Copyright © 2013-2023 by Rafael
All rights reserved Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this novel may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or stored in a database or any information storage retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, incidents, organizations and dialogue in this novel are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Alpha Males have been largely responsible for the history of Western Civilization. They have won and lost wars.
Birthed dynasties and extinguished them. Founded and annihilated empires. Even today, as the dust born pyramids continue their
reversion, the rivers of history flow through these males.
This is a story of Alpha Primes.
your thoughts and perceptions never missed the mark and your insights and warrior spirit infuse the pages of
this story. You are a worthy successor to the traditions and legends of sacred Sparta.
Honor and respect, Haralobos.
A pale-yellow laser light, thin as pencil lead, entered the keyhole and diffracted. The narrow emitter’s barrel
length sat derringer-like atop another. Inside the lower barrel, sensors analyzed the diffracted light’s angles and distances. From
the device’s handle, a data cable connected to a rectangular case the size of a deck of cards. Snapped to Michael’s belt, another
laser inside the case used the calculations to etch a key.
High above, a blinding sun hid behind water-pregnant clouds blanketing New York City. Each passing minute darkened the city and deepened its shadows. Late dusk and Michael crouched atop a rooftop in the 300 block of West 45th Street, Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. Autumn continued the summer’s heat and humidity, caused everything to stick, confirmed the coming downpour.
A casual glance left the impression Michael wore a bicyclist's outfit. Dark blue and form fitting, the isoprene torso suit hid sophisticated nanotubes imbedded at differing layers within the suit, keeping his body temperature at its normal 107°. The laser’s sensor light blinked green.
Michael clicked the case open. A pale, odorless wisp escaped the horizontal leaf. He removed the key, inserted, and turned. A just audible click unlocked the door. A thin smile creased his face. No one in the world knew it even existed and Michael suspected it broke fifty different laws. He placed the device and cable in a pouch occupying the small of his back before cracking the door a fraction. He sensed into the darkness.
No one occupied the stairway or top floor landing. His watch read 6:34:17pm, Sunday evening; 43 seconds early. Inside the stairwell, he crouched and closed the door. Darkness enveloped him permitting descent into a deep calm. Just past the stairwell’s bottom on the right sat an empty dwelling. Ahead of the stairwell landing—the target apartment.
Panther-like, Michael waited in the darkness: hidden, coiled, alert. At such moments, he often mused how everyone accommodated themselves to death’s inevitability but never imagined it might be today. That morning, the man inside had arose unaware the day marked his last wake up. His life had become forfeit and now moments from ending. What would he be doing if he knew?
6:35pm. Within his ear canal, a low voice spoke with acoustic clarity, "Michael check?"
"Check." Michael whispered.
He laid his helmet aside and descended the stairs. Nothing creaked. Nothing groaned. Ahead, he paused at the right-hand rental, sensing into it, confirming it remained unoccupied. Crouched before the target door, a slight twist of the knob and the door opened. Arrogant bastard, Michael thought. The target felt comfortable and secure on his home turf. His goon on the 1st floor guarded who came in or out and afterward paid well to clean up the messes. Who would dare walk in on him?
Michael sensed into the apartment. Alarm levels spiked. Two people! Lips mouthed a soundless curse, "Damn!” He considered signaling abort, but the next instant brought more alarm. The loud stereo could not mask the unmistakable sounds of fists pounding flesh and breaking bones. Mortal danger gripped the second person. Michael glanced at the time: 6:35:42pm. Eighteen seconds early. He could not wait.
"Check.", he murmured and entered the apartment. Time had run out for the man inside. No reprieve, no recall, no appeal. No pity.
* * *
6:24pm Sunday evening. Three bicyclists turned into West 45th street from 10th Avenue. Two remained at the 10th Avenue entrance while one continued to the 9th Avenue end. No one would recall anything memorable about them and no one noticed their passing. They all wore the same dark blue, isoprene torso suits, the same helmets, and rode the same bikes. With scores of clubs throughout the city, its residents considered bicycling enthusiasts a dime a dozen. No. No one would notice anything different about these three. Unless they got close. And tonight no one did. Darkening clouds hinted at the imminent downpour, emptying the streets as people hurried to their destinations.
Sean left Jason and Kurt, rode toward the building Michael had penetrated. They had followed the target for weeks memorizing his habits and this block. He dismounted two yards from the entrance leaving anyone looking out from within blind to his arrival. The target always posted an armed bodyguard on the ground floor right by the stairway. Sean slowed his breathing, calming himself. Despite confidence in his martial skills, Michael's speed and strength during many sparring sessions had burned into him what imaginative innovation could accomplish.
