Continued from Chapter Five - Aftermath.
To start at the beginning see Chapter One - The Last Target.
Gamelion 23rd, 2021
Stone angels surrounded the pair as they stood in the center of the small sanctuary. From lofty alcoves and vaulted ceilings the sculptures gazed down with cold, unfeeling eyes etched by long dead hands.
The church had long ago been converted to a nightclub. Now, in the broad light of day it was empty of its usual bevy of dancers and ‘syntheheads. The pews had been removed and only the obelisk and shrine remained – its owners too superstitious to remove them.
Reveeka stood, holding a pair of handguns at low ready. “Oh, you didn’t think I would find out who killed poor Nicolae?”
With that, Reveeka raised her pistols and fired two shots from each, in quick succession – something her guards called “double-tapping.” Four lead slugs screamed towards Elisabeta, who was rolling to the left to take cover behind the bar. Three slugs missed, the fourth sliced her in the shoulder.
Elisabeta fell to the ground, clutching her wound with one hand and her gun with the other. She looked up at the stained glass, then traced the crescent moon on her forehead. She popped up from behind the bar, gun at the ready, closing one eye to aim better.
Reveeka had moved up to the shrine, knowing Elisabeta was unlikely to shoot at her and possibly damage the relic it contained. Elisabeta squinted, trying to get a good shot, but finding none. Reveeka took the time to fire off four more bullets, laughing at the weakness her adversary displayed.
The bullets shattered the many liquor bottles above Elisabeta’s head, spraying spirits and broken glass down on her. The alcohol seeped into her shoulder wound, burning like acid. It was time to act. She kissed the side of her handgun, then stood and aimed.
A flurry of shots followed, both from her and from Reveeka. Elisabeta charged her enemy, firing bullet after bullet and praying for the Holy Mother to protect her. In the hail of lead, Reveeka had taken cover behind the shrine, giving Elisabeta enough time to close the distance between them.
Elisabeta finally had a shot, but knew she couldn’t risk killing the one woman that could help her. Reveeka raised her gun, but Elisabeta kicked it from her hand, sending it clacking across the tiled floor. Reveeka looked up in horror, but instead of the barrel of a gun, her gaze was met by Elisabeta’s fist.
Reveeka falls, sprawling back across the dais and crumpling up in the corner. Elisabeta pounced on top of her, pushing her gun into Reveeka’s forehead. She was shaking with rage – she had to steady the barrel with her off hand. Her gaze could have burned a hole straight through Reveeka.
“You’re going to tell me what I need to know,” Elisabeta commanded, “and you’re going to tell me everything.”
“Go to hell,” Reveeka spat out through her bloodied mouth. Elisabeta’s eyes widened as a searing pain shot up from her abdomen. She slowly looked down to see the knife that Reveeka had plunged into her.
Elisabeta had let her feelings cloud her combat judgment, and it had cost her dearly. She stumbled backwards, as her blood washed out of her, slowly covering the black and white tiles at her feet, then up to the Obelisk. She could feel her arms and legs tingle and prickle, her fingers and toes going numb.
She looked up at Reveeka, and suddenly realized she was looking at her killer. She had seen that look so many times in her life, that look of dreadful realization, denial, and anger. Now that it was her turn, she realized that she had been wrong all along – it wasn’t anger in her victim’s eyes. It was sheer disbelief that someone could take a life. It was something only the dead or dying could truly understand, and now she understood too. What a cruel joke, a lesson you could only learn by dying. What good could it do then?
She swooned, dropping to her knees. She tried to raise her gun, but the strength had already left her muscles, and she fell to the floor. Her peripheral vision was turning black, a dark haze that was closing in around her. Her ears were ringing, and the room began to spin.
Something deep inside of her just let go. Right there on that cold dance floor, in the shadow of an ancient sanctuary, lying in a pool of her own blood, Elisabeta exhaled for the last time. The long, slow breath echoed off of the ancient walls.
Reveeka was breathing heavily. She had watched this woman die right in front of her, by her own hand. She had never killed before, always leaving such dirty business to others. It was shocking, but more than a little exhilarating.
She picked up Elisabeta’s dead hand, the hand that still grasped the gun, and shot herself in the shoulder. She cried out in pain, but it was a small price to pay for her freedom. The only obstacle left was this nasty business with her son. Clean that up, and she was positioned to take all the power in Gidoen.
Now, if she only knew where her son was.
Continued in Chapter 7: A Deal With the Devil.
Discuss this article on the Legendology message board