AN: Ficlet written for the "Summer Mini Contest" on Livejournal. This is complete.


He took a sip of tea, and smiled as the girl continued to scream. Forbes had clicked his tiny knives together, and the youthful squeal of metal against metal filtered throughout the room. In one swift motion he jabbed the woman's torso an inch above another knife, sticking three inches below her ribs.

"What kind of tea are you drinking, sir?" Forbes asked his master. His master continued to look out the window of their high rise building, listening to the loud hiss of acid rain against the pane of glass.

"Ah," his master replied, "it's Jasmine tea. I chose it in celebration."

Forbes nodded, clicking two fresh knives together. He peered into his magnifying glasses, and jabbed one of the knives into the other side of the girl's stomach, symmetrical to the one he'd just used before. He watched in fascination as the blood from the knife painted over her curry-colored skin. Breath escaped her berry pink lips less and less as he stuck her, sliced her, and blood started to trickle onto the floor, marring the pristine white carpet into various splattered patterns.

The master turned from the window and stared at them, entranced. His lips pursed. He was thinking - imagining, something terrible and beautiful at the same time.

It was just beyond his reach, and then...

"Sir, this one is starting to dwindle," Forbes interrupted his thoughts, and he caught his master's smile turn into a displeased sneer.

"Try to keep her here longer. We've just gotten started."

Forbes picked up another knife, different than the others, with a blade that was pointed and curved in a half-moon shape. This one was his favorite. He smiled and stuck the girl after he had found the right place. Blood poured down her torso, running into the paths of the rest of her blood and then dripping into her navel. He picked up a smaller knife and struck her again, and then a spasm ran through her body. She let out a tired agonized moan, and then her breath was lost.

"This one has expired, sir," Forbes said, his voice stark and cold. He looked down at the half-finished masterpiece and awaited his master's reply.

With an exasperated sigh, his master took another sip of his tea and his lip curled with bitterness. "This is a failure."

Forbes studied the girl, decorated with his custom knives and dressed painterly in her own rich blood. Forbes thought she looked magnificent, even if the piece was unfinished. He certainly didn't think it was a failure.

"Why?" he asked his master, hovering his finger over a perfect river of blood down her leg, wishing he could touch it without ruining his work.

His master took another sip. "The tea is still hot, Forbes." He walked over and traced a light, loving finger down the girls' cheek, twirling her dark hair on his finger.

He spoke with disappointment, "There just wasn't enough time to enjoy the art."