I was surprised. Not that she'd brought me here. No, I've read enough paperbacks to know the femme fatale is always fatal. Or nearly fatal anyway. I should have expected something bad to happen to me from the start of this stupid adventure. It had been such an absurd request I should have known better. But of course without Dante by my side my decision making hadn't been that great - I was just lucky I hadn't had that many decisions to make. I'd messed this one up though.
But I was surprised nonetheless. I was surprised that she told me so quickly. She leaned in close.
"I had to, because they'd have killed us both if I hadn't." I don't know how or why I believed her. I know I shouldn't have but I did. She was still very close to me when a trench coat walked in.
"Quarantalizé, no talking to the prisoner."
Quarantalizé. I wondered for a moment what exotic clime that name had emerged from. He didn't shout, he just said it. His voice was strangely soft, yet extremely commanding. He didn't sound threatening, just like someone accustomed to being obeyed. Alizé didn't move.
"I like him." She said.
"What you do or do not like is not important."
"I want to stay with him."
I didn't see him move, but I heard a soft puff of air, and Alizé crumpled in my arms. I gasped involuntary. I'd expected anything but that.
"You've killed her!" I screamed, rapidly reaching new heights of panic.
"That is none of your concern." Right now his voice was just infuriating. How could he expect me to just accept that? I'd formed a bond with her I couldn't explain, and I wasn't ready to let it go just yet. I watched as two other trench coats came in to carry Alizé out. I tried to stop them, but they paid me no heed, shrugging me off like an mildly irritating insect.
"How could you kill her?" I asked. "She was..."
I stopped because I realised I still had no idea who or what she was.
"She was what?" the trench coat asked. He knew exactly what I was thinking, and that unnerved me. I could swear he was smiling, though I couldn't read any expression on his face.
He was a good six feet tall, with widely spaced golden brown eyes. And he had an afro I had to be jealous of. That's all I took in anyway. I'm not a Mills & Boon writer so I can't describe him in detail, because I sure didn't like him.
"What was she?" He asked me.
"I don't know." I admitted.
"If you do as I say, you may be able to see her again."
Now he was giving me conditions. After he'd killed her. My only link with this morning. The last time I'd done anything normal. It was absolutely crazy.
"I don't need you to do much, I just have a few questions to ask you, and you will answer."
"Really," I said. I was growing irritated by his self-assurance by now.
"You will answer whether you like it or not. You like Quarantalizé, and you will do everything and anything to see her again."
I thought about it. I really didn't have a choice. I was their prisoner, and if they wanted to they could torture me or even worse - and I'd seen first hand they weren't that fussed about taking lives either. That brought another thought to my head.
"You said I may be able to see Alizé again. How?"
"She isn't dead - merely being punished."
"For talking to me? That's hardly fair."
"Fairness, you'll discover, is highly overrated." His voice was grating, infuriating me in ways I'd never thought possible. But I was powerless.
"So will you answer my questions?" he asked.
"She liked me," I said lamely.