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Writing Noir [M-LV]


DeadSeraphim
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Prologue
1 Step Guide To Angering A Psychopath

Black and white. Opposites. They say not everything is black and white, but I beg to differ. Shades of grey my arse, when you get down to it everyone's motivation is either inherently malevolent and selfish, or inherently beneficial and selfless. This is a simple fact of the universe, a fact I've had to learn and relearn many times throughout my career. Preach about your shades of grey all you want, but don't act surprised when the anonymous benefactor to the orphanage turns out to be a pedophile - because all I'll say is "I told you so."

Me? I'm Black. That's my name and my ultimate motivation. No matter the good I do on the way to my goals, I will always be black. I've accepted this. My partner is - or was - White. She was also black, however. She thought the irony of the name was delicious. I did too, part of the reason she took it. We were lovers, before they took her. Before they killed her. Why? She murdered one of them, of course.

We were killers. The best at what we did. It was supposed to be a routine job - take down some lowlife that owed some drug money. She'd done it pro bono for the guy - he supplied our mescaline. I'm sure there was more to there arrangement, but I didn't question it. If she fucked around on the side, that was fine with me. She was black. I was black. I'd fucked more than a few whores during our relationship myself. She even caught me once. But I digress.

She killed the guy. They killed right back. We didn't know it then, but he was their leader's pride and joy. And he was brilliant. Most fantastic mind that had emerged from their den of incest and genetic manipulation. Had a nasty cocaine habit though. White told me his septum had actually collapsed. Also had a problem with paying his providers. Thus the hit - blood is equivalent to money. At least for this dealer. He knew the cash was gone, and probably not coming back. He wanted to make sure he didn't lose that cash again, and neither of his buddies would.

Guess we should've done some homework though. This guy was part of a genetic-manipulation cult. The Invisibles. Invisible because the world at large refused to believe they existed. They were hell bent on harvesting genetic material, and changing their own. Or, rather, their captives, then their own if things didn't mess up too badly. The captives escape sometimes, and their pictures hit the paper. Horrible deformed women and children - never men - with loose, flapping limbs and cancer eating half of their faces. Sick shit. But The Invisibles think it'll lead them to salvation and immortality.

Yeah. Cancer is my idea of salvation too.

So they killed White, for killing their prodigy. Apparently it took em twenty years to mix the right genetic cocktail to produce the kid, a further twenty to get him to the intelligence level he's at now. In one foul swoop, White had erased forty years of hard work by these whackjobs. Not happy campers, obviously. They retaliated, and that was their first mistake. Because when you kill my partner, bad things happen to you.

Things so bad you'll never hit the papers.
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I like it so far, but I won't be able to judge too much, since this is only a prologue. I will say that the intro image was very well-chosen, and it was smart to lead into the black and white right at the beginning. Few critiques:

[quote name='DeadSeraphim][center][left][font=Arial,sans-serif']Shades of grey my arse, when you get down to it everyone's motivation is either inherently malevolent and selfish (black), or inherently beneficial and selfless (white).[/quote] Distinguishing "black" and "white" in the parentheses was unnecessary and lacked subtlety. I have a feeling that's something you should watch out for later on in the story, since I don't get the impression so far that Black is much of a talker, heh.


[QUOTE]We were lovers, before they took her. Before they killed her.[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE]It was supposed to be a routine hit.[/QUOTE] Both of these lines were way too cliche, and if you're writing a noir story about a hitman getting revenge, the last thing you need is cliches, lol. I like the story, but watch out for those types of things.
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Chapter 1
No Good Story Ever Starts On A Dark And Stormy Night

You forget how fucking hot the sun is when you haven't been under it for a while. I was burning up here. God I hated the daytime. We used to work at night, and sleep during the day. That worked fine for me. I didn't like being in public. I didn't like people. But here I was anyway, out during the day, looking every bit like a vampire that got lost on his way back to his coven. I also needed a shave. I had coffee though. Coffee was about as good as a shave.

"Your bill, sir," the waitress had come back, only moments after delivering my coffee. She was carrying a full platter, cover and all, and a slip of paper peeked out from under its lid. Doubtless, there was nothing under that lid. Stupid concept. These waitresses have rules though. Regulations. Gotta do these things correctly.

