Chapter 4: The System
The explanation from Damion continued about today’s special task. There were five briefcases in front of them, and there were five of them. Each person was to deliver the suitcase in front of them to the correct location safely, and naturally they had all been given different locations.
Damion continued to mention some other details, but Gary was not paying too much attention to that, still focused on the briefcase in front of him, waiting for it to move again. Gary was smart enough to figure out the reason for there being five of them. A few of them had to be dummies, mixed in to confuse whoever might plan to steal them.
If his intuition was right, the one in front of him was the real one. That and the fact that he could have sworn he saw it move, although ever since he had started staring at it, it had behaved like a normal suitcase.
‘Am I imagining things?’ Gary started to doubt himself.
He looked at one of the men in a suit who was closest to the case. The two of them made eye contact for a brief second before Gary looked away. If he kept up eye contact for any longer, he was worried he was going to get hit.
“Alright, are there any questions?” Damion asked.
One of the students standing there raised his hand. He was a tall, weak-looking boy with curly hair. He hadn’t been in the organisation for long, and Gary had only seen him a couple of times.
“What’s in the package?” The boy asked.
Immediately, Gary clenched his fist and looked down at the floor as he knew what was coming next. Just as expected, a few seconds later he heard a whack and could see the student tumble from the corner of his eye.
The man looked like he was about to hit him again, but Damion interrupted him, “Stop. The boy is still new, so I’ll forgive him.” Damion then looked at the others before stopping at Gary. “Greeny, tell him the rules of being a transporter.”
“Yes ,Boss,” Gary answered, turning his body looking down the line of people. “Never take the package, never ask what’s in the package, and never look inside the package!”
“Excellent,” Damion replied with a slow clap. “Break one of these rules and… let’s just say you don’t want to break these rules. I can proudly tell you that we never had anyone break the rules twice. Make of that what you will.”
Clicking his fingers, one of the suited men handed each of them a small wad of cash tied up with an elastic band. It wasn’t thick like in the movies, but judging by the size and weight, this job was the highest paying job Gary had ever been on.
Each of them had been given five hundred dollars, which was just half of the payment upfront. Upon completing the job they would get the other half when they returned. Seeing the amount of money in his hand, Gary gulped. A thousand dollars was a lot of money to him. Especially for someone who was sixteen and best of all it would go a long way to help out his family.
He was already doing calculations in his head. They could pay the electric and gas bill, and with what would be left, he could buy a new phone for his sister. This money was nothing for the gangsters, and simply put they were taking advantage of the students, both sides were aware of that, but the students didn’t have another choice.
Where would they get a job at their age, not mention such a high paying one? All the supermarket and fast-food jobs had been replaced by computer screens and machinery. The construction sites were already full of manual labourers. Only technology whiz-kids might get a job helping another corporation be the next new thing, and Gary wasn’t one of these people.
That type of stuff was more suited to his friend Tom.
Each of them was given a location, and the job had officially started. Picking up the metal suitcase, it had some weight to it, but it was hard for him to tell if there was anything inside or if that was just the case’s weight.
Jiggling it he was trying to guess what it was, and once again another man was giving him a stare.
‘Right, don’t ask what’s in the case.’
They left the nightclub, and then each of them went their separate ways, including the tall, curly-haired boy who now had a bloody nose.
“Stay safe guys,” Gary said quietly, more to himself than the others, as each of them went off. During all of this, there was one big worry at the back of Gary’s mind. This was the highest paying job they had ever received. The gangsters wouldn’t just hand out money willy-nilly, so this also meant it was the most dangerous job that he had ever been given as well.
There had been no problems so far on all of his runs. It was the reason why the Underdogs were using students in the first place. They didn’t look suspicious, and their faces were unknown. There was less of a chance for the students to rat them out to another gang and they would be too scared to do something like that anyway.
Still, with every job there was this risk, and it didn’t get easier. On the contrary, with each successful mission, it felt that at some point his luck would run out.
It was safe to say that Gary stood out a bit. He was running around with a fancy metal briefcase that looked too fancy for the clothes he was wearing. Usually, he would do his drop-offs on foot, so he was still in his trainers and his favourite black and red tracksuit.
He didn’t care about the gawking eyes that were looking at him, and he just hurried on to the location. When he had eventually reached the location, it turned out to be a construction site. The workers had already left and gone home for the day. The initial foundation for an apartment block had already been built, but there were no walls or roof yet.
For his job, Gary was to give the briefcase to a person that was meant to meet him there. He waited in the apartment building centre, where there was nothing but the ground and a few cement bags here and there.
Gary was nervously tapping his foot and continued to look all over the place. When he pulled out his phone, it was now 8:05 pm, already past the meeting time.
