The Lollipop Rule

“There’s that lickspittlin’, rat toothed, mangy cuck, right there.” My newly introduced brother in arms pointed across me at a single car slowing down in front of the two story house we had stopped around the corner from. Music was thumping down the block and people poured out of the house, over the balconies, and into the yard. The man in question could only be identified by the path which cleared before him and the procession of swaggering thugs following.

“You familiar with these, toddy?” My brother popped the glove compartment in front of him and pulled out two small lollipops from, what had to have been, a compostable chip bag – the obnoxious crinkling brought more disdain than the demeaning diminutive he’d given me.

My eyes turned from the colorful, flavor representative, hard candies in his hand onto his honestly inquisitive face. He had to be teasing me, “yeah. They’re fuckin’ lollipops.” I curled my lip.

“But what do they mean?”

“Quite fuckin’ with me.” I sighed, waving him off and turning my head away. I leaned back in my seat and looked over the house we’d parked across the street from. “Ain’t we got something to do, or did you bring me out here thinkin’ it’d be funny?”

“Ain’t nothin’ that funny to have me stuck up in a car with you. Quite bein’ arrogant and take one of these.” He was holding the lollipops out to me and I took one. He nodded. “When I step outta this car, we start eating these and when it’s gone, when there ain’t not more candy on the stick, the deal’s done gone on too long – you come in after me, understand? Tell me, I ain’t gotta teach you how to shoot, now.”

I shook my head and began to reach for my under-steer gun mount. He slapped his hand down on my forearm, “your ass is too damn intense, that’s what’s wrong with’ya.” He leaned to reach into the back of the seat and pulled a small, yet heavy, dufflebag forward, “do what I tell ya and maybe you won’t end up dead.” He opened his door and stepped out, straightening his casual jacket and pants, and then he leaned back in to the car, tearing the wrapper off of the lollipop he had kept.

“Not until the end, alright?” He inquired and I nodded. He smiled, “alright,” then stuck his lollipop into his mouth and I did the same.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Lollipop

Word of the Day: lickspittle

Tailor-made Misfit

“Wouldn’t that feel too much like a fete?”

My lover wanted to throw me a house-warming. I argued against it. I told him it was inappropriate but he insisted, only to have my benefactor’s live-in apprentice come down from his shut-in existence: “what the hell is this shit‽” He rose his voice, calling from the next room beyond the kitchen.

Conversation fell silent and my guests all snapped their heads in my direction, alarm and curiosity painting their faces. My heart raced and I froze, covering up my sudden distress with a quick sip. “The late Lord’s apprentice, I hadn’t gotten a chance to tell him you all were coming.” – since it was so sudden and I strictly voiced against it – I turned a veiled look unto my lover, set down my glass, and made a brief exit.

The Apprentice, a man by most respects, a boy in demeanor and etiquette, stormed his way down the foyer’s polished marble steps. He was a complete mess, disheveled and unrested. I was there to meet him intent on deescalation but his eyes went wild at the sight of my self-tailored dress. He beat me to words.

“Two days my master’s been dead and here you are flaunting your new found money and throwing a big blowout for your friends‽” The unwashed funk of drink and drugs rolled off of him. I sighed. I had moved in two days ago. The Lord had passed nearly a week prior. I made no effort to interject this fact.

“You’re just an Executor, in case you’d forgotten! A damned tailor turned high-class mistress ‘cuz she could work the heart-strings of a dying man.” By this point he had begun to crescendo.

My lover stepped out from the kitchen at the end of the hall, “is everything alright?”

“We’re fine,” I assured with a hard glance between he and the Apprentice.

“And who the hell is this twit‽” The Apprentice took the last step and rounded the railing, drawn by a new prospect for his outbursts. He stepped by me and I reached out, nabbing him by the collar and waist of his dinged clothes, and pulled and pushed respectively which threw him off balance and tumbling to his rump on the hardwood flooring.

