Just testing out an idea for Atherton’s creator (and I felt like painting).
Quick one today, driving to St. Louis.
“I wouldn’t do that.”
Sullivan looked back at her dining companion. The deathly pale woman pursed her lips and tipped her head gently toward the door. A man in black gloves had replaced the maître d’. Out of the corner of her eye, Sullivan could see that several waiters were eying her. At least one of them was carrying a gun. The thin woman repeated her veiled threat and gestured to Sullivan’s now empty chair.
“Best not to try. So many innocent bystanders would die. Please sit, chat, and drink.”
She sat once more. The muscles in her jaw clenched tight as she glared at the woman across the table. She had been set to meet an important contact, someone who knew who was behind the various attempts at her life. They didn’t mention that the contact was the mysterious enemy.
“As I was saying, you have been… difficult.”
“I get that a lot.”
“Well, no longer. Let’s toast to your getting out of my hair once and for all.”
“I think I’ll pass. Have you considered maybe you’re the problem here?”
Sullivan leaned forward on the table and smirked. The closeness obviously disturbed the pale woman. Her papery lips quivered and she pulled out a handkerchief to dab above her barely visible eyebrows. The woman moved the handkerchief to her lap before bringing it back up covering her other hand which was now obviously holding a small handgun.
“You don’t seem like the type to do this kind of dirty work.”
A high-pitched sigh emerged from the slender woman’s lungs, hovered for a moment, and died.
“On a good day, no, but you’ve forced my hand.”
“You’re going to shoot me?”
“Oh, heavens no! You will taste that very special drink I have prepared for you.”
The glass in front of Sullivan was filled with what appeared to be a deep red wine. She understood now why the waiter insisted on pouring it, though she had only asked for water. This woman really loved drugging her. Or poisoning. It was supposed to be a permanent solution to her ‘meddling’ after all.
“Fine. I’ll drink, but you have to tell me what it is I’ve apparently done.”
“You mean you’ve forgotten Frankfurt? Mumbai? Damascus? New York? Paris?”
“Who could forget Paris? Those beautiful spring mornings?”
“It was the dead of winter, you…!”
The slender woman’s head twitched at an odd angle in her in rage. The man in black gloved hands made a motion toward their table, but she waved him off as she composed herself.
“I know who you are, spy, whether or not you will admit to it.”
“And if you’ve been desperately trying to kill the wrong person?”
“If I still run into trouble after you’ve died? I shall kill that person as well.”
“Well you’ve gotten this all figured out, haven’t you?”
“Of course. Now, I believe you’ve stalled enough. Take a drink.”
Using her napkin to pick up the glass, Sullivan studied its contents. This brought no objections from the woman, which meant the glass was probably safe and the liquid was the real trouble. She swirled the wine in connoisseur fashion and held her nose a few inches away. Almonds. They weren’t even trying to mask the cyanide. That was a very bad sign. They had enough confidence in their ability to escape unnoticed that they didn’t care about covering up the cause of death.
“Smells like a fine vintage, though maybe too sweet. Are you sure you won’t join me?”
The woman narrowed her eyes and motioned with her almost-hidden gun. Sullivan lifted the glass as if to drink, meanwhile watching the reactions of those that wanted her dead. The pale woman licked her lips absently. The waiters had relaxed slightly, as had the gloved man.
Just before the edge of the glass hit her lips, Sullivan flipped the drink back toward the woman. The poisoned wine splashed her face as well as her pristine white clothes. She shrieked, calling the attention of the entire room.
In an instant, Sullivan had her opponent’s gun and shot the glass window next to them. Thank goodness she was on the ground floor this time. The glass cracked in a large spiderweb pattern around the bullet hole. That white wisp couldn’t just carry a normal caliber gun, could she? She shot again, this time shattering the glass, but the waiters and the gloved man had started their attack in the time it had taken for that second shot.
Sullivan jumped out of the old restaurant onto the sidewalk. A few scratches from broken glass were an easy payment for her life. Outside, she discovered more of the slender woman’s associates were waiting for her. She quickly turned her jump into a roll, dodging the bulk of the incoming barrage of bullets. The few that did make impact were buried deep in muscle – nothing that couldn’t be fixed. An empty car waiting for the valet became her shield against further attack.
Through the broken window, Sullivan heard shrill and frantic orders.
Bullets glanced off the side of the car as Sullivan shifted her position to the street. She would hope for a taxi, but the gunfight had cleared the area. She could run across the road into the alley, but that would give her assailants an easy target.
Sullivan lifted her head to count how many were after her. Through the driver’s side window, she counted five men and two women – all armed. As she counted, a glint of silver caught her eye. The keys had been left in the ignition. She grinned at her wonderful luck. They made this too easy.
She removed her jacket and shot a few times over the hood of the car. At the same time, she carefully unlatched the car door. Sullivan took one last, deep breath before throwing her coat as high and far as possible and jumped into the vehicle. The distraction only lasted a split second, but it gave her time to turn the ignition.
The engine rumbled to life. One of the men approached the passenger door before Sullivan shot him in the chest. The others returned fire. She heard a rear tire get blown out just as the car swerved out of control. She fought for control and found a bumpy equilibrium. It only had to last a few more minutes. Once she was further away she would switch cars with one she’d kept for just this kind of situation.
Nearby, the woman’s associates were piling into their own trucks, ready for the chase. Sullivan laughed. Even like this, she could lose them. The slender woman, fuming and shouting through the broken window, was given one final parting gesture as Sullivan sped off into the night.
I had this idea in my head a while back for a really badass tiger, but when I finally sat down to draw it, this cute little guy came out instead.
It’s easy to get those two confused.
Happy Earth Day, folks!
Remember the Soulsucker? Well, I thought I’d go back to this character and give it some more treats. Nom nom nom.