A Novel By William Louison
When Kharma came back to reality, her head was pounding with pain. Her vision was blurred, but after she blinked a few times it became easier to see. It took her a few moments, though, to realize that she was lying down. She raised both hands to her head and began to massage her temples.
“She’s up,” Rosemary said from a chair in the corner of the room.
Kharma heard footsteps across the floor, and what sounded like someone running up a flight of stairs. She sat up quickly, looking around, but the plain room gave away no clues to where she might actually be. She was lying on a table in the center of the room. There were no paintings on any of the walls, and only a few pieces of furniture and some cupboards. She saw Darian standing by the corner, next to Rosemary. She opened her mouth to ask, “Where am I?” but her throat was too dry and she started coughing instead.
“Here,” Alistair said, holding a flask in front of her face. “Have some water.” His voice was very severe.
Kharma grabbed the flask from him and took a long drink, spilling water down her chin. “Thank you,” she said quickly as she took a long breath of air. Alistair accepted the flask back, but did not say anything. “Where am I? Where have you taken me?”
“One of the rooms above my shop,” Darian said in the hopes of her calming down a little.
“Are you ready to be civilized?” Rosemary asked, rising from the chair.
“Where’s Drake?” Kharma demanded.
“Right here.” Kharma was shocked. The voice had come from behind her and she had not even noticed Drake there. “Would you just be quiet and listen.”
“You assaulted me,” Kharma told him behind fiery eyes, her voice rising to a low shout. “And now you’ve kidnapped me. Those are crimes.” She leant against the table she had been laying on, her body still in pain.
“Go ahead and report me,” Drake snapped. “Who do you think they’ll believe? Not scum like you when I am a deputy in Camborne”
“I don’t care who you are,” Kharma hissed back. “Just tell me what you want with me.” And then she remembered that Drake had mentioned a name. Isaiah. Just hearing it made her angry enough to attack Drake. She figured that if she just shut up and listen, Drake might leave her alone sooner.
Drake, waiting to make sure Kharma wasn’t going to say anything, sighed heavily and then started talking. His voice was filled with a mixture of uncertainty and contempt. “I am a member of a group,” he said slowly. Kharma noticed that he was clenching and releasing his fist repeatedly. A part of her enjoyed watching him get angry over just seeing her. But, a part of her hated it as well because the feeling was mutual.
“Like a guild?” Kharma interjected quickly.
Drake shrugged. “I guess,” he snapped. “It shouldn’t matter to you. All that should matter is this proposal I am to present you with.”
Kharma glared at him, but when she saw the anger in his eyes she realized that he was probably telling the truth. “Just make this quick.”
“Our leader,” Drake continued, “has requested an audience with you.”
Kharma started laughing. “What is this? I don’t do that anymore,” she snapped. “I’m trying to start my life over. No more contracts.”
Drake was enraged at her suggestion as to the situation. He slammed his fist on the table and continued to glare at Kharma. “She’s not asking to see you so she can pay you to kill someone!”
“Well then what does she want with me?”
“She said she wants to speak to you about Isaiah,” Drake told her quickly, his voice still harsh. “I don’t know any more than this.”
Kharma gave him a sceptical look, but Rosemary backed him up. “She only ever did say that she wanted to talk to you about Isaiah,” Rosemary said swiftly.
“There you go again!” Kharma snapped. “Why bring him into this? What should I care about him?”
“I don’t know,” Drake answered very agitatedly. “If you don’t want to come back with us, then fine. I’d rather hoped you would turn me down anyway.”
“Shut up, Drake,” Kharma said quietly, her facial expression of annoyance replaced by one of contemplation. “Did she say what she knew about him? Isaiah?” Drake gave her a strange look. It almost seemed like it caused Kharma pain to say both the name, like it was a person who had hurt her in some way.
“No,” Drake replied. He was beginning to get a little uncomfortable.
“Damn you, Drake,” Kharma said with quivering lips and reddening eyes. “Damn all of you.” She wiped her eyes quickly and dropped her shoulders in defeat. “I need to know.”
Rosemary sensed the hurt she felt and walked over to Kharma. She spoke softly, not wanting Kharma to explode like she did back at the arena. “Are you coming with us then?”
“Yes,” Kharma said through clenched teeth. “I don’t like it, but this is something I have to do.” She glared at Drake. “But I’m not playing nice along the way, wherever we’re going that is.”
“Just north of Camborne,” Rosemary said quietly and quickly.
Kharma looked a little shocked. They had traveled all that way just for her. Why? Was this really so important? More than that, was whatever this Speaker knew about Isaiah really this important and what would she hope to gain from talking with Kharma? Whatever was going on, Kharma didn’t like it one bit. “And once we get there, if this woman does not give me any information about Isaiah, I will personally kill her.”
Not the end.
Thanks for reading!