Tag Archives: thriller
In a New York City apartment building, on an upper floor in an empty hallway, “Snake” Santiago and three fellow gang members made their way slowly and quietly through the poorly lit, dingy corridor. When they came to the unit they searched for, Snake motioned for the other guys to move out of the way while he positioned himself directly in front of the door. The gang leader forcefully kicked the door with all his might, busted the frame apart, and the door flew open instantly. With weapons drawn, they entered the apartment and searched methodically, like a perfectly executed police raid.
It was a small place, so it didn’t take long for them to check the entire apartment and figure out nobody was home. The search of the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom took less than three minutes.
Snake walked over to the kitchen table and saw what appeared to be a partially eaten meal spread out across it. He stuck his finger into a pile of warm mashed potatoes and realized they had probably just missed their targets.
“The food is still warm. We must have just missed them. They can’t be far. The stairs are the only exit in this building, and we didn’t pass them. The only place they could have gone is the roof. Let’s go, but be quiet, eh. We don’t want to alert them.”
The four men made their way back to the stairwell. Snake lead the way as they climbed up three more stories to the door that led out to the rooftop. He glanced back at his fellow gang members and, with his
handgun drawn, lifted his finger to his mouth that reminded them to be quiet.
He placed his hand on the silver metal doorknob and gently turned it. He pushed the heavy metal door open slowly to minimize any noise it might make. If the door creaked or squeaked, it would give them away.
Once it opened enough to be able to walk through, he noticed this side of the roof was empty. This was good luck as it meant his prey was on the other side of the building. The concrete blocks that held the door in place created a narrow wall for the criminals to take cover. The wall gave them a little more time to move closer to their targets.
When all four of them were out on the roof, Snake quietly closed the door behind him. He didn’t let go of it until it was securely in place, so it didn’t make a sound. Their cover was still intact, and their targets were not aware of their presence.
The gang leader cautiously peeked around the corner and scanned the entire rooftop from end to end. As he suspected, his two marks were together on the far side of the rooftop. He was relieved to confirm they were alone, and nobody else was up there to witness what was about to happen. Witnesses would only make the situation messier than need be.
He placed his back up against the wall, stared up into the night sky, and watched his breath as he exhaled into the crisp cool autumn air. He lifted his gun to his chest, looked at his fellow gang members, nodded his head, and whispered, “Sal and Miguel, you two homies go to the left.
Diego, you come with me. Vamanos!”
They slowly and quietly maneuvered their way within a few feet behind the couple, who stood at the edge of the rooftop, holding hands, looking out over the sparkling New York City skyline. Snake cleared his throat and said, “Well, well, well, look what I found, ese.”
The startled couple was completely taken by surprise. Each had a terrified look on their faces when they turned around and saw Snake.
Emily spoke first, and as she spoke, her voice turned from fear to anger. “Snake, what are you doing here? How did you find me? There is nothing to talk about. I told you we are finished. It’s over. There is nothing to discuss. Move on with your life, and leave me alone. I will not say it again!”
Standing by her side, her boyfriend, Noah, picked up on the confidence in her voice, so he managed to muster up some of his own. “You heard the lady. I’m getting tired of this. I don’t know what you got against me. She broke up with you. I had nothing to do with it. Why don’t you just be a man and accept the fact? She don’t want you. Let it go. I’m tired of running and hiding every time you come around. Just be a man and walk away. She don’t want you, man!”
Snake couldn’t help but laugh at them and said, “It doesn’t quite work that way, homie. What I got against you is you took my woman, ese.
Anyone with half a brain wouldn’t go after my chica! I’m the leader of the Ninth Avenue Posse, my brother. I knew something was up when I saw those damn roses. Now, finally tracking you down with her, that verifies to me that you lied to me and she been messing with you while she was still with me. You see, Noah, she don’t get to say we’re broken up, I do.
And where I come from, cheating doesn’t go unanswered. Now save your breath, homeboy. I know both of you are gonna lie to my face. You’re both gonna tell me that you weren’t messing around before she thinks she broke up with me. But I know that’s bullshit, and I’m here to make it right.”
