Dead Last, p.1Eric Gutierrez, Jr
By Eric Gutierrez Jr.
Copyright © 2014 Dreaded Sushi Press
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This building is starting to smell a bit rancid. I guess almost like milk that was left out in the heat for a month. I didn’t want to get detailed, but goddamn it stinks. I’ve been waiting in this room for about three hours waiting for him to come out of his appointment. The scope on my rifle stayed closed to avoid any attention to my perch. All I needed was a split second of the sun reflecting off the scope to ruin my days of preparation.
My phone buzzed next to me with Phil’s name shining through the dark room. Phil has been a friend of mine since middle school. Even then, he’s been a fan of the Kill Spot, always lugging around the magazines or statistics to his favorite assassins. During lunchtime, he’d talk about like if it was a game of football or something. He was the one guy who knew the ins and outs to this underworld. This was my first job and this was the guy who can keep me on my toes.
“Phil.” I answered.
“Mark,” He said, “Remember this kill will get you in the game, but you’re going to have to keep it up since you will be in last place at the get-go.”
“I don’t have to worry,” I assured him, “With that ranking, I’ll be chump change to these other hunters.”
“Yeah,” Phil agreed, or so I thought, “Easy chump change.”
“Shut up,” I scoffed, “Call me back with the results.”
“Alright,” He said, “Don’t screw this up.”
The line hung up and I continued my stake out. My current target was a low-rank capo for the Magellan Regime, some mafia organization from the Spanish side of Boston, which I didn’t know existed until I accepted this job. For some reason, this bastard fingered his own don for a cool five figure sum. A couple days later, he was given the green light, but no one in the Kill Spot wanted his low-earning ass, so I decided to take it as a chance to add something to my portfolio. I bought this high-caliber sniper rifle off an Irish gun smuggler, which came as a bolt-action. I stopped using bolt-action when I was kid and I converted it to a semi-automatic weapon of OMG. The bullets I constructed used enough force to penetrate the target, and tears them up inside-out, leaving his friends a message. I’m hoping this kill will give me enough points to enter the game at last.
“Okay,” I said to myself holding a pair of binoculars, “Where are you, my little rat?”
A lot of the commotion at the diner across the street probably meant that the target was making a move while his bodyguards protected each one of his movements to his car. I wasn’t planning on extra bodies, but they brought it upon themselves. I pulled the lever to load my cartridge to the rifle. Unfortunately, my eyeglasses would make aiming down the scope a challenge, so I had to modify the scope on my rifle to match my prescription as well as maintain the zooming capabilities of a military-style scope. I watched the laundry by a local store wave with the wind and I transitioned my crosshairs to the vehicle of my target.
I was never trained in combat, shit, I barely won any matches on Call of Duty. The mounting debt I accumulated after an appendix scare was costing me a cool two Gs along with my credit cards. So I thought maybe assassinating mobsters can be an easy payday. Basically, I burned whatever savings I had left to get myself this heavily modified rifle and pay the registration fee on the official Kill Spot website. I didn’t regret anything…yet.
What I’ve learned from watching sniper-related films was that the wind controls the bullet, never the shooter. So I had to study the wind and calculate it with the crosshairs of my scope while my guy was shielded behind dark-tinted windows. The other bodyguards stood outside of the car as the snitching capo made himself at home in his car. I didn’t want to let my hours of waiting waste away.
I crouched onto the floor and eased my way closer to the window to get a better view of my finger-pointing target. The car got ready to leave and I saw my opportunity shrink by the second. I took a deep breath and let my untrained instincts do the rest.
I pulled the trigger and the recoil yanked my shoulder back as the bullet zipped out of the barrel. The back windshield cracked into a mess of shattered glass and blood, and the car stopped to a screeching halt. I took that as my cue to escape. The rifle was tucked inside a duffel bag, which I then stuffed it under the hoodie I had hanged on an old nail. I quickly stepped down the staircase to the back door of the abandoned crap-smelling building. I’m glad to be out of that hellhole, but I was just getting out of the frying pan.
Outside was the fire.
Sirens blared wildly from all sides while the pedestrians tried to take videos for their YouTubes. I decided to sneak through the crowd and make sure I got my target. I saw myself fighting through the ocean of cameras and smartphones waving through the scene. The scene that I caused.
There he was, a bloody mess of pulp and flesh just lumped in the corner of the car like the rat he was. Although, I didn’t expect a second body inside the vehicle though. A man in an all-black attire laid there on the asphalt with a giant hole blown through his chest. Was he an escort or someone he was meeting? I didn’t have time to stay and find out. The bodyguards and police were scanning the area and I didn’t want to show up in the line-up. I slipped through the crowd to a coffee shop on the other side of the block.
My phone chirped an alert that buzzed inside my pocket.
The screen notified me with:
Congratulations Mr. Chavez,
You have been ranked number ninety-eight in the Kill Spot. You’re current bounty is now six-hundred and fourteen million dollars. You will now be in the competitor database starting today.
