Here’s the completed text for the first issue of The Chronicles of Angelika Darke – Out of the Forest. Of course, it doesn’t include any of the illustrations – for that you’ll have to buy a print copy. Click here to order your copy and support a starving artist.
Out of the Forest
Nobody knew when, but everybody knew it was coming. The apocalypse. And when it finally did come, it was from a place so unlikely that nobody was even monitoring it.
For billions of years, or a few thousand – if you believe the Fundamentalists – the Sun had sent its light and warmth barreling through space to make the Earth an inhabitable place. Even after hundreds of years of exponentially increasing human destructiveness, it was still pretty nice. That’s why, when the coronal mass ejection came, nobody was expecting it. It was like having your best friend show up at your house one day and set it on fire.
The CME erupted from the Sun with unimaginable violence. The magnetic waves pummeled the Earth, instantly frying every electronic device more complicated than a flashlight. Commerce and transportation ceased. Most things just ground slowly to a stop, but the skies were filled with airplanes plummeting to the ground and chunks of space debris, once held in orbit by their little electronic brains. The silence was deafening. It’s impossible to imagine, being constantly surrounded by a low electronic hum, what it was like to be in absolute silence. The silence of the grave of modern civilization.
Waves of plasma followed, a fiery bombardment of protons and electrons spewed from the Sun’s core, rained down incinerating most of the planet. With no way to communicate and no equipment to battle the blazes, the fires raged across enormous expanses of land, reducing everything to ashes.
There were survivors, plants and animals seemed to be quite resilient. Humans, most completely unprepared for any real disaster, perished in the millions. Those who survived where those who had prepared. Mocked and labeled as gun nuts and survivalists, a few well-armed and well-fed individuals exited their shelters to find a vastly different world – and they were ready.
Gathering in small groups, they made their way to the remains of the once-great cities where they established themselves and took control of the remaining supplies of food and weapons, as well as what little was left of the means of production. They fortified their tiny domains, consolidated their power and waited for other survivors to come, and they did.
Faced with the options of starvation or slave labor under the domination of the Gunnars – as they called themselves – most chose labor. Although not much better than starvation in the wastelands, they at least had food, clothing and shelter. Slowly, civilization rebuilt and a New Dark Ages descended on the world.
Dense forest surrounded Portórega, separating it from the rest of the world. The only visitors were warriors from other city/states attempting to conquer it and a few strangers who survived the dangers of the Wastelands as they traveled from one city to another.
It was a cold winter night and a thick blanket of snow covered the ground. Flurries blew across the barren no-man’s land between the city and the forest. A cloaked, shadowy figure emerged from the trees into the moonlight, following a narrow, seldom-used path, and approached one of the gates of the city.
The stranger was covered in a long, dark red cloak and hood, facial features obscured by the heavy fabric and deep shadows. Even sex was impossible to determine. A large, shapeless bag was slung over one shoulder and the figure trudged doggedly through the drifts. A bitter wind whipped snow and ice along the ground, tearing at the cloak and whipping it around the figure. A gloved hand reached up and pulled the hood tighter around the shadowed face. The figure stopped and looked up at the city.
Portórega was dark, except for a few scattered lights in the government buildings able to produce electricity and the flickering gaslights that provided scant illumination in the streets.
Looming in front of the figure and surrounding the city, the remains of a freeway stretched into the distance. High embankments rose up to the roadway, pierced at long intervals by underpasses that once carried traffic into and out of the thriving metropolis. Each opening had been sealed off and converted into an armed guard post, each one fortified entrances to the walled city. The walls themselves were a welded patchwork of scavenged steel, machinery and the remains of old cars, trucks and other vehicles, their
electronics destroyed by the CME.
Along the top, the roadway was lit sporadically by faint gaslights, allowing troops to be moved quickly to any point, providing support for the guard posts in case of attack. Tonight, it was quiet. A few indistinct figures, wrapped warmly against the cold and snow, trudged slowly toward their destinations. From time to time a strange mechanism, steam-powered oddities cobbled together from scraps and primitively manufactured parts of brass and iron, rumbled along through the silence.
The figure slowly crossed no-man’s land, leaving behind a trail of footprints. As it neared the gate, it stopped again to gaze meditatively up at the monstrous fortress dominating the dark skyline. Then it continued forward.
Arriving at the closed gate, the figure pounded a gloved fist loudly on the heavy, welded metal doors. A tiny door – the entrance to the guardroom – opened to one side.
