The Goat of Death

Submitted into Contest #58 in response to: Write about someone who purposefully causes a power outage.... view prompt


Drama Mystery Thriller

The Goat of Death

  Marcus passed the dead goat lying at the side of the road. He didn't exactly know what prompted him to turn around and drive back and park beside it. Truth be told, He had always had sort of a fascination with dead things, and maybe it was this that drove him to stop to examine the dead creature. Anyway, whatever it was that drove him to take that action accidentally set off a chain of events that would have a most unfortunate outcome.

 Marcus brought the big Mercedes to a stop less than a quarter mile past the dead goat. He checked carefully for traffic and finding the two-lane county road empty, made a careful u-turn and drove back to where the goat lay.

 He got out and stretched, shaking off the effects of the long drive that he had just made. He walked over to where the goat was lying just off the pavement. It was gray and white, medium sized, no more than about forty or so pounds. It looked as if it had just laid down and went to sleep, no visible blood or damage at all. Marcus reached down and turned the animal over, the other side was just as clean and damage free. The goat couldn’t be dead all that long. Marcus guessed that some vehicle had just clipped it on the nose and the resulting impact had broken the poor animal’s neck. Maybe that’s what happened or maybe fate had just decreed that the goat’s time had run out at just this exact spot. Either way, as he stood there looking down at the dead goat the idea just sort of popped into his head.

 The Hunter

 I guess that I had better explain just who I am and why my little tale of this dead goat might be of some interest to you. Some folks called the man looking down at the dead goat Marcus, behind his back others refer to him by the more menacing title, El Diablo. Neither of these names has any remote resemblance to the name that he was given at birth but he answered to the first and to date no one has ever called him by the second to his face more than once. You see Marcus was a professional killer, an assassin if you want to be romantic or technical about it. He killed people for money and was very good at it. The fact that he had been doing it as long as he had and am was still alive and a free man speaks volumes about his competency at his chosen trade.

Oh, and me, Well some say that I am a paid killer also. To be fair I had killed in the course of my job and would most likely do so again. If his luck ran out Marcus would probably be the next. Oh yes, I am a killer alright, but the difference between  Marcus and me was that I carried a badge and with it the authority of the law. I was tasked with stopping Marcus. My orders were to do so by any means possible. A hunter hunting the hunter.

  As I was saying, as Marcus was standing there looking down at the dead goat an idea popped into his head. The contract he had taken about eight hours and five hundred miles ago was for the elimination of a gentleman living in a small town just inside of the State of Oklahoma along the Texas border. I knew this from the wiretap I had set up on his phone.

  The call had come in just as Marcus was making his breakfast. The caller had asked if he were free to have lunch with him and he replied that he was. The caller had indicated that we were to meet at the last place they had dined together and then he abruptly hung up. Marcus finished breakfast and then got on his Harley and as I followed some distance behind, rode over a small drive in diner across town. From down the street, I watched him order a large soda at the walk up window and then after being served took his drink over to a picnic table located at the side of the building. He sat down and took a drink of the soda and then reached carefully under the table and retrieved an envelope that was taped there. He got up and tossed the soda into a nearby trash can then tucking the envelope inside his shirt, got on his cycle, and headed back to his house.

  Once back at his house Marcus sat down at his kitchen table and opened the envelope. Watching on my laptop a transmission from the tiny camera that I had set up just over Marcus’s wall clock directly behind him, with a clarity so good that I could literary read over his shoulder, I saw that Inside the envelope were several sheets of paper and a receipt. Marcus and I quickly scanned the first sheet and saw that the contract was on one Harold Symington. Mr. Symington was a former associate of one of the state’s biggest crime families. It seems that Mr. Symington had a small problem with a desire for sex with underage boys. This led Mr. Symington to become entangled with the law. Once arrested and threatened with incarceration for a very long time, along with the promise of being housed some inmates that had a particular dislike for those who molest children, Mr. Symington decided that it would be in his best interest to trade his knowledge about his former associates in exchange for his freedom and the anonymity provided by the witness protection program.

