Excerpt from Violent Violet by Melissa Manuel

Prologue

No one ever tells you how cold a gun is. The steel bites as it rests in my trembling hand. I’m shaking all over actually, violent tremors rocking my body; it’s a miracle I’m still standing at all.

My left ankle is swollen and twisted at an odd angle, and blood is oozing out of various cuts I had so gratefully obtained earlier. My mouth stung from the cut on the left curve of my upper lip. I remember everyone told me it made me look dazzling whenever I curled it just right.

But at the moment I wasn’t dazzling at all, my clothing torn in an unromantic manner with gashes in the fabric and tears revealing bruised flesh. I’m all caked in grime, blood, and who knows what else. My bruises have started to throb and I can’t begin to imagine  the travesty that has become of my hair.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I figure I am dressed perfectly for the occasion for once. The room I stand in is in as much disarray as I am.

The walls, once an ugly and blank space of gray, have crumbled into tarnished cracks and gaping holes. Tables have been smashed to pieces and anything that was glass has succumbed to being tiny sparkling daggers scattered in all directions.

I would like to say that I am paying more attention to the interior design of the room, but unfortunately my eyes betray me and are occupied with staring at the mockingly, maybe even infuriatingly, handsome young man in front of me.

Rudely enough he isn’t even dressed for the occasion. His dark blue jeans seem to be freshly pressed and the black t-shirt fit him almost too well. The only signs of disaster painted on his body are the dirt smudges across his toned arms; now held up in the surrender position.

I decide to stare fiercely at his chest knowing very well that if I even look at his face for more than a few seconds I’ll lose my composure; the pathetic, shaking poodle I am.

 

“So? Are you going to shoot or not?”

His voice melts me like warm dark chocolate and I feel myself quiver involuntarily. Damn him.

“C’mon we don’t have all day, Lovely.” His gaze burns relentlessly on my face, making me clench the butt of the gun tighter, turning my knuckles a sickly white.

I hold for a few more seconds of silent defiance until I can’t fight it anymore. I meet his eyes.

I inhale sharply through clenched teeth duly noting my dry mouth.

His eyes are a crushed violet so cold they seem to be made of some foreign ice. He’s smiling slightly, the bastard, knowing perfectly well how much just his eyes make me sway.

Dark brown hair falls over one eye obliquely, it’s tossed but looks ridiculously clean considering our surroundings.

“Anytime now,” He purrs gently, “This is your only chance, Lovely.” A wide smile.

I keep my eyes on his face now, refusing to look away.

Taking a deep breath and wrapping my other hand around the gun, I finally answer him with, “You deserve to die.”

It’s a heart-shattering smile,  “Yeah? I do, don’t I?” A low chuckle.

I nod slowly, “Yes. You’re terrible. You’ve done too many people harm. I have to do this.”

He mocks a thoughtful expression, “I would think so.” The smile twists the corner on the right side of his lips, carving a deep dimple into his cheek. A devil in an angel’s decorative mask indeed.

“I’m doing something good. I’m doing a service.” It’s obvious I’m trying to convince myself; he continues to humor me.

“Why, yes! Indeed, you are, sending a public menace straight to Hades. I think my date is long overdue.” He shrugs his shoulders, keeping both arms in the air.

Then suddenly I move one of my hands off the gun and rip the gold chain off my neck, his eyes watch me carefully, an amused look in his eyes.

I toss the necklace at him. He catches it with one hand, arms still in the air, and raises an eyebrow at me.

I swallow and put both hands on the gun again, “So you can pay.” He says nothing. “You know. To pay your passage to the Underworld, you have to pay.”  I say it all too quickly and I hate the tears forming in my eyes.

Something in his face changes a flicker I can’t quite decipher. Then he raises the locket to his lips and kisses it. “Thank you, Lovely.”

And with that, dirty streams trickling down my disgusting cheeks, I bend my finger and shoot.

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