Pretty Assassinations, Chapter 7

Chapter 7

 

“When were you going to tell us you were a psycho?”

The voice speaking to me is Lust. I don’t know what his major problem with me is when he walks into the room. I know he is literally obsessed with Desire but what I don’t get it why in the world would you so willingly work with someone who wants to harm someone you cared about.

“He’s not. It was a joke, wasn’t it?”

Gluttony is there. Wherever Lust was, Gluttony wasn’t too far. To say that I’m intimidated by these two stronger, more dangerous and clearly more muscular assassins was in all ways an understatement. They stare at me after the class and I feel cornered. I’m nothing more at this moment than a mouse in headlights.

“Well is it?” Lust asks.

I don’t answer. There is awkwardness at that moment. It’s not just because of Gluttony and Lust either. Most of the others had gone by now, except the cage in the room. Pride’s cage. Pride is still sitting there still as silent and motionless as ever. But he’s listening. He’s hearing everything.

And it makes me even more nervous knowing that.

“You hear his question?” Gluttony asks, with a smile.

I look over at Lust. I can tell he’s getting antsy. The idea that there was someone in the room with more kills than he has is something that he can’t even fathom.

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Who says you have a choice?” Lust asks.

Just at that moment, there is a sound. A sound in the cage. A rattling. All three of us turn to the other side of the room where we can see Pride’s cage rattling like the crate of some wild dog. Gluttony and Lust are way too strong and way too cool to seem bothered but I am. Pride freaks me out in the strangest way and excites me in another. When the cage starts rattling I jump to my feet.

“Looks like we woke up Tom’s little science project,” Gluttony states with a smile before turning to Lust, “Weren’t you going to go shoot guns with Greed, Lust?”

Lust stands there for a second. He looks at me, looks back at Pride’s cage and then looks at me again, “If you really are the killer Tom says you are, Wrath, I’m going to need to you to prove it at some point. Or die trying.”

He’s not joking when he says what he says. Lust did joke around quite often with Gluttony but this wasn’t one of those moments.

When he leaves the room it feels like a weight is coming off my shoulder. Gluttony is in there but as scary as Gluttony is I know he won’t snap and just kill me. I can’t say the same for Lust. He was a walking time-bomb and I’m not the only one who noticed.

“He’s mad you know?” Gluttony tells me, “He’s going to try to kill you.”

“Why?”

Gluttony shrugs, “I don’t know but it’s just a matter of time. He was always like that. Even back in the day. Rumor had it that his entire family died in a fire when he was a kid. He watched them burn. Crazy wasn’t it. I think that’s why Tom targeted him. He was a sick fuck even back then.”

“I don’t know what this has to do with me?”

“ The idea that the man he’s in love with is with someone else is enough to drive anyone crazy, you know?”

I shake my head, “That has nothing to do with me?”

“No?”

He turns away at that moment. He does it in a strange way as though he knows something I don’t know.

“You think I have anything to do with this?” I ask.

He pauses and turns back to me.

“Tom thinks you are his golden ticket to finally rid himself of Desire,” He explains, “At first I thought it had to be a joke. But now I’m learning that you—-the smallest, wimpiest out of all of us, no offense——has somehow managed to accumulate the most bodies. So tell me, little Ardor. What is it about you that has Tom believes you can succeed where so many other people have failed?”

I don’t answer. It’s something I’m really wondering myself. He isn’t looking for the answer though. I realize that when he leans forward pressing his fingers to the back of my head. Gluttony is attractive. He’s the typical super sexy guy and maybe that’s why when he leans over me and presses his lips up to mine I shiver.

I feel his tongue. It tastes like candy. Knowing Gluttony he’d just indulged in some. It isn’t until I feel something hard in my mouth that I realize Gluttony has transferred a jolly rancher from his mouth into mine.

“I must like you,” He states, “I never share my food.”

He gives me a wicked smile in his dastardly way. Really I believe anyone else in the world perhaps would have been turned on by him. I mean clearly he was interested but the thing is I wasn’t. For some reason when I think he’s about to reach back over and kiss me again, my eyes are not looking at Gluttony. I turn slowly to Pride’s cage.

