Darkness in New Orleans

There Shall Be War, Chapter 1 Prologue

Monday, 24 March 1997, 5:28 PM, just before dusk

"What's that, Charlie?" Bobby Joe asks as an enormous metal crate is lifted off the boat by a crane.

Charlie looks it up and down, noting strange markings in red on the side. He double checks the listings on his clipboard as the crane sets the crate down on the shore side. "Not quite sure. It's not even listed on the manifest. That thing could be holding a tank for all I know."

The two men standing on the dock are so keen on the enormous box that they barely notice the approach of a rugged young man of Puerto Rican descent with a brutal scar across his chin. He is dressed in a fine black suit, shining black shoes, and a red tie. The cuff links of his suit are fashioned into gold crucifixes.

"Whoa, hey," Bobby Joe says as the man approaches, "I'm not sure who you are fancypants, but you're not supposed to be on this dock."

The rugged man in the suit chuckles and looks down at the water for a moment, then quickly locks eyes with Bobby Joe, "I think you should go find yourself a lonely stretch of the Mississippi and JUMP into the river."

The command is emphatic and bizarrely persuasive. As soon as Bobby Joe hears it, he moves away and starts rushing along the river, looking at the water.

"Whatinthedamnhell," Charlie says dumbfounded as he watches Bobby Joe wander off.

Charlie fails to notice the man sliding up behind him. With great speed and strength, the man puts Charlie in a sleeper hold and cups his mouth to keep him from screaming. Charlie struggles in futility, eventually succumbing to the stranger's grasp and collapsing on the pier. "Come along now," the man says, gently hoisting the unconscious Charlie onto his shoulders and carrying him to shore, "the trip from New York has been a long one. Nightfall is nearly upon us, and my Domitor will be hungry. "


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