Author: Kallios the Scholar PM
An undercover cop has been sniffing out gang activity in a City and plans to relay a message to her superiors. However she gets gutted by a gangster before the message is finished. A man with a cross on his face is willing to finish her job while she diesRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Tragedy - Words: 4,289 - Reviews: 2 - Follows: 2 - Published: 09-08-11 - id: 7365279
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is just so that you understand the terminology here... Priests = vampire slayers with special powers. Templars = security cops, police officers, law enforcement... you get the idea. Friars = well, you'll just have to read and see about this one, won't you?
Disclaimer: I do not own Priest. Trust me on this one, people. If I did, I'd do a crappy job directing/editing/whatever film owners do and it wouldn't be the movie that we all know and love.
It had taken her three months. Three months to pose as a homeless, jobless woman with no prospects and no future who happened to be good with a knife. Three months to integrate herself into the local gang here and sniff out names and addresses. That part had been hard, because these people who called themselves the Blue Bullets had been dodging the Templars for some time and knew that safety lay in not being around when the Temps busted through the door.
She had a paper, hidden in the secret pocket of her jacket, with a list of names. The people used fake names and forged identification cards, and puzzling out the real ones had been hard but not impossible. Soon that list would be reported to the Templars and these people would be excommunicated from the Church, and after that killed.
The woman felt no pity for them. No, wait... that was a lie. She felt something, something that went along the general lines of repressed grief but wasn't the same thing. If you talked, ate, and sometimes slept with a person for three months then you were bound to either like them or hate them. She supposed that she happened be the victim of the former condition.
You're condemning over thirty people to death, and you feel nothing? she thought to herself. The honest answer was that she didn't let herself feel anything anymore. Only the emotions that she deemed would point to her success as a Friar were allowed to be felt. All others had been shunned to the dark recesses of her head, where they kept company with the memories that she had no desire to visit. It was... easier... that way. Easier to keep herself focused on the task at hand, easier for her to keep herself sane. She repressed a shudder. Don't think about it.
But for now... for now the transmission could wait until morning. It was nearly midnight and she was standing in her apartment. It was only two rooms: a living space and a bathroom. The walls, floor, and ceiling were grey. There was a narrow cot with a dent in the mattress that molded anyone who lay down on it into a sleeping position. The furniture – a chair, a table, a wardrobe, a nightstand – was rickety and had been bought secondhand. There was a bible and a rosary on the nightstand, and a few photographs had been taped to the walls. A chipped china cup and a plastic plate sat on the table. Those were the only personal touches.
"Kellsey!" Peter called to her, letting himself into her apartment with the code that she had given him. That had been a calculated risk, but she would move to another apartment block afterwards. The woman plastered a smile onto her face, turned, and watched him as he came in through the door. Peter was her lover, obtained so that she could gain access to the gang of the Blue Bullets. She felt no love for the man, but he was a friendly, cheerful sort and hard to dislike. As a friend or colleague she wouldn't have minded having him.
Immediately she knew that something was wrong. Peter wasn't smiling. He always smiled. So what the deal now? Had she been discovered? If so, she had to run and deliver the information before her targets could figure out that the jig was up and that they needed to move to another apartment block and change their names again.
"What is it, Peter?" she asked.
The man wheezed, hands on his knees and breathing hard. He must have ran to meet her. "Tomcat's mad at you. Thinks you're a traitor and that you're gonna tell the Temps on us. He's a paranoid bastard and we need to get out of here before he brings the Bullets crashing down on us like a ton of bricks."
Kellsey blinked at him, slowly, twice, in confusion. In the cities gangs were like replacement families. They traded security, protection, and a way of life in return for unwavering loyalty and unconditional allegiance. The idea of betraying a gang would be (to a gang member) like killing your own mother and fucking the corpse. What was Peter doing? Was he actually... in love with her?
Fool, Kellsey thought. Her mental voice held no malice or contempt, only a tiny amount of pity.
