Killer's Paradise

I knew it was going to be a bad day when I woke up tied to a bed.

Naked.

Yeah, not the best of positions to be in, I thought darkly.

Let's see...I had been in the living room watching TV, when Donovan and his goons had come back from a meeting with his rival drug dealers, or something like that. He had been in a bad mood, so I had tried to stay out of his way.

I had gone into my room to go to bed, and was about to fall asleep when Donovan snuck in. Before I realized what he was doing, he had tied me to the bed and...

Well, by the pain and wetness in my ass, I'm guessing he'd raped me. Again. It's all kinda hazy. Well, him being a criminal, with friends who could easily get him anything he needed, no doubt he used drugs and drugged me.

Fucker.

Tugging on the ropes binding my hands, I sighed when they didn't magically come loose.

I rolled my head around, looking at the room. Flat screen TV, dresser, lamps, a couple little in-tables, a few generic landscape paintings on the walls, nice view out the window, neutral color theme. Basically, a bare room with no hint of any personality.

Ha. My room for the past two years.

Taking a deep breath, I listened for any noise in the apartment. I could faintly hear the sound of the TV in the living room, and I think I heard a few clinks of dishes in the kitchen.

Ah, Donovan's henchmen were probably out there.

Thank you, bastards, for leaving me in here, I thought bitterly. They could at least come and untie me.

Then again, they're all probably afraid Donovan would shoot them or something if they came near me. He is known for his temper, after all.

I sighed, then gingerly scooted up on the bed, and maneuvered myself so I could get a good look at the knots on the rope. Well, the upside of Donovan tying me up while he was hurry was that his knots were really sloppy.

I grabbed one of the knots in my teeth and laboriously loosened it. Panting, I grimaced as I felt blood slip down my wrist, the rope chaffing against my sore skin. I pulled on the knot harder, feeling a burst of triumph as I felt it finally come undone.

Cradling my hands to my chest, I flexed my fingers, trying to get blood back into them. I bit my lip as they began to tingle, then throb with pain as feeling came back.

After a while, I was able to move my hands - albeit a little stiffly. Slowly getting off the bed, I winced as pain shot up from my lower back when I stood. I made my way to my bathroom and started a nice, hot bubble bath.

Once the bathtub was full and the room was filled with steam, I carefully stepped over the edge of the tub, submerging myself into the water, the bubbles making soft popping noises.

I heaved a large breath as I felt my muscles instantly begin to relax. Leaning back, I slid down into the water until only my head was sticking out. After a few minutes, I reached over and grabbed a washcloth and some soap from a little shelf next to the tub and carefully began washing myself.

I grimaced as I discovered bruises on my thighs, hips, and arms, along with multiple teeth marks. I hissed as I scrubbed my bleeding wrists, then between my legs, feeling for damage, the water turning a light pink color. Pulling the plug, I let the blood-filled water drain away, then refilled the tub and quickly washed off.

Once I finished my bath, I got out of the tub and dried off, then headed out to my room. I paused when I heard raised voices outside my room, but just shrugged and ignored it, heading to my big walk-in closet. Opening the doors, I went in and selected a loose pair of short-shorts and a white button up shirt, pulling them on.

Looking at the full length mirror near the door, I carefully styled my hair, running my finger through the fiery red locks, straightening them. Turning to leave, I paused, then turned back to the mirror. Narrowing my eyes, I shook my head like a dog, messing up my hair. Nodding in satisfaction, I briskly left the closet, then opened my bedroom door and stepped out of my room.

Five men were in the living room, either sitting, standing, or pacing. I quickly identified them as Donovan and four of his goons. Donovan was pacing back and forth across the living room and yelling at the other men.

I tuned him out and made my way to the kitchen. Grabbing a bowl, I poured some cereal and milk into it, adding a spoon. Eating at the counter, I looked out of the corner of my eye at Donovan as he finally spotted me and walked towards me.

"Aubrey!" he said in his usual arrogant tone, grinning and holding his arms out to me.

