- keep hearing your name
- “It’s an honour!”
- Jeepers creepers!
- all that glitters is gold
- danced on the ceiling
Tune in next time part 65 Click Here for Earlier Installments
Heinrich began to get up off the floor, but in a flash Svetlana leapt on him, wrapping her legs around his neck. His face purpled instantly from the pressure. Meanwhile, Aphrodite still had a mouthful of toxic sea life keeping her from breathing.
I picked up the pistol from where Aphrodite had dropped it. My sense of fair play gave me conflicting impulses, dual ways of balancing the outcomes for these three villains. I could probably save both Heinrich and Aphrodite by subduing Svetlana, or I could wait another few minutes until the pirates expired and then polish off the contortionist.
I knew no one here deserved mercy or salvation, but I knew also that I’d be forever haunted by evil dreams, the kind where you keep hearing your name echoing from charnel vaults, if I took part in their deaths so callously.
Plucking the jellyfish from Aphrodite’s tongue, I aimed the gun at Svetlana’s head and said, “Off.” I had to cock the hammer to make my point, but she released Heinrich and took a step back. “Heinrich,” I said, “I’m sure you’re familiar with the classic jellyfish-sting antidote? She needs it quick, at the site of the injury.” He gulped, massaging his throat, and nodded. “Then she’ll probably need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,” I added with a smirk.
“It’s an honour!” he said chokingly, with an unexpectedly British inflection. Sliding up alongside his wife’s head, he began undoing his belt.
“Jeepers creepers!” Svetlana cried. I held the gun on her and made her watch the lifesaving treatment for a few minutes before chivvying her out the warehouse’s enormous front door. I swung it shut again, then ordered Svetlana to shift some nearby oil drums to block it. Meanwhile I located some discarded electrical wiring, which I used to bind her wrists when she was done with her assignment. Her face was ashen, her eyes unfocused. Some things cannot be unseen.
“Steady now,” I said. “Like they say, all that glitters is gold. What you just learned is, not all that’s gold glitters. And some of it smells pretty rank.” She looked on the verge of fainting.
I surveyed our surroundings. All the nearby buildings were indistinguishable from the one we’d just left. Hot sun blazed down on us. I directed Svetlana across the alleyway to the next massive building and pulled its door open.
Guiding her inside, I heard music. The interior mostly lay in darkness, except for a rectangular area at the far end. A bizarre orchard of glowing crystal illuminated that area, with a grand piano suspended upside down far above. I nudged Svetlana with the gun and we slowly moved toward what I realized were inverted chandeliers, mesmerized by the sumptuous shimmering gowns worn by a trio of ladies as they danced on the ceiling that had been created for them.
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