The time has come for truth and confrontation. Who will win?
“You can come out now, Don!” Scarlet’s voice sounded like artificial sweetener in Fiddlestix’ ears.
Varin came back in from the garage, surrounded by his bodyguards. Deacon was behind him with Stumpy and Loki, their hands behind their heads.
“Well, Scarlet,” Don Varin didn’t sound very happy to see his wife. “So the wheel comes full circle.”
“Save it for someone who gives a shit, Don. I came back for what’s mine. Jesus, can’t you even die properly? I thought I got all the clones.”
Don Varin smiled gently, taking another step toward her, his hands in the pockets of his suit coat. ” This isn’t a clone. The doctors figured out how to cure me.”
Scarlet’s mouth twisted into and ugly, contorted caricature of a smile. “Really? What a pity.”
“You can’t get out. You’d be dead before you left.”
“You underestimate me, Don. But then you always have, sweetheart.” She smiled her saccharin coated smile again.
“So it wasn’t Don’s decision to build substandard housing?” Fiddlestix could see the story coming clear now.
“Don wouldn’t have had the balls to do that.”
Scarlet was too busy gloating, she didn’t notice the slight movement of Fiddlestix’ body as she turned to aim her wrist mounted gun. Praying the damper was disabled, she held her breath and concentrated on her wrist mount. Her long, full sleeves concealed the weapon as it slid silently out of her forearm. All she had to do was concentrate on her target, the weapon did the rest.
Scarlet didn’t make a sound as she fell. A look of surprise on her face, a gasp as the slug hit her chest and it was over. Scarlet’s body slumped in a heap.
Don Varin’s mouth dropped open and he gaped at the growing red stain on his shirt just below his heart. Scarlet’s weapon had found its mark even as she died. Fiddlestix watched him die with a blank expression.
Deacon and Loki, using the distraction, disarmed the bodyguards nearest them.
“Get Tully back to the boat,” Fiddlestix ordered. She turned to the bodyguards. “Call off your dogs. We have no argument with you. Cooperate, and everybody lives.”
“Attention,” one spoke into his headset. “Stand down.” He didn’t bother to explain. His men didn’t need it.
“Thanks,” Fiddlestix’ smile wasn’t as friendly, but it was full of appreciation. “We need to get our friend some medical attention.”
“He’ll be okay,” the bodyguard said. “I hit him with a tranquilizer slug. He’ll wake up with a hell of a buzz. Mr. Varin didn’t want nobody hurt but her,” he pointed at Scarlet.
Loki picked up Tully, slinging him casually over one broad shoulder. They walked quickly back to the boat.
“I’m confused,” Stumpy said grumpily. “Who really was the bad guy?”
“Both of them,” Fiddlestix replied absently. “Don was pulling shit over on her and the same time, Scarlet was working him.”
“So,” Stumpy continued. “What happened in there?”
“Justice,” Deacon said quietly.
Fiddlestix didn’t want to talk. Instead, she went on deck, glad to feel the wind and salt spray in her face. Deacon came over, standing beside her with his arm around her waist.
“I thought I’d lost you,” she whispered. “When I saw Tully go down, I panicked. Did Varin fall for our setup at all?”
“At first, yes, but then he took my prints off the arm of the chair, ran them through a very sophisticated search and blew my cover to hell.”
“Why didn’t he kill you?”
“He only wanted Scarlet.”
“I feel terrible that I got you into this mess.”
“But if you hadn’t, think what Varin would have done to the Harlichs. You did the best thing, Hannah.”
He put his arms around her, holding her close. For the first time in her life, Hannah Braun looked at the horizon and didn’t see an end, but a beginning. She cuddled next to Deacon and smiled.