He reached under his jacket and pulled out two pistols. Todd whistled. “These are locked to me, you try to use them? Well, this Boss Childers won’t need to worry about the area around here as we will all be blown to kingdom come. So, if it is all the same to you, I’m placing these back in the holsters, and you have my word I won’t draw them.” He turned his right pistol and held a small button above the trigger.
All four heard a click.
“Turned off,” he told them and did the same for the second, “now both are turned off.”
“Or on,” Jeremiah spoke up.
Michael snorted, “So, this whole time I have been with you guys, I had my pistols off? I don’t think so, and neither do you.”
Sarah Jennifer’s eyes narrowed. What kind of technology and guns did this guy have? Was he a plant by Childers?
He holstered the two pistols, and they heard the snap as he placed the leather back over them in the holster. The guys figured they had him if he played foul, they could take him with enough time to spare.
“Now, it’s time for you to learn why chivalry was needed in the first place, Sarah Jennifer.” he told her, “because, in my day, a woman understood why attacking a man was a poor idea.”
The FDG or Force de Guerre never understood why Sarah Jennifer was faster than almost everyone in the group, except TH.
He knew, but he never shared the reason with anyone.
All Sarah Jennifer knew was she could kick ass. Men, women, it didn’t matter. She didn’t like being told she was about to be put in her little woman’s place by a smirking man in her own yard.
But she wasn’t a fool, either.
She cricked her neck and assumed a position with her right leg behind, only half her body now facing the guy, “Whenever you are ready to feel my size seven’s up your ass,” she told him, “bring it.”
“Why is it,” Michael asked as he started walking towards her, “that after so long being absent, I have to hear about size seven shoes coming from a female’s mouth again?”
“Boss” Childers’ town – West of Denver, Colorado (United States Post-Apoc)
“Have you ever,” Jack Childers asked his second in command as the two of them walked through the small fortified town, “wondered how men dealt with having to turn the other cheek before the apocalypse?”
The two men topped over six feet tall. But Jack was at least thirty pounds of hard muscle larger than his hatchet man, Russell Wood. They stopped walking and looked around. “Seems to me,” Russell turned away to spit into the dirt, “without that damned bitch for some of the slaves to run to for protection…”
“Or even giving them ideas,” Jack interrupted.
“Point, giving them ideas,” Russell agreed. “Life will be a little easier to deal with around here.” Russell nodded towards the mess building, “you going to pop the cork over there?”
Jack turned around to see where Russell was nodding, “Jacqueline?” he asked as he turned back around to his partner.
“Yeah,” he agreed, “Got to say, you called it on that one. She turned into a real beauty. Might be something to get ready for tomorrow night’s festivities.”
“Huh,” Jack turned back around and started rubbing his chin, “That might not be a bad idea. Damn, I could go with getting a little pre-victory slash before…” the two men turned towards the front gates when the clanging started.
It was the signal for visitors, not a danger signal.
Although visitors could be a danger, as well.
Russell started walking towards the gate, Jack only half a step behind him. He looked over his shoulder at the Boss, “No rest, or sex, for the wicked, eh?”
Jack chuckled, “Maybe not tonight, but that wine only get’s better with time.”
The two men laughed as they approached the gate to find out two men from Sarah Jennifer’s had arrived, wondering if they needed an extra hand or two?
South of Douglas Mountain, old Colorado (United States Post-Apoc)
The fool was walking right at her, not even trying to setup.
This man was stupid. She would spell it out in capitals for damned sure. What a world class shit-head.
She darted forward, using the strength from her back leg to come at him faster than most anyone she had ever fought before. She tossed a right, a left and then followed it up with an uppercut.
Sarah Jennifer hit the dirt to her right and rolled twice before coming up eyes blazing, eyeing the man who had just casually knocked her ass silly. She put up a hand to feel if her burning cheek, and her teeth, were still a part of her body.
Behind the two of them, Todd leaned towards Dirk, “Did he just block both of her punches, capture her fist and backhand the shit out of her?”
“Shhh!” Dirk answered in reply, then “Yeah, I think so. It went so damned fast I’m not sure.”
Michael turned to face the woman, “Not bad, but it’s going to take a lot more to get those,” he pointed to her feet, “anywhere near my ass.”
Sarah Jennifer’s eyes narrowed. “You surprised me.”
“No, you are cocky,” he replied. “Too much time being top bitch.”
