SYNOPSIS: A masked vigilante traverses a futuristic monarchical society looking to avenge the murder of the woman he cherished.
‘Who I am is not important. What I intend to do however is. For years I have watched the tyranny and grotesque malice tear this once proud city apart. But no longer will I stand back and watch this city sink into infinite decrepitude. This change within me began six years ago when I lost somebody truly important to me, now I intend to change the system and right the wrongs. Tonight, I am going to kill someone.’
The masked individual walked through the dark streets of Saint-tropolis, each one crowded with individuals eager to sell goods to ensure they had supper that night. The mask covering his face was dull white, black goggles shielding his eyes from view. His outfit was a luxurious suit and tie, while his feet moved silently through the night in the ball room dancing shoes he wore.
The masked individual cut down an alleyway to avoid the police who were searching for atheists. Ever since the revolutionary revolt by the Clergy, the entire planet had been under the immense control of the church. During its first year of office, the Clergy hunted down and murdered over seventy-five million atheists. Any still remaining converted to a religion to ensure their survival. It didn’t matter what religion one preached, as long as it was in existence and involved a higher masculine being having full control over everyone and everything, the church didn’t seem to mind. That is why the masked man had to avoid the officers; he was an atheist, quite possibly the only atheist in the entire world. That made him the single most dangerous threat to the Clergy.
The Clergy had primarily used fear to get into power and they were not afraid to use it to ensure the total respect of the community. If one such religion became too powerful they simply cut it down in size, ensuring equilibrium amongst the people. Those however who found that the murdering of civilians on a daily basis was not the most acceptable method of control stood up against such tyrannical methodology. Such people were almost all but extinct now, the masked individual being one of the last to survive.
He continued to weave in and out of alleyways, before finally reaching the Loud Oyster, one of the most famous taverns in the entire city. He strolled into the dimly lit building with its dark green walls; tables erected on either side of him as he walked past the bar and over to a dark corner where his informant was waiting.
Although the masked figure did not trust Snake Eyes, he had no choice but to use him, he was after all the best snitch in the city. Around his eyes were the tattooed decorations of snake scales, lime green in colour, hence the name, the rest of his person filthy with dirt and grunge. The masked individual sat opposite him, instantly taking a photo out from his breast pocket and shoving it into Snake Eyes’ face.
The image was of an incredibly beautiful young woman. She had rosy red hair and luminescent blue eyes. Her complexion glittered under the light of the photographic flash, her face illuminated under a perfectly constructed smile; her teeth white and straight; her lips moist and warm. What could be seen of the top half of her dress was a white cloven fabric with numerous frills around the neck and seams on the side, her hand perched just under her chin. There was an aurora of innocence about her, something that was extremely rare within this city.
‘Where is she?’ asked the masked man in a deep voice.
‘I don’t know, I swear’ replied Snake Eyes timidly.
‘Cut the crap’ grunted the masked man. ‘You know as well as I that I could have killed you the moment I stepped in here and been gone before your body hit the floor. The only reason you’re alive is because I believe you can help me. The moment I feel you can no longer provide me with the details I require you will become obsolete. Do you understand what I’m saying?’
Snake Eyes nodded fearfully.
‘Good’ responded the masked man. ‘Now let’s try that again, where is she?’
‘I already told you I don’t know!’ cried Snake Eyes. ‘I’m telling you the truth!’
‘Then how about another question and you’d better have me an answer for this’ said the masked man dangerously. ‘Where’s Black?’
‘I don’t know who you are talking about’ said Snake Eyes.
Almost everyone knew who Black was, it was the location of such a man that was the most difficult to discern. Two years ago Black created a brand new religion, a cult really, one that was rather fond of the dark arts, including dark rituals, demonic possession and sacrificial offerings. The Clergy had originally accepted such an ideology, believing it would not be welcomed by the people with such a passion; but they were wrong. His followers had doubled, if not quadrupled in the first few months alone and now even the government was beginning to feel the weight of his presence, something that most religious leaders did not quite enjoy. But Black however did not seem to mind. He however, did have the unfair advantage of being invisible. He had no documentation to prove he even existed; no place of residence; no base of operations. He was a ghost and everybody knew it. That was no doubt one of the most terrifying things about the man; he could come and go as he pleased and take anything and everything that he wished and there was no one that could stop him, or so he thought.
