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    Katya Dee
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

The First Lock - 12. Chapter 12

- XII -

 

She walked rather slowly, enjoying slight breeze on her face. “Just keep walking,” she thought lazily. “Everything is fine; just keep on walking...”

She blinked and tried to figure out why she would think something like this right now. She glanced around, making sure she didn't move her head. Everything seemed fine. She didn’t sense anything; there were quite a few people around, but they seemed to be minding their own business and neither one of them as much as glanced at Katrena.

“Everything is safe,” she thought and bit her lip. “There is absolutely nothing to worry about... Everything is perfectly fine.” No, it’s not, and she knew that now. Those were not her thoughts, she realized. If those are not her thoughts, that could only mean one thing... “Just relax and enjoy your walk,” she thought in spite of herself and gritted her teeth. It’s a mind controller and for some reason, he or she is after her right now. Katrena was not an easy manipulation subject, she knew that, but this person, whoever it was, seemed to know what they were doing.

“Oh, I completely forgot about the shortcut,” she thought and gritted her teeth again. “I am getting rather tired; I better take this shortcut... It’s right here, on my right...” She looked to the right. There was a dark alley with the streetlights that burned out eons ago. Son of a bitch, she fumed darkly. There was no shortcut. This alley was nothing but a dead-end. She headed towards the alley nevertheless. No need to tip this son of a bitch off; no need to let him or her know that she is aware of what’s going on. She walked into the alley.

“Oh, there is something wrong with my shoe,” she thought when she was far enough from the main street and was alone in that alley. “It’s going to bother me. I have to take a look at it right now. It’s probably a small rock, that’s what it is...”

She gritted her teeth once again when she actually stopped in spite of herself and looked down at her shoe, which was perfectly fine. Son of a bitch, this mind controller was good; hell, he (she?) was better than good. To force someone like Katrena to do something she didn’t intend – that was bloody brilliant! She looked at her shoe, knowing that the minute she bent down, someone was going to jump her. Fine, let’s play then. She bent down just a little, this time out of her own will, her posture relaxed, even though she felt she was one live wire.

Then, right after she bent down, she felt free again. That meant that whoever was trying to jump her right now, was convinced enough that she was completely unaware of what’s going on. “Beautiful,” she thought her own thought finally. She had no idea what else that son of a bitch could do, so she decided against waiting any longer. She threw herself forward, making sure that her body made a perfect twist and roll, and two seconds later, she was facing her attacker (she knew that the person was behind her) while calling upon Fire. The flames roared immediately, and Katrena almost let herself to relax (nobody would be able to survive this) when to her astonishment, the fire died off with a small whimper. Well, crap.

She immediately pulled up a barrier, thought for a second, and threw a Reflector in as well. Extra caution never hurt anyone. Right when she did it, she felt an impossibly overwhelming desire to take both – the barrier and Reflector – off and just relax finally. She bit her lip hard enough to draw blood. Pain immediately brought everything into sharper focus, and the desire swayed considerably. Katrena closed her eyes and reached for the closest magic stream. It turned out to be an Illusion. That was just fine. She slightly frowned, trying to imagine herself in the mirror perfectly.

Several seconds later, she opened her eyes and stared into nothing. Then she blinked, and suddenly, another layer of herself detached from her physical form and dashed forward. Just as she expected, her attacker swallowed the bait and her mind was free once again. This time, she didn’t think much, and the second she saw a shadow of a figure in the darkness of the alley, she called upon the Earth and thin roots emerged from underneath the asphalt. She knew that those roots could hold an elephant in one place for as long as she desired.

To her greatest astonishment and even greater frustration, that son of a bitch managed to notice her trap right before those roots engulfed that shadowy figure. The person slid aside without as much as a scream, and Katrena sank her teeth into her lip once again when she felt a huge wave of desire to give up. She desperately threw another barrier onto herself, trying to shake her mind free. It worked, but only partially. She knew that it was not going to last forever. She was not going to last forever. Without lowering her barriers and Reflector, she yelled:

“Okay! It’s a draw! What the hell do you want and who in the bloody hell are you?!”

The shadowy figure froze in its place. Then, several seconds later, Katrena felt the alien desire leaving her mind, and she took a quick breath, wincing from the taste of her own blood in her mouth.

“What do you want?” she called loudly. “Show yourself, goddammit!”

The shadows shifted ever so slightly, and a few seconds later, Katrena’s attacker stepped into her view. So it’s a he, she thought. The man seemed to be in his early thirties, but she knew that it meant nothing. He could be a hundred years old for all she knew.

“What do you want?” she asked again, and he let out a small laughter.

“I want to kill you, of course,” he said, and she blinked.

“Why?” she demanded. “I have no idea who you are!”

That wasn’t a good reason and she knew that. Considering the amount of people she wasted, there could be an army of bloodthirsty relatives and beloved ones after her head.

“Apparently,” the man said almost calmly. “You mean something to him. That’s a good enough reason.”

“I mean something to whom?” Katrena asked in bewilderment. So he wasn’t after her because she killed someone he knew or loved. He was after her because... Well, apparently, she meant something to someone.

