The Bar was a dive. The kind you could find in any city that was on the verge of financial ruin. The name of the bar was haphazardly painted on the side of the building, along with some random graffiti.
The irony. It was not the kind of place one would stop for drinks unless they were from the neighborhood, as friendly would not be what you would find. Unless you looked like him.
Even though he looked like he belonged in such a place, he hated being around such clientele. He found bars like this a breading-ground for the lost and forever hopeless.
If they only knew their potential. He thought as he looked at the customers and employees alike.
He had been drinking for hours, waiting for the right time. Then he finished his beer, paid the meager tab and walked outside. Once there he took a deep breath of cool air and started walking.
It was late and he acted as though he was in no hurry and oblivious to his surroundings. After a couple deep breaths he made his way to the motel across the street where he had rented a room. The Tiki Hut Inn was far from a tropical getaway, but it served a purpose. He checked in a few days ago after he found what he was looking for. Even though he was the best at what he did, it had taken longer than he thought.
He did not relish this night or what it would surely bring, but he needed answers and he was going to get them. The fact that it was his own kind infuriated him.
Once he was sure they were close enough he made his way up the stairs and to the second floor where his room was located. All the rooms had outside entrances, like most standard low rate motels. He also made sure his room faced the opposite side of the main road, which was a secluded run-down city park. Not a popular area of the motel and it appeared no one else was booked on that side.
He unlocked the door, with an actual key, and went inside. He even locked the door behind him to keep up appearances, and then sat in the lone ragged red chair in the corner.
He wasn’t reading, taking a nap, or watching TV. He was just sitting. He had done everything but lay a trail of bread crumbs and now he waited. There was an element of the unknown, but it was a risk he was willing to take.
He could hear their footsteps slapping off the cement flooring of the second level.
Hard sole shoes and only two of them. Amateurs
He knew word of his presence had gotten out and it was time for an offensive strategy. He was aggravated that it had taken so long, but not surprised.
They were outside his door now. They were probably discussing the plan, if they actually had one at all. Further evidence that they were untrained, and new to the life.
The door flew off the hinges and landed inside the room at the feet of Jacques. Jacques didn’t move a muscle as the two large figures walked in nice and slow, full of confidence and swagger. They were acting strong and sure, and in most cases rightfully so. It was obvious they had no idea who he was.
They were dressed almost the same. Both had on three quarter length leather jackets and dark pants. If they both didn’t have blond hair they might have looked like mafia wannabes. The one on the left had a short buzz cut, almost military style, while the other had longer hair that was pulled into a tight ponytail.
“Sorry about your door”. Ponytail said insincerely.
Both intruders were very young, by Jacques standards anyways, which can be dangerous time. You feel invincible, and in most respects you are.
“Get up!” Ponytail yelled. “Now!”
Jacques remained seated and this unnerved them. They looked at each other wondering how to play this. Then Jacques spoke.
“The problem with being a young pup is that not only are your tracking skills shamefully limited, but you do not possess the knowledge to understand who you are tracking. Nor are you smart enough to figure out that your mark was actually tracking you.”
Jacques never lost eye contact with pony-tail, who was no longer filled with the confidence he came in with.
Jacques had dealt with these types before and the more he thought about the whole situation the angrier he became.
Buzz-cut looked over at his partner and his eyes said it all. He immediately felt over his head, questioning this entire mission. Jacques was sure that when they were recruited they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. That didn’t excuse their behavior though. They still had free will and could have refused. They should have.
“Who are you?” Buzz cut asked. It was almost polite in delivery.
Ponytail wasn’t having it. He tried to regain his authority, knowing it was still two against one.
“I said stand up.”
Jacques slowly stood as the intruders watched in silent consternation. They hadn’t grasped the size of Jacques from a distance, and now that he was up close and personal the dynamics of the room changed. Pony tail tried to appear fearless, but Jacques could smell it. The other was even less interested in this mission, which is to say he wanted no part of it.
“You were fed lies and you might even think what you are doing is right. Everything is not as it seems. That being said, I will make you an offer. You will tell me who sent you here, and everything you know about them, and I will allow you to leave.”
Jacques said this in his usual calm and gravelly voice as he directed his stare to buzz cut, who appeared as if he might be a little more open to reason.
“What if he’s right? We never met this guy before. We don’t even know if what they told us is true.” Buzz cut said, obviously hoping his partner would rethink their actions.
Ponytail ignored him.
“I know you are a traitor. The one who kills his own kind. That’s all I need to know about you. Your only option here is to give us what we want, then maybe you will live another day.” Pony tail said.
“Fuck off.” Jacques said pointedly.
Ponytail shifted his body weight by the slightest of margins and Jacques saw him grind his jaw slightly. He was not taking his warning seriously. Worse, he was telegraphing his intentions and throwing away the only sliver of a chance he had.
Before another word was uttered Jacques sprang forward catching ponytail by the neck, slamming his large body into the Motel wall. The collision sounded like a wrecking ball hitting the side of a house.
Jacques pulled him from the drywall and got behind his attacker before buzz-cut knew what happened. The snap of his knee sounded like a celery stalk being broken in half as Jacques brought his foot down at just the right angle. All of the aggression in ponytail had vanished in a blink. He still tried to appear unafraid, but it was show. Buzz cut made no attempt to interject into the fight at all, only watching in awe.
“I suggest you reevaluate your future.” Jacques said as he snapped ponytail’s right arm, leaving it in an unnatural position.
The demoralized attacker did everything he could to stifle his yell. Jacques dropped him to the floor and stared directly into the eyes of buzz-cut, who appeared stunned by the explosion of Jacques assault. He had never seen anything move so fast.
“I’ve heard of you. You’re one of the Elders. They never told us…” He started to say.
“It’s time you started making your own decisions in life young one. This is not your fight. You have been dragged into a war you should not be a part of. You have been given the rarest of gifts. Do not throw it away.”
Jacques stepped over ponytail and stood directly in front of buzz-cut and stared at him with his dark gray eyes intensely.
“Do you understand?”
He could only nod.
“I will allow you two to leave this room tonight, but you will need to provide me with some information first.”
Buzz-cut couldn’t talk fast enough, telling Jacques everything he knew. Ponytail tried to quiet him, but Jacques kicked him in the head so hard he went unconscious.
“If I find out that any part of this information was false or even stretched I will find you.” Jacques said.
“That’s all I know.”
Jacques was confident that he was telling the truth.
“You can use this room to set your friends limbs properly before they heal irregularly.”
Jacques stepped out of the room and back into the night. He had nothing of his in the room, as it was just a means to an end. He didn’t get as much information as he had hoped, but it was not a total bust either. One piece of information could prove to be very useful.
He could have killed them both, but it was smarter to leave them alive. A good dose of fear through the grape vine is far more beneficial. Jacques was strong, but not invincible. If three or four had shown up with determination he may not have survived the night. But he had not survived this long by being careless.
This did not seem like a move VonRieger would make. He was smarter than that. Send two pups with little training? It was almost as if these two were sent on a test run. Two who were thought to be expendable. It’s harder to plan when events are irrational, and this move did not make sense.
The fact that these two made an overt move toward Jacques was not insignificant. Anyone who was behind the attack on an elder knew the risks involved. Not to mention the fact that they were looking for information on another elder, regarding things that were thought to be secret.
Whoever this was had knowledge and the ability and means to recruit. A combination that was troublesome. War was indeed coming.