Gluttony follows my eyes so clearly to the point that I feel the need to explain, “He’s watching us…”

“And you care because?’

I shrug I didn’t know why I cared.

Gluttony smiles, “I’d prefer your eyes follow me. I’d prefer YOU follow me. Especially if you want to be safe. Monkey boy won’t be able to protect you from Lust when he’s ready to take you out. When he finds out you are a real threat to his dearest Desire, don’t you think he’ll make a move on you?”

It all made sense now. What it was that Gluttony knew that I didn’t know. For some reason, Lust thought I was a threat. Not to him, but to Desire.

And how far would he go to protect Desire?

“Desire is my friend. I’d never hurt him.”

“You’ll do what Tom says,” Gluttony says, “We all do what Tom says, sooner or later. But be hard-headed. Suit yourself.”

He walks away with this cocky little swag to him, pretty sure that he’s rattled me with his little warning about Lust. He was right. Lust was a problem, but at the same time, I wasn’t sure if Gluttony was the person who could protect me from him.

So when Gluttony leaves I walk over to Pride’s cage.

We sit there looking at each other for a minute. The awkwardness building up.’

“Did you shake your cage because you felt I was in danger?” I ask.

There is no response in Pride’s cage. His skin was flawless as though he didn’t even know what a pimple was. His sharp features were defined and his eyes remained more animal than human. When he looks at me, I can sense a kind of wildness. A kind of wildness that makes me feel like he doesn’t understand me. Not that he couldn’t understand my language. I knew he could understand that. But he didn’t understand me overall.

“I know you don’t talk much,” I state, “But if you did shake your cage because you thought i was in danger I want to thank you. I want to thank you for saving my life that day as well.”

No response.

I turn. I’m bothering him. This is pointless.

“Have a nice day,” I state walking away.

I am almost at the door when I hear a voice. It’s this low deep voice. The deepest voice that I’d ever heard in my life. I hadn’t thought a voice could get that deep. It sounded like this man could be the voice over for Batman when he speaks.

The deep, low voice echoes out, “How?”

He spoke to me. I look around feeling as though I’ve achieved something and I was waiting for some sort of praise or reward. Only we were alone. No one else was in the room. The moderators hadn’t come to take him away yet. But I could hear them down the hall clamoring this way and I’m desperate to get confirmation that he indeed talked.

“Did you say something?”

“How?” he repeats again his voice like the low sexy trombone in a jazz festival before he slowly opens his mouth and says, “How do you have the most kills?’

He’d heard that part. Knowing that makes me uncomfortable. I promised not to speak to anyone about this ever again but for some reason this is different. This person hardly ever talked. It wasn’t like he was going to spread it around.

“It was an accident,” I answer the Pride creature, leaning up against the table, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this. I’ve never told anyone this before.”

There is a pause. Then Pride slowly says, “Say it.”

The way he talks is like liquid velvet. It’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever heard. And when he looks at me with those wild eyes like some dog trying to figure out a weird sound a human was making was chilling.

“Back when I was a kid I was obsessed with figuring out how things worked. Not only understanding things but mastering them. Give me a subject and I could tell you everything there is to know about that subject. My ability to study and retain information got the better of me one day. See my parents worked in this skyrise. And they brought me one day. And one day I’m playing with one of the machines. And it’s the first thing I didn’t understand. And I kept tinkering with it. Kept trying to figure it out. Until an explosion.”

“That’s how all those people died?”

I nod slowly, “A fire started. People on the top floors couldn’t get out. And I remember standing outside of the building with my parents knowing I caused all of it.”

I feel this heaviness on my heart. I’d killed thousands that day when that building collapsed. Literally thousands. So a few years later when I am kidnapped and turned into an assassin it felt purposeful. It felt like this was my punishment for what I did all those years ago.

And I felt like I was still suffering.

