New Old Beginnings


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The office move is almost at an end, and posting frequency should hopefully return to normal by next week. But as you've all be so patient....er.....you are still there, aren't you? So, started by the one and only Luke, the history of which can be followed here (along with various contributors), and snatched and dusted off by Fence from a shelf I'd begun to fear would be forgotten............it's the return of Story Crossing. If you're new to this, read on from the beginning or click here for my addition. And when you're finished, take the story wherever you want it to go! *****************

It was hot and sticky inside the club, the air hung thick with smoke. Overhead lights threw a sickly, seedy pink hue over everything. Mike was stoned. Way too stoned. And now he was drunk. Very drunk. He leant heavily against the grimy bar counter, the stench of stale urine from the nearby public toilet hung in the air and clung to the walls, insidiously working its way into his nostrils. He grimaced and attempted to focus on anything in his immediate vicinity, anything that wasn’t moving. It was hard. People crushed and crowded against him, all trying to catch the barmaid’s attention. Faces became distorted and stupid looking. He sniggered to himself at the grotesque images around him, he hated it here, he loved it here. The noise and heat engulfed him and for a few moments he felt almost happy, blanketed in the common bond he shared with all the other restless, lonely, souls. Then he remembered where he was and almost immediately, the blackness came rushing back into his head.

He gave up trying to focus on the people and stared instead at the brown bottle in his hand. Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” throbbed suggestively from somewhere deeper in the club and a bunch of Goth chicks began gyrating in time to the beat, behind him. They were all drunk as skunks and teetering crazily all over the place. One of them lost her balance and crashed into the bulk of Mike’s slouching body, half rolling off his leather jacket. He wasn’t sure if it was deliberate on her part, he was past caring. He turned slowly and gave her an icy stare.

“Oops, sorry!” She blurted, giggling at herself. “My mistake.” She stopped abruptly, taking in his violent gaze. “Chill, dude.’ She said casually.

She looked about eighteen, so Mike reckoned she was probably fourteen or younger. Her face was plastered with thick white makeup; her eyes, heavily black from the Kohl eyeliner, looked like piss holes in the snow. She was wearing a black mesh top and no bra, her nipples poked through the strands of black string. He sneered at her.

”Fuck off.” He said in a menacing tone. He was so sick of adolescent girls. They were all so full of shit. Cock teasers and sluts. The last thing he needed tonight was a potential statutory rape probability

“Fuck you too, shit head!” she spat at him and swaggered off unsteadily back to her mates. Her friends gasped in unison when she told them what he’d said to her. A chorus of “arsehole!” and “dickface!” assaulted his ears; they made gestures with their middle fingers.

He shrugged and went back to his beer, glowering at the faces around him. The place was starting to close in, he felt claustrophobic. ‘Fucking bitches,’ he seethed inside. ‘I fucking hate them all. Only good for one thing.’ He continued to drink heavily and ordered another beer from the frazzled bar lady.

‘Geez, Mike,” she said, eyeing him warily. ‘You’re sure as hell putting them away tonight, hey? Slow down, dude.” She was fond of Mike, he was a regular Thursday Ladies’ Night patron at the club but she hadn’t ever seen him this tanked up, or as surly before.

“Just give me a goddam beer, Claire and leave me the fuck alone with the lectures, okay?!” His voice was heavy with booze, yet even in his inebriated state, he managed to speak clearly.

“I’m not lecturing you, Mike.” Claire said, uncapping the beer and slamming it down hard on the counter next to his outstretched hand. “Just take it easy, okay?” She tossed his loose change close to the beer bottle. “Give me any shit and I’ll get Bruce to throw you out.” She glared at him threateningly and then spun around, before he could say anything abusive. A crowd of people on the opposite side of the bar were clamouring for refills. She didn’t have time for arguments.

Fatigue pulled at Mike, dragging him down. He tried to shake it off with a few gulps of the fresh, cold beer but it wasn’t helping. Bruce, the massive bouncer, had always been friendly but Mike knew that it wouldn’t be impossible to overstretch the boundaries and get turfed out into the street. Bruce didn’t take crap from anyone – friend or otherwise.

