Author: Kim (email@example.com)
Somewhere along the line, his profession had transformed into something far deeper. It was, quite simply, his religion. Before he sank into the dim underbelly of the criminal world, he had clung to a faith that now condemned him. Where else was the damned to turn to than the very own instruments of their decline. Spiraling into the modern world, his crucifix was not crafted from splintered wood, but rather sleek gunmetal. At certain angles, however, the shape remained as an oil cloth brought a fresh shine to the black case.
"I want I want to, I want to be someone else or I'll explode. Floating upon the surface for the birds," he hummed through teeth as the gun was carefully placed down upon a stretch of newsprint. Beneath it, his target smiled up in all the glory and definition that grainy photo-paper and cheap ink could provide.
"The birds, the birds --" Drowning in the sound of her own laughter, an echo gurgled throatily out from the obscene shape of her mouth. It was dangerous to forget names in this business, but he willed himself to lose hers amongst the landfill of his mind. Forgetting her face would be harder, but when he had the luxury of absence, it would be filed away as well. For now though, she cast a shameless pose upon the unmade bed behind him.
A whore in the temple, she interrupted his ritual and added a tawdry element to it. She was no Christ's bride in her cheap lingerie. With her tousled ink black hair and scatter of fingertip bruises across her collar and neck, she was the poster child of their lost generation. Stretching up from the tangle of over-bleached sheets and felt blanket, legs swung over the edge of the bed and hands smoothed down the hem of her flimsy nylon slip. A finger lifted to rub below a sooty eye where thickly smudged kohl now gave her a raccoon's appearance. She watched him as he redressed.
His skin was a gallery of the sainthood. Black ink relics and contrasting scar tissue in various degrees of healing littered the wings of his shoulders, notches of his spine, and across arms. Once, he had been afraid of needles. Once. That fear, like so many others, had been ruined by his own hand. Now desensitized, he was filled with an uneasy quiet.
The motel room -- like so many others he had occupied -- was blessedly anonymous. Housed within the sparsely decorated room were certain guarantees: two slabs of paper covered soap, a plastic bottle of shampoo, a Gideon's Bible in the bottom drawer of the night stand, and a 'Do Not Disturb' sign. A hand reached up to roll over his jaw as he contemplated a shave. Instead of moving towards the bathroom, feet carried him in the opposite direction. Flicking open the curtains narrowly at their center divide, the room flooded with the fading light of day. The parking lot was empty, but paranoia filled him still. Flight or fight and other survival skills in neurochemical form always kept him running before.
"You want me," he whispered with a defiant lift of his chin. "Well fucking, well come and find me. I'll be waiting with a gun and a pack of sandwiches. And nothing."
"Nothing?" The woman questioned him. The way she posed and wrinkled up her kittenish nose, she must have thought herself to be quite cute and girlish. Instead, she was a wasteland of once-possibility and teen-queen beauty. Slapping hands upon the curves of her hips, nails dug into the shell-pink slip, and she laughed. "Nothing."
Nothing, he muttered dismissively. Twisting away from the window, he stalked across the room to where dress shirt was still neatly folded over the edge of a chair. Shaking out the few creases that ran vertically down the white material, the shirt was then shoved on. Fingers ran up the line of buttons quickly and shoved them into their holes.
Across the room, she took her time redressing. Smoothing hose back over the curl of her toes and up calves, she sighed and rolled eyes over the curve of her pale shoulder to where he wrestled with the length of his tie. Laughing once more, the silly creature gave a toss of her hair before sliding dress back over her frame. Where he was meticulous and decisive, she was ruled by impulse and paid the consequence for it. Hours spent in a circle shape upon the dingy carpet had left the material rumpled and stale. She sighed, smoothing out the waist of her dress.
One by one, holy relics were packed into his briefcase: photographs, newspaper articles, and the like. A lifetime of information -- a life, period, and one that wasn't his own at that -- shelved with a chilly clinical air. The gun was last to be tucked away into the holster worn beneath a black blazer. Upon meeting him, she had asked him when they first met if he was a Mormon missionary. It was the only time that both of them had laughed. Hers, a charmed tickling of sound while his was gruff and out-of-practice. Out-of-key. Out-of-mind.