This morning, Daria sends the recording to Janah, she calls an hour later.
“Take them out before they pack up and go monk hunting. Do you need any of us to come out?”
Daria, “Nyet, we have already a plan.”
Good thing too. When the four show up at the house at ten, Dawkins is helping Mumford load his car.
Katya, “Could have had to follow them, make it more difficult. If he brings Dawkins to the airport, we would not have a chance at her.”
They don’t know whether the two Shadows plan to travel together or separately. Right now, Dawkins needs a ride, but it could be back to the airport and she goes home, or they drive the three states to her place.
Dasha, “They are both going in the house, we will feenish this.”
Dasha and Daria are in the house before any car passes, a minivan cruises by Katya and Katja, the driver absorbed in a phone call pays them no attention.
When they come in the front door, Dawkins and Mumford are frozen, blinking but otherwise immobile. It’s also clear that Dasha and her sister are working it, keeping the pair locked is straining them. The Shadows are powerful and fighting hard. Blue black atmosphere, crackling with flashes of light, a tornado of energy circles between them.
Two Glock 43s appear and simultaneously leave small round holes in foreheads.
The Shadows blank, energy dissipates, both fall backwards and thunk on the carpet. The air smells of overheated electronics.
Dasha stumbles, Katja catches her, Daria bent over, hand to her head, clearly she’s dizzy.
Katya pulls a chair out, “Sit, breathe, it is over now.”
A few minutes of recovery, enough to get them mobile, “Can you walk?”
Daria stands, rolls her neck in a circle, “Sister, you are good?”
“I was deezy, ees okay now.”
Katya, “When you leave, go left, we will collect the car and pick you up down the block.”
Daria and Dasha leave, Katya and Katja unscrew the silencers, pocket them, and slide the weapons into shoulder holsters.
Katya closes the front door, she and Katja walk down the street to the Tahoe. She picks up the twins at the next corner. Dasha calls Janah to arrange a flight. Two ball caps and two watch caps join latex gloves in a dumpster three miles away, the four return to the hotel and pack up. They have another night booked, Daria leaves the do not disturb tag on the door. The hotel will assume the guests were in the room, one in the name of an untraceable corporate nonentity. They return cars rented to people who don’t exist, a couple hours later on Blue Sky to Houston by one o’clock.
Ellen is at Hobby, “Hey babies, so glad you decided on a detour to Houston. Katja said you gonna learn to shoot.”
Dasha, “Da, Janah okays gun for only Shadow persons, they haf become more organized and a danger to fahmahley.”
“Good, don’t need to take unnecessary risk to deal with those psychos.”
Katya, “Sisters had them paralyzed, all we did was point and shoot.”
Ellen, “Wish I’da seen it. I want a chance to pop one of ‘em. Imagine, assholes tryin’ to kill our friends, can’t be havin’ that. Anyway, I got us a nice fresh batch of catfish, gonna fry ‘em up for dinner tonight. Fresh French bread, thought catfish poboys might be a nice welcome to our place.”
Dasha, “Sisters are anticipating, and I am anticipate also making sex wiz you.”
Ellen giggles, “I can do that honey girl. I’m sure Sarah and Mani will be making Daria feel welcome. How long can you stay?”
Dasha, “Maybe two days for shooting, then all tweens haf to go make moovey for Eemaya. You will come to Los Angeles and be bodyguard girl.”
“Really! Wow, hey, you’re not just joking around? I can go?”
Katya, “All of us will go. You can come to set, maybe different locations. Sarah and Mani will also keep watch. Carry Glock 42, small gun, but .380 bullet is enough and gun is easy to conceal. Probably no trouble, but you will be prepared.”
“Nothin’ bad gonna happen to my honeys. Who’s comin’ from your tribe?”
Daria, “Amaya, Chloe, us. The others cannot be away for six weeks of filming. Some of the work will be in New York. You will see Daphne and the rest then.”
Front door opens as they pull in the driveway.
Mani, “Dasha, Daria, cool, good to see you,” she calls over her shoulder, “Sarah, the twins are home and the other twins are here.”
Sarah comes from the bedroom, “Yay,” she hugs the girls, “hungry? Want tea, a drink?”
