A beautiful, big cake with mounds of frosting sat in the fridge. Before we indulged in the food, we sang happy birthday to each other.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Lil Shiz, happy birthday to you!" We cheered. Shiz had told me that my birthday was on the same day as his, so we always celebrated together.
"You're ten now, Lil," Shiz whispered, hugging me.
"You're twenty," I smiled back. The candlelight flickered brightly from three tall wax sticks placed in the center of the wooden, round table.
"Let's dig in." Shiz and I took opposite chairs, facing each other. I took a fried chicken wing, examining it with interest.
"Chicken?" Shiz nodded, concealing a grin.
I took a bite. Suddenly, my mouth was on fire, and I dived for the sink. I turned on the tap and furiously rinsed my burning mouth with water.
"Hot!" I snarled through a mouthful of water. Shiz was laughing as he took a chicken wing himself.
"Yeah. Spicy," Shiz agreed, taking a huge bite of chicken. He swallowed, nodding. "You'll like it once you got used to it."
I returned to the table and instead helped myself to mashed potatoes. Before I tasted it, I stared suspiciously at Shiz.
"Not spicy?" I asked, poking it with my finger.
We enjoyed the rest of the meal in contented silence. I was just helping myself to some pumpkin pie when there was three loud knocks on the door. Shiz stood up automatically. His expression was not of excitement or joy; instead, it suddenly depicted anxiety and a hint of anger.
"Shiz?" I said softly, putting my fork down with a clatter.
"Go to your room, Lil."
"Go!" I walked up the stairs, glancing back at Shiz who was tossing my plate and fork in the sink. Another knock echoed on our door, and Shiz swore, sprinting to it. Something told me to move faster, and I ran the last few steps. I stepped inside my room and closed my door with an inch opening remaining. Sighing, I laid down on the floor and pressed my ear to the opening.
"How is it going, Shiz?" said a male voice I didn't recognize. I moved closer, straining my ears to catch every word.
"Good, good," the man said. A chair was pushed back, the wooden legs scraping across the floor in a distinct screeech. I quickly opened my door and slipped out. Peeking from an eye-sized hole in the wall, I saw a sturdy man dressed in heavy leather clothes standing in front of Shiz.
"Having a good time, I see," the man commented after a pause.
"Yeah, been celebrating my birthday. You know," Shiz answered indifferently.
"All by yourself, though? Don't you have any friends to invite over? Relatives? Sisters?"
"You know exactly why I didn't invite any."
"Oh?" the man asked again with a soft sneer. "This is a lot of food for one person. But I would never know if you developed a greater appetite by now."
"Maybe. So what do you want?" Shiz said sharply.
"You know exactly what I want."
"Look, you have the diamond, what else –"
I winced as a loud crash broke the almost quiet setting.
"Where is she?"
"I don't know –"
"Don't lie to me, Shiz! I've waited ten years!"
Shiz stifled a yelp as the man gave him a crushing blow to the stomach.
"No," I breathed, eyes widening.
"Where is she?" the man thundered, raising his fist.
"I, don't, know," Shiz gasped, clutching his stomach. The man was kneeling over him, and a cruel smile broke over his face.
"Shiz, I could end your life right now. In front of your lil' girl's very own eyes." The man reached inside his cloak and brought out a steel dagger.
Shiz's eyes widened. "You wouldn't dare. If you kill me, you will never know where she is," Shiz hissed, trying to stand up. The man kicked at him, and he fell back down, breathing hard. The knife was pressed against Shiz's throat.
"You think so?" the man sneered, pressing the knife harder. Suddenly, I felt hard arms close around my waist. A piercing scream escaped my mouth and I was carried downstairs, flailing and kicking wildly.
"Lil!" Shiz yelled, trying to kick the man. When the man held him back with the knife, Shiz stopped and said in a voice colder than ice, "Let her go."
I struggled against my captor, but his grip was unrelenting as he pushed me against the wall. I felt his hot breath on my neck.
"You think I'm stupid, Shiz?" the man said softly. "You think she could hide? No, I've long awaited for this day."
Shiz's foot swung and connected with the man's lower torso. The man dropped the knife with a surprised shout, his face clenching in pain.
I felt a cold blade press against my neck. "Don't move, Shiz," said my captor.
I saw Shiz stop, his face falling. "No, don't do this to me. Don't do this to her," Shiz said.
The blade lifted from my neck, and my hopes lifted slightly.
"I'm sorry, Shiz," the man said quietly. As quick as lightning, the man threw the knife with extreme accuracy. Shiz's shirt blossomed into a crimson flower as the knife embedded itself into his chest. He swayed slowly, looking down with a surprised expression, before falling to the ground, unmoving.
