Saturday, June 23, 2007

Negotiated Charm

“Don’t!”

Vixen’s cry was sudden, breathless, almost a hiss of pure panic. The creature at her feet paused, one eyebrow ridge raised. “Why not, pray tell?” he said. “Why should I leave you in comparative safety when you’re obviously up to no good?” He indicated the female ghost hovering just outside the technogram. “Molly really want’s to make your acquaintance.”

“She’ll kill me.” Vixen slumped. “I thought I could get in, dispose of this Waterman and get out again before anyone was the wiser. I should have now he had supernatural allies.”

“Dispose of him?” The creature looked her up and down, taking note of the number of weapons she carried. “Why? What has he done to you?”

Vixen shrugged and sqatted. “Nothing,” she said. “It’s not a personal matter, just a contract.”

“From whom?” It held up a hand to the ghost and she backed off, still holding up the knife. He punctured Vixen’s protective sphere, leaving her exposed but not I immediate danger. “Talk quickly,” he said, “because I’m only patient if I’m not hungry, and it’s almost an hour since I ate.”

“I don’t know.” Vixen had no preconceptions that the creature could be trusted but what choice did she have? She eyed the stairwell leading to the roof. All she needed was a three second start.

“Well who do you work for? I could go through the directory but I’ll be more lenient if you just tell me.”

“Directory?” Vixen almost laughed. “We’re not in the telephone book.”

The creature struck her, his stature allowing him to reach only as high as her arm but with sufficient force to scratch. “But now I have your DNA,” he said. “I can have your life history in minutes.”

Vixen deflated, knowing that he was probably telling the truth. “The Shadowblades,” she said. “It was supposed to be routine. They didn’t tell me about the bodyguards.”

“Nobody ever does.” The creature grinned. “Perhaps they wanted you to fail.”

Vixen did laugh at that. “What would be the point?” she asked. “They can kill me with a word.”

“Perhaps they wanted to send Harold a message.” The creature leaned closer and lowered his voice. “What if I helped you? What would be my cut?”

Vixen raised her eyebrows. “You devious little shit,” she said. “Fifty per-cent.”

© Rachel Green 2007

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