I’m here again with another Wednesday story post. And this time I have a long one for all of you (about 21,000 words). It was never intended to be as long as it is but I got a little carried away. Anyway enough of that. This is a story about how power can corrupt and what happens when it does. It’s a violent and twisted tale as a result and so without further delay I give you, Death Of Gods.
There is a gentle wrapping, three times, upon a badly faded white painted wooden door. The door has clearly seen better days as sections of the white paint are missing from the corners, as well as along small strips at the edges. These flecks of missing paint reveal glimpses of the dark wood stain underneath, while the doorframe itself has begun to yellow due to years of neglect.
The reddish brick walls the frame is fastened to reveal nothing of interest other than that the building is of an older construction. You see, bricks aren’t used anymore when building within the confines of this city. The reasoning behind it is simple, time and money. After all, brick buildings require not only an army of workers to lay and level the bricks, but also an entirely separate and nearly as populous group to facilitate in that process by doing things such as transporting the very same materials around site, or by helping to mix the cement that keeps them bound together as they are stacked atop one another.
By contrast, metal frameworks are quick and easy, and though their initial cost is much higher, the speed with which they can be erected more than makes up for it.
However, let’s return to the door. After all, someone has knocked upon it on from out in the corridor. The same corridor that not only links all the apartments on this floor together, but that also in turn links to the stairwell which runs the full height of this building.
But, seeing as there has been no response to the gentle triple wrap from anyone inside the apartment, another stronger quick succession of knocks is soon delivered.
This time the response is a groan and it comes a short while before Hayden Wilkes, more commonly known as Headshot, shifts his muscular two hundred and eight centimetre tall frame from the stained brown couch he’d been laid upon and over to the door. Once there he slides the paint stripped security bolts, all four of them, back before grabbing a hold of the door knob and then wrenching the door open to enquire, “What?”
Almost immediately Hayden takes note that the person responsible for knocking on his door is a pizza delivery guy. He looks young, barely old enough to drive. His face littered with red spots marking him out as an adolescent. And to make matters worse his face also shines under the overhead lights of the corridor.
The pizza guy is dressed in a colourful jacket meant to suggest that whatever pizzeria he is from has links back to Italy. Hayden has no clue whether it does or not as he doesn’t particularly care.
But, at the sight of Hayden the pizza boy gulps. The guy before him is huge and angry looking as he stares with blue eyes right at the delivery guy who feels like maybe he should just run off without saying a word. He doesn’t know why he always gets the big angry folk who always seem ready to break his bones when they open the door. Why can’t he run into a girl, a guy like him or some little kids? Everyone else that does deliveries for Franco’s Pizzeria seems to. Or at least that is what they claim. He has no way of knowing for sure if any of what they say is true, after all.
“A-are you…Hayden Wilkes?” The pizza guy stutters finally.
The silence before he spoke was long and by the increasingly furrowed look on Hayden’s face he is sure this not only has to be the guy, but that if he had delayed talking any longer he might have ended up with a fist in his face. It wouldn’t be the first time that has happened to him. Not by a long shot.
“Yeah, who’s asking?” Hayden replies as he flexes his wide jaw. His flame red hair bristling slightly due to the corridor window that still hasn’t been fixed. Not that Hayden cares. After all, you get what you pay for and this apartment complex is a dive. It didn’t used to be but that’s what happens when dedicated people sell out to shady characters. Still, the new owners know better than to mess with this former boxer. That’s mainly because he’d made his point early on, back when they’d tried to up his rent to five times its current price without reason or thought. There’s no chance they’ll do that again, especially after Hayden made sure that one of the brothers will have to eat through a straw for the rest of his natural life.
“I have a pizza for you sir.” The delivery guy comes back in the awkward moments following a loud gulp that Hayden could hear. The former boxer resists the urge to smirk as he continues to look down, quite literally, at the teenager he guesses is about one hundred seventy centimetres in height and probably sixteen years of age.
“I didn’t order a pizza kid.” Hayden rumbles in response.
He is even about to slam the door right in the pizza guys’ face when the boy announces, “Apartment Forty Seven of Bay Bell Apartments Complex, number Nine South Albert Avenue. That’s the address I was given along with the name Hayden Wilkes.”