“I want to come in, ass.”
“Well ya can’t. Go away.”
The door slammed shut. The cloaked figure turned its attention to the guardroom door and pounded again. Again, the little door opened.
“I said, ‘Go away!’”
As the guard started to slam the door, the cloaked figure pushed hard against it throwing the startled guard back into the room, grabbed the front of his coat, lifted him into the air and slammed him against the far wall of the guardroom.
“And I said, ‘I want to come in, ass!’”
In an instant, the other guards were on their feet, guns, drawn, aimed at the stranger. The only reason they didn’t fire was concern for hitting their fellow soldier. Even that might not have stopped them if the watch commander hadn’t stepped in. He approached slowly, pistol leveled at the new arrival.
“You won’t get in that way, stranger. Let’s see who you are.”
The stranger raised a hand to pull back the hood of the cloak.
“Nice and slow. We don’t want any dead bodies tonight.”
The stranger carefully pushed back the hood revealing the face of a beautiful woman. Her pale skin was flushed and rosy from the cold. Deep purple eye shadow accented blue eyes that flickered dangerously as she turned slowly, looking at each guard in the flickering light from the fireplace and torches in brackets around the room. Her long, black hair fell in soft, curling waves around her face and spilled over onto the rich, red fabric of her cloak and hood.
“Hell! If you’d said you was a woman, I’d a let you right in!” said the first guard, still sprawled on the floor.
The watch commander kicked him violently.
“Ya would, too. Ya idiot. Ya know nobody gets in after dark and you’d a let her in anyway!”
Turning to the cloaked woman, he continued, “ Nobody gets in after dark. You got papers?”
“Let’s see ’em.”
The woman lowered her large bag slung over her shoulder onto the floor. Keeping a close eye on the guards, she squatted down and opened the bag.
“Careful…” cautioned the watch commander.
Reaching in, she rummaged around, digging through clothes and other items, and took out a worn leather folder that she opened, removing her identity papers and handing them to the commander. He studied them intently.
“Angelika Darke,” he reads. “From Seawah. We don’t get many visitors from that hellhole and don’t much like the ones we do get. What are you doing here?”
“Like I said, we don’t get many folks comin’ from Seawah and we’re not exactly on good terms with ’em. Ya say you’re here to work. How do I know that? You got a work permit?”
Angelika took another piece of paper from the folder and handed it to the commander.
“It says you’re a dancer. What kind?”
The other guards hooted and whistled loudly.
“Show us whatcha got, baby! Yeah!”
Ignoring them, the commander continued, “You got a job lined up, then?”
“That doesn’t sound to promising. I probly oughta send for an Interrogator.”
Attempting to dissuade him from that decision, the guards yelled excitedly, “Woo Hoo! Give us a sample! We got a job for you right here!”
“How ’bout it, Darke? You don’t get in until we see whatcha got.”
Angelika looked sullenly around the room then shrugged her shoulders, “Whatever.”
She dropped her cloak on top of her bag and slowly started to unbutton her heavy coat.
“Yeah, baby! Take it off!”
As she undid the large buttons, Angelika began to hum softly to herself, her body swaying gently to the tune. She rolled her shoulders seductively, sliding the coat down, the collar slipping slowly off her shoulders and down her arms, finally dropping to the floor. She hooked a booted toe under it and kicked it gently onto the growing pile of clothing at her feet. Underneath, she was wearing a long, thick sweater that hugged the curves of her large breasts and her waist and thighs, coming down almost to her knees over her thick leggings. She reached down, carefully undoing the clasps on her boots, and slipped off the right one. Straightening up, she swung it seductively and lofted it to one of the guards. The others swarmed him immediately, struggling to relieve him of his prize.
“Relax, boys. I’ve got another one!”
Pulling off the second boot, Angelika tossed it into the group, causing the same reaction.
The guards were aroused now and gave no thought to their responsibility to guard the gate as they bunched up against each other, jostling to get a better view. Even the watch commander, standing to a little one side, seemed to be completely engrossed in Angelika’s striptease.
“That’s it! Now the leggings! Show us those sexy legs!”
Undulating her hips, Angelika inched up the hem of her dress, rolled down the tops of her leggings with aching slowness, teasing and taunting her audience, and then kicked the heavy leggings toward the guards, by now completely hypnotized by her dance. As she ground her hips and pulled seductively at the hem, Angelika moved closer and closer to the guards. Her smooth, firm, white legs were mesmerizing in the flickering light from the torches and fire.