Mike was getting sick of the place, sick of the babies, the endless parade of schoolgirls. ‘Why the fuck do I come here?’ He mulled to himself. ‘It’s not like I even enjoy it anymore. Always the same bunch of losers and wannabees. They all think they are so cool but they’re just a load of posers, trendies.’ Vivid images erupted in his head – he was striding through the crowded club, gun in hand, taking pot shots at whoever put a face in front of him. Graphic pictures of bloodied bodies and screaming teenagers, flooded through his mind. He was enjoying this day dream; a deep secret smile in his eyes, when he saw her standing across from him. His heart almost stopped beating.

She’d been dead all of three years, but it was still a breathless fall to sobriety every time he saw her. Well, not dead three years, but died three years ago……..shit, he couldn’t even wrap his head around it in the cold, clear light of day, let alone with the fog that was currently loitering in his mind.

He watched her walk toward the bar, a clinical stride that didn’t seem to belong to her; or maybe it did, maybe the warmth he had always associated with that movement was the real illusion. As always, she was dressed plainly in a black garment that shifted unnaturally, almost as if the touch of her skin would leave some dread taint.

“Michael.”

How could he bear to hear that voice speak his name, that as it had been stripped of any notion of intimacy, so was he stripped of the last vestiges of sanity every time he heard it.

“You’re looking well.” She could have at least made an effort at candidness, but Mike reckoned once you’d been to the other side, sincerity was an expendable commodity.

Who would have guessed that science would beat Christ to the resurrection? When they successfully brought that boy back 10 years ago, Mike had not an inkling of the impact it would have on his life. Why had she just not told him? He could understand the right of every individual to request the procedure, if it were possible, yet it angered him that she’d concealed her decision. She should’ve been mangled by a train, not that fucking pussy of an aneurysm that left her in such ‘pristine’ condition.

R.E.S.C.O.R. He couldn’t even think the word without feeling the bile rising in the back of his throat. You thinking of donating your organs when you kick it? Fuck that! Resurrection is the way to go, provided you have enough cash and have managed to keep yourself from splattering all over the pavement. Why no-one seemed to be bothered about the secrecy surrounding the procedure was beyond him. Could the joy of being re-united with a loved one truly blind you for so long? Surely they could see that what came back was like an image in a mirror, that something was lost in the transition? Perhaps that was why he hung out at the club so often; it was as close as he could get to the sheer desolation, the intoxicating loneliness of death. Here, he could worship at the feet of his beloved Mistress. He was sure that She would whisper to him Her design for vengeance against those who would dare defy Her will and encroach on Her domain. For a moment he again saw himself, gun in hand, blowing away these pathetic freaks. Rescor would have a bloody field day.

He tried to straighten up, to stare the true freak in the eyes.

“Kira, my darling wife.” The sarcasm peeled from his voice like burnt skin. “What do you need this time?”

Kira slid onto the barstool next to him like it was a well worn saddle. She was totally comfortable in her surroundings whatever they may be, a characteristic that was completely foreign to Mike, in his own life and in the life of the woman he once knew as his own. Once she was brought back, it seemed she was made into some sort of chameleon as well.

As she edged closer to him he noticed the pleasant effects of his alcohol induced haze retreating into a mild numbness of his senses. However, his eyesight was on alert and he noticed the standard Rescor barcode tattooed on the inside of her right wrist when she reached for his bottle of beer.

“I’m just a bit parched my love, mind if I have a sip?” She said as she took his beer and downed what was left in one fluid motion. Kira motioned for Claire to bring Mike another bottle. Claire stepped over to the pair, aware of their history and of the potential for disaster whenever the two were together after Kira’s transformation. They were both as volatile as gun powder next to a grease fire and Claire wanted no part of the fireworks.

Claire set Mike’s new bottle of beer down in front of him and retreated quickly as Kira swiped it and took a long pull, placing it back in front of Mike with a teeth-jarring thud.

To think of putting his mouth to the same place this thing beside him had just touched her lips to, made the acid in Mike’s gut rise. He eyed Kira warily and said with great disdain, “Keep it sweetie.”

He couldn’t stand this back and forth banter she insisted on every time they were in the same zip code. It was almost like she had some sort of tracking device on him and she knew when he was vulnerable and when his soul was raw from life.

She found him. She taunted him. She made his life hell showing him that he could never have it the way it used to be.

It tore Mike’s heart out to think of the love he once knew with Kira and that it all was boiled away when the mad scientist bastards at R.E.S.C.O.R. woke her from what should have been death.