Hayden stops, his shoulders drop and he grumbles audibly. In response the pizza boy gulps again and then begins to fidget on the spot. His feet shuffle nervously from side to side as he anticipates being met with a blow to the face, or maybe the gut. He’s ready for it. Well, he’s expecting it. He’ll never be ready to take it.
In fact, there’s a good chance that if this Hayden guy tries to he might be able to punch my head off, the pizza delivery guy, named Drew, thinks. Drew hopes that is not what is about to happen. He really doesn’t want to die today. There are plenty of things he wants to do before he meets his maker and it’s why he still wonders whether he should just run, without saying another word. He could even leave the pizza. He doesn’t care. The job isn’t worth his life.
Nearly twenty seconds pass before Hayden turns back to the kid. He can’t argue that he has the right name and address. Though, Hayden did not order a pizza. He knows that for a fact. Still, it’s here now and inhaling the delicious smell of the food is making him hungry so, as fast as lightning, he snatches the square cardboard box out of the boys’ hands. It was his own fault for having hold of the pizza as if he was about to present it. In all fairness that is the norm, but still the sudden swipe catches Drew off-guard. It’s why he jumps, almost out of his skin and through the cream coloured ceiling above.
“Th-that’ll be thirty seven fifty sir.” Drew stutters sheepishly while looking off to the side. He no longer feels able to maintain eye contact with the giant of a man before him. And to make matters worse sweat is starting to bead down his forehead.
Hayden resists the urge to curl his top lip in disgust and then slam the door in the kids face. Instead he asks, “Do you know who I am?”
Drew shuffles on the spot and then finally shrugs. It’s an admittance that he hasn’t a clue who Hayden is. The big man laughs, his voice booms loudly, filling the air. Then without warning he throws a punch with his left fist.
The strike hits Drew square in the middle of his face and spends his body flying backward into the opposite wall of the corridor. The force of the impact results in a massive boom, while his body creates a crater that shatters the plaster covering the thick red bricks underneath.
The body hangs in the air for a few moments, still embedded in the crater and then finally drops, limply to the rough wooden floor with a hard dull thud. The pizza delivery guy, Drew, is dead. His face is punched in, flattened, slightly caved as a result.
This is Hayden’s trademark. It’s how he came to be known as Headshot. And to be honest, whether the kid knew who he was or not this is how it was always going to end, especially after the price of the pizza was mentioned.
No repercussions will come from the death though, which is why Hayden sniffs loudly once, turns and then with a single slap sends his apartment door slamming shut with a loud bang.
With privacy and solitude returned to Hayden he licks his lips greedily in anticipation of gorging himself on the pie inside. He hasn’t a clue who ordered it or what kind of pizza it is. He hopes its pineapple and mushroom one as that’s his favourite. But to be honest he’ll devour any kind now that he’s feeling as ravenously hungry as he is.
However, before he gets to the kitchen area of his barely furnished and bland apartment he finds he isn’t alone. Instead, there is a woman standing right in his path, blocking him. In an instant his face twists into a snarl and just in time for him to bark demandingly, “Who are you? And what are you doing in my apartment?”
Hayden’s voice is loud and booming as he speaks. His free hand meanwhile, balls into a fist ready for a fight. It won’t be a fight. He knows that for a fact. After all, his fists are harder than rock and no matter what this woman says she’s going to be the next to join his tally of kills for having invaded his home.
But the woman says nothing. Instead, she just stands there. Her long straight black hair with its green tints almost reaches down to her waist, while her eyes glare at him angrily.
Hayden has never seen her before in his life and if the light were better in his apartment he might be able to take note that her eyes are differing colours. With one of her eyes being blue in colour, while the other is a vibrant green.
However, because the woman says nothing Hayden feels it necessary to make a point. So he casts the pizza aside and then balls up his other fist. It’s a display meant to scare her. A silent threat to illustrate that he’s ready and willing to fight. In truth he’s spoiling for one. Though he does query, “How did you get in here? We’re on the twentieth floor.”
For the second time Hayden gets no response. It’s why he shrugs before long and then feeling in no danger whatsoever, he strides over to the woman only stopping when he is right up in her face. Except his face is high above her head and he is forced to crane his neck downward to glare at her, while she is forced to do the exact opposite to look up at him. Her eyes are angry, he notes.
“Speak or die, little flower.” Hayden says through gritted teeth as his voice rumbles.
