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THE PUNISHER : DEEP WATERS

In the woods

Colorado

2100 hours

Perched in a tree, the lone vigilante was watching the luxurious chalet through a night-scope.

It was two stories high. Lots of windows. A garage. Luxury cars and SUVS parked out front. Outdoor swimming pool. Plenty of light.

Also, the target was well protected. A dozen armed men outside of the house. Six more inside. Contractors. An outfit called Black Daggers. Men who served tyrants and monsters all across the world. They spread murder, torture and misery all over the planet. Training death squads all over the world. This target was different. That just meant that he was a different kind of monster.

There were also motion detectors. Cameras.

Only one road in. Absolutely no way to come in unseen.

Or maybe the Punisher really didn't want to be quiet and subtle. Not this time. Sometimes, thunder, lightning and hellfire were more satisfying.

Something cold, hungry stirred within the vigilante. And the Punisher got to work.

AT THE HOUSE

The Black Daggers were talking among each other.

''What the hell is that?''

''Night vision cameras show me a drone.''

''Ok, just shoot it down, then. Then we send a couple of guys in the woods to find the joker who sent this thing. This is obviously some kind of diversion. Eyes open, boys. Suppressors. Keep it as quiet as possible.''

The drone was hovering at the North West corner of the house. Near the pool. About six feet from the ground.

Five of the Daggers closed in on it and raised their weapons. M4 carbines. The target was still hovering. No evasive maneuvers.

''Kind of weird that it just…sits there, waiting to get shot,'' one the mercs said.

''Who gives a fuck, just the fucking thing,'' another man said.

''I'd like to nail the geek who sent this shit.''

''If it's a chick, the VIP will want dibs.''

''There's that.''

''On my mark.''

They were all about thirty feet away.

''Ok, light it up.''

The drone exploded. Before any of the mercs could open fire. A sudden, powerful blast that would have only stunned or knocked down the mercenaries. Except for one thing. Dozens of nails were thrown in all directions. The five men were cut to ribbons by white hot, fast pieces of metal cutting into arms, legs, necks, hands, eyes, testicles, necks. They went down. Dead or dying. Bleeding, hurting, screaming.

The remaining seven security hardmen on the site filled their comms with chatter:

''Jesus Christ!''

''What the Hell was that!''

''Protect the VIP! Get him out of here now!''

Then, the vehicles parked up front started exploding. One. Then two.

''Someone's using rocket launchers!''

''What the fuck!''

Two more titanic blasts tore through the once dark and peaceful night. Two more vehicles.

Then, the garage was hit. The door was blasted in by one rocket. Rockets were fired inside destroying four more cars.

What once looked like a peaceful secondary residence sook resembled a disaster area. Fire and wreckage scattered everywhere.

No escape was possible.

''Inside the house! Protect the VIP!''

''Who the fuck is doing this?''

OUTSIDE

The Punisher had used two M202A1 FLASH four barreled rocket launchers on the vehicles and the garage. Discount rocket launchers. Still did the job.

Also, a homemade flying Claymore. A few pounds of C4 and some nails.

Now, to get a bit closer to the action.

Through the big windows, the vigilante saw there was a cluster of Daggers in the living room, ground level.

Ballistic mask on. Level III body armor with the trademark white skull.

AK-47 with 90 round drum mag loaded with armor piercing 7,62mm rounds. Fitted with a 40MM grenade launcher underneath, the Punisher jogged to the house.

AT THE HOUSE

''Holy shit! Look!''

''The fuckin' Punisher. Of course.''

The Daggers saw the Punisher closing in. Sigs, Glocks, HKs and Berettas were lifted towards the window. Taking cover behind couches and overturned furniture.

They saw the vigilante take cover behind an oak tree and fire. A window shattered. Thirteen Daggers fired back. Dozens of rounds tore into the woods.

The Punisher aimed and fired the 40 mil. The High Explosive round detonated. The blast shattered more windows. And a few bodies.

No finesse. Nothing but pure, ugly, slaughter. The vigilante reloaded the 40 MM and fired again. And again. And again.

Blood, flesh, fabric flew in the air.

The Punisher closed in. And fired long bursts. The AP rounds tore into clothes and organs. Despite the ear plus, the staccato was deafening.

The lone warrior then looked at the grim scene. It was butchery. There was nothing twitching, hacked up meat.

Then, the Punisher went upstairs.

To get the priority target.

The vigilante found the room and kicked the door in.

The target was a twenty year old White man. Athletic. Muscular. But he still looked like a terrified child. Big, blue eyes full of tears.

''The…The Punisher?'' He said.

The vigilante said nothing. But saw something else.

A woman. Young. White. Unconscious. Naked. Bruised.

''You…came for me…?'' the young man said.

The Skull Bearing Bringer of Death slung the rifle and pulled out a sound suppressed HK .45 pistol. With laser sight. The red dot appeared the young man's chest. He froze and shut up as the vigilante checked the girl's vitals. Alive. Responsive.

''Get dressed,'' The Punisher growled.

The girl did as told. Clothes. Shoes. She was shaking but she did it. The young man's face changed when he hear the vigilante's voice.

''You…'' he started.

''Shut up,'' the Punisher said.

Soon, they went downstairs. The girl gasped but didn't scream when she saw the carnage downstairs.

''Oh, Jesus…''the young man said when he saw it.

Seconds later, they were outside. The vigilante spoke to the girl.

''Go to that tree. I'll come get you soon.''

The girl looked like she was about to burst into tears or scream or vomit or collapse. She did neither of those things and ran to a tree. She kept it in.

''To the pool,'' Punisher said.

A moment later, near the pool, after the young man saw the five bodies of his bodyguards and realized he was doomed:

''Now…now what?''

The Punisher took the ballistic mask.

''What…who…?''

''Expecting someone else,'' Lynn Michaels said. She knew that with her long blonde hair and a face many considered pretty, she would create cognitive dissonance. She looked nothing like Frank Castle, but the former NYPD detective had once been a Punisher. And she needed to be again, on occasion.

Frank understood and outfitted her when she reached out to him. Castle and Michaels weren't friends, but had an understanding. Ever since their first meeting, a lifetime ago, when they were both hunting down a rapist that prowling in Central Park.

''Allen Brockton,'' Michaels said, ''You raped a woman and did less than a year of jail time, because you were rich, beloved and a respected athlete.''

''I…I wasn't convicted of rape…''

''Right. It was sexual assault. Some states claim there is a difference. The end result is the same. Someone gets hurt because you needed to get off.''

Michaels lifted her pistol and the red dot appeared on the nearly naked Brockton.

''No…'' he said, ''Please.''

''That's what those girls say, isn't it? That still didn't stop you.''

Brockton started to sob.

''You were a great swimmer, right?'' Michaels said. ''Let's see if it saves you this time.''

For a shot moment, Brockton's face was twisted in hate: ''You fucking cunt! I-''

Michaels shot Brockton in both shoulders, elbow, ankles and the kneecaps. He fell down, yelling and bleeding.

Michaels couldn't help it and shot Brockton in the groin. The screaming became a sort of squeal. She enjoyed that more than she should have.

She rolled him until he fell in the pool. She watched him for a second and then walked away. She reached the young girl later.

''Can you walk,'' Michaels said gently.

''Yes,'' she said.

''What's your name?''

''Amber.''

''I'll get you some help, Amber.''

Amber nodded. She held on to her tears. Shock or will, despite her experience, Michaels still couldn't tell. Maybe Amber would get through it. Maybe not. Allen Brockton wouldn't rape anyone anytime soon.

It would have to be enough.

-THE END-