The sting of the cold wind slaps against my face as I hit terminal velocity (it is a big long complicated equation but believe me when I say it is 120 mph) is when I feel the most alive. Falling with nothing between me and the earth but air and fear. My gloved finger tickles the rip cord, I am afraid, but not of falling or dying, or even worse, living, if I were to survive a hit to the ground or the side of the mountainp. No, I am afraid that I will pull the cord before I get a few more seconds of freedom and loose the feeling that I have right now, that feeling of excitement and fear and adrenaline all pumping through my veins.
Racing toward the mountain at 120 mph I have zero room for error. One centimeter too low and I might clip the mountain, one centimeter high and I might over shoot my target and that would be just as bad. With my arms pinned to my side and my legs together I shoot through the air like a bullet aimed at a target. The aerodynamics of my body allow me to build that speed to terminal. Suddenly I push my arms and legs against the force of the wind to spread them out to make a falling X. Thin sheets of fabric shoot from between my legs and under my arms connected to my side. I look like a flying squirrel. My “Wingsuit” blends with the black night sky as I glide in, still flying at roughly 100 mph I raise my body to create more drag and in turn slows me down. I did this for two reasons, one, I don’t want to pull my chute if I don’t have to, and 2, hitting one of those bastards is going to hurt bad enough I don’t want to hit him at 120 mph.
The wind grabbed the suit and my fall slows slightly and I could see the house atop the mountain about a mile away, doing a quick calculation in my head I should be right on target. As I glide closer I could see three flashlight beams surveying the area, two in the front of the house and one in the back. I should miss the roof by inches and be on target for the stationary flashlight in the back. He stands still, waving the light in a wide arc back and forth.
I came in just as I had planned, narrowly missing the red clay shingled roof top of the two story Mexican Villa. I pull my chute and slow drastically, but not enough to land, lifting my legs I outstretch them as my legs connect with the guards back. His flashlight goes flying across the back of the compound but he lies on the ground and never made a sound. I pull back on the handles and slow more, releasing and dropping to the ground my chute continues its descent down the mountain until it tangles in a tree.
Checking my pulse I noticed its 70, a little high, my wingsuit hits the ground as I peel it off next to the body of the guard, I think he’s alive but I can guarantee he will never walk again. I felt his spine crack the second my boot connected. I have two more to take care of around front or I could head in through the back, the way I see it the less guns I have to deal with later the better. I might as well take them out while I have the upper hand.
A bag I carry on my back held my all my life support essentials, gun (I don’t use unless I have to, not that I have anything against guns I just prefer stealth), two fixed blade knifes about seven inches long and two Kali Sticks (black batons). I slide the knifes into their homes in the sheaths on my legs and place the gun in its holster on the small of my back. The Kali Sticks, they rest comfortably in my hands.
The Alvarez Drug Cartel is housed in this Villa which Diego Alvarez stole from the Medina family. No I am not Military, Enrique Medina happens to be a very good friend of the family and I decided that I would take care of his little problem, also Enrique’s beautiful young daughter is being held in an upstairs bedroom of the home. Sure the Mexican Police should be in charge of getting it back but with all the gun power and the corruption in the police force there they were having a hard time.
Do I think of myself as a vigilante, sure, but do I think I am doing anything wrong? At times, but at times not, who would help these people if I didn’t. Plus I have that little phobia problem.
As the light of one of flashlights comes within inches of my face I quietly charge one of the guards and with a left and right and the left uppercut of the Kali sticks the guard went down with a hard thud. My eyes quickly surveyed the scene and I realized that I have lost sight of the third guard and I no longer see his flashlight beam. Then I knew where he was the instant the barrel of the gun touched the back of my head.
He chattered something in Spanish that I can vaguely discern as “I have an intruder,” and then he got a reply from a hand held radio that tells him to bring me into the house. “Drop the sticks,” he said in his native tongue.
I did as I was told and the metal batons clank as they hit the concrete walk. Then he taps my knifes and I do the same, next he pulls the gun from my back and I don’t hear it hit the ground, must have kept it.
The long walk into the center of the house with a gun to the back of your head isn’t as fun as it sounds. Large Oak doors that stood on the south side of the central courtyard I recognize as Mr. Medina’s office, I guess Diego has taking that over as well.
The large Oak doors slid open revealing two armed men and a Senor Diego Alvarez sitting behind a large pine desk, it was stained blond and matched the cream stucco color of the walls, unfortunately the cream walls had bright red splatters. Too many men, and probably women, have lost their lives in this room. Hopefully little Sarah was still alive upstairs.