Peter grabbed her arm and tried to tug her out the door. "C'mon," he said urgently. "We gotta go."
"Wait a moment," Kellsey said, jerking away from him. She pulled a small, portable radio out from under the mattress of her cot and stuffed it into her coat, then walked out the door of her apartment with Peter.
"I have a friend on this apartment block. We can stay in her room and hide there," Kellsey said. She stopped and turned, looking him in the face. "And Peter..." she reached up one hand and cupped his face. Even now, knowing that her treachery against them would soon be plain and hatred easy to find, she still retained a vague affection for him. "Whatever happens, just do as I say and you'll come out alive. I can guarantee nothing more."
"What the fuck are you saying?" the man demanded, walking beside her. Their footsteps echoed loudly down the corridor.
Kellsey sighed. "You'll know soon enough. Remember: faith, work, security." They boarded the elevator and began going up.
"That's a load of bull."
"Out there, in the little towns, maybe. Here it's the only way to survive. You're going to have to deal with it soon."
"I don't understand."
"All will be made clear very soon. Bear with me, please." The elevator doors slid open as they came to the appropriate floor. The duo stepped out and Kellsey began walking down the narrow, grimy hallway. Room 634 had to be here somewhere.
She found it. Please be home, Michelle. Please answer the door. She knocked loudly. When no response came she banged on it with her fist until the sound echoed down the hallway.
A woman stuck her head out of her own door, a squalling infant in her arms. She opened her mouth to speak but Peter drew his skinning knife and pointed it at her. No words needed to be spoken by either party. The woman shut the door, and there was were a few audible clicks as the locks came active.
"Damnit," Kellsey hissed. Michelle wasn't answering the door.
The information must be delivered. Remember Jolene.
Jolene... Kellsey tried and failed to stifle a shudder. Remembering Jolene was not at all hard. It was not remembering how Jolene had looked, with three bullets in her skull and her brains splashed across a wall, that was hard. Jolene who saw me as something more than a beggar. Jolene who showed me how to use a gun and a knife. Jolene who pulled me up out of the dirt and gave me a job hunting down the ones who disturbed her City's peace. Jolene who taught me that a job was sometimes a good substitute for an actual life. Jolene... Jolene... Jolene...
"Kellsey?" Peter asked, effectively jerking her out of the trap that her memory was. "Are you alright?" The woman shuddered once, shook her head to clear it of the ghosts that haunted there, and nodded. "I'm fine," she said, forcing strength into her voice that she did not truly feel.
Kellsey pulled out the transmission radio and began tuning it. It was battery powered, since solar power was unavailable in the smog-shrouded City. The radio was running out of power, since the batteries hadn't been charged in awhile, but it would last until the transmission was complete. She hoped so, at least.
Jolene... the mental voice whispered. Kellsey forcefully ignored it.
"Kells to J Base, do you copy? Over." The woman drummed her fingers on the apartment wall as she waited impatiently. Please let the signal get through, please.
"Loud and clear, Kells. What is your purpose? Over." the voice was scratchy and static-y. Gender was indefinite, but that didn't matter at the moment.
"J Base, I have information concerning the gang of sinners calling themselves the Blue Bullets. The information will be relayed as a verbal, uncoded transmission. Prepare to receive information. Over." She pulled the crumpled piece of paper out from its pocket and quickly scanned the names she had scrawled down. Her penmanship was terrible and she had probably misspelled a lot of them. Kellsey had taken the required four years of schooling when she was six and graduated as a middling student. There had never been the time or the money to further her education. Reading and writing were not her strong points.
"...Ready to receive information. Over."
"The infiltration of the Blue Bullet gang has been completed. The names of members have been decoded and are now being relayed. 'Tomcat' will be Tomas Katronz. 'Fishbone' will be William Bloom. 'Kisser' will be Maria Mission. 'Loveless' will be Kendra Baxter – "
"What the fuck are you doing?" Peter snarled. The skinning knife was coming out again, but he hadn't tried to kill her. Not yet. Not while he was still confused and unsure about things.
