Matheus Taylor didn’t ask to be murdered. Quin didn’t care. A seventeen-hundred old Roman, Quintus Livius Saturnius had a different view of morality than most people. Killing Matheus and hijacking his undead existence seemed perfectly acceptable to him.
Now, Matheus spends his nights running for his life, questioning his sexual orientation, and defying a mysterious new threat to the vampires within his city. Not that he set out to do any defying; he just wanted to be left alone. Unfortunately, that was never going to happen.
Matheus sprinted the entire way back from the 7-Eleven. He burst through the front door and up the stairs to the second floor.
“Where is my money?” he demanded, slamming open the door to Quin’s study. The heavy wood bounced off a bookcase, knocking over a collection of clay figurines that, if real, were worth close to ten thousand dollars apiece. They rolled over the hardwood floors, rotating in individual circles. Matheus ignored them, accidently kicking one under the couch.
Juliet reached down to retrieve the figurine, placing it carefully on the corner of Quin’s desk. She perched there, like the GirlFriday of a nineteen-forties movie, leaning over to look at the marked maps.
“Hello, pet,” she said. “You clean up nice.”
Matheus ignored her, stomping over to the desk. He slammed his palms onto the map, paper crinkling as his fingers clenched.
“What did you do with it?” he asked.
Quin frowned at Matheus’ hands.
“I moved it,” Quin said, tugging the edge of the map.
“You moved it?” Matheus straightened.
Quin smoothed the wrinkled paper, then carefully folded the map along the set lines.
Juliet’s gaze moved between the two of them. Matheus wouldn’t have been surprised if she pulled a bag of popcorn out of her purse and began munching.
“To a bank account overseas. I didn’t steal it.”
Clearly, Matheus and Quin had differing definitions of stealing.
“Put it back,” Matheus said.
“It’ll get better interest rates and you won’t have to pay taxes on it.”
“I don’t care. It’s my money. You don’t get to decide where it goes.”
“You don’t need it,” said Quin.
“I’m not being kept like a . . . a . . . a . . . .”
“A pet?” suggested Juliet.
“Yes,” hissed Matheus.
Quin looked at Juliet for a second, then turned back to Matheus. He hung a patient expression on his face, the kind usually seen on people who talked about releasing your anger and surrounding yourself with good feelings while writing off anyone who disagreed with them as unenlightened.
Matheus wanted to cram a pen up his nose.
“Why waste your money?” Patient Quin asked. “I have plenty.”
“I don’t want your money.”
Juliet scooted forward a bit, a wide grin stretched over her face. Matheus knew a word for women like her.
“Matheus, be reasonable,” said Quin in a voice glinting with razors. So much for being patient. He stared at Matheus, his hands folded on the desk, a hard set to his lips.
The boarded-up windows weren’t stained glass, the room was too cluttered, Quin too dark and too young looking, but the details didn’t matter. The moment held the same soul and it crushed down on Matheus with the weight of a long, silent decade.
“I’m not your son!” he yelled.
The moment ended. Quin raised his eyebrows, his lips parting a fraction.
Juliet let out a low, breathy exhale that could have been a sigh or a laugh.
Matheus pressed his fingertips into the edge of the desk and thought about holes and how they were never around when you needed them.
“I know that,” Quin said.
“I meant,” Matheus said, speaking with rigid calm,”I’m not a child. I’m a grown man. I can take care of myself.” He paused, forcing resin into his vocal cords, depositing each word like a handmade, Baccarat paperweight onto Quin’s desk. “You have no idea what I’ve gone through to get where I am. I don’t care how long you watched me. You have. No. Idea. You are going to put the money back and you are going to do it today, even if you have to blow every goddamn person in Switzerland to do it.”
“All right,” Quin said slowly.
“Okay,” said Matheus. “Good.” He nodded at Juliet, then marched out of the room. He closed the door behind him, then leaned against it. His hands tingled, delicate pinpricks moving over his skin. He curled them into fists, squeezing until he felt his nails break through the first layer of skin. Matheus waited for an explosion. Instead, he heard Juliet’s voice, with its ringing vowels, clear through the door.
“I like this one,” she said.
