Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dark Redemption chapter 50: I'm Sorry To Interrupt, He Lied

Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers and picturesque facade of the City of Redemption lies another city; a community of dark and ancient magic populated by creatures of the night. Dark Redemption is a shared-world novel based on an online role-playing game by James Crowther.

Strephon MacKenzie, a semi-immortal half-fae, has become involved with a mortal reporter, Cassandra True; a relationship which has suffered some strain because of his attempts to hide his non-human heritage from her and to shield her from supernatural menaces. His secretiveness has led her to enlist the aid of Saul Taylor, a handsome co-worker, to investigate Strephon's background. Which is why, when Strephon comes to Cassandra's flat, he finds the two of them together

The knot of embarrassment in Strephon's belly, which he had manfully trying to ignore on the trip up to Cassandra's flat, abruptly jerked up and tightened around his throat.

Strephon had found his lunch with Melchior quite distasteful and wanted to cleanse his palate, so to speak, with more pleasant company over dinner. On an impulse, he had called her flat and left the message with her roommate, but Cassandra obviously didn't get it. And now he found this.

Perhaps he's her brother, he thought desperately. No, Cassandra would not be acting this guiltily over a brother.
The handsome stranger came up to the door behind Cassandra. "You must be Strephon." The stranger placed his hands on her shoulders.

Strephon's embarrassment turned to ire. The unmitigated cad! How dare he take that liberty! Strephon immediately cursed his Victorian sensibilities. Then he realized his Victorian sensibilities had it right: the stranger was clearly making a proprietary claim on Cassandra; saying, in effect, she is mine now, not yours.

Cassandra seemed to sense this, too. She squirmed out from under the stranger's hand and turned to face them both. "Yes. Strephon, this is Saul Taylor. He works with me at the Morning Star. We were just... uh..." she gave a guilty glance back at the remains of an intimate, if greasy, dinner.

"Working on a story over dinner," the Taylor offered, extending his hand to Strephon. "Pleased to meet you, Strephon."

"I will thank you to call me Mister MacKenzie, if you please," was what Strephon wanted say. Instead he gravely took Taylor's hand. "At your service, Mister Taylor."

As soon as Taylor's hand grasped his, Strephon felt a jolt, almost like an electric shock.


The man was a sorcerer. What in the name of Heaven was a sorcerer doing in Cassandra's flat eating third rate East Indian fast food?

"Nice grip you have," Taylor said with a forced smile.

"Ah. One of the small advantages of being wheelchair-bound. One tends to develop one's upper body strength." Strephon released Taylor's hand. A petty display, but it gave him some minor satisfaction.

The three stared uncomfortably at each other for a moment. Then Strephon said, "I'm terribly sorry for intruding. I should be going."

"Do you have a cab waiting?" Cassandra asked.

"No." Curse her. Now he would have to wait while she called a cab. He did not want to linger. Unfortunately, he had sent Tobias away. He assumed that Cassandra might need time to dress or decide where to go or what-not and didn't want to put her under the pressure of a waiting cab. Now he was stranded in a highly delicate situation.

"I'll give Streph a ride home," Taylor volunteered.

Strephon scowled at that but quickly comported himself. "You mustn't put yourself out."

"No problem," Taylor assured him. "I'd be happy to."

Yes, Strephon thought, you'd be more than happy to get me out of the way.

NEXT:  Accepting Rides From Strangers

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