“Please, no! I’ll do anything, just let them go!” Richard begged. Richard had his hands and feet bound by sturdy rope. He was kneeling in a large pool of blood on both knees, while a trail of blood traced back up to the massive gash on his forehead. Surrounding Richard, there were six masked men wearing all black jumpsuits with each of them sporting a balaclava. These men were professionals, they are the monsters that tear apart lives for a living…and I can tell you from experience, they thoroughly enjoy doing so.
The first bullet was fired, “BANG!” And the shot rang through the house, echoing off of every wall. Richard’s eyes opened up like the heaven’s gates as he attempted to break free from the rope binding his hands together. When realizing the rope would not budge he let off a deafening scream out of desperation. “No!!”.
Time slowed right down as Richard watched his only daughter’s body, fall to the floor in slow motion, “Thump!”.
Tears began to run down Richard’s face and a look of great sadness came over him. Richard locked eyes with his wife for a moment; she was also bound in the same position kneeling directly across from him. “Marissa, I love you and I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for everything.” Richard confessed to his wife. Richard started reminding his wife of the first time they laid eyes on their beautiful baby girl and how that day changed their lives forever. For a moment, they blocked out everyone around them and there was sense of peace among them. However, that was short-lived as one of the men closest to Richard, smashed his forehead with the butt of his pistol.
“Hah, this is ‘The Owl’?” said one of the henchmen. “Everybody talks about how badass this guy is, and here he is crying like a little bitch…” He said. Richard lifted his head and once again pleaded with them “Please, I’m begging you, just let us go. You have done enough to us. Please!”
“Oh, don’t.. you.. worry.. Richard. We are going to let you go, but first we want you to watch something with us.” The henchman said. A loud whistle came from the room next to them and everyone in the room immediately stood at attention, military style.
“Richard, Richard, Richard.” Said a voice from the other room. Footsteps drew closer as a giant silhouette appeared in the shadows. “You know, I despise you for making me do this Richard.” He continued.
The man started walking closer to Richard; he got so close that he was eventually hovering over top of him. Richard slowly lifted his head up to identify who this man was. In one swift motion, the man grabbed his masked and pulled it off his head. “Now, do you remember who I am?” he said.
Horror overcame Richard as he immediately recognized the man, Johnny ‘Snakeskin’ Canicatti.
The Owl had completely destroyed Johnny’s empire. He took over his territory, took away his comrades and raided all 12 of his stash spots. These hideouts held on average $1.2 Million in weapons, drugs and cash. These types of things happen all the time in the gang world but this was a bit of a rare situation. Richard and Johnny grew up together as kids, best of friends. Johnny was 5 years older than Richard and so he took him under his wing. The two of them were inseparable and spent most of their days scheming on ways to become rich. “Did you miss me old friend?” asked Johnny. Richard was in complete shock and felt a sense of paralysis taking over his body. He wanted to respond but couldn’t bring himself to say even one word. “You didn’t think I would just forget about you, did you?” he asked while crouching down in front of Richard. Johnny smacked the spit right from Richard’s mouth and yelled “Hey! I’m talking to you shithead!”
Again Richard was left without words.
This angered Johnny as he was looking for a fight. “I taught you everything you know and this is how you repay me?” he asked. Richard was finally able to muster up enough strength to respond. “Johnny, I didn’t do it. You have to believe me” said Richard. “Bullshit!” Johnny yelled while pitching a glass mug across the room, shattering into thousands of little pieces. The scattered glass was now a reflection of what Richards’s life had become… broken.
Johnny grabbed Richard by the hair and dragged his ass across the carpet. Johnny was about 6’5 and weighed close to 350 lbs. He was a complete beast and so moving Richard was almost effortless for him. Johnny continued to smack him around a bit before sitting him down on the couch.
“Normally I would take my time and make this as painful as possible BUT because we have history Richard, I’m going to make this quick.” Johnny said. “Please Johnny, Please. I’m begging you, kill me and leave my wife alone. She has nothing to do with this and neither did my little girl!” cried Richard.
Johnny leaned in towards Richard, and whispered in his ear “I’m sorry Mr. Owl… but it’s not your time yet.”