Matheus sat cross-legged at the coffee table, flipping through the newspaper. He’d retrieved his laptop from the box in the attic, but Quin did not have Internet access. The laptop hummed uselessly on the couch, nothing more than an expensive word processor. Matheus made a note to find the nearest coffee shop with free wi-fi, but for the moment, he job-hunted using the traditional method. The phone company had cut off service to his cellphone, leaving Matheus with an expensive brick. He wondered why Quin hadn’t insisted on paying the bill, but he chalked it up to the same reason Quin didn’t have Internet access. Hell, Quin didn’t appear to have a landline telephone.
The front door opened and shut. Matheus turned a page as footsteps came from the front hall. He spun the red marker in his hand over his fingers, pausing to circle a listing. The hall closet opened, coat hangers scratching over the metal rod inside. Matheus tapped the marker on the newspaper. He didn’t look up as Quin entered, dropped into the armchair, then hooked one long leg over its arm. Matheus had yet to see Quin actually sit in the armchair like a normal person, back square, both feet on the ground.
“What are you doing?” Quin asked. He loosened his tie, draping it carefully over the back of the armchair. A three-piece suit day today, chalkstripe in dark blue.
Matheus saw his reflection in Quin’s shoes. He sat up, cracking the kinks out of his back.
“Looking for a job,” Matheus said. “Is it back?”
Tap, tap, tap, went the marker.
Quin frowned. He bent his leg up, working loose the laces of his so very shiny shoes.
“Yes,” he said, letting the shoe drop.
“All of it?”
“All right, then.”
Matheus returned to his newspaper. The second shoe hit the floor with a loud bang.
Quin let out a huff of air, then stood up, collecting his shoes and leaving the room. The stairs to the basement creaked. Matheus glanced up, catching sight of the tie still hanging on the armchair. He listened for a moment, but the stairs were quiet.
Quickly, he grabbed the tie and hid it up the disused fireplace, on a tiny shelf just inside.What purpose the shelf served, Matheus didn’t know. His feet banged against the brass-buckled trunk. Matheus checked over his shoulder, then flipped it open. A briny smell rose up, and Matheus wrinkled his nose, letting the lid slam shut. He didn’t know what he expected, but not a disappointing tangle of ropes. Shrunken heads would have been interesting. Animal specimens in cloudy glass jars. Dental equipment from the nineteen-thirties. Not ropes that smelled as though they’d been last used on a pirate’s galley.
The stairs groaned out their warning. Matheus ran back to his newspaper.
Quin returned, sans jacket and vest. He stopped in the center of the room, his hands on his hips. Matheus peeked up at him, jerking back to the want ads as Quin looked at him. Quin crossed the room, and peered behind the armchair. He straightened, casting another look at Matheus.
Raising his head, Matheus gazed back evenly. The newspaper rustled as he turned a page.
Quin opened his mouth, then shook his head. He circled the room, returning to stand in front of the armchair. Matheus waited for Quin to say something, but instead, he bestowed a peaceable smile on Matheus and dropped into the armchair.
“Anything popping up?” Quin asked, as though a thousand-dollar tie had not just disappeared. Matheus decided Quin must have had siblings.
“Oh, yeah,” said Matheus. “Listen to this stellar opportunity: third-shift production position at local potato chip factory. Boy, was I an idiot to spend all those years in college or what?”
“And you call me a snob?”
“I’m not being a snob.” Matheus crumbled the want ads into a dense ball. He skimmed it off the coffee table; the ball skittered over the floor, slowing on the worn carpet and bumping up against the door to the dining room. “It was hard to get my degree. And damn expensive. So I want to reap the benefits from having it. And one of those is not working in a plant surrounded by potatoes and grease.”
Quin bounced his foot up and down. His pant leg had ridden up, revealing a narrow ankle covered in curling black hair. Matheus compared his own blond hair, so pale and fine that in the right light, it looked like he shaved his legs. He pushed himself up onto the couch, slouching to prop his feet against the edge of the coffee table.
“I might know something you can do,” Quin said. “If you condescend to accept my help.”
“Depends. Are you going to buy me a job?”
Quin’s foot stopped. He narrowed his eyes at Matheus.
“It won’t be legal,” he said.
“As long as I don’t have to break someone’s kneecaps, I’m okay with that.”
“Really? It doesn’t offend your oh, so delicate morals?” Quin asked.
