When charging into dangerous situations you can either be fast and silent or fast and prepared. It was a simple truth, with a single, large exception which Jasen wasn’t sure why he had never noticed before: if you caused the dangerous situation, you had the foreknowledge to be all three.
He didn’t figure it out until he felt the cool line of a knife leaned against his spine and angled against the muscle of his neck while his sword was still padded in his sheath. He had moved quiet and quick into his hiding place in the far corner of the dim warehouse, but she had been ready for him.
“We told you to stay home,” she murmured, leaning close behind him with one hand firmly on his shoulder so that she could speak into his ear. She didn’t lose the angle on her knife, placed perfectly to slide in and twist so that nothing below his chin ever answered his mind again. It was chilling, even knowing who the voice belonged to.
“You didn’t really think I would,” he told her, keeping his tone just as low as hers.
Bess paused, let out a too-quick breath against his cheek, like she had allowed herself a silent laugh. “No,” she murmured. She didn’t relax either hand.
“What are you doing?” Jasen asked.
“Well, in a moment, I’m going to kill you,” she murmured calmly. “As per Jenny’s plan.”
“I hate Jenny,” Jasen grumbled.
“I do, too, sometimes,” Bess said. “I’m going to need you to make a little noise, and when I throw you out from behind these crates, try to look like a dead guy who might have once worked for Etters Balldon.”
“Sure,” Jasen said.
“You know. While you’re just lying there,” Bess said.
“While I’m just lying there.”
Bess paused for another laugh. “She’ll call your name if she needs you. And this is an integral part of her plan, if that helps anything.”
“Killing me?” Jasen asked.
“She doesn’t think that he knows I’m here,” Bess explained. “So, if you groan loud enough, she figures they’ll think she’s over here, and she’s not, so…”
“Glad to hear she can put me to such good use,” Jasen muttered.
“If you hadn’t shown up, her plan probably would have fallen apart,” Bess said. “Or turned into one of the improvised shambles that work for no good reason.”
“Etters Balldon?” Jasen asked.
“Yes,” Bess said. She didn’t sound pleased either. “She’s cleaning up a mess she made. If you don’t yell at her too much, she might apologize. Next week.”
“Is the knife really necessary?” He twisted as far as he dared to look at her.
She smiled, then slowly lifted her hand off the back of his neck. She wasn’t holding a knife, just a thin shaft of wood, like she had broken a piece off one of the crates.
“You’re losing your edge,” she murmured with a smile that looked too much like Jenny’s.
Legal theft has been moved to Saturdays, so I can now spend my weekends robbing my friends’ fictional worlds.
The first line from today’s piece was robbed from my friend, Kate. Be sure to check out her blog, then find the rest of our ring of thieves, to see what other dangerous situations we’ve found ourselves in.