Nothing Before His Eyes


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Nothing Before His Eyes
Synopsis Sprung from prison, Cole Wright finds solace at the end of a gun's barrel, and an assignment from the Linderman Group meaning an ultimate escalation in the violence of the Triads.
Date August 23, 2009

The Golden Luck Dragon Restaurant

Chinatown is little more than two square miles of tightly packed buildings and narrow alleys, somehow within this quarter-million population there manages to exist more densly packed organized crime than other other entire boroughs of New York City. At night, the neighborhood is alive with hissing neon sickness that turns the rainwater in the gutters a technicolor vomit color, steam pours out of the sewer holes, and the crowded streetside markets fill to the brim with the last vestiges of a busier day in the hours before curfew.

On one clean corner of CHinatown, where the gutters don't overflow when it rains, wher ethe street is clean and the houses don't look like they're falling apart from the foundations up, the Chinese Triad has done more for the city than the local government ever has. Money pumped into this neighborhood has been used to pay private contractors to repair roads damaged in the wake of the bomb, to start refacing buildings and revitalizing business. But all of this industry, all of this change and life has been built on the back of drug trafficking, arms smuggling, extortion and a thousand other detailed sins.

It's in the purple-pink neon glow of the Golden Luck Dragon Restaurant's front doors that one tall and tired man who doesn't fit the neighborhood's key demographic stares up momentarially at the clouded skies reflecting the glow of the city. It's here that life's long and dusty trail, frought with mistakes and pock-marked with fragmented memories has led him.

Inside of this restaurant, a half hour past closing time, the end of that long road waits for him. Through the doors, disregarding the closed sign, Cole Wright slips in to the establishment. The house lights are dimmed to a candle's glow all across the modern looking restaurant floor. A sign, written in both Cantonese and English displays an almost ironic please wait to be seated request. But tonight there's no waitress waiting with a smile to seat him, only a young chinese man with a pair of cheap ten-dollar ray ban sunglasses that look stolen square out of the eighties.

He cocks his head to the side,hands coming to rest on his hips as he cocks his opper lip, tipping down his glasses to stare over the black frames towards Cole. "Gimmie y'piece," he asks in a manner slightly too polite to be a demand, offering out a bare hand as a dark brow kicks up. "Nobody goes on up to see the boss armed." A minor speedbump in the road. But just like they say:

Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Chinatown was one of the reasons why Cole at times managed to see his burden of not being able to remember as nothing but a gift from God, even more so than his ability. The streets he's passed slowly sink into the dark pit, the deepest reaches of his mind before fading away into nothingness; it's only a matter of time until the distance he's walked would be lost to him. But Cole Wright isn't a man who dwells on the past, purely because he hasn't had the luxury of having one for quite a long while. No, instead of glancing over his shoulder, he keenly looked ahead, for the future posed many puzzles and problems that had to be solved in the present.

And Cole met one of those puzzles just now, predictably. Trust. Everything is built on trust, even in the shadiest of organisations that see future leaders backstab future former ones. Or, rather, the illusion of trust. It's the illusion of trust that the ex-soldier grants the stranger his request. Lazily digging his hand behind his back, he wraps his finger around the handle of his Glock which he would then offer to the man before him. There was another handgun neighboring the Glock; he just had to hope he wouldn't be frisked because of trust he exhibits. "There you go. Do you want my pants, too?"

Cracking a smile, the Triad thug pushes his sunglasses back up the bridge of his nose and tucks the gun in the back of his pants, waving Cole to follow him as he starts stolling casually towards carpeted stairs leading up to a second floor. The sounds of drinking and conversation fills the air just on the way up, and as Cole makes his way behind Johnny to the top of the steps, there's clearly some sort of Triad gathering happening at a banquet table on the second floor.

Buisness mixed with a different breed of pleasure finds itself in the VIP area of the restaurant's second floor, where a long table of polished wood is decorated not by any ornate furnishings, but well to do members of the Flying Dragons' inner circle. But it isn't the same inner circle that Bao-Wei Cong would have spoken of in years past, it is a different kind of circle, one crafted by the hands of the Ye siblings in their lustful grab for power.

