DISCLAIMER: I own none of the characters, CBS created them. William Blake wrote the "Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright" poem.
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In the quiet, dark alleyway, footsteps can be heard. A splash of water follows suit. You perk your ears, listening to the steady drip of fresh rainwater running down the red brick walls.
"Is he coming? Is he coming?" A voice comes from the darkness. Instinctively, you hug yourself to the wall as the owner of the voice steps into the moonlight.
You see a man, wearing a gray vest and light blue shirt. His cerulean eyes glitter, restless with what you infer is anticipation. His curly hair is sort of dirty blond mixed with brown and a bit of red. A gun is holstered in his belt. A cop? you think. What's a policeman doing here at nine 'o clock at night?
He circles one way, then the other. You catch sight of a dagger in the other side of his belt. Now you know he's up to no good.
Suddenly, the man looks near you and whispers in a voice so quiet it's just plain scary: "I know you're there."
For a moment, you stop breathing. You wonder if it's you he's talking to. You wonder if he sees you. You wonder if he knows you're even there.
You begin to mull this over in your mind. If he did see you, he probably would have ushered you out of the alleyway by now. Since he hasn't done it yet, you're safe. For now.
Then he turns again, looking the other way, and, in the same frightening whisper, he says, "I know you're there. Come out, Red John. Come out..."
So he hasn't seen you. Your tense muscles relax slightly. You're aware that the man, whoever he is, is excited.
In the back of your mind, your conscience tells you to move. You do, and it's a good thing you did.
A wickedly curved blade swoops down from the shadows. It's a lustrous silver color that shines in the moonlight. It looks like it's been polished recently. A blood-curdling hissing sound comes from somewhere behind it.
The knife moves forwards, and a second person emerges from the darkness with silent steps. At first, you can't tell that it's a person at all. He(you guess that the person is male) is dressed in a pair of dark boots. The second man sports black gloves. His head is shrouded in a hood, so you can't tell what his face looks like. A night-colored cape billows behind him.
The man walks forwards, sheathing the blade as he moves with one swift motion. He scans the area in front of him, and then turns to you.
Your breath catches in your throat and you stare, horrified.
A bloody mask that looks like it was fabricated from muscle covers his face, but you can tell that he's smiling.
"Hello there." His calm voice freezes your blood, and you're convinced that you might have a heart attack if he speaks again.
Meanwhile, the other man jumps into the air, startled. He whips around, sees the second man, and everything stops.
Slowly, the man dressed in black rotates his head; his icy gaze leaves you. Cautiously, you turn your head as well. The two men apparently make eye contact, for the first man's eyes are suddenly lit up like a match with a curious mixture between awe and fear and revenge.
The first man's fingers start shaking. "You came," he states. His voice, like to other man's, is calm, but it makes your blood start circulating again. "Red John came."
The second man, Red John, observes the first man, as though analyzing all of his weaknesses and strengths. Then he speaks. "Of course I came, Mr. Jane. I wouldn't want to disappoint my old friend." When he says "friend", you're pretty sure he means "enemy". Then, casting a quick glance at you, he adds, "Or our... audience."
Mr. Jane's eyes flicker towards you. He sees you for the first time, and his face quickly turns serious. "Listen to me." He points at you and looks you in the eyes. Two deep pools of blue that don't have a ripple in them at all stare at you intensely. "Don't ask any questions, just follow the instructions that I give you, okay?"
Instructions? It never occurred to you that a cop would give directions to you. The only instructions that cops gave you personally were to evacuate the area or to move along, there was nothing to see(which means that there almost always is something to see).
You begin to ask what he means, but Mr. Jane interrupts you.
"Do you know the quickest way out of here?"
He interrupts you again, this time jabbing his finger at you with each word. "You will leave this alleyway when I'm finished speaking. Can you do that for me?"
You nod, and you don't know why. Maybe it's because you feel childish in his presence.
"You are not to repeat what happens here. You are not to repeat what you listen to here. But most importantly, you are not to tell anyone who you saw here, all right?" Mr. Jane stares at you, and you feel exactly like a toddler being told not to take the cookies from the jar, or not to touch the hot stove.
Mr. Jane nods and slides his eyes towards Red John, making it clear that he's finished "instructing" you. So you turn away and start walking.
Suddenly, a gloved hand grasps your arm. You jump about six inches off the ground and try to shriek, but something- another hand, maybe -clamps over your mouth when you descend.
"You aren't going anywhere." A dry chuckle reaches you, and you get the feeling that you've heard it somewhere earlier in your life. Red John hisses in your ear again, this time saying, "The show hasn't even started yet! Stay, stay, for I think that what you are about to witness shall be very interesting. The mighty Patrick Jane will try to cut my life short... but he can't if his body hits the ground first."