Matheus contemplated telling him about the time he boosted five cars in one night. He’d been thirteen at the time, and bent on impressing the older kids. He was their mascot, allowed to hang around because getting the kid with the weird accent blitzed on whatever cheap liquor they scrounged up always provided them a laugh. Lost time dotted all of Matheus’ memories of that period, the parts he did remember lacquered with deep embarrassment.
“Just tell me what it is,” he said.
“I have an acquaintance who sometimes comes into items of an indetermination origin.”
“A high-class fence,” said Quin. “No stolen TVs for him.”
“And I would, what? Authenticate stolen goods?”
“And see that they’re properly looked after.”
Better than potato chips, Matheus thought. At least guaranteeing stolen art related to his degree. He’d chosen art history as a childish act of rebellion. He stuck with it because he turned out to be pretty good at it, and God knew he’d never get a job that required any sort of math skills.
“Okay,” he said. “I’ll try it.”
“I’ll talk to Faust,” said Quin.
“His name is Faust?” Matheus envisioned a gloomy goth with a bar through his nose and too much black eyeliner.
“No, it’s Herman, but he feels that doesn’t have enough flare.” Quin made a starburst motion with his hand.
“Is he one of us?”
“He’s human,” Quin said, surprising Matheus. “Barely.”
Quin wiggled down in the chair until he could rest his dangling legs on the arm of the couch. He crossed his arms, confirming Matheus’ suspicion that Quin naturally felt most comfortable in the creepiest position possible. The overhead light deepened the hollows in his cheeks and darkened his eyes from hazel to solid black. Matheus wondered what Quin had looked like before the unnatural stillness set into his features. He wondered if he would look the same after a thousand years.
“He was an alchemist, back when we had those,” Quin said. “Made a deal with a demon to extend his life. Except demons don’t make fair deals.”
“There are demons? Real, actual demons?” Matheus asked. His worldview took another hit.
“Yeah,” said Quin. “Not biblical demons. They don’t take souls. They’re like the otherworld’s merchants.” He plucked a stray piece of thread off his biceps. “You don’t have to worry about them. We don’t interest them much.”
“Otherworld,” Matheus said. “Juliet used that word.”
“That’s where you live now. Otherworld, as in, not the human world.”
“It’s kind of romantic. Otherworld. I kind of like it.”
Quin pressed a hand to chest, gaping slack-jawed at Matheus.
“You like something?” he asked. “Be still, my heart. Oh, wait, too late.”
Matheus threw his marker at him, turning away to hide the involuntary smile.
Quin snorted. He closed his eyes, tilting his head back until it hung over the arm of the chair like a dishtowel.
Matheus looked down at his hands, examining the ragged edges of his nails. He still bit them, finding himself with his fingers at his mouth without realizing he’d moved them.
“Quin?” he said.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Of course,” said Quin without opening his eyes.
Matheus rubbed his palms over his thighs. The same question had badgered at him for the last month.
“Can we dre—”
“Quin!” Juliet called from the foyer. “You have mail!”
“Goddammit,” Quin said, sitting up. “How does she keep getting a key? I’m going to have to change the locks again. It’s the fourth time, for Christ’s sake.”
Juliet strolled in, holding a small stack of letters. She threw her jacket over the coffee table, smoothing down the back of her skirt as she perched on the sofa beside Matheus. Pale peach nails matched her heels; a trio of delicate bangles hung from one wrist.
“Let’s see,” she said. “This one’s from Apollonia. I recognize the perfume.” She flicked the lavender envelope at Quin. “Tacky gilt and calligraphy, must be from Grigori.” That letter followed the first. “Which means this one is from Zeb. Or whoever’s looking after him at the moment.”
“Shit,” Quin said, catching the last letter. “How did they find out?”
“I don’t know. Maybe someone dragged his new pet along on a hunt. Hunters do like to talk, especially about The Dark One.”
“I didn’t drag him,” Quin said.
Juliet smiled at him. She crossed her legs, skirt riding up to reveal the edge of her stocking.
Quin rolled his eyes. “Don’t use those stupid nicknames.”
“Darling,” said Juliet, being the kind of woman who could call a person darling without sounding affected. “‘Quin’ doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of the masses.”
Quin tossed the stack of letters onto the coffee table.
“Why are you here?” he asked.
Juliet leaned toward Matheus, running her hand through his hair. Her nails scraped over his skull, curving around his ear. Matheus froze, as trickles of nausea dripped like ice water down the back of his neck.
