039 - Dreams

I'm working with a new character, introducing her over several very short stories. She's interesting; I can't quite decide yet what the target audience would be for stories featuring her, but I'm enjoying the young adult audience.

Here's the first piece. It's also a 100 themes piece.

039 – Dreams

An explosion rocked the city. A plume of flame and dusty mingled with black smoke roared out into the night, shaking the buildings to their foundations. Eve stopped running long enough to turn and look at the destruction as the smoke gushed out of the hole torn into the roof. The awe of the watching crowd of restaurant-goers turned to panic as pieces of terracotta tile, some needle-sharp and others bigger than Eve’s head, started to rain down onto the cobbles. They scattered, heading for inns or houses, sheds, anything to get away from the scene.

Sidestepping into a nearby restaurant porch, Eve surveyed the scene, her eyes narrowed. The mastermind behind this, vonDue, must be here somewhere; something this flamboyant, he would want to see it go off.

Someone pushed out of the door behind her, nearly knocking her forward. She turned to see a large woman in a long evening dress, diamonds dripping from the necklace she wore.

“What is the meaning of zis outrage?” she squeaked, looking her up and down. “You are causing this?”

“There’s been an explosion at the College,” Eve said, pointing up to the fire that was now raging. Windows popped, bursting outwards from the heat. The street was clear, no people or falling lumps of stone. “You need to stay inside; it’s not safe.”

“It should not be allowed!” the woman shrilled, but she turned and went back inside, slamming the door behind her. Eve shook her head and continued to scan for vonDue.

There! A single window open at the flat the top of the delicatessen, completely innocent but for the fact that it was Eve’s own flat.

“Dash it all, vonDue,” she muttered, breaking into a run. The window slammed shut as she moved, fumbling in her pocket for the key to the back door. Her heart beat hard in her chest as she ran down the alleyway, jumped over a pair of crates that had been knocked down and ducking under the sign that said “Eve Miran: Consulting Engineer”. Key in hand, she grabbed hold of the doorknob, only to find that the door swung inwards. Gritting her teeth, Eve raced up the wooden stairs and into her apartment.

The hallway was wrecked. The blue Wush dynasty vase was smashed onto the tiled floor, water and roses forming a sad little puddle that was still slowly spreading. She moved through to the living area; the window was open again, the curtain blowing out into the night, but the room was empty. A single blink and she took in the differences in the room; the desk drawers open, her paperwork scattered; in the middle of the desk someone had stabbed a dagger deep into the wood, pinning a piece of paper. With a careful glance around, Eve padded across the rub and grasped the dagger.

The hilt was wooden, carved into the shape of a cat’s head and polished by years of use into a dark oily brown. The blade was long, thin and very sharp; with a grunt, she tugged it free of the table and turned the note over.

“Miss Miran,” it began. The handwriting was wide, flowing and very beautiful. “I must thank you for the best seat in the house. A pity about the College, but they were so close to identifying where I live, and we can’t have that. Yours, Katze vonDue.”

Eve slowly put the note down and moved to the window. A bucket chain was being organised up to the College, people in fancy suits and College researchers mingled in to try and quell the blaze before it spread to other buildings. Then she carefully reached into her shirt to pull out the medallion, taken from one of vonDue’s henchmen, she had retrieved from the College not five minutes before the attack. It was gold, a large jewel of some sort in the middle, and heavy. The leather cord attached to it was beginning to come loose and, as she retied it, she read again the inscription that was engraved around the rim: “The Well of Dreams, open to all, but those who sleep are doomed to fall.”

She gripped it tightly, staring down at the note, then went out to join the firefighters.