When the curtain rose again Malcolm Conover was sitting in the armchair, staring at me like I was an alien life form. Did I talk? floated up from the groggy depths, but given the way he was ogling me, I figured the answer was obvious. Like a magpie.
So I settled for a hoarse, "What happens next?"
When he smiled slightly in reply, a voice in the still-hazy recesses of my brain whispered a reminder that Cheshire Cat smiles like his almost never bode well for the recipient. "Not what. Whom. One of my people. A specialist. He’s flying in from Denver."
"Specialist?" If the Harpatinol hadn’t already left me dry-mouthed, the prospect of Conover bringing in some kind of expert would have done the trick. "I thought …."
"That I wanted to kill you myself? I do, and I will. Eventually."
Still a bit woozy, I played with the word eventually. Tossed it around and concluded my final countdown was temporarily on hold. I had been trying to buy time all along, and now I had some.
So what’s the catch?
"Why not now?" Please tell me I didn’t just say that. But I needn’t have worried.
"You have something I want."
Don’t ask! yelled that inner voice, but I couldn’t help myself. "What’s that?"
"Your eyes," he informed me cheerfully, then stood. "Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some arrangements to make."
My horrified gaze was still riveted to the door five minutes after it closed behind him.
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