Summary: An old feud, a new duel.
Author: Elliott (email@example.com)
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Please visit my Pretender fiction at Let the Centre Arrest You.
Mississippi breeze, darkly veiled. Distant, from nether regions above the delta.
The balcony an alternate universe, away from the luxury and frank danger of the city below.
Spell-binding, the intricacy of wrought iron and voluptuous window boxes with opiate blooms. Profusion of sloe purple, copper-coin gold, bejeweled emerald.
Justice, power, and faith.
Music soft, barely there. Like sheer gauze on a womanís skin.
Catfish and crawdads from the restaurant around the corner, tantalizing. Charred black redfish and shrimp remoulade, mouth-watering.
Color and spice. And sound.
He couldnít resist.
Only the jazz.
Let it in, let it get under his skin where no razor could perforate.
Only where a woman could go.
Let it touch him, get in his veins, his blood.
Again, not unlike a woman.
Legal, just barely.
Calliope and zydeco, invisible, but real as the heat lighting raking the sky as he had come to her.
The church old, very old. It had seen generations. There was no reason to think he was any different, required a miracle more than any other.
But he waited there, under its slightly crumbling canopy, sheltered beneath its eaves and thick night.
Spanish moss dangling off gnarled cypress limbs, apparitions all around. Stalking the streets from the lost catacombs beneath the city.
Like storm, perhaps, blown in from the Gulf.
Memory come with it, brewed dark and deep.
Ghosts and revelation, unshackled.
He knew she would.
As one magnet to another.
The night air, rich with earth and water like a root cellar.
Other women could be beautiful, gorgeous even. But Parker, she was exquisite.
The street changing into something elemental, profound.
Just with her presence.
Her stride unaltered, as if unused to that name. Stopping as by afterthought, by premonition.
Looking over her shoulder and finding ghosts there.
The tone of her voice wasn't a question, wasn't shock. Rather, a resignation of the inevitable. And a sour anger of the invasion.
"Why are you here?"
He shrugged, suddenly combated with an adversary.
Never quite thinking she wouldn't want to see him.
Words, falling out of himself.
"You donít need me. You never have."
Skepticism and sarcasm oozing from old wounds never healed, never even scabbed.
"Yes. I do."
"Non. You asked to be left alone." Her eyes dark and rabid as the night, as the bats that swooped low like kamikazes. "You were. I did."
"I believe your words were Ė " Bitter. Wondering whether there was dark, thick blood in her mouth from teeth gnashed on tongue. Half wondering what it would be like to kiss her now.
Then remembering the note he left on the wheat field, shunning them all. Perhaps damning them all.
"The Centre, yes. But not you. I never meant that for you."
"Non," repeated under her breath as she turned her head.
And realizing she was not alone.
The shadow behind her like a sundial with herself as the sun.
"Parker. Donít leave me."
Her eyes vituperous as she lashed her head around.
Never so lucent.
"Allons," taking the manís hand, lacing her fingers between his.
Snakecharmer to her cobra.
Ignoring him, walking past him.
"Parker," grabbing her arm and deliberately catching her off balance.
The weight of her body falling into his.
Life so sharp it cut.
Light so bright it bleached the world.
"You think you can just walk away?" Outrage etched in his voice.
For a second he watched the anger flare malevolently across her face, two shades below it the old pain kindled by the old nerves.
She was going to kill him.
End of story.
But then she nodded her head, a harsh smile lineated across her lush mouth.
Parker, queen of restraint.
Supposedly there was only one shade of black.
That was a lie.
There were many shades.
Dark blackness, that was hers.
The earth spinning like tinsel, cacophony of French and the weight of her fist against his jaw.
"How dare you come here and think you own me?"
Her words lashed as he opened his eyes marveling at her aim.
"You go to hell, you Ö fils de putain."
Knowing she was calling him a son of a bitch simply by the crescendo of her voice.
The French he knew she knew but never used.
Even her voice like jazz.
Her body shivering in the heat, muscle and sinew coming unwound.
Like the sun falling.
Suzerain decrowned but not dethroned.
An old feud, a new duel.
"Who is he?" Nodding with resentment toward the man behind her, not at all bemused with her actions. Himself, wiping cords of blood from his split lip, the rent in his flesh already swelling. The awful fascinating sensation of shredded tissue against his tongue, the stickiness of blood gumming his teeth.
His head reeling.
"You knew his brother."
Indictment, harsh and cold and clear.
That one word, so soft and so bitter on her tongue.
She had nothing more to say to him. He knew it all too well.
There was venom seething under her skin and all he wanted to do was feel it, be it, unleash it.
Let it out.
Her translation dry and cold, like the walls of the church or the rivers of shadowed vaults, bone and ash and human debris.
As if she knew he was calling her.
Or what he was asking.
She said the words in a different tone now, in a different tongue.
Saying them, but not.
"Cíest ein affaire a pus finir."
The melody of her voice the color of wisteria.
Syncopated only by the cadence of her footsteps.
His translation as dark and bitter as chicory coffee.
As the outside of the rain-washed church.
"It is a thing that has no end."
Continue to the last part,Sazerac.
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Disclaimer: The characters of "The Pretender" are not mine; they rightfully belong to NBC, MTM, and Pretender Productions, as well as the actors and actresses who give paper and ink a life and a voice. I am making no profit from these writings; imitation is the highest form of flattery.