EPILOGUE PART 2
Part 5: The Rise of the new Sloth
I was with Knuckles Thomas. He was the leader of the West Side Gang in Chicago. I was Leo, his second in command. And we were driving to meet up with a rival gang. The Japanese Triad. We were meeting to team up.
“Something isn’t right about this Knuckles,” I state.
“Leo, I don’t trust the Triad either…” is his response.
“It’s not just that,” I state, “It’s just that some interpreter set up this meeting. Do you know? You never really want a third party involved.”
No one really knew who the interpreter was. That’s the thing. Some highly recommended person. And the thing is Knuckles knew why I was concerned.
“You’re worried about Tom,” he states.
“This meeting is to team up with the Triad in order to go to war with Tom. I think it’s a bad idea Knuckles. Tom isn’t the one you want to FUCK with.”
Tom. The name was legendary in the underworld. Something like the grim reaper or something. For quite a long time, Knuckles was nothing more than a guy who Tom allowed certain leverage in the streets. Things had changed over the years. Tom’s organization split up leaving room for those who invested to him to come up from underneath him and perhaps take his place.
Knuckles was one of those people. The Triad also were.
That’s when Knuckles leans over to me, “I told you I would buy you that house that you wanted right? This is our opportunity, Leo. We team up with the Triad and we kill Tom. We can inherit the keys to the kingdom. Isn’t that what you want—-baby?”
If anyone knew that Knuckles and I were in a relationship they probably wouldn’t have taken him anywhere as serious. The thing is no one knows. And when Knuckles leans over and kisses me I don’t doubt for a second he’d do anything it took to provide for me. No matter what it took.
Even if it meant betraying Tom.
The meeting area is a shady looking area. Knuckles gets out first. I get out right behind him, stuffing my pistol in the back of my jeans. I would do anything for Knuckles. Even team up with the Triad who had been our longtime rival in the streets of Chicago for territory. When we get out I see the familiar face of the Green Piper. The Green Piper was the dangerous Triad leader. I notice he’s not alone. There have to be at least 2 dozen men with him.
What he doesn’t know is we aren’t alone either.
“Pull up,” I send a mass text in my phone.
In a matter of seconds, our cars pull up. They might not be as fancy as the Triad cars but we had men. Loyal men with us. Men from the hood. Men who would do whatever it took to take over the streets. And just like me, they’d do whatever it took for Knuckles.
“Knuckles, welcome…” the Green Piper states.
His English is broken and he says something else after welcoming Knuckles. But that’s when we realize that the interpreter isn’t there. I look around at the others. I’m nervous. Nervous as fuck.
“Where’s the interpreter?” I ask Knuckles.
More talking from the triad members. Talking that I don’t understand.
“Man what they talking about?” one of our guys says, “They sound like they are up to something…”
“Everyone calm down,” Knuckles states, “This is a peace meeting.”
Peace meeting? How could he be so calm? I was so paranoid. Everyone here had guns! Everyone. What if they were talking about killing us? What if it was worse?
And that’s when I see it.
“BODY!” I scream out.
A dead body was there. A dead PREGNANT woman was right there laying in the meeting place.
When I point it out all chaos breaks out on both sides. No one knew who the dead pregnant woman was but it was clear this was some sort of trap. All of a sudden I’m the one pulling for my gun. I pull it and point it right at the Triad members. The others follow my lead. Soon even the triad members had their guns out.
It was a standoff!
“What are they saying?” I’m screaming out to the guys behind me, “What the FUCK are they saying!”
More chaos. MORE fucking chaos.
That’s when I see Knuckles look over at me and he seems to be staring at the lady laying on the ground.
“Oh shit…that was the interpreter,” Knuckles tells me, “That was the fucking interpreter.”
That’s all I needed to hear. I never trusted the Triad in the first place. I needed to protect Knuckles. So I shoot. Better safe than sorry right? If these assholes were cruel enough to kill a pregnant woman to keep their secret that they were no enemies of me. I manage to get the Green Piper right in the forehead. Right in the fucking forehead!