Noah’s eyes showed he had finally had enough of the situation. He took two steps forward, put his hands in the air out by his side, and said, “Let’s go then. Enough of this. Let’s settle it once and for all right here, right now. Are you going to face me one-on-one like a man, or are you going to get your flunkies there to help you? Let me know what I’m up against. But I’m warning you right now; I’m not going down without a fight.”
Snake pointed his gun at Noah and said, “No, I don’t need my homies. I can handle this on my own. And I don’t think you’re gonna put up as much of a fight as you think, pendejo.” The gang leader pulled the trigger four times in rapid succession. BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
A critically injured Noah let out a whimper as he fell to the ground.
He pulled himself a couple of feet over to the edge of the rooftop and propped himself up against the short brick wall. He couldn’t catch his breath and winced in pain. A pool of blood gathered under his body from the four gunshot wounds. He had been shot in the leg, arm, shoulder, and one bullet went through the right side of his chest.
Emily let out a horrific scream as she rushed to help Noah. She propped him up against the wall somewhat better than he was so that he would be a little more comfortable. While doing so, she became covered in blood as well.
She stared up at Snake and yelled at him. “Oh my God, Snake! What the hell is wrong with you? What have you done? Why would you do something so stupid?”
Emily tended to Noah as he bled out on the ground, and she continued to scream back at Snake. “Get it through your head! We are finished!
I don’t love you, and I don’t want to be with you. I hate you! You can kill every man in New York City, and I still wouldn’t be with you.”
Snake glared back at Emily with hatred in his eyes, and the gang leader laughed at her. He replied, “I’m fine with that, Emily. Let’s just consider this my official notice that I’m breaking up with you. I know you were messing around with him while you were with me, so don’t even try to lie your way out of it, puta. Whatever your reasoning, I don’t care. In my eyes, you’re just a slut, and that’s all there is to it. I don’t have room in my life for a whore like you. So now I’m telling you we’re done.
And I would be very careful with the next words that come out of your mouth. I would strongly suggest there be none. I still got two bullets left, and they just might have your name on them. I’ll put you down too.”
Emily’s grip on Noah slipped because of all the blood. He started to slump over to the side, so she grabbed him and pulled him toward her blood-soaked body.
She glared up at her former boyfriend with tears in her eyes and said,
“I hope you’re happy. Look what you’ve done. You’re breaking up with me? Then so be it. Only a pussy would do this. You shot an unarmed man. A real man would have handled it in a completely different manner.
That’s what I want, a real man, and that’s something that you’ll never be.
You’ll always be a pussy!”
Snake was embarrassed his ex-girlfriend spoke to him in such a disrespectful manner in front of the other gang members. He let his anger take over, and he walked over to Emily and pressed the barrel of his pistol against the side of her head.
“No bitch is gonna talk to me that way. If you like breathing, I strongly suggest you apologize, chica, and quickly. I told you, I got two bullets left, and they would look good right now inside that pretty little head of yours.”
Emily desperately clung to Noah and stared up at Snake and yelled,
“Go ahead and pull the trigger pussy! But if you’re going to do it, just go ahead and do it already. Stop talkin’ about it. Be a man for once in your life and do what you say you’re going to do. Keep this in mind. I told you to never call me a bitch again! You seem to have forgotten that. If I get out of this alive, mark my words, Snake, I’m going to kill you.”
With all the commotion, nobody paid attention to all the sirens down on the street. After all, it was New York City, and a minute without a siren filling the air was nowhere near the norm. There were always some flashing lights or sirens from fire trucks, ambulances, or police cars in the area. This was an everyday occurrence, and they blended right in with the normal sounds of the city. What none of the rooftop hoodlums seemed to realize was someone in the building heard all the gunshots and called the police. So while Emily and Snake argued, the police had arrived and made their way up the stairwell and were about to burst through the door onto the rooftop.
As Emily continued to yell at Snake, the large metal door flew open, and several NYPD police officers scattered across the black tar-covered roof. Loud chaos erupted as the officers shouted orders to Snake and his gang members to put their weapons down.