Kellsey jerked the radio's mike away from her mouth temporarily so that she could reply to her now ex-lover. "My job," she snarled in reply. "I'm a Friar."
Peter stared at her incredulously for a moment. Friars were uncommon, mainly because they worked undercover and kept the nature of their profession away from the eyes and ears of the general public. Mostly they hunted down drug dealers, whores, murderers, blasphemers, and other sinners who had gone against God and the Church. After the information was gathered they either finished the job themselves by conducting the arrest or calling in backup that came in the form of Templars. Like Kellsey was doing now.
"You... you lied to us. Everything you said was a lie. You were a lie." He seemed more bewildered and shocked than angry, but the accusing tone of voice was there and steadily growing.
"You probably aren't even Kellsey Lind." He narrowed his eyes at her.
"You are correct," Kellsey said at last. "My real name is Cora Kells. If you do not want to be arrested and charged with assaulting a lawman then I suggest you drop the knife and be compliant when the Templars arrive."
Peter stared at her for a moment, then sneered. The expression was ugly on his boyish face. "Like hell I will," he snarled, and flipped the knife in his hand. He lunged at her, the point aimed for her throat.
Cora dropped the radio, hearing it clatter onto the floor but not break into pieces. She jammed the paper between her teeth and tried not to wet it too much with saliva. She was afraid that if she dropped it like the radio she wouldn't find it again. Cora hoped that the radio was undamaged enough for her to complete the transmission once this was done.
The woman leaped back and drew her own knife, one that she had been told was made of blued steel that had a fancy-looking guard to protect her hand. She stood, letting Peter come near to her and then moving forward and toward him. She felt the knuckles of his right hand graze her ear as he missed. Going past her head. But his knife was changing course, still aimed for her neck.
Cora grabbed the hand that tried to punch her in the gut, her hand twisting over his and pulling two fingers back as hard and far as she could. There was the sickening crunch/snap as the fingerbones broke, making Cora's stomach flop over. Funny, really, that sight of blood never sickened her but a simple sound made her want to throw up...
Peter's head flew back, his eyes going wide and his mouth opened in a soundless cry of pain. There was no pity for him now, not when the objective was to kill or disable him so that her transmission could continue. The Blue Bullets would be arriving any minute now, and speed was of the essence.
Not time to think about that, Cora thought, and felt his knife carve a jagged line down her neck. It didn't severe her jugular and wasn't a major wound, but it hurt and bled onto her clothes. She had been wearing a white shirt, too.
Her own knife slashed down his face diagonally, powered by pain and her own will. Peter stumbled away from her, clutching at his face. It took Cora a moment to realize that she had cut his eye with her knife, but by the time this revelation struck her she was already grabbing her radio and heading for the stairs.
There was a loud ding as the elevator doors opened. Cora looked over her shoulder, hoping that it would be Templars in uniform. But instead her eyes greeted the sight of a dozen men and women swarming out of the elevator and heading toward her like angry bees. There were a few handguns that went off, but their owners had little skill with the weapon and the pellets missed her. Most of them waved knives and looked at her with pure murder in their eyes.
She made it to the stairs and took two steps down before she realized that more of the Blue Bullet gang was coming up. She turned and began going up herself, heading for the roof.
The crowd following her was a mixed lot. Short and tall, dark-skinned and light, blond and brown and red and black hair. They were the city scum, the poorest of the poor. Their feet and hands were wrapped in rags instead of gloves and boots. Their faces were grimy, dirt-smeared, their hair and clothes greasy. They stank.
Some of them stumbled and fell back, not wanting to take the stairs to reach her. Those were the ones that didn't have the courage to kill without half a bottle of industrial alcohol sloshing in their bellies, the kind of cheap alcohol that made you sick. But the others were still coming at her, rage in their eyes and in the insults and threats that they hurled at her. Their knives hadn't reached her yet, but sound carried easily in the echoing stairwell.
