Re: Osez Marchez avec l’obscurité (Dare to Walk with Darkness)

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The Atomic Punk

Osez marcher avec l’obscurité: Episode 10
Story and Characters by DC-Lover & The Atomic Punk

François entered the cab. He did not look back as they drove from the restaurant. Andrea’s make-up streamed down her cheeks, washed away by her tears. François gently placed his hand on her shoulder. Andrea took his hand and held it in hers.

“You have no idea who that was,” Andrea said in a quivered hush. “Bertrand is a very dangerous man. I don’t know why I ever saw him.”

“N’importe pas, mon chou,” replied François. “I am sure he will get over it.”

From then until they reached the hotel, they sat in silence. François asked that Andrea stay at the hotel. Going home would be dangerous. Andrea agreed. When she reached for her credit card, François insisted that he pay for her room. Though he had wished that they spent the evening together, his sense of decency would not allow him to take advantage of a distraught woman.

“Merci, M’sieur Idere,” Andrea said with a vulnerable smile.

François’ adrenaline was still very high. He spent most of the night in the hotel gym trying to burn fuel. While he was running on the treadmill, he analyzed everything that Andrea had told him about Libreville and the crime families. Especially knowing that Bertrand Fournier was Ténèbre, the murderous vigilante and apparent woman-beater. François promised himself that their upcoming rendez-vous would be their last.

The next morning, he greeted his new lady friend in the hotel lobby. François invited Andrea for breakfast, maybe just coffee. She declined politely saying that she had to get to work. Somewhat apprehensive, the beau walked with her and opened the taxi door for her. François returned to his room and laptop to research the Fournier family some more.

Before leaving for the Quartier-Saturnelle that evening, François called Andrea to assure himself that she was fine. She said that her day went well and thanked François for his concern. François slipped on his mask. Audere stepped into action.

The night air was unusually chilly for the season. Audere stood on a rooftop overlooking the park. His stance was open and defiant. Où est-tu, mon ami? Across the way, the hero noticed a figure atop another building. The tension made Audere’s heart race. He was not afraid. He was steeling himself for a fight.

With precision, he leapt and flipped down the face of the six-story building, using ledges and cornerstones for balance. The figure watched and waited for Audere to alight before disappearing. Audere heard footsteps approach behind him. With a sharp flick of his wrist, his staff extended. He spun to face his foe.

“Zut alors!” screamed Andrea Swan. “M’sieur, please, I just have some questions. I also want to thank you for saving me the other night.”

Audere was almost in shock. Andrea had put herself in terrible danger. If Ténèbre were to show, who knew what would happen. Audere quickly scanned the surroundings for a strategic spot where Andrea would be safe. Unfortunately, it was a rather open area.

“Mademoiselle, il faut quitter,”Audere said in a husky disguised voice. “This is no place for an interview.”

“You’re right. It’s not,” said a voice nearby. “But, it is a good place to die.”

Standing by the park’s entrance was a man in a white suit. Three more men emerged from the park. They wore the same style outfits and helmets, but each was a solid red, blue, or yellow. Audere recognized their gear as being combat armor similar to his own. However, he had no idea who the four aggressors were.

“César Maldoni!” shouted Andrea. “What’s going on? Is this some turf war?”

The young capo laughed, “No, this is me putting an end to this ‘Ténèbre’ with my own dramatic flair. You know how much I love a good show, Ms. Swan.”

Audere stepped between Maldoni and Andrea. He did not care that they thought he was Ténèbre. The woman’s safety was first. The other three men separated. The blue man stood in the middle, in front of César. The yellow went to Audere’s right; the red to his left.

César smiled as he stroked his Clark Gable moustache. “Meet ‘The Primaries.’ No, that’s not their true identity. Just something I made up. I thought it would be entertaining to have my own costumed assassins. Add a few more colors to the palette.”

Blue drew a katana. Yellow wielded two sais. Red produced a tetsubo. Audere was not sure of their skill. However, that did not matter. He needed to make a quick escape with Andrea before she was hurt. In the meantime, Andrea was dialing 911 on her cell phone.

The Primaries moved slowly yet deliberately. The stepped forward then a bit of a retreat. As one neared, the other two would withdraw. Audere recognized this pattern. They were setting up a strike, gauging the best angle for attack. The way they twirled and balanced their weapons seemed a little more than just flair.

“Merde!” Audere thought to himself. With any luck, the police would arrive soon. Then again, this was Libreville.

A knife flew from behind Audere and struck Yellow in the thigh. The blow barely pierced the body armor. It was still enough to stick in his leg causing Yellow to fall. A second knife hit Red, but bounced harmlessly off of his chest plate.

Ténèbre ran up and stood next to Audere. He cursed himself silently. If he had not injured his hand, his daggers would have been accurate and lethal. Yellow rose to his feet. He grunted but was still able to fight.

César Maldoni laughed with delight, “Two Ténèbres? Now it makes sense. No one man could have inflicted so much damage throughout the city.”

Ténèbre was insulted but saw an advantage in the illusion. “Just a small part of the deception, Maldoni. Like you, we wanted to put on a good show.”

Audere was about to take the opportunity to get Andrea to safety. Just the same to let the five thugs take out each other. He turned but Andrea was gone.

“Don’t worry, mon ami. The girl is in good hands.” César said. He pulled a gun from his coat and shot Audere. The bullet glanced off his right shoulder causing Audere’s body armor to tear.