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...And Then There Was Nothing pt.3 - The Funeral

The scene opens up outside on a bleak morning, the sun was still low in the sky, there was a slight breeze. The camera was focused on the white clouds above in the blue sky. The rustling leaves could be heard below, and finally the camera man paned down to the scene. The grass in the cemetery was bright, well kept and low cut. There was a small brick wall that surrounded the large cemetery, the back end sloped down a hill and was out of view. In some places there were large tombstones over five feet high, but most of them were small and simply bore the last names of the past. Father off to the right was a green tent, flowers surrounded the tent and as the camera man walked closer the casket came into view. It was set up on the rollers, the hole was dug into the ground and the final step was to lower the casket into its final resting place. The men who unloaded the casket stood there in a line with their hands in front of them clasp together. None of them said anything, three of the men were older and the other three appeared to be a lot younger. Several black limos turned into the front of the cemetery and worked their way back to the grave sight. After a few moments the slow moving vehicles came to a stop behind the Hearst. The drivers of the limos got out and all went to the passenger sides of the cars and opened the doors. In the first car Jaymz stepped out, pulling Sandy out behind him.

She was dressed in all black, as she was the other day. Jaymz was wearing his finest black suit, he had his long hair pulled back, the hoop from his left eyebrow was gone as well...He was clean shaven, and hardly looked like the man we are used to seeing. He stood there looking on at the casket straight ahead of him. The driver of the second car opened the passenger door and Crazy J stepped out, extended his hand back inside the Limo and took the hand of Queen...doing his manly duty and helping the lady out of the car. Like Jaymz and Sandy there were both wearing black, and Crazy J looked cleaned up as well. There seemed to be a little bit of tension, something seemed to be upsetting Queen...She kept looking over towards Jaymz, craned her neck back a little so see past him and looked at Sandy...Queen glared her eyes as she studied the wax dummy, she didn't say anything to Sandy when they all gathered that morning to meet up before coming to the cemetery. There was no service held at a church, for the attendance would have been almost nil. Crazy J looked over at Queen, seeing the look on her face he looked over to Jaymz and Sandy as well, but couldn't see what she was looking at. He shrugged it off as the limo driver of the fourth car opened the passenger door and Underground stepped out..He pulled his sunglasses down over his eyes, adjusted his jacket, dusted off the sleeves, stood as tall as he could and looked straight on. Underground was all business. The driver of the last limo then opened the passenger door of the last car and Alexander Zaslaw stepped from the limo.

Age was starting to show with the man, he had some grey hair around his eyes, a few more wrinkles under his eyes...and he was starting to slouch. He was a tall man, and unless you had been around him for a long time you wouldn't have known he was slouching. His face was unshaven, he wore dark sunglasses as the wind blew is jet black (tinged with grey) hair around. The limo driver of Zaslaw's car went back to the driver side and opened the other passenger door and pulled out a huge arrangement of flowers. It was filled with reds, blues, yellows, purples and whites. The members of Zero Tolerance considered Vadim like he was part of Jaymz family. For as long as they had knows him they had known Vadim, he had helped when they needed it. He had helped when they didn't want it. He was always there for him, and they knew that. Erik Black had sent the flowers, he was still out with Zaslaw's men negotiating with The Others, trying to get her back and to take them out. For Erik it was personal business and corporate business. It was unfortunate that it happened to Erik, had it been anyone else Erik would have gone anyway. He was the best thinker of the three, Erik had all kinds of strategy's and plans, ..it was his specialty. Erik had been informed of Vadims death and was saddened with the news of the old man. When Erik and Jaymz were Tag Team Champions in the NEW, Vadim was there everyday making sure they were ready for the matches and helping then with Zaslaws business. Vadim had not liked Erik at first, but had grown to after time.

Vadim had seen the ideas that Erik brought to the table and finally saw him as valuable as Zaslaw did the first time he had met Erik. The man placed the flower arrangement as close as the could to the front by the chairs. Underground went over to Crazy J and started up conversation, Jaymz pulling Sandy along joined them. They were too far away to hear what they were saying, but the closer Jaymz and Sandy got to Queen; her glare became even more evil and she took a step back. Nobody seemed to notice as Zaslaw then went over and patted Jaymz on the back shoulder as he went by. He motioned for the crew to follow him over to the tent. Zaslaw was not very happy, he was disgusted that Jaymz had brought that wax dummy with him. This was getting out of control, he had already had the man committed once and he didn't want to do it again. Jaymz was pissed enough about the first time, but obviously the first time had no effect on the man. He was married to a wax dummy. He decided that today was not the day to break this to the big man. His mind was beat down, shredded like a lawnmower had gotten on top of it. Another time, another day, Zaslaw thought to himself. He sat down in one of the chairs under the green tent..Jaymz Sandy, Crazy J, Queen, and Underground followed. After they all had taken their seats quietly, nobody saying a word, a preacher stepped out of a car that nobody saw pull in behind the limos. He was a man that appeared to be in this thirtys.