I was numb. "NO!" I screamed, tearing myself from the man's arms. I threw myself down on Shiz's body, crying, screaming, not believing. "Shiz, wake up, SHIZ!" I cried, collapsing next to him. His once shining, cunning eyes were now blank and staring without feeling.
"Lil…" he croaked. "Don't leave me…"
"I'll never leave you!" I cried, hugging him tightly. "Never."
The other man had stood up. "Now, now," he cooed, smiling. "Shiz is nothing to cry about. He's been betraying you, all along." Now he was directly speaking to me.
I spluttered, "I don't believe you, you fog!"
An awkward silence lasted between us for a few seconds before the man broke into a chuckle. "My dear, such language!"
Shiz was trying to say something. I leaned closer. "Fag," he whispered. He spared a glance at the man. "Fuck off…"
"I didn't quite catch that, Shiz," the man grinned.
I was filled with distaste and hate. "FUCK OFF, YOU FAG!" I wrenched the knife from Shiz's body and hurled it at the man. A soft twang sounded – the man had dodged swiftly, smiling broadly.
"Teaching young kids new vocabulary?" he snarled, kicking Shiz again.
Shiz barely winced this time, and I knew he was fading away despite his struggle.
"Come on," the man said, hauling me up by the arm.
"No!" I clawed at him, and bit his arm.
"Ouch, you lil –" I spun around and punched the man swiftly across the face, to the left, then to the right. Although I was young, my knuckles were hard and sharp. With a scream I smashed both fists down on the man's head.
He stumbled back, surprised. Before I could finish, my captor stepped forward, dealing a crushing blow under the man's jaw. The man fell to the ground, eyes closed. His face was turned at a very odd angle.
"What –" I began, looking at my captor in surprise.
"Move aside," he said roughly, and knelt down by Shiz. Shiz's half-opened eyes sparkled with a faint light, and he gave a feeble smile.
"You just had to be so accurate, didn't you, Travesh," Shiz chuckled softly.
"That shot shamed my skill, Shiz," Travesh laughed back. "Let's see…almost to the heart. You're a lucky man."
Shiz coughed violently, wiping blood from his mouth. "Lucky you know how make your shots shameful, actually."
"Very funny." Travesh pulled out a dagger. I've never seen a dagger so sharp, so ethereal and dangerous. It had a swift and clean sense to it, and the curved tip was barely visible.
"Try not to move. This can easily cut you in half if you're not careful –"
"I know, I know. Don't nag."
Travesh smiled. "Okay, then. Just don't blame me and come haunting me in my dreams when you're dead." I was silent throughout the whole thing.
Shiz suddenly noted my silence and craned his head around to face me. "Hey…Lil. I'll be with you in a few minutes. Don't worry, Travesh knows what he's doing," he added, as Travesh carefully placed the knife tip against Shiz's shirt.
"I said, don't move!" Travesh snarled as Shiz resumed to his original position.
"I need to strip off your shirt first. Okay?" Shiz nodded.
Travesh carefully ran the knife tip down Shiz's shirt. At first, I saw no difference, as if the knife was made of plastic.
But then Travesh grabbed the shirt and pried the two halves apart. The cut was perfect and completely smooth.
I almost gagged at Shiz's open wound. It was bleeding freely; streaks of dark blood ran down Shiz's tanned body from a gaping hole stained with a dark, sickly crimson filling. As Shiz's chest rose slowly with his breath, the wound itself seemed to pulse with a faint, indistinct beat.
"Damn it, you're right. I'm too accurate to try to force myself to blunder a shot. It's just pure instinct now, really. This is going to be difficult," Travesh said, frowning. "It's literally an inch below the heart." At these words, Shiz let out a violent fit of coughing, spewing blood everywhere.
"Relax, Shiz. Panicking will only make this harder."
"I'm not panicking," Shiz spat thickly. "Do it quick, I'm not sure if I can stand this much longer."
Travesh brought the knife down with a steady hand. I watched with worry and fear as the knife tip embedded itself inside the wound. Shiz let out a soft gasp, but quickly regained himself. Travesh was now twisting the knife around in swift and small movements, his face intent.
I couldn't watch. I turned around and faced the wall with my eyes closed, hopes low and prayers high.
AHA. Chapter 2 finished. I'm already a bit into chap 3, will post it later this week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday. It's spring break for me this whole week, WOOHOOO!
Anneliese Morgan - Glad to hear that you are enjoying Perfect Diamond so far And welcome to FictionPress!
Smoke - Thanks :)