The interior of the home, once quaint English county, lay ripped and broken. Solace walks across what used to be the living room and through the not so hidden door behind the bookcase. Byron’s old writing den looks horrible, pages torn away from their spines litter the floor along with shattered inkwells and snapped pens. Very much like it was all those years ago.

Righting a knocked over stool, Solace drags it to the broken window and lights a cigarette. He takes a drag, takes a seat and waits. He watches the time on his wrist, eventually blinking in pace with every tick. Slowly the dust and mess clears, the wreckage moves and he finds himself the audience to a memory.

“Solace, get in here!” Byron yells, his pen still in full scribble.

“What it is?” I say. I forgot I had such bad hair back then.

“Listen to this, what if we have James―”

“Jim.”

“Whatever, what if we have him take the car keys away from Charles… fine Charlie, what if he takes them from him?”

“But Jim isn’t going to crash the car like Charlie would. We need the crash for dramatic effect.”

Holy shit, we were terrible at this. I really thought I was good at this. But look at me, I was confident in my work and the work of my friend, we were that good. I don’t like this memory. Let’s go to a new one.

Byron and I riding the gondola was a weekend ritual, Stewart the rower was a nice chap to wait for us every morning and take us around till midafternoon. We wrote constantly, silently as Stew sang Beethoven’s Fidelio with his thick Welsh accent. Those were wonderful days.

“Are you thinking about him again?” her voice snaps solace back into the broken room. He looks up at her through squinted eyes. He flicks his cigarette out of the window and stands.

“Hi Nancy, long time no see.”

“His greatness remembers little old me after all these years? How nice.” She maneuvers her heels around the debris, hands in her pockets and evil smile on her face. She is a foot shorter then Solace and still looks down at him.

“How could I forget such a horrible woman?” he lights another cigarette, which she takes.

“You know why I’m here?”

“Your town ran out of children to steal and devour with your specialized hinged jaw?”

“I don’t have that problem after moving into a big city. No I’m here to give you some information on Byron.”

“Why.”

“He’s ruining my business.”

“Go on, I’ve used the best joke I had.”

“How I miss your rapid-fire wit. I’m in the mercenary business and his little challenge is thinning out my stock. I have information, and in return I want you to end this little homo-erotic game you two have going on.”

“Why would I help you?”

“What he saw in that thick little head of yours is beyond me. If you find him, you end this, and you can go back to your boring little life as a writer for hire, in turn I get my armies back.”

They stare at each other, neither blinking. Solace grabs hold of her and pushes her into the desk, she wraps her arms and legs around him. He drags his hands the length of her torso and wraps his fingers around her neck.

“Fine, I need you to get a certain team of mercs back for me as soon as possible. They go by the McWrither brothers.” She says, busying her hands. “They’re my best demolition crew and I have a job in Bosnia coming up.

“Why is it always Bosnia?”

“Real life bad guys watch movies, too.”

“How good is this information you have for me?”

“I can tell you who in your little group is working for Byron.”

Solace tightens his grip, “I could just choke it out of you.”

“We both know you can’t,” she says, gasping after every word. “But we can gamble with their safty if you like.”

Solace lets her go, “Where are they?”

“Still looking through the wreckage of your manor.”

“What are they doing there?”

“Byron hired them to kill you.”

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