‘I despise liars’ commented the masked man. ‘In a religious world, you do realise that a lie is one of the most heinous sins one can implement? Killing you now would be considered a favor in the eyes of your Lord and Savior.’
‘How about this for a lie!’ shouted Snake Eyes. ‘The girl is dead! You hear me, dead! She was sacrificed to the Gods of whom Black prayed and they bestowed their gifts upon him, turning him into a far more dangerous and wicked being than anyone could have ever imagined.’
‘Liar!’ thundered the masked individual, grabbing Snake Eyes around the throat, beginning to choke the very life out of him before noticing Snake Eyes looking over his left shoulder.
Turning around, the masked man noticed numerous police officers standing behind him, before having a fist thrown into his face. An infinite black was suddenly bestowed upon him, just as he felt hands beginning to go for his mask.
He threw his hands up into the air to prevent them from touching his face, but was suddenly kicked in the jaw, the pain travelling throughout his entire body. He lay motionless on the ground for a second as a bright white light swallowed him whole, before fading to black once more, the sound of mocking laughter being the last thing he ever heard.
Six years later
The masked man awoke the way he had every morning for the past six years; inside a jail cell, his limbs chained to the walls. The interior was comprised entirely out of brick, resembling that of a castle, the type that appeared in the black and white films the clergy used to showcase back when he was on the outside.
Shortly after he had been arrested his captors had attempted to remove his mask and put an identity to his face. However, upon discovering that it had been surgically crafted to his skin they had given up. They didn’t exactly care anyway; they had after all caught the terrorist and made the streets safer. One less atheist on the street made the clergy sleep better at night. Such may seem almost borderline ignorant, but if the Clergy could close their eyes and get a good night’s rest, then the compensation they supplied to their municipals became considerably satisfying.
However, today was different than others, the metallic cell door that appeared to have rusted terribly over time swinging open, two officers removing the chains that had been bound to the masked man’s person for so long. He was quickly led up a cobbled staircase that was made up of the same brick that his cell was to the top most section of the facility.
The masked individual found himself in a brightly lit room overlooking the entire city. There was a great round window on the other side of the white walled room which gave one a perfect view of the amazing metallic-looking civilisation below. A metallic desk was positioned in the centre of the room which had been bolted to the brick floor, many scientific tubes and beverages cooking across the table top, pink and green liquids visible within the vials and glasses.
Standing before him behind the metallic desk was Commander Vurtura, the officer in charge of the city. He wore a luxurious black suit with red cuffs down the side, stirring a cup of tea he held in his grasp. His face was considerably well padded and his eyes were a black in colour as though there was not a shroud of emotion behind them. His hair was gelled back in a thick ointment that made his hair shine under the light, a smug look upon his face that just made the masked man want to punch his lights out.
‘For how long were you out terrorising the streets of my fair city?’ questioned the Commander, looking directly at the masked man, his yellow hair shining under the rising sun.
‘I don’t think that such terminology is in fact an accurate way to judge my activities’ stated the masked man. ‘I was attempting to free those who deserved saving from the tyranny of the governmental body. The people should be given a right to choose whether they worship a God or not, not have that choice made for them under the threat of exile or public execution. However, if one is too stupid to see that, then such a person is not deserving of my time and can be left in the hell that they made.’ The masked man shook his head before growling under his breath. ‘On top of that I don’t like riddles, so how about you get to the part where you tell me why the hell I am out of my cell or go put me back in it.’
‘Very well’ stated the Commander, placing his tea onto the table. ‘Straight to business, I like that in a man. How old was the young woman you failed to save?’
‘If she were still alive she would be celebrating her twenty-seventh birthday next week’ commented the masked man sadly. ‘Why?’
‘I thought you may enjoy extracting your vengeance on the man who stole her life’ said the Commander. ‘The terrorist codenamed Black has resurfaced. We fear he intends to strike a significant blow to our regime and we believe you would be the perfect man for the job.’
