Reneé Valenti slowly stuck the key card to her apartment into its respective door slot, sighing quite wearily and trying not to move her facial muscles too much. The special lock beeped and clicked its approval and she withdrew the card smoothly, before turning the door handle to enter her abode.
She took a deep breath of the well-regulated conditioned air as she looked around. The apartment was a soothing mix of whites, off-whites, and brights, illuminated refreshingly by soft lights. Trendy furniture, some artsy, others minimalist but still stylish, decorated the abode (save for a good portion of Reneé's room), especially the entry hall and the living room.
It felt really good to be home, and home alone. Her mom and dad were getting ready for their performances.
As for her face, she still kept a good portion of it bandaged over despite the fact that the bleeding had long since stopped, because the scars from being slammed face-first through a fancy coffee table had not yet faded enough for her to be considered ready to film from the front by the crew of Lady Valentine, at least not without rather copious amounts of makeup. Her time at the set today consisted mainly of filming all the shots from behind anyway, to which Clifford Lane remarked, "At least she's still got a nice ass."
She and the whore who disfigured her kept their respective distances in the days - or was it weeks? - leading up to this day. Her gang also did her best not to disrespect her. The relief that the whore and her personal punching-bag were off on a field trip - giving her the whole day off - was compromised by the fact that several of her closet "friends" happened to be in their same homerooms.
Still, she'd managed to survive the day apart from a few verbal insults by a few freshmen who still didn't know who she was in that school. Their classmates were quick to silence them, because at least the rest of them knew that hell hath no fury like a disfigured Reneé Valenti scorned. But for the first time in a long time - party not counted - she felt...vulnerable.
Thankfully, that was just for today. Once her friends got back from their trip to the museum (Hope they have lots of fun with Damey and Kristey there...) everything would be back to normal tomorrow.
She flung her backpack to the side of the entry hall, then flung herself onto the couch across the family plasma-screen, skirt pulled down her legs just a bit as she landed on the plush faux-leather, and outstretched her limbs to help get herself more relaxed. Once she let those settle down, she plucked the remote control off the fancy coffee table in front of the sofa ...I'm really starting to hate those......and switched on the TV set.
My parents probably left it on C-Span or something before they left.
The first thing that greeted her as the TV hummed itself on was the view of a rather fancy hallway, much akin to a hotel lobby. The camera was focused on three figures, two with what appeared to be heavy weapons. Her attention was quickly drawn to the figure that shared the other two's common gunsights. She recognized that green sweater-vest and slacks. The slicked-back brown hair that topped a figure that would've been imposing had he not been in the crosshairs.
The figure that took a suicidal swing with his backpack at the man on the left.
Marvin's feeble attempt at a final swing had missed wide, but what else could he have expected from using something so bulky in an unwieldy manner? But to his surprise, he wasn't shot right then and there. Instead, Franco had decided to toy with him. He was starting to get scared again as Franco called him a liability, but his death was certain as soon as he decided to swing his bag at the goon with a shotgun anyway. Then his former inferior decided to charge up Russell's adrenaline. He stared into Russell's face as Franco's pep talk started to fuel a new rage...and his own.
It was then that all of Marvin's conviction, fear, and and adrenaline mixed and reacted together in his subconscious.
If you take a life do you know what you'll give?
Odds are, you won't like what it is
Marvin matched Russell's primal scream in its voracity as he took an extra "final" swing. It was a swing that barely started when it ended so prematurely.
When the storm arrives, would you be seen with me?
By the merciless eyes of deceit?
His eyes almost bugged out as Russell's shotgun exploded, the resulting blast - at such close range - effortlessly removing a sizeable chunk of his torso and effectively painting whatever was behind it a nice deep red with touches of pink, purple, and brown. Marvin's primal scream degenerated (or was that evolved?) into a scream of utter, unearthly agony as his body started to bend over in a direction not normally achieved by even the most agile gymnasts. Thankfully, the remaining flesh on the other side had managed to prevent itself from staying intact as he twisted and fell to the ground, his backpack slipping off his finger and landing nearby, supplies spilling out of the open lid. Still, it was quite unimaginably painful, enough that he was actually losing the strength to scream as he started to cough up blood and who-knew-what-else from his ruptured respiratory and digestive organs.
I've seen angels fall from blinding heights
But you yourself are nothing so divine
Just next in line
Marvin could only stare adamantly into Franco's eyes and grit his teeth as that slick charmer laid down his farewell wisdom. He groaned as he let this impudent wretch's calm, charming voice pass through his ears as Franco told him that it was Marvin's fault that Marvin was this weak, and he really was now, what with his strength quickly draining, and all. Franco told him that Franco kept his cool while he didn't. Each rang true in his mind, and it was something he would regret for precious seconds as his life too slipped away. But only seconds. For as much as he regretted what he'd done, to Franco, to Damien, to everyone, his mind was still essentially in its suicidal conviction mode, reinforced by the pain giving him an adrenaline rush that spouted invisibly into space from the hole in his torso.
Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you
At last, Marvin uttered a word. It was more of a guttural murmur, drowned in the blood that he was choking out of his mouth as whatever internal organs were left functioning after that blast were starting to shut down. It itself was combined with a spasmic cough, but it was still easy to tell what he'd meant. As such, the way he pronounced it also resulted in him spitting blood in Franco's eyes, but that was to be expected when one had a large chunk blasted out of his side, his spine somehow keeping him from literally folding in two down the wrong way as he fell. He put all his remaining effort into saying that single word.
You can't deny the prize, it may never fulfill you
It longs to kill you...
Are you willing to die?
Marvin Hendrick was already betrayed when he came between Franco's and Russell's guns. He knew his time was up before he started to swing his bag. He was dead even if he had dropped to his knees and begged when given the opportunity, one which had knocked and gone too fast for his pride. But at least he could make good on his word, even if nobody but divine providence was his witness. He was willing to die.
It's been swell, you bastard. I hope Reneé kills you slowly and painfully. Very painfully. As for me, I'll have the last laugh. 'Cause I'm going out with a...
To be fair, the resulting bang was more of a splat, but there was an explosion, just not the kind Marvin had expected. Franco's grenade collided head-on with the collar, cracking it and piercing its sharp plastic edges into Marvin's neck. He felt a split-second pain going through his neck from the impact of the grenade before the collar detonated with a similar noise as that of somewhere between the magnitude of a small rocket firework and an M80. This explosion literally ripped his throat out, and the gargling, choking noise made in reflex by something like this was completely drowned out by the bang and spurting blood.
The last thing Marvin Hendrick heard was his body's feeble attempt to muster a final breath. The last thing he saw was the blurring, bland colors of the hotel ceiling as his eyes glazed over. Time seemed to slow down as Marvin Hendrick's head finally tilted to one side. But he didn't feel a thing. It was as if all the pain that had been sowed into him by each buckshot seed was suddenly extracted and subsequently blasted out of his neck.
And for some reason, not feeling any pain was, in some strange twisted way, a good thing. At least he knew how Damien probably felt as he left the poor kid dying in a sewer. Freed from the pain of having been the abused one, albeit in Marvin's case, having been so for a shorter period of time and going without regret. The tables had finally been turned on this bully, but it was not to last, not to provide his abuser more than a moment's worth of high. He'd have his own comedown soon enough if and when Reneé got to him.
Ironically, it would be Nicole that would let her know, at least that's what he tried to think.
The utterly desecrated body of the "Plan B" heir to the Hendrick Industries corporate empire lay mangled on the lobby floor, its glazed eyes and mouth glued open in natural shock. It twitched a bit in its futile attempt to stave off the incoming rigor mortis. Its brain managed to register a last thought. A transmission for the ages to be received by nobody.
Fuck... Bang in...deed...
Reneé Valenti had endured the entire sight with wide eyes and a stomach that was weakened to the point of giving out in two parts, coinciding with each explosion. She didn't see Marvin's death gaze into the camera, by that time she was halfway to the bathroom, trying in vain to keep her lunch from coming out the wrong way.
She was in Denton, they were somewhere half-way across the world, far from the reach of any shotgun or sponge grenade. But with the voracity with which this lowly minion permanently ousted her second-in-command, she couldn't help what she was now feeling deeper than her digestive tract.
She knew what SOTF was, and she was now certainly hoping that karma would exact its fate on Franco Sebberts, which would very likely happen in any case. If in the very rare and unfortunate instance Franco would win the season, she would personally line up an expulsion and restraining orders up to his eyeballs, if other forces didn't do their job to make sure they were kept out of each other's line of sight, AND if she could not personally discipline that snob for his reckless impudence toward authority.
But for the second time in recent memory, she felt...vulnerable.
A backpack lay strap-side up on the ground, its excess supplies spilled out. Its most prominent feature, a bold military-stenciled number 49 on its opening flap followed by a name just under it, stared into the camera, not too far from Marvin's head.
The coldest blood runs through my veins...
You know my name...
The Hendricks would soon find out that their second son was dead, and realize how much they failed to truly love him until it was too late. They and their business connections would memorialize him in as many ways as they could afford with their spare cash, as was fitting for the son of any CEO. But a name, number, and mode of death was how Marvin Hendrick would probably be remembered by everyone outside of the aforementioned corporate personages even after the bodycount eventually buried him in obscurity.
B49 - Hendrick, M - HR: N/A - STATUS: DECEASED
((JEEESUS that was thrilling. P.S., Casino Royale ROCKS.))