(IP) Eyes Everywhere

(IP) Eyes Everywhere

               The man stood in the top floor suite of the highest building in the city, a glass of scotch in hand, surveying the bounty of his domain through the wide windows.

               He ruled over everything, this huge city clutched in an iron fist.

               Why, then, did he feel so empty, still? This was everything he’d ever wanted, what he’d spent his entire life chasing. Trying to force this maudlin train of thought out of his head, he knocked back the sharp, fragrant spirit in one swift swallow. He set the glass down on a small table next to his chair, wishing bitterly that he’d thought to get more before he’d returned home.

               He was interrupted by a knock so soft that he almost missed it.

               “What is it?” He snapped. Normally, he took more care; he loathed not being calm and collected for anyone, but tonight, he simply didn’t feel like it. The unease dancing in his gut only grew, and he almost growled aloud his frustration. But he didn’t know if he was alone; it would not do to show weakness, whoever was lying in wait behind that door.

               Thankfully, it was only his assistant, dressed in a dark suit; the only spot of color on her was a bright ruby ring on the middle finger of her left hand. In the low evening light, it looked garish, bloody.

               But perhaps the alcohol was making him paranoid.

               “I’m sorry for the intrusion, sir,” She murmured, peering into the room.

               “But there are people who wish to speak to you.”

               “At this late hour?” He growled quietly, and this time, she stepped fully into the room, closing the door behind her.

               “I could tell them to leave. But from what I can tell, they’ve traveled a long way to speak to you. It wouldn’t be wise to turn them away.”

**

She was careful to phrase her words as quiet, bland statements; if it looked as though she were ordering him around, everything would fall apart. She had no choice but to make him think that he was making his own decisions, driving these events of his own accord.

               She would forever remain behind the scenes, pulling the strings in a place where he could not see. She was all that was left of the small group who had led the coup against the previous corrupt government, the only one that hadn’t been slaughtered out of jealousy, wrath, or paranoia, and she had no intention of dying, not now. She’d given up everything of her past life to have the place at his side as his most trusted advisor, and it had worked. She had him in the palm of her cupped hand, and it simply would not do if he somehow got wind of her plans.

She would not let all of her work be reduced to ashes, even if it meant playing a weak, simpleminded woman to a man whose insecurity, rage, and fear had nearly destroyed him.

For it was she who ruled over all, even if no one knew.

**