The coffee cup sitting in front of him had grown cold.

            His crooked mouth twitched into a grin. “How are you, Miss Sylvia?”

            “Shut up,” she snapped as she approached the table. “We’re not here to chit-chat, Thomson.”

            “Of course.”

            She slid into the booth, adjusted her fur coat, and dusted the snow off her shoulders. Her eyes trailed from his to the object in his hand. He weaved it through his fingers as if it were a toy. “Is that it?” she asked.

            “No, it’s a stick of gum. Of course, it is,” he said.

            She raised her hand as if to slap him.

            He flinched.

            “That’s what I thought,” she said. “Now,” she said as she leaned over the table. “Where is he?”

            Thomson chuckled. “Where do you think?”

            “Listen to me. I’m not payin’ you to be a smart-ass.”

            “Yes, ma’am.”

            “Where is he?”

            His mouth formed a smile. “He’s taking a nap, in the snow, six feet under.”

            Sylvia nodded as she took a sip of the cold coffee. “Good.”

            Thomson watched her set the cup back down on the table. Her bright red lipstick stained the edge. 
            “And this,” she said, pointing at the USB in his hand, “has all the information, right?”

            “Every last bit, ma’am.”

            “Wonderful.” She took another sip of coffee.

            “No one will know,” he said. “But may I ask you something?”

            “What?”

            He sat straight up as he held up the USB. “You wanted me to kill a man for this, right? So, this little thing has to be a big deal. Right?”

He smiled.

            She frowned.

            “I won’t lie, ma’am.” He snickered. “I am a very curious man.”

            She went still.

            “And let me tell you, Sylvia. You’re a cold woman.”

            “Now listen here!” she said as she slammed her fist on the table.

            The few people in the diner turned their attention to them.

“Oh, Miss Sylvia. You shouldn’t raise your voice. It’s not kind.”

            Sylvia took a deep breath as she leaned back in her seat.

The radio went staticky, the whispering of people grew louder, and the sound of a cup being dropped in the kitchen broke her silence. “I have my reasons… You have no right to judge me,” she said.

She reached for the USB, but he jerked it away, shaking his head. “Judge you? Trust me, Miss Sylvia, judgement is for the hypocritical. I am no hypocrite.”

Sylvia held her hand out, palm up. “Give it to me now, Thomson. I’m paying you, remember?”

“Not to be a smart-ass, as I recall,” he said.

She glared at him clenching her fists. “He decided to leave me, Thomson. I couldn’t let him leave, take everything from me. Hell would freeze over before I let a man take what rightfully belonged to me.”

“What was that, Miss Sylvia? Money? A mansion?”

“My heart.” Her eye twitched. “Those things are just luxuries.”

Thomson rubbed his chin. “So, you hired me.”

She took a final sip of coffee. Her eyebrows furrowed as she stared at the bottom of the empty cup. “Why do you even care?”

The radio chirped in, the weatherman sending a warning to those away from home to expect a snowstorm. Stay warm, he says.

“It’s my job to learn everything about my victims,” he said.

Her eyes widened.

“Did you enjoy your coffee?” He smiled. He stood up, set the USB on the table, and nodded to her.

“What did you do?” she asked.

He laid his hand on her shoulder. “Enjoy the rest of your day, Miss Sylvia.”

“You’re sick and twisted!” she yelled as he walked to the doors. “What did you do?!”

Sylvia grabbed the cup and threw it towards the wall, the cup shattered into little pieces, barely missing his head.

Thomson didn’t flinch this time.

His mouth creased into a smile; he bared his crooked teeth. He turned to the waitress, frozen, staring in disbelief at the two of them. “My dear, please get that woman another cup of coffee. On me,” he said as he handed the waitress a few dollars.

Sylvia held a hand up to her mouth.

He nodded to her once more before stepping out of the diner, into the roaring winds of the brewing storm.Madison Foreman writes from Smithville, Missouri. She is currently working towards her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing degree at Full Sail University. Her passions include reading, illustrating, martial arts, and spending time with family and friends. Madison has had experience in advertising, as well as managing a business. She is currently building a social media presence on Instagram, Facebook, Wattpad, and Inkitt, in the hopes to kickstart her career. With a few completed books up her sleeve, she works hard to find a publisher. She is a reader, student, and artist by day; and a writer, editor, and worldbuilder by night.

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