In a cold, dark warehouse, a green light blinked on and a possum jumped back.
“You've woken her up now,” the possum whispered frantically. “I told you to leave her alone.”
“I just want a bit more,” the other man answered. He jabbed a couple of sharp fingers under his prisoner's ribs. “You worry too much. Look, she's not even moving.”
Darren winced. “Yet.”
“She's tied up. What's she gonna do?”
“She probably doesn't need to do anything,” Darren said, unaffectedly mysterious. “Honestly, Frisco, just leave it.”
Frisco, obviously tired of his cohort's apprehensions, turned his attention back to the unfortunate captive. “We've been waiting a long time to get our hands on you,” he told her. “A long time.”
Minty hung motionless from her chains. She gave no indication, other than the weak glow of her right eye, that she was still alive, let alone awake. Frisco moved closer to her, took a handful of her dress in his spider-leg fingers and gave it a sharp downward tug. His breath crawled over her neck. “The boss will be back soon,” he whispered. He licked the corner of her mouth, dragging his papery tongue slowly across the point where the light from Minty's eye turned the escaping Dust green. He let it linger there for a moment before going on, “Then we'll have some fun.”
“The boss will be back soon,” Darren said, his whisper lost in the urgency of what he was saying. “I think we should go.”
Frisco turned on Darren suddenly and hissed, his own eyes glowing bright yellow in the feeble light that seeped in from under the storeroom door.
Darren took a step back. He didn't like Frisco and he really didn't like being left alone with him. At the best of times, Frisco was malicious, spiteful and psychopathic. He seemed to truly delight in causing pain and he was unnaturally at ease around Minty – a walking disfigurement whom Darren regarded with mortal dread. But at least, Darren realized, taking another backward step toward the door, he knew where he stood with the rabbit girl. If she decided to back to life and kill them all, he was sure it would be done without pretence. Frisco might stab him in the back as soon as look at him – and with Frisco, the stabbing would be as literal or figurative as the bastard chose to make it.
“I'm busy,” Frisco growled, displaying a mouth full of too-long, crooked teeth.
Darren couldn't work out why the boss kept Frisco around. Well, he amended mentally, he wished he couldn't work out why. But it was obvious. Frisco wasn't afraid to get things done. Frisco would get anything done.
“Maybe she's not the only one who needs to be taught a lesson,” Frisco said, taking a step toward Darren and raising a horrible hand. With his sick grin, it was impossible to guess whether or not he was joking and Darren wasn't keen to find out for sure.
There was a sound in the corridor, the telltale sound of their employer's footsteps on the concrete floor. Frisco heard it, started and appeared to melt into the shadows and Darren, under the seemingly watchful eye of Minty, crept away as quietly as he could.