First syfy but um, i'm really liking this story.
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Taking a sip of his Jack and Coke, the middle-aged man turns another page of his gently worn book. The dim lights hanging above the bar accompanied with the five shots of Jack Daniel's makes his eyes strain to read the words. Sitting crouched over at the bar; he reaches into the pocket of his beige trench coat, pulling out a pack of cigs. Placing a cigarette in his mouth, he takes out his lighter, trying to start it. He tries three times before the flame stick; each time the sparks illuminate the five o'clock shadow on his gruff face. He slowly pulls the flame closer to his mouth and just before it reaches the cig, a tremor runs through the city, shaking the bar and making him drop the lighter. The lights flicker and the glasses on the shelves rattle for a brief minute, followed by a calm stillness.
"Damn it," he says under his breath, reaching again for his lighter.
"Sorry about that, Gene," says the Bartender as he polishes one of his glasses. "Genesis sure has been acting up today."
The man nods, finally lighting his cigarette and taking a puff.
"Say, where's that boss of yours? You guys usually have a drink together around this time."
Unknowingly to the Bartender, Gene secretly has his hand on the gun tucked in the back of his pant, hidden behind his coat. With his eyes still on his book, trying not to cause suspicion, the replies in a strictly informative tone, "Vacation."
"Yeah, we could all use a vacation right about now, huh," he says, walking away; oblivious to how close he came to dying.
At one of the tables in the back of the nearly empty pub, two men sit, watching the man at the bar.
"Alright Ace, so what the deal on this guy," ask the scruffy looking man to his partner.
The man looks at Gene mischievously, then back to his companion.
"That's Gene Heartless," he says, pulling his chair up closer to the table.
"Heartless?" says his friend in a low, secretive tone.
"That's the name given to him by the syndicate. Rumor has it that he left, and now they're offering a huge bounty on his head."
"Are you kidding me? Is it large enough to get both of us on one of the Arks?"
"Not quiet little brother, but it'll be a good start."
The two sit and stare at the man, who quietly sips his drink and is reading his book.
"Don't do it," Gene whispers to himself in a whimsical manner.
The bartender looks at Gene weirdly, not knowing what he's talking about.
"Hey Ace, maybe we shouldn't. I mean, this guy looks like he not one to mess with," says the man as sweat runs down his face."
"Aw come on, he's nothing but a drunk," he replies. "Besides I've already accepted the bounty; it's already done."
The sounds of two muffled gunshots sneak through the pub; one of the bullets breaking a glass on the two's table. The frightened man looks around quickly, seeing the barkeeper; who is standing with still but frightened eyes, and the man in the trench coat, who takes another sip of his drink and calmly closes his book. No one notices the two holes in the side of his jacket from where he shot his gun.
"Ace, what just..." he stops, looking at his friend who is leaning over on the table, coughing up blood.
Gene puts out his cigarette in an ashtray, places his book in his inner coat pocket, and walks over to the men's table. The tremors begin again, rattling the whole pub. The frighten man struggles to stand still as Gene slowly approaches, unaffected by the tremor ; his face covered in shadows as the dim and flickering lights shine on his brown, unkempt hair. He kneels down, reaching his hand under the table for something. Ace falls out of his seat bumping into Gene, who pays him no attention, and falls on the ground. As the tremor dies down, Gene rises holding a small microphone with tape on it.
"I knew that you've been following me for some time now, but I didn't know why," Gene says the man bleeding on the ground. "So they actually put out a bounty for my head, huh?" he scoffs.
"Y-you were listening to our conversation? How did you-who are you?" asks the terrified man.
"I like you, but if you reach for the shotgun under the bar, then I won't hesitate to kill you too," says Gene, still looking at his microphone.
The frightened man points to himself as if to ask: me?
"Okay, no problem, just please don't shoot," says the bartender, taking his hands off his gun, hidden behind the bar.
Gene takes out the receiver from his ear and places both in his pocket, ignoring the other man. He walks to the exit opening the door halfway as the noise of cars and the rainstorm outside along with a chilly gust of wind enter the pub. He glances back toward the man with eyes that could make the toughest man shake with fear.
"Are we gonna have a problem after this?"
The man shakes his head, fighting back the embarrassing tears streaming down his face.
"In the future, you should have better conversations; you never know who might be listening," he says as he exits.
"Ace!" screams the man running to him.
He drops to his knees, picking up the man carefully and holding his lifeless body close to him. Tears stream down his face and his clothes stain with blood as he sits there rocking back and forth.
"Bother..." he sobs, "what's the point of getting on the Ark if you're not with me.
The bartender pours himself a shot glass, taking it to the head.
"To that man, nothing in life matters except himself. He was a ruthless soldier of the syndicate who kill anyone they ordered him to."
He pours a second shot, raising it with trembling hands.
"Gene Heartless...couldn't think of a more fitting name," he says, finishing the shot.
Out in the cold and rainy streets, Gene walks quickly down the street, pulling up his collars and folding his arms to stay warm. He is amused at people who still follow basic rules of the road; like stopping red lights when there's not even a single cop left in the whole city. As he walks on the cracked and wet concrete, he spots a homeless man lying dead on the side of a building. He stops and watches him for a moment, leaving only after taking the dead man's hat. The sounds of gunshots echo throughout the city along with small explosions as Gene crosses a busy intersection. He walks by a store with a TV out in the front window as people crowd around it.
He walks through the crowd, carelessly bumping into people, trying to hear the anchorman's broadcast.
"No new updates on the current state of Genesis seismic activity. However, the BBC has issued out this statement: The lottery for the Exodus Program has now been concluded. We apologize for all who were not chosen and wish you the best of luck. The remaining seats are reserved for purchase only."
"What the hell!?" screams one of the men in the crowd. "What are we suppose to do now?"
"Hey," screams one of his friends, "I heard something about the syndicate offering a huge bounty on someone's head; maybe we could use that to buy a ticket!"
"Come on, let's go quickly!" he screams as the crowd breaks apart, leaving Gene standing alone with his hands in his coat pocket, and his hat covering half of his face.
Finally, after some time, he makes it to his apartment building, stumbling up the stairs. Gene approaches his apartment door, sneezing while trying to open his door. Suddenly the door swings open as a young boy, around seven years old, stares at him with an irritated glare.
"What," he asks in a grumpy manner as he makes his way inside the apartment.
"You said that you were going to come back four hours ago!" the boy complains, following Gene as he stumbles his way to the couch and lies down.
"Yeah, well so what? I got sidetracked."
"Well did you at least buy some food; I'm hungry."
"Nope, spent all my money on booze," he replies as he closes his eyes, trying to sleep.
"...oh ok," says the boy, as he lies on a blanket on the floor. "When can we leave this place; I don't like this city."
Gene rubs his face as his drowsiness takes hold of him.
"All of Genesis is pretty much the same right now. Everyone who was left out of the Exodus Program will cause as much violence and destruction as they can before the end comes. That's just the way it is now."
The boy hugs his blanket in fear.
"...We'll leave as soon as the rain clears up," Gene says, as he takes out a blood-stained ticket with the word Exodus on it and places on the coffee table next to him, before falling asleep.