Author’s note- Hello, readers. I hope you’re having a good time reading the fabulous collection of stories on Storystar.
This story is a part of a bigger universe, which for the time being I’m calling ‘The Tobin Countyverse’. So I’d request you readers to please read the story ‘Volk- The Soul Hunter’ before reading this particular tale.
‘Volk- The Soul Hunter’, serves as an introduction to this story.
Thank you each one of you for taking the time to read my stories, and supporting me; and thank you Storystar for everything!!!!
Keep reading and happy reading.
#1 the night of gunfire
I witnessed it, the gunfire. Not that I cared, but I wanted to know more than anyone else who was responsible for it.
Batty’s, was the most popular pub in the entire Tobin County; it was famous for its cocktails and infamous for the illegal activities of the pub owner Jack Batty.
They had killed John, and I witnessed it. John was Batty’s son. He was lying on the couch in a little room inside the pub. Jack had asked him to take care of a vault. The vault contained a sum of four hundred thousand dollars.
They broke into the pub, held everyone at gunpoint and then stepped into the room where John was lying. Before John knew it, one of the robbers shot him in the head.
He died; poor John.
When the police came in (after the robbers had left), they saw a masked figure standing by John Batty’s body; that was me.
They suspected and so did Jack Batty, that I led the robbery.
Before they could’ve gotten me; I jumped out of the window.
Then they’d hunt me, while I hunt the killers of John Batty.
I was imprisoned for five years.
Funny part is, I was a cop, myself. They pushed me in because I shot a criminal in broad daylight.
While I was in prison, my wife began dating, a man called Chris Myer.
He was the right-hand man of Jack Batty. Folks across the county would call him Big Chris. He was all pumped up, that man.
When I found about my wife’s affair with Big Chris, I didn’t make a fuss, we split calmly.
We didn’t see each other much, since. Though I knew she did split with Big Chris.
When I stepped out of the prison, I’d lost faith in a lot of things; one of them was law.
I wanted to teach the criminals of Tobin County a good lesson; sometimes it involved brutality.
I worked against law, then; but my face remained hidden behind my mask. I called myself The Prisoner.
It was night, a harsh night. I could hear, Dylan, singing softly in my ears as the wire of my headphones dangled on a side.
Soon I found myself standing before a door, quite a feeble one.
I knocked once. I knocked again.
No one answered, but I knew there he was sticking his face to the peephole, praying for me to leave.
I felt his pulse rising, as my husky hand broke through the door and held his neck.
He was Ray Porter, my ex-companion and my ex-friend.
He was the one who’d set me up. He’d risen high, since. If you’d ever ask me about a man who knew almost everyone in the underworld of Tobin County; I probably tell you about one blasted Ray Porter.
“Please don’t kill me, I don’t know anything,” cried the frangible man.
“Common’ Ray Porter, you’re a cop and me? I’m just a clown in a mask, shoot me,” I teased.
“What do ya’, you freak, there’s no one in the Tobin County who’d dare to point a gun at you, so why?” said Ray in a trembling voice.
“Who led the robbery at Batty’s?” I asked in a stern voice.
“I don’t know, I promise…I don’t,” pleaded Ray.
“Yeah, of course you don’t,” I said as I slammed his fragile physique against the wall.
“Aaaah! What the hell man? I’m tellin’ ya’ I dunno’,” Ray cried in pain.
“Alright, then I’ll have to take some actions, do ya’ wan’ me to?” I asked.
He nodded timidly.
“Well then…SPEAK!” I growled.
“Hey, listen,” he began almost pleading , “I dunno’ who led the robbery or on whose command did those punks shot John Batty, but I know that Jack Batty is convinced that you killed his son, and Big Chris is hunting you with his men…they’re after you, Prisoner.”
I punched him in his face for one last time and left his place, leaving him unconscious.
#3 old Love
I didn’t know why, but that day I felt like going and meeting Jesse, my ex-wife. When we’d split, I’d seen it in her eyes. She’d wanted to tell me something but she couldn’t. I’d given up so much by then that I didn’t even talk.
We saw each other a couple of times after that, and every time I saw that in her eyes. The want to tell me something. I didn’t know what but I think I, too, was weak enough. I think I’d lost myself somewhere behind that mask. The identity of The Prisoner had imprisoned me, in truth.
