by Anthony Thomas
Why save the world when you can get rich? Jason has no intention of using his immortality for good—and neither does the government hunting him down. #PitProm #SF #A
Jason Conners is the last person you’d expect to run into a burning building, unless of course there was something inside worth stealing. Call him what you want: criminal, thief, asshole, but hero? Absolutely not. Jason’s questionable behavior and disturbing antics can only be attributed to one secret. He’s died enough times to lose count.
Each time Jason dies, his body rewinds to the moments before death, allowing him the chance to change the outcome. With great power comes great responsibility? Hell no. This ability helps him become the best thief in the city, and nothing is off-limits. Jason’s carefree attitude gains the attention of the Rogues, a group who share something he never thought possible. His gift.
Unlike Jason, the Rogues use this ability to stop catastrophic events from taking place. Jason would rather flood his bank account with cash, but when the military starts hunting down the Rogues to turn them into weapons, he is caught in the crosshairs and learns breaching is not as limitless as he thought. Can this anti-hero give up a life of easy money and become the savior the Rogues need, or will it cost him everything—even his immortality?
My Adult Sci-Fi, BREACHERS, is complete at 67,000 words and combines the comedy elements of Deadpool with the heart-pumping action of Douglas E. Winter’s Run.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First Ten Pages:
Footsteps slam the pavement behind me. These thugs are gaining, and the backpack slung over my shoulder filled with unmarked bills isn’t helping. I push harder and weave through the lines of traffic, squeeze by bumpers, and jump over hoods. Shots fire and people scream. Onlookers scatter in every direction.
“They’re catching up,” the voice in my earpiece panics.
“You don’t say,” I call out of breath. “How about you do your job and find a way to lose them.”
“There’s an alley on your right, use the fire escape.”
The path is wedged between two apartment complexes, narrow and hugged by crumbling brick walls on either side. I jump onto a cab and peer beneath the black hood covering my face. Sweat trickles down my brow and over the stubble on my cheeks. A heavy-set man with greasy brown hair hunches to his knees and chokes on uneven gasps. The leather jacket bunches near his shoulders, and a thick gold chain rattles around his fat throat.
“Come on kid,” he pauses and fights for air, “just give me the bag.”
I can’t help but crack a smile as I hop off the car and push into the alley. The night sky silhouettes trashcans and boxes. Stars are all but lost to the city’s glow.
A pit settles in my ribcage as I glance at the ladder. “The fire escapes locked up on the second floor, genius.”
“Oh,” he says in a way that forces my eyes to roll. “Can you hide?”
“Not likely. Any brilliant ideas?” I back into a dead end as three shadows rush to block me. Stiff snorts and laughter break though their panting.
“Yeah,” the voice in my earpiece replies. “Don’t get shot.”
I rush at them. Triggers click and bullets split the air near my face. I leap onto a dumpster and drop kick the biggest of the men. His body thrusts backwards and rolls into the street. I sweep thug number two’s ankles and he topples over. Thug number three whips his gun toward my head and closes one eye as he lines up the front and rear sights. I tuck his forearm under my armpit and with one smooth pull, snap his elbow upward. The alleyway echoes as his arm falls limp. I shake the gun from his palm and toss him to the wet pavement.
My knuckles throb as I connect with a nose. A jaw. A cheekbone. Red spits to my jacket from their busted mouths and gushing nostrils. Impulse takes over and I bury my heel to their chests. I won’t let up until I see, A) they’re unconscious, or B) the groans stop. I hunch to my knees and wipe the crimson stains from my battered fists. I can’t tell if it’s mine or theirs. Something pushes to the back of my hood, and a loaded forty-five’s bolt slam forward.
I sigh. “Fuck.”
I could sit here and tell you that when a bullet pierces through your skull, it happens so fast, your body doesn't have time to process the pain, but that’s a lie. I felt everything, even felt it finding an exit through my forehead. Alive long enough to have the sweaty fatso rip the backpack off my body, I hear every word he says. “That’s for stealing from Mr. Maroni.” My heartbeat slows and my heavy breaths shallow to a gasp.
Let's try that again.
Something pushes to the back of my hood and before the hammer pulls, I duck my head and snap his arm over my shoulder. The gun lands at my feet, begging to be picked up. The man hollers in pain, down on his knees with an arm clutched to his chest. I bring the gun to his mouth, and it grinds against his teeth as I force the muzzle passed his lips.
“Tell Mr. Maroni, thank you for his contribution.”
