It rained. It usually rained. The clouds over Berlin never disappeared, at least not for long. The moist of the constant memory, that climate was fucked, clinged to every wall, every person, everything. Even the fires, which burned on the streets, created more fog than heat. Even the ash became slime. And the humans, I mean, humanity probably mutated in the background, in some hidden cellar, delevoping webs between fingers and toes.
But that was not a real problem. Viktor stared out of the window, ignored the dripping, the wet fingers which ran down the glass. He stared at the red spot, which appeared next to his good eye. Well, good eye … real eye. Human eye. Surviving eye. The other one had disappeared after a fight in a bar. And when he had woken up in a clinic, the doctors had already replaced it with this cyborg-esque thing, which had a red point, like a dot of a laser-rifle. Not that it mattered. What had mattered, was his boss and the boss had said to him, that the police had no use of a guy with only one eye and they were to transfer him to become more or less a janitor in one of the dozen jails outside Berlin City, which meant also nothing, but Viktor had liked his appartment.
„Where is the girl?“, he asked again. His face felt burning, maybe he delevoped a fever. Maybe he had an infection, but this was normal nowadays. His voice felt raspy, unnatural.
Viktor didn’t turn around. He just nodded.
His next move was a fluid one, practiced with dozens, if not hundred of stupid idiots. Using the rotation of his hip, his palm marked the forehead of the guy, who had been grinning since he was here, here in that room, that damp room, that stupid small room with the rotten wall coverings, the half broken table, the wardrobe with missing doors. The chair of the person, which called himself „Max“ fell over, while the neck of Max snapped, but didn’t break. Viktor knew his power, the limits of his left arm. The limit was not the strength, but the control over that strength. One step higher, one missed tought, and the head of Max would have been ripped of his neck – and Viktor would have had nothing.
„Fuck“, muttered the rat-like creature Max. He was probably almost 1,90 m high, but his face and his demeanor reminded everyone of a large rat. And he was also someone who would know stuff. Stuff like a missing girl. Or a stolen book. Or a destroyed car. People were mere objects nowadays. But children were precious. And Max knew that shit.
Viktor pulled Max up, threw him against a wall. A swarm of flies left the holes in the brick and disappeared in the next room, which was the kitchen of the apartment. And it was used. A low blue light emanated from the gas cooker.
Viktor tried to smile. The scar on his right cheek cracked a little bit. The wound would probably never heal properly – but the effect was serious. It appeared, as if he developed another, hidden, evil face, an entity created from pure hate. „Where is the girl?“, he asked.
„Which …“ Max whimpered, when Viktor punched the wall. This time, he didn’t control it. Layers of rotten wood and stone appeared, when he pulled his hand out.
„Margarete Schmidt. Age 12. Last seen 36 hours ago, when she left the „Juri Gagarin“-school with her friend. The guy, Adam Müller, age 14, is dead. We found him last night in the botanic garden, only 2 kilometers away from this place. You are known for that shit. At least we know, that this is your turf, your „Kiez“.“
„For a few Euro …“, ghasped Max, „for a few Euro I could …“
„No. Where is the girl? I will take take a few things out of your face, if you don’t answer. Nose, lips, eyes. Until you talk.“
„Okay, okay“, said the ratfaced man. „She is in the club.“
The „club“ was a shitty bar half a block away. Its usual customers were bikers, narcos and boozers. But not pedos. Usually, those fuckers stayed away from the bright neon light, which rained down on the dozing visitors of said bar.
„Why?“, asked Viktor. „Why there?“
„We sold her. To the Dunkelheit.“
„Another club. Or cult. Or sect. Or church. They do stuff. They look for the light in the darkness.“
Viktor didn’t have to look on his watch, which he wore only for the memories of better times. His implant told him, that he had 30 minutes to get the girl.
„Where is the meeting? Come on, Max. You want to keep your eyes.“
„I know, I know. Its in the backroom, the green room. The room for the band. The Dunkelheit is a band.“
Probably one of the shitty screaming bands which created distortions by yelling into heir used socks. Viktor grinned. Time to widen his listening-experiences.