And then bullets follow. They are aimed towards me. But Knuckles jumps in front of me! He tries to protect me. More gunfire.
And for a moment I don’t know what happens.
Until I wake up a minute later with Knuckles on top of me. But the thing is he isn’t moving. I’m panicking trying to move him.
He’s not responding. He’s dead. I push his body off of me and notice I’m covered in his blood. Everyone’s dead. Everyone.
OH god. Oh god. We all killed each other. A shootout went horribly wrong.
I am in this graveyard and I’m so confused turning around over and over realizing this is the worst case scenario. We shouldn’t have come. We were rivals with the Triads. We had no trust in the first place.
Who set up this meeting in the first fucking place?
That’s when I notice movement. Someone was alive?
A body stands up. I notice it’s the pregnant woman! The FUCKING pregnant interpreter. My eyes glare as though not believing this woman was alive the whole time.
“Wh—what’s happening?” I ask.
“Well I needed Tom’s enemies dead,” she states, “He tells me that I’ll be promoted from codename Inertia to one of his 7 sins. Lady Sloth. But he says I had to get rid of you all first. I could have taken you all out one at a time but that’s too much work. I’m not big on doing a lot of work, you understand? Sometimes all it takes is a little spark, you understand. A little spark to cause intense chaos.”
This woman had murdered two rival gangs by doing nothing but laying on the ground pretending to be dead and waiting for the impending chaos. And that’s when I see her reach underneath her shirt and pull out some stuffing. The woman wasn’t even fucking pregnant!
“You bitch…YOU BITCH!”
It was all her. This was someone that Tom sent. That’s when I try to reach for a gun. But the gun is gone. I had dropped it.
And this woman…this Lady Sloth comes up to me, taking her time as I’m looking for my gun. I try to grab her but she moves in a way as though she knew what she was going to do. She counters my reach and uses my own weight to send me falling on the ground. My back cracks in pain.
“Dammit, I really was trying to avoid breaking a sweat,” she states before taking out a knife and stabbing me in the throat….
PART 6: THE RISE OF THE NEW GLUTTONY
Here I am in a Japanese traditional tea house enjoying my American burger when I hear these words. I mean legit serene Japanese tea house with bamboo walls, sliding doors, and wood floors. I’m on my knees drinking tea and eating my burger and THIS shit.
Hatashi-jou was a challenge to a duel…
The words are specific and there is a certain fierceness to them. The kind of fierceness that came from a member of the Assembly. I know exactly who they come from. I have my back to the door. Should have known the day would come. I was all the way in Japan and these fuckers still find me. I would tell the guy to jump off my dick but you know it’s so big he’d probably just land on the other side of the head.
“Who the hell let you in?” I ask.
“There was an old housekeeper. Rude as hell…I don’t see how you don’t kill him.”
I shrug, “He pays me not to, weekly.”
“Well let’s just say you’ll need a new source of income.”
Dammit. I roll my eyes. Just like an Assembly asshole to go around killing people. I’m pissed. That damn housekeeper made amazing dumplings. Now I’d have to try to find a new source. This fucker was going to pay. A little later though…I was starving.
I grunt a quick harsh, “I’m eating.”
”How the hell did you still maintain your body eating like that all the time?”
My old master used to teach me that food was the strength of a man. Kashouki is the term he used. All the protégés of my old master learned Kashouki. So the more food, the better. Somehow though he had become a fat slob and I had 10 abs ripping down my stomach. Seems like Kashouki art of murder and violence led to obesity. But I was young, I’d bounce back.
“You can wait for a second or two to die, kid,” I ask taking a big deep bite of my burger.
Nothing like grease before you kill someone. He hadn’t been the first assassin that Tom sent to bring me back. Usually, they showed up between breakfast and lunch. I called it a brunch bashing. Seemed to fit.
