- May 1, 2022
The Wolf Pack (Chapter 1)
The Carone family recently received their merchandise from the ship a few minutes ago. As they finish loading everything onto the dock, that’s when he decides to make his move.
I wouldn’t judge anyone for not seeing him under the water. It’s the dead of night and he’s wearing all black, I probably wouldn’t see him either if I wasn’t looking for him… though it just seems unfair.
One mafia thug makes a point to walk to the end of the dock, assumingly to take a piss. Before he unzips his fly, a hand reaches from the water and grabs the thug’s shirt, pulling him under. The splash is loud, but that’s alright, the others made a point to give the drowning thug some privacy. They don’t know that someone’s holding their friend underwater.
That’s when he climbs up onto the dock with a waterproof bag on his back. This is when I see him clearly for the first time.
His helmet is an even darker color than my old one if that’s possible. I wonder what made him make his chin so prominent and pointed? It’s a curve that can’t be missed or ignored. And the new armor is… neat, reminds me of a reptile’s scales.
He lays the bag out in front of him and unzips it to take out his weapons. He takes out a small handgun that I don’t recognize, another one for his waist, and some submachine gun in a sling.
You’d think I’d know my guns by now…
As if checking to see that they’re still there, he makes a motion with his wrist that launches a knife right into his hand. Both seem to have a custom handle grip to fit in the armor’s gauntlets.
So, he’s armed to the teeth and ready to go.
He makes towards the warehouse with silent footsteps. The submachine gun that I’m starting to think is an MP5K, is somehow magnetized to his back. Smart, it doesn’t slap against him and make noise.
There are boxes and crates littered everywhere, but those are leftovers from the legit work done during the day. He hides behind some crates when he gets close to the door, as it’s lit and guarded by two thugs with handguns.
To draw them to him, he knocks on the crate he’s hiding behind. They hear it and wonder what the sound was.
They both decide to walk towards the crate, one a few steps in front of the other. It doesn’t take much time for them to round the corner, and when the lead man swings around the turn with his gun aimed, nothing is hiding behind the crates.
The vigilante is now walking up behind the rear man and has a knife in his right hand. As if butter, he slits the man’s throat.
Before the second man can stop scratching his head, the vigilante is on him. The lead thug turns around in time to look the vigilante in the face. He sticks a finger behind the trigger of the thug’s handgun and plunges the already bloody knife through the second man’s larynx. The man is silenced, and bleeding out onto the vigilante’s hand as he stares into the dark helm.
I imagine he’s pretty terrified. I can’t see his face from the camera screen.
The vigilante takes the knife out and then slices the thug swiftly around the throat for good measure. The thug falls backward onto the ground as he bleeds out, with the vigilante holding his gun. He places the gun on a crate quietly and looks at the two dead bodies. There’s no point in trying to hide them with all the blood, so he kneels down next to the body of the first.
Now I see the small compartments on the side of his breastplate. He places a hand over one and opens it to reveal a trip mine. He places it right under the dead man’s arm. If someone checks to move it, they’re dead. It’s electronic and motion-sensitive but gives the vigilante several seconds to get away before it becomes active.
Jesus Christ, he’s not giving anyone a chance, is he? He’d be hard to capture without a superhuman.
The vigilante looks at the door and then walks away. He notices an open window that can lead inside. He decides to climb up a couple of crates between the open window and the door and leaps for it.
Relying on arm strength alone, he clambers onto the window and slips his head inside to survey the warehouse before entering.
I might be too old to do that.
Maybe I’m just out of shape. I should go to the gym more. Home base has a fully-stocked gym.
The place has columns lined up to support its structure, ones he can use to hide on the bottom floor. There are crates stacked so high they almost reach the walkways of the second floor.
The warehouse is ninety percent storage where most of the thugs are, as they guard and move around merchandise. The only other room is an office overlooking the rest of the place. The windows that overlook everything have their blinds closed, and the light from the room shows a silhouette of one man working at a desk.
The place itself is lit, but only from lights in the middle, which somewhat miss the walkways above.
The vigilante climbs down silently to the walkway below the window. He creeps around, noticing no one on the walkways, and walks the length of the warehouse to the office door.
When at the door he again moves to another compartment in his armor and takes out a small line of cable. It seems like it can disconnect and reconnect to a ball at certain points. He doesn’t take out too much and takes out one of his knives.
He looks around at everyone as they’re occupied, and slams the knife into the wall, near the office doorknob. The man in the office hears this and turns his head. As the vigilante hears the man start to get up, he quickly starts wrapping the cable around the doorknob and the knife, making it nice and tight, nigh impossible for the door to open from the inside.
