Dugan slipped into his jacket. He fitted the larger of the pieces- the heavy, silenced Stenton- into a custom-sewn pocket on the inside. The smaller one, the Miyako, he pocketed. He paused to examine himself in the mirror. More or less normal-looking, maybe a bit too pale. He'd have to ask Jack before the next job. Dugan zipped up his jacket and stepped out into the cold.
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At 34th and Main he stopped to place a call. The line rang once. Twice. Three times. "Hello?"
"I'll be right down." She joined him at the corner, dressed casually in jeans and sweatshirt. He gave her a quick once-over and nodded. Her tools were safely hidden. "What's new?" she asked.
"We're taking DeLoran tonight."
She whistled. "Shouldn't we have a third?"
"We don't need a third. You know that."
"I'm sorry, but DeLoran creeps me out. There's something about him…"
"Yes. I know. You want out?"
"Then let's go." They stood in front of the door. "You know the layout?"
"I've studied the map."
"Good. You take the left hall, I take the right. Don't bother with the stuff laying out, everything important is in the safe. I'll take care of DeLoran." They parted ways. Dugan sprinted down the corridor, headed for the old man's bedchamber. He'd gone no more than four or five steps when someone screamed. It sounded like Sarah. Dugan changed course, pounded back down the hall, and arrived at the door in time to catch her as she fell. She was covered in blood.
“Dugan,” the word was full of malice when it escaped the old man’s lips. Dugan looked in Deloran’s direction and was repulsed by what he saw. The old man stood naked before him holding a three-foot bloody machete. Age and gravity had taken a toll on the old man, and his skin sagged in layered flesh-toned sheets.
Then, he glanced at the dead weight in his hands and noticed that Sarah’s body had been cut from pelvis to sternum. Drenched in vital fluids, her organs spilled from the giant gash. In just a few short moments, she had changed from person to corpse and Dungan let her fall to the floor with all the ceremony of a dirty sock. Before the thump of her body had ceased echoing in the hall, he had already drawn the Stenton from its hiding place. With the laser side-beam targeting Deloran’s forehead, only pulling the trigger remained.
The old man straightened out his hunched over frame and asked, “Have you ever heard of a stink bug?”
The ludicrous nature of the question stalled Dugan’s trigger finger long enough for Deloran to do the absurd. The old man’s face twisted as if he were straining and then a long wet fart vacated his body causing his flabby skin to shake like gelatin.
Dugan didn’t know what to make of his foe’s dying action and he had to fight off a laugh. That is, until the smell hit his nostrils. At first, it was only mildly repulsive but the scent quickly built to a crescendo. It was like a thousand rotten eggs had suddenly been broken and Dugan’s eyes began to water. The odor was so foul that he started to cough violently and he felt his stomach begin to wretch. Through it all, he had tried to keep the gun aimed, but he knew he was failing miserably. After several quick blinks, he looked in Deloran’s direction and saw the machete sailing at him. The blade tagged him in the right shoulder and the gun slipped from his grasp. The machete’s impact drove him back into the wall where he was pinned like a butterfly to a mat.
The physical pain was extreme, but the emotional discomfort was far more severe. Deloran walked toward Sarah’s body and his blackened gums were exposed by his diabolical grin. The old man bent over and his breasts hung like flapjacks while he grabbed at Sarah’s small intestine. He held it in his hand and massaged it with his thumb before saying, “Hmmm, very fine quality. They just don’t make synthetic organs like this anymore.”
With a sickening wet sound, he plunged his forearm into her stomach cavity and removed something large and purple. “Yes, yes, yes,” he exclaimed as if he had just won the Lombardi Trophy. “The Yamaha 3000. Now this is a top of the line liver. Not as good as the Mirachi SL, but a damn good organ nonetheless.”
The old man stood and looked quizzically at Dugan. “What did I put in you? Was it the Mirachi or the Yamaha?”
Dugan responded with a soft curse. It was all he could manage.
“I doubt you even know,” Deloran continued as he walked closer to his dying prey. “But, it doesn’t really matter now. Hmmm?”
Dugan raised his eyes to look at his maker and a wave of nausea swept over him as he said, “I was sent to kill you…” He paused to cough out a mouthful of blood and left the sentence unfinished.
Deloran laughed and grabbed the machete’s hilt. He turned it several times and after Dugan’s painful screams died out he said, “Why do you hate me so much? Hmmmm? I gave you life. I’d expect you to be a little more grateful.”
Dugan’s voice was barely above a whisper when he replied, “I didn’t ask you to and if I had been given a choice, I certainly would have chosen to remain dead. At least, I would still be free.”
“Corpses don’t have a choice. Nor, do they have rights. You don’t enjoy being a slave? A governmental hitman? Hmmm? I would think that would be a lot of fun.” The old man leaned closer and after a short pause he asked, “What does our government want with me?”
Dugan glared at the old man wishing he had the power to choke the smile from his face. Deloran had been respectable once, but those days were long gone. He has become a rogue doctor not only tampering with organs, but his patients’ brains as well. There had been several high-ranking individuals who have undergone some surprising personality changes of late. One well-known liberal recently switched parties and began touting the advantages of communism. Another Senator did an interview and bragged about his new “swinging” lifestyle and how he isn’t above a little bestiality now and again. These incidents and several others caused quite a stir and with minimal investigation, Deloran’s name came up.
Dugan was growing weaker and was unable to respond to the doctor’s questions. So, the old man grabbed a handful of Dugan’s brown hair and raised his head before asking, “Is it the brain stuff? Hmmm?”
Dugan’s mouth dropped open with the power to speak beyond him and Deloran continued, “I’m sure that’s what it is. I don’t understand what the government’s beef with me is. It is their technology, ya know? They just didn’t have the balls to use it.”
The doctor let go of Dugan’s hair and his head fell limply to his chest before continuing, “I can see you’re fading fast, but before you go let me ask. Do you know what I’m going to do to you? To your brain? Hmmm?”
The doctor looked back at his barely living prey, and answered his own question, “Maybe I’ll make you like men. Or perhaps, I’ll turn you into a bed wetter. Or better yet, a pedophile. They’re all great possibilities don’t ya think? Hmmm?”
Dugan’s vision grew dimmer and he knew he had to act. He lifted his left arm, and began pawing at one of his pockets. His fingers were stiffening and he doubted he had the dexterity to be successful.
“What are you doing?” The doctor asked obviously surprised. “Do you have a gun in there? Hmmm?”
Dugan coughed out some blood and responded, “No. A Miyako….it’s ….a ….small …bomb. Good….bye…doc…tor…”
The old man stood in shock as he heard the small device beep electronically. There was no time to run, to scream or to pray. Instantly, the room was awash in flames and organs, both the synthetic and natural varieties.
If you have no questions or fears about your abilities, then you will learn nothing from your mistakes and know nothing about your limitations.