Of all of the things York had been privy towards hearing since he got involved in the Olympics, from that bad kill with Bruno, he had not heard one single word about anything called Arcadia. A name like that seemed to stick, as each letter connected and had a sort of weight, an intangibility, beyond that of any other one. There was a feeling in him that whatever she just said, it was important, although to what ends, he hadn't the slightest clue. Tentatively, he looked around the room, then back to her eyes. She noticed it. She noticed that he had no clue what she was talking about. Wiping her nose, composing herself with a deep sigh, she wickedly smiled, seeing an opportunity for an upper-hand.
"You don't know about it, do you? About Arcadia? You have no clue about it…"
"No. I have never even heard of it before. Should I have?"
"Maybe, if you kept up on the types of people who like to shape the world."
"I don't keep track of them unless I am paid to do so, and then I kill them. Do I get Arcadia if I kill someone who shapes the world by influencing his lack?"
"You don't get Arcadia, you're a part of it. Arcadia's a group of people, it's the sort of thing that you get in, and never get out of. Mafia families, drug circles, secret societies, politics…they all share that imposed in-for-life idea."
"Nice country club."
"You're allowed to leave country clubs. You leave Arcadia, well, you get this. You get life on the run, you get a life of these scars, these betrayals, this pain, this hurt. You get this ugly, pathetic excuse of living."
"You're not faring half-bad. You're alive."
"Do you have any idea how many times I should have died, or how many men I have killed?"
"How many," York said, not asking, playing to her rant.
"I have had to kill four men, four men with lives, families, loved ones…I have had four men in my dreams, haunting me, for having murdered them."
"I've killed over forty."
"And you're just a-fucking-ok with that?"
"I never thought twice about it."
"You really are a cold-blooded killer."
"That's the modus operandi. Think you get far with a conscience? You get this, Reyher. You live in a hole, worms being your only solemn friends. We don't all like to live like this."
"But, you're not living. You're killing. Living means feeling, and with all you've done, I doubt you feel a thing anymore, you pathetic sack of shit."
"No, I don't, not too often. What difference is that? I do my job."
"Your job, that's what matters, huh?"
"You're not doing yours, though."
"Living, right? You're not living while you're done here. So, while we both aren't living, per se, I am at least doing something without my life."
"How poetic, I bet it helps you sleep wonderfully at night."
"Arcadia. Your father. I want to know more about it," Thomas said, switching the topic back to what it began with.
"What am I supposed to say? What is there to tell?"
"Anything, everything, you have my ears." York took the opportunity to play on another card, one of comfortability. If he was to get the information from her, arguing might not always be the smartest aspect, and he also needed to show her his own comfort of her. Despite the fact in the last five minutes that she tried to kill him, he had to appear willing. He would get nothing if he was continuing the barrage. In that train of thought, he turned, walking around her, and sat down on her mattress, looking at her. She had found herself a will to stand, and tracked him with her eyes, confused as he sat down on her mattress. His expression was one of expectation, wanting her to continue talking, not seeming to think that it was weird he just introduced himself into a position of leisure.
"The hell you think you're doing?"
"Trying to not think you're gonna kill me again and getting a little more cozy than a fucking dirty stairwell. Should I be standing behind you with my pistol at all moments, or can I trust you a little more than that?"
"That's your decision."
"And, I decided. I'm sitting right here. Keep talking."
"Whatever, fucking kid. Think you're slick shit, how old are you anyways?"
"Old enough, why?"
"You're young, I know it, I see it in you. You're too young for this, for the Olympics, Arcadia…all of it, just too damn young. What, you think you'll get glory by being young, stupid, and on the cusp? Or, you think you're some sort of badass, straight outta the streets, graduated to international thug?"
"I thought it would be good money. This isn't about me."
"You're up shit-creek without a paddle if you think that. Everything you need to know, I need to know just as much."
"What do you need?" he said, sighing complacently, trying to appease her.
"You said you got my name off of a list for the Olympics, that was a lie. The list is never set, it is only ever made after one kill is made. The only way you could know who was coming up was if you knew the people who were making the kills."
"And, who controls where the Olympics go?"
"If I knew that, you think I would be here? Regardless, where ever your information came from, it was a lie. And, if you don't know about Arcadia, then you're also in for a bit of a shock about where the Olympics go. You never knew a thing, did you? Who sent you?"
