Wednesday, March 01, 2006

...Ain't Gold (Part Twenty-Six)

Shadow couldn't believe how easy it was for her to get into Rich's house. Did old boy care about his own safety? Sure she was a pro, but if someone really wanted to get in, they were in. She slipped her tools under the mat and closed the door silently behind her. She smelled food and heard humming coming from the kitchen. As soon as she checked the house, she would leave without a trace.
Nicole left the ox tails to simmer and had gone off to paint her toes. Shadow followed the humming. She kept an ear out as she went upstairs, checked the bedrooms and came back donwn. As far as she knew, there was no one here. Rich could breath easy. Shadow shut the bedroom door behind her and turned to leave.
She found herself staring down the barrel of a gun.
Nicole was holding the thing all wrong. It was evident she'd never touched a gun before. Rich had given her this one in the event anything wet wron when he wasn't home. Seeing a woman dressed all in black in her home definitely classed as something going wrong. Shadow lifted her hand out towards the weapon. Nicole's hands shook as she aimed it at her.
"Who are you? What are you doing in my house?"
Shadow showed her open palms, careful to show Nicole that she wasn't armed. Nikki didn't care.
"Answer me! Who are you?"
Shadow took a step forward and Nicole took one back. They repeated these motions until they were ten feet away from the top of the stairs. She wanted the girl to give her the gun but it wasn't budging. It then dawned on Shadow that they had never been introduced. Nor had he ever mentioned her name. Nicole knew Toots, and Mookie and Cris and everyone else but Shadow, he kept under wraps. She couldn't blame the girl for being scared. She reached for the gun again.
"No! Get back! Why don't you answer me? What do you want here?"
Shadow was getting annoyed. She wasn't going to hurt the girl but obviously she didn't think so. The only person who could fix this was Rich. She reached for her phone.
The gun went off.
Nicole gasped, the gun still tight in her hands. She couldn't see where her shot hit, so she peered through the now smoky hallway, into the face of the woman before her. Shadow looked down at her stomach then up at Nicole. She didn't look like she was in pain; she more or less looked pissed that she'd been shot. Shadow reached for her hip again and this time Nicole didn't stop her. She aimed her unsteady trigger happy hands at Shadow and watched as the mute woman made a phone call. She never said a word as she handed the phone to Nicole.
Nicole took it. "H-Hello?"
"Nikki? Where are you?"
"I'm in the house."
"This isn't your phone. What's going on?"
"There was a woman in the house Rich."
Rich was still at Maxell's place, so this whole conversation was quite awkward. He stood and walked to the window, a hand in his pocket, face betraying nothing. "What happened?" he asked, afraid of the answer.
"I shot her."
Rich exhaled and pulled his cigarettes from his pants. "Jesus fucking Christ. I'll be right there." He hung up and turned back to Maxell.
"Something wrong?" Maxell asked. He had an awfully smug look on his face.
"My wife needs me. We're going to have to cut this meeting a little short."
"A little short?" Maxell jumped out of his seat. "We haven't even agreed on anything yet."
"There's nothing to agree on. You don't fuck with me, I won't fuck with you. That simple. Now if you'll excuse me," he brushed past Maxell and walked out. Maxell watched his mortal enemy walk away from him. In the place of his usual rage was a strange sense of inner calm. He tapped out ash and smiled at the door. "I have something very special planned for you, Mr. Knightley. Something very special indeed."

Shadow opened her good eye. She blinked it twice and sat up. There were people in here and as soon as her vision cleared she would identify them. After a moment she could see again and she counted four heads. Toots, Mookie, Rich and the dumb bitch that put her here in the first place. She stood first and took Shadow's hand in her own.
"Shadow," she whispered. "I am so-so-so sorry. I didn't know."
Shadow nodded. A lesser woman she would have killed on the spot. Being that she was with Rich, that granted her a reprieve. A nurse entered the room to check the vitals.
"How are you feeling dear?"
"She's good," Rich answered.
"I want her to answer me."
"Well, seeing as she's not going to, you might have a bit of a problem with that."
The nurse turned around. "Who are you?"
"I'm her brother."
"Well Mr..."
"Mr. Greene. Until she can verbally communicate with me, she won't be released. Now you think about that." She turned on her heel and walked out.
"Not a problem," Rich said. They came prepared. Toots pulled a duffel bag from under her seat. It was filled with clean clothes. They were going to get her out of here. Fifteen minutes later, with a fresh look, Shadow limped towards them, ready to go. She pulled her hair out of its band and shook it over her shoulders. She flicked her head once and leaned against Rich as they walked out of the room. They were at the exit before anyone realized she was missing. It was another ten minutes before they knew where she had gone.
The nurse cursed under her breath and went into the breakroom to use her phone.
"They took her."
"Before or after the poision?"
"Who was with them?"
"The girls, and the other one."
"The other one. Mookie?"
"Damnit," he cursed softly. "Okay, don't worry about it. We're going back to the original plan."


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