11/20/2023 NaNoWriMo, DIG TWO GRAVES: 704/23117.

Trying to find a rhythm to all of this.

The crime boss shrugged. “I still got six dead guys’ earrings on the desk here, and the two who killed ‘em in front of me. So what are you going to do about it?”

“Nothing?” I retorted. “Your guys were already dead when we shot them up. I’ll not eat the sins for their deaths. You want justice, or revenge, take it up with the wizard who killed them.”

“He ain’t here to give his side, and you are. You said it yourself: you’re a dead man walking. Maybe you made them walking dead, too, only they wouldn’t do what you told them, so you put ‘em down.”

“You really believe that, Mister Don?” Dead or alive, my ears can still hear scorn. Marigold’s voice was full of it. “If the man’s good enough to zombify your guys from outside of town, he’d be good enough to keep ‘em on a leash.”

This irked me. It shouldn’t have, but it did. “I didn’t zombify anyone! I don’t have a damned clue how to zombify anybody, either!” …Except that there was a voice in my head whispering, You sure about that? I didn’t care for its tone, and you wouldn’t have, neither. “I’ll tell you again, we got no business with you. We came here out of politeness, to let you know what happened to your boys. Well, now you know, so we’re gonna take our leave. Tell everybody that you ran us out of Brackettlee, if you want. Neither of us will say a word.”

“Naw, that ain’t gonna work,” Smiling Don told me. And just like that, the room got a little more sharp-edged. “My men are dead, and their earrings are on the table. You should have brought ‘em to me direct, and then I could have kept everything quiet. Can’t do that now, because I gotta show I got paid off for that. One way, or the other.”