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A Very Important Date

by Kit Queen 8 months ago in Series
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A "Tale of Two Brothers" Teaser

"The White Rabbit's Signature" by Kit Queen

10:59.

The subwoofer in the lounge club was so powerful, it vibrated in his very bones. There were no windows. Instead, the neon lights that framed the bar danced along the soft ridges of the molded texture in the midnight blue walls. The air was thick with smoke, swirling with the air currents and stinging the eyes and nose, but no one seemed to mind; the occupants in this room were some very dangerous people, but it didn't seem to bother the newcomer among them.

He walked through the room unburdened and nearly unnoticed, like he was a shadow. Despite the slim lines of his figure, he would not be in this room at all if he wasn't already carrying at least three weapons. One of them he displayed very openly: a short katana, blade sharper than sight, tucked in a sleek black sheath. The rest were hidden.

A cursory glance around the table gave him just what he needed to know: that Ren’s information had been correct. They were all here tonight.

He could still hear Ren’s crackly voice: “The Client is willing to pay handsomely for you to take out Sonny and his crew. 50k a head, plus 600k for Sonny himself.”

This only caused him to laugh. “You say that like money is the ultimate draw! You know me better than that, Big Sib.”

Ren rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re the only assassin I know that actually has a conscience.”

The Newcomer had a small chuckle to himself as he approached the poker table. His eyes scanned each individual, going over each one and organizing each fact and detail in his head.

On the far end of the table sat Ugly Pete, who still had a bit of crank dust stuck to his upper lip; probably from the mob’s own supply. He was just as foul on every level as his reputation was: going over his file could make one physically ill, as could his stench. To his right was The Nose, whose legendary schnozz was threatening to drip on the table. For a bagman, he seemed particularly unsanitary. The Newcomer just hoped he washed his hands before he touched the cards.

Across the table from the two of them were Guzman and Lucio, whose face tattoos looked worse in person than they did in their numerous mugshots. Dealing narcotics, assault, domestic violence; the list went on. They were the top thugs in Sonny’s group of drug runners—which was like two of the strongest dwarves sitting at a table of giants.

The last two looked far more like he expected them to: Mr. Jones, in an expensive pinstripe suit like a proper mobster. His gorilla-esque hands made the cards he held look like they were crying for help, and it made the Newcomer wonder how often those wiry arm hairs got caught between the metal plates in his Rolex.

And the last. He was known to many simply as Sonny, but his full name was James Kinsley-Highbourne Jr., son of James Highbourne Sr., the recently deceased head of the Highbourne Clan. They had a reputation for dipping their hands in everything from extortion to drug pushing, to white slavery and human trafficking. They had the blood from thousands of innocents on their hands, their silk suits and fine leather shoes, so much so that it came to be that their family calling card and crest was a lush red carnation. And Sonny was no different from his piece of shit father.

He would suffer the most.

11:00.

The Newcomer sat at the round poker table. The dealer nodded at him, and an informal greeting was passed around the table. Eyes like pale spring grass glowed in the low light and took note of positively everything. Weak spots. Weapons. Moods. A million scenarios played out in his head as a cocktail waitress with heavy makeup and a short, sequined skirt served him a drink. He was dealt his hand.

Mr. Jones had a great, booming laugh as he addressed the newcomer: “Given your reputation, boy, I thought you might be more intimidating! But you’re nothing more than a little rabbit!”

The Newcomer only chuckled and shook his head. He would see.

11:15.

“Call.”

Little worn cards laid softly on felt. An insult or two flew as Sonny took the pot for this round. Ugly Pete smacked the young waitress’s rear and demanded another drink. The Newcomer’s eyes danced around the table once again. The dealer folded the cards back together and reshuffled.

11:48.

Two and a half rounds and several more drinks in. The Newcomer’s first glass dripped condensation like sweat, still only half full.

“Not drinking, Little Rabbit?” Mr. Jones boomed.

The Newcomer smiled. “I prefer to have a clear head for my strategies, Mr. Jones.”

When the waitress brought the newest round of drinks, the Newcomer caught her gently by the hip. “Darlin’, you look a little fidgety. Why not go take a smoke break?” His eyes were kind, as they locked on hers, nodding encouragingly.

Confused, she looked to Sonny for permission, and he gave it. As she left the room, the dealer dealt a fresh deck of cards.

11:51.

The last hand to be played this round was the Newcomer’s.

“Well?” Ugly Pete demanded. The jitters had their hold on him.

