Fiction: The Art of Mutual Destruction Chapter Thirty Three

Chapter Thirty Three

Adam was just a few feet away from Iman’s bedroom when a wrinkled hand closed around his arm, yanking him in the opposite direction with surprising strength.

Ibrahim Khan looked at him with murder in his eyes and Adam knew that this was the man he’d been warned to stay away from, the one who haunted people’s nightmares and was likened to some kind of demon.

I’m not the one you need to be hunting right now,” he said, feigning a calm he didn’t feel.

No? You are the one who brought me my granddaughter back to me damaged. Why shouldn’t I gut you?”

Adam’s temper, already on a hair trigger, ignited. “You’re as responsible for this as I am!”

Khan drew back, honest shock showing on his face for a moment before quickly being replaced by suspicion. “How dare you-”

How dare you! You told me every single little thing about all of your enemies but conveniently forgot to mention that her parents were monsters! I had no idea going in there that I needed to watch myself and she suffered for it!” The fear he’d been keeping buried made him vicious and he couldn’t hold back from landing one final attack. “She didn’t even want to come here afterwards, did you know that? I had to convince her to come inside to get checked over by a doctor. Why exactly is that?”

Khan drew back as if struck. “I – I had no… She was supposed to be safe there,” he whispered, devastated.

She wasn’t.” Adam looked pityingly at the older man. “You really had no idea?”

No.” Khan cleared his throat, visibly pulling himself back together. When he spoke again, his tone was distant, almost clinical. “Iman has always been very worried about me, Specifically about my health. I knew that she wasn’t particularly happy living with her mother but she kept the extent of the problem from me out of some absurd urge to protect me.”

Khan glanced behind him to the still-closed bedroom. “What happened tonight? How badly hurt is she?”

He’d assumed her mother had hurt her physically. Adam winced internally. He was definitely not the right person to break the truth to Khan. Almost anyone else would be better. But there was no one else. He wasn’t going to make Iman do it. And he wasn’t going to take her friend away from her either.

Adam took a deep breath. “Her stepfather attacked her. When I found them, she was on the floor and he was bleeding. He-” It was hard to keep his voice steady. “He tried to rape her.”

The fury on Ibrahim Khan’s face was a sight to behold. “He needs to die,” Khan said flatly. “Tonight.”

The darkest part of himself – one that he usually kept locked up and tightly suppressed – purred in delight.

Where did you think I was going?”

Khan grinned savagely. “Good.” He looked Adam over then and frowned. “You don’t have anything on you.”

He was right. Adam had been unarmed all night. He’d planned to stop off and collect some weapons once Iman had been settled. He said as much and Khan shook his head. “No. Take things from here.” He extended a hand towards an unobtrusive looking door. “You’ll find everything you need in there. If you’ll excuse me, I need to see my granddaughter.”

It had been laughably easy. He’d walked right in, with none of the guards even batting an eye. Either they were too stupid to realize that he’d walked in with weapons or they simply didn’t care. Adam didn’t stick around to find out.

He found his quarry sprawled out on an armchair in front of a large television with his eyes glued to the screen and a hand stuffed down his pants.

How long would it take for him to be noticed? The little man was so absorbed in his fantasy that even though Adam hadn’t bothered to be quiet, he hadn’t noticed that he was no longer alone.

It would be the work of a minute to put a bullet in his brain and leave.

No. Adam wanted him to know exactly why he was dying.

He came fully into the room, picking his steps deliberately to ensure they were audible despite the blaring television.

Finally, there was a reaction. The jump and accompanying squealed oath made him grin.

What – what the Hell are you doing here?” was the outraged shriek. “I wasn’t informed about any of this! And don’t you have any sense? How long were you standing there… watching like that?”

Did I make you uncomfortable?”

Yes! It’s incredibly rude of you to take advantage of someone like that!”

When you were vulnerable, you mean?” Adam pretended to be confused.

Exactly!”

I see. It’s almost… a crime, isn’t it? Taking advantage of vulnerability like that?”

Well…” the man hesitated. “I wouldn’t go that far.” He dug a finger beneath his collar, uncomfortable though he didn’t know why. His body knew that his breaths were numbered even if his brain wasn’t sharp enough to comprehend it.

I would,” Adam purred. “People who take advantage of the vulnerable should be punished. Swiftly.” He unsheathed the knife he was carrying.

What… what do you want? Do you want money? I’m very rich, I can give you whatever you want!” His voice was high and panicked, an animal in distress.

Adam paused, less than a foot away. “Oh? Can you?”

There was a frantic nod.

I want you to suffer,” he said blandly, watching the hope extinguish. “You attacked someone very precious to me tonight. Someone vulnerable who you took advantage of. I want you to feel every bit of fear she felt. Every bit of helplessness.”

A foul smell filled the air. Adam looked down at the couch cushions. The man had soiled himself in fear. He was trembling and mouthing soundless pleas.

Don’t worry,” he said softly. “It’ll be over eventually.”

And then he set about fulfilling his promise to Iman.

He didn’t enjoy it. He never had. But when he was, there was a lingering sense of satisfaction. He’d taken another life today. He didn’t regret it in the least.

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