Killing Time OST – 8a – Cleanse

<< 7c – Hunting

I was unsure of how I made it back to my place but I nearly French kissed the automatic door – I was happy to see it but I mostly just lost my footing. My body cooperated a bit more efficiently but the couple of sparks the chip in my head gave on the way home triggered a hell of a migraine. As if reaching the objective reduced my will, all my muscles gave way and I stumbled into the basement. The blasting EBM tore through my skull.
“Lor? What happened?” Vexx ran toward me with more worry than I deserved.
“I had an electrifying date with the FBI. Please kill the music.”
With a snap of his fingers, Vexx turned off the sound system. Silence blissfully filled my ears and I closed my eyes to savor it. A pair of slightly callous fingers pressed against my neck to check for a pulse. I looked worst than I thought.
“Just the usual dance. He tried to tie me down. I cut him loose,” I mumbled. Vexx snorted and continued his examination. I opened my eyes, hoping the painful poking would halt at my glare’s order.
“How do you feel?” It was a dumb question but at least Vexx stopped playing doctor to ask.
“Right now, I sympathize with Frogster. Tomorrow, I’ll be fine.” I’d probably be sore like I ran three marathons with a hundred pounds load but Vexx didn’t need to know that. I needed my Jacuzzi – NOW – and didn’t want him to get in my way.
“And he gave you a tracker. How nice!” Vexx left my side to gather his lock picks in a drawer.
“Nothing says ‘I want you’ like a gun on the inner thigh and a pair of handcuffs.” Vexx glared. I had never seen him that serious. “Don’t worry! I fried it. No one will find out you’re alive.”
Vexx scoffed and kneeled next to my wrist. Seconds later, metal clunked on the cement floor. I rubbed my bruised flesh under the ever investigative eye of my tech guy. At least, he sat on the ground in a relaxed position; I would soon be able to head upstairs without hurting his feelings.
“They shouldn’t have come that close,” Vexx sighed.
Scrounging for bits of willpower, I pushed myself into a sitting position and slid up to the nearby pillar to use it as a backrest. Vexx wasn’t wrong.
“What’s a tussle between nemeses?” I gingerly stretched my body, trying to limit the residual pain of the nervous contractions caused by the Taser. “It updates me on my situation with law enforcement!”
The intervention bore the stench of backroom politics, a foreseeable outcome when you messed with the kings of lobbyists. A politician without a few tech industry CEO’s in his corner could kiss his career goodbye.
“They’re beginning to pin you,” Vexx said.
“Nah. Someone’s desperate to see me on the chair. They’re fishing.” If the bureau suspected I’d show up at Subcut W, a whole team would have been waiting. The plausible scenario was a panicked CEO – or a few of them – pressuring a high-ranked politician to achieve the impossible. Tonight’s almost arrest was a strike of luck not fine police work.
“Still,” Vexx shrugged.
Sick of this conversation and the absence of the relief my body desperately yearned, I took a deep breath and stood. The world danced until my hand met the pillar behind me to order the basement steady. Inside my skull, pain pulsed like clockwork; hurt, release, hurt, release, ticking the seconds away. In between the tics, I edged a foot forward gradually making my way towards the dressing room. Vexx followed a step behind knowing all too well I would break his arm if he tried to help.
I slammed the door in his face.
Undressing took me a great amount of time and effort but I finally shimmied my way into a robe and threw my Kevlar suit in the dirty clothes bin. Vexx was working on Frogster when I exited the dressing room to head for the stairs. I could feel his gaze on my back, watching for any sign of weakness. A sign which took the form of my foot missing the third step on my way up to my home.
“That’s it,” Vexx growled in the nape of my neck, catching me as I fell backward. “‘Nightshade Unmasked When a Rich Heiress Breaks Her Neck’ doesn’t work for me.” With an impressive show of strength, Vexx forced my arm around his neck despite my resistance. I really wasn’t at my best.
“‘Presumed Dead Hacker Found in Nightshade’s Basement’ is the headline you’re scared off.” I barked back, jerking to free my arm from his grasp. I had survived alone for years and his presence didn’t change a thing.
“As you wish,” he said. I thought he would release me while I might forgive his temporary lapse of judgment but something stung my leg. Vexx’s snake was wrapped around my thigh, its teeth embedded in my glutes. “Jerk again and I’ll pump you full of tranqu. Are we clear?”
“You’re a dead man,” I hissed. The snake replied in a similar fashion.
“I know.” He grinned. I glared. “I’ll grant you your innermost desire for some time in your Jacuzzi and let you be pissed for a couple of days without complaining.”
I cocked an eyebrow. How did he know about the Jacuzzi? And when did he grow his balls back? He rocked when he was hooked on tech – or he would have never gotten out of Merrilyn Tech alive – but became all mushy after I cleaned him up. I didn’t know his unmodified self had any bite.
“Desperate times.” He replied to my silent interrogations. I chose to keep my mouth shut. He could force me to go through this but he couldn’t force me to encourage repeating the maneuver in the future.
Staying in the center of the house – where no window was close enough for a passerby to recognize him –, Vexx pulled me all the way up to the master bathroom on the second floor. He sat me on the edge of the Jacuzzi and whistled. The snake released my leg and wrapped himself around Vexx’s extended arm. The hacker curtsied with a crooked smile and closed the door behind him.
A jar of bath salt burst open where his head had been.
Frustration temporarily leveled, I untied my robe and slid into the warm hug of the whirlpool bath. The water massage’s delight almost convinced me to forgive Vexx.
Almost.

8b – Cleanse >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

7 responses to “Killing Time OST – 8a – Cleanse

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