Vulture ran away. He didn’t turn back once. Because he didn’t want to face her. Not now, not ever.
Cuckoo never understood why her husband ran away. He didn’t even turn back.
Why did he run away? His wife was beyond happy to know he was alive. She welcomed him with a hug. But he chose to run away.
Why did he run away from his wife who already suffered for days thinking he was dead?
Few hours ago.
Vulture looked at Goose, who was curled up by the half-broken pillar. Goose’s mouth was bleeding badly- he was missing a few teeth. Vulture’s vision blurred for a moment. He felt his life drain slowly as the pain kept soaring. By then, he was used to Goose’s groaning and screams of agony. Goose was relentless with the screaming- he was never the one to bear the pain. Vulture chuckled as he remembered how he cried after slipping down the stairs. It was a distant memory.
All of a sudden, Vulture felt pain down his ribs. His bleeding hadn’t stopped anywhere. There were few flies here and there- buzzing and irritating. Vulture tried to muster up his strength to swat them away. But it was a failed attempt. He looked around. His vision was mostly blurred and when it was not, everything looked like he was peeping inside a kaleidoscope.
After a few blinks, he could see the rusted machines and railings all around. Abandoned factories are hotspots for people like him- the people of the underworld, crime networks. He still hasn’t comprehended why they were tied up there. Why was this happening?
Vulture tried to look beyond the railings. But it was hard to strain. There were so many guys like him tied up, beaten up, bleeding. Some were familiar faces. He was distracted by the sudden pause in Goose’s screams. He quickly turned only to feel a sudden pain soar from his back neck to his collar bone. He breathed slowly against the concrete only to inhale a few dust particles and looked at Goose who laid there motionless.
‘Hey!’ Vulture tried to shout. But it came out as a strained whisper. Vulture tried to move his hands and lift himself from the concrete.
‘I would die for you!’
‘Stop bluffing idiot’
‘I mean it- you mean everything.’
‘I am being honest. I am eternally grateful to have a friend like you.’
‘Dude, get up. Dude!’ Vulture whispered.
Vulture couldn’t help but cry. He tried to get up from the ground and finally did so after three failed attempts. He staggered across the floor and got closer to Goose.
‘Don’t you dare die, you idiot. Don’t make your words true.’ Vulture cried as he tried to wake up Goose. If Goose had just run away without turning back he wouldn’t have been caught. He only turned back to help out Vulture who was getting beat up.
As he kept banging on his chest and shaking him, there was a sudden commotion at a distance following noises of people’s footsteps. The goons were running towards them.
’Hey’ they yelled and ran quickly- a load of bastards who were beating the shit out of Vulture, Goose, and others for days now.
One of the guys quickly grabbed Vulture and dragged him away from Goose’s now lifeless body. There were three more guys who were examining Goose’s body. One of them widened his eyelids and patted his face to see if he was conscious.
Vulture yelled like a maniac. The pain in his heart was more- even compared to his broken ribs and arms, bleeding face. Goose has been a part of Vulture’s life for years now. It was an unimaginable loss- even for someone like Vulture.
“I will kill all of you- I swear I will kill all of you.’ He yelled in pain as he fell face-first on the dirty concrete.
Vulture slowly fainted as he kept crying.
Vulture never knew his name. He has always been on the streets as far as he could remember. There was this woman he called- ‘Ma’. She took care of him in his early years. She was an old woman working as a daily wager, who fed him and took care of him. But she passed away when he was just eleven. From then Vulture started to work in tea shops, petty shops. But he was not made for struggling or so he thought. He started committing small crimes- pickpocketing, stealing.
He was caught when he was fourteen and locked up in Juvie. That’s where he met Goose for the first time. Goose was a kind soul. Everybody picked on him and bullied him. Goose was in need of a savior. Vulture was not a savior- he was an opportunist who would do anything to survive and get his way. There was only one reason he beat up the bully who tried to boil Goose’s ear. Vulture knew Goose had a family who cared for him.
There was no one for Vulture.
Goose’s dad visited him time and again trying to get him out of the jail. He was not a criminal like other guys in the Juvie. He didn’t commit any crime. He was in there instead of the local don Serpent’s crimes. Vulture had heard from the cook what happened.
