In Gods' Good Time
C V Ford
Chapter 8: Me and My Shadow
After last nights' soiree, Duffy was on heightned alert. All guns loaded now, even the .22s. As he went about his business of getting the lay of the land, he carried both Colts, full size in the waistband and the officers model in a cross draw shoulder holster. An M3 fighting knife rounded out the ensemble.
Though outwardly, his school provided work coveralls concealing, he didn't look any different, he felt he 'clanked' as he walked.
He got busy the moment he got "home" the night before, feeling a little more secure in the knowledge that if anyone broke into the apartment while away, he/she would pay. Two old small game leghold traps and the hastily made nailboards under the windows would cause more than discomfort.
Duffy now noted wherever he went, the 'off' uniforms were more evident. When one wasn't in sight he was sure one of the non-member 'sentients' was pulling observation duty. Easy enough to spot, they acted cognizant of him but now were not so skittish. Some even smiled at him. Something was up!
He also had this nagging feeling of something ... someone ... close by, unseen, watching. Only a vague feeling the couple days past but since last night, much stronger. The source of that feeling stayed as close by as possible. From a window, behind objects, in the brush/trees, Shiina did her shadow to his substance.
He was to start work in a couple days and decided to get on with the task of familiarizing himself with the campus and his duties. As good an excuse as any and looked, to him, less suspicuous in his comings and goings about the grounds.
Would they make a move on him? If so ... when?
"Maybe I should make a move on them ... one last chance at communication ..."
His two previous attempts had been shrugged off. The non-Battlefront 'sentients' also had been making an active effort to avoid him. As if everyone was ordered not to have anything to do with him.
It was then he decided.
"If the molehill won't come to Mohammed ..."
He was reluctant to try the principals' former office. Considering the last time, he felt it not a good idea just waltzing in to what he knew to be the nerve center of the Battlefront.
The opportunity for contact came sooner than expected and on the spur of the moment, he took it.
|The yellow haired head set kid ... by herself, her |
back to him, talking in those even tones of hers ...
Scalp iritated and itching at the moment, Yusa had removed the headset. Rubbing an ear, she held the set freehand. In her concentration talking with Yuri, she didn't notice the foreigner had espied her from the southwest corner of class A.
He decided to walk right up to her and "borrow" the phones. More than likely she was conversing with Ms. Nakamura and he could have a direct talk. This mincing/dancing around would be at an end.
The man glanced back the way he came and froze. The shadow of the first tier of Class A had an extra detail from the morning sun ... Of someone crouched behind the corner. The source of that uneasy feeling revealed at last.
Duffy immediately reversed himself back up the steps, sticking close to the building. The shadows' source froze. His observer was on to him. As the shadow made a move as if about to take off, Jack made his. This one had taken great pains not to be seen and he had to have a look.
Dashing to the corner, he swung wide to avoid attack. All he got was a glimpse of the trademark blue pleated skirt of the tri-S diving into a window of the second tier. The kid had to be incredibly fast for him to only make that out. Seeing his "tail" was shaken, Jack ran back down the steps to the front of the building.
Shiina somersaulted onto the floor, momentarily startling a teacher and her morning math class.
Vaulting to her feet, she ran out the door and down the hall, accompanied by shouts from teacher and students alike. Having shaken off pursuit and not one to give up easily, she was determined to pick up the stalk again. If only the order was eliminate and not observe/evade ... She knew she could make quick work of this guy.
She'd been momentarily careless and knew it, having the sun 'outline' her like that. She blasted out the front of second tier and into the back of first.
There she was, still yakking away and with her back to him. Excellent! Duffy slowed to a fast walk on approach.
He was right next to her! Reaching out! Yusa was about to be assaulted and the ninja wasn't going to get there in time ... all the same ... Shiina rushed past other students drawing out her blades. KILL TIME!
Feeling a tap on her left shoulder, Yusa turned with a quick gasp.
