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Nine Lives
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Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

May-9-2012 18:06

The office door slammed against the wall with a bang, and papers swirled restlessly across the desks of the darkened room. He looked up from his bottle of gin, bleary eyes just registering the figure outlined in the doorway. It was tall, and from the cast of the hips and tucked in-waist silhouetted in the black trench, it was a woman. She stood on black stilettos, and a black snood concealed her hair from view as surely as the netted veil did her face.

"Who is that?" he asked nervously, squinting his eyes. There was a pause, and then the figure moved forward, legs, hips rolling smoothly in an unmistakable way. He paled; rearing back in the chair so that it almost fell. He righted it with a clatter, fingers shaking.

"A ghost?" he breathed, suddenly terrified. Was the moonshine bad? Giving him the jake- was he hallucinating? The black ensemble of the woman suddenly seemed more foreboding than chic. "You...I thought you were dead!"

She moved forward, just inches away from him in the dim lamplight. Slowly, black satin-clad hands lifted up, grasped the edge of the veil, and pulled it back. Her glossy red lips shone in a vulpine smirk in the light.

"I never die. Nine lives, you know." Molly Maltese breathed in her sotto voice. "I've been to the end of the world, my dear, and I've brought back the case to end all cases for you."

Replies

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Jun-6-2012 16:26

Riza Hawkeye sat in one of the chairs at the table, the intermittent flickering of the lights above casting unbecoming shadows across her face. With a stoic expression, she listened to Marc recount what had happened outside. The name Joseph Zeo caught her ear. Her suspicions had been confirmed.

Without staying to listen to the entire story, and without a word to anyone, Riza rose from her seat and set about wandering around the house. She was stopped by the sight of her own reflection in a bedroom mirror. Her hair was lank and pieces of it fell in front of her eyes. She looked haggard.

It was supposed to be better here. The adventure was supposed to be a distraction. It wasn't working. With her left hand she absentmindedly rubbed her belly. With her right, she slipped the knife out of her jacket.

"Riza? Where are you?" Molly's voice called from somewhere in the background, but Riza was not paying any attention.

Slowing turning the knife and watching it gleam, Riza grasped it with both hands and positioned it over her lower abdomen.

"No! Don't!" Molly suddenly yelled from behind as she tried to seize the knife from Riza.

"Let go! Dammit Molly, let go!" Riza yelled, trying to wrench it out of her grasp.

As the women fought over control of the knife, Vulkie appeared in the doorway to the room and ran over. "What's going—"

Her words were cut off as Riza finally managed to free the knife from Molly's grasp, swinging it in a wide arc that caught Vulkie right across the face. Riza froze. This momentary pause allowed Molly to seize Riza around the arms and force her to her knees. The defeated woman took short, rapid breaths as tears began to stream down her face.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Jun-6-2012 16:29

***

Riza sat on the edge of the bed. Directly across from her stood Molly, arms crossed. Lifting her head, Riza expected to see any expression except the one Molly had on her face.

Compassion. Somehow it was terrifying.

"Is—is Vulkie okay?" Riza asked in a low tone.

"She'll be fine." There was a pause. "And what about you? Do I need to confiscate all your weapons?" Molly asked, raising an eyebrow. Riza didn't respond.

Molly stood up and walked over to Riza, putting her hand on her shoulder. She leaned over and whispered in here ear, "Perhaps you should stay here for now, given your...delicate condition?"

Riza inhaled sharply. "No," she insisted, "I can't."

"And why is that?" Molly asked.

"Because Joseph Zeo's here," Riza said. She stared down at her trembling hands and willed herself to keep her voice steady.

"...And because," she continued in a whisper, "I'm carrying that bastard's child."

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Jun-6-2012 17:15

Molly closed her eyes briefly, wincing.

"I suspected you were with child. Having done it once, I know the signs. However, that is a mite worse than...well." she coughed once. "Zeo."
Bowled over by the news, she sat down next to Riza.

"First things first." she said, all business. "How far along are you? We must do what needs to be done to make sure your child is in the best of health- I certainly didn't relish swallowing those horse tranquilizer-sized vitamins but it is best. As for Zeo..."'

Molly's eyes were shadowed for a moment as she thought. "It's possible...well. Its possible we could change his course. We don't know the story- although it is a bit hard to forgive or to comprehend why he would join the Hellfire Clubs ranks after everything we've been through with them...perhaps there is an explanation we are not seeing. I think it best if we got him on his own, told him everything. You remember how he was with Josee. Perhaps, this...this out of everything could steer him back to us."

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Jun-6-2012 19:58

Marc knew almost instantly what was wrong with Riza. But out of sheer respect, he knew to keep quiet and not say a word. He lit up a cigar as he walked out to the car. Town wasn't too far away. A few minutes away to be exact. He loved the people of London; bad food, bad teeth, worst weather, etc. But if you knew the wright people, you could get some extra goods.

He smiled to himself in amusement. But the smile quickly faded when a gunshot echoed and the cigar in his mouth exploded from the bullet impact.