His eyes well up, and his hysterical voice blubbers on the barrel.
“Bang!” I shout.
He flinches and tears roll down his plump cheeks. I lift my hand, pistol whip his temple, and fatso’s body falls limp to the ground.
“Jason? Is it over?” my earpiece chimes.
“No thanks to you,” I scoff and move the headset to my pocket.
You may be asking yourself right now, what the hell just happened? I can assure you there is no logical explanation. The bullet through my head was real, the blood trickling down my eyebrows was real, and the indescribable amount of pain I felt, all real. Then how did I end up breaking fatso’s arm? I sort of have a secret, something I’ve only shared with the jackass talking through my headset. When I die, it doesn’t take.
When did I first find out about this gift? I was six years old, crossing a busy street when a bus came screaming through. Smack! And I found myself back at the stoplight, waiting patiently as it drove by while scratching my head. No one believed me of course. An overactive imagination they all said.
How many lives do I have? Not sure. If you’re wondering the science behind it, please tell me, cause yet again…I’m clueless. The only thing I do know is that when I die, my life hits the reset button and takes me back to the moments before death. Could be seconds, could be minutes, or somewhere in between. Am I afraid that the next time I get shot in the back of the head it may be closed curtains? Sure, isn’t everyone?
There are many names for someone with a gift like me. Some religions might say I’m a witch, or a demon. I prefer to call myself a breacher. And with the amount of cash stuffed in this bag, tonight was another successful breach.
Sirens blare from a few blocks over, my cue to run. I keep to the alleys, conceal myself to the shadows and stomp over the trash littered surface. It’s colder than usual tonight, crisp air fills my lungs with each deep breath, and clouds leave my lips like the hiss of a sewer grate. The red and blue lights flash down the street, and I stick to the wall so tight I might fall through it.
Despite the income I have accrued over many questionable jobs, including the one I did tonight, the place I call home is a bigger shithole than you could imagine. The complex ascends to the horizon with sixteen stories of drug addicts, wife beaters and gang members. Each night brings a new screaming match or double homicide in the courtyard, you know, the soothing sounds that help you sleep at night.
I rush the steps to the fourteenth floor, and the stench of sewage and gunpowder stagger my pace. The odor isn’t new, I’m pretty sure it hasn't changed since the sixties, though every time I run up the flight, it’s difficult to decide if I’d rather taste it or breathe it in through my nose. Usually the latter.
I push through the pale door, and the hinges squeal at my arrival. “Honey, I’m home,” I say and flick on the lights.
“Why did you take off your earpiece? I thought the cops nabbed you for sure.”
Remember the jackass talking in my headset? Well, here he is, hunched over a keyboard with his mat black hair pressed to one side. Wilson stands from his desk and moves the glasses up the bridge of his pig-like snout. He isn’t fat, but isn't skinny enough to be called pudgy either. He’s somewhere in between more to love, and real men have curves.
“Sorry mom, I couldn’t handle you breathing in my ear.” I unzip the backpack and dump the cash onto a little plaid couch in the corner.
Wilson’s eyes widen. “How much is it?”
“Not sure, didn’t have time to stop and count it. Somebody forgot to mention the warehouse wasn’t empty.”
“My scanners didn’t detect any movement, how was I supposed to know his men were in there sleeping?” Wilson walks toward the couch, picks up a stack in each hand and sniffs it. “You know what that smell is?”
“Well, I just farted, so there’s that.”
He shakes his head and wanders to his black, leather chair. “Such an ass. I’m saying we don’t have to live in this shithole anymore. We can move to a better area, buy new tech, scope out bigger jobs.”
“I don’t know how many more of these jobs I have in me, Willie. I think I may take my cut and start fresh.”
“You breached again didn’t you?” he asks, and drops the money to the desk.
It took some time and convincing to get Wilson to understand what I can do. Nothing makes someone believe you more than sticking a loaded 9mm in your mouth and threatening to pull the trigger.
“Define breaching…” I say with a smirk tugging at my lips.
“Dammit, Jason.” He slams a fist to the desk. “You know how things change when you do that.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to play, ‘Let’s catch the bullet’, with my head.”
We have no clue what happens when a breach occurs. Wilson seems to think that each one causes a rift, an alternate timeline where even the smallest change can have the biggest consequences. I don’t have the heart to tell him, but he may have been a bit skinnier a death or few ago.
“All I’m saying is you need to be more careful. Who knows if this was the last breach you’ll ever have.”
“Good night, Wilson,” I say and turn towards my room. “Come up with better information next time.”
