Rickson held his 70's styled Savage, twenty-two Bolt Action, Single-Shot rifle in his paws. Being the gentle, kind Pitbull he's always been, he never thought he'd actually have to do something like this. Taking aim at the blindfolded canine before him and his comrades, the rest of the dogs in line followed suit. Each of them aiming, ready to take fire could only stand in immense discomfort.
"Rickson!" hollered a golden retriever, "Rickson... are... we going to..."
"Just give me a moment, God Dammit!" Rickson growls, his ears pressed against his skull. Tears spring to his eyes as lowers and looks at his rifle. "Just... one damn minute!"
"Alright... alright boys, at ease," the retriever said to the rest of the squad, who also lowered their guns.
"Just go to your room! Don't come out until I... God... Oh God, please! Stop! Rickson, stop! Not in front of... agh!" The white and tanned Border collie is tossed to her knees, sent into tears and beaten. Rickson raises a hand, looking at his pup with hatred in his bloodshot eyes. With a grin of disdain, Rickson's paw comes swinging down, slapping the Border collie across her maw, forcing her to yelp in pain, growling in a timid defense.
_ "You growling at me, ya bitch?!" Rickson shouted, elbowing his wife in the cheek, "What'd I say about growling? The brat's gonna learn that shit from you!"_
_ "Rickson, please!" the collie sobs, panting in fear as she manages to lift herself to her knees, "I'm sorry! I'll be... I'll, I'll be..."_
_ "Spit it out and quite crying!" Rickson shouted, "I ain't got all day! Come on!"_
_ "I'm sorry... I'll... b-be more caref-careful!" the collie stammers, breathing hard and looking back at her pup, her young Pitbull pup who wasn't a year over three._
_ The pup stands in the doorway, his ears back and tail tucked between his legs. He hugs his teddy bear to his side and shivers as he watches his mother be slapped, over and over - her saliva flinging from her jowls and her fur loosening, floating into the hair like a flurry of fibers._
_ "What're you looking at, you little asshole!?" Rickson shouts to the pup, raising a hand and coming toward him. The pup's mother quickly stood up and blocked Rickson from the little one._
_ "No. Rickson, no! You won't lay a finger on him!" the collie growls, her defenses returning and more vicious than the pup had ever seen. Her tail, usually low and submissive raises and curls in dominance and anger. "Back away from my boy, now! Get out of here!"_
_ "Oh-ho! What... what are you gonna do, huh?" Rickson shouts, hauling out and slapping the collie hard across her eye and kneeing her to the ground. "You want me out of here so bad, huh? After all I do for you and your shitty kid!?"_
_ "That is your son!" the Border collie cries, "That is our boy! You need... you need help, Rickson! Get out of my house!"_
_ "Your house?" Rickson laughs, "Your house." Rickson begins growling, baring teeth and lunging himself at the collie, punching her stomach and hollering at her as he slaps her, "This is your house, huh!? You pay all the fucking bills?!" he shouted above the collie's groans and yelps, "You work all damn day to feed this damn family!?"_
_ "Stop! Get off... p-please!" she begs, the wind in her lungs leaving her, emptying all the air from her core._
_ Rickson doesn't stop; his paws rise and fall like hammers being tossed into the air. Harder and harder he pummels his wife, beating her senseless and without mercy, not caring if his pup sees. His rage and drunkenness blinds his judgement as he hits her harder, making her nose bleed._
_ "There... that oughtta shut you up!" Rickson shouts, growling and panting as he gets off of his shaking, crying, damaged wife. Looking to his pup, Rickson points at him, "You say anything to anyone, you little runt, and I'll slice your tail off and use it like a toothpick, got it?"_
_ The pup nods; Rickson turns his back heading for the door, grabbing his jacket off the coat-rack and slamming the door behind him. The pup rushes over to his mother and watches her nose bleed. Worried, he uses his teddy bear to mop up the blood from the floor and from his mother's nose. He cuddles next to her, holding her tightly._
"Baby, promise Mommy that you'll never hurt people... what Daddy did... it's not right. Not right," the collie groans, slowly wrapping her arms around her pup as she closes her eyes to catch her breath.
