Prologue: Pale

I'd seen her before. In the subway. Minding her own business. Just the two of us waiting for the L10, the last train out that evening.

A group of men approached. Young and obscene. Five in all. Hoodlums. No telling if they had any formal training. Most likely just thugs. But too many to take at once, even if they cowered behind their guns.

The woman combed her fingers through her long dark hair. Didn't make the slightest acknowledgment of their presence. But I knew she could sense them, their flaws. She took out a cigarette. Lit it. Took a drag. But after watching her the previous two evenings, I knew this one didn't smoke.

One of the youths peeled off, stepped toward me. Flashed his gun. "You feeling me?" he said. I nodded as if I understood, but it was really an acknowledgment of which part of him I'd break first.

The four swarmed her, cutting off any possible exit. She did not even flinch. Just took a puff of her cigarette. And stared at them with those pale blue eyes. Those beautiful Eurasian eyes. One pressed up against her, hot and bothered. The kid had no idea what he was playing with. Or that he was about to die.

As the vandal bragged in crude detail what he planned to do to her, the woman blew smoke into his face. The other gang members laughed it off. It was the funniest thing they'd seen that evening. Just wait until they got a load of the encore.

The juvenile stepped forward. Put his finger in her face. Unimpressed, she put out her cigarette in his eye. He screamed. Reached for his gun. In one stroke, the lady unsheathed a sword from under her coat and separated his head from his body. He crumbled to the ground, painting the sidewalk red.

It was the opening I needed. I snapped the miscreant's neck before he could turn his head back around. I'm sure he could feel me now. In agonizing detail.

Although the thugs still outnumbered us, they were clearly outmatched. They could have left then and there; surely she would have spared them. But they were too proud and incompetent for their own good. And when they drew their guns, that was the end of it. Severed heads and limbs tumbled onto the sidewalk. She cut them apart with amazing efficiency and then turned the sword on me.

I felt sheepish that I did not do more, but she wouldn't have it any other way. Not this time. She stared into me, pointing the sword. Those electric eyes. Killer eyes. I wanted to know everything about her. But it was better I did not. "Nice work," I offered.

She considered me for a moment, and then smiled. My heart stopped. That smile, that wicked smile--worth all of the gold in the world. She retracted the sword and jumped onto the tracks, disappearing into the tunnel. As the train finally pulled in, I realized I wouldn't be taking it home that evening. After all, someone had to stay behind and explain what had happened. And leave out any mention of her.

I rubbed my neck and paced. I hadn't even gotten her name. As I waited for the police to arrive, I felt her eyes upon me once more. The wind stirred and rushed over me. "Indigo," it whispered. My beautiful deadly Indigo.

The End

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