Chapter 11- Serious talk
“Hey, amigos!“, Krypto said with feigned enthusiasm as Hugo and Lillian stepped in the back of his Dodge Conqueror. “So, uh, guessing you two are back together?“. He already knew the answer to that question.
“Yeah! We decided it’s best to accept the past mistakes and just move on!“, Lillian responded- her voice now full of passion, joy, and emotion. Hugo and she had wide, warm smiles on their faces. Krypto began driving.
“So, where we off to?“, he asked the couple in the back- as if he were chauffeuring a newlywed pair.
“My place.“, Hugo said with a confident upwards nod. A thought pinged off in Krypto’s mind. He simply snapped his fingers and formed a finger gun shape- as if to say ‘you’re the man’ to Hugo. Best to keep that thought to himself. Hugo leaned forward and entered the address into the GPS.
“Music?“, Krypto asked, although he pretty much knew the answer. Or, so he thought.
“Sure. Just don’t turn it up to 11, okay?“, Hugo replied- musing over the time where Krypto had nearly made him deaf with dubstep. To Lillian and Hugo’s confusion, instead of a convulsion of loud bass and techy sounds, a... choir began signing. Lillian recognised it immediately.
“Requiem 626? Didn’t realise you were one for the classics!“, she mused- although, internally, Lillian was in incredible disbelief. Utterly dumbfounded, much like her boyfriend.
“Yeah, I find Mozart to be... soothing. Helps me think and focus, y’know?“, Krypto responded. He glanced back at the couple in the back of the Dodge Conqueror. Lillian was tightly wrapped around Hugo- resting upon his chest- as if listening to the music of his newly fixed heart. Their breathing was calm and steady. Krypto smiled behind the mask. In reality, his genius mind was churning with the thoughts of Hugo’s previous words. And the devils on his shoulders were screaming. They pierced his synthetic eardrums like sniper rounds- leaving an ear-splitting, blood-spilling ring which lasted for what seemed like a lifetime. Krypto knew he had to talk to him. But not now. Let him enjoy the little pocket of happiness with his girl. Enjoy the music. Enjoy the night-time cruise through the city. Besides, she didn’t need to get tied up into this mess.
All around them, Twilight City was in full bloom. Fully alive as the night grew older ever so slowly. The lights of skyscrapers bounced off the blacked-out windows of Krypto’s ride. The teeming of night life buzzed outside of the window as the car weaved its way through quiet and busy back alleys. It joined in with the Requiem like the sweet sound of a lullaby. It all allowed Krypto time to think long and hard about the impending confrontation.
Soon enough, the GPS’ voice announced that they had arrived at Hugo’s house- tucked away in a little corner of nowhere. It certainly looked cosy.
“Yo, Hugo. Can you... wait up? I need to speak to you. Alone.“, Krypto asked in a politely feigned tone.
“Sure. I’ll be inside in a minute, Lil”. Lillian smiled at him- kissing him on the cheek before stepping out. She gave him a small wink from her right eye- an implicit way of saying ‘Don’t keep me waiting’. Krypto picked it up- like he does with anything. Another flag pinged in his head- but it was completely ignored. The matter at hand had overridden its importance. Sighing heavily, Krypto locked the doors of the Dodge Conqueror with a panging click. Krypto then pulled a gun from the glovebox and leaned it on the passenger seat diagonally to him. He stared Hugo down for a moment before speaking. He could feel his intimidation. His fear. Krypto felt in charge. Powerful, almost.
“So, you wanna sabotage our next job, eh?“, he asked sternly- eyes deadlocking with Hugo’s from behind the mask. Hugo seemed paralysed with fear.
“Wha-what do you mean?“, he responded with a voice trembling with terror. Krypto noted his shudders.
“Check the top-right shoulder of your jacket. On the back”, Krypto ordered. Hugo did so and pulled the listening device off with a firm tug. His face now wore an expression of shock and panic. Krypto nodded- as if to say, ‘that’s right’. He now held the gun straight to Hugo’s head. Barrel to brain. Finger on the trigger. Eyes staring menacingly. Arm steady.
“I should kill you where you sit, choom.“, Krypto began with a sinister voice, “But I don’t wanna do that. You’ve been through enough. Plus, you’ve got another chance with your girl, so I don’t wanna be the guy who spoils it.“, Krypto explained- taking sympathy upon Hugo.
“I’ll make you a deal. You stay out of the job, and you and your girl can live. But you’re both outta the Ghosty Boys either way. But, if any of you interfere... then you die. Pretty straightforward. Understood, choom?“, Krypto asked bitterly- eyes still deadlocked with Hugo’s. He nodded slowly.
“Understood.“, he responded. No if’s, no but’s, no maybe’s. Just plain old acceptance out of fear and desperation.
“I just saved your life, choom. You’re welcome. Now, you and Lillian go and enjoy your first night together again. But don’t say a damn word about this. I’ll know if you do.“. Krypto unlocked the doors and beckoned Hugo to get out. He still appeared paralyzed with fear- as if he had been forced to swallow any form of protest due to immediate danger.
Shutting the car door, Hugo trudged through the door of his house. His mind was heavy, heart weighty, and body tired.
Krypto’s words stung. Burned, even. Who knew the kid could be so... persuasive?
Hugo now had a tough gamble to make. One of life or death.
And one which he had to keep to himself.