I sidestepped his embrace, eating a mouthful of my cereal. His grin faltered for a second, and I mentally smiled.

"Look, Aubrey, about last night-"

"Forget it," I said dismissively, taking another bite.

Donovan's eyes suddenly went ice cold and his grin vanished. Before I could react, his arm snaked out and grabbed a handful of my hair, yanking me against his chest, wrapping his other arm around my neck and squeezing. I gasped in pain and dropped the bowl and it shattered against the floor, sending milk, cereal and broken shards of glass flying.

"Hey," he said menacingly into my ear, "I was trying to apologize. You should listen to your owner, you stupid little fuck!"

I grabbed his arm, trying to loosen it from around my neck so I could breath. When that didn't work, I went limp, waiting for Donovan to get tired of holding up my full weight.

Just before I seriously started contemplating stabbing Donovan with a knife from the counter, he released my neck, dropping me onto the floor. I gulped in much needed air, rubbing my sore neck, watching as Donovan sneered at me and walked back over to his men.

He made some sort of signal, and he and his goons finally got up to leave the apartment, going out to do God knows what. But before he left, he turned back to me and yelled, "Your mess better be cleaned up by the time I get back!" He finally slammed the door closed, and I slumped against the side of the counter, rubbing my forehead.

I looked down at the floor. Milk was slowly crawling along the floor, filling up any cracks. I swished it around a bit with my finger, the liquid cold and somewhat slimy. Lifting my hand up, I quickly smacked it down right in the puddle of milk, splashing it everywhere.

Standing back up, I wiped my hand on a dish towel from the counter. Spotting a mug sitting on the counter, I blinked, then picked it up. Feeling a strong burst of frustration, I pulled my arm back and threw the mug with all my strength against the floor, satisfied when it shattered into thousands of little pieces.

Turning on my heel, I made my way to my bedroom and slammed the door closed, flopping face first onto my bed. Closing my eyes, I sighed, suddenly bone-deep weary.

God, I need to get out of here.


I jerked awake as my bedroom door banged open, slamming against the wall.

"COME HERE, YOU LITTLE FUCKER!"

I sat up, eyes wide, as Donovan came barging into my room. He grabbed my arm in a bruising grip and pulled me out of bed. I nearly fell to the floor, but he yanked me upright, dragging me across the room and out into the living room, then to the kitchen.

"I told you to clean this up!" he yelled, tossing me onto the floor.

I grimaced as I landed in the now-sour milk, scrunching my nose at the smell. I sat still, not wanting to accidentally fall on a shard of glass. It was kind of pointless, though, when Donovan suddenly swung his leg forward and kicked me in the stomach with enough force to send me crashing into the barstools beside the kitchen island.

Agony ripped through my body, making me gasp out in pain. I laid still, trying to get my breath back, vaguely feeling small slivers of glass embed themselves into my side.

Donovan grabbed me by my hair and pulled me back up until I was face to face with him. I felt my stomach drop when I looked into his cold, hard eyes.

"You will clean this mess up," he said quietly, his voice full of barely restrained anger, "And then you will get out of my sight."

He let go, dropping me to the ground again. Turning around, he stomped back into the living room. Following him with my eyes, I noticed something different. There were four...five...six men -including Donovan- in the living room. Donovan never allows more than four of his goons into the apartment. The sixth guy, who I had never seen before, was tied to a chair and looked like he'd been beaten up.

Ha, it's probably someone from a rival gang who pissed Donovan off. But, it's weird. Usually Donovan takes them to his "office," not his home, to deal with.

"GODDAMMIT!" Donovan yelled loud enough to catch my attention, putting his foot on the chest of the man tied to the chair and shoving him backwards, sending the man and the chair crashing to the floor.

I watched Donovan as he paced and let out a string of curses while I slowly got up off the ground, wincing. One of the goons picked up the chair with the guy in it and righted it.

"BECAUSE OF YOU," Donovan screamed, pointing to the guy in the chair, "THERE'S COPS ALL OVER MY FUCKING OFFICE!"

