Back then, Michael had never shot anything more deadly than a BB gun and never killed anything bigger than the annoying palmetto bugs threatening to take over Florida.
Somewhere along the way, the two men had become friends. They'd met halfway and now worked to prevent serial rapists, murderers, and pedophiles from taking more lives and damaging innocent families.
And here Sean was, the hardened assassin, asking Michael to take on a job for free.
"You know money isn't an issue," Michael said. "What's going on?"
"Come in and I'll tell you. You're not going to like what you see. Know that the deed was justified."
Michael walked past Sean, into the cavernous room. Much of the twelve hundred square-foot area was open and relatively empty. Except for the motionless man tied to the wooden chair in the middle of the space.
"He's not dead," Sean said. "I gave him a sedative."
Michael nodded. "Does this have something to do with that contract you were talking about?"
"Meet Jake the Snake. The client."
Michael didn't need to move any closer to know Jake had been put through Sean’s coercive method of conversation. Slices, both large and small, had left angry red streaks across his skin. Purple welts gave his otherwise pale face a splash of color.
Michael turned away. His stomach twisted. Torture, no matter the reason, was not something he'd ever be comfortable with. "Tell me."
Sean motioned to one of three doors on their right. "Let's go in the office."
The office had no desk. Instead, a narrow workbench took up one wall. Tools that Michael preferred not to contemplate were neatly spread across the surface. A padded leather desk chair sat on one end of the room, beside a small table holding an iPod and a cup from Starbucks. Wooden chairs like the one Jake the Snake was tied to lined the adjoining wall.
Sean sat on one of the wooden chairs. He motioned to the more comfortable leather chair and said, "Have a seat. I don't kill people in that chair."
Michael smirked at that. "Good to know."
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