It was very quiet. Unnaturally so if you ask me.
Samuel, one of Father’s men, and Ledger, my partner in all my ‘missions’ stood tall with two guns each, one in each hand, threatening almost five unarmed men who had apparently accompanied our ‘target’ in an abandoned, dim-lit garage, reeking with the smell of cigarettes, and burnt rubber.
Our target, according to Father, had stolen ‘very important’ documents that’d put Father’s company -Gorj- in disaster. No surprise here, our company was quite what you’d say ‘full of shit’. Or at least that was what I thought it was in the beginning.
And we needed those documents back because we’d do anything for Gorj. We’d kill for Gorj if we had to. It was my life’s ‘motto’ as Father would put it, and I never questioned it. Not then.
I loved silence, you see. The silence that followed the noise. That deafening silence. The silence after a scream, after a gunshot, after a car crash. That silence that lasted for just a few seconds before the world came crashing down on you, before a body thudded on the ground, dead.
Pretty morbid, but I loved it.
So as I stood above our target- Ricardo, I wasn’t irritated by it drenching us. I was just disturbed by its timing. Because at the rate things were going, I knew I was going to get very angry. And that was very bad because my anger almost always unleashed an uncontainable, hibernating monster.
This silence should’ve been nothing but broken by Ricardo’s confession about where he took those documents that he stole. And yet, yet, silence, my friend, was all I heard.
I took a deep breath, glanced at the cigarette butts on the ground, looked at my polished, black boots, then shifted my gaze to his crumpled being moaning on the floor. I grimaced.
"Alright,” I sighed heavily and nudged him with my foot. “-those were only a few punches, and you’re already weeping, darlin’.”
“I will not give you them-” he choked out with a cruel smirk, and I begged my anger to be patient.
I shut my eyes boredly and knelt next to him. “Say that again.”
“I will not giv-” I punched him in the eye and heard Ledger whistle lowly in response.
“You surely don’t think we’ll let you go-” I said with an amused smile (because that sounded funny- almost hilarious.). “You surely don’t think we can so easily let people like you slip through our fingers. You can’t think you were the first one.”
He didn’t reply. He smiled. And I knew was losing control and was in need of a new strategy. I remembered all the information Father told me about him and sighed, pulling out a card I didn’t have any other option but to pull.
“Your daughter. I will find her. I will ki-” I was then stopped by his widened eyes and hands that found my arm.
"Not her-" He begged, eyes wide and alert.
“I will find her so very easily-” I continued undeterred, removing my arm from his filthy grasp. “-and I will make her pay what you-”
“Oh, not Sam-” he whimpered. ”Please. No.”
“So is that a yes?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. “Are you-” I was then cut by my phone ringing in my pocket. I paused and stared at my pocket as if it’d miraculously answer the question that popped inside my head- who the hell is calling now? Father knew I had Ricardo to deal with. He must’ve told everyone not to call me.
This couldn’t be good.
I cursed under my breath and reached for it anyway, gun still pointed at Ricardo’s head. It was William- one of Father’s men who was stationed along with a few more to watch the roads.
"What?" I snapped as I listened to him pant on the phone.
"They’re coming-" he breathed, and I furrowed my eyebrows.
"What? Who-?” I then looked down to find Ricardo smiling widely at me, his face a sickening black and blue.
My lips parted but only slightly as he started showing his bloody teeth like it was funny for him. But of course, it was, considering how he thought he’d be saved by his men’s arrival.
Pitiful, because heavens knew how this would no way in hell happen.
“How many?” I asked quickly, clenching my jaws, smoothly getting to my feet and cocking my head at Ledger. Ledger got the message and started quarantining the men he was threatening with Samuel away, preparing himself for another fight.
"I don’t know?” He cringed. ”About twenty?”
I hung up.
“We have to leave!” I yelled orders at Ledger. “We’re taking him with us! Quickly!”
I was already pulling Ricardo up -oh, I might’ve broken his leg- when men’s shouts filled the area (which was oh well, stupid because they couldn’t be stealthy enough to abuse their element of surprise. This meant that they were either eccentric fools or so sure of themselves. Both of which were terrible.)
I cursed under my breath because, dammit-William-you-could’ve-called-earlier! I let go of an immobile Ricardo, knowing I could get him later- and took cover behind a big, black van.
Really this filthy garage was empty except for the vans we came in and some old, nonfunctioning, parked cars. And of course, all the homo sapiens it contained.
I watched Ricardo’s men file in before spreading out left and right as gunshots shushed the silence (if you get what I mean). I puffed out a heavy breath and kept my eyes on Ricardo who was still sprawled on the ground, chest heaving up and down. He was still alive. Good.
Don’t get near him. Don’t get near him. Don’t get near- I chanted in my head as I kept my eyes on him.
But of course, the world isn’t a wish-granting factory. Two men, covered in black from head to toe, walked in slowly and waved their rifles around as they assessed the place. When they spotted their ‘beloved’ boss, they straightened up and marched to him. But unfortunately for them, I instinctively shot one of them in the leg, sending the other springing away, shocked and in need of cover. The victim fell next to his boss, and I smirked, taking cover.