Ah, that explains why they brought the guy here.

Wow, Donovan was getting really red in the face. I wonder if he'd magically have a stroke or something and die. It'd be doing the world a favor.

With that uplifting thought, I grabbed a large bowl from the cupboard and stuck it in the sink, turning the water on to fill it. While it filled up, I pulled some washcloths out from under the sink and tossed them on the floor, then stepped on them and began mopping up what I could of the milk. I glanced back up as Donovan began talking again.

"How many men did we lose?" Donovan asked his right-hand man, Chevy, after a bit more yelling.

"Uh," Chevy said, startled at Donovan's sudden mood swing. Feh. He should be used to them by now. "Well, we lost seven men, and three others were injured before one of the guys were able to cold-cock him and knock him out," he said, nodding at the bloody guy.

Oh, I thought, looking at the guy in the chair, He sounds like an assassin or something. Cool.

Donovan pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. I used the time to study the guy in the chair. He had short, dark brown hair, with a days worth of stubble on his face, and a scar running through one of his eyebrows. He looked to be in his mid-to-late-twenties, and was very well muscled. I couldn't help but admire his strong looking figure.

I looked back up at his face and was surprised when I saw he was looking right at me. We made eye contact, and I saw his eyes were a vivid hazel color. For some reason, I couldn't look away from him. I felt my heart speed up and my mouth go dry. We stared at each other for what seemed like eternity, but must have only been a few seconds.

The spell was broken when Donovan suddenly pulled his gun out and pistol-whipped the guy, breaking our eye contact. I breathed in a huge breath, feeling a a little dizzy and light-headed. Wetting my lips, I belatedly turned off the water filling the now-overflowing bowl in the sink. I lifted it out of the sink, setting it on the counter, then turned back to watch what Donovan would do.

He clicked the safety off the gun, then put the barrel right up against the guy's forehead. The gun was an ugly, black and silver contraption, like those guns you always see in the movies.

"Tell me," Donovan said quietly, "Who sent you? What was your purpose, attacking my office?"

When the guy didn't answer, Donovan moved the barrel down, pointing it at the guys knee. "Tell me. Or lose your leg."

The guy suddenly leaned forward, and I thought he was going to 'fess up, when he did something no one in their right mind would ever do to Donovan.

He spit in his face.

While Donovan's gun was still pointed at his knee.

This guy was either stupid, ignorant, or just plain fearless.

I saw Donovan's finger twitch on the trigger, but before he could actually shoot the guy, I reached behind me and grabbed the bowl of water and hoisted it above my head, a few drops of water sloshing over the edges and splashing me on the head. I moved it a little bit forward, then quickly let it go, dropping the bowl and water to the floor, making a huge racket as it hit the ground, sending water cascading everywhere.

Everyone's heads swung towards my direction. I saw Donovan take in the new mess I had made, his face going red and his eyes alighting with a new-found fury at me. I spared a glance at the guy in the chair, and saw him looking at me with his piercing hazel eyes.

I didn't even try to run as Donovan stalked towards me, his gun at his side. Stepping right into the large pool of water, he stopped right in front of me. I had to crane my neck to look up at him.

"Why did you do that?"

I wasn't fooled by his deceptively calm voice. I could see the storm of emotions roiling behind his eyes. I rolled my eyes, knowing I was in for a severe beating later.

"It slipped," I said, shrugging my shoulders and leaning back against the counter.

Donovan grabbed the front of my shirt and yanked me forward, putting his mouth right next to my ear. Quietly, he began to tell me-in great detail-all the things he was going to do to me later. I couldn't help the hitch of fear in my breath, but I made sure my face and eyes showed no fear when Donovan leaned back to look at them.

"Hmm," he said, sliding his fingers along my jaw, "Don't worry, though, Aubrey. I'll give you a chance to make it up to me."

He grabbed my hand, then slid something cold and heavy into it. It took me a few seconds to realize it was his gun. I stared at it, the metal strangely comforting.

