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Senator Banes stood by the office window and stared out into the black abyss that had befell the town like a shadowy blanket. Rain pattered the window in a seductive, rhythmic pattern. Pitter patter. The woodwork on the window sill cast a shadow over his whole body, dividing it with dark precision and efficiency. The senator was expecting somebody but he didn't know when.
His heart raced as he went through each and every situation he developed in his head. Someone was trying to pressure him into acting “on a hunch” that would get him in serious trouble with the higher-ups. Not likely. Someone was blackmailing him. Also not likely. What had he ever done for someone to hold a grudge against him? Someone was going to kill him. That was not nearly as preposterous.
Despite the cryptic nature of the note he had received the last week, he couldn't take it as a threat. There was an atmosphere of truth surrounding the letter. Why he had not reported it to the police, he had no idea. The mistake had proven to be fatal one one account and... potentially so on another. Two days after he received the note a woman was found in a shed bound, gagged, and mutilated. There was evidence that showed that the captor and murderer of this woman had his way wither her before disposing of the body.
What a sick fucker, the Senator thought to himself.
The note read like this.
You don't know me and I don't know you. You MUST hear me out though. Hesitation could prove fatal. I have evidence that would suggest a murder is bound to take place sometime in the near future. I want no blood to be spilled and I'm sure you don't either as you are a noble man. So I've heard.
The victim: Julia Simone. As far as I know she is only at the young age of 23. Far too young to die. As I've said before I want no blood to be spilled. I also don't want the publicity of such a noble man to be soiled. HOWEVER, if this woman is to die, Karma will find its way around sooner or later.
Consider yourself warned.
The anonymous tip proved to be right on. Julia Simone, age 23, was the woman found dead at the scene. The moment it had finally become clear to Senator Banes that the note was prophetic, it was too late to save the woman. After all he had initially thought of it as a sick prank. How the hell could he have known?
Guilt fell over the senator as easily as the whiskey fell out of its bottle. The glass in his left hand was once again filled to the brim. The bottle in his right hand was now empty. Fear suddenly overtook him and swigged down the alcohol and threw the bottle against the far wall. If he was going to go out he was going to make it hard for the bastard to clean up his tracks.
Banes sunk into his chair and began sobbing. The hypnotic pattering could just be barely heard over his quiet whimpers and cries. He never knew what it was like to have his life flash before his eyes. His imminent death was possibly still at most a couple of hours away. He pulled open his desk drawer and took out another bottle. This time it was completely filled with a brandy. What brand, he didn't know let alone care about.
He stood up from his chair, swayed a little, and walked over to the chess table. Banes flipped it over with ease, sending it flying through the air with several pieces following in close suit. The black pieces were almost instantly swallowed by the darkness that had come to fill the room. The white pieces traces a ghostly path through the void, hitting and hammering the far book shelf. He kicked over one of the chairs. Then the senator proceeded to go over to the window once again and with one swift, flowing movement he ripped one of the curtains off of the window.
Just then he saw a dark figure, silhouetted against the shadowy mansion grounds, moving to the front door. He sat in his chair once again and continued to sob. He could hear the door opening and shutting from below without protest.
Banes could hear the hard soled shoes clicking against the marble flooring and go silent when they fell upon the carpeted staircase. It was a matter of minutes before his killer would open the library door and slay the soon-to-be late Senator Banes. In his last seconds, which felt like a lifetime each, Banes reflected on what had brought him to this point. He remembered first getting the note just the week before.
He was walking out of his mansion, with his kids trailing behind him, and out to his car in the driveway. The air was crisp and still on the autumn day which made every footfall a staccato snap on the gravel. He had just had a fight with Viktoriya, his wife, and was in no mood for talking. No matter to whom. As his daughters, Destiny and Faith, tugged at his clothes he kept moving. Soon they fell silent and stopped following him to the car. Standing by the driver side door he sneaked a look over his shoulder. Through his peripherals he could see his two daughters looking at him wide eyed with frowns covering their faces.
