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Ben Casings swiftly walked through the building that housed the corporate offices of Casings Synthetics, where he was CEO and chairman of the board. He nodded hello at the lobby security guard.
"Good morning, Mr. Casings, elevators are a bit slow today."
He nodded and glanced at the lobby clock, it was 7:30 AM. He always loved getting to the office before the rest of the staff because it gave him a chance to see which of his subordinates would arrive late to work as he rounded the corner he noticed a beautiful young girl standing awkwardly in the elevator waiting area, pacing back and forth, bobbing her head to the music blasting from her headphones.
She had thick long kinky hair braided in braids. Her white rounded collared shirt was crisply pressed and tucked neatly in the waist of her blue plaid skirt. Ben hope that she was at least 18 as he slowly walked up to her. He caught her attention and smiled.
“Good morning young lady.”
She moved one side of her headphones off her ear and smiled back.
“What brings you here so early before school?”
“I'm just meeting up with my mom,” she flashed a bigger smile, deep dimples decorating the cheeks of her baby face. Ben nodded to her response.
She placed the headphones back on her ears and faced the elevators. Ben looked at her over and undressed her with his eyes. She seemed about 5-foot-3, slim with velvety bittersweet chocolate colored skin. She had a messenger bag as a book bag that pulled her skirt up a bit on one side exposing more of her right thigh. Ben's eyes were on stuck on her brown toned thigh, her skirt rose higher and his slacks got tighter.
Ben snapped out of his erotic trance. The elevator doors opened, Ben gestured for the girl to enter the elevator first. She nodded, entered and pressed floor 30, Ben pressed 35. He was elated as the girl stood in front of him with her back to him. He resumed allowing his filthy imagination to run amuck as his eyes rode every exposed soft curve of her petite frame. He wondered what she hid under her uniform.
Ben felt flush, his temperature rose, and his heart raced as he undressed her with his eyes.
The elevator passed the 20th floor.
Ben broke out in a sweat, he felt light-headed, and he wondered if his imagination was causing him too much excitement. The pressure was building in his skull and his stomach felt as if it was imploding.
Ben suddenly felt excruciating pain causing him to collapse onto the elevator floor. He managed to tap the girl on the foot as he lay on the floor. She looked down at him. His eyes were brown and bulging out of his skull and he was in the fetal position shaking. "Help me," he pleaded as he lay shaking. The girl smiled. The elevator stopped on the 30th floor. The doors opened. Her smiling face was the last thing he saw as she quickly and cautiously exited the elevator.
The office floor was unoccupied, she headed down the hall towards the emergency staircase, quickly jogging down the stairs stopping midway to change her clothing, and she convert the messenger bag to a backpack. When the girl emerged from the building she was wearing baggy cargo pants with a fitted Wu-Tang t-shirt. She glanced at the time on her smartwatch before scrolling through her list of contacts. It was now 8:15 AM when she created a message and sent it to the contact, Ivan.
Just finished breakfast.
She clicked on her music app. "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman poured into her ears as she walked down Wall Street towards the 2 line. The area was bustling with white collar workers of the financial district rushing to work, she boarded the 2 train, and headed to the Fulton Street to catch the A train to JFK; she had to catch the next flight out to France.
Sylvia Grosvenor entered into her apartment reading The Wall Street Journal on her tablet. Her stomach is in knots as she read about the death of her friend, CEO Ben Casings. Reports claimed that he died of a brain aneurysm, alone in the elevator, while on his way into his office. Once his estate is settled, a new CEO and board chairman will be named at Casings Synthetics.
Sylvia held two seats on the board of directors at Pteh industries, a pharmaceutical company specializing in holistic organic and all-natural medicine. Sylvia walked into her bathroom reading articles relating to Ben's death and the future of Casings Synthetics. There was a proposed acquisition involving Pteh Industries and Casings Synthetics that was under scrutiny.
Casings Synthetics focused on bioengineering and genetic modification. Activists were diligently working to force the US government to ban Casings Synthetics and other firms like them from having any interest in Pteh Industries. Activists were aware of the Casings Synthetics intentions to virtually end the idea of organic and holistic healing through mergers and acquisitions.
Sylvia’s stomach was in knots as she sat on the toilet. She took a deep breath to calm herself, closed her eyes, and relieved herself when she looked over at the mirror. A black marker a message was scrolled on the mirror:
"Live... or Die choice is yours"
Fear coursed through her body, she looked out the bathroom window, and saw a figure on the roof of the building across from her. She took a deep breath and slowly rose from the toilet. She trembled as a chill ran through her body. Her phone vibrated to alert an incoming call and she exhaled.
"Hi, Sylvia! It's Nyx, how are you? You can wave to me if you'd like I know I have your attention."
Sylvia waved towards the figure. "Good girl! Love that place you have there. Lots of windows to get all that natural light. I have a question. Would you like to continue living in your nice French apartment enjoying life?"
“Good to know. Now, Sylvia, you stand to inherit a ton of money.”
“How do you know that?”
“It's my job to know that you and the late Ben Casings are responsible for the acquisition of Pteh industries. You stood to make $250,000 from the acquisition, and now with Ben's death, his last will and testament states that you are now the new CEO of Casings Synthetics and chairman of the board. He left the seats to you, he left the company to you, and enough money to make you a millionaire—actually, you'll be close to being a billionaire.”
Sylvia didn’t respond as she fearfully left her bathroom.
A small porcelain elephant statue in the living room suddenly shattered as she walked past it.
“Sylvia! Pay attention. I’m talking to you!! That bullet from my VSS Vintorez was for the dead air.”