“We are animals of curiosity,” Pride tells me, “Children play. It’s more natural than you think. It’s natural for children to make those sorts of mistakes.”

I think he’s trying to make me feel better in his own way. But telling me that the reason all of those people died was that I was too proud and stubborn to realize there was one thing in the world that I couldn’t understand doesn’t make me feel better.

Was it really natural?

“I should go.”

“Come closer….”

I turn to Pride. His wild eyes have this way to cause rumbles in my stomach. When he looks at me I look back and at him and I can see him really trying to study me. At this moment he is like that young boy that I was back then. He’s trying to figure me out.

“Uh…”

“Don’t be scared.”

I was scared. I was nervous. He wasn’t the kind of guy you got comfortable with. Still, I get closer to the cage. He has on no shirt and his muscular body does manage to have a lot more hair than I thought. It’s a turn on though seeing that muscular chest hairy. As I get closer I’m surprised by how good he smells. I’m assuming when you’re locked away for years you may have a tendency towards keeping yourself clean. As I get closer I realize that the fact that he smelled good didn’t take away from his wildness.

When I reach the bars, he sniffs me! He fucking SNIFFS me! I’m standing there lost and confused when it happens. I feel him all around me. His eyes surveying my ears, my sideburns and the curve of my face for no apparent reason.

And then all of a sudden he says, “You need to kill Lust before he kills you.”

~

I go to bed that night thinking about why Pride said what he said. I’m thinking about why he was so sure he wanted to leave it at that. I needed to kill Lust before he killed me. Thinking about Lust it was clear that he was the most obvious threat to me at this point. For some reason, we didn’t get along and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

It felt as though we were destined to be enemies.

And I wanted to know why?

I fall asleep thinking about Lust and if that wasn’t nightmare enough I wake up to the sound of my front door being bashed in. The rooms that they have us in are so small that hearing the ruckus causes me to shoot up and slam my body up against the nearest wall. I proceed to go into the fetal position.

“What’s happening? What’s happening!” I’m screaming.

It’s pointless. There were men in there and they could care less about what I’m saying. Before I know it there is a hood placed over my head and then darkness.

~

“Didn’t get much sleep?” Sloth asks, “You look like shit.”

I wake up in a haze. I’d been drugged. Envy is the only one who really reacts to me waking up. He rolls his eyes as though clearly irritated by me.

There’s no telling how long I have been out. Not at first at least. But then I think about it. I’m usually hungry around noon. I had my noon hunger pains. Meaning it had to be hours that I’ve been out.

My hood is removed and I realize that I’m in a van. Sloth is beside me. Next, to her, there is Greed who is slowly rocking back and forth. Further down is Gluttony and Lust. Neither of the two has realized I’m up as of yet.

And then I realize something else.

“Oh shit!”

I say it louder than I mean to when I look at the back of the van and see Pride. He isn’t in his cage! Don’t get me wrong, they do have him in some kind of straight jacket to keep him from hurting anyone else but I’ve never been so close.

“They let the animal out of his cage,” Sloth whispers over to me, “Strange, isn’t it. If you take a look at him he’s actually quite sexy. Imagine how wild he can be in bed.”

It’s strange knowing that I wasn’t the only one in the world that realized just how attractive Pride is. Even now he has this anger in his eyes as though if he weren’t tied down he would snap and kill the nearest person next to him just because.

“He’s OK…” I whisper back.

I say it in a weird way. I don’t know why. For some reason, it was nice feeling like no one in the world knew that this guy was just as attractive as showboats like Lust and Gluttony. I felt like I had this amazing secret that no one knew. But I was kidding myself. People saw how attractive Pride was. They saw how sexy those wild eyes, full lips, chiseled jawline and even the sexy hairiness about him. Even the way he was tied up was sexy in a weird way. The forced restraint of this dangerous force that could be a wrecking ball to anyone in his path.

Just at that moment as we’re getting comfortable the door opens and Tom is there. He has a group of moderators with him. Looking around I can see we’re in a city. I look at any signs or ideas of what city we are in. It’s not the United States. I look at the buildings. We’re in a city, definitely.