“I came to see your pet,” Juliet said, her voice dropping to a purr as she traced the shell of Matheus’ ear.
Matheus jerked his head away, and Juliet laughed.
“Juliet,” said Quin sharply.
“He’s not yours to play with.”
Juliet smiled, scooting closer to Matheus, wrapping a hand around the back of his neck. She tapped at his jugular, a gesture that straddled the line between caress and threat.
“Not yours, either,” she said, looking at Quin.
Matheus stood up, taking two steps toward the armchair before he realized it. He stopped, damping down the more animalistic portions of his brain.
“Do you mind?” he asked. “I’m not a toy.”
“Oh, pet.” Juliet rested her wrist on her knee; the bangles sparkled in the dim light. “You’re a man, aren’t you? “With her other hand, she patted the cushion next to her.
Quin’s feet hit the floor with a thud. He grabbed Juliet’s arm and yanked her up. She stumbled, catching her shin on the edge of the coffee table, hopping on one foot as Quin dragged her toward the door.
“Thanks for visiting,” Quin said. “It’s been lovely having you. Don’t hurry back.”
Juliet’s curses echoed out of the foyer, language even Matheus drew the line at, cut off with an abrupt slam of the door. Quin returned, picked up the letters, and began opening them, seemingly unaware of the nonplussed expression on Matheus’ face.
“What was that all about?” Matheus asked as Quin scanned the first letter. He sat on the coffee table, the sofa tainted by association.
“Just Juliet being Juliet. Nothing to worry about,” Quin said. “Were you going to ask me something?”
“Never mind. It doesn’t matter.”
Matheus watched Quin open the other two letters. None of them appeared to contain good news. Quin took on the air of someone who has just realized it’s time for the yearly visit to the spinster great-aunt in a desperate attempt to woo her inheritance away from her thirty-eight cats.
“What is it?” Matheus asked.
“I’ve been formally invited to present you to the lords of the city,” Quin said.
“It’s traditional,” Quin sighed. “I hoped we could avoid it.”
“What the hell is it?” Matheus asked. Quin passed him the letters. They mostly contained the same message, full of the kind of contorted, ornate language last seen in Victorian times or any of the Decemberists’ albums. Matheus thought he spotted a wild thee, probably stalking one of the many thou‘s. A beautiful, looping script that must have taken the writer years to perfect scrolled over the lavender paper. The second letter looked as though it’d been written with a quill, giving the letters a bold, Gothic appearance. The last was plain ballpoint on computer paper in neat, angled handwriting.
Matheus dropped the letters on the table.
“Why didn’t you mention this before?” he asked.
“It’s fallen out of favor. It used to be, every time someone was turned, they were presented to the lords of the city, but the young ones don’t care about the old ways anymore.”
“The young ones?” Matheus repeated. “Are you going to start telling people to get off your lawn? What about those kids with their pants around their knees? Want an Ensure?”
“Smartass,” said Quin. “We have traditions for a reason, you know. Too many of our kind would wipe out humans. We need them to survive. The young ones turn too many and don’t train them properly. Then they kill unnecessarily and threaten exposure. The presentation used to be a way to keep our population down. If the newly turned was judged unworthy, he or she would be killed and the maker punished.”
“They’re going to judge me? How? What am I going to have to do?” he asked. He wished Quin had told him about the talent competition. Matheus barely grasped the whole killing people to survive issue .Now he had to twirl a baton to impress some antique lords? Why did the U.S. even have lords? History class gave Matheus the impression a war had been fought to avoid that very thing. So humans got to nix the aristocracy, but no such luck for the undead? And what did unworthy even mean? Did he have to run some kind of obstacle course? Provide financial records? Demonstrate some useful skill? Mimicry and jacking cars didn’t seem like especially extraordinary skills, not enough to justify immortality.
“Nothing. They won’t object,” Quin said, oblivious to the tornado of questions laying waste through the Kansas of Matheus’ mind.
“Because ‘Quin’ might not strike fear into the hearts of the masses, but it does to Apollonia and Grigori.”
This was both less and more reassuring than Matheus had hoped.
“Not Zeb?” he asked, glancing down at the last letter.
“Oh, Zeb.” Quin slashed his hand back and forth. “He doesn’t care about anything but his work.”
Matheus pushed at the stack of letters with the tip of his index finger.
“When is all this supposed to go down?” he asked. None of the letters contained a date.