He climbed into the car, a Maserati GranCabrio Sport, and buckled his seat belt, adjusted the rear-view mirror, and pulled out of the driveway. He drove down the half mile street that led to town. The houses that he passed were beautiful. All brick colonial structures with a flair of french chateau stylized architecture. The sun reflected off the windows creating a sparkle that did nothing but added more elegance to the mansions that he'd pass. In the center of town Banes pulled into a parking space next to the diner. The Senator walked out of the car and walked up to the front door. The door was frosted glass with patterns of clear glass that formed the words “Wilkin's Diner”. The words were surrounded by an art deco take on a vine pattern creating a menagerie of chaotic, dissonant lines and triangles.
Banes took a stool by the bar and ordered black coffee, spiked with “a little something extra”, a chocolate chip muffin, and a croissant. Within a matter of minutes his coffee was in front of him which he gulped down quickly and carelessly, letting a few drops of the beverage spill onto his purple dress shirt.
Moments later his muffin was off the grill and on a plate in front of him. The reason he loved this diner so much was because of how intriguing the method of preparing the meals were. Instead of a muffin that you paid for to be taken out of a little display, the staff would cut it in half and grill it to a light crisp then add a small wad of butter on it.
Just as quickly as it came out he swallowed the last bit of muffin just as his croissant came out. In no more than two minutes he'd completely finished his croissant. He got up and left a hefty tip but the worker never said anything. Banes was sure that the server knew something was amiss. The owner, seeing the generous amount of money on the bar said a quick “Thank you” and was apparently pleased enough with the low grunt that Banes responded with.
The senator once again started to climb into the car when he saw a piece of paper sticking up from the back seat. He knew it wasn't there when he got out of the car so he climbed over the seats and picked it up. It was a note, written in neat, clean handwriting that said:
To the Post Office... now. Thoroughly disturbed he complied with the small note. He once again went through the monotonous routine of buckling, checking the rear view mirror, etc. Setting off, Banes noticed the silhouette of a man on the corner of where Main Street and Brooklyn Avenue meet. He thought nothing of it, however, and continued on his way to the post office as the note instructed.
Upon arriving he immediately noticed a piece of paper, the same kind as before, jutting out from the crease where the wall was separated from the door frame. It was another note. This time it read: Now... to your mailbox. This would be impossible though as it was Sunday and the post office was closed. For some reason or another he did try the door nonetheless. With surprising ease it popped open and the difference in air pressure made a loud whooosh. Quietly, as to not alert the staff, he made his way over to his mailbox. He put the key and quickly turned it with his hand pushing against the door as to muffle the pop it would make as the lock disabled. He opened the door and cringed as it creaked for a second. Banes saw nothing but one letter. He opened it only to read what would later become the eventual death of him.
He remembered how, only two days later, he had totally pushed the letter from his memory and sat, with Viktoriya curled up against him nuzzling his arm, in bewilderment as the news report showed a girl named Julia Simone, age 23, had been murdered. He remembered how the day after the news report, Wednesday, he went back to his mailbox and received nothing of interest other than a lone note that said: You have been warned. What comes around goes around Mr. Banes.
The knocking at the library door startled the senator. He didn't turn to face the source of the knocking, he preferred not to face his death more so out of defiance than cowardice. He did however to mutter a quiet “Come in”. He then heard the door click and creak open.
“Senator?” the man said calmly.
After a few seconds of hesitation similar, he thought, to the hesitation that will get him killed Banes responded simply with, “Yes?”
“Face me” the spectral voice soothingly demanded.
The senator did so. The only thing he could see in detail were the hard soled shoes, the suit pants, the wool long coat similar to Banes' own, and the fedora. The mans face was completely covered by shadow.
“Where's Viktoriya?” the man asked.
“How do you kn-” Banes started to ask but was interrupted.
“It doesn't matter... where is she?”
“Down the hall, asleep.”
“Good,” the man stated plainly, “and the girls?”
“They're asleep too,” Banes added sharply in response to the nature of the stupid question.
“Senator,” the man said more imperatively than previously.
Banes looked up to see a suppressed Ruger being pointed at him. Then Banes saw a small flash before dropping to the ground in a dead heap. The last thing he thought was simply... that mask!
The final thing the man in the fedora did was write a note, in neat, clean handwriting saying:
What comes around goes around. That's Karma.