Patrick Jane... Where have you heard his name before? You can't think about it because Patrick interrupts you and your train of thought. Again.
"You're here for me, Red John. Not for that passer-by," he spits out. "Now, tell me what you did to Kristina." Patrick whips the dagger out of his belt and advances slowly, menacingly adding, "Or else."
What is it with you and interrupting, Mr. Jane? And who's Kristina? A woman both of these men were interested in? you think as you try to squirm from the iron grip the masked man holds you in.
Then, just as suddenly as he grabbed you, Red John releases his hands from your mouth and arm. He shoves you to the hard, wet ground. As you fall, you see him unsheathe that fear-inspiring knife, as well as take out a shiny black pistol equipped with a silencer.
You land with a loud crash! Desperately, you try to scramble to your feet.
You arise, and begin to decide whether or not to stay. You attempt to see who should be trusted. Patrick or Red John? Patrick or Red John?
It looks like you don't have a choice, for you hear the quiet, nearly inaudible, click of a gun's trigger being pulled. Something hits you in the right knee-cap, you go down again, and stars dance wildly around your vision. Fresh, red blood flows from the wound. You land on your side, nearer to Red John, and cry out from fear and pain, unable to stop yourself. You're suddenly scared that the man wearing the mask will hurt you since you made the sound, so you cover your mouth with your hand and whimper pathetically.
The pain in your leg is so intense that you can't seem to focus on anything else. However, you look up, silently hoping that Patrick will turn out to be the victor of the fight that's sure to be extraordinary.
Dimly, you see the cop. His legs are bent, his left hand is close to his chest. He holds the dagger in his other hand, and the dagger's tip is facing you. His lips are moving, but you can't make out what he's saying. Then he smiles, but it's cold and calculating instead of being warm.
Cautiously, he edges forwards, coming closer and closer towards Red John with each step...
Red John whispers in a voice that's colder than a winter wind. "Wasn't it obvious, Jane? I killed Kristina." There's a tense silence. Then the cold voice strikes your ears again, echoing, "I killed her. I thought someone of your expertise would figure that out soon enough."
Patrick lashes out with the dagger. The smile on his face morphs into a snarl. Red John retreats to the shadows when the blade comes down.
"You know as well as I that you hypnotized her to think that she's dead. You hypnotized Kristina to act like herself when in the presence of flame. She is not dead," Patrick utters the final sentence with conviction, but, to you, it sounds like he's trying to convince himself.
There's a horrible moaning sound coming from the shadowy area near you. The hair on the back of your neck rises. What's making that...? You tell yourself that it's probably a stray dog, but you can't be sure...
Patrick edges around the alleyway, looking for flesh to bury his dagger in. He lets out an in-human sound of challenge; the growl makes your skin crawl just as badly as Red John's voice does.
Red John's knife suddenly appears out of nowhere. Mr. Jane flings himself against the nearest wall in an instant, flattening himself against it. The knife follows, less than a second behind him. Ka-shing! The tip of the blade digs itself into the brick wall just above Patrick's shoulder, only centimeters away from his neck.
"Well, then, we'll simply have to make blood spill tonight to see if your little theory is true or not. How does that sound? Hm?" Clearly amused with himself, Red John hisses the words in Patrick's ear, allowing cruel laughter to lace his voice.
Patrick's eyes, once collected, are now a chaotic storm of fear and rage and bitter resentment. He's still holding the dagger in his hand, though. It's clear to see that he still has a fight left in him. Maybe he's not going to lose this battle after all.
Red John leans his face closer to Patrick. He begins to recite something. It sounds like a poem.
"In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
On what hand dare seize the fire?"
Patrick's eyes widen with shock. Shock shoots through your veins, as well. Who will make it out alive?
Red John takes his knife and lays it on Patrick's throat. The former exhales creepily as a drop of blood wells on the blade, staining it red.
"Don't do this..." Patrick's voice is shaky. "If you do, you won't... you won't..."
Red John stops, intrigued. "Continue."
"You won't have anyone else... anyone else to play with," Patrick finishes. Then, with startling agility, he suddenly throws the dagger at the side of Red John's head.
Red John sheaths his knife and ducks simultaneously, dodging Patrick's dagger. Patrick responds by seizing the moment and knees Red John in the face. Red John flinches, then looks up.
"This is for Kristina." Patrick's seething angrily now, clutching his neck, and preparing to stab the dagger into Red John's back.
The dagger goes in as Red John begins to come up. Surprisingly, no scream of pain escapes his mouth. Only a choking sound is expelled.