“Fuck…” She started towards him, “You!”
“Oh God,” Jeremiah whispered, “She really, really hates to be called a bitch.”
“Ready for your spanking?” Michael asked her once. Her eyes, almost flaming mad, opened wide. Then she ran at him, ready to pound the smirk off his perfect face and make him swallow his damned teeth.
Using her momentum, she jumped, kicking out at him.
The pain, when it hit, was intense. He pivoted too fast. He used his left arm to stop her kick cold. But, he hit her in her shin with power she wasn’t expecting. His right arm was held out, and he let her momentum carry her right onto his fist, knocking her breath out of her. She damned near bounced off of him, to slam into the ground, dirt and dust billowing away as she rolled, painfully over a few times making sure she didn’t get kicked easily.
She couldn’t breathe in enough at the moment to curse him out. Her shin, however, was cussing the shit out of her.
“So,” he asked the woman, lying on the ground, trying to find enough breath to struggle to get back up, hopping on her left leg due to the pain in her right. “Now we get to the point where you decide if you want to accept reality or allow your pride to put you right back there,” he looked to the ground, “again.”
Her eyes darted to the three men on horse, all of them eyes wide open at the spectacle.
“You should always believe,” Michael told her, in a calm voice, a teaching voice. “There could be someone out there who can take you. Just because you may never have experienced it, doesn’t make the reality an impossibility.”
Sarah Jennifer, able to breathe again, spit out, “I’ve been bested once, but not by anyone not in the FDG.”
“So, my lack of pedigree is the problem?” he asked, his eyes questioning. “I was told I had to prove myself to you to be included in teaching what the term chivalry really means.”
“You, however,” he continued, “need to prove to me that a lady is inside that body for chivalry to have any meaning.” He turned to look around. “Obviously, the original meaning of chivalry is absent.” He turned back towards her, “I’m referring to the more modern version of chivalry including manners, especially to the weaker, or fairer, sex.” He nodded in her direction.
“And if I tell you to get the fuck off my land?” she asked him.
Jeremiah heard Todd whispering, “Please don’t do that, oh please oh please oh please oh please don’t do that…”
“This is your land because of what?” he asked.
“Hard work, and a willingness to keep it,” she answered.
“Then you would be a fool to turn away an offer to help,” Michael told her, “And I’ve not been accustomed to helping idiots.”
Sarah Jennifer was trying to figure out the man’s meaning. His abrupt answers took a second for her to parse, “So, you are saying you would leave because telling you to leave is foolish.”
“Indeed,” he answered her.
She gritted her teeth. Why the hell couldn’t he just answer ‘yes’ like everyone else? She used her hands to start knocking the dirt and dust off of her clothes. It irritated her to know he didn’t need to be cleaned at all. “Fair enough,” she jerked her head towards her guys, “I’m too prideful for myself to keep you here, but I’ve been told that as a leader, your pride is what you swallow most.”
Michael nodded his agreement.
She turned towards Jeremiah and started walking towards him, calling out over her shoulder. “You got a last name?” She reached out for Michael’s sword, Jeremiah handed it down to her. She started back towards the man.
He reached out and accepted the sword, sliding it inside his jacket and connecting it somehow underneath it.
“Yes,” he replied. His eyes looking out into the dark.
She put her hand on her waist, “Ok, thanks for making me play twenty questions, what is it?”
He looked over to her, “Nacht.”
“Good to know,” she told him, stepping around him and heading into the house, “Place to sleep is that way,” she pointed towards the crew house.
None of the men noticed the fear in her eyes as she walked up the stairs to the porch.
Michael accepted the bowl of stew Jeremiah had provided. He deflected their questions about his martial skills and speed.
“Don’t you think not cleaning boots is enough for tonight?” He answered Todd. “Otherwise, you and I can have a physical discussion where you are too busy to ask me questions I obviously don’t care to answer.”
Todd stopped bugging him after that.
Michael stepped out of the crew house about midnight. A minute later, Jeremiah stepped out with him.
“Hey,” Jeremiah stepped up next to him.
“Good evening, Jeremiah.” he replied.
“Don’t be too hard on Sarah Jennifer. My family would say ‘she’s good people.'”
Michael grinned, “Anytime three men are willing to die to protect a woman?” he told him, still looking into the night as if he actually saw something in the dark, “the woman … is good people.”