“I’ll wait. I knew you weren’t going to give in without a fight. Do you still eat the dinosaur chicken nuggets in the order they would have died in the food chain?’
He knows me well. I don’t bother looking over my shoulder. This burger is far too juicy and the tea is definitely hitting the spot.
“Who asks?” I ask, lazily over my shoulder.
“Code name Lust.”
“Last Lust I knew was a sassy bitch with big tits that walked around like she had diamonds in her pussy,” I remember, “You got a deep voice for someone who has diamonds in their pussy.”
“It’s Quix,” he states.
Quix. Should have fuckin’ known when the crazy fuck didn’t attack as soon as he walked in. I think about all the old memories I had. Crazy that I didn’t recognize the voice. Must be this Japanese weed. Has me all the way lit and a bit hungry.
“You got a promotion?”
“You’ll get one too if you come back with me peacefully. You’d be codename Gluttony. A deadly sin. You’d become a master. You’d be able to train your own assassins in that carb-heavy ancient burger guerilla tactics and hot dog warfare.”
“So my master is dead? Goddamit. How did the fat fuck die? Blood pressure or diabetes?”
“Gluttony was murdered fighting Codename Urge and Desire.”
“All I need to hear.”
I’d have to murder Urge and Desire in the fat fuck’s memory. A great reason to return to the Assembly. Quix knows it too. That’s why he mentioned the old shit. I hated his guts but he was my master. It’s just Kashouki code. I’m really not surprised that Quixotic, or should I say Lust would make fun of the Kashouki art. It was stupid as fuck. I remember the other masters were teaching their teams the ancient art of ninjitsu while I was learning the ancient technique of not throwing up when you overeat. Eat and revenge your masters. That’s basically half of Kashouki. The other half is killing but that’s nothing special.
I take my last my bite of my burger, lick my fingers.
I take my time and turn to Quixotic. He looked the same. He had always been such a cocky little shit. Last time I’d seen him he’d gotten caught by some government and was about to be in the electric chair for mass murder. Pretty much the same psychotic, half-crazy idiot that was actually in my graduating class of the Assembly.
“You got something to say?” he asks.
“One second,” I state, “I got to put on my chapstick.”
Special chapstick that is. Made my lips just perfect before a fight.
After a few quick seconds, I proceed to pose with my katana reflecting the light in the teahouse, “Well let’s fight.”
“Wait you still want to fight after my offer?”
I finally get up, “You interrupted my meal. No one interrupts my meal and doesn’t drop at least a little bit of blood. You remember this sword, Lust?”
My signature sword. The hunger pain. It was a gigantic sword but then I was a gigantic man. Even Quix, who had taken the title for having the most kills in the Assembly looked a little taken back when I stand up. I throw my Japanese robe to the floor and reveal a rippling chest that even Quix would hold up to the mirror as inspiration. I’m lean and clean. I mean I can see why he’s nervous. What would you think if a 6’3” man with 2 percent body fat and an 80-centimeter sword walked up to you? I mean hell…my sword was almost as big as my dick…
“Come at me.
All I needed to hear as I rush forward, katana in hand attacking Quix who quickly backed up pulling out his own blade. He’d always been quite good with those things. Almost as good as me. Startled by my strength he circles back around, lunging forward and slashing forward. He’s close but the blade misses. He’s in my circumference though, close enough for me to grab him throwing him over my shoulder. He comes crashing to the ground and rolls aside just in time to miss my foot slamming hard two inches from his face.
“Bitch,” he urges, “Thought this was a sword fight.”
“ As a monk tried to explain away the prank, the boy suddenly rushed in, shouting, “Come on, let’s fight!” and attacked the startled warrior with a sword. We clash again running forward and slamming our swords into each other. The asshole was strong. He had on a jeans jacket but he must have had a decent body under there.
