Banshee lifts his arm up to where the gun is lined up perfectly on the Leader of the Nation’s forehead. His smile grows wider as he sees the glint of fear through the tinted eyeholes in the mask. Banshee studies it, losing himself momentarily in the gloriousness of the pattern, of the colors. He reaches up to touch it, the Leader of the Nation jerking back from fear.
“What is this?” The man behind the mask breathes as Banshee feels anger slip into his body. He didn’t let him touch the mask.
“Give me the mask,” Banshee growls, readjusting the gun in his hand.
“What for?” The Leader of the State asks, frozen in his place.
“To finish my dream.” Banshee takes a step closer to the man.
“I hope you know that my mask is bulletproof,” the man says, defiance in his voice.
Banshee feels the pull of intrigue as he takes another step closer, the gun resting on the mask of the man.
“What kind of material is it?” Banshee asks, not forgetting that he still has power over this man. “How did it become bullet proof?”
The man is silent.
Banshee brings his gun down and shoots the man in the hand.
“Your mask may be bullet proof, but the rest of your body isn’t,” he smirks. “Someone didn’t come prepared today.”
“I didn’t think I was going to get shot at today!”
“Uh-uh,” Banshee sings as he aims the gun at the Leader of the Nation’s heart. “Don’t be a stupid Leader of the Nation. Everywhere you go, there is a Dark Clan. If you’re not constantly ready to be shot at, then you eventually will be killed. I don’t regret that today will be that day unless you hand over your mask.”
“I could never—”
Not at his chest, but at his mask.
The Leader of the Nation flies back, lying on the ground, still. He makes a sound that sounds like a groan, not noticing Banshee walking over to stand above him.
“I’ll give you one last chance to give it to me.”
“You’re insane,” the Leader of the Nation breathes.
“No,” Banshee snaps, but his face relaxes into a smile. “I just see things clearer than everyone else.”
Banshee pulls the trigger, the Leader of the State letting out a short cry. Banshee whips around to face her, her hands over her stomach. He lifts up his gun to her as well.
“Take your mask off as well,” he says. “You have no protection from me anymore.”
She hesitates, then reaches up to untie her mask. Banshee watches as she takes a deep breath as it falls into her hands. He smiles as she hands it over, her short black hair falling around her chin. Her piercing green eyes stop Banshee cold for a minute. For a moment he feels drawn to her, like a fly to honey.
And then he thinks better of it and snatches the mask from her. He squats down to force the mask off of the former Leader of the Nation’s face. He touches the spot where he had shot, only a scratch as evidence Banshee had shot towards the man’s head.
As he stands up, the mask mesmerizes him. He’d done it. He’d finally done it. Everything is falling into place now. Everything is almost as it should be. Now he just needs Becca, Eduard, and Victoria to do what they need to do. And then everything will be perfect. Everything will match up to his dream. Everything will be perfect. As it should be.
“Gah!” Banshee cries out as he arches his back from pain.
He looks down at the back of his shoulder and sees a silver knife glinting in the moonlight drawing blood from where it split his skin.
He looks up at the Leader of the State and smiles harshly.
In one swift motion, he yanks the weapon out, never taking his eyes from her face. In her haughty eyes, he sees a drop of fear.
“We can work together,” Banshee says suddenly, as much of a surprise to her as it is to him. She seems to consider this for a moment, but then shakes her head.
“No,” she growls. “I can’t. You killed the Leader of the Nation.”
“Oh, but not just him,” he smiles as he turns towards her. “Many, many others as well.”
“Why?” She asks.
“For the Dream,” he says, still walking towards her, both masks dangling from either of his hands as he moves slowly in her direction across the stage. “Imagine more power than anyone in this world.” Banshee smiles, his eyes on fire as he tries to persuade her to join the twisted version of the Maskless he had created through Becca Reed. “Imagine the world at your fingertips.”
“And if I say no?” She asks, hiding her increasing fear of the man with the sliced cheek.
Banshee smirks. “Then you’ll meet the same fate as your friend.”
. . .
Think, ponder, realize. Dig, find, persuade. Think, ponder, realize. Dig, find, persuade… The words play over and over in Eduard’s mind as he moves out of the burning building.
Jumping over a crumbled side wall of the city hall building, Eduard practically coughs up a lung. He looks up at the moon high above him and wonders where she is. Where had she gone? Why had she left?
He begins to walk once again, only to stop at another note, this one large and placed in the ground with a stake.
Once again, the words stare back at him. Think. Ponder. Realize. Dig. Find. Persuade. Play the game.
Eduard looks around him, as if he would see her appear magically somewhere.
“Play the game?” Eduard asks out loud. He knows Banshee had said for him to play his game earlier. He has no doubt he’s still in the center of that game, whatever is going on inside of it, whether he is just a chess piece or more than that. But what if there’s another game, one that he isn’t seeing as blatantly?
What if Becca is playing her own game now?