"«…a toast,»" Standing at the head of the table, Liu Ye raises a champagne glass in one hand as his Mandarin flows from the tongue, a dark brow raised as he looks across the faces gathered here at the table, six of the most prolific evolved within the flying dragons, his lieutenants and enforcers, his kin, "«to a new era of the Triad.»" At his side, Song Ye raises her own frost-rimmed glass with a crooked smile on her lips, bringing the slushy beverage up to her mouth to conceal a coy smile as her dark bangs fall over her eyes.

"«To Triad rule.»" The booming voice comes from the tattooed and monstrously built Lao-Yan, a bald-headed and broad-shouldered thug of a man who turns as he raises his glass to see Cole being led up to the table.

"«To the everlasting Ye family.»" That slavishly kind remark rolls off of the forked tongue of Jin Yeoh, a young man with a voice smooth as silk. Behind him, three more triad officers raise their glasses silently; Zan Shou — a woman of fairer hair than anyone else in the room and whisppy frame, Wen Tseng — a young man win a white suit with a skinny red tie, and approaching the table Johnny Wong — the streetwise thug who greeted Cole at the door and has been his contact in the Triad since beginning this long and winding path towards his goal here.

Lastly, a final seat has been reserved for the newest addition to the Flying Dragons' inner circle, an elderly man seated at the table with hands folded and a thin smile on his lips, no emotion for the toast in his half-lidded eyes. Kun Li-Pang, a man whom Cole has heard to be faster than the human eye.

It is this auspicious gathering of the Flying Dragons that serves as the night's hilight, a toast to the newest addition to their growing family of superhuman criminals. But this night is not merely for plesantries, but also for unexpected surprises, and unexpected advances. Liu turns his focus to Cole's approach, motioning to an untaken glass of champagne on the table. "The man of the hour arrives," Liu notes with a crooked smile, motioning to the glass as he takes a sip from his own. "Our very own hired gun, if I do hear Johnny's words right."

A casual glance across the room. That is all that takes Cole to not only take in his surroundings, but appreciate its details, as well. It takes him more than just a glance to appraise those that inhabit the spacious throne room of the Triad, although as he focuses and stresses his extraordinary sight, it still would not appear to be nothing more than a brief, tacit acquaintance with the gathered. He is silent, at first, and wears a facial expression that would fit a 'hired gun' - sour and solemn. Kung Li-Pang catches his attention, although Cole makes a point of not bluntly staring at the man. How interesting; a man with superhuman speed against a man with superhuman sight that can pick up even the flight of a bullet.

The air was unpleasant. Not that there was any sort of unpleasant scent; it's the atmosphere. Cole's stomach turned to knots. It was clear why Linderman has chosen him - he was quick, efficient, and disposable. He had no plan of escape, unless one could count 'run like hell' as an escape plan. With a sigh, Cole takes a few bold steps forward, as if he were at home. He isn't going to show his unnerved state of mind. "That was quite the speech", he finally voices his compliment, "I am sure that, if I knew Chinese, it would have sounded even better." He lifts the glass before him in a demonstrative manner - a belated follow-up to the announced toast. He does not drink the champagne, though. Not yet, at least. It could be spiked, for all he knows.

"I do have to correct you on the last bit, though. Hired gun… kind of marks down what I can do — with all due respect. I see myself more as a… as an amateur assassin? That title works for me."

"Amateur," Jin notes with a look over his shoulder towards Liu, fingers cradling his champagne glass in his hand. "Amateur is going to take out Daniel Linderman?" Both of the young man's brows raise as he uses a hand to rake his bangs out of his face, settling down in his seat at the table. There's a few stifled laughs from Wen and a bit of a chuckle from Johnny as the young thug folds his arms and leans against the wall, sunglasses slouching down the bridge of his nose.

"I apologize for my compatriots' unique sensibilities," Liu says with a knife-like smile, eyeing Cole with one brow raised. "But that is precarious wording." As Liu speaks, his younger sister Song rises up from her seat and feigns something of a dishonest smile, sidling up towards her brother to lean in and whisper something in his ear. As she's speaking, it's not so much her lips that Cole's interest focuses on, but the way ice seems to frost away from her fingertips on her champagne glass.