“I’m not sure how much you can help, Michael,” Jeremiah chose to look into the dark as well. Why the hell not? “We need a damned savior for this to go in our favor tomorrow.”
Michael chuckled, the sound wasn’t peaceful. “I’m not an angel, nor a saint, Jeremiah.” He told him, “and certainly not a savior. Someone I love very dearly would tell you I’m just a stubborn, obstinate, pain in her ass.”
“Where is she?” he asked. “Sorry if you have lost her.”
Michael looked up at the stars eyes flitting from one to the next wondering which one she might be fighting around right now. “Oh, I might have misplaced her for a while, but I haven’t lost her.”
Michael was leaning against that same post the next morning when Sarah Jennifer stepped out of the house. She eyed him, then set her shoulders and stepped off the porch, heading in his direction.
He raised an eyebrow at her in question.
“Firewood,” she told him, “we need some. You willing?”
“Of course,” Michael answered, stepping off of the wood porch of the crew building. “Which direction are you clearing?”
“Huh, hadn’t expected you to know that,” she turned and pointed to Michael’s right, “about half a mile that way. You will find a small hut with the tools in it. I’ll send a lunch and one of the guys about noon to grab what you got so far.” She turned back to him, “Be back here by dark. I think I know Jack Childers well enough to know he likes using the dark to ramp up the fear.”
“I’ll be here in time,” he promised. Then started walking in the direction she had provided.
“You did WHAT?” Jeremiah, usually pretty quiet, hissed in anger at Sarah Jennifer.
The two of them were in her office, and it was late afternoon. Dirk and Todd had come back with two loads of firewood. More than they would need for days.
“I told him Jack wouldn’t be here until dark,” she replied. Only slightly annoyed with him for getting angry at her.
“Help me understand, SJ,” he told her, his false calm evident, “why you sent our one seriously badass guy away? He is going to get caught outside of the fight and not be able to help us. If he were to do anything, they will just track his ass down and kill him. Otherwise, he will need to run to keep his own skin.”
“Look, I don’t expect you to understand,” she replied. “But there were a few stories that the FDG whispered, and they all came from Terry Henry.”
“God!” Jeremiah burst out, “That man was not a god! Not everything that comes from his mouth is Gospel!”
She leaned across her desk, finger pointed, eyes angry, “Then you tell me how many times you have heard ‘Nacht’ as a name before?”
“WHAAAT?” Jeremiah answered, not following her logic at all. Typical female argument tactic. “The hell does Nacht have anything to do with this?”
She leaned back with a thump, “Because TH always said that if you should ever, ever meet someone that seemed too good to be true, with the last name Nacht, to leave them the fuck alone.”
“We ARE leaving him alone!” Jeremiah argued. Then he pointed back towards the north, “the PLAN is we are not going to tell Childers to leave him alone!”
“Doesn’t matter,” she replied, her voice growing tired, “He is gone. He can’t get back.”
He shook his head in frustration, “You just screwed our best chance of living through this, SJ.” Jeremiah stood up, pushing the chair back. He eyed her, the anger that wasn’t in his voice, clearly in his eyes, “The best chance for a savior for this colossal fuck up and you just pissed him away.”
“He’s no savior, no messiah, Jeremiah,” she whispered to the empty room, he had already left her office fuming and exited the back door. She looked out, seeing the darkness coming in the sky, the shakes taking her.
“He’s a dark messiah,” she finished pronouncing to the empty house.
FROM MICHAEL >>>
This is it…the last 48 hours (or less) before The Dark Messiah, my second series in The Kurtherian Gambit, goes live.
I'm a little anxious to admit to you the truth. Why? Because Michael is such a fan favorite (which, I hadn't realized way back in book 9) and the question becomes…
Can I do justice to him?
Will this new story discuss a little the new Michael…The guy he was kinda of becoming, but isn't all the way and what would he do if he doesn't have Bethany Anne's …errr, calming influence on him?
Well, I've found out and very soon, so shall you.
PLEASE, enjoy the season, it has a lot of meaning. The book will be there later to be enjoyed…But really, do enjoy the book when you have time – Ok? And let me know on FB or Amazon Forums or in the reviews itself.
Also, I'm going to ask you to consider this gift: Do a review of someone's book for Christmas, as well. A favorite author…someone who doesn't have but a few reviews.
Us Indie Authors love that present!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL
And to ALL a Very Kurtherian Night!