The Cost

May 06, 2015:

Released from SHIELD on a mission that is beyond classified, Kwabena Odame takes a critical step in preparing himself for the long, difficult road ahead.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA

As Suwaidi District

t was 104° in the desert, and the heat became something of a sweltering soup within the densely populated As Suwaidi district. Even hunkered down inside the shade of a watering hole, beads of sweat glistened upon the African's dark skin. It was rarely this hot in Ghana; even in the Capitol of Accra.

He wiped the sweat from his face with a towel, then replaced the item with a cold beer, the label reading something in Arabic. It was good beer. It was refreshing.

There, upon the table before him, was a notebook. Rough around the edges, for it had been found in a re-sale shop near the central area of the city, but untainted save for the scrawlings he'd made over the past few hours. Names. Contacts. Checks and X's. Addresses and phone numbers. Email and IP addresses. Code names, dates, dollar amounts, names of shell corporations. One or two lines from 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond.'

Next to the notebook lay a pack of cigarettes. Beyond it, a small charm. Something ancient and altogether not his style.

-

"This trinket," seethed the short, stubby half-troll, "this is what you are looking for. Wear the item around your neck and the spirit of the Ancient will protect you."

Kwabena reached for the item, only to be stopped by a hiss from the half-troll.

"Not until you agree to the price." She smiled wickedly.

"De price?"

"Yes…" The half-troll from the Nowhere Market sneered. "The price…"

-

With a purposeful motion, the African reached for the charm and draped it around his neck. Upon the pages of that notebook there was a list of names; each one had been crossed off. He was truly alone in this job, this mission. The price? Well, Kwabena would just have to deal with it.

For a few long moments, nothing happened. Then, an inky blackness crept upon the edges of his eyes. His fingers curled into fists, fingernails etching little marks into the wooden surface beneath them. However, the deep, otherworldly black stopped before consuming him completely, leaving silver irises to stare at the world with orbs as black as the pupils within.

This time, the voice came not from his mouth, but rather, it echoed inside his mind. At first, there was laughter. Vicious laughter. The Beast, sought to be set free, considered itself once more in control… until the mystical power of the trinket blocked its power.

he laughter became a scream; one of enraged, primal anger. So loud it became that the African closed his eyes, bared his teeth in a suffered grimace, and leaned his head down until it rested upon the table. The Beast, mastered, then delivered its price; a trade for accepting its new home not as a Master of the Puppet, but as the Denizen of a new Prison.

When finally his eyes were opened, the inky blackness was gone, save for its home where red veins now crawled across white orbs filled with black, tainted blood; and Kwabena was made to remember everything.

With a blank, numb stare, he reached for that bottle of beer and drank it down, gulp after gulp.

It was time to begin his mission.

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