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July 20th, 2017
“I think that’s our guy,” Apollo compared the drawing in his hand to the man below him, the bald man catering the children with sweet talk.
They stood at the edge of a rooftop, amongst the crows and cigarette buds and given the bleak suit, they blended in well.
“Are you sure it’s him?” Dion asked. “What if we get the wrong guy?”
“Then we’ll make sure he doesn’t snitch, one way or another,”
Apollo stood, and jumped down. Dion stood.
“Wait, what does that mean?”
It didn’t take long for them to find a suitable spot to assault the bald man. After all, the man himself was looking for a suitable spot to kidnap a child (a small girl that he had followed down four blocks for the past thirty minutes).
Apollo did not so much as even hide. He crossed his arms and peaked with the edges of his eyes, his back to the corner of a wall, his whole body itself within that same alleyway. He stared at his wristwatch, tapping rapidly with his foot.
Dion waited, crouched.
The girl came forward, she was on her cellphone.
The bald man came a few moments later. Apollo swiped him immediately and pushed him into the deep dark of the alley.
“The small black kid you kidnapped, where’d you take him?” Apollo asked.
“What the f*** is this?” The bald man said.
Apollo walked over and stepped over his shins. Apollo looked over the bald man’s face, to eyes that would not stand still for a moment.
“You sure he knows anything?” Dion asked.
He narrowed himself. The bald man kept cursing and kicking and trying to swipe with his hand. And Apollo held his gaze, firm and true.
“Yeah, he knows something,” He pressed down on the bald man’s knee.
“Puta madre,” Apollo said. He heard a crack. His knee cracked. It bent the way knees should never bend. With a pain that made the man scream the way, men should never scream.
“You mother-” The old man cried. “You mother f*****!”
“Jesus Christ forgive us,” Dion stood and grabbed Apollo by the shoulder. “You don’t even know if he’s involved!”
Apollo put his other foot on the second shin.
“Tell me what you know, or I’ll break every bone in your body until I finally kill you,” Apollo said. “The kid. What’d you do to him? Where is he?”
The man kept screaming in seeming agony. Dion tried to push Apollo off.
“Let him go, we don’t do things like this. Not like this-“
Apollo pressed down.
“Alright, alright!” The bald man screamed. “I can tell you where I took him, that’s all I know man. That’s all they hire me for!”
And Apollo turned his head to Dion, with a face he hoped was somewhere in between smugness and resentment.
“You do things your way, I do things my way,” Apollo said. “Got it?”
La Croix Theater 4025 Mulbarry Drive, Havenbrook CO
The address was written in bold. It lay crooked on the side of the fence now half-swallowed by high-grass. A chain link fence rattled in front of him, and within the cracks of the fence, Apollo could spot two cop cars parked outside. Random. He reached into his coat and pulled out his mask.
“You’re going to keep watch,”
“I don’t like that,” Dion said. “And we still need to talk about what you did back there.”
“Just text me if see something, alright?”
“I have the right mind to just leave you here,” Dion said. “What you did was unacceptable, unchristian-like, inhumane.”
Apollo was already halfway up the fence before he could talk.
He stretched his neck out when he reached the top and scanned the horizon. He dropped. His body hung low. He surfed the field, looking more like a flash of black and white across the field. He found a gutter pipe and climbed it, heard it snap out of its bolted place and dug his hands into the brick walls. It wasn’t any better, any more stable. Each step up was a hazard. Bricks fell apart from his grip.
He carried himself to a window and propped it open. He slid in, above the set and standing upon the metal lattices hung by rusted wire. He heard the policemen, and they heard him. The metal creaked. They looked up.
There was nothing.
At least, Apollo hoped.
They flashed their light, dragged them across but no one was there. Apollo had hidden behind the large cardboard set piece, a giant cherub, red blushed with his bow and arrow pointing down to the four policemen in the room.
“I don’t think this place passes infrastructure safety protocol.” One of them said. He fidgeted and hid behind the others. The ceiling dripped small chips of wood like brown hail.
“God knows how you passed academy,” The three laughed. “Why don’t you go on out if you’re so nervous,”
“Don’t expect me to help if this all comes down on you,” The nervous one said.
“How about you all go on outside?” The fourth, final policeman said. He had a voice of authority to him. He was hunched over too, pointing his light at a chalk outline. It was in the shape of a small boy.
“You sure sarge?” One of them asked.
They looked at each other and shrugged, walking far off to follow the nervous policeman. Of the four, only one remained. A fellow that Apollo eyed keenly, watching behind cardboard cutouts of white clouds and blue skies. Props, now faded in color.
The Sergeant moved. Apollo moved with him, climbing ropes with bags of sands at their ends.
The Sergeant led Apollo to a small room, what looked like the dresser. He waited and kept still and saw the Sergeant feeling out the brick wall with his palms like a human seismograph, one ear to the wall and both hands to slap and feel the gaps in between bricks. He stopped at one. It did not look particularly unique, it was at the end of a long wall that had profanity and graffiti stretched across. ‘DIE YOUNG,’ in bold red. There was an Anarchy symbol right above it.
It was a brick with a single purple flower growing out of it. The man took out a pocket knife, he chiseled around thick. The worn stone fell, he inched his fingers in the gap and put the brick on a counter near him. His arm navigated the hole and Apollo watched to see how deep the man would go. It swallowed the whole arm. And when it finally came out, so did the object of interest: a knife. Apollo was too far to tell its design, he could only see the crescent sneer like a cat’s smile.
