Chapter 1: Killing Is Easy
“The darkness is the perfect cover for all evil. It is the warmest of blankets for a multitude of sins. I wear it proudly.”
SoCal nights. Beautiful, fun filled, and full of enjoyment. Hot blondes, fast cars, and parties that never end. That’s what the brochures tell you; that’s the image that Hollywood purports Los Angeles life to be. That’s what I was expecting when I traveled here. Sure, there’s an element of that glamour, it certainly exists. But, what they fail to tell you about is the fact that there’s also an element—an overwhelming one—of crime, drugs, homelessness, prostitution, muggings, and gang skirmishes too. The City of Angels isn’t reserved for the righteous; devils roam freely here too. The streets here can be as dangerous as they are fun; something that, especially tonight, is a good thing for me.
Crouching behind a row of vehicles in a quiet parking lot, Donovan Lucas rested his back against someone’s beat-up old Chevy. Wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black jeans and beanie, he mimicked the night sky above.
His bearded face looked nervous and agitated—two normally foreign feelings to him. Taking in a few generous breaths of calm, Donovan gently turned and raised himself up slightly, looking through the windshield of the car for confirmation.
Right on time, he thought to himself, Just like clockwork.
The validating thought didn’t make him smile though, it seemed to only make him frown harder than before.
Turning back around, and lowering himself to his original crouched position he coached himself.
“You’ve got this.”
From the side pocket of his sweatshirt, he pulled out a pair of black leather gloves which he quickly slipped on. He then reached into the back pocket of his jeans and retrieved a thin, rectangular, case.
Donovan opened the case, as he did so a small haze of icy vapor escaped from it to reveal a syringe. He lifted it out and brought it closer to his green eyes for inspection. The contents of the syringe consisted of a black liquid; its dense color was interrupted only by thin streaks of neon blue that threaded through and along the liquid.
Nodding to himself, Donovan snapped the now empty case shut, and placed it back into his back pocket. With the syringe in hand, he slowly stood up, momentarily stretching his sore muscles to their full six feet of height.
Happily upright, Donovan looked intently at the man across the parking lot from him—the object of his current attention.
The man wore blue jeans, a white polo shirt, and white sneakers. He walked across the lot while holding a smoothie in one hand, and playing with his phone in the other. He was oblivious to anything other than was on his mobile screen, oblivious to the fact that Donovan was looking at him.
Killing is easy, thought Donovan. There are almost an infinite amount of ways in which to end a life, and I know at least a thousand of them.
Donovan began to walk toward the man.
Every weeknight... thought Donovan as he looked at the man amused and distracted by his phone, Why would you come to the same spot every night after work? This guy is an idiot.
Adjusting the syringe in his hand into a stabbing position, with the plunger by his thumb and needle protruding toward the bottom of his fist, Donovan kept his steady pace, while calmly—almost casually—looking around, all while drawing closer to the man.
If not me, then it’d be someone else. A mugger, or drug addict, or just someone who wanted that damn phone he’s always glued to. This way is better.
The man ahead of him suddenly stopped walking.
With lightening reflexes Donovan ducked behind a parked car, suspecting he’d been seen. He soon realized that wasn’t the case when the man simply continued texting.
While sighing with a combination of self relief and annoyance at the man, Donovan whispered “Fucking idiot,” to himself while shaking his head.
Peering out of cover, Donovan noticed that the man had started to walk again, taking a sip from his fat-filled smoothie as he did. With a look of disdain on his face, Donovan came out of cover and started walking toward the man again.
Killing is easy. Donovan reminded himself. I’ve taken 34 lives, and every one of them meant nothing. This isn’t any different. Another meaningless kill.
The man finally reached a car. It was a new looking, well waxed, black Mercedes. He placed his smoothie on the top of the vehicle; without regard for the condensation of the plastic cup that was dulling the vehicles shine. And, with a quick fumble through his pocket, he found and pressed the key fob in his pocket to unlock the car. As he did so, his phone notified him of a text, he smiled as he checked it.
Donovan wondered what the text might have said, but it was irrelevant now as he was sprinting toward the man’s back.
The man was still smiling as Donovan’s left forearm wrapped around his neck. He was just as oblivious now as he had been minutes earlier, his phone distracting him from the dangers around him.
By the time the man’s attention had caught up with what was happening ‘In-Real-Life’ and the moment that he was experiencing, it was too late. Donovan’s muscular pressure had already begun to choke-out any hope the man would have had of making a sound. In many ways the struggle was over before it had really begun.
As the man helplessly tried to free himself from the vice-like hold, gasping for any morsel of breath he could find, Donovan lifted up the syringe in his right hand and stabbed it down into the right side of the man’s neck; emptying out the contents into his bloodstream.
Within a few seconds, the man’s eyes popped open with agony as the liquid immediately announced its presence in his system.
In the midst of the deadly handshake, the man dropped his phone, his object of his affection. He watched as it dropped, in what felt like to him, slow motion. The phone seemed to float as it moved toward the floor beneath it, but all delusions of softness were destroyed as the impact with the floor shattered the screen into irreplaceable shards.
Donovan whispered into the man’s ear. “Don’t fight it. Let go.”
He then released the man from the hold and stepped back. He watched as his target began to drown in his own blood; blood that had once sustained his life, but was now his greatest enemy.
Thirty-four times... thirty-four times Donovan had watched life drain out of the eyes of his victims. Each time he had looked for something in their final moments. He had inquisitively watched them as he had sought answers to questions; ones that he wouldn’t dare ask.
Today was the thirty-fifth of these moments, but today he found himself devoid of his habitual curiosity. Instead, he felt nothing more than a deep numbness, one that seemed to swallow him whole.
The man fell to the floor, convulsing violently. As he did so, he made a gurgling sound while his now blackened blood began to ooze out of his mouth, nose, and eyes with painful fervor.
The man’s once reddish blood, now discolored and contaminated by the contents of the syringe, reacted to the air as it escaped. The reaction turned the man’s blood acidic, eroding skin and bone as part of the process.
As the man stopped flailing and lay there, deadly still, Donovan walked toward him and stood over him.
The man had passed out from the pain. He was still alive as his final moments approached fast, but he was now unconscious.
Donovan was glad. Although being a killer, he preferred handing out death at speed.
Unlike some of his counterparts, he gained no pleasure from inflicting agony upon his targets. In Donovan’s thinking, quick, clean and efficient kills, always trumped slow, sadistic, pleasured- filled ones. It was the distinction between the two that separated the professionals from the depraved, the righteous from the evil.
Poor bastard, Donovan mused. Poor fucking bastard.
Standing over the man, he looked at his face. The pulps of bone and muscle, the bruising, the smell of rotting and fast putrefying flesh—all of it was sickening. Even for a hardened killer like Donovan, scenes like these came close to making him want to double over and lose the contents of his stomach.
Despite the dissolving and damaged flesh, and the rapidly deconstructing bone matter, Donovan could see it.
He could see his own green eyes in the man. He could see his own nose, and his own mouth. Looking at the man on the floor was like looking into a mirror; one where the reflection was death wearing you as a Halloween costume.
Killing is easy, Donovan mused. Apart from when it’s you that you’re killing.