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Black is Back! Part 3

Absolution Black

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Continuation. You will need to read the earlier parts first!

As the coach rattled through the streets towards the station, Black looked across at the girl opposite him. He had bound her wrists together as soon as they were inside the carriage. Now she sat there defeated, tears rolling down her cheeks, her makeup smudged around her eyes. Silent sobs racked her body as she resigned herself to her fate. For an instant Black felt a morsel of pity for this girl. Whatever she was returning too must be a whole lot worse than being in Malifaux.

She looked up at him, sniffing as her crying slowed. Her eyes showed sadness but also anger and confusion.

“Why?” she sobbed, “Why are you doing this? Why are you working for them?”

“No questions Girl”. He hated talking almost as much as he hated public places.

“My name is Lydia. At least have the decency to call me that”.

Black leant forward in his seat. She was a plucky thing, he gave her that. Not many people answered back to him.

“I don’t need to know your name. It’s better that I don’t”.

“For who? So you can ease your conscience as you hand me back to those bastards? Do you even know who they are, or was the money they paid enough to turn your head?”.

Black felt the anger surge inside him. He knew he should have gagged her the moment they got in. Yet, as the rage subsided, he took a deep breath.

“Yes, the money was too good to turn down, better than what the Guild pay. Yes, I know exactly who hired me and what they do. Everyone knows what the Dometelli brothers are famous for. Prostitution, drugs, murder.”

He let the final word linger on his tongue for a second, hoping the emphasis would quieten her down. Unfortunately, he conceded, it had the opposite effect.

“And you are so willing to hand me back to them. They’ll kill me if I’m lucky. If I’m not……..”

Her voice trailed off. She sat looking out of the window at the streets flashing past. He could see she wanted to cry again, to let her frustration and sadness take over her. Yet she held it back, keeping a control over her emotions. Black felt a twinge of admiration for her, she was like him in certain aspects. He knew how hard it was to control his emotions, to fight the anger inside that called to him.

In his line of work, it helped to be calm and rational. Recklessness got you caught. Or worse.

They rode in silence for the rest of the journey, her looking out of the tiny pane of glass, her last glimpses of this world. He sat there, looking at her, thinking.

The coach pulled to a halt outside the main station and Black hustled her out into the street, holding her hands behind her back, covered by his jacket. He held a knife to her ribs and whispered a warning that should she try anything, both her life and any others who came to her aid would be forfeit. They walked casually into the main building, looking to the world as a gentleman and his whore.

He scouted around until he saw them, the hired muscle of the Dometelli’s. You couldn’t miss them, two large thickset brutes with features only a mother could love, and even that would be at a push. He guided her across towards them and silently passed her across to one of them. The other sneered as he watched her downcast head.

“Thought you could run, eh bitch?” His smile showed missing teeth. He turned back to Black and handed him a bag of coins.

“The rest of the payment”.

Then they were turning, leading Lydia away. She turned her head back towards Black, her eyes desperate and pleading, and he struggled to look away. One of the brutes grabbed her by the hair and then backhanded her with his fist, causing a spray of blood to scatter across her dress.

“Quit pining whore, the boss wants words with you his’self”.

Black felt the anger surge again. This time he let it take him. Rushing forward, he flung his jacket at the man holding Lydia, but not before he had taken his second knife from a pocket. As the jacket hit the man, he was there, stabbing under the ribcage and thrusting upwards, hitting the lungs. The flailing man fell backwards, red gurgling from his mouth, releasing the girl. In the split second before anyone reacted, as time itself seemed to stand still, he thrust the money-bag into her arms and hissed instructions at her.

“Take this, get in the coach. Tell the driver to take you to my place. Don’t go anywhere else, there is the only place you will be safe. Wait for me to return”.

He sliced the bond holding her wrists and pushed her away as the second man gripped his arm, pulling him backwards. He cursed, he’d been sloppy by concentrating on the girl.

As he watched her running through the screaming crowds, he kicked out backwards, catching the thug on his shins, causing him to release his grip. And that was his assailant’s fatal error. As the rage clouded his vision, Black span as quick as a snake, his blade slicing through the jugular of the surprised man. Blood sprayed out covering the two fighters, and clutching futilely at his neck, the thug crashed to the ground, bleeding out.

The shrill whistles of Guild guards broke the rage and he breathed deeply, the smell of blood in his nostrils. He grabbed his jacket and ran, the crowd parting to let him through. Wisely no-one attempted to be a hero. He heard the click of a revolver and dodged to one side as the bullet grazed the wall next to him. He burst through the main doors and with a quick glance to note the coach had gone, melted away into the night, for the long walk home.

Part 4 to come soon, in which a bond is formed.

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