"Thanks," I muttered, taking the bill and looking it - and her - up and down. $8. $8 for a shitty coffee, at a shitty cafe that was so full of yuppies I'd had to sit outside at one of the shitty umbrella-covered street tables. I don't think they even gave me any sugar. Bastards. I wasn't looking for trouble though - at least not yet - so I resolved to pay this once. I wasn't coming back to - I glanced at the receipt - "Starbucks" again though. Fuck Starbucks, I thought as I reached for my wallet. Fuck it right in its shitty coffee making arse.

"Here," I said, handing the woman a $100. "Keep the change. Go." She seemed flabbergasted for a moment, and stood stock still. "Are you deaf?" This brought her back to her senses.

"No, no sir," she babbled. "Thankyou sir, thankyou so much sir!" I sighed and looked away. It's like she'd never seen a $100 before. Slowly I took the coffee and sipped it again as the click clack of her retreating heels disappeared inside the cafe. They'd definitely forgotten the sugar. What kind of cafe forgets the sugar? Maybe they had so many yuppies ordering cappuccinos they forget you had to put sugar into a flat white. Idiots. I put the coffee down and reached inside my jacket for my cigarettes. I needed a cigarette. While most coffee is as good as a shave, this coffee most definitely wasn't. It needed more.

And this, I pondered as the smoking rushed into my lungs, was more than enough.

~~~~

White had been a good partner, and I was keen to avenge her, but I wasn't about to march into their cathedral guns blazing without knowing who I was going to kill. That's what action heroes and idiots do and frankly, I was neither. I had to do some intel, first, find out who runs what, and who I'd have to kill - because to be honest, even though I'd have fun killing each and every one of those vile motherfuckers, I only needed to kill a small handful, and I'd probably take less bullets if I concentrated on those few. Probably.

My first stop was our mescaline supplier, who White only ever referred to as Red. I'd never met the guy, and he likely knew nothing about me - but he was also likely to be asleep during the day, and I've found the best way to get information out of people is when you wake them up pointing a gun at them. Thus the reason I was awake before 7pm and drinking boiled toilet water from Starbucks. He wasn't the kind of guy I could visit at 1am and hope to scare anything out of.

His place hadn't been difficult to find. White had once said he lived in a loft, at the top of one of those old shitty buildings, you know the sort. Artsy types took up residence in them in the 80s, because of all the natural light or something, but the rent had quickly skyrocketed and the artsy types had to move out. In their place, eager to cash in on the supposed chic, the rich types moved in. The business men, the rockstars, the lawyers and, of course, the drug dealers, now called these apartments their home.

Luckily for me, there was only three buildings in the whole city with loft apartments, so tracking him down hadn't been the hardest task in the world. The first was empty and the second housed squatters - none of whom responded to 'Red' or any variation thereof. Logic led me here, and logic was what was taking me up the elevator to the guys floor, after a well place punch on the swipe-card needing keypad. After a few minutes of terrible elevator music, the elevator reached its destination, and the doors slid open with a clear 'ding'.

The inside was dark, as all the windows had been covered. An odd choice of living arrangements for the eternal night owl, I had to admit. Nevertheless I strode in confidently, my hand reaching to my hip and withdrawing a pistol. It was my baby, a gift from White when we'd met, all those years ago. A brief, jealous thought flitted through my mind that she may have given Red a similar gun, by I discarded it. It was useless to dwell on might have beens.

I quickly found my way to the corner that housed his bed, and immediately found out why he was called Red. The man was sleeping naked and uncovered, and I had a view of everything - from his glowing, horribly-burnt skin to his fried pathetic cock. Beside him lay a woman - no doubt a junky - who was the unfortunate recipient of Red's affectionate spooning. An odd scene. I quickly ascertained an even faster way to get this guy to talk was to wake him up to the view of a dead woman lying in his arms. As I screwed the silencer on the end of my weapon, I briefly considered if this would be going too far. Was this too much? Would killing this girl for information be, well, overkill? What happened to my original plan of just scaring him awake without bloodshed? All these thoughts and more flitted through my mind.

Then I shot her.
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[font=Arial][size=2][color=DarkGreen]I know this is terrible, but I saw the image and stated reading even before I realised who wrote it.