Kira swung towards him on her barstool, seeming to almost float in her supernatural way of moving, and Mike; lost in his thoughts; inadvertently flinched. She laughed low and throaty and sprung from her perch, rabbit punching Mike in the back of the head and leapt away to taunt, tease and harass a group of burly bikers in a darkened corner.

‘Those guys have no idea what they are getting into.’ Mike thought to himself as he rubbed the back of his head. Claire stepped over to him to ask if he was ok. “I’m fine Claire, thanks for asking.”

Claire thrust out her chin determinedly and said, “Mike, I don’t know why you let her do that to you. It is like she hurts you on purpose every time she sees you. Either she hurts your feelings or hurts you physically or both. She is just a cruel woman, no… scratch that… She’s a Monster! I don’t know why you don’t turn her into that group of Blade Runners that have popped up over in Dallas. I mean, man… I know she used to be your wife and all… but dude… that thing ain’t nobody’s wife!”

Mike thought for a second and then replied, “I guess I just feel a little responsible for her Claire.” He shook his head sadly and walked out of the bar.

If only he had read the fine print on the medical release form at the hospital.

But he had always thought he was better than the rest of them, hadn’t he? That no one could ever screw him over because he had all bases covered. Well, screwed him over she had, good and proper.

The day she… died, it had all started with a headache. He’d thought nothing of it at first, she was tired from working all hours at the office, and her father’s heart scare had kept them on edge for a few days. The worry had only come later. Much later. Too late. By then, Kira was weeping from the pain, and her skin looked taut, stretched across the cheekbones, and glistening with sweat. Very unhealthy. Very worrying. That’s when he’d realised that she needed the ER.

Every time he’d thought about that drive to the hospital, inevitably the words ‘movie clichés’ came to his mind although, it had definitely not felt that way at the time. He had driven like he’d never driven before, clutching the wheel with both hands, aware that if he took Kira’s hand, he might crush it with the sheer strength of his worry. He lifted her gently from the passenger seat after a screeching halt right in front of the entrance, and run to the first nurse he’d seen. He was nearly incoherent. They’d thankfully taken over from there.

“You OK, Mike?” Claire inquired, snapping Mike out of his memories. It took him a second to actually remember where he was – in the bar’s parking lot, absently standing in front of his car, dangling car keys in hand – and it came crashing down. Kira was back. Again. Yet, somehow, this time, he had a nagging suspicion that she very much wanted to outstay her welcome. “Yeah, just, y’know, had a few too many, I guess”. Claire didn’t insist. She’d told him that Kira was bad news. There was nothing else she could do. And she couldn’t afford to get tangled up in the lives of her patrons, however nice the patron. Not that Mike would listen anyway. She threw the stub of her cigarette, and went back in.

“Sir, hi, I’m Dr. Edwardes. I’m going to have to skip the niceties, here, time’s running fast. You are aware that your wife signed up for Rescor procedure?” “Er, n… no…?” He’d hated the sound of his voice at that moment. Whiny, scared, choking. He wasn’t like that. “We found the acceptance card in her purse. Unfortunately, she was in a coma on arrival, so we couldn’t get her formal confirmation.” Dr. Edwardes proceeded to brief him on what exactly the resurrection entailed. Mike hadn’t even paused to consider the consequences: Kira was dead, Kira could live again, the answer shot out of his mouth like a hot breath. “Yes, go on, do it.” Just like that, he’d allowed his wife to live again. She’d stayed at the hospital for a couple of days, and he took her back home with the same kind of feeling he’d had on their wedding day. The trouble became apparent fairly rapidly. He’d first noticed the mood swings. And it escalated fairly rapidly; she needed more and more time on her own, locked up in the bathroom, or out, just out, he’d never known where. Up until the point when she’d simply vanished. She’d even kissed him goodbye that day.

“Hey, Michael.” Kira caught up with him sitting in his car. Not surprising considering that the old piece of shit he used for transport usually required a few minutes warming. Fuck. “Kira. I’ve asked you before. What do you want?” She was bending low to his level, showing more cleavage than he cared to see. It made his skin crawl that at some point he’d loved making love to her. She was so alien to him now. “Michael, darling, don’t do this. What do I want? I want my husband back.” She started toying with the buttons on his shirt. The way her nails would grate the fabric against his skin used to drive him insane with desire for her. With love. That’s what it was then. “I want children. A home. A fa-mi-ly.”, she sing-songed. “Oh Kira, give me a break. You don’t want a family, you want new toys. What? That bunch of apes in there didn’t perform? I have to go.” He gunned the car. He felt sober. He felt scared

A slow smile played across Kira’s face as she watched Michael flee, the tyres squealed and spun, sending dirt and dust flying into the air. She lit a cigarette and leaned back against the wall, plenty of time to catch up with him again. She inhaled deeply, loving the feel of the smoke and the nicotine rush. No more worries about lung cancer, yet another reason to thank Rescor - to thank Michael for bringing her back. She glanced at her reflection in the bar’s darkened window. Not a hair out of place, since Rescor she always looked pristine.