Daria, “They fed us on the plane, tea maybe.”
“I’ll take your bags upstairs, set out any washing you need so I can get to it later. We’re going to the range first thing tomorrow.”
Ellen, “Park at the table, Sarah and Mani will deal with luggage and guns.”
Two slightly used Glock 43s appear on the dining table.
Ellen looks them over, pops the magazine, “One shot each, efficient. Mani, pack these up along with the others. No point in cleaning for one shot, they’ll get more use tomorrow.”
Dasha, “Someone will show us cleaning gun.”
“Sure thing, tomorrow we’ll do a bunch more than one shot, maybe a bit of rifle practice the next day.”
She pours strong black tea for her Russian dolls, “Enjoy, then maybe just hang out, or do you want to move a bit, walk the Quarter?”
Katya, “Sisters used intense energy qi to stop Shadows, they need rest, tomorrow we are busy, enough for today.”
Dasha and Daria take a two hour nap in the twins’ room, long hot shower and appear downstairs. Ellen’s battering catfish.
Dasha, “What can I do for helping?”
“Aw, so sweet, fish is ready to fry, but we haven’t had cocktails yet, so they’ll wait. I have chopped purple cabbage, spicy pickle and tomato for the sandwiches, ketchup, Kewpie mayo, horseradish and Tonkatsu sauce for condiments. Crispy cabbage adds more crunch to the sandwich than lettuce. Chips on the side, it’s a basic dinner, nothing fancy.”
“Dahfoney haf made veal marsala you showed us, ees fahmahley favorite now. We make them fried feesh, oyster, shreemp. Beeg seller at Ultra Violet.”
“How’s the place doing, still popular I’ll bet.”
“Always full, lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch ees book for three month. New Orleans Egg St. Charles ees top seller. Meelk Punch drink ees top cocktail on Sunday. Everyone haf Champagne and dance around restaurant for second lining.”
Ellen laughs, “New Orleans can get people to loosen up even in friggin’ Manhattan.”
Katya, “One reason we moved to New Orleans is the atmosphere. Louisiana is a lousy state, no money, poor and ignorant. French Quarter is different, nobody is telling everyone how to be, what to look like, what to think.”
Katja, “Da, we are not much for sociable, but we made a few acquaintances, and our friend Gerard. Ah, of course, we go to see Lady Mary show when you come to visit us.”
Dasha, “What ees Lady Mary show?”
Ellen, “She’s transgender, finally got the cash to complete her transition, she was always a girl, now she’s totally a girl, a woman, Lady Mary must be forty. She has a super show in her own club on the fringe of the Quarter.”
Dasha, “You know already Sloane, she ees girl but still with boy part.”
“Is she going to get the operation?”
“She was, but Oceane and Cassie do not mind boy part, they make Sloane feel good. Sloane is like strapping on toy for them. No reason to cut off.”
Ellen, “Hell, don’t monkey around with a good thing. You know, I recall Sarah having a go with Sloane.”
Sarah’s coming from the laundry room, “Sure did, it was different, but she’s so girly it wasn’t hetsex. She can shove that bit in me whenever she wants.”
“Sarah is our resident slut.”
Sarah grins, “Don’t notice you minding my attentions.”
Ellen, “I’m not an idiot.”
Cocktail poured, Russian Standard for the twin doublets, Ellen has Elijah Craig bourbon, Sarah and Mani Sapporo in frozen mugs with a slice of orange.
Considering the fat poboys to come, Ellen has only nuts and a wedge of soft Havarti habanero cheese with crackers out to nibble.
Daria eyes Sarah’s tight slick legs, “Sarah, you look in shape, still running?”
“Yes, my other addiction, nice of you to notice,” she’s enjoying Daria enjoying her.
“What are other addictions?”
“Sex and death. I got addicted to running at eight, sex at twelve, death at sixteen, four year intervals. I didn’t add one at twenty though, we don’t age anymore thanks to Janah and Daphne. Maybe those are my addiction limits. I was into domination for a while, receiving, but we kind of wore off that.”
Katja, “And Mani, you have also addiction?”
