-Shall we tell ours?- asked one of the hanging guys to his partner, while the dridder was removing them from that unconfortable position, letting them rest.
-Well, that isn't a bad idea- answered his rival, starting to cut the threads with his knife. -At least they will understand there's no point in worrying about us...
-Please...- answered the poet, catching the bowl containing the bottle of alchool. -You two stormed in this bath, one screaming he would have to kill us for work, and one saying the same line but for protecting us. What the hell would we do?!
-Wait a bit, in order to understand...- answered the human, smiling. -It all started some years ago, while I was guarding a rich guy...
The shirt wasn't bothering him so much, after his hand had unbuttoned the neck and had untied his tie. He was there in order to work, being nice wasn't necessary. At least, it was what he thought, until the rich guy's glare fell upon him, silently telling him: "let me leave a good impression" and letting him answer "as ya want, boss...".
-Can I bring you something, sir?- asked one of the butlers, approaching to him.
-Some action, if you would...- answered him, leaning on the wall, and checking another time all of the guests. -It's a real pain to work while everyone is enjoying himself, don't you agree?
-I agree, sir- answered him, passing him a glass of wine. -Being the bodyguard in this party is a real pain, isn't it?
-I ageee...- answered him, refusing the glass. -I'm the best, and one of the most discreet. For this reason that rich guy hired me this evening. He sais that after the financial devalues and the jump of the company's actions, CdA's companions would... decrease his lifetime.
-I don't understand the reason- answered him, offering a cigar. -Isn't a company strong when united?
-Sure, sure...- answered hin, refusing again. - But there are some guys who would like to enter his dominion, since his salary got higher for the higher value of the company.
-I see... would you excuse me, I need to check the other guests.
-As you want...- the guard continued, ending his check. Every face, every name corresponded to the list he memorized, there wasn't anyone in the two hundred guests that escaped him, or that let him have some doubts.
Lazily, he observed the waving movement of the dames, and the circul movement of the liveried butlers, without peace in the continuos movement of serving and reloading, like vending machines that had the problem of being elegant. Everyone with the weight he remembered, everyone with his height.
And one with asymmetrical legs.
-May I offer you something to drink?- asked the butler to the party's host, passing him the same glass of wine he offered to the guard.
-Why not?- smirked him, catching it, and approaching it to his lips. But the drink couldn't enter his troath, instead it was splashing on a nearby coloumn, destroyed by a bullet, throwed at high precision.
-That champagne's colour is a little more dark. Poison, I assume.
-One at delayed effect and of mortal precision- confirmed the butler, smiling. -It had to reach you too...
-Wanna hear your mistake? Your tail- answered the guard, letting the loader fall on the ground, and insterting another one. -That was just a warning. The next one will reach your brain.
-What's happening...?- asked a voice, from the silent crowd.
-Simple, isn't it?- answered the guard, pointing tbe gun against the butler. -He is a legend, for his discrection and ability. It's a miss I am too.
The butler smiled to him, removing his hat, and lifting his dog ears, like they were happy to breath fresh air. He tossed away the necktie, freeing his troath, and remove the jacket, getting from it seven or eight cooking knifes, like it was all natural. -It's a rare occasion that someone understands immediatly who I am- he smirked, freeing his brown tail, and waving his reddish hair. -But, yeah, I am a legend. I'm a ruthless assassin, I never failed a mission.
-There's always a first time, you dog- the guard answered, lighting a cygarette, like that encounter was simply common.
-Cobold, please- he answered, suddenly lifting the arm, and throwing a knife in the opponent's direction, that was evaded wthout problems.
-Guns win on knifes, don't you believe? - the guard continued, without removing his glare.
-You think?- the cobold answered, trowhing in his direction every knife he had.
The guard had to fall back, even to side hop, in order to evade the blades, but removing his attention from the opponent. Just the time the cobold needed to approach and to catch a folding knife, pointing it to the guard's neck. The human in that moment answered blocking the blade with the gun's hard part, and shooting a projectile that peeled off a bit of the opponent's shoe.
