‘Quaeque ipsa miserrima vidi, et quorum pars magna fui.’
(‘So many terrible things I saw, and in so many of them I played a great part.’)
Her hands were handcuffed to a wooden chair. Her face was covered with a black sack. Blood trickled down her face and onto her now scarlet t-shirt. Two huge men were standing at each side of the unconscious captive. Dim lights lit the abandoned flat, which was mostly covered in dust and had little furniture. A tall man wearing a grey suit was sitting in front of her, watching her chest rise and fall.
Soon she woke up and weakly tried to escape but the two men kept her still by punching her in the face.
“Dejadme ver su cara.” (“Let me see her face”)
One of the men pulled the black mask off the captive’s bloody face. There was so much blood trickling down her face that it seemed her skin was scarlet. Her black eyes stared directly at the man leaning on a chair with his right leg resting on his left one.
His face was a mask of calm. His hair was dark brown, his eyes the same colour as his hair. Some tattoos could be seen on his neck and on his hands.
“Well, what do we have here?” he whispered with a thick Spanish accent. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.
“The Demon… Hela Ashworth. I never thought we would meet. Do you know why you are here, Hela?”
“You are here because you messed with the Spanish Mafia. And if you mess with the Spanish Mafia you mess with me. Do you know what happens when someone messes with me, pretty girl? I mess with you.’’ Still, he acted as if he was just talking about the weather.
“Traédlo.” (Bring him in.)
Ruffling could be heard from another part of the room. Grunting sounds could be heard closer and closer as some guards obeyed their boss's command. A figure was dragged into the murky room. A man left him on the floor at Hela’s feet and stood next to one of the men behind her chair.
“Do you know this man, Hela?”
Hela brought her eyes to the man on the floor. Yes, she knew that man anywhere. He was James, her boyfriend, her love. But she had to lie.
“No.” Her voice was weak and she could barely speak above a whisper. Ricardo, that was his name. Ricardo Navarro. She had come across that name in her last hunt. She would remember that name.
“Well, so you won’t mind me doing this.” Ricardo pulled a gun out of his suit jacket and aimed it at James’ head.
“No, stop!” Hela lunged forward, making the cuffs binding her press against her bloody wrists. Shit, shit, shit.
“But you told me you didn’t know him.” Ricardo knew it was her boyfriend, and he would’ve loved to shoot that useless man in the head, but he wanted Hela to suffer.
“Okay then. Uncuff her.” His men released her from the cuffs binding her to the chair, but Hela did not move. Something was wrong.
Ricardo stood up and handed his gun to her.
“Here. Take it.”
Hela looked at Ricardo’s face and saw a smirk plastered on his face. She grabbed the gun. Maybe she could shoot this bastard’s head off. Maybe even his men as well. She had fought against greater odds.
“If you shoot anyone, a bullet goes through his head.”
Ricardo was enjoying this, a lot.
Now she was fucked.
“Now shoot him.”
Hela just stared at Ricardo holding the gun tightly. She wasn’t going to shoot James. She would die first.
“Come on, Hela. You’ve killed thousands of men. This one shouldn’t make a difference.”
Hela looked at Jame’s bloody face. He was now looking at her with those honeyed eyes.
She felt something cold and heavy touch her right temple.
“Okay, Hela. If you don’t shoot him,a bullet goes through your head.”
She let out a ragged breath. She couldn’t, she couldn’t shoot him.
“Hey, Hela. Look at me,” James whispered, “look at me.”
Her eyes met his. James just wanted to remember her face, her black eyes, her silky hair, her lips…
“Please, just do it Hela.”
Her vision started to blur as tears filled her eyes. Hela raised the gun in both hands and aimed it at Jame’s head.
“Just shoot him alr-“
His eyes were still open and they stared at her lifelessly. Those eyes would haunt her all her life. Blood spilled on the grey carpet and then everything went black.
Hela woke up panting. The alarm clock marked 3 am. Another sleepless night.
She got out of bed, taking some strands of hair off her sweaty face- or were they tears?
She moved across the bedroom in long strides, the black lace nightgown molded to her body.
Taking a bottle of bourbon, she went into the bathroom and started the tub. She took her clothes off. Tattoos covered most of her back. With ornate letters, a Latin quote was written on her upper back: “SILENTIUM EST AUREUM” (Silence is golden). Below the quote was a black snake curling and twisting around a skull. It’s head was marked at the small of her back, with its mouth open and fangs dripping venom.
Hela turned off the water and used the remote to start the flameless candles. She switched on the jets of water, and set the bottle of bourbon and glass on the side of the tub and stepped into the scorching water. She liked the feeling of the heat on her skin.
She concentrated on the faint pain of the hot water against her skin as she sank down beneath the hot water, allowing the scented water to fill her senses. The house was quiet, with only the humming of the tub’s jets to break the silence.
She reached for the bourbon, poured the spirits in the glass and sipped it with closed eyes. The pulsating slowly began to lull her into a relaxed slumber, and she began to fall into a world of darkness.