He had a smile on his face, wore small rimmed glasses and had a receding hairline. He was a skinny man, and very tall. He looked like a beanpole. Crazy J noticed this and almost laughed. He put his hand over his mouth and muscled up something that sounded like a cough. Zaslaw glared at him front behind his glasses, Crazy J found this amusing and flipped him off when nobody was looking. Zaslaw rolled his eyes and looked back at the preacher who was now standing in front of them. He didn't say anything for a while and the sounds of the trees and chirping birds seemed too loud. The Preacher stood there for a moment, looked over the few people that were there, opened up his book and told them that something had been given to him that the person wished that he recite. Everyones eyes shifted around, unsure of who wrote what he was about to read. None of them knew, but the person who wrote it wasn't there. He spoke.

"Today we celebrate the life of our dear friend, Vadim. Vadim, you were our teacher, our mentor and a dear friend. You provided us your counsel and wisdom. You shared your joyous smile and laugh. You shared your zest for life and the passion for all those things that were important to you. Vadim became a great friend and mentor to us as we always turned to him to discuss life's challenges and opportunities. We know he took great pride in our successes and family, as he should. He had an incredible impact on our lifes and our family. Vadim was frequent to visit us and forged a very close bond with our families. Vadim, you were a great scholar, mentor and friend. We celebrate your life as one with many, many accomplishments. Thank you for touching all of us and giving us the joy of knowing you as a businessman, a colleague, a scholar, a mentor, a dear friend, and a family member to us all. Vadim, we take great comfort in knowing that you are now soaring with the eagles and resting in the presence of God. Vadim, with everything we do, we will hear your cheers in heaven. We will think of your bright smile and joyous laugh. Thank you Vadim, your spirit will continue to live on in all of us."

It was short and to the point, just like Vadim himself. Nobody moved as the preacher read, they all looked on in silence. Thoughts ran through Jaymz mind, thoughts of his children who he hadn't seen in almost six years. Vadim, along with Zaslaw, had made sure they made it to the Old Country safely to Jaymz only living relatives and secured their safety. Zaslaw looked on, wondering who he could find that had the intelligence and business savvy of Vadim, someone who he could trust with his most personal business, and know that it could be completed. He missed the man already. Crazy J sat and wondered who would control Jaymz, who was going to keep him in line when he needed it. Vadim had been that man, nobody else could do such a thing..but that man, somehow, could. Jaymz looked over at Sandy and then reached into his coat and pulled out a Kleenex, he dabbed at her eyes(wax dummys don't cry, but try telling that to Jaymz.) Zaslaw looked on at Jaymz in disgust as he did this. The preacher stood there for a moment, then smiled at the men, nodded his head and left quietly. Zaslaw as the first to stand up, he went over to Eriks extravagant flower arrangement and pulled a single purple rose, Vadim's favorite color and tossed it onto Vadim's casket. He never looked back at his crew and went straight to his limo.

Underground gave Jaymz and Crazy J their condolences, hugged then both, neither of them returning the hug and then ran off to talk to Zaslaw just as his limo was starting to pull away. Jaymz, J and Queen all stood up, J leaned over to say something to Jaymz, then over to Sandy who was still sitting in the chair. Queen then said something to Jaymz, glared at Sandy before walking back to the car with J following her. Jaymz watched as all but one of the limos pulled away. When the four limos were gone and out of sight Jaymz went over to the casket and got down to one knee. The purple rose that Zaslaw had laid on the casket stood out as the bright spot in a cloud of darkness. He leaned his head down and closed his eyes. He sat this way for a few moments before raising his head...He looked on at the sky for a second, then got up, and just as Zaslaw had done; Jaymz placed a single purple rose onto the casket. He stood up and looked over at the limo driver, when he got over to the gravesite Jaymz instructed him to see his wife back to the limo and that he would be there shortly. He again waited until the driver had put Sandy into the backseat. He looked as if he might cry before turning away and headed south down the small slope that led to the far in the of the cemetery. He placed his hands in his pockets as he walked, and held his head low. He walked past the numerous tombstones when he finally reached the back row near the fence.

There were three holes dug into the ground and above each one there was a blank headstone. Jaymz raised his head, no longer lowing sorrowful and full of despair. Everything that was evil appeared on his face, everything that was wrong with the world, true hate and evil. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small razor blade. He held the blade in his right hand, he stuck his left hand out with his palm facing up. He curled his fingers leaving only his index finger pointing out. He took the blade to the tip of his index finger, inserted it as blood began to spill. . . He pushed it down farther until he reached the bone. He slid the blade back the whole way down his finger to the palm. Blood covered his finger as he walked to the first headstone, swiped his finger down it in a streak of blood, . . he began to make letters, the first one was an M. . . then an A , until he had spelled out Mark Cage. Jaymz then went over to the second headstone and wrote the name Spectre. Finally he went to the third and wrote, Chris Mason. He stood back from the headstones and looked at his work. His finger dripped with blood and a sick grin came over his face as he looked on at the headstones. He bagan to laugh as the scene faded to black.

Vadim Vladislav