The Angel of Zero City: Part 9

The Angel of Zero City: Part 9

A Story by Andrew Colunga

An urban-fantasy novella. It is an untold story between the chapters of its parent book: The Gauntlet of Maltese.


The Lion



Joseph and Georgie left the diner and went their separate ways. The night was colder now, and Joseph wondered whether it would be quicker to wait on 33rd street for a rare taxi, or to walk out of Hell and find one on South St. He decided to walk, and give himself the time to think.

If Joseph’s math was right, catching this Angel could also solve over thirty other unsolved murders. Pretty soon this case could become big news for the department and the city. What would life be like for the famous detective who caught The Angel of Zero City? A little fame might show the boys back in LA that moving to Zero City was a good idea. But now he was getting ahead of himself, catching such a killer might be beyond the limits of an overweight city detective. No doubt that if the FBI were brought in they would take all the credit. But Joseph felt smart, he had fingerprints and a handle on who he was after, but by the sound of things he was hunting some sort of vigilante, a murdering Batman who had the pimps and the police after him at the same time, and who was also leaving up calling cards all around the city. Was this person naive or just insanely confident?

A few minutes passed, and Joseph kept his shoulders hunched and his stride humble. From the rooftops he seemed to be blending in well, but to the prying eye he was making the simple mistake of walking in the middle of the sidewalk. Quick yet unapproachable would’ve been the proper way to execute the appearance of a Hell-born dweller. However, what truly gave him away were his thoughts. They were loud with greed and ambition. Despite all of his attempts at stealth, these distractions and delusions of grandeur left the detective’s defenses lowered. Now the shock of fear would surely paralyze him.

Darkened alleys punctured the city’s walls, and from out of one of them spoke a raspy voice, “Are you looking for someone?”

Joseph’s skin crawled, but he ignored the voice, and then it spoke again, “You can’t ignore me detective. I am not a very subtle person.”

Joseph’s heart shot into his throat, but he remembered his standard issue .38 and slid his hand over the holster. “No! No! Voices… please stop… can’t! Cut! Cut! Cut….” Joseph mumbled, and he kept walking. If someone thinks you’re insane then chances are they won’t attack you.

“You can’t pretend in front of me,” the voice said. These streetwise tricks only served to show how foolish the detective was. “Your charade is useless. I have over a hundred eyes in this city, and you’ll never catch me.”

Joseph whirled around as quick as he could, drawing out his pistol. Yet his movement was slow and predictable, and the unseen figure had sensed it. A swift kick to the back of the leg and a hard shove sent Joseph stumbling into the alley. He struggled to aim behind himself but there was nobody there.

“The Angel, huh? Is that who I’m up against?” Joseph called out. His heart rate was elevated. He raised his sidearm, and kept his back to the wall and slid deeper into the alley. Already he was breathing quickly, and he tried to frame his view with the dim light coming from the street. “I’ve gotten too close for comfort, huh? I’m a threat, right?” Talking was the only thing fueling Joseph’s courage.

The detective was of no match. Already the Angel had crawled along the ground and positioned himself within the depths of the alley. As the detective shifted himself closer to death, the Angel had to admit that the detective had been very helpful. Truly, he had been too careless with all the spy-drawings he left behind. Things would be different after tonight.

“You’re a guardian angel to some of the people in Hell. Did you know that? But this is a place so run down and forgotten by the city that of course they’d praise a murderer as a hero! You’re nothing but a damned killing machine!” Joseph roared. “Carving your way through the city like some goddamn reptile! Come on! What’s one extra life to you?” He had no more words to say, or at least nothing that he wasn’t willing to take to the grave. I don’t know why I was never prepared for my life to end like this, Joseph thought�"alone in an alley in the dark part of town, and only Georgie knows that I’m here.

“I’m … sorry,” the Angel spoke.

Joseph wheeled around, but didn’t fire. The gun in any case was empty.

From the darkness, emerged the outline of someone in a black sweater with their hood up.

“You’re sorry?” Joseph asked, “Who are you?”

“I am merciful death.”

Joseph retracted then reached for his handcuffs. “Sir, as a detective with the Zero City police department, I declare that you are under arrest for various counts of murder including those of J. Donahoo and P. Rigsby.”

“I am guilty, detective. But I can’t let anyone take me in,” the Angel said.

Joseph gambled and slowly approached the Angel. He had his empty gun raised and his handcuffs ready, but the Angel made no movement. All of the detective’s instincts were telling him that he had no leverage, and he remembered the quick spotless way in which the Angel seemed to kill. Joseph froze and his nervousness spoke for him, “Please, step with me out of the alley, now.”

The Angel did not speak and his silhouette faded away. Joseph stepped forward, but the air was empty. The detective’s nervousness was easy to sense, and from above the Angel watched as the detective searched in vain for him.

Despite his nuisance, the detective had revealed the sloppiness of my work, the Angel thought, and thanks to him this will be the last time that anyone ever tracks me.

After a few minutes, Joseph mumbled a curse and holstered his gun. How could the Angel have disappeared? There was no way around him except up, but as Joseph finally noticed a nearby fire escape, the creep of footsteps came rushing toward him.

Three figures had stepped into the alley, and without warning one of them swung at the back of Joseph’s head. The detective saw bright lights as his entire body lurched to the ground. The other two laughed and came swinging for him. Joseph was blinded, and the sledgehammer fists were coming from every direction. He squirmed, tucked, and kicked at where he thought their legs were.

“Cops need to know the rules! Stay out of Hell!” one of the figures shouted as they brought their foot down.

The air was knocked out of Joseph’s lungs, and another figure shouted, “The Holy Fuckers are teaching you a lesson: next time don’t be shouting that you’re a cop!”

“De…dee…detective!” Joseph wheezed, and then a fist walloped his jaw. The darkness of the alley made him unsure if he was blacking out. The pain hadn’t come in yet, but the shock was enough to disorient him, and bare instinct kept his arms raised to shield his head. Finlay had been right, this was too dangerous.

A vicious minute passed. Joseph couldn’t breathe, and his whole body seemed to be throbbing. He thought, is this the last time I have to worry about stupid s**t like second dates … rent … paperwork … dieting….? I hope … that … the right people miss me.

Suddenly the poundings lifted, and Joseph drew a final cold breath. I didn’t have much to look forward to anyway, he thought, and then he heard the thud of three bodies hitting the ground before letting go.

© 2014 Andrew Colunga

Author's Note

Andrew Colunga
This is a 19 part story. All of which are completed and are expected to be posted.

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Added on May 2, 2014
Last Updated on May 2, 2014
Tags: urban, fantasy, urban-fantasy


Andrew Colunga
Andrew Colunga

Los Angeles, CA

Artist and Writer from LA. more..