Yin [or Don't Die in the Desert]
My name is Dane Johnson and I love to kill. The only job I can do it officially is bounty hunter. Well as official as I can find anyway. It's not a job you can be respected for back on Earth but here on Mars, the new wild west, it's a perfectly respectable profession. I really couldn't make it anywhere else but Mars.
The year is 2120 and the humans have spread throughout the solar system. There's 10 billion on Earth, it's packed to the seams, there's 500 million on Mars, another 100 million on the moons of Jupiter and another 50 million on various stations throughout the solar system.
Mars is in the process of terraforming. A lot of it is dead desert, but the urban areas are very lush. I often take the train through the desert and find it very beautiful, but it will eat you up.
I am here on behalf of Satan.
I have a sleep problem and a drug problem so I tend to hallucinate a lot.
I have my magnum and I'm a space fucking cowboy.
I'm after a mark. I know two others are too. One of them is a nice man, too pure for this world, name is Dwayne, he's here from Jesus. The other man is even nastier than me, Dirk, he's here from Satan too. He enjoys the killing too but he's less self aware... Very petty and self interested.
The mark is at a club in Colony 3. I drop an amphetamine. I see the other two go in the front, I decide to go in the back. Most people don't try the back, you need a gun to get in through the back. I meet two of the mark's thugs in the back, I start a conversation and then unload on them mid sentence. "Hey man which way to th-" Bang. Bang. "-e bar." Everybody falls for that one.
I go inside and grab the mark. I pull him into the back room as he yells "Help! Help!" I say "Shut up or this will go even worse for you." I take him into the back and shoot him. Everyone who knows who the dude is doesn't ask me any questions.
I take out my mobile device, take a picture of the body and text it to FindMeFrCash and the one who put the bounty out. I get an alert from my bank saying the money is in.
I walk back into the bar, get a scotch neat and sit myself down in front of one of the dancers. Dirk gives me the evil eye from afar. Dwayne comes up to me and says "Well played." Sits down and we talk shit at eachother. Well natured shit. I tell him "My secret is amphetamines, they keep me sharp." He tells me "I'll stick with alcohol and marijuana." "Fair." I tell him "It's much easier to do it my way, making them dead, taking them alive is just an extra pain in your ass, you know they're just gonna kill them when they get them." "Yeah but I rest easier knowing it wasn't me that killed them." "But it is. It is." "I don't see it like that."
We get up and walk out. Dirk is waiting there for me. He starts shoving me. I say "Tough shit I beat you to this one." "Fuck you I'll get you." "I bet you will, I bet you will..."
I'm riding the train through the desert to get home, I live in Colony 5, it's a while away.
I'm approached by a man who says "You know this desert is very unforgiving. It's easy to get lost and die out there." "What's your point?" "I'd hate to see it happening to you so stop doing these contracts and get a real job. You have the talent." "I'm not interested in a real job." "I speak for the mayor of Colony 5." "I'll do work for the mayor, I don't care who pays me." "This is my stop. We'll meet again. Watch your back."
I turn to the guy sitting beside me and say "You know I hallucinate a lot. Was there a man talking to me just now?" "Uh, yes. Sounded like the kind of conversation I don't want anything to do with." "Great thanks."
Can't fall asleep thinking of the people I've killed. I start to think of the man on the train. Suddenly there's an image of him with a light at his back holding a sword to me, I have a dark void at my back. He's reaching out with one hand but the void keeps me from being able to extend my hand, it sucks it back.
I lie there until 6:00 in the morning when I'm disturbed by a phone call. It's the man from the train. I say "Look I know you're God's man trying to save me from the devil but I'm too far gone." "I was told you were a little crazy." "Well I can't do it I'm sorry, the devil has his claws in too deep." I hang up.
I get up, drop an amphetamine and have a cold shower. I notice I'm low on amphetamines.
I go to the drug store to get some. Man says "You go through a lot of these, be careful, do you sleep?" "If I could sleep I wouldn't take so many." "Watch out, if you don't sleep these things won't keep you from going loopy." "I've heard that can happen." "Maybe you should switch to coffee." I grab him by the collar and say "I'm not loopy. I'm the only one who sees the truth." "Oo... kay... Well have a good day."
I get an alert on my mobile device about a new mark... It's my brother... My brother works for a drug lord. I decide this one needs to be me, I text my two rivals and tell them they need to let me have this one. Dwayne agrees but as expected Dirk does not. He says "Fuck you I'll make him suffer."
I get to the drug den and break the door down. He says "...Brother? Boy I must have fucked up good." I have a change of heart and say "I'll get you out of here!" But then Dirk shoots him in the head and says "Fuck I didn't get to make him suffer." I shoot at Dirk but he's already gone. I scream and swear.
I vow to track down the people who put a hit on my brother.
I go to the mayoral office and ask to speak to the man who spoke to me. I tell him "I'll work for you if you do one thing for me, find the people who put out a hit on my brother." "Okay give me his number and I'll give you an address."
He comes back later and says "I can't give you the address, this man is protected by the office of the mayor." I shove him over and run into the office and find his address on the screen. He says "Watch your back, this is a career ending move, and you know how people like you end their careers." I hold my gun up and say "You can find me once this is over I don't give a shit."
