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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1963536-Ganglands-Apocalypto
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Crime/Gangster · #1963536
Warring religious gangs in a city God has departed from.
Prologue

... to the Story of Gangland’s ‘Apocalypto’


It has been said that in Roman Mythology, Janus was the god of gates, doors, beginnings, endings and doorways. The month of January was named for him. He was usually depicted as Janus Geminus (twin Janus) or Bifrons, with two faces looking in opposite directions.

His two faces [originally, one was always bearded, one clean-shaven; later both bearded] originally represented the Sun (also called Sol; is the star in our solar system).

And it came to pass that the two faces of the tribes that came to do battle were of the same kind. Their violence was the same; hate was the same; love was the same. It was hard to distinguish them except one wore a beard, the other was clean shaven

The people of Los Angeles made up songs about them, they sang in pity, in horror and in the hope that some day the tribes would unite as one:

Let the rain pour down from God above
With the blood of my blade, no love ...
Open the gates, let the battle begin ...
A segment from
“Clash of the Titans” by Psycho Realm



Part 1
Through Emilio’s Eyes

Sitting silently in the darkness he summoned threatening ideas into his mind. Images of all the most evil and violent places in the world sat at the forefront of conscience. They all seemed familiar. All of the worst things in his wildest of imaginations were not foreign to his senses.

Looking up into the sky Emilio felt the handle of his gun in his pocket. He had always been consumed by death – but he kept his Glock ready! The cold, metal trigger sent a sense of security around him. The winds of war had placed his entire being in a frenzy of battle. That was his existence. His life was a battle. Against whom? It was never clear. But nonetheless, there was conflict and, he felt, it was necessary, even satisfying.

Standing at the corner of Union Street, looking down the slanted concrete pavement, Emilio smelt the dried blood on the road, the smell of old sweat where many men had fought and fallen to the artificial black resting place of the asphalt. They had gone to Sheol he mused; he and his ‘brothers’ were the apocalyptic executioners. It was as though the city workers had laid the road with the thoughts of thousands of lost angels leaving their footprints in the wet concrete. There were no angels left in the City of Angels, it was the City of Gods and the ‘brothers’ were their harbingers. The Pico Union district had been home to him for the entire twenty-six years of his life. Now entering his tenth year in ‘the game’ he wondered if his life had been a waste. “No,” cried his inner voice, “we are the legions of the ‘beast with seven horns’ which would devour all in its path.” In this most ultimate point in his existence, the key to his calamity was to keep living; after all, he did have a purpose. Death was merely a phantasma; there was no need for it to be acknowledged.

His soldiers stood around him, flanking him to the right and left. “I salute my real soldiers, middle finger to the haters…” His soldiers were the ‘apocalyptic’ horsemen. He knew they were all ready for anything, ready to fight for the pride of any man standing with them. They all had the same thoughts running through their minds ... asking the same questions of themselves. What would life hold after death? Emilio had been asking this question continually for the past few years. The constant thought of death had forced his mind into an imaginative state in which Ezekiel’s dry bones had risen threateningly to confront him. …Inside he had died…he wasn’t in heaven or hell…somewhere far worse…his body…a macabre death…his stomach…full of holes from a shotgun…invading his sleep…tormenting his peace.

This vision was prophetic.

Sleep was corrupt by barbarian dreams of torture. Being a man who had complete faith in God was a burden to those in the lost city. The sacrilegious gangs of the east pushed the life of religion out of the city and the counties forcing the streets to emptiness. Those who maintained their Christian views were tortured into submission and had their ideas flushed out with the blood of their ‘polluted’ minds. Emilio’s capture by the Anti Cristo was horrific to say the least. Having his eyelids removed with a blunt razor meant the entire experience was a painful haze of red. The absolute destructive terror of the anti-Christs left Emilio a brutally mutilated eunuch with a conscience so tortured that his manic retribution must find an outlet, “Blood will have blood,” he mused . Blood stained lines beneath his battered eyes made his consistent tears of despair glisten mauve.