"Holy hell!" Marc shouted as he dove for cover. He yanked out his newest model; a nickel plated M1911 .45 with pearl grips and returned fire. Vulkie joined him moments later. "Marc, you alright?" Vulkie whispered, and Marc whispered "yes".

"Listen to me, we need to get out of here. I don't know what Riza and Molly can do, but we can try and make a run for it, give a distraction. But I need you to be focused. Do you trust me?" Vulkie asked Marc, while she carefully peeked over the side of the car. Another bullet was fired, and Vulkie swore under her breath. "Listen, this is what we're gonna do.. you are gonna drive, just keep your head down. I'll be joining you by standing on the bit of space that's next to your seat. I have 6 bullets, I'll shoot at least 2 bullets towards the bad guys. But you gotta do the driving. When I say go, start the car and take a first right. After that, it doesn't matter where you drive, as long as we can get most of them after us.." Vulkie said.

"But what about Riza and Molly?" Marc asked. "We can' t just leave them alone in that safehouse without any means of escape!' Marc added. "Marc, I'm not gonna argue here. Either we try to distract them and let them chase us, or they decide to stay and let us get away, I don't know what's gonna happen, ok!" Vulkie almost shouted hysterically. "They have a better chance to get away if we lure as many of them away, I do hope they'll follow us.." Vulkie added.


M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Jun-6-2012 20:19

"I know you're there!" Joseph Zeo shouted. "Zeo?" Marc whispered to Vulkie. She frowned. It was him. But what was he doing in this situation? Vulkie yelled to Zeo. Then Marc did. "Zeo! You freaking idiot! What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Zeo either didn't hear him or ignored him, and Marc decided that Zeo was ignoring him, because the firing continued. Marc slammed another magazine in his gun and fired another round. That round hit its mark, strait into one of the Hellfires chest. The man screamed and fell, dead,.

"Go." Vulkie whispered. Marc jumped into the car, started it and hit the gas, with Vulkie jumping in too. The car's tires spun for just a second until they hit the dirt and got traction, rocketing them forward.

By now, two more cars were in pursuit behind them. Someone fired and the bullet hit the tire. Marc cursed as he lost control, the car spinning and slammed into a light pole. "You okay?" He asked Vulkie, who nodded.

The two cars screeched to a halt behind them. Three large men got out with guns at the ready. Marc reloaded again. He was going to need to get more bullets before this adventure was over. He turned to Vulkie who reloaded the last of her ammo in her revolver. "On three we get out guns blazing. Shoot to kill." Marc said.

"One.." This was it, he knew it. They were out manned and out gunned. "Two..." his heart was racing. He had never felt adrenaline like this in years. Not since the first World War. "Three!" He shouted. The kicked the door open and fired out behind the car. The first shot went wild but the second shot found its mark in the driver of the first car. It hit him in the head. The second and third shot hit the shooter behind him. Marc walked forward firing and hitting a third man knocking him down. The man screamed in pain as the bullet passed through his right shoulder.

The two minute gun fight seemed like hours. The Hellfires regrouped and left quickly.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Jun-6-2012 20:27

"Let's get back to the safe house," Marc shouted quickly. He feared for Molly and Riza. He had left them by themselves. They jumped in an abandon car. Marc yanked out a knife and popped off the ignition cap. and started the car by shoving the knife in the ignition.

When he walked in Molly met them. She slapped him, hard across the face. "What the hell were you thinking? Do you realize we could have just been captured or killed?!"

"Hey, last time I checked, I just saved your ass." Marc said calmly. "Plu-"

"Hold that thought." Molly said. "Where is Riza?" She left to go search the house. A couple of minutes passed and Vulkie went to find Molly. Marc sighed. A minute later everyone was in the kitchen. "We got a problem," Marc said. "Joseph Zeo is working with them."

Molly looked up at him and nodded. "We know." She told them about her encounter with him.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Jun-7-2012 08:50

"Zeo! You freaking idiot! What the hell do you think you're doing?" 


Marc's comment rung in Zeo's head all night. Theo's injury gave Zeo the best excuse to retreat. He didn't want to be there in the first place, but he needed to do something to keep his 'supply' flowing. Zeo prayed that none of his friends were injured.

Zeo fired the warning shot on purpose. With his aim he could've killed Marc easily, but it was made to inform them of the ambush. Zeo didn't intend to show his face, but Vulkie recognized his voice. When he met Molly's icy stare, the shame within him welled up. Zeo told himself that they must not know about his habit.

The supply of narcotic was running low. Billings made sure Zeo was kept on a tight leash. Zeo knew he had until morning before he'd need to 'report' back, otherwise his cravings would be too much for him to handle.

The group would move out by morning the latest anyhow, given the location of the safe house was now exposed. He decided to give Molly a visit immediately, with the night as his cloak, hoping that they haven't left already. He didn't want to see Marc or Vulkie, or whoever else was in the group... unless Anais was there... actually, he didn't want Anais or anyone he truly cared about to see him like this. Zeo really didn't know what he wanted anymore.