“Wh—what do you want?” Sylvia whimpered.
“If you want to continue to live, I suggest you give up all your board seats from both companies, sell whatever stock you have, and disappear.”
“I can't just give up seats and disappear without explanation!!”
A lamp on the end table near Sylvia shattered. She began bawling and moaning into the phone.
“Sylvia, I have a reputation to uphold. If you don't disappear, then you don’t live. I’m giving you a choice.”
Sylvia sniffled and her voice was shaky, “Did Ben get a choice?”
Nyx laughed. "Of course not, why would I give him a choice to leave when I know he'd disappear to Japan to sniff some teen girl's panties? Maybe he would move to a third world country to do as he pleases with an underage boy or girl. Sylvia, you have a choice.”
Nyx could hear Sylvia’s rasping breaths over the phone.
“Look, I've got to go. I'll give you five days to complete your resignation announcement and conduct transactions. And Sylvia?"
“You'll be held responsible if the acquisition goes through so I think you should do what you can to prevent any future interests in Pteh.”
Nyx ended the call, pleased with herself. She quickly disassembled her rifle, closed the rifle case, and took a deep breath as she sat on the gravel-topped roof. She looked at the French skyline. Saint Andres Cathedral caught her eye as the sunset colored the sky in shades of blues, pinks, yellows, and oranges. It's been a while since my last confession, she thought to herself. She received a text.
Hey Hun! How are you? Some CEO on an elevator had an aneurysm. It's all over the news, same age as your dad, told your father he needs to relax, and I don't want anything like that happening to him TTYL love Mom.
Nyx smiled at her phone and took a long drag from her joint. She sighed as she felt every muscle in her body begin to relax. She gathered her things, and used a nearby fire escape to exit the roof as she continued to smoke a joint and she headed towards the cathedral.
Nyx unlocked her apartment mailbox. It had been two weeks and she was back home. She greeted her neighbors when they passed her in the lobby. As she sorted through her junk mail a postcard from Japan caught her eye.
Bright-eyed, she bounced on her toes on the way to the building’s elevators to her apartment. The smell of her favorite dish, curried lobster, was thick in the hallway of her apartment floor and she knew it was coming from her place. She unlocked and entered her home soft classical music echoed throughout the apartment. She walked through the foyer into her living room.
“Helloooo! I'm home!” she called out.
She stopped in her kitchen to sample from the pot sitting on the stove. The sauce was spicy and warmed her hungry stomach.
She received no response as she walked to her bedroom.
She started to smirk, remembering Ivan liked to hide and jump out to scare her.
“I'm not playing your game, I’ve had a long flight.”
She removed her Doc Martens, t-shirt, and jeans. Ivan was extremely conservative and didn’t like seeing Nyx in anything less than a one-piece bathing suit.
“I'm walking around in my underwear!” she taunted and she walked towards the bathroom in a bra and her bikini cut panties. She grabbed and attempted to turn the knob of her bathroom door, but it wouldn't budge. She smiled and knocked.
“Okay... okay, young lady, I'll let you in the bathroom after you put on sweatpants and shirt.”
Ivan opened the bathroom door and emerged staring at the ceiling while he passed her a pair of sweatpants and a tank top he found in the bathroom.
She giggled as she grabbed the clothing and put everything on.
“What would Mother Russia say if they knew you were scared of bras and panties?”
Ivan shook his head as he walked to the kitchen and prepared their dishes. He watched Nyx curl up on the couch with his tablet and scrolled and tapped away.
“Did you stop at the office?”
“Ivan, I literally just got home.”
“Look, you need to check in it's my responsibility to make sure that you check in.”
Nyx waved dismissively at Ivan and he continued fixing her dish.
Ivan handed her a bowl of rice covered in the curried lobster.
Nyx smiled and started stuffing her face.
“You're going to have another gig in a few days, a private client.”
“When is the agency going to send me on jobs again?”
“Maybe when you start going in for your evaluations. You want them coming down to Brooklyn looking for you?”
Nyx rolled her eyes, “I don't need a shrink.”
Nyx put her empty bowl on her coffee table and reached for a wooden keepsake box underneath the coffee table. Ivan sat beside her he turned on the TV as he continued eating his dish. Nyx removed a hemp wrap, glass tip, and a small jar of marijuana from the box and began rolling up. Ivan looked over at her watching her focus on making her blunt perfect.
“How was the Vintorez?”
“Perfect, but the weed could have been better.”
“I'll try to remember next time to find a strain that'll prevent you from going to confession.”
Nyx lit her blunt and took a pull with a wide-eyed gaze towards Ivan.
“Maybe you wouldn't feel compelled to go confess if you would go into the office.”
“Okay, so what happens when they have questions about who else I'm working for?”
“Tell them the truth.”
"Yeah right," she rolled her eyes, took another pull, and exhaled. "I'm not a child."
“I can assure you it's dictated that whatever we do won’t be questioned or compromised as long as it's not interfering with their plans.”
“And I trust them because?”
Ivan didn't respond he sat beside her on the couch and placed her feet on his lap and rubbed them.
Nyx shut her eyes and then sucked her teeth.
“I never say anything in confession, sometimes I just talk to someone about nothing.”
Ivan stopped rubbing her feet and narrowed his eyes at her
Nyx kept her eyes closed. She knew he glaring at her.
“Fine, after the next job, I'll go in.” She got up from the couch with her empty dish, lighter, and blunt.
“I'm going to bed. Lock up when you leave.” She stopped in the kitchen and dropped off her dish and headed to her bedroom.
Ivan nodded, “I’ll talk to you in a few days. Let me know if you need anything.”