Today his prophetic dreams of death would be fulfilled. It was not as though he was wrought with suicidal tendencies; rather, he maintained hope that through death, he would find a place better than earth. Or maybe, in another time, he would find himself reincarnated. He imagined himself in another time. This wasn’t his time.

Or was it?

How was he supposed to know anyway?

“I hate everything on this earth. Hell is nothing compared to this place.”


That was just the way it had to be for people like Emilio. There was no way he could show any love to anything; he didn’t even know what real love was. The only love was the ‘love’ of his gang. These were the people who lived and died by the gun; the ones who lived and died for money, for drugs, for an outlet for their frustrated lives. His own people were the ones who would stab him in the back at any chance of getting more money or drugs. Really, they were only living to die. “What kind of love or existence is that?” These thoughts raged within his whole being.

If living with no sense of anything, absolute numbness, moving through daily life with no happiness, no sadness, nothing in between, a soulless, empty, unemotional state, he was dead. Maybe not. Maybe what gripped Emilio was some kind of psychiatric illness. But then again, what’s the difference. It was, if you could imagine, like walking aimlessly through a soft, spongy desert. Your feet sink down with every step. You struggle again and again and again to keep pushing on, hoping that maybe someday you will reach the end of that desert. Consistent mirages blind your ability to see anything real and force you to believe in things that aren’t there. That was life.

So then, Emilio challenged, what did death hold? The priest of the church downtown told him that for those who repent held an eternal life. Why the fuck would anyone want eternal life? Other people surely had it better, surely there were some people out in the world who couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning and do whatever it is they do. Though the priest also said that the eternal life would be in paradise. His mind flickered back to earlier that day. He was walking down the street toward the thin smoke, caressing the sky. The church stood, barely, its exterior completely burnt out exposing its guts. Emilio remembered dropping to his knees and weeping his red tears at the sight of the priest at the head of the church, crucified on wooden frames, wrapped in razor wire. He could tell the priest’s teeth had been forced out and his tongue removed not by blade, but by pulling it out with huge force. His sternum had also been cut, a deep wound, brown now with smoke, stuffed with live locusts, now feasting slowly and efficiently on his interior. The sun cast down through the grey clouds of the sky and gave the scene a dark red ambience. Emilio had knelt there for hours, rocking back and forth on his knees, praying.

“Show me paradise...”

Emilio looked down at the long chain of beads down around his neck. The gold cross at the bottom dangling. “Where are you now brother? Lost in the seas of sin and psychosis. I only hope that God has considered you dead already, and your soul resides with him in heaven.”


“And those brothers who fall shall reserve a place in the heaven above for their brothers below who fight the battle on the front line with the crow of death nesting on their shoulders…”

Salvation 4:20
El Biblio Por La…

Death was something peaceful. Even if he got shot in the face, peace was its result. That was what paradise must be. A place where there was just peace. He closed his eyes and let the warm night wet his soul, blocking out all of his surroundings, the taste of violence still lingered though and he shot his face downwards at the darkness ahead. Opening the magazine of this gun revealed just a few bullets. He pointed his gun into the darkness and shot in different directions. A few cries were heard, and the several thumps of bodies crumpling agonisingly to the ground echoed down the street. A pause. Then…four loud shots came back from the darkness.

Emilio watched as the dark street around him transformed. The darkness was replaced with the golden pink ambience, and there was a small Mexican boy sitting in the gutter, his arms folded, head bowed, rocking back and forth on the bone of his lower back. It looked as though the boy was crying as a small puddle grew between his legs. The sunset turned to day, and there was a teenager walking along the side of the street. He had a very similar appearance to the small boy, yet he held himself differently. The teenager looked as though he was defiant of everything, a person who would never back down from anything, and yet there was still a sense of sadness and longing coming from him.

