A Hard Way to Heaven

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Chapter 11

Paris, France

Anton Louvella woke suddenly at the chime of his cell phone. He slipped his hand from under the woman that slept beside him, kissing her shoulder. He threw off the covers and grabbed his phone off the bedside table, rubbing his face, spying the time on the digital clock. His eyes dropped to the phone's screen, squinted, trying to make out the numbers. He sighed, reaching for his glasses. He slipped them on, and quietly groaned recognizing the number now. He stood, and walked naked to the double balcony doors across the bedroom. His sea-green eyes looked out at the twinkling lights of Paris, and answered, calculating the time difference, "This better be good." He stretched, cracking his back, running a hand through his rich auburn hair.

"My hunch was right."

"His proclivity is making the news even here." Laughter rang in his ear

"Just a bit of fun I'm sure. You know his tastes, the need."

The sound of the amused voice churned Louvella's stomach, "Élan, it is depraved and disgusting. You need to reel him in"

"We get results. You know how he is...he needs this to maintain control."

There was that Louvella thought. His lads did get results, but at what costs. He had to think quick, "You know your directive."

"They sent him, they sent Akir, and I'm sure his cousins will follow."

"You missed his brother in Edinburgh. Cleaning up that fiasco wasn't easy. I don't need to tell you what to do."

Laughter, "Miscalculation, didn't think the bastard was as tough as his soldier brother." After a moment pause, Élan sighed, "Then you approve of what we want to do...the reward he wants, what I want."

"Of course." He took a deep breath, "We know exactly where she is, and the other one is here in Paris...but..."

He could feel the tension, "But what..."

"The other, stops. Keep your insatiable appetites under control for once."

Louvella heard silence, brought his phone down, and saw his home screen, the call disconnected. "Merde." He turned at the sleepy voice behind him.

"Sweetheart?" The honey toned voice sometimes irritated his nerves. He wondered if her appeal was waning? Had she served his purpose long enough?

"Here darling."

"Who was that?" The woman rose up, grabbing the covers about her body.

"Élan." He sighed, his eyes still on the city.

"And?"

"The stars are aligning. He has found Macdonald, and his...their needs have brought out the brothers."

The woman laughed, "That is no problem. You know that the laochra, those warriors are crippled by the changes in the law. Let Élan and Andreas do as we planned."

Louvella tapped the edge of his phone against his lips. Still there was very plausibility that their well laid plans could be thwarted. He turned around, knowing what he had to do, "Yes, yes." He returned to the bed, leaned over, smiling, kissed her lips, and crawled back over her. "Come here."

Port Lewis, NY

Andreas Louvella stepped out onto his expansive patio, and built a fire in his fire pit. He had slept undisturbed for a good ten hours, waking refreshed just after sunset. He lifted an Adirondack chair and carried it to a spot before the flames. His fished his Bose remote out of his pocket, and hit the control panel, scrolling through his hit list looking for one song in particular, Jimi Hendrix's, Lullaby for the Summer. As the song streamed through the outdoor speakers, he retreated into his glass enclosed living room, to the wet bar, fixed a single malt, and returned to his chair. He sat back and closed his eyes, replaying the scenes of his latest killing in his mind. He toyed with his souvenir, brought the pair of silk panties to his nose, and inhaled her scent. Andreas knew it was time to let go of the evidence of his crime. He was smart, far more intelligent than those other serial killers sensationalized in the press. Their downfall was their ego, keeping these precious tokens well beyond their sell by date. He took one last sniff of her scent, and thought back to the moment he had made the decision to end her life.

He had spent three weeks watching several of the women of the strip-club, shadowing their movements to and from their work. The girl he finally chose was truly special in more ways than one. She would be the easiest, hardly deviating from her routine. The dancer harbored one weakness, and he would exploit it to the fullest. More so than the others.

Money.

She had been a recent university grad over burdened with student debt and had become an exotic dancer to pay off those hefty bills quickly. His mind flashed back through the images. He took a long drag off his cig, and flicked it into the gutter outside the strip joint. He needed some fresh air, the tight spaces inside pushing his control to the limits. The adrenaline rush of his art was waning, and Andreas needed a fix. How long had he gone this time without feeding the dragon? Two, three days? Tonight he would feed his lust.

Everywhere was wall-to-wall delectable eye candy for him to engorge on. But there was only one babe in there that had his dick standing at full mast, and Andreas grinned as his final plan took form. He nodded at the bouncer and returned to the semi-darkness and neon lights. Nine Inch Nails, "The Downward Spiral" blared from the speakers as the dancers gyrated around metal poles, along the catwalk. He took up a stool in front of a pretty red head.

He pounded down another vodka on ice and motioned to the girl that danced before him. He held up a c-note as she leaned down. He whispered in her ear, and she smiled, nodded. She pointed to a roped off area and told him she would fetch the other woman for him. He handed her another hundred and crossed the room to the private area.

