Chapter 26

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There's a certain irony to losing a finger to your own knife, especially when the blade bears an engraved sigil meant for protection.

I knew that was all bullshit, Herman.

Dvorak does the deed himself, his lackeys having only sawed slivers of hesitation into the thin meat of her pinky.

"You're no psychic," Dvorak says, hunching down with the lawnmower knife Zandra tossed before taking a tumble down the stairs.

Not a chance in hell you're getting that finger, Dvorak.

"You got something about amputations, don't you?" Zandra says.

"Obviously," Dvorak says. "Quit talking. You're stalling."

The point of the blade rests at the base of Zandra's pinky. She feels a slight pain, but the pressure isn't enough to push through.

Keep the pressure on him. If he wanted to take your finger off, he'd've done it by now. Why the hesitation, Dvorak?

"I'm not the one stalling. You had every opportunity to do me in days ago, but you weren't the tough guy you are now, you chicken shit bastard," Zandra says, cracking a smile. "Remember, William? At Target? I was filming a segment with my camera crew."

Dvorak pulls the blade back from Zandra's hand. "What?"

"Did you not hear me?" Zandra says and cackles, sending a wad of bloody spit down the front of her purple gown.

Dvorak tugs at the duct tape secured over Zandra's eyes. He smoothens the crinkles to fill in any gaps, blocking her secret peephole. "But you can't see," he says.

"I'm a psychic, remember? You were being a little prick about that at Target," Zandra says, leaning forward as much as she can under the circumstances. "You told me your name was William. You're a kidney transplant recipient. You made me prove my powers blindfolded, just like you are now. You're not very creative, William. You need to work on that."

The flash of the medical alert bracelet on Dvorak's, or William's, wrist gave it away. Zandra spotted it in the brief moment she got a look at him. That and the boots. At Target, William was in the sporting goods section. Add in the fact this is the second time Zandra's been tested with a blindfold, not to mention the familiar voice, and the odds pointed toward William, the hapless Target customer.

"I'd heard you were going to film at Target, so I made myself available," Dvorak says, much more reserved now that the veil of secrecy is lifted.

"So what's your plan, tough guy? You going to let me out of here so we can settle some business Or you have something else in mind?" Zandra says.

"Settle what?"

"Oh, I think you know what I'm talking about," Zandra says, keeping her makeshift moniker for him0. "What exactly do you want from me? My money? My sanity? My fucking mailbox?"

"Oh, that," William says.

"Yes, that, Dvorak. You mind if I call you that? It's more fitting, in a supervillain sort of way."

"Then you'll like what comes next."

Although she's prepared to hear some sort of delusional rant out of Dvorak, even Zandra is surprised by what he has to say.

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