Isora notices she’s stepped closer to the two men. She can hear the perspiration slithering down Boss Azoc’s face; she’s not sure if it’s him or the rickety chair doing the squealing while he struggles against his bonds. Isora trembles. “Y-y-your Grace,” she says, “What’s going to happen to him?”
“I don’t expect his mind can handle it. Heh. Few could. But we’ll find out.” The two do not see the projection of light filtering through a rainbow of colors, dimmer and brighter, darker and lighter. Boss Azoc still struggles.
“But why are you doing this?”
“Do I detect a note a sympathy?” There is an angry edge to her father’s voice, barely sheathed. “For him?”
“I…no. No sympathy.”
They hear Boss Azoc struggling and murmuring. Then all is quiet. They do not see the green fade into his irises. They cannot see the orange gloom, the filtering sunlight, the crow-feathered cloaks on a young girl and an old man with graying temples.
But Boss Azoc does. First he whimpers. Then he screams.
It is a loud and shuddering wail that Isora feels in her bones. She reaches out for something—anything else to listen to. But all she can find is the net of birds taking wing from a tree, fleeing the sound that Isora is stuck with.
Azoc is thrashing while Boss Ivan laughs. Isora stands still, listening to the shrieks. The stomping of feet. She sniffs the air and scowls at the smell.
“The last ounce of courage is trickling down his leg,” she tells her father. “Isn’t this enough.”
She hears her father following his nose toward her, stomping. She takes two involuntary steps backward before he’s holding her hair close to her scalp. She does not move for fear of what he might do next.
“There can be no measure for mercy to monsters! That aside,” his grip on her hair loosens. “This can stop when he tells me who’s next in line to lead the Fangs.”
With a swirl of his cloak Boss Ivan crosses the room toward the screaming, thrashing, Azoc. He cannot see the color in his irises coming and going. He crouches next to him, eyes closed, and whispers: “Where do you billet yourselves. I know you operate out of Sandpiper Quarter. But where do you hide away?”
A muffled scream is his only response.
“You don’t want to disappoint my daughter, do you? Come now. We’re waiting.”
Isora trembles in the corner, reaching out for something else to focus on. But all she finds is a crazed Boss. Maybe two, she wonders. “No sympathy, she tells herself. “It’s only a monster. No sympathy, it’s only a monster. No sympathy, it’s only a monster. No sympathy, it’s only a monster. It’s only a monster. It’s only a monster…”
Her name is Isora. She is the daughter a gang Boss. Her cloak itches.
Today is her birthday.