Hello! I spent more time in the past seven days in another universe than I did in this one. At least in my head... so I guess today's update for writing is that it's going pretty well this week. My wondering from a few weeks ago, that if I was more excited about all my completed novels being in print or in having time to focus on writing, is dimming away from having everything being in print and shining brighter and brighter on having time for more writing! I've even started noticing some short story ideas that are popping up like unexpected flowers in an untended garden. So much creativity coming back!
I can now also say that the first week of my oldest being on summer holidays was survived by everyone in the house. Boredom is now the main enemy she faces, with evil army reinforcements in the guise of a younger sibling... kidding. They typically get along ridiculously well and the fighting between them is mostly due to wanting to do the same stuff at the same time. You know, like sisters normally are. Then one of them busts out the musicals on Netflix and they're both dancing around the living room in time with each movie song like pop stars.
Overall, this week has been a win. Have a great weekend!
3. Working for the Money
The strangers were all wearing similar clothing to the Hunter he had watched the target kill earlier, and appeared to be of the same race. Interesting. He smiled at them and nodded, maintaining the illusion of drunkenness.
“Gentlemen,” he slurred in greeting. They bristled visibly. They were all females, he could tell from the smell of them, and the insult worked well to anger them. They were fur-covered and looked like they were from a species of carnivorous pack hunters. Even from this distance, Dorian could see their noses wrinkling in disgust at the foul smell of the alcohol.
“The fish is our prey. You leave her. You go.”
The target’s smell changed at the Hunter’s voice. Dorian could just make it out over the smell of the alcohol – and only because he was so close to her. Mortal terror is very distinct. Dorian looked at the target, her eyes were trying to focus and her twitching was becoming more than random movements. He squeezed her tighter, effectively pinning her arms so she couldn’t use her stinger on him, then looked up at the trio of Hunters with dazed confusion.
“No,” he said as if trying very hard to remember something of great importance. “I paid for her…” he paused as if thinking. “For the whole night I paid for her,” he stumbled back a step and feigned drunken anger. “You go away! That’s my ship!”
Pitching a good stumble, he used it as cover to set the target onto her feet. She promptly fell, as he’d hoped. The trio leapt towards him when he stooped as though to pick up the target to cover the motion of drawing his weapon. He shot all three with tranquilizers before they reached him. Two of them attempted to fight, but quickly passed out. The third stopped where she was and pulled a bolter from her belt. The laser blast singed the skin on his left cheek as he dodged out of the way.
Something in the last Hunter’s system was making her more tolerant to the tranquilizer. She swayed on her feet, but didn’t fall. Dorian kept one eye on the Hunter and glanced at the target with the other. The target was unhurt and fully awake, but the effects of the dart stopped her from having proper motor functions. Those effects could last up to 12 hours. Once on the ship, he would have to monitor her reaction to that side effect as well so that he could include it in his data.
The Hunter was trying to line up another shot on Dorian. He easily stepped out of the way and the bolt went wide. The Hunter stumbled and changed her line of sight to the target. Dorian stepped close and kicked the bolter out of her hand before she could take a shot. The dozens of spines in his forearms popped through his shirtsleeves as he struck the Hunter simultaneously in her back and chest.
The reaction took seconds. The two cadavers on the landing strip looked remarkably alike once the second finished dying.
Dorian turned back to the target and raised the dart gun to shoot her again.
“No, wait!” she held up her arms in submission, her spines covered by the palms of the opposite hand. He paused expectantly. This was usually when targets tried to befriend him, especially ‘missing’ targets. She took a brief glance around the dock. “Where are you taking me?”
“Home,” hope blossomed across her face. “To Barakeen.”
The hope died quickly.
“You’re taking me back to Tarq.”
“That was the name on the posting, yes.”
“Can you kill me first?”
That question surprised him. No target had asked that before. Ever.
“No,” he felt the need to explain more. “There is no payment if you are dead.”
“Oh,” she accepted this well. “Can I pay you to take me somewhere else?”
This line of questioning was more familiar.
She made a sound that only another aquatic species would recognize: crying without tears. Suddenly she stood and stumbled a few hurried steps away from him. He was impressed with her recovery time and allowed her a few more steps before shooting her in the back.
Why are Authors crazy? I can't answer that, but I can provide bits of my own thoughts so that you can piece together why I may be.