Mistress Tatiana wore a black leather bustier, smelled of lavender perfume, and sweat. She could have been anywhere from forty to sixty; her heritage, and her lifestyle, made it impossible to tell. She had platinum blonde hair and crudely applied caked-on makeup. A man wearing a tank-top t-shirt and boxers was on his hands and knees in the centre of the room. He had a horse’s bit was in his mouth and a saddle on his back.
I managed to force the knife into his throat. Blood gushed unceremoniously. There’s nothing interesting about killing a man. I pushed both out of the cab and closed the door.
‘He always told me to run, to become a scared animal, but I stood still and saw the blood trickle down from the ceiling onto the floor. I looked into the eyes of this behemoth like man who shouted into my ear.’
‘’Run like your life depended on it.’’
‘A women sat by a river once asked me “why?” I didn’t know what to say to her. I told her it was a good question and then I slit her throat. It’s not a hunger. Nor a thirst. It’s more like defecation. A bowel movement. Something that I need to do.’
‘She stuck the note into her cleavage so they wouldn’t search the apartment any more than they needed to. It would all be right there. Blatant. Hopeless to argue about. Impossible to look away from. She wanted to make a statement, not a mystery.’
‘They say suburbia is subtle compared to the burden of a city, but they’re all superficial here, carrying their suitcases, and priding themselves on their wonderful lives. You wanted more, more money, a better existence, but the city beckons, the rush, the power, the skyscrapers, the fame-hungry monsters, you belong there.’
On shelves scattered around the room, many plastic dolls stared down at me. Naked, pink dolls with all of their hair hacked off. Only small blonde and brown sprouts remained on the hole-speckled skulls.
Bagby ran a hand over his mouth and took a healthy pull of his beer. He knocked himself on his chest with his fist a few times, like he was jarring something loose, winced, and sat back. His arms folded over the booth’s backrest like stop motion flower petals opening.
“So, what’s up your ass?”
I look on at a catalyst who carries me through life, the girl who has become a lynchpin to me, who cuts through the noise, the reverberations, and I feel alive. Nicely placed, she pulls out her umbrella as the rain pours from immaculate heavens.
Natalie was beautiful. She didn’t know it, but she was. Beautiful like something else. It was a broken and used-up kind of grace. A bouquet of rain-soaked flowers and silk ribbons laid to rest at the side of an empty lane where someone had died in a car wreck.
Jayson had put together a handpicked crew of capable but morally flexible people. Neither of them had previous military experience; one of them, Ocampo, had even served time. They wouldn’t win any medals or provide examples for a training manual, but Jayson didn’t care about that. He just needed for them to serve their purpose, and that they would most certainly do.
Payback, it had been a long time coming but finally, I had the bastard. The last time we’d been out, Kyle had spiked my drink. I was so off my tits, I couldn’t bring my eyeballs down from the top of my head.
Orlov had been putting the finishing touches on a newly upholstered couch when the phone rang. He picked up on the second ring. When K began to talk, Orlov flipped a switch near the base of the phone to scramble the signal and encode the conversation.
‘The alien doctor wouldn’t be anything like Dr. Patel. Jeremy’s doctor was caring and kind; he just liked to talk. No needles, no knives, no painfully invasive probes.’