John McLaren trotted past the burning fires; neither they nor the rains had stopped. He had just left the remains of GameCommedore, and had not been the first to discover the body. He noticed bloody boot prints throughout the room. Panic was high in the remaining few residents of the compound; he needed to find the others to root out the hidden enemy. Whoever found the body would be the culprit. Needing to keep a level head, he pushed the terrible image of the room out of his mind.
Pressing towards the gym, he could already hear the others arguing. This was not going to be a pleasant afternoon. Opening the door to one of the last remaining buildings, the discussion turned into a screaming match.
“It is still alive, so which of you is it?” shouted DengarIG-88.
“How do we know it’s not you?” TheCheese yelled back.
Trying to remain calm taking his reflective aviator sunglasses off, gameguru responded, “We must look at this rationally. There must be a way to discern who the creature is. Obviously GameComeddore and I were on to something.”
“Your discerning has obviously not worked. How many have you killed? How many?” DengarIG-88 shot back. He felt gameguru’s lead had cost them so much.
“Where’s John McLaren?” asked gameguru.
John McLaren had seen enough. Cracking his knuckles, he moved toward the arguing trio. With a closed fist, he struck the back of gameguru’s head, sending him to the ground. Sensing an opening, TheCheese pounced on DengarIG-88.
Blondie’s face felt soft and fleshy against his fist. John McLaren did not know the guy’s name, and did not care. Sidestepping a left hook, John McLaren chuckled about how easily this fight was going. They danced around one another, jabbing, punching, and kicking. He threw his knee into the other fighter’s gut, taking the wind out of him. A last punch to the back of the head ended the fight; Blondie fell to the floor. Too easy.
Behind him, he heard clapping. Turning to find out whom, John McLaren grabbed a towel and wiped the blood from his bare hands. Some of it was his, but mostly the blood was from Blondie. There was a shard of a tooth cut into his hand.
“Always a good show Johnny Boy, though I think your buddy will be eating through a straw for a few weeks.”
John McLaren responded, “Well, I need to keep in shape, and punching bags don’t fight back. I know why they sent you, and the answer is still no.” He was always a man who needed to get down to business as quickly as possible.
The man sat on one of the many metal folding chairs lining the boxing ring. Standing, straightening his black tie, he picked up his matching black suit jacket. His build earned not by hours at a gym, but by years in the fields of combat, could not hid under the thin cotton shirt. Absent-mindedly rubbing the scar along his cheek, he looked around the scene, taking in the worn out gym, and said, “Fitting I find you in this dump. Haven’t you learned anything? There is no ‘no,’ just how much.”
Rolling his opponent over with his foot, just the make sure he was still breathing, McLaren responded flatly, “Then I guess we need to negotiate my fee. I want twice my normal take, and this is my last job.”
“You’ll get your normal take, and you can get out by diein’,” laughed the black suited man. “I love the art of the deal.”
“You know I hate you.”
“I would have it no other way Johnny Boy.”
John McLaren pounded gameguru’s face into the ground repeatedly, stopping when gameguru went limp. Standing, he dropped his bloodied unconscious victim to the ground. The other two looked on in astonishment, their quarrel forgotten. The attacker reached down, grabbed gameguru’s booted foot, and found dried blood.
Plainly stating, “It matches the print I found at GameCommedore’s place. He’s been manipulating us from the start.”
DengarIG-88 spat out a tooth knocked loose by TheCheese, asked, “So what do we do with him?”
“Don’t worry, I got this.” John McLaren snagged gameguru’s collar and dragged him out of the building.
With the two others in tow, he made his way through the compound. The rain poured down on the remaining survivors as they made their sojourn to kill the last of the abominations. Behind them, the fires burned; he brought his baggage to the edge of the town, a sheer cliff dropping several hundred feet down to the base of Mount Killemall.
Heaving gameguru over the edge, John McLaren watched him bounce along the cliff face. Passing through the treetops, the birds of paradise fled the snapping branches. The others could not hear his soft thud that finally ended his descent.
“I don’t know about you, I plan to finally get a good night of sleep. Tomorrow our ride will be here bright and early.” He lit a broken cigarette, and went back to his dormitory.
SEER, WEREWOLVES, and BODY GUARD send me your picks before Sunday at midnight.