Part V – Gloria

Sojourn

“Hope is a most beautiful drug.”
― Jeremy Mercer, Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co

Chapter 1. The Bosphorus Strait

Gloria watched from the bow of the Dragon Ship as twilight settled over the water. The Marmara Sea ushered her and the captain passed the Maiden’s Tower islet and into the maw of the Bosphorus Strait.

Chapter 2. The Mission

She felt the soft undulations in the captain’s bed. It was delicious revelry in the dreamy high between sleep and awake as the ship rose and fell like a galloping mare underneath her in a following sea.

Chapter 3. Landfall

The small light in the distance darted like a firefly between the twilight sky and the blackness of the horizon. Raul watched his ship’s RADAR as the light tracked across the heavens.

Chapter 4. Taste of Blood

The black strip of beach was like staring into a void to another dimension.  Gloria rested her chest on the top tube of the inflatable raft and struggled to stay in the craft as it skimmed across the crest of the waves.  She tightened her grip on her weapon and spread her knees wide to lock them into the flexing walls.

Chapter 5. Dragon Hunter

Nuru blasted his enemies with a stick and defended his position with grenades made of broken brick. He reveled in their death, but alas, he too was mortally wounded. He pirouetted and tilted left then right then eased himself on the ground proud of his grace in the face of ensuing darkness.

Chapter 6. A Scent of Life

The wailing stopped. The forest was quiet except for a fresh offshore breeze that teased the delicate leaves on small branches in the trees and trampled bushes. Tall grass leaned over in rippled waves and pointed at the carnage inside the tree line whispering, over there and there, there too.

Chapter 7. Time Enough for Love

The early night air was crisp as the mountains and valleys gave up their heat. The nocturnal creatures called out in a symphony of nature’s music interrupted only by the quiet splash of water on rock.

Chapter 8. Betrayed

The sound of damp cotton and hot skin sliding across sweat soaked leather mingled with the uneasy tread of horses on packed gravel. The morning sun sat high above the horizon and illuminated the woman’s back betraying her firm curves beneath a faded summer dress.

Chapter 9. Eye of the Viper

Vika walked out into the small living room massaging her wet hair with the towel wrapped around her head in a turban. Her black robe hung carelessly open revealing supple skin and the sculpted muscles of her legs in the dim yellow light.

Chapter 10. The Drive to Oblivion

Footsteps echo in the room. They came closer and grew louder; the hollow sound like the steady beat of a drum in a cave. Gloria and Raul watched the door with nervous anticipation.

Chapter 11. The Dance of Dragons

Gloria looked down at the gauntlets in the drawer as Raul lifted out a black pistol with a silencer attached to the barrel. The talons were like nothing she’d seen before. They retracted over fingertips covered with what looked like black iridescent dragon scales.

Chapter 12. A Time to Fight and a Time to Die

The Assassin looked up at the ceiling and thought of her little boy, Nuru. Nuru was the only living soul that could melt her icy heart. Kirill was good to his bastard child and her. Vika was thankful for that.

Chapter 13. Nightfall

He watched as the sharpened stick left traces of white wood in the age-stained marble step. First, he scratched the outline of her face and her hair then her eyes.  Her dark almond eyes were always promising to come back to him. Where was she now? Why did she not come for him?

Chapter 14. Reconciliation

The sixty-foot sloop glided on the orange peel surface of the Med’s blue-gray waters under an open sky with clouds that looked like the color washed canvas of an inspired artist. The sloop made way in calm seas with sails secured to the boom.

The End

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