-You are good- the cobold commented, without letting him escape, in order not to lose the good position. -But I will be victorious.
-I thought the opposite- the guard answered, shooting to a chandelier's support, letting it fall down.
The opponent had to fall back with a jump, only to run again against the guard, using the chandelier's shines to blind him.
-Using the battlefield's carachteristics against me won't help you- the guard continued, folfing his arm while releasing the loader to use it as a projectile that removed the weapons from the cobold's hands. -I have an invincible memory and observation style. I know where the object's supports are, I know how will you move by observing your joints, and I won't let you scratch me in order to poison me.
-What a coincidence, I too have similar carachteristics- the cobold said, lifting himself up. -But I won't use something like that. It would be too easy to use poison or little bombs to hit you. For once, I want to fight honestly. It seems you are someone that could do it, afterall.
-Not really...- he answered, observing the blue lights of the police getting near to the villa's gate. -If you will keep on fighting, this place will be soon filled by policemen. It's better if you surrender now.
-Oh, no, I think you will let me go- smirked the cobold, putting away his weapons, and turning his back to him.
-Didn't you hear what I just said? Surrender!- the guard answered, shooting a little above the demi-human's shoulder.
-Oh, really? And how will you, then...?
The question was left hanging in the hair. The guard maybe understood what he meant... but he didn't want to answer. He knew what was the answer to the question he was just about to ask, to that phrase that was pressing against his lips to wriggle out, like an earthworm that hears the rains's calling. He knew that that earthworm had been in the earth's embrace for too long, and that it was just to set it free... but he didn't want to. He kwen that his absence would have let the tunnel's net dig in himself fall down.
-How will I what?
The earthworm got out. There, in front of him there was a woodpecker, a giant green woodpecker, that was drooling from his beak, ready to eat the little prey in front of him. And while doing it, he would sink his beak into the earth, provoking a cataclism on the ground, destroying everything that was painfully built, so years and years of studies, exercises, removal of the littlest pleasures, all to follow a dream forgotten for too long, that was there, under the topsoil, under the moist and the dirt. But never dead.
-To enjoy the fight- answered the cobold, starting to run, disappearing in the dark of the garden, lighted only a bit.
The security door cryed, turning on the little oiled hinges, while the guard digited the sixty-digits code to deactivate his appartament's door alarm. Climbing the steps, he digited other codes in order to open the living room's door, and to shut off the movement sensors on the floor. Tired from his own routine, he throwed himself on the couch filled of dirty clothes and food left alone, killing with a finger the insects that leant on his knees. Lazily, he lifted his arm, activating the AC's code, and the one for the television.
-John Wayne...- the guard whispered, while Fort Apache's massacre run on the screen.
-Nothing better than a good western in order to enjoy the evening- the cobold commented, leaning on his couch and soundly eating some pop corns. -Do you want some beer? It isn't poisoned, stay calm.
-What the hell are you doing here...?- he answered, without bother himself to move.
-Nothing much, I just followed you, I understood this was your home from the humongous number of alarms, and I got in.
-I inserted a code from the wall's other side. I thought the nearest one to the steel curtain was the right one, so...
-How could you pass a signal between walls of lead and filled with alarms...?
-They are walls with 90% lead. I just had to find a group of impure material and the waves passed. How could I? But obviously hitting and listening to the sound!
The guard sighed, shutting down the televison and the AC, in order to lift himself up and climb a lead. -Do as you want, I know perfectly well where I leave every object.
-Keep calm, I don't wanna kill, I'm on "lunch break"- he answered, happily, setting on the television with the code just inserted.
The guard sighed, shooking his head. What the heck was that guy doing in his home...? The recent fight hadn't been enough for him? Or he was interested in the woodworm noisily flying inside his head...?
-Listen up, do you have some action movies too? You can't have just western ones...
