“Not bad, not bad at all.” 

Freddy checked the ropes for a second time just in case. He then circled the prisoner sitting in the chair, each step reverberating in the silent warehouse, till he stopped in front of him.

“Well, I give up. I really don't know how to untangle this mess, and I did a seminar about escapism.”  

The sound of pleased cackles (or something that sounded similar) surrounded Freddy. He smiled at the shadows and sat while he lit up a cigarette. 

“When they put their head into something they really go all the way in. I'm not even sure it's possible to tie a rope like that and yet there it is. Really helpful my new...friends. What do you think Raul?” 

The prisoner Raul struggled against his ropes but he didn’t even manage to move the chair. Then he proceeded to curse him, or at least try it, the muffle in his mouth made it hard to understand. 

“Tsk...Raul, didn't you just hear me? Don't get tired for nothing.” 

Freddy took a long puff from his cigarette and stared at Raul, thinking. Better to go with the classics. He put his hands together at a slow pace like he had done dozens of times. 

“Look, we’re both professionals, so I'm not going to waste my time telling you how bad is your situation because you already know, but even then I imagine you're not scared, right?” He turned his sight to the shadows. “Well, not of me at least. Not when you can be afraid of them.”  

Raul lowered his breathing and followed Freddy's stare with a certain amount of reluctance. One couldn't really see them, only feel their presence. Freddy didn't really have any other way to explain them. Your eyes knew they were looking at something but they couldn't figure out what they were looking at. Raul turned his sight back to Freddy breathing fast. 

“Yeah, the feeling is mutual pal. I would offer you a cigarette but I can't have you screaming. It makes them...excitable and that's something you don't want, trust me.” 

Freddy grabbed the rum bottle that he carried for his interrogations and poured a drink. He usually used it to calm the prisoners, but this time he needed it. He emptied the glass in one gulp and judging by the expression in Raul’s face, it looked like he would give anything for one. Sometimes the simplest pleasures could be the worst tortures. 

“Damn, that felt good. So, I'm sure you’re wondering. How the hell did a professional like you get caught in this situation? Well, the principle is simple.” 

Freddy poured another drink. 

“Have you ever heard about an outside context problem? Oh, sorry, forgot you can't talk. Ok, I'm going to explain it real quick to you and if you already know it I’m sorry. I promise I'll make it brief.” 

He moved the glass of rum only inches from his face.  

“This is a glass of rum. I know what to expect from it, I drank rum more times than I can count, same as you I suspect. If I drink too much I'll get a hangover, a pain in the ass but I know how to handle it. My point is, it’s something we are used to, but then imagine this glass of rum instead of making us happier it makes us blue? How the hell do you deal with that?” 

The rum disappeared from the glass as he drank it. After finishing, he gave a quick glance to his hand and smiled. 

“Look, good news, I'm not blue. In any case, if it had happened it would be a problem outside of context, something I'm not used to, something I know nothing about. If it were a more dangerous situation, like for example poisoned rum it would be worse, I could have ended death. Dangerous problems outside our context don’t end well.” 

Raul tried to speak again, this time with more emphasis. The restraints tightened around him so much that Freddy feared he would choke. Then he relaxed and the ropes did the same. Freddy tipped his hat to the shadows.

“Excellent job indeed.”

More chuckles, only this time they carried a hint of impatience about it. Better to hurry.

“So, I hear that Raul, one of the best hitmen in town, someone I worked with and even consider a friend, has been hired to take me out, worst of all I hear he accepted. Now that hurt, I don’t know why you did it but at this point, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

One of the containers in the warehouse fell to the floor and several lights went out. Freddy jumped and pointed his gun at the source of the noise. He could hear the pounding of his heart. They didn’t laugh but he could feel them smiling at his fear. Fredy cleaned the sweat off his forehead and sat back in the chair.

“If I find it was one of you guys...”

Silence. Doesn’t matter, Freddy though, focus on the task at hand.

“The thing is you knew me well enough to know my security and any preparations I could make. The usual stuff wasn’t going to cut it, I needed something else…a problem out of context just for you.” He then pointed out at the shadows. “You never expected them, right?”

Raul didn't insult him or yelled. In fact, he barely reacted at all. He just raised an eyebrow.

“Ah, you’re sensing a but, clever guy. Yes, the problem is that it has also become my problem. Turns out when you deal with things out of your context mistakes will be made. Oh well, that’s what happens with taking risks.”

Freddy finished his drink and threw the glass towards the shadows. No sound came out from them, but an air of hostility filled the place.

“I made bad friends who are now asking too much.”

Freddy pulled out a knife from inside his jacket that irradiated a greenish light. A chorus of inhuman voices protested from all around him. He stared at it fascinated.

“Amazing what you can get in the docks if you know who to ask.”

The knife danced in his hand.

“How am I going to get out of this situation?”

He cut Raul’s ropes with one swing, pulled another identical knife from his jacket and offered it to him.

“Perhaps with a little help from a friend?”

Raul looked at Freddy, the knife, and the shadows. He took off his gag, grabbed the knife, and stood next to Freddy.

“I’m going to kill you after this.”

“Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.”

The shadows jumped on them, their knives flashed, and the two “friends” fought together one last time. 



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