Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Black Enigma: Filth, part 1

The skies of my city were weeping. I watch the steamy breath from my nostrils mingle with the smoke of my pipe as the clouds' tears drew rivulets in the creases in my trench coat and dripped off the ends of my hair before my eyes. The all too familiar wail of distant police sirens plays a melody against the beat of the rain striking concrete. The rhythm it composes is like the beating of a heart that keeps the city flowing. But it's a black heart. A heart that pains itself with every pump.

I crouch here, perched among the dark spires high above the neon and asphalt. It is the witching hour, but in this town, there is always more than magic afoot. I glance down into the alleyway to my left and see two men removing a man hole cover. I watch as they glance around nervously and descend into darkness. Another man comes up from the hole and covers it back up. He walks over and stands behind a nearby dumpster, cloaked in shadows. Catching a smoke between his sanitation shifts? Not likely.

I back up from my perch on the edge of the building. Taking a pinch of tobacco from my pocket, I make certain my pipe is suitably loaded. I tighten my mask, straighten my trenchcoat. With ease, I take a running leap and land silent on the roof of the building across the alley, which the man is leaning against. I stand and brush myself off and peer down at the man below, who doesn't seem to have noticed my acrobatics. I lock my wrist-mounted harpoon zipline onto the roof, pull out one of my pistols, and began to lower myself down the wall, as if I were just another of the countless raindrops. A few feet above the man's head, I reach into my pocket and drop three smoke-pellets into the alley. The next thing the shocked, blinded and coughing man knows, I am behind him with my arm around his neck and the barrel of my gun pressed aggressively against his temple.

The rain quickly washes away the smoke, and I can see my victim clearly. He is a scruffy man, with ragged clothing. From his smell, I can tell he likes cheap cigarettes and even cheaper liquor. He squirms futilely and grunts colorful phrases at me. I reach around and pluck the cigarette from his mouth and toss it to the pavement, where it hisses in a puddle. I remove my pipe from my mouth and pass it under his nostrils, letting the smoke invade his olfactory.

"Smell that?" I ask in my best tough-man growl, "That's what real tobacco smells like. If what you were smoking tastes half as bad as it smelled, it would still make me vomit."

"Who the hell are you, man?" he squeaks in an attempt at machismo.

"I might answer you after you answer all of my questions. Why did those two men go down there?"

"I'm telling you! You a cop or something?"

"I told you, I'm in more of a mood to ask right now. Now tell me why they went down there."

"No way!" he says defiantly.

I pull my pipe out of my mouth once more and press the hot end against neck, leaving a circular red burn.

"Ah! Shit!" He pulls away in pain.

"Tell me."

"Okay okay! Jesus!" he whines. "They got a dog fighting league going on down under. Those two guys were just small time. Not owners, just going to bet. I'm the lookout."

"That wasn't so hard was it?" I let go of him and toss him on the asphalt. He lands on his back in a puddle, looking up at me. I point my gun at his chest and pull back the hammer. "And to answer your question," I fire the gun, which sticks a bright red tranquilizer dart into him. "I am The Black Enigma."

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