The air in the alleyway was damp and cold, smelling of urine, rot and decay. The old bricks were wet as his hands brushed against them and the cement under his trainers was slick with disgusting gunk. Frankie drew away from the wall with a shudder. Pulling his zipper closer under his chin he crept slowly towards the doorway hidden in the gloom. His dark knitted hat sparkled slightly with moisture under the dim overhead lighting making him appear to have been sprinkled with Christmas glitter. The thought would not have amused him, he had no patience for such stuff, tinsel and trimming, laughter, joy what place did it have in a world with all this work to do all this clearing out and cleaning up.
He froze as the door ahead of him swung open allowing a gale of laughter and music to assault the dank atmosphere. A stocky man stepped out striking a match and lighting a cigarette as he let the door slam behind him. Bouncers, bloody bouncers what good were they. Did they clean up the detritus, did they carry out his hard, hard work. No they were ignorant of it maybe some of them even a part of the problem in a different world and a different place.
Long years of practice allowed him to meld with the background, his dark clothes completely covered all his skin except for that of his face and so he dipped his head and disappeared. Bloody hell how long can it take to smoke a cigarette. Breathing slowly and regularly he calmed the impatience, it didn’t matter it was early he had plenty of time.
This wasn’t the place anyway, he had been here before, round the corner out in the main road in the lights. He didn’t want to be in the lights, he didn’t like being seen, being looked at. You couldn’t tell what people were thinking when they looked at you with their prying eyes. Even the ones who smiled couldn’t be trusted it was easy to smile it meant nothing. There was only one moment when the truth was real, when there was no subterfuge and dissembling. That was the magic moment, that brief glimpse right down into the soul. That was the only real truth he knew that now, had known it since he was sixteen since the first time.
The bouncer had finished his fag and stubbed the end out grinding it under his shoe. He unfastened his trousers and relieved himself against the wall adding to the stink. Once he was back inside Frankie slipped quietly passed carefully avoiding the spreading puddle that shone slightly under the security light as it trickled towards the drain. The idle sod couldn’t even be bothered to take the few steps to the grating and pee into the sewer.
Not his problem, not today. Today he had other fish to fry and he had to get a move on now it was nearly five in the morning and he had about thirty minutes walk still ahead of him down more stinking alleys and reeking back lanes. There was rain in the air now and it felt soft, cold but gentle and pure. He lifted his face towards the lightening sky and allowed the water to soak his skin. It mingled with salt tears gently flowing down his cheeks. He often cried at this point and he didn’t let it bother him. It was reaction to the adrenalin bloodwashed through his being and it was recognition of the deep sadness that dwelt always in his soul. Why had he been chosen, he hadn’t looked for this responsibility, he had been a quiet child and a slightly withdrawn youth but that was the only difference as far as the world was concerned. Deep within him though was this drive to purify, to cleanse and to rid the world, as much as was possible for just one crusader, of the filth and the evil. Born of experience and burnished by knowledge it was now his one reason to carry on.
He was there now and just in time, the doorway at the back of the building was open and the lights shone out down the pathway across the grave stones. The priest was on time and Frankie was pleased that the long hours of observation and surveillance had paid off. The black cloaked figure walked away from the vicarage and towards the church. Now in the shadow of the great edifice Frankie pounced, the knife flashed once and the gasp was low and harsh as he had expected it to be. The blood bubbled up through the lungs and into the gullet and then was expelled out of the lying mouth as he took one more revenge and sent one more offender on the road to perdition. He wiped the knife and wondered if he would ever be done, ever feel that he had avenged enough of them those boys, his friends the other orphans.