Less than 10 minutes later, he arrived at the bar. The door was closed, but the sound inside the building was already deafening. He knocked at the door, punched it, because no one opened it.
A pair of eyes appeared behind a slide, checked him, nodded and probably pressed a switch, because the door opened. The light and the sound overwhelmed Viktors mind for a few moments. He walked to the bar, turned around, watched the bouncer watching him. That guy was gone full metal, at least most of his upper body. Both arms and his chest looked like rusty iron, creating the artistic value of a walking junkyard. Viktor was impressed. That guy probably punched holes in holes itself. So he turned around.
The barkeeper nodded and took the bottle from the shelf. „Its a rare choice“, he said, as he filled a clean glass.
Viktor smiled, when his tongue hit the baltic sea, full of burning hospitals. He had always been a fan of that stuff, but nowadays, it was more rare than rare itself, since the United Kingdoms had left the old European Union.
The sweetness of the aftertaste left after a few moments, like the wings of a dying angel. He had work to do. The band, the Dunkelheit, was closing their gig with a solo of every possible instrument at the same time. Viktor knew the building. He knew, where the Green room was. So he paid the barkeeper and went for a piss.
The smell of years of uncleaned toilets burned every memory from the whiskey out of his body. His natural eye watered cups of tears in mere seconds over his cheeks. He went to a bathroom stall. The walls were plastered with words and stickers and stuff which was probably killing people after a touch.
The Green Room was directly behind that wall. Viktor closed his eyes, concentrated on the sounds, filtered through different wavelenghts to find the neared source of voices. There it was. He could here the girl, sobbing. Still sobbing. Good, she lived. Whatever the Dunkelheit wanted to do with her, they were not ready for the Ex-Cop with control-problems.
A door was opened and closed. Voiced became louder and ebbed. The band had arrived. They were laughing, probably enjoying themselves. The grinding of their music still wavered in Viktors head, echoes of stupid words, which made only sense to half dead drunken ass idiots. Another door opened, this time on the other side of the Green Room. Or was it here, in the bathroom?
A fist hammered against the stall, mumbling something obscene.
„Shut up“, Viktor said.
The fist hammered again.
„I said, shut up!“
The door behind him was ripped out of the hinges. The face of the bouncer reflected much of Viktors face. „Whatcha doing?“, the cyborg asked?
„Jerking one off, and now go away!“
„You are one of the detectives, right?“
The creature grinned. Its metal teeth grinded like some madmans nightmare.
„You want the girl. Well, thats gonna be a problem.“
The fist of the bouncer punched the wall, only an inch away from Viktors head. Hadn’t he moved, his brain would now be mush. But in this stall, the chances were high enough to get some random hit and losing everything.
Viktor went down, while the bouncer tried to get his hand out of the wall. When he was finished, a stream of warm light shone through the hole and the voices of the Dunkelheit became hearable. They probably were discussing matters or prices or whatever, Viktor didn’t have time for their babbling.
His back crashed in the wooden wall, crashed through it and hit the toilet. The artistry of the other stall was no different or more asthetically pleasing.
The bouncer cursed, mumbled some binary code or whatever and moved. But now, Viktor was up.
The door crashed in the head of the bouncer, threw him back to the possoir, the thumbled, slipped, but didn’t fell. He moved his arms behind him in a way, that it looked unnaturally – because it was. The red eye of the man burned a hole of hate through the dim light of the room. He struggled to get up.
Viktor went down. His right foot swiped the floor, he could feel every tiny bump and bruise of every tile. His foot met another. Something cracked.
The bouncer yelled some obscenety, while he broke down, the angle of this right food looking weird like an old picture of Picasso. The metal frame of the upper body crashed in the mix of piss and old water and memories of old gum.
Viktor went up. He went to the man, searched him. Found some stuff, a brass knuckle – for what reason? -, a few old USB sticks and a gun. Not registered.
„Tsk, tsk“, he said, when he checked out the weapon. It was an old revolver, but it would help.
Now was the time to save the girl and do his job.
