(Sequel to "Dark Targets" - Disclaimer: Original movie idea Hard Target from John Woo. Sadly, I do not own anything except my ideas^^)
=== Date: 2007 / USA / New Orleans / Somewhere in the 'no-go'-area ===
Half of the blocks of the public housing were already torn down. The government had grabbed the situation after the destructions by the storm to 'clean the area' and relocate some of its unwanted inhabitants. The ones that rested were even more desperate and angry than before and all sorts of crime flourished in the dirty streets. Rarely, a white face was seen here; therefore Chance Boudreaux got some attention while walking down the street to his destination, a little diner. The man he wanted to meet there was already waiting – or better, he saw Boudreaux and was about to leave the next moment.
"Ey, wait Al! Parker sent me, I'm –"
"I know who you are." The man in the shabby suit made a denying gesture. "And I have no work for you!"
"But he said-"
"Fuck you, man! I told you, I have no work! I try to hold my business clean, do you understand? Don't wanna any ex-cons in there!"
"It was self defense and a damned illegal-"
"Shut up!" From behind, two other men appeared; ready to step in on Al's behalf. "It's always self defense and you guys are always innocent, I know this shit! Don't make fuzz about it, just move your ass outta here, before I kick you!"
One of the men let a switchblade shine. Boudreaux would've liked to start a little fight, and he was angry enough to do so. However, this would've led him nowhere, concerning the work he was out for. He left without looking back.
=== Later in New Orleans ===
Boudreaux sat in an abandoned house with broken windows and tried to think what to do next. He needed work desperately, a place to stay, something to eat…He was a fighter, he would not end homeless in the streets, this he promised himself! It would not be the first time it looked bad for him, there was always a way… He threw his cold cigarette butt away and stared through the window shards. A sound let him snap to attention. He had no weapon, but a lot of wooden planks, metal struts and other useful stuff lay around from the crumbled roof. His grip closed around a rod and he waited.
Shortly after, a middle aged man entered the room. Nothing special was about him, and he posed no obvious threat. Chance Boudreaux could discern this by first sight. He would easily break the neck of this sort of geeks…
The stranger stepped closer. "No need to attack ME," he assured and opened his hands. "I'm unarmed and here to offer you a deal…"
"Piss off!" He was sure this guy had something to do with illegal things, from which he had enough!
"So you are happy with your life?" The other man hold a pack of Luckies out for him and Chance took one.
"I had my share of bullshit, believe me!"
"Life was not very fair to you…"
"Do you want to preach or what?! I'm not a type for hanging around in churches! Go and gas elsewhere!"
"Is this the man who made an attack on the jury during his trial?! What a shame…" His words ended in a squeezing sound, because Chance had closed his hands around his neck. "Stop I said, you shit face! Leave me alone!" He let him go and the stranger stumbled backwards against a garbage can and fell.
"Obviously…" he coughed and struggled to his feet again, "…it's quite right that you sit here in the crap, and Van Cleaf is whoring around on his yacht, bathing in Champaign and laughs his ass off about the US-justice!"
Boudreaux frowned. "Van Cleaf is dead. Killed this son of a bitch 15 years ago!"
"O he looks quite alive on these ones, don't you agree?" He shoved some photographs under his nose. "I follow this bastard for 8 years now!"
"So why don't you go to the FBI and get the reward?!"
"I don't work for the government anymore", the other man said. "Listen, I know Van Cleaf is alive and he is rich. The account where all this money went from the hunts this Fouchon initiated, has never been located. But…", the stranger smirked, "I bet Van Cleaf knows…"
=== Coast of Argentina near Fireland ===
A beautiful sunset enrobed the expensive yacht, which lay a little outside of the small harbor, peacefully. The rebellious spirit who had stirred a lot of unruliness and fight during the last days of the trip down here had left the ship. He walked alongside his father now, hands in the pockets of his trousers and looked as if the whole world had punished him with everything.
"Why I do always have to travel around with lil' kiddies and my sisters! I'm grown up, for fuck's sake! I'm fourteen, Dad!"
"Stop swearing. You know your mother hates this!"
"You do it!"
"She hates it just as well when I do it! - Don't scuffle behind me like an old man, Gerrit!"
"I'm not in the mood for lil' kiddie's pathfinder games!" The boy spit his chewing gum out. "Why couldn't I stay with Lucas? We were preparing for a football match! Shit! I don't wanna be pushed around any longer!" The dark eyes of the boy burned, he was ready to step into the ring against his father today.
"So you think you are ready to shape your own life, right?"
"At least old enough to spent my vacations ALONE, not like a toddler doing …" He prodded his feet into the dusty ground. "…Doing wilderness exploring or such boring stuff!"
Pik van Cleaf rested and turned around to face his son, who scowled at him. "You are more interested in dealing drugs from Lucas' brother on the schoolyard, am I right?"
Now the boy stopped as well and stared at his father. "You… KNOW about this? I… mean…"
"Of course I know. What were you thinking, Gerrit? It cost me a little fortune to calm your principal and the local police!"
