Michel                                                                                                                   NEXT


Kar approached the conspicuously armed man by the gate, who asked him in Spanish who he thought he was and what he thought he was doing here—though he did not ask so politely. Kar then stopped less than a meter from the guard and trained an even gaze on him, for which the guard drew his darkly gleaming weapon, once again asking his question whilst aiming the gun at my escort.

“I suggest you put that away before someone gets hurt,” I said as I moved forward, Kar stepping to the side to allow me a face-to-face view of the gun wielding man.

My words had flowed in perfect Spanish, but he opted to reply in English. “Who the fuck are you?”

“What will you give me if I tell you?” I became aware of the arching of my lips.

“Maybe some of this.” He shoved his weapon in my direction.

“Tsk. I’m disappointed. This isn’t what I had in mind at all, darling.”

“What do you think you’re playing at, mister? Do you know where you are? Whose place this is?”

“I’m quite aware, but thank you for reminding me. Do you have any other redundant questions for me, sweetheart?” I offered a coquettish bat of my lashes.

“I should shoot you right now,” he directed his aim closer to my chest, “cabrón.”

With a lift of brow I said, “Shoot me or kiss me, the result will be the same, I assure you.” I graced him with a very wide smile.

“You’re loco, mister.” He laughed, though not with humor, as his eyes flitted over my companions, no doubt wondering if we were armed and considering his options.

He did not pull the trigger, but with his other hand he reached for one of those wireless devices Trey called walkie-talkies.

“Don’t do that,” I said. “I’ve not finished with you yet, and it would be a shame to bother the others just now.”

He leveled the gun’s barrel in the direction of my heart, slowly lifting the walkie-talkie towards his face, his eyes once again moving betwixt the three of us.

“You don’t wish to do that,” I said, exuding a bit of ‘charm’.

His hand paused in its movement, the fine muscles quivering, begging to deny my suggestion.

“Now, be a good boy and put it away.”

His hand obeyed, clipping the walkie-talkie back onto his belt.

“Thank you ever so much.” My eyes assessed his form. “Pity, however, that you don’t have manners on your own.”

He could only gaze at me stupidly.

“Mm. You’ve already bored me,” I said, releasing him. “We’re going inside, but not to worry, I’ll announce myself soon enough.”

I stepped around him, reaching for the gate. I began to open the latch, and in the space of what was a blink to him, slow-motion to me, he squeezed the trigger—and found that I’d placed my palm against the barrel just as he fired.

“How rude,” I commented with a lift of my hand, and then smiled—impishly no doubt—for the bafflement in his eyes as he watched the wound knit itself. “Hmm, such things do still sting, you realize, though certainly I am capable of finding pleasure in pain.” After a pursing of my lips, I added, “Are you?”

He was about to make a stunned second attempt when I captured his gaze and looked deeply into his eyes, mesmerizing him more strongly than before.

“Stop. You’ve moved past boring to irritating, young man. This is not wise.”

His hand froze and his eyes glazed.

“You are most assuredly threatening the wrong person.”

My puppet echoed me. “I’m threatening the wrong person.”

“Do you know who this,” I tapped a nail against the blue steel, “should be pointing at?”


“You. You should be aiming this gun at yourself.”

“At myself…” His elbow bent and his hand turned.

“Simon says a bit higher, darling.”


My tongue darted out to wet my lips. “Mmm, and in the interest of getting it right the first time, place the barrel to your temple, s’il vous plaît.”

He placed it to his temple.

A smile discovered me. “Very good, poppet, very, very good. Living is hard, don’t you think? Dying,” my index nail learned the line of his jaw just below his ear, “is so much easier.”

In his glassy eyes, there was yet a deeper understanding. Devil that I am, I’d left him just enough wits that he knew what was happening—and that he could do nothing to stop it.

“Now…” I moved back a step.

My puppet’s next breath was a shuddering one.


His brains painted the white stucco surrounding the dark door various shades of red, pink, grey and others not defined, his body jerking sideways and dropping to the ground whilst I admired the artistry of his skull matter.

Gracias. I have now been properly announced.” I spared Kar a glance. “I didn’t like this one’s tone.”

“He was rather crass.”

“Terribly uncultured. Common thugs bore me, you?”

“Yes my Prince, they do.”

“I don’t believe we need to ask Gabriel his opinion.” I looked to him and he merely smiled at me.

“Ah, here they come,” I said, turning toward the tall door that split the stucco, which was now opening. The first of them already had his weapon drawn, which I grabbed, pinning his fingers to it beneath mine in a bruising embrace. “Do it and I shall consume your intestines from your warm body as I would a large bowl of spaghetti, all whilst you watch.”

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