“Hello!” Gary shouted, “I’m here.” His voice echoed slightly, but there was no reply.
‘Am I in the wrong place?’ he thought to himself. After double-checking he was in the right place, he sent a text to Damion.
[No one here, what should I do?]
It was the first time something like this had happened.
Tired of waiting, Gary started to walk around, checking if he could spot the person.
Then, while walking around, he saw it. He discovered a dark red liquid on the floor, coming from behind one of the building’s support pillars.
‘Please tell me that’s just paint.’ Gary silently prayed.
This wasn’t some movie and Gary wasn’t dumb enough to go around that pillar when he was already sure there would be a dead person behind it.
*Ding* his phone went off.
He pulled the phone out of his pocket, and there were only two words.
Lifting his head, he could see a four-inch blade coming right towards him. Out of instinct, the only thing he could do was lift the metal suitcase up, and thankfully a clanging sound was heard as the suitcase clashed with the knife, protecting his face.
He only saw the man who had thrown the knife for a brief second, because before he knew it, Gary was running for his life. He didn’t know where he was running, he just knew he had to get away from that psycho. He could feel his heart beating so loudly that he thought it would jump out of his chest. He also noticed that his underwear was feeling uncomfortably warm as he had let the fluids held up in him go.
‘I’m going to die, I’m going to die! That was a real gangster, and he just tried to stab me.’
Running towards where he came from, he saw a few more men at the gate that were wearing suits. As soon as they saw him, they charged at him as well.
‘There’s more! What the hell do I do?’
Dashing to the side, he left the apartment block and was now heading to the more gritty area of the construction site, where there were several mounds of dirt, diggers, and more. The problem was, there were only two entrances to the construction site, the one that he had entered from and the other on the opposite end.
One was stationed in the north, the other south, yet in his panic he had run west… There was a wall surrounding the area and on the top there was barbed wire. Even if he didn’t care about hurting himself, scaling something like that would have been impossible.
Eventually, the adrenaline in Gary’s body had lessened, and he was feeling incredibly weak after the rush. His hands and legs were shaking, and he knew he couldn’t run away for much longer. Diving in between objects he eventually decided to hide behind a dirt mound to catch his breath.
Gary could use several objects and things to hide in between, in his attempt to avoid the men chasing after him. Peaking around the hill of dirt he had hidden behind, he could see three of them in total, all with a blade in their hand.
At this point, Gary was wondering if he should call the police, but if he did, then it would just be his own gang after his life.
Suddenly, the suitcase started to move about again, flinging Gary’s hand slightly. It definetely felt like there was something alive inside.
‘What the hell is in there?’ But that wasn’t important right now.
Observing, he peeked around the corner again, planning to make his next move. He could see one person on his far left and the other on his far-right, searching between all the items for him.
‘Wait, where’s the third person?’
A sharp shooting pain spread in Gary’s lower back. It was suddenly throbbing and felt warm.
Gritting his teeth, Gary slung the suitcase while turning around. The corner managed to smash the top of his assaulter’s head, causing Gary to let go of the suitcase, which fell to the ground. The man appeared hurt and dizzy momentarily, but he wasn’t knocked out. More notably, Gary could see that his hands had blood on them.
Touching his back, he felt the blood there as well. He had been stabbed.
“Damn it, I’m just a kid in high school,” Gary blurted out.
The man looked stunned by the words for a second as it looked like Gary’s weaving body was about to fall over. From the shock and the tension of everything that was happening he fell towards the man. At that moment he started to think about his sister’s smile, and his mother’s crying face if he was to leave them now.
Before hitting the ground, he fought through the pain and placed his left foot out stabilising himself, he twisted his hip and back foot, and with his right hand he threw out the strongest push he could, hitting the man right on the chin. It wasn’t a jab but another punch that he had seen Kirk do. Learning the principles of the jab had set him up for this perfect punch. A right straight.
On contact, he felt it connect cleanly, and he felt a surge through his arm.
The man fell to the floor and was knocked out while at the same time, Gary fell down as well.
Despite his accomplishment, he felt tired, weak and just wanted to close his eyes. The only thing he could see in front of him was the suitcase. It was moving more than ever, so much so, that the suitcase looked to be jumping up and down.
“I don’t want to die,” Garry whispered, barely enough energy to speak.
He heard the sound of the suitcase opening up. The next moment his vision had gone to black. His senses were still slightly there, and he felt an even more immense pain now digging into his wrist. It was far worse than the stab, but he was too tired to even react or shout out.
Then, even with his eyes closed and his vision gone, something appeared in front of him.
[Congratulations you have been granted the Werewolf System!]
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