There's something of a theatrical scent roaming the air while I take a sip out of the glass, indulging myself in the exquisite taste of red wine. I swish it around in my mouth for a moment, my first taste of the liquid, and swallow. The air is wet and cool, but with recognizable warmth, though there isn't a single ceiling fan spinning above me. What I do see, however, are multiple brightly lit chandeliers taking their place. The smell of cooked bread, as well as multiple other varying smells fill the room.
The smell of other food that is to be considered too rich for my blood, except for on this occasion. My eyes inspect the inner-workings of the facility; the restaurant entitled, “Lepae's”, and am soon impressed by their decorative surroundings. Lepae's is filled with many, many tables, each draped with a tan-colored table-cloth, and an assortment of condiments, looking nothing like the traditional ketchup and mustard that I have grown to love.
On each of the tables, there also rests eating utensils, wrapped up in dark red paper-towels, and menus showing what is being served tonight. The floor is carpeted maroon with an exotic design of beige flowers. Waiters and waitresses scurry around, hearing the requests, and obliging to them at their soonest convenience. I bring myself back and stare at my seared scallop appetizer, and ponder what I am supposed to do with it.
Making an educated guess, I stab my fork at the petite structure, the structure geared seemingly more toward presentation than anything. To my surprise, quite easily, the fork goes into the object assumed as edible and I bring it to my mouth.
The taste is much pleasanter than expected and I actually find myself bringing the fork down to retrieve more.
I am left chomping at the bits before bringing myself to a second taste of wine.
“Enjoying yourself?” Cepheus questions. His voice sounds about as pleasant as it could in any given situation, which isn't exactly pleasant, but it's almost close.
“Remotely,” I respond verbally before bringing the glass to my mouth for a final sip, swallowing down some scallop.
The truth is that I actually am enjoying myself.
Something about taking the life of Olivia Garcia felt right, and made everything better. It relaxed all of my muscles, bringing the knots out of them, and plain and simple, I feel better because of it.
“Glad to hear it,” Cepheus retorts with a thoughtless smile on his face, one that is especially peculiar. “Your mother used to love this place when she was alive.”
“I never knew her,” I mumble before jabbing my fork into the remaining piece of scallop on my plate.
“I wish you would have, she was great, really just something special,” Cepheus admits, still carrying the smile that seems like it requires more effort than what it's worth.
A waitress walks past our table, wearing a white low-cut shirt and a black apron.
“Miss, I don't mind if you take our orders,” Cepheus says with a sly smile.
“Sorry, we're a little busy this evening, how may I serve you,” the waitress reciprocates with a guilty expression on her face before going back to a normal stare.
“Have you ever been in a trash-bag, screaming,” Cepheus mumbles under his breath, but I manage to catch what he says.
Cepheus looks at me for a second and winks with a smirk on his face.
“Pardon? I didn't catch that,” the lady asks nervously.
“It's nothing, I'll just have some chicken biryani, preferably not with fish,” Cepheus replies clearly.
I have no idea what that is.
“And what will you be having,” the lady utters after nodding and looking at me.
I skimmed through the menu for a couple of seconds before finding that cheeseburger and fries were nowhere to be seen. With disappointment, I simply pointed at the steak, and sent the pretty lady on her way. I asked her about restocking us with more wine, but Cepheus vetoed my ruling, and specified that we couldn't afford to have our minds clouted for the night.
“So, what do you think? Is she next?” Cepheus asks, leaving me to wonder whether he's joking or not.
“Let's give her a chance to get the order right before we condemn her to death,” I reply.
“Such a saint,” Cepheus responds before leaning back in his chair and releasing a breath of air.
Soon, the same waitress arrives back with our food, and rudely, she forgets to thank me for essentially saving her life. She reveals our food, giving an individual plate to each of us, and takes away the plate originally holding the appetizer. The food is gone in a matter of minutes, minutes that fill in comfortable silence at our table, with only the biting down of food and the sound of discussion from the other parties pouring in.
After both of us have finished, Cepheus lets out a quiet burp before repenting himself by uttering the words, “Excuse me,” under his breath.
Serial-killers are generally very polite people.
That's a fact.
“Full, or are you hungry for something else?” Cepheus finally says aloud.
I feel my attention suddenly being swiped away from digesting my food and placed on Cepheus. I see a couple of people make way for the door, and I secretly hope that we'll be doing the same very, very soon.
“As a matter of fact, I am,” I reply.
“I know you are,” Cepheus says so calm and unshaken that it almost comes across as a whisper.
