The Shark

Or A Confrontation At The Empty Warehouse On The Edge Of Town

the sharkSWEAT CLUNG TO HIM and made the steering wheel slip from his grasp as he wrestled the sedan into the car park. His heart began to thump wildly in his chest as the remoteness of this desolate landscape dawned on him. An abandoned warehouse loomed, and behind stood watching high rise flats that reached to the grey canopy of cloud above. Garth wondered if the others had met their fate in this same place. Light rain specked the windscreen as he brought the car around slowly to a standstill. He left the engine on and the headlights cast out weakly as the dusk began to crawl towards him.

It was a short wait that allowed Garth to question the very reason he was here. He had made a bad decision of course, as he was prone to doing; Garth was a cunning, deceitful and resourceful but ultimately weak-minded man. His interests tended to evolve into addictions, vices that dictated his life rather than distracted him, and his existence was composed of a endless cycle of reckless decisions and vindictive actions. No, Garth did not live a clean or honest life, but he could claim that he had never killed a man and that was the truth.

His heart sank as another vehicle pulled into the car park, the headlights raking across the lot searching menacingly for him. When they did find him the car, a blood red coupe, aligned itself with his own and gently stopped about twenty feet away. They faced each other, two mechanical stags preparing to rut. The car opposite became quiet and dark, and Garth fumbled for his own key in the ignition to bring silence and gloom upon them both.

The Shark stepped out, sparked a cigarette and walked around to lean on the bonnet of his car. Echoes rang out as the car door slammed shut. There he sat, patiently waiting for Garth to move. Thoughts raced through his mind but disappeared too quickly to comprehend. He took a deep breath, heaved up the leather duffel bag from the passenger’s seat and left the safety of the car.

The sounds of the city surrounding these two men fell upon deaf ears; an impenetrable dome in which they were contained and could not leave until their differences ceased to exist. Garth walked confidently towards the Shark, but it was a façade. The bag felt heavy in his hand. He thought it strange that a bag containing only stuffed toilet paper and a silenced pistol could have such dead weight. Around him there was no interference except the deafening silence and the crunch of the asphalt beneath his feet.

He stopped a safe distance in front of the Shark, who was still leaned back and arms folded on his car as if this were a show choreographed for his own amusement. His calmness gave Garth chills. The way he had handled himself during the robbery – the man must be some kind of professional. Or freak. The Shark was hired to get them in and out quietly, no noise, no fuss and as Garth had explicitly stated, no casualties. It had been a perfect score until the news reported that the heist had resulted in the violent deaths of three security workers. A crime that had shook the city, the heat was on Garth’s team and the police were searching the city rabidly.

Stood in front of the Shark now he saw little imposing about his form and appearance. Over six feet tall yes, but he was a lank slender creature with not a hair on his head, and from behind a pair of thick rimmed glasses two black eyes stared out blankly. But there was a disconcerting aura surrounding this man. With a reputation akin to urban legend throughout the city’s underworld, for the right price ‘the Shark’ could do just about anything.

“My money”, he grinned with childish glee.
“No”, Garth set the bag down onto the floor. “I aint here to pay you shit.” He dropped the bag to the floor, unzipped it and from within his hand grasped the cold carbon steel of the silenced pistol. His anxieties subsided in an instance and he withdrew the gun and aimed at the man in front of him. The Shark remained still, unthreatened.
“That won’t help you Gareth.” He was still calm but no longer grinning.
“This aint revenge for whatever you’ve done to my guys, or you killed three men and got half the city looking for me.”
“That was necessary.”
“Whatever. This is because I dont like you, youre a fucking psychopath.”
“You can have another week to get the money, Gareth. You don’t need to…”
“This aint about money! It’s about you.”
“Gareth”, he paused. “I require payment for my services. It is a simple concept. People bargain with each other, transactions are carried out. This is how the world works. I cannot leave you alone until I am paid.”
“You weird fuck.” Garth laughed manically. “They are all dead arent they? My team?!”
The Shark took a long time to answer. Then simply stated “Yes. All dead.”  Incensed at the nonchalance of the man Garth fired. Three shots thumped into the chest of the Shark and he sank, reduced to a crumpled heap at Garth’s feet. Exhaling deeply with one hand on his knee and the other still grasping the pistol tightly he fought back the urge to vomit.

As he walked over to the lifeless corpse the lights on the coupe sprung to life and dazzled him. He shielded his eyes but within a second they were off and he was in darkness once more. Garth looked back to the ground as his eyes sought the Shark, but he had risen and was not to be seen. Unimaginable terror came over him as he turned to locate the fiend, but he was too late. The Shark was behind him and stabbed into his ribs and again at his neck. He fell to his knees and looked up as the night took over and the rain began to pour. Garth was surprised at how little pain he was in; he was shivering but his blood was warm as it spilled onto the cold concrete, and the last thing he saw when he rested his head was the Shark walking away uninjured as the scene faded to black and darkness swallowed him and eventually Garth too.

FROM THE SHADOWS of the warehouse a young boy with dirt on his face and rags on his bony shoulders watches, bright eyes transfixed on the violence.

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