Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

The Man in Charge wears a transparent faceplate. The only muscles still present are the ones needed to move his eyes, eyelids, and jaw. The rest is just chalk-white bone under two inches of glossy, transparent resin. The irises of his expressionless eyes are bright yellow.

The rest of his skin is grey. I cannot tell his race. I call him The Man in Charge because he is not tied to a chair and he has a gun.

He has boosted muscles pushing the seams of his suit to their limits. I’m sure he has custom clothes for his frame but I guess the suit was last minute to get into this charity dinner and up to my room.

I heard a few seams purr open when he body slammed me onto the plush carpet. It was the first ten seconds of six very painful minutes he used to make sure that I was both motionless and paying attention. The carpet is now a Pollock painting of my blood. I don’t think I’ll ever walk properly again and I’m done playing the piano.

My security would have arrived by now so I can only assume that they’ve been bought out or killed.

The Man in Charge looks at me with an almost insectile curiousity. He opens a cel phone, dials a number, and attaches it to my head with a thick rubber band. He gets close and I can tell that he isn’t sweating or breathing hard.

This thing in front of me is worth millions and I’m guessing that it’s just an exotic henchmen.

I hear the digital chirp of a ring tone in a different continent before the click of a receiver being picked up. It sounds like a party.

“Ronald? You there, Ronald, you old scamp?” says a drunk London accent.

I recognize the voice immediately. I gift the Pollock painting in the carpet with a convulsive jet of urine.

“Have you met La Lune? He’s the exquisite man I told to get your attention. I trust he has? He’s a very…ah….thorough employee. Angela!” the voice on the other end of the line says. He’s talking to someone else at the party now. “How nice to see you. Just a second dear, I’m in the middle of something. Talk to you soon. Ronald? You still there?” he asked.

I gurgle through missing teeth something approximating a positive response.

“Good, good. La Lune should be setting up a video feed now so that we can all learn a valuable lesson. There’s a few people here that aren’t entirely on board yet and I need to show them what happens to people who try to jump ship. Can you see him?” he asked. I can almost smell the champagne on his breath.

La Lune is indeed setting up a tripod and a small camera a few feet away. It’s pointed at me.

I think the next few minutes are going to bring me new experiences.

The red light comes on.

I hear cheers from the phone.

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Before dinner gets underway, I must ask you to bring your attention to the screens above the buffet tables and at either end of the hall. The man in the chair is a man you’ll recognize. He was here just last week. He left our little organization with the idea of telling the outside world about our plans.” He said.

“He will be our entertainment before dinner.” He said. “La Lune? You may proceed.”

La Lune, the skullface in the tux, nodded and walked towards me.

I figured I might as well scream.


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