By: Jessica Gadziala


To Crystalyn who doesn't see me

for weeks on end when I am on a

writing bender and somehow doesn't hate me for it.

I don't deserve her, but am so glad she has stuck around.



I'm not a fuckin' monster.

Though I am pretty sure you could find at least three dozen people who would disagree with me on that.

You see... my name is Breaker. Partly because it's my last name. And partly because that's that I do. I break people. People who need to be taught a lesson. People who need to be bent to someone's will. People who pissed off the wrong men.

I break them.

And then I get paid for it. Well.

I'd like to say it bothered me. That I had a moral compass that fought against always pointing south. Fact of the matter is, I couldn't give a fuck. You don't want your kneecaps broken or your teeth knocked out, then don't stick your nose in the kind of business where that's a possibility.

I guess that makes me a heartless son of a bitch.

But, coming where I came from, yeah there really wasn't much of a chance of being anything else.

I charged back up the stairs and paced around the warehouse. Long abandoned by the the railway back in the eighties. Three stories of red brick, mostly broken windows with the train doors long sealed shut.

“Fuck,” I growled, wearing out the leaf-covered cement floor, kicking a green beer bottle and watching it crash against the far wall.

You see... I had rules.

I'd fuck up any man who crossed my path. Any man I got paid well enough to rip open. To beat down. To silence forever when the occasion called for it.

I didn't mess with families.

I'd bust your face in, but no way I'd take your kids to scare you into doing what someone wants. That wasn't how I operated. There were plenty of sick fucks out there who'd do that. For half what I charge. But that was somewhere I drew a line.

And I did not, under any circumstances, deal in women.

I didn't kidnap them.

I didn't hold them hostage.

I damn sure never put my hands on them.

See, the problem was, I had a woman one flight below me locked inside an old gutted train car.

A woman I kidnapped.

A woman I was holding hostage.

A woman I could be commanded to put my hands on at any time.

And I didn't have much of a fuckin' option either.

God damn mother fucking Lex, man.

Shoulda turned and ran the other way when I saw it was him who had summoned me. I knew better than to get involved with that evil bastard. Made a name for himself by spilling as much blood as necessary to ensure no one dared to think of him as the skinny, sniveling gutter rat he had always been. Unfortunately for all of his enemies, he was a smart fuck. It took him under five years to completely take over the streets. If there was illegal activity going on, your organization best be cutting him in or he'd be sending men after you.

Men like me.

I had successfully avoided dealing with Lex from the day I went into business. Mostly because I was always moving around, taking whatever job came at me no matter how far away it was. But also because I tried to stay under his radar. Stay anonymous. Stay out from underneath his thumb.

But that all came crashing down when I walked into that damn alley a week before and saw him leaning against a building, lighting a cigarette, looking like some nineteen-thirties wise guy in a trench coat and shiny black dress shoes.

I should have run.

But, in the end, I couldn't.

“Breaker, Breaker,” he started, his voice oily, “we meet at last.”

“Yeah, this ain't gonna work,” I said, shaking my head, moving back toward the mouth of the alley.

“Oh, but I have something of yours.”

I felt my spine straighten, my body frozen.


There was only one thing in the world that meant anything to me.

And if he had him...

“You fuckin' serious?” I asked, my voice ice as I turned back to him, my hands curled into fists, every inch of my body tight. I wasn't hot. My anger never ran toward red. It was cold. It was frigid. Lethal.

“I'll give him back to you without a scratch,” he said, blowing smoke around himself, “if you take this job.”

There really was no choice.

“What's the job?”

“I need you to find, pick up, and hold onto someone for me.”

As far as jobs went, it was tame.

“Who?” I asked, mentally figuring it was one of the heads of the families or some dealer who forgot to cut him in.

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