My lover began to rush toward me but I held up a hand in protest, “that’s kind of you but could you please dismiss our guests.” The Apprentice remained unmoved until my lover left. I released my grip on his collar and he slump onto his side, curling in on himself, and he simply wept. I lowered myself beside him and we mourned in silence.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Tailor

Word of the Day: fete

Bumbling Through Pleasantries

Previously

…Sunny, stood up and Eizak broke into a wild smile. A ghost of a smile grazed her lips before she looked at me again and I played with the idea that she had accepted the name out of nothing but spite….

~~~~~

“Alright, Sunny,” the Marshal started, “this is Eizak,” she introduced the anxious young man who then flashed his best smile, “and Mister Dalaran – Aarden.” She thumbed at me where I leaned, cross armed, against the outside wall of the cubicle. I was ready to leave. “I know you and Mister Dalaran ain’t gotten off to a friendly start here but his place is gonna have to be your residence, for now at least.”

The girl, Sunny, frowned and looked toward me but said nothing. I caught her disdainful eye and rolled my own. The Marshal sighed, “if’n y’all cause any more trouble, I’m kickin’ ya both out on the dunes. Save me the time and energy.” She turned her eye specifically on me. I was the next to sigh.

“We ain’t gon’ cause no trouble, will we, Sunny?” I inquired and she answered with a slow and reluctant shake of her head. “Eizak?” I questioned the boy too and he snapped an exaggerated salute followed by a sharp “no sir.”

“‘Spose that’s that then.” I shrugged and stood up straight, “we done here, Marshal?” Wendy took a moment to look over the three of us before she gave another sigh, this one heavier followed by a hand to her brow and a slight yet dismissive wave. She watched me take the two adolescents, in silence, down the hall until we vanished from her sight.

I strode ahead in complete silence, wracking my brain for solutions to the troubles I had found myself in; a shattered sunroof in my rented home doubling as a storefront; damages to a civilian home; damages to a registered vendor’s stall; stolen vehicles charges – all-the-while Eizak was giving Sunny the rundown of the town through bumbled words, pointing out every nook and cranny and playing up his own importance in working with the peace keepers.

“Oh, we’re here,” he exclaimed, mid-story, as we approached, “er, you might recognize it, but uhm, this is Mister Dalaran’s shop. I like to call it ‘The Dastardly Scavenger,'” A nervous chuckle escaped him, “but Mister Dalaran says I’m bad with names and that’s more fit for a saloon.”

We reentered the homestead through the half raised roll-up door. Eizak continued to bumble and ramble while leading Sunny through and into the living area. I walked a round of the house, picking up the stray packages of food that the urchin of a girl had gotten into, and checked the garage to make sure nothing had gone missing since I left. After that, I made my way back to the living area only to find Eizak still rambling.

I interjected with an agitated ‘harrumph’, “alright, we got work to do. I need my truck unloaded and y’all geared up. Dual eclipse should be passin’ ‘for long and I want y’all ready to head out. I wanna check out that wreckage you came from.” I nodded toward Sunny. “Looked as if raiders gotcha good but don’t look like much of noone made it outta there. Where were y’all headed?”

~~~~~

ToBeContinued

Daily Prompt: Bumble

Word of the Day: harrumph

Attending A Movement’s Burial

I was assigned to “bury the uprising.” With subtlety, they had added – that was to be key. It was nasty business, subtlety, the kind of work that freed the client of all adversity but left grief in its wake. Those close to the target would be the ones to suffer with few answers and no closure to set their minds at ease. And if the contractor had even a fraction of a soul left, and took pride in the art of her craft, and followed her orders to a tittle, she too would suffer and carry her own twisted and perverse version of grief.

I walked along with the procession amongst the snow-swept crowd, diverse yet notably divided. The deceased was a prominent figure, a glocal hero whose efforts pushed toward freedom and equality for the bio-engineered, the Saiyadorei whom were designed to be servants, warriors and aids; subordinate in every way. He had surrounded himself with these people, given them homes and jobs and treated them like family, and his efforts had begun to trickle down unto the masses and reached beyond the city and even Beyond The Sea. The Ministry was not pleased.