“Try not to die on your way there,” he yells as my door swings shut. “You might wake up a girl.”
I poke my head into the living room. “Still would be way too pretty for you, Willie.”
As I fall to my bed, I hear him mutter to himself and clack away at his computer. I close my eyes, and the breach plays in my mind. The spot where the bullet split through my forehead burns hot, but each time I touch it and expect a wound, my fingers meet sealed flesh. Visions usually play on repeat for a few days. At first it was a nightmare being forced to watch myself die over and over. Now, it’s something I’ve learned to live with.
Three heavy knocks pound on the front door of the studio, and Wilson rustles around to answer it.
“Jason!” Wilson shouts.
I roll my eyes and slip off the bed. The door swings open and I’m face to face with the muzzle of a gun. I shrug my shoulders and shake my head. “Fuck.”
Some people say that before you die, there's a white light and you see your whole life flash before your eyes. It’s a crock of shit. The only thing I see is a blackness take over as my eyes roll to the back of my skull.
“Try not to die on your way there,” Wilson yells as I stop at my door. “You might wake up a—”
I hold a finger to my lips.
His eyes widen behind the glasses riding his nose. “Dammit,” he whispers and sinks beneath his desk.
As I flip off the lights, I lean against the wall next to the door and wait for footsteps. It’s more than one person judging by the sound of handguns clicking as they stop in the hall. Three knocks pound with rhythm. Wilson wheezes heavily from the cover of his desk like these breaths will be his last. I wish he’d shut the fuck up.
The knob twists. A gun muzzle pushes through the door first. The slick metal of a forty-five is inches from my face. I grab the barrel, elbow the man’s nose and throw him to the floor. Before I can turn around, there’s a loud pop with a flash of yellow light. “Fuck.”
I elbow the man’s nose and throw him to the floor. With a swift kick behind me, I strike his hand and the gun smacks into the wall. I interlock my fingers to the back of his head and slam my knee to his face. If I’m being honest, he passed out after the first hit, but it’s somewhat satisfying to feel the cartilage in his nose crack on my thigh.
Two more shadows appear from the hall with knives. The blades glint off the light pouring inside our loft, and the men attack from each side. They swing wildly for my throat while I do the best I can to dodge their advance. I jab at the man in front of me. A costly mistake. With my guard down for no more than a second, he buries the serrated tip in my neck. The pain activates every nerve-ending, and in an instant, a numbness washes over. Minutes of choking pass until I give in to the darkness shrouding my eyes. “Fuck.
Two more shadows appear from the hall with knives. I step back, pick up the gun from the floor, and chamber a round while aiming toward the doorway. The lights click on and Wilson lets out a shriek. It’s hard to keep a straight face with a scream like that.
The men are wearing black leather jackets, gold chains around their necks and enough grease in their hair to cook with. They found me.
“So, this is the kid that had the stones to steal from me?” A man steps through the threshold with a black suit, matching fedora, and a pencil thin goatee running along the sides of his mouth. “You aren’t a difficult person to find, Mr. Conners. Expert thief, judging by your rap sheet.”
“I think there’s been a misunderstanding,” I say as the thugs stand and aim their guns at my face.
His eyebrow raises, and his eyes dart to the couch with bills tossed over the cushions.
“Oh, that money.” I raise my arms above my head and wait for the fireworks. He probably expects me to beg, but the only thing that’s playing through my mind is what I’m going to do differently when I breach back.
“You’ve got spunk, kid. I admire that.” Mr. Maroni moves to our fridge, opens the door and takes a beer from the shelf. “You mind?”
“Those are actually mine…” Wilson lifts a hand and peeks over his desk. His glasses, crooked and smudged, and his eyes on the verge of tears. The men jerk their guns at him, and his face pales. “Oh god, please drink it.”
“No one has ever been stupid enough to steal from me.” Maroni tilts the bottle, sips and smacks his lips. “But you may be the kind of stupid I need.”
“Does working for you include dental coverage?” A shit-eating grin slithers across my face as I glance at his men spit blood to the floor. “Looks like they could use some.”
“Funny too.” He chuckles to himself and his goons mimic him as if on cue. “You see, my lovely wife and I have an anniversary coming up. I had my eyes on a rare Cullinan diamond necklace, worth a fortune.” He takes another swig. “Unfortunately, I was outbid at auction, and the necklace was sold to a man named Leslie Turner.”
“As in CEO of Turncorp? Leslie Turner? He owns half the city.”
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