Emilio kept moving through this ocean of place and time coasting the shores of memories…
…a school
…a church
…a courthouse (empty bar a young bald headed man, two lawyer looking types and a judge)
…a prison cell
…an abandoned house
…a dark backstreet, crowded with men

He stared at himself. His body looked lifeless, but it still stood. His soul was torn from his body; it was between heaven and hell, torn between the Virgin Mary and flowers and wearing a crown of thorns. Eyes were blurred, the use of every narcotic known to man had done that, but they still could not hide or disguise his fury. Four glowing balls moved slowly down the street. Each was in a different position, but heading in the same general direction. It was almost hypnotizing watching how calmly and poetically the bullets moved. The first one, gliding slowly, entered the left of Emilio’s chest. The glow of the second faded into the right side of his chest spattering blood artistically. The third luring itself closer and closer to him and finally pushing its way through the man’s shirt and forcing through the layers of skin, demolishing the bloody flesh like burrowing into the safety and security of his stomach. The body barely flinched, wincing slightly at the enormity of the burning pain. But still, again, he stared dead ahead and watched defiantly as the final bullet cruised through his skull between his eyes and began an eruption of blood from the devoured hole. His body turned swiftly on the spot facing Emilio. Eyes were black and sour. It stared directly at his soul. The crucifix of wounds beckoned upwards.

Memories of his life flooded his mind. Most involved the times he had had with his brother as a young child. They had always tried to mimic the older ‘varrios’ , playing gangsters. His little brother tried so hard to be like him. One purifying last thought brought all of these memories together, something he had always said to his brother, “Viva para dios vive para su madre se muere para su pandilla.”











Part 2

Through Janu’s Eyes



Janu looked at his dark empty eyes in the mirror. The shadow of a reflection that faced him invited violent thoughts into the forefront of his mind. He was ashamed to be alive while those he loved were no more. The mirror revealed a dark, smooth beard, unlike the wiry and coarse haired beards that most had. Tears were attempting to force themselves down his cheeks; his stubborn ‘manly’ pride fought them off ferociously. But, they poured out. A man, broken, leaks with fear and emotion. His eyes narrowed and moved down to his bare chest and stomach ... riddled with torn skin, mended over time, a design of cuts and stab wounds illustrating his torment.

A black suit lay on the bed behind him, damp from the rain that fell down from the clouds at the river. He turned from the room, and walked down the hallway toward the dining room, wiping his eyes as he went. The picture of his mother’s body floating downstream upon the make-shift wooden raft floated into his imagination.





The black habit she wore draped over the edges into the clear water, dragging in the motion of the currents. Janu had refused to let her be buried in a Christian cemetery as she wanted, there was no place for God and his love in this world, so why add to the falsity of religion. He was clutching her cross in his hands, shifting it around in his palm, sweat lubricating its movements. The sound of his mother’s worn, calm voice came into his head, “In God we trust…”. He looked down at the cross glistening as the sun set slowly behind the line of palm trees of the opposite bank. He flung it into the water, speaking quietly to himself so none around him would hear.

Fuck God, and fuck love.

Turning swiftly from the water’s edge and walking forcefully up the bank to the row of cars parked, Janu was followed by a small entourage of suited men, each wearing a dark pair of sunglasses and clutching their jackets to themselves, preventing revealing what was concealed beneath them. He got into the backseat of a long, black Lincoln, sliding neatly into the large comfortable leather seats inside. The car backed out slowly and then slid onto the dirt road, kicking the dust from its tyres, leading the line of classic automobiles behind. Janu poured himself a glass of Wild Turkey from the bar in the limousine. Staring out of the tinted dark window he watched as the palm trees grew less and were transformed into concrete buildings, signalling the entry into the city. The car stopped at an intersection, waiting to make a right turn. He looked up into the now dark sky, observing the pattern of stars above. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a figure cross the road infront of him and start walking toward the car. There was another on the opposite side of the car doing the same thing. Janu swivelled in his seat and saw the procession of cars that were supposed to be behind him had not yet reached the intersection. The two men paced quickly to the car, each reaching behind them, black bandannas tied around their faces, hiding their identity. The first reached the window and smashed it with the butt of gold pistol. He pointed and fired six quick shots into the limousine. Janu clutched his chest, three of the bullets had hit him in the stomach and the blood was turning his suit into a dark, shiny purple. One had hit him in the leg, and the last two in the shoulder. His vision blurred, and his head wavered around, falling to the floor of the limousine. Outside each of the disguised men stood facing the car, hands clasping their guns, heads bowed, whispering slow, rhythmic prayers.

