Thirteen questions and three painful twists later, Noah lost consciousness, his already fuzzy vision mercifully surrendering to a deep and painless sleep. When he awoke, the room was at a half light, and he could see. Inspecting his wrist, he was surprised to see it was in a cast. The pain was still there, but it was strange, soft around the edges not unlike a dream, unnaturally numb.Painkillers,he thought.
The door clicked and swung open with a slight squeak. Three men walked in. Two of the men wore black suits and were identically tall and burly. They walked straight towards Noah, splitting around him and standing on either side of him, slightly behind, just out of the edges of his peripheral vision. The third man was much different. The third man was smaller then the other two, skinny, but one look in his viper green eyes scared Noah much more then the two mountains he sat between. He walked over to the chair, and crouched, settling at Noah’s eye level. He stared at Noah with his impossibly green eyes for a moment, then spoke.
His voice was unlike any Noah had ever heard before. It was simple, yet unsurpassably complex. It was soft and lithe and green, beautiful yet dangerous. It coiled out of the man, slipping to the floor and sliding to Noah, hissing softly as it went. The snake crept up his body, slipping into his ear. The voice traveled through his head to his brain where it nestled and relaxed as if it had been there the whole time. Noah felt like the voice could take anything from him, he felt like if he lied to it the snake would instantly know and bite. The acid venom would saturate his grey matter and he would be consumed, forever trapped in a void of endless green.
“Hello,” the voice said, calmly, “I’m Rain,” Noah said nothing, too afraid of the snake to let loose a word. “You know,” Rain said, “It’s impolite not to speak when spoken to.” He gestured and something hard and metal slapped across Noah’s face as one of the men pistol whipped him.
Noah spat blood, gritted his teeth and spoke in a shaky voice, “Hello, Rain.” Now in addition to his wrist, his cheek hurt, no doubt developing a bruise already.
“Better,” said Rain, “Now you said you had no knowledge of our mutual friend Leonardo before you picked him up, is this true?”
“Yes,” said Noah, through his still clenched teeth. This man scared him, more than anything had before, cold streams of sweat erupted at his hairline to rivulet down his face. Emerald poison was dripping from the snake’s jaws, hissing against the concrete.There is no snake,Noah forced himself to think,I’m imagining it. But he knew it was there, he could feel the thick coils, the tight squeeze.
“Then you are of no use to me any longer.” Rain waved his hand to the men, “Goodbye Mr. Lawrence, it was a pleasure,” Noah felt a gun barrel press against his temple, resting there as one of the men pointed a gun at his head. He saw the other man walk around him to Rain, handing him a buzzing walkie talkie. The man holding the gun cocked it with a loud click, and It was then that Noah realized he was going to die. He opened his mouth to say something but then closed it, even in the face of death too afraid of the snake to say a word.
And then Noah saw it, in front of him, saw it undulating, saw it ready to strike. The trigger would pull and the bullet would travel through his head in an instant and that would be it. He would be dust, gone, dead and buried and the snake would win. He clenched his eyes tight, waiting.
Then he heard a loud bang. And he knew he was gone. Except, he wasn't. He still felt the end of the gun against his skin, he could still think, the bullet had never fired, he wasn’t dead. The gun was removed from his head. And then he realized Rain was furiously screaming into the walkie talkie.
“What the fuck!” he yelled into the small plastic machine, the snake not graceful as before but angry, spitting venom, “Why can’t you fucking stop him? He’s only one man!” The walkie talkie buzzed and then, “Yeah we have guns too if you haven’t fucking noticed! I want his head on a fucking stake!” Rain threw the walkie talkie to the ground and stomped it into tiny plastic chips. “Ready my jet, were going back to New York,” He walked out the door, followed by the two men, Noah completely forgotten. The bang of the door was loud, and then silence.
Noah spit the rest of the blood from his mouth, ejecting a viscous red gob onto the floor where it hit with a wet slap. He heard gunshots in the distance and screaming. There was definitely a firefight going on, but who was shooting at who. More thunderous gunfire, right outside the door. Then, all of a sudden, the door burst open, the metal colliding with the stone wall with a loud crash. In the doorway, dripping blood, almost lazily holding a twelve gauge shotgun at his side, stood Leo.