Lucatz's Decision

For two days, Kris and I were left completely alone. Occasionally the door would creak open and some form of mouldering food would be pushed through - always accompanied by the muzzle of a gun. No-one spoke to us, and we scarcely heard anything from beyond the cell door. I spent most of my time huddled in the corner, staring at the scar on my hand and thinking.

Would Lucatz take up my offer? Or, now that I had told him where the file was, would he come in and take it by force? Had telling him and his cronies about the file been a good idea? Would they have taken me seriously if I hadn't? These questions and a million others clattered around the inside of my head, all squaking for my attention at once. Whether as a result of this, or just from general dehydration, I soon developed a thumping headache.

At the end of the second day, Kris, who had been largely silent since my meeting with Lucatz, spoke up.

"Looks like your plan didn't work then." she said.

"He said he'd think about it." I replied, trying to sound more certain than I felt.

Kris snorted. "You really think he's going to take you seriously? He could kill us here and now if he wanted, why would he risk his neck trying to make a deal with us when it would be so much simpler just to hand us over to the Arena again?"

I didn't reply. Kris had just voiced the very fears that pervaded the dark corners of my mind. I wanted to believe I could trust Lucatz, but in these circumstances he was about as trustworthy as a paper bridge in a rainstorm.

The hours snailed by in silence, both of us lost in our thoughts. Then, finally, late in the morning of the third day, the door opened and Lucatz strode in, accompanied by two of his men. Lucatz himself appeared unarmed, but both his accomplices carried a handgun. Lucatz strode over and squatted opposite me, raising his acid-yellow gaze to meet mine.

"I 'ad a think about yer offer," he said slowly, as if wondering how to phrase himself, "An' I got to wonderin', what do ye want with that file in the first place?"

My heart leapt into my mouth, momentarily paralyzing my ability to speak. Lucatz raised an eyebrow at me expectantly.

"The file's worth more money than any of us will ever see in a lifetime," I said, "And who knows what sort of information it must contain to be worth that much. If we can find some way of looking into it, finding out what's on there-"

"Gavin." Lucatz cut me off. "That's not what I meant. I want t' know why yer so keen to see what's on it. An' what's in it fer us if we do 'elp yer."

I froze. Why did I want to see what was on the file? Why did it matter to me? Even if I did know, what good would it do me? I had only thought of it as a bargaining chip to prevent Lucatz from killing us.

"I don't know Lu," I said, "And if I'm honest, I don't care. There could be anything on that file, and I doubt I'll ever be able to do anything with it. That's why I'm offering it to you. You can have the bleeding thing. All I'm asking for is your help. Five hundred feds, two fake IDs and we'll be out of your way for good. No strings attached. Your choice."

I held out my hand, waiting for Lucatz to make his decision. My brother looked down at my hand and scratched his chin, clearly thinking hard. I kept my eyes locked on his, but I could feel Kris and the two thugs watching us from across the room. The silence was so tangible I could almost feel it hovering in the air around us, threatening to squash the breath from my lungs. Lucatz stared at my hand for a few more moments, then finally raised his eyes to mine and shook my outstretched hand.

"Deal."

The End

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