The Hollow and The Saint

In a world filled with agony and despair, Logan, a master assassin embark on a journey to change reality in order to create the perfect society for his beloved Elizabeth Rose, where they can live together. Struggling against his bleak destiny and haunted by the demons ravaging this world enslaving people hopes and minds, all while fighting with a rage that might strip him of his humanity, will he be able to succeed in creating this perfect world?

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4. The Doctor

Secrets. We all have some hidden inside that closet in the corner of our hearts. No matter how close people think they are, an infinite distance separates them. That’s why everyone needs a safe haven: a place where to be truly free. Somewhere you can widely spread your wings, dark or colorful, ragged or smooth. Secrets are what make us who we are.

   I was on my way to The Doctor’s mansion. It was on the top of the hill, miles away from the city, and I was sitting at the back of his car. It was the first time I had ever seen the city from above. The view was marvelous and captivating. On the left, the sun was sinking deep into the ocean, casting a lengthy orange line straight towards the harbor. Moving slowly to the right, white pigeons were dancing along a long bridge connecting a small island to the city, like an artery pumping with life. A little closer to the middle, a big circular park centered by a flower like fountain blooming with charm and grace. Elegant, tall buildings resting on the sides were acting like long pillars, reflecting golden threads of light onto the streets.

   “Here it is, we have finally arrived,” said The Doctor.

   At first glance, the mansion resembled a small fortress. Surrounded by high walls, the building has two watch towers with snipers stationed at each. Armed men were at every corner, patrolling the garden alongside trained dogs.

    I wonder, why would a doctor have this much security?

   “Hey Alex, open up,” said the driver to the gatekeeper.

   Once we had entered the mansion, four maids and a butler gathered at the entrance.

   “Welcome back sir, I see you brought company this time,” said the butler.

   “Well William, this isn’t any random kid, he’s Michael’s son!” said The Doctor with a voice of excitement.

   “Oh my god! So it’s finally happening,” William replied, shocked by this revelation.

   “Come on now, the sun is almost down, we must get to work. In the meantime, show Logan around, and try to explain to him how things work around here,” The Doctor ordered William.

   “As you wish, sir. if you would like to follow me, master Logan,” William responded.

   Walking beside William, I felt at ease. Somehow, and despite having had a hard time talking with others before, something was different with William. I trusted him completely; it was like I could bare everything.

   The mansion was a wonder. Walking inside was like walking with the sun above your head, with lamps at every corner and side. The walls were designed in the European style, dominated by white, and accented with simple threads of gold ornaments. Walking on the floor was like taking a stroll inside a fairytale. Composed of large tiles with each set creating a beautiful drawing of Eastern pattern, telling different stories of the golden era. All the paintings shared one single theme: mystery, with the exception of one on the second floor, just beside the master bedroom. I stood there, contemplating its beauty, as it stood out from the others. William noticed my interest in that particular piece, so he came close and laid his hand on my shoulder and spoke.

   “All the paintings in this mansion were picked by The Doctor, with the exception of this one. It was chosen by his wife, Ms. Jennifer. Unlike him, Ms. Jennifer had a different approach to life, always looking for the light in everyone she encountered, even if it were the devil himself. She said once that this drawing reflected Master Brian the most. A red flower releasing the first drop of nectar at dawn,”

   “Jennifer... Where is she?” I asked. I really wanted to meet this woman, she seemed intriguing.

   “Sadly, Ms. Jennifer passed away seven years ago in a car accident alongside your mother, Ms. Hale Brandon,” William replied.

   It was the first time that I had heard my mother’s name. Suddenly, tears were welling up in my eyes, then rolling down my cheeks, my heart was about to jump out of my chest. I had never really known her, and yet I felt sad. Maybe it was because I had been hoping that she would be still alive, that one day I would finally meet her, touch her hands, scream over and over, “Why did you leave me in the orphanage all these years?!”

   I guess I will never find out the answer from her after all.

***

   At midnight, all the maids in the mansion changed into white clothes, with gloves and masks on their faces. Security was getting tighter, and William stood at the entrance like he was waiting for someone.

   Suddenly, I heard car tires squealing outside. The door opened, and an armed man entered, followed by another one holding a wounded person.

   “Quickly! Matt is bleeding fast! He needs medical attention!” yelled the armed man.

   “Of course, but first I need you to surrender your weapons, sir,” William responded.

   “Look asshole, see these murderous eyes? I have been through shit all day long, so either you get your lazy ass out of my way or I will make you, with a bullet in that thick skull of yours!” The armed man pointed his gun towards William as he yelled.

   “Sorry sir, I guess I can’t do either for you. House rules: no conflict allowed in the grounds,” William responded, calmly.

   With just one clap from William, the four maids that I had met earlier came out from behind the pillars, armed with submachine guns, surrounding the armed man.

     Had they been standing behind those columns all this time?

   “Fuck you all!” yelled the armed man while aiming his gun left and right.

   “Jayce! Just shut up for a second. We will surrender our weapons, just please help Matt, he can’t hold on any longer!” said the mysterious man.

   “Terence... But… Fuck it! Here, take it!” Jayce surrendered.