All he knew was that this was a war between two people. If Zeo could get Molly to back down somehow, to leave town even, he could then ease himself out of this. Knowing Molly, this was probably wishful thinking; perhaps it was an excuse in itself. Zeo needed help, but never would the once proud detective admit to it.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Jun-7-2012 08:51

* * *

Zeo crept under the bitter moonless sky. All the lights in the safe house were out, except for a faint glow emanating from the room Molly usually occupied.

Perfect.

He peered into the room and saw Molly in a serious black nightgown with beautiful cuttings. Someone else was with her in the room. Riza. She looked pale, as if she hadn't eaten in days and was working double shifts.

For some reason he didn't want Riza to see him in his current state. Not at all. Exposing himself from afar was one thing, having them notice all the signs within close range was another. Zeo inched further away from the window and looked in again.

Holding a glass of wine by one hand, Molly seemed to be refusing to give Riza a drink. Zeo could faintly make out their conversation.

"If I knew you couldn't resist... wouldn't have bought the glass of wine in here... You have to think of... " Molly explained apologetically. Was Riza in trouble? Zeo knew indubitably the lure of addiction, and wished on his dear life that Riza wasn't in such trouble. He began to worry for Riza.

Zeo tried not to eave drop, but he had to wait until Molly was alone before he could show himself. He remained where he was - out of sight, in the shadow.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Jun-7-2012 11:14

"I'm sorry, my dearest." Molly was saying. "You know I'd give you a drink if I could, hell- I think we need it. Here, I'll get rid of it."

And so saying, Molly picked up the wine glass with a dramatic flourish and opened the window, inches away from where Zeo hid. "Vive la resistance!" she cried, and with a dramatic wink for Riza, flung it out the window. It shattered on the pavement below, and the shards glittered in the pale moonlight. Even Riza had to crack a smile at that.

"I think I'll tuck in for the night." Riza said finally, and Molly gave her a pat on the shoulder. "Thats probably best, dearest. It'll be better in the morning." she said, and the words rang flat and untrue in the air between them. Looking like a lost child, Riza wandered out and Molly shut the door behind her, leaning against it for a moment if only to catch her breath.

"What an interesting turn of events." she mused to herself as she checked her delicate wristwatch and began to take it off. The clasp was caught, and frowning she brought it closer to her face for inspection. "I wonder if I'll ever see these lot, and rather than running off to avert a crisis here and there, we just had afternoon tea. Just a perfectly normal tete-a-tete, wouldn't that be nice?"

In the next second she yelped as hands closed about her wrists and spun her around. Her back was against a warm, solid chest, a hand over her mouth to prevent undue screaming.

"Hello, Molly." Joseph Zeo whispered, and her eyes widened.

"MmmMMMMrRRRrrrGHPPPPPH" she said furiously against his hand, struggling like a scalded cat.

"Molly, I beg of you. I mean you no harm. I need you to hear me out. A simple talk is all I ask- you can grant me that." he pleaded, and after a moments deliberation, Molly narrowed her eyes and gave a sharp nod. He released her, and slowly she turned to face him, hands already rising to her hips.

"Boy, you sure do know--why Joseph, you look positively awful!" The anger didnt conceal the flash of concern.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Jun-7-2012 17:47

"I don't have much time." Zeo looked out the window and saw a hint of light already simmering in the horizon. "Look, Billings know why you're here, and he will not let any hiccup stop the deal from going through. He's already in contact with the Museum and the transaction is happening any time soon. Leave London. Forget this whole thing. This place isn't safe, and Riza didn't look well. Go home, take her to a doctor."

"And why are you so concerned with Riza?" Molly tested, "Look like YOU are the one who needs medical help."

"I have enough 'medical help'." Zeo gave a short cold laugh, "Riza is a good friend, I don't wish any harm on her-"

"Which includes shooting at us?" Molly raised and eyebrow to the ceiling; her fists were now firmly planted on her hips.

"Molly, I really don't want to go into this in detail. All you need to know is that I really didn't want to do it. Now, please just leave London."

Molly crossed her arms and gave Zeo a cold stare. Her answer was as clear as day.

Zeo raked his hair with his fingers, it was more difficult then he thought, but then, lately his thoughts were as solid as a sand castle by the shore. Zeo began to feel his knees buckling. His mouth was dry, and he needed a 'smoke'. It was getting worse and span shorter and short each time. Suddenly he thought of an idea.

"If I am to get you details of the transaction, the false name Billings was using for this trade plus where this was happening, then you could hijack it, posing as the Musuem representative. No blood shed... What do you think?" Before Molly could reply, Zeo felt his stomach boiled over. He vomitted out the window, right on top of the shattered wine glass. He must leave now.

"Zeo what's wrong with you?-" Molly frowned.

"Meet me two days from now at this exact time." Zeo told Molly the name and location of a secluded bar, "Tell no one that you saw me. PLEASE." Zeo climbed down from the window, almost falling. He didn't even have time to apologize for the mess.

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