The Kill Spot Team
The last place was two-hundred and sixty-four. How did I jump one hundred and sixty-six positions with that kill?
My phone rang with Phil’s name shining through the screen.
“Yeah?” I answered.
“You lucky bastard!” Phil congratulated me.
“You’re telling me,” I said, “Must’ve been a good kill then.”
“Yeah it is!” He continued, “You killed number thirty-four.”
“What are you saying?”
“Montez was killed by you!”
That’s when the whole scenario struck me. The second body was another assassin who was trying to claim the mobster hit. Montez, is, uh, was ranked thirty-four in the Kill Spot games and he was top fifty for a reason. His signature kills were all done by knives, and the scenes were enough to make horror films look like Sesame Street. Montez not only climbed the ranks quick, but he annihilated anyone who stood in his way to number one. Well, that’s what he used to do in his living days.
“Apparently, it jumped me to the top hundred.”
“Dude,” Phil said breathlessly, “People are noticing already.”
“The Kill Spot twitter is blowing up with hashtags with your name on it!” I could hear Phil’s fingers typing away on his computer as he kept going through the social media, “I could see it now, man.”
“And hunters,” I cut him off, “They already gave my head a dollar amount.”
“Relax, Mark,” Phil took deep breaths to cue me to do the same, “The payment for this job itself will pay off half your debt.”
He was r
“Meet me at the apartment,” I scurried out the exit trying not to draw attention, “And don’t talk to anybody.”
“Yes, mom.” His sarcastic tone lunged out of the phone.
We hung up again and I made my way to a taxi. The driver stopped his car and allowed me to enter, but he kept his view fixed on me. His pale face showed he’s never outside, but the tattoos around his neck revealed that he’s no pacifist. My primary thought was that I looked like crap and he thinks I wouldn’t be able to pay him. Although, something told me that I shouldn’t give him my address.
“Can you take me to the McDonald’s on Park Avenue?” I decided to throw him a curveball, just in case.
“Sure thing, boss.” The driver punched in his GPS and began driving off as the crime scene became more crowded with bystanders.
I was planning on a smooth car ride to the golden arches, but my phone rang with a notification saying “Payment Sent” blinking through my screen. I smiled excitedly and began zooming through my creditors to send in their payments. I was halfway done with my debt and it felt good!
“What do think happened over there?” The driver peered at me through his rearview mirror.
“I don’t know,” I stared back, “I couldn’t really see much.”
“Hmm,” He nodded and looked back at the road, “This town is going to hell in a hand basket.”
“Tell me about it.” I agreed, but I kept my eyes down away from the driver. I knew I looked suspicious, but I can’t afford to be taken off-guard. The driver began driving me through the correct route, so I had no reason to begin panicking. Until he took an unexpected turn away from Park Avenue and into an old hospital, where the ghosts don’t even want to haunt.
“Sir,” I leaned forward from my seat, “McDonald’s was that way.”
He didn’t utter a word, but kept his focus on the road.
I quietly slid to the door and pulled the handle. It was no use the lock wasn’t going to budge. This driver put the child safety locks for his other “customers” I assume.
We entered the hospital through the abandoned parking garage where it was dark and away from prying eyes.
I don’t think I’ll be getting that sweet tea after all.
I desperately started kicking out the window, but nothing cracked or popped out. The glass must’ve been safety glass or something. Either way, this guy was not a driver, or at least a full-time driver. I didn’t have anything ready, no gun, no knife, just my rifle. I couldn’t pull it out without him seeing me load it.
“How can a newb like you,” The driver gritted his teeth, “Get a jump on his rank on his first kill?!”
“Luck?” I shouldn’t have answered.
The cab parked at the very top of the hospital parking lot. The driver got out and started rolling up his sleeves with determination. He proceeded to my door to pull me out. I wasn’t really built for this, so I didn’t put up much of a fight. The driver grabbed me by my hoodie and dragged me out mercilessly. If being pulled against my will wasn’t enough, he began to shower me with punches. The absence of my training proved to be his advantage whenever I tried to block his fists somehow they cut through and still gave me damage.
“How can you be ranked above me?” The pale driver said to me while he continued his abuse.
“I don’t know! I’m new!” I yelled through my raised arms. I squirmed to get up, but he kept me down with his brute force.
“I’m done wasting my time with you.” He punched me one more time and with that hit I felt my brain rattle inside my skull. My face shook viciously with a squirt of blood leaving my mouth.
My vision became blurred until I passed out from the hit. The last thing I could see was the driver looking below me, reaching down. My first day in the Kill Spot felt like it was going to be my last.
I woke up sitting in a chair in an empty hospital room covered in plastic. Everything and anything was wrapped under a thick sheet of plastic to prevent any leakage to contaminate the scene. I struggled to loosen the ties and I didn’t care if they cut my wrists. I just didn’t want to die not now, not ever.
“I hope you’re comfy, Mark.” A familiar voice crawled out of my regaining vision.
