Isaac stood on the stoop and waited. He rang the door bell again and let his impatience wash over him. Let it fuel him, as his brow formed a scowl. He waited for the old man and felt exposed standing in the unseasonable warmth of the middle of the day, dressed all in black, perspiration beading behind the mask.
“Alright. I’m coming! I’m coming! Hold on!”
Isaac listened to the gingerly old footsteps of the man on the other side of the door, and with the perfect timing that came from someone who had been doing his “masked crusader” schtick as long as he had, stepped forward as the door was being opened to take the older man’s space – giving him leverage on the door if necessary and cutting down the amount of time he’d have to recognize who was behind the door.
But the leverage on the door wasn’t necessary.
There was only resigned recognition on the old man’s face, and a sigh. He’d been expecting this would probably happen eventually. Just hoped it wouldn’t be to now.
Kick that can down the road.
* * * * *
Isaac woke with a start, as if he were exploding into consciousness. It was that way most days. He dropped the leg rest on the recliner where he’d slept through the day and swore as it swung through the pile of empty beer cans at his feet.
He stood up with some effort and swept through the deluge of cans on his way to the bathroom door for his morning… mid-morning-- *sigh* --afternoon ablutions.
The daily regimen consisted of the loud deep exhalation of a single man using the bathroom with no cause for regard for anyone else as there was nobody else to bother, before moving on to his morning ritual of checking the level of fur on his tongue, fuzz on his face and generally swearing in disgust at the face he saw in the mirror. Followed by making a passing attempt to rectify those shortcomings.
Afterwards, as he was now both lighter of bladder and facial hair, he staggered back to the living room to collect the spread empty cans that allowed him to sleep at the end of the night before.
More swearing when he excavated his Law and History college work beneath a number of cans which evidently weren’t as empty as he had thought at the time. He poked his head around the corner and checked the time on the microwave. The windows had all been covered and it was impossible to tell the time in his house by ambient light.
College wouldn’t be happening today, so he shrugged and with a sigh put his schoolwork up on a bench to dry.
He dumped the garbage bag of empty cans by the outside bin and took the opportunity to scratch himself in multiple places at once, yawning deeply as he continued to try and wake up. He waved at a neighbour who was mortified at his state for this time in the afternoon. She scarpered back inside and he smiled at his daily effort to keep the street’s property value down. He staggered back inside to shower and get himself ready.
It may be bright and… not too early… in the afternoon here in Terraria. But in Lost Haven midnight was fast approaching and with it, so would the Vigilante.
* * * * *
His mass reassembled through the quantum macroteleporter in an orange closet, the paintjob telling him he’d been sent to the Little Ulster property he leased. He swept the excess sugar out of the closet and in a few short minutes a non descript car burst from the garage, its driver’s expression stern and stoic with purpose.
But not with complete focus.
He swerved between cars as he tore towards the city center. Shaking away the nagging thought, as he drove distracted.
He stood atop the parking garage, his grapple gun aimed across at a distant building. It wormed its way back into his brain and he shook off the thought before firing.
Three frustrated attempts later he was being pulled across town on the grapple line’s thick cable.
He broke up a mugging in the park, but still the thought bothered him further. He took a stray elbow to the brow that redoubled his focus briefly, and he set to work making sure that one would be going to the infirmary rather than a jailcell.
But his concentration still waned and drifted.
He swore at himself and headed back to his car. This couldn’t continue.
He drove to one of his properties. He pulled a photo from his workboard and circled one of the names. He punched the board in frustration as he left with a grunt.
* * * * *
He stood on the porch and beat the door bell again. A scowl of frustration and irritation with himself crossing his face as pouring rain fell down his mask.
“Who is it, Hon?” His wife asked as the old man got to his feet, slid slippers on and shuffled over to answer the door.
“I don’t know… I haven’t got to the door yet. You stay here, it’ll be fine.” He replied to her.
“Should we call the police?”
“We don’t even know who it is yet. I’ve got the piece by the door, but if you’d feel better, get the cell and wait in the closet. If you hear someone coming and not my voice, then dial 911 and just stay quiet on the line.”
The doorbell again.
“Alright! I’m coming! I’m coming! Hold on!” The old man yelled from inside the house.
He left his glasses on the bedside dresser and shuffled down to the front door.
He put one hand on the doorknob and slid the entryway drawer open, hovering his hand over the Desert Eagle before finally opening the drawer and seeing the drenched man in the black on the other side of the door.
“Aww geez… I almost shot you.”
“No. You didn’t.” The Vigilante replied matter-of-factly, without any hint of an apology for the hour of his call.
“What is this?” Gunny asked, quickly regaining his composure. “Did you not get the last drop?”
The pair had a deal. The former Colonel Lewis ‘Gunny’ Bracken made dead drops of armaments in return for… Well, it seemed to be in return for not having to deal with this strange man showing up at his house at weird hours for confusing reasons. Reasons like this.
“This has nothing to do with the drops.” The Vigilante’s voice crackled through distorted by his voice modulator.
“Then what is this?” The old Colonel asked in an exasperated tone. “I thought you weren’t going to just drop in anymore after last time?”
The man in black drew a slightly damp photograph from inside of his clothes.
“Do you recognize this man? I know I’ve seen him. I know it. I just can’t place him.”
Gunny took the photo and held it up to the stoop light. He took a second look and squinted, before handing it back.
“I can’t make it out.” He finally replied. “Too blurry.”
The Vigilante looked up at the older man, and recognizing he wasn’t wearing his glasses, nodded his head in frustrated acceptance.
“Fine.” He grumbled.
“No. That was it.” The pair stood there uncomfortably long before the mechanical voice punctured the silence. “Thanks, anyway.” The voice modulator seemed to drain it of any sentiment.
“You seem even more uptight than normal.” The former Colonel called to the man in black as he walked away, down their front path in the pouring rain.
“I don’t like loose ends.” He replied, as if that explained everything.
* * * * *
Back at his workboard, an unmasked Isaac straightened it from the earlier punch he’d given it and put a strike through Gunny’s name.
He ran his hand through his hair in frustration and circled the other name once more. He knew it was going to come to this, but for some reason had wanted to protect him from these questions. As if there was need to protect a bulletproof man from anything. But he knew more than anyone that there was more than just bullets in this world to protect someone from.
He circled “Icon” once more and knew there was no more avoiding it.