All three of Snake’s fellow gang members instantly put their weapons down at their feet and raised their hands high in the air. They offered no resistance, so the officers turned their guns toward Snake and commanded him to drop his weapon.
“Put the gun down, man! Drop the weapon and put your hands in the air! Let her go! Don’t shoot her! I’m only going to say this one more time. Put the gun down and your hands in the air. I’m telling you, son; you’re gonna die right here on this rooftop if you don’t comply immediately!”
“Okay! Okay! You win, pendejo. Don’t shoot.”
Snake pulled his finger off the trigger and pulled the gun away from Emily’s head. His eyes met the officer’s eyes and held them as he moved slowly. He didn’t want the officers to get the wrong idea from his movements.
“Don’t shoot! I’m putting it down! Just don’t shoot, eh.”
The officer yelled back, “Do it slowly! Any wrong moves, and we will fill you full of lead and not even think twice about it. Put the gun at your feet and kick it over here. Don’t give us an excuse!”
The gang leader moved as slowly as possible and placed the gun at his feet. He put his hands on top of his head and kicked the gun across the rooftop over to the police. As soon as he did, several police officers rushed over to him, threw him down to the hard tar roof, beat him, and cuffed him. The others were taken into custody without the slightest bit of resistance.
Another officer rushed over to Emily and said, “Where are you hurt, ma’am?”
“It’s not me; it’s my boyfriend. He’s been shot four times. The blood is his; please help him. Please! He’s dying!”
The officer grabbed his radio and sent an urgent message to his dispatcher. “Six to Central, we need a bus at my location immediately!
We have one adult male down. Four gunshot wounds. Needs immediate medical attention. Get a bus here right away!”
The officer bent down and tried to find a pulse on Noah. He turned to Emily and said, “He’s in rough shape, ma’am. Don’t worry; the ambulance will be here in a minute. Let’s just hope they get here in time.”
He took Noah from Emily and gently laid him down flat onto the rooftop. He tried to make him as comfortable as possible and said, “Don’t give up on me, son. Help is on the way, just hang in there. You can do it.”
This excerpt from The Wrath of Leviathan is from Gabriel’s point of view, and set in a Japanese neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil. Gabriel is a former Brazilian special forces sergeant who works for a private security company now. He’s been assigned as Pel and Charles’s bodyguard. He and Kiyoko are at their neighborhood’s weekly street fair when they receive an emergency message from Pel that they are under attack.
Gabriel bolted for the apartment building. He dodged around people, trying to get through the crowds.
They didn’t always move as expected. He bumped into a man his age, who spilled a half-full plastic cup of beer.
“Filho da puta!” The man hurled down his cup and swung a fist.
No time for this. Gabriel grabbed the man’s arm, twisted, and threw him to the ground. He took off again.
I can’t believe this is actually happening, he thought. And timed while he was away—it had to be deliberate. He tried calling Pel while running. “DG, call Pel,” he commanded his augmented reality glasses.
No answer. He shoved his way through a food line blocking the street. More curses thrown his way. “Police! Out of the way!” he shouted.
Seemed to work, even without having a badge.
He kept running, the rows of overhanging white lanterns marking his progress. “DG, call SSG emergency dispatch.” His company had set up procedures in case of trouble he couldn’t handle himself.
The connect icon flashed. “Serviços de Segurança Globais,” a woman’s voice said. “Please state the nature of your emergency.”
“Da Silva. Condition Red. I need backup in Liberdade immediately. You have the address. Unknown number of assailants attempting to kill or kidnap Demopoulos and Lee. Need a helicopter team.”
He turned onto Rua dos Estudantes, their street. No tented stalls, but it was still crowded with pedestrians. Only a few more blocks, though.
“Helicopter?” the woman asked.
He abandoned the crowded sidewalk for the street. “Yes, Condition Red. Possible kidnappers, probable head start. Hurry, I am alone!”
Gabriel kept running. He dodged between groups of people bound for the fair. With luck, the SSG helicopter would arrive from their Congonhas base in fifteen minutes. They always kept at least one on rapid response, and it was only an eight kilometer flight.
He called the state military police, Águias da Cidade, next.
