The sharp cracks had faded to muted rumbles; the late summer storm trundled to the east, trailing an ebony cloak glazed with jagged streaks of abstract white. At my feet, the dull granite setts slowly slaked a thirst; the detritus of tourists swirling into the gaping sewers leaving behind deceptively safe and clean shiny streets. Historic Old Town, painstakingly resurrected—twice—from the ashes of pitiless warfare, brooded in the sweet morning air. The western skies pulsed with urgency, delayed flights flung themselves recklessly at the obscured stars, hastening to meet global schedules grounded by adverse conditions.
I cupped my left hand. Had any been able to observe, the brief orange flare would have revealed a deep weary cynicism. I puffed the harsh tobacco, blew out a stream of fragrant smoke that lingered close as if terrified by the surroundings. I ignored the warning, watching instead the CCTV camera as it whirred atop the light pole. The police drones had departed with the onset of rain. This was pass through area for visitors by day; small shops catering in information and deceit. By night, contraband slipped past the law with practiced ease.
A vibration shook the front right pocket of my black linen trousers. If a phone could sound impatient the summons snarled at my unruffled savoir faire. The cigarette tumbled like an acrobat without a net: I stubbed it out with a faint hiss as it splattered on the damp pavement. Finally moving forward, the crepe soles of my shoes were silent as a grave.
The night wavered. Lean shadows peeled from brick façades and dropped from pockets of mist hovering above. To those without the Sight, nothing had changed. My escort surrounded me. Lethal, immortal, they were not here to help—they weren’t allowed where I was expected—but to ensure I fulfilled my oath. If thoughts could kill…
Jutting phallicly with a hostile and arrogant contempt at the ragged edge of tradition [reclaimed] and gentrification, the Cashmere Tower was the tallest building in the city. Money fountained like arterial blood from the professional tenants, none of it staying for long; sophisticated programs laundered the stains through shell companies and numbered accounts. Standard procedures for corrupt businesses protected by slick lawyers and bought politicians. My target was higher up the ladder—literally—the top ten floors pandered to a different type of cash flow.
Vice was timeless. Nubile flesh an inflation proof currency. Educated agents were shopping for fresh victims that wouldn’t be missed.
By mistake or deliberate malice—the first understandable, the latter an apocalyptic possibility—the procurers had lured the wrong one. Whatever the alchemy of designer drugs and DJ mixed trance that had created the circumstances of the snatch, it had not removed the clear traces of her passage.
I was their emissary.
The elevator was smooth and quiet.
Rows and rows of glittering females arranged as if waxed produce in bins filled the luxurious rooms. The buyers with their tablets snapped pictures, and fired off messages that raced around the world. The auction started later, but I was not shopping. My steel attaché was not filled with clean dollars or euros or yen, but a single jewel that pulsed with all the suppressed fury at the unrelenting humanistic devouring of magic.
I carried a portal strong enough to suck the entire building into the Outerlands were it not tuned to ‘rescue’ my target. If the dead-eyed brokers knew what their exotic captive actually was, they’d run screaming into the night; not that fleeing was a viable option should she choose to destroy rather than drink in the essence of fear and despair coating the dungeon walls.
Why I was chosen to interrupt the pain slut as she writhed in her bondage, driving her price higher with every blow of the whip: that is a story best told later. For when the Queen commands retrieval of her wayward daughter: who better to mount an escape, than the Princess’ estranged human husband.
That would be me.
The spanking illustration provided by the talented Kalidwen over at Kalidwen’s little spankings: Musings & fessées.