The Poet with Fishhook Eyes
by Michelle Knowlden
"You have no heart."
Surrounded by politicos at the governor's party, the poet with fishhook eyes glared at me. I did not remember her. Had I been a patron? A critic? An enemy?
When I said nothing, she strode away, her eyes snaring sycophants and lechers in her wake, till they too melted in the crowd.
"Who was that, General?" One of my lieutenants stood next to me.
"Riffraff, sir?" His gaze fixed on the small eddy she'd left in the line of onlookers.
Like testing a sore tooth, my thoughts touched the surgical borders of my mind, but I felt nothing: no sorrow, no joy, no interest. I probed deeper. No horror of the genocide I'd witnessed thirty years ago, no lingering rage upon hearing of my mother's murder when I was seventeen.
"She's no one," I said.
He stiffened. "Do you want me to--?"
"No." Many had vanished in the past months. Nothing must now mar the night of the governor's speech.
More to rid myself of his uneasy glances, I said, "Follow her. Make sure she doesn't talk to the governor or the press."
Before he disappeared into the masses, I'd forgotten his name. A side effect of the surgery, but not a problem. My men wore nametags.