“Yes. I knew you’d see it my way.” Mark Caten shrugged. “Everyone eventually does. Bye-bye.” He hung up the phone.
His thoughts traveled well-worn paths, starting, as always, with Olessa lying dead, smashed into a barely recognizable shape.
How did Ambrosia do it? And why? Why would he hurt my little girl like that? It doesn’t make sense.
She didn’t deserve to die in such a brutal fashion. She didn’t deserve to die at all. She was my little girl. Mine. She should have lived forever.
That ungrateful swine child!
He killed her.
I know it was him. Even if it doesn’t make sense, I know it was him. “Why? Why is my little girl dead and that vampire still alive? Why won’t anyone just stand up and kill him for me?” It isn’t fair. As long as Ambrosia’s still alive, I refuse to believe in justice. There is no justice. Justice is dead.
I want him dead.
I want his heart to stop for good.
I want him to rot out eternity in Hell.
He leaned forward and covered his eyes with his hands.
I want my little girl back. Alive and whole.
The phone rang.
He sighed and answered it. “Caten. Who? Sammy Borscht. Name doesn’t sound familiar to me.” He flipped through his appointment book. “He doesn’t have a standing appointment with me. Send him back. If he’s just a spam blatherer, I’ll dock your pay.” He smiled. “That’s a good girl.”
He hung up the phone.
Why did he kill her? Why? What did she do to deserve that? I don’t understand. Olessa. My poor dear Olessa.
I don’t understand.
I can’t understand.
There’s no way to understand such cold-hearted brutality.
A knock sounded on the door. “Come in.”
A man entered the room.
Ordinary looks. Decent weight. Neither tall nor short. Middling fashion sense. All around not impressive. “Can I help you? Although, I always prefer the flip side of that question: Can you help me?”
“My name is Sammy Borscht. I have come on behalf of one of my employees.”
“What? Are you a lawyer or something? If so, I’m not interested. You’ll have to talk to my legal team.”
“You have some documents. I need them.”
“And I’m supposed to just hand them over to you? Mr. Borscht?” He laughed.
It wasn’t a very pleasant sounding laugh.
“Oh, if only things were that easy. I need this. Give it to me. Okay. Here you are. No questions asked. No need for identification. We don’t live in that kind of world, Mr. Borscht. You want something, you have to surrender something. You need something, so do I. Question is, Mr. Borscht: What are you willing to surrender for your precious scraps of paper?”
Sammy’s expression went blank. “I am willing to be civil about this. I am willing to stay in control and not kill you or destroy your nice office.”
Mark glared at him. “Is that a threat?”
Sammy didn’t reply.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not in the habit of dealing with people who threaten me. Get out of here.”
Sammy spread his hands on Caten’s desk and looked straight at him. “Don’t anger me. You’ll regret it.”
Mark rose to his feet. “GET OUT!”
The lucky bamboo plant on his desk burst into flames.
Mark Caten backed away in a hurry. “What?”
Sammy stood up straight.
All of the ink pens – blue, black, red, and green – rose up into the air and snapped. Blue, black, red, and green ink splattered everywhere except on Sammy.
“I need the baptismal certificate and birth certificate for Ambrose Smith. Give it to me or I’ll see what else I can damage.”
“Ohh, I see. You’re Ambrosia’s thug, his bully boy. My. My. Little Ambrosia’s moved up in the world.”
The recessed lighting popped one at a time.
Mark watched them explode, with an increasing feeling of panic. “Is that the best you can do? Kill my plant? Break my pens? Ruin my lights?”
“I can do better, but I prefer not to hurt you. If you push me too hard, I will.” The last light popped. The only lighting was the natural lighting from the windows. “Do you really want me to go there? Mr. Caten?”
He laughed again. “You can’t hurt me. I’m Mark Caten. I’m untouchable. Everyone with a brain knows that.”
Sammy nodded. “If you insist.” His mask of no expression fell. He scowled at Mark.
A powerful burst of magic slammed into Mark Caten’s chest, pushing him up against the marble wall.
Sammy came around to the other side of the desk, picked up the letter opener, and strode over to Mark Caten.
“You…you wouldn’t dare kill me in my own office.”
Sammy touched the pointed end of the letter opener against Mark’s throat. “So. Where are they?”
“Just how sharp do you think that letter opener is?”
“It’s either sharp enough to hurt you. Or it’s dull enough to make this uncomfortable. Where are the certificates?”
His mind raced, trying to see, trying to find an exit. Some sort of escape clause.
Nothing came to his mind.
It was either tell or die.
“There’s no point in me giving it to you. I’m going to kill Ambrosia. He’s going to die before he can do whatever with those certificates.”
“That may be so.” The letter opener’s blade turned hot, making Mark yelp. “But you will give it to me.”
“Fine! Have it your way. It’s in the third drawer on the right.”
Sammy walked over to the desk and opened the drawer.
Idiot. Turning his back on me.
Mark pulled out his gun, aimed, and fired.
Missed him completely.
Sammy stood and walked back to him.
Mark fired shot after shot after shot.
Every shot went wild.
He ran out of bullets.
Sammy stood before him. “I think it would be better if you pull it out for me.” His pupils widened into inhuman slits. A dark aura surrounded him. “Wouldn’t you agree?”
Mark wordlessly nodded.