Liu brushes his sister away with one hand, eyes uplifting towards Cole with his head tilted to the side. "Tell me, Mister Wright," the triad boss settles back down in his seat with a crooked brow, "you must have an interest in this— personal— to have put so much time and effort into meeting with me to arrange it." It's a rookie mistake, allowing Cole in here, a mistake of youth and a mistake that his father Chang would never have made. But where Chang was paranoid and cautious, his son Liu is everything but— he is the dragon where Chang was the tortoise.

"What do you want out of all of this." Liu's words, however, are his strong point. He is more persuasive than his old man ever was. "Money, favors…" a dark brow rises quizzically. "What will motivate you?"

Obnoxiously and loudly, Cole smacks his lips as Jin takes the piss - or as Liu called it, exhibits 'precarious wording'. Listening to the stiffled chuckles and observing malicious smirks as they take the bait and distract themselves with his past remark that cried for attention, he has the chance to once again examine the situation. His eyes would eventually end up on Liu and his sister, Song. The pair is eyed intensely in Cole's world, and casually in the real one. "Stingy remarks?", Cole inquires, tilting his head to the side curiously. "That I can live with. I'm surprised I was let in, at all." He takes another sip of the champagne. Even the fastest drugs do not take on instantaneously. Even if the drink was spiked, he had time.

"I'm not driven by simple things, even if I was a dumb marine with just a single thing on his mind - to kill. No, my mind is slightly more complicated than that." It sure was. Cole was starting to ponder the possibility of not running away. Was this the existence that he was to look forward to? A string of assassinations, forgetting about the blood he spilled daily? The perfect assassin - calculative, incredibly fast to react and adapt, and most important of all, he's brand new every day. Cole Wright clears his throat before he continues, the glass of champagne slowly lowered onto the table. "I have to admit, however, that tonight… Tonight I am driven by a simple thing", he announces, placing both of his hands on his sides, fingers hugging his waist. A commanding posture. "I wasn't kidding when I told you that you have a very… very serious Linderman problem."

The slow pace of the banquet is broken, and what happens next… Well, if this were a scene in a film, it would have to be shown in slow-motion and from different angles just to explain to the viewer what's happening. Cole reaches for his gun that now was close. A custom Desert Eagle with a longer clip - thirteen bullets. The magic number. With the swing of his hand, he would position just where he wants it, just at the right spot in front of his eyes, a spot that should spell death for the man directly in front of him - Liu Ye. The finger pulls the trigger. Statistically, he hits nine times out of ten. Well, then, he just has to fire several times to make sure statistics do not play tricks.

Everything seems to move in slow motion, from the way the hammer of the Desert Eagle cocks back with loud, thundering clicks, followed by its slam down and the brilliant muzzle flash that erupts from the front of the barrel. To Kun Li-Pang, it is all moving in slow motion. Once in a seated position, the old man moves with a speed only Cole's superhuman senses can track, their perceptions of one another existing outside of the rapidity of Li-Pang's movements and Cole's sudden assault.

The old man is up on Cole like a bullet himself, hand coming up to slam the underside of the gun in a palm strike as his weathered fingers wrap around the firearm and snatch it away.

When time catches up to the lightning-stroke of movements, the report of the gun's discharge is echoing through the restaurant, and Liu spins away from the gun, toppling over his chair and knocking his sister over as he does. Landing on his back, the other members of the Triad are dumbstruck by the bold and brazen nature of what just happened before their eyes.

Li-Pang, that short and weathered old man sweeps his hands together in a blur and disassembles the slide from the gun, throwing the two pieces apart as Johnny pushes off of the wall, whipping his sunglasses off as the air around him begins to stir, rustling the bamboo plants with a wild rising of strong breeze that causes his leather jacket to flare open. "«Cào ni ma-de!»"

The light-haired Zan dives for cover as the gunfire rings out, her body breaking apart into a whirling cloud of sand as her clothing falls away to the floor, grains blowing thorugh a wood lattice to an adjacent room as she alights from the source of the danger.

Wen, the bosyish looking young man at the end of the table reaches for his own gun isnide of his jacket, not seeming to have a flashy ability like the rest of the people in the room, opening fire with a three-short burst that goes wide past Cole — he's a terrible shot — and succeeds only in perforating the walls and floor around the assassin.

But the one man who isn't moving anywhere, Lao-Yan, merely stares wide eyed and where Liu and Song fell, turning his tattooed visage up to Cole as his fingers curl into fists, a snarl spreading across his face as he starts advancing on the assassin.