I look at the surroundings.

Hawker centers.

Lahka.

Kilometers.

“Singapore….” I state, “We’re in Singapore.”

“How did you now that?” Sloth asks me.

She looks over at me with a confused look. I shrug. I could explain to her that when I was younger I used to memorize all these different cities and try to learn everything possible about them, including what sorts of things, would be key indicators of my location in case I ever woke up in one of those cities without knowing. Yes, I was a weird kid, but it for some reason paid off in this case.

Either way, me realizing where we are within a matter of seconds of seeing the area definitely seems to spark Sloth’s interest more than I would like. I’m glad I say it low enough that no one else hears. I don’t want anyone else looking at me the way Sloth is right now. She’s trying to figure me out.

“I feel like I’ve been here before.”

“When?”

I don’t respond. This place was familiar. Freakily familiar.

Tom gives us a look, “In these duffle bags there are weapons and tools. On the 32nd floor of the building in front of you, there is a conference room full of my enemies. The person who brings me the most kills will be rewarded.”

I look around wondering if anyone finds these instructions to be as irrational as I do. We don’t know who these people are. He just wanted us to walk into a building and what? Kill people in broad daylight!

This was murder!

What the fuck?

“What’s the reward?” Lust asks.

I’m halfway through panicking when Lust asks his question. I notice something else. He has a smile on his fucking face. He is really liking this. He is fucking ENJOYING it.

He doesn’t find it sick.

“Knowledge,” Tom states, “I have raised you all to be powerful weapons but you have been limited. Knowledge is power. You’ll want to get the knowledge I give you.”

At this point I’m stuck. I’m standing there still wrapping my head around the idea that Tom has asked us to KILL! The others run forward. Greed manages to push past me so violently that I think she was going to knock me over. I watch as Gluttony and Lust grab the same duffle bag. They square off in a series of VIOLENT kicks and punches that makes me think they were clearly trying to kill each other. Envy has grabbed a gun and a Kaginawa. Even Sloth has managed to advance to a light job, getting her bag and disappearing behind some traffic in front of the building.

And I realize that I’m the only one who is standing there in a minute. Well, the only free one. Pride is locked up in his straight jacket and a bunch of chains.

“Release the creature,” Tom states.

“Sir?”

I notice the moderators. The moderators never had emotions. There were rumors even back when I first was introduced to the Assembly that Tom’s moderators were brainwashed. I could believe it. I didn’t think regular employees would all be able to lack any sense of real emotion as they did. So when I see them honestly look afraid it’s shocking, to say the least.

“Release the creature.”

That is when one of the moderators does exactly what Tom asks. He walks over to Pride and he releases Pride.

And that’s when all hell breaks loose.

“AHH!”

That is the last scream the moderator ever makes when I see Pride reach for the moderator’s throat and snap is so quickly that he’s dead before he hits the ground. At that point, the moderators and guards around Tom pull out their weapons but it’s too late. I knew it and Tom did.

Pride looks at Tom. Tom looks at Pride. At that moment I realize why Tom has kept Pride locked away. Everyone had a bit of fear when it came to Tom, even Desire who had managed to be such a big thorn in Tom’s side. Not Pride though.

Pride wasn’t afraid of Tom.

There was stillness on both sides. If hatred was visible the air would have been scarlet. Then suddenly movement, so much force in every blow. Pride rained blows onto Tom’s moderators as if he meant to smash every single one of them into the very earth. There is a wildness to him. He didn’t just want the moderators dead. He wanted them smashed, obliterated, nothing left to bury.

People have begun to scream on the crowded streets. No doubt Pride had made such a mess as we look at the dead bodies that I believe the cops will be called shortly.

And the person in his view is Tom.

And for a moment I swear I think this person is wild enough to be the one to take Tom out. Could this be happening?

“Wild as always. I know what will calm you down,” Tom says pulling out a gun and pointing it at Pride.