The Saiyadorei were tools. I was a tool. We needed to, and were meant to, be controlled, and the populace needed to be reminded of that – of our dangerous nature. So I snaked my way in, first as a helpless soul, then as a friend, then as a partner, his partner, whom would spend most waking hours with him. I studied him, and his acquaintances, and learned his patterns and his vices. Until eventually I led him to the end that The Ministry desired.

I was called to the head of the procession, to the podium at the fore, and bid to stand along-side his mother and father and sisters and brother who bid me to speak. I could not fake the tears that ran down my cheeks.

“Arthur was a saint living in a repulsive world…”

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Bury

Word of the Day: glocal

Sunny Adoption

Previously

I also explained to him that, seeing as he could not keep out of my business, and the girl escaping in the first place was mostly his fault (he disagreed thoroughly, that), he was going to help me clear up the rapidly upsurging debt I was accumulating. That, he seemed perfectly willing to accept…

~~~~~

The Sheriff’s Office, more appropriately a multistory bunker, sat squarely in the center of town guarded by a high wall and mounted turrets and framed by two large spires on either side each with an array of thick coiled cables conjoining various buildings. The sentries at the front opened the doors for us to enter a short hall where a non-automated guard sat behind a walled desk. He snapped his head up from his work, straightening his posture, but smiled and relaxed when he saw who it was. The man greeted Eizak and perked an eyebrow, “what’re ya doin’ with this rascal, Zak?” motioning to me.

“Ain’t’cha heard: I’mma changed man; turned a new leaf; on the straight’n’narrow.” I rattled on as we passed him and continued down the hall and I heard him mumble something cynical.

A handful of deputies wandered hollow halls leading to the epicenter of detention and processing. We caught the Marshal’s eye from across the room; she was brooding over an older deputy, her brow turned down with worry. Nearby, the girl was seated on the floor with her legs tucked underneath her – she appeared as though she were meditating, her eyes closed and her rag covered form unmoving. When the Marshal noticed us, she cut her conversation short and marched over, “what’d you get into this time?” She threw the accusation between the two of us.

I took point, “nothin’ new, just more debts to deal with. That girl wins first place as worst headache of my life — did’ja shoot’er yet?”

She was unamused, “no. She’s been calm and cooperative since we got here. You found her in the dunes?” I confirmed her inquiry. “Yeah, well, she says she’s from beyond the Sea and that you’re the reason she’s here.” I reminded the Marshal that I had not been beyond the Sea in well over two centuries; the girl barely looked to be a century and a half. “Truth or not, you brought her to this town and she’s been trouble which makes her your responsibility.” I knew that. “I ain’t gonna keep her here, she don’t deserve that, but I can’t have her capering about like a hobo and we can’t just throw her back on the dunes.” Could we not? I joked. The Marshal rolled her eyes and began to lead me and Eizak over to where the girl was sitting silently.

“What’s her name?” Eizak questioned and stepped ahead of us, overeager to properly introduce himself.

“I was never given one.” She spoke flatly and unmoving and with a tone that perfectly fit the level of her surroundings – not too loud or too quiet. Her disposition seemed Janus-faced from the intense girl I had met before. She opened her eyes and locked them unto me and I could see the dull fire of hatred simmering in her pale eyes. “They do not name us.”

Everyone turned their eye to me and a profound silence fell briefly. “What? Tell me y’all ain’t enterainin’ this.” No answers came back and I furrowed my brow before locking eyes with the girl, “look, I don’t know who they are, or who the heck you think I am, but where I come from, where I’ve been, everybody gets a name. Even sudi’qogen mesaa quriqo’keht who’ve been a bigger headache than they’re worth.”

“Maqola! Paneh’sudi miish’vun’tueh. Ma qogen eht qokaa sudi qun.” She spat back, fluently, in a language I did not expect to hear from someone of her age or in this part of the world.

The elder deputy chuckled and shook his head, “I don’t think she cares for you much there Aarden. Y’all catch any of that?” I glowered but when eyes fell back on me I shrugged and crossed my arms.

“Well, how’s about we just call you Sunny, then?”

“What, because of her oh-so-pleasant disposition?” I murmured and caught a glare from the Marshal. Eizak rubbed his head, rethinking the name after I had shot it down as nothing more than a poor pun.

“I like it. I will accept this name.” The girl, Sunny, stood up and Eizak broke into a wild smile. A ghost of a smile grazed her lips before she looked at me again and I played with the idea that she had accepted the name out of nothing but spite.

ToBeContinued

