“praise The Lord” (1)

Praise The Lord : A Killer’s Pact Chapter 1 (Offer From A Mirror)

13th February 2024 | 42 Views

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1. Offer From A Mirror

Sunlight bled through the dense canopy, painting the forest floor in shades of crimson agony. Two figures lay sprawled amidst the damp undergrowth, mirror images of pain etched into their features, yet their fates diverged as much as their wounds. Mark, an aspiring cop, clutched his fractured jaw, the mangled bus a fading nightmare echoing in his head. Beside him, Michael, the specter, coughed blood, his left arm twisted at an unnatural angle, a chilling reminder of the shadowy organization he once served.

Their injuries spoke volumes. Mark’s defensive wounds hinted at a desperate struggle, while Michael’s calculated brutality sent shivers down Mark’s spine. Though their resemblance was uncanny, an unsettling echo in their features and hazel eyes, their paths were starkly different. Mark, on the cusp of becoming a symbol of justice, and Michael, forever stained by the darkness he’d wrought.

As they gasped for breath, the weight of their mirrored faces settled heavily. Mark, his vision swimming, pieced together Michael’s profession through his wounds and demeanor. Fear, cold and sharp, slithered down his spine despite his desire to be a cop.

Michael, in turn, studied Mark with a flicker of surprise in his bloodshot eyes. A ghost of a smile played on his lips, laced with predatory amusement.

“Strange, isn’t it?” he rasped, his voice like gravel scraping against bone. “Almost like fate twisted a mirror and dropped it here.”

Mark’s eyes narrowed, tracing the twisted tapestry of scars on Michael’s body. He understood what happened to Michael after observing his injuries. But the murderous glint in Michael’s eyes, his well trained body, the nonchalant recklessness in his tone gave a way Michael’s profession to the soon to be cop. 

The forest’s hushed symphony bore witness as he corrected, blood staining his words. “Not fate,” he rasped, spitting out the metallic taste. “Justice. You brought this on yourself.”

Even in his anger, his voice betrayed a tremor, a faint echo of Michael’s own weary defiance. It was as if a part of him recognized the twisted reflection staring back, a chilling premonition of the path he might have walked.

Their shared appearance served as a constant reminder of their intertwined destinies, a morbid pact sealed in blood and pain. Yet, their injuries whispered of divergent paths. Mark’s wounds hinted at a future where he would fight, where he would rise. Michael’s, the marks of inflicted pain, hinted at a past he desperately sought to outrun. As they lay there, two sides of the same coin, their futures hung in the balance, forever linked by fate’s cruel hand, but determined to forge their own destinies, each for their own reasons.

Mark’s vision swam, the forest canopy dissolving into a dizzying kaleidoscope of green and sunlight. He tasted blood, metallic and thick, and felt a gnawing ache in his jaw with every attempted word. But adrenaline kept him awake, fueled by the need to understand, to act.

“Strange, isn’t it?” Michael wheezed, his voice ragged. “Almost like fate twisted a mirror and dropped it here.”

Mark’s eyes narrowed. “Not fate,” he corrected, spitting out blood. “Justice. You brought this on yourself.”

A mirthless chuckle escaped Michael’s lips. “Justice has many faces, cop. Mine just wears a different mask.”

Mark’s gaze narrowed. “Not a cop yet,” he corrected, wincing as he tried to sit up. “Was on my way to the academy. Now…” he trailed off, frustration gnawing at him.

“Now you’re stuck in purgatory with a ghost,” Michael finished, a sardonic flicker in his eyes. “Don’t worry, your little badge wouldn’t have saved you from the vultures who got me anyway.”

“Vultures?” Mark echoed, suspicion lacing his voice. “You some kind of carrion feeder too?”

Michael chuckled, a harsh, humorless sound. “Worse. Think organized, think silenced screams, the kind that echo long after the victim’s gone.”

Mark’s gut clenched. This wasn’t a random encounter. “Organization… you mean like the ones they say run this city from the shadows?”

“The very same,” Michael confirmed, his gaze distant. “And they don’t like loose ends, like me walking away.”

Silence stretched, heavy with unspoken questions and the rustle of unseen leaves. A tense beat passed, and Michael scoffed.

“Dead men tell no tales,” he rasped, wincing as he shifted his weight. “And they fear loose ends more than anything.”

“And what about you?” Mark pressed, his curiosity turning to suspicion. “Do you fear them so much you’d leave a fellow soul to bleed out here?”

A flicker of anger touched Michael’s eyes, briefly eclipsing the amusement. “I fear nothing, cop-to-be,” he hissed, his voice tight. “But survival has a price, and mine happens to involve getting out of this godforsaken forest alive.”

“And what happens after?” Mark persisted, his gaze unwavering. “Back to the shadows, back to their leash?”

Michael studied Mark, the accusation in his eyes both irritating and oddly familiar. Then, the slow, humorless smile reappeared.

“Let’s just say,” he started, his voice low and dangerous, “they have something I want more than my next breath.”

Mark raised an eyebrow, intrigued despite the throbbing pain. “And what could that be?”

“Redemption,” Michael spat the word, a bitter taste lingering in his mouth. “A clean slate, a world where the ghosts I raised don’t haunt every step I take.”

Mark scoffed, the sound ragged and tinged with blood. “Redemption? From the likes of you?” He gestured weakly at Michael’s wounds, each a testament to his darkness. “You think surviving is the same as starting over?”

Michael’s smile vanished, replaced by a flicker of anger. “Maybe not for you, cop-to-be,” he hissed, his voice tight. “But for me, every breath is a borrowed one. And I intend to cash in on that debt.”

Mark scrutinized him, his gaze wary. This wasn’t the desperate man pleading for escape he’d imagined. Instead, he found himself staring into the eyes of a predator, a calculating force orchestrating the chaos around them. Trust, in this moment, was not just a gamble; it felt like playing a game of chance with his last remaining chips.

Phanindra Pocharaju



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