“Pride…”

I don’t know why I’m nervous when I see Tom pull out that gun because Pride doesn’t show the slightest bit of concern. He takes a step towards Tom and another step. It’s as though he is a wild animal who doesn’t understand what a gun even is. All he knows is violence. All he knows is to kill regardless of what stood in his way.

How do you control someone without inhibitions?

How do you control someone who does not understand fear?

Even with a gun pointed at him, he’s still proceeding.

“Shooting you won’t work,” Tom realizes out loud, “But I know what will.”

At that point, he turns to a gun to me. I throw my hands up. Unlike Pride, I knew what a gun did. I understood it and I understood I couldn’t dodge bullets. Tom is doing this for a reason and I don’t realize until I see Pride stop walking.

Pride had stopped his attack because I was threatened.

And I’m confused.

“What’s happening?” I ask.

I’m actually talking to Tom when I ask the question. Even though he is a horrible person I know that he at least can have a conversation to explain why Pride was helping me again. Was it just attraction or was this something else?

Why did I feel this connection to Pride?

How did Tom know there was a connection between the two of us before I even knew?

“What’s happening is that you are going to go in that building and do what you’re told,” he says, “And you’re going to take Pride with you.”

I look over at Pride. He isn’t looking at me. He’s still focused on Tom. Still ready to tear his head off but with the gun pointed at me I realize he isn’t going to take that risk. And just like that Tom is finally able to get the Pride Creature under control.

Even if the control was volatile.

“C` mon,” I state to Pride.

Pride pauses for a minute. He looks at me as though not understanding but when I start running towards the building I realize that he’s following me.

~

“Let’s try to fit in,” I state, “Your scene outside is definitely going to have cops in here within a matter of minutes. I don’t know how we are going to pull this off.”

I feel a level of stress as I’m in the lobby of the building. For some reason, this lobby doesn’t look familiar but this neighborhood does. This area feels so familiar. I definitely knew this place, but I didn’t get comfort from knowing this place.

Something was wrong in this place.

“I don’t understand why we don’t go upstairs,” he explains.

“There are guards at the elevators.”

“We kill them,” Pride states.

I look over at him and there is a simplicity to what he’s saying. He was aware of his power. He’s aware of the fact that he can run over like a bulldozer and kill everyone in this lobby. And for some reason, he wouldn’t bat an eye.

“They are innocent,” I state.

“No one’s innocent,” is his reply.

It’s a curious reply, but I don’t have the time to think about it. Sure enough, I see signs of Lust.

“Lust is halfway up to the top floor,” I state, “He’s in the lead. We don’t have much time. Follow my lead. Just put your head down.”

I walk towards the elevators. I don’t know if it’s more surprising that my plan of sneaking past the guards while acting like I’m digging in my wallet looking for my ID works or if I’m surprised that Pride is able to act human enough to walk with me to the elevator without killing everyone in my path.

When we get to the elevator I can tell this was unusual for him.

“That was simple.”

I shrug, “I actually thought about Sloth when I came up with it. I’ve been watching her without her realizing it. Not everything has to be a show of force. Knowing Sloth, she probably did the exact same thing.”

“She is in the lead?”

“No. It’s not Gluttony or Lust either. They aren’t even in the building yet if I had to bet. They are probably too busy fighting one another to prove who’s stronger. They have too much ego. Knowing Greed, she’s flirting with someone who will show her exactly where to go, but that will take time. Sloth has figured out an easy way to do it but she’s not leading. Lust is.”

“How do you know that?” Pride asks.

“Lust, out of all of us is the most stealthy. He studies ninjutsu. Stealth was the ninja’s key weapon, so lugging around heavy-duty equipment is a no-go. That’s why he only took what the minimums. Instead, he carried with him a small selection of multi-purpose tools – one of which was the Kaginawa (かぎ縄), meaning “rope-hook”. One of the Kaginawa’s uses was to infiltrating buildings- the hook would be tossed up so that it snagged on an object at the same height as the building’s outer wall. Then, in a silent shimmy of black cloth, the ninja would mount the rope and scale the building’s exterior. And I believe he is most likely to get to them first…”

“How do you know that?” he asks me.