I could see Ledger crouched behind another car and shooting at them with amusing precision. They fell one after the other in quick succession. It was funny and theatrical to watch.
My mission, right then, was to protect Ricardo. We really needed him for those documents that would sue the company as Father would say.
Reminded by my purpose, I got to my feet and shot two other guards approaching Ricardo in the knees.
“JULIUS!” I heard someone shout- Samuel- and looked back only to find a fist on its way to crashing my face. My so beautiful, charming face, which was a very important asset in tricking people when I needed to.
My face was a no-no.
I held his fist so it hovered a few inches away from my right cheek, twisted his arm, and with one quick swing, shot his leg. He fell to the ground, and I was quick to disarm him. I turned swiftly to look at Ricardo, but he was already gone.
Cursing under my breath, I moved from my position, crouching behind one car before jumping behind the next. I then spotted Ricardo, who was supported and ‘protected’ by four of his guards, get into a car parked in the row opposite to where I was hiding.
I want a guard down, I thought. I wanted them to get distracted because I could take on three distracted men and get Ricardo for me.
So I extended my arm beyond the car’s trunk and aimed at the guard holding onto Ricardo’s left arm. And there was it.
There was the moment that changed my life completely. There. Was. It.
There was I aiming and pulling the trigger when one of the men yelled ′Be careful!’. The guard I was aiming at- his shoulder- stupidly scooted away, and my bullet flew straight through Ricardo’s head.
Yes. I killed him. And, my, Father would be furious. And my heart would be in distress- I killed someone for no good enough reason. This was disastrous through and through.
I immediately dropped to my feet as I heard the chaos that was born from my mistake unfurl in the form of shouts and ′Abort! Abort! Abort!′. I rested my head on the car’s trunk, spread my legs in front of me, and brought a clenched fist to my mouth. My world was getting torn to pieces right in front of my widened eyes, by the action of my hands.
I just couldn’t believe it. This wasn’t what I did. I didn’t waste lives. All those whom I killed before were terrible people who deserved it because they harmed Gorj. Or at least that was what Father told me when I would get worked up about it. When I’d lose my shit with him and yell that no one deserves to be killed. That there isn’t even one good enough ‘terrible’ reason. It was what Father fed to my soul and what my soul had accepted.
Ricardo didn’t deserve to die. At least not yet.
I heaved up myself, staggered away from the bloody scene that had calmed as quickly as it had gone to flames when all Ricardo’s men packed their shit, took their boss back as a corpse and ran away.
I hurried to my Mustang that was parked outside of the garage, in the cold, crisp wind, and stood next to it before I doubled over and threw up on the street’s damp tarmac.
I then straightened up, wiped my mouth with my sleeve, removed my leather gloves with shaky fingers, and zipped up my leather jacket, pulling up its collar against the wind.
I panted, ignoring my phone that seemed to never stop ringing for the past ten minutes after Ricardo’s death.
In pure frustration at myself, I continuously kicked at my car’s tire until I tired myself. I then slumped against the car’s front door and caught my hair in my hands. Almost immediately, a lightning bolt lit up the stark darkness that the full moon failed to illuminate.
I shuddered at the thunderclap that followed, hating the idea of getting drenched in the rain, so I got into the car.
I remember switching on any random radio channel and keeping it as loud as possible. Perhaps it’d be louder than my raging thoughts.
The gates were open welcoming me into my Father’s mansion.
I lived here. Occasionally.
I drove all the way around the fountains and long strips of vegetation until I parked in front of the mansion’s doors. I got out and headed toward the already open doors. I stepped into the huge hall I’m used to and looked around for my father.
Father was sitting -like I expected- in the living room on his favourite couch with a cigar between his index and middle fingers that were clad with two huge rings with jewels. One had a big sapphire jewel and the other had a big black jewel.
It was a family thing.
My thumb brushed the jade jewel on the ring on my middle finger absently before I faintly approached Father. I wanted nothing more than heading up to my room and just die. I stood in front of him and clenched my jaws, readying myself for his bullshit.
“He arrives-” He said to no one in particular in his strong, arrogant voice as he put out his cigar and clasped his hands.
Age didn’t seem to have any effect on my father. The sharpness in his dark, observing eyes, the strength in his jaws, and the tone of his voice all demanded fear and respect.
“What did you do this time? Did you finally prove me wrong?” He was mocking me about our previous fight. That fight when I swore I wasn’t a reckless person. I am not reckless. Except when angered.
“I-” I tried to interject but of course he had to block me off.
“Ah, wait... America!” He called one of our maids with a snap of his fingers. She was next to him in a matter of seconds. “Put on some music, please. Anything-” He commanded casually, and I clenched my fists.
He then looked at me and smiled. Sometimes I envied his composure. He was always in control.
“You were saying?” He waved his hand in my direction, and I pursed my lips.
