Dave let out an excited squeak. “You’re going to go tonight?”
“But. Mark Caten—”
“I’ll talk him into it.” Hank shrugged. “At least, I will try.” He squeezed Dave’s hand. “Wish me luck.”
“Not just luck. Excellent luck.”
Hank laughed. “Which is so much better than good luck.”
“Love you, babe. I love you so much.”
Red paint stained Mark Caten’s hands in irregular blotches and garish splotches. Mark stared at it, mesmerized, as he waited for his computer to load.
Blood stains on my skin that will never brown. They will never dry.
It will never die.
It will live on after I die.
Not that I’m going to die. I am immortal, after all. I am a god.
His two guards entered the room.
He lowered his hands. “Aww, look. Princess A and Princess B have deigned to honor me with their ugly mugged presence.”
Guard A, the taller one with the broad shoulders, squeezed his compatriot’s hand. He released it and approached Caten’s desk. “My divine lord and sovereign master.”
Caten nodded. “Very good way to start any conversation with me. Please go on.”
“I have a request. I need to go to Pinkerlee. Right now.”
“Now? Right now? As in, this exact moment in time?”
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! Ahhh.” He exploded into another fit of laughter. “Oh, my frickin’—He wants to go right now. Oh, yes. He just woke up and he’s going to just drop everything and bop right off to Pinkerlee.” He cast a snide look at the other guard. “I can only imagine that you doing it for your faggy lover.”
He noticed Guard B stiffen his posture. “Yes. Yes. Of course, you are.” He looked back at Guard A. “Why else would you abandon your post?”
“No. Nothing is as important as protecting me.”
“This is something I need to do. I NEED to do this. Please.”
“If you don’t give me permission, I’ll go anyway.”
Mark Caten hardened his expression. “If you leave your post without my permission, you’ll never see your dainty dimity boy again.”
“Dainty…Do you mean Dave?”
Mark Caten took a deep breath and exhaled it in a heavy sigh. “Ohhh, the grief of dealing with such small-minded people. Yes. I mean your little lover boy.”
“You’re threatening him.” It was a plain statement of fact.
“Yes. Yes, I am. I could give you more details.” He propped his elbows on his desk and steepled his red-stained hands. “But I’ve found that leaving such details to the imagination is so much more effective than doing a full tell all. I’m sure someone like you can imagine some terrible, graphic possibilities.”
“If you hurt him—”
“If you stay put, I won’t hurt him. It’s just that simple. But if you insist on playing that game, go. Run off to Pinkerlee. But be sure to tell your lover good-bye and farewell.”
“What if I quit? What if we both quit?”
“Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Do you really think I’ll give you a good reference if you leave me? No. I won’t. I’ll tell your future employers just how bad you are at your job. I will say such slanderous things about you. I will say them with such sincerity everyone will believe me.” His eyes glinted with a malicious glee. “You’ll never be a bodyguard again. You’ll be lucky if you’ll get a job as a janitor. Same thing goes for your little pep rally boy. But really? It’s your choice, guard.”
No. It isn’t.
I’m backed up against a wall, pinned against it by a loud-mouthed bully. A bully who will follow through on his threats.
There’s no escape.
I have no choice.
I will not have him hurt my Dave.
“Fine. You win. I’ll stay.”
“Of course, I win. I always do, you know. I am so naturally gifted and brilliant. I will always win. No matter what.”
Hank retreated to Dave’s side.
“It’s okay, Hank.” Dave whispered. “It’s okay.”
No, it isn’t.
But what can I do?