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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When You Die in Your Dreams (excerpt 11)

(excerpt 11. If you missed the previous installment, scroll down the blog to catch up)

“Are you back?” she said with a smile.
“I guess I was daydreaming. What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Our magazine is doing a story on chic lunar clothing. You don't seem to be very happy to see me.”
“It's not that.”
“What is it then? Don't you like me, Parker?”
“I'm trying not to.”
“Why on the moon would you do that?”
“Because nothing good can come of it.”
“Sounds like someone has had his heart broken one too many times,” she said as she gently stroked my chest.
“If I start to like you, you'll disappear. If I don't start to like you, I can't be disappointed.”
“Well, I like you, Parker, and I'm not going to disappear.” She gently kissed me on the lips and walked off to board the shuttle for Earth.
I made my way through the tunnels of the moon to the facilities of StarCon, our solar system's largest energy company. It was as if my brain went on autopilot. I felt like I was outside of my body watching the whole operation from above. In an instant I was back at the terminal looking for my diminutive friend. I quickly scanned the atrium. He wasn't hard to find - his hat was a dead giveaway. I sat in the seat behind him and slipped the computer card into his hand.
“I did what he asked. Now tell Bartholomew to let my parents go.”
“Yeah, about that,” he said. “Lord Bartholomew has one more favor to ask.”
“A Favor? Are you kidding me? He's holding my parents hostage and he has the nerve to demand that I do another mission, and calls it a favor?”
“I'm just the messenger.” He handed me another packet and quickly shuffled away.
Just the messenger my eye. Chauncey was Bartholomew's right hand man, and had been ever since Bartholomew plucked him from a life on the streets of Kryllium's nastiest city - Malevotown.
Was this the last “favor” or did Bartholomew plan to milk me for all I was worth? What was it this time? Take out a rival's new factory? Steal plans for the newest space vehicle in development? Personally deliver to Bartholomew a hundred pounds of premium cocoa beans from Central America? I took out the agenda and read the instructions.

Go to New York. Find the editor of Platinum and Polyester Magazine. Her name is Janelle. Kill her. When she is dead, your parents will be released.

My heart sank and I began to sweat profusely. I leaned over and emptied the contents of my stomach into the trash can I was standing next to. My knees got weak and I went down to the floor. I had only met her recently and spent just a few hours on a train with her, as well as a stolen moment in the lunar terminal, but Janelle was all I thought about. I could hardly stand being apart from her; I couldn't imagine killing her. However, I knew that if I didn't carry out the objective Bartholomew would kill my parents. On the other hand, I wondered whether he ever intended to free them or if he planned to string me along indefinitely. I had to take a calculated risk.

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