The target had developed a taste for alien, illegal women working in strip clubs, bars, and housekeeping. When the urge came upon him, he would ply them with drinks, money, or ads for housekeeping the apartment on 45th street. Beyond any reason or comprehension, he would overcome, silence, and immobilize these doomed women and slowly, with remorseless intensity, begin to pummel them with brass- knuckled fists. Skin would tear, bones would break, and organs would burst. The individuals suffered a slow, aware, and conscious death. In the end, he would lower his pants and sexually release on the battered corpse. Who cared? Just another illegal with no business being here in the first place. A fatal mistake. His last victim had been Michael’s housekeeper, Andrea Remkova.
"Michael check?" The affirmative reply confirmed 6:35pm. One minute later Michael would be in the target apartment and Sean wanted to be walking through the front door at that moment. For the hundredth time, fingers checked for the lasered key he and Michael had made. Unlike the more upscale locations where fingerprint and iris scans prevailed, this gritty area’s doors had yet to upgrade.
Michael's early "Check!" changed everything. Something had caused him to accelerate and Sean needed to be in the hallway before the 1st floor guard complicated anything. He inserted and turned the key, pushing the door open. Narrowed eyes underscored surprise. Two goons stood in the hallway. He listened for an abort signal. None came.
The building’s stairway rose against the left wall. The right wall continued to a small rear area with a doorway hidden from view behind the stairs leading to the basement. At the foot of the stairway, one thug leaned against the left wall. Directly opposite, his partner slouched against the right.
Training and instinct decided his tactics. Eight steps would place him between the two leaners. They wore gym suits and sneakers. Sean wondered if they could even spell cliché. He sensed into the hallway. The smell of gun oil located their weapons. Subtle bulges and unnatural arm positions revealed them as right-handed.
Five steps away and the two no longer had a chance. A moment of injected confusion, say a husky lisp, an effeminate air, would be enough to finish these two in the time allotted one. For Andrea, he thought.
* * *
A bored Danny Fats, leaning against the left wall, turned his head toward the entrance. He knew the upstairs tenants and someone he'd never seen before had entered using a key. They would know if the bosses had booked anybody for the upstairs apartments. Still, the bicyclist did have a key.
Wary, Danny watched as the guy announced himself, "Hi. I'm here to do the decorations in 3-B." Decorations? What decorations? An interior decorator in a bike suit? "Who the f-".
Danny never finished the question and his eyes never registered a blur. The guy had been in constant sight, but one second placed him four paces away and the next he stood right between them. Neither had ever seen anything move that fast and their reflexes froze; overloaded brains cycled for a response to an event never encountered.
Danny watched his partner reach for his throat before the cause registered. In the same instant, a fire swelled in his. He recalled the flat-hand fingertip jab receding away from beneath his chin. Standing between them, the decorator had crushed their larynxes with simultaneous outward thrusts. The searing pain gripping his throat and his increasing difficulty breathing galvanized Danny into a death throe reach for his weapon. As fast-numbing fingers struggled with the jacket's zipper, a bear-trap grip closed around his wrist and for a moment Danny felt bones crushing. Leaning against him as a brace, the stranger unleashed a vicious sidekick into his partner’s chest.
Danny’s eyes bulged as his already dead partner slammed into the wall. The strength of the kick flattened the corpse against the load- bearing concrete before rebounding to the floor.
Despite a traumatized arm producing no pain, Danny felt the cold knife of dread void his groin. Time reached its fulfillment. He had spent his life’s last moments guarding a hallway. Sean's sidekick caught him flush in the solar plexus. In the instant Danny's last breath left his body, all the organs of his upper torso ripped from their moorings. The wall exacted more revenge on his skeletal structure as bones crushed in on themselves against it. The force of the body's impact left a vague outline of a human's death.
Sean crouched in the hallway sensing into his surroundings. Michael remained out of range. Nothing disturbed his envelope, and no one looked in. The two boys, who must have loved their pasta, made for hefty weights. He gripped each by the neck, turned sideways, and with the effort of moving pillows, carried the 250-pound weights to the hallway’s rear, piling one atop the other against the basement door.
No one walking by could see them, and only someone heading to the basement would find the bodies. Thirteen seconds had elapsed since Sean had walked in through the front door. He sensed out again. Detecting no danger, he left the building. "Out," he murmured into his implant before mounting the bike and pedaling back toward 10th Avenue.
* * *
Joey Deuce’s birth certificate provided his nickname. It read, "Joseph Giuseppe Colazzo". Intelligent, engaging, many said handsome, he had starred as defensive end on his High School football team, and president of the parish's Catholic Youth League. He could have taken any number of respectable jobs and led a quiet, comfortable, middle-class existence. Not for the briefest moment had that ever appealed to Joey. Then as now, the price of a steady job, a home and mortgage, family in the suburbs, remained the same: a staid, predictable, plodding life. Joey craved excitement and glamour. Danger too, but fear of death led to a subsidized life. Its acceptance embraced passion.
