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Papoose

By Kelly Larsen All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Scifi

Blurb

Orchid Road. She appeared in front of the sign, underneath a street lamp that had long since burned out. With her arm wrapped tightly around her stomach she marched towards the stately home shrouded in willows, a type of tree that didn’t belong in this climate. With no moon to cast shadows she was shrouded in darkness allowing her to approach the house unseen. The knob turned until the lock broke, she didn’t bother closing the door behind her. The smell of tobacco permeated the air leading her to where she needed to be. She trembled with each step. She grew weaker, and with her wet hand she smeared blood on the door as she felt for the handle.

Prologue A-16_13.S

Orchid Road.

Birds fled when she appeared in front of the sign, underneath a street lamp that had long since burned out. With her arm wrapped tightly around her stomach she marched towards the stately home shrouded in oaks, and dripping with Spanish moss; a type of tree that didn’t belong in this climate. With no moon to cast shadows, she was shrouded in darkness and approached the house unseen. The knob turned until the lock broke. She didn’t bother closing the door behind her. An earthy sweet odor clung to the wood paneling, his cherry tobacco. She followed it to where she needed to be. She trembled with each step as she grew weaker. With her wet hand she smeared blood on the door as she felt for the handle.

Light from a fish tank softly lit the office. Its occupants eagerly crowded the glass expecting to be fed as she stumbled past them towards a sturdy desk. She leaned on the cedar where her wet hands slid as she tried to steady herself. Sweat beaded her forehead while she pulled the desk drawers open. She slammed a sheet of yellow parchment down on the desk. Her hands quavered as she scratched her name at the bottom. Blood dripped from her fingers as she folded it. She took a step back and collapsed to the floor. She returned her hand to her side again, not much longer, she grimaced, The Knight, she took a deep breath, he’ll be here soon.

A cool draft blew in as the front doors opened, the sound of steps reverberated off the walls until they stopped outside the office. He was alone when he pushed the door open. He couldn’t see her where she fell behind the desk, but undoubtedly his eyes fell on the mess she’d made.

“Who’s there?” he was collected and almost sounded hopeful.

He was tall enough to see over the desk from where he stood and pushed the desk out of the way to get to her.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he exasperated.

“Pilate,” She spoke.

He stopped and turned his face away from her.

“Do they have her?” she asked.

He knelt down in front of her and reached out to her.

“Why won’t you let me help you?” he asked as she pulled away.

She shook her head. “There isn’t enough time.” She started again when he cut in.

“Connor, I don’t even know where to begin with you.” He breathed, “Maybe we could start with why you chose that as a girl’s name?”

She could feel herself slipping through her fingers. “I need to know.”

“You haven’t aged a day,” he lowered his gaze as if to say something else.

“Odd, considering you can’t even bring yourself to look at me.” She mumbled.

He was deciding to get help or not, he was stalling.

“Pilate,” the name continued to pierce him. “Do they-?”

He snapped.

“Yes!” he exclaimed. "I already sent someone to get her," He looked away from her. “Why else do you think I’m here?” he clenched his fists. 

“You didn’t know I was here, you had no idea until you came to the door.” She glared at him. “You’ve grown comfortable in your old age, but you haven’t changed. This town, this Halcyon, it’s a farce, Pilate.”

“That’s. Not. My. Name.” he growled.

She reached out and took his hand, his expression softened as he let his gaze fall on her again.

“What’s changed? This is the first century I’ve seen you,” he held his breath.

“Me. I’ve changed,” she answered. He started to say something else when she reached up and took his whiskered cheek in her hand, “You know I can’t stay, you were the one-.”

“I know!” he barked. He softened. “I know, but it’s different this time, I’m different.”

She shook her head. “No, Ty, you’re not, your true nature will come out,” he was beginning to shake his head. “Ty,”

He found himself staring, waiting for her eyes to open, if only to memorize their color once more.

“You have to let me,” she started.

“No,” he interrupted. “Stay, make me into a better man,” he insisted. “stay and help,” he implored.

She pulled his whiskered cheek close and softly kissed him, while she lifted her dripping hand to reach into his coat.

“What are you doing?” he breathed.

She pulled the watch out and unclipped the chain as she kissed him once more.

“Connor, please,” He rested her forehead against hers. “Answer me next time?” He asked as he took her hand off of his cheek and slipped the ring into it.

The watch popped open.

“Give the letter to my brother,” she instructed.

“You mean?” she opened her eyes and he found himself mesmerized, “What about her? What if she doesn’t remember?”

Connor shook her head, “She will, in time.”

“Please,” he pleaded.

“I have to go,” she squeezed his hand. “I have to guide her.”

“I’ll be waiting for that answer.” He insisted.

She turned his hand and dropped the ring back into it.

“I already have.” She said.

His heart shattered in realization as he watched her vanish before his eyes.

He breathed, “Cylee,” his hand fell from where he’d been holding hers, now empty, into the cooling puddle of blood.

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