“Sarah, Ellen, the twins, we’re all sort of co-addicted I think. My exercise is primarily in our gym, we have machines here and New Orleans. We also spar a couple times a month, gymnastics light, tumbling.”
Ellen, “We’re all addicted to our twins, doing for them is pure pleasure.”
Katja, “Our girls are obedient, when sister or I say, they must do. Friends, servants also, they take care of us like housekeeper, butler and cook. When they have free time, they may do as they wish.”
Daria, “Best way, everyone knows their place. In dangerous situation there is no time for discussion. We think your three girls like it that way.”
Mani, “Of course, it is our nature. Ellen is head servant, I bossed Sarah around for a while, had to give it up, she’s too adorable. We like the bottom of the ladder,” she giggles, “it’s a short ladder anyway. The twins made us all rich, why screw around with the pecking order?”
Ellen’s up and frying fish, Dasha slips next to her to help, twenty minutes later they’re biting into crispy catfish poboys.
Sarah, “Geez, good job girls, this is yummy.”
Dasha picks up the thread from cocktails, “Een our fahmahley, Janah is top girl, but with so many ees different from yours. Everyone takes care of Oceane and Cassandra, Sloane does the most. We all do what Eemaya says about making up and dressing. Dahfoney and I cook, everyone takes care of cleaning but we do each other’s rooms, not our own. Nikko, Daria and Zi handle most beezness mahter, except Eemaya does beezness for Vesnushki’s film roles.”
Ellen, “I love Chloe, so cheerful, she brightens up any room instantly. And she doesn’t mind that you call her freckles, Vesnushki, it’s sooo cute.”
“Vesnushki does not mind anything, always happy no mahter what ees happen.”
Dinner done, the evening slips by, Ellen passes around small dishes of ice cream and snifters of Cognac, She sits next to Dasha who’s holding the snifter with one hand, the other strokes Ellen’s smooth thigh.
Ellen leans in for a long kiss, “Maybe we finish our drink in my room.”
“Good evening all, Dasha and I are going to discuss servitude and dominance, at length. We will see you lovely ladies at breakfast.”
Sarah goes to Daria, lifts her t-shirt, “Kiss.”
Daria leans forward and kisses the soft crevice gently, her tongue teases.
“That’s it, now you’re in for it, she’s coming to our room Mani.”
Katya and Katja are snuggling on the couch. Sarah starts to ask if they want to join in, the twins kiss, Katya’s hand slips between Katja’s legs.
Sarah whispers to Mani, “Seems our twins have their own agenda.”
Mani, “And we have ours, let’s drive Daria insane, she’s sooo creamy tight. I’ll do the back, you take the front, we can swap around until she’s comatose.”
Plans laid, girls play hard and gentle, by midnight all the operating systems are happily hibernating.
In the morning, Ellen goes to the kitchen, Mani’s already there, “Coffee’s just made, you’re looking mellow.”
Ellen pours herself a cup, “Dasha is incredible, she had her head between my legs and didn’t quit until I’d shook and shivered four flippin’ times. I did my thing on her, then she fucked me brainless with the strap-on. I showed her, I licked her ass until she rocketed off one more time. She kept up a steady stream of Russian with that last bit, it sounded erotic.”
“Sarah was having another go at Daria when I woke up. Daria did us oral and strap-on. Sarah and I double licked front and back to show our gratitude. Our plan was to start with that, but Daria got on her knees and wanted us to stand and spread while she took us both. She’s really good at it, tongues one while fingering the other, then swaps until we’re both squirmy and shivering. I think she’s practiced that more than once.”
“Hell, she lives with a dozen hot women, I imagine there’s nothing they haven’t practiced, repeatedly. I need to get our women fed, we need to get going.”
Daria and Sarah show up, Sarah nuzzles her neck, “Tea?”
Ellen, “In the pot, should still be hot. Mani, stir the eggs, bagels in the toaster, smoked salmon is already on the platter in the refrigerator. I’m going to get the others moving.”
She goes to Katya and Katja’s room, the shower s running. Dasha’s in with them, except the twins are standing and Dasha’s on her knees. She’s just in time to hear her twins simulgasm.