~~~~~

Word of the Day: Janus-faced (7/10/2017)

Chapter One – Episode One.1

Episode One.0

~~~~~

Her mind ran circles while she washed up and geared herself. In light of her future company, she spared extra time examining herself – an attempt to appear less like a ragged, dust-beaten and sun-ravaged, grunt; even so, there was little she could do with tattered composite armor and sun-bleached hair long neglected. The single comb she owned shattered against her tangled mess forcing her to resign to a quick braid and tail to appear remotely presentable.

Outside, Akmoya stood nearby, his arms crossed as he barked at a younger male with short and wild hair bright as the sun. The latter wore light armor which mirrored Ceccamun’s, however, his right arm bore a full-arm gauntlet with a pair of thin connectors running from an amplifier at the shoulder down to a rectangular protrusion at the forearm. His dark mischievous eyes locked onto the giant before him and he wrinkled his nose in a snarl.

Akmoya was practically yelling, “I’ve told ya, this ain’t the time! Maybe, if’n’ya trained as much as ya traipsed around, mouthin’ off, ya’d be half the Lancer she was!”

Ceccamun stepped out and rose her voice above their bickering, “Aggar? What’re y’all up in’na kizz about this time?”

The younger man’s eyes turned to her and he broke into a wild smile. He gave Ceccamun a once over before his expression melted down to curiosity and he tilted his head, “better I’d ask you. What’s with the half-assed gussy-up?” he motioned to her.

“What?” Her face flushed momentarily before rapidly descending into a glare. Aggar retreated a step backward and Akmoya stepped between the two, his eyes on the younger man.

“Mind your place, miish’keht.” He bore down on the boy, “quit shirkin’ around and focus on yer trainin’. If’n I see yer ass again, it’d better be for yer advancement test.” The two of them glared at each other momentarily until Aggar reluctantly nodded and passed a glance toward Ceccamun. Akmoya stepped around Aggar and walked toward the edges of the camp expecting Cec to follow.

“‘Portant business, huh?” Aggar inquired low as to not be overheard. “The ol’man’s been stompin’round all mornin’. More’n’usual, anyway.”

“T’isn’t none of yer business,” Cec retorted but then went on. “Something with the Kaizar,” she shrugged. Akmoya turned to peer at them before she could get out another word. She let out a sigh, “I’ll tell ya when it’s done, yeah?”

Ceccamun faked a jab to Aggar’s bare shoulder rousing a defensive flinch from him. As soon as he eased up, she struck him in earnest. Aggar answered with his own swing but Cec dodged away and retreated into Akmoya’s wake.

Ceccamun and Akmoya stepped from beneath the canopy into the direct light of the planet’s interdigitate suns. A handful of feathered serpentine creatures flew overhead, cutting through the air effortlessly, each with an individual rider straddling their shoulders. At the center of the encampment, a modest oasis served as a common stomping ground for these creature known as the etenpyr – once dreadfully ornery creatures long since domesticated. Tens played and bathed in cool waters. Sheltered beneath the shade of swaying leaves, a quarrelsome pair of etenpyr wrestled with one another, thrashing and splashing and creating quite the commotion against the otherwise serene watering hole: Zimyen and Khaliel were at it again.

Near the water’s edge, at the base of a great palmed tree, another, much larger, etenpyr lounged with its paws crossed and its head held high as it watched the friendly bout. He was a much older and horned beast named Taitama, Akmoya’s cohort. The elder etenpyr slowly turned its bearded face and acknowledge Ceccamun and Akmoya’s approach before standing. It made its way over to Akmoya and politely lowered its head and fore so that the Sevajj could mount its shoulders. Ceccamun was denied the chance to follow suit.

Both the fighting etenpyr took flight and streamed toward Cec, kicking up water and arid sand in their wake. The young warrior stood her ground in the face of charging creatures more than half her size and let out a sharp command and whistle ordering both to stop. One of them grounded, skidding to a halt just seconds away from colliding with her; the other, however, slammed into and flattened her in the sand, a huge cloud of dust kicking up around them. The large quadrupedal serpent pressed its weight on her and nuzzled her face with its snout.

“Yer crushin’ me, ya paunchy git.” Cec struggled with her breath and against the oafsome lizard . She pushed against the beast’s snout in hopes of freeing herself but her efforts fell flat. Ceccamun was ready to resign to her fate – death via crushing by overgrown, dimwitted, lizard – until the second of the rambunctious pair stepped in and pushed its sibling away. Cec took a huge breath as soon as she was able, enduring a minor coughing fit due to the dust and sand.

“Thanks, Khali.” She caught her breath and stood to pet the helpful etenpyr. A nudge at her back let her know that her attacker, Zimyen, was back on his feet and demanding as ever. She gave him a sharp look and berated him briefly but ruffled his plume with both hands and touched her forehead to his rigged snout.

“Cec!”

Akmoya’s bark startled her. She pat Zimyen’s nose once more before turning to Khaliel and touching forehead to muzzle. “Stay here. I’ll be back. Try’n’keep outta trouble, yeah?” She glanced between the both before jogging over to Akmoya and climbing up on Taitama’s shoulders behind her mentor.