  The other pages gave all the information that Marcus’s employers’ had managed to gather on the current location and identity of the elusive Mr. Symington.  The information on the sheet of paper stated that Mr. Symington is now going by the name of Hank Simmons.

  Symington/Simmons was now residing in a small Oklahoma border town and employed as the town's assistant Librarian. Marcus snickered to himself, trust the Fed’s to give a job to a child molester that entails working with children. Oh well, whether this information was correct or not made little difference to him. A contract had been offered and once he accepted it, that person was as good as dead. A case of mistaken identity would fall on his employers not him. Along with the papers was a small bank receipt for the amount of fifty thousand dollars deposited Marcus’s bank account by the East African Missionary Society. This amounted to half his fee with the balance payable on the event of the contracted individual’s demise.

  A contract had been offered, and Marcus could see no reason not to accept it. He crossed over to the telephone hanging on the wall by the refrigerator and picking up the receiver called his bank and verified the recent deposit and asked them to call the depositor and let them know that the transfer of funds was complete. The young lady on the other end of the phone said that she would call them directly and he wished her a good day and hung up. Her call would signal to his employers that he had accepted their contract.

 His next step was to pack a small bag with the tools of his trade and a change of clothes. Then slinging the bag across the back of his Harley and with me following again, headed across town to the airport where he parked the bike in the long term parking area and bag in hand, headed to the car rental kiosks located in the main terminal. Once there it took less than fifteen minutes for him to secure the lease of a late model black four door Mercedes. Ten minutes later he was leaving the city heading southwest for his appointment with Mr. Symington/Simmons. Marcus paid no attention to me as I passed his big sedan and disappeared into the distance ahead of him.

The Road to Hell

  Marcus thought just before he passed the Goat that this road was what roads in hell must look like. Wide open country, where the road seems to go on forever with no end in sight. The objects in the distance, never seeming to grow larger as you drove mile after mile toward them. Dry burnt country, open grazing land dotted only occasionally with twisted thorny mesquite trees. Mid October and the air was still quite warm. The only concession that this country made to the changing seasons is that there was considerably less daylight time as the year went on. As the locals would say, “It’s starting to get dark early.”

  As he stood looking down at the goat it was possibly the previous thought about the early darkness that may have led him to the plan involving the goat. Whatever the case he went back up to my car and reaching inside popped open the trunk, then went back to the goat and taking its front legs in one hand and its rear legs in the other swept the dead goat up in a swinging motion and landed it in the trunk of the rental car. Looking quickly around and seeing no one for miles, he slammed the trunk lid down and then got back in the car and headed out to complete the contract.

  I observed all this from a small rise about a quarter mile away with the aid of some very powerful binoculars. At the time I was puzzled about what use the goat that I had clipped with the bumper of my car a few minutes earlier could be of use to him. I was about to find out.

  About the time Marcus was picking up the goat, Henry Simmons was heading back into the Library from his afternoon break. It was Henry's habit to use his lunch hour to slip into the Library’s backroom and catch a quick nap rather than face the crowds in one of the town's two eating establishments. The choice was either the Dairy Delicious hamburger stand down the street to the east or Joes diner and pizzeria just a block west of the library. Henry then used his afternoon break to go over to Joe’s and grab a slice of the horrible pizza leftover from the lunch rush.

  Henry thought as he walked out of the increasing dust storm back into the cool clean interior of the Library how ironic it was that he a man like him that was used to the finest pizza that Chicago had to offer, free for the asking in any of the city’s fine array of pizzerias due to his status as a made man in the family, should be brought to having to subsist on a diet of Joe’s leftover, reheated frozen pies. Sometimes Henry thought the price of his freedom was almost too much to bear. But then when he considered the alternatives Joe’s pizza didn’t really seem that bad at all. Well, he told himself just two more hours and he could leave the Library and walk the four blocks through the gathering darkness and growing dust storm to his little house so that he could escape into a bottle of fifteen year old Scotch and the world of his DVD collection and forget if just for a while, how different his life had become

A plan comes together

   Marcus drove into Black Cloud Oklahoma population 549, just as the sun set. That is if he could have seen the sun for the blowing dust that had overtaken him about thirty minutes out of town. He then drove on out of town to the west until he located what he knew must be there somewhere. In less than a mile he found what he was looking for. Sitting there at the edge of town, just by a single set of train tracks running off into the distance, was the town’s power substation. There had been one just like it in his hometown and just about every little town in Texas and southern Oklahoma he had ever been to.