...At least you know that you draw people in!

Fantastic concept. I particularly like the use of colours as names; Black and white confused me at first but when I got it, I really loved it. Your style at the moment is quite dark and, I guess, sarcastic, which I particularly adore. I have to agree with John on those cliche lines, but I didn't pick any out in Chapter 1 [Fantastic title, by the way!] that immediately made me wince.

One thing I do suggest you look at is the character's motivation. I'm just a little bit curious as to why he'd care enough to avenge White if, as he says;[/color][/size][/font][i][font=Arial][size=2][color=DarkGreen]a gift from White when we were still young, in love, and giving a fuck about each-other in any capacity.

[/color][/size][/font][/i][font=Arial][size=2][color=DarkGreen]Other than that, all I have to say is great concept and please continue.
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[COLOR=Indigo][SIZE=1][FONT=Arial]Note: I edit as per people's suggestions as I go. Try to keep up.[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]

Chapter 2
Shock And Awe

It took a while for Red to realise he was lying in a pool of blood, when I woke him up. It took him even longer to realise his little concubine was dead, and a pale man smoking a cigarette was leaning against his wall. It didn't take him long to add two and two together, however, and, even to this day, I've never seen a grown man start crying so fast when faced with trying circumstances. Even the people I intended on killing usually had more dignity. Watching him caress and cry over the woman's corpse for a moment, I took a final drag on my cigarette and flicked it across the room. I better get this over with.

"What can you tell me about The Invisibles, Red?" The man looked at me through the gloom with a combination of anger and grief on his face.

"Why should I tell you anything?" he half-snarled. "You killed my boyfriend." I blinked. That definitely caught me off guard. Looking over to the bed, I inspected the corpse again. It certainly had tits. And a pretty round face. My eyes glanced quickly at its closed crotch but looked away just as fast. I honestly didn't want to know.

"You should tell me..." I began, fishing for another cigarette. "Because they've killed White." I heard a sharp intake of breath and seized the moment to light up. I could hear the cogs in Red's minds click and change gears as he processed this new piece of information. In the near silence, I even heard his lips open stickily as he framed an answer.

"I don't know much..." he managed, sniffing loudly. Naturally, I thought. "I just know a man from The Invisibles who buys drugs from me sometimes. Well, I knew two, but if you knew White..."

"I know."

"Yeah." His voice was shaking slightly as he let go of his dead lover and swung his foul body around to sit on the edge of the bed. His grief and anger were gone now, only shock remained. All the better for me, they talk better when they're in shock. "Would you like his name? His number?"

"Of course." I said, watching the end of my cigarette burn away silently. "I trust you won't be telling anyone about our conversation, though." Silence. I turned to look at him and even in the darkness I could see him shaking in fear. "Can I trust you, Red?"

"I..." Tears started welling up in his eyes again. I could feel a monologue coming on. "I don't know. I only live now because of The Invisibles mercy. They know I called the hit, and the man I have contact with... he only lets me live because he found a free outlet for his cocaine addiction in me. If I lied to him, he could tell. And then..."

"And then what?"

"And then they'd kill me, like they did to White." He trailed off into silence. He obviously didn't trust his skills of deception at all, and, frankly, neither did I. Turning my face away from him, I sucked in some cancer and considered my options. There wasn't many.

"I'll protect you from them then," I said finally. I'd cringed as I said it.

"Really?"

"Yes, really." I tossed him my mobile phone. "Input the guy's number in there. Save it and give it back. Then we'll discuss our options for your protection." The dull click of the keypad signalled that he was doing as he was told. I wanted to know more than just his contacts though.

"How did you meet White?" He stopped.

"What?"

"I asked, how did you meet White?" Watching him, I saw his brow furrow as he tried to recall.

"Umm... she needed mescaline so a mutual friend hooked us up," he replied finally, his focus back on the phone. "She refused to pay me though, so we had to work out a deal." I laughed softly. Same old White. She wouldn't pay for McDonalds if she could get away with it.

"What did you work out?" I asked. He gulped loudly.