Jane, however, is speaking loud and clear. "This is for Angela, my wife!" Jane yanks his hand forwards. Red John falls to the ground. "And this," -the dagger flies towards where Red John's heart is-"this is for my daughter, Charlotte, who was the most precious gift on Earth to me."
You get a cold, dead feeling inside as the dagger falls. Everything goes in slow motion. For some reason, though, you hear an eerie, whispering voice that echoes through the alleyway, filling it entirely.
"And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"
You don't know who spoke, and you never will.
The dagger lands with a sickening, wet thunk. Red John's body convulses horribly. You can't watch, so you close your eyes.
"You are a dead man, Red John," Patrick whispers fiercely.
There's ragged breathing. Then an incredibly weak voice says, "You think you can kill... me, Jane? I am far too... clever... You... cannot... kill me... Our legacy... lives... on..." Red John's voice gets weaker and smaller with each word. Then you hear a sad, slow exhale, and you know that Red John is dead.
Our legacy? You wonder if you heard it right. Our? He must be confused... Death probably does that to people. He must have meant "my legacy" instead. But there's an insistent little niggling at the back of your mind, and you can't help but wonder what he meant.
"Let's see who's behind that mask..." Patrick breaths in slowly. "Oh... Oh, wow..." His pattern of breathing becomes increasingly faster. You hear the ripping of cloth. "I can't believe it," he finishes. "I can't believe it. It was you!" A loud whoop of joy and excitement comes out of Patrick's mouth. "I killed Red John!"
Cautiously, you tilt your head and open one eye, then the other eye. You see Patrick standing over you, a huge grin on his face. He triumphantly holds the bloody mask above his head; an obsidian colored cloak is in the other. The weapon of murder resting at his side isn't bloody. Patrick probably ran it over the rain-splattered wall to clean it. You notice that his hand is clean, as well. You wonder how no blood got on his shirt or vest. A swatch of gray cloth covers his neck. He's looking up, but then he tilts his head. Now he's staring at you with shining eyes.
"I owe you one for being here tonight. A big one." Patrick looks around, then he bends down and stares at you in the eyes. "Listen. You bought me a lot of time, and I thank you so much for that. Now, when I snap my fingers, you will do exactly as I tell you to do."
You don't fight him. You've seen too much fighting recently. You nod your head in consent.
Patrick ties the cloak around his neck, snaps his fingers, and says, "You'll try to crawl out of here. When the police come, tell them that nothing happened here. You didn't see me tonight, and you didn't see Red John. If they question you about the body, claim that it was here before you came. You were walking here because your family is poor. You were trying to find money. You saw some, and put it in your pocket. What you didn't see was the man standing in the corner of the alley. He leaped out at you, shot you in the knee, and abandoned you here. You can't remember what he looks like since all that you were concentrating on was the pain in your knee-cap."
He claps you on the shoulder as though congratulating you. He stands up, still smiling, and walks away carrying the mask. The cape is flowing behind him; he pulls the hood up to hide his identity.
You close your eyes and reflect on what happened tonight. One minute you're taking a friendly night-time stroll back to your house through this alley, the next minute you're watching a cop and a freaky man duke it out right in front of you after the latter lames you. How will you explain this to your friends? How will you explain this to your family? How will you explain this to yourself?
Distantly, you hear someone snap.
You open your eyes, suddenly tense. Where are you? What happened? How did you get here?
You look around. You realize that you're in a wide alleyway. Layer upon layer of red bricks loom above you on either side. You feel a burning pain in your right leg. You try to sit up to get a closer look at it.
You prop yourself up on one elbow. You survey your surroundings, and instantly wish that you hadn't. The body of... Is that a man or a woman? You can not tell, since it's so torn, but it's lying on the opposite side of the alley. A horrible smell encompasses it, and a moat of crimson liquid surrounds it.
Closing your eyes and steeling yourself, you lean forwards. You open your right eye so as to block out the body. In your right knee, you see a deep hole. Blood trickles from the wound at a slow rate.
You wonder who did this to you. Something about a man with a gun... Was he white, black, or a mix of the two?
You can't focus, so you close your open eyelid and breathe in and out slower. Focus... you tell yourself. Focus...
A memory, a dim one, comes back to you. There's a dog... A snarl... A horrible shriek... Lastly, there's the cracking of your knee-cap...
You open your eyes and instinctively know that you have to get out of here.
With much effort, you flip yourself over. Your injured knee lands in a puddle. Pain explodes in that area of your body, but the water feels soothing. Now you try to crawl out of the alleyway. It drains your strength faster than lifting weights does.
As you continue your painful exodus, you perk your ears to see if you can hear anything out of the ordinary.
You hear nothing but your own breathing and the steady dripping of rainwater down red brick walls.