Even though my stomach churned I couldn’t pull my eyes away as the grubby, fat girl continued to spew the contents of her stomach over the table. She seemed to have an unnatural amount of vomit available. Every piece of food was tainted by the time she finished.
With a harsh choking sound she took her soiled hand from her mouth, brushed her hair back and rubbed the tears from her eyes. She stared at the crowd, winked, farted and walked away, laughing.
“Well,” I said to myself, “you don’t see something like that everyday.”
“No,” said the man beside me. “But most days.”
“Does she never share with the crowd?”
“Never. Sometimes she calls young girls to come in and become her daughters. But they are never seen again.” He looked down to the ground, kicked at a stone, put his hands in his pockets and slowly turned to walk away. The others in the crowd followed suit.
The sky darkened. Thunder crashed. Lightning followed after. It rained.
The downpour was torrential. It made me think of gaudy words that always look ugly on a page or screen like copious, plenteous and superabundant. I was soaked to the bone in seconds.
Lightening and thunder flashed together. I was about to run to shelter when I caught a glimpse of the lobby doors. The girl, Domos, was standing there, waving to me. Beckoning me to come in, out of the rain.
I struggled past the razor-wire fence, slicing my leg a little, and came to her door. It was locked. The rain fell painfully hard.
“You wanna come in?” Domos yelled, pressing her oily face against the glass. She grinned wildly, exposing sharp, elongated eyeteeth. “It’s raining. You might get wet.”
“Yes, I suppose I might.” I was shivering. “I’d love to come in, if I may.”
“And if you may not?”
“If you may not. Would you still want to come in if you may not?”
I blinked. “I’m not sure I understand.”
She glared at me. Smiled. Frowned. Rubbed her face on the door, making a hefty streak. “Screw off.” She turned her back to me, tried to jump and click her heels and sauntered off.
I walked from the door, knowing that no amount of running would make me any drier, and began searching for a dry place to stay.
Night seemed to fall.
The three figures in black cared little for the rain. It beaded and slid off their oiled jerkins, hoods and bare arms. Crouched beneath the shrub by the door they waited and watched. Silent. Angry. Armed.
The Stranger and Domos talked very briefly at the door. Domos, in her characteristic way, had enticed him and told him to push off. He wandered in the rain now. Domos was inside. Safe, she thought.
Without sound or signal the three moved in unison to the door. The leader took a vial with a dropper out of a pouch at his belt. He squeezed the liquid into the door-lock. A silent hiss and puff of smoke and the door was unlocked. They went in, crouched, hands on hilts.
Ignoring the elevator they sped to the right, down the hall through a door at the end and up the stairwell.
There was no need to talk as they raced silently up the stairs. Their legs pumped like well-oiled pistons. Their eyes, under their hoods, blazed brightly, full of life. Their hands stayed at the ready. Merciless. Hard. Uncompromising.
They reached the penthouse. Out of his pouch the leader took a tiny mirror. Placing it near the bottom of the door he peered into the room. Satisfied, he put his mirror away, pulled something small and round from his pouch and put his hand on the doorknob. The other assassins crouched at the ready. Hands firm on their hilts. Positioned to burst through the door as soon as it was open.
With the kind of speed only a predator could possess he pushed the door open and flung the flame-pellet to the ground. With a violent flash and burst of sound it exploded, scattering flaming particles to every part of the room.
They worked fast.
Domos was crouching over the corpse of a girl a little younger than herself, her teeth embedded in her throat. She didn’t even have time to turn before a blade removed her head from her body.
Particles of flame began to settle and land, igniting the room.
Bodies upon bodies were strewn around. The daughters of Domos. None decomposing. Quickly the assassins went to each and decapitated them.
The flames crawled and began to lick at the stone walls, setting even them ablaze.
Though there were hundreds of bodies the assassins worked fast. As the fire became an inferno they finished and sped out the door they can come in and down the stairs. Everything in the penthouse was reduced to ash and salt.
The rain had already stopped when I noticed the fire. Like a lighthouse beacon it blazed in the clear night, sending heat from the very top of the building down to where I was standing. A crowd gathered around Domos’ building. Three men in black jerkins stood just outside the door. One was setting a sign up in front of the door. Another was clearing away the razor wire. I read the sign:
Behold, this was the guilt of Domos: She and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. So I removed them. For further details see paragraph 8 of section 16 of article 26 in the Code. Peace be upon you all.
The fire burned through the entire night. Its smoke never did cease.
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