Sunday, September 28, 2008

Attack by Fire: Prelude

The shooter was out of breath, so he ducked into an alley and stopped running. Here in the darkness of the alley, he could rest for a moment.

Breathing heavily, he looked around, then looked back out on the street. The cars they had come in were burning, and in the distance, he could hear sirens; already, the police and fire departments were on their way. At this time of the night, there was little traffic, and they would get here quickly. The shooter had to keep moving.

He looked down the alley, and saw that it came out on another street, but wondered whether he really wanted to go down the alleyway – after all, he might be down there.

Thinking it through, he decided to go back out on the street, and walk calmly to the street corner, and then go down the next street. He stepped out of the alleyway, and began walking. It was only several yards to the corner.

Gotham Police were arriving, and an officer in one car looked him over closely. The officer said something to his partner who was driving, and the car slowed down, well before arriving at the site of the burning vehicles.

Too late – the shooter turned the corner, and walked a little faster to the next corner. By the time the police came back around to where he now was, he would be somewhere else.

The shooter's thoughts went back to what had just happened.

He and another guy were going out to look for him, and maybe take a shot at him – maybe even collect the reward – but he had surprised them. Now, the cars they were in were burning furiously, and the other man was hanging from a fire escape on the fourth floor. He wasn't badly hurt, he wouldn't talk to the police, and Mr. Falcone would take care of him – but the shooter had to make it back to tell Mr. Falcone.

The shooter glanced around, crossed the street, came to the next corner, and turned again, then continued thinking about it.

The other guy saw him first, and got off some shots at him, but it was no use. He grabbed the guy, literally flew up to the fourth floor with him, and stuck him there on the fire escape, dangling thirty-five feet above the alley below.

The shooter was startled, and didn't want to hit his buddy, so he hesitated and didn't open fire himself, and in that moment, he had hung his buddy from the fire escape, then disappeared. As the shooter was looking around, he was already aware of the attention that his buddy's shots had begun to draw.

Suddenly, the shooter turned, and froze – his heart melted within him, as he looked into the eyes, as if looking into the angry eyes of a demon sent straight from Hell.

He grabbed the shooter, and lifted him right up off the ground.

He had a quiet, deep voice, a kind of a raspy whisper. "I'll be back for you, later," he had said. The way he emphasized the last two words was unnerving; it was creepy.

Just then, enormous explosions had ripped apart his car and his buddy's car, startling the shooter, and in that moment, he smiled, threw the shooter down behind some garbage cans, and in the time that it took the shooter to recover himself and look up, he had disappeared.

The shooter was coming to another street corner, so he again looked around, jaywalked across the street, and turned the corner.

The shooter looked around some more, looking high up on the buildings on both sides of the street, as well as up and down the street, studying momentarily each of the few persons and vehicles he saw.

One thing was for sure: though an hour ago he had been the hunter, there was now no doubt about it; the roles had reversed, and now the shooter was the hunted.

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