The nervous young man stared in the mirror as he straightened his tie, patting his suit with his free hand as he did so. He had keys, wallet in the back pocket, cell phone on his hip….oh, what was he missing?

He jumped as his wife looped her arms around his neck and stared at the mirror with him. Unlike him, though, she was wearing a faint smile on her pretty face.

"What are you worried about?" she asked, kissing his cheek and sliding a small, spiral-bound notebook into his half-open hand. She put a pen into his pocket. "It's just another interview."

The man grimaced. That was what he had been telling himself for the better part of two days. It wasn't helping. "I keep telling myself that, but…" He shook his head. "It doesn't help." He turned as she loosened her hold and smiled at her. "Thanks for the advice, though. And the pen." He removed it from his pocket and held it between them, smiling at her. She laughed and took it from him, giving it a click.

"Yes," she teased. "What kind of writer are you without your pen?" She put it back in his pocket, and sighed softly as he looped his arms around her waist and kissed her gently. When he pulled back, her hands were around his neck, and one was playing with his short-cropped brown hair.

"You sure you want to do this?" she asked softly, looking up at him with worried brown eyes. The young man grimaced and shook his head.

"No," he admitted. "But he requested me specifically, and so…" He sighed. "I have to go. Someone has to get the story. For the history books."

"I guess so," the woman said doubtfully. She shook her head, sending her black hair rippling over her shoulders. As always, the man felt the need to lightly run his hand through her hair, quietly enjoying its soft, silky feel. He leaned in and gave her another kiss, but a short one. He didn't have time for anything more. Already he was going to be a bit late.

Still, he felt no need to let her go. He stood there for a moment, his forehead resting against hers, and his eyes tightly shut. At last, she pushed him away, laughing.

"C'mon," she said. "It's not like he's going to shoot you."

"That's not exactly what I'm worried about," he replied nervously. "I think he'll make me look like a fool."

She laughed. "But that's so easy to do!" She grabbed his shoulders, turned him around, and pushed him to the door.

"Do I have to?" he begged, putting both palms out at the doorway and digging in his heels. He glanced over his shoulder at her. "One more kiss?"

"You've had it!" She gave him a shove, and he stumbled out the door. He turned to her, but she was leaning against the entryway, blocking him from getting in again. "Get goin'. You don't want to be late for the interview of the century." She winked at him, then her expression softened.

"It'll be fine," she reassured him softly. "Love you." She blew him a kiss, then stepped back and closed the white door, his last portal to his safe haven.

The man stared at it for a moment, then sighed and straightened his outfit one last time. He set his shoulders, pulled the keys from his pocket, then headed to his car with the walk of a man resigned to his fate.

The drive was uneventful. His plain Honda was hardly something that attracted attention, even on the best days, and his driving style was plain and inoffensive. He had passed with a 96 on his driver's exam when he was sixteen, and the 4 had been removed for letting too many cars go at an intersection.

After about fifteen minutes, he pulled up in front of his destination. The closed prison gates, with their barbed and electric fences, loomed over him. He gulped and glanced over at the intercom.

"State your name and business," a gravelly voice said.

"Ian Keller," the young man replied, his voice shaking. He cleared his throat. "I'm here to speak to a Malcom. Malcom Black? He requested an interview with me."

There was some rustling of papers. Then, the voice spoke again. "Proceed."

The man breathed a sigh of relief. For some reason, he'd been worried about that part. He watched as the gates opened in front of him, then drove in. He pulled into a parking space and got out, brushing himself off again.

"Mr. Keller?"

Ian jumped and looked up. There were three guards standing there, each more serious than the rest. Ian looked at all of them nervously.

"Y-y-es?" he stammered. His voice cracked. The guards didn't bat an eyelash.

"We're here to escort you to your meeting place with Mr. Black," the first one said, frowning at him. "You are aware of the safety procedure?"

"Uhm….yes?" he guessed. "I mean no!" He folded his hands in front of him and smiled apprehensively at the guards. None smiled back.