"She'd err..." He paused, ashamed. "She'd fuck me in the arse for free drugs." I coughed loudly in surprise. Wow. I mean, really, just wow. I hadn't expected that at all. I had always wondered why she kept a strapon on though. Figured it must've been for some lesbian thing. But now I knew the truth. The horrible, horrible truth.

"You're one twisted motherfucker, Red," I said, walking to the bed and taking my phone back. "We could've become good friends. It's a shame I'm going to have to kill you." He squealed.

"What?! You said you'd protect me!" Pulling out my pistol, I closed an eye and trained it on the guy's ugly sloped forehead.

"I lied."
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Definitely getting better as the chapters go by, and you did some great description in Chapter 1. All I can think to tell you about this chapter is that you could've fleshed out Red a little bit more, especially through more description of his actions throughout the conversation. For instance, throughout the entire chapter he was lying in a pool of his lover's blood. From all the information about his character that you gave us, I'd expect him to want to crawl off onto the floor next to the bed, or anywhere but there.

I also would've said more about his facial expressions and demeanor. He's a morally detached, creepy guy, so audiences would expect him to be, well, pretty morally detached and creepy. But since he was definitely more terrified and human (slightly), I'd have made more effort to clarify that.
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[COLOR=Indigo][SIZE=1][FONT=Arial][quote name='John']He's a morally detached, creepy guy, so audiences would expect him to be, well, pretty morally detached and creepy. But since he was definitely more terrified and human (slightly), I'd have made more effort to clarify that.[/quote]
You can still be creepy, morally-detached and human all at oncen (like Slingblade!). And even creepy, morally-detached weirdos get terrified when someone has snuck into their apartment and kill their lover without even waking them. Trufax.[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]

Chapter 3
In Which I Sleep For Hours Before Doing My Job

I had a phone number, I had a name, and I had the blood of two people on my hands. Honestly, I was disappointed. I'd been expecting more information, and more killing by this point. But the night was still young, and word had gotten around that Red and his little nancy boyfriend were congealing in their own juices, so I could set in motion the second part of my plan. Time to meet me an Invisible.

The guy's name was Mort. I'd read a book called Mort once, and it was great, but I doubt this guy was comparable. I expected a depraved, drug-fucked psychopath, with a predisposition towards believing crazy circumstances and lies. What I got was almost close to the my assumptions, but he wasn't so much depraved as he was dapper, and the 'ravages of drugs' on his body weren't at all noticeable. He was still a psychopath though. Don't get me wrong.

I'd rung him as soon as night fell, and set up a meeting at the same Starbucks from earlier in the day - luckily, I didn't intend to drink any coffee. I told him I knew what had went down with Red, and heard from a friend of an associate that he was in the market for some nice, Columbia-grade cocaine. From the start I'm sure he didn't believe my cover story. I knew he'd be packing heat, and would probably blow my skull out as soon as I showed up, or soon afterward. But that was okay, because I would be packing heat too, and when I was packing heat you usually didn't live to tell the tale.

"Black, I presume." His voice was smooth and svelte to my ears as I entered cafe. He was sitting close to the door with a briefcase on his lap, and only one hand on the table. I knew what that meant. I'd been in this game a long time, and I was no fool. "Care to take a seat?" I shifted slightly to better access my pistol.

"I'll stand."

Mort nodded slowly and sipped from at his coffee. "As you wish." I reached into my pocket and fingered the bag of cocaine I'd actually procured, wondering how a drug dealer actually went about this. I had no idea of the cocaine's price - the dealer I stole it from hardly labelled his baggies.

"So, how much are you asking for it?" he asked suddenly, his eyes staring into mine.

"Oh, you know," I ventured. "The usual." He nodded that slow nod again.

"I see."

An uneasy silence fell between us. All of a sudden, it was very obvious that we both knew that this wasn't a drug deal. I had too act quickly, or risk losing my brains out the backside of my skull. Around us, the assembled yuppies watched nervously. Even they could feel the tension in the air. Then he twitched.

