Young, Wild, Bad.
“How we doin’ young buck?” She spared a quick glance in Clay’s direction. He was tall and lanky, but if you knew him; you knew he was all muscle. He wore all black and a hockey mask just like she did.
“We got five minutes until the pigs get here.” She returned her gaze to the store clerk. He had to be her age, roughly eighteen give or take a few years and he was terrified.
She felt a ping of conscious hit her but quelled it immediately. It didn’t matter that she was holding the gun on him, steadily aimed at his head. She wasn’t planning to pull the trigger, but the crew had to eat sometime, and she couldn’t mess this up. It was the first job they let her go on, and if she did well, she would be initiated into the gang.
He stared up at her, almost desperately trying to make out her features behind her mask. His eyes were wide and terrified, boyish face pale and drawn. This was a night he’d not soon forget.
“Register. Now.” She barked, using the nastiest voice she could muster. On these streets, it was all about fear and bravado. If you were convincing enough, you lived longer. She planned to live a good long time.
The man stood on shaky legs and began to empty the register. He was moving too slow. They were at four minutes. now.
“Faster!” She yelled, pulling the safety off. He whimpered and ran faster. Soon she had a bag full of cash in her hands and at an unseen signal from Clay they were running out of the store, and to the inconspicuous Pontiac Grand Prix idling across the street.
Once everyone was in, Jose the designated driver floored it. The man could control a car better than anyone she’d ever seen. She turned around and kept an eye on their rear, making sure they weren’t followed. Everything was clear, but the entire crew stayed tense and silent until they reached the cave. They jumped out, and Jose drove off, to drop the car at a nearby chop shop.
They were careful. Getaway cars were stolen, used, then immediately ripped apart. It made tracking the plates harder to do if anyone got the number. They all relaxed visibly as soon as they were inside. There were cheers all around. Melody smirked as she took off her mask and sat the bag of money on the counter.
She caught the beer that was flying through the air at her. She popped the cap off on the table and tilted it slightly at Clay, who’d been the one to throw it at her.
“You did good young buck.”
“Thanks, Clay.” He nodded, making his way towards her with his signature swagger.
“Never seen a newbie with a gun hand that steady. You coulda been mistaken for a real killer.”
“What makes you think I’m not?” She raised an eyebrow at him and took a swig of her beer. He smirked.
“Okay, excellent merc. You game for raising the stakes?”
“What are we talking about?”
“To join the gang you have to become a killer for real.” His face was deadly serious, and she straightened up.
“Don’t matter. Anyone. You gotta kill someone, and a member has to witness it.” She nodded. She’d expected something like this. It proved you were tough enough to hang and gave the member who saw you do it, dirt on you just in case you squealed to the cops. There was only one person she wanted to kill. One person that she knew wouldn’t make her hesitate for a second.
“I’m down. I know exactly the neighborhood.” He nodded.
“Cool. Drake will be going with you.” She nodded, nerves beginning in her belly. Drake was colder than cold. He never smiled, laughed, or hung out with everyone else. He was stone inside and out. She knew if she failed, he wouldn’t hesitate to kill her along with the person she’d picked.
“I’m ready when he is.”
“Then lead the way.” She jumped a bit and whirled around. Drake. Was he standing behind her the entire time?
“Should I drive?”
“It’s your game.” She nodded. Clay winked at her and walked off to join everyone else, leaving her alone with Drake. She took a deep breath, and they made their way to Drake’s car; a sleek black BMW. It, like Drake; reminded her of a panther; quick, lethal, and impressive. They drove for about twenty minutes. Drake had no reaction to the long drive until they hit the 45-minute mark.
“Where are you going kid?”
“We’re almost there.” He studied her for a long moment.
“Had someone in mind did you?”
“Does it matter?”
“Nah.” She nodded, and they made the rest of the drive in silence until they came to the house she saw in her nightmares every time she slept. She readied the gun and tucked it into the waistband of her jeans. It’s comforting weight rested against the small of her back like a security blanket. She made her way up to the front door and knocked. Drake followed, standing next to her and not questioning her methods. She’d never found his silent presence comforting before but she did now. The door opened to reveal him.
He was completely unassuming. He hovered at five foot ten. His brown eyes and blond hair, pale skin, button down, slacks, and loafers made him seem like the most benign creature on the face of the planet. She knew better.
“Well, if it isn’t Melody Winters.” He sneered. He might look like the most benign creature on the planet, but the man was pure evil, no question. “Come for more?” He smirked.
“May I come in Mr. Wayneright?” He blinked, having expected her to react to his tone and his words. She was taking a page from Drake’s book and keeping things stoic.
“Sure.” The man shrugged, nonchalance and confidence practically oozing from his pores. When the door shut behind them all, he led them into the kitchen. Once there he turned to face them.
“Where’s Shelly?” That woman didn’t deserve to live any more than her husband did, but she didn’t need her screwing this up.
“When you left, I had to play with someone.” His voice was taunting. Disgust rolled through her like a tidal wave. If this were a movie, she would have pulled the gun on him and had a lengthy discussion with him about how this was vengeance for everything he did to her when she lived here, but Melody didn’t have enough of a sense of drama for that.
That wasn’t how reality worked. When you wanted someone dead, you wanted them dead. You didn’t want just to sit there and shoot the shit with them until some arbitrary climactic moment. Deciding to waste no more words, she pulled the gun out and aimed it.
Her hands were steady, her resolve iron. She didn’t even hesitate or entertain second thoughts. A split second after she pulled out the gun and aimed it she undid the safety. A second after that, she shot.
‘Boom.’ The weapon went off like thunder in her hands, the bullet shattering his right knee. The surprised expression on his face would have been comical if she felt like laughing. Melody re-aimed the gun.
‘Boom.’ His left knee was shattered, and he fell to the ground. He didn’t scream yet, and she wanted to hear him scream like he’d made her scream.
‘Boom’ This bullet hit him in the shoulder, sending him on his back. She moved forward, composed and calm, her face like stone. He was breathing hard, and the fear of death was beginning to creep into his eyes. She was standing over him, staring dispassionately down at his face. He met her gaze, holding it. They were connected by the pain and torment he’d inflicted upon her, and now by the pain, she inflicted upon him. Misery loves company. She aimed the gun again.
‘Boom’ This bullet took away the appendage that let him call himself a man. She waited two minutes to let the pain sink in, closing her eyes as she listened to him finally scream. When she opened her eyes again, she aimed the gun one last, and final time.
“Don’t...don’t I get any last words?” He rasped. She smirked down at him.
‘Boom!’ This bullet went straight between his eyes, ensuring that he would never speak, or do anything at all; ever again. Melody crouched down and watched the life fade from his eyes, not satisfied until all the light left them. She stood up and moved away, only then remembering that Drake was there. He was watching her with an unfathomable expression in his eyes. He shook it off and bent over the corpse on the floor, checking for a pulse.
“You’re in kid.” She nodded.
“Good.” He held out his hand for the gun, and she handed it over. She used all the bullets that were left in it anyway.
“That was personal.”
“Yes.” He nodded.
“Come on. Let’s get back.” She followed him, letting him drive. She was glad he decided to take the keys. Wayneright deserved everything she gave him tonight and more besides. It felt good to finally have her vengeance. But not everything felt better like she thought it would. Melody felt hollow inside,like the price for her vengeance was her soul, and nothing would ever be the same again. Inside, she was a mess. Outside, she was just as much stone as Drake was.