Sometimes a single moment reveals too much. Like an intimate touch between my fiancé and best friend at a dinner party. Or the glimpse of a gun butt in the waistband of a colleague I passed on the way to grab a Chia Latte. In the spans of a few seconds, I knew absolute clarity, and with it came an undeniable truth. Ryland Hynes was indeed a killer.
I no longer heard the water lap against the sides of the pool, nor the constant whir of jets from the four hot tubs. Only the thunder of my pulse, lodged in my throat, registered to my ears like a B-Movie soundtrack. Even my eyes soured at the seascape, so painstakingly hand brushed, in pale blues and corals onto the massive walls. This room constructed for gentle healing, forever tainted in my eyes, and the current insanity threatened to diminish it further.
Both men went unnervingly still, as if a breath would tip their fragile truce, a thing made up of slim hope and faint sensibility. One man lay partly sprawled across the floor, his massive biceps and well-honed forearms, trembled with the effort to keep upright. The other man, down on one knee in a predatory crouch, prepared to strike with the slightest provocation. At a distance, the two combatants resembled a piece of classical art. Each figure cold and unyielding, suspended between recklessness and reprieve. From a few feet away, cracks in their facade began to appear, as the atmosphere around them crackled with finality.
Ryland maintained the hydraulic grip on the downed hyena’s throat. His left hand scored by purple veins, flexed with lethal intensity, while agitated fingers danced in Morse code over the jugular of a once good friend. Even his well-tailored suit shimmered with an energy Kenneth Cole never intended, as his six-foot frame debulked to its pre-battle form.
Maybe the loss of Eric Prentice, the wrongness of the fight, or a cramp developed in his hand as well as his conscience. It really did not matter; Ryland acted out of character, and offered a compromise of sorts. Though a wisp of uncertainty troubled his hardened features, Ryland’s eyes remained amber fury. After less than a heartbeat to reconsider, he retracted the talon, and eased his grip by a fraction.
It was enough for Scotch. He began to breathe deeply of air fragrant with chlorine and death. Labored at first, each exchange became easier, as his chest moved with rhythm and purpose.
“Finally”, I thought, “they’re done with this crap.” Until another spike of primal energy prickled my skin.
To be continued…(yes next week)