The old train station is dying in an atmosphere of panic and chaos. The plaster on the walls and pillars has fallen off almost completely. Concrete and rusted steel bars, the insides of a beast that has never known the innocent pleasure of sleep. The huge clock, anchored against the eastern wall, slices time away carelessly. The ceiling is covered with fantastic irregularities; time has carved long strips of cracks along its surface – badly healed wounds.
Outside, on platform five, Hank is sitting on a bench, legs crossed. The sun is high on the blue sky and makes the air quiver like steam rising from a boiling liquid.
A kid passes by, a sandwich in his right hand, little drops of mustard and ketchup falling on the ground. Hank sighs and takes a look at his watch. He closes his eyes and smiles in quiet surrender, then rises fast from the bench as if startled by a nightmare. He glances around, then takes a couple of steps towards the edge of the platform. The air is clear, and he can see far. The rails slip under the thin line of the horizon; if he were to follow them he’s sure he’d end up on the other side of the planet. Or back here.
A warehouse with floodlights. Outside, a small airplane. A man standing against a motorcycle, helmet in hand. To his left, a knot of heavies, their backs against the wall, smoking.
The black Rolls-Royce parks in front, the counselor steps out of the car.
The biker stands up, greets him. He signals one of the heavies, who pushes a button on a remote. The metal door clanks upward. The biker and the counselor walk inside. They cross the room to an island in the far corner that contains a kitchen and a bed, a tin locker, a leather easy chair. The biker turns on the stereo and opens the refrigerator and takes out two bottles of beer. He places the beers on the table and takes off his leather jacket and unzips a pocket and takes out a clear plastic bag and pitches it onto the table. It is full of hundred dollar bills. He motions the counselor to take a sit at the table, then he opens a drawer and takes out a packet of marijuana and papers and sits rolling a joint. He lights it and leans back with his eyes closed. He blows smoke up in the air. “You can call me Scorpio.”
The counselor doesn’t answer.
“Come,” the man says. He stands up, walks to the kitchen counter, pulls out a gun out of a drawer and starts walking. The counselor follows him to the other end of the warehouse. They step outside, cross the yard to another warehouse. Scorpio stops in front of a metal door, where he pushes three buttons on a keypad. He waits. There is a click and he pushes the door open, lets the counselor in. He turns and shuts the door.
In the center of the room, a mattress. On it, a man, his legs and hands and mouth tied. He looks peacefully up at them, a tear lingering in the corner of his right eye.
“Big guy. Put up a hell of a fight. Had to sedate him.” He hands the gun to the counselor. “Here. He’s a liability…”
Robert takes the gun, stares down at the man. “I can’t do this. He’s –“
Scorpio points at the gun. “Blackwell told me to mess with you a bit.” Scorpio stares, thinking. “Told me you’re a coward.” He takes the gun from the counselor’s hands. “I can do it for you, if you want. Blackwell said you need to understand there’s a price for everything. He wants you to pull the trigger. I say it doesn’t matter. You’re here.”
The counselor shakes his head. “Si vis pacem, para bellum.”
Scorpio shrugs. He aims and shoots the man in the chest twice. A muffled cry and then silence.
A story of intrigue, “land of the blind” is a serialized novel describing the power struggles of the corrupt wealthy, the so-called “kingmakers” in their attempt to assassinate the King of England and obtain the independence of the American Colonies.
There are no rules, no principles. There’s no middle ground, no playing it safe.
But you know what they say, “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.”
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