Since the majority (all 3 people that voted) said both versions are good, I’m going to start posting the original. Because I have many chapters already finished, I can post these regularly. To catch up on the first 4 parts of the original version, click here.
“Out of the van,” Christian instructed. “All of you.”
Whiting and his two man crew did as they were told. When they were out of the van, Christian proceeded to start smashing the equipment with a tire iron he had hidden up his sleeve. Keeping the gun trained on the men, he continued to break things until Whiting built enough courage to speak out. “You have no right to do that,” Bradley screamed.
Christian stopped, leaving the tire iron sticking out of a TV screen. He hopped out of the van, walked up to Whiting, and backhanded him across the face. When Whiting came to his senses, he found himself lying on the ground, staring at the barrel of a gun. “You’re not man enough to tell me what I can or cannot do, you little bastard,” Christian threatened.
“Big talk coming from the guy with the gun.”
Christian threw the gun into the truck. “Care to try you luck now, Whiting,” he asked. When Bradley remained quiet, he backhanded him again. “Good. Now shut up.”
Whiting looked over at his crew, furious that they didn’t come to his defense when Christian had discarded the gun. Neither of them even looked his way. When he looked back he noticed that Christian had retrieved the gun and was walking back towards him. “Now,” Christian began, “I could be merciful and kill you now, but I want to see you suffer. I’m going to take away everything you care about in the blink of an eye and when you think of how you have been destroyed, you’ll remember that it was all taken away by a man who doesn’t exist.”
Christian took the gun off the men and shot at the back of the van. Whiting rolled onto his stomach as the gas tank erupted. Covering his head with his arms, Bradley laid on the ground while pieces of the van fell around him. He laid like that for a few minutes to make sure it was safe. When he finally dared to look, he saw his crew lying on the ground. They were both dead. Each of them had parts of the van sticking out of their bodies. Not knowing what else to do, Bradley pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.
Peppers and Holcombe were on their way back to the station house when they heard the dispatcher call out Whiting’s report. They looked at each other with questioning glances. Then, with a sigh, Peppers flipped on their lights and changed direction. “What the hell is going on here,” Holcombe rhetorically asked.
“Was that really necessary,” Samantha asked as her father closed the door to his apartment behind him.
“Was what necessary,” he replied sarcastically.
“Don’t play dumb with me. We both know those men didn’t die in the explosion.”
“That’s the price they had to pay to work with that jackass. Besides, they were witnesses.”
“You wouldn’t need to worry about witnesses if you wouldn’t commit a crime.”
“What crime did I commit? Why do you people always view death as a bad thing? Death is as much a part of life as birth, but nobody ever fears birth. Birth should be feared more than death. It is the beginning of pain, where death is the end of it.”
“You can try to rationalize it all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that what you did was wrong.”
“Did you come here to lecture me or do you actually have something important to say?”
“I have talked to DS. He has agreed to meet you in the basement of this building at noon, tomorrow. But I would like another opportunity to try to talk you out of this course of action.”
“You have only lived for a couple hundred years, child. I have lived for many thousands. You would never understand.”
“If you say so. I’m going home now. Bethany would like to see you before we go. Can I bring her by?”
“No. I have much to do tonight to prepare for tomorrow.”
“She’ll be disappointed.”
“She’ll get over it.”
Samantha shook her head. She kissed her father on the cheek as she walked towards the door. A smile crossed her face as the door closed behind her, when she heard her father say, “Bring her by.”
When Peppers arrived at the scene, the Fire Department had just finished putting the van out. Whiting was sitting on the curb, staring blankly into space. Peppers sent Holcombe over to check on Father Michaels while he went to talk to the reporter. As the detective approached, he could tell that the man was shaken. He seemed about to break down. “You gonna cry, Whiting,” he asked.
“Fuck you, Peppers,” Whiting screamed as he threw his cell phone across the street, breaking it.
“You tell me. Some guy just pointed a gun at me, smacked me around, then blew up my van. And, to top it all off, I just got off the phone with the station manager and he fired me.”
“Why’d he fire you?”
“Besides having their van blow up? Before we came out here, he said he told me to bring all of the video from the bank in, but I don’t remember him saying that. It was in the van when it blew. Now they’re the only station in town that doesn’t have footage for that story. So they have to buy all of the amateur video and try to get it cut in the next half hour. And since my ‘insubordination’ cost them a bunch of money, they got rid of me. Not only that, they didn’t believe me when I told them that it was the same guy that ran into the bank earlier.”
“Whoa. Wait a minute. It was the same guy? Are you sure of that?”
“Tell me everything that happened. Leave nothing out.”
Father Michaels opened his eyes and found himself surrounded by paramedics. They had him on a stretcher and were leading him to an ambulance. He tried to rise, but they had him strapped down. Struggling against the straps, he tried to free himself. The paramedics rushed to sedate the angry priest. “No,” Father Michaels cried. “Let me go!”
More men came over to hold down the raving man. He kept screaming, “I must save him,” over and over. They quickly gave the priest a sedative and it kicked in almost immediately. He felt the drug start to take hold of him. “I must save him,” he growled defiantly. “I must bring him death!”