She thought about his earlier question. What do I want? ”Just to be happy”, Kira’s lips curled mockingly as she spoke softly to herself, practicing her reply, saccharine sweet, for next time he asked. And yet, in a way, it was the truth. But she knew he couldn’t understand. No one could. Not unless they’d seen what she had. Not unless they too had been brought back from death. As she dropped her cigarette she noticed a frown on the Kira in the window, marring her smooth forehead. Kira summoned a cold smile, she didn’t want to be upset by anything anymore. Nothing was worth getting upset over. Life was for living, she knew that now. No more wondering about what other people wanted, what they needed from her. No more thinking she owed anyone anything. She’d been dead. She had died. It still sounded strange to her.

”I was dead,” she whispered to the empty car park. ”I know what happens next, I’ve seen the other side.” Her voice had turned bitter, the frown had returned.

Kira could still remember the feelings that had swamped her the moment Rescor had brought her back. At first she had merely been slightly confused, but as the hours had passed and she realised that she hadn’t been sleeping, hadn’t even been unconscious, or in a coma, but had been dead!

Yet it hadn’t been a shock. In a strange way it actually made sense to her. If what she had experienced was true, was the ”afterlife”, well, it explained why she didn’t care that she was upsetting Michael. At first she had tried to at least act troubled. To pretend it bothered her that he was upset, but in the end it really didn’t matter, she decided not to waste time on pretense. All that mattered to Kira was Kira.

She slipped another cigarette from its packet, her reflection flickering as she lit it. For a moment she stared at the red glimmer, as it deepened when she inhaled. The only thing that should matter to anyone was themselves. She knew that now. Before Rescor, before death, she had worried about so many insignificant details. About other people, about their feelings, or what they thought of her. Not any more. Death had freed her of guilt and remorse. No more shame or disgrace, no fault or failing. Now she could divide the world into what she wanted, and everything else.

And that was the reason she still trailed after Michael. Memories of how happy he had made her. She didn’t care that she had once made him happy, that it had been a mutual joy. The important thing was how she felt. Besides, it amused her to see how uncomfortable she made him. Seeing him squirm was as good a result as anything else. If death had taught her anything it was that you only get one life.

She laughed at that, dropped the butt of her cigarette on the ground, turned and headed back into the bar. Michael may not have wanted to play tonight, but Kira knew she could always find some entertainment.

Brian Cane watched the car speed away, tires squealing and grinned. Soon the case would come to a head; soon it would be his time. He watched the woman, the sweet apple of his eye, his target, with that look of cruelty and the attitude of distain in her stance, adjust the moot perfection of her looks, finish her smoke and go back inside the club. He ached for her, as he ached for all his targets, but this one pulled at him more than any of the others, and he wanted to know why.

Brian Cane was one of the new breed of bounty hunters. For centuries the title “bounty hunter” had graced many heads, changing in definition as the time demanded, yes, but always meaning killer-for-hire, no matter what language you spoke. The only language Brian understood was money: he heard in money and spoke in blood. Some of the citizens referred to his kind as “Blade Runners”, an allusion to some movie or other Brian only vaguely remembered as a kid and from what he remembered, he didn’t mind the name. Now was the perfect time to be a killer-for-hire.

Since the advent of R.E.S.C.O.R. and the announcement of their revolutionary technique, Brian Cane had sat on the edge of his seat, awaiting the inevitable. In his head, the world was full of zombie flicks and now, heavens be praised, those fools who called themselves scientists had brought zombies into the real world, big as life and twice as colorful. He knew there’d be problems -dying changed people. Society wasn’t prepared for an influx of people who knew what it was like to die, of people knowing that death wasn’t the end any more. Religious groups were up-in-arms over the scientific and therefore sacrilegious resurrections and the courts didn’t know what rights to award the growing minority of people who were essentially the property of R.E.S.C.O.R.