The darkness towered over him. He lay; submerged in the black of the lake in his heart.
White soul escaped the enfolds of his mind. Visions of whispy black, screaming of the angels of the underworld. He landed; next to a black ’64 Impala, parked at the gates of the underworld. Hades stood staring at him, a hand outstretched, holding a half smoked joint.

“Come to Hell with me…”

Janu’s eyes widened and peeled the fiery surroundings, his pupils melting and weeping in the heat. Molten lead bled from his tear ducts, staining lines beneath his eyes, dark silver. Hades drew a large toke of the joint, and let the smoke slide delicately up his face, creeping up the dark coils of hair that hung from his forehead. He opened his hand and gestured toward the glowing gates behind him. For some reason he was laughing. Not a laugh of madness or out of humour. It was quiet, dedicated and controlled. Janu bowed his head and stared at the sulphur ground he stood on. He watched a tear drop from his check, and splatter on impact with the ground. Heides voice again came to his ears,

“In heaven you shall be a servant, in hell you shall be a king…”

The ground rushed towards Janu and his face squeezed as it slid forward, through the sulphur. After a moment or so the inertia of his ‘dream’ sprung him upright on the white sheeted hospital bed he lay on. Reaching for his arm, he yanked out the drips that were stuck into the protruding veins. Still in his hospital gown he lunged from the bed, and strode into the corridor. Pacing toward the front desk, he went straight past and out of the front doors.







The painful knowledge of what was required of him bared down on his thoughts. God and his harbingers had already poisoned the hearts of many. Faith had run rampant through the city, those calling themselves the Apocolyptic Warriors rivalling against the sanctity of Janu’s cause. His organization had managed to suppress the wilful power of the church and bring beautiful agony to all those who were in favour of ‘the Lord above’. The one group though, who consistently battled Janu’s Anti-Cristo, led by their so called revolutionist, Emilio Gabriel, were the last line preventing complete eradication of God from Los Angeles.

Janu sat at the end of a long wooden table staring directly into the light globe in the centre of the ceiling. A cigarette protruded from the corner of his mouth, barely clutching to the folds of his lips. He pulled a razorblade from his pocket and began chopping and thrusting the blade downwards into the small pile of white powder that sat on the silver platter before him. It became finer, and larger clumps parted into smaller ones, sifting into a more concentrated and even silt. He arranged it into three small lines next to each other. Sniffing the first line up his nose he sighed loudly and wiped his upper lip of the white narcotic. Falling back into the large leather chair, his bloodshot eyes returned to staring at the light globe. Getting high before battle brought to him calmness and serenity. It allowed for his mind to look in on itself. The candy was a portal to greatness and urged his senses to a higher concentration, while at the same time, forced his mind into a fetish for blood. The skinny and stark figure of Janu hunched back over the platter, and he snorted another line of coke; then the final one subsequently. The slow music coming from the speakers at each of the four corners of the room quietly dispersed their words into the enormous dining hall…

“Enemigas out to get me,
until then I relax…”

A large Samoan man entered the room behind Janu. He stood behind the chair, arms folded, two long black plaits hung down from his hair, tied by two red bands. The large dark skinned biceps protruding from his arms were highly decorated in tribal tattoos. Each centimetre of ink telling the story of a Samoan adventurer who travelled to the land of the spirits and was taught the art of tattoo. Every design upon the man’s body was painfully done through the use of fish bone, carving ink beneath the skin. He opened his mouth slightly, and spoke evenly…

“Gabriel is in the kitchen.”

Janu stood slowly from the chair and faced the Samoan. His long white suit sweeping over the ‘throne’ as he did so; cocking a sterling silver desert eagle and lodging it in his belt. The two walked slowly out of the room, the Samoan following closely behind Janu, trampling his comparatively miniscule shadow. Their footsteps cooed along the wooden floorboards, the leather soles of each man’s designer loafers brought death music to the ears of those captured in the ‘kitchen’. The men enterd a large white room, whose walls were plastered in plastic, the floor too, was well protected. At the centre of the room sat a bald man, tied down to a wooden stool. The flickering halogen light above flashing images of his sacred tattoos to Janu. He walked over to the stool and bent down to Gabriel.

