16Sunsets – Musings

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“What do we do?” Justin whispered. He had to fight himself – spending so much time in such a close proximity to Anne was intoxicating. The woman exudes sexuality, he thought before he chastised himself. Anne wasn’t just a beautiful woman. She wasn’t just the last ruler of the Jade Council. She wasn’t just an immortal who had not only witnessed thousands of years of history, but affected it directly. She shaped history like a lump of potters’ clay. She wielded the power to form that clay into beautiful things. He was content to bask in her circle of influence.

Anne looked at the squad of mercenaries filing through the woods. She counted six of them, followed by Major Globe, Bree and the R-C-M-P liaison. An armed escort trailed ten or so paces behind them. The rifleman wasn’t there to protect Globe; he was there to end Bree if the need arose. A shot to the back of the neck, separating the brainstem from the brain was suspected to be the only way to kill Bree. Anne knew that somewhere overhead, another helicopter hovered – it was an exact copy of the one they had stolen to break Joaquin out of jail. It may even be the very one, she thought, smiling. She wished she had been in the hangar when Globe discovered it missing, and when it was found with a single red leather evening glove lying in the pilot’s seat.

“We follow and see how this plays out,” Anne whispered back, her hot breath causing the hairs on Justin’s neck to stand at attention. Stay focused! He thought to himself. The problem with the clay Anne shaped was that she was just as flawed as the gene-neutral humans she had hated for so many centuries. Anne’s fits of rage and passion were well known. He couldn’t hold a candle to her and he knew it. The son of the son of the son of… Justin counted the iterations of his lineage all the way back to Midas. He imagined Anne and Midas sitting on thrones of gold. He knew of at least two others of his lineage that had courted Anne over the centuries. She wouldn’t confirm his suspicions, but he suspected his fate and the fate of his progeny would be forever entwined with her.

As the group passed, Bree looked over her shoulder. Anne knew Bree couldn’t see her from their hiding spot. Bree smiled anyway – Anne knew the little girl had seen her and Justin. This wasn’t the first time Bree had let Anne know her attempts as subversion weren’t successful. The fact that she hadn’t warned Globe of their presence made Anne think of the times she and Bree had talked over the short years they knew each other. Bree had an uncanny knack for seeing things unseen by those around her. Although Bree’s power had never been fully explained of researched – doing so would’ve been considered ride – Anne came to respect the unassuming little girl who constantly dressed in pink. Anne liked to think that perhaps her own signature red clothing was influenced by or influenced Bree. She remembered a prophecy Bree had let slip years ago – Several lineages will end at a cabin in the woods. It was patently obvious to Anne she was following a kill squad through the Canadian wilderness.

“We’ll be there soon, kitty,” cooed Bree to her stuffed kitten. Globe’s heart rate increased every time the little girl spoke. It was sobering – the little girl spoke so rarely, but when she did… You listen, he thought. He used to feel the same way about Anne. He tired to remember when it went so wrong between the two of them. Justin, he closed his eyes and sighed, but that sigh died as Bree looked up at him, presenting the stuffed kitten. Globe forced a smile and patted the kitten on the head. Bree returned her attention to the stuffed animal and Globe once again marveled at her deftness as she moved through the woods. She never stumbled. She walked around hidden obstacles in the underbrush as if she had personally put them there. Content that he had placated Bree, he returned to his thoughts on Anne. When she saw Justin after he had completed a mission, she immediately focused her considerable attention on the young man. Globe’s attempts to keep them apart had led to their relationship evolving into an ‘us versus them’ mentality. A mentality that led to the two of them leaving the organization and…

Globe’s thought was interrupted by the six-man team as they halted, still in formation. They fanned out along the edge of a clearing. Hand signals flashed as they took up defensive positions. The team leader looked back toward Globe and gave the hand signal that Globe had been waiting to see for almost a week: they had reached their destination.

16Sunsets – Conflagration


[816/39,138 #3WW]

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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