Home > Behind the Hands That Kill (In the Company of Killers #6)(17)

Behind the Hands That Kill (In the Company of Killers #6)(17)
Author: J.A. Redmerski

Raising her head once she was able, she started to look at me first, perhaps to finish what we started, to let me see just how much more desperately she wanted to kill me. But at the last second, her eyes veered and found Artemis instead. The look on her face, it spoke volumes—Artemis was no longer a sister of Hestia, and Hestia would never forgive her for what she had done.

Not a single word was spoken from the three of us, only the silent words that needed not be spoken to hear and understand them.

And then Hestia left. And it was the last time I saw her.

After all these years, I thought that because of what Artemis did, Hestia did not care much anymore about revenge against me. I kept tabs on Hestia from that day forth; it was only logical and mandatory I watch my back because of her threats. I could have killed her on many occasions, but, like Nora Kessler, I wanted her alive. I wanted to study her. She intrigued me. She intrigued me, because I feared her. And I have never been a man to snuff out or run from something that I fear. I face it and move toward it so that I can better understand what it is about that thing that I fear.

“You know,” Apollo says, waking me from my memories, “I never believed it before, but I see now that it’s true—you’re afraid of Hestia. You’re actually afraid of her!” His laughter echoes throughout the space.

I raise my eyes to look at him. I want to say, ‘No, I no longer fear Hestia; that was a long time ago when I was still young—the only fear I have for her now is what she will do to Izabel.’ But I do not say these things; defending my pride and protecting my ego is not important.

“Let me see Izabel,” I demand.

Apollo smiles and sucks on a tooth.

“Can’t do that just yet,” he says, with the shrug of his shoulders. “But you’ll see her soon enough.”

He leaves, closing the door behind him.

I grab the bars of my cage again and roar something not even I understand into the night.


The strong smell of perfume wakes me, and when I open my eyes I see that woman from before again, dressed in the tight bodysuit that zips all the way up her throat, standing in the room with me.

“Good. You’re awake,” she says. “We should get started.”

I realize that I’m lying on a bed; a pillow has even been tucked under my head. My bonds have been cut; the gag has been removed from my mouth.

“Get started with what?” I ask, weakly.

The woman smiles carefully at me. I glimpse a knife beside her on a vanity next to various sorts of makeup, hair styling items, and other such things; four bright lights, two on each side of the vanity mirror, light up the small room that has little else in it worthy of noting.

Of course, of all the things in her reach she could take into her hand, she chooses the knife and comes toward me.

Instinctively I try to leap off the bed and run for the closed door, but my legs collapse beneath me, and a familiar white-hot pain sears through my tailbone and hips; the buzzing sound of the cattle prod zips through my ears. I crash onto the floor; my eyes are clenched tight as the pain works its way through my stiffened body. Only after my muscles begin to ease and soften again do I hear the second set of footsteps behind me as whoever had been in the room with us backs away.

The woman crouches in front of me as I lie on the floor, trying to catch my breath.

“What I plan to do to you,” she warns in an eerily calm voice, “will be much worse than a little shock.”

“W-What are you going t-to do?” I stutter, as I still haven’t gained back the full ability to speak after that last shock.

I feel her fingers moving through my hair, and I look up at her looming over me.

“I’m going to finish what I started so long ago with Victor Faust.”

Her words, though vague and few, inject several extra beats in my heart.

She raises the knife to me, letting the shiny silver blade flash in front of my eyes. “Now, will you be cooperating, or will you be making this more difficult for me, and in turn, yourself?”

“What do you want me to do?” I ask, settling with cooperation.

“For now,” she says, stands, and then reaches out a hand to me, “I want you to listen.”

Reluctantly I accept her hand and she pulls me to my feet.

“And later?” I ask, uneasy.

She walks back over to the brightly-lit vanity, her back to me, but I don’t forget about the other person in the room.

The woman, clearly in charge, doesn’t look at me when she answers, “That will also depend on Victor Faust—everything that happens here tonight will depend on the man on the other side of that speaker”—she turns only her head, slowly, to see me now—“the man you think loves you enough to save your life.”

“He does,” I say immediately, regretting it afterwards. This isn’t the time to be arguing with a woman who I feel like I know can never be reasoned with.

She smiles, and runs the knife blade smoothly between her thumb and index finger.

“We’ll see,” she says. Then she pats the empty chair in front of the vanity. “Come and have a seat.”

I glance behind me, finally seeing a man standing next to the door with the cattle prod clutched in his hand. There are no windows in this room, just that solitary door; and judging by the footsteps I hear outside in the hallway, even if I could take these two down, I probably wouldn’t get far once I left the room. But more importantly, I wouldn’t leave Victor in this place, and I have no idea where he is; for all I know, he might not even be here. All I have of him is his voice funneling through the speakers on a laptop.

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