The Secret Society
of Hit Men - Part 5©
By The Hit Man
Mark Schenkenberg had just finished mucking out the horse stall in the old horse barn he had on the property when a special delivery envelope was brought out by the house maid.
It was addressed to him but bore no stamp or return address. That meant someone had dropped it off. He would have to ask the maid about that later. Tearing it open, a small gold leaf edged paper fell out. It contained an embossed letterhead; "The Secret Society of Hit Men." Anxious, he read the missive through. After all, it had been over a month since his encounter with them and sometimes his mid-section still pained him at times. Did this mean his suggestion of David Mannheim had failed in extracting the revenge he had hoped on the small team of men who had beaten the crap out of him when he had been 'captured' as they called it? Then to be subjected to continued beatings by members of the society themselves. Actually, Mark had to admit there was a certain allure to it all. He finished reading the letter. It was an invitation to the next gathering, one being held in Germany. That didn't bode well for David but it also meant Mark couldn't refuse. This was his friend and his suggestion. The envelope also included a first class round trip ticket. The plane left in less than four hours. Mark headed for the house. He needed to clean up and with the increased airport security, he would need to hurry.
Mark stepped out the front door, packed and ready to go, only to find a limo waiting by his front door. The driver said nothing, only opening the door as he approached. Mark was beginning to understand that this outfit was no flight by night, penny-anty group. Nope, they did everything first class. Arriving at the airport, he was taken to a private and secluded area for drop-off. He assumed he would be alone but there were several others in the room, including Mark Wahlberg, one of those members who had beaten him senseless. Mark hoped he'd have the pleasure to return the favor one day. In the meantime, he accepted a glass of champagne and just smiled and nodded. Wahlberg approached.
Mark had to admit the former child rap star didn't look nearly as dangerous as he had the last time the two had met, Mark tied up, barely able to keep his head up; Walhberg all over him with the biceps he had built up for the "Italian Job." Wahlberg was never one to let his audiences down, Mark would have to give him that. Wahlberg pulled in close.
"Hope you know that was nothing personal, my man. After all, I was the one who recommended you." Mark looked at the man, eye to eye. Wahlberg was several inches shorter but Mark knew he was a dangerous man.
"No offense taken." Mark drained his glass. He looked around, feeling like he needed another. It was in his hand before he could blink. "I hear your recommendation did the capture team up pretty good. Beat them all senseless."
"Really?" Mark tried to feign surprise but from the cold and calculating look Wahlberg passed him, he knew he'd failed. "Okay, yeah I was angry and wanted revenge. So he was pretty rough on 'em, aye? Won't be seeing him joining the society, huh?"
"Not as rough as the second team was on him. But you'll be able to see for yourself when we arrive." A voice came over the speaker and Wahlberg walked away. Message delivered, Mark thought. Don't mess with us.
The plane ride was sweet, offering all the creature comforts of home. Mark slept part of the way. When he heard the bell announcing it time for seat belts, he was surprised to find Walhberg sitting next to him again.
"Listen, Mark," he began. "Something happened with your fellow so things are a little different than they were with you. Actually, its quite an honor but if he refuses, you will have to kill him. Do you understand?" Mark was pretty sure his eyes betrayed his coolness. "Alright, then, landing in just a couple." Wahlberg moved back to his own seat. The plane landed without fanfare and as had happened back on American soil, they were all escorted out of a private hanger, loaded into limo's that crowded the tarmac.
It was night time in Germany and Mark had no idea where they were being taken. Soon enough, the cars stopped and unloaded their passengers. They all were herded into a grand foyer of a place that looked like it belonged to royalty. Mark worked hard to keep his amazement in check. The money sure flowed with this group. Everyone was led to a private room. If his was any example, this place must cost a fortune to maintain, he thought. Soon a butler came through the hallway, ringing a small bell and announcing dinner in fifteen minutes. As Mark changed into fresh clothes, he wondered who else might be down stairs.
As he entered the hallway, he ran into Adam Rickett, someone he had known only socially. But from what Mark knew of him, Rickett was looking good.
"Hear your boy tore some guys new butt holes today," Adam said nonchalantly as the two walked down the hallway toward the stairs.
"Yeah, I heard that too." That was all Mark could think of to say as they arrived back in the main foyer and were ushered into the grand ballroom where a table set to seat at least 25 filled the main space. Mark wondered who else would be attending. He tried to see if there were name placards but didn't see any. He was lead to a seat near the end of the table. Probably a spot for new members, Mark said to himself as his escort walked away.
