Предпоследняя часть короткой истории, где Рик пытается найти объяснение неизвестным звонкам, пока направляется домой. А впереди - встреча с одним из старых знакомых. Или не таким уж старым.
Mirkwood is a funny place. One day, there is sun, joy, smiles and happy couples with their children. And suddenly it's all gone, and there is rain, forced smiles and a knife in your hand. Not that it changed with time. More like it was a double-faced town. Strange, dangerous, poisonous, but addictive nevertheless.
You could almost feel it breathing. At times I felt like if one were to reach far enough with one's hand, one could touch the very soul of Mirkwood. It would most probably be dirty and sticky. But it would be there. No other town had the same feeling to it. Not London, not Prague, not Tokyo. None. And I've been pretty much everywhere. Before settling down here for good. After all, it was the perfect place for my business.
But I'd never had this kind of problems before. I was careful. Always a few steps ahead, looking for those who might have been lurking in the shadows. Never took a case that I wasn't sure I could deal with.
I guess everything happens for the first time.
The ride home was almost quicker than the ride downtown. I got out from the cab, reached my gun inside my pocket, and it calmed me down a bit. After all, there was no reason to panic. If I understood the signature right, these people, whoever they were, were going after big fish. Not pawns like me. Not that I considered myself to be a pawn, but I tried my best to appear one. Helps to avoid unnecessary problems whenever there is a new gang trying to squeeze its way into Mirkwood.
I approached the back door to my appartment complex, entered the code and slowly stepped inside the entry hall. It was bright and empty, with mirror wall on one side and elevator's doors on the other. Nothing unusual, no corpses, no random people hanging about, waiting for me to step inside. I was getting paranoid, probably. But I wasn't going to let myself die just because I hadn't checked the coast.
I pressed the elevator's button and waited for it to arrive, then stepped to the side when the doors started opening. No one. Just as expected. I breathed out, got in and send the lift to my floor. The corridor was empty as well, bright as the hall downstairs. The only living soul was a pizza delivery guy, taking some cash from one of my neighbours. I narrowed my eyes, looking at him, and the guy looked back at me and turned his gaze away a bit embarrassingly. I smiled to my thoughts - I always found it amusing that people could not look into the eyes of each other, as if it was a crime. I let the pizza guy pass by me, slowly moved forward, almost expecting the neighbour to suddenly wide open his door and try and kill me, but the door remained shut, and I breathed out again, lowered my shoulders and got my hand out of the pocket. So they were not coming tonight for me. The Samaritan didn't lie, he really wanted to talk, and he didn't even sell me. Hell, maybe he wasn't even involved in the whole case, but just heard something. Maybe he was sent by someone I knew. Maybe even this slimy bastard Trevor, maybe he'd got the Feds on his tail, so he did let Alex get involved, and asked him to call me. I'd never spoken to Alex, so that made sense that I didn't recognise the voice.
I reached for my keys and opened the door. It was when I pushed the door open, something went 'cling!' in my mind. Something I, being so paranoid, managed to dismiss, but not my deep subconscious that noticed and tried desperately to send a message to my preoccupied brain. And now, when I finally calmed down, the message was delivered.
The pizza guy, his gaze, his quite astonishingly blue eyes... there was no embarrassment in his eyes. No fear. No surprise. Nothing. There was nothing.
I didn't have time to turn around when something hit me on the back of my head, and I fell into my flat.