Mr. Dark 5

By: Lauren Landish



That morning, I used my freshly minted ID badge to scan my way through security just like the other three guys on the cleaning team. It was getting late, just after five thirty in the evening, but I knew that Han Faoxin would still be at work. Despite her second life as one of the biggest crime lords (or Lady) of the city, she was a pretty good teacher, and that day she had debate team that lasted until six o'clock. Afterwards she would probably stick around another hour before any of her night time work began.

My plan was simple, to take her out in her room when she wasn't prepared. Unfortunately, the school's scanners were much more advanced than a simple metal detector, so I couldn't even bring a ceramic knife onto the grounds. Instead, I had to made do with what I could get within the school.

I was pushing a mop bucket slowly down the hallway when "Anita Han" came around the corner, chatting with one of her students.

"So next week I want you to focus on tightening up your rebuttals. You have the facts down, and your rhetoric is good, but you tend to ramble a bit too much in between points. Remember, debate isn't quite the same as public speaking where you can keep the audience in the palm of your hand for twenty minutes. In debate, you're being held to a very strict timeline, and the moderator will cut you off if you go over that time."

"Okay Ms. Han," the student, a pretty little girl who was probably a junior or senior, replied. She looked like the sort of girl who was probably involved in student government, and in a more innocent time would have been dating the quarterback of the football team. She had that sort of innocent sweetness to her. "Is there anything else?"

"Not at all Stacey," Faoxin replied. "Just remember that next practice you're doing the moderator's role, so I want you listening and giving good feedback to your teammates. They kind of let you down today, so that's why I asked you to stay late. See you tomorrow."

Stacey disappeared around the corner, and I waited another minute before making my move. Pushing my mop past the now open door to Faoxin's room, I saw her sitting at her desk, checking a pile of papers that looked like they might have been a set of tests or something similar. In any case, her head was down, which is what I wanted. Pushing my mop and bucket inside, I went inside the room.

"One of you guys already got the garbage," Faoxin said, not raising her head. I was glad, since it meant there was a greater chance of her not being totally focused on who I was.

"Mopping," I said, intentionally pitching my voice soft and slightly lispy. I didn't want her knowing who I was just yet. "Sorry."

Faoxin kept her head down, and I took the opportunity to pull the door closed behind me. I didn't know if the other door to the room was locked or not, but it at least cut off the room visually. Faoxin looked up when she heard the door close, her eyes wary. She looked at me for the first time, her eyes widening as she realized who I was. "Snowman."

"Fao," I replied, using the shortened name we had used years before when I had been her bed partner. "Long time no see."

Faoxin set her papers aside, keeping her hands where I could see them. That didn't mean I didn't think she wasn't hitting some sort of panic button with her foot, and we had less than five minutes to finish this. "I didn't think I'd see you so soon," she said, smiling. "I was kind of hoping that our history would have given me a bit more time to enjoy my life, or maybe you'd let me walk away without having to be killed."

"After what you've done since your father died, did you really think that was an option, Fao?" I asked, setting my foot against the shaft of my mop. I stepped hard and twisted, snapping the wood a bit shorter than I would have liked, but still giving me a stick that was just over two and a half feet long. "Han Faoxin, you have failed this city."

Faoxin rolled her eyes and got to her feet, picking the pen up off her desk. She reached down and pulled a long metal ruler from under her desk blotter, and even from across the room I could see the glitter of the sharpened edge. I suspected that while perhaps not as sturdy as a real sword, the wrapped end and relatively hefty weight would give her more than enough cutting ability to inflict major damage if she had the chance.

"You know, that was one of the reasons I stopped seeing you," she said as I closed the distance between us. She swung her blade, and I pulled back, just out of range before trying to dart in with my own thrust with the partially sharp point of the break. "You were never short for cheesy one liners."

"You always said it was cute when we were out together," I retorted, whipping my thrust to the side and smacking into the hand that held the pen. I knew that once the distance was closed between us, she would use it like a shank, stabbing me with it.

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