"It was… nothing, Dad. Lucas brought it up… "
"It was NOT nothing!"
The rebellion was back in the boy, anxious about the own weakness this time. He had thought the adventure with the Crack had not been noticed, certainly not by his father! "So what's the point?" Gerrit shouted. "It was just a small package! I didn't KILL anyone like YOU did!" The boy continued, as if he would become strong and independent only by throwing the truth in his father's face. "Did YOU think I did not know this? I know everything! I know it for two years! You killed people for fun, and that's why we are running and never stay longer than half a year in one spot! You are on the international wanted-persons-list! So stop telling me what I have to DO! I can do what you did, fucking hell!"
He smashed his backpack on the ground and turned on the way they had come.
Pik was at his side the next moment. He grabbed him at the collar and held him firmly. "Listen to me, Gerrit. Very carefully! You are my son, and I will be damned, if I let you even set a foot on the path I walked! – Now, take your backpack."
=== On the yacht ===
Rosa shut the door of the oven and adjusted the timer for the chicken soufflé she was cooking. Behind her, the six-year-old Samuel sat on the bench, watching her and posing out-of-the-blue-questions about everything from time to time. Right now, he wanted to know if the astronauts in the space ships had cooking ovens, too. Heavens! What sparkles in the mind of this kid, Rosa thought amused. "Yes, I think so. Why not?"
"But-" Samuel started again.
However, he could not finish his question, because his baby-brother Maartie began to cry in his basket near the window. Rosa looked after her youngest child. The little one worried her. He was sick – nothing fatal, as long as she had the meds within reach in case something happened. She did not get the dark cloud out of her mind that it was her fault – despite she knew this was not the case. Perhaps she should not have conceived a child at nearly 40? But she always wanted a huge family, like her own back in Puerto Rico. She liked kids, she savored every day of a pregnancy, looking forward to the day she could hold another tiny wonder in her arms. And Pik was a wonderful lover; she was as crazy for him as fifteen years ago in Tampico. But little Maartie… Now this would be her last child, in any case, because the doctors had said the risk was great the next one would be sick, too. It was only a very very happy coincidence that all the others were healthy.
For now it seemed nothing was wrong except the baby was hungry! Rosa smiled and began preparing the food for the little one.
FIRST CHAPTER "You can't kill your past"
My name is Pik van Cleaf. I was a hunter, a killer. I thought this was over forever. I was wrong… You can't kill your past. Someday... it will stand right behind you and point a gun at you.
=== Fireland / two weeks later ===
I was in Fireland with Gerrit for nearly two weeks now, surrounded by barely more than wind-battered black rocks and thick strong grass. The sky lay above us heavy and cloudy. I chased my son through a rough training, to show him this was not what he wanted. He had inherited a great part of me, and this part was hungry for a challenge, hungry to proof itself against all odds. He was ready to destroy just to test his strength, headstrong and proud. Yes, he was much like me, at this age… But he had something of Rosa, too. This made me confident I could be strong enough to catch him before he became addicted to the kill-thrill like me. Life had so many other challenges worth a try! If he chose my path, he would be blind for anything else. Gerrit needed a strong hand – my parents had failed in this; only sent the obviously devil-spirited teen I was then out of their sight. I would not accept failure with MY son! Fortunately, I was prepared for this, and I had time for him, unlike many other fathers….
Gerrit showed up, out of breath, with sweat-covered face, but a proud grin on his lips.
I looked at my timer. "You are 15 minutes too late", was all I said.
His face fell. "But – I made a kill! He lifted the meager pigeon."
"Throw it away, so no predators will bother us, and then go to sleep. It's nearly sunset."
"WHAT? Don't we prepare it for eating?!"
"You are too late, I said. A hunter is bound by time; a KILLER is even more. And you have failed. Life is just that way."
"It's NOT FAIR!" my son shouted.
"I never said that. But you said you are grown up; you were ready to face life. Do what I did. So face it! I assure you, an empty stomach and disappointment are two of the best things you will encounter in this business, if you fail. More likely you end up in a prison cell or shot and crippled or dead!" I did not raise my voice, this was not necessary. Gerrit was not the one to argue now; he thought himself strong and wanted to prove it – he would have nearly starved to do so. He turned with the dead bird in his hands and stepped up to the next rock to throw it away from there. Some minutes later I heard his voice. "Dad? … DAD!"
It was something in this call, something completely unexpected frightened, that I jumped up immediately, gun in my hand. Gerrit stood there, grey-pale, and stared down to the coastline in shock. When I followed his gaze, I discovered our yacht, with flames and smoke rising from there, where the bridge had been. This sight felt worse than any near-death-shot I had got in my life so far. I heard me whisper "O no…" and then the metallic sound of my weapon falling from my hand on the rock beneath my feet.
"To the car! Hurry!" I seized Gerrit's arm and we ran down to the Landrover together.
Destiny didn't forget the people who messed with her, never. Was it now my turn to pay?