Warning: story contains mentions of gore and death
"Mariah!" Carter called to his little sister. The 13 year-old girl turned around, and a smile broke unto her face as she ran to her older brother's arms.
"You're back!" she exclaimed, gripping the camo patterned coat as joyful tears streamed down her face.
Carter embraced Mariah as he allowed a few tears to go down his own cheeks, and he whispered, "I told you I would be back, didn't I?"
Mariah peered up at her older brother with her beautiful hazel eyes, and a toothy smile plastered on her face.
1 year later....
Carter's eyes narrowed as he glanced down into the dark alleyways. A group of three men, their hands full of freshly stolen money, strolling like nothing happened; like they didn't just mug someone.
Under the mask he was wearing over his nose and mouth, Carted gave out a growl that was barely audible even to him.
When the criminals were under him, Carter pulled up his navy blue hood up, and swung himself off the building he was originally standing on the roof of, and let gravity take him to the men below. His mind swam back to the past year, the year that had caused him to go on this path.
"C'mon Carter, you promised." Mariah whined, pulling her older brother's wrist.
In response, Carter rolled his eyes, a smirk creeping on his face. "I know, I know. Fine, you win, let's go."
Mariah pumped her fist into the air, and exclaimed, "Yes!"
"Go get ready, and we'll head out." Carter commanded. Mariah rapidly nodded her head, and she raced out of the living room.
"Where are you two going?" Carter turned around to find his mother leaning against the doorway, her arms crossed over her chest.
"Mariah wants me to take her downtown to the mall. I hope that's alright." he explained to her.
"It's alright, but be careful." his mother responded.
"We will, we will."
Carter landed a firm kick to the last criminal's gut, and the man went down like the other two.
As the alleyway plunged into silence, Carter looked around him pulling his black mask down so he could catch his breath.
The three men, along with the money they had stolen, laid motionless on the ground.
"T...This was a waste of time," he growled to himself, "None of these guys could tell me anything just like everyone else."
Out of rage and frustration at the situation, Carter kicked one of the already-unconscious criminals hard in the ribs, and a sickening crack could be heard followed by a grunt escaping the man's mouth.
Carter calmed his breathing, but his blood still angered with fury. All he wanted to do was break every bone in every criminals' body. However, he heard sirens wailing not too far away; he needed to leave.
When the police arrived, and shined their flashlights in the alleyway all they saw was the three criminals, and the stolen money scattered around their limp bodies.
However, they didn't see the figure jump back onto the roof, and break into a sprint as dawn began to break.
"What do you want to do?" Carter asked, as he and Mariah strolled down the side-walk, cars zipping on the road.
"Let's go get ice cream!" She responded with a bright smile.
Carter gave a small chuckle, and placed a hand on Mariah's shoulder as she started to take the lead. "How about we save that for the end?" he suggested.
"Oh yeah, definitely save that for the end." Mariah agreed. Carter took a look around at the street, and spotted a clothing shop across the street.
"How about we go look for those Overalls you've been wanting so badly?" he offered.
Mariah spotted the clothing shop, and her eyes lit up. Carter took that as a yes, before placing his hand in Mariah's, and leading her safely across the street.
Rain coldly fell on Carter, turning his navy blue sweatshirt into an almost black color.
He knew if he stayed there he would most likely get sick, but he didn't care. He looked down at his blood-stained knuckles; the blood that covered his hands were both his own and the criminals that he beat up earlier.
If his mind wasn't so full of painful thoughts and memories, Carter would have probably dozed off right there on the roof in the rain. He shivered; it really was getting cold.
Slowly, Carter got to his feet, but continued to keep his dim eyes, on the rooftops of the city before him. He stepped back, and took a deep breath before turning on his heel, and sprinting to the door, that led inside the building, splashing noises sounding after every step he took
"How do I look, Carter?" Mariah asked, coming out of the dressing room.
The older brother looked her way, and a smile lit up his face for the 100th time that day. "You look amazing, Mari." he exclaimed, using the childhood nickname he had given her.
Mariah gave another toothy grin, as she adjusted the straps of the Overalls she was currently wearing. "These are the perfect fit." she smiled.
"Well, that didn't take long, hurry up and change back into your old clothes. We need to hurry it along before it gets too dark." Carter told Mariah.
The little sister zipped back into the dressing room to re-change, and Carter placed himself back on the wall.
"Where's your leader?" Carter growled, as he pinned a gang member to the stone wall of an abandoned building.
"I...I don't know, man, you have to believe me." the man stuttered, holding his hands up in terror.
"But he's the leader of the gang you're a part of, how can you not know?" he asked, jamming his wrist into the guy's throat.
"He comes and goes whenever he pleases and doesn't tell anyone where he's going, but I can tell you where he usually holds his meetings." the man shakily responded.
Carter's eyes went wide for a moment, but they quickly narrowed again. "I'm listening."
