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Papoose

By Kelly Larsen All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Scifi

Preface

Stale. Even though the door wasn’t air-tight the air in the room felt as though it has stopped circulating. It made it easier for her to smell the blood, not much longer, she implored herself as she smiled, hold on a little longer Connor, Connor focused her attention on him, The Knight, she shook her head, he’ll be here soon. She could see him clearly, much older than herself, still recognizable, and still trying to hold everything together. His actions were predictable to her, and she knew that by now he had received the information and already knowing what was unfolding, would still choose to read the entire folder, if not skim read to appear calm and collected. After that he would maybe answer the phone, make a few calls, fulfill his duty of appearing important, all the while on the inside he was on fire, he wanted to run, bolt from his office, and run to her side. Instead, he would take his time grabbing his coat, buttoning it up, straighten his collar, and make sure his hair both on his head and face was groomed before he made his exit.

With her eyes closed, she counted down the time before he would arrive, being the mayor, he had to fool his citizens and appease them with his calm state. He would wait for his car to pull around, let the driver hold the door open for him, sit with one leg over the other and gaze out the window as if to distract his frantic mind. In another life, he would’ve appeared to be just another businessman going to another job or a meeting. He would take the long route, the one that appeared the least urgent, talk with his security detail upon arrival, and talk to the officers who rescued her from her captor’s basement. He would pretend to be hearing all the information for the first time before allowing them to take him to the two-way mirrored room where they had been observing her since her small skirmish with the officers who found her.

Her mouth moved slightly, unnoticeable at first to anyone who may be watching, mimicking his when he spoke, “Can I have a minute alone with her?” the doctors and officers grudgingly would allow him this earned favor and once the door clicked shut he breathed. She felt as though she could see straight through the mirror, he was evidently dismayed and relieved at the same time and was collecting his thoughts before he mustered up the strength to open the door connecting their worlds, for what would be unknown to him, the last time. She knew him, inside and out, yet she had become a stranger to him, something he refused to admit. “Connor.” His voice choked, he was overwhelmed by his thoughts, and she knew he wanted her to speak first, she held her silence. “I don’t even know where to begin.” She could see the muscles in his face twitch, and he was unsure what emotion to convey, “Maybe we can start with why you chose Connor as a girl’s name?”

She fought the urge to retort and focused on selecting the right words, “Do they have her?”

“You haven’t aged a day.” Affection, of course, he would now to be affectionate.

“Odd considering you can’t even look at me.” She mumbled it just loud enough for him to hear, she felt herself slipping, and she knew her time here was growing shorter. With his eyes off of her she allowed herself to press down on her side and look at her hand, it was wet with fresh blood, and she kept it hidden beneath the coat the officers couldn’t remove from her. “Pilate,” the word pierced him, “Have they--.”

“It’s always business with you.” His tone was cold, “You can’t keep appearing and expecting me to keep doing you favors.”

“Pilate I need to know, you don’t understand--.”

“I do very well thank you, far more than you know,” it hurt her to keep her distance, “You don’t understand what this does to me.”

She couldn’t help make a joke, “Other than age you?” he looked up at her, it was her time to be pierced his blue eyes were fixed on her, “You didn’t age well.” She teased.

“What happened to us?” he walked over to her, and she realized her mistake of allowing him to get close.

“There was never an ‘us’.” She explained.

“You say that, but I can hear it,” he dropped to one knee, eye level with her, “You don’t believe that,” She flinched away when he reached out to her, his eyes fell to the darkening spot on her shirt, “They said they fixed that?”

“No, they said they stabilized me,” she answered coldly. He reached out to move her coat, “Do you have her or n--.”

“Yes!” he exclaimed. He pulled back and closed his eyes in pain, “That’s why I came to get you,” he explained as he looked at her.

Gazing into his blue eyes, she could feel herself breaking. “What, so we could be a family?” she had to rein it back, “You, me and her?” he didn’t have to nod; she could read it all over his face, “My purpose here is fulfilled; you know that I can’t stay.”

“This is the first time you visit my town, and the first time you’ve spent over three hours with me, what’s changed?” He pleaded.

“Me.” He reminded her of a lost pup, “This town, this halcyon you’ve built for yourself is a farce. Mayor or not your true nature always wins and then what? Everything you build always ends in flames, you never handle the actual problem.”

“It’s different this time,” He was trying to make a case for himself, “They all know me, they’ve seen what I can do, they’ve accepted me as their leader.”

“They don’t know you. I know you. I know things they don’t.”

“Then stay.” He implored. She shook her head, “Please, stay and show them, make me into a better man.”

“You know that I can’t,” now he was the one shaking his head, “Pilate, you know I can’t.”

“That’s. Not.” He was all but growling, “My. Name.” as he turned his face away from her, she gently pulled it back, distracting him with a kiss as her bloodied hand reached into his suit vest. “What are you doing?” he asked, injured. She slipped the object from him, kissed him once more and pressed her forehead against his. “Don’t go.” He begged.

She shook her head. “This is the last time,”

“For me,” he argued, “but not for you,” she squeezed her eyes shut, taking what felt like an eternity to him to open them. He found himself memorizing their color when she finally did. “Is it?” he asked.

“Let me go.” She entreated. He shook his head in response. “Ty,”

He looked into her eyes, those green pools, as he slipped something into her hand. “Answer me next time.” The metal circle all but burned her hand; the watch popped open. They both could hear it tick.

“I already did.”

His heart shattered in realization as he watched her vanish before his eyes. He breathed, “Connor.” His hand fell from where he had been holding hers, now empty, onto the cold ground.

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