‘Are you saying you would just let me go?’ questioned the masked individual. ‘That does not seem anything like you at all Commander.’
‘Nobody is forcing a gun to you here, Mask’ said Vurtura dangerously, disliking the man’s tone. ‘Is that what I should call you, Mask? Does that at all seem appropriate? After all, a man without a face is a man without an identity. And a man without an identity simply does not exist. And if you do not exist, then you haven’t got yourself a name.’
‘That was beautiful’ said Mask. ‘Did you spend your entire morning rehearsing that just for me? I must say I am flattered.’
‘Do you not remember who it is you are talking too?’ thundered Vurtura. ‘Guards, please remind this scumbag who it is that I am!’
‘Yes sir’ said both the men holding Mask in place before both hitting him across the back of the legs with great metallic clubs that they gladly detached from their belts.
‘Now, let us try that again’ said Vurtura. ‘Do you wish to take the opportunity I am handing to you? This is of course a silver platter opportunity, not some run of the mill concoction.’
‘Where do I find him?’ questioned the masked man.
‘In truth we have no idea where he’ll be’ stated the Commander. ‘We always assumed you were considerably street smart. I’m sure a man such as yourself will have no problem in finding his location. Now, if you’d just follow Morrison, my police chief, he’ll escort you down to the nurse’s station where we can prep you for the assignment.’
Upon concluding his sentence, a rather wide individual made his way over to the masked man, before escorting him from the room. Morrison, as already noted was rather wide all over. His face was wide, his belly was wide and so too were his arms, his legs and his feet, the shoes on such gargantuan feet looking to have been specially made. He wore a dark blue suit with a metallic club strewn across his shoulder, a smug, pretentiously egotistical look tattooed upon his face. He had beady black eyes that darted around in a paranoid manner, a large hooked nose that looked to have been broken many times before and greasy hair that was beginning to become rather absent atop of his head, the hair that was located on the left side of his head being brushed over the top to make it seem as though he still retained a proud head of hair. There were after all no bald leaders within the city and it would look rather strange if he were the odd one out.
A few minutes later Mask found himself on the ground floor of the facility, the entire sector covered in grunge, the pipes above leaking fluids onto the floor. Morrison stayed outside as an officer escorted the masked man into a brightly lit operating theatre, a young woman in a white nurse’s outfit standing before him. Her skin was almost a dark green in colour, presumably from spending too much time in this dungeon of a place and was moreover heavily blotched as though from having a terrible case of acne when she was younger. If she did not have enough character with these two rather powerful visual impressions, she also spoke in a heavy Romanian accent.
‘You must be my patient’ beamed the nurse, sounding the way a vampire would in one of those ancient Hollywood classics. ‘If you’ll just lie back onto the table we can get started on inserting the tracking device into your skull. Standard operating procedure I’m afraid.’
‘Nobody mentioned anything about tracking devices’ grunted the masked individual.
Under a second later the officer who had been standing guard was thrown out through the doors into the hallway; police Chief Morrison unfastening the pistol attached to his hip, hurrying into the operating theatre to see what the commotion was about, before a fist was shoved into his throat. He collapsed to the ground, his hands to his neck whilst his breathing came out in numerous wild gasping sounds.
‘But wait!’ cried the nurse, ‘you are yet to receive your tracking implant!’
‘I don’t need one’ said the masked individual with a nod. ‘Now, please excuse me for I have an escape to promulgate.’ He made his way down the corridor as quickly as he could, his footsteps not making but a sound as he moved back up the way he had come, just as the sirens began to ring through the entire compound.
‘Alert, alert’ cried the voice of the nurse over the emergency frequency. ‘Prisoner escape in progress. I repeat prisoner escape in progress. Masked man attempting to flee underground laboratory! Security teams report in immediately!’
A couple of minutes later Mask hid in-between two red heating conduits that were located on the left side of the wall as a group of security officers hurried past him, each with rifles cradled under their arms. He sighed to himself upon the realisation he had not being detected before walking back out again.
‘I can’t believe this is happening!’ cried a voice that Mask knew only too well as Vurtura began to make his way around the corner with a security guard walking beside him as escort.