"Very well," the first said. "This way. We shall brief you on the way there." He turned on his heel and started to walk. Ian looked at the other two, then hastily ran to catch up. His dress shoes squeaked, and Ian tugged on his tie nervously.

As he walked, the guard talked.

"First thing you will need to know is that Mr. Black is a dangerous criminal, and an intelligent one at that. He will try to escape. You will not give him anything. Understood? Not even a drink. Let us do that."

"Understood," Ian said, his head bobbing up and down frantically.

"Second. He will most likely try to harm you. Do you know any self-defense?"

"Well…I took a few self-defense classes during high school, but—"

"That would be a no, then," the guard interrupted. "If you get attacked, you will call for help, understand? He has requested that the room be soundproof, and lack any cameras, but if you scream loudly enough, we will hear."

"Is that really necessary?" Ian asked, attempting a laugh. It came out as a choking sound. The guard looked over at him, frowning.

"Yes," he replied. "Absolutely. Is there something wrong, Mr. Keller?"

"Oh, no! Nothing at all. It's just…I've never been in a prison before."

"And may you never be in one again," the guard said, his tone perfectly even. He stopped by a door. "Are you ready, Mr. Keller?"

"Well…." He gave the guard another shaky smile. "Not really, no."

"Good." The guard shrugged and opened the door. "It'll keep you on your guard. Good luck, Mr. Keller."

The man nodded. Then, he steeled himself, and walked into the room. The door shut with an ominous thud behind him. He resisted the urge to turn around and bang his hands against the solid metal, screaming at the top of his lungs. Instead, he steeled himself and took in his surroundings.

The room was simple. The ceilings were nine feet tall, and there was one window, which lit up the entire place. It was small—perhaps a little larger than Ian's two feet side by side. There were bars on it, and it was found near the roof. In the room there were only three items—a metal table, and two chairs, all bolted to the floor. The two chairs faced each other from across the table.

It was then that Ian first got a look at the man he was supposed to be interviewing.

In another situation, he might have been comical. Perhaps in a field of flowers, or among a bunch of hippies in the anti-war protests of the fifties. But here, in the small little room with its sound-proof walls and its thick metal door, he was terrifying. He had shoulder-length white hair, along with pale features. These were contrasted by heavy dark eye makeup—or were his eyes just that dark?—and several pieces of dark jewelry. He had black hoop earrings in each ear, a silver nose stud, a silver hoop on his right eyebrow, and another silver ring protruding from his lip. His features were angular. Snow-white brows angled sharply over his eyes, giving him a sinister look, and a long nose shot out from his face like a compass. High cheek-bones gave him an elf-like appearance, but there was nothing fair about him. All he looked like was something out of hell.

But most terrifying out of everything were his eyes. For out from under those angular brows were blood red eyes, accented by the dark circles under his eyes.

They're just contacts, Ian told himself. Just contacts. Not real. Deep breaths…

Ian wasn't really sure how to treat a man on death row, so he gave him a cheery smile. A white brow lifted.

"Hello," he greeted. "I'm Ian Keller. You asked me to interview yo—"

"Skip the introductions, Ian," the man said in a British accent, sounding bored. He put his feet up on the table and stretched out, somehow managing to put his handcuffed hands behind his head. "We both know I know who you are. I requested you, remember?"

Caught off guard, Ian nearly dropped the pen that he had begun to remove from his pocket. "W-w-well, yes. Yes, that's true…"

"Then why don't you sit down," the man nodded to the chair that Ian was near and bared his teeth in what he might have considered a smile, "and we'll get started? If you haven't noticed…" He chuckled. "I don't have a lot of time to get this over with."

Ian would have LIKED to say that he sat, but in reality, he collapsed into the chair. Clearing his throat, he removed the notebook from his pocket and put it on the table in front of him with trembling hands. The man across from him watched, both brows raised, and a smirk on his lips. His red eyes followed Ian's movements like a cat followed a mouse. At last, Ian looked up.