I'm after Eric McGarnigal.
I take the train to Colony 2, where Eric lives. I rent a car and get to his house. It's well guarded. I hallucinate a pillar of light coming from the centre of the house and extending into the heavens, it's calling out to me. There's a black pit beneath the house that also feels like it's calling out to me.
I sneak around the side of the house and behind the two guards and shoot them dead. I go back and walk into the front door and shoot two more guards. I walk down the hallway to a room guarded by one guard, I shoot him dead. I walk into Eric's study and see him working on his computer with his back turned to the door. His child is playing on the floor in the middle of the room. I say "Sorry, kid" and shoot his father in the back of the head.
An alarm sounds and I hear lots of stomping. I look out the door and see men running. I shoot two of them and they start firing on me. I go back into the office and grab the kid. I use him as a human shield as I hold a gun to his head. The guards drop their guns and I walk out the front door.
I drop the kid on the ground and run to my rented car.
They pursue in their cars after firing a few rounds at me as they run to their cars.
I turn the wrong way down a one way street and a pedestrian jumps out of the way. I cut a red light and three cars follow me but one gets struck by oncoming traffic. They start shooting at me again. I hallucinate the devil sitting beside me. He says "This is the day that made you, you don't have long now." Then he disappears. I say "Love you, bye."
I snap back to it and realize one is right on my bumper. I turn real fast into oncoming traffic and the car pulls up beside me in the proper lane and starts shooting at me. I slam on the breaks and do a U-turn going the right way in traffic. I lose that one but another one is coming up to me going the opposite way also does a U-turn. I run a red light and the other car stops.
I pull into a parking garage and ditch the car.
As I'm walking out of the parking garage I get an alert on my mobile device, FindMeFrCash, and it's me. Under my breath I say "Oh shit." I take an amphetamine.
Then there's another alert, it's Dirk. Under my breath I say "Huh."
The devil appears behind me and says "This'll be a good one." And then he disappears. I say "I love you, bye" as another man walks beside me and gives me a funny look. I say "I was just, uh... I was thinking out loud. Sorry."
I call up Dwayne and tell him "Look, me and Dirk are both burned so I was thinking I could catch Dirk and sell him to you, then you can go and sell him to the authorities. I'll keep him alive so they're not suspicious." He says "That's funny, Dirk offered me the same deal." "So who's side are you on?" "I guess whoever delivers first."
I go to Dirk's house and kick down the door. I stalk from room to room but the place is empty. I go on his computer and find a video open: "I know you're looking for me. I'm looking for you. I think this will be very fun. I can't kill you but I can hurt you. And I will hurt you. May the best man win."
I hear people coming and figure it's the police so I jump out a window and slip away.
I go back to my house only to find the police there. "Shit, my stash." I only have one amphetamine left. I'll take it when I'm close. Most of my money is in there too I only have a little on me. I may need it to survive I won't buy more amphetamine. Shit, I only have 9 rounds in my magnum.
I walk across the street to go back to the train. The devil appears beside me and says "Jump." A car comes flying by and hits me, I spiral through the air then land on my feet. I say "Huh! That was a good one" and run off to an ally. The guy gets out of the car, it's Dirk, and starts shooting at me. I shoot one bullet at him before going into the ally. "One."
I run into the ally and up a fire escape of an apartment building. I raise the ladder and climb to the roof. I look down and see Dirk in a fire fight with the police, he takes out one of them. I hear more and more sirens coming and Dirk flees in his car. "The police can't fucking have him I want him." and "By the way I didn't get a chance to thank you, Satan. Love you." Satan appears beside me "No problem, I'm rooting for you, but frankly I have my claws in both of you, it's that goody good you want to sell him to that fights for God. You should take him out." "Maybe when I'm done with this one, but he's a nice guy I really don't have a reason to kill him." "You are my hand and you will do as I say." "Yes boss." "In fact, kill that cop walking towards us I think he saw you." I go over to the edge of the building and see him looking around. I scramble down to the last level before the ladder and shoot him in the head. "Two."
I jump down to the ground and run out the other end of the ally.
I see Dirk driving down this road with two cops on his tail. I carjack a guy stopped at a light and go after them. He turns down a one way street and the cops follow, I follow too.
He pulls into the next street and runs a red light. The cops follow, I tail the cops to make sure traffic is still stopped for us. He U-balls and so does the cop, so do I. He veers into the wrong lane and the cops pull up beside him. He turns down a street, the cops attempt to follow but get into an accident. I swerve around the crash and keep following.
He goes out of town and I keep following him out into the desert.
I follow for about two hours and then he pulls off into the desert off road. I follow. I chase him for about another half hour and he stops and gets out of his car. I stop behind him and get out of the car. "Looks like one of us is going to die in the desert." He shoots out my front tires. I shoot at him twice and miss as he jumps behind his car. "Three. Four."
He laughs and gets back in his car and peels out. Yells "I'll be back for the corpse. For certain reasons it will be the desert that kills you."