No answer. What was the problem? And no police visible. Where was that Inspector De Barros when they needed him?
Gabriel approached their six-story apartment building and zoomed in on his data glasses. Nothing unusual. No smoke, no noise, people walking up and down the sidewalks as if it were any other day.
Two white cargo vans were parked on the street, one next to their building and another three spaces up. Also not unusual, except for the tattooed girls standing next to them and glancing back and forth. Both wore dark data glasses with wraparound mikes, unzipped leather jackets, and bulging cargo pants. The closer one was young, with cinnamon skin and black hair tucked under a red bandanna. The further one was older with dark skin and long purple box braids.
Were they armed? His data glasses couldn’t identify Bandanna Girl, but Purple Hair had a long record, including an arrest for illegal firearms. The two women stared at him and tapped their data glasses.
Gabriel turned away and pretended to look at building numbers. “DG,” he whispered, “display feed from Pel 2SQ1BZ23.” Pel’s emergency activation streamed his security camera feeds to a Comnet site that Gabriel and SSG headquarters could access.
Swiping a finger along the right arm of his data glasses, Gabriel panned through the camera feeds. Five were out. Still transmitting but no picture.
But the hallway camera showed people emerging from Pel and Charles’s apartment. The door was off its hinges and smudged black. Seven people exited, four of them carrying Pel and Charles, who looked unconscious. The intruders wore street clothes, not uniforms, wore gloves, and were masked as telenovela stars. Three moved slowly and stiffly. They entered the stairwell through a shattered door frame.
Shit. They’re already leaving. It would take them a while to get downstairs, though.
Gabriel was outnumbered at least nine to one. But all he had to do was delay them until reinforcements arrived from SSG and the police. Should he pin them in the stairwell? Or take out their transport?
I’ll go for the transport. Gabriel strode toward the closest van, which had no windows in the back.
The tattooed women stared at him, then reached into their jackets.
Gabriel whipped out his pistols. In his right hand, a Glock semi-auto with dampened recoil and a full clip of hollow-point. In his left, a long-barreled needlegun with a big magazine of guided flechettes with explosive heads. Both guns had laser targeting systems integrated with his data glasses and able to adjust for range and wind.
Purple Hair drew a polymer submachine gun. Bandanna Girl, who was less than ten feet away now, pulled out a sawed-off shotgun.
Holy shit. Gabriel’s arms acted on reflex. He swung the needlegun toward the greater danger, the girl with the shotgun, red crosshairs in his augmented vision sweeping toward her chest. He flipped the switch to full auto. At the same time, he swung the Glock toward Purple Hair. He pulled both triggers.
Neither gun had much recoil but they made plenty of noise. Just as Bandanna Girl leveled her shotgun, half a magazine of explosive flechettes ripped into her torso and exploded in a spray of red. He hit Purple Hair too. She staggered backward.
Bandanna Girl dropped to the sidewalk, blood gushing out of her jacket.
Wide eyed, Purple Hair shot back, spraying bullets in his direction. Plinks sounded against parked cars and thwacks against concrete.
Gabriel felt a sharp pain in his upper right arm. He fired the Glock at Purple Hair again and dashed behind the nearby van.
People screamed and ran. On the sidewalk to his right, a middle-aged Japanese woman lay on her back, bleeding from the stomach. On the street, a school-age girl grasped her forearm and wailed. A lanky teenage boy tried to pull her away. A familiar image flashed into his mind, a dead girl in the Tropical Breeze dining hall, blood soaking the carpet around her.
Gabriel glanced at his arm. It burned like fire and blood dripped from his torn shirt sleeve, but it wasn’t bad enough to worry about yet.
The bystanders would most likely survive. “Everyone get out of here!” he yelled.
He glanced around the side of the van. Purple Hair was gone, either retreating or reloading. Bandanna Girl lay in a spreading pool of blood, motionless.
“Gabriel!” Kiyoko’s voice. He turned.
Kiyoko was running toward him in her pink kimono. Her eyes were wide.
I thought she was staying put. Gabriel waved his arm. Pain. Wrong arm. “Get out of here!” he yelled in English. “Take cover!”