She danced and slithered her way closer and closer to the guards, her pelvis grinding as she teasingly inched the up the bottom of the dress. The room was silent except for the harsh rasping breath of the aroused guards and the soft crackle of the fire. Closer and closer she moved, dancing and undulating to the tune she hummed softly.
Suddenly, her left foot shot out, crashing into the head of one of the guards and toppling him on top of the others. Before anyone could react, her right foot swung up, slamming into the throat of the commander, crushing his windpipe.
He gasped and clawed frantically at his throat as the other guards struggled on the floor. She grabbed the watch commander’s weapon and shot him twice in the face then turned it on the guards and emptied the magazine into the confused pile of bodies, blood splattering on the walls and floor of the guardroom.
She picked up a second weapon and stood over the heap of bodies, staring down at them. No one moved. Angelika calmly locked the doors of the guardroom, dressed, and searched the dead guards, taking their money, identification and weapons, which she put into her bag. Hoisting it onto her shoulder, she pulled the hood low over her face, checked the door that opened into the city and slipped through, disappearing into the night.
Home Sweet Home
In the empty, narrow street outside the guardhouse, Angelika stopped briefly under a pale, flickering gaslight lamp. Slushy, dirty snow clogged the street and the cracked, broken sidewalks. Bits of trash swirled around her, carried by the vague winds moving through the concrete and steel canyons of the city. She intently studied a small piece of paper then consulted the worn street sign, caked in dirty ice. Turning down the cross street, she quickly disappeared in the dark, silent night.
She walked for several blocks without seeing anyone. Occasionally, the faint sound of a siren reached her, but the city – at least this part of it – was locked down for the night. After several blocks, she entered a narrow, dark street. Far from the lights of the main street, she stopped in front of a sturdy, metal door and knocked. A faint gaslight above the door dimly illuminated the scene. There was nothing pleasant or attractive about it. Chipped concrete steps fronted the door, topped by a small porch. The handrail was rusted steel pipe, bent at odd angles by years of abuse. The door itself was rusted and dented, as if by repeated attempts to enter made by someone who hadn’t been welcome. After several minutes, a tiny panel slid open and a voice spoke from the darkness inside.
Bolts slid noisily back and the door creaked open revealing a small, old man wrapped in thick clothing against the cold. His clothes were ragged and worn, and so thick it seemed impossible for him to move.
Angelika slipped through the open door and it clanged shut behind her.
Inside, the old man examined her closely by the faint light of a candle.
“You’re not what we were expecting. Did you have any trouble?”
“There are a few less guards at the gate, but that was no trouble. There’s no way to link them to me.”
“Good. Come upstairs. I’ll show you your rooms.”
The old man took a second candle from the niche in the wall, lit it and led Angelika up the stairs. At the top, he opened another heavy door, entered and held the door open for her. She followed, closing the door behind her. Lighting several other candles, the old man turned to her.
“No electricity, only the Gunnars have that.”
“I expected as much.”
“But the rooms are very secure. Mechanical locks and mechanisms. It’ll take more power than the police can come up with to get in here, at least before you can get out.”
“Here. I think you’ll like this.”
The old man turned to a short wall at one end of the room. Angelika dropped her bag on an old wingback chair, along with her coat and cloak, and followed him. Reaching down to the corner, he pressed a spot on the baseboard and the wall slid back revealing a small space about six feet wide and three feet deep. The walls were covered with weapons of all shapes and sizes. Boxes of ammunition and other supplies were stacked on the floor.
“Very impressive. It looks like I’ll have everything I’ll need.”
“There’s one more thing. Step inside.”
The old man squeezed into the space and Angelika joined him. He pushed a button and the door slid shut.
“It’s a safe room, too. Just in case. The walls are steel, although they don’t look like it. The frame, too. Push this button – here – to close the door. If you close it from inside, the outside release won’t work.
And there’s this.”
He turned carefully around in the narrow space, brushing against Angelika’s breasts without seeming to notice, and pointed to a ladder bolted to the wall above a hole in the floor. He patted it with one hand.
“It goes to the cellar. Like I said, ‘Just in case.’”
He pushed the release button. The door slowly slid open again and they reentered the main room.