“BANG” A second shot was fired. Richard closed his eyes in fear but he didn’t feel any pain. In that very moment he knew, that bullet had someone else’s initials on it.
“Hey mister, wake up! Hello?!? Are you alive??” shouted Walter. Richard started to come to and sprung up from the couch in a panic. Sweat completely covered the frantic look on his face. “Why were you crying and shouting in your sleep?” Walter innocently asked. “Night terrors again, don’t worry about it kid.” Richard quickly replied.
These were not just nightmares for Richard though, they were in fact; flashbacks from a moment in time that will haunt him forever.
“Hey, what happened to your Grandpa?” asked Richard. Walter got quiet, his eyes started to water. “Is everything all right son?” asked Richard. “My Grandpa got very sick a couple of years ago, my Grandma misses him very much” said Walter. “I’m sorry to hear that son, what’s your name anyways?” he asked. “My name is Walter and what’s yours Mr?” he responded. “My name is Richard but people in the past have called me, The Owl.” Walter had a confused look on his face and asked “Why do they call you an owl?”. “Well because owls are very smart Walter, that’s why.”
“Would you mind if I rested for a little longer? It’s been awhile since I’ve slept on something this comfortable.” Richard fell back onto the sofa while throwing his feet up.
“Well I guess, but as long as you leave before my Grandma gets home.” said Walter. By now it was almost 2 o’clock in the afternoon, which meant that he had about an hour left to figure out what he was going to do with this kid. “I’m going to go to my room and finish some homework, I’ll come down soon to wake you.” Said Walter. “Thanks kid!” he replied.
Walter hit the last step on his walk back upstairs and that’s when Richard’s eyes slowly opened. He moved from the couch scanning each corner of the room searching for anything he could use to help him. He found a door leading to what looked like an old dusty basement . Richard made his way down the rickety steps one by one trying not to alert Walter. The air in the room was thick, it smelt like mothballs and potpourri. As he flicked a switch, a bright light came on and nearly blinded Richard. To his surprise the family had completely preserved the grandfather’s room including all of his things. Richard spotted a knapsack next to the bed. He emptied the contents under the bed and began to fill it with things that he could use. He gathered clothing to change into and a few pieces of jewelry. Walters grandfather was an ex marine and had acquired many medals during his work with the marines. The room was filled with pictures of his grandfather in uniform and tons of marine paraphernalia.
Richard was just about finished combing through the room when he noticed a dark green lock box sitting in the corner of the closet. While Richard was turning the room upside down he found a copper key and couldn’t figure out what it fit into. “This has to be it!” Richard thought. He pulled the box out of the back of the closet and slid the key in. It was a perfect fit, a sense of excitement washed over Richard. As he opened the lid he muttered “Oh…my… God…” Richard then put his hand in the box and slowly pulled out a dark green M67 hand grenade. The smile on Richard’s face continued to grow as he contemplated what to do with it.
“Hey Owl? Where are you? Richard!?” Yelled Walter. Richard kicked it into high gear and through all the items into the closet and kept the important things. He stuffed the clothing, grenade and jewelry into the backpack. The room he was in had a small window that was at ground level, so he slid the window open and tossed the bag out. Richard crept up the steps until he turned the corner leading to the kitchen. “What the hell are you doing? Nobody’s allowed down there!” Walter yelled. “Sorry kid I was just looking for the bathroom and got lost on the way. I’m going to be leaving anyways.” replied Richard.
“Hey, before I leave, how would you like to make 100 bucks?” Richard asked. He also found a $100 bill in the grandfather’s green lock box and stuffed that in his right pocket. “Ugh sure..okay, but what do I have to do to get it? Asked Walter. “It’s very simple son, I just need you to deliver something for me. A friend of mine lives in the city, close to where you found me. We got into an argument though and he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore.” he replied. “Okay, so what do you need me to bring to him?” asked Walter. “Wait here and I’ll show you” he said. Richard ran outside to where the backpack was thrown. He unzipped the bag and withdrew the grenade.
