This story is by Miguel A. Zamora and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
I was tied up and bound to the chair by flex-cuffs. They were so tight they bit into my wrists. I felt rivulets of blood run down my hands. This was the last thing I thought would happen to me. Thrown into the back of a van, bound, gagged and a hood pulled over my head. The hood stunk, it smelled like coffee and tobacco. It was also itchy, to the point I wanted to scream. I was about to lose it, not because of the darkness or the confinement of the hood but because of the urge to scratch.
The silence was broken by footsteps and chatter. When I heard footsteps, I heard a slight echo, so I knew it was a large room. I tried to make out the voices, but this hood muffled the voices a bit. I flinched and was caught off guard when a hand touched me. It was a soft hand, thin. I figured it must have been a woman’s hand, and her perfume was intoxicating. It cut through the vile odor of the hood. I knew the scent, but I couldn’t figure out from where. Then she was gone.
Thoughts run through my mind. Human trafficking, sadist rituals, a contract hit, who knew what was in store for me. If my training taught me anything it was to keep my cool and keep a level head. The door swung open and someone came towards me.
He stopped behind me and flipped the chair throwing me to the floor. My face slammed hard on the cold floor. He cut the flex-cuffs and grabbed the chair and walked out of the room.
I pulled the hood and gag off and rubbed my face. I scanned the room and it looked like an operating theater. It wasn’t your standard theater this one was well north of a 1,000 square feet. Walls went up about twelve feet to an observation deck. The windows were blacked out. Blood stained floor and white subway tile walls made up the room. Four cameras covered the walls. The smell of bleach and her perfume still lingered.
“That scent,” I said. It clicked.
“La Muneca,” I said. I heard a clicking noise as the overhead lights turned on in the observation deck.
Well-dressed people sat around the round room.
“Did you miss me?” she asked.
I turned and I looked up as La Muneca walked toward the window. She was called the Doll because of the blank white masquerade mask she wore. She ran the largest wetworks service in the world. Her clients included the cartels, Mob organizations, and even governments. She didn’t pick sides. The money was all that mattered.
“What? You’re not happy to see me?” She asked.
“No, we had a deal,” I said.
“This here is business,” she said.
“A contract… Quien?” I asked.
“Does it matter?” She asked as she gave a slight giggle.
“Yes, because when you’re gone… they’re next,” I said.
“Mi Amor… this wouldn’t have happened if you would have just looked the other way,” she said.
I turned as I heard the door open behind me. Three men walked into the room. Your classic bodyguard frame meatheads. One of the thugs had a 10-inch ka-bar knife and the other two had bats.
“Really? Three of them Dollface?” I asked.
She laughed and said, “What? Too many? Or not enough?”
“Please,” I said as I threw her the finger.
She shrugged her shoulders and grabbed the mic. She spun around with her hands out like a Flamenco dancer. She loved to make a show.
“Damas y Caballeros you are in for a treat. This man before you is a liquidator. But unlike us who do it for the money. He does it to be a hero to be loved by the masses. This is el Ángel de la Muerte,” she said with a pause. “The Angel of death,” she said. The crowd stood on their feet and some banged on the windows.
“Angel, you know how this works, I wish you luck. Any last words?” She asked.
“You’re going to need more men,” I said with a grin on my face.
“I have plenty,” she said as she drops the mic and took a seat.
I backed up as the men started to spread out. I was taught when fighting two or more opponents to line them up and never box yourself into a corner. Being that this room was round that wouldn’t be hard. I untuck my pearl snap shirt and pulled it off. I glanced up and I could see that they were taking bets on the fight.
I straightened myself and cracked my knuckles. “So, who wants to be first Pendejos,”
Thug one with a mohawk and a bat charged. As he swung the bat I ducked and he hit the wall. I threw my shirt in his face. As he was distracted, I hit him with a superman punch to his throat and he staggered back.
He dropped the bat and I grabbed him by the back of the neck and slammed his face against the curved tiled wall. His nose exploded and he started to gag. I spun him around and threw him into the other men. He crashed into them and knocked them to the ground. Their weapons slid on the ground.
La Muneca stood and yelled, “Didn’t I promise you a show.”
I picked up the knife and kicked the bats out of the way. The metal bats made a clanked and pinged as they slid on the concrete floor.
The two other men got to their feet. They hesitated at first when they saw that I had the knife.
“Come on Pretty boy. What are you waiting for? No? Ponytail?”
They looked at each other then moved at me at once which made the knife a non-factor. It was knocked out of my hand, and I was slammed to the ground. I saw stars and covered up. I took damage and they worked me over. My head bounced off the floor as I was hit with a forearm to the face. They punched themselves out, and that handed me an opening.
I barely made out the glinting blade in the familiar fog of concussion. My numbed fingers found the knife-grip and swung it wide and slashed ponytail in the chest, and he fell back as I stuck the knife in the eye of Pretty boy. His blood splatter gave me a crimson mask as I pushed him off and rolled to my knee. I slid the knife into my belt.
Ponytail got to his feet and threw a kick that I blocked and punched him in the groin, and he fell back. I wiped the blood from my face and staggered to my feet.
I picked up the bat which I used it to brace myself. It took a moment to clear my head. I dragged the bat behind me and swung it at ponytail’s head as he rose to a knee. I continued to hit him repeatedly. My arms burned as I dropped the bat and turn and faced her.
The crowd was stunned. It hurt to breathe. I had at least one rib broken. I held out my arms wide and smiled. Just as I was going to speak a large explosion rocked the building.
A man’s voice came over a bullhorn. “This is the Texas Rangers we have you surrounded.”
I laughed as everyone started to run. La Muneca flung the window open and drew a gun. I reached around my back and grabbed the knife as she fired three quick rounds. Two of the rounds hit me in the chest just below my clavicle, the third one at my right side just under my floating rib. I hit the ground hard. I heard the gun hit the ground.
La Muneca fell to her knees with the knife buried in her chest. I heard a loud thud as she fell into the operating theater floor. The last thing I saw before I blacked out was the white masquerade mask. It slid next to me.
I came to and the EMTs were working on me. I looked over and my partner DEA Agent Sarah Goodling was holding my hand.
“Welcome back Ranger Lopez,” she said. It hurt but I laughed.
“You couldn’t have waited longer?” I asked.
“What can I say? We hit traffic,” she said. She started to laugh as she squeezed my hand. I smiled.
“I need a vacation,” I said.
“From what? This? Please, this was a cake walk compared to your last assignment,” she said.
The EMT gave me a shot of morphine as a gurney rolled into the room.
She placed the mask on my chest with a grin. “A souvenir.” I smiled.
“Nite,” I said as everything went black.