United We Die: Chapter 4 – The Man Beneath The Leather Face

CHAPTER 4

The Man Beneath The Leather Face

150 Miles North From Eaglethorn….

“Y’know who makes g-good vodka? RUSSIANS >hic< They..really >hic< know..howta make tha’ gooood stuff, d-dont theeeeeey >hic<” and after the final hiccough, Jake Simonne fell asleep on a large table. The small gang around them were the same as him, drunk but they were restless. They were waiting for a call for a shipment of drugs that was about to take place tomorrow. Their gang leader, Michael Tarimocci, was the top Italian drug lord in all of the West Coast. He had no fear of Eaglethorn. He was also a widely regarded idiot.

“Ehhh…someone wake lil’Jakey here, he’s puttin’ me off my cocktail” said Tarimocci. He glanced at the silver clock. 11.30. THEY SHOULD’A RANG 20 GODDAMN MINUTES AGO. WHERE THE HECK ARE THEY? Tarimocci paced around his bar, clutching his cocktail. His bodyguards, or ‘lapdogs’ as his wife called them, stood at the door,quiet,watching their boss with nervous looks. The sweat dripped from their bald foreheads. The heat in the room was melting them like candle wax.

The silver clock ticked on…

Tarmiocci began a quick game of darts to pass the time. But deep down, Tarimocci was worried that the Malfredi brothers had been busted by Eaglethorn. JUST WHAT I NEED, ANOTHER COURT CASE. GOD IF THOSE TWO IDIOTS DON’T PICK UP THE PHONE IN THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES, SOME HEADS ARE GONNA’ ROLL.

CRAAAAAAASSSSHHHH!!!!!

The door and wall were brought down completely. “Knock-Knock” said a deep voice. A large man stood there, this time no long shady black coat. He kept his leather mask on though, a zip was placed where the mouth should be, there was two eye holes with a menacing design engraved on them. The mask was a leathery dark brown. He wore fingerless,leather gloves, with sharp metal studs on the knuckles. On his arms he had spiked armbands. He wore a strong,armless bulletproof jacket. He had high-topped boots with metal straps and studs.

He also wore jeans….

“You looking fucking ridiculous man” spat Tarimocci. He started to give a wheezy giggle, in which his ‘mafia’ joined in. The man stood there looking at the group of idiotic Italians. All of a sudden WHIISSSHH!!! A long,strong metal chain strung around Tarimocci’s neck. “How’re the Malfredi Brothers? I paid them a visit a while ago, never realised a man’s head could turn the full three-sixty heheeh…care to try?” However, the man let the chain drop, releasing Tarimocci from strangulation.

Tarimocci’s lapdogs helped him up. They all stared at the large man. All that could be heard was Jake Simonne’s snores. The man with the leather face walked towards the bar and poured himself a drink. “Sorry ’bout the mess. I wanted to make a…. interesting entry. Now, down to business: what do you know about the organisation named Eaglethorn?” He took a drink and belched afterwards.

“Why? who’s askin’?” said Tarimocci. The man turned and walked up to Tarimocci. He looked at him face to face. “Didn’t you just hear me? I’M askin’. Now. Eaglethorn. Details.”

Tarimocci took out a cigar and lit it. He blew a mouthful of smoke into the man’s leather face. The mans eyes were all bloodshot. “Well,this type of information is ,uh, classified. It might need a bit of….persuasion, if you know what I mean”. The man stood there staring at Tarimocci. He put down his drink calmly, turned back to Tarimocci and took his cigar. He then pushed the cigars flame straight into Tarimocci’s cheek. “I’m sure this is persuasion enough to get my answer. Now tell me about Eaglethorn!!” He then pressed his heavily studded shoes on Tarimocci’s breaking his toes and actually causing blood to appear.

Tarimocci’s men tried to grab the man, but he easily fended them off with one hand. Tarimocci’s screams became louder and louder. Then the man stopped his torture and returned to his drink. A large, angry red burn mark remained on Tarimocci’s left cheek. Tarimocci lay curled up on the floor shaking and whimpering, sweat pouring down from his face. His lapdogs remained on the floor, completely helpless. Whatever the man did to them with his hand caused them to paralyse. Jake Simonne finally woke up but he was still in a terrible state. He threw up on the rubble on the floor and staggered over to the bar where the large man was.

