A Bad Idea

This little vignette was inspired by a prompt from Tomi Adeyemi’s site.

**

“They told me you’re the guy to see.”

Petras locked the door to his apartment building and then turned around.  The man standing on the sidewalk was wearing an expensive suit and sunglasses.  He was the tall, dark and dangerous type.  He was the sort of man who was used to telling someone to jump and watching them do it.  Arching his brow, Petras said, “For what?”

The man looked around quickly.  Then, he lowered his sunglasses to the tip of his nose and locked eyes with Petras.  “Murder,” he said, his voice soft.

Smirking, Petras shook his head.  “You are mistaken, neighbor,” he said, as he turned away from the stranger.  He didn’t know if the man was honestly trying to hire him or if he was trying to trick Petras into agreeing to a job, so that they could prove he was an assassin.  Either way, he only took missions from one person: Velas.

“You’re not Domovoi, then?” the man said, his voice hardly more than a whisper.

Petras glanced over to find that the stranger was following him down the walk.  Scowling, he shook his head.  “Are you the madman?” he said, laughing.  “I am no domovoi.  They are ugly, hairy old men who live in equally old houses in Veligrad.”  He waved down at himself.  “I am not an ugly old man and I do not live in an old house or in Veligrad.  The hairy part… that is debateable.”  He brushed his hand over the scruffy beard on his chin.  He shook his head.  “I am no domovoi, neighbor.”

“That’s not what my information says,” the stranger persisted.

Rolling his eyes, Petras shrugged.  “You information is wrong,” he said.  He stopped and turned to face the stranger.  “Perhaps I find out from you who you are and who you are wanting dead and go to police, yes?”

Scowling, the man turned on his heel and stalked back to a rather expensive-looking black vehicle.  A man hopped out of the driver’s seat as he approached.  He opened the passenger door for the stranger and then hurried back to the driver’s seat.

As the car sped off, Petras made a mental note of the license plate number.  Then, he headed off down the sidewalk once again.  As he reached his brother’s café, he smiled.  Mykolas was writing on a little chalk sign in front of the entrance.  He was advertising the special of the day.

Just as Mykolas was standing up and turning to wave at him, Petras felt the prickle of dread.  “Down,” he snapped, leaping at Mykolas.  He was just pushing his younger brother to the ground when the shots rang out.  They’d been aiming at him, but he was certain that Mykolas would have been caught in the hail of bullets that peppered the wall above his head.

“Petras?”

“I’m fine,” Petras said, sitting up slowly.  He looked up to see a black vehicle speeding off.  Then, he looked down at Mykolas.  “Are you hurt, Kolas?”

“Just shaken, I think,” Mykolas said, his voice faint.  He sat up slowly and looked around and then sighed.  “He couldn’t do that again if he tried.”  Incredibly, there was no damage to the shop windows or the chalkboard sign on the sidewalk.  Only the woodwork bore testimony to what had happened.

Amber peered out through the shop door and scowled.  “Are you two all right?” she asked, her voice tremulous.

“Fine,” Mykolas said at the same time as Petras.  Giving a weak smile, Mykolas said, “Is everyone inside all right?”

Heaving a sigh, Amber nodded.  “By some miracle,” she said.  She gave a shaky laugh.  “Bricks stop bullets, apparently.”

“Thank the Father,” Mykolas said.  He moved to his feet and then hurried inside.  Without looking around, he swept over to the telephone behind the counter.  He smiled when he saw that Zack was already talking to someone.

“I’ll ask,” Zack said, nodding.  He looked at Mykolas and then Petras.  “Did either of you get a look at the car?”

Even as Mykolas shook his head, Petras scowled.  “A black high-end sedan of some kind.  It had a Virginia license plate: HKL 2358.”

Nodding brickly, Zack relayed the information and then said, “No one seems to be hurt, but… yeah, I kind of expected you’d be sending units down here.  You need to, like, talk to the witnesses and gather the evidence, right?”

As Zack hung up, Mykolas turned to the patrons of the café.  “Free cookies for everyone,” he said, shaking his head.  “We need to… I don’t celebrate that no one was hurt.”

“Absolutely,” someone agreed.

As Amber and Zack got the cookies together for the patrons, Mykolas turned to Petras.  “You couldn’t have seen that license plate,” he breathed in Leituvan.

“A man approached me when I was leaving my apartment,” Petras murmured.  “He wanted to hire me to kill someone.  He knew of my past, though I cannot say how.  I denied everything and threatened to call the police.”

“Petras,” Mykolas breathed.

Petras shrugged.  “Honestly, I was thinking he was police and trying to trick me,” he said.  He sighed and hugged Mykolas.  “I’m just glad that my instincts still work the way they once did.”

“You and me both,” Mykolas breathed, nodding.  He sighed when Petras kissed his brow before releasing him.  As he turned to the door, it opened and Detective Hale strode into the dining room.  Smirking, Mykolas said, “Coffee, Detective?”

**

License plate is totally made up (to the best of my knowledge).

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