Emotion Control: standard (rank 1)
“It’s taken care of… Yes, yes I understand.”
He took the phone from his ear and hung up. Placing his keys into the lock, he opened the door to his apartment and entered, closing it behind him. He felt his way around the dark apartment until he came to the bedroom door; opening it silently he crept in. Joshlyn lay in bed, fast asleep. He watched her breathe for what seemed like only a second before pulling off his clothes and creeping into the bed. The warmth of her body against his sent tingles up his spine. She awoke briefly allowing her eyes to open and kissed him sweetly before falling back to sleep. The touch of her smooth and full lips was intoxicating. He pulled her in closer and cuddled until they were both fast asleep.
The sun was high into the sky and the rays passed through the window onto Merit’s face, waking him from his sleep. He yawned and felt for Joshlyn only to realize she had already gone to work. He looked at the time. It was past noon and almost one. Looking to his phone, he saw the missed calls, all from Gambrel.
Thinking nothing of it, he jumped out of bed and readied himself for the day with a hot shower and breakfast. Eventually, the time came to run some daily errands. When he stepped out the door he found Drax standing down the hall, leaning against the stairwell doors that stood adjacent to the elevator doors. Jamiel gave a smirk when he saw him and walked towards over, nodding in respect.
“What you doing here?”
Drax went right to the business, “Gambrel wants to see you right away.” He said folding his large arms.
Jamiel’s smirk lessened and he adjusted himself before continuing.
“Not sure, but he wanted to see you... right away.”
Merit nodded and followed Drax into the elevator. This led to the awkward drive across the Twelves and into Dockside. The silence wasn’t a good sign. Merit looked to Drax, an old friend from North Hall’s very own Weddington Military School, and he could feel his nerves on end. So much so, it brushed against his mental consciousness. Jamiel carefully reached out with his mind, pressing against Drax’s conscious, enhancing his nervousness, hoping this could cause him to slip up. He questioned him.
“Where are we going again?”
Drax thought carefully before answering, “The safe house on the Docks.”
“To meet Gambrel?”
He got nothing. The silence continued until they reached the docks. The safe house was a large warehouse that loomed over the pier of Dockside. It was an old warehouse and its early eighties eco-friendly design stuck out from the contemporary design of the rest of the pier. They pulled up through the gates and two more of Gambrel’s men sat by the door on makeshift seats. They stood and reached for their hips when Drax stepped out of the car, but then relaxed, realizing who he was. They opened the door without a word and Drax entered with Jamiel close behind him. Making their way through the maze of storage units that filled the front of the warehouse they finally arrived before Gambrel. He sat on a beat up couch that you could find on the side of any road in front of a small television that played reruns of old eighties programs. He took a big puff of his cigar and blew out the dark smoke into the air. The smoke rose to the sky and escaped through the cracked glass of the roof. He laughed heartily and then spoke in his thick Caribbean accent.
“Ah, Merit, I love ‘dese ol’ programs. Dey was so rich, so pure. I’ll tell ya one ting, if the youth of today was brought up on ‘dese shows right here, the world would be a better place.” He paused as he stood up and walked around the couch, facing Merit. “Ya know what I love the most of these programs Jamiel? Dey were honest. Dey didn’t have no agenda! Do ya know what I mean boy?” He again paused, as if waiting for an answer from Jamiel. When he didn’t get one he continued. “Now when you first told me you took care of the Mexican Cartel that was encroachin’ on me business, I was ecstatic! But then I got word, heard little chirps from little birds, tellin’ me the leader of ‘em all was still alive and well in Khazan! Dis obviously disappointed me… So now I’m forced to ask ya, did you take care of the task?”
Merit cleared his throat. “I did.”
Gambrel sighed heavily as he put of his cigar. “Now ya see, this is where tings get’s difficult!”
A sudden shrill could then be heard along with a struggle as boxes and such were knocked over. Two men then dragged out a struggling tied up body and sat it down into a chair with a wool cloth over its head. Gambrel then rushed over to the body and pulled off the cloth revealing Joshlyn’s face.
“You son of a bitch!” Merit said as his fists clenched tight and ignited in flames. He began to step forward when one of the men restraining Joshlyn placed a glock to her head.
“I wouldn’t do that Jamiel. Ya see, I don’t know what dey told you about me, but this isn’t a game!” The gun to Joshyln’s temple clicked as the safety went off. “Fortunately, for you there is a solution to this dilemma.”
“And what exactly is that? Burning this whole place to ground?” Merit said, his blood boiling.
“No, but good guess. What I have in mind, is a trade. Ya go bring me the body of Edgar Sanchez, the leader of the cartel that you obviously allowed to live and den, I in turn will allow you to leave alive with your sweet little ting.” He said as he brushed his coarse hands against Joshyln’s soft mocha cheek. “Now do we have a trade, boy?”
The heat in the room was rising as steam rose from Merit’s skin. His clenched jaw almost didn’t allow him to speak. He forced his mouth open to speak. “I’ll bring him to you, and then once I have Joshyln… Let’s just say they’ll have hard time identifying your ashes.”
Gambrel smirked. “That’s the spirit boy.”
