Unsung Heroes of the Night | Teen Ink

Unsung Heroes of the Night MAG

June 15, 2009
By Julian O&#39Cain BRONZE, Guelph, ON, Other
Julian O&#39Cain BRONZE, Guelph, ON, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Sometimes you have to make a decision. It might not be the best decision, but you make it anyway. When the only course that lies open to you is the low road, the one shrouded in shadow and lies, you know. You know it’s the endgame. The cards have been dealt. The die cast.

My name is Jack, and I am going to die. I know this: “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” Mine just dropped a bit earlier. The man sitting across from me, balding and married – judging by the ring on his finger – shifts uncomfortably and strokes his eyebrow. He doesn’t know what was avoided this night. He sees me as a hired thug. He’s right – sort of. Sometimes, when you walk in the dark, it takes a shadow to light the way.

“So let’s go over this again,” says the D.A. in the knock-off Armani suit. “Start at the beginning, please.” He wants me to talk about my job with the Face. “Friday, May 3, you were unloading crates down by the wharf.” He is filling in details that we both already know.


“What was in them?” I knew what was in them, but when you work for the Face you don’t ask questions. “I never asked.” Questions can get you killed.

“What if they were dangerous? You could have been killed.” He is trying to play the role of the good cop: I’m your friend, help me help you.

“Occupational hazard.”

Flippancy – my wife used to say it was my only flaw.

“And working for the Face isn’t? You’re a smart man – could have gotten a good ­office job.” He is right, of course. I could have gotten a well-paying office job. In fact, I had one for a while.

“The Face paid better.”

“No health plan, though.” He is referring to my current condition; even if I survive, chances are the Face knows what I was up to. Either way, it doesn’t look good.

“These things happen.” He pauses, tries a different approach.

“Out of everyone we pulled from the ­river, you are the only one,” he pauses and looks at me, “alive. And you pass it off as if this is some sort of giant joke.”

“Laughter is the best medicine.” I start coughing and notice a metallic taste. He tries again.

“You were the only one who lived. Why do you think that is?”

“Luck.” He knows I’m not telling him everything – got to give the man respect for his tenacity.

“So you were unloading crates and you ended up in the river half alive … there’s a lot missing here.”

Like how one of the other men had a grenade. Like how even the best-laid plans can go horribly wrong. Like how I started working for the Face.

“Care to tell me why you started working for the Face?”

Jimmy – that s*** – went to school with him and knew I needed cash. “So what if you hafta kill some people once in a while? Thems probably deserved it,” he’d said.

“Cancer treatments cost a lot.” He flips some papers. “Ah yes, your wife died of leukemia last year.” God, I miss you, Aims. “So you were moonlighting for the Face.”


“And when she finally died, you started working for the Face full-time?”

Not until he came, a shadow in the dark, told me he needed help, that the Face was planning something, something big. That he was after the kids. The shadow said that I could help. He gave me a purpose.


“What else did you do?”

“Ran errands.”

“Not just an errand boy, were you? The Face trusted you. You see, we have reports that show you as pretty high-ranking among his lieutenants, practically his right-hand man.”

“Something like that.” Not that being trusted by a psychopath gets you much, other than a head start.

“What was it they called you? Ah, yes – the White Knight. Not after your snappy dress sense, I take it.”

“No.” The boys probably thought they were being witty naming me after that urban legend.

“It seems you got your name from your ability to talk the Face out of mindlessly killing innocent people.”

“Honor amongst thieves.”

“You expected honor from that nut job?” Silence. He shifts uncomfortably. The silence grows as he strokes his eyebrow, then starts again. “So you were unloading crates and something happened, something you hadn’t planned on.”

Pain flares up. The worst part of this night is not knowing.

“Someone showed up that you weren’t expecting. There was an explosion, and everyone died … except you.”

Not knowing if I made a difference, if the Face was stopped.

“Who showed up? What happened when they did? Who killed your friends?”

“Not my friends.” Coughing blood.

“What was in the crates?”

It’s time, I decide. So I tell him. He leaves in a rush.

“You could have told him sooner.” A shadow in the dark.

“I wasn’t sure if you were alive.”

“I made it. Thought you would like to know that the Face failed. His plans are ruined; he won’t recover for a long time.”

“Good,” I say. “Good.”

“They’re after you, you know.”

“I figured.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I miss my wife.”

Unspoken, my question hangs in the air between us.

“Here.” He hands me the morphine control. “I’ve taken the safety off.”

“Thank you.”

“You will be remembered for what you did – an unsung hero of the night.”

