As with all of the few tune-ins I’ve ever permitted myself in the company of others, I have remained socially functional throughout my tune-in to Angel, if a little quieter than usual; and although this was a deeper tune-in than I’ve ever done, my transition back into full social involvement is only a small jolt. I’m exhilarated to recognise how much my ability to cope with and wield my sight has developed, since my initial nervous testing of its parameters on the subway after first meeting Marc.
A pleasant surprise appears beside me, in the shape of Evelyn, who is talking with Alaia on the fringes of Lucan’s gang. Alaia was right, then, to say that Evelyn hadn’t looked like someone who was ready to sleep when we all left the recording studio: for here she is, with a glow fresh and used, out on the town and up for more fun. “Jaymi!” she says. “What a small world. We’re going down to Paradise right now, the three of us. I’m driving us.”
At this moment, I notice Flames becoming aware of a bulky object sitting on his busy bar-top draped in a black cloth, inconspicuous but mysterious. Curious, he removes the cloth, then jumps back in horror to see Lucan’s head with two daggers stuck deep into its forehead. “Oh, SHIT!” he shouts, staggering back. Talk in the bar dies down, as everybody turns and stares at Flames, then at Lucan’s severed head. A horrified intake of breath makes way for a brief stunned silence, then a slowly rising babble. Flames’s composure is not restored when out from the crowd steps Lucan, head intact, and stands before the object, glaring fiercely at it. “Lucan! Oh it’s you, thank god. I mean I knew it was you, but—well, I don’t mean that thing was you,” babbles Flames, and tails off.
The likeness is striking, capturing both Lucan’s beauty and the violence in his eyes, although the original is superior in both details.
Lucan looks up and stares around. Silence falls. “That’s a declaration of war,” he states with a menacing calm. “Who made it?”
There are sidelong glances, mumbles and shiftings of feet.
“Angel was next to it at the time,” blurts Kev; and without a sound being uttered by either him or Angel, the air between the two becomes a poisonous furrow of hissing bile and snake excrement.
“And Evelyn was pretty close,” jokes Flames, but as soon as he has spoken he winces.
“Trade rivals in Red Bank,” grunts Damian. “They could have had someone sneak in, park this here, then sneak out—easy.”
As general talk wells up again, there’s a tug at my sleeve. It’s Evelyn, pulling Alaia and me quietly towards the door. “Let’s go,” she mouths in silence.
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