“Do you want to spend eternity serving a false God?”

Janu spat the words at Gabriel. Anger coming through his vicious speech. He pulled the same razor he used earlier to cut the cocaine, and held it to Gabriel’s left eye.

“Answer me now Angel, or cry the blood of those who are with us no more.”

Gabriel sat there silently still, hands gripping eachother. And then softly he spoke…
“Hail Mary, Dear Lord forgive these demons for they know not what they do…”
Janu’s reply was acrid:
“Hail Mary? I descended from the pearly gates Gabriel! My mother had me doing this prayer shit my whole life. Hands gripped, teeth clenched, talking some praise the lord shit. Hail Mary? Fuck her, I never knew her, I would more likely rape her and dump her in the sewer.”
Janu was at a point of rage now, circling around Gabriel brandishing the razorblade from his left to his right hand. Coming around again to face his prisoner, he lent down and pushed the corner of the blade into the “Apocalyptic Warrior’s” eye. Blood oozed from the tiny wound. A single trickle falling slowly down his face and beginning to drip onto his knee. With one quick slash Janu cut his eyelash from its holdings, leaving it flapping over his pupil, hanging on by a mere centimetre of skin. He dropped the razorblade and grabbed the piece between his fingers. Yanking the flesh from Gabriel, blood poured from the open wound, covering Janu’s suit and face in blood. The Samoan still standing at the door way walked slowly over and offered Janu a towel while dropping a sprinkle of salt on Gabriel’s open wound. The captured man looked up at the flickering light, holding in his screams of agony, closing his eye. Janu wiped his face and picked up the razorblade again. Bending over Gabriel’s uninjured eye he made another slash and yanked the eye lid away. Throwing the flesh into a sink on the other side of the room, he wiped his face with the black towel handed to him, and he began walking out of the room.

“What do you want me to do with him?” the Samoan spoke.

“Cut off his balls and dump him in the street.” Janu replied quietly as he lit a large cigar and walked off down the corridor, leaving a trail of whispy smoke behind him.
“No angels on my arrival and no light either
This might be the end of the road where life leaves you
Athiest prophecy looking likely firm non-believers
Faith is their robbery loot
Religion cashing out on the dreamers…”

Janu walked out the fly-mesh back door of the house and ventured slowly down the grassy hill towards the reeds of the swamp. A small wooden rocking chair sat on the bank facing out towards the long glassy strip of shallow water. He sat down in the chair, the cigar still billowing vanilla into his lungs, the scent of the cocaine laced tobacco lingered in the air around his nostrils. Life and death. To him life was a mission to gain greatness and freedom in death. Being the devil’s right hand was crucial to his own existence and self, that being, without a plan or purpose, he would have been lost in a dark, seething world of mental anguish.

He took another drag on the cigar, and inhaled heavily on the blunt end. The smoke filled his lungs, swirling around inside the already damaged enfolds of his organs. He let it sit there, embellishing the flavour of the sweet smoke. Pushing himself up, out of the chair, he made his way down to the edge of the water, taking off his jacket and shirt as he went. Now walking into the water, the warmth washed around his ankles, and began to rise up around his chest, and then finally covering his head. Standing there on that sandy bottom, he released the smoke from his lungs, blowing a white mist of bubbles. The large bellowing bubbles formed into a shape, and carried themselves around, forming a shape, of a woman kneeling on the ground, crying. Janu stared at the women, trying to get a better look at who she was. The woman was wearing a habit, floating around in the water. She lifted her head, now clearly visible were the tears coming from her eyes, and the golden cross she clutched between her hands. She looked back down, and the image drifted into the murky water.
Realising that he could not stay underwater, Janu quickly surfaced, gulping in the fresh air. He waded back to the reeds and walked back up to the chair he had been sitting on, slumping into it, so that it rocked backwards furiously. He clawed his hands down his face, shocked at the sight of his mother, dragging his cheeks below his eyes. Looking out over the water again, he began to wonder whether what he was doing was right. Whether what his mother believed in was what was right.
‘No!’ These feelings were only occurring as a state of shock from what he had just experienced. He picked up his jacket and shirt, and walked slowly back up towards the house.