We vanish, out of the restaurant, conveniently forgetting to pay, and are sent on our way with anticipation shifting through the veins of both of us. I wanted this, the hunger is growing, the more I indulge, the stronger it gets, but the better it begins to feel. It is never quite as good as the first, but good enough to make me want to carry on again, and again. The flames brood inside of me, as they have always since the very minute that George Schultz life was concluded.
The power, the everlasting fillings of superiority against these people, and the control.
We finally found ourselves back at Cepheus' house, only a couple of blocks away from the restaurant, and about a dozen or so miles away from my apartment. Cepheus' house is simply orchestrated, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing eccentric, it just is. That's all that it needs to be, and that's all it is.
As I come forth to the driveway, Cepheus puts his hand in-front of me and brings me to a halt. I look forward at his silver Harley-Davidson, the shine, incredibly recognizable, is easy to appreciate.
“I have something for you, you know, for the occasion, give me a second, and I'll go ahead and get it,” Cepheus responds with a detectable excitement, almost sounding sarcastic, in his voice.
Cepheus is showing a wider arrange of emotions than what I previously knew him for.
Earlier, he made a joke, and now he's showing excitement, I almost want to use a cliché and ask him who he is and what he has done with the real Cepheus.
I didn't, of course, remembering being shot in the chest once by my father is enough. Time goes by, and Cepheus is nowhere to be seen.
At last, I look and see a garage-door opening before seeing Cepheus step out from the garage that conjoins to his house, pushing a black and yellow motorcycle down the driveway and to me. The shine of the motorcycle is every bit as glistening as his. He throws something in the air toward my direction, and instinctively, I catch it. They are the keys to the motorcycle; I hold them in my hands and stare back at him.
“I figured that you might want something to get around besides jumping from roof to roof, and I know how you like the colors,” Cepheus explains with the closest thing to joy I have ever seen on him.
“Thank you,” are the only words that I can seem to allow to escape from my mouth while I stand frozen, looking back at him.
I haven't had much in the way of emotion to lend lately, drained and depleted, actually, but this feels different. I've never been one for driving any particular vehicle, I never actually had something like this to call my own. I spent most of my years after high-school doing nothing of worth, and only last year because of cleaning the wallets of my victims, have I had any substantial amount of money.
However, this was more than somebody buying something for a friend; this is my first gift from my real father. Likewise, to never being one to drive, I've never been one to drive fast, but all things change.
* * *
Zooming past the other fleeting vehicles, I drive onward with a look of satisfaction displaying on my face beneath my dark-colored helmet. Cepheus is a couple of seconds behind me but is gradually gaining speed, the lights of the city are shining down on me. It feels nice to have the lights look down at me for a change. Cepheus swivels his motorcycle toward mine, forcing me to move to the opposing lane.
There isn't much traffic in-sight. It is a couple of minutes past midnight, most civilians are smart enough to realize that they should stay inside. Acera is statistically known for having the most infamous serial-killers, but a large majority of the crimes happen at night. In other words, if you stay inside, you're safe. I continue to drive onward with growing speed, I feel my phone in my back-pocket vibrating, and am left to believe it is James.
After George's untimely decision to provoke his murder, the clarification came that James had left the hunting trip after his father's numerous colorful comments for a commercial gig. When James informed George that he was leaving, he, either, naturally decided to follow his mother's instructions to always be himself by acting like a crazed alcoholic. After disposing of George's body, I met back up with James at the hotel.
When he asked where his father was, I informed him that I took a taxi from the hunting grounds back to the hotel after I realized that James left. I slowed the motorcycle down for a moment, long enough to pull the phone out of my pocket before Cepheus swipes the phone out of my hands.
“Ha, you aren't going to talk on the phone now, are you?” Cepheus asks with skepticism in his voice.
The night beamed down on both of us and with an unseen and uncharacteristic smile, I grab the phone from his clutches and place it back into my back-pocket.
“I guess it can wait,” I say.
“Great,” Cepheus responds before speeding up on his motorcycle and traveling long ahead of me.
I begin to speed up as well, accelerating on the throttle, and find myself back beside Cepheus. Cepheus glances at me for a moment before we begin to slow down once more, he motions to the right. I turn, and see two gentlemen palling around with their fallen friend, and by “palling around”, I mean striking him over and over with their fists.
“There's one for both of us, and one to split, either figuratively or literally,” Cepheus announces with his sadism showing.