“Well what is this Halloween? Because you don’t look like you are a Lucha Libre.”
“You referring to my mask Senor Alvarez?”
“This hardly seems fair now does it? You know who I am but I have no idea who you are?”
“My name is Adrenaline,” I said
The room roared with laughter.
“I guess you are here for the bounty on my head. Ever since my home land has betrayed me and placed a price tag on my head I have had to deal with vigilante’s like you. But you see all those blood and brains on the walls. That is all that is left of the ‘vigilante’s’ that have tried to take me in. Kill him.” He says with the wave of a hand.
“Wait,” I said. “I’m not like those other vigilantes.”
“Oh, how is that?”
“I don’t care about the money. As a matter of fact I’m not even claiming it. I don’t like money, and I have more than I know what to do with now. You see I’m going to kill you and take this house back and give that little girl upstairs back to her father.”
“Oh, she isn’t a little girl anymore.”
Again the room explodes in laughter, and I take the opportunity to duck down and swivel around, sweeping the leg of a goon. I grab the gun from the man that was holding me hostage who now lays curled in the fetal position and pull the trigger placing a bullet between his eyes. I find my gun tucked in the front of his pants. I raise both arms out like I’m hanging on a cross and pull the triggers taking out the two armed guards. I quickly turned the guns on Diego and to my surprise he has pulled a sawed off shotgun from under the desk and raised it on me.
As I stared down the barrel of the shotgun I wonder how I’m getting out of this one. I see his finger the trigger. “I guess your just another stain on the wall.”
I can hear footsteps running up behind me and I dive to the right and close to the door just as he fires right into the gut of the one of his henchmen. I scurry through the blood soaked floor and out into the courtyard. Up to the left on the second floor a pretty young girl wondered out onto the balcony eying all the commotion going on downstairs. Her thin silky night gown clung to her dark skin. She is as beautiful as the day I met her, I remember spending several weekends with her at our ranch in southern Texas and my heart pounds at the sight of her. I check my pulse 81, getting higher, but I have to get her out of this nightmare.
“Sarah,” I yell. She jumped, startled by the sudden eruption of gunfire again. Two guards begin shooting in my direction and I bolted for the stairs to try to get to Sarah. I fire the guns at the guards coming down the stairs and take out kneecaps and bodies fall all around me. Sarah turns toward me but seems as scared by my appearance as she does her captors.
Her white nightgown explodes in red and she clenches her stomach and she falls to the floor of the balcony.
“No,” I scream as I dart for her. I rip off my mask and she looks into my eyes.
“Am I going to be alright?”
“Yes, I promise.”
“I wouldn’t make promises you can’t keep,” Diego’s voice came from above me.
I looked up and the barrel of the shotgun sat pointed at my forehead. With movement like lightening I move my head to the right and grab him by the wrist and twist the gun from his hand. I turn it on him and pull the trigger, landing the shotgun blast in his chest. He stumbles backwards and over the railing.
I pulled Sarah into her room and close the door as I hear sirens filling the rising dawn. I kiss her on the forehead as she struggles to breathe.
“I have always loved you.
“I have always loved you too. I wish things had been different.”
“Thank you for…” her voice trails off and I can hear her last breath escape her lungs.
I am holding her head in my lap crying as the Mexican Police bust in, guns drawn.
Paying off the Mexican Police to forget that I was there hadn’t been a problem. In fact it had been easy, one could say that it had been their idea to keep the reward on Senor Alvarez. After they had seen my handy work they determined that it was in their best interest to let me walk out of the country a free man, and with all of my body parts that I had entered with.
New Haven, my home, felt empty now. I had planned to bring Sarah back with me but…anyway. New Haven once was a dark bleak place and I had hoped that her light would brighten it just a little more. I stood in my office atop Commerce Tower in the Nash Industries Vice President office looking out over The Coyote and down at my city. Looking out over the river I became lost in the skyline and it should give me great pleasure, it should send waves of pride pulsing through my bones. I should look down on her in amazement at how one man was able to drag it out of the gutter and polish her until she shined. How he took this decrepit city and revived it into a commercial and artistic center of this country. I should be proud because that man was my father.
Gerald Nash stood behind me with his hand upon my shoulder, “It is your city now son. I am not only leaving Nash Industries in your hands, but New Haven as well. It is your city to guard and protect.”
“I can’t do what you have done, sir.”
“I only ask that you protect what I have done, but I have no doubt you will make your own mark on her as well.”
He patted my shoulder and left the office. He would be on a plane to Texas within the hour and Nash Industries would be my responsibility. But first I needed a drink.