Prologue - Dominick's Twisted Tower

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"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" - Alekzandr Solzhenitsyn

New York City glittered beneath the twisted tower of glass and chrome of King Industries HQ. Some called it a marvel, others a monstrosity. Getting the permits to build it had been a nightmare of red-tape and hysteria, but Dominick King got what he wanted in the end.


And it was never enough.

Dom walked a slow circle around the pinnacle of his domain. A dome of thick plexiglass kept the wind from sweeping them off the rooftop, and heaters with manufactured flame reflected red-orange light against the infinity pool whose waters fell over the edge through a gap in the dome in a waterfall sheet. Men and women milled in evening dress, suit jackets pressed and light shawls over bared shoulders, gowns sweeping the freshly scrubbed tile frescoes on the ground.

They glanced up at Dom as he approached. They were confused by him, a man barely into his twenties with military cut hair and flat gray eyes like the silver coins given over to the dead. They hated him, a living embodiment of the American dream who had clawed his way out of the Manhattan projects into their rarefied heights. But worse than that they needed him. They needed him to fulfill their hidden desires, hide their secret sins and whisper to them guarantees that the future would be greater than all they had already achieved.

Dom was in the business of dreams. And guarantees. And winning.

Mel, a short, frizzy haired teen with thick, black-rimmed glasses walked up and placed a hand on Dom's forearm. With his Other-Sight, the air around behind her shoulders shivered with inky, shadow wings. She whispered, "Ten minutes, Dom. Got the computer set up. Are you going to get your man over there or what?"

"Let Mr. Hart have a good time."

"You're too tenderhearted, Dom. It's cruel."

"I know."

Dominick's gaze flitted to the statue, now hidden by a swath of red silk. Through the fabric, you could see the outline of the statue's bowed shoulders, head, and the sweep of its wings. The statue towered at just over nine feet tall. It was flanked by a pair of discrete bodyguards who Mel had hired for their bulk, brutality, and silence.

Dominick's work was finally paying off. He could taste it.

His angel could taste it. 'Soon,' it whispered, 'the chained will rise.'

Dom's phone buzzed. He closed his eyes. Not now.

Everything was going to plan. Finally. His guests were well lubricated, making their conversation a touch too loud as they sipped from flutes of champagne and nipped Hors d'oeuvres off of the serving tables at the right of the pool. In a drawer beneath waited the knives, silver handled with blades sharpened to a scalpel edge.

"Mr. King!" a thin, middle aged man stumbled over to Dominick and gave him a huge grin. He was missing two teeth, one canine and one from his lower front. "I can't thank you enough, man!" His breath smelled of malt liquor gilded with expensive wine. "It's like—the Dominick King invited me to his penthouse to give a talk to his company!"

"To my guests, yes. Your contribution will be exactly what we need."

Dominick had chosen Mr. Hart carefully. A man with no address, web presence, relations, or friends wasn't as easy to come by as one might think.

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