He gets no verbal reply. Rather, the woman with long black hair who is clad entirely in black lets a thin wide smile break across her otherwise tightly pressed lips.
Hayden grunts in response and then prepares to throw a punch. However, the woman reacts first as she, lightning fast, brings her knee up and into Hayden’s groin. The impact is full force and perfectly placed. Hayden feels the sting of agony that can only come from being hit in the crotch less than a second later.
His response is automatic and unfettered as he explodes into a primal roar and then staggers back a couple metres before almost bending double. He even cups his large hands around his injured and throbbing privates.
It doesn’t take long for his pain to turn to anger. It’s why he begins cursing relentlessly at the woman unable to fashion any form of coherent reply for nearly a minute. But once he feels able to string words together because the pain has eased, he announces, “I promise I’ll make you pay for that you little bitch!”
Then without warning he throws himself into a lunge, leading with his once again balled up right fist. He’s heading straight for the woman and smiles as the distance between them lessens and lessens until he reaches his target. Except, his target is no longer there. Hayden doesn’t understand. She was right there less than a second ago. His fist should have crushed her face flat, ending her insolent life in an instant.
The big hulking giant of a man doesn’t get it. All he did was blink and then she was gone. But he feels her presence behind him now. It makes no sense how that can be possible, but on instinct alone he does an about turn and finds that the long haired woman really is stood right before him. His brow furrows for a second and then begins to twist into a snarl as he prepares to wind himself up for another strike. However, the woman lashes out first with a slash across his face.
Hayden feels the quadruple burn immediately, while his head is snapped right due to the force of the strike.
Deep gashes have been torn through the flesh of his cheek. Blood flung wide as he spins away in retreat while howling a pained cry similar, in pitch, to what you might hear from a wolf.
Now that he is away from his attacker and he is sure he is out of her reach, his first instinct is to bring his hand up and touch his face. He does exactly that. Though, he makes sure to probe carefully, which is why he dabs at his cheek and then pulls back his hand to gaze upon the smears of red that now coat his fat fingers.
Hayden can imagine what his face must look like now. But instead of fear or concern he feels only the familiar boil of unbridled rage as red mist descends removing any hope of rational thought from the large man.
A second later he begins to spit and growl, as if he is some kind of rabid beast desperate for blood. It lasts a while and melds with his heavy breathing, not the result of exhaustion or fatigue but anger. Anger which he can contain no more and so, without warning, he explodes into a teeth barred charge.
Hayden is headed right for this woman. He hasn’t a clue who she might be, why she is here or what she hopes to achieve. He tried gaining answers to those questions but she refused to speak. It is possible she cannot speak. But Hayden doesn’t care. He gave her the chance and she didn’t take it. Instead, she attacked him. He’d be impressed if it were not for the fact that she has caused him actual pain and humiliation. In his eyes no one gets the drop on Hayden ‘Headshot’ Wilkes, and if they do they don’t live long enough to get the chance to brag about it.
Suddenly, the woman spins away avoiding Hayden’s wild and reckless charge. A charge that sees him go barrelling headfirst into a wall right after due to him having too much momentum to have any hope of pulling up in time to avoid the impact. And though, as a result of the blow his vision is filled with tiny sparkling stars, he still manages to spin on the spot and demand, “Fight me with honour!”
“And why would I do that when you, Headshot, have none of your own?” The woman says with a soft mocking tone as she stares at him with her large eyes.
Hayden snorts derisively and then throws himself at the woman again following a quick shake of his head. Except this time he leads with a fist instead of charging at her with reckless abandon like he did before.
Again the woman avoids the first, second and then third swipes from Hayden before countering with her own fist which goes slamming hard into his gut.
The force of her strike is shocking to Hayden who in response goes staggering back a couple steps, perplexed by what has just transpired.
The pain in his gut is the only thing keeping him in the here and now. If it wasn’t present then he’d be mulling over how it can be possible that this diminutive woman is able to do this to him. It shouldn’t be possible. He knows that. Then he realises the pain is gone. Not entirely, but enough. And with it goes his focus on the here and now. It’s why his mind quickly presents the possibility that the only way it can be possible is if this woman, whoever she is, is like him. She can’t be. He knows everyone of the souls who became Gods to humanity and she was not one of them.
So he is left with a need to know how a mere mortal is standing against him. After all, he kills mortals. They’re weak, easy prey, no match for a man of his calibre. He was like them once until he joined the program all those years ago. The one that gave him these gifts and thus allowed him to become so much more than the rest of humanity could ever hope to be.