“Bathroom and bedroom are down the hall. Kitchen’s over there. Here are your keys.”
He handed a small key ring to Angelika.
“What if I need something?”
“I’ll be around. And, we have a lot of associates. None with your skills, but still…. We’ll probably know if you’re in trouble about as quick you do. Anything else?”
“You know what your cover is and where you’ll work.” Angelika nodded. “Good luck.”
The old man left, closing the door behind him. The locked clicked shut automatically. Wandering aimlessly around the small apartment, Angelica lit more candles and turned up the heat on the steam radiator.
As the radiator rattled and creaked and heat slowly filled the room, she reopened the storage room door, removed the soldiers’ weapons of her bag and placed them on hooks on the wall. She studied the weapons carefully. The guards’ ID she slipped into a small box on the shelf containing other ID and documents.
She carried several candles into the bathroom, lit them and placed them strategically on the sink, windowsill and toilet, and started the water running in the bath. Soon, the room was filled with steam and candlelight. Opening a small bag, she sprinkled some powder into the rapidly filling tub. The soft aroma of lavender filled the air and bubbles spread across the warm water. Angelika removed her leggings, her motions much more relaxed than when she’d done the same thing for the guards. She straddled the edge of the heavy, freestanding claw foot tub and carefully put one foot into the water. The temperature was just right. She sighed contentedly, lifted her other leg over the side, sat on the edge of the tub and put both feet into the water.
Standing, she slipped her long sweater over her head, stretched and dropped it onto the floor. The warm candlelight glistened on her skin, her full, firm breasts, curvaceous thighs and round buttocks. Carefully, she grasped the edges of the tub and slowly lowered herself into the hot, foamy water. Her eyes closed and she sank lower into the tub as the warm steam and bubbles floated up around her.
The New Job
The sun was setting, a hazy, orange ball disappearing through the sooty air of the city, as Angelika slipped out of the front door of her building. The narrow side street was deserted, but when she reached the main cross street, it was filled with bundled up workers rushing single-mindedly home from their jobs. She joined the throng moving uptown toward the club where she’d be dancing.
The club – Exotika – was brightly lit. As one of the “government sanctioned” entertainments, it had electricity, at least sporadically. Inside, it offered its patrons – mostly Gunnars – a variety of exotic entertainment from strippers and belly dancers to orgies.
As Angelika approached the front door, her path was blocked by two very large, burly men.
“New dancer?” one asked.
“Side door down the alley. You can’t miss it.”
Angelika turned and walked away from the entrance and down a narrow passage between two buildings. A dim light bulb in a security cage illuminated a door labeled “Service” in dingy, chipped letters.
Angelika knocked and the door was opened by the same old man that had showed her the apartment.
He pushed the door open wider and invited her in then shut the door behind her with a dull, metallic clang.
“See the manager, down the hall, third door on the right.”
Angelika walked down the hall. Neither she nor the old man had shown any sign of recognition.
The door to the manager’s office was open. The manager, a large, heavy-set man with long red hair and a thick beard, looked up as Angelika entered into the room.
“I’ve been expecting you. Heard good things. You go on at 10, 12 and 2 in the Harem Room. If things work out, there’ll be more later. Any questions?”
“Next door down, on the right. There should be a table with your name on it. I’ll be out to watch the ten o’clock show. It better be good.”
Angelika turned and walked down the hall to the dressing room. Inside, several girls were in various stages of preparing for their acts – everything from geishas in ornate robes to strippers in nothing but a G-string. Several looked up and nodded as Angelika searched for her table, but no one spoke to her.
When she found the table, she slid her bag underneath and took off her heavy, winter clothes, stripping down to a t-shirt and panties. She checked the large clock on the wall – 9:15. She selected a costume, dressed and patiently put on her makeup.
Just before ten o’clock, she left the dressing room and going back to the side door, asked the old man for directions to the Harem Room.
“It’s upstairs and down the hall. There’s a sign.” He paused. “You look great.”
“Thanks. Hope the boss likes it.”
“I think he will.”
She walked up the dimly lit stairway and down the hall to the door marked Harem Room, slid the door open quietly and slipped in. Seductive music was playing and, through the curtain, she could see another dancer on stage.
As the girl finished her dance, the lights dimmed and she came off stage.
Seeing Angelika, she said, “You’re the new girl, aren’t you? I’m Emma. Good crowd tonight. You’ll do fine. Watch out for Colin, though. He’s in the front row.”
