Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Ideals. Please enjoy. Also, if you haven’t already checked out my FAQ on my upcoming book, Magic Once Removed, please check that out as well. Thanks again!
The doors leading to the abandoned apartment building’s rooftop were being pounded by pairs of meaty fists. Sid did not care. His focus was on the man on the street below.
He aimed the reticule directly at his heart. Headshots are more ostentatious but less accurate and the high powered sniper rifle in his hands would ensure a quick death no matter where the bullet landed. Besides, though the moon and streetlights provided some illumination, it was still somewhat difficult to aim underneath the night sky.
As his target opened the door to his getaway vehicle, Sid squeezed the trigger.
The bullet whistled through the air. It penetrated its target with a disgusting mixture of exploding flesh and shattered bone, which sent the man to the asphalt in a crumpled mess. Tires squealed as the driver sped away and left the victim alone to slowly fade from this world.
He would be dead before long before any help would arrive.
The door broke open. Apparently, the crowbar Sid found in the same room as about a half dozen overdosed addicts failed to provide a permanent seal. No matter. It was already too late.
Three men emerged. Each of them was repulsed and angered.
“What did you do?” asked the man in the red mask and spandex.
“What was necessary.”
“What do you mean?”
“There was no time to apprehend him peacefully. He’d disappear by law enforcement arrived. None of us would ever get another chance. I got lucky.”
“You violated our ideals,” said the man in the stovepipe hat.
“What good are ideals if we don’t serve the populace?”
“We made a vow not to kill,” said the man dressed as an elephant.
“Is the world not a better place because of his death?”
They had no response. Sid’s target Koinonikí Katanomí was an international criminal known for illicit deeds that ranged anywhere from mass murder to human trafficking with children as young as eight years old. There are few with sick enough imaginations to envision all the twisted and sadistic schemes the man perpetrated. Nor could most picture the number of lives he ruined.
His sins were grave and numerous but he was also something of a specter. Police forces throughout the world had heard of him but there were very few sightings, even fewer pictures, and a woefully little amount of any sort of credible evidence that he was even real.
His elusiveness had given him the status of something akin to an urban legend. Many doubted his existence and believed that he was nothing more than a scapegoat or perhaps merely a symbol of crime rather than a source.
If not for Sid’s relentless and tenacious pursuit, and advanced technology that’d make several government agencies salivate, Katanomí would have been free to continue his reign of terror. Even then, he only barely managed to reach him in time. He took full advantage of his lone opportunity.
“Killing may be wrong,” he continued, “But it was justified. Many lives were saved because of my actions.”
“You sound proud of what you’ve done.”
“Of course I’m proud. Heroes are meant to protect.”
The man in red sneered. “We aren’t those kinds of heroes.”
“Then what kind are we?”
Sid admonished his vigilante teammates for becoming more concerned with PR than serving the people. Their emphasis had turned from security and enforcement of the law toward maintaining the moral high ground.
He cited their recent appearances on radio shows and college campuses. Instead of assuring the public they were there to assist, they would argue they were the better alternative to other law enforcement entities, state-sanctioned or otherwise, due to their pacifistic policy.
Perhaps their enemies or other more aggressive crime fighters would debase themselves with murder but not them. They were too pure to engage in such primordial barbarism and were enthusiastic to remind everyone of their wholesomeness and righteousness.
Sid headed for the door. The man in red stepped in front and was shortly flanked by his two companions. “I’m afraid we cannot let you leave. You will stay here with us until the police arrive.”
“I don’t believe I will.” Sid pushed past the trio. Their skills were great but they paled to his. He was much stronger too. Unlike the others, he continued his training.
Before he reached the door, the man paused. In one clean motion, he turned and drew a pistol from a holster he wore on his left side. The trio drew back in fear.
“Are you going to shoot us?” asked the man in red.
“How could you do such a thing?” asked the man in the stovepipe hat. “We were your friends.”
“Relax, I’m not going to shoot you.” Sid turned the gun around. “Here, take it.”
The man in red extended his hand toward the weapon. He pulled his fingers back a couple of times before he conjured the courage to grab it.
“Why are you giving this to me?”
Sid turned around and clutched the back of his head with both hands. He stretched out and emphasized his back. “I’m giving you a way to stop me. I’m now unarmed. Let’s see if you’ve figured out what’s truly important.”
The man in red hesitated but eventually aimed. “You’ve made a mistake. Don’t think I won’t do it.”
His two companions looked on baffled. “You won’t really shoot him, will you?” asked the elephant.
“Don’t sink to his level,” said the man in the stovepipe hat.
Sid remained silent as he continued toward the door. He paused at the doorway and stood perfectly still. His hands reached down and opened his black coat which exposed an empty holster showing clearly that he was not lying earlier and was indeed weaponless.
The man in red unrelentingly pointed the gun. His hand started to shake as his finger gently hovered just above the trigger. He shouted demands and shrieked threats. Don’t underestimate him, don’t think he won’t shoot. He’ll do it, believe him, he’ll do whatever it takes to stop him so that he could pay for his crime.
Even if it means sacrificing everything he stood for, everything he believed in, everything he had earned by becoming the moral standard.
The man in red lowered the pistol.
Sid was not looking but somehow sensed it. He threw his head back and laughed and continued to do so as he made his way through the doorway, down the dark stairway, to the street below as the man in red’s impotent, though increasingly loud, threats faded into the ether.
Time was of the essence because in spite of his bravado, Sid feared the lawful repercussion for his actions. His actions were illegal though hardly unjustified. When he turned to run, he tripped over something, or rather, someone.
He fell over Katanomí who lied in a pool of his own blood as he struggled to breathe. Sid had no sympathy for him, quite the contrary. Though he was displeased that the crimson liquid stained his exquisite leather clothing dyed in the colors of the American flag, he was gleeful. After all, he was the one responsible for taking care of the monster.
As he rose, Sid felt something in Katanomí’s pocket. He pulled it out and was stunned to find a notebook.
He hastily flipped through the blood cover sheets. Scribbled down on the various pages were names and numbers as well as a range of other nefarious activities. As world-weary as he was, he still found himself somewhat startled by the nature of the crimes and the names attached.
Some of them were famous athletes, actors, and politicians.
What did this all mean? Were these numbers payments of some kind for certain jobs or felonious transgressions?
Sid did not know but he knew a way to find out. He dashed from the scene before the police arrived knowing what needed to be done.
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