Cora climbed, one white-knuckled hand gripping the rail like grim death as she climbed the narrow set of stairs that led up toward the roof of the apartment block. Her mouth was open and panting, a few strands of red hair stuck in her mouth. The paper fluttered out of her mouth, some of the carefully made pencil marks smudged into a dark stain by saliva. The woman had just enough sense to catch the white scrap and stuff it into the breast pocket of her coat, with the radio going into the larger pocket on the inside. Her calves and thighs burned, felt as though they were filled with molten lead. The breath labored in her lungs. She wanted to rest, needed to rest, but if she stopped then she would die, no question about it.
I'll never reach the roof, Cora thought suddenly. There was no question about that, either. The Templars never arrived in time, and she hadn't had the thought to ask for help. Once they caught her the little radio would be smashed and the paper torn into pieces. And then she would be killed. If she was lucky she might get a pellet to the head or a knife to the throat. If not... well, she'd heard a story about how one gang had managed to torture a man for ten days before he died. Maybe it would be her turn to last for days and days, her voice hoarse from screaming and her body a mutilated mass of bleeding flesh.
There was the crack of a gunshot, and a pellet smashed into the meat of her leg, just below the knee. Cora yelped, stumbled, her hand automatically going to the wound in an effort to find out how much damage had occurred. But she didn't have the time, and all that she knew was that the wound was bleeding from the way that her fingers came back stained crimson.
Definitely won't reach the roof, she thought. She hobbled up a few last steps, then turned and let herself onto this floor. She stumbled down the hallway, feeling blood running down her leg and staining her socks. Briefly, her mind entertained the idea that she was leaving a trail behind her, a trail of dark blood on the grimy grey floor.
She came to the end of the hallway and summoned the elevator, waiting impatiently and hearing the sounds of the Blue Bullet gang getting louder and louder as they spilled into the hallway behind her and hurtled down it like rogue rockets.
The elevator came. The doors opened. She stepped in and punched the button that would take her to the lobby with more force than was strictly necessary. The doors began to close behind her. She gripped her bloody knife tighter, praying to a God that she hadn't communicated with in some time that the Bullets wouldn't reach her.
One of the Bullets was sprinting down the hallway, pulling ahead because he had conserved his energy for the final stretch. Cora watched him, and waited.
He slid into the metal box with her just as the doors closed, slashed at her with his knife. There was no room to maneuver in here, and Cora was forced to parry with her own blade. The guard around the handle stopped his knife from sliding down and cutting her hand. She tried to twist her wrist in a certain way, a move taught to her by a colleague that sometimes worked. If it did, then her opponent's blade would be caught in the guard and thusly twisted out of his grip. A good trick to disarm an enemy with.
But the man knew the trick, prepared for it, slid away from her just enough to evade and then lunged again.
Cora was forced to block again, but she didn't see the foot that came up and kicked her injured leg. A startled, pained cry escaped her, and she fell onto the elevator's shaking metal floor.
She felt a knife tear across her stomach, felt a pain more intense than anything she had ever felt before. She had no breath to scream. In a few seconds she was going to get that knife in the throat. Her hand reached across the floor to her own fallen knife, bloody fingers scrabbling across the iron surface and the blood mingling with soot and grime to become black sludge.
Cora tasted blood in her mouth, though throughout the pain she hadn't bitten her tongue. Her arm wrapped around her midsection, feeling liquid soaking through the cloth of her sleeve far too quickly and easily. How much was she bleeding? She didn't know. Her mind was a haze of pain.
The elevator dinged. The doors slid open. Her murderer walked out without further ado.
Cora lay on the elevator floor. She felt tired, and there was a coldness spreading through her body. She didn't want to raise herself into a sitting position for fear of what she might see in the area of her stomach. The woman couldn't breathe, there wasn't enough air, gasp and gasp. Why was there not enough air all of a sudden? She could feel the blood soaking her shirt. It was warm. The elevator was filled with the coppery scent that made her want to gag.