"I wasn't sent, I wasn't even really a part of the Olympics, I said that. That's why we're here, I'm not killing you. If you're telling me I was lied to, then I need to know why I was even sent after you."
"Hell if I know. Where did you get my name?"
"My contact. He gets me all of my kills, and all of the money, too. He's my agent. Name's Divson."
"I doubt that's his real name. And, it sounds like he has got you completely whipped, kid. You don't even know his name. I bet he just wires your money to your account, gives you names, and you do it all. Ever ask for his credibility, or get information for yourself? Ha, fuck, no, you don't, you use this guy directly, he's your only contact. I wouldn't doubt he was playing you for a fucking fool, keeping money himself or just aching to set you up for something bigger."
"I wouldn't deny that. I am actually kind of aware of that. He said he used to be in the Olympics, he once was a part of it, but he didn't win, so he got my ass involved. He wanted me to disrupt it, get involved, maybe even win, in place for him. Or, just because he was bitter. Hell if I know, but since he got me involved, I am kind of obliged to keep going. Either that, or get killed. I already was attacked by an mercenary, one of the guys in the Olympics. Apparently, my name is now out there, on the list. I must have pissed them off."
"What other names did he say?"
"The names I got from him, so far, have been Nathan Bruno, Paul Sanderson, you, and a man named Shawn Endirgo. There was another man, a Balloch Notario Tinez. The money came from a guy with that name from the Bruno hit, and I have no clue what it was about. The man is a mystery."
"Tinez? What a fucking fake name. You just keep getting played. The others…one of them is familiar."
"Hear about a murder in Denver, a chase on the highway? Yeah, that was me. News gets around fast."
"When you do something out of a Hollywood flick, yeah, you get it known. So, that was you? All I got was a shitty three-minute story through the local news highlighting world events, and talked about a murder out there in America. I'm honored, you're so famous, fucker."
"You didn't hear the other? He was a famous lawyer in New York, working for the mob. I had to chase him down a couple alleys to get him. No fame from that one?" York said with a hint of sarcasm.
"You did it because this Divson guy told ya?"
"And, he said there was pay. Yeah, it's what I do, kill for money. Get it? I wanted to know something else. Do you know about a mercenary, an Olympian named James Prast?"
"Never heard of the name. Should I have?"
"Not necessarily, he just almost killed me a few times and didn't. I've been trying to find out why, or at least get a response from him."
"A mercenary let you live? That's not right."
"A lot of things aren't right, if you didn't notice, Ms. Reyher."
"Don't call me that."
"What am I supposed to be calling you? Ms. Reyher doesn't work, Reyher doesn't work, I doubt you want Andrea."
"…Fine, Reyher is fine—York."
"I never had a problem with what you call me. York, Thomas, Tommy, Thomas York, Verdant, it all works."
"It's my call-sign."
"Call-sign? What are you, military?"
"Not directly. I was trained military, though. Long story, don't ask. I want information on Arcadia."
"No, I don't want to tell you," Andrea stammered. York shifted his head, as if to say "are you serious?" Her dead-pan gaze was serious, in all entireties. "If you want to know about Arcadia, what I know, I gotta know what you know."
"I told you about how I got your information, and things like that. What else am I supposed to say?"
"What about the military thing?"
"That's not important, that has nothing to do with it."
"I want to fucking know, and unless I get to know, then you don't know anything either."
"Okay, fine. I was raised by a foster family, which was actually just a foster-father. He was ex-Special Forces. He trained me. Now Arcadia."
"No, you're lying to me. You're not telling me the truth, there's stuff your hiding." York looked at her with an emotionless gaze, the type of stare that could cut through steel. She didn't flinch, only narrowed her eyes, and leaned forward towards Thomas; he was still sitting on her bed. Their faces were close, her curly hair was hanging off of her face, casting shadows over it, highlighting her eyes. "I want to know more, and unless I know, you don't get anything out of me. I don't care relevance, when I ask something of you, you're going to give me the answer."
"Not about that," he responded, his eyes flashing a little as he said it, like a dim fire jumped out of a seemingly-blackened coal that was kicked.
