The Demon Called Vengeance

Short story by Broderick Lang

Broderick Lang, Contributor

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It all happened so fast, yet at the same time.  It felt like time just stopped. My daughter, Melina, and I were driving down the highway, going to Rosemont to look at a house. My wife and I wanted to get out of Chicago, to leave my past life behind me once and for all. I saw a man, a man that looked like a man from my past life. He pulled out a gun and didn’t point it directly at me, but my tires.

The next thing I remember is the being on a stretcher and seeing my car upside down. The ambulance rushed me to the hospital and put me in the ICU. They were asking me about my injuries while I was asking about my daughter. They told me the bad news. They told me she died. After hearing that, time stopped. Time stopped as if everyone and everything was frozen except for me.

Released me from the hospital a few days later, as I’m walking out, I get a phone call.  It was the neighbor calling me and telling me I needed to get back to the house as fast as I can.

“Why? What happened?” I asked him. He told me I just needed to get there.

So, I get back to the house and see the neighbor, and he tells me I’m not going to believe what is in there. I walk in the house and see my wife, Lauren. I see her and a moment, a moment that felt like eternity.  Reality hits me, hits me harder than any bullet that has been shot at me.  My wife, the love of my life, had taken her own life.

Seeing my wife hanging there and losing my daughter three short years after her birth, I had nothing else to lose. I wanted to avenge them. I wanted to make this killer pay for what he has done. I started to snap myself.

An officer wanted to ask me a couple of questions: he asked if I knew why she would take her own life?

I told the officer “I might have an idea,” even though I knew exactly why,

After Lauren and I married, we started talking about kids. We were sitting in the doctor’s office waiting. We were getting anxious to find out whether or not we could have kids. The door creaked open, and the doctor emerged from the doorway.

“Well? What’s the results doc?”  I asked anxiously.

“I’m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Galloway,” said the doctor sorrowfully, “but.. you can’t have children.”

I was speechless. All I have ever wanted was to have a child of my own to continue my family tree. Lauren was distressed about the news.  She was in tears.  This is the closest I’ve ever seen her to losing her mind.

A month later, Lauren called me when I was on my way home from the store.

“Hey,” I said after answering my phone.

“Get home as soon as you can!” she said ecstatically.

“Why? What happened?” I asked, wondering what could be such great news.

I walk in the door and Lauren throws her arms around me.

“What’s going on? Why are you so happy?” I asked curiously.

“I’m pregnant! Marcus. I’m pregnant!” she says enthusiastically.

I could not believe what I just heard. After a moment, a moment that felt like an eternity went by, The reality hit me! Hit  me harder than any bullet that has been shot at me! My wife, the love of my life, and I have been given a miracle. I was on cloud nine.

Melina was the reason I left my life of crime. She didn’t deserve to find out her dad died in a gunfight. She didn’t deserve a father that worked for a crime organization. I left that life. Lauren and I decided that we wanted to buy a house in Rosemont to leave the past behind once and for all.

A few days later, I went to the funeral for both my wife and daughter. No one was there except for my parents and a few of Lauren’s friends. I don’t have many friends of my own… the closest thing to friends I had were the other people in the crime organization I worked for, and most of them are either in prison, dead, or in hiding in another country.

At the funeral, I noticed a tall, mysterious man in a mask. I was curious and wanted to take a closer look, and as I approached I noticed the mask had the same design as the mask I used to wear. He was a member of my old organization. He pulled me aside, and told me he had a lead on who the killer was.

“How do you know about my daughter’s death?” I asked, starting to get upset, angry, I was starting to lose myself again.

This masked man led me outside to a car, dents everywhere,  windows cracked,  bullet holes in the sides, and tail lights shot out. My suspicion was rising.

Next thing I knew I was getting kidnapped. Two more men tackled me to the ground with a hard thud. One of them was tying my feet together with an old piece of rope, while the other man was was putting handcuffs around my wrists.  Meanwhile the first man that I met was putting a blindfold over my eyes and tape over my mouth.

These guys were smart, and they used a second blind fold and put it over the tape on my mouth. One of the kidnappers slammed me into what I can only guess was the trunk of the car and shut me in.

