The Card – Rickson Finale

Rickson stared at the damn screen for at least twenty minutes before he shook his fucking head and decided to play with whatever fucking idiot was running this con. He typed, well, henpecked more than anything, and when he was done he was as proud of himself as he ever had been.

MY DEMAND IS FOR THE CITY OF LONDON TO HAVE NO FUCKING CRIME FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS. NOTHING ILLEGAL AT ALL.

He hit send without thinking about it and went about the real work of the day without giving what he had typed another thought. However, had he been even vaguely observant he would have noticed that the phone had buzzed mere seconds after he had typed up the email and hit send. It was a single line, a single word.

APPROVED

——–

Three weeks later and Rickson was sitting on the porch of his house. There was no noise, no cars going back and forth, absolutely nothing but a light breeze high up in the trees that he ignored because it seemed as fake as the rest of this thing.

Three weeks and there hadn’t been…anything.

Not a mugging, a rape, a murder. Not even a speeding ticket was given in the entire City of London proper. The Mayor was talking of reallocating the police force to the outer parts of the country, where there had been a dramatic rise in crime in recent weeks with as many as 65 murders in Oxford alone. The world was going mad, but London was quiet, serene. People walked instead of taking cars, they smiled at each other and all but ignored The Tube, relishing the fact that they could safely walk anywhere they wanted to and not be molested by anything.

Mayor Khan had as much as got up in front of the city and guaranteed them that the police force was such a threat to the criminal element they had tucked their tails between their legs and they had run away to leave the righteous and beauty of London be as was it’s historic due.

Yeah, he really said that.

Rickson knew that wasn’t true. he knew the truth. He couldn’t believe it, but he knew the truth. That damn card was nowhere to be fucking found anywhere. he knew he had left the damn thing on the desk and someone had come by and bloody nicked the thing. After he says no crime there is a theft. Bullshit promises.

What he wanted to know. What he NEEDED to know and what kept him up for hour after hour the last few days is what would happen when the month was over and the crime returned. The police dispersed over half the damn country, there was going to be a…he couldn’t even think about it without going half-mad from the guilt of a thing he had thought a damn lark.

Nodding his head he walked back into the humble house he had inherited from his mum and dad when they passed a few years ago. He had never been married or even really dated. The job had been his life for more years than he was comfortable admitting and he knew, HE KNEW, that what was to come was directly his fault.

He sighed and stepped up onto the chair in the kitchen. It was a hickory chair his dad had bought when they had a holiday in America. It gave him a smile as he wrapped the bedsheet around his neck and tied it off nice and tight so that he wouldn’t fall out of it when he inevitably started to kick in a few moments. He had left a note on the table and that should be enough.

With a final sigh, he simply tilted the chair and fell into his noose, his neck breaking perfectly at the C2 vertebrae and killing him instantly. He didn’t kick at all it turned out.

_____

The letter was in some kids’ hand now, he had heard the old man next door make a lot of noise and had peaked in just as he had hung himself.

He walked in just as free as you please and loaded up his pockets with anything he thought might fetch a price later and pocketed the letter without reading it just in case it had some account number in it he could use.

There were no words on the paper when he opened it though, just a shiny black card with a .onion address on it and nothing else.

Leader – Introduction

From the top of the hill, they looked like so many ants, scurrying to do the tasks he had set them to do and coming back to him for more, and more still. it was an easy thing, sitting and telling them what to do because all these people wanted, was someone to take control of the chaos of their lives and give it some meaning, who was Peter if not a man to help these people get precisely what they desired so very much?

It had been so very easy. Park benches at first. he would come up to the solo people there, male and female, and he would simply talk to them and tell them what they wanted to hear in return. he was positive that they knew that was exactly what he was doing. No one person in the world knew everything. Soon park benches became speeches on the unused baseball diamond and later than that, the rec center in the park that someone would rent out so as many people could come and hear him say these wonderful things he was saying. Five became dozens, dozens became hundreds and because of the joy of the Internet, the numbers were impossible to accurately tell now.

He sat up on the hill in his smartly designed suit, feeling the warm breeze of the devil winds of the Santa Ana that were barreling down the coast to where they were in Baja California. He was completely alone up on the hill and it was a magnificent thing. He saw the builders making homes, the cooks making food, the children playing in the grasses of the valley floor and not a single person was unhappy or out there against their will.

