Upon entering the cafe, Gunnbjörg quickly scanned the crowd and located the other executive standing in line for the kitchen. His black uniform stood out clearly among the sea of red. She didn’t hesitate join him; walking past several citizens behind him.
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing servant?”
Gunnbjörg didn’t look back, but quickly fired off, “I’m not cutting in line citizen: the orc doesn’t make anything I can eat.”
The other executive didn’t appear to acknowledge Gunnbjörg’s presence when she tapped him on the shoulder; his eyes were fixed on the scene before him. At the head of the line, a green robed senator was arguing with orc chef. All that could be seen of him through the small order window were the center most three of his eyes: three dark orbs glowing softly like the embers of a dying fire.
Gunnbjörg tapped the other executive on the shoulder again, “Burkhard.” The other executive looked over at Gunnbjörg briefly before his attention was drawn back to the senator and orc. A loud thundering of hooves could be hear, and felt, through the entire cafe and, instead of his eyes, all that could be seen through the small window were two of the orc’s thick fingers as he tried to push his entire hand through the tight hole.
“Can you fucking believe this?” Burkhard said. “I’ve been fucking waiting in damn line for two-thirds of a fucking hour. Salt and toast.”
The senator had picked up a metal tray and started to smack at the orc’s fingers.
Gunnbjörg started to take a step forward and Burkhard touched her wrist. The gynoid looked over at the other executive coolly.
“Leave it alone.”
“Someone could get hurt.”
“I doubt the good senator will hurt Pete.”
The young executive simply stared at Burkhard.
“Pete’s never hurt anyone.”
“He’s an orc.”
“That’s speciesist, and you know it.”
“He could crush the senator’s skull in one hand.”
“And he could break down that fucking wall like salt if he really wanted to.”
Gunnbjörg pulled her hand away from his and placed it on her hip, just above her holster.
“You’ve been spending too fucking much time with that witch Zenaida.”
The gynoid released the safety lock on her holster.
“Salt. Two-thirds of a fucking hour.” Burkhard muttered under his breath. “Senator!” he shouted as he stepped out of line, “How about I buy you a drink?”
Burkhard sat down across from Gunnbjörg, looked down at his tray, and made an ‘mm’ sound.
‘Cold boiled egg, square of flatbread with cheese, and lukewarm bone water.’ the other executive looked up at the gynoid while gripping his tray.
‘Two-thirds of a fucking hour.’ he muttered, loudly, and slammed it down on the table. Gunnbjörg didn’t bother to at look him while she sipped her poison. She was busy watching the people pass by outside the window.
“Did you ever hear from Shamira last night?”
“No. I take it you didn’t either?”
“No.” she said flatly.
“Speaking of last night, did you give Wyn the fucking of his lives?”
The gynoid didn’t respond.
“You know, if I had a man like that at home…” Burkhard leaned back in his chair and sucked air through his teeth.
“Grow tired of your fuck-toy?”
Burkhard set his chair down and leaned forward.
“Don’t get me wrong, Vivian a fucking beautiful man and a great fuck.”
‘But all he does is eat, sleep, and fuck.’
Gunnbjörg snickered. “What did you expect? He’s a slave.”
Burkhard slammed his egg against his tray and held the cracked surface up towards the young executive. “Look familiar?”
Gunnbjörg never stopped looking out the window and took another sip of poison. ‘Were the black mages able to identify who got assaulted?’
‘No, not yet.’ Burkhard took a sip of bone-water and started to peal his egg. ‘They said they might know in-‘
The gynoid held up her hand; her gaze locked on something in the crowd. Burkhard looked at Gunnbjörg intently before turning to scanning the crowd.
‘What is it?’
Gunnbjörg didn’t reply; she just stood up and ran out the door.
Gunnbjörg’s lungs were burning by the time she reached the alleyway. “It’s a dead end.” she said flatly.
The young executive stood at the entrance of the short alley blocking any egress. “Why don’t you come out of the shadows.”
A hushed voice emanated from the end of the alley, “Why don’t you come into the shadows?”
Gunnbjörg peered into the darkness; dropping her hand to her gun as she started to walk forward. Her boots echoing as they struck the stone.
“Are you a citizen?” she asked as she disengaged her holster’s safety lock.
“A mage or minister?” she asked as she took hold of the grip of her gun.
“Diplomat?” she asked.
The young executive was halfway down the alleyway when she stopped and drew her weapon; aiming it at the end of the alley.
As Gunnbjörg opened her mouth, an aging female in an executive’s uniform stepped out from the shadows and said “Why don’t I show myself?”
Gunnbjörg tilted her head to the side slightly. “Shamira?”
“Indeed. Its a shame, it really is.” Shamira said as she stepped into the light. Large patches of skin were missing from her face, her eyes were yellowed, and her teeth were black. The stench of rot wafted off the woman.
“Salt. You’re dead.”
Shamira drew her mouth into a wide, lipless black-toothed smile and walked up to Gunnbjörg. The young executive raised her gun.
“Dead on. But you’re not going to destroy me.” The fetid odor of her putrefying organs carried on her every word.
“And why not?”
“I could tell you. I could tell you everything and it wouldn’t matter. You could change everything, but you won’t.”
“Tell me what the fuck happened.”
“I would be more than willing to tell you, but you won’t be staying.”
Over her headset, Gunnbjörg heard Burkhard’s voice, “This is Executive Burkhard issuing a general state of alert for District \\\. Over XX\ dead have been sighted walking in Zone X\ outside the cafe.”
Shamira kept smiling with her black teeth. “Don’t worry, we’ll meet again.”