Someone walked onto the elevator. The person knelt and looked down at her. Cora looked up at the person.
It was a man wearing a dark robe. There was the tattoo that marked him as a Priest on his nose and forehead.
The information must be delivered. Remember Jolene.
Cora tried to speak, but all she could managed was a watery gurgle. She hawked and spat, the blood that had been pooling in her mouth dribbling out the corner and into the strands of carrot-orange hair that framed her face. Her hand reached up into the air, latched onto his shoulder. Her fingers found a fistful of his robe and clenched it tightly, for her arm would have gone limp and fallen if she hadn't.
"Priest," she muttered, still trying to work the blood out of her mouth. Why was there so much blood? "R-Radio. You must – tell them – " Her free hand scrabbled over her coat pockets and pulled out the radio and paper slowly. They were stained red from the blood that coated her hands. She tried to lift them up, but her grip was weak and they fell from her blood-slick fingers and onto the floor
"N-Names here – you h-h-have to contact – the – ... J Base. Ones who... did this – names here – please, you mus-s-st. I c-can't."
The Priest picked up the two items solemnly, and nodded once. "What do you want me to tell them?" he asked. To Cora, it seemed that his voice came from a long way away. She was tired, and she wanted to sleep. Strange, really, but it didn't seem to hurt so much anymore. She was just very, very tired. But she couldn't sleep now, not yet, not when there was work to be done.
Remember Jolene. Remember Jolene. Remember Jolene... the mental voice, once a whisper, was growing stronger. It echoed in her mind like a shout that was made into the deeps of a cave, bouncing around in the confines of her skull and repeating over and over. She had no idea how to stop it.
"Names there... paper... T-Tell them – is on the paper." The woman turned her head to the side and worked the blood out of her mouth again, spitting feebly onto the cold, dirty iron floor.
"I meant about you," the Priest corrected softly, gently.
Her free hand weakly thumped her chest in reply, too weak to rise after the first pat. "Name is – is Cora Kells. I'm... Friar. Me. Tell them – did my j-j-job best I... could. 'M sorry for – not doing – all the way... please tell..." More blood in her mouth. She was too weak to spit it out now. The breath rattled in her lungs, every inhalation an effort of will.
Cora couldn't breathe any more. She choked on the salty red fluid that was filling her mouth and throat, hacked, feeling more blood dribbling down her chin and neck and into her hair. Without thinking the woman tried to sit up, but the pain that ripped through her abdomen was like the sword-stroke of an avenging angel and made her fall back with a cry.
"I will," the Priest assured her. A hand gripped hers, infinitely gentle. She could feel the calluses on his hands, and her mind was still functioning just enough to notice that the calluses came from bearing weapons for years and years. The Priest said the Last Rites over her quickly, perhaps sensing her urgency that the message be delivered. When it was over he turned on the radio again and picked up the paper.
"Kells? Kells, what the hell is going on?" the static-y voice came again.
"Kells is dying. I'm standing in for her. Ah... Over." The voice of the Priest was calm.
"Fuck!" Even over the radio a listener could tell that the voice was angry. Then the receiver blew out a sigh that came to Cora and the Priest as a burst of static. "Just gimme the names, okay? We'll get 'em."
"All right. 'Sinner' is Lloyd Chamwell – "
Cora closed her eyes, listening as the voice of the Priest as it faded into the distance. The job was done, finished. The mission she had been sent on three months ago finally completed. Once those names reached the Templars then the Blue Bullet gang would terrorize Cathedral City no longer. She felt cold all over, and very tired. Briefly she wondered when the time for rest would come, but then she heard the voice of Jolene calling, "This way, Cora," and it was easy to follow.
Whoo... Should I continue? I wanted to make this a multi-chapter fic, but I got Priest on a rental and it had to be returned. Therefore the fic was modeled into a oneshot. There's another oneshot circulating in my head, though it's about a character and setting entirely irrelevant to this one, and if you think this one is good then I'll publish the next one.