Babylon's Run


“There you guys are.” Dante was lying on his car’s hood when they arrived to the empty lot. Looking at his watch, he said “You’re late, what took you guys so long?”

“We were trying to find your ass.” Toni said as she slammed the door. “You could have told us that you changed the meeting point before we arrived there.”

“Yeah, but having a kid give you guys the message is just so much more noir.” He smiled.

“You have our stuff, or not?” Allys asked, as she and John got out of the car.

“Yeah, I do.” Dante said as he reached inside the car. “It’s all in this package.”

He took out a manila envelope, and opened the cover to reach inside. “So, tell me, where are we all headed towards?”

“I’m thinking somewhere in France,” John said. “We can hide out there for awhile.”

“Hiding in the beach under the sun, eh?” Dante chuckled at this. “Awesome.”

And as he said so, a loud burst came out of the envelope. One, after another, after another.

Allys’ jaw was wide open, as well as Toni’s, as they both froze at the loud noise still ringing in their ears.

The crunching of the pebbles under John was the first thing that Allys heard after the ringing, followed by a loud ‘flump’, as John fell face first onto the ground, the blood staining the back of his shirt.

“Sorry, just business.” Dante smiled as he approached Toni, who was still too dumbfounded to do anything against him.

Allys saw Toni’s body ricochet at the symphony of the bullets piercing through her, yet she still couldn’t feel anything, with John still on the floor, with everything going on.

And just like that, Dante held the smoking envelope’s hole to her head, looking at her with the slightest of smiles.

“Y-You…” She started off, but couldn’t get herself to finish.

“It was either you guys or me, that simple.” He replied simply.

“So you weren’t just there...”

“No, I was the ones that led them there.” Pause, a deep sigh. “I told them to let you go, since you were a better lead towards John than anyone else.”

“H-How could you…”

“Like I said, it was either you guys, or me, on the Yakuza death list.” With a shrug, he continued. “I made my choice, and that’s all there is to it.”

“You sold your friends.”

“I’m just doing what we’ve been doing for years,” He smiled again. “Killing other lives in order to prolong my own.”

“We were your friends.”

With a deep sigh, he looked at her with a serious look, and held his arm straight. “We’ll let fate decide this one, alright?”

She looked at him, and he stared at her, a moment of silence as it all sets up.

And the trigger went off.

Her eyes closed, the moment she was waiting for didn’t come.

Smiling, Dante turned around, and gave himself a chuckle of relief. “Out of bullets.” Walking towards his car, he walked with a slow and relaxed pace. “I’ll see you around, cowgirl.”

And with the slightest of waves, he drove away on his car, the dust clouds drifting behind it.

Allys looked at it, and could feel her breath heavily filling and emptying air from her lungs.

Hurriedly, she crouched down, and helped John lie on her legs. His heavy breath matched hers, except it was weaker,

The blood was seeping out of his wound, as he lied on the floor, his head on Allys’ knees, wounded, looking up tiredly at her, looking up blankly at her.

“John, you idiot…” Was all that she could say, tears coming out of her, trying hard not to sob, trying hard not to give up on him, because that would just be so easy. “Damn it, where were you, John? Where were you?”

Looking up at her, he kind of smiled, and kind of looked faded away. “You’re not wearing any make-up.” He faintly chuckled at this.

She had seen all this before, in a dream, in a vision that she thought she had changed.

 “I’m sorry, John, I’m sorry.” She sobbed, at her realization, at her attempts to change anything. “I thought I changed it all, I thought I had prevented all this from happening.”

“They knew you’d take them to me.” He smiled still, weakly, chuckling a little. “It was the natural thing for them to do.”

 “I’m sorry, I did know, I did know how this would end.” The tears were coming, and she knew they weren’t going to stop anytime soon. “I had a vision, I knew what would happen, I shouldn’t have tried to change anything at all.”

“You didn’t know,” He said weakly. “It sometimes doesn’t come true, remember?”

“NO! I lied!” She said. “It always comes true!” The sobs were coming, and oh, she knows she won’t be able to stop them at all. “I tried to lie to myself that I could change the future if I tried, that I could stop fate if I wanted to.” Sobbing, to him, to her, the whole world seemed to shake. “I thought I could. But I can’t. It’s already been decided. It’s all been done already.”

John’s eyes slowly closed, looking up at her, looking up at the skies. “Don’t ever stop trying.” He said, weakly, almost a whisper, smile in his face. “Because what else is there left in life?”

And with that, he left her, and the eyes closed forever.

“John, John? Can you hear me?” She asked, in a weak voice, as tears poured down her cheeks, as everything was going according to plan, according to her vision. “John, stay with me.” Her voice was breaking up, cracking up, everything drawing to an end. “John, don’t close your eyes. Don’t close your eyes, John.”

Everything moved in synchronized time, the clouds, the sky, the birds singing on the trees. For one second, everything seemed to make sense, her, John in her arms, the pebbles’ cracking sounds. For that one second, everything felt alright, as if nothing ever had happened at all, as if they were all happy and pretty.

Happily ever after.

Life went on and on.




Written by Tom Lin, 9/27/04




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