Philippe Coeur d’Hibou breathed out long and slow as he rested his elbows against the railing overlooking the rainy city streets two storeys below. A song played on the breeze, punctuated by the rain like an extra treble beat, and took his mind back to a simpler time.
Or maybe it’s the woman.
He cast his gaze over his shoulder at the woman chained to the floor while sitting on an armchair with built-in restraints. The restraints had been built to withstand the strength of a werewolf, so holding a Noctiventori wouldn’t be hard. And she knew, because she’d done it to others of their kind, their vampiric brethren.
“Mmmmphnpn!” She writhed against the bonds, tears streaming down her cheeks from luminous green eyes. The gag restricted her voice. Even without coherent words, he could read the pleading in her expression.
Philippe sighed and stepped back into the elegantly appointed apartment, leaving the door open so her soul would have an easier time reaching heaven, or Elysium, or whichever death myth she cherished. He might not believe in much, but he believed enough not to get in the way of the dead.
“Anna, I’m sorry you have to see me, but you reminded me so much of someone I once knew.” He gave her a sad smile as he leaned against the wall beside the French doors open to the rainy night. “Do you hear that song? The one about leaving when the wind blows? It always reminds me of the person I once loved, over a century ago. You resemble her a little. Same silky dark hair.”
“No, I won’t let you go. I honor my contracts. But I wanted to take this moment to savor a little bit of the past.” He shot her a sad look. “You must know why I’m here. Your past is full of things that the Noctivenatori High Council can no longer turn a blind eye to. Killing humans is easy enough to explain away, but our own kind?” He tsked and shook his head. “They can’t have you exposing them to the likes of the humans’ Department of Homeland Security and testing our bodies in places like Area 51.” He met her gaze. “They’ve signed your execution order.”
“Wumph?” Her eyes widened.
“Oui, they hired me to execute you.” He frowned, searching for the right word. “Well, more like assassinate you. But seeing you brought back memories and I’m giving you a few extra moments before your time runs out.”
“Nnnmmmph mmgggm phhrmm.”
He shook his head. “They told me about your silver tongue, Anna. I won’t take the gag off. And the High Council wants you to know your excessive killing won’t be tolerated and you’re to be made as an example to others who ignore the rules.” He pushed off the wall. “Are you ready?”
“Nnnuhmmm!” She shook her head and leaned back, but the chair offered no place to go.
“I understand, and believe me, I respect that. But your killings where heinous and visible, and the Noctivenatori must remain invisible.” He patted her shoulder as he met her frightened gaze. “You still have a little time to say any prayers you desire.” He gave her a smile, exposing one of his long canines. “You’ve been dead for fifteen minutes. I just needed to wait for the mercury to get to your heart.”
Her eyes slowly closed as the poison took its toll on her and her system shut down. The Noctivenatori were tough to kill, but even they couldn’t do without their hearts, organs, or brains. Poison remained an effective killing device.
Philippe sighed again as he turned back to the balcony in the rainy night. She really had reminded him of the woman who’d walked out of his life almost a century earlier. Like Anna, she went when the wind blew. He nodded in satisfaction, snapped a pic of the dead Noctivenatora, and leapt off the balcony into the rainy darkness.
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