Pulling me along, he dragged me into the living room, stopping right in front of the guy in the chair. Raising my arm, he stood right behind me, his chest pressed against my back, his breath ghosting along my neck, and positioned it so the gun was pointing right at the guy's head.

"Shoot him," Donovan said seductively. "Shoot him, and I'll forgive you."

I looked into hazel eyes and saw absolutely no emotion. I turned to Donovan, and saw him looking at me questioningly. Glancing at the gun, then back to Donovan, I nodded my head.

"All right," I said confidently. "Just pull the trigger?"

"Yes, just pull trigger," he said, running his tongue along the shell of my ear, his hands on my hip and shoulder.

I paused, then asked with enthusiasm and a sadistic grin, "Oh, can I shoot him while he's on his knees? I've always wanted to do it like gangsters do in the movies!"

I actually pulled a chuckle out of Donovan. He nodded to his men, and they hesitantly began untying the guy from the chair. Chevy pulled out a gun and stuck it in the back of the guy's neck, pushing the guy down onto his knees.

"Boss, uh, you sure about this?" Chevy asked carefully.

When Donovan glared at him, Chevy immediately shut up. I set the barrel of the gun against the guy's forehead, looking into his steely eyes again. When I was sure I had his attention, I winked at him.

I made sure to do it when everyone's attention was on the guy, and I barely moved my eye, so it looked like nothing more than a twitch if you weren't looking closely. And the guy's eyes were focused completely on mine, so, of course, he saw it.

"Turn around," I ordered him, shoving his head back a bit with the barrel of the gun. He narrowed his eyes, but did what I said.

Okay, I thought, I have to time this juuuuuust right...

I watched out of the corner of my eye as Donovan walked around me to stand a little to the left of me.

Closing my eyes, I remembered all those times Donovan had beaten me, raped me, drugged me, and passed me around to his other "associates." The abuse I've suffered at his hands, both physical, and mental. All those times he threatened to sell me to whore houses in other countries.

All those times I'd smothered my own emotions just so I wouldn't appear weak to him.

I felt the first real flash of anger I hadn't allowed myself to feel in a long time roar through my head. I held onto that emotion and fanned the fire of my anger, remembering everything I've suffered through during the past few years.

Opening my eyes, I located Donovan and locked onto him. Swinging the gun around, I took aim. The first expression of surprise was just reaching Donovan's eyes when I pulled the trigger.

A huge boom exploded through the room, and the gun jumped back in my hand. A little red dot appeared right in the middle of Donovan's chest, quickly spreading outwards, staining his pressed, silk shirt. He fell back against the wall, sliding to the floor, his eyes bewildered.

Before any of Donovan's goons could react, the assassin launched himself upwards, somehow grabbing Chevy's gun and wresting it out of his grip. Four rapid booms resounded throughout the room, and the goons fell to the ground before they could draw their weapons.

I vaguely saw the assassin point his gun at me out of the corner of my eye, but I was too busy staring at Donovan to care. He was slumped against the wall, with a hand over his wound, gasping for breath.

I was panting as I pointed the gun at Donovan's head.

"Au-Aubrey," he wheezed. When I just stared at him, he narrowed his eyes at me, anger swirling around in them. "Die, you little slut!"

I pulled the trigger.

The sound of the shot rang in my ears for the next few minutes as I just stood there, watching the light fade from Donovan's eyes.

Taking a deep breath, then slowly letting it out, I felt myself quickly get back in control of my emotions. I dropped the gun, letting it crash to the floor, then looked over at the assassin.

He was regarding me curiously, the gun still steadily pointed at me. I cocked my head at him, looking right back at him.

"Are you going to shoot me, too?" I asked.

Instead of answering me, he asked me, "Why did you help me out?" He had a surprisingly normal voice. I would have thought it would have been gravely, or rough, or really low or something, like assassins in the movies. Maybe even have some sort of accent. But, nope, it was pretty normal.

I shrugged. "Are you going to shoot me?" I asked again.

