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Nov 11, 2010



Nov 11, 2010


Protect this with your life! in the desert

1060 words

"I really think we could talk about this," Dan said, backing away from the guard with both hands out. More specifically, the stun baton he had raised in one hand. The sun burned into his back through the window behind him, casting the red light of the setting sun across the hall.

"There's really only one thing I'm curious about," said a slight man wearing a crisp suit and standing behind the guard. "Why medicine? Usually your mark is gold and jewels, sometimes it's information, but it's never been medicine before." His soft voice echoed off the hard marble floors, fluted pillars, and vaulted ceilings of the hall. Loud footsteps came from the stairwell behind him.

"Well, you know. Money can get boring," Dan said, still backing away from the guard.

"Perhaps. It makes me think you were hired, but I haven't the faintest idea who it could be. No one in Djudjubie would be stupid enough to steal from the prince. Well, in the meantime, why don't you hand over the vials? It'll go a long way toward keeping your neck safe from the executioner." The slight man held out a well-manicured hand and beckoned slightly.

Dan reached behind with his right hand. "Just remember that I gave you a chance to talk about this." His hand came out with a metal line and a small hook. In one movement, he crouched, hooked the line on the edge of the window, and pushed himself back through the glass.

The shards of glass flew out, scattering the sun's dying light across the startled faces of the guard and the man, and Dan smiled as he fell. He twisted, the line unwrapping from around his waist and sending the world spinning as he landed heavily into a canopy, then another canopy, then another, and then finally dangling a few feet off the ground for a split second before the hook broke. Dan fell the rest of the way, the air wooshing from his lungs when he landed in the hard, hot sand.

"Hey, mister, are you okay?" A group of kids had been playing a game with a ball in the alley, but this was far more interesting.

Dan sat up with a grunt and peered at the group with one squinted eye while he ran a hand over his ribs. "Sure. Maybe." He winced when his fingers found the third rib. "Probably not." He looked at the kids, then, and said, "Do any of you want to make a few dollars?"

The slight man stood at the window, looking down at the broken canopies. "Aren't you going to follow him?" He asked the guard.

"With all due respect, sir, I'll take the stairs. You can follow him that way if you want."

"Now, do what I told you and there'll be another one waiting for you, okay?" Dan handed the boy a dollar and two vials. "And please keep these safe, okay?"

"Sure, mister." The group of kids scattered like so many scraps of silk into the wind.

A whistle sounded at the end of the street. Dan turned, saw the guards, and immediately ran into the closest alley he could find. His course ran like a corkscrew, ducking and weaving into the labyrinth of the alleyways in Djudjubie.

A moment after one such turn, Dan backed out of the alley and chose another one, then backed out of that one. Guards filed in from every entrance, batons raised. A slight man in a suit walked in behind the guards, putting away a lighter and puffing on a cigarette.

"I didn't really expect you to be quite so easy to catch, you know. I mean, running for the sewers? Everyone does that."

Dan smiled and sat down in the sand. "I must be losing my touch."

Amina opened the door and looked down. "What do you want?"

The young boy raised his hand and opened up his fist. Two glittering vials lay in his palm.

"He said you would give us a dollar for these."

Amina's eyes widened, and she pulled a single coin out of her pocket, dropped it into the waiting hand and snatched up the vials.

"Thanks, lady," said the young boy, and he turned and ran down the street. A group of kids waited there for him.

The door slammed shut, but Amina was already going up there stairs two at a time. She pushed open the door at the end of the hall. A small girl lay in the bed, her breathing shallow and sweat beading on her forehead.

"Jess, I have some medicine for you."

Jessenia opened her eyes and turned toward Amina. "Daddy?"

Amina turned as she reached for a glass of water and brushed away a single tear. "Not tonight, dear."

The slight man in the suit pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it. He was sitting in a small room, the walls made sandstone. A crude table was in the middle of the room, and across from the slight man sat Dan.

"You know, we still don't even know who you are," he said.

"I'm sure you don't," Dan replied. "I don't know who you are, either, though. Guess that makes us even."

"You can call me Samir, if you wish."

"What I wish is to leave, but something tells me that isn't happening."

"Not until you tell us where the vials are."

"Then I can go?"

"Then we can talk about it."

Dan reached into his left chest pocket and pulled out a vial, then dropped it on the table.

"And the other two?" Samir said, laconically reaching for it and holding it up to the light.

"They broke in the fall."

Samir stared straight into Dan's eyes, then sighed. "If you can't produce 3 vials, you'll be executed by the end of the week."

Dan said nothing, but stared straight ahead. The moment stretched out, neither man moving. Then Samir stood up.

"That's it, then. I hope whoever bought it paid you well enough for this."

Dan smiled, then, the first time since he had been captured. "Maybe someday you'll understand, Samir. There are some things worth keeping safe."

"Even at the cost of your own life?"

Dan looked down, still smiling, his gaze seeing a thousand miles away. "As long as it's still safe, Samir."

LITERALLY MY FETISH fucked around with this message at 06:02 on Jul 18, 2016

Nov 11, 2010

Thanks for the crits from a brawl or two ago, had to take a week off for some poo poo, but I'm in on this one with:

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