~~~~~

Episode One.2

Tethered By Law

Previously

“This way we get answers,” she drew the long rifle from her back, sporting goggles much like my own, and fired a special shot, a net of pulsating energy which streamed forth and embraced both rider and sail, entangling them and sending them crashing and tumbling through the sand.

~~~~~

Within the next few moments, two whirring drones, sirens blaring and lights flaring, hovered up to the scene. Their trifocal rotating eyes flickered, snapping images as they circled the apprehended girl and the stolen sail and then they positioned themselves over the jumbled wreck. A stream of pulsing light reached from the bottom of either drone until it tethered onto the energized net that contained the wreck. The drones ascended, lifting both from the ground, then separated until there were two separate nets for individual containment: one, a dusty, beaten, and scratched hoverboard and it’s snapped sail; the other, a grimy mess of a girl, who at first had been kicking and flailing against her net but had since resigned to her fate.

A few more taps on her wrist-unit and the drones were off with the Marshal in tow while I was off to make sure Eizak had not found himself in too much trouble; we would meet back at the Marshal’s office to question the girl.

Eizak was at the mercy of the town’s master mechanic who refused to let him leave until he could come up with some kind of payment for the vehicle that the girl had stolen. Eizak’s couth words and guileless charm were wasted on the mechanic who was determined to show he was not remiss enough to allow Eizak to go on nothing more than promises he could not instantiate.

The master mechanic was another young male, possibly younger than Eizak if one were to assume on height and demeanor alone. His early adolescent figure was propped up by five clanking legs which supported him at the waist; his biological legs were unmistakably lifeless. He had Eizak backed against a wall with a sawed-off rifle in hand.

“Mister Dalaran, thank Sam! Could you please assure Master Danse that we will repay him, in full, for the loss of his craft and that, by holding me here, he is actively participating in the obstruction of justice and –”

Danse scoffed, “oh come off it. The Marshal being yer auntie don’t mean you get to run around playin’ deputy all day.”

“What’s with the gun, Dance,” I slipped in the pun-laden phonetic variant of his name, “ain’t no need for all that aggression.”

He turned his head and the exoskeleton carrying him turned as well, its angled metallic feet clanked against the coarse floor of his workshop. His sharp eyes locked onto me suspiciously, probably trying to decide if I had indeed called him Dance again. He turned up his lip at me, “yer little sidekick here owes me another sail.” Eizak blurted out that he was innocent but Danse wasn’t having it: “Regardless, you come in here with that girl who done it.”

“Brought in a pretty nice hull today,” I took a few wandering steps around Danse’s workshop, glancing at a scavengers smorgasbord of discarded parts and tools haphazardly strewn about. Danse followed my movements. “I’ll let you have first pickin’s and throw in a discount or two.”

“The board wasn’t mine, ya igit.” He punctuated — I rolled my eyes, “that’s pretty obvious.” — he glared and continued, “what I need is that sail back or the means ta fashion a new one. Ya get me that board or ya find me parts ta make another.” I pretended to muse it over a little as I crossed the room to stop in front of him. I shrugged and reached out my hand to shake on it, “and I still want first pickin’s,” and the deal was sealed.

“Let’s go, Eizak.” I signaled and the boy quickly made his way around Danse, “c’ya’round, Dance.” I waved over my shoulder and smirked at the curse that followed in my wake.

While we walked, I explained to Eizak that the girl was currently in holding at the Sheriff’s. I also explained to him that, seeing as he could not keep out of my business, and the girl escaping in the first place was mostly his fault (he disagreed thoroughly, that), he was going to help me clear up the rapidly upsurging debt I was accumulating. That, he seemed perfectly willing to accept.

ToBeContinued

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Tether

Word of the Day: instantiate

Sail To An End

Previously

…a bundle of tattered rags dropped from the roof like a rock just behind the Marshal; a thick cloud of dirt and dust bloomed and from it a wispy figure scrambled and dashed out…