“The manager. He can be a real dick sometimes, but I think he’ll like you.”
As Emma left, Angelika peered through a gap in the curtains. Beyond the emcee, who was introducing her, she could see Colin in the glow of the stage lights.
“And now, please welcome the newest member of our family, Miss Angelika Darke!”
Familiar music began as the emcee left the stage. The stage lights came up and Angelika confidently wiggled and slithered her way to center stage.
The Infamous Colonel Matheson
Colonel Matheson, a Gunnar from a long and infamous line, was a high-ranking member of the Portórega secret police, specializing in interrogation. Dressed in a tailored, dark suit, white shirt and tie, he walked briskly down a dimly lit hall. Flickering light bulbs overhead, protected by wire mesh cages, revealed damp, stained walls that had once been painted pistachio green, but were now mostly bare concrete.
He arrived at a door marked 12B, opened it and went inside, closing the door behind him. He flipped on the light switch, revealing a small room with a table and a cart stocked with surgical instruments.
Colonel Matheson slipped off his suit coat, carefully hanging it on the wall and replacing it with a long, white lab coat. Taking off his shoes, he pulled on high rubber boots, then put on thick, rubber gloves. Finally, he slipped a mask of thick, white plastic over his face.
Sighing, he pushed the instrument cart out the door and down the hall to the next room. He opened the door, revealing a man, gagged, blindfolded and tied to a sturdy metal chair bolted to the floor in the middle of the room. Pushing the cart to one side, Colonel Matheson selected a long, sharp probe and turned to face the man. He removed the blindfold and gag, revealing an expression of terror on the man’s face.
“Well, Mr. Harris. Shall we continue from were we left off yesterday?”
The First Mission
Angelika entered the dressing room and walked to her dressing table. She studied her face in the mirror and daubed a few drops of sweat from her forehead. Opening her makeup case, she was surprised to find a small photograph. Neatly written on the back was “Colonel Matheson 2 AM.”
She slipped the photo into the waistband of her costume and continued repairing her makeup. After several minutes, she stood and walked to the bathroom. She checked quickly and, determining that the bathroom was empty, entered one of the stalls and sat on the toilet where she studied the photo intently for several minutes. Finally, she tore it into little pieces, flushed them and left.
As Angelika danced her two AM show, she scanned the audience looking for Colonel Matheson. Finding him and two bodyguards at a table near the front, she casually singled him out for attention as she danced, but the bodyguards interfered. Undaunted, she returned to center stage and finished her act.
As she removed her makeup and costume after the last show, the old man appeared and handed her a business card. It was from Colonel Matheson. On the back was written, “Enjoyed the show. I’ll be back.”
Looking up, she saw the old man was still there.
“Any reply?” he asked.
“No. Not this time.”
He left. She dressed in her street clothes and walked toward the stage door. The old man was there. She extended a hand to him.
“I’m Angelika,” she said. “But you already know that. What should I call you?”
Angelika pushed open the door.
“Well, good night, Robert. I’ll be seeing you.”
The door swung shut behind her with a dull thud.
At the end of the alley, Angelika saw a large, black limousine. Reflexively, she glanced around her, assessing her surroundings. The alley appeared to be empty. She walked slowly down the alley toward the limousine.
When she reached the street, she stopped just at the entrance to the alley and looked around again. The street was quiet and empty except for the limousine.
She recognized Colonel Matheson’s two bodyguards from the club standing next to it. As they came toward her, a faint grinding sound came from the car. The tinted rear window of the limo went slowly down revealing Colonel Matheson.
“I said I’d be back.”
“I didn’t expect you quite this soon.”
“Is that a problem?”
“Not at all.”
One of the bodyguards reached out and opened the door for Angelika. She glanced knowingly at him and slid into the limousine. The bodyguards got into the front seat and the driver started the car then turned and looked inquisitively through the open privacy window at Colonel Matheson. Angelika had already snuggled up next to the Colonel.
The driver turned away and the mechanism of the opaque privacy window made a soft grinding
sound as the bodyguard cranked
Colonel Matheson opened a drink cabinet. He poured a drink and offered it to Angelika.
“Thank you, no. Not while I’m working.”
“Is that what you think this is?”
“Well, I hope not. I was thinking it would be more of a pleasure. For both of us.”
“Well, in that case….”
She reached out and the colonel handed her the drink then poured a second one for himself. Angelika took a sip.