But, truth isn’t singular. There is more than one of those sweet poisons. And as much as The Prisoner, was my truth; the fact that I never loved another woman, was also.
I felt I couldn’t walk as I headed towards Jesse’s place.
As reached there, I saw a huge man walking out of the door. It was Big Chris, and three armed bodyguards followed. I waited for them to leave, behind nearby car.
As they left, I slipped quietly into Jesse’s house.
It was a mess, her house. Everything in sight seemed broken and amidst that mayhem sat Jesse on the floor, her back against the edge of the bed.
“Jesse,” I said.
Sudden appearance of The Prisoner at her room startled her to death.
“Stay away, I know who you’re,” she cried.
“No you don’t,” I said as I removed my mask.
“Brian?” she looked at me with surprise.
“Yeah, it’s me.” I said, as calmly as I could.
The next few minutes saw me explaining to Jesse, how I ended up becoming what I’d become, and after listening to all I had to say; she said-
“You know why Chris was here?”
“No, why?” I asked.
“Because I heard something I shouldn’t have heard,” said Jesses in a fragile voice.
“And what was that?” I asked holding her hand.
“So while you were in prison, I began dating Chris, he seemed to be a nice guy and I’d decided to tell you about my affair, until one night when I overheard Chris talking about murdering Jack Batty and taking his place. He saw me hearing his conversation in the mirror and since that day, Brian, he has intimidated me every second of my life,” and she cried.
For a while I didn’t say a word, and then I said-
“I’d make everythin’ alright…”
I stood and holding my mask tight in my hand.
“Brian,” said Jesse, “Do you still love me?”
I looked at her pale face; pale for the world, maybe. For me, she was still the girl I’d once fallen in love with.
I wore my mask, then said-
“Jesse, as Brian I’ve failed, as The Prisoner, I don’ want to.”
And I left.
# 4 a survivor
Oh I love Dylan so much. Perfect when a man’s heart’s broken.
It was late in the night; and I was broken, both physically and mentally. But I kept walking; sometimes it’s just the pain that one wants to feel, because all the other feelings are dead already.
“So you’re The Prisoner, huh?” a voice came from somewhere ahead.
“Who’s there?” I called.
A tall man in a polo suit stepped into the blinking spot of the street light.
“Hullo there, I’m Craig, Craig Batty,” said the man in a shrill voice.
“Jack Batty’s half-brother, I know you,” I said.
“Well you did your research then,” he said as a vicious grin flashed across his oblong face.
“Why’re you here and why me?” I asked.
“Well to help ya’,” he said, suddenly his face became very serious.
“And how exactly do ya’ propose to do that,” I hissed.
“Well…like this,” he said so and clapped calling, “Boys!”
Two brawny men, clad in black followed Craig’s command, and stepped in holding a chubby fellow, whose mouth was ‘DUCT-TAPED’.
“Who’s this punk?” I growled.
“The only shooter who survived,” taunted Craig.
“Survived what?” I asked.
“You ask too many questions and that too from behind that creepy mask of yours,” said Craig, irritated. He then held the corner of the stuck duct tape and dragged it ruthlessly across the chubby man’s mouth, until it was ‘UNDUCT- TAPED’.
“Now speak, will ya’?” he said as he looked the chubby man in his eyes as if he’d snatch his soul away.
“He killed us, all my men…only I survived,” said the chubby man, almost crying.
“You know who he’s talkin’ ‘bout don’t ya’?” asked Craig looking at me.
“Big Chris…” I whispered.
“Very well, you’re aware of the half of the story, now allow me enlighten you with the other half, the thrillin’ one,” said Craig with a grin, “These men who led the gunfire at Batty’s were my men, Big Chris told me he wanted to take over my half-brother and asked if I wanted to join in. Guess what I said?”
He paused and stared at me for a moment, then said-
“I said hell yeah!”
“So Big Chris killed all your men and left you with this chubby junk, huh?” I said.
“Yeah that’s a nice way of puttin’ it,” he said.
“So now you need my help to get Chris down,” I said as a sly smile appeared behind my mask.
“You’re smart,” he said holding the tip of his hat.
“Well as much as I’m grateful for the information you just spilled, I’d say NO!” I growled.
“Well I was prepared for that…Boys kill the prisoner…” slithered Craig.
The next few moments made me realized I didn’t want kill those stout fellows. Well, the chubby punk, he died after Craig fired a bullet and it missed me.