They stared at each other for a few minutes, the silver clock ticking away. Jake scratched his head before sticking out his hand to the man. “Jake Simonne…h-how can I >hic< help.. you?” he asked the man. Tarimocci looked up. He was shaking uncontrollably. “J-Jakey w-what you doin’? ha? K-keep away from him, he-he’s trouble.” pleaded Tarimocci. “Don’t worry >hic< I know EXACTLY what I’m doin’ >hic<” said Jake. The man with the mask shook Jake’s hand. “I’m here to do business, find out some information and get a few…allies”

Jake nodded. His tongue was in his cheek as he supported himself on the remains of the bar. “Now information is something I can help you out with. I’m sure we can get a few guys for youse >hic< and what kinda…business…we talkin’ about?” The masked man stood there flexing his hands, occasionally glancing at Tarimocci and his two paralysed lapdogs. He then sat down across from Jake, who showed no fear of the man. “The business? I want to bring Eaglethorn to its KNEES. I want to show that even the ‘invincible’ have weak spots. But what I’m doing now is just.. y’know… casually killing cops as one does”

Jake snickered.”So basically you want the IMPOSSIBLE become POSSIBLE…..you want to make gods bleed. hmmm…I think I know a few guys that could help you do that.” Jake picked up the phone and began calling people. The man just stayed sitting, pouring out more and more alcohol. Finally, around twenty minutes later, Jake was on his last call: “..,yeah..yeah..ok…well… joey,joey, JOEY!…shaddup a second…no….well..this guy, here, if you saw him..and what he did well…wait, what?…umm ok, but five minutes alright?” He then handed the phone to the man.

“Hello?” said the man. His voice sounded like cracked glass on the phone. “Yeah…uh-huh….I want to do that…and that…o,and definitely that…so you can?…uh-huh…..heh-heh-heh, believe me when I say: That WON’T be a problem….ok…how many?…..hmmmm…not bad, not bad….yes….”

There was a very pregnant pause.

“…..Who is this you say? Well thanks for finally asking. I’m the thing that this city needs. I’m it’s cure, it’s PEST CONTROL…..My name’s……THE DEATHWATCH.”

He then hung up the phone…..

Meanwhile….

Eaglethorn Base

“Hello gentlemen,welcome back to Eaglethorn. I’ve been waiting for a visit”

No-Face and Bellicks rose from their seat that slowly elevated upwards again. The woman that stood there was wearing a tightly cut black suit and tie with matching skirt. She wore grey high heels and had pointed glasses. She was only 28 years old and already Commissioner of Eaglethorn. Her name was Maria Valentine and she was far stricter than John Rhodes, and despised No-Face,and his methods, passionately.

Her secretary, Susanna Swales, carried a number of documents. She looked a little flustered and tired. DID ANYONE SLEEP AROUND HERE? DID ANYONE ACTUALLY GO HOME AND REST WITH THEIR FAMILIES? thought Bellicks. He caught Susanna’s eye and…she winked. Bellicks almost gave a wink back to her when Maria snapped her fingers. “Bellicks! Can you PLEASE stop flirting with my secretary?” Maria turned to Susanna “Because that’s my job” Susanna gave a weak smile before turning to a desk, covering it with hoards of paper and files. “Now then, when you’ve finally picked your tongues off the floor” she looked directly at Bellicks “You better step in my office. BOTH of you” Maria gave No-Face a disgusted look before turning around.

Bellicks gave an exasperated noise. He looked at No-Face who looked back. Even with a blank face of skin No-Face looked seriously pissed off. He dug his hands deep inside his jacket pockets and followed Maria. Bellicks followed suit, quickly glimpsing at Susanna, but she was too busy with her work to notice Bellicks. Bellicks was in deep concentration thinking about Susanna. Why did she like him,of all people, now? He’d known her for three years now. He always considered her to be a friend. Work always came first before relationships, well apart from friendships, but 98% of Bellicks ‘friends’ were in the same job as him. Bellicks thought about the possibilities of dating this woman. He surely wasn’t a virgin, he’d been in a number of short relationships with a number of women before. But Susanna? He must think about it more. He needed to think about later, as he usually said: WORK COMES FIRST.