In a flash, Mask threw out his fist and knocked the escort out, his body falling limply to the floor, assault rifle collapsing by his side.
‘Ah, Commander’ said Mask in a dry voice as he looked up at the man who had kept him prisoner for the past six years.
‘I can have men down here in three minutes!’ said the Commander with a flicker of worry on his face.
‘You’ll be dead in three minutes so the security teams will have nothing left to protect’ said Mask, smiling to himself, unbeknownst to the commander who could not see his face.
‘I was going to let you out’ said Vurtura. ‘Is that not compensation enough?’
‘Oh, you mean the tracking device in my brain?’ laughed Mask. ‘Yeah, real great, top bloke you are. I’ll be sure to take that under advisement’ he concluded before punching the commander in the face. With that, he dragged the clothes off from the guard on the floor and proceeded to place them upon his person, before hiding the now relatively naked body of the escort in-between the heating conduits.
Mask then stepped out and continued to make his way out the way he had come, just as a security team came running towards him. ‘Help the Commander!’ he cried. ‘I’m going after the masked vigilante’ he said, the guards moving in the direction of Vurtura as the masked individual made his way towards the nearest exit.
During his time in prison, the masked individual had never forgotten any region of the city, which is what made it so easy to rediscover the residence of Snake Eyes. He remembered the snitch was housed on the thirty- second floor of an atrocious apartment block that stood at the far corner of the city like a discarded piece of rubbish.
Taking the elevator up to the intended floor, the masked man stepped off onto the landing and moved down the red coloured wooden hallway in search of Snake Eyes’ apartment, picking the lock soundlessly upon locating the correct room and creeping inside.
A fireplace rich with flame illuminated the dingy apartment as the masked vigilante crept across the wooden floorboards and into the bedroom of Snake Eyes, whose apartment was kept in the same manner as himself; in squalor.
His bedroom had the same red walls, with one exception. Just like Commander Vurtura had a large round window overlooking the city, so too did Snake Eyes. His however did not seem to have been cleaned by the same individual as the one who had being assigned to the one in the Commander’s office, and judging by the look of the place the maid had been fired long ago.
The masked man reached down and ripped the terrorised Snake Eyes out of bed, the red sheets falling away below him as he was dragged to his feet by the scruff of his neck.
‘You’re supposed to be in prison!’ cried Snake Eyes.
‘Oh, I know’ smiled Mask. ‘But they let me out for good behavior’ he continued, before grabbing Snake Eyes by the collar and pinning him against the great circular window that was suspended above his bed. Now, with a proper opportunity to look upon the design of the window in question, Mask began to make out other additional encryptions that were placed around the side of the window. Staring intently at them, Mask came to the conclusion that they were Christian images, each of which was in the shape of an angel that held either a trombone or a crossbow, with fluffy white wings attached to their backs that kept them suspended in mid air.
‘How sweet’ grunted Mask. ‘You came prepared. Angels placed above you during your time of death. Now why did I not think of that before my arrival? I after all had six long years in prison to think all about this one moment and I forgot to think of that one detail.’
‘Please!’ cried Snake Eyes in a pleading tone. ‘Please, I beg of you, don’t kill me. I am not worth killing am I?’
‘What is with the Christian images?’ continued the masked individual. ‘I thought you were a Muslim?’
‘Oh, I am sweet masked man, I am!’ cried Snake Eyes, Mask only tightening his hands around Snake Eyes’ throat even tighter still.
‘I don’t think you know what you are’ growled Mask, ‘how can one trust somebody who does not even know who or what they are.’
‘Believe me when I say, you can trust me!’ cried Snake Eyes.
‘And all of this red’ proceeded the masked man, looking around his surroundings. ‘Reminds me a lot of what blood used to look like.’
‘Believe me when I tell you that blood has not changed much in the six years that you have been away’ said Snake Eyes. ‘It still looks very much the same to me.’
‘You would know wouldn’t you?’ growled Mask. ‘You spilt enough of it yourself.’
‘No, no I didn’t!’ wailed Snake Eyes. ‘No I didn’t!’
‘Not in person you didn’t’ said Mask.