The good thing was I got Craig’s Cadillac. By the way, Craig died there too.
You might wonder, how?
Well I had a gun.
I always have one.
#5 hunting souls
Batty’s was popular. Jack Batty was rich but the rotting wooden doors of his pub suggested otherwise.
Well, when I thought about meeting and telling Jack that his right-hand man and his half-brother had set him up, I didn’t actually think that I might find Jack lying on the floor, dead.
Big Chris was there already. He actually greeted me well.
“Ah, The Prisoner, meet my girl, Jesse,” said Big Chris, as I stepped in the room, the same room where John Batty had been shot and so was Jack Batty.
“She just shot Jack in the head, this girl Jesse,” mocked Big Chris, “She’s says she knows you, now does she really, tell me Prisoner?”
“Let her go,” I said as calmly as I could.
“Oh I would’ve, she’s such a sweet girl after all, but you see she just shot my boss in the head, that counts for somethin’, doesn’t it?” said Big Chris as he looked straight at me.
I had hardly taken a step further to get him, when he said-
“Brian Ark, I know you’re there behind that mask, now come out like a good boy or I’ll shoot your precious right away. Pssst…so dramatic,” grinned, Big Chris.
A look at the feeble and trembling figure of Jesse and I brought my mask down, revealing the scared face that hid behind the mask of The Prisoner.
“What did he make you do Jesse?” I asked as a stream of tear rolled down my cheek.
Her slighted parted lips and teary eyes, that face, it was her last. Big Chris shot her.
“That’s what I made her do, Mr. Ark,” He said as he smiled a toothy smile.
“The Prisoner, we’ve information that you’re here, surrender yourself or we’re breakin’ in!” came a loud sound from outside the pub.
“You called the police, Chris?” I asked.
“Well of course I did, didn’t you like it?” he taunted.
Ten minutes from his taunt, I was in the police cruiser, handcuffed; my most recent crime being murder of one Mr. Myer, also known as Big Chris.
The police cruised rushed down the street, its siren hauling, as if it wanted to tell the entire county, they’d got hold of The Prisoner; and that he was a man, after all.
The tyres screeched as they rubbed harshly against the street and the cruiser hit swung and tossed in the air until finally, catching fire upon hitting the street.
We all died.
At least that was what it looked like.
I looked around myself, there were burning bodies, broken limbs, twisted necks. I’d seen these things before; but only from behind the mask; from human eyes, it was unbearable.
“So you like Dylan, huh?” said someone from behind.
I turned to find a man, wearing a very large ‘cowboy-ish’ hat, huge glasses (black shades, at night) and holding a bottle of Wessles’ beer.
“How do you know?” I asked.
“Well you were humming a Dylan song in your head, before you died,” he said scratching his hanging beard.
“So I was right, I’ve died and you’re the devil you’re here to punish me for my sins,” I said with a sly smile.
“Well I ain’t the devil, exactly, and I ain’t here to punish you no more, you’ve been punished E-NUFF,” He grinned back.
“Then what do ya’ want from me?” I asked.
“Well I want you to serve me,” He said, casually.
“And why would I do that?” I asked looking him in the eye.
“Because you’re meant to, Volk,” He said.
“What do ya’ mean?” I asked.
“Volk, you’re old, you’re very old. This stubbornness of yours is unique, though, that’s why I love ya’ you see. This is the third time you escaped and took a human form, I dunno’ what fascinates you ‘bout these humans, but it’s time Volk,” he said as he held my shoulder.
The moment he did that my eyes began to glow and I remembered everything. Everything.
“You’re Yenwe, the lord of souls,” I said.
“Yep, that’s right Volk, you catch up fast,” he said.
“I’m sorry master,” I pleaded.
“Third time, huh? What were you this time…uh…Brian Ark, your wife was shot in front you, Volk, and that’s second time somethin’ that heinous happened to a wife of one of your human incarnations, you’re one stubborn bastard, Volk…one…stubborn…BAS-TARD,” said Yenwe in a cold voice.
“I’m sorry,” I repeated.
“Yeah, of course you are. I dunno’ why I love you so much. Now getta’ work; Tobin County’s your playground,” he said and disappeared, just like that.
Before I knew it my physique was shrouded in a white fabric. I was again, Volk…the soul hunter.
The story of Volk will continue…