The flunkies each pulled a burlap sack from their coats, snapping them to make enough room for all of their spoils. They moved from table to table, one hand on the sacs and the other with a finger on the trigger. When they reached the laughing woman, Vi stepped forward.
“You can’t do anything, can you?” asked Peter.
“No,” the shadow-girl echoed, necklace clutched against her chest. “It’s hardly worth a thing to you.”
Vi sighed, “I can witness.”
“We have a problem?” the leader asked, sauntering over.
The flunky whined, “She’s got something in her hand.”
Her father had been frozen, but he loosened his jaw enough to plead. “Honey, just give it to him.”
“See darling?” The big man threw his hands up, his gun dangling casually and dangerously from his loose grip. “Ain’t nothing to make a fuss about. Trust me, if I wanted you to make a fuss, or any other sound for that matter, I would. Now, I’m going to five seconds to hand it over. Five.” The gun snapped into his palm. “Four.” He leveled it at her.
She turned unblinking eyes to her father, shock robbing her of comprehension. “Daddy?”
He quavered. “Cassandra, what are you doing? Give it to him.”
“Please,” she gasped, reaching out one trembling hand to the robber.
Cassandra shrieked; her death knell an all-to-familiar sound.
The gun discharged, a clap of thunder in the enclosed space. No one, real or made of memory, dared to move, except for Cassandra’s limp body slumping over the table. A charcoal pool spread over the white linen.
The shooter chuckled into the ringing silence. “One.”