Oh yes, there would be problems, and then, there would be him.

***

He felt sober. He felt scared.

Mike could feel his sobriety, a sharp white feeling lodged in the center of his brain. The car hummed and shook at the speed he forced it to go. That Bitch, he thought, and then liking the taste of the thought he said it out loud: “That Bitch.”

Ever since her reincarnation, for that was what it was not a resurrection. Sure she looked and sounded like his wife but that was not her. The woman he had lived with and loved was dead and he just had come to grips with that.

“My wife is dead.” he said to the universe in general and his voice sounded shaky, unsure like he was fighting back tears, like he didn’t want to and couldn’t believe it. So he tried again. “My wife is dead!”

This time the words came out the way he wanted them to, like the way he wanted to face her: sure, steady and above all, in control of himself. But he wasn’t in control, not of anything. Damn R.E.S.C.O.R. and their need to defy death, life and God. Damn them for what they did to her, to him. If she was gone, dead and buried, then he could move on with his life, move onto mourning and get out of this slump he was in. If she was gone!

Mike shook his head to clear it. The anger was leaving him, draining away and all the alcohol he had downed at the club was coming back to him, a red mist threatening to totally overthrow his composure. He tried to disgorge thoughts of Kira, to focus on where he was going and what he had to do. But he didn’t care where he was going. It was enough that he was going away from her.

That bitch masquerading in his beloved wife’s visage, pretending that they still had a connection. It was fine for him to think these thoughts when she was not around, but the constant reminder of her presence, when she sought him out to torment him, did nothing but make him feel guilty. Guilty for letting her die, for not seeing the signs before, for not loving her anymore. What could he do? Every time he saw her, his heart thumped and for a minute wanted to throw his arms around her and … but then he’d see that look in those lovely eyes. The look that told him this wasn’t Kira, not his Kira anyways. That look hungered for his pain for the world’s pain, said the world owed her something and that she was going to take it, one way or another. A stranger parading as his dead wife, a zombie. Damn R.E.S.C.O.R.. Mike reached over, opened his glove compartment and took out the small bottle of whiskey he hid there for emergencies. He took a swig.

If she was gone, dead and buried, he could move on with his life.

Edgar Bersford, vice-president of Onyx Unlimited and head of R.E.S.C.O.R. subsidiary, was fretting again.

Edgar looked at a number of files before him. He sighed. Ever since they started their public operations, there had been no end to problems. And now reports submitted by the company investigators were threatening to get his ulcers going again.

He looked at the files again one by one.

Somehow, after their resurrection, some of the R.E.S.C.O.R. clients had been showing unsettling behavioral changes. The percentage was still small– around fourteen percent– but the numbers were slowly growing and Edgar was a realist enough to know that the problem wouldn’t just go away.

Bzzzt!

Edgar looked up as the intercom buzzed and Mari, his secretary, said in a voice made electronically inhuman, “Sir, Dr. Witt wishes to inform you that the A.I. platform has become unstable again after the last insertion. Likewise, the Vatican investigator wants another appointment to visit the lab again.”

He shook his head and realized that Mari wouldn’t have seen the gesture.

He pushed an intercom button and replied, “Ah, tell Dr. Witt to start the program but to pass the confirmation sequence to me. I’ll be the one to welcome the personality. As for the priest… give him the usual run-around.”

He ground his teeth. If not for the benefits, he hated his job. Not only did he have to deal with settling in the new A.I. personality every time it went insane– always a disturbing process– but he also had to deal with people like Father Ambrose Callow, the Vatican representative sent to check R.E.S.C.O.R.’s resurrection pogram.

Callow: now he was a cold fish. If not for the fact that the priest was a Jesuit scientist and extremely curious, Edgar could have sworn Callow was jealous in behalf of the Roman Catholic Church. Like it or not, the Church had never been happy with R.E.S.C.O.R.’s promise of ‘eternal life’ for its clients. Bad for their business, Dr. Witt had once joked.

Edgar wouldn’t have told that to Callow’s face. The priest looked dangerous.

“By the way, Mari,” Edgar said, thumbing the intercom, “Tell Dr. Witt to prep the A.I. for another dimensional insertion. We’re way behind in resurrecting clients as it is. I’ll talk to the A.I. before it’s sent out.”

“Alright sir.”

