Original Story by Ronin Writing.
Genre: Action, Dark Humor
Rating: Extremely Mature
Hellions, Part 2
Dick Dantero popped a cigarette into his dry lips and crumpled the empty pack in one meaty hand. The giant man-servant standing behind Dantero’s plush chair lit him up with the practiced flick of a zippo. Alastor had watched this happen twelve times and still couldn’t believe it. What a shitty job. The take-home must have been phenomenal.
“No,” Dantero said after a long drag.
Alastor wasn’t exactly surprised by the answer. The kind of crooked assholes that hired Abbadon Acquisitions were not the sort of men to pay their debts. It was always something. The job was too subtle or too messy or too loud. Fucking mortals and their free will. Always thinking they could weasel their way out of promises.
Alastor stole a glance at Malphas. Abbadon’s Executive Director of Acquisitions seemed pretty composed despite the situation. Collections calls were never pleasurable. Of course, Malphas didn’t get his job by being quick-tempered. Then again, he got the job because he murdered his predecessor, so…
“Mr. Dantero,” Malphas said, running a hand through his slick hair, “I understand your concerns, but–”
Dantero poked his fingers at Malphas like a gun, smoke trailing from the cigarette between them. “You don’t understand shit. I asked you to get Thale back home and kept quiet. That’s it.”
Alastor snorted. “He’s pretty fucking quiet.”
Dantero flicked his angry, wrinkled eyes to Alastor for a moment, then turned his attentions back to Malphas. “Is he serious?”
Okay, so the Thale case had gotten a little out of hand. Perhaps Alastor had taken it a step too far. The attack on Lily Thale at the art gallery was an excellent and subtle touch. It had worked. Doctor Lorens Thale had come home. There might not have been a point to screwing the man’s wife in his own penthouse apartment, but the contract hadn’t clearly prohibited it.
“Do you see this disaster?” Dantero asked, switching his gaze between Alastor and Malphas. He sat up in his chair and spread his arms about him.
Young men in buttoned shirts rolled up their sleeves and pored over scattered documents. They buzzed through Dantero’s tacky office, whisper-yelling into phones. Panic. Confusion. Alastor had been eating those emotions for the better part of the hour-long negotiation. Tasty as they were, the whole thing was starting to grow stale.
“I’m paying for a fucking funeral,” Dantero snapped. “I’ve got Lily Thale paintings hanging in my club that I can’t sell to anyone. The foundation is hemorrhaging money. College students are asking for my fucking Chirpr account to be shut down. And I–”
Dantero broke into a hacking fit. His Giant patted him on the back. When Dantero finally recovered, he was finishing up his cigarette and snapping his fingers for another pack. It came, thanks to some sweaty kid that was gone as quickly as he’d appeared.
“You signed a contract, sir,” Malphas said.
Dantero snorted as he smacked his new pack against his palm. “I gave you the better half of a million up front, and I expected results. I’m not paying for my foundation to die.”
Malphas sighed. “Mr. Dantero…”
The packing stopped. “Fuck. You.”
Alastor was always amazed at business owners. The only threats they believed were the green kind. “You know, we can just publish your contract. The media would have a blast. ‘Dantero Foundation Paid for Removal of Saint Doctor from Bedsides of Dying Children.’”
Dantero smirked. The expression looked comfortable on his weathered face, like the lines around his mouth were made by it. Without a word, he waved down one of his busy aides. This one brought a manilla folder, which Dantero snatched and then slapped down on the coffee table before him. He threw it open. That satisfied smirk never left his lips, even as he pulled on his smoke.
Color pictures stared up from the folder. They framed Alastor, covered in blood, walking happily out of the Thale penthouse as police and investigators looked on. Alastor couldn’t help but chuckle at the images. He was pretty positive at least one of the coroners had shit his pants when Alastor popped up and pulled a bullet from his own skull. That base human shock never got old.
“Funny is it?” Dantero asked. He thumped the pictures with a fat finger. “This is you leaving the scene of a murder.”
Malphas shook his head. He picked up one of the photos and studied it for a moment. “This was taken outside of the penthouse.”
“So, not by a cop. By your people. What were they doing there?”
A flood of red started at Dantero’s neck and rushed up toward his receding hairline. He slapped the folder and pictures off of the table and leaned over it.
“The next time my people take a picture of your man, it’ll be at a fucking morgue.”
Alastor rose from his seat. Too quickly.
A loud bang sounded through the office. Frenzied aides hit the floor.
A familiar, hot pain seared Alastor’s chest. Blood soaked through his shirt. For a moment, he wondered how much money he spent on new clothes. He considered putting in for a clothing compensation when he got back to the office.
How many times in one week was he going to get shot?
“FOR FUCK’S SAKE!” Dantero smacked the Giant’s gun out of his huge hands. The weapon clattered to the floor. In seconds, a handful of men in black suits rushed through the door and drew pistols.
In the midst of the chaos, Malphas sighed.
Dantero yelled in frustration. He motioned for his men to lower their weapons. “Can anyone just do their fucking job!? This… this…”
The anger trailed into confusion when Dantero realized that Alastor was still standing. The Giant’s bullet crawled out of Alastor’s rapidly healing skin and fell onto the coffee table. It took up a whole awkward moment to clack against the polished cherrywood before coming to a rest.
“Wh-… what the fuck?”
All motion in the office had stopped. Everything was locked in a dead stillness. Only the slow meander of cigarette smoke and the fall of ashes.
“What are you?” Dantero stammered, his eyes frantically scanning Alastor for answers.
Malphas rose from his chair and buttoned his jacket. “A gigantic pain in the ass.”
Malphas looked at Alastor and jerked his head toward the door. Confused bodyguards and stunned aides parted before him as he made his way out. Alastor lingered in place for a moment, staring into Dantero’s frightened blue eyes.
“You have two days,” Malphas called over his shoulder. “Make the payment, Mr. Dantero. Alastor.”
Alastor tasted fear. Good, thick fear. He winked playfully at Dantero and followed Malphas without another word.
“Okay, we’re on the way.” Malphas clicked his phone shut and pinched the space between his eyes.
The steel gate entrance of Dick Dantero’s country club rolled open. In the rearview, black-suited bodyguards watched Alastor and Malphas pull away.
“Can we grab some coffee?” Alastor asked, waving to the smiling gate guard as he pulled the car out of the club’s private drive.
“You’re a fucking idiot, Al,” Malphas said. He wiped the stress from his face and rubbed his temple, staring out the passenger window. “We needed this one.”
“He’s just another greedy mortal. He’ll pay,” Alastor said. “They always do. One way or another.”
“Damned souls don’t keep the lights on. We need their money, not their suffering.”
“Speak for yourself. I’m high as shit.”
Malphas actually cracked a smile. He slapped a heavy hand on Alastor’s shoulder. “Yeah, me too.”
They didn’t talk for the rest of the drive. Malphas gave off a certain heaviness and clicked away on his phone in silence. Alastor stopped for coffee at his favorite spot and, as usual, didn’t pay. The giddy glee of criminal mischief wore off as he pulled the car into Waterside Business Park’s parking lot.
Archons stood at Abbadon’s entrance, their near-invisible wings shimmering behind them. All of them stared at the car.
“The fuck are they doing?” he asked. He threw the car into park.
Malphas sucked in his lower lip. “Like I said: we needed this one.”
“Malphas, what is happening right now?”
Malphas shook his head. “You fucked up, buddy. You fucked up real bad.”
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