The assassin studied me, looking me up and down. He suddenly clicked the safety on and stuck the gun in the crook of his back, sticking the barrel down his jeans. I nodded at him, then turned on my heel and made my way to my bedroom. Shedding my clothes, I stepped into the bathroom and started the shower, turning the water up nice and hot.

Stepping under the spray, I washed all the stinky, dried milk off me that had seeped through my clothes when Donovan had thrown me to the floor. I winced as I suddenly brushed against a glass shard that was still embedded in my side. I tried to get a look at the glass, but failed since it was transparent, and the lighting was bad in the shower.

Carefully scrubbing the rest of my body, I made sure to avoid all the glass slivers. Once my skin felt nice and smooth, I turned the water off and got out of the shower. Drying off, I wrapped my towel around my waist and headed out to my room.

I blinked when I spotted the assassin calmly sitting on my bed. He eyes calmly took in my appearance, no doubt getting an eyeful of all the bruises and other injuries all over my body, compliment of Donovan's beatings.

"What are you still doing here?" I asked him, curious. I would have thought he'd have run off by now.

He shrugged his shoulders, and I rolled my eyes. Heading into my closet, I pulled on some of my favorite skinny jeans and grabbed a shirt, but paused before putting it on. Turning sideways, I looked at my side, trying to spot the glass. Carefully running my hand over my skin, I winced as my fingers caught on something and sent waves of pain through my body.

Trying to pull the slivers out with my nails, I only succeeded in causing myself more pain and burying the shards even deeper into my skin. Sighing, I gave up, but had sudden inspiration when I walked back out into my room and saw the assassin sitting in the same spot on my bed. Walking over to him, I saw him regard me warily, but ignored that.

"Hey," I said, "Since I essentially saved your life, do me a favor, will ya?"

Before he could answer, I went into the bathroom and dug around until I found some tweezers. Coming back out into my bedroom, I crawled up onto the bed and flopped down face first, my side with the glass in it facing the assassin. Turning my head towards him, I held out the tweezers and said, "I've got some glass shards stuck in my side. Get them out for me, would you?"

Not waiting for an answer, I turned my head and buried my face in the pillows. After a lengthy pause, I felt him take the tweezers from my hand. Pulling both my arms under me to rest curled against my chest, I took deep breaths, preparing myself for the pain.

I twitched when I felt the assassin's warm hand rest on my ribs. It slowly slid down my side, and I winced as he found a sliver. With surprising quickness, he yanked the sliver out.

Trying to distract myself from the pain, I asked, "What's your name?"

I felt the assassin yank out another sliver, and I winced again.

After a while, I thought he wasn't going to answer, but he surprised me when he suddenly said, "I go by Simon."

"Hm," I hummed, my voice muffled in the pillow, "I'm Aubrey."

There was silence after that while Simon dug out three more slivers from my side. He slid his hand slowly up and down my side, and I tensed as I expected his hand to catch on a glass shard.

"Did you get them all?" I hesitantly asked when there was no shooting pain.

"Yeah."

"Good," I said.

I laid there as his warm hand continued to rub up and down my side, goosbumps breaking out along my skin. His hand was calloused, and made a soft rasping noise as it slid along my back, but was surprisingly soft. I felt him trace along a few of my bruises, leaving a trail of heat in his hand's wake.

For once in a long time, I felt relaxed.

Suddenly sitting up, I ignored Simon as I hopped off the bed and stood a few feet away. Pulling my shirt on, I let out a relieved breath when there was no painful pull. I made my way into the living room, scrunching my nose at the smell of blood and death, and made my way over to Donovan. Crouching down beside him, I stared at his face.

It felt weird, looking at him while he was dead. I just can't believe this is the same man who made my life a living hell. He's nothing but an empty shell, now. I poked his arm, half expecting him to reach out and grab me.

Shaking my head, I reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, taking all his money out of it and sticking it in my pocket. Tossing his wallet behind me, I reached around his neck and unclasped his necklace. Pulling it away from him, I examined the small, silver key dangling off the chain. Nodding my head, I put the necklace on, then I moved on to Chevy, taking his money, then the other three goon's money, too.