No visible tracks, all rock... I guess I'll just walk in what I think is a straight line. I'm freezing and getting sunburnt at the same time. Starting to feel withdrawals, starting to feel tired. I throw up and I feel like an evil sludge comes out of me. I hallucinate the vomit turns to black on the ground and a black mist starts coming out of it. It opens a portal and I feel myself getting sucked into it. I feel a hand on my shoulder, it's Jesus. "You are not too far gone my son, you can still be saved." "Sorry, but I'm taken." Jesus turns into a demonic skeleton and dissolves, then the devil comes up out of it. "Well it's all the same anyway who cares..." "What are you saying?" "I'm saying go fuck off and die in the desert it doesn't matter what you do. Nothing you do makes any sort of difference." "...Well I wasn't trying to make a difference, but I hope I at least have a little impact on this world." "Give it 100 years and everything will be the same as it was if you never existed." "You're usually so nice to me." "Oh I like you, but you're just entertainment to me, you are not the extension of me you thought you were." "I'm not?"
A day goes by, but I can't sleep or I'll surely die in my sleep.
I see a vision of the man on the train. He is illuminated. He is kneeling at the chair of the mayor, who sits on a golden throne. King of the new west, ordained by God. The devil says "This guy is no fun. He wants order. Who want's order? He's going to kill the wild west." "Well it wasn't going to last forever."
I see a vision of the man in the drug store. I see an endless reel of him handing out drugs and people taking drugs. He turns into a fat cat in a top hat who dangles drugs in front of me. The devil says "This one I like. The one who keeps us high. Devoting your life to drugs is a real class act." "Are you being sarcastic?" "I'm always being sarcastic, but no."
I see a vision of Dirk, face to face with myself, clunching his fist and making an angry face. The devil is above us watching and clapping. Dwayne is off to the side shaking his head and smiling, a white light around him.
The ground in front of me splits open and fire and brimstone are beneath. The mayor is desperately trying to put the two parts back together, grabbing on to both sides. Eventually he splits in half but the sides go back together. Flowers grow out of the two parts of his body. The devil says "His side will win, but he won't live to see it happen. He will give everything he has to Mars.
I eventually find my way to the road and flag down a passing driver. I say "I'm going to Colony 3." He says "Well I'm going to Colony 4." I pull out my pistol and say "No you're going to Colony 3." "Ah life on Mars. I guess there's a reason they say don't pick up hitchhikers." I get in the car and say "I could have just car jacked you I'm doing you a favour letting you keep the car." "Well I appreciate it. He you look familiar, have I seen you before?" "I doubt it." "Yeah! You were on the news!" "I was what?" "I just saw you on the news. You are to be considered armed and dangerous." "I'm on the fucking news?" "Yeah you killed some drug enforcer and his bodyguards. They had a big military funeral for him and everything." "Well he got on my wrong side by threatening my family. My estranged family but still." "Oh you're some noble defender of justice are you?" "Nope I just like killing." "Eep." "I tend not to kill the innocent. 'Course I'm on the FindMeFrCash and on the news anyway so it wouldn't make much of a difference." I point the gun at his head and cock it. "Oh god please no!" I put the gun back in my pocket and say "Just kidding." "You're a funny guy." "I'm a blast at parties."
"We're coming up to Colony 3, where you going?" "Don't care, don't know where he is, Satan will lead me to him." "Never figured you for the religious type." "Well I am." "Well okay here you go, thanks for not killing me." I get out of the car and he peels out.
Immediately people point, some start to run away. "Right, shit." I walk into a clothing store and buy a hood with the biggest hood. The clerk was scared shitless. I put the sweater on and the hood over most of my face when suddenly sirens outside. "You fuck you hit the alarm!" "I just did what I should have. Scum like you are making the planet run scared." I pull out my gun and point it at him. I say "You...!" I shake my hand and say "You fucking dick!"
I run out the back, where there are two cops cars. I shoot two of them. "Five. Six." I get shot in the arm. I shoot the other two "Seven. Eight. Oh shit." I run down the ally as more cop cars approach.
Chapter Twenty One
Suddenly I see Dirk turning down this ally running from the police. I shoot him in the head. "Nine! Hah! Nice."
I guess it ends here. Nobody gets the bounty.
I walk out of the ally with my hands on my head and the police take me down.
Chapter Twenty Two
My lawyer pleads insanity on account of my hallucinations. I figure sure sounds good better the asylum than prison.
They have me heavily medicated and they took away my last amphetamine, I really wanted to use it at some pivotal moment but whatever. I tell them I have ADD and I need my amphetamines but they don't buy it. With the shit they have me on I can finally sleep now. I'm not even really bothered by my murders. Yeah not bad. Too bad everyone in here is a little crazy for me, and if I'm going to be around crazy I'd rather have my gun.
The mayor comes to visit me. "So this battle of good versus evil has come to a close." "You see it too? You work for Christ?" "Yes, I work for Christ, and you work for the devil. This much I know." "Well, well played." "And you. I had to meet you. People thought I was crazy when I said you were Satan himself. Maybe we're both a little crazy." "Nice visit. Goodbye." "Goodbye."
I call out for the devil but the devil never comes. Now I walk up and down the hallways saying "I was Satan's chosen one."