Writing spree, yay! A little more introduction for Luigi and a few hints towards his background. Want to take a guess as to his profession? :D
Patient is dangerous, erratic and has a tendency to harm himself and others. Patient has expressed his belief of being a prophet, angel or Moses himself, after a month-long phase of wearing women’s clothes and calling himself ‘the reborn Lilith’. Evidence of self-medication found.
“Who the hell are you?” he whispered with a trembling voice.
I shrugged. “I am Crave. I’ve got to go now.” And with those words, I turned and walked towards the river. Time to cash in my reward, and it better be a big one. They hadn’t told me I’d face a real one, a demon instead of a tainted mortal.
I was halfway through the garden when Adonis finally caught up with me. “Wait! We’re not done here!”
The Dark was still clinging to the plants, but it looked tired now, like a bullheaded, old geezer clinging to his condemned house. “You are out of bullets,” I reminded the man with the gun and hopped over a garden hose that slithered like a snake. It couldn’t really move, of course, but it tried very hard nonetheless.
He hopped after me out of instinct, throwing a glance down to make sure he didn’t touch the hose as he did so, and grabbed my arm, pulling me around and slapping the back of my head with his other hand. “What are you trying to do, swim in handcuffs? You’ll drown.”
I looked down at the shiny metal around my wrists and tilted my head. I had forgotten about those, they were comfy now that they were warm. The tickling in my nose came back, almost eliciting a sneeze from me before my mucous membranes started to swell and closed up my nose. Sniffing, I held up my hands to him and made an expectant face. He had the key, after all.
Another frown rippled over his classic face, then he snorted derisively. “If you actually think I’ll just take them off and let you go, no questions asked, you’re sorely mistaken.”
He grabbed the short chain between the cuffs, but only to turn around and drag me after him, keeping me at arm’s length to hold me in check. I still had no idea who my Adonis was, but his actions and the way he moved told me enough to be careful. He knew how to fight and how to protect himself. Also, the suit. Fighters in suits were, as a rule of thumb, serious business and not to be messed with.
I stumbled after him silently, relishing the switch from corrupt vegetation to nice, clean, scalpel-blade-ish lawn as we closed in on the now familiar back door with the broken window next to it. The phone in the neighbor’s house behind us started ringing, clearly audible through the crisp winter night.
“Cops will be here, soon,” Adonis mumbled, shoving me into his— if it was his— house and closing the door quietly behind us. “You’d better start talking before they come by here and ask questions I can’t answer.”
I blinked at a swirl of blue in the white marble floor, frozen in stone for eternity. “Or we could go swimming before they come by,” I replied, not really offering an opinion but rather speaking my mind. The fuzzy, flitting threads of thought in my brain were hard to catch, like flies— once I had one in hand, I hated to let it go to waste.
Adonis pointed down to the floor, where glass shards speckled with now dry blood stains lay scattered over the marble like pieces of a puzzle. “You swimming away won’t stop the police from hunting you,” he explained with a frown, trying to sound patient when he didn’t feel like it.
Oh, right. My blood was still here. I tipped and turned my head sideways to watch the glittering lights bounce off the almost dry drops of blood, letting my subconscious wander. Adonis was chattering on, walking up and down beside me, gesturing around as he explained things I neither understood nor cared about. I didn’t listen to him. Bleach. That was what I needed. I’d find it in the cleaning closet or the cellar, maybe beneath the sink if this house had a kitchen. Humming a tune that somehow matched the spots of light on the glass shards and the blood, I trudged away to find the kitchen, the cellar- if this house had such a thing- and a closet.
Adonis grabbed my shoulder to stop me, but it didn’t last long. The doorbell rang, followed by fists on wood as the policemen hammered their hands against the front door, calling their usual hymn of “Police, open up,” and “Mister Cave, are you in there?”
Humming on, I waited. Patience was all I needed, for Adonis couldn’t very well let them kick in his door without having to explain things he really didn’t want to explain. At the second round of knocking, he let go of me and cursed, stomping towards the front door and once again hissing words towards me that I didn’t listen to. I simply continued with my search and sheer luck would have it that the first door I opened actually was a kitchen. It wasn’t easy to open the canister of bleach with my hands in cuffs, but I managed.
Adonis was still arguing with the po-po, holding the door slightly ajar to block their line of sight and keep me hidden. And to hide the tire iron he held in his right hand, ready to use.
I softly whistled the same nonsensical melody I usually used to drown out the splash of piss on the toilet, as I emptied the bleach all over the shards and my blood. I was just about to drop the canister into the mess, when I finally heard something that caught my attention after all.
“Mister Provenzano, either you let us in or we come in against your will,” said a female voice with a hint of green smoothies in her tone.
A male voice intervened with a nervous hiss, resembling switchblades and packs of coke on a shameful night. “Are you crazy? Do you want to get us killed?”
I hugged the empty bleach bottle to my chest and sucked a piece of afternoon patty from between my teeth. I, personally, knew why I was careful of Adonis, what with him being a suit-fighter and therefor especially vicious and all, but ‘the Man’ usually toughed things like that out, bullheaded as officers were. One of them acted like I expected them to, the other didn’t, but what did that mean?
The lady cop piped up again. “I’m not afraid and I don’t care who he or Mr. Cave are to the Pergliotti family! Yes I know who you are, don’t give me that smarmy look,— get your damn hands off me, Josh!”
I hugged the bottle tighter at the sound of a tame skirmish. Adonis, Provenzano, whatever his name was, stood in the gap between me and the police officers, calm as cucumbers. I saw flailing hands fluttering by above his shoulders, and something rattled against the door as shuffling steps left the front porch. Mister Josh was obviously physically wrestling his lady cop partner away. It took all of his concentration to do so, he didn’t even say goodbye as he threw her in the car. The sounds of their fight were muffled down to a droning background noise as Adonis closed the door.
