Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Excerpt from 'Through a Viking Mist,' by Tami Dee...*Contest*
Eva tossed and turned for a good hour before shoving the covers off and making her way to the window. She sighed at the dead ferns, deciding that there would be no more live plants for her.
The glow of the neon light attached to the building across from hers filled the room when she pulled back the curtain to watch the street below.
He was in that building. Apartment 4A. And the time had come for her to exact her vengeance.
Although now, after hearing what he puts little Kat through just ten years from now, the urgency coursing through her had little to do with a desire for revenge and everything to do with wanting to protect a young girl who has no one in the world except a very sick grandmother.
Eva was not sure if, or if so how, she might change history by the actions she planned this night, but she could never leave this Time knowing that danger awaited a child.
She shook her head. Even with Bennie out of the picture, it would still be hard to leave knowing that Kat would face such trials on her own.
It was three am, a thin fog was making its way inland. The streets were oddly deserted, most of the drunks likely passed out and the streetwalkers, well, they must be earning their coin.
A movement caught her eye, just a shifting within the low fog. She squinted, peering into the darkness.
The fine hairs on the nape of her neck stood on end and she knew that something was not right.
Was that Bennie there, lurking within the shadows and mist?
There! Again, a movement, barely detectible, but she saw it. She was, after all, first and foremost a warrior, her fine-tuned senses were what had kept her alive in her Time and they were on full alert here, now.
Quickly she dressed in a pair of jeans and a dark tee shirt. She armed herself with an assortment of knives then made her way out of her apartment. She sprinted down the fifteen flights of stairs, fast and silent.
At the lobby she peeked her head around the corner to see if Nix was alone. It would not do for him, or any of his nocturnal customers to see her leaving the building.
When, or if, Bennies body were found, she did not want anyone linking her with him.
Nix was alone and asleep, a used syringe lying next to his limp arm.
Eva skirted parked cars, noting when the door to Bennies building opened, just for a fraction of a second, and then closed silently.
A quick look around told her that no one was on the street to see her. She jogged across the narrow street and with one more look over her shoulder she slipped into the lobby of Bennie's building.
The light in the graffiti littered lobby had burnt out, and the dim lights lining the corridors cast the entryway in shadow.
The smell of urine was almost as pungent as in her lobby and she blocked it from her mind, concentrating instead on locating the person she had followed.
A floorboard creaked. She moved into a deep shadow and waited with bated breath.
Nothing. Had that been the shadow man, or simply the old building settling?
The hairs on her neck all but quivered now, being this close to accomplishing her goal.
Nothing would stop her, and if she somehow got caught, well, she could only hope that Ofeig would understand and forgive her for setting on this mission without consulting him.
She winced, knowing good and well that she was dreaming. He would be furious if he knew what she was about.
She made her way from the corner she lurked in and headed to the stairs.
At the first step a strong arm clutched her around her waist and a hand covered her mouth.
"Do not reach for a weapon, Eva. It's me."
Relief had her sagging into Ofeig's hold. Then she shrugged out, turning to give him a piece of her mind for scarring her so bad and almost getting himself killed in the process.
One look into his furious eyes had her snapping her mouth closed and reaching for her knife.
His hand snaked out and held her wrist captive. “Don’t’ even think about it,” he hissed, pulling her back into the shadowed corner she had just left.
"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded.
"What are you doing?" she shot back.
They glared at each other, a battle of wills.
The cracking of another floorboard had him releasing his hold of her wrist and both of them pressing against the wall.
They shot a shocked glance at each other when Bennie, clearly pumped full of drugs, stumbled by, making his way to the staircase.
Eva's heart beat so hard that she wondered if Ofeig could hear it.
"It's a lovely night for a swim, don't you think?" she whispered.
Ofeig nodded. "The fog should be thick enough by now.'
They considered one another, then turned their gazes to Bennie, now half way up the stairs. As one, they followed, their feet silent and sure, their goal firmly in mind, and now one step in front of them.
Ofeig took the stairs two at a time and faced Bennie, before the drugged man could utter a word, Ofeig's fist smashed into his chin and he slumped against the stair rail. Ofeig hoisted him over his shoulder, swiftly making his way down the stairs. Eva checked around corners, giving him the okay to proceed to the lobby door.
She opened the door, relieved to see that Ofeig had been right; the fog was as thick as pea soup.
She waved him out of the building and together they loaded him into a nondescript car Ofeig had gotten from somewhere. By mutual agreement, they drove Bennie to Hyde Street Pier. They walked the distance of the pier, Benny slung over Ofeig's shoulder and concealed by the thick fog from any foolish enough to be out at almost four in the morning, and without a moment's hesitation or regret, tossed him in.
He hit the cold, agitated water with a quiet splash and Eva knew that although ten years from now young Kat would still have many obstacles to face on her own, at least she would not have to concern herself with this one.
PURCHASE THROUGH A VIKING MIST on March 1st, 2011
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