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Renegade: Chapter 1

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The rain fell in huge droplets from the dreary sky and slid painfully down the glass in front of her face. She watched one land about halfway down the grimy window and race towards the sill at the bottom. She seemed so utterly consumed with these effluent little creatures, but her eyes told a different story. The light brown pupils stared intently at the window seeing nothing but the events of the last few days as they played out in her mind’s eye like a bad dream. A bad dream centered on him. That man. The man for whom she still did not have a name, only a face. And a memory.
She gazed back out the window. The skyline hadn’t changed. The same tall buildings stared back at her, bleak and hopeless. She sighed. Nothing made sense, nothing. It was all so maddening. She had spent more than half of her life trying to find just one clue, a lead, anything to understand the events of that day. Then, about two weeks ago, she had found her clue. It had been buried, deep inside the annals of a culture long since disappeared from the earth. Only, this clue led her to an impossible conclusion. There was no other answer except the one which she refused to accept. And now she was being followed. They watched her from street corners, from rooftops, from the sky. She had seen them looking. No, she didn’t know who they were or even why they were following her. It had to be the clue. Nothing else made sense. Did they want it back? And there was still that man. How did he fit into all of this?
The elevator at the end of the hallway dinged. She almost jumped at the noise she was so lost in thought. Heavy steps on wooden floors echoed up and down the hallway. They stopped. The silence echoed through her brain louder than any noise. An involuntary gasp escaped her lips. She stared intently at the shadow of feet beneath the door to her apartment. They didn't move. The doorknob began to turn. But that was impossible. She had locked it! Besides, there was a deadbolt above it, also locked. There was no way it could be opened from the outside. Frantically she looked around for… for what? She didn’t know. Something, anything. She grabbed a large book off the table beside her. The door cracked.
It swung open slowly, almost lazily, as if it had all the time in the world, as if she had all the time in the world. The image of a man behind it came into view. He was tall and thin. He wore a long, leather coat and a tall black ten-gallon hat. His spurs clicked against the wooden floor as he took several steps into the apartment. She couldn’t see his face, but his lips were cracked in a crooked smile exposing perfect white teeth. He walked leisurely over to the desk against the far wall, his back turned to her. He ran his finger the length of the desk, left to right, until his finger touched a small leather journal. She started to protest but the chilling look he sent her direction quickly sat her back down. This time she had seen his eyes. They were dark, almost black, and they stared right through her. She began to shiver. He flipped open the front cover and his smile widened.
He turned and faced her sitting frozen and pale on the couch. “Do you know what this book is?”
She swallowed hard but did not respond. His smile began to fade, “Answer me, human.” The final word seemed more of a curse than a statement.
She swallowed again and croaked, “My notes.”
He smiled again. Deliberately, he took three steps toward her. She slid as far back as the couch's arm would allow her.
“And these notes,” Every word cracked from his mouth like bullwhip on flesh, “where did you get them? Or shall I say, from whom did you get them?”
A sudden, momentary fire flamed up inside her and she sarcastically spat out, “I wrote them."
“Ahhhh…” He sighed, “Why must you always try to be brave? I guess this means I’ll just have to find out on my own. But that won't be nearly as fun.”
His smile returned and she thought how utterly evil it looked. His skin was pale, almost transparent, and his lips were blood red. “Unfortunately, that means I have no more use for you. Goodbye Elyse.”
“No!” She cried out in horror as he reached his hand toward her. The world began to spin. She kicked out wildly in a feeble attempt to stop this madman. Her head began to pound like jungle drums. A shreik, even louder than the silence of earlier pierced through her brain. She thought about the man from the alley, her mystery savior. She thought about the clue, her notes, this impossible chain of events, this evil man who seemed to be compressing her skull without touching her… there was so little that made sense and no time to figure it out. She cried out in agonizing pain as his smile grew and turned into a laugh, dark and sadistic.
Then, everything went black.



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