Excerpt 3

I’m supposed to tell you that this is also Ariel’s favorite scene from “Reining Pennies”

Excerpt 3

It was the middle of the night and Reine woke up with a start.  Her door was shut, and she assumed that Mycle had closed it when he had seen that she had collapsed on her bed.  She wasn’t sure what had awakened her, though, until she heard it again.  A very low tapping at her window and heavy breathing.  She tiptoed over to the window and saw a masked figure running away down the street, but attached to her window was an envelope.
She curiously opened the window and grabbed the envelope.  After quietly shutting the window, Reine went over to where she had seen the light switch and found that there was one there, sure enough.  She turned it on and went back to her bed where she carefully opened the envelope.
In it was a piece of paper with the “Mall 0045 Transportation Provided For” typed on it.  There wasn’t anything else, no matter how closely Reine looked at the paper, held it up to the light, or colored over it.  That must be all there was, then.  Curious and unhesitant as always, Reine pulled on a comfortable outfit in case she needed to move around a lot, like to knock anyone out, and put on a comfortable pair of running shoes that she had gotten on an actual discount at the shoe store.  As an after thought, she grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and scrawled “At the mall” on it.  She stuck them in her pocket to leave downstairs and went out of the room, turning of the light and closing the door softly.
She snuck down both flights of stairs and wove her way stealthily through the dark hallway to the small table right beside the front door.  She laid the note on the table and realized that she still had the pencil, but she decided against going back up the stairs at this point.  She’d seen on the clock that it was almost twelve thirty, so her ride would be there any minute.  She patted the pocket of her running jacket where she had felt the pencil, and slowly opened the door with a prayer that it wouldn’t creak.
Her request was granted, and she slipped outside without having made a single sound.  Closing the door behind her, Reine walked down the stone pathway to the street.  A jeep was right behind Mycle’s car, and she walked up to it boldly.  The back door swung open, and a man dressed all in black whose face was hidden behind a mask of hair stepped out, motioning her in.  She got in and found that she was the only occupant of the car.  The door man turned out to be the driver, and he sped down the dark silent streets as if his life depended on her getting to the mall five minutes early.  As it turned out, she was.  He parked the jeep in the isolated parking lot and turned around, speaking for the first and only time.
“He’ll be here immediately; don’t move.”  With that confusing statement coupled with what should have been a petrifying command, he exited the jeep, slamming the door.  Reine watched him walk away through the jeep window, and as he rounded the corner of the mall, another car parked on the other side of her.  A hulk of a man got out of the car and motioned for her to do the same.
When she did, he started walking away, and Reine followed him.  They were about a block down the road from the mall before he stopped and turned around.  What she say then shocked her.  He removed his black mask, and turned to her with a malicious smile.  “My dear daughter, how gullible you truly are,” he remonstrated in a evilly pleased tone.  “All I had to say is ‘Come’ and you never questioned as to who I was or why I wanted you to.  You just came, and now you are entirely at my mercy.”
Reine was glad that she’d chosen this outfit as she lashed out a kick to his gut.  So it landed a little low, but she’d intended to kick him in the gut, honestly.  As he keeled over, temporarily paralyzed, she felt herself get flipped backwards and from where she landed on the pavement, she looked from the moon above to the hair-face driver who had apparently been tailing them and was now about to bash her in the head with his foot.  She rolled toward him, and he missed her by over correcting and landing on his face.
Once again, she went flying through the air, but this time she saw her mysterious messenger right before he actually did land a kick in her face.  Then suddenly he went flying, and he landed on hair face.  She looked at her deliverer in surprise and saw Mycle.  “Where did you come from?” she asked in shock.
He shrugged.  “You left the door unlocked.”
“That’s no explanation,” she accused.
“And they knocked on my window first by accident,” he added.  Reine rolled her eyes and thanked him.  He nodded, and they turned toward Lance Wellington, where he was starting to stand.  The other two were now fighting each other, and were no longer a threat to either Mycle or Reine, but from the look on Lance’s face, he was going to make Reine pay and pay dearly for the shot she’d taken at him.
He lunged toward them, and just as Reine wondered what she was going to do, Mycle pulled out a handgun and shot Lance twice in the gut.  He actually hit him in the gut.  Lance dropped to the ground instantly, and Reine and Mycle cautiously approached him staying out of reach of him and on the other side than where the other fight was going on.
“Dad?” Reine ventured.
“Some daughter you are,” he returned.
“May I return the compliment?” she asked.  “This is Mycle.  He’s the one you should be complimenting.  I can’t shoot.”
Wellington nodded as if it didn’t matter much but he was trying to be polite anyway.
“What are you doing out of jail?” Reine demanded the knowledge she had wanted desperately to know.
“They’ve had the trial and decided I’m not guilty,” he answered.  At her distrusting expression, he laughed and grimaced.  “No, I escaped.  Duh!”
Reine sighed, although she was starting to find if sickening to watch him slowly dying, as she realized.  She didn’t know why it should be sickening, though.  He was nothing to her in reality but her enemy, and she had just conquered him with her only true friend.  She looked at Mycle as she thought this and smiled.  “Thanks for helping me defeat him and for saving my life.”
Wellington appeared to be having some trouble now, and he captured their attentions quickly.  There was something he was saying, and they figured they might as well hear him out.  “You may have defeated me today, Reine. As my body lies broken and soul speeds off to wherever it goes, you will be the hero. Songs will be sung, children named after you, statues raised in your honor. But one day the songs will be just so much more wind, those children will grow old and die, the statues turn to dust and return to the earth. But my name shall be remembered. Travelers will speak of it in hushed whispers around campfires, mothers frighten their children to obedience with my name, priests shall tell of my fate as a tale to drive the masses, and dying men shall cry out to their gods for any salvation that keeps them from the fires below, where I shall be waiting.”
A shudder rand through Reine at these words spoken imperiously by this dying man.  He had almost exhausted the strength left to him, but there was something else he was saying despite his gasping for breath.  “You may have won the victory,” he started before coughing wrenchingly, sickeningly.  “But I,” and a contented smile spread across his graying face giving it a devilishly angelic appearance, “I have won,” his voice became a whisper, “I have won a legacy.”


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