My eyes glare back at him before I nod. We take a turn into the alleyway, drawing the attention of the individual being pummeled as well as the perpetrators.
“What the hell is it? You want some, too?” I heard a Hispanic voice call before looking in the eyes of a slightly husky individual, with long black hair, a black mustache, and a sleeve of faded tattoos on his arms.
“They ain't leaving, so that must be it. What the hell you want? This isn't your fight,” another voice calls, this voice coming from a white guy wearing a plain white t-shirt and a skull bandanna over his mouth.
“We have no intention of assisting either side, just our own,” Cepheus responds calmly.
Slowly, Cepheus begins to climb off of his motorcycle before removing his silver helmet from atop his head and placing it on the seat of his motorcycle. Cepheus' hair flows down easy, however, both individuals laugh once they see him.
“Little old to be out playing cop, ain't you?” the long-haired man with the faded tattoos says, holding his side.
Cepheus walks forward with a cold glare drawn on his face, walking slowly near his prey until finally, he comes head to head with the dark-haired Hispanic. The man looks back at Cepheus with no sign of fear in his eyes only for Cepheus to take him off of his feet with a headbutt. The man drops to the ground in pain. The man with the skull bandanna walks toward Cepheus from the side and Cepheus removes a gun from his pocket and points it at the man without looking.
Cepheus finally turns to the man with a look of confidence in his eyes before he regains his focus and turns back to see the tattooed man running off from the alley.
“Dammit,” Cepheus hollers before oddly, unfastening a long belt from his jeans, and walking back to his motorcycle, still pointing his gun at the man with the bandanna. “Take care of this guy for me.”
I can't help but be very curious of what he could possibly be doing with his belt, but nevertheless, I direct my attention to the bandanna wearing fellow as Cepheus follows the other man the run with his motorcycle. I climb off of my motorcycle for the first time only to be attacked from the side.
I drop to my knees.
The man takes a satisfied breath, for whatever reason, happy that there isn't a gun pointed at himself anymore. I fall on my back, roughly against the concrete ground.
I tilt my head to the side and take sight of the man that had been beaten prior to all of this. Blood is dripping out his mouth and he lays lifelessly in a seated position, leaning against the wall of the alleyway. I try to climb back to my feet only for the man in the bandanna to run and drop his knees to my side, knocking all of the wind out of me. I breathe heavily for a moment until I make my way back to my feet and look to see the man ready to throw a punch at me.
Alas, his intentions would be put to rest, due to me moving out of the way in the nick of time, provoking for him to punch the wall beside me. Letting out a loud yell of dismay, the man turns back to me only for me to drive my switch-blade into his chest. Blood begins to pour from his wound. I am feel the dampness on my hands. He leans against me before I step out of the way but make certain to keep him on his feet.
His eyes have worry, and he squirms as I pull the blade out of his chest and bring it across his throat, making the blood lost seem insignificant. I stop holding him, and he falls to the ground and lays, dead.
I hear the sound of a bullet being fired from a couple of feet away, and turn my direction to the dead man's victim. A small-sized man with blood running down his chin, and he looks at me with a worried expression.
I hear the sound of a motorcycle moving. But quickly, I make way toward the fallen man and grab him by the chest, pulling him back to his feet. I see his face, the face of someone innocent, someone whose biggest mistake was simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I look at him and at that moment, an overabundance of thoughts begin to dance around in my head. At once, I walk him over to the right end of the alley, and toss him to the side, roughly causing for him to hit the sidewalk before I turn back.
At the other end of the alleyway, I see the front-wheel of Cepheus' motorcycle slowly come into view. The rest of the motorcycle comes to sight as well. Cepheus joins me back at the alleyway, but he isn't alone.
Behind him, hanging from the back of the motorcycle with a belt wrapped around his neck is the Hispanic mugger.
Cepheus smiles back at me, clearly happy with himself.
“Well, that takes care of that,” Cepheus says before removing the belt from around his victim's neck.
His victim doesn't gasp for breath. He doesn't try to defend himself. He doesn't do anything.
“Hmm, we seem to have lost one,” Cepheus notices. “Where did the other one go?”
“I was too preoccupied with this bloody heap,” I say, pointing to my handiwork. “The other guy just ran off and I didn't have time to stop him. After all, he was already half-dead anyway, right? Where would the fun be?” I say before looking at my prey, once again with a smile on my face.
Cepheus nods. He understands that the thrill of the hunt is crucial, and we both depart the scene of our first kills together, and our first bonding moment.