I launched into action, diving across the table just as he raised his other hand, clasped tightly around cold steel. My leap caught him in the chest and his gun fired wildly as he was knocked on his back, making plaster rain from the ceiling in a fine mist. Around us the yuppies screamed in terror. Somewhere in the back of my mind, all I could think about was how fucking stupid those yuppies were. Why scream, what good was it doing you? Do you really think it'd stop me? But in the forefront of my mind I was pulling out my pistol and pistol-whipping that cockhead till his lip split and a gash three inches across had appeared on his forehead. His face was running with blood by the time I ended, and he was limp and panting. Getting info out of him now should be a breeze.

"Who ordered the hit on White?" He spat in my face. I snarled and pistol whipped him again. "Don't make me ask again."

"I don't know," he scowled. "I just know it actually happened. Your trail's cold, arsehole." He spat at me again. My pistol flew out again, leaving a dent in his skull.

"Wrong answer." He only laughed. Like he was enjoying this. What did I tell you? He was a psychopath. I abused him again, and he coughed up blood onto his shirt. I didn't have much time left before the police arrived, so I stepped up my efforts. Spinning the gun around my hand, I pressed it hard into his crotch.

"If you don't give me the right answer soon Mort, you may find yourself bereft a leg, if you know what I mean," I paused and pressed harder. "So start talking or start bleeding, it's your fucking choice." Mort sized up his options pretty fast at that point, and started talking. A whole lot actually. Largely about how he's married, and he has children, and please don't do this to him, but there was a few diamonds in the rough there. Like some names, some addresses, and, my favourite - some phone numbers. With my gun still pressed to his crotch I diligently entered all this into my phone as he cried. Then I stood, pocketing the phone again.

"Thankyou Mort. You've been helpful." Stepping back I pulled my leg back and landed a big cock in his crotch. I heard a pop, and the telltale screams of a man who's just suffered a non-fatal but debilitating crotch injury followed me out of the cafe. I hummed to the sound as I disappeared into an alley. It's the little things, you know, that make life worth living. The little things.
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[size=1][color=#CD6619]I've got to say, this is pretty good. When I first saw this, I was expecting some sort of "Sin City" parody or something, but instead I get killing and more killing, with a bit of drugs. Ah, the gifts that life gives are great ^_^.

Anyways, I'm really impressed and it just pulled me in. Although, I was looking for more interaction between Mort and Black before they got to the ?I'll-kill-you-before-you-kill-me? scene. Albeit, the description of Mort getting pummeled was quite interesting. It makes me wonder about all of those people that enjoy sadism- maybe Mort was one of them.[/size][/color]
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[quote name='Revelation']When I first saw this, I was expecting some sort of "Sin City" parody or something[/quote][size=1][color=indigo][font=arial]It was actually inspired by The Hard Goodbye, so there you go.[/font][/color][/size]

Chapter 4
I Always Liked Her Breasts The Most

It was morning. The curtains were drawn, the early news was on the television, and I'd been busy all night. My hands were shaking so hard it was putting out my cigarettes and I'd downed half a bottle of rum in the last hour. Not with coke, just straight. It always made me feel like vomiting, but it numbed me. It made my whole body numb. Made me feel paralysed. Made me forget the atrocities I'd commited. I liked the feeling.

I'd made a lot of progress throughout the night. I knew who'd called the hit - one of Mort's contacts had been particularly vocal - but he was practically inaccessible. His name was Gerome, and he was the 'High-Priest' of The Invisibles. He'd been there since The Invisibles began, been funding it by playing the stocks since before I was born, and the kid White had killed was one of the biggest investments he'd ever made. Understandably, he was pissed. So they killed White. But why not kill Red as well? It made no sense. In any case, I knew who my target was, and I knew where he was. It was just a matter of how to get to him, at that point.

Easing back into my armchair, I breathed deep and closed my eyes, listening to the sounds of the waking world. The apartment seemed so empty now. God I missed White. Even though we were both black, we needed each other. We were a team. A partnership. Fuck, we were practically married.

I reached down the side of the chair, and pulled out a small baggy full of pills. Mescaline. I needed one. I needed to escape. Needed to pull myself together somehow. I popped the mescaline, and let my mind go where it wanted. And I knew where it wanted to go. It wanted to go to White.