The car came to a screeching halt. Two men picked me up– one man on each side of me. The third man was leading them into a building. The building that I could recognize just by the smell. The building smelled like blood, rotten bodies, and smoke. They then dropped me in a chair.

A man with a raspy voice– it was John Goodman, my former boss. He had been running this crime organization since before I was born began to talk:

“Come on men, untie him, take the blindfold off.” Goodman said.

“Nice to see you again, John,” I said in an insincere manner.

“The prodigal child returns, left us, thinking he can just throw this life away like a piece of trash, not realizing we can find you whenever, and wherever. Marcus, don’t you know this life never goes away? Once you start, it’s written in stone.” He said dramatically.

“Still like to talk like you’re in a theater troupe I take it? I will not come back. I will die before I even conceive of the idea of returning to you.”

Goodman slugs me, wearing brass knuckles I recognize as the ones he stole on my first job.

“I know you Marcus. I know you’re a vengeful man, and I know you want information. I know you want to torture, not kill, torture the man who killed your so-called miracle child.” He taunted.

My blood was boiling. I wanted to snatch the pistol on his desk and take out his whole gang, or die trying.

“What information!?” I say blood pouring out of my nose, controlling myself. I get slugged again this time harder than the first one.

“No no no, it’s not that easy, my friend. I’m not going to just give you the information.  You have to come back to us,” he says with a smug look on his face.

“Looks like you’re not giving me much of a choice here.” I say, as blood runs out of my nose.

“No, Marcus, no, we always give you a choice. Choice one, join us and we help you find this killer. Option two, we shoot you in the head right here, right now and burn your body.” His face went from smiling and friendly to serious and menacing.

“Don’t you want this revenge, Marcus? Don’t you want to make this killer pay for his sins?” he asked tauntingly, knowing that it was angering me more and more.

The desire to snatch the pistol and blow his brains out grew, but I restrained myself. I knew if I tried to pull that, I would die first. John was known for playing games, and this is just a new one he was trying out.

“Alright, I’ll play your little game,” I said grudgingly.  “Just don’t expect me to follow your orders.”

“Oh, Marcus, don’t you understand, you’re in no position to make decisions. You either do as we say and we take you through the steps to find your killer or you can ignore me and die.” John responded,  and followed up with a third slug with his brass knuckles, a shot that knocked me out.

Moments later I wake up on an army cot. The room was freezing cold, and there was nothing but the army cot I was on and a shelf with a knife on it. Slamming the door closed, John approached me as if he didn’t knock me out, as if we were still old friends.

“Well Marcus, will you join us?” He asked putting a gun to my head.

“Fine,” I said, swallowing my pride, realizing I had no other option but to come back to the life I wanted to rid myself of.

“There’s the good Marcus I know,” he replied, with an all too familiar smug look on his face when he knows he’s won.

He prepares to leave while patting me on the head. I pick up a knife that was left on the shelf, contemplating if I want to take the chance and kill him.

“I should mention… I have guards right outside this doorway, so don’t try anything stupid,” he warns me.

With a loud clang, I dropped the knife. The anger, the rage, the fire inside me was growing. I wanted to kill John, and torture Melina’s killer, John was right. I didn’t want to kill him; I want to torture him, break him like he broke me. Then and only then, when he’d lost his mind, when he was going to snap, I would be there to pull the trigger.

I received a text from John, saying “We found the killer’s last known signal.” Right after that first message was another one that came in saying, “But first, go to East 103rd street;we have a job there for you. Did I mention I’m tracking your phone and I can remotely blow it up if you disobey?”

I arrived to East 103rd Street, and I pull out a black light I was given years ago. I see a path. This was an old trick we used to use to set us up for a job. I followed the path and it led me into the second story of a building. The only thing in the room was a plain wooden table with a sniper rifle on the roof. I pick up the note that was laying on the sniper. The note had nothing but a picture taped to it, the target.

I will never forget the time I first killed without being provoked. That was my only moral; never kill if there is no threat of my being killed myself. I find my target and squeezed the trigger. Disgusted at what I just did, I had to look away. After a moment of silence and heartfelt prayer, I leave the sniper room.  As I am leaving, I received another text. It was coordinates, I assume the killer’s last location.