Goose was the son of one of the drivers to the local don. Serpent controlled most of the smuggling from the city port and he was in ties with many powerful people. But he did eventually get under the radar of cops for a while and when he committed a murder out of rage, he was on thin ice.
But he realized he could just send his driver’s son in his place as the murderer. Being loyal to his boss, the driver was happy to oblige. So Goose ended up in juvenile prison.
Hearing this, Vulture was pretty sure Goose would get out of the Juvie as soon as possible. Getting on his good side meant not one but two benefits- Vulture has a chance of getting out and Vulture could come into contact with the Serpent. Vulture was not a delusional person- he knew he was going to be involved in the crime world no matter what. Vulture wanted the best of what he could get. Getting under Serpent’s group would make it better for him.
The goons had been splattering water on Vulture’s face for a while now. He slowly opened his eyes and looked at the holes in the steel sheets of the roof. He blinked a few times. He was slowly lifted and carried by the men around him. They made him sit on a rusted chair that bent a little under his weight and tied him up with ropes. Vulture tried to breathe slowly. They have been locked up in the factory for two days now.
‘Goo-‘ before he could complete the man on his right slapped him right across his face. Vulture slowly lifted his face to look at the bastard. He stared back with annoyance.
‘Is he alive?’ Vulture asked.
‘Shut the fuck up!’ he replied.
Vulture wanted to break free and beat them all up. But everything has changed in the past few months. Serpent’s childhood enemy Hawk came from Malaysia six months ago. He was only back in the country to do one thing- destroy everything Serpent holds so dearly. Hawk was not some senseless person- he was calculative. First, he reduced Serpent’s influence around the city by paying politicians and businessmen. Hawk was so rich Serpent couldn’t keep up. Then Hawk started interfering with Serpent’s smuggling- the root of everything.
The war began and there had been so many casualties. I never understood what made Hawk come from Malaysia to only destroy Serpent. Why did he want to destroy everything? What purpose was so deeply etched in his heart?
But the war did end two days ago when Hawk attacked Serpent’s central spot- the Black Den Good down. Vulture and Goose tried fighting Hawk’s men along with everyone else. But they were captured after a while. They have been tied up in sacks and brought here only to get beaten up along with so many others.
Vulture didn’t understand anything. What was the point of bringing them here? Why torture them instead of killing them?
But then he heard people approaching. Everything happened in a moment that Vulture didn’t understand anything other than his chair losing balance and him landing on the floor. Someone had kicked the chair from behind. Before he could react, a huge iron rod landed on his side. He was getting beaten up again. He was thrashed mercilessly and he screamed in agony. He was feeling every inch of his body screaming for help.
Suddenly the beating stopped.
Vulture slowly opened his eyes. His vision was from the lower angle. He saw the Hawk staring at him with contempt. He could see the hatred in his eyes.
Vulture was now working for the Serpent. So was Goose. Goose was fond of Vulture and they always hung out together. They were partners in crime. Vulture was effortlessly good at what he was doing, unlike Goose who felt unsure every time. But Vulture didn’t care, Goose was his ticket to this world. He would be grateful for that. So he will always try to make sure Goose doesn’t do anything stupid enough and get caught or get killed. But again Vulture would never do anything only out of the good in his heart. He wanted Goose to think of him as a good person-especially when he wanted to be with Goose’s sister Cuckoo. Cuckoo was so mesmerizing and she captured Vulture’s attention. It was love at first sight. Cuckoo was not a great beauty but she was the one for him or so Vulture thought.
Vulture would have done anything to be with her- ANYTHING.
Everything went as per his plan and he did make Cuckoo fall in love with him. Vulture got everything he wanted. EVERYTHING.
But Hawk decided to shake it all up for his stupid vengeance.
Vulture was lifted off the ground after untying all the ropes. There wasn’t much fight left in his body. He was made to stand in front of the Hawk- the one and only. Hawk was wearing some fancy suit, with a creamy white shirt – all his clothes were stained with blood patterns. His fingers were covered with so many giant rings.
‘Why did you do it?’ he asked in a cold raspy voice.