-Mind your own business...- he answered, closing the door at his back, and climbing the stairs thst lead to his bedroom. There, he throwed lazily his clothes on the bed, then he tossed the folders and the notes on the rich guy he defended inside the chimney. His feet went in the bathroom, in a natural way, running on the icy floor, his fingers running like little dancing spiders.
-I thought you were the shower type, not the bath one- the cobold commented, observing him from the door.
-Can I know what do you want from me...?- the guard growled, leaning in the hot steaming water. -I live alone, and Indon't appreciate pet's company.
-Ah, pet...- he answered, sitting in the wc and catching the newspaper. -Try to think about it: why am I here?
-Pheraps to spy me...-the guard answered, angrily whispering. -To discover my next job's details, in order to prevent my moves and finish your work without letting me do mine?!
-No- he simply answered. -I'm here to talk with you. Of that friendly familiar sensation that climbs your back...
-I don't know what are you talking about...- he answered, turning his head, not to see him.
-Don't act!- he answered, jumping above him, catching with loveliness the bath's edge, without even touching him. -I know what's your problem, human! And you know why? Because it's the same thing I worry about. Don't you find strange both of us got the same sensation to have felt the same sensation long ago? And this isn't a pun. You find normal that the little voice you suppressed with attitude came back? I know you started this work with a dream, everyone does so. But now it's a tyring routine, isn't it?
-I only find strange you know everything about this...- the guard answered, trying to ignore him.
-I know, because we developed from the same starting point. Finishing in being the opposite sides of the same biscuit.
-...it goes by coin, not biscuit...
-But I'm hungry! What's in for dinner? May I cook?
The guard sighed, inserting the code to let the door shut on the cobold's tail, in order to have revenge that guy put in his mind perfectly positioned and ordered. He was right, those two were incredibly similar, he felt it. Maybe he understood that what he had seek was the finishing line too.
Six months passed. Six months in wich the cobold went and came back as he wanted, still keeping on being mean to the guard. He instead continued to work and to train, like his life was still the same. Still, the woodworm's egg that leaned in his head became a larvae, and it was digging tunnels and caves that lead him to ask himself some questions, without answers or means. A part of him like a pilgrim was going around in these tunnels, without pace, searching the exit only with a candle to light hispath. Another part of him like William of Baskerville was going around in a giant and labyrinth-like menta library, searching answers in books that could kill him. And the last part of him was watching his brain working, still without knowing what to do.
It was in the first evening of the seventh month that his impassibility crumbled down.
He was coming back from a work that tired him. He didn't got hurt, but the capture of three assassins proved him, leaving him lifeless. He couldn't even get up, he was going around his town's the streets like a zombie, trying to reach his home. But when he got there, the world started to go around in circles, while the blood form his nose, fractured on the street's rocks, stained the grass, darkening it.
-So that freelance guard could be the one you are seeking...- commented a femal voice, in the dark of 4 a.m.
-He is just like me, Plitia- answered the cobold, cutting with his teeth the last bit of meat. -The thing I don't understand is: why does he keep on doing the badass guy? I mean, he knows what he wants from life, but he can't catch it! And that is a great miss...
-How can you judge him? I mean, it'slike seeing yourself in amirror, but I'm not sure he has your same story... and... why is he there, face on the ground?
-Maybe he's tired...- the cobold sighed, passing his back under the guard's arm, and using his strenght to lift him up. He went to the door by small steps, lifting him whole in order to prevent the bother to scratch his feet on the ground.
-Good luck, my friend- answered the nimph, letting the first light of the sun reflect on her hair.
-I need it...- he answered, closing the door at his back.
-Hot chocolate?- asked the cobold, sitting on the bed.
-No, thanks...- answered the guard, trying to lift his fingers, but sadly failing.
-It's a miss...- answered the cobold, drinking it. -So, let's talk.
-Of what...?- the human answered, trying not to look at him.
-I think you know... so, are you ready to confess?
