He backed away from Jenny slowly, a slight tremble in his hand. Jenny watched as he clenched his jaw hard, trying desperately to maintain some control.
In the firelight adorning the room, she could tell almost instantly that control was one thing he valued above all else. The neat order of the items on the shelves, the curios and treasures arranged for display. The monitor on the wall behind him divided into a pattern of screen cells; some screens devoted to cameras around the property, including one showing Tia at the front door lighting a cigarette in wait, other screens displaying rows of numbers and charts.
He took a seat opposite her in a stuffed chair with a high back and arm props. Jenny realized as he did that that her seat must be the same as that chair from the way her cheeks settled into the cushioning.
“It is…” he started to say. “You are… Oh, my, oh…”
Jenny’s gaze turned to the monitors briefly.
He caught her looking and said, “Oh, yes, her,” and his thumb floated over his cell. Jenny watched as Tia got her text, flicked some ash off her cigarette and walked away.
“You know,” Jenny said, “you didn’t have to have me kidnapped. I might have come if you just asked.”
“Uh, well… That’s nice to know, but after the war, I didn’t expect to be able to just call. And Tia, she was originally going to just find you, see if she could track you down. The last thing I expected was her showing up in the middle of the night with you in tow.”
“So her name’s really Tia?”
“Yes, she…” he started to say. “She used her real name down there? Very brave of her, or sloppy, I’m not sure which.”
“So she was supposed to find me? Then what?”
“Bare minimum, get as much as she could on you, see if you were dead or alive, then bring back all leads, anything useful.”
“Just find me?” Jenny asked. “That’s all?”
“I had no idea whether you were still there. All I had to go on was that’s where we were before I came here.”
“Where am I, anyway?”
“London.” He saw the look on Jenny’s face and added, “Not that one. London, Ontario.”
“They have one, too? Is this like the other one?”
“Smaller. But cleaner and much dryer; our Thames hasn’t leapt its banks and taken out the city the way theirs did. A nice place to live.”
“So you live here now.” Jenny looked around. “Looks very cozy. Who’d you have to kill to get this?”
He sighed. He then looked at her, a flash of recognition crossing his face, before he reached over to the side table next to his chair.
Jenny’s eyes widened when she saw the blade in his hands, a few inches long.
“You knew I was kidding, right?” she asked. “About the whole killing-someone thing, ain’t it?”
He said nothing as he got up and moved closer to her…
All content Copyright © 2012 James Ryan