Stories # - L | M - Z | Authors

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By Josef Koelbl III





          The wind swirled maddeningly about her, trying desperately, it seemed, to blow her from her feet. The small woman smiled and gazed over the ledge, staring down the 86 floors to the tiny street below. She could hear the traffic rattling along, the insistent bleat of horns echoing from the tall buildings sprouting from their asphalt beds.

                She leaned back against the wall, resting her right foot on the brick behind her and ran a hard hand through her short, spiky blond hair. The window beside her remained dark, her target not yet returned, so she waited, calmly…quietly. There was a screech below her, followed quickly by the bright scream of glass and metal twisting unnaturally. Then screams, yelling, shouting…humanity at its most raw.

                She shook her head, marveling at the newness of things. It was only in the past twenty years or so that such advancements had taken place. An aero plane, she mused to herself, and an auto-mobile. Automatic lighting…indoor plumbing!  She sighed. She had been born when men fought with swords and if one traveled ten miles in a day they had made good time. She sighed once more and light suddenly streamed through the window.

                “I tell ya, Danny, these goons ain’t gonna know what ta do!” The voice was high and thick with New York pitch.

                “Yeah,” came the reply, a hard, quiet voice that dripped violence and venom. “Soon I’m gonna have alla dem in my hip pocket and den dis town is gonna be mine.”

                The woman on the ledge smiled. Daniel “Danny the Gripper” O’Halorhan, one of the toughest enforcers New York had ever seen. Or so it was said. Her client was O’Halorhan’s boss and he feared, with good reason from the words she had heard, that the man was tired of being just the muscle and wanted to be the brains. So she and her…associates were hired to eliminate the problem. She pricked up her ears when she heard “High-Voice” speak again.

                “There could be a problem, doh,” he prattled, voice climbing another octave. “I hear maybe da Boss is onta ya. Hired some outta town talent to take care a ya, if ya know whats I mean.”

                “Let ‘em come,” the mob killer smirked. “I’m freakin’ Danny da Gripper! Dey won’t know what hit ‘em!”

                The window exploded inward, glass raining down on both mobsters, their arms coming up quickly to cover their faces. They recovered quickly, guns already in their hands, eyes focusing on the intruder. She stood calmly, expressionlessly, before them. A tight leather jacket covered her torso, tight Jodhpurs covering her legs and boots up to her knee. The hilt of a sword protruded over her left shoulder.

                “Wha…what…who’re you?” the Gripper sputtered.

                The blonde woman smiled crookedly. “I’m the ‘out-of-town talent,” she said simply.

                The two men looked at each other and O’Halorhan began to laugh, thrusting his gun into its holster with a flourish. “Girlie, dat’s a laugh! I could break yas in two witout breakin’ a sweat.” He looked over at his high voiced friend. “But I figure yer gonna have to pay for da window,” he laughed harder.

                The woman considered for a moment and finally nodded. “An interesting proposal. Very well…I accept.”

                The Gripper stopped laughing, noting the serious look on the woman’s face. “What? Proposal? Wadda ya mean?”

                She smiled. “You said you could break me two without any problems. I accept your challenge.”

                “I’m not gonna fight no woman.”

                “Unless you don’t think you can defeat me. At least you’ll have a fighting chance.”

                O’Halorhan stared hard at the small woman. She was deadly serious, he could see it. “Fine,” he said, taking off his jacket. “I kill you and live, right?” The laugh was still in his voice as he unraveled his tie, not believing this wisp of a girl was any threat to him.

                “That’s correct, Mr. O’Halorhan.”

                “Fine. What’s yer name…so’s I know what ta call ya when I’m tellin’ the boys about ya, ya crazy dame’.”

                “I am Sister Hecate, Elite Sister of the Knives of Artemis and Hand of the Goddess.” She bowed her head in greeting. “I am the last woman you shall ever see.”

                O’Halorhan snorted, “Right.” He came forward, big hands balled into big fists. “Time to die, skirt,” he said as he swung, a huge roundhouse right, intending to take her head off.

                But she wasn’t there. She popped up directly in front of him and her right hand flashed out, fingers held straight and rigid, driving deep into his throat. The enforcer’s hands flew to his neck as he struggled for breath. Hecate smiled, her right foot lashing out and into O’Halorhan’s knee, folding it backwards into a position not intended by nature.

                The Gripper would have screamed as he fell to his good knee but he was already choking to death. He looked up at his assassin, eyes wide with a frantic fear. She smiled sweetly then gripped the back of his head and his nose and practically twisted the head from his shoulders. There was a sickening crack and Daniel “Danny the Gripper” O’Halorhan fell to the floor, his eyes staring at the ceiling even though the rest of him was laying in the different direction.

                Sister Hecate brushed her hands together, wiping away the imaginary lint of a job well done. She moved to the shattered window when a shaking high-pitched voice screamed out. “H-hold it right there, bitch or I’ll…I’ll plug ya!”

                The Knife mercenary turned and faced the frightened criminal, the gun pointing at her trembling violently. “I do not have paperwork on you,” she said calmly. “But you…draw a weapon on me? And worse…call me names?” She sighed again, head shaking sadly. “Unacceptable.” Her hand flashed to her belt and the knife flew from her.

                He never saw her move. He only felt the sharp tug in his bicep and saw the short knife in his arm. On the floor he saw his gun. And his fingers. It was then he began to scream. He looked up but the room was empty. Only the crippled, dead body of Daniel O’Halorhan, the toughest enforcer New York had ever seen, and his own high pitched wail.

                Two buildings away, Sister Hecate bounded over the rooftops. And moving pictures, she thought. Aero planes, automobiles and moving pictures. She slid down a fire escape and dropped into an alley. Perhaps I’ll see a show. They have talkies now.

What fascinating times.




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