Suddenly he is pulled out of his thoughts as he hears the woman’s sweet voice remark mockingly, “Aw, what’s wrong? Did little ole me hurt you?”
A wry smile breaks across her previously pursed lips in the moments before Hayden growls and then charges for a second time.
The one thing the former boxer turned God cannot abide is being mocked. It inflames his temper in a manner no other thing in the world can achieve. And though his actions might seem brash, he is sure he has her this time. There is no way she is getting away from him, even though he hasn’t a clue how she did so before. After all, dodging punches thrown your way is one thing but literally vanishing from view less than a second before an impact only to reappear behind your attacker should be impossible.
Yet, just as Hayden is about to reach the woman, who he is sure is well within his grasp, she disappears. His eyes go wide as he tries to understand how this is possible. He doesn’t get very far with such thoughts though as many something’s, perhaps a dozen of them, go stabbing into his back. They plunge deep, and though they seem ready to tear him apart he instinctively roars and then whips round baffled by what might have been unleashed upon him. It has to be a weapon of some form. It’s the only explanation he can give.
However, as his eyes come back into focus after the frantic whipping around of his head, he spies the woman’s fingers. They’re long. No they’re impossibly long and dripping with blood. It has to be his blood. It wasn’t there before and the only person with any wounds is Hayden.
He goes to speak, to ask why her fingers are as they are. They hadn’t been before. Then he notes that they aren’t her fingers at all but her fingernails and that they’re shaped like talons, razor sharp and black in colour.
Hayden recoils in shock. He can scarcely believe it. Though it is without a doubt true and on many levels makes complete sense that she is a God. That she is like him. It’s the only possibility that makes sense as to how it is that she may be able to best him. Yet, the revelation leaves him with new questions, as God’s don’t fight God’s. Only mortals fight amongst themselves. Its part of the agreement each of them swears to abide by before they have the gifts they so rightly deserve, in their eyes, bestowed upon them.
That’s why Hayden utters in disbelief, “You’re like me. But who are you?”
The woman with green tints in her otherwise long black hair replies in disgust, “I am nothing like you and the other Gods.”
Her expression is the epitome of disdain, while her eyes burn defiantly with such intensity that it seems to Hayden that if it were real then it might actually be able to scorch him to death.
He’s impressed by her; even though there is no doubt that she has to die, now more than ever. Before she was just an insolent soul baying for death. Now she is a betrayer whose only sentence for her attempted crimes can he death. Those are the thoughts that go through his head in the moments before he replies, “All Gods are the same.”
Then he charges one last time. His arms outstretched, his fists balled. She’s arrogant. Too arrogant, he thinks, and he’ll catch her off guard now that he knows what she is. She’ll never be expecting him to un-ball his fists and reach for her, but that is precisely what he’ll do. She’ll never see it coming until it’s too late and she is within his grasp. Then he’ll snap her neck. It isn’t right or proper, but she started this. He has the wounds to prove it. The others will not question him. They know him.
Meanwhile, as Hayden charges toward her the woman declares, “We are nothing alike.”
She waits for him to get close and then springs her trap. A swift, lightning fast, kick to his chest. The force of the impact sends Hayden flailing backward, spinning round as he goes. That gives the woman all the opportunity she needs, which is why she then effortlessly leaps across the room, slashing with her talons as she sails gracefully through the air.
Hayden’s eyes go wide. He feels the gashes immediately but cannot react before a choke and several gargles escape his now tattered throat.
Blood pours from the remains of his neck. It sprays down the previously white vest covering his wide muscular chest and onto the floor. He can’t speak, though he tries. His voice box has been carved into pieces and though his hands are now up and around the wound it is already too late. Hayden has lost too much blood. A wide and still expanding puddle of thick dark red blood now covers a section of the polished black and white checkerboard floor of his apartment.
Hayden manages several awkward steps toward the woman before his legs become too weak to support his weight because of the amount of blood he’s lost. So he goes stumbling back into a wall. He stands with his back up against the blank section of light blue painted plaster staring at the woman until his legs fail completely and he goes slumping down to the floor. His eyes remain glued to the woman who simply watches as the last shreds of life leave him as evidenced by the fact that his eyes go glassy and still.