The Slaughter Drop Cafe - Silence Falling
Christmas Day in the Guesthouse for Saints had been a rip snorting sort of a day.Â This had been mostly spent in The Saintly Drop CafÃ© by most of the blessed residents.Â Well before breakfast the jolly fat man in red had squeezed down a chimney in his home invasion to leave presents under the tree in the cafÃ©.Â Christmas presents had been exchanged by the tree, under the mistletoe and even in bedrooms - though what was presented and ardently received were strictly private matters â€“ not necessarily a matter of privates.Â For while Eve might have spanned and Adam delved, they did not live in the guesthouse.Â Besides, what consenting saints did in privacy was their blessed business.Â After all, they were on R & R â€“ and such should be enjoyed.
The evening meal was partaken on the first floor in the dining room.Â Of course there were courteous toasts, friendly back slapping, sisterly and brotherly kisses, healthy hugs â€“ and who groped whom is best left unspoken.Â It was all done with due Christmas decorum by those long denied warm social intercourse when walking in cold Charity Lane.Â Thus by mid-evening even the most frigid were well heated; with the unspoken promise of satisfactions still to come, and pleasant afterglows to follow.
Alas!Â The devil rained on the parade.Â More precisely, Attila - the President of the Devil's Henchmen Motorcycle Club â€“ pissed on it in copious outpourings of hate.Â As a Christmas Night peace offering he had arranged through Sissy to meet one-on-one with Mongrel.Â To meet President to President to sort out differences.Â They were each to come alone to Purgatory Junction, which marked the border of the territories of the feuding outlaw gangs.Â Unlike Charity Lane, there was not even cold compassion on this bitter junction of hate.Â Yet it was within easy walking distance from the Guesthouse for Saints.
That Bitch had accompanied Mongrel almost the whole way, stopping in the deep shadow of a dark alley to protect her husband's back.Â She had ordered and pleaded for Mongrel not to go, but this one time he had disobeyed She Who Commands.Â And he had proceeded on alone beyond the alley.Â The hair was standing on the back of his neck, but his steps did not falter.Â He clutched his mostly hidden Colt 45, the hammer cocked, with its barrel shoved in a pocket of his black leather jacket.Â All his instincts warned him to backtrack, that he was walking into an ambush.Â But he forced a smile as he approached Attila, standing splay legged and grinning on Purgatory Junction.
Four Devil's Henchmen ran from another adjoining alley and opened fire, and Mongrel staggered under the impact of two bullets striking him in the chest.Â Even as his Colt 45 roared, That Bitch began firing with her heavy calibre handgun â€“ between them, dropping three of the rival gunmen in a rapid flurry of loud shots that rang through the night.
As Attila and the other gunman ran to the safety of their alley, Mongrel staggered back to his wife.Â She ran out to meet him, her smoking revolver at the ready.Â Thus they retreated, without further sign of the assassins.Â But Mongrel, weak with the loss of blood spurting from his chest, sagged at the knees.Â He slumped heavily against the front door of the Guesthouse for Saints.Â And That Bitch, both weeping and glaring, frantically rang the brass bell beside the door.
Saint Nicholas and Saint Jude, who'd been passing Christmas pleasantries in the hallway, had heard what they thought was a car backfiring in the night.Â They helped That Bitch to carry Mongrel inside, and bolted fast the door.Â But it was too late â€“ the devil had come to the guesthouse on Christmas Night.Â Although Saint Jude ran and fetched Saint John the physician, Mongrel's wounds were a lost cause.Â To That Bitch's horror, the doctor just shook his head.Â And Mongrel lay on the hallway floor in a widening pool of blood, his head cradled in his wife's arms.
He looked around with uncomprehending, vacant eyes.Â "Babe," he whispered.Â "Babe, where are you?"
"Here, here," crooned She Who No Longer Commanded.Â "Mongrel, honey, I'm here.Â Here!Â Hang on; we're getting a bloody ambulance.Â Just hang on, baby!Â Please, please hang on!Â Just hang on!"
Saint Nicholas momentarily glimpsed a dark-haired woman in black.Â He was the only one to see Azrael, the Angel of Death.Â She gently kissed Mongrel on the lips, and vanished.
"No!" shrieked She Who No Longer Could Command.Â "No!Â No!Â No!" she screamed.Â "Oh, Mongrel!" she wailed, rocking her dead husband.Â "Babe, babe, babe," she sobbed brokenly.Â "Don't go.Â Don't leave me all alone.Â Come back!Â Oh, please, come back to me.Â Babe, I love you so!Â Come back, come back.Â Oh, baby, baby.Â Oh, my dearest, what have they done to you?"
She sobbed inconsolably, rocking her husband until the ambulance came; and it was a miracle that it had braved entering Hell Street at night.Â They both went in the ambulance â€“ the last time Saint Nicholas was to see That Bitch alive.
The late news on Christmas Night reported the shoot out on Purgatory Junction â€“ it was a ten-second item, for it was decided that scum killing scum was just too unsavoury at Christmas.Â Besides, no one really cared about such low life.Â But the early morning news the next day rated a thirty-second item covering the revenge killing in the early hours of the morning.Â Apparently the wife of one of the killed gunmen had gone berserk.Â She had somehow entered the headquarters of the Devil's Henchmen, a well-known outlaw motorcycle gang.Â She had come in firing with an automatic shotgun, creating carnage until she was shot dead herself.Â The police reassured the public that they had matters in hand, and that the violence had been contained.Â There was no cause for alarm.
On the evening news there was a 60-second item reporting absolute mayhem.Â Informed sources had reported that a woman by the name of Sissy â€“ an associate of both rival gangs â€“ had entered the Henchmen's headquarters at midday.Â Apparently, all of the gang had gathered there for self-protection from the much more numerous God's Hitmen Motorcycle Club â€“ their President being killed on Purgatory Junction, and his wife being the crazed woman with the shotgun who'd killed indiscriminately until she was shot dead herself.Â Sources in the know said that Sissy had asked a young thug known as Spider to go outside and fetch a trophy from her parked motorcycle.Â The so-called trophy was supposed to have been a Colt 45 belonging to the dead president.
A police spokesman said that Spider had apparently complied.Â But that as the hoodlum was walking out of the club doors, he heard Sissy urge the others to gather around.Â That she had something to show them â€“ the devil!Â They must have pressed forward, their curiosity probably getting the better of them.Â It was then that Sissy pressed the detonator of the bomb belt that she was wearing.Â Spider, standing outside the fiercely blazing ruins, was the only survivor of the suicide bombing.Â Most of the victims simply could not be identified; the carnage had been that horrific.
The police reassured the public that this gang warfare would not be tolerated.Â There was to be a crack down on all involved.Â There was no danger to the general public!Â Unofficial sources also maintained that the gang war was over.Â That the Henchmen had been wiped out to all but the last man.Â And that Spider was in protective custody, helping police with their inquiries.
And when Saint Nicholas heard that third news item it was all far too much.Â And he wept.Â He wept for Mongrel and he wept for That Bitch â€“ his dear friends with such big hearts.Â And he wept for Sissy, who had entered hell to die in horror amongst those she hated more than life itself.Â And he wept for himself â€“ now, life had no meaning.Â He no longer cared about finding Ms Right.Â He no longer believed that she existed.Â No longer cared even if she did.Â For there could be no love that was innocent still in a world driven mad by horror.Â And because he didn't believe, Ms Right ceased to exist.Â And a light in the darkness was snuffed out.
His heart was broken.Â He didn't want to live anymore.
Tales from the Divine Drop Cafes