Protected Species

Revenge was in the result, not the gloating.

Jack had seen too many movies where the vengeful party failed by pausing at the pivotal moment, paying dearly for self-indulgence – the Bond villain allowed the hero to escape through meticulous explanation of his masterplan. He didn’t care if he was the good or bad guy anymore, such generic stereotypes had no meaning in a world that took Rosie and Thomas from him.

If you’re going to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.

The Winchester brothers had moved a bench to the edge of the terrace. Maurice and Albie stood next to each other, swaying in the wind, flies undone, geriatric penises out, pissing over the glass railing. They roared with laughter as they juiced the London skyline, telling the world below what they thought of them, as in life their lives.

“They think it’s raining now. Wait’ll they sniff their hair.”

Jack stepped out onto the terrace behind them. There would be no speeches made, nothing more to be said. They’d figure their mistake the moment it happened, not deserving further explanation. By turn, he didn’t need to be mocked, derided or persuaded otherwise.

They tottered unsteadily on the bench, Maurice on the left, Albie on the right, making it all too easy for him. Jack stepped behind them, and grabbed Maurice’s right ankle and Albie’s left at the same time. As they turned with alarm, he heaved upwards with all the might, bruised ribs screaming, pitching the brothers forward over the railing.

“Wait a min…” Maurice grabbed Albie’s shoulder, wide eyes agog, helping Jack by pulling his brother with him. They began to cry out, but within a blink they were over the edge, their scream another howl of the wind.


He imagined their thoughts as they fell. Did they appreciate the arrogance of their mistake, years of protection softening their wit to such an obvious assassin?

Would they truly believe themselves heroes outwitted by an ungrateful prole, or instead acknowledge the deserving nature of their fate, understand their own part in such a literal downfall?

Did they regret the callous brutality their lives had meted? The money grubbing accumulation of power for its own sake? All the people they had trodden on, retribution undone by Machiavellian scheming and the brute force of wealth? Surely their path was the way of the world, where the strongest didn’t just survive, but prosper by the blood of the weak.

Did they still consider themselves invincible? As they plummeted closer to the concrete, its deathly kiss awaiting, would they imagine it a cushion they may softly bounce upon, or foresee the unsparing destruction of their bones as they impacted? Perhaps this was but a nightmare, from which they would sweatily awake, Scotch hangover soon cured by a hearty catered breakfast. At what moment would the inevitability of their end pass across their screaming brow?

Would they consider the pain and terror their many victims endured, lives snidely destroyed spiritually, mentally, fiscally, physically and equate that with their own fate? Could such narcissists belatedly discover empathy in their final seconds? Does an animal know the same fear as a humane being?


They fall to Death and Death meets them as fast and all their Pleasures are as Yesterday. And then…

Their bodies smashed to earth outside the monolith’s lobby, a wet splash of grue, splintered bones and flying gristle that merged the two brothers together. Splatterpunked. It would take weeks for forensic teams to disseminate which blob was Maurice and which chunk was Albie. The rain didn’t help.

As the first celestial drops fell to wash the blood off the pavement, Jack held his head up to meet the approval of so many lost and fallen. It was not just for Rosie and Thomas, it was for all of them.

The wind roared around him, and in its scream he heard the cries of the innocent and dispossessed, those without a voice briefly given a moment of raging expression. The city beat its drum and rang with the bellow of the ape, the roar of the lion and holler of the bear, the squall of the innocent. The glistening concrete, steel and glass jungle shook with a clamour that swelled his chest. Jack raised his arms to savour their call and howled.


If this story was a movie, here’s the compilation album, retrieved from the bargain bin in Woolies. Listen while reading, or float away on your own adventure…

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