Much to the consternation of the young ladies, and some gentleman, of the group, Peter was a celibate man. Having made the decision in his early youth and never once questioning it or being tempted towards leaving these self-made vows. He did not want their money, he did not want anything from them except their ears to listen to the things he had to say. They were free to go, in fact, Peter had bought them plane and bus tickets when they thought they needed to be elsewhere.

The world was so vast, pennies slipping from a bank vault would not be noticed. He was not planning on making them all drink Kool-Aid, collect assault rifles or have all the women become sister-wives.

No, no that wasn’t the plan in the slightest.

The Card – Rickson

The detective bent low over the body. He had gotten the okay from the tech guys that they had all the pics they needed so, after donning a pair of nitrile gloves, he looked down at what was left of a human being at his feet.

The head had been severed and was still actively being searched for. The hands looked like they had been whacked with something over and over until they were just sacks of flesh containing bits of bone, at least what bones hadn’t already come out and were, like the head, being looked for in the flat that the deceased had been found in. There were bruises and cuts everywhere on the torso. Distinctive marks from what looked like a baseball bat crossed upward from the left hip to the right shoulder.

It was just a bad scene all around. The detective shook his head and carefully reached into the victim’s pocket and almost immediately pulled it out because he could swear he had fucking stabbed himself on something. Afraid that it had been a junkie hypodermic, he quickly, but carefully, repeated the procedure and breathed a sigh of relief when he could find nothing resembling a needle or a blade in the pockets. In fact, all that was in there was this black card.

It was shiny, like one of those cards from that game where you come up with horrible answers to things. It was glossy and mirrored the light perfectly. Despite what had happened to the previous owner of it, it was untouched by any wear or tear. Without thinking twice, he slipped the card into his interior suit coat pocket and continued with his investigation, finding it weird he hadn’t found anything in the pocket after he had just felt a sting come it. He was just happy he didn’t have to go through the tests for HIV and Hepatitis.

—–

The detective, Rickson, sat down at his desk with a fresh cup of tea and saw that the autopsy report on John Doe from the other night was on his desk. A little early for gore and horror, but it went with the job. He took a sip from the tea and opened the report. Apparently they had found a wallet on the corpse that identified as a man named Alphonse Jacobi. A work-from-home accountant for the big firms. Massive internal bleeding was the cause of death, apparently, all signs pointed to him being alive when all of the injuries were sustained, the head was removed post-mortum for reasons as of yet unknown. Those things that were missing, the head and miscellaneous bone fragments, had yet to be found and a deep search of the area surrounding the flat was being conducted even as he read this grisly report in front of him.

He stretched, his arms shooting out to both sides and bunching his jacket like always happened. When he put his arms back down he noticed a black card on his desk. A shiny, black card, a playing card? It was completely devoid of detail, at least on the side that he could see. He picked it up and flipped it over and there was an email address printed neatly on it. Eyebrow raised in curiosity Rickson logged into his computer and put the email address through the database with no luck. The domain didn’t have any websites and, without getting the tech guys involved, that was all he would be able to tell.

His questioning getting the better of him, Rickson pulled out his mobile and opened the email app and placed the email address in the To field and simply sent a message saying hello. He hit send without a second thought and put his phone down and took another sip of his tea while he turned the card over in his hand. It felt like it should mean something, it was tickling some part of his brain but he couldn’t quite place it no matter how hard he tried.

He heard his phone buzz on the table and he picked it up and looked at the screen and saw that the email had been answered:

PLEASE STATE YOUR QUERY/REQUEST/DEMAND.

Well, wasn’t this just a big pile of shit all of a sudden.

Headless

The thing they don’t tell you about arterial blood is that it is just so much darker than what they show on television when people do heinous things to not-so-heinous people. They always make it look like this Campbell’s tomato soup color when it is this rick and dark red that, like I am doing right this very second, you want a roll in it and have it cover you like a blanket, wiping away any other color, any other light that would dare intrude into such an intimate picture. It is warm and wet, like so many things that are sexual and sensual. It is coppery in your mouth as you roll it along the tip of your tongue and it catches, just a bit, in the back of your throat as your brain reminds you just what exactly is it you are doing, almost a way of making sure you truly want to become what you are trying to be.