"Excuse me hon," Jack holding up his left index finger, distracting her as he deftly plucked the phones from her hand with his right, "thank you ..."
Seeing the blonde OK, Shiina hit the brakes, ducking behind the jamb to the main doors
Momentarily paralyzed with surprise, Yusa stood stock still, mouth open. Only her hand moved as she reached into a concealed skirt pocket. The scissors felt comforting.
Holding the headset to his ear, Duffy noted the young ladys' pocketing motion. Doing a slide step cautiously away, he pressed the transmit button, starting a conversation of his own.
"Uh ... hello?'
Yuri bolted up from her chair at the sound of the unfamiliar voice.
"Uh ... hello yourself."
"Ms. Nakamura is it?"
"Ye ... sss. I assume this is Duffy-san."
"Yes. The creepy old white guy you've had under surveillance for awhile-"
"Before we go any further, Yusa had better be all right, if you-"
"Oh she's fine, didn't hurt her. Just a little surprised is all." He held the phone/mic toward Yusa. "Say hi, hon."
"Uh ... hi hon ..."
"Cute ... Yeah she's OK," Jack concluded. "In fact we're walking to the corner of Class A so you can see she's all right. I assume you're in the old principals' office?"
"This is to show I'm only holding her phones hostage. She's rather reluctant to leave 'em with me ... kinda' lost without 'em." Looking up at the third floor window he could make nothing out. Morning sun this time giving it a mirror-like gleam.
"We were about to get in touch with you."
"Didn't know that, couldn't wait."
"So," Yuri began, "you must be just as anxious to talk as we are if not more so?"
"Just want to lay all the cards on the table."
"You can come on up right now."
"I was thinking of a more neutral setting," Duffy said. "Is the cafeteria all right with you ... about noon?"
Yuri could see he was playing it cagey as he had every right to. She also saw nothing wrong with the idea of a cafeteria meeting.
"Just you and I?"
"Also your spotter here ... Though ... there is someone else you could bring along."
"I know of course, I'm being watched. While most of you I've seen (Easily enough!), I have a feeling someone else has been observing me a lot closer and more than regularly. Could you get her out in the open? Sign of good faith 'n all?"
Yuri smiled to herself. If Shiina was any good, which she was, she'd be near enough. Still, how'd he know it was a woman?
"Hand Yusa the phones. Need to talk to her a moment."
Duffy relinquished the headset.
"ARE you OK Yusa? Didn't hurt you or anything?"
"I'm fine. Just a bit surprised is all."
"So she cares about her people," Jack exclaimed to himself. "Good ... It means I'm not dealing with a bunch of callous jerks."
"That's good to hear," Yuri sighed with relief. "Okay ... Shiina is probably near. Go ahead and call out to her ... Tell her to show herself."
Looking about, Yusa complied, raising her voice.
"OK ... Shiina? ... Yuri says for you to go ahead and show yourself. It's alright. He just wants a look at who's riding him."
Jacks' thoughts ran in the range of, "What the ... HOLY!-," as he turned abruptly.
|Just to his left, but a foot away ...|
He didn't see OR hear her approach.
She was just ... there.
"So that's my shadow," he thought. "Dang! Kid's good ... coulda' cut my throat before I knew it."
On Yuris' instruction Yusa handed the phones back to Duffy.
"I take it you want me to bring her along then?"
"Yes ... I'd feel better if she was in plain sight."
"Noon then. Cafeteria."
"Noon it is," he replied.
Handing Yusas' headset back, he did a slight bow noting the look of hostility on Shiinas' face.
Looking at Yusa, he said, "From where I stood, I thought something had to be done. I didn't mean to startle you or cause any bad feelings and I hope you'll forgive me.
"Ladies," he concluded and set off for his apartment.
Preparations to be done.
To be continued ...
Storyline and original characters (only) copyright © 5-1-14 C V Ford
In Gods' Good Time chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
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