I sat, letting my hands cradle the briefcase. It was just my luck to have gotten stuck in an already-taken cab but, quite honestly, there was no time to wait for another. The initial melee had no doubt started to draw to a close, and any of the competitors in the vicinity would be scanning the area for stragglers. Sitting in a taxi with an unassuming but somewhat suspicious gentleman was a situation that held a much lower chance of mortality. Being logical, I chose to remain seated.
It was a mistake.
The vehicle had been rushing along the road at near the speed limit, the driver casually chewing gum with his mouth half-open, when the sound of shattering glass filled the air. I ducked instantaneously, holding the briefcase over my head, as a loud bang filled my ears and the cab swerved madly, scraping against a tree. The driver sounded to be cursing in a foreign language but, shrugging, moved back onto the road and kept driving. I saw a flurry of movement from the corner of my eye and, feeling the end of a weapon being held to my spleen, jerked out the first object I could draw and held it at the neck of my fellow passenger. A blade, and disadvantageously placed. I sighed and turned my head, eyes narrowing as I noticed a theatrical white mask and a silky wig. The Masked Artist. A competitor, with a reputation for odd murders. Who now had a crossbow pointed right at me and another out the window. I shifted, so that I had a greater access to any of the major arteries in their body, and smirked, hiding the annoyance from my face.
“Well, this is cozy.” I said, my tone dry.
The Masked Artist cocked their head slightly, a surprisingly girly voice coming from their hidden mouth.
“You’re very pretty. Care to model for my art?”
I felt myself grimace and lifted an eyebrow in suspicion.
“I’d rather not.” I muttered, impressed with the bizarre personas that the Games were often host to.
The Masked Artist clicked their tongue, the crossbow shifting back just a hair.
"Such a pity. You would be gorgeous. I would even let you pick who you want to be. Juliet, Persephone, Mary, and so on. So many choices."
A slight sense of flattery came to me, but was quickly overpowered by another sense, my sense of self-preservation.
"Perhaps,” I started, speaking rather calmly given the subject matter, “I would rather remain physically intact, to be honest."
The Masked Artist pouted with frustration, the weapon finally being pulled away from me, its trajectory still right at my stomach.
"So, what do you think we should do, then? If you won't become art and I refuse to die, we are at an impasse."
It was my turn to assume a bothered expression.
“We share a common goal and both have the means to achieve it. Is peaceful coexistence not an option?”
The Masked Artist looked to be pondering something, the cabbie staring back a moment at their namesake mask before looking away and rolling his eyes, muttering to himself.
“I suppose I would need models for my art...” The Artist began, “Could you provide such ‘volunteers’?”
I looked out the window a second, before putting on an easy grin.
“That shouldn’t be too difficult.”
The Masked Artist shook on it, before pulling off the mask and putting away the crossbow. I was met with the sight of the earlier gentleman, who could only scratch his head with a sigh.
“Geez, and here I was thinking she wouldn’t make any friends.”
I chuckled and started to peruse through my briefcase, the gears in my mind already beginning to whir madly. This alliance would be helpful.