She nodded and veered toward the minimarket where they did most of their shopping.
Gabriel peered around the van again. Purple Hair was waiting for him. He snapped back behind cover.
Purple Hair fired her machine gun again. More plinks and thuds and screams.
Kiyoko was in that direction! His heart seized. He whipped his head around and saw her just outside the grocer’s. Unharmed but exposed. Someone had pulled down the corrugated metal shutter door that graced every store in the neighborhood.
Kiyoko banged on the shutter door. “Let me in! Me deixe entrar!” She followed with something in Japanese.
“Take cover damn it!” Gabriel shouted.
She ducked behind an old Camry hybrid next to the market. Safe for now.
Gabriel looked around the other side of the van. Someone shot at him with a pistol. The bullet whizzed by his ear.
It was the driver, leaning out the window. A girl, light skinned with long dark hair.
Gabriel holstered his Glock and tried the back door of the van. The handle was unlocked. Made sense, they were expecting passengers. He whipped the door open, needlegun in his left hand.
The girl turned around, face rigid with surprise. Too late. Crosshair on her head, Gabriel fired a short burst.
Her head exploded, blood and bone fragments and brains splattering the windshield. Gabriel almost gagged but emptied the rest of the magazine into the console. Plastic and metal fragments flew everywhere. The dashboard lights went out.
One van down. He could take out the tires of the other. He couldn’t see them from this vantage, though; he’d have to cross the street. “DG, call SSG emergency dispatch.”
“Serviços de Segurança Globais,” the dispatcher began.
He interrupted her. “I need that backup.”
“On its way.”
“Patch me through.”
First good news. Nicolas Pistario was an old comrade from the special forces, team leader, damn capable. SSG didn’t have ranks like the military and although Nicolas supervised more people, he and Gabriel were equivalent in the field.
“Da Silva. Eight to ten assailants, heavily armed. Two white cargo vans. I took out one, will try to get the other.”
“Copy that. We are loading, and airborne soon.”
They hadn’t even left the base yet, and then they’d need another few minutes to get here. “Couldn’t get through to police,” Gabriel said. “Can you give it a try?”
“Copy that. Will pass it to dispatch.”
Da Silva clicked off. He slapped another magazine in the needlegun.
More shop owners closed their shutters. Lots of people would be calling the police. And nearby patrols would hear the gunshots and radio headquarters. For a shootout, they’d bring armored vehicles, maybe helicopters.
Gabriel crouched, ready to dash across the street. Wish I had a smoke grenade. He glanced around the left side of the van.
An automatic rifle fired at him. He ducked back behind the van. The shooter was another teenage girl, standing in the street with an AK-47. She was bronze-skinned, with blonde-streaked hair tied in a bun. Not the type you’d expect to carry an AK-47. What’s with this gang?
An icon of Kiyoko’s face popped up. “Are you safe?” Her voice trembled.
“Yes. Stay behind cover. Don’t stick your head out.”
“Please don’t die,” she said.
“I won’t.” He tapped his glasses arm, terminating the connection. If I try to cross the road, I’m dead. If I stay here, they might get away.
Someone peered from the glass front doors of the apartment building, just ahead and to his right. “DG zoom,” he commanded.
It was a man wearing a Tony Santos mask, everyone’s favorite telenovela billionaire. Holding a matte-gray submachine gun. He peered out the door but made no move to exit.
What was he waiting for?
The side entrance. If Gabriel were running their gang, he’d send some men out the side to flank him. He’d be surrounded. And dead.
Gabriel abandoned his position and ran back up the street toward the plaza, keeping the van between him and the machine gunners. He glanced into the side street between the apartments and the building with the grocery store, seeing two masked men with pistols. They saw him too and fired.
T. C. Weber has pursued writing and music since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. Trapped at home during the “Snowmageddon” of 2010, he transformed those interests into novel writing. His first published book, Sleep State Interrupt, was a Compton Crook Finalist for best debut speculative fiction novel. By day, Mr. Weber works as an ecologist and has had a number of scientific papers and book chapters published. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Karen. He enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents.