The Perfect 200, Enter Sandman part 1

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I hate the feel of leather, I know most people don’t, but I do.  It always seems to stick to my skin and pulls on me when ever I move. That was what I was thinking about when the lawyer came into the room.  Not about Cassie or about the condo, or the money that I made off of the business or the cars. Not about the love of my life, my very long life, leaving me when I don’t even know what I did. Not about the child that we talked about adopting because I refused to have one, me being a demon and all. I was thinking about the leather chair. The fucking chair.

“Mr. and Mrs. Valentino, sorry that I am running late. Lunch went over, I was meeting with another client,” he said as he tucked his bright green tie close to his body as he sat in his leather chair. How can anyone like these things, I thought again. “I hope you’re more on time when it comes to the separation papers, Mr. Rowel,” Cassie said, wriggling in her chair. She must think there uncomfortable too. Maybe he has them so we don’t sit here forever.

“I’m very sorry, and ultimately the amount of time this takes is up to you two. If you can’t agree on anything it will take longer than if you can handle this like adults.” He has a short temper. I like that when he speaks to her, maybe not if he acts like that to me.

“Mr. Rowel, please excuse Cassie, what she is trying to say is that we would like this to be as quick and painless as possible,” I had to add my two cents. She glared at me as though she never loved me, I know that isn’t the case.  There was a time in our lives that we were inseparable and when I looked into her eyes I knew that it all would end happily. I didn’t care about heaven or hell. About good or evil or the blurry thin line that defines the two. All I cared about was going to bed next to her and rising in the morning in the same fashion.

Now all I could seem to think about was the fucking leather chair in the lawyers office, and how on more than one occasion in my long life I had become the Unforgiven.

***

Lucian‘s breath has seemed to escape him and his palms are cold with sweat as he watches the target. He’d expected the feeling to pass after the first three thousand years or so, and to some degree it had, but Lucian had never killed someone of such a high rank before.  One mistake or if one of Daniels men saw him he was a dead man, demon.

Daniel liked to flaunt his power, his untouchable power.  Bella’s vaulted ceilings and crystal chandeliers was the attraction of the city. People called a year in advance for a table and you still had to be somebody to get one. Daniel ate his spaghetti with marinara sauce in the window so everyone could see that he was a somebody. What people didn’t know was that he was a something.

Daniel’s life began before anything that he now inhabited did, he was tens of thousands years old. One of the first to fall from the grace of God. None of that mattered to him, he was content living the way he did. He needed nothing from the almighty being that created him, like a son leaves the comfortable womb of his mother, Daniel had simply outgrown the cradle that God had provided for him.

He had his fellow fallen friends that helped him in his quest for riches.  He also found his calling in the form of business, some more legal than others, but what turned him on was money and women. As a matter of fact it was this that caused millions of his fellow demons to fall with him. Daniel was neither the first nor last to fall but he was powerful enough to gain the head of one the divisions that the Two Hundred took.

Lucian wasn’t as powerful. Then. With his endless quiver and dead on shot with a bow his services were always a welcome addition to any demon king that wanted them, and was willing to pay for his talents. Untouchable, Lucian thought, We’ll see about that.

Daniels driver sat waiting at the door as he finished his meal. Without so much a moments hesitation Daniel stood and disappeared from his table. Lucian sat quietly on the bench across the road from Bella’s. Daniel reappeared at the door a moment later and made a line directly to the car.

***

His hand was as steady and unwavering as a mountain. His eye focused on his target. His mind and conscience as clear as a fresh spring. His thoughts stayed on the job at hand. He never fancied himself as a villain, although maybe to some he was.  The ones that took the arrow probably did, if they had time to think.  But he didn’t.  He liked that he was ridding the world of the scum, the trash.

Daniel had a side business. It wasn’t his primary source of income but it was his none-the-less. Porn. Not the bleach blonde, fake boobs, tight leather or bondage porn. But child porn. He paid people to rape children and made money from it. He was scum.

Granted the guy that was paying Lucian to kill this scum was probably no better than Daniel. But the way he figured it, somebody would hire him to kill that scum someday anyway.

Daniel stepped into the open expanse of the window. He was a brave man. Lucian’s hand still held steady.  Why did we choose this, he thought. I can’t let my mind wonder know, he tried to remind himself as he saw Daniel raise the window as he did every night at exactly ten o’clock.

