Home > Behind the Hands That Kill (In the Company of Killers #6)(15)

Behind the Hands That Kill (In the Company of Killers #6)(15)
Author: J.A. Redmerski

It will do me no good to continue asking about Izabel.

“Do you really care about any of that, Apollo? Is that why I am here—retribution for being less than a human being, a danger to society? Or is this about you and your notorious family? A family, I should add”—I hold up my index finger—“known for being less than human and a danger to society. He who casts the first stone, Apollo.”

He drops the magazine on the floor and gets up from the chair—he is not smiling anymore.

“My family,” he defends, spitting out the word, “may be known for some heinous crimes; my mom and dad may have been the biggest bastard and bitch this side of the hemisphere”—he grits his stark white teeth and snarls at me—“but my brothers and my sisters, when you came in with your lies and your bullets, never did anything to deserve what they got. I never did anything to deserve what I got!” (A tiny droplet of spittle from his mouth hits my cheek.) “The worst I’d done by that time was rob a liquor store! And I didn’t even kill anybody!”

In a calm voice I respond, “This business is not about eliminating criminals, Apollo. I was not commissioned to kill your family because you were a menace to society. I was commissioned to kill your family because your mother and father were the biggest bastard and bitch this side of the hemisphere. They are to blame for the death of your brothers and sisters, not me—Osiris is to blame. Or have you forgotten? Have you forgotten that things would have been much different if your own flesh and blood brother did not betray you, betray your family name?”

“I haven’t forgotten,” he comes back, rounding his chin.

My hands slide away from the bars.

“It seems that you have,” I point out. “You are in league with Osiris again, after all these years, after everything he did to you and your family—yet, I am the one in the cage.” I do not know if my theory is correct, if Osiris is in on this, but it is the only ammunition that I have, as unlikely as it feels.

Apollo’s hands knot into fists down at his sides; his eyes churn with animosity. I see now that maybe things between Apollo and Osiris are not as patched-up as I assumed, after all.

“Where is Osiris, anyway?” I ask, hoping to get some truth myself. I would very much like to speak with him.

Apollo turns his back on me, crosses his arms.

“He’s not here,” he says. “I have better things to do than to keep track of my brother.”

A moment of silence passes between us.

I decide to switch gears, careful not to push too far, in hopes he might open up more if I manipulate him gradually. But this is all very hard to do when all I can think about, all I care about, is Izabel.

“Why fifteen years, Apollo?” I inquire. “That is a tremendous amount of time wasted. Why wait fifteen years to put me in this cage?” Other than it probably took you that long to figure out how to successfully pull it off.

He smirks. “Oh, believe me,” he says, his tone laced with bitterness, “I would’ve done this a long time ago—I wanted to, but…well, that’s beside the point.”

“You wanted to,” I echo, “but this whole plan does not only involve you, does it? You are not here—I am not here—simply for your revenge.”

“There isn’t anything simple about this!” he shouts, and it surprises me, furthermore confirming my suspicions: he is not the one in charge.

He steps right up to the bars, well in arm’s reach, at last giving me that opportunity I wanted moments ago. But I do not take it. I fear now more than ever for Izabel’s well-being. Regardless knowing this is the day she and I will die, the last thing I want is to make her final moments more difficult than they already are.

“Where is Izabel?” I ask, my voice relaxed, but my core apprehensive.

He shakes his head. And then he smiles a smile so chilling that it alone elevates my concern.

“With my sister,” he answers.

I blink, stunned, and a wave of anxiety moves through my body, settling in my chest. If there is any one person in this world I would choose not to leave Izabel alone with, it is certainly Hestia Stone, the only Stone sister still alive. She is beautiful like her sister, Artemis, was, but unlike Artemis, Hestia is cruel and dangerous and with a bloodlust that would have given Fredrik’s ex-wife a run for her money.

“Hestia? You left her with Hestia…”

“Ah, there it is,” Apollo taunts me, “that fear I never imagined I’d live to see in the great Victor Faust.” He tosses his head back and laughs, then lowers his eyes on mine once more, and a grin spreads across his lips. “I’d say not to worry, but, well, you know how my sister is.”

I grab the bars and try to shake them, managing only to shake myself. “Apollo, do not do this! If we are to die here today, then just kill us! Just kill Izabel—torture me if that is what you want, but do not—”

“Wow, look at you”—he points at me—“this is fanfuckingtastic, bro”—he pumps his fists—“YEAH!”

But then his smile disappears and he steps up to my cage, places his fingers atop mine around the bars and squeezes; he is so close I can feel his warm breath between us. “Wait until you see her—my sister. I can’t wait to see it myself. There will be fireworks n’ shit. And I’ve got a front row seat.” He visibly shakes his upper body, demonstrating his excitement with dramatics. “It’s even makin’ my dick a little hard.” Then his fingers move from mine and he presses his face even closer, daring me to take advantage of it—I keep my calm, as much as I want to choke him to death where he stands. “And by the way,” he adds, “begging doesn’t suit you, either.” He steps away from the cage slowly.

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