"That was so much fun, we should do this more often." Mariah exclaimed as she held her strawberry with a waffle cone in one, and her bag filled with newly bought clothes in the other.
"If we did this more often, then it wouldn't be special." Carter explained, before licking the chocolate ice cream.
"I guess you're right." Mariah responded, her eyes down-casting to the sidewalk pavement.
Carter put his arm around Mariah's shoulder, and said, "I had fun today too."
They turned the corner, and the next moments were the longest and most painful in his life.
Carter crawled through the broken window, making sure he avoided the sharp edges of the left-over glass.
The building he had just broken into was an old factory building that was now barren and empty, however, Carter knew there was more to this building then he could see at first glance.
Alert, he snuck around the building, partially sliding across the smooth, and slick concrete floor.
Carter froze; someone was coming! Quickly, he sprinted to and up the stairway, and flattened himself on the top platform, and silenced his breathing behind the black mask.
"Shouldn't we be talking about the idiot who keeps attacking our people? Business is going down because of him." one of the younger men said, as he and three other people came into the room.
"He'll pay eventually, but we got other matters to attend to." responded the leader of the group.
Carter's breath got caught in his throat when he saw the leader of the group; on his arm there was tattoo of a symbol, a symbol Carter had seen once before. This was the man that killed Mariah.
His eyes narrowed with rage at the sight; Carter was going to make the leader wish he had killed him too that night one year ago.
Blood trickled into Carter's eyes when he tried forcing them open. His body felt heavy, and when he tried to breathe in, he ended up breathing in smoke, sending him into a coughing fit.
"M...Mariah," Carter tried calling out, but instead his voice came out broken and raspy.
He turned himself on his torso, and tried picking himself, but his arms were too shaky and weak; he fell right back on his stomach.
Carter looked around him, ruins of brick, and the orange light of fire were casted around him. The building had been blown up!
A limp figure feet away from where he laid, caught Carter's eyes, and his head turned.
"Mari..." he gasped; the young girl was completely motionless, and she was laying in a puddle of blood....her blood.
He quickly crawled to her side, ignoring his own physical pain. Her face was blacked from rumble, she was bleeding from giant gash in her side, and.....she wasn't breathing.
"No....no, no, no!" he shouted, tears streaming down his cheeks. Carter looked up, looking for help, but instead he saw the person responsible.
On the other side of the flame was the criminal, wearing a mask, carrying two bags of money, and sporting a tattoo on his upper arm. That image would be engraved into Carter's mind for the rest of his life.
There were only two sounds: Carter's breathing, and the leader's breathing.
The three men had been taken down in a matter of seconds: Carter had saved the leader for last, but instead of only knocking them out like the others, he would kill him.
Without warning, or any kind of noise, Carter lunged at the leader, pinned him to the floor, stuck his knee onto the man's throat, and pulled out a knife.
Carter hadn't used the knife yet; it had been a year since he decided to put on a mask and hoodie every night, and go out as a vigilante, and he's never used the knife.
He decided to save it for when he found his sister's murderer, and now that time had come.
"So, you're the one who's been taking down all our people." the leader chuckled, though it was hard due to the pressure of the knee pressing on his throat.
"Shut up," Carter commanded, in a tone that would make anything who were to hear the order get goosebumps.
"Do you remember that bank you blew up a year ago?" he sneered.
The leader laughed, and said, "Oh yeah, I remember, got a lot of money out of that one."
Disgusted by the man's response, Carter took his knee off the guy's throat and replaced it with the silver blade of the knife.
"You killed my baby sister, and all we were trying to do was get to spend some lost time with each other. For that, I'm going to kill you." he snarled.
At that response, the leader's eyes widened in fear and terror, and that made Carter smile under the mask.
"My sister's killer is scared, good."
When that thought hit him, Carter immediately stopped and his eyes went wide. He sounded like a murderer himself. Would Mariah want this?
He started to think, was he doing this for Mariah or for himself out of hatred and anger? Maybe it started out for Mariah, but it wasn't anymore.
Letting out an angry shout, Carter threw his knife across the room, looked back down at the murderer, and slammed his fist into the man's skull, knocking him out cold.
Carter tore his mask down, wiped stray tears away, and walked out of the building, not going back for the knife that almost made him a killer himself.
30 minutes later...
Carter stood on the roof of a building not to far away from where he nearly committed murder. Police cars were surrounding the building, informed of the gang activity by an "anonymous tip."
He turned his back on the building, and thought to himself for a moment; his sister's killer was behind bars after a year of hunting down. Now what?
Carter took a deep breath; after he came back from the army and reunited with Mariah, he didn't think he'd ever fight again, but now he thought differently.
He could stop people from losing their children, brothers, or sisters; keep people from feeling the pain he felt, so that's what he would do.
Carter broke into a sprint, and raced across the rooftops. He's had his revenge, but now he had a new cause; keep people from having that awful feeling of revenge themselves.