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For Blood Tonight
She’s out for blood tonight. You can always tell by her outfit, what kind of mood she’s in. On nights when she’s looking for fun in whatever shape or form, it’s a black dress and kitten heels, or perhaps a lacy two-piece with her hair pulled back, sleek and shining. But tonight it’s a red laced corset, thigh-high heeled boots and a visible garter belt holding up her stockings. Dark hair gently winds down her back, lips pained the color of wine, eyes lined black to bring out the blue. She’s stunning, breathtaking, ridiculously deadly in all her glory. In an outfit like that, nobody messes with Scarla Rose.
I wasn’t always like this. My stilettos snap against the concrete sidewalk as I make my way through a dark and silent allyway, far from where other girls dare to go alone. This is a dangerous area, full of crime and violence everywhere you turn. I come across a few hookers huddled together in a group, their torn fishnets and wide eyes giving them away as far underage and far from home. They’ll be dead by morning.
But there’s nothing I can do about that, because tonight I walk with a purpose. I’m never far from the top of many gangster’s hit lists, for one reason or another, and the chance I’m being watched is high. I hold myself steady, not allowing a tell-tale glance around to check for glowing eyes or the glimmer of moonlight off a polished gun. I can’t give my knowledge away.
The door I’m looking for is on my right, flaked blue paint reveals a solid metal barrier between me and what’s inside, and in front of that thick steel is an even thicker man, wearing nothing but a tight tshirt despite the plummeting temperatures. My own thin dress isn’t doing me much good and I’m ready to get inside and warm up. Hopefully this will be quick.
“Can I help you?” he grunts, eyeing me up and down, obviously suspicious and understandably curious. It’s not every day a twenty-something girl wearing a pricey red dress saunters up to a seedy mob-hangout asking to be let in. He thinks I’m either a high-class hooker or an angry girlfriend. Fortunetly, I’m neither. Not tonight, anyway.
“Yes,” I say bluntly. All business. “Tonight is important and I will answer no questions. Step aside or fall aside, it’s all a choice.” I recite the words that were given to me over the phone, hoping it’s an accurate password. The last thing I need is another murder. That would be six this week. It’s getting hard to stay inconspicuous with so much blood on my hands.
To my relief he moves aside, pulling the door open for me, expression puzzled. It leads to a dank and moldy hall with yet another door, this one unguarded. The handle is cold and slippery beneath my fingers, like its covered in a thin layer of slime. I grimace, letting it go.
The interior of the hangout is dimly lit, filled to the brim with tuxedo-clad crooks and dealers with nothing good on their mind. I can see poorly concealed weapons under jackets and knives bulging inside socks as they converse with each other in what would appear to be a genial way to any outside. I know better. This isn’t a friendly experience for many. The cigar and cigarette smoke swirl together in a murky cloud, filling my nose.
I’m not in here to make friends, so I move my way through the crowd as quietly as possible, constantly scanning my surroundings, making sure I stay under cover like requested. The man I am looking for said he would be at the bar, third chair from the left wall, drinking a whiskey on the rocks. I spot him immediately. Not hard to.
He’s easily the most handsome man I’ve seen in a long time, dark hair and eyes matched with smooth olive skin and straight features. His outfit is black pants and a black leather jacket, rings on most of his fingers, a tattoo tracing down his right jaw line in a language I can’t understand, which is strange, as I speak many. He doesn’t recognize me at first so I take a moment to evaluate him. My instinct tells me that appealing face aside, this man is danger.
“Bassanio Rodgriero?” I ask softly when we’re only a few feet apart. He looks up, eyes scanning my appearance before a sly smile plays on his lips, giving the vibe of a hungry panther.
“You must be joking,” he barks, shaking his head. I’ve seen this reaction before. He doesn’t believe I am what I say I am. Too bad. He’ll find out soon enough.
“I am entirely serious, Mr. Rodgriero, and if you continue to mock me as you do I will show you just how serious my job really is,” I hiss in flowing Spanish, causing him to falter.
“I have seen the darkest side of this world and lived to tell the tale. If you have any problems with me or how I work then I suggest you speak now,” I continue, this time switching to smooth Italian. I don’t know if he speaks it, but it’s getting the message across. “I am the best you will find, so hold your tounge.” The last bit is in English.
“You want me to believe that a little girl can carry out the job I need done?” he asks, a faint steel edge to his voice. This isn’t going to be simple. Little does this kid know, but I’m packing more heat under this dress than he could imagine. I could kill him four different ways before he knows he’s dead. Yeah, I’m bada** like that.
“Don’t test me or you’ll see that this job isn’t the only thing that will be carried out around here. If you do not want my help fine, no lost sleep for me. Don’t waste my time.” With one last look up and down, he sighs and motions for me to take the seat next to him.
“I need a hit man. Are you capable?” I stifle laughter.
“I am more than capable. I am proficient in the art of extermination. Why such drastic measures?” I’m sure he won’t tell me the reasoning, and he holds true to the nature of his kind.
“My business,” he says simply. “You will be paid generously for your help Ms…?” He wants my name. I use the one I always use.
“Loretta Kane,” I say, nodding once. “Who will I be killing for you tonight?”
“His name is Johnson Lawrence. He is currently at 4432 West Mason Street by himself like always. He is unmarried, no children, unemployed. Easy target, often takes to walking around alone at night.”
“Doesn’t sound like much of a threat,” I say, catching the eye of the bartender who is gradually inching closer to us. Bassanio seems to have noticed as well.
“Shall we?” he asks in Spanish, and I nod curtly. Best not be overheard, even though ours is surely not the worst transaction going down in here tonight.
“He is only a threat to me,” he says, crossing his arms. “Fifty thousand if you can get the job done by tomorrow night.” Easy.
“That will be no problem. Meet me here, same place, same time tomorrow night and your issue will be resolved. I need the money upfront, Mr. Rodgriero. I’m not new to this.”
He rolls his eyes, but there’s no way in hell I’m backing down. This guy wants me to commit murder for him? Well then, my money is the least he can hand over, since I’m already paying for a one-way ticket to hell. Oh well, whatever. It’ll be warm and I’m gonna know people there.
He pulls a checkbook out of his pocket but I wrap my fingers around his wrist, shaking my head. No, I know that trick, too. Guy writes me a check for a large amount of money, I do this a**holes’s dirty work, he disappears. I might be young, but I’m not stupid.
“You’re an interesting piece of work,” he says, pulling out his wallet. I’m passed a wad of hundred dollar bills that looks to be the right amount, but I count in under the table just to be sure. Stuffing it into my bra, I smile sweetly.
“Pleasure,” I say in English, giving him a wink and standing up.
“You’re too pretty to be what you are,” he says, entirely serious. “Doesn’t a girl like you have something better to do with her time? Or some morals?” I’m not offended.
“I lost my good interests and morals a long time ago.” With that I turn and slip out of sight, moving through crowds of men and out the back door through which I came. The same man is standing guard, and his head is tilted as he looks down at me, but he knows better than to ask. It’s my own business, after all.
Nothing is left but the echo of my heels snapping on the concrete. Those hooker girls are gone.