“Play or fold.” Lucio ordered.

The Newcomer’s mouth quirked up in a smirk. “Sorry boys,” he said, “Only have one card to play this round.” He flicked said card out of his jacket pocket, and once it settled face-down on the table, the back could be seen clearly: the card was not from the deck, it was pitch black and had a little rabbit drawn on it in white paint marker.

In the next instant, the lounge burst into sheer chaos. The Newcomer pulled a gun with a silencer screwed onto the barrel and shot Lucio and Guzman in the head before the others could draw their weapons. The other men came at him as the two bodies slumped onto the table.

There it was, almost immediately: adrenaline. Sadistic glee, like a drug, kept him moving faster than his targets, slogged from alcohol.

“You don’t even have to take the weapons,” Ren had said before he left. “Why not just coat their glasses with cyanide?”

“No guarantee, plus possible casualties.” His flint rock sang as he sharpened his katana. “Besides… they deserve to suffer, and I so enjoy the suffering of scum.”

And suffer they did. Mr. Jones had the closest shot, but the Newcomer slammed his thick arm upwards, and two shots rang. One hole puckered in the ceiling, and the other, Mr. Jones’s expensive blue lapel.

The Nose tried to grab him, but the Newcomer easily grabbed him, twisted, and flipped the much larger man over his shoulder, slamming his body down on the table. The Newcomer had hardly a second to draw the katana, but he was more than quick enough. His blade sliced through Ugly Pete's knuckles, then created a nasty gash in his neck.

Sonny was the last to come at him and got a roundhouse kick to the side of the head, and then, before he could recover from his ringing ears, the Newcomer took a leap off the table, wrapped his legs around Sonny’s neck, and used the momentum to bring him to the floor.

After that, all it took was two shots: one for The Nose—who had scrambled off the table—and one for the poor dealer, before he could dial 911.

11:54.

The Newcomer kept his promise. With the door locked, and both kneecaps shattered, Sonny wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Crimson like wine stained his suit pants—shame about the Armani— and was spattered across the white vest the Newcomer wore.

“Fuck!” Sonny cried out, pain pitching his voice up several octaves. “I swear to Christ, whatever they’re paying you, I’ll double it! Triple it!”

The Newcomer laughed. It was an unhinged, joyful sound—almost reminiscent of a hyena, right before it devours its prey. “You think this is about money, you overblown, limp-dick sack of pus?”

Sonny’s eyes stretched wide as the cackling assassin’s boot rested on his arm, pinning him in place. The Cheshire Cat’s grin could be put to shame by the look on the Newcomer’s face as he continued:

“You are a blemish on the face of this Earth. This city will be that much better off without a fucker like you dominating the Underworld. Oh, and by the way? All the ‘merchandise’ you’re hiding in your clubs are about to be sent back to their families.”

Still oblivious (or was it defiant?) in the face of his own death, Sonny snarled up at him. “Those whores will be moved before you can get to them!” The defiance (ignorance?) completely evaporated, and Sonny found himself face-to-face with a hungry blade.

“You will regret everything you’ve done to them.” He was not laughing now. “Either in this world, or the next.”

Sonny’s lips quivered, and tears streaked down his face as he tried one last plea: “Please… I’m sorry!”

“You sure are!” The Newcomer’s grin was now downright sadistic. “Do one last thing for me? Say my name.”

Sonny hesitated, his breath coming in shallow gasps. When seconds passed, the Newcomer became impatient. His blade impaled Sonny’s left shoulder, and when he screamed, the Newcomer shoved the barrel of his gun’s silencer into his mouth.

Say it, shitheel!”

As best he could with the muffler between his teeth, Sonny grit out: “White Rabbit!”

The last thing he saw was that terrifying grin as the Newcomer pulled the trigger.

11:59.

Cigarette butts still burned in the ashtray. Red had seeped through the table and was now dripping into a pool on the floor. The White Rabbit hummed along with the song playing in the lounge as he sat back in his chair, lifting his drink to his lips. In his free hand, he flipped his calling card over and over. There was a buzzing in his pocket, and he pulled the burner phone to his ear.

“Ren! Mission accomplished. Now, about this bastard’s ‘merchandise…’

Series

About the author

Kit Queen

Kit | 25 | They/Them

Just your friendly neighborhood Enby Storyteller, building palaces out of paragraphs and creating fantasies in living color. My stories are the fire that gives me life, and I want to share that light with the world.

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