_ "Why did he do that?" the pup asks quietly, "I'm scared, Mama..."_
_ "I don't know, Honey..."_
_ _ "Why did he do it?" the retriever asks, standing at Rickson's desk, his paws behind his back. "We've been after this guy for years, but... for that?"
"Being a drug lord is pretty serious stuff... but... killing the mayor... government officials? I'm just as pissed as you are," Rickson sighs, sitting at his messy desk, putting his feet up and looking through some papers. "Says right there. He requested death by firing squad."
"Then why'd you suspend it?" the retriever asks.
Rickson furrows his brow, drooping the papers in his hands, "The guns were dirty."
"That's... Sir. That can't be the reason... is it because..."
"I think you're break is over, Dotson," Rickson sighs, looking at the clock and smiling passive-aggressively, "best get back to it then, right?"
"I... y-yes, Sir..." the retriever sighs, turning his back and leaving Rickson's office.
Rickson looks over the request papers. The Pitbull in question had indeed requested death by firing squad. Rickson could never really agree with someone choosing this way to die - there are much more peaceful ways.
"Though... after all he's done," Rickson mutters to himself, flipping through the inmate's file, "It's my job. I gotta do my job," Rickson sighs, plopping the file folder onto his lap and leaning back in his chair, his ears flopping backward.
As the pup sits alone in his room, hugging his teddy bear and waiting patiently on his bed. The darkness feels heavy, weighing on his breathing. With anxiousness and sadness growing thick, the young pup can't help but cry.
_ His door opens slowly and the pup's mother swiftly enters, quietly, slowly closing the door and locking it behind her. She quickly rushes to her pup's side and pulls him into an embrace, wincing and crying. The pup tilts his head and clings to his mother, feeling her shake and shiver._
_ "It's alright, baby," the collie whispers, "It's alright, it's going to be alright."_
_ "Mama, what's going on? Why is Daddy being so mean?" the pup sniffles, shivering with his mother._
_ "Daddy just... Daddy doesn't love Mama."_
_ "Why not? You're so cool..." the pup sighs._
_ The collie draws back, looking at her young pup in the darkness, her eyes adjusting. She cannot help but smile at her young pup, looking him in his brown, glistening eyes. So much innocence is inside this pup is at risk. If the collie stays in this kind of relationship, what is she taking away from her pup?_
_ "I have good news, though, baby," the pup's mother whispers, "When Daddy leaves for work, we're going to go somewhere nice. We're going to go see Grandma!"_
_ "Really? Daddy will let us go?" the pup whispers._
_ "Well, Daddy... won't know. We'll never have to see Daddy again." The collie whispers ashamed._
_ "Good. I don't like how Daddy hits you..." the pup says quietly. "We can tell Grandma, and..."_
_ "Let me worry about that, baby."_
_ _ Outside, Rickson observes the firing line. The chair is set out, the blindfold is laying neatly on the seat, and the wind is barely blowing, leaving the air stagnant and humid. Rickson sighs as he runs a paw over his head, scratching his ears. Dotting the back of his paw to his brow, Rickson sighs, feeling his body adjust to the heat as his olive-colored guard uniform clings to his fur.
Dotson, the retriever, startles Rickson by tapping his shoulder.
"Jesus! Don't do that... what do you want?" Rickson pants.
"We gotta do it today, Rickson. We gotta do it - warden says so." Dotson replies, crossing his arms.
"Yeah, I know. I'm just making sure everything is uh, ready, you know?" Rickson responds, looking nervously on the line where his fellow officers stand to take aim.
"Making sure the guns are clean this time?" Dotson snickers, receiving a dirty look. "Ah, come on. Lighten up. One less scum bag on this earth ain't nothin' to be sore about."
"It's not that, Dotson. Never mind."
Back in his office, Rickson looked yet again at the files of the inmate to be shot today at ten in the morning. Flipping through the pages, Rickson still cannot believe it.
"Age, eighty two. Name... wow, he goes by "Cuban Salt". Coulda picked a better name, Old Man." Rickson sighs, picking up a mug of coffee and pressing it to his maw. Upon seeing the photo of the inmate, Rickson can't help but feel his stomach sink.
