The young man had been in the city long enough to walk without craning his neck up at all of the buildings, but not quite long enough to lose that unmistakable aura of newness. It was something about the subtle furrow in his brow at the mention of a place that wasn’t entirely well known to tourists.
It was the tone in his voice when he spoke of home that left an impression that part of him was far removed from the present. It was the way that his blood still radiated a slight pulse of heat under the powder snow of industrial ashes.
He had a nice voice, she figured. Nearly too nice. Saccharine. He had the sort of talent that the industry can’t help but pluck up and hoist onto its mantle. The best kind of talent, the imported kind.
Still a bit starstruck by the light in his eyes, his own mental growth just a bit stunted by the kind of sunshine-kissed countryside upbringing that encourages youthful optimism instead of smothering it.
A decently well-composed sacrifice.
Not a sitting duck, but an singing one. A docile bird on the live wire that gives away itself away even more graciously than the quiet one on still water. Free of the smooth yet jaded savoir-fare that kept the more cynical, native city birds from getting shot at point-blank range.
She carved yet another bleeding crimson valley in the sinews of his back with the blade of her index fingernail. He flinched. She smirked. His voice was somehow even more vulnerable after getting ravaged than it was when singing about romantic strife on camera.
He’d been with the agency for about two months so far, but he’d apparently been a champion of the web for a fair bit longer than that. He had come in along the new wave of fresh faces representing the tide of times, the difference was that this young man still had something archaic – talent and passion, carved from a remarkably incandescent soul.
A welcome delicacy indeed.
By all accounts, the agency had struck gold with her capture. They could have the full commission if they requested it. This “money” as they called it of was of no concern.
A well-inculcated command.
A winding strand of her hair laid over his left eye, dropped in a dull haze. both eyes widened when the strand became serpentine. The serpentine strand of hair quickly developed serpentine aggression and coiling pressure to match.
Dark thorns breached the grooves of interlocking braids and jabbed as indifferently into his skin as they would the open air. Their harsh pressure scraped deepening burrows into the minor cuts her nails had etched into skin over the past hour and a half.
His phylum ran red with heavily saturated rivulets of blood from his nose as the skin turned a pale blue from the freshly bloomed midnight hellebores’ potent poison.
Just one of more coil, and his windpipe made the sound of something like a meat grinder jammed with dry bones. As if in harmony with his death rattle, the sentient vines riddled in thorns winded around her neck on command and hissed in chorus to serenade her trembling climax.
The heat of another soul harvested set her solar plexus afire.
Still not enough.