An Invisible Noose

“It’s about time I caught up to you. I’m surprised you didn’t try to hop back home.” The handsome man smiled but his eyes were cold and had an odd stillness about them.

Charles looked around helplessly. Even now the crowd was thinning. The conductors shut the doors to the train. The one person who could’ve helped him had disappeared months ago. Leaving him all alone to deal with a Judge.

“You know what this is?” The Judge held out the length of silver-blue chain that sparkled in the morning sunlight.

“Yes.” Charles said miserably.

“Good. I want you to know I have it- and to know I’ll use it if need be. But for now, I’ll let you walk as a free man. It might be the last thing you do of your own accord, so you should enjoy yourself. Savor it.”

The Judge was lying. Charles wasn’t free and both of them knew it. Fighting or running now would give the Judge the power to hurt him. Violence tended to be a last resort- as long as you cooperated.

“Now tell me more about your friend…” The judge purred.

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