I have to kill this man. I have to end this person's life. He requested it... but I'm stuck with it. I can't let anyone on the outside know that. Not about this one. Man!
Dotson stands, crossing his arms and shaking his head. "I dunno why you're so hesitant. Any other inmate comes in here, having even more reasons in their sentence to die than this scumbag does, and you're on them like flies on a hog's ass!"
"There's just some things in life better left unsaid, you know?" Rickson snarls, turning away and looking toward his bookshelf next to his desk, looking into a small mirror on one of the shelves.
His yellow eyes glisten ever familiarly. Am I looking into the eyes of a murderer or of a hero? I just can't tell anymore. I used to love getting rid of no good, sick, twisted people who really deserved to die... but... him? I don't know if I can.
_ _ "I may have to sit this one out, Dotson," Rickson sighs, "I just have a lot on my plate, you know?" his tail droops down and his ears press against his skull.
"Are you crying... Sir?" Dotson asks, raising a paw to touch Rickson's shoulder.
"No!" Rickson sniffles, straightening his posture and raising his tail back up, "No, I'm just exhausted. I just told you! I have a lot on my plate."
"Well, the warden has ordered that you do this one. Says there's no reason why you can't. In fact," Dotson chuckles nervously, "he's pretty pissed about you even postponing the fire-off."
"He can be pissed all he wants."
"Alright, seriously. What's going on with you?" Dotson growls a bit, annoyed, placing his paws on his hips, "This is the first execution you didn't carry out since being put in the position. You knew what this job entailed and you took it happily!" Dotson walks closer to Rickson, growling, "You said so yourself: 'If I get to destroy the scums who make this world a worse place, sign me up' and you know what? You're here. Now what the hell's goin' on!?" Dotson lays his paw on Rickson's shoulder, shaking a little bit to get some answers.
"It's none of your damn business! Get outta my office. I need to think." Rickson growls, turning away and sitting down at his desk, his head in his paws, ears flopping over his knuckles, "Just leave me to it, Dotson."
"Man... you're getting' real soft. This guy's a grade-A motherfucker and you're fighting to let this bastard live?" Dotson shakes his head and scoffs, leaving the office, "It's like someone fuckin' neutered ya, Rickson."
Rickson's office door closes and once the coast is clear, Rickson sits at his desk. His head is low and chest grows heavy. Soon, a feeling he knows all too well arises - he's about to cry, right here in his office.
"I'm sorry... I'm fuckin' sorry!" Rickson whispers, crying to himself. His salty tears run down his jowls and onto his desk, soaking a bit of papers, specifically, Cuban Salt's file. "I'm so, so sorry... I'm sorry... sorry!" he cries.
Suddenly, breaking the silence, Rickson's door busts open, and a Dalmatian named Bosco enters, seeming rather frantic. Rickson jolts upward, quickly wiping his tear-stained, puffy-eyed face. He grits his teeth and fakes composure as he watches Bosco brisk toward him.
"Rickson, the boss' real ticked off that you're not... oh... the hell? You crying?" Bosco gasps, "Jesus, Rick..."
"You tell anyone and I'll bite your tail off," Rickson scowls, "What're you barging in for?"
"Ah, w-well, the Warden... he's not too happy. He's actually pretty irate, Rick."
Rickson sighs, hanging his head, "The cancelation?" he asks, "Tell him to keep his thong on... it'll be carried out at ten. In about fifteen minutes." Rickson looks at the clock, then back at Bosco, "Get the squad ready and have our inmate secured in place."
"Yes, Sir." Bosco nods, turning to leave the office, "Oh and... ah... why... why were ya crying anyway?"
"I'll tell ya later. Get outta here..." Rickson sighs.
Bosco nods and leaves, closing the door carefully behind him. Once he does, Rickson looks down at the file again. The thought of killing this man is foreboding, but at the same time, it's his job - and the inmate is clearly not at all innocent.
Would I be executing him based on personal feelings or because he really is... legally... deserving of death? Rickson sighs, pressing his index finger and thumb to his ducts, squeezing his eyes. "The asshole deserves it."
