Home > Behind the Hands That Kill (In the Company of Killers #6)(14)

Behind the Hands That Kill (In the Company of Killers #6)(14)
Author: J.A. Redmerski

She mumbles something through the gag in her mouth.

“Do you want me to tell you the truth?” I do not know why I am asking because I intend to tell her anyway; maybe I just need to hear her say yes.

She starts to shake her head no, but it changes direction. She looks frightened, not of our predicament, but of the things I will tell her.

I nod, acknowledging her, and then I look down at my feet partially hidden beneath my crossed legs.

“Your confession,” I begin, “in the room with Nora…I…later I listened to it; I had bugs in the room aside from the audio in the ceiling. Izabel, I know about the child you had with Javier Ruiz.”

At first, she just stares at me, but then more tears appear in the corners of her eyes and slip down her face unrelenting; the gag in her mouth catches them, soaks them up as if they are nothing.

“I am sorry,” I go on. “I know that it was your secret to tell, and I never should have listened to that recording, but I had to know.”

“Why?” Izabel mumbles—I am confident I made out the word correctly.

“Two reasons,” I say. “One, because it is my duty to know everything about every person in my Order, even you. But secondly, and more importantly, I wanted to know if your painful secret was something I could help you with.”

She looks away from me, angrily.

“Look at me, Izabel, please.”

She refuses.


She relents, and turns her eyes slowly toward me again, but they are still filled with anger and hurt.

“After that day,” I continue, “I began the search. None of my contacts in Mexico have found anything yet, but one of them has a possible lead. I knew it would take time, but…Izabel, I only wanted to find your child.”

“Why?” she asks again, this time with more accusation, disbelief.

And I find myself stuck between wanting to tell her the truth like I claimed, and not expecting to have to tell her this much so soon.

“Because I wanted to help,” I say, trying to sidestep the answer in its entirety.

“Why?” Her face is turning red, her tears have become tears of anger. “Why, Victor? Why?”

I sigh and answer with the truth: “Because…I wanted to…steer you in another direction.”

The tears seem to vanish from her eyes as if my magic; she looks across at me, coldly, unforgivingly, and with eyes that express only the deepest of betrayals, that hold the heaviest of questions.

The guilt, as I knew it would, ravages me.

I do the only thing I can do—answer those questions for her.

I push myself into a stand, thankful that the drug has finally worn off. Then I begin to pace. Back and forth over the stones in my five-by-ten prison cell. I can hear Izabel’s heavy, tremulous breaths; I can sense the resentment in the air. But I do my best to ignore it. Because I know that our time is limited.

“After Nora,” I begin, not looking at her, “after what she put us through—what she put me through—I knew, Izabel, that there was no hope for me; I knew that no matter how much I loved you, that one day my love for you would be the end of me, and my brother, and even you.” I stop, turn, look at her once to emphasize my point, and then go back to pacing. “Kessler opened my eyes to the truth; she infiltrated my Order, outsmarted me and everyone in it, and she turned my brother against me. It was my Awakening, Izabel”—I step over to the bars and look down at her; she glares up at me—“I knew I could never kill you, but I had to do something. And I thought that if I could find your child, that maybe your motherly instincts would kick in and you would want to change your life, leave my Order, give your child the life he or she deserves, and then I…” I avert my eyes from hers; this is so hard to say. “…I could go on with my life with a clean conscience. And I—”

“STOP!” she screams through the gag—it might have also been NO! But either means the same.


“I am sorry, love…with all my heart, I am sorry.”


I can’t listen to this…STOP, VICTOR!

I tongue the cloth in my mouth until I can no longer feel my tongue; my throat fills up with saliva, choking me. I gag, and my eyes sting and water. I work tirelessly to loosen the rope from my wrists to the point that they too become strangely numb. My knees open and close, open and close, as I try to free my ankles, but like my wrists, I know they’re stuck like that. Indefinitely.

How could you do this, Victor?!

I scream against my gag, my fury intensifying because I can’t say the words I so desperately want Victor to hear. He watches me from behind the bars of his cell, helpless to do anything but let this torturous moment between us run its due course.

The door opens again, and that man, Apollo, re-enters the room. My eyes dart to find the cattle prod on the floor, but I don’t see it.

Because it’s in his hand and—

I think I blacked out.

I know I did.

Where am I?

Where am I…?


“Where was she taken?” I demand, my hands gripping the bars. “Apollo, answer me!”

He has been giving me the silent treatment for fifteen minutes while he sits on the chair reading a magazine.


He finally raises his head, very slowly, and makes eye contact with me. He is smiling faintly, more in his dark eyes than on his lips. He places the magazine on his leg propped on his knee, and then stares at me, enjoying this.

“What is it like, Victor,” he begins in a composed voice, “knowing that you’ve ruined so many families? How do you sleep at night? Do you ever think about the people you’ve killed?”—he gestures a hand in front of him—“Do you ever sit around in those expensive suits and expensive shoes and that high-dollar haircut and ask yourself: ‘I wonder what kind of life so-and-so might’ve had if I didn’t take it from them?’ Or, ‘I wonder how many people will never be born because I, singlehandedly, destroyed literally generations of future families.’” He drops his leg from his knee and leans forward, the magazine wedged in his hand. “Tell me, Victor—tell me the truth.”

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