“Salamander,” was the reply she got, and her eyes grew huge. “Julian Salamander,” the man continued. “I had no idea that someone like him could actually develop something that would resemble human feelings... After watching you two tonight, however, I realized that you mean something to him...”

“Julian?!” she said incredulously. “Oh my God... Whoever you are... Julian couldn't care less about what happens to me... We have been dancing the same dance for the past four years! It will never happen! I am just someone who keeps saying ‘no’... Also, I am someone who will send him to hell if he tries anything, and he knows that! I don’t mean jack to him! I like him; I have to admit it, in spite of the fact that I am perfectly aware of what he is capable of and what he’s done... However, I would never succumb to him! Whoever you are, you are humping up the wrong tree right now!”

She was greeted by complete silence.

“You are lying,” the man said finally. There was no attack, however.

“I am not lying,” she said tiredly. “Listen, I don’t know what Julian did... Wait,” she sighed. “Let me rephrase that... I don’t know whom he killed that got your panties up in a bunch, and I couldn't care less, to be honest... Julian and I...” She took a breath. “To be honest, I don’t know what we are,” she admitted. “But what I do know, is the fact that he couldn't care less about what happens to me...” She had no idea if it was true or not. She didn’t care. “Go ahead,” she purred (“Julian would be proud,” someone whispered in her head). “Go ahead and try taking another swing at me... It won’t be easy, just a word of advice... I don’t know about Julian, but I would feel a hell of a lot better if I wasted you myself... By the way,” she added in a somewhat normal voice. “Who is it that you are itching to avenge? Your mate?”

“No,” he said. “I never had a mate. My nephew... Well...” he shrugged. “My sister as well, I suppose. She killed herself after Damien died...”

“I see,” she nodded. “Well, you are not going to get your...” she remembered the word Julian used a bit ago. “...closure by killing me. You might want to find another object of his affection... Good luck with that though,” she added doubtfully. “I don’t think he has any. Why wouldn’t you just kill him?” She was genuinely curious. “You seem like someone who wouldn’t have troubles with that...”

“I don’t want to kill him,” the man said simply. “I want to make him suffer. Not physically,” he said with a small smile in his voice. “That would be doing him a favor... Emotionally; that kind of pain he doesn’t enjoy.”

“I see,” she nodded again. “Well, if we are done here, I am going to go home now... And I am not taking shortcuts,” she added.

The man stood there without moving or saying anything.

“By the way,” Katrena said in a low voice when she brushed past him. “Get into my head one more time and I’ll kill you.” She didn’t wait for his response and walked away.

 

****

 

She woke up because of the furious door slam. Katrena blinked several times, trying to figure out where in the world she was. Then she remembered, and a small moan escaped her mouth. It was a dream, she realized and buried her head under the pillow. She dreamt about that night when she met Jett for the first time; the night when he made her call for a draw. The damn dream was so vivid that she expected to see Jett’s head on the pillow next to hers the second she opened her eyes... She cursed under her breath and got up, her fingertips tingling with illusion of dreamt game with Fire. God, she missed that...

She brushed her teeth, changed her pajamas, and went downstairs. The minute she left her bedroom, she heard rather loud voices from the kitchen. By the time Katrena made it to the bottom of the spiral staircase, one of the voices was almost screaming. It belonged to Mandy. Katrena glanced at Rusty the Dog who was wisely hiding under the stairs, as if afraid that if he got in Mandy’s way right now, he’d be sucked into the vortex of fury as well. Judging by the rapidly increasing volume of Mandy’s voice, the vortex was in full bloom and growing. Katrena sighed and went into the kitchen.

“What’s all the hubbub about?” she asked and made her way towards the espresso maker.

Mandy whirled towards her.

“He...” she said in a trembling voice and poked her finger at Danny, whose expression was miserable but defiant. “He...” Mandy repeated. “...got suspended from school!” she finished.

“Oh yeah?” Katrena raised her eyebrows. “For what?”

“Fighting,” Mandy fumed. “He almost hospitalized Timmy Barker!”

Katrena gave Danny a ‘Good-For-You’ look and he grinned. Mandy closed her eyes as if trying to stop herself from doing him bodily harm.

“For the last time,” she said slowly, her eyes still closed. “Where did you learn that move?”

“I saw it on TV,” Danny said stubbornly.

“No, you did not,” Mandy said in the same slow drawl. “According to your principal, that move of yours could easily break Timmy’s windpipe if you applied more pressure...”

Katrena blinked and glanced at Danny whose expression was very gloomy.

“That is not a kind of move you would learn by merely watching television,” now Mandy sounded dangerous. “This means, someone taught you. Now, I want to know what kind of people you are hanging out with, because apparently, they could teach you a hell of lot worse things...”

Mandy was so pissed off right now that she didn’t even notice she said ‘hell.’

“I don’t want you to hang out with some kids who apparently have a very clear criminal incline... I don’t want you to get under bad influence. Now for the very last time... Who taught you? And if you say ‘TV’ again, you will be grounded until you graduate from high school,” she promised.

