Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (49)

The flimsy doors blew out with little resistance, splintering the wooden frames. One of them sent up shards of glass as it shattered with a crash to the ground. From his vantage point to one side, it occurred to Anath during the ensuing moment’s stillness that perhaps a bomb had gone off, smashing its way out of the restaurant and hurling its victims on to the street outside. But there had been no blinding flash, no pressure wave, and as the focus of his startled gaze was restored, he now saw that the two men on the ground were in fact engaged in ferocious combat – punching and scratching at each other, like dogs before a bitch on heat. The blood that stained their garments flowed not from blast wounds, but cuts and grazes from the glass through which they had burst, and the violence they were inflicting upon one another. Anath could almost smell the hatred in the air; the brutality of the two combatants altogether as shocking as any incendiary blast. And it was now, as they continued hacking and tearing into each other with fists, boots and anything they could lay their hands on, that he began to realise the identity of at least one of them. The hairs stood on his neck and he shuddered, as a shiver ran through his body. The Captain. Anath sensed extreme danger; felt that fate was somehow shaping events – that he was inextricably caught up in some elaborate plot, wherein his destiny was intertwined through no choice of his own with that of the cruel officer. His mind told him to run, but his legs would not move. He barely heard the telephone as it began ringing out from the wall. Anath’s whole body felt rooted to the ground, as if he were pegged out, like a tent. And now another illusion took hold of his mind. For it seemed that everything was taking place in slow motion, that the contest was set to last an eternity. He looked on, fixated, as the two adversaries gradually broke free from one another and struggled first on to their knees before pushing themselves up to stand, hunched over in exhaustion. There was a pause, as if the Gods had put matters on hold, while debating the outcome of the contest.

It was in this moment of distraction that the stakes were suddenly increased: the encounter resuming with an altogether deadlier intent. Panting heavily as he gasped for air, the Captain pulled his gun from its holster and, with a wavering hand, aimed it squarely at his tormentor. The filthy, prying, bastard Detective. Almost simultaneously, the first shot rang out, issuing a high-pitched whine as it ricocheted off the concrete of a wall somewhere, before burying itself in a telegraph pole. The second, an instant later, also missed its target. Then, despite the hysterical pleas of the woman who had emerged from the crowd of onlookers now gathered outside Sate Blora‘s entrance, the Captain squeezed the trigger of his army-issue Browning nine millimetre a third time…

Like the first two bullets, the third was misdirected: this time missing its intended target by a hair’s breadth, as it screamed through the air. It was so close that its intended victim could hear the whir as it disturbed the air on its passage, fizzing narrowly past. Frozen in the shock of the moment, his jaw agape as he continued to stare fixedly at the scene unfolding, Anath had the misfortune to be sitting directly behind the Detective, his upper torso lined up in perfect transit for the slug’s navigation. He was just about to make another attempt to rise from his haunches when it hit him, the sound like a hammer smacking into a ripe melon.

The violence of a Parabellum cartridge should never be underestimated. Anath was knocked backwards by its impact, staggering in a crazy zig-zag, attempting intuitively not to fall. It felt at first as if some invisible assailant had taken a full backswing, unnoticed, and then punched him, hard. But the crimson patch was already beginning to spread across the chest of his off-white tee-shirt, its source somewhere near his left shoulder, and he knew instantly that the blow was something much worse than the simple impact of a fist. Shit!… No! For a moment, his mind objected; refused to process the information. He stared down in disbelief, rejecting the truth – denying the lake of blood that was spreading rapidly across his shirt. Now feeling giddy, he had the urge to urinate. In fact the whole lower half of his body was beginning to feel like jelly, as if he would let go at any minute, defecating his pants. Desperately, he clenched, trying to hold everything together. Anath was not about to allow his dignity to be stolen, whatever the circumstances. With some hesitation, he raised a hand to the heat that was now burning deep within his shoulder, coating his palm with a smear of dark crimson in the process. Then slumping slowly forward, he first collapsed to his knees before tottering again, like a felled tree, one arm just able to cushion the fall that ended with his face pressed into the damp earth, as the dream began…

posted by Kirk at 1:25 am  

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