“Do we really have a fight? As though you wouldn’t come back to the Assembly for the title of Gluttony. Stop acting like you don’t want it. You suck man,” he seems irritated.
“Suck like your childhood boyfriend back in the Assembly did when I pulled my dick out?”
He remembered. I see him getting mad. So mad I have to admit that he’s overpowering me.
“Don’t be mad.”
I lean forward as he pushes back on me kissing him on the lips. This pisses him off so much that his sword gets real heavy. He groans out loud with some sort of happiness that he was stronger than me after all.
I fall to the ground. I quickly jump to my feet, slashing with my sword as he leans forward. Quick as lightning, Quix throws his sword back and uses it his fucking sword and extended a hand as some sort of way to extend his foot towards me. It’s as though he was distributing his weight into the kick on some sick sort of Matrix-next-level-un-ninja-like-cheating-ass-SHIT.
Fucker hits me right between the eyes, stunning me.
I struggled to get to my feet as Quix comes over me smashing my head back into the ground and thrusting his ninja sword inches away from my throat.
“I warned you,” he tells me gloating in my defeat, “I’m not the old Quix anymore. I’m Lust now. Leader of the 7 deadly sins. Now that you are defeated, codename: Indulgence will you accept Tom’s offer and return to serve him?”
“I am not defeated.”
He looks confused when I say that, “I know you’ve been hiding out in Japan for quite some time. Am I lost in translation? Would you rather speak Japanese?”
“I meant it, Lust. I am not defeated,” I tell him with a smile, “See the thing is my special chapstick is really special. Actually, it’s poison-laced. I am the only one with the antidote.”
He touches his lips. He’s probably remembering how good I was in poisons back at the Assembly. He’s probably wishing he spent time focusing on cures instead of chasing behind his ex like a lovesick puppy.
“Goddamit comes on…” he states.
We start walking off, “You know I won right.”
He’d never forget it. We were rivals. We always had been. He’d never admit that he’d lost. Sooner or later he’d come begging for the cure and I’ll damn sure make the asshole beg.
“Poisons are for pussies.”
Part 7: The Rise of the New Pride
“Destiny Grey…what gives me the pleasure.”
He’s talking to me as though I’m not his wife. We’d gotten married. He doesn’t look up at me. Tom never really was attracted to beauty. Beauty for him was just another weapon that his “Assembly” used. I didn’t need him to accept me. I was plump and happy. One of America’s most beloved chefs.
And I was also a retired assassin.
“Don’t give me that Tom,” I state, “You’ve been leaving me out of the plans you have with the Assembly.”
He was used to my nagging. He’s used to a lot of things. Maybe that’s why he sleepily says, “Nonsense I had a plan to show you them. Come in here.”
I don’t believe him but none-the-less I follow him into a room. He had many moderators with him. When we enter the room he shows me some sort of line up. The kind of line ups you see in the crime movies when all the criminals walk in. They aren’t criminals though. These were them. These were his new line up of killers.
I start with the first one.
“Love is your new Envy…good choice. Small, petite and quick. Wasn’t he some sort of circus performer in his past life? Or was it a gymnast? Either way, he can get into small places. Good job on the first one Tom.”
He nods, “The next is, of course, Lust.”
Lust. He was dangerous and the clear new top dog now that the old Wrath had betrayed Tom. I look over at Lust and see he had some scars. Then I remember the last time I’d heard from him he was on a trip to retrieve another dangerous man.
Oh my. What a man. A smile spreads across my face and I press my hands on the glass. I’d known of Indulgence back when he was a kid. He had become quite the man. Quite. The. Man. He had no shirt on. The ruler behind him says he’s 6’3”. I stare and almost drool. I’d heard stories of how much he could eat. If only he know how much I could cook. I’m so wet that my face flushes red wondering if he really can’t see me on the other side of this glass.