I couldn’t say anything with my fear smothering me, just gritted my teeth and prayed nothing was going to happen. The driver appeared in front of me with a case full of what he called “toys”. Personally, I saw nothing fun about them. Just sharp, silver, surgical instruments that are going to have “fun” with me.
“Funny thing about torture.” The driver pulled out a red marker and leaned towards me ready to put some ink onto my arms, “They always tend to get a bit messy whenever I don’t have plan ready.”
His breathing bothered me, it was deep and cold. It felt like death was literally breathing down my neck. Disgusting. I don’t know if it was the room or he popped a mint earlier.
He leaned in closer to me and all I could think was getting back at him quick. So I spat on his face. No matter how ready he was, I don’t think he was expecting a wad of spit in his eye. He tried to jump back to wipe it off, but I extended my legs to trip him. The driver slammed onto his tools then to the floor. I don’t know how hard he fell, but I doubt he was getting back up right now. In all the excitement I forgot that I was still tied up to a chair that didn’t seem to move an inch no matter what kind of weight I used.
I was ready to give up and take the punishment he was going to give me before the whole spitting fiasco. I tried to look for a silver lining in this bleak scenario. The driver’s bag was tipped over from the fall, so I know for a fact some of his tools are scattered around. I scanned around the chair with my feet to feel some kind of key to my freedom.
For a while I felt nothing except for the half-peeled linoleum that the hospital seems to be very fond of.
“Got you!” I whispered to myself. I felt something underneath the little slot between the steel chair and the floor. I couldn’t tell what it was at my angle. I just continued to drag the object until I was able to pick it up like a pair of meaty chopsticks. The item turned out to be a scalpel, kind of big for surgery I just hope it’s sharp enough to cut me out these binds.
I carefully flicked it to my thighs then I contorted my body enough to slide it to my right hand. The binds were tight enough to keep my motions limited, but I still felt like I had a chance. My fingers bent awkwardly around the scalpel to cut the binds off. I sliced up and down until I felt a cold, thick liquid running down my wrist. I couldn’t see it, but I think I had an idea of what it was. The angle of the scalpel had to change in order to cut my freedom and not my wrists. I continued staring at the driver, hoping he didn’t wake up soon.
I tucked the blade into the bind and lifted it with enough force to rip it apart. I heard a snap and my arm was swinging in full motion, which in turn I used to cut my other arm free. Everything seemed to pay off until I heard some more noise coming from the hospital.
“Check all the rooms!” One of the voices said.
“How do you know he’s in here?” Another blurted out.
“I saw Warner drive him inside.” The first voice replied.
The two voices echoed back and forth, which possibly assisted Warner into waking up from his little nap. I was running out of options and I don’t think fighting three guys at once was one of them. Stashing the scalpel in my pocket, I needed to think quickly.
I just remembered my blood was on the floor and was leaking a trail for them. I thought of an idea that can actually get these guys out of hair. I grabbed a towel that Warner was saving to clean his tools and I soaked it with some of my blood that was already on the floor. Using the towel, I smeared my blood
From the sound of their voices, they were already on our floor. In order to keep them here I had to create some kind of noise distraction. The hospital had some gurneys still scattered around that can be used as a lure. I grabbed one of the gurneys and kicked it through the hallway letting it scrape, bang, and screech its way to the other end.
“Hear that?” One of the voices rang out. The plan worked.
“Go check it out.” His partner said.
I searched the room where I was originally to look for some more tools that can be useful to my escape. The bag had some hammers, pliers, scissors, the works, which I found a little disturbing. Digging some more I found a glock tucked in the corner of the bag, but no other clips. A giant gunfight isn’t going to work then. Not wanting to waste any more time, I fled the room to find a different hiding spot.
Without a second to spare, I sprinted across the room to the parallel one, where the bookcases blocked the window to allow the darkness to seep in. One of the voices finally manifested himself as a bullet-proof vest wearing, sub-machine gun wielding madman. His friend was nowhere in sight, at the moment. The mystery guy sneaked slowly through the hallway keeping his eye on my blood trail. As I watched, I noticed something that can give away my planning.
My sprinting got blood from my arm to splatter on the wall and door of the entrance. The room I chose to hide in now. My only chance was that he ignores the blood in this room and focuses on the trail leading to my captor.
Each of his footsteps got slower and slower, I couldn’t tell if it was him or my adrenaline pumping at an inhuman rate. I was about to let out a sigh until I saw an unwelcoming sight. The man was already walking into my room. He stopped mid-way with the barrel of his gun being the only part of him that was inside the room. Fearing for the inevitable, I slowly moved my hand down to my pocket and reached for the scalpel.
“You see anything?” The man’s partner appeared from the other side of the hallway.
“Nothing.” The machine gun holding man backed out of the room to meet up with his friend.
I peeked through a hole of the room to see where they were going. I got a view of his friend, a hulking brute of a man, with a sawed-off shotgun that I bet the recoil wouldn’t even kick back his fingers. All my faith was out the window.
Dead Last by Eric Gutierrez, Jr / Actions & Adventure / Thrillers & Crime have rating 2.3 out of 5 / Based on30 votes