He walked back inside and handed Walter the grenade. “Wow! Cool, is this thing real? Asked Walter. Yes Walter, it’s very real. Walter had never been exposed to any of his Grandfather’s things because he was too young at the time. “Try holding it properly by pressing and holding the trigger, but don’t pull out the pin!” he said. Walter squeezed the trigger while pretending the throw it. “This is awesome! Why do you need to give this to your friend? He asked. You see, Walter was a little slower than his peers, simply because nobody ever took the time with him to teach him the bare essentials. “Well because it’s his and that’s why we got into the argument. He will be so happy you brought it to him. What do you say, kid? Richard asked. Walter thought about it for a moment, then broke out into a huge smile. “For a 100 bucks I’ll do it twice! He joked.
The two took off down the road, Richard was guiding Walter the whole way. Richard was very familiar with where to find Johnny. Although he knew exactly where to find his sworn enemy, he knew he would never be able to get close enough to him on his own. After living through that horrifying day with Johnny, Richard made it his sole mission to stalk him and watch his every move, waiting for the perfect moment for revenge. He lived a homeless life, a stone’s throw away from this man’s home. A gang leaders home would never normally be revealed but because Richard grew up with Johnny, so that meant things weren’t so black and white. The two of them approached an underpass not far from where Walter found Richard. “Here, follow me kid.” Richard demanded as he pointed to a small green tent by a barrel that was on fire.
This was Richard’s home for the past 4 years, he moved around a bit in the beginning but this was the spot he would always return to. He peeked his head in the tent and was shuffling some things around before emerging out of it. He handed Walter a pair of big thick winter gloves. He pulled the grenade from the backpack again and began to rhyme off a list of things Walter would need to do, starting with… Making sure he held the grenade properly and did not let go of the trigger. “Wait, is this dangerous? Is it going to explode?” Walter asked. “No, no, no, don’t be silly kid. This isn’t even a live grenade, it’s too old to function.” Richard replied. After a little more convincing, Walter was on board and trusted that this grown up wasn’t leading him a stray.
“Why do you want me to cover this with a glove?” Walter asked with a confusing look on his face. “Well, this gift is a surprise and I don’t want him to know what it is before he opens it. So, I need you to tell him that you are lost and that you need to call your mom. This way he will allow you to come into his home, so you can surprise him with the gift!” Richard explained. Richard spun the young boys cap around and instructed him to hold the grenade. He then swiftly pulled the pin. “Now, remember what I said. Do not let go of this until you give it to my friend. You need to keep it safe, it’s very important to him.” Walter nodded his head in acknowledgement.
“Remember kid, this is easiest $100 you will ever make!” he said.
Walter started to make his move and was headed right for Johnny’s front steps. “Unit 304 son, that’s the one.” he remembered Richard telling him as he tried to recall which door it was. He walked up the steps and firmly pressed the doorbell. “Ring, Ring”. After a couple of attempts the door swung open. Walter was completely covered by this man enormous shadow. He started to shake a little as the nerves set in, he didn’t quite understand why Richard was asking him to do this; but sometimes money can make you do crazy things.
“Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you sir. I’m lost and can’t find my mother.” Walter explained. The man at the door analyzed Walter for a moment before extending his hand. “That’s okay young man, come inside and we can call your mother.” Johnny replied. A he guided Walter through the front door, Richard was perched up a few yards away in a bush watching this all unfold. As he entered Johnny’s home, Walter began to sweat. His hands became damp and anxiety was setting in hard. Walter was always very antisocial and didn’t really know how to communicate with others so being in a situation like this one became uncomfortable quick.
“Here, let me take your coat.” said Johnny.
For a split moment, Walter had forgotten what he was holding in his hand. He pulled his right hand through the coat and the in the process the glove fell off. As Johnny grabbed the coat from Walter, the grenade slipped from his grip; rolling down the arm of the coat and falling to their feet.
Richard waited impatiently, but still saw nothing. “Did that thing even work? If it didn’t, would Johnny know it was me?” Richard thought.
Then a moment later…. it happened.
“BOOOM!” You could see the reflection of the explosion in Richard’s eyes.
It was all over now.
The explosion killed three people that day…
Johnny, Walter and Richard.
The Owl stood up from the bush and looked down at his arm and proceeded to recite the words forever inked on his body, “Fecisti mihi iniuriam, et corruas”.
Please stay tuned for a whole new exciting thriller series starting next SUNDAY, March 26th called “Love Thy Neighbor”!
Thank you for your continued support.
Love you all!