For Dark's story, Ten. (http://www.protagonize.com/story/ten)
Basics: An enforcer for a small-time drug baron in Brazil, who he hates with a passion. Only does the work to support his 9 year old son.
Motivation: They can give him a new life with money, power and make sure his kid gets the best life possible.
He ran through the house, breaths coming fast and shallow, another man's blood spattered up his sleeves and across his chest. He knocked the door to the bathroom aside, sending it crashing into the wall with a resounding bang. Reaching out with unsteady hands he turned on the cold water, leaving thick streaks of his own blood mixed with the blood of another on the faucet.
He bit his tongue as the cold water stung his bleeding knuckles like alcohol. But the stains wouldn't fade. Suddenly every drop of blood on him seemed to look to him, to ask him Why? Why did you do it? You knew who the man was. How could you do that to your friend? To Lucas?
He clawed at his shirt, desperate to get it off, and threw it against the wall. But it went deeper then that. Lucas's blood stained his hands, was under his nails, refused to be washed away.
He whipped his head around, and what he saw seemed to make the entire world stand still. Standing in the doorway was the only person that could have possibly brought him down from his panic. But a new panic just rose to take its place. He couldn't let his son see the blood on his hands. He couldn't.
He shoved his hands under the water and tried to keep the regret out of his voice. "Miguel, why aren't you in bed? You have school tomorrow, don't you?"
Miguel rubbed his eye with the back of a fist. "Yeah, and you have to go to the plant tomorrow, don't you?"
Thiago had no counter for that. His son was growing up so fast, and he was so smart. He knew one of these days, Miguel was going to catch him in his lie if he wasn't more careful. "Why aren't you in bed?" he repeated.
"I was, " he answered. "But someone was knocking on the door."
"At this hour?" Thiago's mouth went dry. He could only think of one possible reason someone could be knocking on his door this late at night. He'd been found out. It could have been when he was running from the man's house a neighbor recognized him, or got a look at his license plate number. Maybe someone ran into trouble and ratted him out to get an easier sentence. It could have been nearly anything, but they all ended the same way.
"Go on back to bed. I'll take care of it." Miguel made his way back to his room, but Thiago didn't move until he heard the door click shut. He tried his best to settle his shaking hands, but it didn't seem to be making any difference. He suspected it was because they were shaking for a whole new reason. He felt like he was moving in slow motion as he walked to the door. In one quick move he twisted the lock and threw open the door.
No one was there. As the cool night air washed inside, he took a deep, shaky breath. His mind raced to make sense of things. Maybe Miguel had been dreaming? He did look half asleep. It would explain why he hadn't heard any knocking.
Taking another steadying breath, he was about to close the door when he saw something laying on the porch. It was a slim white envelope. He looked for anyone running down the street, or any cars driving away, and saw nothing.
He picked up the parcel and looked it over thoroughly. There was no information of any kind. Not his address, not his name, nothing. He locked the door behind him before sitting down at the kitchen table.
He ripped open the envelope and removed a single piece of paper, then smoothed it out on the flat tabletop. There was something odd about it, though he wasn't sure what. It wasn't hand written, but it didn't look like it had been printed either. This mystery, though, was for another time, and curiosity was getting the better of him. After all, who would leave an unmarked envelope on his doorstep? So he began to read.
Would you like to play a game?
- Godfrey De Vries
- Elias Heikkinen
- Tony Blake
- Kamali Ncube
- Ebisawa Hitomi
- Alexi Bogdanov
- Mei Yu
- Michelle Sanchez
- Vahide Younan
Kill these people and you will receive fortune, power, and you can give your son the life you've always wanted. Our regards to Lucas.
The page slipped from between his fingers. Did the boss just order him to kill nine people? Not just rough them up and get them to pay their debt, but kill them? That wasn't what he signed up for. He wasn't a saint, but he wasn't a hitman! And for that matter, who were these people? Competitors? Other people selling drugs in the area? He read the note again.
Would you like to play a game?
The boss didn't play games. This was something else. But what? What did that mean? How did they already know about Lucas? That hadn't even been half an hour ago! What was this? He couldn't kill somebody! What would happen to Miguel if he got caught? But those thoughts were all silenced in one moment of clarity. If he didn't play along, what would the consequences be?
He turned to look at the closed door of his son's room. How badly did the sender want those people to die? Obviously they weren't above killing to get what they want. So where did it end? He already knew the answer to that question. It didn't end. He felt like he was being backed into a corner.
He couldn't call the cops. For one, they probably wouldn't believe him, or just wouldn't do anything about it. He couldn't just go out and kill these people, they didn't sound like they even all lived in Brazil. But on the other hand, whoever left that letter on his door knew where he lived, and that he had a son, and could already be planning what to do to them if they didn't co-operate.
He only had one choice. Tomorrow he'd pack Miguel a suitcase, take him to his grandfather, and... What? Go out and find them? He honestly didn't know what he was going to do, but he had to take things one problem at a time.