~~~
[I]
My eyes aren't focussing, and the clock is ticking slower and slower with every moment. I try to move my arms but I can't. I opt to blink instead. It seems to take a life time. When my eyes finally open, hours seem to have passed. And she's there. I can smell her perfume, it's intoxicating, it's filling me with rage for her death and lust for her memory. She's moving through the room, and glowing with white light. Once again, I try to move, try to reach out and touch her. It's impossible though. She's out of my reach. I'll never touch her again. A tear wells up in the corner of my eye, and once again an agonisingly slow blink consumes time and space.

While my eyes squeeze shut, I see the scene again. I see her body, lying prone, in a pool of its own blood. She knew she was being tracked. She knew she was about to die. She'd quickly scrawled me a note before they'd gotten her. Stuck it to my chest with a thumbtack while I slept like a log. Then she'd run. Run to the alley. And that's where they got her. That's where I found her. Lying in a pool of her own blood. I'd already read the note. All she asked for was vengeance. Vengeance against The Invisibles. I had cried for possibly the first time in twenty years that night. Cried hot, angry tears and resolved to follow her final wish to the letter - no matter what it took.[/i]

~~~

Slowly my eyes opened. It was evening, and I'd been sleeping. I peeled myself off the couch, my body and soul reinvigorated, and stretched wide. Throughout the mescaline haze, my subconscious mind had been going a mile a minute, as usual. As a result, I now had a plan. I lit up a cigarette and took a long drag, smiling grimly as I went over the details. And what a plan it was.
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[SIZE=1]I've got to say, my favourite thing about these stories are the wonderful chapter headings. Okay, that isn't my favourite, the writing is, but I adore long chapter titles that make it seem so much more...personal.

This is most certainly the best writing I've ever seen you do. I think you've used the first person absolutely expertly in writing this and it really gives a more emotional feel to the story where it needs it.

I also like how your description isn't all flowerly and 'circle-writing'. You get straight to the point rather than reeling off unnecessary complicated or long words when you can just use something more simplistic.

I know I commented more on your style of writing than the story itself. Don't get me wrong, I love the characterisation and the flow so far, I just thought I'd pick out how much I like your technique.[/SIZE]
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Chapter 5
So, I Once Knew A Guy...

Cafes are a funny thing. White once said if you've been to one, you've been to them all. Having never visited a cafe before yesterday, I had always doubted that little idiom, but right now, I was seeing the golden truth in it. It turns out that "Gloria Jeans" couldn't make a flat white to save their life either. Yet again sitting at the outside tables, I briefly considered if Starbucks and Gloria Jeans were, in fact, the same company. There could be a whole coffee conspiracy there, to get people used to shit, yuppy coffee, and ease out any variety that didn't have to be pronounced in Italian. I looked at the take away cup on the table next to me, and exhaled a lungful of smoke. It even looked the same. If they weren't the same company, they were copying each other so flawlessly they didn't realise it.

I was waiting for a friend, Frank. He was an arms dealer, and could get his hands on things mere mortals only dreamed of - but at a high price. I'd heard of people taking out a mortgage to get stuff off of Frank. Luckily for me, he was indebted to me for saving his life half a dozen times, or thereabouts, so he didn't dare charge me his normal rate. Or at all, if I could manage to be threatening enough. Unfortunately though, when you're sitting outside Gloria Jeans, with a takeaway coffee in your hand, it's hard to look threatening.

"Black!" I turned and saw Frank walking toward me, throwing his car keys up as he went. "Long time no see!" I cocked an eyebrow.

"Not long enough." I gestured at the vacant seat beside me. "Sit down and tell me what's in stock." He nodded and took the seat, grimacing slightly at the site of my cigarette. Frank didn't like smoking, and usually asked me to put it out. Or, he used to. The cigarette burn on his hand pretty much assured he wasn't going to ask any time soon. Taking a slow drag, I blew the smoke in his face. "Speak to me, Frank." He scowled.

"Give me a minute, I've got to find the current stock," he coughed as he pulled a notepad out of his jacket and started to flip through its pages like a seasoned professional. As far as notebooks go, it'd seen better days. It was grimy, and old, and a normal man would find it fucking disgusting. Despite that, it was the only thing he'd do business with. Claimed that it's appearance was a large factor that kept people from stealing it. I was inclined to agree. Finally he came to what I assumed was the freshest page, and started reading it silently to himself.

"I don't have much in the way of small arms right now, Black," he said, his voice apologetic as he scanned the page. "Only a few military-issue handguns modified for tank busting, and a submachine gun that fires explosive rounds. If you were after big stuff though..."

