping his suit, and grinned to his face,
“I already know.” The Revenant released his victim, reached for its arm and snapped its forearm like a dry twig. The echo of the second arm breaking didn’t make it past the first garbage container before James` pain made him bawl so loudly it spilled out of the alley and into the streets. The tall figure stood up and suddenly drew a long gleaming sword from behind him, as he stepped up to James, and growled,
“And you thought you could run from me...” With one flowing movement, the sword came down on James, piercing straight through his heart till it lodged itself tightly in the asphalt, and his screams were suddenly silenced.