by Şerban Andrei Mazilu
Felix woke up in a pool of sweat, the dry suffocating atmosphere in his bedroom rising to unbearable levels. He groaned like a drunk and pushed himself up, noticing the stain on the dirty, uncovered mattress. His head spun and hurt like a thousand sledgehammers slamming together against the largest church bell in the world. As the blur over his eyes cleared somewhat, he pulled the small ragged drape a little, only to be blinded by a flash of burning light. He grunted and fell on his back…
The electric clock ticked once as a minute past 2 A.M. passed. It made him twitch and he finally decided to get up as the drops of sweat tickling his face on their path down were starting to really annoy him. In his thick blue jeans he felt steamed, but he knew there was no chance in hell that the shower would work in that dump. No chance in hell… – the words echoed in his mind like the broken doorbell which rang at the same time.
Felix opened the door without even bothering to ask who it was so late at night. The elegantly clad man walked in without a word and just followed him to the improvised dirty grey kitchen. A ray of unnatural light outlined the poorly maintained room, throwing weird shadows around. Felix just leaned over the sink and turned the knob, praying for at least some cold water. Outside, the roar of the city was imperceptible.
“You look like absolute shit. Told you to lay off the crack…” the dark haired man said and leaned against the door frame. “Hope you’re up for the job tonight”.
“Aren’t I always…?” Felix groaned as he let the cold-warm water dry on his face. He pulled his long messy blonde hair back and threw the other one a strange glance through the disgusting mirror in front of him.
“I’m not convinced. The boss wants this job done right. And as bloody as possible!” came the glacial reply. “No fuck-ups this time, Skewer. He wants a massacre.”
The word echoed like before, making Felix snap, yet he turned slowly, conceiving his doubts. A glance in the other man’s coal eyes made him shiver. He looked surreal, completely out of the picture.
“A massacre, eh, Jack?” he whispered in a hoarse voice, pulling a drawer open slowly.
“Exactly. And- …did you get a cat?” the dark-haired man asked, his glance pointing at the black agile form of the feline slipping in through the half-open window.
The blade of the kitchen knife flew up, making it’s way directly under Jack’s chin, catching him with a look of horror on his face and cutting his relaxed gestures off. A spark ignited in his assassin’s eyes, burning orange for a moment, just like the color of blood that sprayed over his deadly hand. Burning blood, like lava. The blonde man slowly lifted the other arm to shelter his gaze from the imminent burst and explosion. When he looked back, there was no trace of any Jack. He noticed the cat and smiled, as it didn’t even seem to acknowledge him. Outside, behind the enigmatic feline, the slums turned to ash, decaying and burning, and the humming of cars turned to wails of agony.
“How many times did I do that before?” he asked casually, still trying to clear his throat. The kitchen was on fire, but he didn’t care. He just reached for the pack of menthol cigarettes and lit one over the burning cupboard.
FOOL! YOU WILL BURN! EVEN IF IT TAKES FOREVER! an omnipresent voice boomed.
Felix curled forward, stretching his shoulder blades; a ragged grey wing sprung, smashing the window open, then immediately the other spread towards the crammed hallway. He arched his back and spun his neck, making the bones crack. With no rush and a bitter smile in the corner of his mouth he poured himself some stale coffee and took a seat on the burning table. He took a sip and a sweet drag: “It just might, asshole…”