Fracture (Blood & Roses #2)

By: Callie Hart

“Open your mouth.”

“No!”

“Fucking open it.”

Andreas Medina, sweating, hands cuffed behind his back, blinks up at me—the wild terror he should be displaying right now is like a drug. One I have a love/hate addiction to. And yet Andreas is probably only exhibiting a five on the fear scale, a fact that is making me downright pissed. He’s basically ruining my high. I bring the butt of my Desert Eagle (previous owner recently deceased) down on his forehead, and a jet stream of crimson blood pours down his face. The Mexican is a defiant motherfucker; he winces through the pain, setting his jaw. There’s no begging here, no groveling or bargaining. Andreas is old school. He knows there’s a very strong probability that he’s about to die, and he’s doing his best not to go out shitting his pants. I guess I can respect that.

I crouch down so that our eyes are level. Above us the naked light bulb swings to and fro, casting shadows first over him and then me. We have the same bleak void lurking behind our irises—I recognize myself in him, and I wonder whether he likes hurting people, too. Of course he fucking does. “Where is he?”

“I’m not telling you shit, hijo.” He spits blood at me. It sprays down the front of my jacket, over my T-shirt. Sloane thinks I wear black because I’m some kind of nightmarish vision, a creature of the night. The reality of it is much more practical—black hides the blood. I look down at myself, considering Andreas’ action, while I try to think of something fitting to punish him. It comes to me pretty quickly—a neat trick I picked up in prison. I straighten up and turn, surveying the empty room, taking my time. The place is bare concrete, solid walls, thick. Thick enough to block out a grown man’s screams. A single rickety wooden table leans up against the wall on the far side of the room. I smirk as I make my way over to it, knowing what I’m going to need from the black duffel that sits on top of it.

“Cabrón, you better not turn your back on me!”

I stop. In the darkness, I smile. I let Andreas think for a moment that I’m going to react to his bravado, but then I continue, slowly walking to the bag and unzipping it. There are so many different utensils inside that it takes me a moment to find what I’m looking for, but I eventually find it: a small black box, about three inches square and another inch deep.

“If you think you’re gonna get anything out of me, you’re crazy, white boy.”

I pace back to him, training a blank expression onto my face. “You always have to state the obvious?” I ask him, palming the small box in front of me, making sure Andreas sees it. On his knees, he eyes the box, clenching down on his jaw. I will show no fear, I will show no fear. I’m already inside his head, though. I see his fear. It just looks different to most people’s. It’s dark and tainted, like the rest of him.

“What you talking ’bout?”

“White boy,” I say, bending down again. “I’m white, you’re not. Back when I arrived at the compound, when you were standing at the gate, you called me that then, too. Why do you feel the need to call me that when we both know who we are? And who we aren’t?”

“Ain’t got nothing to do with the color of your skin, hijo. It’s about who you are, where you come from. Who you work for.”

I think on that. While I’m doing that, I tease the lid of the box open just enough for Andreas to catch a glimpse of the shiny metal inside. I snap the lid closed. “Charlie’s an equal opportunities employer. He has black, white, yellow—every color you can think of working on his books.” But Andreas isn’t listening to me. He’s staring at the box. Good. I shake it from side to side, scratching at the stubble on my jaw with my free hand. “Right now, we’re not here because of who we work for, though. Forget all about Julio and Charlie. Right now I want to talk to you about this box.” I hold it five inches from his face, so close he has to tip his head back in order to focus on it. “What can you tell me about this box?” I ask him.

Andreas looks at me as though I’m crazy. With a slow and measured movement he cranes his neck forward again, widening his eyes at me. “I don’t fucking care about your box.”

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