Cole's eyes were on Liu for only the first shot. He knew that the old but quick man would be at his side in a split second, and as such he directed his gaze to his side. His ability did help him in that he could momentarily adjust the barrel of the gun and react accordingly to Li-Pang's attempt to mess up his shots; Cole Wright could see things much faster, but his speed, unfortunately, was very much human. Oustanding as it was, ordinary limits of the human body kept him from overpowering the speedster. The gun is eventually taken away from him. No matter. His eyes focus back on Liu and Son who stumble towards the ground, managing to catch sight of the two just as they are about to disappear beneath the edge of the table.

It's a hit. Two bullets seared and penetrated the flesh, releasing the floodgates that let blood pour freely. Judging from the wounds he caught sight of and taking into account the slow arrival of ambulance past curfew, Cole's guess was that tonight… there will be death. But it's not Liu. It's Song who is at the mercy of the Grim Reaper. Whether or not the gunshot wounds spell her death, Cole has now a different agenda on his mind. A hand digs into the inside pocket of his leather jacket, and he extends a hand to block Li-Pang's possible approach from the front. A pea-shooter is pulled out, and the other bullets - should he be successful - will fly at the approaching Lao-Yan whom the assassin does not fail to notice. Might as well cause as much damage as he can. As every second goes by, Cole starts to think that tonight there will be two body-bags delivered to the morgue.

The immediate snap of the nine millimeter out from Cole's side levels dead on Li-Pang, and in that half-heartbeat when the gun's hammer cocks back and a shot is fired, the old man is gone in a hazy blur of speed as he dodges around the shot, nimble for an old bastard. He re-appears in a flash on the other side of the VIP lounge, even as Cole uses the distractionary effect of that to take aim on the lumbering approach of the super-strong Lao-Yan. Five shots are fired, two to get Lao to move into a more opportune position, three that rip thorugh his shoulder and chest, sending him crumpling to the ground in a heap. All of the upper body strength and muscle doesn't do a hell of a world of good against a gun.

Just as the surge of adrenaline is pounding hard behind Cole's eyes and his breathing starts to regulate itself in heavy gulps of air to oxygenate rapidly pulsing blood, he feels himself thrown up off of his feet from a blast of gale force wind that rips at his clothes and ragdolls him through the air, crashing through the wooden frame of a folding screen and sliding across a table in the adjacent room.

Already scrambling up onto one arm once he lands, a swirling cloud of sand rolls past him — the sublimated form of Zan as she blasts past him, serving as a distractionary cloud before filtering down to the floor in a puff of sand and dust.

The sudden high-pitched sonic scream resonating across the room comes from the light-haired young man in the white suit, his mouth open wide and a wailing banshee-like shriek shattering glass and rumbling the foundations of the restaurant as windows blow out and Cole can feel his bones vibrating from the resonance, a horrible ache as his hand keeps wrapped around his gun.

For a moment there, Cole thinks he actually has control over the situation. But, like trust, control does not exist in its pure form, and only illusions of it can be found. Cole Wright knows that full well. He has learned that the hard way. As such, the moment the hulking Lao-Yan falls to the ground, Cole's eyes search for the superbly agile and fast old man, or any other possible threat. Unsurprisingly, the surprise attack comes from behind. The gun that Cole so tightly gripped flies out of his hand and onto the ground, while his body flies much farther until he lands on a table in a dramatic, hardboiled fashion, breaking it under his weight.

It doesn't take him overly long to recover, considering that he had to rise from explosions blowing him aside and leaving shrapnels beneath his skin, embedded in his flesh, and carry on fighting. All those fairy tales of marines being duly taken care of upon their injury were just that - fairy tales, meant to assuage. Nothing hardens a man like war. And Cole was hardened by two. As such, he's soon back on his feet, grinding his teeth and heaving a sigh as the man clad in white triggers his ability, as well. Slowly, he walks back into the room where he crashed the party. He eyes the gun. Should he take it? If he did, Li-Pang is no match for him. Not under these circumstances.

"Liu Ye! You are stupid, and stupidity has a cost. A cost higher than that of anything else", he exclaims, catching his breath. "Even if I die tonight, I left a scar. Probably even a real one, but that's not the one you will think of. I can't remember a thing. If I survive, I won't remember this the next day! But you? You won't have that luxury. You will remember this day. Every. Single. Day!"

