Is It Really Paranoia When People Actually Want You Dead?

(OOC: It's cool, hope you're doing okay.)

All she ever really did was go to work, Go to the video store and go home. She couldn't even remember the last time ahe had gone out. But then who went out by their self? She shook her head. At this rate she was going to die alone with noone but her cats.. But... She didnt even have a cat.

Just before Nodia crossed the road to enter the trailer park a red, bullet riddled Hyundai nearly clipped her before careening into a nearby lamp post. Smoke billowed from the car for a moment before a man in a black blazer and pants stumbled out of the car with blood flowing from a gash on his head. He looked around, dazed, and saw Nodia. Then he cocked his head to the side and said the strangest thing before collapsing onto the pavement.

---

Earlier, the previous evening...

Simon had been called to meet with Leland Vaughan at a construction site not to far from Jackalope Crossing. It had been quite some time since he'd visited there, and already he was getting anxious. Leland had sounded more than a little too insistent he meet him. Maybe it was Simon's paranoia but Leland didn't sound sincere when he called.

Even so, the money Leland had offered was more than enough to, at the very least, check out what kind of job he had.

Still, that didn't mean Simon was about to go in without casing the place first.

Simon found a parking garage a fair distance away from the site , which looked like it was the beginnings of some airport of some sort, and brought up a pair of high-powered binoculars and began to scan the place. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing on end, things were too quiet, even though the site had been closed and the workers gone home. That fact begged the question of why a number of the construction lights were still on in the half-built building. Sure, one or two for Leland and maybe a mook to keep him company, but there were seven all in strategic locations that Simon would've happily used to set up an ambush.

"Who've you got with you, Mr. Vaughan?" Simon said aloud to himself as he soon found Leland standing alone in the middle of a concrete foundation. He was looking around nervously. Not typical of the man given the profile Simon had built up on him. And from here he could see that Leland's right hand was bandaged up.

This required Simon do some more in-depth information gathering.

So he made his way into the construction site by clambering over the fence from a set of port-o-johns and made his way to the unfinished building where one of the construction lights was located. Taking great care to not make a sound he produced a Beretta Px4 Storm with a silencer and began to sweep the area. It didn't take long for him to find the very Italian mob enforcer with the high-powered rifle perched on a set of cinder blocks overlooking the spot where Leland Vaughan stood.

"He's late." Simon could make out the voices on the radio the mobster was carrying.

"He'll show up, I promise." Leland's voice responded.

"You better hope he does," That was Milo Castagnacci's voice, Simon was sure of it. "Or you'll be the one we cap and bury into the foundation of this place."

So Milo Castagnacci wanted him dead. Simon wasn't surprised, a lot of people he killed had family members out of his blood. Still, the fact that he managed to get Leland Vaughan to agree to this was... actually rather surprising. Leland must've been desperate. Still, Simon didn't much appreciate this double-cross.

Simon put two rounds into the mobster's enormous dome. Little puffs of red erupted from the man's skull and he slumped forward. Simon then went over, shoved the big palooka off to the side, and took the sniper rifle. He scanned the area through the scope and found the four other snipers in similar vantage points. Castagnacci was nowhere to be seen, no doubt he was facilitating this little ambush from an unmarked van in a safe place. Then, he reached for the radio on the dead mobster and pressed the call button.

"Mr. Castagnacci, if you wanted to see me you didn't need to go to all this trouble." Then he aimed at one of the snipers and fired. The sniper jolted back slightly, the silenced shot only sounding like a dull pop, and then Simon took aim at the next one.

"Who is that?" Milo exclaimed. "Is this that fucking hitman?"

"Call me Simon, Mr. Castagnacci." Simon took out the sniper, then aimed at the next. "Pity we have to meet like this."

"All snipers, I want eyes on this bastard!" Milo shouted.

"I can't see him." The sniper Simon now had his crosshairs on said before Simon silenced him for good.

"Shit, I think he took out Gomez!" The last sniper exclaimed.

Leland was now dancing around in the open. "He's taking your men out! He's here! Shit, I'm out of here!" Leland started to run, but Simon fired a couple rounds at his feet to keep him in place.

"Tisk tisk, Mr. Vaughan, you need to stay there for a moment. We need to talk." Simon was about to return focus onto the last sniper when pieces of the cinder blocks he was resting behind began to explode into buffs of grey dust.

"Got him! He's at Nico's position!" The sniper exclaimed.

Simon quickly got back onto the rifle and tried to get a bead on the sniper. Another shot hit the barrier of blocks. Simon exhaled, tried to keep himself steady. Then he fired. The shot hit the sniper, but it was through the shoulder. The sniper screamed and tumbled to the ground. It'd have to do. No doubt Milo was sending more goons.

Simon made his way down a flight of barely finished stairs and around the far end of the construction site, going under the assumption that Milo's other goons would be entering from the side adjacent to the street. He worked his way around and soon could hear the panicked footsteps of Leland Vaughan as the man tried to flee from what was no doubt about to be a bloodbath.