Vulture was silent. The guys who were holding him up tried to shake him up.
‘I have already lost my son today. Don’t make me lose my patience.’ Hawk said as he stared at Vulture.
Vulture looked up at Hawk.
‘Why do you think I captured you guys? Why do you think I captured all the youngsters from the fight?’ Hawk shouted.
“Serpent didn’t take JUST anything from me. He took my children! MY CHILDREN! He wanted me to feel his loss. He took away my sons and daughter.’ Hawk said as he stared at the concrete floor. Vulture could hear his voice cracking.
‘I was in jail all these years. Waiting for a time to strike back. When I got out of the jail, I found out where my children were. Serpent had made his driver take care of my children as his own. He took away my children and made them his servants.’ Hawk paused as he held the bridge of his nose.
Vulture was baffled by all the information. He couldn’t believe his ears. Goose and Cuckoo were the children of Hawk. Vulture quickly started to calculate his benefit. Maybe the Hawk will let him live. After all, he was Cuckoo’s husband.
‘So when I came here to find my son murdered by my daughter’s husband, I am a little confused.’ Hawk said and looked at Vulture with conviction.
Vulture looked around the goons. He didn’t understand what was going on.
‘I didn’t –‘ he was hit by the guy behind him.
‘Don’t you dare talk after killing our boss’s son!’ he said. Soon all the goons circled around him and started kicking him.
‘STOP!’ Hawk yelled.
‘In any other case, I would have killed you for this. Waiting to find my children for years, and finally finding him only to know he died before I could even speak to him! You are still alive because my daughter is waiting for you.’ Hawk said with hate as he bent on his knee.
‘I heard you were his best friend. How could you kill him?’ Hawk said as he raised his hand to hit Vulture. Vulture flinched and closed his eyes.
‘Dress him up and take him to the hospital before bringing him home. My daughter is waiting for him.’ Hawk said looking at the goons.
Hawk gave him one last look before leaving.
Vulture kept coughing up blood as he looked around the goons. They had lied to save their own skin. If Hawk had known Goose succumbed to his injuries- caused by his goons, he would have killed them all.
Vulture decided to stay quiet for a while. He was not the one to act without thinking. The goons carried him to the car and they were on their way to the hospital.
‘It is sad, our boss’s first son died on his way here from Malaysia!’ one of the goons said to the other.
‘Our boss was really looking forward to meeting his sons. But now all he got is a daughter and a spineless son-in-law.’ One of them snickered as he looked at Vulture.
‘Do you think the Serpent killed our boss’s first son on purpose?’ the guy in the back seat of the car asked.
‘But he was just a three-year-old boy! Maybe he died of homesickness’ another one replied.
Vulture wanted to get all the information he can. So he kept listening. They kept raving about their boss, his past, and his family.
‘The first son seemed to have a birthmark on his right thigh. Our boss plans to look into the past documents to find out about his dead son’ the guy in the front said.
‘Do you think he could find where his son’s body is after twenty years?’ the guy by Vulture’s side said. But Vulture has stopped listening. He felt sick. He was speechless and bewildered.
Cuckoo waited for her husband on the front porch. Soon the car arrived and all the goons got out of the car along with Vulture. Cuckoo ran towards Vulture and hugged him tightly. Vulture didn’t hug her back.
‘I thought you were dead! Where is Goose?’ she asked as she kept crying.
‘Where is my brother?’ she asked.
Where is my brother?
Vulture took a step back in disgust. He looked at Cuckoo and started to cry.
‘What is it?’ Cuckoo asked.
Vulture wiped his face on his sleeves had one last look at Cuckoo. He started to run away. Cuckoo screamed and tried to run behind him. But she couldn’t keep up.
When she walked back tiredly, Hawk stood in front of her.
‘There is a lot you must know. About your brother, about me.’ He said.
‘What about my husband? Why did he run away?’ Cuckoo asked.
Hawk didn’t know. ‘Maybe the guilt was too much.’ He said.
‘He will come back.’ Hawk said to his daughter as he looked at the empty road.
Vulture never once turned back. He was not sure how he could live with himself anymore. So, he kept running.