-Don't try to fool me. I know you know. So, go on, tell me!- he continued, fixing him in his irises. -Tell me what you think about six months now, tell me the question that keeps going around your head, that removes your concentration when you study and when you prepare for fights, to think in any way you can about how to find the answer! Tell me what you fear, because I have the code of it!
The guard sighed, closing his eyes. He saw the woodworm that dug in his mind, it was ready to metamorph.
He needed just the right thrust.
-Why do I have an incredible urge of fighting against you?- the guard asked.
-Because it's for this reason you are a bodyguard.
Finaly the woodworm metamorphed, but it wasn't ready to go. It wanted to obtain more, to know more! And it would have what he wanted to know.
-Now it's my turn to pose a question: why did you make me leave on that evening?- the cobold asked.
-Because... because I had a sensation... like something that preventedme from shooting in your back. It would be unjust, obviously... but... I had like the impression... yes, like a vague evanescence that blocked my sight, that you were the one I searched for so long!
-I think you were right...- the cobold answered, leaning to his side. -And it's the same sensation I had disturbing you day by day.
-My question: why didn't you ever attack me?
-Because it would have lost its mean. I want a victory on the battlefield, during a training isn't right!
-Mine now: why didn't you ever try to make me leave permanently? Like, changing codes or...
-Would I succed? And... you kept me company. I didn't ever had a pet, but you were perfect!
-Give me respect, human...- the cobold growled, without seeing the only sile that the guard's lips had done from quite a time. -But... there is still a question I wat to pose to you. What do we really seek?
The pool was calm and shiny for the lights on his bottom. But it was ignored by the guests to the party, banded in smokings or in their shiny dresses.
The guard sighed, shooking his head. Another time, no one got in, no attempts to break the camera's net, everything damned and only perfect. So, what was the meaning of having him there? What was the worth of a bodyguard, if dozens of little soldiers packed the villa and the surroundings? Another safety? Or just a statue to adorn in order to show one's wealth?
In the end, it was still like this. He wasn't a warrior that fought enemies, he wasn't a sentinel that took guard turns, he was just a mercenary that was paid to stand still and observe... observe... observe like only his eyes were alive, observe like he couldn't do anything more, observe like he was another camera.
-I can't go on like this...- he whispered to himself, lighting up a cygarette. -It's time I fight for myself.
-Correct- the cobold answered, approaching to his back. -But there ins't anyone better than you in this job. So, why don't you try to kill me? Because, if you wouldn't observe, I wouldn't kill, nor I would fight anymore. You are my target now. I'm tired to be a living weapon for the ones that got no force to use one, I'm tired ofbeing the mechanical and sacrificable arm of an impenetrable cathedral, but filled with demons. I want to fight for myself, not for other's interests or for other's money. And I choose you. Demonstrate you are worthy of being my target!
-And you demonstrate you can be mine- the guard answered, catching his guns. -You have twenty seconds.
The cobold grinned, leaving his back. He started walking sowly, then rapidly, finally running between the guests, pushing them aside, making them fall in the heated waters, throwing at last his poisoned knife against the house's master.
But the guard's projctile stopped his victory.
-Time elapsed!- the guard grinned, throwing away his hat and his tie, and shooting near the guests' wigs, trying to hit the humanoid wolf.
This one instead jumped on the guests still in the pool, throwing again some knifes to distract him, and dropping on him with his trustworthy pocket knifes.
They didn't care where they were, they didn't care that they were working for others. The camera and the living weapon were clashing because so they decided, because they knew they were strong, and both of them wanted to know wich one was greater. It was a deep sense of excitement, a bristly and serpentine thrill that was running on their spines to explode in clouds of extacy inside their brain. They dind't fear loss, nor death. They wanted just to fight.
-Living, and feeling alive, right?- the guard asked to the cobold's back, as he was running away, the fight interrupted by the villas's little solders.
-Isn't this the meaning of fighting?- the cobold completed, disappearing in the dark.