He reached Valentine’s office and opened the door. He must have walked an incredibly slow pace as No-Face had already sat down opposite Maria. Maria was staring at her certificates but Bellicks REALLY knew that she didn’t want to look at No-Face. No-Face however stared blankly at Maria. He knew he annoyed her and he kept doing it…for fun of course. “Ah, Bellicks. I see you took your time.” said Maria angrily. “uhh..sorry..got lost in..thought” mumbled Bellicks as he said down. He hated how Valentine would embarrass him like that. “Oh we all know that you were thinking of Susanna” smirked Maria. Bellicks looked up. “I-I don’t know what you-” “O, shut up and listen” interrupted Maria. She was still smirking.

“Now, I see that you two have been investigating the ‘cop-killer’ murders allot.” said Maria looking at a sheet of paper. “I’m happy and also a little pissed off about this. You have COMPLETELY veered off from any other investigations.” No-Face sat forward. “Excuse me boss, but weren’t you the one that made us in charge of this investigation? You told us ‘to solve this mystery and put an end to it’, quote/un-quote, which we’ve been doing these last number of months. I would’ve thought that a QUADRUPLE homicide murder, that involved FOUR of our men, would’ve been more serious than, I dunno, casual, non-violent muggings?” No-Face sat back, exhaling.

Maria took a deep breath. She stared at No-Face with a sour look. “Bold Starks, very bold.” (Valentine didn’t like the name ‘No-Face’) “I agree that this murder is serious and that you should give it full attention. That does not, however, give you the right to ignore your other duties OR talk back to me like that. Do I make myself CLEAR?” she barked. No-Face was unresponsive. Maria obviously had made her point as she sat down again, took a deep breath and smiled. “Anyone care for a glass of water?” She took out a jug and three glasses and poured out half a cup of water in each of them. Bellicks and No-Face each took one, Maria didn’t take hers yet. She just stared at them. Bellicks, wanting to break the awkward silence took a drink, although he looked at No-Face out of the corner of his eye. ANY MINUTE NOW…. he thought

No-Face put the edge of the glass up against where his lips should be when suddenly water began to slowly disappear from the glass. None was spilled on his clothes. It went away as if he was drinking it. BUT HOW? Bellicks thought. It always amazed him whenever he would watch No-Face eat or drink. Did the chemicals that destroyed his face somehow cause the food or liquid to phase through into his body? No-Face put down his empty glass. “Hope you enjoyed that little magic show” he growled as he got up. Bellicks felt bad for staring. He too put down his glass and got up. Maria stayed sitting, staring at them like a hawk. “Well thank you gentlemen for your time, I hope you took my..uh..advice well. Actually Starks, if I might have a quick word about your manners please. Close the door on the way out Bellicks please and thank you.”

Bellicks nodded and looked at No-Face as he opened the door. No-Face was just standing there staring at Maria. WELL BELLICKS, YOU BETTER GET A GOOD LOOK AT THIS ROOM, ‘CAUSE AFTER THOSE TWO HAVING A ‘TALK’ THERE WON’T BE MUCH OF A ROOM LEFT thought Bellicks as he shut the door. He walked a few steps away from the office. Even if he stood by the door, he wouldn’t be able to hear them due to the doors and walls being sound-proofed. He was only waiting for a few minutes before No-Face appeared with his fists clenched. “C’mon” he said to Bellicks. “Umm..where? And is everything ok man?” asked Bellicks as they walked towards an elevator. “We’re going to fill out our duties whether the old bat likes it or not. Everything’s fine, she was just basically repeating what she gave out to me when you were in the room.” Bellicks and No-Face stepped inside the elevator.

Although Bellicks couldn’t pick up any emotions from No-Face, he could tell that something was wrong. As the elevator moved up, he only just remembered about Susanna and being in a relationship. It felt like YEARS ago when he caught her winking at him. He smiled to himself as Bellicks and No-Face stepped out of a ‘fridge’ in the abandoned building.

Maybe she might actually be worth it.

Maybe work wasn’t THAT important.

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