“It’s been like that all night!”

Kim put the Art & Entertainment section of her paper down to glare at her keeper. “I was in the middle of a review.”

“Can you not hear that?”

She shrugged, lifted her paper, and resumed reading the gallery review. “It isn’t my concern.”

With her attention nowhere on him, Chris growled and kicked her door closed. The solid wood wasn’t enough to muffle the cacophony of voices floating up the stairwell. Kim was unmoved as she continued familiarizing herself with the month’s upcoming events. What they did meant little to her. They weren’t her mission, much to Chris’ annoyance.

All at once, the mildly amusing paper withered away till it crumbled in her hands and a fine dust fell to the floorboards about her bare feet. Chris met her hardened glare with a sneer. She looked down at the dust. It was already fading from existence. If only he would, she thought as she stood.

“I’m sorry. Does the shouting bother you? It’s too bad a closed door won’t work.”

Though his arrogant smile was plasted on his pudgy face, Kim could still smell the uncertainty and the fear that piggybacked on it. The show of power was a risk; they both knew it and, finally, he understood what it meant if she grew tired of it. He’d be dead before she could finish a sigh.

Chris watched her swaying form till he saw nothing but the stairs and the cliche suburban decor. Brightly painted walls adorned with a flowery border. Floor rugs that ran the length of both the hall and the stairs. Framed smiles, achievements, and pets hugged the ugly yellow wall.

“I won’t miss this,” he huffed out, crossing his arms.

As he leaned against the door frame, the roar of voices shifted from arguing to strained screams, cries, and pleas. One by one they were silenced.

A hush filled the old two-story home. The air still carried the after smell of dinner; rolls, barbecued meats, and candied yams. Chris inhaled and smiled. It never smelt sweeter.

“What a girl.” Chris unfolded his arms to clap for Kim as she neared the top of the stairs. Her brown hair was still back and well away from her round, hollow face. The short blue dress she picked for the day didn’t seem disturbed and neither did she.  She didn’t look a bit out of place.

She stopped a breath away from him, causing Chris to pull himself to his full height. It didn’t do much. The small inch he got made her more intimidating but he refused to shy away. There was a promise made on all fronts. Though she could kill him, and he hoped every hour she wouldn’t, she wouldn’t break their deal. He procured viable bodies for them and they, in turn, provided him with more power.

“Are they-”

“You are childish, expendable, and very replaceable. If it comes down to it, I will kill you. Do not forget who we are.” Chris’ jaw clenched and Kim passed him, satisfied. “You have a week before the next ship drops. Get rid of the bodies, spread a rumor that they went on a trip, and find us more.”

“Isn’t the twenty I got so far enough for some coup?” Chris sank into the desk chair and hit the space bar of his laptop to get it going. “Why are you doing a coup anyway?”

Kim’s gaze moved from the glowing screen over to him. “The Cockatrice are not meant to sneak around. With such power under our claws, we should not hide. We should not have to bear the face or skin of your subordinate kind. When our full force comes, you and every one like you will serve at our feet like it once was. The world will return to a time when beasts were gods. That my lecherous swine is why a coup is necessary. We will not bow. We will not share. We will not fight just one war, we will fight many and we will win them all.”

Chris turned in his seat. The delusions of one race was fine by him so long as he came out on top. She could call him whatever she liked. He’d be the true victor by the time they wiped themselves out.

Kim settled in to watch him as she lay on the bed. Lies poured from her faster than death did. Though she knew some truth were in her words, there were more traps neatly placed to catch their little swine in his trickery. He’d be dead within a week and she had a direct order to play with him till then. Her smile lit a small gleam in her eyes. Their final days together would be amusing.