Just look at his file. Drug lord, history of abuse, history of rape, history of child abduction, at least thirteen counts of murder, six of 'em underage... and illegal import.
"Just suck it up, Rickson..." he says to himself, sighing, "It's what she woulda wanted. After all he's done, it's all she woulda wanted."
The air is warm and pleasant, not at all like it was earlier. Everyone stands outside, preparing the area for the carrying out of the execution. Rickson stands nervously, holding his rifle to his side, shaking like a fearful child.
This is how I'll remember that bastard. I'm aiming for the head. There'll be no telling who shot where with us all firing, but I'm aiming for the bastard's head. Once I give the order to fire... the head is mine.
"You doin' alright?" Bosco whispers inconspicuously, "You know... from the... office thing."
"I'm fine... I'm just a little worked up." Rickson nods, "Got some jitters is all."
The Dalmatian pats Rickson on the shoulder, "You're doin' the world a service, bein' part of a squad that gets to shoot this sicko down."
"I suppose," Rickson sighs, agreeing genuinely, "I just... have so much on my mind. Too much."
Two officers drag out a Pitbull, old and slow. His eyes are barely gold anymore and his teeth are rotten from years of drug use. He's placed in the chair and tied to it; his haunches and wrists are tied simultaneously by the officers as to prevent him from attempting to escape. Finally, his torso is secured to the chair as well.
The old Pit looks up to Rickson with a smirk on his face. Sighing, Cuban Salt shakes his head and looks away, almost uncaring, cold, and heartlessly disrespecting him. The two officers back away and stand behind the firing squad, waiting for Rickson to carry out the execution.
Rickson's heart slams in his chest so loudly that he can see it in his head. He can remember everything, every bit of disappointment he'd ever felt for all the things he'd been through. He thought about her and how good she would feel if a man like Cuban Salt never existed.
Stepping forward, Rickson swallows, hard, "State your real name..." he says hesitantly, "Clearly."
The old Pitbull looks up and with a grin, he looks into Rickson's eyes. Opening his mouth, baring his rotted, yellow and black teeth, he wheezes, "Rickson Tormal Senior."
The firing squad grows still as a frozen wind sends chills throughout their bodies. Dotson and Bosco look to each other, then study Rickson carefully.
"Rickson T-Tormal Senior... you are being executed by law for the crimes you've committed and..." Rickson stifles tears, "and you've requested this... ah... a-any last words before your sentence is carried out?"
"Yeah," Rickson Sr. wheezes, "Your mother got what she had comin' and you didn't do a damn thing to save 'er. Had to wait this long to do somethin' eh Ricky?"
Rickson kept his cool, looking into the cold, dark, uncaring gaze of his father's eyes. After hearing those words, after feeling this rage, Rickson's sorrow turned to rage, and from rage came vengeance.
"Rickson Tormal Senior, I hereby sentence you to death by a Firing Squad, where bullets shall pass through your body until you are deceased - understand?" Rickson says monotonously, without remorse or sorrow.
"Bout the only thing you'll do right, in't that right, big man?" the old Pitbull laughed, wheezing.
Falling into line, Rickson quickly raises his gun and takes aim, aiming for the criminal's head. This is for you, Mom. This asshole can't hurt us or anyone anymore. He aims carefully, breathing deeply.
Rickson squeezes the trigger lightly before muttering softly, "Fire."
As he shoots his father in the head, he quickly tosses his gun to the ground, turns away from the scene and walks away, leaving the firing squad to take their shots.
As Rickson walks away, he can hear the echoing of the guns as he imagines every bullet passing through his father's body. A smile streaks his maw as he sighs in relief.
It's alright now, Ma. The world is a slightly better place. I did it... I saved us. I saved more people from being hurt by him... and best of all... I got to do what I couldn't do when I was just a pup. Now the asshole's dead.
Knowing that the man who had beaten his mother and threatened to hurt him as pup is now dead, Rickson could feel a weight lifted off of him. Back in his office, Rickson quickly picks up his phone and dials. After a few rings, he hears someone answer.
"Hey, Mom? Yeah... I've got some good news."