He stepped back to the stall and started to punch the wall. He grimly admitted, that this also rhyhmed. He hated that. In an instant, his fist punched nothing behind the wall and he pulled his fist back. A few more punches and the whole was large enough to get him through. Sadly, he had been too slow and the band had already disappeared – the Green Door was open and loud steps vanished into the nothing of the bar. But the room was not empty. The backdoor was open and Viktor could hear a struggle from outside. He left the building, checked the street. Someone fought with a small angry tiger. The pale light of some leftover-lamppost threw shadows on the walls, created the picture of some old-timey-shadowplay. The man struggled to keep the girl under his control. She screamed at him like some fury from another dimension. Yet, the guy was stronger, a towering entity of 2 meters of flesh, almost an orc from those videogames.
„Get away from the girl!“ Viktors voice felt like a forgotten spell from another dimension.
The guy struggled to keep his concentration, but he stood – because Viktors voice had no magic.
„Help me!“, screamed the girl. „Please!“
Viktor walked slowly, his feet hit the ground in a way, that even the most sensible plants of this town were unable to know his presence. He lifted his hands in the air, the gun dangling on his thumb. „I just want the girl.“
„The girl“, snarled the guy. His teeth looked like rotten pieces of old wood. His left eye was missing and the darkness in the hole showed just pure evilness. He probably was using.
„Just the girl. How much did they want to pay you? The band, i mean …“
„Thats a shitload of money. Just for a girl.“
„Yes, they had wishes. Weird stuff“, the guy smiled. „But it does not matter. Because they are gone and my money is also gone. And now I kill the girl.“
The girl screamed. Kicked. Struggled. Fought. Like a tiger.
„What about I give you that money?“
„Huh? Don’t make fun of me. I know you. You are that detective.“
„Ex-Detective. But you didn’t answer my question.“
The face of the man lightened up, just for one moment. „Sure. Why not. I hope, you don’t …“
„No. The money. Here.“
Viktor left his right hand up in the air and used his left hand to dive in his pockets. He searched for a while – whe should have dumped most of the stuff – and found it.
„On this money-card are 5.200 Euros. Its all of my money.“
„You are stupid enough to show me that card? I could kill you and take the card.“
„Yes, you could. And you wouldn’t ether know the passcode nor how to crack it. I am not as stupid as you look, my friend. Lets move. I don’t have all of the time in the world.“
The rain was getting stronger, as usual in the early hours of a new and the same day.
„I put it on this box here, under the light. You can take it. Give me the girl and i give you the code.“
The man moved forward, the girl in front of him. Her face looked bleak, turned into a lifeless mask. But her eyes still lived.
He must had given her some drug or she just had gone out from her fear.
Viktor had moved back to the open door, waited.
The guy was now at the box. He had no hands free, so he threw the girl to the ground, yet his pistol still stared at the back of his victim.
„This is an interesting card“, he said, when he took it up. „The code. Or the girl dies.“
„The code, right“, said Viktor, while he turned around. „The code it ‚Let there be light‘.“
The flash of light burned in Viktors eyes, even he didn’t look at it, but for a speck in time, he could see his shadow, the shadow of the girl, the wet walls, the broken windows, the destroyed boxed, the rats, which tried to escape the white flame.
The man in Viktors back screamed and even that Viktor hadn’t got the full power of the blinding light, he still struggled. Shots were fired, but none of it hit him.
When he turned around, he could see the attacker dancing around, holding his hands in the air, screaming obscenities and cursing every single person in history.
„Are you okay?“, Viktor asked the girl. She nodded, kind of. Her back felt like broken bones surrounded by flesh. „Good. I am back in a minute. I bring you to your parents.“
When he got up again, he looked for the dancing shadow of madness. He didn’t need to look for him, just following the sound of the howling and the empty clicks of the useless gun.
He got the man, punched him, once, twice in the stomach and took his gun and the card.
„What did you do? What did you do?“, yelled the man.
Viktor didn’t answer. He turned around, walked over the street. He helped the girl up, turned around and looked for the mad man, who would still search for his eyes when the night was over.