Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The End for Pedro and the Japanese Cowboy

It is not long before they are found again. This town is too small and the hunters, who have cast a wide net, too committed. Soon Reiki and Pedro are hauling ass and breathing hard; pursued from many angles and avenues they run. Wisps of smoke and shadow flit in the distance driving them onwards, wayward. Twice they have weapons trained on them and twice Pedro thinks they are dead men, but each time their pursuers fail to open fire.

Running through the twists and turnings of the maze-like, labyrinthine streets and alleys. One moment they are alone with the night, getting by through moonlight and sense of touch, only one another's panting breath for company and rushing towards freedom, the next is blurred with movement, all too quick and deadly. A rush of sound. Movement almost too quick to see. The silent shadows are lunging, embracing. The flash of steel and flex of flesh hard as stone driving it towards an enemy, driving steel to cut into flesh, eyes filled to bursting with murder behind this, forcing the way.

With sinister efficiency Reiki has taken out two more assassins as they've leapt from concealment, one disembowelled with a short jerking forward thrust, the other's throat cut with a no-look backstroke. They die without a word. Pedro, less subtle and less silent, more a brawler, more a smasher, likewise has shed blood, breaking the pool cue first across a Yakuza snarl, and then impaling his co-attacker with the shaft. The first is then brained with the less subtle and quite rapid approach of a frying pan before he can recover, a frying pan which happened to be laying next to the cooking fire of some transient. A third attacker runs screaming having been doused with said transient's cooking pot or laundry boil. And suddenly they have an angry transient, just woken, on their hands, none too pleased.

The homeless man moves to protest. However on seeing Pedro with a bloody frying pan and Reiki with sword dripping he does reconsider. He looks to his empty bottle of homebrew tequila and decides it must be another mirage or bad dream, and either/or he is calling it a day. He crawls deeper into the shadows of his refuge of scavenged cardboard and goes back to the sleep of the damned, a sleep which is much safer than the current reality.

The hunters, like wolves with a taste of prey in their teeth, keep coming though, sniffing them out, finding, driving towards their quarry. Pedro wants to go down and into the sewers when a broken grate is stumbled upon, but Reiki is leading them up instead of down, up a fire escape to be precise. And so up they haul tired bodies, rung after rung, until a rooftop is reached. Here they rest a bit, hoping against hope they will be safe. However, the building below is soon occupied by the enemy, the hope of having eluded and escaped evaporating as they witness this. Revealed instead is the certainty that they have been found and that they are truly surrounded.

Catching breath Pedro takes stock of the situation, realizes now that Reiki has not escaped the last confrontation unscathed. In the moonlight on the roof black blood on Reiki's lips, black blood soaking through his dark shirt.

'Reiki, you're hurt.'

'Yes, I was not fast enough.'

'In the dark before I couldn't see.'

'Pedro you must flee. I will stay and fight.'

'But you'll die.'

'I'll die anyways. Now go.'

'No Reiki. Besides, there's no where to flee anyways.'

Reiki coughs up some more blood. He leans on Pedro and asks for a drag of that cigarette, leaving lifeblood on the tip after he painfully inhales. As he takes up the cigarette he has dropped the doll Pedro has carved him. They watch it fall the several stories down to the road below.

The two wait. The wait is not long. Yakuza with guns holstered, kicking down a door. And the leader with the missing eye in the background. They have swords drawn as they approach. Reiki smiles wearily and waves a hand at them, beckoning, unwavering, eager. Three attack Reiki at once and do not break his defence. They attack him a second time and again cannot penetrate his quick steel as Pedro is grabbed up, shuffled against a wall, a gun in his ribs.

They do not yet realize the extent of Reiki's wounds, but he is leaving bloody footprints as they dance back and forth. Blood, fists, the ringing of steel, and two go down of the three in sudden, jerking fountains of blood. The third is knocked down by a Reiki fist and on his back scuttling away. He kills another charging madly with a sickle as Pedro is slipping loose from his handler's inattentive grip, elbowing him low in the groin and throwing him to the ground, kicking hard the hand with the gun, kicking hard the face that protests.

Pedro turns in time to see Reiki the Japanese cowboy take two more men out before a gunshot rings out and everything stops. Pedro watches as the Stetson hat flies off and sees the small hole in Reiki's forehead. He sees Reiki falter a few steps and then sees Reiki fall. But just prior and with his last energy he is tossing the blade, his father's father's blade, his birth right and his death sentence.
Pedro catches the sword as Reiki dies. In his grip the sword is shaking, held across his body as he turns now, turns to face them. He is surrounded and the man with the scar calmly points his small, elegant gun at him. The blade trembles in Pedro's grip, like is doesn't belong, like it wants to escape.

'This sword is not for you. Give it to me and I will spare your life.'

'Fuck you asshole. This is Reiki's goddamned sword.'

'Reiki's dead. And so soon you.'

Pedro screams, charges to the attack. The leader signals his men to hold, dodges the clumsy, inexperienced swing with ease, solidly connects with his fists three times to the throat, ribs and side, knocking Pedro gasping, sprawling to the ground, disarming him in the process. The blade and sheath are retrieved by an underling and the Yakuza leader with the 'X' for an eye approaches. His men pull Pedro roughly up from his knees and hold him. Struggle is not an option. Nor is fear. They stare eye to eye.

'You are brave, if unskilled, showed heart and honour in defending something you know nothing about. For that I will spare your life. For that I will only take your eye.'

1 comment:

Pascal-Denis Lussier said...

Noooo!!!! Why'd you have to go and kill Reiki!?!? You bastard!
Cheers,
p.