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Posted: Jan 3 2018, 11:13 PM
Billy had been following the shadow around for days. He trusted it. He just wished that it would occasionally stop off someplace that had internal heating. Winter was his favorite season, truth be told. It was the farthest from “summer” that he could possibly get, and he appreciated the aesthetic. He just did not like feeling uncomfortable. The wool coat and the leather gloves were a normal part of his wardrobe the moment that the temperature dropped below 40 degrees. Apparently, though, his friend did not need to worry about all of that. His friend also did not like using text messaging.
He was fairly certain that this was a test. Him and The Rev had talked on the phone before, texted before, sent each other emails, but that was all back when they were just work associates. Their relationship had been the gateway drug into everything that was to come. After their third job together, it was starting to become clear that this was more than just a business relationship. This was an interview. The first time The Rev splashed blood on Billy's face, with no warning, and he did not flip out, he was rewarded. He was told to look in the mirror. He thought it was a joke at first: a viscous one at his expense. He already had his knife out and to The Rev's neck before he (or 'it' as things would turn out) could explain. He was told to look.
His face. It had been subtle at first, but Billy knew every scar on his face like an intimate enemy. It was unmistakable. The scars were fading. Billy was never the kind of man who would openly cry, but that day with The Rev, standing in the room with their victim at their feet, he very nearly did. He was not too proud, though, to not fall to his knees. He begged. Billy Russo actually begged, longing to know how he had done it. He gripped the ends of The Rev's coat, looking up on him, pleading to this man for answers. He was given them.
Billy never looked back.
It would not take long. Soon, he did not need the bandages anymore, not because he was no longer ashamed of his face, but because his scars were all but gone. He had earned back his face. One year later, and Billy understood his new place in the world. While he did like being in charge of ANVIL, and could do it without a problem again, he often did fit in best when he knew his place in the system. He did not need to rule the world. He just need to know his place in it. One day, that could all change, but for now, he had been promised exactly what he had asked for. There was another purpose out there for him, and it was greater than anything he had ever explored. He just needed to know how to follow. Follow he did. For days. He would travel to a diner and enjoy a meal, only to see the shadow out of the corner of his eye. He knew what to do then. The next person he met would get his nicest smile. His waitress would get a generous tip, or the motorist with the flat tire would be helped by the handsome stranger. His one rule was “no children” and the shadow never tested him. By the next morning, that person was to be dead, and Billy was to follow their shadow to the next location. And then wait.
The shadow of the young man he had met in the club last night streaked through the streets of New York City. He could see it dancing in the windows, a mockery of the way he had moved in life. Billy grinned at the memories of the night before, especially those moments right before the sun came up. He followed it into Manhattan, and up to the steps of a delightfully decadent building. There, it stopped, but instead of fading away the way his other victims had in the past, it entered the building through the crack between the dual front doors. Billy was home.
He let himself in.
He stood at the front door of the atrium and took it all in. The decor was subtly infernal, and he loved it. There was a fire in the hearth that took up the center of the atrium. The double staircase wrapped around it, hugging it in a little alcove. It made the shadows curve and dance around the high walls and columns. Doorways led to a mission different places. His curiosity was peeked, but he knew better than to wander. Even though he knew in his bones and blood that this place, at least in part, belonged to him, he had manners.
“Honey” he said, as he wiped the snow from his shoes. “I'm home.”
NOTES: I am the one who knocks... and enters... because I belong here.