Immolation Snippet | Chapter Three

I argue with myself every time I put up an Immolation snippet. Should I introduce it, or not? Should I give you some background, or leave you to figure it out? Explain my thoughts, or let you imagine everything?

Alas, I don’t have answers. But I do have another scene tickling my brain cells. Here it is.

Closing time at the museum…

Ramona tapped Liz’s shoulder. “I’m going to make one more pass.”

“You sure? Security is already wandering around.”

“I know; I just feel better if I do. Don’t wait for me – go home.”

Offering a crisp salute, Liz grinned. “Yes, Ma’am!”

Leaving the lobby area, Ramona walked slowly up the stairs to the second floor. Now that the bustle was over, the museum felt so peaceful. Only the security lights illuminated the floor, casting a soft orange glow. Shadows stretched outward from their corners, static and undisturbed by her passing.

Her methodical meander wound through each section of the exhibit, mindlessly checking cases and displays to make sure everything was in order. From the balcony, she spotted the security guard on the other side of the building and waved. He waved back.

Turning, she shuffled back inward. Now I can go home, make some tea, take my meds and—

Rounding the corner, she stopped mid-step. A man was standing at the top of the staircase. Basked in shadow, his features were impossible to make out. Somehow she was certain he was watching her.

“Excuse me, sir,” she called softly, “the museum is closed.”

His head cocked slightly to the side but he did not reply.

Gnawing unease rose in her gut, but she forced herself to be firm and walked toward him. “You need to leave. I’ll walk you out.”

Again, he did not respond.

Even when she was just a few paces away, she still couldn’t see his features. Squaring her shoulders, she moved to lead the way down the stairs, “Come on, before security gets here–”

A rough grip wrapped around her arm. Startled, she cried out and automatically pulled against him. But he did not budge. When she opened her mouth to scream, his other hand clamped over it.

Instinctively, she bit his finger. As he snatched his hand away, he managed to twirl her around and pin her back against his chest. His arms were steel bands around her torso, trapping her arms across her chest. His hand covered her mouth a second time.

“Scream,” he whispered in her ear, “and I’ll have to hurt you.”

Bitter-tasting panic rose in her throat. Though she tried to remain still, her muscles trembled against his hard frame. There seemed to be a darkness that surrounded him, and it was wrapping around her, threatening to smother her.

“Why do they want you?” His voice was low and threatening, face dipping close to her neck. “What makes you so special?”

Sucking in shallow breaths, she choked back involuntary sobs. Since he removed his hand from her mouth, she figured he wanted an answer. “W-what are you talking about?”

He drew in a breath through his nose, lips lightly brushing her skin. And her body went cold.

“You have his sword.”

“W-what? Whose—”

Suddenly he shoved her to the ground. She landed hard on her hip with a sharp cry. Unsure what to expect, she threw her arms around her head and cowered.

Seconds went by. Nothing happened.

Slowly, hesitantly, she looked up. He was gone.

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