Dangerous GamesA Story by A-Jay Apocalypse
"Unlike the man before him, he wasn't the heir to anything--just the son of a dead rich man with nothing better to do than play murderous games with old friends."
They sat facing each other, staring fiercely into each other’s eyes. Moonlight shone through the small, cracked window, casting shadows over the room and the over men’s faces. Wind whistled through the cracks, snow piling up in the corners of the window frame. Each of them had their jackets laying beneath them on the freezing concrete floor, their shoes tossed carelessly to the side, even though the room was freezing cold.
There were only two of them there. Two men, both from rich, powerful families. Talon Winters, the heir to Winters’ Enterprises, sat cross-legged with a tired, blank stare upon his paled face, a half empty bottle of whiskey clutched tightly in his hand. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up, the top three buttons undone, despite the cold.
Antonio Shards sat across from him, lounging carelessly atop his designer leather and fur coat, a bottle of cherry cola sitting before him. Unlike the man before him, he wasn’t a heir to anything--just the son of a dead rich man with nothing better to do than play murderous games with old friends.
Talon held a pistol up to Antonio and muttered, “Your turn.”
Antonio quietly wrapped his fingers around the grip, and stared blankly at the weapon. It was warm from their hands, and was just about the only warm thing in the room. His heart was probably colder than anything around him.
He raised the gun and pressed it to Talon’s forehead. His finger slipped over the trigger.
He didn’t even sigh. Just handed the pistol silently back to Talon and took a long drink from his bottle of soda. The drink dribbled out from the side of his mouth, and he quickly wiped it from his chin before it dripped onto his clothes. He looked up to the older man and gazed straight into his dull, blue eyes.
Talon stared back at Antonio. He could remember when the young man was his most trusted friend, his student--almost a brother. That was a long time ago. Almost twenty years now, Talon thought. He raised the gun, rested the barrel lightly over Antonio’s temple, and fired.
As he handed the pistol back to Antonio, he asked, “You sure the thing’s loaded?”
Antonio chuckled as he took the gun. “Yeah. One bullet,” he said and spun the chamber. He didn’t waste anytime this round, and lifted the gun, aimed, pulled the trigger--
Then handed the weapon back to Talon and finished his soda.
Talon muttered a quiet “Thanks,” as he took the gun, examined it, and took a quick swig of whiskey. He looked up at Antonio, who was staring at him with his gleaming green eyes, waiting for Talon to take his shot, almost as if he wanted him to shoot.
The weapon felt unusually heavy in his hand--it’d been awhile since he’d last held a gun, or any form of a weapon, for that matter. He’d deserted the life of a killer a long while ago. It was a miracle that he hadn’t been found out, seeing how well-known he was internationally.
“You gonna shoot, or what?” Antonio said impatiently.
Talon sighed and nodded, raised the gun, and fired.
Antonio took the gun from Talon and sighed. The bullet seemed to be avoiding them, for once. Usually people were gunning for them twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. They were wanted men, contract killers with a devastating number of murders between them.
Talon took the gun back, an amused look on his face. That was what--eight shots, now?
“Maybe I did forget to load it,” Antonio muttered, and Talon chuckled and spun the chamber. “Ah well. If no one dies, guess it won’t be that bad. Shoot.”
It was silent as Talon raised the gun, and he liked it. Antonio’s gruff, accented voice had always annoyed him, and the way he spoke was sometimes a bit unsettling.
His finger hesitated on the trigger. He knew he never actually wanted to kill Antonio, but he deserved it--he had killed Talon’s wife, just to prove he was better at the game of murder than Talon. He had let the power in his weapons go to his head. He thought of himself as the invincible Antonio Shards, the man who should be feared by all, though very few knew his name well enough to be scared of it.
A dull fire sparked in Talon’s chest, filled with anger and disappointment towards the younger man and he fired.
He sighed loudly and tossed the gun away, letting it land with a clatter in front of Antonio.
Antonio looked up at him. It was almost painful to see the man before him so… changed. Dark purple bag under his eyes, paled skin, a solemn expression upon his face that sent a pang of guilt through Antonio every time he saw him now.
It’s been almost fifteen years since I off’ed her--he should be over it by now, Antonio thought and shook memories he’d buried long ago back to their places at the back of his mind. He picked up the weapon in front of him and slowly raised it.
Talon felt the gun press against his forehead. He looked up to see a grave-looking Antonio eyeing the trigger.
Antonio let the gun fall from his hand and drop to the floor. Talon’s pale, spidery fingers wrapped around the grip and slowly raised the weapon. It was strange to see how much Talon had changed. He was what--forty? Fifty? The roots of his thick, black hair had become a dark grey, his skin was as white as the snow blowing outside. He was noticeably thinner, and he sat with a slouch. When Antonio had first seen him two days ago, he was shocked. This wasn’t the Talon he knew.
Then again, Antonio wasn’t the same Antonio that Talon was used to.
Talon set the gun on the cement floor and closed his eyes. They stung from lack of sleep, and began watering. He took a few breaths and opened his eyes. Antonio was watching him, an unreadable expression on his face. He often wondered what went on in his head--he’d never been able to tell what Antonio thought or how he’d react. It annoyed him.
The window blew open, and a gust of ice cold wind and snow swept into the room. Antonio jumped up and closed it, the snow hitting his bare skin like little ice needles. He shivered and sat back down on top of his jacket. He didn’t know why he didn’t just put the jacket back on--maybe it was because Talon didn’t seem even slightly moved by the sudden cold in the room. He couldn’t show any signs of weakness when he was with this man.
Antonio took the gun in his hand and looked at it. Stark black, with the initials A.S carved messily into the side, an old necklace tied to the handle. It was his gun, his life. He had gotten it as a gift from Talon years ago, back when they were on the same side.
“Remember--you control the gun. The gun doesn’t control you. Got that?” Talon had told him. Antonio had nodded and said that yes--he did get it, but all these years later, he realized he didn’t. The weapon was controlling his entire life.
Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this, he thought, and quickly shook the idea of abandoning the game from his ruddy, orange-haired head. He couldn’t quit. He couldn’t let Talon come out on top. They were rivals.
The gun rose until it was aimed directly between the weary eyes of the other man. Antonio glared at him. Talon had killed his brother (though he knew it had been an accident), so he had killed Talon’s wife. Talon had become useless and depressed, Antonio became bad-tempered and blood-thirsty. It was sad, really how things had turned out in the end.
A tanned finger slipped over the trigger, but hesitated. Antonio took a breath and pulled it.
The gun exploded in Antonio’s hand, then fell to the ground. He watched as Talon’s body slumped to the floor and examined the bloody hole between the glazed, blue eyes. A painless death.
Silently, he closed the man’s eyes and rose to his feet. The victory didn’t feel as great as Antonio had thought it would.
He grabbed his jacket and walked to the door, not caring to put it on. He looked back at the limp body and almost felt happy for the man.
Go, he thought. Go see your wife. Be happy.
“And I’m sorry,” he said quietly and turned to the door, He pushed it open, letting the cold wind blow around him, and walked off down the street, leaving his feelings in the building behind him.
© 2010 A-Jay Apocalypse
AboutOkay. My name is Alicia McKenzie, fifteen years old, from a small town in the middle of Manitoba. I've been writing seriously since about grade five, but ever since the day I could pick up a pencil, I.. more..