My eyes close. God, I miss you, Aims. And I press the button.

Similar Articles


This article has 26 comments.

KatsK DIAMOND said...
on Feb. 5 2012 at 6:33 pm
KatsK DIAMOND, Saint Paul, Minnesota
57 articles 0 photos 301 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind.
~Hans Hofmann
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

This is amazing-- i had to read it over again to fully understand it, but once i did . . . it leaves me wanting more!

AgentPhresh said...
on Oct. 7 2011 at 12:27 pm
Great Dialouge

on Oct. 7 2011 at 9:50 am

on Sep. 4 2011 at 9:01 am
singinginthegardn GOLD, Cowell, Massachusetts
16 articles 2 photos 158 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." ~Anaïs Nin

That was intense!!!! Great job, I love this <33

Steph0804 said...
on Jul. 19 2011 at 12:36 am

I think he has nothing left to live for, so he decided it was time to join Aims.

What a great story

on Jun. 8 2011 at 8:27 pm
rubyrainstorm SILVER, Closter, New Jersey
7 articles 0 photos 275 comments

Favorite Quote:
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Please keep writing! This piece was amazing! Also, if anyone has time, please check out my poem, The Girl Inside. Thanks!

on May. 17 2011 at 7:15 pm
Highbarfreak87 SILVER, Indian Hills, Colorado
5 articles 2 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is no tomorrow, so do it today"

Woah, its a really good mystery 

on Dec. 9 2010 at 5:13 pm
xBaByGiRrL22x PLATINUM, Pearl River, New York
22 articles 0 photos 280 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The goal isn't to live forever, but create something that will."
"If you wanna go, baby let's go; if you wanna rock, I'm ready to roll.''
"No one ever said it'd be easy. They just said it'd be worth it." <3

woww. this is really goodd. really interestingg. i had to read ovr a few partz to fully understand the setting, but i loved it. plzz keep writingg!

Nevah GOLD said...
on Aug. 9 2010 at 9:43 pm
Nevah GOLD, Horseheads, New York
11 articles 0 photos 7 comments
This was really interesting. I liked how we got to learn more about that character as we kept reading. The way you write kept me whooked and wanting more with every sentence I read. Great work!

on Apr. 11 2010 at 7:36 pm
samanthab1996 BRONZE, Kansas City, Missouri
4 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -Phillipians 4:13

This was so interesting! I really like this piece! It seems almost like it could be a 1 or 2 minute skit or short film or something! Great job!! Keep up the great work!! :)

on Mar. 5 2010 at 7:27 am
erinzombie BRONZE, Dunbartonshire, Other
1 article 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The cure for death itself. The answer is immortality. By creating a legacy, by living a life worth remembering, you become immortal. "

yes, but it was put in quotation marks meaning he'd quoted it from somewhere lol.

Jacobf2 BRONZE said...
on Jan. 18 2010 at 7:02 am
Jacobf2 BRONZE, Branford, Connecticut
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments
it was a very well written story i liked it a lot, but “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” is that not a direct quote from fight club?

on Nov. 9 2009 at 4:23 pm
SonOfApollo GOLD, Katy, Texas
13 articles 0 photos 40 comments


on Nov. 6 2009 at 9:20 pm
spitfire213 SILVER, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 55 comments

Favorite Quote:
In the devil's den i may be, so stab my heart and set me free.

awesome, it makes you want to understand the characters more.

Ms. J said...
on Sep. 3 2009 at 10:11 am
This was really great. I just read it with my class to show them an excellent example of point of view and open vs. internal dialogue. Keep it up!

kidbezo said...
on Aug. 21 2009 at 1:14 pm
it was ok

rob burke said...
on Aug. 18 2009 at 8:39 pm
rob burke, South Elgin, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
that was truly a great piece i lovethe whole mobster era soo this was great for me

mwatt12 SILVER said...
on Aug. 14 2009 at 4:42 pm
mwatt12 SILVER, Elizabeth, Pennsylvania
5 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. " -Ayn Rand

Really great stuff! I wish I could write like this... amazing. Truly awe inspiring. Congrats on being published.

icyprincess said...
on Aug. 2 2009 at 2:57 am
icyprincess, Casper, Wyoming
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
WOW! YUou are an amazing writer!

on Jul. 13 2009 at 8:10 pm
Xinwen PLATINUM, Brossard, Other
44 articles 0 photos 25 comments
Love it. Completely in the present, but you manage to explain the whole scenario(with backgroudn story) in so few. Wonderful.