The night air was unseasonably cool and Larissa could feel the wind on her skin through the places her costume had ripped. Larissa crouched low on the rooftop, watching the traffic below intently. Not taking her eyes of the cars zipping by, she snaked a finger into the space between thigh-high boot and flesh and slowly pulled out a piece of paper. With the blood-red nail of her forefinger she slashed through a name written in elegant looping calligraphy, Father David Mulroney. The priest had not died easily, in fact, had fought her tooth and nail for his life, the end result being that her clothing was a complete loss. A pity, she thought, she had rather liked the sinuous, elegant line her figure took on while wearing it. Also a pity that she had to leave behind the mask and the bullwhip. Although a consummate professional, she had been taken slightly aback by the ferocity with which the Good Father had pulled out a switchblade and attempted to slice through her lovely swan's neck. She sighed wryly, she should have been ready for that, the Church could hardly bear the scandal of its most outspoken critic of modern hedonism being found dead in an underground fetish club. And even though she had requested it before performing the coup de grace, the priest had refused to grant her absolution for his murder. She spied an eighteen wheeler going west on the street four stories below her, arched her back and dived forward, landing with a barely audible thump on the roof of the trailer. Safer, she thought as she pressed her body close as a lover to the top of the Bierstein Market Truck, she could hardly walk around on the street dressed like this.

An hour later she was scrubbed, coiffed and dressed for the second affair of the night. Turning to admire herself in the full-length mirror, Larissa hissed, "perfect". The dress was perfect; a gauzy, shimmering silvery marvel that gracefully bordered the line between trashy and stunning, between scandalous and sexy. Larissa had rubbed cocoa butter on her dark, smooth skin and the fragrance of chocolate emanating softly from her long legs heightened her desirability immensely. Larissa knew well the connection between food and sex, and how little divided them. Almost as an afterthough she grabbed a beaded clutch purse that exactly matched her dress, then sauntered out to the limousine that was waiting to take her to the party.

Although haunting, beautiful music and the white noise of polite conversation filled the air, Larissa could still hear her high heels clicking on the marble floors. Almost imperceptibly, she scowled, this producer bragged that he had done his house in the style of a Roman Villa. Actually is was a vulgar mix of architectural traits from a dozen other times and styles, including Baroque Venice and Colonial Mexico. Larissa gazed into her glass of champagne but did not drink. She waited with mock coyness, alone by the fountain, for the producer to make his way back to his, what had he called her? Oh yes, his lovely little Hershey's Kiss. Although disgusted, she had pretended to be flattered, and saw the greed in his piggy little eyes. He wanted to devour her.

In less than three minutes he made his way back to her, his jowls flushed red from drink, giving him a startling, boyish appearance. He laid a clammy hand on her bare shoulder, leaned close and whispered an invitation. Almost imperceptibly, Larissa nodded.

Moments later they were alone in a bedroom with a massive wrought iron bed. He was kneeling naked before her, licking her expensive and lovely prada shoes. She rolled her eyes heavenward in disgust, a gesture he took for pleasure. Clumsily he reached for her, lips puckering, parted and slightly wet. She stopped him by placing one long, tapered finger on his lips and whispering huskily, "wait". He eyed her greedily as she stood, walked across the room and reached for her beaded handbag. She smiled at him and scolded, "Close your eyes. No peeking!"

And he kept his eyes closed until the length of piano wire she had pulled out of her purse was around his neck and it was too late. Afterwards, she poured out the untouched champagne over his white, distended belly and gently closed his bulging, surprised eyes. Tenderly, she kissed his forehead and pulled out the piece of white paper from her clutch bag. She scratched off another name.

Larissa was hungry now, and walking out of the gaudy mansion through the well-fed and liquored party guests was almost unbearable. One more job, she reminded herself, one more job and I'm through. Larissa never mixed business with the personal, it kept things neater on the whole, she reflected.

The last job was in a warehouse. Her customer had it on good authority that several people that he found extremely unpleasant were meeting that evening in an attempt to usurp her customer's considerable authority in certain key financial areas. Larissa had come recommended because of her unfailing accuracy and unblemished record. Although she was noted for her finesse and elegance in her work, her costumer had quite thoroughly emphasized that finesse was not he was looking for here, and that he would prefer things messy. Larissa hated to spill blood, she found it messy and amateurish, however the customer was offering what was tantamount to triple her usual fees and she was persuaded that financial concerns outweighed artistic in the particular matter. The warehouse had skylights, this made entry particularly easy for her. The costume for this job was a trenchcoat, black turtleneck, dark glasses, boots, skirt, beret. She leaned forward, obscured from sight, but seeing imperfectly through the grime-coated skylight and listened as a group of unintelligent thugs planned a violent transfer of power. She counted, there were five, four in plain sight and one badly hidden on a catwalk. She counted to six, then thrust her fist through the skylight, shattering glass and scattering the thugs below her, as they ran in fear and disarray. She jumped, her coat floating outwards like a cape and landed neatly on the floor. The was a shout from her right, without looking she flung her right arm out gracefully, like a dance move. A silvery flash, the subsequent meaty thud and gurgling cry of someone who had just had a lung pierced were the only signs that she had a flung a knife instead of executed a complicated flamenco step. One ran towards her, with her left hand she executed what appeared to be a complicated sleight-of-hand gesture and produced a wicked, serrated blade, she thrust forward and up, gutting her opponent then launched into a spinning kicking that caught the man who ran up behind her in the throat, crushing his larynx. The smell of blood inundated the air, tempting her with its warm, savory delights. Forcing control, she crouched to the floor just in time to avoid the bullet that whizzed by the empty spot where her head was. Catwalk, she thought, and reached inside her trenchcoat to produce a hatchet. She flung this up, seemingly aimlessly, but it severed a high tension electrical conduit overhead, bringing it sizzling and sparking down onto the metal catwalk. The smell of blood was strong, and she felt her teeth lengthen involuntarily as she stalked the floor looking for her final target. She could hear his heartbeat thundering, betraying his poorly chosen hiding spot. Impatient, she knocked over the stack of crates he was hiding behind with a swat. He was cowering, a visible, dark stain spread slowly over the front of his pants, he screamed when he saw her, screamed and begged, "please, you black bitch, please". But it was too late, the hunger took over, and she was on him, all fangs and claws and fury.

Later, she berated herself for losing control. It was unprofessional. However, she refleced, her customer had asked for "messy" and horrific, and it was certainly that. Larissa licked her lips with a very red tongue. There were still several hours before dawn she mused, time enough for a bite to drink.