Simon found Leland in a concrete corridor and brought up his Beretta. "What did I say? You stay!"

"Look, Simon! I'm sorry! I really am, but they were going to kill me, and my daughter, I had to give them someone!" Leland raised his hands in surprise.

"Sounds like you've made a lot of people angry today," Simon said. "I don't like being used as a bargaining chip."

"I had no choice!"

A dozen footsteps were approaching from behind Leland. Simon had to work fast. "You've put a giant bullseye on my face, Vaughan! How do you think I should react to this?"

Leland shrugged and glared at Simon. "How about you fucking die? It'd solve both our problems!"

"You first!" Simon was about to pull the trigger when two armed men rounded the corner behind Leland and started firing. Leland dropped to the ground while Simon was forced to fire on the two men. Somehow, every shot they had fired had missed while Simon was able to plug a couple rounds into them. Realizing he had run out of time, he turned to run. But not before saying to Leland: "This isn't over, Vaughan!"

Simon was forced to climb up to the top of the unfinished building as Milo's men began to swarm the place. He found a plastic chute for disposing of rubbish and, realizing there was no other way down, slid down into it, trying to slow his descent before landing in a pile of construction debris. It wasn't a soft landing, and while he hadn't managed to break anything he did manage to get a sharp piece of splintered wood in his leg.

"Fuck!" Simon swore through clenched teeth as he clambered out of the rubbish container and onto the dirty ground. Blood was seeping down his leg, but he was sure the spear of wood hadn't nicked an artery. Still, after removing it he still had a hell of a time walking on it. Half-limping/half-running he made his way to a spot in the fence where some sort of drainage canal had been dug underneath and crawled under it. His car was too far for him to reach, he'd have to steal one.

A red Hyundai was parked across the street at some cell phone store. Simon didn't waste time and fired a couple rounds into the driver's side window and opened the door. After hot-wiring the car he sped off.

It didn't take long for a black SUV to start following him with hellish intent.

A mook popped out from one of the SUV's windows and began firing at Simon. Bullets riddled the back of the car and Simon swerved right and down the connecting street in a desperate bid to get out of the hail of gunfire. Simon knew he couldn't last very long if they kept up, he'd have to take the offensive. So he stopped and threw the car into reverse and started backwards just as the SUV was rounding the corner. Simon didn't intend to ram them, his car was too small and light to be worth much against the SUV, instead the sudden surprise caused the driver to swerve and overshoot Simon's car. Then, Simon took his Beretta in his left hand and started firing out of the driver's side window while still driving in reverse. The rounds wouldn't penetrate their armored SUV, but the rear passenger window was rolled down, hopefully some rounds would at least make them think twice before recovering and continuing the chase.

Sadly, no rounds managed to enter through the window. So the SUV quickly turned to continue the chase. Simon's clip ran dry and he cursed. He twisted the wheel, causing the car to spin around and he quickly threw it into drive again and started racing down the street. He had to get back to his car, Simon realized, his car was rigged to explode. Once again, Simon's paranoia would be his saving grace.

The SUV fired on him again and this time Simon felt a sharp sting on the side of his head.

"Oh you did not just shoot me in the head!" Simon exclaimed after pressing his hand to the now gushing wound on the side of his head. He tried to swerve left and right to keep the shooter from landing more precise shots, but the lunatic was a "spray-and-pray" kind of guy, and the law of averages were on his side. If he had enough bullets, one would eventually find its mark.

Simon turned again and saw his car parked on the side of the street next to the parking garage he had used to survey the site before. Now all he had to do was pass it, then try and gauge how far from the car the SUV was through the rear view...

The rear view mirror suddenly exploded into a shower of glass and plastic from a stray round.

Or Simon could just look back and see how far they'd be, and hope no cars were going to pop up ahead of him. He craned his neck back and watched through the hole in the rear windshield as the SUV drew closer to his rigged sedan.

"Come on..." Simon said as he readied the detonater he kept in his jacket pocket. "Closer..."

The SUV was about to reach the sedan, Simon flipped the switch, and the sedan was engulfed in flames just as the SUV reached it. The SUV swerved out of control, the explosion either did some sort of damage or it just scared the crap out of the driver enough for him to lose control and send the SUV crashing into a small antique shop.

Simon looked back long enough to make sure it was out of the race before turning back and speeding off as fast as the damaged little Hyundai could. The adrenaline in his system made it seem like the next few minutes were like hours, his hands clenched the steering wheel to the point he thought he'd pull the whole damn wheel off, and he didn't even notice the pain in his leg and head.

Before he knew it, the brakes had gone out, probably the line had been struck by a bullet and the fluid had gone and leaked out. It didn't matter, because it just meant there was only one way he was going to be stopping...

----

When Simon stepped out of the crashed Hyundai he stumbled around, bolts of pain going up through his leg as he did, and he turned and saw a girl with brown, shoulder-length hair standing there, staring at him.

"Popcorn." Was all Simon was able to mutter to himself before falling limp and passing out in the middle of the street.

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