~~~~~

I caught a flash of the Marshal’s fed-up sneer before Eizak ducked out and bolted after our fleeing guest. The pair tore down the commercial street, dodging, vaulting, and weaving, ensuing a buzz of shock and distress amongst the immediate populace.

“Oh, this should be a good one,” Wendy, Marshal Meiborne, started, her voice drenched in venom. I ducked underneath the half opened draw-door and joined the Marshal in a paced pursuit following the commotion left behind in the younger pair’s wake. The simple sight of the Marshal in pursuit put much of the hysteria to rest prematurely.

Wendy spoke in between trained breathes, “Alright, Dalaran,” the adolescents led us down the street and then turned hard left and into an alley, “let’s start with who, this time.”

“Er, not a clue.”

“Right unsurprising, that.”

We stepped through the threshold of modest home, through a hallway and into a kitchen. A woman stood there, against the far wall, priming a rifle, near nude with no britches.

“They went out that way, y’all. ‘Near kicked my dear Francis.” She turned a glance toward a fat dunesloth lazily scratching itself.

“Sorry ’bout that, ma’am,” the Marshal took the situation, “when I nab ’em, I’ll drag ’em by their hind-skin to answer for any damages.” She relayed this without slowing her pace and we exited the home through the opposite door, back into the streets and left at the next corner.

“How and what, then,” she picked up our previous back-and-forth. “How’d your find ’em and what the hell did you do?”

“Hey now, I was just tryna be an honest-to-Sam good Samaritan – I’nt do a damn thing.”

She scoffed, “I’m sure,” and we stopped for a moment at an overturned merchant stand, the worked-up man flailed his arms and demanded an answer for “some gypsy wasp of a girl and her igit boyfriend” deciding to use his jerky stand as a springboard to clamber up to the roofs. He told us that they girl made it up but the boy sent the stand off balance, knocking it over, then took off down the street spewing apologies.

The Marshal turned a glare on me as she activated her wrist-mounted communicator possibly to call for back up before things got truly out of hand. The unit shouted to life before she could get out a word.

“Deputy Ven to Marshal Meiborne –”

“Is it important, Ven?”

“I reckon so, ma’am. We’ve got a report of a stolen sail…”

The wail of a crying motor caught my ear and I turned my head in time to see a speeding hoverboard, a sail, streaking down the street towards us. It blared past, tossing up a dust storm of dirt and sand

“I’m sick of this,” I pulled my goggles from around my neck over my eyes and switched the lenses to motion tracking, but as I aimed Wendy reach out an lowered my arm.

“This way we get answers,” she drew the long rifle from her back, sporting goggles much like my own, and fired a special shot, a net of pulsating energy which streamed forth and embraced both rider and sail.