My tongue played with a natural flap of skin in my cheek as I watched his suit jacket throw wrinkles above his ass, mulling over what to do next.
Adonis closed the door and turned around, looking appropriately gruff as he glanced at me and the mess I had made. The bleach spread lazily, tinting the marble pink as it dissolved the blood and lapped against the soles of my boots, creeping towards a dried, bloody footprint in front of a dark vanity set to one side of the roomy hallway. The stench burned in my nose, but it also opened it enough to enable me to breathe through it again.
“So my neighbor was a cannibal. And you were sent to kill him.”
I gnawed at my lower lip, ducking my head. Was that what it had looked like to a normal person? Interesting. It made sense and probably wasn’t much better to look at than my vision of the scene, but that had been a full-blown demon, not a tainted person. I usually tried to stay as far away as possible from those, not only because of how blatantly evil they were. Demons always sought for a climax of violence and chaos, to sow as much destruction for as long as possible. A run-of-the-mill fetid guy could live his whole life and never hurt a hair on anyone’s body. Under normal circumstances, I might as well have killed someone who looked totally innocent to Adonis’ eyes, and I bet that wouldn’t have gone this smoothly. I had been incredibly lucky to have things turn out as they had.
“He was a demon. He was so much a demon, he had his own garden of rot mold growing on his Klimt rip-offs, and a little tar river of Dark through his sun room. And he had warts,” I replied. “I don’t like demons. I wouldn’t have taken the hit if I had known.”
Confusion and dismay warred on his face as he regarded me with a tilted head. His thoughts concerning me pranced through his facial expressions like proud little ponies, but I looked for pity in vain. At last, he sighed and wiped his face tersely.
“Whatever. The police will be swarming this place and the neighbor’s home in minutes. It would be better if you weren’t here when that happens, so I’ve got to make a few calls. I’ll take you home to my place and hide you there until this has blown over, but you’ll still have to answer my questions when I’m done here. I want to know what the hell is going on, and you will tell me.”
“So no swimming?” Yes, I still held on to that thought, it was hard to let go.
“No swimming,” he confirmed, frowned and pointed at the sea of bleach. “Wipe that up and get rid of the glass, while I make my calls.”
In the end, he had to help me clean up. I had no idea how to use a mop and my definition of getting rid of glass was kicking it under the vanity set, but once he showed me how to use a broom and where the dumpster was, I did alright. He didn’t take off the cuffs and he didn’t leave me alone long enough to make myself scarce and try my luck with the river, but I was happy enough next to him for now.
The cleaning took all but ten minutes, but in that time, half a dozen police cars, an ambulance and even the coroner arrived and stormed through the neighbors house, an event I watched through the kitchen window until Adonis pulled me back and sharply ordered me to stay next to the stairs where I couldn’t be seen from next door. He loaded his gun with new bullets, throwing me a disdainful glance when I frowned, and all but jumped at the sound of the doorbell, nervously ushering the visitor in.
The man, an olive-skinned, pot-bellied man with a bad shave and sweat stains around his pits waited until the door was closed, but not a second longer. “What in God’s name is going on, Luigi? The police frequencies are all but exploding with chatter about a double homicide, Tony almost had a stroke when you called!”
Again that accent, thicker this time. And I finally had a name for my Adonis. Luigi, like Mario’s brother, but without the green overalls. I sat down on the second lowest step, clinking around with the handcuffs and trying not to let my mind drift away too far.
“And who is that?”
“That would take too long to explain. Which I will do, Bruno, I promise, but not now. Right now, I’ve got to get him back to my apartment and make sure he doesn’t bolt. Then I’ll come back and deal with the disaster next door and explain everything to you. Can you stay here until then? Keep the officers out?”
Bruno grumbled and shuffled, a strange habitual move that looked faintly familiar, then shrugged and nodded gruffly. “A fine job you did of sitting Mr. Cave’s house. Pray that your explanation is good enough to satisfy me, or I’ll have you back on street rounds faster than lightning,” he threatened and turned away.
Luigi sighed, then gestured for me to stand up and follow him as he led the way out the front door and straight towards a rather nice limousine. I did follow his lead, but my eyes were glued to the shiny blue and red lights blinking through the night and hunting shadows across the neighboring houses and trees. It was a pretty sight.
“Don’t gawk, move it,” Luigi hissed next to my ear, grabbed the chain of my handcuffs and dragged me to the car, ignoring my half-uttered protests as he shoved me into the back. He almost threw the car door closed, but hesitated when he saw the shiny wooden baseball bat I was currently sharing the seats with, squirming to stop it from digging into my hip. He stared at it for a moment, as if wondering where it had come from.
“Is that blood on the top?” I asked curiously, leaning forward to examine my find closer. I had once seen a bum being hit with such a thing. He hadn’t gotten up after.
“Don’t touch that,” Luigi barked and grabbed the bat to pull it out of my reach. He shut the door and walked around to the driver side, hiding the piece of wood against his long leg, and stowed it on the passenger seat as he crawled behind the wheel.
As the car awoke to life, I pondered the riddle that was Luigi. A man in a suit, with a gun, a bloody bat in the car, a strange accent he shared with his friends, and surprising influence on the police. And he hadn’t insulted me yet, even though he had seen me at my almost worst. More importantly, he had killed at my command, had he not? I felt like a princess. The swerving of the car lulled me, but I felt for my head a few times, just in case my tiara might fall off. All princesses had tiaras, right? And “Cake,” I mused. “I want cake, not bread.”
“Oh, shut up already.”