He pitied the A.I. personality that would be facing the omnivorous beings that ruled behind the dimensional gate in the lab. But between facing the chairman of the Onyx board on why they were behind schedule and over costs, and making deals with demons even older the world, Edgar knew what choice he’d make

***

“I know you.” “What did you say?” Kira spun on her heel. Her voice was a low hiss. She floated across the room, went down on one knee in front of him, so her eyes were level with his. Those blazing eyes the only real indication of her temper. Her face, her body language all gave the impression of her being utterly at ease.

“I know you.” Brian repeated the words, not allowing himself to look away from that gaze. “I know what you are.”

“You know me.” Her voice was still low, but there was an incredulous note to the tone. “Know me” she repeated his words as she walked away. Brian half expected to see an angry tail swish behind her, she had the grace of a cat. “How the fuck can you know me!” The low hiss was gone. Kira was shouting now. “I don’t even know me.” In a heartbeat she crossed the room again, a slap burned his cheek. “Know me!” She stood staring down at him, anger and tension visible in every move, every muscle.

And then suddenly, with a toss of her head, and one deep breath, it was gone. She was virtually emotionless again. “You keep making me frown and I’ll get wrinkles,” she smiled at Brian, playfully, and he shivered. This was not how it was supposed to be.

He was good at his job, he knew that. So did countless previous targets, although none of them would be able to provide references. So how had this happened? He had been careful. Trailed her for days to learn about her. Kept his distance, never broken any of his rules. He’d always been successful in the past. But now, here he was, tied to a chair, helpless, a prisoner. Powerless where always before he’d been in command.

He didn’t even know how he’d gotten here. One minute he’d been watching for the target, she had escaped his surveillance in a crowd. She had only been out of his sight for a few moments, he’d been so confident of picking her up again that the blow to the head had been a total surprise. And the shock had been even greater when he opened his eyes again to see her, his target, watching him.

”So who am I then? Brian hadn’t expected the question, he blinked at her, uncertainly. “You said that you know me. Well go on, reveal all.” She slid a leg over a chair and sat, resting her chin on its back, waiting for a response. Brian stayed silent. He knew he shouldn’t have spoken in the first place, or at least he should have pleaded ignorance. Pretend he hadn’t been trailing her. But his head was throbbing, and he’d just spouted the first thing that he could think of. Mentally he cursed his stupidity.

Kira sat, unmoving, eyes fixed on him. The minutes ticked by, silence filled the room, pressing on Brian. Urging him to speak up. He resisted, he knew all about that little trick. Slowly Kira’s expression changed. The slightest of smiles, and then a twinkle of amusement in her eyes. For a moment she seemed almost normal, almost human.

Then she stood up, walked to a counter and her movement marked her out as what she was; different, other. Brian watched her as she picked up a sharp, shiny knife. One hand on the hilt, the other stroked the blade as she turned back towards Brian. “I’ve never tortured anyone before. You’ll have to give me some pointers” her voice was calm as, with the slightest hint of anticipation in her eyes, she smiled at him.

Brian tensed, he couldn’t help it, as she trailed the point across his stomach. Kira increased the pressure, watching intensely as his shirt and the muscle below shrank away from the metal, but without the force necessary to slice through anything. Where should I start” she whispered the words into his ear, her mouth brushing his skin as she spoke. The knife moved, sliding up until it reached his neck, tracing his jaw line, then moving further up and reached the corner of his eye. “They say you can pop an eye out with a sharp jab… I wonder…” Brian’s mouth was dry, his heart pounding, very carefully he remained absolutely still. “But I do like the idea of gutting someone.” As she spoke the knife returned to his stomach, paused and then slowly inched lower. If Brian had been unmoving before, now he was a statue. “I’ve always wondered what it would feel like, to slice someone open.” The blade pressed a little harder. “Curiosity killed the cat,” her eyes sparkled, “but mine might just do away with you.”

Kira laughed suddenly and moved away, tapping the blade against her leg. “You were going to kill me, weren’t you Mr. Blade Runner,” her voice was mocking. She left the knife down and picked up a pack of cigarettes, lit one and inhaled deeply. “God says that the intent is still sin doesn’t he? And let us not forget an eye for an eye. A death for a death.”

The smoke floated around her, hazy patterns that moved as she approached Brian, the knife back in her hand. “I guess my lack of faith means this is your lucky day.”


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