Booths lined the wall and he could see various males enjoying private lap dances with the pretty laddies. He took a seat and a waitress stepped to his side. He rubbed a hand up her thigh and ordered another iced vodka with a twist of lemon peel. He did not have to wait long for either drink or the woman. Her white outfit, thick red hair, and white lipstick reflected the black lighting. He saw someone else floating about the booths and knew the man was dealing. Andreas crooked his finger and the man slithered to him. "Have you got blue?"

The dealer nodded and Andreas held up another hundred dollar bill, exchanging it for the drug. He stashed a dozen small wax envelop into his pocket and turned back to his target. He held up several Benjamin's, and the lady smiled, he laughed, thinking this was going to be an easy night.

He had asked her for several private lap dances, easily shucking out several thousand dollars to lure her in. He had left the club early and was in position for her trip home. He initiated his drama a few minutes before she drove into the convenient store to pick up her usual late night snack, an after work large soda and fresh-baked doughnut. He had punctured one of his tires and had pulled into a parking spot. He stood leaning against his car, faking a phone call to a tow company. Andreas had let her walk into the store to purchase her treats. As she walked out, he called out waved, and their conversation had initiated. He listening to how her evening had gone as he complained that he couldn't find someone to help fix the tire. Their banter was lite, like old friends.

The honey had his fly.

She had stayed as he changed his tire. At one point he had asked her to go in and grab a drink for him, giving her a fifty. Trust had been assured as she left her purse open on the edge of the hood of his car. He waited, knowing that cameras watched him and met her as she came out with his drink, reaching for her purse and handing it to her, and slipping his device into the depths of the leather bag without her knowledge. He told her to keep the change from the bill and finished his work. He put his tools away and said goodbye. He walked her to her car, and held her door as she got in. The finality of that door closing was music to his ears. He smiled, waving again as she drove off. None would be the wiser, the footage on the reel to reel showing two good friends meeting and parting. He got into his car and turned over the engine. He backed out of the parking lot and followed behind her at a good distance, knowing the range of his little technological baby.

Andreas smiled as his target turned down the perfect street. He cut his lights as he too turned the corner and counted, knowing the distance. He depressed one of the buttons on his remote and watched his target's car die, the electric locks freeze. He pulled over silently and stopped, watching her try to turn over the engine with no luck. He watched her panic as she could not open the door. He depressed another button and watched the wisp of white smoke fill the car. Soon his target slumped to the side and he got out of his own car, pulling on gloves. He approached the car and depressed the final button, hearing the distinctive click of the locks disengaging.

He opened the door and his target fell into his arm, "Hello beautiful."

Andreas stood, tossed the underwear into the flames and watched the garment catch fire. He watched the flames consume the entire piece before walking to the edge of his patio that had commanding views of Port Lewis, and Lake Erie beyond. Lights twinkled on and off under a cloudless, starry night. He inhaled deeply the sweet air and grinned. It was time to kick his next plan into a higher gear, envisioning the final details of the plan as he surveyed the vista before him.

He turned back to the house, went through to his kitchen as the music followed him. He went to the fridge and rummaged through the contents, pulling out a nice thick Porterhouse steak and fresh asparagus. He cleaned the veggies and nipped off the ends, putting them aside. He went to his pantry and found a nice Idaho and cleaned it, puncturing it and putting it in the microwave. He went to his seven burner Sterling, seasoned the slants and fired up the grill, turning on the overhead fan. He pulled out a flat bottom copper pan from the drawer below the grill and filled it with a quarter-inch of water adding a bit of salt. He waited till bubbles started to form and then put the veggies into the pan. He opened up the brown paper covering the meat and held his hand over the grill, feeling its' readiness. He carefully laid the meat on the grill, hearing it sizzle. He hit the microwave and started the potato.

He pulled out one of his Chroma steak knives and steel to sharpen the edge. He relished the sound of the metal chiming as he filed the knife over the edge. He wiped it off on his clean tea towel as the microwave beeped. He turned over his potato, the steak, the veggies cooking them to perfection. He went to his fridge and pulled out some Bleu cheese and then from a climate controlled closet, a bottle of Merlot. He went back and pulled the meat from the grill and let it sit as he finished the rest of his meal. The buzz and vibrate of his phone in his front pocket alerted him to a text. He fished the tech out, and looked at the screen, smiling. The pieces of the chess match were assembled, his opponent awaiting his next move.

Fifteen minutes later he sat down at his dining room table. He hit the remote on his large plasma HDTV as he sat, ready to eat. He could see the evening news from his seat and watched, knowing his handiwork had been found. Soon the moths would come to the flame, and he had to create one more bright star to guide them them all to the playing field. All but one, he would save her for last.

He cut a bite of meat and put it into his mouth where it melted like butter. His eyes looked down as he again cut into the meat, and he smiled, savoring his meal mulling over his next target, and how she would die as the blood oozed out of the steak. Tonight, the hunting would be the sweetest.

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