Hell Beneath Clear Skies

A fallen world. Corrupt men staying in power. Never-ending wars. Circulating wealth and power amongst the uneven masses. Society has never been so blind. For some, paradise has been found. For most, Hell has been unleashed.
For two of the world's finest, Paradise is meeting again after annihilating Hell to rubble.

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4. The Reaper

     Every now and then, looking over your precious hemispherical empire, you come across certain thorns in your side. Thorns that, if left unchecked, can affect the surroundings and therefor the rest of a region. You shouldn't waste any of your own troops. Why not use a hired gun, a man who can't be traced to you? And not just any man, but the best of the best. Your manicured-kissed hand reaches over to the phone, and you dial the number inscribed on the card in your other hand. Even the name sends shivers down your spine.

     "Hello?" A deeply gruff voice echoes in your ear. Afraid of a job refusal, you put on your best determined voice. "There are a group of insurgents hiding down south in the City Block BRAZIL. Maybe you can help... Flush them out? We don't want any revolutions ruining our nation." As you hoped, the man agrees. Relieved, you hang up the slick phone. You've done it. You have called the man who exterminates lives, and leaves behind destruction. You've hired The Blade of Absolution.

     You've unleashed the Reaper.

~~~

    The ride to the International Terminal was less crowded than yesterday, The Reaper saw as he looked around him. Gazing on a mass shooting in the paper on his lap, he may have guessed why. He looked out the window, and gazed into the bustling streets below. So many people. People walking to some unknown destination. People who looked around themselves with shady eyes, wondering who will pop out of the shadows. A lot of them had their hands in their coats. Why is that? Is there a weapon beneath? Questions and observations clouded his mind from time to time.

     It was either his observational thinking, or the many ways in which he thought about killing an individual. Either way, his brain hurt from too many thoughts. He saw his stop, and whistled for the train to stop. Stepping onto the platform, amidst the seas of humans, he took his abnormally long suitcase and headed to the Central Hub. The first Ticket Booth was available, a tanned woman standing at the window. Nodding to the Reaper, she handed him his ticket, as well as a manila folder. Pushing an elderly woman aside, he took lumbering steps to the entrance of this train, the Magnetic Levitated Train A4.

~~~

     The trees looked like green fires as the train sped on by. The Reaper pressed his head against the glass windows and thought about the mission.

     The plan was pretty simple. The camp was located in the Amazonian Basin, transporting guns to government-hating militias around the region. If one erases their presence, there would be no more power to the resistance. Of course, one would worry about the supplier of the revolutionary's arsenal, but that's another story.  Besides, it's not like the supplier is part of the government, helping rebels purposely for easier tracking.

     He shifted the manila folder to another side, two photos sliding out. One of the camp, and one of the leader. He knew who was going to be given the Sword of Absolution.

     Good thing nobody sat next to the man with a lacerated lip.

~~~

     The velvet cloak of night fell over the tropical jungle of the Amazonian Basin. The wooden torches illuminated the camp, the background flora casting dancing shadows on the ground. One soldier, his patrol around the front gate, scratches his arm in response to a mosquito bite. He finally slapped the troublesome bug, and turned his head. A gun barrel was the last thing he ever saw.

     A piercing shot filled the air, scared the birds from their roosts. Two patrolmen in the west barracks turn on their heels, and head on over to the gates to investigate. The barracks have been abandoned, and it's time to move in. A hulking shadow crawled over the thatched rooftops, quietly jumping onto the gravel below.

     The main meeting hall was a little yonder beyond the barracks. He pulled up his skull bandanna over-face, and sneaked out. He climbed up onto another thatched roof, and looked below him. A passing soldier stopped to tie his shoe. The manila folder WAS pretty specific: NO WITNESSES. The Reaper leaned over and struck the soldier's head with a Bowie knife. The corpse fell to the floor, the blood splattering over the gravel. He wiped the Bowie Knife over his pant leg, like a samurai cleans his katana, and marched to the meeting hall.

     There were five soldiers at the front door, alert since the shot heard at the gate. They held their bayonet-equipped rifles upwards, ready to strike rebellious fear to any trespasser. Such beliefs of freedom. Such causes for justice. Such dreams they held. Alas, they were only dreams.

     Cooking a flash grenade, The Reaper closed one eye, and threw it from the roof. It met with a soldier's head, effectively crushing the man's eyeball. Landing on the ground with a splash of blood, a blinding light burst from impact. All five men knelt down, trying to see the figure coming before them.

     Trying to see the cloaked figure before them unlocking a slender suitcase. Unsheathing what appeared to be a broad-bladed sword from its depths, tossing the suitcase to his feet. The skeletal jaws smiling at them in empty defiance. They couldn't believe it.


     The Reaper had come for them. The Grim Reaper himself had come to judge them all. One man, lanky and bearded, watched in horrified awe as the Reaper's sword swung down. Watched the sprays of fluid burst from their wounds. Watched the showers of sparks created when the blade struck the pavement. Watched as the damned reaper walked up to him, and raise that sword to his head.

~~~

     "Multiple shots were fired, jefe!" Chief Fortunin's bodyguard called him via intercom. "Right on our doorstep! It looks like they got the two other patrolmen! They came as they heard the shots, but..."

     "Alright, calm down, comrade. Just...," the chief's stern eyes looked around him in search of a response. "Hold them off until I come down." "Understood!" The bodyguard's voice clicked off with confidence as gunfire was heard downstairs. Looking to his left, Fortunin's large hand gripped his trusty Mossberg 930. He stood up quickly and ran to the door, ready to lead his men as the heroes in his folk tales. Tales spoken to him while growing up in the developing favelas of the old City Blocks. As he reached for the door, however, he could only catch a glimpse of the wooden door's structure splintering apart.

     A massive wave of shrapnel burst through the room, sending Fortunin flying a meter away. His body was riddled with wooden shards, his leg punched through with the door's hinges. He crashed into his desk, his personal material raining upon him. A framed photo of his wife fell beside him, shattered and torn. His gaze went from the photo, to the presence of Death incarnate in the room.

     The Reaper's boots brought him closer to the Chief with every step. Every heavy, blood-dripping step. Wait a moment, he isn't wearing body armor! The Chief had a chance to save the Revolution! Quickly drawing his Glock, as the Mossberg was sent beyond his grasp, he fired a shot straight for the dead man's heart.

     A volley of movement was seen from the Reaper, and a shower of bright sparks shattered the tranquility. The Sword was in his hands, a small scratch seen on the blade. Fortunin's eyes widened in fear. Was this... the feared magic the Reaper possessed? The ability to move bullets with a swing of his arm? Could it be that his fireball-procuring magic was true too, that he shot flames from the blade itself? Unfortunately, the legend would manifest before him.

     Fortunin focused his eyes on the trigger located in the handle itself, then to the detachable revolver mechanism on the blade. The Reaper's thumb flicked a switch on the handle, and he aimed the sword at Fortunin's bald head. The blade just touched his forehead, a trickle of blood running down his nose.

     The wounded Chief looked into the Reaper's eyes and bravely spoke, "¿Quién es usted?" The Reaper simply shrugged his shoulders, dust cascading from his coat, and spoke.

      "Soy el Fin de tu mundo."

     As he pulled the trigger, a shower of gore sprayed up into the air, painting the wooden room crimson. He turned away from the corpse, and stared into the gaping hole the bullets made.

     "What a lovely view."

       Somehow, the hole he made is reminding him of the hole he's got within him, a hole that cannot be filled with no matter what he does. Or maybe it's reminding him of the many holes he put in every man and woman that were in this camp.

     Who knows? Death doesn't ask questions.

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