I shrug, “Just knowing.”

Pride gives me a weird look, “You like to act as though you’re not an assassin, but somehow you are able to understand people like us?”

“People like us?”

“Killers.”

The fact that he says the US is shocking. I’d killed people but only on accident. Did that mean I was a killer? Looking over at Pride in that elevator I’m assuming it did. I was a killer just like him. Here I was in an elevator going up to a floor that I didn’t know to kill people that I didn’t know. That made me an assassin. That made me a murderer.

“You don’t know me. I’m not a killer.”

I’m offended. So offended that I stop looking at him. He doesn’t seem to pick up on the fact that I’m offended. It doesn’t even seem to occur to him.

Surprisingly he continues to press in, “Sure you are. You resist it. You resist your nature and what you are capable of because you’re afraid of what happened in that building all those years ago. You’re afraid you will relive that.”

“Relive it?”

“Did I say something wrong?”

I’m not sure. Something about reliving the events of me killing all those people in that building sparked an interest. What was it though? What was that interest? Why did this place seem so fucking familiar all of a sudden?

“No, it’s just…”

The elevator opens.

“Excuse me, sir, can I help you?” a man asks.

The floor is packed with people. Clearly, we don’t fit in. Clearly, he is confused about how it is we got up here. I look at Pride and he’s staring at me waiting for me to come up with some excuse. I don’t think Pride is much of the talker. He’s the type to kill first and talk to your corpse later.

I don’t have time to think of an excuse. Something else has caught my eye…

“MOVE!” A shift in the wind and before I know it I’m throwing myself onto Pride. Pride doesn’t expect it. His whole body goes straight stiff.

When I fall on him he grabs me and as though by instinct tackles me so that he’s on top of me. He stops right short of really hurting me but when he’s on top of me he’s looking at me as though he doesn’t

That’s when I point.

“Have you lost your mind?

The viciousness in his voice is deep. It’s so deep and for a moment he looks at my throat and I know that it crosses his mind to kill me. That’s what a killer does. And he never trusted me. He didn’t really know me, so it seems likely that he thinks me throwing myself on him was some sort of betrayal of our strange alliance.

Was this an alliance?

Desperately I point the wall.

“Shuriken,” I tell him.

Sure enough, there was a shuriken, also known as a throwing star, wedged into the wall inches away from what would have been Pride’s face. Now that he’s on top of me and realizes it, his face softens and something else replaces it. Something…softer. Almost kind. But it only lasts for a quick second because quickly he realizes someone is close.

“Who is it?”

“I don’t know…” I respond.

“You know,” is his response.

He seems so sure of it even though I just denied knowing who it was that threw the shuriken at his head. That’s when I think back to who grabbed the shuriken. Who was most likely to want to attack at a distance due to the size of the other men.

“Love…” I state before quickly l correcting myself on Love’s new name, “Envy.”

“Where?”

I shrug, “I don’t…I mean…I do know. There.”

I don’t know how I know. The room is full of people, shocked by Pride slamming me to the ground. He isn’t the perfect gentleman. Far from it. He doesn’t think to help me up actually. I just am sitting on the floor after he slammed me. I don’t know how I know where Love is but Pride takes a step and screams out like some wild animal. I was right somehow. Instinct perhaps but I turn and I point to where I think Love is and sure enough he jumps from out of sight. And that’s when I see Pride go at him like some sort of ram. The look on Pride’s face is frightening. It’s all anger.

Business people are screaming out bloody murder as Pride enraged goes at Love. I can see Love panic, as though all training is gone out of the window.

“PRIDE!” I scream out.

I watch as he trampled almost a dozen or so people trying to get at Love. Love isn’t any help either. The damn acrobatic circus clown of an assassin is flipping backward using innocent people as human shields. And it’s working. I watch Pride toss an entire computer at an innocent man who was standing in his way to get at Love.

Let’s just say like it would be hard to tell which parts on the floor were the computer or which parts were the man.

