A call had gone out to all killers. Your services are wanted, no, needed. Next lives are on the line you know, and we, His followers, pray for your valuable assistance in this matter. We don’t want killers with signature moves that keep detectives aware of their handiwork. We don’t need reputation or notoriety. We don’t want high-profile assassins. Keep away flamboyant mob bosses and glory seeking clowns. We need killers who can keep the mark restrained while gentle bloodied hands guide the shaking knife blade of a senior citizen into their palpitating heart. We want the young and willing, the thrill seeking, or charitable. The ones who will keep quiet, and loyal, and not run off after the first few jobs. A call was sent out all across Hades in hopes of dragging up something useful.
This had better be where he came in, or Grey would be more than a bit upset. Tilda sauntered alongside him. A funny thing about the cats he knew (especially Tilda), was that when they were alone, or with no one but others of their kind, they tended to slink about in London’s ink-spill shadows, each step a full extension of all of their limbs, tail and head included. Yet with him they sauntered. Doing a little jog along the pavement where each bounce jostled a mew out of of them. Not a loud, announcing mew, nor a communicative one, but a half-assed pathetic thing that died halfway up their throats. He supposed it was more to remind him that they were there and hungry and he should no soon forget it than sleep with that old pig of a countess, Mary.
Another thing about cats (especially Tilda), was that even while walking, they managed to find a way to shred the cuffs of his trousers. Those little knives that they keep in their mittens pop out carelessly as they claw for attention and end up costing him a trip to the tailors, or worse, the more convenient yet less pleasant sewing room in the palace where rich little girls learn to poke needles into business that doesn’t belong to them.
Most men would get turned away at those forever-perfume-stained doors, but he was not most men. And he had permission due to some unofficial royal rule proclaiming that he must look presentable at all times. And those desperate ladies would never mind a visit from him. A damn shame.
Tilda wanted to stop. She probably wanted some food too. But oh no, looks like Grey forgot to pack a lunch for his murder mission. No money either. Grey would do that.
Mr. Heneson never would, Grey thought to the rhythm of Tilda’s jumping almost-meows. Mr. Heneson was a proper man out on the respectable side of town in a simple black waistcoat made by women less concerned with remeasuring his hips and crotch again to “make sure they got it right” and more concerned with being paid up front. He was young and smooth and the master of his fate.
Boy might though. It was infinitely interesting how everyone, or at least every man in the palace only seemed to remember his name when they wanted something from him. They would go from, “Careful not to be too much underfoot boy,” to, “Grey, we need for you to rescue the kidnapped aristocracy.” As if he could refuse. He must, as they would often say, “Know his place.” Of course, Boy knew his place; it was the source of his meals and his ticket to a bed somewhere beyond bars.
Then there was Sir. Little girls flitted about him, twittering nonsense whilst batting their eyes and shifting up their skirts. “Hello good sir.” “Can I help you sir?” And another inch of stockinged calf was revealed.
Sometimes, he observed them in dress only. An expensive trendy frock with hair in meticulously set rings held captive by berry colored ribbons, or a worn work dress nearing the end of its long life with oily strands plaited hurriedly back and woefully unadorned. No matter the status of the girl, he often heard them whispering things about him and about what they would like him to do to them. Friend to friend to friend.
At eighteen years in age, he was too tall, too slim, too charismatic to go unnoticed. With eyes that mixed in just one color too many to be considered a normal blend, and skin just pale and pore-less enough to turn a portion of any light into a gleam. Not to mention he had inherited Snow White’s hair of fucking ebony. A perfect, doll-like contrast between porcelain and raven down. He was destined to be trapped in this web of feminine lust, honey and cream lathered voices, and whispers made by frocks of all classes.
A sudden yowl ripped through his traffic jammed marketplace of thoughts. In a rare show of clumsiness, Grey had missed a half-mew beat and stepped on Tilda’s calico tail. If it were any other cat, he would have cussed out that animal with words that would send them both straight to hell. But Tilda was his favorite and that did have some merits. He crouched down to pet the animal in apology and enjoy the quiet, uniquely empty side street in all its dark glory.