Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wither The Vain: Mightier Part 3


There are few things in life that have ever brought me pleasure. One of those was the growth of new life. A tiller of the soil. Until the Nameless Faceless God turned away my offerings. Until I irrigated the soil with my brother's blood. Until I was banished.

And in banishment, I found pleasure once more. The Nameless Faceless God left me alone and I wandered, exploring new life, learning about the earth. My journey brought me to Nod, to the dreaming lands. I remember my home in Ayer's Rock. I remember living and learning about life anew with the aborigines. The soil once more began to open to me, small plants once again rising to greet my fingers. Then that life too was stolen away as others came to the dreaming lands. They raped the lands. They raped my friends. And the soil that had grown to obey me opened to their blood once more.

I found pleasure when I found Chicago. Brother upon brother. No soil to speak of. An accursed cold place where I could revel in my infamy. And even in my denial, there was the warmth of jazz. Sunshine on your belly does not warm as well as smooth jazz on a rainy day.

Now, just as then, my club was being taken from me. This time, the bastard child of my crimes was to die as well. Was to die, even as the soil began to trust me again.

I quietly pulled my long silver case out from behind the bar. The case emblazoned with the Yarran Tree on one side and a bat - Narahdarn the Bat - on the other. I set my case on the bar and flipped open the latches, even as Eli writhed about on the floor, the Bubonic Plague coursing through him. I drew out two sticks and screwed them together, even as Jimmy, Horace, and Tasha, three of my best customers shambled to the bar. I closed my case and set it back on the floor, even as Josef cursed from the rafters. I tested my weapon's weight, even as Arturo backed into the corner, pencils his only weapons.

Alright Cain, let's see if you can do this without killing anyone.


I hopped over the bar, and spun my weapon of choice; a 66 inch long pool cue hand-carved from Austrailian Blackwood. A pool cue named Walkabout.

Jimmy came at me first, his ridiculously small fedora tumbling off. He never could find one the right size. Not terribly surprising. The bloke was built like the chest of drawers I had upstairs. An attempted tackle, moving at speed. I danced aside and he slammed into the bar headfirst.

Tasha next, grabbing a bar stool. No lion tamer acts here, she grabs the legs and swung the entire stool like a club. Quick step left. Quick step right. Roll right. Burst from the roll. Walkabout spun and caught the back of her knees. Tasha hit the ground hard, harder than I liked.

But she was out. It'd have to do.

Jimmy was coming to his feet as Horace closed in. Horace had another three inches and fifty pounds on Jimmy. Used to tease them that if we ever played Aussie Rules, they'd be on my team.

Horace didn't charge, nor did Jimmy this time. They pulled up their sleeves and staggered forward, steel trap arms, loaded and ready for bear. Jimmy sprang first, swinging a sledgehammer arm at my head. I dropped low and jabbed him in the gut with Walkabout's butt-end. As he doubled over, gasping for air, Horace made his move. Double-fists over my head. Cue-end stabbed into Horace's throat and he gagged for air. Rising, I spun Walkabout. Butt-end to Jimmy's temple. Then Horace's.

They both fell, even the poisons filling their systems unable to keep them moving now.

I turned to face the dance floor separating me from Eli.

"Get away from my son."



Wait. Not sorry. Meant to kill. Kill. Kismet kill. Council. Kismet Council. Burn down.

No. Horseman now. No bolt-hole. Not mouse.

Ring around the rosies.

My song. I wrote that. Did I write?

Back snapping. Foam. Mad dog. He's a mad dog. Put him down.


Our Father.

"Eli, take my hand."

Hand. Yes! Hands. Hungry.
No! Father.

"Eli, just do it. Take my hand. Hurry."

"I'll kill. It'll kill."

"Shut up and take my hand already boy!"


Fire. Put the kettle on. Boiling boiling. Burning out the black.

Screaming. Me?


I blinked and saw. Father's scars never stayed, but these would survive longer than most. His shirt was ribbons, dripping with blood from wounds already healed over. Long sweeping strokes... knifework. Four holes in his chest, two in his leg.... ragged... torn... a broken table leg. Each wound lay on his skin, a marble monument soon to erode away again.

His tattoo glowed golden and the skin around crinkled and seared with heat. His eyes caught mine.

"Don't worry. That's normal."

I was staring at his shirt. White. White and red. Josef.

"Where is he? Where's that disease-ridden bastard?"

"Gone. Arturo left a pencil in his back as he fled, but I was too busy keeping everybody else off of you two. Now get up. We've got work to do."


Had the old man lost his mind?

"Yep. You're going to heal everybody in this club."

Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Not likely.

"I'm going to do no such thing."

"Yes, you are."

"No. That's not my job."

"You mean you can't handle it. You don't have the stones for it."

Excuse me? Can't handle it?

"Who says I can't handle it?"

"You do. Sissy."

"You're on old man. But there's one thing I have to do first."

"What's that boy?"

I stood and staggered to Arturo, eye to eye. The drunken Spaniard glared back defiantly.

"You're coming."


"Welcome back to the family... brother."

He smiled slightly and opened his arms slightly. I broke a table leg over his head and Arturo slumped to the floor.

"Alright. Let's get to work."

As we started for the first body, I turned and glanced out the window. Josef's face still haunted my eyes. Another face, another name. Another thread to be erased.

I knelt down and took father's hand. This one's head was caved in. The fool on the bar stool.

I laid my hand on his chest and set to work.

Death be not proud.

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