Updated: Jan 7
He had always been cruel. Ever since he was a boy, growing up in the sticks in Sweden. Karl Hanson had always enjoyed watching others endure pain. This trait had led him to animal branding. At eighteen, Karl had started working in a farm in Skåne.
He soon discovered the branding tools of the trade. Each cow had to be branded and he loved warming up the iron until the end of the iron was deep red. He would relish the twitching cows as he drove the brander much deeper into the flesh of the cow, more than necessary, and inhaled the fear and the smell of the burning flesh from the unfortunate animal. However, this did not go unnoticed for long in the small farm. The owner was a mild man but he loved his animals individually and scrutinized every cow of his livestock every day.
When Tom Anderson noticed the deep engravement on the flesh of his cows, his temper was fierce and Karl was soon rounded up by the other workers. Karl was a big young man with broad shoulders, strong arms and long sturdy legs. His skin was red from the relentless summer that had recently scorched Skåne. His face was somewhat rounded and the small eyes set close together in a face that was not handsome. The hair on Karl's head was cropped short and it shone bright red.
You have hurt my cows, you heartless shit, sneered Tom Anderson. Now I will hurt you.
He lifted the branding iron from the red pure flames of the burner and held it in front of Karl's face. The young man showed no feelings. Held his arms. Tom Anderson snapped to his crew. He then proceeded to drive the brander down on the red skin that was already burned by the sun. A low scream rose from Karl Hanson. His face was twisting in pain. It hurts, huh? The iron was still frying Karl's tender skin, Tom Anderson finally removed it. Karl's arm now looked grotesque. It was bleeding and the smell of the burned skin filled the stale air in the small barn. You are finished here! Anderson's voice was hard and it smacked through the barn like a Viper. Get rid of this shithead, he ordered briskly!
Tom Anderson turned away and walked out of the barn.
Karl was dumped on the steps of the local hospital. It took two months before his arm healed properly. But the logo of Tom Anderson's farm was engraved on him forever.
It was only three months later after Karl had left the hospital that Tom Anderson was found dead in his house. He lived alone and no one had seen the event taking place.
His naked body was badly burned and a branding iron had been pushed deep inside his ass. The lower body intestines were fried like bacon. A set of branding irons were missing but no one noticed.
The police suspected Karl Hanson but by the time they started looking for him, Karl had left Sweden. He arrived in Hamburg the day after killing Anderson. It did not take long before he was swept up in a underground right wing extreme group, that he came in contact with after joining certain Facebook group that held the same beliefs as him.
It was also about this time he started killing people for money. He was good at it. It came naturally to him. It started with a member of a extremist group that hated his father and had stated to the other members that he wanted his father killed. Karl picked up on this and contacted the guy.
A week later the left wing politician Walter Fischer was found dead in his hotel room, from what seemed to be a stroke. Karl was paid 300.000 deutsche mark for the hit, in Bit Coin.
As the years passed in Germany he became a professional hitman for hire. He now used a special made freeze brander that was designed for him by a swiss company. It was small , handy and kept in a little case which always held the right temperature. The special mixture inside was deadly and when it was applied to the his victims through the branding iron, then freeze mixture was injected through the skin and into the bloodstream, it had proven to be one hundred percent deadly. It left only the small mark in the skin, that had become his calling card. A small black mark. The German factions began to address Karl as Der Brander, meaning The Brander.
He was waiting quietly for the train to arrive. His instructions from his employer had been clear. John Martin was to be eliminated, but quietly. He lit a cigarette. The rain was cold and the sky dark, above the platform. The Culemborg train station was almost empty. The bad weather kept people at home. In the distance he could now see the train. He was wearing a long dark coat, black leather shoes and a plain white shirt.
Around his neck a gold chain was lingering just below the collar. The blue jeans were new and crisp. His hair was died black and his eyes grey. The mouth was small but had a greedy streak to it. He carried a black backpack. This job paid well. The train had stopped and he entered in the middle section. He walked slowly through the compartments. Passing a few passengers with their heads buried in their smartphones.
John Martin was sitting in the back end of the train.
He could see him clearly through the dividing compartment glass doors.
John Martin seemed to be sleeping. The Brander entered quietly and sat down five
rows in front of Martin. Could he do it on the train? No. Not safe and not enough time.
His line of thoughts were interrupted by the conductor. His ticket, was checked and the conductor continued his round towards the front cabins. The Brander knew that this train went directly to Amsterdam from Culemborg and that the estimated time was fifty three minutes before arrival. He looked at John Martin again. His suit was in tatters and he looked soaked and dirty. The Brander did not know of the earlier events the last twenty four hours in John Martin's life. But he knows of him. Some rich business man. He was supposed to be old but to The Brander he appeared to be in his late fifties.
The Brander gazed through the window on his left hand side and relaxed as the train was racing at full speed towards Amsterdam Centraal.
Almost one hour later the train arrived at it's destination. The Brander was reading the news on his iPhone 12. Some kind of virus was spreading from China. No cure. John Martin was getting ready to leave the train. The Brander waited. He felt the old man's eyes on him briefly as Martin was waiting for the train doors to open. The Brander kept reading about this new virus. The doors finally opened and Martin started moving. The Brander rose slowly from his chair and exited the train. He spotted Martin in the crowd ahead. Martin had stopped and was looking at his phone. He shook the phone then put away again into his pocket. He proceeded to walk towards the main exit. The Brander followed in a smooth tempo. The night time in Amsterdam was as electric as ever. A big group of tourists from Japan were gathered outside the Centraal. A experienced guide was in the process of getting them all into a tour bus. The Brander watched Martin walk towards a taxi parked on the far side of the street.