ToBeContinued

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Sail

Chapter One – Episode One.0

A mocking snicker raked at her ears. She writhed against a cratered wall, a hand at her neck, a monstrous figure hovering before her threatening to run her clear through the battered building she was being crushed into. The figure’s visage, surrounded by serpentine tendrils, held an eerie grin, its jagged teeth pressed in a curve from ear to ear.

Energy crackled between the two, dancing on the air and rending their surroundings. The harder she pushed back, the more the figure pushed forward, rubble tumbled from the caving wall until a resounding clash of fluctuating energy tore through. The pair crashed through the dust and debris, bursting into a desecrated hall where tens of strange creatures battled waves familiar faces. She scrambled to her feet, ready to join her kin, but her insulting foe crushed her attack. Her wail echoed through the hall following the crack and snaps of her arm and ribs.

She lay helpless, a crumbled heap of shattered bones and leaking vitals, a worthless warrior incapable of rising to fight beside her people. Her oppressor let out a heinous cackle, crushing her spine beneath its heel and forcing her to watch carnage ravage her home and her life.

~~~~~

Ceccamun shot up in her cot, dripping sweat, immediately met by the frightened faces of her kin. She searched the faces surrounding her bunk but their confusion seemed to match her own. She clenched her fists and snarled, ready to lash out, but was interrupted by a booming voice from the other end of the room.

“What’re you dreg gathered ‘round for!” All eyes turned toward a massive man, bearded and draped in a thick viridian cloak, pushing his way through the crowd. Usually, Sevajj Akmoya boisterous entrance served as the rousing call; still, his presence conferred the same degree of anxiety and a tinge of fear.

Most of the gawkers were smart enough to scatter but the hulking man managed to grab one of the younger males by the waist and scruff of his armor. He hoisted and brandished the boy, waving him to and fro while barking at the others: “the last one I see gets a lap and a half, and cleans the pits for a week.” He tossed the boy through the opened doors at the other end of the barracks and slammed the doors behind the last of the stragglers. Then he lumbered over to drop his weight onto the end of Ceccamun’s bed; it gave to his girth, tilting, and his lumbering form narrowly fit beneath the bunk above.

Ceccamun’s feet pressed against Akmoya’s side following the sudden angle. Subsequently, a shrill cry, and a heavy bundle toppled and crashed to the floor from the upper bunk. The girl scrambled to her feet to get dressed and retreat and the pair on the bunk below shared a chuckle after the barracks door sealed behind her once more.

Silence reigned. Cec laid her head on her pillow and a sigh escaped her. The faint impression of an overwhelming foe lingered, both terrifying yet exciting. She tried to push the thoughts away, to lose herself in the bundles of feathered baubles woven into the under-workings of the bunk above but when she closed her eyes she heard her own anguished shrieking and could feel pressure on her spine as grisly echoing laughter mocked her.

A heavy hand on her calf shook her and she propped up on her elbows to meet eyes with Akmoya – uncharacteristic worry was etched across his wrinkled brow.

“Ya been ta see the ol’ gammer?”

Cec offered a dismissive chuckle, “ya know, yeema hates when ya call ’er that.”

“S’what she is. She’ll get over it.”

“Besides, she ain’t got but more’n’two greys than you.” She pointed at the silvered strands peppering his otherwise lengthy blond hair. “S’only fair we’d start callin’ you the ol’ gaffer.”

He shifted his eyes to his own greying locks and hurriedly tucked them away behind the thick band about his head. “Don’t dodge my questions, melu’keht,” his voice soured.

“At least she’nt a grumpy crotchet,” Ceccamun mumbled and twisted her mouth to one side. She contemplated her answer then shook her head, shrugging her shoulders, “she’nt say nothin’a’import. Same old.” She began to mock the elder woman, closing one eye and craning her neck forward. Her tone fell to a harsh rasp, “‘bad omens, little moon,’ blah, blah,” she pointed a wobbly finger at Akmoya.

The aged man rolled his eyes and pushed the young woman’s hand away, “have some respect fer yer betters. Anyhow, whatever the ol’skoch had to say, mind’ya, she’s likely right.” With that he stood, the cot settling into place, and he motioned for Cec to get up. “‘nough lazin’ about, get yerself together’n’meet me out front. Kaizar’s waitin’ on ya.” He punctuated, lumbering toward the barracks’ exit.

She stood almost as quickly as ordered, however, the latter statement caused her knees to buckle. Akmoya had closed the door behind himself before she could open her mouth to question. She stood frozen, pondering: perhaps Kaizar Khoriba had gotten wind of her condition, of her dreams and her worsening concentration. Regardless, she couldn’t believe she had warranted a personal audience. She felt sick with worry.

