Thursday, May 24, 2007

Page 2

Lily came up behind Azrael startling him even though he knew she was coming. She had that effect on him, though he would never say this outloud. She smelled sweet, like wildflowers, the aroma wafting to his nose, tickling it, toying with it, tempting it. When he turned to face her he nearly sucked in his breath. She wore a blue sweater that really brought out her cerulean eyes, her best feature by far. Her face had hardened a bit over the years, but her eyes were always soft. They betrayed her emotions, her lingering innocence, her everlasting hope for a better tomorrow. It never wavered, even when she held a gun against someone's skull promising to plaster his brains on the wall if he even thought about moving. He smiled. She would, too, in a heartbeat. She knew what it took to survive and wasn't afraid to get the job done. "My first kill was hard," she told him once. "It really tore me up inside. But after that, it was just a part of life."

"Hey, you," she whispered, rubbing Azrael's back before standing next to him, inhaling deeply. "Seems the wind took the smell of burning city somewhere else for a change."

"Yes, but that doesn't change the fact that another city has been burned. The natives are restless. They want change. We need to get to New Promise in one piece, and the sooner the better. Sleep well?" Az asked, lighting a regular cigarette and offering one to Lily. She frowned but took it anyway.

"The little one had bad dreams again. Couldn't make out what she said, but a lot of movement with them."

What piece of the puzzle is she? Azrael thought, but kept his question to himself. He didn't want to alarm Lily until he knew for sure, and he felt the answer was somewhere in New Promise. His gut told him that. His brain told him not to care. His heart knew better than to listen to his brain.

"She sleeps now?" he asked.

"Yes, until we wake her, or she stirs, whichever comes first." He relished Lily's modern British accent. Subtle, like a whiff of jasmine on the night breeze, yet effective enough to make him crave more. Though a man of his rough stature would never admit it. How would that look?

"Hungry?" he asked.

"Famished!" she replied, rubbing her stomach. "Please say we have eggs and bacon."

"We do, and bread and fruit as well. Is that all the food groups?"

"Veggies," she mumbled while reaching the coffee pot. "I will never understand your perpetual need to rough it. I swear, one day I'd like to stay in a nice hotel."

"Hey, what can I say?" he threw his arms in the air as if surveying his surroundings. "I am a natural man. Besides, I just have this strange feeling it's better to travel incognito with the girl. And if there's one thing I trust it's my gut."

"Yeah?" she asked, putting the coffee on to boil. "Well my gut tells me you aren't cooking fast enough."

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