I took a last drag and put out my cigarette. "I'm after the big stuff." A new life entered Frank as he heard that. Frank liked the big stuff. It's what he lived for, and he was indirectly responsible for more than his fair share of national disasters as a result. He wasn't too discerning about who he sold his big stuff too, you see. Which was fine by me. As long as he didn't start getting discerning when I needed big stuff, it would never become an issue.

"What kind of stuff are we talking, Black," he said leaning back in his chair in what I think was meant to be a relaxed posture. "Sustained fire? Big badaboom? Plain old vicious? I've got them all and more." I didn't doubt that. If Frank could be counted on anything, he could be counted on having one of everything that went boom, patoowe, or crunch. More, if it'd been a particularly busy day on the black market.

"I've scoped the place I'm infiltrating, already," I began, taking a sip from my coffee. "And I've ascertained that I'm going to need something along the lines of a chaingun, a half dozen shrapnel grenades, and if you can be accommodating within my budget, one of those anti-tank handguns you mentioned." He looked incredulous, and I could see his facade dropping.

"Black, when most people tell me they're infiltrating a place they order items that don't wake up a city block."

"You know me, Frank." I paused to finish the coffee, and threw the empty cup into the street. "I'm not most people." His facade fell entirely.

"You're also mad!" he roared. "Don't think I don't know what you're doing, you're making ripples in the underworld a mile wide. Now don't get me wrong, I'll provide you the weapons, Black, but it's not too late to pull out. You can give up this vendetta, and live happily ever after. Accept White's death, and move on."

"She wanted me to avenge her," I said, putting a cigarette to my lips and staring out into the street. "It was her last wish. I'm not about to deny it." His face contorted in frustration as I spoke.

"Did she know she was pitting you against the single most powerful organisation in the underworld though? No!" He slammed his fist on the table. "This is madness, Black, and like it or not you're not going to live to tell the tale if you don't back out now."

I slowly lit the cigarette and took a drag, exhaling slowly. "I know, Frank. Your brotherly love is touching, but it won't stop me. Tonight I'm going to die. I've accepted it. But so is the bastard that got White killed." His face fell.

"Please Black..." his tone was pleading. "Don't do this." Digging into my jacket I found a tightly packed bankroll and placed it on the table, avoiding my brother's eye.

"I expect your people to have the weapons at my place by 9," I said as I stood to leave, ignoring the lump in my throat. "Goodbye, Frank."

Frank, my brother, my last living family, slumped in his chair, defeated. "See you round, Black."
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[size=1][color=#CD6619]Wow, I never expected Frank to be Black's brother. It was so... unexpected and just came out so nonchalantly. I'm astounded and still am as I'm writing this post. More so, your portrayal of Black, towards the end, brought more personality to him. "I said as I stood to leave, ignoring the lump in my throat." I mean, that just brings the thought that Black is still human, no matter what; he's not just some killing machine out on a vengeance vendetta.

Yet, the way you wrote this made it seem like it was nearing the end and I hope it isn't. I'm really wanting more of it. Nonetheless, you've done such a great job, Seraphim. Keep it up.[/size][/color]
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[quote name='Revelation']Yet, the way you wrote this made it seem like it was nearing the end and I hope it isn't. I'm really wanting more of it.[/quote][font=arial][size=1][color=indigo]It finishes with Chapter 8. Sorry. Chapter 8 is huge though, so there you go.[/color][/size][/font]

Chapter 6
Arrogance Can Be A Fatal

The Invisibles cathedral was a twisted spire of glass and steel, striking out at the sky like the spear of an angry god. Every evening at least two dozen men would line up outside it's reinforced oak doors, eager to gain entry so they could listen to the 'preaching' that went on inside - some even bringing their wives and children. And every evening the men left alone, their wives and children now genetic slaves to The Invisibles empire. I often wondered how they could live with themselves, willingly surrendering the ones they loved for The Invisibles insane agenda. Then I'd remember I'm a paid killer and stop lingering on the thought. Ethics aren't exactly a pick and choose thing - though Mort had claimed he had a wife and kids, so maybe they are. In any case, issues of morality weren't my immediate concern.

"Someone here is going to take me to Gerome, or your priest will have to preach minus a head," I roared as I stepped over the flattened doors and into the cathedral, dropping my chaingun and pulling out an anti-tank pistol as I spoke. "And don't think I won't, you scumbags." The gathered congregation stared at me, anger in their eyes, but none spoke. Really, I'd expected at least a few of them to be scared, or nervous enough to talk - I mean, just how often do madmen smash down the cathedral doors with a chaingun? - but their faith in their shrivelled, deranged priest's invulnerability kept them tightlipped. Which was a shame, since I didn't really want to waste a bullet on him.

