Numb & Near

You underestimate me, Cyan. Maybe I'm not as good as you think.”

That was true, especially since her life may very well have hung in the balance.

And no one probably more deserves a slug to the chest than you, Cyan. There are those who would pay to trade places with me right now.”

William,” she sighed, her pseudo-pagan jewelry jangling at her throat, “you might be correct. I know there are those who would gladly see me dead, maybe rightfully so...”

A lot of people,” he added, to which she grimly accepted this with a wave of her hand.

Okay. But not you. You're not a killer.”

Oh really?” he snorted, and Cyan nervously watched the gun barrel jiggle in her direction. An accidental discharge would still put her in the ground as assuredly as an intentional one. William chuckled, a sound that carried through the alley like razor wire, a pathetic, strangulation of his throat, “I think I deserve to be at the front of that line, Cyan. I, above all others, have put up with your berating and insolence for far too long. Maybe I would get necessary satisfaction by putting a bullet in your stomach and letting you slowly bleed out. To not only kill you, but to also watch you suffer.”

Despite this acidic turn in the conversation, Cyan had to smile, “I stand corrected, William. There is a definite venom inside you these days. I could see you pulling that trigger right now.”

The young man stood frozen. Obviously she was working some sort of angle, screwing with his mind somehow in a way he could not yet see. And that ignorance pissed him off. Through clenched teeth, he asked, “But?”

But what?”

But... you don't want me to do that, to pull the trigger.”

Certainly not.”

He moved in a counterclockwise circle around the fire escape where Cyan sat, as if moving out of a sniper's range, “So what's your angle?”

The girl's perfect doll-like face puckered into a frown, “My angle? There is no angle. You've got me dead-to-rights, and... I've obviously hurt you more than I had ever intended. So... I guess my life is in your hands, William. Do with me as you wish. I don't care.”

She stared directly into his eyes as he circled her. There was a moment when she was unable to read him, and the balance of her life was truly up for grabs, but after a few moments of internal debate, William returned the pistol to its spot within his ruffled poet shirt and leather long coat, “You know I couldn't.”

Cyan rode the ladder to the alley below with a loud metallic clatter, “Then let's talk turkey, shall we?”

The End

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