"Yes?" he asked.

The man shook his head, seemingly in amazement. "You're trembling like a leaf, man," he remarked, laughing. "I'm just trying to figure out what's so frightening."

Ian smiled nervously, fiddling with his pen and trying desperately to remember what his wife had told him. He can't hurt you, he's handcuffed, and he's very far away, nothing to hurt me with… "Well…ah…you are a convicted murderer, and I was told—"

Malcom rolled his eyes and moved his hands so they rested on the table. With one, he made a dismissive gesture.

"Forget what you were told," he said, smiling. "Remember? I got you here with a promise to tell you a true story. How often do you hear hijackers' stories? Never, I bet."

"W-well, no, not really." He twisted the pen in his hand. "B-b-but I am still puzzled as to why you wanted me. I'm no reporter."

"This is very true," Malcom agreed, nodding with a slight smirk. He leaned forward. "But I must tell you, Mr. Keller," he continued, wagging a finger at him as if the writer was a naughty child. "I've read a good deal of your books, and you tell a marvelous story."

"T-t-thank you," stammered Ian. "B-but I am a fantasy writer, not a biographer, or even an ex-reporter. I have no idea—"

"But that's the point!" Malcom laughed and leaned back again. "I don't want a biography, or a report. I want a story. Stories are always remembered better. What is history but a great lump of stories?" He bestowed another predatory smile upon the writer, who flinched back. "And trust me. I should know." He looked Ian up and down, then frowned. "Shouldn't you have some sort of…recording device? A tape recorder?"

"W-well," Ian began, tugging on his eye again and swallowing nervously, "as I told you during our conversation earlier this week, I-I am not a r-reporter. I-I am a f-fantasy w-writer. I-I had p-planned to take n-notes…"

Malcom's frown remained, but he shrugged. "Ah. No matter. Notes will do fine." He winked. "Just capture the voice, hm? I think that's the most important part."

Ian was beginning to have problems. How could a man on death row be so…casual? Without even a hint of regret or resignation? "M-mr. Black—"

"Call me Malcom, please!" The man, who looked like he had popped out right from a heavy metal or punk rock band, laughed. His teeth were as white as his hair. "And remember, that's without an L in the second part. I like things to be…unusual."

Ian nodded slowly and took that down, along with a few other notes. "I-if I may ask, Mr…Malcom." He looked up and cleared his throat. "What made you decide to…well…?"

"All in good time, sir." He smiled again, his red eyes sparkling. "You don't want me to give away the grand finale already, do you?"

The writer, however, shook his head.

"T-that's not what I meant," he explained. "I wanted to know why you c-called me. There are other w-writers, ones that are better, and not fantasy…"

Malcom's smile faded.

"You don't understand, Mr. Keller," he said. "I wanted you."

"B-but why?"

Slowly, the man leaned forward. Ian, even though the convict was several feet away and they were separated by a metal table, found himself leaning back. The two's eyes met. And Ian realized that Malcom's eyes were truly red. Not contacts. Red.

The smirk reappeared on his lips.

"What do you think, Mr. Keller?"


All right...story behind this...

M'kay, so I was reading these books called the 'Legend of Drizzt', by R.A. Salvatore. Not a bad book, but I wanted...meh. Not sure. I wanted to make Drows more...human. Drizzt was okay, don't get me wrong, but everyone else was just...ugh.

Not doing a very good job explaining this. Okay! So. What happened was that I really wanted to give Drows another aspect-make them seem more life-like. I know, they're always portrayed as evil and violent. I'm not going to change that. But I was a little frustrated that here I have this character, and no one will role play (think of it as writing a story with another person) with him because he's a Drow, and I think that's due to these Drizzt books and others. I'll be switching between Malcom's story and his interview with Ian, because I like He's just funny. Malcom's will probably be in first person, and Ian's will always be in third. I appreciate comments. This IS just a prologue, and I'm working on typing out chapter one, but I love

Ta ta!