By S.B. Rodgers
Mammon stalked in front of the boy, the soles of his shiny black shoes clacking against the damp cement. He stopped and turned to face him. The young angel was bound, his arms tied with a length of thick old rope that smelled as much of the sea as the nearby docks did. The roughly woven cloth bag was pulled off of his head by Freja, who dropped it carelessly to the ground as she walked gracefully to her master’s side.
The boy shivered, pain, terror and exhaustion all working against him. One of his wings was gone, sliced off cleanly by Fenris when the boy had tried to escape. He hadn’t tried again, and they had managed to pull him into a warehouse on the docks with no real difficulty.
“Even in a city named after a holy man, you seem to be at a disadvantage.” Mammon said, eyeing him coolly.
The boy shook on his knees, feeling the blood oozing down his back and pooling at the base of his spine. He gritted his teeth to keep them from chattering. The bay breezes were cold, seeping in through the old corrugated metal that made up the building and piercing his wet clothes. “Wh-what do you want with m-me?” He managed to stutter out, unable to keep his voice under control.
“Information. I need to know something; something about a guardian, here, in America.” He stared at him, his pale eyes burning into the boy’s own dull blue.
“I’m j-just a messenger. That b-bag has my delivery.”
Mammon looked at Freja for confirmation. She nodded, gesturing to her brother. “Fenris.”
He grinned lopsidedly at her “Yes?”
“The bag, brother. Check the bag he was carrying.”
“Ah.” Fenris produced a heavy paper bag from inside his filthy camel coat, opening it and sticking his hand inside. He spoke as he rummaged noisily “Feels like…some sort of…bread? Maybe? And a…a paper!” He pulled his hand out of the bag, holding up a piece of paper and a loaf of strange bread. Fenris handed the paper to Mammon reverently, who showed no interest in the bread. Fenris took it as a sign and took a big bite of it.
Freja stared at him in exasperation, shaking her head in disbelief. Fenris munched away, not bothering to swallow before he took another bite “What? It’s good!” he spoke around the food, his words coming out garbled.
Mammon ignored them, intently reading the note he held in his gloved hand, his piercing eyes running across the page. “Who was this for?” he finally asked, fixing his gaze on the boy, who sat silently shivering in front of him.
The boy sniffed, inhaling through his nose “What does it matter to y-you?”
Mammon tilted his head, staring at him for a moment. “Fenris.” He called out. Fenris paused, his hand in the bag, reaching for more bread. “Break his leg.”
Fenris swallowed the food in his mouth before grinning happily. “Which one?”
Mammon smiled unpleasantly, the motion not reaching past his lips. “Surprise me.”
* * *
The boy had put up less resistance than the others. It was mildly disappointing, Mammon thought. The dogs got so much more enjoyment if the prey was stronger. He had given much more information than the others, though. After his legs were broken and Freja began working his remaining wing, the boy had talked. Well, sobbed, more like.
But his information, if it was true, was invaluable. If it was true, they were looking for a man named Aiden. That had been the name on the boy’s lips as he died. That was the man they would seek out. According to his network of minions, Aiden was a very powerful guardian, and apparently he had a young daughter.
Mammon smiled his unsavoury smile again. A plan had formed in his mind. He called out to his dogs, who were standing together at the end of the pier. Fenris was hunched over the body, plucking at the wing with his fingers. At the sound of their master’s voice, both of their heads whipped around, seeking him out with their blue eyes in the gloomy, late-night fog. “Throw it in and let’s go. We have a young lady to visit.”
He turned and began walking away through the mist, a chill breeze playing with the pale, damp hair that clung to his forehead.Dreadful wet place, he thought, his lip curling in distaste. He heard the splash, somewhat muffled in the fog. Mammon nodded curtly in satisfaction. The night had ended well—for himself, at least.