   William went on searching their pockets, stripping them of their weapons. With everything set, The Doctor descended from the second floor, with his elegant look. All eyes were fixed on his figure. He approached Matt, examined his body thoroughly, then stood up and looked at Terence.

   “Your friend’s leg is infected, dried out of blood. It’s beyond help,”

   “So what? He will die just like that?!” yelled Jayce.

   “I didn’t say he would die, I just said that his left leg where he was shot is long gone. It must be amputated immediately before the infection spreads further into his body.”

   “Damn it! Alright, do what you have to do, just keep my brother alive!” Terence replied.

   William carried Matt to the operation room, followed by The Doctor and the maids or nurses as of this moment. Seriously, what are they?!

***

   Ten minutes later we heard police sirens outside.

   “Cops?! Shit! They must’ve followed the car,” said Jayce.

   “Don’t worry, you are at The Doctor’s mansion. Second rule: no one shall harm the patient or his companions,” William responded.

   William went out to see the cops. I followed him.

   “How can I help you gentlemen?” William asked.

   “Tell me, have you seen three mysterious men? One with medium height followed by a thin young man with a wounded leg, the third guy has a strong build and a burn scar on his left arm,” asked the cop.

   “Yes I did. In fact, they are right inside the mansion,” William replied.

   “What?! Okay, I will call for backup, meanwhile please stay put! They are armed and dangerous. These men have already stolen twenty grand’s worth of goods from a jewelry shop, and have shot and injured the shopkeeper. He managed to wound one of them in the leg before passing out. Right now the shopkeeper is in a critical condition,” responded the cop.

   “I am afraid I can’t let you do that, sir. These fine gentlemen are our guests. They have full protection for twenty-four hours, after that you are free to do whatever you want. They will be all yours,” William explained.

   “Sir, if you do not comply I will take you as well, for obstruction of justice," said the cop.

   “Alright then, come on in, you can call for backup from inside. We have already made sure to remove all weapons from the guests,” said William.

   The police officer entered the mansion, while his partner stayed outside to keep watch in case the fugitives tried to flee.

   “Sorry sir, but I have to take your gun, house rules,” William informed the police officer.

   “What…?” in a flash, William had disarmed the police officer, relieving him of his gun.

   “Now you can make your phone call.”

   The police officer was in shock. He saw that he was no longer in control, so he chose to make the call instead of resisting alone.

   “Logan, watch carefully, as this shall be your first lesson,” William said, patting me on the head.

   After the police officer had finished his phone call, his face turned red, he was sweating all over, and he was struggling to breathe.

   “Sorry for the disturbance, I was only assigned to this city two days ago, I didn’t know about this mansion. Please, give my dearest apologies to The Doctor,” said the police officer, with fear in his voice.

   “No need for apologies, sir.” William replied with superiority.

   The police officer went directly towards the exit door.

   “Officer, don’t you want your gun back?” William asked.

   “Oh yes! Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” replied the officer, shaking all over and unable to look William in the eye. He left.

   I couldn’t help laughing out loud. My heart was jumping from excitement. This confidence, this prestige, this composure! I was captivated.

   “See Logan, what you saw there was something stronger than money. This what we call, power!” William said with a sharp tone and a piercing stare that sent a chill down my spine.

    Power, what a frightening phenomenon.  

***

   Two hours later, The Doctor finished the operation: it was a success.

   “Alright boys, you still have twenty-two and a half hours; you can stay or leave now if you want, it’s your choice,” said The Doctor.

   “I think we will leave right now, before any more cops arrive and block our exit,” Terence replied.

   “In that case, I shall reveal to you the last and most sacred rule of this mansion: Nobody leaves without paying.” William said.

   “Of course, how much?” Terence asked.

   “Two grand,” William replied.

   “Two fucking grand?! Are you kidding me?” Jayce yelled.

   “That’s too much. Please, we need the money so we can get out of this city once and for all. The jewelry shop we just hit was run by an asshole who intentionally crippled our mother because she refused to sell her dignity to him. He stabbed her in the back with a knife. She was never the same again, her feet can no longer feel pain or anything at that. We reported the incident to the cops, but they refused to believe that someone as ‘noble’ as him would do such a thing to a woman like my mother. In reality, he already bought the chief out, and he granted him full immunity. Can you believe that? Is this fucking justice?!”

   “Two grand.” William asked again for the same sum, with an unwavering voice.

   “Jayce, bring me the money from the car,” Terence asked his brother.

   “But Terence-”

   “Just do what I say! Life isn’t as forgiving as you think it is! It’s a fucking deadly maze for people like us, and it’s people like them who make it that way,” Terence replied, his eyes burning with tears as he spoke.

   This look, those tears, I don’t want to be like that, I don’t want to feel as if I was crushed like a small ant! Defeat, what a hideous feeling.

   Yesterday I had woken up in a hellhole, surrounded by rats and darkness, living a meaningless life day after day. Hours later, I had been given the chance to open my eyes. I had been blind but now everything was as clear as the sun. My goal, my destiny, my dream, it was all in front of me. The question of life had finally been answered. Now, all I could do was learn, until I could finally set out on my journey alone. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for.

     For the sake of my dream, I am prepared to face even the devil himself.

 
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