Scarred 4.8

Gian sat in his spacious, enclosed dune buggy. Most of the windshield was still tinted jet black, with the illuminated heads up display fairly functional. The bottom sixth portion of the glass was melted apart like a torn, cheap plastic bag.

The sun wouldn’t set for another six or seven hours. Gian had steered his vehicle back to the north before his front tires had completely melted from their axle. He wasn’t exactly sure where the pursuing truck would be coming from, but he thought he was generally facing the correct heading.

Gian had both his chipped black 1851 colt navy revolver and his polished, nickel plated 1960 colt single action army revolver in his lap. The navy revolver was his father’s prized possession, favored over the man’s own family. Gian had used it often in the Mexican Revolution of 1910. It hadn’t always been the most practical weapon in Gian’s arsenal, but he was sure it had the highest body count.

The nickel SAA revolver had been acquired well after Gian had been converted. Gian had spent most of his undead life on Earth hunting other vampires. One of his most dangerous target had nearly ended Gian with that pistol. Gian had never been one to flaunt trophies, and he had never considered the gun as such. After taking the gun to the range out of curiosity, Gian was impressed enough to take it on all of his hunts.

Even without direct sunlight, Gian nearly had his eyes closed from the residual light bouncing in from the sand. The light reflected from his pistols, and he felt like he was inside a lit charcoal grill. He finally tore off his knee length jacket and tried to plug the light gap. It wasn’t pretty, but he could open his eyes with only a few leaks of unbearable light poking through.

The neon green crosshair in his windshield was much easier to see, along with the empty horizon. Gian’s hands coasted to his pistol hilts. His right hand went for the black firearm, loaded with six .44 lead slugs. The nickel pistol held six .357 diamond-tipped silver bullets.

Gian glanced to his left hand. One shot to the head. He had considered shooting Neal plenty of times after seeing how the man treated humans that didn’t comply with his rules. Living as long as he had, Gian knew that the simplest solutions could lead to the worst complications.

Instead of starting a war, Gian had tried to fight Neal with diplomacy. After discovering how Neal had squandered every single ally Gian had had, Gian suddenly remembered firing the first shot from his father’s pistol in the revolution.

Gian and others cheated by the government had voted for Francisco Madero to take down the corrupt system that had stomped on the people for decades. When the man had been fairly voted in as President of Mexico, Gian felt like he had accomplished something. He had been part of the light that banished the darkness.

Sand was rising on the horizon.

Madero had been killed two years after. Mexico had been a warzone for nearly a decade after its first ray of hope had been stolen away. Gian often looked back at how angry he was. Democracy had been stolen by a gunfight.

No matter how strongly Gian had felt he was justified to take out Neal, he wouldn’t be a political assassin. Neal Hamilton had stolen all of Gian’s allies via bribes or threats. Gian had been trying to rally democracy against a dictator, and failed.

The truck was coming into view. Gian hovered the crosshair over the tiny target.

Gian had joined the Mexican Revolution because he thought democracy had failed. Looking back, he realized he wasn’t just an angry child. His people had chosen to make the world a better place. Their voices had been answered by others who had decided that their clutch on power was more important.

Wayne Manor wasn’t perfect, but it had been Gian’s home for centuries. His dysfunctional family was being led by a man that rewarded their base desires. Should I have just killed him when I had the chance? Would they follow me after that? Would I want to lead people that support that?

The truck was running straight for Gian, but it seemed to be slowing down.

Too many people had died in the revolution. Gian was cursed to live long enough to see his nation devolve into one of the most corrupt countries he had ever visited. If Madero hadn’t been killed, would my country have turned out better?

The crosshair floated over to the truck’s driver.

Neal stole my people with fear. As a single man, I can’t start a revolution. If no one stands with me, the least I can do is save the people that didn’t even get a vote. Gian wondered if Eliza would understand.

Every device in the buggy turned off. Gian sighed as the green crosshair faded away from the windshield. He leaned forward to look overhead. As expected, he saw a drone hovering nearby, lowering in front of the buggy. He hadn’t heard any tinkering outside, so Gian assumed the drone had been equipped with a directed electromagnetic pulse.

Neal’s voice emitted from the drone, giving him a hollow, synthesized effect, “Hello Gian. Any last words?” The man’s slick arrogance still shined through the distortion.

Gian watched the truck park, the human driver and navigator stepped out with their assault rifles. They walked wide of the buggy, avoiding the limited shooting angles Gian could use. He looked back to the drone and spoke loudly, calmly, “If I survive this, I will end you reign.”

“Try not to be such a sore loser. I actually commend you for trying to beat me at my own game. Hell, I might even say I respect you for it. In the end however, Gian, you’re just an animal. You were born from a filthy culture with no understanding of civilization. True civilization. How could you hope to play politics when you’re only good for pulling triggers.”

Gian heard something outside the vehicle, like panels were being removed.

Neal continued, “Speaking of. Gentlemen.”