“Three nights from now,” said Quin.
Matheus nodded. Three always popped up in the fairy tales he’d read as a child
“How will I contain my excitement?” he asked dryly.
“I’m sure you’ll manage.” Quin stood up, stretching his arms over his head. He crossed the room, then paused with one hand resting on the doorjamb. “Oh, sunshine,” he said.
Matheus looked up.
“The tie’s in the fireplace,” Quin said, snaggletooth poking out. “Ruined by the ash, I expect. I’ll just add it to your tab. Since you’re so deadset on paying your own way.”
“I hope you die in a fire,” said Matheus.
His father’s study with its paneling and the stained glass windows that left patterns on the carpet when the sun was right and the smell of cigars lingering, sinking into his clothes and now his father was there, immense behind his desk, lecturing, always lecturing in the study because he was a screw-up and a failure and weak like his mother was weak her car going over and nothing, nothing was ever right and watching the patterns on the carpet and waiting until his father finished and he could break into the cabinet with its shiny new lock but that wasn’t a problem, never a problem, and the alcohol burned sweet and soothing and everything was okay and now his father was standing, but it wasn’t his father it was Quin and he didn’t want Quin to be his father, Quin wasn’t his father, no, something else and they were in his old room with the posters of soccer players and Quin was touching him and he liked it, he wanted more, more touching because Quin wasn’t his father and it was nice and exciting and—
“Oh, God,” moaned Matheus. He pulled the pillow over his face and attempted to smother himself. When that didn’t work, he got up and dressed.
The house felt empty. Matheus wandered out into the backyard. A faded fence encircled the small square of scrubby grass. Some neighborhoods in the city had meticulously maintained gardens despite the smog and lack of space. Not this one. The grass had a sickly yellow tinge. In a cartoon, each blade would have a tiny hot-water bottle, and a thermometer stuck into it. Matheus wondered if Quin even had a lawn mower or if he just came out and glared at it every night. He went back inside before he decided to hang himself right there.
Matheus found it odd that he woke up earlier than Quin did. He passed out earlier as well, for reasons Quin never explained. The only answer Matheus received was a shrug and the sentence, “People are different.”
Quin exhibited an annoying lack of curiosity at times. Unlike Matheus, who stood outside the closed door to Quin’s study. Technically, Quin never marked the room as off-limits, so technically, Matheus could go in. Matheus paid attention to loopholes. They almost always came in handy.
Quin’s study wasn’t like his father’s. Quin left books and papers everywhere. The only light came from a floor lamp, with a Damascene shade, tucked into one corner. Bookshelves ate up all available wall space, but their appearance would give any good librarian a heart attack. Cheap paperbacks rested on leather-bound first editions. Multiple books sat spread wide, spines cracked, with knickknacks thrown carelessly on top of them. A handwritten ledger hung open over one arm of the loveseat. Matheus picked it up and flipped through it. The entries were all in Latin, with the occasional foreign word thrown in. He put the ledger backand sat down on the loveseat.
Matheus watched the open door. When Quin failed to appear, the house still quiet, he drifted toward the desk. He found the maps in the top drawer. Matheus spread them over the desk, connecting the edges to form an overview of Kenderton and its suburbs. A series of red circles denoted various properties or blocks, but with no discernible pattern. The top side drawer yielded a plain manila envelope on top of a pile of junk. A jolt ran through Matheus at the sight of it. Quin had retrieved the envelope from under the seat of the hunters’ van. Matheus hadn’t been fit enough to ask that night, but now he wanted to know what was in it. He glanced at the door again. Still no Quin.
The envelope contained three sheets of paper. A list of names covered the first one. The second was a letter with the kind of cramped handwriting sometimes seen in letters written before the mass production of paper. Matheus set it aside to look at later. The last sheet held another list in the same cramped handwriting.
Andrew Strange – ashes, hunt
Geraldine Parks – Rio, thirty years
Amarantha – missing
Dmitri Kozlov – ashes, walked into the sun
Jean Favreau – missing
Basil Aldebron – missing
Morrigan Fraser – South Africa, ten years
Miyuki – ashes, hunt
The list went on, more than forty names in all, almost half of them listed as missing. Matheus frowned. What the hell Quin was involved in? He reached for the letter, freezing when the staircase squeaked. Quickly, he shoved the papers into the envelope. He fought with the maps for a second, then used brute force to fold them into the appearance of order. He slammed the top drawer shut and ran over the loveseat, picking up the ledger just as Quin walked in.