“Nobody taught me,” Danny said as stubbornly as before. “I saw it on...”

“Oh, for the love of God,” Katrena sighed and pushed the ‘On’ button on the espresso maker. “I did, okay? I taught him.”

Mandy stared at her as if Katrena suddenly sprouted a couple of horns in the middle of her forehead. Katrena shrugged.

“After his fiasco yesterday...” she shrugged again.

“What fiasco?” Mandy frowned, and Danny immediately made huge, desperate eyes at Katrena, which she ignored.

“Did you see his bruise?” she asked instead, her eyes locked on Mandy’s face.

“You told me you fell!” Mandy said incredulously, shifting her gaze towards Danny who closed his eyes.

“Fell?” Katrena snorted. “Oh, Mandy... How would someone fall to get such a bruise on the eye? That’s not the marking of the stairs or the floor... That’s the marking of a fist!”

“Yeah,” Mandy muttered and shot her a dark look. “You would know about the markings...”

“I would,” Katrena nodded simply. “I also figured that Timmy kid didn’t sound like the type who’d back off; and call me crazy, but I thought you’d like your son to have his both eyes intact by the end of the school year...” she shrugged again. “So yeah, I taught him a couple of moves.”

“A couple?” Mandy blinked. “Oh, Jesus... What else did you teach him?”

“Well,” Katrena glanced at the espresso maker and noted that her mug was almost full, to her satisfaction. “How to make a fist properly, and I showed him a few weak spots on the body that could knock out a horse if used correctly...”

“Oh my Lord Jesus Christ on the bloody treadmill...” Mandy closed her eyes for a second. “You are grounded until Monday,” she said after she opened them and looked at Danny.

“Jeff’s birthday party is on Saturday,” Danny said in a small voice. “He is my best friend...”

“Tough,” Mandy hissed. “Now go to your room!”

“Mandy,” Katrena sighed and took her mug. She hesitated for a second, sighed again, and handed it to Mandy. “What are you grounding him for? For standing up for himself or for not turning me in?”

Mandy took the mug and narrowed her eyes at Katrena who started to work the espresso maker again. She sipped her coffee and looked at Danny.

“What time is Jeff’s party on Saturday?” she asked finally.

“Two,” Danny almost whispered, unborn tears reflecting in his eyes.

“You are grounded until then,” Mandy said in somewhat calmer voice, and Danny stared at her with disbelief. “Get out of my sight,” she finished. “Now,” she added when he just stood there, his eyes darting back and forth between Katrena and his mother.

“Kid,” Katrena said in a low voice. “If I were you, I wouldn’t push my luck and I would get the hell out of here.”

Danny blinked and darted out of the kitchen. Mandy sipped more coffee.

“Why didn’t you tell me that he got into a fight yesterday?” she asked finally.

“What would you do?” Katrena leaned on the counter.

“I would go to the principal!” Mandy nodded energetically. “I would take measures! I would make sure that...”

“...Timmy Barker beats all shit out of Danny when he comes back from his suspension,” Katrena finished with a slight nod. “Mandy, I’ve met people like Timmy. It doesn’t matter how old they are; they are wired the same way. People like Timmy Barker do not respond to reasoning or common sense. They respond to brutality, that’s it. If Danny said anything to you or the teacher, he’d be cornered in that boys’ room until he ended up in ICU... If he kept his mouth shut and did nothing, he’d have to go through the exact same thing, and you know why?”

“Why?” Mandy asked very tiredly.

“Because,” Katrena glanced at her mug under the dripping nozzle of the espresso maker. “Once they find an easy prey, they don’t stop until something changes. Talking to him would be futile. Danny needed to react. I showed him how.”

“Why wouldn’t he just tell me?” Mandy finished her coffee and slammed the mug on the counter.

“Because I asked him not to,” Katrena said seriously. “I wasn’t sure about your reaction... Now,” she grabbed the full by now mug and turned off the machine. “He would rather miss Jeff’s party than turn me in...” she sipped her coffee and half-closed her eyes. “It should make you proud, really...”

“Proud...” Mandy hemmed.

“The kid is not a traitor,” Katrena nodded seriously. “I’d be proud...”

“Yeah, well,” Mandy snorted and pointedly looked at Katrena’s stomach. “Just wait a little... Your pride-bringer is on the way. Are you gonna teach your kid the same things you taught Danny?”

“Oh, hell, no,” Katrena said seriously, and Mandy’s eyes became wide. “I’ll teach that monkey a hell of a lot more,” she finished, and this time, Mandy laughed.

©Katya Dee; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Naturally, Jett would be someone capable of impressing Kat.  Willing to go after Julian is impressive alone not to mention battling her to a standoff.

Mandy must like Kat an awful lot to tolerate her teaching Danny what she views as criminal behavior. Kat finally let the monkey word slip out.

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Check your sources, the expression you are looking for is "barking up the wrong tree," It comes from hunting raccoons with doga.

Edited by Will Hawkins
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