The elevator doors opened, revealing a dimly lit basement. Pulling out his gun, he crept along the wall until the hallway turned into an open room. He glanced at his watch. There was still five minutes until the appointed time. This meeting worried him. It was set in the middle of the day, in a place where many people lived. Secrecy was something he was used to. You weren’t a good assassin otherwise. He reminded himself that he was doing this as a favor to Samantha. When noon had come and gone, he began to become nervous. Finally, he heard the elevator ding and looked down the hallway.
The doors opened, unveiling a man dressed entirely in black. Thinking that he had been set up, he pulled out his guns and shot at the man in black. When he had spent all of his bullets, the man still stood. His jaw dropped in disbelief. I never miss, he thought. The man began laughing as he stepped into the light. He didn’t recognize the man, but he saw all of the bullet holes in the man’s clothing and knew he was in trouble. A wicked smile crossed the man’s face. “Now it’s time to play, DS,” Christian told his confused counterpart.
“Give me a break,” Whiting snapped. “I don’t remember the last time I was asleep. I can’t keep looking at these mug shots and stay awake. Let me take a nap.”
“Fine,” Peppers replied. “Take all the time you need, but I know I’d like to catch this guy before he has a chance to run away.”
Whiting shot him a look of pure anger before resuming his search. Peppers smiled. He knew he struck the right chord. The reporter wanted vengeance against the man, but Peppers conceded that he would too in that situation. Another few hours went by and Whiting had looked at every mug shot at the station. He still didn’t see Christian’s picture. Peppers was about ready to give up, but then an idea struck him.
“Legally,” he began, “I can’t show you anyone’s driver’s license. That’s an invasion of privacy and I could get in trouble for it. So, it’d be a real shame if you looked through my computer to find this guy’s license while I went to get coffee.”
With the seed planted, Peppers got up and walked away. He watched as Whiting punched keys and clicked the mouse. Peppers called his partner’s cell phone. “Can you see him from where you’re at?”
“Yeah,” Holcombe responded sleepily.
“Good. Keep an eye on him while I get a little sleep. If he leaves, follow him, but call me first.”
Christian came on in a rush, connecting squarely with a kick to DS’s chest. DS fell backwards, rolling with the blow. When DS was firmly planted, Christian faked another rush. As DS went to counter the fake attack, a hole in his defense opened. It was quickly exploited with a hard kick to the back of the head. The next thing DS knew, Christian was standing over him. He was unsure of how he came to be laying on the floor. All he knew was that his head was aching. “So this is the great DS,” he heard the man say. “I can’t say I’m impressed.”
DS looked at the man more closely. No blood poured from the bullet holes. What did Samantha get me into, he asked himself. Now he was angry. “Who are you and what do you want,” he demanded.
“Who I am is not important. What I want is the only thing that should matter to you.”
“What do you want,” the assassin spat.
“It’s quite simple,” Christian began. Before he could finish the sentence, however, DS made his move. In a flash, he was up and landed two punches to Christian’s jaw. While his opponent was reeling, DS grabbed Christian’s shirt and flung him aside. With the way now clear, DS ran for the elevator, hoping to escape from this place. Whatever this was, it wasn’t good for him.
After only an hour of sleep, Holcombe called and woke Peppers up. Commanding Holcombe to find out where Whiting was going, the detective decided to follow the man himself. Peppers almost missed the reporter as he came out of the building and had to scramble to catch up with him. When Bradley made it to his car, he took off in such a hurry that Peppers almost lost him again. It seemed to the detective that they were driving around in circles. Whiting was up to something, and Peppers didn’t like it.
What he didn’t realize was that Whiting was on the phone with a man who had been a story for the reporter once. It was a man you only called when you needed some illegal supplies. After Whiting explained to him what he needed, the man told him to stop by, for he already had what the reporter was wanting. Bradley quit circling and headed for the man’s home. Peppers was glad that they finally had a direction.
The detective watched Whiting pull over and he did the same. There was a man leaning against the building who appeared to be waiting for Bradley. He approached the car and set a backpack that he was holding into the front seat. Whiting handed over some money. Peppers flipped on his lights and pulled in behind them. The backpack, in his mind, contained either weapons or drugs. Neither of them were something he wanted Whiting to have right now. He shouted for the men to stop as he exited the car. When Whiting saw him approach, he gunned the car leaving them in the dust. Peppers swore and got back into his car, considering Whiting a bigger threat.
“You at the address he found,” he asked Holcombe from his cell phone.
“Yeah. What do you want me to do?”
“Stay put. He’s coming your way. I want to catch this guy in the act, before he has a chance to become a criminal over some psychotic notion of revenge. Now, I don’t know what he’s up to, but it sure ain’t good.”
“I’m on it.”
“Be careful, Holcombe. This guy’s turning into a major whack-job.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Christian tackled DS from behind and tossed him back into the open room. “They tell me you’re the best in the world, DS. They say there’s nobody you can’t kill.”
“I want you to prove it.”
“By killing me!”