He became a man of respect and began a steady if unspectacular rise in the underworld’s ranks. Like others, Joey resented the fallen status of their “cosa” to Bulgarian Overlords but had no one to blame but themselves. They had placed business and volumes above all else and forgotten the source of their profit: violence, fear, intimidation. When the Bulgarians arrived, everyone had counseled go along to get along. The vast monies involved ensured enough for everyone and everything could be negotiated. When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, those who had counseled accommodation no longer existed. The rest reported for their new assignments.
Inwardly he roiled, unable to ignore his second-class status. Godfathers had disappeared and with them their families. The Bulgarians had reduced the Italian mafia to street enforcers. They permitted the Mafiosi their vice income but shut them out of the real money deals. The Bulgarians had all the access to the worlds of government and enterprise. Access to what the more naïve labelled, corruption. The Bulgarians killed anyone who interfered with it. Immediately.
For that, he felt grateful to the Bulgarians. They had reawakened the blood lust in him. The Bulgarians understood violence was not a shame to be shunned, but a tool to be used. This deliberate, focused, conscious capacity for violence had allowed a fang-less, claw- less, naked ape, to assume mastery of the planet. Under his leadership, the Italian mafia would rise again and reclaim its rightful glory. The Bulgarians would learn the vendetta still ruled. Joey Deuce’s dreams awaited a nightmare before they ended.
He leaned over, pulling the girl's body to a sitting position on the bed’s edge, arms roped to her sides, hands tied behind her back. Another rope length lashed her ankles and shins, and a tennis ball duct-taped her mouth shut. He watched her struggle to blow mucus and blood out her nose to breathe. That had to be painful because he had broken her ribs.
Her eyes no longer thrilled him. At first, they registered fear, then pleading, then terror, pain, horror, agony, and finally resignation. Now swollen shut, Joey mused he might have blinded her. Brass knuckles had crushed her jaw, cheeks, brow bones, face, and made her upper chest an unrecognizable mass of black, blue, red, and green. Uncontrolled internal bleeding lowered her blood pressure beyond recovery. A merciful slide into unconsciousness preceded death’s approach.
Joey breathed hard, his body flush with an erection that throbbed. The sheer power of it gushed through his body. He lowered his pants, knowing the barest touch would cause release. Before his eyes closed, they flew open again. Movement in the doorway. His head twisted right. Some guy in a bicycle suit stood in the bedroom’s entrance, staring at him. Looking into the intruder’s eyes, blood drained Deuce’s face.
Joey blinked twice in succession. The guy took a step and in the next, appeared at his right shoulder. He had seen him move but nothing human moved that fast. Mind and eyes argued he had not seen what he had just seen. Eye to eye, the stranger whispered, "Andrea Remkova."
Joey saw his own recall and recognition reflected in those bottomless eyes. A thin smile crossed the invader's lips. In the next instant, he vanished. A cold, frigid voice whispered from the left. "Come on, Joey. Make at least one move." Joey whipped his head around. His eyes bulged. The phantom had reappeared, glaring at him. "Who ar-".
No response. Joey found himself on the floor. Jaw and arm, broken and useless, blistered nerve endings. Silenced and de-winged, he hadn't even seen the blows. A paralyzing fear wreaked havoc with his reflexes. Only one chance. His gun on the chair somewhere behind him. He struggled to rise on his good arm, stand and turn, but pants still around his ankles and a swelling dizziness tripped him hard back to the floor.
Desperate to collect himself, he rose, slow, painful. He bent down to lift the trousers and in the same motion began to urinate over his arm, his legs, and his pants. Still bent over, the humiliation, frustration, pain, and fear caused Joey to sob and weep. In a fight for his life, he had lasted just seconds. He straightened, again facing Michael, eyes pleading.
Joey Deuce stood six feet, 230 pounds. The sidekick when it came lifted his body in the air, hurtling him against the wall framing the bedroom doorway. Dead before he hit it, his corpse shattered the sheet rock plaster, landing in the living room beyond. The kick’s force severed major nerve connections and his carcass did not twitch.
Sean's "Out" buzzed in his ear canal. Michael turned toward the girl, heard no heartbeat nor detected any sign of life. He wondered if she had seen her tormentor’s execution. The girl's bag rested on the dresser top and he removed her lipstick. On the wall above the hole Joey's body had created he scrawled, "viva JOE".
Michael cracked open the front door, locked it from the inside and sensed out into the hallway. Nothing disturbed the silence. He exited and darted back up the stairs to retrieve his helmet, remove the key from the door lock, and close it behind him.
"Out", he whispered into his implant.