Ellen returns to the kitchen, “Be along shortly, Dasha was discussing Russian erotica with them in the shower.”
Sarah, “Don’t imagine there was much talking.”
“There was Russian spoken, it wasn’t a conversation but it sounded real friendly.”
Twins and a half of a twin set show up, Ellen and Mani get everyone fed and caffeinated.
Ellen, “Car’s packed, we have a light lunch in the cooler, chicken salad, crackers, bottled tea and Coke Zero. If we’re out the door at nine, we’re shooting by ten.”
Ellen, “First rule, and never broken. Somebody hands you a gun, you check the chamber to see if it’s got a round in it. Never point the thing anyplace but towards the ground. The only time you point a gun at a person is when you’re gonna shoot him, and when you do, shoot, don’t talk, don’t explain, just pull the trigger.”
She demonstrates by taking the magazine out, racking the slide, a bullet ejects, “That’s what I’m talking about. You can’t know if the thing is loaded unless you rack the slide, never, ever, assume, never think you remember unloading the gun. Always check, go it?”
“Alright, here’s your weapons, now what?”
The twins follow procedure exactly, both guns are loaded with one in the chamber, “Good, very good, tattoo the procedure on your brain, never deviate. Let’s go shoot something.”
Daria and Dasha find the pistols easy enough, tight group at twenty five yards after a few magazines.
Ellen, “Ya’ll got the hang of that right quick.”
Dasha, “Target ees not move, point gun, shoot, seemple.”
“Then let’s get to the moving stuff,” she takes them to the barn where the others have been practicing.
“There are eight targets, four pop up in the shape of a person, three slide back and forth on a rail, the speed is adjustable. The last is on a pendulum. Over on the left is the star. Hit one plate, the wheel starts to turn, the idea is to get the rest of the plates while the wheel is in motion. Any questions?”
“Nyet, what ees first thing?”
“Try the pop-ups. I’ll operate them from here, see, one button for each target. Whoever you’re shooting with picks a button at random, target appears for three seconds then drops down again.”
Dasha gives it a go, this time she hits the target but the shots are less accurate than the stationary targets outside. One chest, one in the gut, one is a miss, to the left of the neck, one shoulder.
“Ees more challenge.”
“Yep, you’re doing fine though. Eventually you will hit what you want, a head shot is toughest, center mass chest is a good kill shot, a guy with a nine mil dumdum in his chest isn’t going to finish the fight. Okay Daria, you’re up.”
Daria connects about the same as her sister, good enough for a first run. When Katya’s crew does a hit in real life, the targets is usually unaware, and they do it from a short distance, often five feet or less. Shadows are a different matter, they might be tossing out waves of energy, flinging objects telekineticly or on the move themselves. Thus the need to hit a target in motion or under the duress of attack.
“Let’s try the pendulum.”
All misses from the first round, on their second the twins hit the plate twice out of six shots.
Daria, “We need more practice, this is not so simple.”
“You’ll get it, we all fumbled around for the first few sessions. A break for lunch and we’ll start up again.”
The day rolls by, Ellen keeps it challenging, they work the rail on slow, move it up too half speed, some hits, more misses. That target is small, about the size of a hockey puck, they are ten yards away and the rail it runs on is only three feet so it’s back and forth a lot.
The pendulum is more predictable and they do a bit better with it.
“Katja will demonstrate the star, tomorrow you can give it a go, today just observe how it works.”
Katja pops the first plate, the wheel rotates, she takes the second, the wheel picks up speed, she does three four and five pop, pop, pop.
Dasha, “Katja ees gud shooting person.”
Katja, “It took us a while, nobody dropped five plates at first.”
Mani, “I didn’t think I’d ever get them all, but it comes together.”
Sarah and Katya have been outside with the rifles, they come in the barn, “How’d it go?”
Daria, “We have a lot of work to do.”
Sarah laughs, “So do I with the MiniMag, I hit the target okay at fifty yards, one hundred and I’m only fair. Wait ‘til you try flying clays with a pistol, that is friggin’ hard.”
Dasha, “What ees?”
