C5: Private Justice

Danillo sighed. “Look, kid, I need a name. I need something more than suspicion. I can’t go after the guys that did this if you don’t give me something to work with.”

Keitaro sipped from the cup of water at his bedside.

“Okay, let’s go this way then.” Danillo flipped the file open. “Kim Keitaro. You’re twenty-six with no priors, no tickets, no criminal record. You work at Roquefort, the French restaurant. You own a house in uptown Auburn. You’ve got money in savings. Quite a bit actually, and none of it’s been touched since you were kidnapped, so I’m betting this attack wasn’t about money.” Danillo flipped the folder closed on his index finger. “So you wanna tell me what it was about?”

Keitaro noted Danillo’s features. Slicked back black hair. Deep set eyes under a strong brow. A thick black goatee spreading up his cheeks. Wrinkles in his forehead from that constant tough-guy-no-bullshit expression. A leather blazer, blank black tee, and washed up blue jeans with combat boots.

“What do you want? A lawyer?”

“No.”

“No? Okay, then you gotta talk to me. Why were they after you? Tell me or I go digging. I’ll dig deep enough to find your skeletons.”

“Tell him what we did to you.” Victor approached the end of the bed. “Tell him Cobra practiced witchcraft on you, cursed you. Tell him Gunner shot you. Tell him Cobra killed me. Tell him something!”

Keitaro’s eyes met Victor’s compassionately.

“I’m betting that you’ve got a skill Cobra wanted. He branded you as part of his nest. Some sort of initiation. What is it he wanted you to do?”

“It sounds crazy.” Victor laughed. “That’s why you’re not telling him. Because what Cobra wanted sounds insane. He wanted you because you can see dead people, and he wanted you to control those dead people with this.” Victor pulled on the collar.

“Look, they know where you work. Chances are they know where you live too. Cobra will come after you for one of two reasons: to reclaim you as his property, or to kill you for insulting his authority. Either way, you keeping your mouth shut isn’t keeping you safe.”

“Cobra crossed me. He’s going to regret it.”

“So you do know him.”

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