‘Not ever!’ screamed Snake Eyes.
‘Liar!’ roared the masked man. ‘The smell of your slanderous lies is almost as repulsive as the smell of your rancid flesh. All of those lives you destroyed by ratting them out to the police, giving away the information on every single atheist you could find. Just to ensure that they did not find the one you were trying to hide all this time! You are accountable for all of these lives, every last one of them!’
‘I protected your identity to ensure you would not be found’ pleaded Snake Eyes. ‘When they found you six years ago, that was just sheer coincidence!’
Mask remembered the mocking laughter he had heard as he blacked out six years ago, knowing full well that coincidence was not one of the things that happened that day. ‘You and I both know that we are not talking about me here! We are talking about you! You are the atheist who you have hidden away for so long!’
‘Okay!’ cried Snake Eyes. ‘Okay!’ he screamed once more at what appeared to be the top of his lungs.
‘Scream all you want’ said Mask. ‘Not a soul will ever hear you. Nobody is going to put their neck out for somebody who goes around stabbing others in the back for pure entertainment.’
‘Please!’ shouted Snake Eyes. ‘I beg of you not to kill me. You aren’t though, right?’ he asked with a weak grin.
Mask did not bother to answer his question, but rather decided to ask one of his own. ‘Where can I find Black?’ he asked dangerously.
‘I don’t know’ cried Snake Eyes in a frightened squeak.
‘Let’s not play this game again’ cried the masked man, punching Snake Eyes in the stomach, before repeating the procedure. ‘I know you have his location. It’s just a question of whether you tell me now, or after I cut you into a thousand different pieces.’
‘I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you!’ cried Snake Eyes. ‘He’s giving a speech tomorrow night at the old North Plaza. There will be a great rally there. It shall be pretty hard to miss.’
The masked man let Snake Eyes fall to the floor. ‘Do you still keep that sniper rifle of yours in that safe behind this hideous picture?’ he asked, standing in front of a grotesquely over weight woman trapped inside a painting. Snake Eyes nodded, the masked man throwing the painting to the floor, entering the code he had recited into the safe which instantly swung open, the man dragging out a briefcase before beginning to leave.
He stopped suddenly, placing the briefcase on the ground, grunting ‘and one more thing.’
He hurried back to Snake Eyes, throwing him against the glass window once more. ‘Remember six years ago when I told you one day you would become obsolete?’ Snakes Eyes nodded fearfully. ‘That day is now’ said the masked man, picking Snake Eyes up and throwing him through the window, the snitch screaming as he fell to the street below.
One night later the masked man found himself in yet another ravaged apartment block, on one of the top most floors with a perfect view of the adjacent building. Removing the sniper rifle components from the briefcase and beginning to piece them together, he attached the silencer to the breach before placing a pen to a piece of paper and writing a note that explained his actions.
As he did so he heard the cheers of those outside, picking up the rifle and making his way to the window. He pulled back the blinds before looking through the scope at the stand that had been erected in front of a rundown building. Numerous white pillars were posted around the front that looked to be the only things holding the aging concrete monster up. A symbol was inscribed into the centre of the roof of the building, one which had been used since the initiation of the Clergy as the ruling parliament.
Suddenly, Black made his way out onto the stage, holding out his hands to embrace the crowd. He was dressed in a black uniform, a white trilby perched atop his head; his face, as always when he was seen out in public being shielded from view. To the crowd he may have looked like a saviour, but to the masked individual he looked nothing short of a monster.
He watched Black take the podium, clearing his throat, the chanting of the crowd dying down, the masked man depressing the trigger as this occurred, one single bullet being launched from the rifle which spun in mid air, descending towards Black. Upon connecting with the flesh that was Black’s face, it completely pulverised the entire head of the creature the masked vigilante had dreamed of killing for six years now. He sat back inside the apartment as the body of Black fell limply to the ground outside, blood spurting uncontrollably out from the wound as cries of protest and howls of pain dominated the surrounding area.
Taking a deep breath the masked man laid his head against the wall behind him, a look of contempt hidden away under all of the fabric that shielded his face from view. ‘That was for you Charlotte’ he said. ‘That was for you.’