When the man gets to the office door, he tries to push it open but finds that he can’t.
He starts yelling to everyone outside, and most turn their heads to look up at the office. The vigilante walks to the railing and puts his foot on the middle rail. He takes out the handgun on his waist with his right hand, and takes the MP5K on his back in his left, still slung around his shoulder.
The men raise their weapons at him while others look on in fear. One of the fearful ones mutters, “The Hood.”
From where I’m looking, I can see this slight color variation in his helmet, where the lights come on as if he’s analyzing everyone in the room. He must have some kind of tech in there, scanning everyone for weapons maybe? I could get that upgraded I’m sure by James.
As the mafia thugs get their guns, his helmet amplifies his voice like a horn.
“Right now, three of you have attempted murder on your wrap sheets, one of you has succeeded and is wanted in the states of California and New York. The rest of you have a mixture of drug selling and assault charges, none of which would earn the death penalty from me…
“As long as you walk out now. The moment you point those guns shaking in your hands…” and he lifts his guns over his head, “you won’t lift anything ever again.”
There’s a quiet somber wait, who knows how much these guys have heard. If a lot of them have rap sheets from the East Coast, they may have been brought in to replace others this vigilante has killed. If not, then they’d be stupid to not run away.
One guy throws down his gun, and another points it at him.
The Hood saves the man who takes his offer with an impressive headshot.
“That’s the punishment for attempted murder.”
I chuckle. This is where the fun begins.
The Hood jumps off the railing, and as he falls thugs open fire on him. The bullets shatter and deflect off his armor, making dinging sounds against his helmet. If his armor is made out of what I think it is, it should still hurt, but it works.
While falling, he uses his handgun to pull off three headshots simultaneously, covering the one man who listened to him until he barges out the side door.
He lands on his feet and rolls to minimize the force of the fall. A jump from such a height should have hurt, especially landing on his feet, but he shows no signs of injury. Yeah, I think I’m right about the metal in his armor.
He starts running to his left towards some crates to avoid bullets.
He fires off two more shots, one through a man’s head, and shoots another in his jacket. Grenades must have been in his jacket because a small explosion goes off from where the Hood shot him.
How could he have seen that?
From behind the crates, he takes cover from bullets. He still gets shot in his impenetrable armor, so why does he stand there? He’s taking the time to survey the area further, and without hesitation moves against the thugs.
He uses his MP5K to shoot out the bottom crates of a pile let them fall like Jenga pieces on several thugs, creating a puff of white dust from the cocaine in them.
The Hood runs towards the thugs under the crates, who are frantically moving through the airborne cocaine. He uses the submachine gun to mow down the men under the crates and uses the crates as a launching point to jump up and over them.
He comes down on another man’s shoulders and uses the man’s body as another jumping point. As he jumps and flips, he uses the handgun to shoot him in the back of the head.
The Hood lands between three thugs and uses a mix of fisticuffs and guns to kill them. He backhands the thug to his left with his submachine gun, and as soon as the thug stumbles in front of the Hood’s barrel, he fills him with lead.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Then a thug hits him with his own rifle, and he’s dazed enough that the guy points his gun at him and shoots him point-blank in the chest.
The armor absorbs it, and the reverberation sends the second thug flying to the ground, but makes the Hood drop his machine gun.
The Hood punches the thug in the ribs, hooks him with his handgun, and uppercuts him again. He doesn’t give him a chance to breathe but it’s obvious to me that he could have shot the man already.
He goes the extra mile to trip the man up and bring him to his knees. He finishes that one off with a jab with the barrel of his handgun, and as soon as the barrel connects with the thug’s neck he pulls the trigger, blowing him away.
I see the Hood’s shoulders rise more than once before he moves on to the next, but as he moves, his body doesn’t drag. He’s not tired, he’s trying to calm down.
The last thug who has severely dropped the ball only just now gets back up to take a swing at the Hood. The Hood dodges and body checks him.
As the man falls back, the Hood treats him like a yo-yo, beating him to the ground only to pull him back up.
He does tricks to as he juggles his handgun like he’s putting on a show for himself, even flicking his wrist to pop out the other knife.
The thug, sick of being tossed around, tries to spin and swing for the Hood’s head. The Hood ducks and brings the knife down into the thug’s foot.
“Getting stabbed in the foot is just the worst, isn’t it?” the Hood mocks him.
The thug howls in pain as the vigilante stands up and slashes the thug across the stomach, then inside across the ribs. Not yet finished, he stabs him square in the chest, allowing the Hood to grab his head and force the man to his knees. He takes out the blade, raises it up high, and brings it down into the man’s neck, finally killing him.