~~~~~

Episode One.1

Dine And Dash

Previously

“Maqola sirukaashaa! See, that’s whatcha get, with ya peanut head, for pokin’round in business that ain’t none of yours!”…

~~~~~

Eizak shakily rose to his feet, wincing and tenderly touching the back of his head. He grumbled as he dusted off his once pressed and pristine vest and pants. “Why’d you let a crazy person in here?”

“Why’d you go and let the crazy person loose? The hell’d ya think I was pointin’ a gun at her for anyhow?” I retorted then shook my head and sighed making my way toward the door to follow in the girl’s wake. “Come on and help me find her. And don’t get grabbed again or I’ll just shoot the both of ya and be done with it.” Eizak mumbled a snark ridden “oh, great” but picked up step behind me nonetheless.

The interior garage door opened to a wide circular hall joining each of the rooms in the house. Directly across the hall from the garage door was a door leading into the modest living and dining area which could be crossed and opened to the opposite side of the house to a small extension what was my store front. Following the hall to the left lead around to stairs leading to a bedroom atop the centralized living area; to the right, a series of storage closets and areas as well as a bathroom. Soft light poured in through circular windows spaced evenly along the rounded ceiling.

The good thing was: there was no way out besides the garage and the front of the shop which needed a code to activate the roll-up door. Once Eizak and I were through the garage door I shut it and punched the lock-down code into the nearby pad to ensure that they were no way she could escape.

From the door in front of me, leading into the central room, I could he clattering and the sound of the girl rummaging through my belongings. I pushed the keypad and the door swished open in time for me to see a scurrying raider dashing out of the opposite door with packages of condensed food tumbling to the floor behind her as she headed left.

“Ya ain’t really givin’ me a lot of reasons to not shoot you!”

“Yeah, no wonder she’s running from us.” My counterpart snarked.

I glared and turned back, ready to head her off in the hall and hopefully corner her in loft. The rhythmic chime of my shops doorbell put pause to my plan. I sighed, reluctantly holstered my gun, and briskly walked to the front of the shop and rose my voice to tell whomever was on the other side of the door to come back later.

“You best go ahead and open this door, Mister Dalaran.”

The Marshal. I grumbled, punched in the code to raise the door about half way, then slapped on my best smile and crouched down to address the Marshal. She wore a voluminous hat and was clad in a dusty poncho with an insignia stitched into the right clavicle. Across her back, a long rail-rifle, and on her hip, a sleek, snub-nosed sidearm. She looked down at me, arms crossed and face wrought with a stern lack of amusement.

“Good’noon, Wendy.” I chimed. And from the boy crouched just beside me, “Good’noon, Marshal Meiborne,” and then use together, “what can we do ya for?”

She blatantly brushed off the pleasantries. “Little bird tells me ya brought someone new in. Then I got someone tellin’ me there was weapon discharge comin’ from your residence. What the hell’s goin’ on?”

A resounding shatter and then echo of cascading glass caused the three of us to freeze. Confusion at first and then it dawned on me: the bedroom sky light.

Both Eizak and the Marshal looked to me, the former wide-eyed, the latter with her brow risen expectantly. I wracked my brain for something to say but before I could even begin to spin a half-decent tale, a bundle of tattered rags dropped from the roof like a rock just behind the Marshal; a thick cloud of dirt and dust bloomed and from it a wispy figured scrambled and dashed out.

~~~~~

ToBeContinued

Daily Prompt: Dash