  Marcus smiled and thought to himself, now comes the hard part. He knew that there was no way for anyone to sneak around and do anything undetected in a town as small as this. Every window had someone behind the curtains staring out hoping to catch a glimpse of anything that would bring some excitement to their dull lives or at least give them some gossip to pass on at the next meeting with their friends. Marcus knew that the direct approach would be his only chance.

  As he pulled the big car directly in front of the double chain link gates that secured the twelve foot high fence around the collection of wires, poles and transformers that made up the electrical power substation for the town and surrounding area.  The blowing dust seemed to be getting thicker.

  Smiling, Marcus remembered when many years ago he as a teenager had witnessed a squirrel running about in a similar substation outside his hometown. The squirrel managed to connect with two big wires at the same time and explode in a shower of sparks and burnt squirrel parts, knocking out the electricity to his whole town.

  Getting out of the car Marcus went around to the trunk, opened it and reached in and pulled a small set of bolt cutters out of a bag there. He then went over and quickly cut the cheap padlock that secured the chain around the gates. This done, he tossed the bolt cutters into the trunk, pulled out the dead goat, and hoisted it up and across his shoulders until it was resting on his shoulders and he could hold onto its now stiff legs.

  I watched some distance away as Marcus entered the power station being careful to keep the car between himself and the road in case anyone happened by. He crossed quickly to a point just in front of a maze of wires, poles and transformers and then in one motion swung the goat off his shoulders and into the air. As soon as he let go of the goat he turned and crouched down, he almost made it to his knees before the flying goat landed with a thump then a crackling bang amongst the exposed wires. There were more crackling bangs then Marcus turned his head in time to see a small fireball shoot into the air accompanied by the smell of burning goat, then at about the same time the town’s electricity went off.


  Henry/Harrold had just poured his first drink and settled down into his favorite Chair when suddenly the power went off. Henry thought to himself, Shit! Just what I need another shit evening in a shit town with nothing to do but stare at the walls in the dark. Getting up he headed more by feel than anything else, toward the house’s storeroom where the main fuse box was located. Henry was optimistically thinking that maybe just maybe the wind in the growing dust storm had done something to just trip a circuit breaker. Henry strained to see in the blackness, the dust outside what exposed windows that he had blanketing out any light from the outside.

  Entering the storeroom just off the kitchen where the fuse box was located, Henry suddenly had an uneasy feeling. He moved along the wall by feel cursing the darkness, his luck at having to live in this godforsaken piss ant town, and anything else he could think of. The darkness made Henry even angrier. He thought back to when he was living in his twenty-seventh-floor condo in the city. The lights never went out and if they had he would have simply called his buildings Super and had the issue fixed. Now he was reduced to stumbling around in the dark looking for a problem that he didn’t know if he could fix even if he found it. The more he moved forward into the dark space the warier he became. Something started nagging at Henry, a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. Almost reaching a state of panic, Henry suddenly remembered the gold Zippo lighter in his pocket. The lighter a gift from his former employers.

   Slapping himself on the forehead in disgust at his stupidity he reached into his pocket and pulled out the lighter. As he opened it and spun the small wheel bringing a flame to the wick Henry said out loud, “Just look at what I’ve become, scarred at things that go bump in the dark like some punk kid!” Just then he heard a small noise behind him.

  As Henry spun around with the lighter his eyes widened in surprise as he was shocked to see a man with a revolver in his hand had appeared there from the darkness before him. The man smiled in the weak light and said, “I am the thing that goes bump in the dark!” Henry’s eyes got even bigger as he looked past the man to see me standing there behind the man in front of him. I spoke up then and in a low growling voice said, “No Marcus that would be me.”

  At that moment Henry dropped the lighter and almost simultaneously two shots rang out in the darkness, sudden flashes of light followed by a terrifying silence. The smell of cordite and blood mixed with dust slowly filling the air …

September 06, 2020 18:48

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