Predator’s Prey by The Black Dragon

The Black Dragon Writes

Predator’s Prey 

by The Black Dragon

short story / superheros / fantasy

Originally posted on 1/14/18 at https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/61097063/posts/217

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I had already been at the abandoned warehouse for an hour. Something didn’t seem right, though.

It’s my standard procedure after a job; the crew splits up to lose any heat that we might have drawn, then we meet at a neutral location to deliver the goods to the person that pays us. It’s something of a tradition, and it’s worked pretty well so far. But today was different. Even before the job I felt like I was being watched. I managed to shake it a few times through the day, but something kept digging at me.

I met up with my crew at the old shipping warehouse around 9:00PM to be there for our transaction at 10:00PM. We were waiting for a bit, but I kept looking across the room at the door I came in. That’s where the buyer would come in, too.

Usually, we’re hired to boost an armored truck, rob a bank, or any other type of theft. You know, medium to small-time stuff. This was no different since the request was to steal some gold bullion from a penthouse in downtown Indigo City. And as long as they paid up, I don’t give a damn what their reasons are.

The guy that hired my crew is someone I’ve done business with before. But all I kept thinking was that they should have arrived already. Razor and Don were playing cards at a table and chair set they brought along, but I kept looking around at all the pallet stacks around us. I just couldn’t shake that feeling I’d been having all day. Razor is usually the one to try talking me down when I’m focused too hard on something. I wasn’t having any of it this time, and I ignored him when he asked if I wanted to play a hand.

It was 10:17PM and our buyer was late. My hand had pushed my jacket aside to get at the pistol I kept holstered on my hip. That helped calm my nerves a bit, but then there was a whoosh that echoed through the area. The sound came again and it sounded like it was coming from everywhere. Movement. Some type of swooping turned my attention to the rafters and high ceilings, then back down the pallet stacks. I looked over to my crew, and they were already up with their guns out. I didn’t even realize that my gun was in my hand with the safety off as my instincts kicked in.

I looked to Razor and Don to tell them we should stick together, but Don immediately went face-first in the table. It looked like his legs were pulled out from under him when he bashed the table and sent the cards flying. I jumped and I could see Razor tense up before trying to help. Then the swooping sound came back right before a loud clang like metal banging against metal rang off in the darkness.

Then, Don was pulled away. Dragged like a sack of potatoes. Only this sack was screaming like I’ve never heard for us to help him. I froze as his body crashed through the pallets stacks, then further away toward the far end of the warehouse until I couldn’t see him anymore. Then, his screaming stopped.

Make no mistake. I wanted to run. I wanted to take off and never look back.

Whatever was going on wasn’t something I needed or wanted. My legs weren’t responded to my brain telling them to move, and my muscles felt tight. My chest was banging and I felt hot. Razor looked at me with wide eyes of disbelief that looked for answers I knew I didn’t have. I didn’t even have words since my dry throat didn’t want to cooperate.

More swooshing. My eyes followed my pistol as I pointed it around. It was all around us now, and it seemed to be getting louder. I felt myself getting dizzy from looking around so quickly, and I guess I was starting to panic. The lights overhead started to flick before going out completely. That’s when things got intense.

I could hear something happening near me. A gasp, some type of struggle, and then a loud thud. And silence. It was too damned quiet. I called out for Razor, but he didn’t answer. It was just the echo of my voice called back to me. I held my gun tight, but I could feel my arms shaking. My whole body was. The lights came back on, and I looked to Razor, but he was gone. Where he stood was a bit of blood on the ground.

That was it. I sprinted across the room to the door I came in. I could hear the swooshing again, but I didn’t care. The door was all that mattered. I could hear the swooshing getting closer, and I realized I wasn’t going to make it without taking out whatever was chasing me. I stopped and turned to point my gun, but there was nothing. That’s when I heard the swooshing again.

The sound came from behind me, and I clenched, but had to face it. I could feel the electricity run up my neck into my ears as I whipped around to point my gun, but a hand gripped my arm as I brought it up. I hadn’t thought to pull my arm away until after the figure twisted my arm downward. I asked myself if that is where I would die.

I could feel the snapping in my wrist and the popping in the shoulder before my brain told my nerves that anything was wrong. My legs buckled. I was on my knees with my arm still in a grip whimpering like a puppy.

I tried to look at the figure through the tears, but I didn’t get a good look before the fist connected with my eye. I think I felt my brain move a little while everything went white. I woke up with a massive headache and a half-shut right eye surrounded by police officers.

—————————————–

Of course, I didn’t tell any of this to the detectives at the station. Even cuffed to a table in a poorly lit interrogation room with two veteran officers of the law doesn’t compare to having your crew dismantled in a matter of minutes. That person or thing wasn’t messing around, and I had the busted arm and face to prove it. Behind the detectives, I could see myself in the two-way mirror. I had dried blood streaks coming out of my nose and my right eye was swollen shut. I felt better than it looked as I kept gazing down at the arm in a sling. One would think that I would be taken to a hospital for my arm, but maybe they really wanted to talk to me and gave me something for the pain. I wasn’t budging even though I felt great.

The detectives must have known their tactics weren’t working on me. One of them looked at me with this knowing grin, like he knew I would tell them what they wanted to know. I kept saying to myself that all I needed was to wait for my lawyer, and I would be home-free. Besides, my story is simply that I was attacked in a warehouse while my buddies and I were playing cards. Even if the bullion was confiscated, I breathed easy knowing that they had nothing on me.

The detectives seemingly gave up and stormed out. My nerves calmed a bit as I sat in that uncomfortable chair, but the flickering ceiling light caught my attention. It flickered more before shutting off completely.

I cursed to myself while sitting still in complete darkness before the power was restored. I glanced at the two-way mirror to look at myself again only to see a black-clad figure standing behind me. Before my brain sent a signal to my lungs to inhale and gasp, the figure was already in my face with a big hand slowly crushing my windpipe.

The figure’s eyes stared at me through his black, full head mask. His voice was a low growl coming through the mask opening that revealed his mouth, “Who were you stealing the bullion for?”

“What?” I croaked. He squeezed on my throat further at that.

“This can get very painful for you. I won’t ask again.” He seemed to growl at me from under that black cowl.

I was wrong before. This is where I would die.

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