"And why the hell not? Arcadia is a part of my childhood, my past, my father and the way I was brought up. If I have to run from the Olympics and Arcadia for every day of my life, then I want to know what you run from. You're no killer for good reasons, you are because something fucked you up enough to be sitting in some shit-cellar in Alexandria, Egypt, when boys your age should be driving reckless to impress dumb girls in suburbia bullshit."
"There's nothing in my past that is going to help you find anything out about the Olympics, or about why I am here. And, there is nothing I am going to tell you."
"Then you better dream real hard about Arcadia, because you're getting no facts."
York sprung to life, jumping off of the mattress. Her face was so close to his that it wasn't hard for him to quickly have butted her back with his forehead against hers, then snatch her throat up. He slammed her into the wall behind them, a bit of dirt and dust filtering into the air. She scraped at his hand around her throat, looking through bulging eyes into his lifeless emeralds. No, not lifeless, she noticed, there w was a spark. York leaned close, and continued talking, her asphyxiated gasps loud and obtuse.
"Listen, Andrea. I want to know things, and if you don't tell me, I will finish the job we started a while back. I'll have to kill you, and I don't want to unless I need to, or I have to. Otherwise, I have no problem letting you live. You will tell me what I want to know, or I will squeeze harder and harder until you do tell me, or you die." Her eyes tracked his, swerving off in a state of confusion and hysteria. Her hands clawed at her neck, then quickly turned to scratching and trying to swing a punch, to which she got a tighter grip on her throat, immobilizing her. "Stop fighting," Thomas whispered into her ear, getting close enough to feel her hair on his face.
She used that small moment to break free. She kneed York in the abdomen, then used her hands to grab him and throw him off, possibly scratch out his eyes. She half-way succeeded. She pushed him away by his neck, but ripped something else. York stumbled back onto the mattress again, quickly whipping out his gun and pointing it at her, breathing hard and his eyes hid under a cement-block brow-line. She looked at him, grasping her throat, coughing, equally disdained, then looked at her hand. She had something there, something she took off of him. Examining it in the dull light, she then looked back at him.
It was a necklace. A dull piece of thin leather strung together and tied in a knot in the back, a knot that she had unraveled with her force. On the necklace there was an ornament, if one could call it that. It was a flattened piece of metal, but it wasn't that simple. It was a mushroomed-tip of a bullet. It looked like it had been removed from a body, bored through with a drill, and put on that leather.
"What the fuck is this?" she coughed out. York was quick to jump up and snatch it from her, leveling his gun the entire time at her. He looked down it form a brief moment, then back at her, his entire body convulsing with each breath.
"Don't you ever fucking touch that again, got it?"
"The hell is it?"
"It's military fucking training," he seethed.
"…It's from you, isn't it? That's it. You were shot. That's what that is. That bloomed, that hit bone, that one stuck…that's not a flesh wound, like the one I gave you. Where was that at?"
"Shut up," York breathed out with a deep blow. He blinked a few times, looking at her, his entire body seeming to pulse as he moved, his pistol wobbling.
"That's what this truly is about, isn't it? I think I get it, York. That…that bullet, that's some reminder to you. Who shot you? Ha, probably something pretty terrible. I know what that is like. Does it make you feel better? Carry it around to remind you?"
"Shut up!" York screamed, pulling the trigger. His hand was too loose, and the bullet smashed into the compacted dirt next to Reyher's head, spraying a cloud of dirt back at him. She was shocked, but quickly leaped at him, knocking the pistol away. He slammed hard into the floor, knocking the wind out of him. He had no balance right now. Ryeher scooped up the gun quick, mounted York, and held the pistol under his chin. He was shaking, his eyes looking at her, then quickly away. He was sweating, his hands tensed, grabbing the ground and then stretching again. His breathing was quick, erratic. Reyher, tense and heavy, holding his collar in one hand, and the gun tight into his skin on the other, loosened up. She sat back, then stood up, keeping the gun trained on him.
"Oh fuck…I get it all now. I get it. You…you're running. You're not a cold-blooded killer, you're not the emotionless sociopath. You're the type of guy who does the only thing he knows how to do, and anything else he throws away, because he doesn't want to deal with it. What were you on? What were you taking, to make it all run away? You can't flush them away with any pills, any drink, anything…you're taking the easy way out. Well, look now, this is what it is like to live with what you have done, and I'll fucking show you. Whatever you were on, you're off of it, and I'll show you how it is to live in fear like I have. Time to feel what you've wrought, Tommy."