“I killed him,” I blurted, curling my hands into fists, hoping he wouldn’t notice them shake. But I couldn’t even keep my calm demeanour as music filled my ears.
I hated music. It was more than hate. I loathed it. My father knew how to get to me. Every. Single. Time.
“Of course you did!” He said all of a sudden with a joyful voice while I narrowed my eyes. “Did you know where he kept the documents though?”
I closed my eyes and remembered the man I killed for them. A man my father’s age. I killed a man my father’s age and gained nothing.
“He wouldn’t tell me,” I found nothing but this to say. I was screwed, and I deserved it.
My father stared more, and I fidgeted with the ring on my middle finger more.
“WELL DID YOU EXPECT HIM TO TELL YOU?! WHAT DID I SEND YOU FOR?!”
“I-” I wanted to explain how it happened. How I never intended for it to happen, but staring into his eyes, I couldn’t.
“WE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE LOST THOSE FOREVER! I should’ve never trusted you on this. You never proved to be anything but a BLOODY mistake carrying my BLOODY NAME!” He scolded angrily, and I didn’t wince. “NOW WHOM IN HEAVEN’S NAME ARE WE GOING TO ASK?! HIS RESTING SOUL?!”
He was lying. I was his right hand. I did all the dirty work concerning his company- Gorj. I did it all for him. He was being unfair too. This was the first time I flopped. He was angering me. I tapped my feet and looked at him still fidgeting with my ring.
Relax. Deep breaths.
“I know who to ask,” I found myself saying as a memory blossomed at the back of my head.
My father looked at me testily, then laughed a short, hard, humourless laugh. A haunting laugh that echoed mercilessly in the vacancy of my mind.
“Would you stop laughing?” I blurted angrily, making my father actually stop and glare at me.
“Was that a command, Julius? ” He raised an eyebrow as his eyes twinkled eerily under the bright lights. “Was that a bloody command? You dare command me in my house?!”
The music was blaring from the speakers disrupting my thoughts and teasing my anger to unleash. “No,” I whispered despite the hatred that almost burnt my tongue to say the truth.
He heard. He always does.
“No, what?” He snapped, clenching his jaws.
“No. Sir,” I added, meeting his gaze in anger. His son calling him ‘Sir’ shouldn’t satisfy him so much, I thought, but it did.
I watched him lean back on the couch and exhale, smiling. “What were you saying again?” He tilted his head a bit as I blinked at him.
“I know who might help us-” I tried, but he interrupted.
“No-” He shook his head scornfully. “You got that wrong, son. Who might help you with this. Son, you do understand that if you don’t return me those documents I’ll enjail you? You know that right?”
I looked up surprised. No, I didn’t.
“Well, now you know. You may continue-” He said, waving his right hand randomly toward me. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
“His daughter. Sam. That was her name.” I said slowly as I watched him process this new information.
My father looked at me, his eyes calculating something I’d never get hold off.
I looked at him in disgust but made sure none of it showed on my face. I didn’t want him to know that he’d got to me. Would never give him this pleasure. And it was easy. Masking my emotions was very easy for me to do.
“Find everything about her. Every little detail. Give me feedback. I want everything within forty-eight hours.”
Forty-eight hours? I raised my eyebrows. He was being unreasonable.
“Now, piss off.”
I smirked, turned, and headed back up in my room. It was spacious, with a huge king-sized bed, walk-in closet, shelves heaved down by books of different sizes and shapes, and a table pushed to a corner. The walls were pastel green, and the lights were dim (I generally didn’t like bright light. I found it very exposing). But you don’t need any more detailed description. This is the only time you’ll read about this room.
I took out my gun from the back of my pants, remembering how the bullet flew out of it and killed a man uselessly. I sat on the bed’s edge, stared at it, and felt the anger flood from within. This anger directed at nobody, but myself.
Not only have I destroyed a man’s life. I’ve also destroyed the lives of anyone who loved him. For nothing. I was stupid. I was blind, goddammit! If I’d waited for a second, I would’ve noticed the guard scoot away. If I was well-hidden, no-one would’ve had a clue about what I was up to.
And that was it. Guilt. The only thing that managed to eat away at my heart every once in a while.
I took a deep breath and rubbed my finger across my initials at the gun’s hilt.
Now I think you deserve a proper introduction to the person you’ll be reading about. Because it’ll be a long story. Not very long. But long enough to tell you how my life took this sharp turn ever since that bullet left my gun. How things got so unbelievably good at times, and how they got overbearingly bad.
So now, is the right time, I think.
I am Julius Caesar Alexander Black. I take risks. I hurt people. I kill people a lot of times too. Yes, I am a murderer, but I’d like to think, that I am so for all the right reasons. I am Julius Caesar who believes that no soul is worth living except for his and his father’s. I hate everyone. And everyone hates me too. I don’t make connections with people. Cause I tend to always hurt them. Because catastrophe and I are conjoined twins. You can’t take one and leave the other. People wouldn’t want to associate with me, and I don’t blame them. Not really.
So enough of reading stories about heroes and read this one. About that one pathetic excuse of a human.