Fight for her
Martial Arts: standard (rank 1)
North Hall, Lowtown
The sun lingered along the horizon and the street lights were beginning to buzz to life. The dirty streets of North hall left garbage all along the gutters which the wind at times twirled into tornados of filth. A ball of that said filth rolled by Merit as he jumped to the alleyway ground from the fire escape. He landed silently and scurried behind a group of trash cans as his eyes fell upon a green metal door across the street from the alley. A large group of men stood on the corner, surrounding the door. Jamiel counted six. He pulled up his hood and slowly walked out of the alleyway, across the street and then onto the sidewalk that the men stood guarding. He was immediately met with opposition.
“Hey, ese, I would go back to the other side of the street if I were you! You hear me fool?”
Merit slowly began to turn around when he spun off his heel and met the thug with a kick to the chest. The thug fell back into the arms of his companions as they ran towards Merit. He bobbed and weaved, and jabbed and kicked his way to the emerald door which held his prize. It wasn’t long before the final thug stood between him and his prize. Merit sidestepped the swing and grabbed his exposed arm. The skin under Merit’s grip sizzled and popped as the man screamed and fell to his knees only to be kicked to the floor by Merit’s boot.
Live for her
Regeneration: superior (rank 2)
Merit kicked down the door. The cheap light bulbs hummed, full of suspense as they barely lit the hallway. Jamiel found that even his lightest steps forced the hardwood ground the creak in pain. Reaching the end of the hall, he pushed the door open slowly to the kitchen
He stepped in.
Shots went off.
Merit fell against the stove as the bullets burrowed into his chest. He looked down at the bloodied holes in his chest and then to the culprit who sat across the kitchen at the table with the smoking gun. Edgar slowly turned his head to fully reveal the seared half of his face. The burned flesh was grotesque.
Merit spoke quickly as he tried to push himself to stand.
“I thought I told you to leave Khazan?!”
The right side of his mouth barely moved as he began to talk.
“Yet here I am. You should have killed me when you had the chance. Now, you’ll die in some slum in lowtown.” He again took aim with his weapon to deal the death blow. He fired. Jamiel leapt to the left and midflight purged the man in his flames. The man screamed as the fire took him, fed off him. He jumped up from the table and ran out of the kitchen, down the hall, before falling to his face in front of the front door.
Jamiel lifted his shirt as the final bullet was pushed out of his chest and his skin began to mend itself together. He sighed heavily as he walked towards the burning corpse.
Kill for her
Fire: superior (rank 2)
Gambrel’s men pulled their weapons at the sight of Merit as he approached the warehouse. He simply dropped the body bag to the floor in response. He was quickly brought in to Gambrel who was still in the same seat he was a couple days ago. The body bag was laid out onto a table and one of Gambrel’s men began to identify the deceased as the former Cartel boss. The decaying flesh still sizzled as the men inspected it. Gambrel looked on with a dastardly smirk; one that Merit wanted to melt from his face.
“Now, where’s Joshlyn?”
Gambrel snapped his fingers and a door opened.
“A deals, a deal my boy. She wasn’t harmed.”
Joshlyn slowly stepped out, scared, and embraced Merit by running into his arms. He hugged her tight and then put her behind him.
“Did you really think you could just kidnap my girlfriend and there wouldn’t be any hard feelings?” His whole right arm ignited, burning his sleeves off in the process. Before Gambrel could open his mouth to speak Merit raised his arm and unleashed the flames. He and his men leaped for safety as the furniture, walls, and floor became pyre to Merit’s flames.
“Consider this my resignation!”
The front door slammed open and the door men poured into the building. Merit backed up from his flames and headed into the maze of storage units that led to the door, his guard up for anybody he had to burn a hole through to get to safety. He could hear Gambrel yelling over the flames. “You’re a dead man Jamiel!”
Smoke began to fill the warehouse, clouding their vision as they pushed through the maze. The door guard turned the corner and found a flaming fist to their face. Merit pulled Joshlyn along with his left hand and pushed the door open only to find a sweating Gambrel on the other side with him in his sights.
“It’s over Gambrel, it’s over.” Merit said as he shielded Joshlyn from the weapon.
“What makes ya think that?”
“Your men are dead, your safe house is minutes from burning to the ground, and you’re minutes from going to prison.”
The sound of the emergency sirens suddenly emerged from the distance.
Gambrel smiled and then shook his head, “I don’t see me goin’ to prison, especially since I’m the one with the gun.”
“You’re the one that needs the gun.” He retorted.
“I’m not the only one.” He pulled the trigger.
The bullet whizzed through the air and then through Jamiel’s body, passing through his flesh and into Joshyln. In anger, he retaliated. As he fell to a knee and the flames left his hands and roasted the Caribbean until he collapsed to the floor dead. Jamiel then ran to Joshyln’s side, putting pressure on the wound.
“Stay with me baby, stay with me…”
After the funeral the remaining recruits still stood over Becki’s grave. All of them were there, except for Merit. He stood off in the distance and watched. Simply the sight of Axl at the funeral enraged him, but out of respect of the funeral he decided not to turn him back to ashes.
The recruits then said their goodbyes and went their own ways. Merit assumed that the new found team’s first act would be to find Becki’s killer, and he wanted to make sure he was there when they did. He watched the team turn and file into the limo to head back to the SLJ headquarters and he turned to his bike, ready to follow. He lifted up his helmet from the seat of his bike and was about to place it on when he realized the tape recorder that sat underneath it on the seat. He put down his helmet and picked up the recorder, slowly placing it to ear. He pressed play.
Jamiel slowly pulled the recorder from his ear as he realized the bright red dot that appeared on his chest and crept its way up to his forehead.