I truly enjoyed sample Sunday last week, and decided this week to choose something a little different. One of the things I love most about being an Indie is the lack of structured rules on genres and not being bound to one specific genre. Hope you enjoy the sample.
“Are you gonna shoot my papa?”
The course of life can be altered by many things. Lacey St. Clair knew that more than most. Her own life had been altered many times. Given new direction. Tragic events that shaped her, molded her, allowed her to survive. In the end, it all boiled down to choices.
Lacey stilled her auto reflexes, gently removing her finger from the trigger and staring at the small child less than five feet away.
Damn Chandler, he’d told her Domaslav had no family. Someone had made a mistake. A really big one.
Lacey could hear the sounds of movement overhead. A baby’s cry. The flick of a light switch, opening of the door. Light spilled down the stairway.
Lacey moved back into the shadows beneath the stairway. Seconds ticked by, the huge clock in the foyer the only sound in the small hallway. The child had not moved. Her eyes were huge, riveted to the gleam of cold steel. Her body trembled, but she made no sound. She’d seen guns before. Knew about death.
Lacey caught bits and pieces of whispered conversation above her. The mother’s anguished cry. Domaslav knew she was here. Knew why she was here. She could hear him hastily dressing, shushing the woman. Footsteps descended. The huge Russian stopped at the bottom of the stairs.
“I know you’re here.”
Lacey moved out of the shadows, gun held in front of her. “Keep your hands up.”
Gun held firmly in her right hand, Lacey patted him down and stepped back.
“Anna, go to your mother.”
The child hesitated, but moved slowly toward the stairs, her bare feet soundless. She stopped at the bottom step, raised her head and stared into Lacey’s eyes. A single tear slid slowly down her cheek. “I love my papa.”
The words were a mere whisper, lost within the ticking clock, raspy breathing of Domaslav, but Lacey heard them. A shudder ran through her. A long forgotten memory. No sobs, no begging for her father’s life. Just a single tear from a powder blue eye. Lacey waited as the child ascended the steps. Waited for the sound of the door closing above.
“Please, do not hurt my family.”
The Russian turned slowly, hands held on top of his head. Lacey studied his face, just as she’d studied the photograph that had been given to her. She looked deep into his eyes. Faces could change. Hair. Even body shape. But the eyes were always a dead giveaway. There was no mistake. It was Domaslav. He had the same powder blue eyes as Anna. The same age-old acceptance that death was imminent. He showed no fear as he lowered himself to his knees. He obviously knew the drill. He wouldn’t beg for his life. But he would beg for the life of those he loved.
“You will not hurt my family?”
I love my papa. The words seemed to echo in the room, but Lacey knew it was all inside her head. She felt dizzy. She could still hear the baby crying, the sounds of quiet sobs above her. How long had they waited for this moment? Anna could be no more than five, and yet her eyes had reflected knowledge far beyond her years. Acceptance of this day. The death of her father neither surprised her, nor had she feared it. She had merely accepted it.
Lacey glanced around the small foyer, noting the sleeping bag just beneath the stairs. The child had not mysteriously appeared. She had been waiting for her, or someone like her. Kneeling there in the dark, watching the shadows. How many nights had Anna kept that vigil? How many morning suns had risen to find the child on her knees, murmuring a prayer of thanks for one more day.
“Please, you will not hurt my family?”
The words brought Lacey back to the present. Cleared her head. Her hands trembled slightly as she tightened the silencer into place. Dammit, she didn’t pass judgment. It wasn’t personal. Just names and faces. People who had to die. Choices. She hated choices.
“I will not hurt your family.”
Domaslav relaxed, his last words a knife that sliced into Lacey’s soul. A curse of things to come.