Soon enough, dinner was served, and while he desired for the evening to hurry along, Mark had to admit the food was exquisite, better than most he'd eaten in months. Finally, the other guests seemed to be rising and as they did, they wandered toward a section of the wall that appeared to have no door. Rickett stepped up and said something that Mark didn't quite catch. But he took the opportunity to follow along. As they descended a winding staircase obviously leading them to a space below the main house, Mark began wondering just what he would find left of his friend, David Mannheim. He figured soon enough he would know. As they arrived at some sort of a raised landing, Mark could see a large window that filled one wall. Beyond that wall were a few men. That's when he saw David, chained up, his head lolled to his chest. The memories of his own beating came flooding back in and Mark wondered if he was going to vomit.
"It's always hard the first time," a voice said to his side. Mark turned to discover it was someone he knew he had seen, probably on television, but couldn't place his name. "Evan Farmer," he added as he stuck out his hand. He definitely was not dressed like the other members. He actually looked pretty hot all dressed in blue jean, his hot abs uncovered, inviting to the eye and probably the touch.
"Been a member long," he asked? "I've missed the last couple of initiations due to scheduling conflicts, but the whole society is abuzz about this new guy coming in. I didn't want to miss it."
"Just a month or so," Mark replied, knowing that he hadn't seen him at my particular punching party. Of course, the way it was laid out, any number could have been watching while only a select few got to actually participate. "How does all this work?" Evan looked at him for a second like he was crazy. Then figured Mark was just too new.
"Well, the capture target is softened up by the capture team." Oh yeah, Mark remembered that. "Once they are done, a few of the senior members are allowed some what I call play time. The final man in is the person who recommended the initiate. I think in your case, it was Mark Wahlberg, so he would have been the last person you felt." Oh yeah, Mark had felt him all right. And was dying to again, only with the tables turned.
"What's happening that's so special tonight? I keep hearing how this guy beat up a bunch of the capture team?" Mark left his statement open.
"Oh yeah, he beat up a whole squad. That would be four men. Then when the specialty team went in, they had a pretty hard time with him too. But you can see for yourself, he lost. The key thing about tonight is one of the capture team didn't follow orders so the initiate has the opportunity to take his place on the squad. From what I hear, this fellow would be perfect. Thing is, whoever recommended him has to convince him to join the squad or kill him. I wouldn't want to be that poor sucker." Mark gulped at what he had just heard, not wanting to be that poor sucker either. There was a flurry of activity near the main door, attracting everyone's attention.
"And there's one last thing. If the fellow decides to join, he has to take out the offending member of the capture team. Can't let anyone walk away to spill the beans about this society. After all, that's why its call secret. Same thing happens to people who don't pass the muster in the first place." Evan made a cutting action across his throat. Mark hoped his swallowing wasn't so obvious.
Trying to edge up closer to the glass, Mark could see that David was now awake. It was obvious that he had received much the same treatment as Mark had, only worse. The team that circled David was of a much different caliber than the ones who had captured him. A slight smile crossed his lips at the thought of what David must have done to the original team. Revenge was sweet, he thought.
One of the fellows stepped in close to David, a real bruiser, and planted a fist into David's side. It was obvious from David's response that he had been well beaten in advance of this moment. Suddenly a hand closed on his arm, the squeeze tight. It was Walhberg again.
"Okay, Mark. It's your turn to use your fists on your friend. When you are done, you are to invite him to join the capture team, replacing the traitor. If he chooses not to, you must kill him. Or you both die." Now why did he have to add that last part, Mark wondered? Was it just to scare him? Mark didn't think so. He stripped out of his dress shirt and stepped up to the glass window one more time. He looked at Walhberg one more time, then entered the room where David hung.
The capture team stepped back. All of them were much larger and built than he. Anyone of them could take him out at will. Of that Mark was pretty sure. He stepped up to David. He wasn't sure the man even knew he was there. That is, until he spoke.
"Mark, what are you doing here?" The strength in David's voice astounded him, after everything he had been put through.
"Doing something I've always wanted to do, David." With that said, Mark doubled up his fist and hit David in the abs. His friend moaned. Mark was pretty sure he had been roughed up pretty well by the men that stood around. "Listen, I got you into this and its' up to me to get us out, but I need your help. Turns out, this secret society I belong to now, well they have a spot on one of the capture teams "
"You mean like those fellows that brought me in," David interrupted?
"Yeah, just like that. Well, I'm here to convince you to join." Mark hit him again.
"And you think the baby like way you hit after what I've been through is going to make me join up. Is that it?" Mark felt a wave of anger. David just didn't understand that they both could die. The anger added gumption to his next punch.