“Actually it’s Gluttony now,” Tom states seeming more irritated than jealous, “You can fuck him after I am done with him…”
Let’s just say it wasn’t the LEAST romantic thing I’d heard from Tom. He wasn’t exactly Romeo. I don’t even remember the last time I’d had sex with him.
I roll my eyes and turn to the next woman. I knew exactly who she was. Now she went by Greed. I knew her back in the day as The Man Killer. She literally used her vagina to go around the world and murder.
“You really pulled out the big guns didn’t you?” I ask especially when I get past Greed and get to the female sin, “Greed is quite the win, Tom…but Her?”
“The Lazy assassin. More dangerous than she looks,” Tom said.
“Tom she looks high…”
She keeps rolling her head in the back of her head. Her hair is disheveled. She looks like some sort of crackhead. I’d heard of the Lazy assassin, but I never quite got it. Supposedly she had become some sort of expert at killing people with the lowest level of physical assertion possible.
“She is going to be my Sloth. Don’t you remember when she murdered a small village by throwing thousands of dollars in a pool and flicking a button that electrocuted all of them when they went diving for the money.”
He had a point. I didn’t agree but I guess numbers don’t lie. I wonder how lazy the woman really got when she was in a life or death situation. Let’s see if she doesn’t kick up her energy level.
I move on. The next one was sure to be Wrath. It was sure to be someone interesting. It was sure to be someone dangerous.
That’s not what I see.
“Enough is enough!” I state when I see the boy looking back at me, “You’ve lost it, Tom. Your old age is getting to you…”
The person looking back at me is a nobody. I’d remembered his name back in the day but only because it was so laughable how weak he was. He was no one. A joke that never would be remembered in the history of all the Assassins that Tom killed. Not many made it through the training program but hundreds had gotten codenames. Hundreds have died and this boy was someone who should have been dead.
“I have a soft spot for him,” Tom states, “His old codename was Ardor.”
Even now Ardor is looking at the intense bodies next to him. The mighty Lust, the muscular body that Gluttony has, the deadly sexuality that Greed has and he looks at himself. He’s not one of them. We all knew it.
“You’re rebuilding an organization of the deadliest assassins in the world,” I remind him tapping on the glass, “This…this THING is not a Deadly Sin.”
“He is if I say he is,” Tom states, “May I remind you—-Willful Ignorance, I am the leader of the Assembly. Not you.”
He uses my codename. One that he never used unless he really meant it. And for some reason he really meant it. I don’t get it. Tom never cared for the weak. He had designed a training program where young children were told to be strong or die. What was it about this kid? What was it about this new Wrath that Tom wanted to keep around?
“It’s not enough.”
He gets closer almost ready for me to challenge him, “Say that again, woman, I didn’t hear you the first time.”
I look at his wrist. It has switched into a claw hold. The claw hold—-from a man with the skill of Tom—-could grab someone’s throat and rip it clean out their body. I’d seen him do it. That’s probably what he was aiming for with me. By now he probably wanted a reason to kill me. Too bad. I wasn’t going to give him that reason tonight.
“I meant the numbers. There are 7 deadly sins. We are missing one. Pride…”
He calms down.
“I have a Pride.”
“Who is it?”
“You won’t agree…” he assures me.
I’d never seen Tom look nervous. Never. But for some reason, he walks out of the room as though he doesn’t want to discuss this thing that he has handled. Strange. I follow him out of the room getting close enough to stop him without touching him and further angering him.
“You have so many options,” I think almost excited, “Oh tell me, Tom. Tell me who it is. I can’t take it.”
I stop. He stops as well. We’re standing there in an empty hallway. We’re standing in complete silence.
“Have you lost your mind? You’ll release…you’ll release HIM? That…that…CREATURE…”
There was only one person in the world that Tom couldn’t control. It’s the reason why he first started having all his assassins wearing neck braces. It’s the reason that he started tracking all of them. The Creature. He’d been the only assassin that wasn’t named after of some sort of transgression against divine law.
