Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Drache Girl - Chapter 20 Excerpt

“Both times I trailed the Lizzies carrying crates; they passed by this general direction. Then I took a look back through the log books and found that Mrs. Yembrick reported seeing Lizzies in her window on three separate occasions.”

“That does seem a bit fishy in light of the fire,” offered Eamon.

“Exactly. So since I had no luck following our cold-blooded friends, I thought I would poke around here.”

“Alright. I’ll poke with you.”

The two began making a sweep across the yard, carefully examining the ground for anything unusual. After only a few minutes, Saba noticed a pile of debris that seemed oddly placed. Several timbers had apparently fallen a good distance from the fire, and were sitting on five or six boards and a piece of canvas, none of which had been touched by the flames. The young constable began tossing the wood aside. By the time he had finished, Eamon had joined him to help pull the dirty canvas over.

“Did you remember Mrs. Yembrick having a root cellar?” asked Saba, looking down at the door on the ground.

“Can’t say as I did,” replied Eamon.

He bent down at one end of the door and Saba the other. They both lifted the portal open, revealing a set of stone steps leading down into the darkness. Saba, who was closest to the top step, started down. His fellow constable followed him into the darkness. There were exactly ten steps down to a large room with a dirt floor. Though shrouded in shadows, there was just enough dim morning light leaking in for them to see that all four walls were lined with stacks of long thin wooden crates.

With a single stride, Saba reached the stack of crates almost as tall as himself along the left hand side of the room. He lifted the lid of the topmost. Though it had once been nailed shut, the lid was now just sitting on the wooden box. Inside, there was nothing but a handful of straw packing. He kicked the bottom of the stack and could tell from the movement of the boxes that all were empty.

“Look over here,” said Eamon, who had moved to the back of the room.

He was pointing to one of the crates at the bottom of the stack against the wall farthest from the doorway. It had black printing painted across the wood. Saba had to kneel down in the darkness to read the writing. “.30 caliber Hecken 98”

“Oh sweet Kafira. Rifles.”

Suddenly what little light there was filtering into the room from the doorway was extinguished. Saba stood up and turned. He was shoulder to shoulder with Eamon. Directly across from them, silhouetted in the subdued illumination was a figure. From the shape, it was obvious that it was a lizardman, a large one. But only when his arms brought something up to his face did it become obvious he was holding a rifle. A .30 caliber Hecken 98 Freedonian service rifle, Saba realized.

The reptile fired, filling the room with a bright flash and a thunderous noise. Saba felt something wet splash across his face and for a tenth of a second he thought that he was shot. Then Eamon collapsed to the ground. With a shout, Saba launched himself across the room. The lizardman shot again but missed.

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