A bit much. Thank god, it doesn’t seem like he has powers.
The Hood appears like a mad man as he holds the dead man by the head and tells him, “Now you can compare.”
The Hood removes his knife and lets the last dead thug fall to the ground. He takes the time to reload the handgun with a clip attached to his belt, then holsters the weapon.
The Hood looks back towards the office to see that the man in there has pulled up the blinds. The man is covered in sweat, even on his bald head. He watched all of his men get slaughtered as he was stuck inside. Now he starts panicking and tries the door again.
“Does he not think I can shoot him if he gets out of the room?” the Hood asks himself.
Nonchalantly, the Hood parkours and swings up a bunch of crates back to the walkway. Then, he slowly makes his way to the office as the man inside panics his way to a heart attack.
When the Hood gets to the door, he takes back his knife and his cable to store in their armor compartments. He notices how as soon as he took back his knife, the struggling against the door stopped.
The Hood kicks the door down and walks in.
“Aaah!” the last man screams as he swings a chair over his head towards the Hood.
The vigilante grabs the chair mid-swing and kicks his attacker in the chest. The man stumbles towards the desk as the Hood tosses the chair aside. The vigilante moves on the man, punching him in the gut before grabbing the back of his head. He brings the man’s head up and smashes it against the table.
Stunned, the man stumbles as the Hood throws him against the wall.
When he hits the wall, he slides down it, blood streaming from his shattered nose. He raises his hands in surrender as the Hood takes out his gun again, aimed to kill.
The man raises his hands, he begs, “Please, please! I’ll tell you whatever you want! Anything!”
The Hood tilts his head.
“I’ll quit this job, skip town, I’ll go straight! Straight, I tell you!”
The Hood shakes his head.
The man is on the verge of tears. He looks away and blocks his face with his arms, all before asking the Hood, “I’ll do anything, anything for forgiveness, please don’t shoot.”
The Hood glares without moving his gun, and sighs. The cowering man’s arms creep to the side, and he looks up, thinking he has a chance.
He gets confused watching the Hood slap the side of his head with his free hand. “Sorry, gunfire, hurts my sensitive eardrums, do you want to say that again without covering your mouth with your hands?”
The man moves his hands away, unknowingly letting the Hood read his lips. “I said I’ll go straight.”
The Hood waits, and underneath his helm are those lights again, clearly giving him some kind of connection to a criminal database.
“In Aegis City alone, you’re suspected of money laundering on multiple accounts, you’ve let cocaine and whose knows what else poison the poor in this city. You’ve never killed anyone with your own heads, but as far as I’m concerned everyone dead in the alleys with needles in their arms and powder in their noses is dead because of you.”
The man tries to defend himself, saying, “I was forced, I didn’t have a choice! I-I- they would have killed me!”
The Hood tilts his head.
“You’re Anthony Carone, little brother to the head of the family, and you’ve been doing this job since before your mother passed away five years ago. You’re trying to tell me you never had a chance to get away?”
The criminal is speechless, leaving the room the lonely sound of his sweat hitting the floor. “If you knew all that, why didn’t you shoot me yet, you piece of shit? If you knew everything I did, then why don’t you fucking shoot me already?!”
“Video proof,” the Hood answers as he taps his helmet, “I’m sure the press would like to know who’s been buying out all the docks and running the locals out. This last confession would be… a cherry on top, YouTube views, you know how it is.”
He shoots the man right through the head.
Without a second thought, the Hood moves towards the desk. He starts going through the papers and folders, looking for information that he wants. Information that will lead him to more important fish to fry. It doesn’t take long before it seems like he’s found what he wants. He walks out of the office, climbs down to the lower floor, and makes his exit.
He’s even better than what I had hoped for, physically anyway. Mentally… here’s hoping that little heaving incident is because he missed the gym, and not because he got excited at the sight of blood.
But more or less, he’s what I need to keep my team alive.
Let’s see if I can get to his apartment before him.
I get to his apartment first. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop really takes me back to the old days, I don’t know if I should call them good though.
I climb down the ladder to the fire escape, go to the window and open it as carefully and as quietly as possible. I don’t want his dog waking up before I get inside. I manage to do so and plant my feet on the ground of his small apartment.
Thank god that he lives in the basic suburbs instead of the city next door. Scaling skyscrapers isn’t as fun as it looks.
The second my feet touch the ground, I hear growling. Quickly, I move the rest of my body and trench coat inside, realizing I should not have worn the trench coat.
I face forward just in time to see the 65-pound brown and white pit bull staring at me.
Now, I have nothing against pit bulls, used to have one, I’m not racist towards dogs. I just naturally get tense and freeze when I see animals I don’t want to fight.
