Rating: NC17 for violence, murder, gunplay, adult themes. For safety’s sake, this will apply to ALL chapters. There will be no smut in this fic. There will be references, but references only, to rape, murder, mutilation in places
Copyright © January 2007 xxxevilgrinxxx
I drove for hours, vacillating between remorse and rage. I had just killed a man; I had beaten him to death with my own hands. That I knew he had it coming didn’t change anything. I wasn’t one of them, I wasn’t a killer. I pulled off to the side of the road on a deserted street and barely got out of the car before I threw up.
I leaned against the side of the car with my head in my hands and cried, not caring enough to hold it in. I sobbed until it hurt to breathe, until there wasn’t anything left. I had nothing left, and stood there, hollow.
I hated everything about these people, about what they did, and for a brief moment they had dragged me down into the filth with them. No, not with them, never with them. No matter who I killed or how many of them I killed, I could never be like them. But they had dragged me back to a place I thought I had escaped, that I thought I had put behind me for good when I met Adriana.
Sitting down shakily on the edge of the drivers’ seat I looked out over the scatter of lights from Cuidad Juarez on the other side of the border. They lit the mountains above dimly, a light that would fade away come morning. Anna Maria had lived there, she had been a little girl there, someone’s beautiful little girl.
Nothing could bring her battered, tortured body back; nothing could give her life back, or change the hell that it had been at the end. Killing that piece of shit couldn’t change it. I looked down at my bloody knuckles and winced at the sight a little. They didn’t hurt yet, but they would soon enough.
I held my head in my hands and tried to feel something, anything, for the man I had just killed, and felt nothing. The remorse I felt was for what I had lowered myself to, because I felt nothing for him.
My skin felt tight from crying, and I rubbed by hands over my face, grinding the heels of my hands into my eyes to stop the sting.
Cold. I needed to be cold. I had to separate myself from what had happened and get a handle on it. Their tight group had started to develop cracks when they had killed the first thug. If they had trusted him they wouldn’t have done that. Now another one of their number was dead, and they would be questioning each other, wondering who had done the killing this time. Wondering who they could trust.
They would turn on each other. The question I had was who it would effect and how high it would go. The order to kill the first man, where would that have come from? People in an organization that tight didn’t just kill each other off, not without getting permission first. They wouldn’t dare, or they would be next. This meant that the order had likely come from the very top.
I thought a little more as I got back behind the wheel and just drove, trying to get it all clear. Those guys at the top would all be looking at each other, wondering who had started to call the shots by themselves. They might even start to jockey for position, killing each other off. But not just yet. First they would watch each other, and then they would act.
The body wouldn’t even be found until at least tomorrow morning, if not later. The plans wouldn’t change that quickly, their very organization would keep that from happening. Everything would continue for a short while as though nothing had happened, and when the changes came, it wouldn’t be here. This was an outpost. The changes would take place elsewhere, to be dealt with by others.
All I had influence over was right here; the bar, and the trailer court. That woman was going to be moved tomorrow evening, and she would end up like the others. Raped, mutilated and murdered, all on film. There was nothing that I had the power to do about the law firm in LA, or the operation across the country, but I could stop this one small thing.
I kept driving. I had thought it was aimless, without purpose or direction but once I turned down that last street into the hills above El Paso I knew where I was going.
Once I pulled up in front of Holloways’ small white house in the hills, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not. His car was gone, and it was just after four in the morning. What was I going to say to him to explain my presence? A deep breath as I slumped in the front seat, too nerved up to leave.
The tap at the window startled me when it came, I had dozed off, something I hadn’t thought was possible given my state. The muzzle is huge in the window, promising death, Holloways’ hands are sure on the trigger. Raising my hands slowly I look up at him, staying still until he takes a look around the car and lowers the gun.
I pull up the lock on the door rather than drop my hand to the door handle, and Holloway opens the car door for me. He gives me a hard look, at my red eyes and my battered bloody knuckles and his gun disappears back into his holster. “You look like shit, Alvarez.”
It’s the funniest thing I’ve heard, maybe ever. It’s hilarious, and I lean against the side of my car until I can get control of myself. I know there’s something wrong but I can’t stop it. Holloway says nothing else, just waits it out, and not for the first time since I’ve known him I wonder what he’s seen. And find that I don’t really want to know what he knows.
Holloway said nothing further, just turned and walked down the path towards his back door and after a moment of uncertainty I followed after. He didn’t ask in so many words when I walked through his kitchen, he just tapped the bottle of scotch he had on his counter. I thought about it. There was a part of me that wanted to get drunk, to just wash it all away until I drowned the part of me I hated. To forget.
I didn’t have that luxury, not anymore. My partner was already dead and I couldn’t do a damned thing for him. There was a young girl that needed me, and she needed me sober. Minutes passed but Holloway didn’t push, he just watched and waited. “No, coffee if you have it, I’ve been drunk for too much of this already.”
“Good.” He didn’t judge, he just turned and filled a kettle of water and set up an old-fashioned coffee percolator. I looked around the rest of his kitchen, a place frozen in time and I realized that Danno would have like Holloway. He would have got him, he would have understood without need for a single word.
The smell of brewing coffee woke me long before the taste did, a clarity I had missed. Sitting in Holloways’ quiet front room, listening to the birds, it got clear for the first time in days. I drank about half the cup before I spoke. “I killed a man, one of the thugs from the bar.”
Holloway took one look at my knuckles again but said nothing; he just waited as I explained what had happened. The wait wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I don’t know if I expected to be arrested and I think I was past the point of caring about it. He breathed deeply and let it out, before he turned and looked out the window. I realized that he was watching the birds, and that’s when I noticed the birdfeeders that hung along the length of his front porch. He spoke quietly, but with so much strength in his words that I knew I would never forget them as long as I lived. “It’s what you did, Alvarez, it’s not what you are.”
I figure Holloway would know, if anyone would. We sat quietly for a little while longer and enjoyed the morning in silence. After a while I asked him what he was doing last night; there was no need to elaborate.
A hard grin crept over his features, a terrifying grin. “Hernandez and I rigged up a few surprises for after you get the girl out, nothing will happen until then.” I was curious and made to ask him what, exactly, but he leaned forward to look at me. “This is something you don’t need to know, Alvarez. You’re a good agent, and once you know, that might change. Just make sure that girl gets out safe.”
He pointed to a blanket that hang carefully across a cedar chest at the other side of the room, and then left to go get some sleep.