I arrive to that location, it was just outside of Rosemont, the place Lauren and I wanted to live. My blood started to boil over, rage fueling my mission. I look to my right and see a church, a church in the middle of nowhere. The church looked abandoned, run down, the walls were rotting, weeds overgrowing.

I pull out my pistol and slowly approach the church. I cautiously open the door, which fell off its hinges. There was a rotten podium in front of rows of benches, looked like it was an old church. On top of that podium was a note, a note that said “You shouldn’t have come.” A man grabs me from behind and tries throw me to the ground with a blindfold in hand. The only thing he didn’t think about was that I’m a dirty fighter. I kick back and hit him with a low blow and put my gun to his masked face–this time it was a generic ski mask. I rip it off and whip him with my gun.

“Who do you work for?!” I shout, rage fueling my attack.

“I promised I wouldn’t tell!” he whimpers, his nose broken, blood spilling profusely out of his nose and filling his mouth.

I whip him a second time with my pistol; he’s yelping in pain.

“I asked you! Who do you work for?!” I demanded. I was on the verge of just shooting him, but I once again, I controlled my instincts. I knew I could get valuable information from this grunt.

“Saul Smith! There I told you! Let me go! Please Let me go!” he cried.

I got off him, despite my urges. I shot right next to his head as a warning, sending him the message that if he tells anyone, I’ll kill him. I knew he got the message, I just wanted him to understand.

I called John, to tell him about the information I retrieved.

It was a trap!  There was a guy there who attacked me. I interrogated him and he said a name. Saul Smith. Is that supposed to mean anything?” I asked.

“I’ll just say, you made him mad during your time working for me,” he said. The thing about John is, he likes to answer in riddles. He likes to give you an answer but not tell too much.

“I need you to track him down and let me know as soon as you get his latest location,” I said as I was about to say something else, John disconnected the line. I return to my car and proceeded down the deserted highway back to Chicago.

Twenty minutes later, I get a text.  John gives me Saul’s location. It was at my house, the very house, Lauren hanged herself in. I reset my GPS on route to the house and started heading there.

I pull up in the neighbor’s driveway and carefully walked to the house. I reached for my gun when Saul walked out. The man I saw walk out of the house was the same man that murdered my daughter. My pace quickens, the next moments happened in a blur. The next thing I know I’m wailing on him– punches left and right, two weeks worth of anger, sorrow, and frustration was pouring out of me in this attack. I must have beaten him just inches away from death because I knocked him out more than twice. His eyes were swelling up, mouth filling with blood, nose shattered. I looked back at him, his face, that face when he shot the tire that killed my daughter lit the fire that was burning inside me, the fire that fueled my mission.

I swing my pistol at his  skull and with a loud crack and a yelp, he falls to the ground. I check his pulse and feel a steady, but fast beat. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I punch him right between the eyes before I started my interrogation.

“Who are you?!” I asked, raging, blood boiling in my veins.

“Saul Smith! Don’t hurt me! I didn’t meant to! I didn’t mean to!” Saul cried, sobbing out of pain, fear or I guess both.

“Didn’t mean to what, Saul? What did you not mean to do?” I asked, trying to put more fear in him.

“The little girl! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Don’t hurt me! I didn’t know there wouldn’t be any kids! I didn’t know, man! I didn’t know!” He cried, hoping someone would come help him.

“That little girl was my daughter! Her death, the death you caused, made my wife kill herself! How is ‘I’m sorry’ going to bring any of them back to life!” I yelled.

“Doesn’t feel good does it? Doesn’t feel good to have someone you care most about killed? How do you think I feel after you killed my dad!” He replies, getting up, twisting my arm to get me to let go of my gun and pulling one out of his own and putting it to my head.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“You killed my father when I was fourteen! He was my only family left alive and you killed him!” he yelled.

I looked him dead in the eyes for a moment. Then as fast as that moment came, it left as I crouched down and hit him with a punch to the gut and picked up my pistol and put it to his head.

“It was destined to be my revenge.” I said. A loud bang echoed throughout the neighborhood as I entered my car and drove away.

 

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