Pain, physical and otherwise has kept Liu Ye pinned to the floor, not just the pain in his neck from the grazed bullet wound that ripped open bleeding flesh, but from seeing Song laying at hs side, with a pool of blood beneath her, a bullet wound dead center in her chest that shattered her sternum and pierced her ice cold heart. He's been frozen there, staring at his sister's lifeless black eyes, but when Liu Ye rises up from the table, it's only after Cole Wright feels something boiling in the back of his mind — his blood.

It was the taunting, the words, that this was a message, that this was all a trap. Humility, shame, confusion and fear all come rolling into Liu's thoughts as he holds out a hand towards Cole, and fr the first time since coming into the knowledge of his ability, the Triad truly see the level of fluid control that Liu Ye possesses as with one, violent and wordless scream of rage, exsanguinates the assassin Cole Wright.

The effect, visually, is like wringing out a cloth filled with cranberry juice. It begins slow, the violent tug of Liu Ye's ability on the bodily fluids inside of Cole's fleshy confines, forcing blood to the surface thorugh pores and out tear ducts, blood pressure reversing in his veins, causing capillaries to burst and Cole's pounding heart to begin skipping beats inside of his chest.

The look on Liu-Ye's face is one of absolutely psychopathic rage. A living prisoner can be tortured, answer questions, but Liu Ye isn't thinking of anything in the vein of logic, he's thinking of revenge and revenge makes people do the insane, the unthinkable, the mad. But quickness isn't in this death bleeding out of Cole Wright, in its agonizing slowness, it gives him time to think, time to consider.

Instant death lasts an eternity. How long does a torturously slow death last, then?

Cole Wright gathers his last thoughts. There's no regret, no compassion, no empathy and no forlorn thoughts towards what and who he is about to lose. He had nothing and no one to cry about, and that perhaps is the only thing that makes his imminent doom more than just physical torture. His life until the scarring of New York was meaningless, and in his attempt to change things, to adjust the tilted picture hanging on the wall so to speak, his life became even more meaningless; he sank deeper into the darkness. His life became a hollow shell, and he had to familiarise himself with its absurdity every day.

His life was a Sisyphean task. Even as he fought his way to the top, he knew the hour-glass that is his world would be turned upside down once more, and the top would become the bottom. Whatever awaited him beyond death, could not possibly be worse. Equally bad? Sure. Worse? Impossible. It's this thought, the thought of finally seeing the end of his ceaseless yet pointless struggle to survive and grant his life meaning, that posed certain tranquility and even the scales.

Cole Wright was not afraid to die. As he sinks to his knees, crying tears and thusly creating morbid religious imagery, he guides his gaze to Liu, who, like the rest of what Cole sees, becomes blurred with redness. A smirk dances on his lips, and he closes his eyes. He knew what revenge felt like. Sweet like honey, and every inch of yours trembled with ecstasy. But vengeance is pointless when the victim shrugs the efforts off, and vengeance was like a drug - you feel blank and hollow afterwards, your mind left unsated.

Cole lifts both of his hands weakly, and curls all of his fingers inwards, save for his middle fingers. He doubly flips Liu off, and mutters hoarsely: "Fuck… you."

When Cole's final words spill forth from his lips, Liu's eyes glass over with that mindless look of viollent anger. His hands clench together into fists as globules of Cole's blood hover motionlessly in the air, obeying the mental command of the Triad leader as his veins pulse dry, and the horrifyingly slow and agonizing death of his organs shutting down one by one comes before the spotty flashes of light in his eyes drift him off into a growing patch of darkness to consume sight.

Maybe that's what it is, maybe these spots of light in Cole's vision are what people talk about when they say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. It always is represented in movies as imagery, events from your life that come by in glimpses and subtle imagery. But here, the last things Cole sees are the scrambling panic of the triad, of a woman reforming from living sand, of an old man rushing to a man bleeding out on the ground, and Liu Ye's firey stare as spheres of his own blood dance and hang in the air around him.

They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. Maybe it's like this for everyone, or maybe it's just Cole. But tonight, when his balance finally falters and he feels the dull thump of his body hitting the damp carpet, there's only one thing that flashes before Cole Wright's eyes.


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