He turned to the left side where he knew his motorbike was ready. It was a black Dodge Tomahawk. John Martin entered the taxi that sped away. The Brander was now following at a discreet distance behind the taxi. The traffic was bad but he was used to it. John Martin's taxi arrived at the Hotel Okurra, twenty minutes later. The Brander watched him enter the hotel. He looked around to find a parking space for the motorbike.
He was made aware of the basement parking lot by the hotel service. After parking the Dodge Tomahawk, The Brander took his backpack off the bike and continued to the basement elevator. In the hotel lobby he told the hospitality worker at the front desk that he was looking for his old friend John Martin, that had just arrived, but he could not remember which room number Martin had told him that was his.
The clerk told him that it was one of the VIP rooms at floor ten. Number 666 to be precise. The Brander grinned to himself. Martin had humor. He then told the clerk not to call up to Martin's room to let him know of his arrival. It was a surprise! The Brander winked at the clerk. He got the memo and winked back. Sure thing sir!
The Brander then continued to the elevator. When the Brander's elevator reached floor ten, he walked calmly past the stairs that led down to the hotel lobby. While passing other guests in the hotel. He then went quickly to the men's room. There, he took off his backpack and rapidly changed his clothes. Soon he was dressed in the same red and black uniform as worn by the Okurra service people. The uniform had only one flaw. It lacked the badge that the real Okurra uniform had in the left breast pocket but it did not matter.
The disguise was good enough. He opened the box that contained his brander. A small cord was connected from the the box to the brander. It was ready. He picked up the deadly instrument with his right hand. He then exited the bathroom after leaving the backpack behind in one of the toilets in the men's room. The Brander walked over to room 666 and knocked on the door. Room service!
John Martin was feeling better. The nap he had on the train ride had restored parts of his energy. He was now tending his bruised body and had a quick shower. He then dressed in a fresh black Armani suit and had a glass of Lagavulin. His iPhone was still charging. The front glass on the old smartphone was broken. Strange that the people that kidnapped him had not taken it. Perhaps they did not care. The Nexus. How in the world did they have that leaked info ? He had to get the fuck out of Amsterdam. It was probably stupid to return to the hotel but as soon as his iPhone was ready, that would be sorted. He smoked another cigarette. The phone was still charging but not yet active. He drank another glass. So much for the fucking partying. Jesus. He needed to talk to his daughter. And his son. This nonsense needed to be handled. Donner had been right. And this character Parysh. Maria was not to be trusted. That was for sure. His mind was almost back to normal but he was still a bit rattled. The LSD had worn off. Thank god. What a fucking trip that had been. He emptied the glass. There was a careful knock on the door. Room service. Sounded like a German guy, Martin though. He walked over to the door and looked outside. A hotel clerk was standing outside. He looked normal. Chill out Martin-he thought to himself. Not everyone wants to kill you. His nerves were a bit shaky. But something inside him urged him to pay attention. He grabbed the whip and held it under his leg while sitting by the table with the whisky glass in his hand. Come in, he said.. The hotel clerk entered and closed the door. He was a big pale man. Martin looked into his eyes and then it shot through his mind. It was the man from the train. John had noticed him before leaving the train at arrival at the Centraal. His eyes were grey. It was the same black hair. I have a problem with the iPhone. Can you help me? John's voice was calm and he smiled to the clerk. Certainly sir! He walked over to the small night stand where the iPhone was charging. In one smooth motion, Martin cracked the whip and it landed perfectly in the Brander's left eye. He screamed out and turned toward Martin and got caught by another crack from the whip in right eye. John now noticed the device in the Brander's left hand. His instincts told him it was dangerous. The Brander's eyes were bleeding. The tip of the whip had destroyed the iris of the left eye and from the right eye, shots of blood came out in short bursts that fell to the floor in huge droplets of red paint. Martin grabbed the bottle of Lagavulin and cracked it across the assassin's head with all the power he could muster.
But the Brander reacted faster that John had anticipated and the bottle just graced the top of his scull. The Brander kicked John back and moved backwards towards the door. He made sounds that reminded John of a squalling pig. The Brander was now in the hallway and ran blinded towards the stairs to exit the hotel. His clothes covered in blood and the pain overwhelmed him. He knocked over a sweet hotel worker and continued his raid towards the basement. He reached the bike and sped away into the night in total rage.
John had gotten the wind kicked out of him but was on his feet and looked outside the room. The Brander was gone. He then, went back to the hotel suite and had another glass of whisky to warm himself up the attack. He cursed himself. He had gotten lucky. Time to do something about this nonsense. His iPhone had now charged. He picked it up and called. We got a fucking problem! His voice was clear and steady. In a quick manner he outlined the events of his life and what he wanted. Ok! The call ended. He relaxed for a while and then entered the jacuzzi. He calmed down. All of this shit could not be good for his heart. He meditated for a while, then he focused.
This assassin had to have changed clothes somewhere. Probably in the hotel. Suddenly he rose quickly and grabbed one of the complimentary hotel robes and went to the men's room in the hallway. It was empty. He shook his head and stood motionless for a while. Then he started to open the toilet idles one by one. Nothing. He looked again. There. Behind the last one. A backpack. He grabbed it and went back to his suite.