Pushing through the fly screen door he walked calmly down the corridor, as he passed the kitchen he noticed that Gabriel was gone, yet he’d left a large portion of his blood to be cleaned up. Instead of returning to the large dining room where he had been earlier, he continued further down the corridor, deeper into the house, and took a small flight of stairs down to a dungeon like basement. There, a whole series of classical cars sat, their bodies all lowered nearly to the ground. Men, all dressed similarly in khaki pants and white singlets stood around the cars, their dark sunglasses hiding the character the eyes bestowed. Janu got into a long, black Chevy Impala, the white leather interior, heavily cushioned. The car backed out of the now open garage door, and into the street, followed by the procession of other cars behind.

The snake of automobiles made its way through the streets, the low rumbling sound of the antique engines reverberating off the concrete walls of the urban jungle. The procession pulled up to a church. Its large wooden front door was closed, and the dark stained glass windows showed there was no light or service occurring inside. The men all got out of their cars, Janu last, and stood before the building. Taking a sledge hammer to the front doors, they proceeded in, and walked along the long narrow red carpet, past the pews, to the marble alter at the head of the church. Above the altar was a large wooden cross, with a golden statue of Jesus, crucified upon it. Two of the men walked over to the confessional crib and pulled a small old man from within, the priest had been hiding. He was brought before Janu, and he crumpled at his feet, crying.

“Are you a messenger of God?” Janu’s cold words crept from his lips.

“Yaweh!” the priest screamed at the top of his voice, “And when you die, you shall rot in Hell!”

“Wrong ese . I will be a king in Hell.”

Janu pulled a small pair of pliers from his pocket. He thrust the metal clamps in to the priest’s mouth, yanking out the first of his teeth at the back of his mouth. He continued this, until the man’s mouth was nothing more than a red ooze with a tongue. Pulling a small pocket knife from his belt, he cut across the priest’s tongue, slicing buds as he went, allowing for his victim to taste the steel that wrecked his sense. Using the pliers again, Janu pulled his tongue out, slowly, letting the blood of the open wound dribble down the man’s throat, and pulsing rapidly out of his mouth, down his bare body.

One of the men standing next to the priest drew out his pistol, and whipped him over the head with its solid metal butt. Another threw a piece of rope around the statue of Jesus and dragged it down, crashing into the marble altar below. The priest now unconscious, lay splayed out on the red carpet. The men stripped him bare, and spat on him. They took the wooden cross which had been pulled down, and lay it down on the steps, leading to the altar. They nailed the priest’s hands and feet to the wooden object. He awoke when the first nail penetrated his hand, and continued to scream as the others went in, sticking him to the cross. The group then cut a long, deep wound in the man’s stomach, letting a small portion of his intestine creep through the gap, exposing itself to the warm humidity of the Los Angeles air. Blood poured from the wound, drenching the carpet. Janu pulled a small box from within the folds of his jacket, and opened it to reveal a large swarm of locusts. He reached into the box, drawing a handful of the insects, and then thrust his hand into the priest’s stomach, letting the bloody flesh engulf his arm. The priest wrenched, and tried to curl up from the pain, however, being nailed to the wood only meant that as he writhed, the nails pulled and tore at his skin, causing more blood to gush. Janu retrieved, his hand, now empty of locusts, and wiped it on the priest’s scarf. The men ascended the cross again, to its original position, allowing the force of gravity to pull a further few centimetres of intestine out of the priest’s stomach. The group exited the broken wooden doors, after leaving a trail of gasoline around the church. Janu dropped a match at the door, and watched the entire church go up in flames, a large black cloud of smoke, climbing into the blue sky above.