“Good evening,” Matheus said.
Quin lifted the ledger out of his hands and set it on the desk.
“What are you doing in here?” he asked.
“Snooping through your things and filling your desk drawers with puddings,” Matheus said.
“Cute,” said Quin. He dropped onto the loveseat, curving an arm over his eyes. Matheus nudged him with a toe.
“I’m going to buy shoes,” he said. “Now that I have money again.”
“You can come with me.” Matheus felt magnanimous in his victory.
“No thanks,” said Quin, slumping lower.
“Are you sure? What if I get the wrong ones?” Maybe more vindictive than magnanimous.
Quin groaned, sliding downwards until three-quarters of his body sprawled off the loveseat.
“Just go,” he said, flapping a hand at Matheus. “And don’t get into any trouble.”
“Should I wear a jumper? It might get chilly.”
“I get it, sunshine,” Quin said. “You’re not a child.You know everything about everything. Congratulations. Now go away and leave me alone in my misery.”
“Grump,” said Matheus.
Matheus stood in front the mirror, smoothing his hands over the slick fabric. The suit was a charcoal gray pinstripe and fit as if it had been tailored to his body. Unsurprising, since it had been. Quin had thrust the clothing bag at Matheus, pointing at the bathroom. Matheus didn’t argue. He decided to pick his battles. Besides, he didn’t know the criteria on which he’d be judged. Maybe snappy dressing counted for more than he thought. He’d asked Quin a dozen times over the past two days what to expect, but Quin only told him not to worry about it.
I look like my father, Matheus thought, running the red and gold tie through his fingers. The same pale hair, square jaw, and high forehead. The shape of the eyes matched, but his father had blue eyes, not grey. The grey came from his paternal grandmother, his nose from his grandfather. From his mother, Matheus got her mouth and nothing else. At least, he thought he did; he only needed one hand to count the number of times he’d seen a picture of her.
“Are you ready?” Quin asked.
Matheus didn’t bother to respond, since Quin was going to walk in anyway. A half-second later, Quin proved him right.
“You look good,” said Quin. He adjusted Matheus’ tie and brushed a piece of lint off his shoulder.
“I feel like an idiot,” Matheus said, tugging on the bottom of his jacket.
“It doesn’t feel right.”
“That’s because it’s not polyester.”
“Fuck off,” said Matheus.
Quin smiled. “Ready to go?”
“No,” Matheus said.
“You can drive.”
Matheus raised his eyebrows.
“You have a car?”
“I do now,” said Quin.
The car gleamed sleek and supernatural on the run-down street.
Matheus stopped on the porch, mixed traces of lust and fury rising up his throat. He found his legs moving on his own, taking him down the steps to the dark blue highlighted with the flickering orange of the streetlamp.
“You . . . you . . . bastard,” he said.
“What now?” asked Quin.
“That is a Mercedes-Benz SLS-AMG.”
“Yeah.” Quin stood next to Matheus, surveying the car. He held up the keys, shaking them slightly.
Matheus glared at him.
“That’s my car!”
“No,” said Quin.”That’s my car.But you may borrow it.”He waved the keys some more.
“This is a dirty trick,” Matheus said.
One of the squatters emerged from the house next door. He walked out into the street, stopped, and did a doubletake at the car. The chain hanging off his pants jingled as he loped over, then silenced as Quin slowly shook his head at him. Head down, the squatter hurried away.
“You said not to buy you things, so I didn’t,” said Quin, turning back to Matheus. “I bought it for myself.”
“Then you drive it.” Matheus’ fingers strayed toward the hood; he snatched his hand back just as he brushed the cool paint.
“I never got the hang of driving,” said Quin.
Matheus whirled toward him.
“I know what you’re doing,” he said.
“What am I doing?”
“Exploiting a loophole to get what you want.”
Quin smiled at him.
Matheus wanted to grab the keys and hurl them at his face, to watch that smug look explode. But the car lured him,all smooth angles and sharp curves. German engineering and a desire to go fast, so fast the world could never catch him. He yearned, a desperate feeling that overrode any moral objections, the id suffocating the superego in a mindless expression of want.
The keys hung before him, waiting.
“Goddammit,” said Matheus and took them.