"That's better. At least give 'em a show for their money." Mark unleashed a short barrage until David was struggling to breathe again. "Okay, I'll do it. I mean after all, I like what I see here. It's a real chance to be a brawler without fear of the police stepping in." Mark could hardly believe his ears. Then he remembered the second part of the deal.
"There's one more thing. You have to off the fellow you're replacing. No one leaves this group alive." Mark lowered his hands and looked David in the eye.
"If it's who I think it is, no problem my friend." At that, the house lights came up and the capture team stepped up and lowered David from his bonds. "Let's get this over with," he said, rubbing the spots on his wrists where the chains had rubbed the skin raw. Bertram stepped up, offering his hand. David grasped it.
"Welcome to the team, David. I'll let you rest up a bit and then it'll be time for Roberto and you to fight to the finish." David smiled his now famous smile. Mark watched as the two men walked away, the two still talking, and he wondered what was still in store for David and him.
A couple of hours passed and the members were called back down to the lower chamber. It hadn't been much time for the contestant to rest but he had insisted they get the whole thing over with. The members liked his confidence. They believed they had made a good choice and were glad he had accepted their offer.
David and Roberto were led into the same chamber David had been tied up in. Bertram stood alone in the middle of the room.
"Gentlemen, this is a fight to the finish. It isn't over until one of you is dead. That says it pretty plain and simple. No rules. No referee. One of you dies." Bertram walked away, leaving the room through the lone door. On the other side of the wall stood all the attending members and the remainder of the capture team David would be joining if he won.
The two men stepped around each other, eyeing the other carefully. Roberto had a bruise on his jaw from where Bertram had cold cocked him but David was by far in the worst condition. He didn't intend to let it slow him down any. Roberto feigned a move and caught David low and close in the gut. David groaned, unable to hide his tenderness. Roberto swung again and David blocked it. He delivered his own blow almost raising Roberto off his feet with the strength behind it. By the look on his face, Roberto was obviously surprised. He took another swing, this time at David's face but his swing missed entirely. David charged in with a combination to Roberto's ribs. The blows rocked the man, this time lifting him off his feet. David seemed to be gathering steam. Roberto grabbed him in a wrestling move, trying to take him down to the floor, maybe hoping to have better luck there than he was with his fists. David countered the move and suddenly, Roberto was locked up in a choke hold. He struggled against the muscle that encircled his neck. Quickly, his moves became those of a desperate man. But as his strength flagged and he began to sink toward the floor, David simply followed him down until he laid prone, a worthless pile of bones on the floor. David held on a few extra seconds, just to make sure the man was dead. The door burst open and the capture team and members boiled over into the room, congratulating David on his new position within the society and specifically, on the capture team. Champagne flowed freely. David was being walked around the room for personal introductions to some of the members. He noticed Mateo walking through the room, closely followed by Jim, Chris, and Alex. They all looked a little worse for wear. Mark watched as some signal passed between his friend and Bertram. David broke away from Bertram and walked toward the four men. Mark could see the fear and reverence they now held for this man, a man who had single handedly beaten all four of them. David shook each of their hands, expressing his sympathy at having beaten them so badly. They smiled though Mark was pretty sure they were false, only for show before the members and the other capture team. While this ceremony was taking place, Mark noticed that Bertram and his team had repositioned themselves, one behind each of the younger, more inexperienced capture team. Mark assumed it was just a security move as some of the members might still be afraid of what David might do.
David saved Mateo for last. He grasped the other man's hand firmly, shaking it profusely. Without warning, he spun Mateo around, once again placing his muscular arm around the neck of someone. Mateo had panic in his eyes. In fact, he wet his pants. With seemingly as little effort as he had used to choke down Roberto, David gave Mateo's neck a hard twist, obviously satisfied by the resounding snap of bone that accompanied the motion. He dropped the second bag of bones in one night. That's when Mark realized that the other members had suffered the same fate by Bertram's capture team. All four of the team now laid dead on the floor. Bertram was heading toward David, as were the rest of his capture team. The members were in somewhat of a panic, unsure of what was going on. David raised a hand, indicating silence. He then spoke.
"I didn't think this man or his team deserved a place in this society. They were incapable of handling something as simple as bringing me in and that, in my eyes, is unacceptable, even as Roberto broke the rules of obedience. With the permission of the members, I would like to start a second team. I promise to create this team and prepare them to the point where you have two capture teams like Bertram's." The response was immediate and loud as the whole room broke into cheers and hand claps. Obviously, David's plan had worked. Now Mark knew what David and Bertram had been discussing as they walked. Mark went over and shook David's hand. David leaned in close to his friend.
"They'll never know what hit them." The two winked at each other.