Gian pulled a yellow handle from underneath his seat, between his knees. The cockpit-like windshield thrusted forward into the drone with a pneumatic blast. More air erupted into the air as Gian’s seat launched into the air.

At the peak of his ascent, about five meters in the air, Gian caught his black revolver before it escaped his lap. He hadn’t bothered to buckle his seat belt, so he casually rolled to the side, aiming for the truck’s navigator as he fell. The sun had been uncomfortable before. Completely outside, Gian felt like he was in the middle of a blizzard with the whitest snow imaginable.

The first shot sounded like it hit the navigator’s vest; the two men returned fire. Gian almost shot back with the nickel revolver, but he didn’t have many silver bullets left. He fired a second shot from the black pistol, unsure if he hit anything at all.

A few random shots hit Gian. He felt the rounds pierce his right lung, intestines, hip and right thigh. The man landed face down with a thud, sand filling the entry wounds. He stayed low as he ran to the right, hoping to put the buggy between him and the driver at least.

Gian’s eyes were nearly shut as he tried to see through the light. He thought he found a black figure moving through the light. His third shot ended with a thud, and he could hear the other man’s gun shoot to the side. Good enough.

Running forward, Gian holstered his nickel revolver, sniffing for the blood in the air. The burning black powder in the air was equally easy to follow. Gian felt the right side of his body releasing steam while the rest of his exposed skin: head, hands, and forearms, felt like they it was melting off of his bones.

He couldn’t stand the light anymore, Gian completely shut his dehydrated eyes and listened for the man’s gurgling. Even the back of his eyelids were flooded with an omnipresent, unescapable brightness.

Gian fumbled for the man’s vest and yanked him up to his mouth. Unsure of where he was biting, Gian’s fangs dug into shallow skin around the man’s scalp and face before he found the throat.

More gunfire hit Gian in his left side. He could account for a dozen rounds until a bullet slid across the front of his heart. Gian felt his whole body vibrate into a frenzy. He fought to keep his sanity, just managing to turn his meal into a human shield.

A few thuds connected with the navigator, but the driver was already circling around. Gian struggled to hear the man’s footsteps, but the muzzle blasts were easy to follow. The navigator died, ending Gian’s meal early.

Gian rushed forward, using his meat shield to close the distance quickly. The driver continued shooting wildly until Gian threw the corpse at him. He heard the two bodies fall on the ground ahead of him, but the man kept shooting.

Another barrage of bullets caught Gian’s center mass, and he could feel his body giving out. Gian fell atop the bodies. He fumbled for the assault rifle until it ran empty. Gian crawled over the corpse for the driver. The fresh blood he had just taken was already wearing off.

The other man rummaged for something. Gian knew he should be worried, but his mouth was unbearably dry. Warm metal pressed against Gian’s left shoulder. Shit.

The pistol fired with enough force to knock Gian off balance. Then he felt a body fling across his chest. Where’s my gun? Gian flailed with his right hand to find his pistol, but all he found was sand, which he flung upward.

An annoyed voice spat, “Really?”

Neal’s synthetic voice yelled, “Wait! Ravi, I want to see this.” Gian could barely hear the drone hover closer. “Empty the whole clip in his face.”

Gian grabbed the pommel of his nickel pistol and opened his eyes.

Ravi’s silhouette in the blazing white atmosphere was close enough to be a realistic target. The man replied to Neal, “Yes sir.”

Gian cocked the hammer as he drew his second pistol and fired a silver bullet. Compared to the immense heat of the rest of the world, Ravi’s mist of blood was a cool shower.

Neal screamed something over the intercom, but Gian was laughing too loudly to hear. Even when he was human, Gian’s laugh was unmistakably unique. When he laughed out loud, his friends had told him he sounded like a donkey giving birth. As a vampire, he had to force air into his weak, unused lungs just for the semblance of a scratchy laugh that scared most people.

Ravi’s body must’ve fallen backwards, because Gian could smell the blood quickly escaping and dying so closely to him. Gian could feel his skin trying to absorb the little bits of blood splattered over his face and neck, but he knew it wasn’t enough.

Neal’s voice boomed once more, just before Gian felt the drone slam into his face. Gian couldn’t feel the pain, especially compared to his open wounds steaming into the air. He kept laughing, knowing that Neal knew he wasn’t causing Gian any additional pain.

The drone flew back up, and slammed back into his face again, over and over. It’s better this way. If they took me alive, Neal would just turn me into one of his experiments until I wished I was dead.

Gian wasn’t sure how much blood and bacteria he had lost, but any pain that he had had was fading away to nothing. The blistering light was no longer burning; a cool shadow took its place. Neal’s screaming and Gian’s own laughing were inaudible.

“Is that better?”

Gian wasn’t sure where the voice came from, “Who’s asking?”

Her soft laugh replied, “Who do you think?”

Gian couldn’t register any movement on his physical body, but he smiled.

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