The procession of cars again started to move, the black Impala this time at the centre of the line. They were driving through a neighbourhood of the enemy. The men of God in these parts had graffitied their messages all over the walls in the area, letting all of those who passed know; they were not welcome if they did not walk hand in hand with jesus The cars drove quickly through the worn down suburbia, avoiding some areas by circumnavigating the blocks of housing projects. The street they were on was flat, the road a light grey, infected with concrete cancer, cracks splitting the pavement. Weeds and tall grass were growing on the edges, and tall wired fences separated the roads from the residential buildings. Looking out of the window, Janu watched as the car passed an old tennis court, a large crowd of vatos standing around a man in the centre. The man wore a black bandanna around his face, the paisley white design covering the bottom half of his face. Though, Janu saw his eyes; they were red, and his eyelids had been removed. The man saw the line of cars and yelled. Immediately the drivers of all the cars drew guns and began firing at the group of men on the tennis court, Janu watched as they all ran in different directions, rolling behind objects for safety. The return fire was just as heavy, hollow tipped bullets piercing the steel doors of the cars. Bullets filled the space between the two gangs, leaving barely any space for air to pass. They drove on quickly, not risking one of the poorly aimed enemy bullets taking anyone’s life.

In the pink light of the setting sun Janu looked back to the tennis court and saw the men standing again, and walking out toward a row of similar looking cars to his own. Though they did not follow, they moved slowly off in the opposite direction, toward where the column of black smoke was now filling the sky. The concrete housing projects that occupied most of the area became less dense, as the sun sank lower into the canopy of large buildings. Upon complete darkness Janu and his group pulled into a dark alley in the warehouse district. The men got out of their cars, and made about checking the surrounding area for civilians. The place was deserted.

Janu pulled a joint from his coat pocket, lit the end and took a long drag. The green haze filled his body, and went straight to his brain. He felt lighter, and his mind cleared of all thoughts other than the purifying idea of bringing painful death to others, and a peaceful ending to himself. The sound of cars approaching echoed through the corrugated iron walls of the warehouses and at the opposite end of the alley, headlights could be seen moving to a stop. The engines turned off, and the lights faded to black. Now only the moonlight shone, and all that could be seen were a few puddles strewn along the concrete, sitting stagnant from the previous night’s downpour of rain. For some reason, maybe it was the marijuana inflicting itself on his brain, Janu counted the puddles along the road. Six of them; all reflecting the constellations above. He found himself staring at one of the puddles, it was reflecting a particular arrangement of stars in the sky. They were all equally as bright as each other, though seemed brighter than any others around them. It looked as though it were a face. Five stars forming, a mouth, two eyes and a nose; and then a sixth star at just below the left eye. It appeared to Janu as though it were drop from the star above. Maybe in the universe beyond, the star had bled, and let a piece of it drip below to form a new star. It gave the effect of a woman, crying. His mind shook back to his mother’s death, her funeral, and Janu’s experience under the water at the house. All of these were not real. They could not be real, and for a King of Hell to deem them anything more than a falsity of his imagination would surrender him to a psychotic state. He drew his gun.

“We shatter illusions with weapons we're using...”

A gunshot cracked the silence as though the gunman took a hammer and chisel to the night. Then five more. The bullets whizzed through the darkness, hitting only two of Janu’s men, injuring them only slightly. One fell to the ground as the hollow tipped bullet had hit him in the knee, on impact shattering the bone beneath the skin. He crumpled to the ground, slowly.

Janu looked down at the silver cannon in his hand. The imprint of flames and the words ‘El Diablo’ inscribed on the sides, shone in the reflection of the moonlight. He pointed the weapon back into the darkness where the shots had come from, not able to see his target, firing four quick shots in succession. Hearing no sound of bullets hitting metal he assumed they had hit their mark. Another man killed.

Wiping his cheek, Janu found that it was wet. He tasted the moisture left on the back of his hand; salty. Feeling around his cheek again, there was another drop of moisture, then another, on the other side of his cheek. Even kings were allowed to cry.

He thought back to a time when he was a teenager, hanging out with his brother on the street corners of the Pico-Union district. His voice echoed in Janu’s mind, “Viva para dios vive para su madre se muere para su pandilla.”

Pulling the weapon to his lips he whispered, “Lord forgive me.”








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