I turned around, surprised when I came face-to-chest with the assassin. I backed up a bit, raising my eyebrow at his blatant invasion of my personal space.

"Can I help you with something?" I asked, a little annoyed. I liked my personal space. I didn't like someone invading it. Even if that someone smelled really good...

I inhaled, leaning forward a bit. Mmm, he was wearing one tantalizing cologne.

"What are you doing?" Simon asked, eyebrow raised. I blinked, realizing I was leaning forward a little too far.

I shook my head, silently berating myself. Turning around, I left him, heading into Donovan's bedroom. Looking around, I took in the meticulously clean room, the bed neatly made, the books on his bookcase in order, not a speck of dust anywhere.

Going over to the bookcase, I began systematically pulling the books off their shelves, dropping them carelessly to the floor. When I had tossed all the books down and completely emptied the shelves, I began grumbling.

"Dammit, where the hell is it?" I muttered to myself.

Going over to the bed, I dropped down on my hands and knees and glanced under it. Sighing, I got back up, nearly running into Simon.

"GAH!" I yelped, jumping back. "Quit sneaking up on me like that!"

I scooted around him, making my way towards the little in-table beside the bed. Pulling out the drawers, I flipped them over, dumping the contents on the bed. Rummaging through the books and papers, I heaved a frustrated breath when I didn't find what I was looking for.

"Hey," I said to Simon, "You're, like, a professional criminal, right? So, tell me; Where would you hide something important? Something you didn't want found?"

Simon blinked at me, then said slowly, "Not in my house."

I narrowed my eyes at him. Turning away in disgust, I went over to one of the walls and took down the picture hanging from it. When I found nothing behind it, I went to the next picture and took it down, too.

I finally hit pay dirt when I removed the picture hanging on the wall above Donovan's bed.

"Yes!" I exclaimed, tossing the picture behind me. Grabbing the key on the necklace around my neck, I inserted it into the keyhole in the little wall-safe that had been hidden behind the picture I had just taken down.

I turned the key, and the safe opened with a small click. Opening the door, I looked inside and froze when all I saw was bundles of hundred dollar bills, a few pieces of jewelry, and a cell phone.

"No, no, no, no, no!" I said desperately, carefully taking out the contents of the safe one by one and dropping them on the bed. "Where is it?"

"What are you looking for?"

I jumped at Simon's question. I had forgotten he was in here. "Um," I said, hesitating, "Some papers."

He nodded at the picture still laying on the bed. "Did you check in there?"

When I just blinked at him, he suddenly left the room, then came back a few seconds later with a small kitchen knife. Picking up the picture, he turned it around, then began prying at the back with the knife. Once the back paper-like material was loose enough to peel away, Simon grabbed the edge and began tearing it away, the ripping noise loud in the silence.

I felt my heart stop when a large manila envelope fell out from a hidden compartment inside the picture frame. Of course he'd hide it in there. I'd never think to look there. Quickly snatching it up, I pulled on the little metal tabs, then opened the flap, peering into the envelope. Partially pulling out one of the papers nestled inside, I carefully read the paper's contents. Closing my eyes and letting out a heavy, relieved breath, I shoved the paper back into the envelope. Looking up, I spotted Simon looking at me curiously.

"Ah, thanks," I said, closing the envelope and securing the metal tabs.

I tensed as his mouth opened, and I just knew he was going to start asking questions that I really didn't want to answer.

But before he could say anything, the sound of the doorbell interrupted him, making us both freeze. My eyes widened, and Simon pulled out his gun from behind his back.

"Wait," I hissed, holding up my hand to stop Simon from doing anything drastic.

Tucking the envelope down the back of my shirt, I walked over to the front door. Pushing a button on the panel beside the door, I looked at the little security screen that turned on. It showed a man in white scrubs standing in front of the apartment on the other side of the door, a medium-sized package on the floor by his feet. I grimaced as I spotted one of Donovan's security goons not far behind him.