I am a bit past where you are, however, so allow me to explain.

A little more than an hour ago, in a very uppity part of Manhattan, I took a chef’s knife from the block in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. It was a gorgeous thing that was this beautiful Damascus patterned steel that looked like explosions and supernovas to my unknowing eyes. It had a handle of, I assume, faux ivory and I walked into the study she was sitting in and I proceeded to remove her head from her shoulders. It is a task that I did not expect to be easy, but it took far longer than I anticipated it taking and a few tools I had to go back into the kitchen to retrieve. The Wusthoff cleaver she had finally got through the spine. It took me a few times, but if I may add, it was a half an hour or so into the ordeal and I am not a particularly large human being.

What, what do you mean you want to know why I did such a thing?

Fine. Christ, people just can’t be content with being told a good story anymore. They have to know about the fucking life of the artist and see if it fits his fucking oeuvre. Choosy fucking beggars I swear…

You want to know why I am laying in a pool of blood and drinking it alternatively like Kool-Air and Merlot?

I was walking down the street to see her this afternoon. My wife asked me to come and pick up some papers from her so we could do her taxes, and it just occurred to me that instead of all of that I could just cut the fucking woman’s head off and swim around naked in her blood like Count Bathory of modern times and then clean up and go home, not forgetting the papers, of course, taxes are important.

Did she do anything wrong?

No, why would you ask me that?

Did she deserve to die? I have no fucking idea. I am not an all-knowing seeker of truth. I wanted to cut her head off and, well, I did.

Sorry, were you expecting me to tell you I had a horrid childhood? That my mummy raped me and daddy beat me?

No sugar tits, sometimes you just want to go and cut a fucking head off.

The Card – Introduction – Finale

A few hours before…

Al had been putting off everything for weeks now. He could not think of a way to come up with that much money no matter where he parked his brain. At first, he thought he could shift a few ones and zeroes in the ledgers of his clients and maybe get what he needed that way and then he realized he never touched the fucking money. All that would do is make someone very happy, or very, very mad. He didn’t have anyone in his life with that kind of money, he didn’t have any credit to speak of so a loan that large was out of the question.

In short, he was fucked.

He was sitting on the steps outside of his flat, his feet tapping like a dancer on the cobblestone of the street. His hands were twirling a pen like it was a baton and his eyes were staring at nothing his mind pretty much have decided to give in to the infinite and die, at least if he died first he wouldn’t have to sit and watch all those wonderful people in his life die. He was ashamed he thought this way, but he had nothing at all left, nothing.

Al sat there, feeling sorry for himself and he felt a pain in his right thigh.

“What the fuck!” He jumped up and smashed his hand against his pants, hopefully killing the fucking bugger who had bit him. Damn thing must have crawled up his bloody pant leg as he was sitting out here feeling sorry for himself and condemning the people he loved the most in the world to die most likely very slow and painful deaths ant the hands of a man who more resembled an angry baboon than a human being.

Al looked at his hand and did not have the satisfaction of seeing a smashed bug, shaking his pant legs he saw nothing tumble out and the bite was still smarting. He reached into his pocket, the thing might have gotten into it and pit him from there. He dug around and at first, he thought he had the little fuck but when he ran his fingers over what he thought was a bug he furrowed his brown in confusion as he pulled a card out of his pocket.

That old man who had asked for a light, this was the card he had given him right? He looked and it and it was nothing special, nothing special at all, except all he could do was look at it. He didn’t particularly want to, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the damn thing no matter how hard he tried. Flat black, nothing on it at all. nothing.

Al was getting fucking spooked now and he blinked a few times and he saw the fucking thing change. A number, a number was there. What the fuck is this shit. Now the world was completely fucking crazy.

The card changed in front of him. A little tear here, a little wear there. it was spreading and even as he looked at it. His finger started to burn where it was holding the card and he cried out, the damn thing was like fire but…in the muscles and the bone.

He screamed as it got worse and his eyes shut and he was out.

When he came to he was staring at the card, he had no idea why he was looking at the stupid card he had been given, but he knew, just knew, he had to call the number.

He just had to.