The man looked for a pocket to put it in, he was about to tuck it in when he heard a sound. His body snapped and looked up. He was licking his lips, the nerves grew on him. His steady hands descended into a quiver. His shoulders looked like bad drum symbols, rattling and shaking sporadic-like.
He looked up again. That was the last time before his chest slammed onto the floor. His hair was held by its length, Apollo stood on top of him with his knee carefully placed on the Sergeant’s back. It was lodged against one of his shoulder blades. And Apollo grabbed his weaponized hand and squeezed. Squeezed until his wrist popped and the knife came out.
“What do you have for me here, hmm?” Apollo asked.
The man did not respond. He tried turning his head, but it was locked in place. He tried rolling his eyes to their corners, but Apollo slammed his head on the ground for even trying.
That was the kind of violence that gave Apollo away. Because even if they didn’t know his name or face, they knew his method and violence. Or at least heard the stories.
The man got even quieter, as if he wasn’t even breathing anymore.
“What is that knife for? Who’s is it?” Apollo asked. He could hear a chuckle and slammed the face down on the wood. The floor cracked, the boards fell down to the stage-trap area. He raised the Sergeant again, stretching his neck as far as it would go.
“Aren’t you tired, Vicar?” The Sergeant said. “Aren’t you tired of this circular life?”
“What the f*** does that mean?”
“There is no secret to it. I asked, are you tired? Living life moment to pre-destined moment? Living the same existence over the infinite period of the universe,” The man whispered. A man, who must have been in his early retirement, with white covering his face and trimmed beard. “I’m sure you hate it as much as us. Not knowing, not being able to escape. Haven’t you wondered if someone could break the circle? If someone could give us more – just a bit more, just enough to make it all worth something-!”
Apollo could feel himself sweat. He slammed his face into the floor once more.
“Shut the f*** up.” His breath was heavy. “Who does that knife belong to. What’s it for? What’d you do with the kid? Why are you covering it up?”
“We’ve known about you two. We’ve known for a while now,” The Sergeant spat out blood, it trickled down his chin. “He told us, He knows everything.”
Apollo slammed down again. He could feel the officer’s mouth wobble and yield, his lips shaking and swelling.
“Who the f*** knows?” Apollo asked. He out-stretched the officer’s arm. He started pulling, stretching the bone and tendons of both his arms. He kept going, stopping just about the point of tension where the Sergeant’s arms would get dislocated. But he didn’t even blink or scream. His body, by contrast, felt flexible and even limp.
“You’ll meet him soon. You don’t have to worry about it, it’s already been destined. Astyanax has willed it so,” The officer curled his broken face into a smile.
His grip loosened for a moment. The man freed one arm and rushed for the gun in his side. He caught him, midway, and held him by the neck to stand him.
The Sergeant screamed. “Over here, he’s in here!”
S***, I wasn’t paying attention.
“Put your hands up.”
Apollo turned. The barrel was in front of his face. The Sergeant was still in his choke hold, held in front of him.
“Let’s take it easy,” Apollo said. Breathing behind his mask was hard, he could smell and feel the heat. It felt like steam, and it made his heart race. The Sergeant in his grip gargled blood. He spat, clearing his throat. It sounded like the vomit of a geyser, and looked it too as the blood splattered everywhere. The Sergeant smiled. His pearl-white teeth laid out on the floor.
“It doesn’t matter, Vicar,” The Sergeant said. “Nothing does,”
Apollo switched glances between them. They both look at each other, the officer pointing and the Sergeant held. They gave themselves the type of look…the type of look of whose conviction spurred a nervousness within Apollo.
The officers nodded to each other.
He didn’t feel good. Not pained, not even worried. But anxious for a kind of accident he wasn’t ready for.
“Nam amor sui,” The Sergeant said.
“Hold on,” Apollo let go of his hands and reached for the one pointing. He was too far.
“Nam amor sui,” The armed officer said. A shot. Blood splattered across the graffiti. Apollo put his hands forward to block.
When he reviewed the scene, after a few moments after the shock, he realized he wasn’t even hurt. No. The Sergeant lay dead, his brains scattered.
And the shooter stood in front of him, now pointing the gun to his own temple.
“Wait-,” Apollo shouted. “Wait!”
The shooter’s body fell, the contents of his skull spilled out from the bullet hole, an open dam now flooding the wardrobe room with the raging red waters.
Apollo didn’t know what to feel. What to do. He heard the other two fast approaching, nervously screaming out their names (he couldn’t even remember their names, not in the remission of surprise).
“Oh god,” He shook his head. Slapped it a bit. “I gotta get out,”
His head shifted left and right. He stopped his search at a particular piece of floor, the spot where he had slammed the Sergeant’s face repeatedly. The floorboards were weak there, and he felt a draft coming off from the newly formed hole.
They called in support the minute they arrived. The nervous officer screamed, vomited and when they were done, they flashed their lights and screamed for the perpetrator (Apollo). But not one was there, not with them at least.
Because Apollo was low, below them, through the trap door of the dressing room. Below the floorboards that now dripped with the blood of both lambs. The suicides, who were promised.
Alleged chosen ones.
To Apollo, they were just idiots. Sad idiots.
He made his way out, to another door on the stage, where he climbed the ropes and the metal lattices, to the outside world. In one pocket, his cellphone raging with warnings as the squad of police cars rolled in. In his other pocket, the sacrificial knife and another mystery.
Who was Astyanax?
Synopsis: The online game <