"Just who do you think you are?" the priest yelled from his podium. "And what are you doing in our cathedral?!" His beady eyes burned with fury.

"I have business with Gerome," I replied. "Get me to him and noone gets hurt." He scoffed.

"You really think you can hurt me? I'm behind three inches of bulletproof glass, you idiot." He gestured at his assembled congregation. "They won't take you anywhere either you know. They know I'm invulnerable to your... your stupidity! Now leave!" I tightened my grip on the pistol.

"I'd rather stay." His face twisted into an angry snarl.

"Put down the gun and leave, before we kill you, you fool!" To my right a man dressed all in black appeared out of the shadows, a machine gun held in his hands. Eyeing him, I considered the priest's proposal for a moment and laughed. My resolve was not shaken.

"No." I pulled the trigger and the round left the gun with a bang that made the whole cathedral rattle. With ease it shattered the bullet proof glass and exploded through the priests skull, leaving only a teetering headless corpse. Time froze for a long moment as everyone - myself, the man in black and congregation alike - watched as it threatened to fall. Then, with a loud thud it hit the ground, and time burst back into motion.

I dove into a nearby row just as the man in black's machine gun fire roared over my head, shattering the glass wall behind me. Quickly climbing to my feet I fired one of the anti-tank rounds but missed, hitting a pew instead and turning it into an supernova of splinters. With gymnastic ease the man dodged the spray and leap into the centre isle, just in time to receive my second shot - one anti-tank round to the kneecap. With a loud cry he collapsed forward, tossing his machine gun away as both hands rush to clutch his now ruined leg. I smiled mirthlessly.

"Let's see you dodge this," I hissed as I fired again, blowing away half his skull and sending his body flying onto its back. For a long moment he twitched, and I kept my pistol trained on him just in case. Then he stopped, the congregation collectively gasped, and I felt that sick satisfaction you only get when you've just killed not one, but two men in front of 25 people. Panting, I stood up straight and I scanned for any more resistance, saw none, and trained my pistol on the closest man. Like the rest of the congregation, his features were now etched with not just fury, but also fear. I liked it.

"I've already killed two of your own," I announced to them all. "Don't make me kill anyone else. Which one of your sick fucks wants to take me to Gerome?" They stayed silent, willing to die to protect their High-Priest. Without hesitating I blew away the man closest to me. "That's three. Would you like to go for a fourth?" Still noone. Slowly I realigned my pistol to the next closest man. He looked weak. More scared than the rest. Pathetic even.

Workable, even.

"Not even you?" I asked him, staring him down. I could see tears starting to well in his eye as he realised his own mortality.

"Err... I... no... I can't..."

"Are you sure?"

"I can't they'll kill me!"

"I'll kill you you idiot, now give me a name or become Victim Four." He squirmed for the longest time, trying to avoid my steady glare and the gun trained steadily on his forehead. Then he snapped.

"MYER CAN!" he screamed. I smiled, satisfied, while the rest of the room groaned. "He's the one in grey in the front row. Oh God, please don't kill me. Please! I've heard about you, please don't do this, please, I know what you did to Mort, do that to me instead, I don't care, just don't kill me please." Tears flowed freely down his face as he begged.

"No can do."
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[QUOTE=DeadSeraphim][color=Indigo][size=1][font=Arial]
You can still be creepy, morally-detached and human all at oncen (like Slingblade!). And even creepy, morally-detached weirdos get terrified when someone has snuck into their apartment and kill their lover without even waking them. Trufax.[/font][/size][/color][/QUOTE] That was my point, really. But the automatic, unthinking expectation is that the guy is creepy and detached and will therefore [i]be[/i] creepy and detached. Since he wasn't, though, I'd have made more of a point of that than you did. You just kinda left it to be eventually assumed.

And that's also the only problem I still see in this story: a lack of description. And describing doesn't mean you have to go into paragraphs-long odes about a character's nostrils, but in this chapter, for instance, you should have done more with the priest. The line, "Put down the gun and leave, before we kill you, you fool!" for instance, could either be really good or really bad, depending on what that priest is like. If when Black entered he was rallying the crowds with messages of inspiration and perfection, and trying to pass off as a man of rationality to side with and please the crowd, then that line sounds pretty cheesy coming from him. If he's a gnarled old man with his eyes focused aimlessly upwards and bellowing about those who would try and stop perfection, then the line would be pretty suiting.

Small things like that would take some of the effort off the reader, and give the settings more depth.
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