Outside, Katya loads a few clays in the thrower, Katja and Ellen take turns trying to hit them. With a shotgun, it’s not too hard, with a handgun, you have to be exact. They get a little over half.
Ellen, “That’s after hours of practice and a million bucks worth of ammo. When you work this, even if you miss a bunch, hitting the other moving targets gets much easier.”
Daria, “We will practice. You will come to Arizona and show us how to build range.”
“Great, you’re out there, what, three-four months at a stretch? Be tuned up in no time.”
Dasha and her sister return to the barn and rotate, pop up, roller, pendulum, star, there are empty cartridge casings everywhere. The others stay outside on the rifle range. It’s near five o’clock.
Ellen comes in, “Wow, you guys are sure determined, how’d it go?”
Dasha, “Pop up, rolling target and pendulum we are not bad, star ees more difficult, but sister got five once, I got four.”
“Dang girls, you catchin’ on to this quick, let’s collect the brass and get movin’ be cocktail hour by the time we hit home. Probably just get pizza, that okay?”
“Da, at home, all the fahmahley ees for pizza.”
They roll in the driveway for six fifteen, showers, everyone reeks of gunpowder.
When they reassemble, Sarah makes drinks while Ellen shows Daria and Dasha the simple few steps to clean a Glock.
“These damn thing are near unbreakable, accurate and super easy to clean. Get the slide off, remove the barrel, swipe the inside with a cleaning cloth, always in the direction of the bullet. Wipe the slide down with a clean lint fee cloth, a dab of oil at each end of the groove where the slide fits, slap it back together. Any excess oil, wipe that too. Some people use Q-Tips to clean the groove, but they can leave bits of cotton in there. We just slide the cloth along the groove with a dull knife to get down in it. Doesn’t scratch, doesn’t leave bits of anything.”
Sarah and Mani return with a variety of pizzas, pepperoni, margherita, one loaded with vegetables. Slide them in the oven, have a drink, when the pizza’s been in ten, they cover them with foil to keep the tops from too much browning, they like the crust crunchy crisp.
Another round of vodka and bourbon, they kill two bottles of Chianti with the pizza while they watch a mediocre James Bond in Spectre, then Cognac to wind up the party.
Everyone is nicely swizzled, Katya and Daria go off to curl in, tonight Sarah sleeps with Dasha, Ellen and Mani go to her room. Nobody gets up to prolonged intimacies, it’s been a long active day. A few kisses then sleep.
In the morning, girls wake up to a mixed dozen Katya Donuts, they drink coffee and tea while they enjoy the perfection of donut art.
Dasha, “Amazing Katya, we haf Doughnut Plant, Dough, Underwest Doughnuts and Sullivan Street Bakery in our area of Manhattan, all top rating. These are as good as any of them, better even, Dough puts too much icing, we tried once, do not anymore go there.”
“Spasibo. When we come to New York, you will take us to all of them, I will get idea to maybe steal.”
Ellen, “Saddle up ladies, we got ammo to burn.”
And they do, Daria and Dasha spend the morning in the barn, then rifles after lunch followed by skeet and sporting clays, but with shotguns, not pistols.
Katja, “You do well, hitting clay with shotgun takes practice, more practice to do it with a pistol, but that is for another time. Ellen, it is three already, we will go home now, out to Capitol Grille for dinner. Twins will sleep with sister and me, you will find something to do with Mani and Sarah.”
“I can find lots to do with Mani and Sarah, including fantasizing about two sets of twins doing lesbian things together.”
Sarah, “I’m already warming at the thought of it.”
Mani, “You are such a slut.”
“Hah, every time I look up I see your Thai head between my legs.”
“Asian girls are smart that way.”
Capital Grille maintains its high standards, the girls share a Grand Plateau, hundred buck seafood appetizer, bottles of Moët & Chandon Rosé Impéria Brut accompany. Skip salads straight to entrees, house special porcini rib eye, filet mignon, grilled sea bass and pan seared sea scallops. Sides of creamed spinach and roasted cauliflower. The wine list is fairly pedestrian and wildly overpriced, but Ellen has taken two sommelier courses at Houston’s Culinary Institute LeNôtre. She manages to find an acceptable Cabernet for the beef, Pinot Grigio for the seafood.