“Very nice. Smooth.”
“It’s not – shall we say – readily available to the general public.”
Angelika snuggled closer.
“A special drink for a special person?”
“Yes, you could say that.”
“I like it. Do you think I might be a special person?”
“My dear, you might be a very special person.”
Angelika finished her drink and put down the glass. She reached up and gently kissed Colonel Matheson on the corner of the mouth. She loosened his tie and unbuttoned his shirt then slipped her hand inside,
rubbing his chest.
“That’s wonderful. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it – a lot.”
“You’re off to a very good start.”
“It’s about to get much, much better.”
Angelika reached over and undid the Colonel’s zipper and belt. She slid his pants down and straddling him, hiked up her dress and scooted up against him and started to slowly grind her hips against him.
“Oh, yeah. I was right. You’re a very special person.”
“This is nothing. Just wait.”
Angelika ran her fingers through the Colonel’s hair then slipped her
hands around his throat and
began to squeeze. Colonel Matheson panicked immediately.
“What the hell?!”
“Relax, honey. It’s just a little erotic asphyxiation. You’ll go off like a skyrocket. I promise.”
Angelika squeezed tighter, pressing her thumbs against the Colonel’s throat.
“Oh, yeah. I feel it. Harder! Harder!”
Angelika looked at him with an evil smirk.
“Here we go….”
She dug her thumbs into the Colonel’s throat. His eyes bulged and a look of terror spread across his face. He writhed frantically, kicking and slamming his fists against Angelika. In the front seat, the two bodyguards look knowingly at each other.
“Sounds like he’s havin’ a good time.”
“Yeah. We should be so lucky.”
In the privacy of the back seat, Angelika’s work was almost complete.
The colonel managed to cough out a strangled, “No!”
“Too late, lover.”
Angelika drove her thumbs harder into the Colonel’s throat. He began to shake convulsively. His eyes rolled back in his head and he went limp in Angelika’s hands. As his muscles relaxed, the smell of piss and shit filled the back of the car. Angelika pulled the Colonel’s automatic from his shoulder holster and checked it, then pounded frantically on the privacy panel. The window went down and the bodyguard looked back at her.
“Stop the car! Quick! I think he’s had a heart attack! I think he may be dead!”
The car skidded to a stop by the curb. Both bodyguards jumped out and opened the two passenger doors. As they peered into the back seat, Angelika turned and shot the driver twice in the chest. As he fell back into the slushy snow on the street, she shot the bodyguard who collapsed onto the sidewalk.
Angelika climbed out the curbside door, checked to make sure the bodyguard was dead then slammed the door and checked the driver. She pushed the passenger door shut and climbed into the driver’s seat.
The car pulled rapidly away from the curb, leaving the two dead guards lying in the snow.
As the first red tint of sunrise appeared in the sky, the limo pulled to a stop in a vacant lot in a run-down part of town. Angelika sat quietly in the driver’s seat watching the hazy sun rise through the dark, polluted sky.
“Well, that was easy….”
She popped the trunk lid and shot several times into the trunk, puncturing the gas tank. Gas began to pour onto the dirty, cracked asphalt through the holes in the bottom of the tank. Angelika struck a match and threw it into the trunk, setting fire to the carpet.
As she walked away from the car, it burst into flame. Her long cloak and black hair fluttered in the shock waves from the explosion.
She turned up the street, where she encountered a semi-comatose homeless man dressed in heavy layers of rags, leaning against a broken-down fence. He looked at her in terror. She intently returned the stare and raised a finger to her lips.
“Shhh. I am the Angel of Death. It’s not your time.”
She walked quickly past him and down the gloomy, deserted street.
As she turned the corner and disappeared into the sleeping city, the bum looked cautiously around the staggered across the street and into an abandoned building. On the third floor, he unlocked a door and entered a small room, furnished only with a table, a chair and a telephone. He wedged the receiver against his shoulder and cranked the phone repeatedly. A voice answered.
“Everything go smoothly?”
“Yeah. She’s good all right. Got balls, too. Looked me right in the eye and said she was the Angel of Death. Told me it wasn’t my time. Can you believe it?”
“I knew she was a good choice. And, if she ever causes any trouble, we’ll have a long and detailed record of her – shall we say – accomplishments.”
The phone clicked, the connection dead. The bum replaced the receiver and left the room, locking the door behind him.