“Dark and Dead”
“You lost your one last chance for sympathy
the day that you met me,
your matchstick cross could strike my chord.
I’m speaking volumes when my voice is mute,
you said your piece too loud, too clear,
too often in my ear.”
-Sung by Cinder
(“Mad Clown Dance Lyrics”)
Normally total darkness is a comfort to me. Once when I was a child I was in a cave-in. Surprisingly, for the first half hour or so it was amazingly serene. It was like being comfortably asleep, without the possibility of nightmare.
After a while I began to worry about ever getting out. Then it wasn’t as nice. For the rest of my life, I rarely got to experience that kind of blanket of black silence.
Beverly was a “Night Light” person, so I slept in semi-darkness.
I shifted my weight and understood just how much damage I had done to my legs. It was a real Nancy Kerrigan moment, like someone had hit me in the shins with a lead pipe. I hoped there were no expectations of “Swan Lake” in my immediate future.
Then I heard him. He was cackling. A portal slid open, bathing the area to my right with a weak wash of light. It slid closed, and all light fled once again.
“Well, you’ve won, haven’t you?” his serpentine voice poked me. “You’ve destroy our chance to actually create a new throne. What can you have been thinking?”
“I was thinking that my head doesn’t fit crowns,” I sneered, “Yours neither.”
“No, I wanted to be Richelieu,” he said, for the moment envisioning his possible greatness. “I would have ruled behind the throne. I could have made the world work. No hunger, no war.”
“Every super villain I ever read about in the comics wanted to be the perfect monarch, while doing such evil to get there that they replaced all other horrors they wanted to get rid of, always.”
“Your voice betrays you,” he challenged me. “You’re stalling, hoping your friends will save you. They will get through, but not quickly enough. I will kill you before they get here.”
“And yet, you haven’t,” I mused, “That means you have something you want to say. Or you want to know something from me.”
“What do you want?” he insisted, “The world was in your hands, after being chased and harassed and threatened for your life. When you could have ruled the entire planet instead of being murdered, you chose to chance a betrayal of those who would follow you. What is it that you want, what would be enough?”
“Peanut Butter that doesn’t stick to the roof of my mouth? Being able to sleep through the night. But, putting levity aside, you know what I want more than anything else?”
He said nothing.
“What I want more than anything is to have the love of my life, Beverly, back. Without that, I want what she and I lived for all our adult lives. Justice. I know, it sounds just as cliché as your villain, but there you go. I grew up on comics and movies and I have always been convinced that justice and fairness are possible. You just have to want it badly enough. And I do.”
A gunshot flashed. Lighting the chamber and deafening me at the same time. I saw his demonic face glare, not at me, but at the world in general.
He was already powerful. I’m sure he had killed, without repercussion. He had bought and sold people, owned more properties than most of us will ever see, much less buy.
A micro-second after the shot we were in darkness again.
The only sound, distanced by the injury of the sound of the blast, was banging on the walls. Surely it was my people trying to knock down the wall and get in.
This wasn’t lost on Coggen.
“This is over, you idiot,” he shouted, “You will now get what you deserve…”
Three shots rang in this dungeon. He should have used some of those mounds of cash to have someone teach him how to shoot.
But he would hit me eventually.
I, at least, knew where he was. Leaning to the right, to avoid being directly in his sight, I launched myself toward him.
The pain was hideous. I was as though someone were trying to rip my limbs from me as I ran.
The next step was worse, as I leaned left and he shot again.
I was right before him and loosed the punch that echoed my Golden Gloves wins from my childhood.
I connected just as he did.
I was pushed back by the impact of the slug. My legs gave out and I went down.
As I began to lose consciousness I saw the light bleed into the chamber as Max, ax in hand, tore down the panels between us.
Then I was gone.
Remember “Sunset Blvd?” Where the narrator was the dead hero?
I hate that part of the movie.
© C. Wayne Owens