Dasha, “Food ees excellent Ellen, good suggestion Katya.”
“Spasibo, does anyone want dessert?”
A universal ‘nyet,’ Dasha goes off, allegedly to the ladies.
What she actually does is find the waiter and pay the tab, then returns to the table.
“Are we ready to leaf?”
Ellen, “Haven’t paid yet, need to flag down the waiter.”
“Check ees paid already. You spent more on ammunition than dinner cost and are giving us Glocks.”
They head home, have a final Cognac before bed.
Dasha, “We will provide transportation and accommodations for Los Angeles. It is charged to Murakami Sylk Films, part of production cost for security.”
“Well hell, that’s so sweet, and we get to see Amaya and Chloe again. Hope they find a coupla hours to let me intimately entertain them.”
Daria, “Maybe, but during filming, some of which is at night, they usually come home, have a drink, light dinner and crash. Calls are early and they both stay busy all day.”
“Then I’ll have to fulfill that fantasy another time, like when we go to Arizona to set up the range.”
“That will be better, everyone is relaxed in Arizona, all recreation, fine food, no worry about Shadows. Los Angeles has lots of strange people, they want to meet Chloe. She is friendly and likes to please her fans. That means she’s taking pictures with them, mostly teen girls. We have to watch the crowd, it will be someone out of place, older man probably, but do not assume. Women get crazy ideas too.”
Sarah, “I didn’t realize, we need to pay attention girls, they aren’t bringing us out for funzies.”
Daria, “No, you go, you will work. It looks like only standing around, but you do not stand around, you are watching. Anybody seems weird, tries to approach with no credential, you will stop. You will have a gun, but do not pull and shoot unless it is clear there is no other option. You will have permits to carry and licenses that verify your position as film crew security. Twins will be making movie, we cannot be bodyguards at the same time.”
Dasha, “I spoke to Dahfoney, sister and I agree, you haf experience wiz surveillance from your other work. That ees good. But no experience protecting a principal from a threat, in your work you are the threat. Dahfoney haf decide to come to LA wiz Chloe and Eemaya. Janah also of course.”
Mani, “Why of course?”
“They haf never separate for even one day. Janah might be een temple and Dahfoney at home, but not overnight. Even though they are one person wiz two body and brain, they want physical proximity at some point each day. It ees how they are. Like Katya and Katja made you a good life, Janah and Dahfoney make a good life for all the rest of us, starting with Nikko to the last, Cassandra.”
Sarah, “They don’t boss anyone around, not that I’ve ever seen.”
“Da, but in matters of Society work and Shadows, they say, we do. Janah does strategy, Dahfoney ees boss of security, we can make suggestion, but final decision ees Dahfoney.”
Ellen, “You guys are like Katya and Katja, you turn together, sit and stand together, look at each other while you talk in your heads, what do they call it?”
“Most people say telepathy, we call it mentaling. It is more than voice in head, we see what the other sees, hear what they hear, not so much wiz scents, touch, or how something tastes.”
“Then that other thing, like when Janah poured a glass of wine without touching it. Damn bottle just lifted up, tipped and filled the glass. Didn’t spill any either.”
“Daria can do it as well, so can I but I am not as good. I would probably spill wine.”
Mani, “Get out! What about K and K?”
Daria, “We will teach them sometime, probably in Arizona, more time for long sitting while nothing happens. They are patient like us, we have similar temperament. It took us a long time and we had help from Janah and Daphne.”
“Can I learn?”
“Maybe. Keep in mind, it is long, tedious, and nothing may happen.”
“We know that much, our friend Gerard has been at it for years and he can barely make a pencil slide on a table.”
“Good, then have no expectation, it will only frustrate and trying too hard is counterproductive anyway.”
Daria, “We have to be in LA in four days. If you have time, maybe fly to Arizona with us tomorrow. We can figure out gun range, swim, exercise, drive karts, you can try for longer qi meditation.”
Sarah, “Cool, Katya, can we spare the time?”
“Going to be away a month anyway, four more days does not matter. Time now for sleep.”