Friends and Anger 12.

That single strand of hair wasn’t there.

The last week of his life had been the happiest since he was a child. That constant wariness and minute attention to the detail of his surroundings that had kept him alive for over two decades had been relaxed. He’d cancelled every item of business and they spent most of their days wandering around the apartment semi-naked or in bed making love gently or just talking to each other. They were neither of them teenagers in the first hurried throes of passion, but to an extent two people who’d both been wounded by life one way or another and needed some simple comfort.

Momentarily, they lived in a little bubble of happiness in each others arms.

When they ran out of food or wine, they’d get dressed and go out to the local shops together for the needed supplies, and that became a fun adventure all in itself. Nice peccadillo shopping for not just the practical items they’d ran out of, but also a few frivolous things like the mandarin tart pie and the carton of double clotted cream he’d popped out to buy and which they’d eat in bed together like naughty children enjoying a forbidden treat. He’d slipped out and left her in the warmth of sleep, because he wanted to surprise her with one of their favourite indulgences.

He had relaxed his guard, but only slightly. By killing Doyle, he had involved her however indirectly in aspects of his life that she hadn’t previously known about, and that put her more at risk but not significantly so in his estimation. The identity of Manannon and all trace of him would be gone forever by the end of the month. He’d disappear with her. He was already warming up one of his several carefully maintained legends to include a wife, which would be her with all the appropriate documents but under another name. They had discussed it at length and she’d agreed. She too was ready for a fresh start.

She was an only child of emotionally frigid parents who were more concerned with their careers and status than a child who was nothing more than a fashion accessory daughter who fitted in with their social profile rather than anything else. Her association as an abused woman living with a low-level drug dealer meant she was an embarrassment and liability to their social climbing, so she was written off by them, but there was the saving presentational asset of how well they bore the indignity of having such a disappointing daughter who’d once shown such early promise.

There was a condition she’d insisted upon in their pillow talk. No more secrets between them. She’d commit to their relationship wherever that was going to go, but just as long as he’d commit to always telling her what was going on in his life. No more surprises. Whatever was happening, they’d both be all in or nothing, and all in together. He’d agreed, and it felt as if it was a marriage proposal being accepted. No piece of paper would ever be required.

He had taught her how to fight, but that wasn’t enough. She was in his life now, and that came with certain dangers that had to be prudently guarded against. There was a survival discipline that had to be learnt. Never let yourself be caught between the hammer and the anvil. He’d started teaching her basic tradecraft which he’d always used to give him warning that somebody was interested in him.

His automatic reflex was always to set small alarm bells around his life in the physical, the financial and online world. The first time one of those alarms went off, you ran away from that identity and started your own counter research into who was looking into you. Depending on how powerful they were, you either fled for your life into a deeper hiding place or started working the problem of how to nullify or destroy them.

One of the most basic physical alarms to set was to always trap a small strand of your hair between the door jamb and the door every time you left wherever it was that you were currently living. Never place it on top of the door because it might not drop if the door was opened when you were out, but either an inch down from the side of the top of it or an inch up from the bottom of it. Only children ever look up that high or that low, adults rarely if ever. Never more than a quarter inch of it protruding. He’s schooled her and made sure she always practiced setting that alarm. If it wasn’t there the next time you came back to the place, he’d told her you always turn around and run for your life.

Vincent Doyle had destroyed that faun that Manannon had spotted walking around the fresher’s fair in so carefree a manner and introduced her to a world of fear and anxiety. That girl was gone forever, nearly broken. But Manno had slowly rebuilt her and the Julia he loved these days knew all about danger and would never have missed resetting the alarm.

The hair he’d automatically trapped in the door jamb when he left the apartment that morning wasn’t there.

He’d clocked its absence before he got to the top of the stairs leading to his front door and without breaking step had continued on up the next flight of stairs leading to the upper apartments. He never used lifts, lifts were death. When he got two flights up past his apartment, he paused to remove his front door key from his keyring and then carefully arranged the remaining keys sticking out between the fingers of his right hand as an impromptu but lethal weapon.

With her in danger, all the smart survival rules he’d always lived by were thrown out the window. The old killing rage that had never quite gone away was upon him. That bitch was once again in control and riding high, proud and handsome on his back.

He descended quietly back down to his apartment door and listened carefully with his ear against it. No noises. The separated door key in his left hand he noiselessly inserted into the Yale lock he’d carefully oiled ages ago. Turning it quietly all the way over to gain access, he hit the door hard with his right shoulder and exploded into the room with his right fist raised and ready for murder.

He was going to kill everyone in it.


Click here for all currently written chapters of Friends and Anger.

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5 Responses to “Friends and Anger 12.”
  1. JohnJohn says:

    The waiting is unfuckingbearable.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. spetzer86 says:

    Ok. Do we start taking odds she’s sitting quietly with a friend having tea, standing in the center of the room surrounded by guys she’s taken down, or bloodied and tied to a chair with 3-4 thugs standing around?


  3. Fiona84 says:

    If Manno doesn’t save her, I’ll never forgive you Pointy.


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