I pushed another button, talking into the little speaker. "Can I help you?"

I saw the guy jump a little, then look around until he spotted the security camera in the corner above the door.

"Uh, yeah," he said hesitantly, his voice sounding funny coming through the speaker. "I'm from HousePets Hospital, and I'm here to deliver a cat for a Mr. Aubrey?"

I felt my eyes widen. Ohmygod! Vincent!

Unlocking the door, I quickly squeezed out, closing the door behind me, not allowing the guy to see inside the apartment. Giving him a brilliant smile, I said brightly, "I'm Aubrey! Thanks for bringing Vincent home!"

Nodding to the goon, I quickly paid the guy in the scrubs with some of the money I had taken from Donovan, then picked up the pet carrier, wincing when my sore body protested. Waiting until the two men had walked a good distance away, I turned around and opened the door, quickly squeezing back in.

I blinked when I spotted Simon next to the door, gun at his side. I rolled my eyes at him, but was thankful when he shut the door for me, sparing me the pain of juggling the heavy carrier and closing the door at the same time.

"What's that?" he asked, watching me closely as he locked the door while I set the carrier down on the kitchen counter.

"This is Vincent," I said, opening the carrier and reaching inside, "My cat."

I pulled out a slim feline with midnight black fur and intelligent yellow eyes. He made a soft mewling noise at me, batting his paw at my nose. I held him close, burying my face in his velvety fur.

"We should leave," I said, my voice muffled. "Some of Donovan's other goons might come up here looking for him."

"'We?'"

I lifted my head, looking at Simon. "Yes, 'We.' You don't expect to get out of here on your own, do you? You can't exactly walk out the front door. Donovan owns this entire building. He has guards stationed at every exit. I'm pretty sure they saw Donovan and his men bring you up here, all bloody and beaten up. They won't let you back out without consent from Donovan. And," I said, pointedly glancing at Donovan's body lying sprawled on the floor, "I don't think that's happening anytime soon."

He narrowed his eyes at me, slowly putting his gun away. Giving an almost undetected sigh, Simon gracefully sat down on one of the kitchen bar stools.

Geez, he moves like a cat, I realized, watching him with hooded eyes, All stealthily, and graceful and shit.

Shaking my head, I set Vincent down on the floor and opened a can of his cat food, putting it in a bowl and feeding it to him. Scratching the top of his head as he began to eat, I began planning our escape.

"Okay," I said a few minutes later, "Do you know how to drive?"

Simon's gaze shifted from watching Vincent eat, up to my face. He nodded once, his gaze burning holes into me.

A little unnerved, I turned away and headed into my bedroom. Going into my closet, I went to the back and dug out a large, black unidentifiable duffel bag. Shaking it out, I sneezed as a blanket of dust was loosened into the air.

I quickly packed some of my clothes, making sure they were comfortable and not too flashy. Going over to the in-table beside my bed, I opened the drawer and pulled out a shoe-box. Setting it on my bed, I opened it and made sure my IPod, the few pictures I had, and some little nick-knacks were in there. Closing it, I stuffed it in the bag, then went to Donovan's room and carefully packed the stacks of money from the safe.

In the kitchen, I grabbed Vincent's harness, leash, and food, sticking it in the bag. Pausing in the middle of the kitchen, I thought hard, checking off a mental list. Okay, I'm pretty sure I got everything I need.

Taking the envelope out of the back of my shirt, I buried it within my clothes in the bag, then zipped up the duffel, setting it on the counter.

"Well," I said, turning to Simon, hands on my hips and a nasty little grin on my face, "Let the games begin."

Simon looked at me, a bland expression on his face. "We're not playing a game."

I felt my smile vanish, replaced by exasperation. "You just had to ruin my moment, didn't you."

I could have sworn I saw a little twinkle in his eye.

Rolling my eyes, I went over to the phone and picked it up, dialing a number.

"Who are you calling?" Simon asked, stepping closer.

I gave him a cheeky grin, putting the phone to my ear, listening to the ringing on the other end.

"The police."