Lucian’s perch on the building across the busy downtown street gave a perfect line of sight into Daniels penthouse.  Then he saw her. She walked up behind Daniel and placed her arms around his bloated belly. Disgusting. Angels were supposed to have the perfect physique. And they can take nearly any form they chose, was this the best that Daniel could do? Her dusty auburn hair hadn’t changed in nearly a century and a half. It couldn’t. She would forever be the same beauty that she was the day she died. Lucian couldn’t say the same for Daniel.

He had to do what he was paid to do. Had to finish Daniel and stop him from ruining any more lives. The slick wooden arrow sat silently in the cradle of the bow, waiting, begging for release. To have the cool autumn air rip across its body. Lucian gave the arrow its wish. He focused one more time to make sure he was dead on. Of course he was. He released the string from his fingers.

The arrow sped through the air with the speed of a thousand horses and hit the monster in his left eye, but didn’t stop. It kept going until the entire length of arrow had had its fill of blood and brain matter.  It came to rest over the headboard of the lovers bed. Dripping red liquid onto the angelic white satin sheets.

A single scream was all Lucian heard as he saw the demons body fall to the hard marble floor like a limp sack of potatoes. He didn’t fly through the air or fall stiff backwards like in the movies, no, he just went limp and fell into a ball at Rebecca’s feet. Her perky breasts covered in Daniels blood.

Their eyes met, Rebecca, or whatever she called herself now, had saw him. Saw the killer of her lover. The man that she was once in love with. The man that helped make her the monster she was. With that exchange of glares Lucian knew that he was in trouble. His worst fear had been realized. The assassin could be identified.

***

Bright light flooded the small room and Lucian rose from his slumber slowly.  His eyes trying to focus but the light was too bright and his eyes, still tender, burned and shot with pain.  He threw his hands up in defense from the light but the blows from the yellowness streaming through the open window only continued to blind him.  Then he saw it.  Something next to the window and he, in that instant, remembered closing the curtain last night.

His mind, because his eyes were failing him, tried to focus on the being in the corner of the small bedroom. He couldn’t, black was all he could see.  Black surrounded by a great flood of light.

“Don’t try to focus too hard Lucian” the dark man said, in a deep penetrating voice that sounded like that of Legion. Several voices seem to come at once.  Had he not known the power of Demon Kings he would have assumed several people were talking in unison. He knew that wasn’t the case. “I am no one,” the voices continued, “But if you wish, call me Sandman for I came to you in a dream.”

Lucian tried to set up in his bed but an unknown force held him in place, firmly to his bed. Back pressed against the warm wet sheets.

“I have a job I have for you.” Lucian’s eyes were beginning to focus and he was starting to make out the appearance of the man standing like a statue in the corner of his room.

“Focus if you want Lucian, but the next time you see me I will not look the same.” Lucian had no reason to doubt the demon king, there were two possibilities, shape shifting or more likely with a demon king, he was powerful enough to possess a human that would, as a result, never be the same. His mind would be like Swiss cheese, full of holes in his memory and flooded with images he wouldn’t understand. It was a cruel and devastating thing for the person to face.  He would eventually die, normally the result of a seizure.

“What kind of job,” Lucian finally managed to let the words escape his lips.

“I need you to convince someone that they need to help me in my future endeavors.”

“I’m not a negotiator. I kill demons, Sandman,” He said the name as though he were mocking him.

“I understand your talents, but I can not have this one dead.”

“Important?”

“Yes.”

“How important?”

“The only thing that should concern you is the money.”

Lucian’s eyes began to focus more and now he could see almost all of the man that stood before him. His white tailored suit with white shirt and red tie screamed “Wall Street GQ” not “crazy demon king”. He stood with a raven on his shoulder peering at Lucian with a watchful eye. His face, still hid in darkness, stood as a testament to the mystery of the man.

“I think I’m going to have to pass.” Lucian sat up in his bed, leaning his back to the headboard and bracing himself for an attack.

“You’ve never turned down an offer before.” His voice was arrogant and bitter by the fact that Lucian would have morals, even a code perhaps.

“I don’t like the feeling of this one.” It was true. On most occasions Lucian wouldn’t even ask questions. He would simply take the money and walk away. But something in his gut told him this wasn’t a good idea. There was more to this than a simple business deal.

“It’s simple, just talk to Alan Valentino. If you won’t, I have several waiting in line that will.”

“Then ask them.”

“You see I can help you, if you help me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I know about the girl. Let’s just say that you won’t have to worry about Daniel’s men coming after you.”

“You won’t touch her, I can handle this on my own.” In a cold sweat and shivering, Lucian awoke to darkness

flooding his room. He rolled over and looked at the clock. He had only been asleep less than an hour.

He only had one thought on is mind. Why Alan Valentino?

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