If she weren’t growling at me, she’d be pretty cute. This one has brown over her eyes, and white going down the middle, with those flopping ears. Always better when you don’t crop them.
I murmur, “Nice doggy, you remember me don’t you, Nina? I gave you that treat to keep you quiet when I was spying on you and your human in the park, remember?” Nina does not remember, as evidenced by her body language changing from defensive, to ready to pounce.
“I have a treat?” I offer.
I struck a chord as Nina stops growling. I slowly stick my hand in my jacket and take out the bone I brought just for this occasion. I offer it to her, “Don’t want the treat? Human, friend not food.”
Just because I’m immortal, doesn’t mean that I don’t make funny voices when I talk to dogs.
Nina walks up to me with a suspicious glint in her eyes. She sniffs the bone and my hand, then snatches it. She takes it and runs away to eat it on the couch. I sigh in relief and move to sit on the couch.
When I get close, I check for a reaction and receive none. I take the chance to sit next to Nina on the couch, and she doesn’t react. I start to pet her, and she seems okay with it.
I chuckle and joke, “That’s a good dog.”
“Shit guard dog though,” a new voice rings out.
My eyes shift to see him leaning forward out of the shadows, revealing his chest, but leaving his face hidden. The fact that he’s already out of his armor tells me that I didn’t get here as fast as I thought I did.
I try to hide my surprise and smile at him, trying to seem more impressed than shocked. I haven’t had someone sneak up on me in a long time.
“Still a good dog, I reckon.”
We stare at each other for a long time, his eyes are unmoving and empty. There’s a tired haze about them.
Oh, I’m in the way of his beauty sleep.
“Are you going to tell me why you’re here?” he asks.
I look away and smirk, realizing how this conversation is more uncomfortable than I thought it would be. “You know why I’m here.”
The way he tilts his head implies he is in no way amused by me. “I know that you know who I am and what I do. That doesn’t explain why you’re here, if you wanted to rat me out you would have done so already.”
Damn, that’s true.
Might as well just jump right in. “I guess, I just wanted to see you in action. I must say, the helmet suits you, but I think my design was a little better.”
His eyes flare up in surprise. “You’re the original.”
I tilt my own head, surprised by his lack of an overreaction. “That’s it? You’re not going to ask how can I still be alive when I was the Hood in 1929? You’re not going to ask how I found you, or how we look alike?”
He admits, “I’ve always suspected that I came from you. My grandfather, Alec, told my father and then me of this mystery woman who would come by. How his mother said she was the Hood and kept them afloat after his father died. I am surprised that it’s all true.” That’s surprising, I thought Michelle would have kept me being the Hood a secret, but I guess not.
“What about the fact that I don’t look 100 years old?” I ask.
Tonight is not at all going as I expected.
He smirks, sending me a signal that I should know better. “You’re not the only superhuman I’ve met. Honestly, not aging is pretty low on the power scale of superpowers. Not to mention that being the Hood explains how you were able to find me.”
Well, the mention of other superhumans has me wondering what he’s been up to. “The aging is just an added bonus to a healing factor.” This catches him by surprise. He moves to his right towards his kitchen, still refusing to turn on the light like a goddamn vampire. “You don’t have to stay in the dark, I know what you look like.”
“I know, I saw you spying on me while I walked my dog,” he replies, “I just prefer it, the light… can hurt my eyes nowadays.”
He opens his refrigerator to get a drink, a can of soda. “I don’t plan on sleeping tonight.” I hear him open it, releasing that signature sound as air rushes into the can. He takes a long swig and then asks me, “How good is your healing factor? Seals all wounds good, or replaces your body when you’re beheaded good?”
Seems I’ve finally interested him. I tell him, “New body from a beheading good.”
“What happens to the left-over body?”
“It disintegrates pretty quickly, or actually decays, I guess. It’s as if it knows I can’t reattach my head like I would an arm or leg,” I explain. “Takes a long fucking while to regenerate though.”
“Interesting,” is all he says. He reminds me, “Still didn’t say why you’re here,” as he takes another sip.
I find it hard not to smile at how nothing gets past him. I joke, “I can’t just want to see my only family?”
I lean forward and clasp my hands. “I think I can, considering you’re all alone.” He stops, then starts moving again. “I’m sorry about your parents, your sister.”
“Everyone is, it doesn’t mean anything to me.”
“I’m sorry.” I take a pause, and we stare at each other for a few seconds.
He asks me, “There’s more isn’t there?”
I smile again. “Okay, you know those other superhumans you mentioned,” I start. He stops again to turn and stare. “I want you to meet some more.”
“Oh god,” he groans.
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