“PRIDE!” I scream.

I circle around about to grab him but he literally throws me out of the way! My body feels light as Pride, enraged by Love’s desperate ability to stay away from him has turned this building into a scene from a horror movie.

And it isn’t until I land on my ass, nose bleeding that I realize there was no controlling Pride. Not even for me.

“Prince Charming doesn’t seem so charming,” a voice states.

I turn and notice a woman sitting there. At first, I don’t realize it but looking more carefully it is clear.

“Sloth?”

The little sneaky bitch had been sitting here disguised like some frightened woman this entire time while Pride continued to ransack these innocent people’s lives.

“Well don’t just sit there. The guy you need to kill is up there. I managed to stop Greed. Stole the poison that she made out of her room and used it against her. She’s downstairs killing people to try and get an antidote. If you leave now you can probably avoid whoever won the showoff between Gluttony and Lust.”

“Wait. You want me to win?”

Sloth shrugs. She’s not the prettiest assassin, which was weird in the Assembly, but she was invisible. And maybe that worked.

“I don’t want the spotlight. I work better in the shadows,” Sloth explains, “Besides you’re the one who has something to prove. You’re the one who has a target on his back.”

I look at Sloth. In her own selfish and shady way, I felt like Sloth actually cared. She actually looked like she was almost doing a—–dare-I-say-it—-FRIENDLY act.

“Thanks.”

Sloth rolls her eyes, “Pay me back by making sure that wild creature of a boyfriend of yours doesn’t trample me to death.”

I give Sloth an uncomfortable smile and a shrug as I look back. I’m not exactly sure what Pride was, but he was a force to be reckoned with and I’m not sure I could deal with that.

I felt as though I was in the clear now. Love was distracted with Pride. Greed was looking for an antidote after being poisoned by her own supply by Sloth. And Sloth didn’t want it.

So here I was.

I was going to be the winner. Only when I get to the hallway that leads to the boardrooms I see someone. Someone big, muscular and clearly the most assassin-like creature ever squatted down the floor.

“Lust…”

I can tell it’s Lust. The model-like bad boy that according to Sloth had somehow managed to start a fan club with over 30 thousand followers while he was on death row. He’s not a hard one to miss. Clearly, he had won his fight with Gluttony and I’m sure when we get back to our living prison we wouldn’t hear the end of it.

Lust has his sword with him and it’s bloody making me wonder and kind of fear that Gluttony wasn’t alive.

He isn’t using his sword anymore though. He’s resting on it. Somehow disabled.

Was he injured? No.

Not physically. He was—-CRYING.

“This was where it happened. This was where I lost them all,” he says.

He knows I’m behind him. I shuffle freaking out. Goddamit—Ardor, he’s an assassin. Of course, he knows you are behind him. I get into some defense position the best I remember how but I know I look ridiculous. If he wanted to he could just toss that fucking huge statue-of-liberty sized sword at my head. He didn’t even have to get up to kill me if he wanted to. But he didn’t want to. He wanted to kneel right there and fucking cry.

What the fuck was going on?

“You lost what?”

“My family,” he explains, “This was the day I became a monster. So long ago. The building set on fire. I remember there was a panic. That day I saw how horrible humans can be. They smile. They look pretty. Just like me. But deep inside. They are monsters. I remember seeing my mother trampled over as people stepped on her face to get by. I remember seeing a man snap my father’s neck for trying to get past him on the stairwell. I remember surviving somehow. And I looked outside and the entire sky…”

“Was blotted in yellow ash…”

He turns to me at that moment.

“You were there?” he asks.

How could I have not remembered that? How could I not have known this place? Yes. I was here.

Yes.

And I break down crying even worse than him.

That’s when I see Tom swirl around a chair. He comes out of the boardroom. The boardroom that he promised there would be a man that we needed to kill. I’m so confused about how Tom got up here so quickly but even more surprised when he gives me this knowing look.

Somehow he knew all of this.

Tom smiles at Lust, “He was there. He was the one who started the fire that killed your family and turned you into what you are today…”