He’d only been called the Creature.
“Don’t you think I have a plan for that? You think —-Woman that I’d release the Creature in this world without having a way to control it.”
He was angry. A smarter woman would have turned down. I knew how dangerous Tom was. Before, I was concerned that him bringing Ardor in as a Deadly Sin was a sign of Tom losing his mind. I was wrong then, but now I was sure.
Tom was not the man he used to be.
“We agreed the only way to deal with him was to lock him 20 feet in the ground in a prison cell and switch his guards every 10 days. He’s been in a hole in the ground for 12 years with nothing to talk to but the black walls.”
Tom is thinking. He knows he is concerned. He HAS to be concerned.
“I wouldn’t if I didn’t have to. The others in there are strong. They may be able to hold up a fight against the old Wrath or Urge but they won’t be able to kill them.”
“Lust is powerful, Gluttony and Greed are…”
“NONE OF THEM CAN KILL THEM!”
He’s pissed. Really pissed. This thing he had about the ones who caused the Assembly’s near destruction had no end.
“Maybe it’s time to just let them go,” I suggest, “Let them live their lives. But you won’t. Will you? This isn’t even about Wrath and Urge.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“This is about my son,” I state, “This is about Desire.”
“Desire is weak. I’m not concerned.”
“He’s not weak. Ardor is weak. Desire is a deadly knife fighter and poison tactician. This is ALL about killing Desire. You’re obsessed with killing the man who single-handedly made both of your sons betray you and destroy the only thing you ever loved: The Assembly.”
I knew Tom. I knew him enough to know that he was pissed. I knew him enough to know that he won’t admit that he is upset when he is most upset. He won’t give me the satisfaction. So, he lets his face shell up and he turns away.
“Ardor will be my new Desire. I know what Desire did. Your son wasn’t some great wizard to destroy the Assembly. He used something I’ve overlooked for so long.”
He’s so obsessed with my son and I love every moment of it. Desire was my greatest victory. He was proof that there was someone in the world who could defeat even him.
“You always knew Desire was a threat. What could you possibly have overlooked that made him grapple you into submission?”
The words come out like darts when they hit Tom’s ears. I love to see him squirm. And only Desire can cause him to squirm in such a way. Imagine all your life being able to have anyone dead that you wanted dead, except the one person you wanted dead most of all. No one could come close to Desire. The REAL Wrath was a madman when it came to Desire and Urge…well…I think Urge would cause an extinction event we haven’t seen since the dinosaurs if someone tried to hurt Desire.
“Ardor’s emotion will mean nothing. Let’s make a bet, Tom. My son, Desire will cut your team to shreds before this is all done.”
“I accept this wager,” he states.
I knew it. I can see by how he smiles. This was what all this was about. He wanted to recreate the Assembly but that is secondary. What he really wanted was a team strong enough to kill the UN-killable Desire.
He signals for something to one of his moderators.
“What’s this about?” I ask.
A few moments later heavy doors across the institution open. At first, come the doctors. They were world-renowned doctors that Tom paid millions to get here. The Assassination business was a very profitable business and Tom had made a killing so I knew he’d only get the best. They weren’t medical doctors though. I knew enough people to almost tell they were some other sort of doctors. Why were they here though?
What was coming through that door?
Just then I see the moderators walking. They are pulling a stone upright metal block that has been placed on strong wheels. I notice as they walk that there are armed guards, about a dozen or so with automatic weapons. The security is heavy. I notice the cage and know there is only one thing that could be in there.
“How could you possibly control HIM?” I ask, “How can you make him Pride?”
That’s when I see its eyes. Dark eyes. It’s beautiful. I’ll give it that. The creature was a handsome man. Always had been. But I wasn’t an idiot. There was only one person I knew that was more dangerous than Tom. It was this Creature.
That’s when Tom gives me the most interesting answer, “That’s where Ardor comes into play…”