Thursday, August 20, 2015

Prologue: Honor At Stake


Lily Sparks was a standard issue girl with a non-standard issue boyfriend. She was short and cute and what might be called “bouncy,” while he was tall, clean cut, and cut a nice, trim figure in his army uniform. The way she was draped on his arm almost made her look like a fashion accessory, though she tended to think of the fellow as something that really looked nice on her arm.

Lily was happy, and had considered getting even happier a little later on. In fact, there was a nice, private alley that looked just perfect for getting the rest of the evening started. Her date was prim and proper, a perfect gentleman since they met.

Maybe it was time for that to change.

Lily changed direction, pulling her man to the alley. It was out of the line of sight for most foot traffic, and dark enough for her purposes. He was caught off-guard by the maneuver. When she
pushed him up against a wall and wrapped her arms around his neck, he was slow to respond.

The first noise she heard that wasn’t from either of them was a cough, followed by a wheeze. Then she saw him out of the corner of her eyes—someone with a knife. The face was young, but the eyes were worn out and old. The only visible teeth were worn away, as though ground down over time.

Lily screamed. Her date turned towards the attacker, and only stared at the new arrival a moment.

“You want to mug us?” he asked, shaking his head slowly. “That’s a mistake.”

The mugger smiled as much as he could without a full set of teeth, and came straight for Lily’s date. The two men met in the middle.

Lily screamed again, at first in fear for her date, then in fear for her life.

Then in fear of her date as he turned on her, fresh blood around his lips.

Her screams still echoed in his ears five minutes later, as the man in the uniform stood in the alley, his mouth covered in blood, the coppery taste fresh in his mouth.

He smiled the whole time. He was perfectly happy.

Marco Catalano had enjoyed that.

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