Please excuse the late blog post. I've been tearing the yard apart to get ready for the wedding next weekend and realized I'd forgotten to post. :) I've decided to cut the chapters in two, so the segments aren't so long.
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***Warning. The following story contains erotic elements, explicit language and violence. Read at your own risk.***
The morning of Fourth day, eight hours later…
Tesza pressed against the crumbling stucco, molding her body to the decaying structure, holding her breath. The Kori solider approached, sweeping right and left, sighting through his heat visor. In moments he’d spot her. A rodent squeaked and ran. The soldier’s weapon swung round, blasting it to a pile of ash.
He flipped the visor up.
She slid along the wall while his back was to her, the handle of a blade clenched in her fist. If he spotted her, she’d make a bigger pile of ash than the mud gat.
Voices approached. Tesza froze. The sounds of debris crunched under boots as they drew closer. Her muscles tightened, ready to spring. She closed her eyes. Gods grant me safety.
Her heart pounded in her throat, but she resisted the urge to draw a breath. One sound.
“Is this sector secure?”
“Yes, sir. Nothing living or breathing here but Kori. I’ve swept it twice.”
Tesza opened her eyes and stared at a back close enough to reach out and touch. Would the shadows be enough? They were close enough to hear her heart beat. One mistake.
“Seal it and move to sector 7-A. I want them out of this city.”
“Yes, sir.” The sounds of boots retreated, fading into the distance. The soldier spun around and pointed his weapon at her chest. “You can come out now.”
Tesza backed away. His weapon followed her retreat.
“Halt or I’ll open a hole in you.”
“Please, don’t shoot.” What use was pathetic begging? The Kori didn’t hold a shred of compassion. Why hadn’t he fired?
“If I wanted to shoot you, I’d have done it. Get out here where I can see you.”
Tesza raised her hands and stepped into the open. The soldier sucked in a breath as his gaze swept her head to toe. His eyes stopped on the facial tattoo that started at her temple and traveled to her cheekbone on the left side of her face.
What thoughts ran through his head? The Kori despised her people. They wouldn’t touch them for fear of spiritual contamination. They saw the Kalos as filthy heathen, no better than disease carrying rodents and terminated them on sight.
She reached up and covered the mark on her face, hoping his gaze would move. It didn’t, instead it intensified.
“Why do your people disfigure your women like that?” His face remained emotionless, no look of disgust or curled lip.
Tesza rubbed the mark. It seemed to burn under her fingers. “It’s not disfigurement, it’s beautiful. I’m honored for the gift I could give my people.”
His eyes narrowed. “Gift?”
He lifted the tip of his weapon, knocking a stray curl away from her shoulder, exposing the pulse pounding in her throat. “I could shoot you right here, stop you from making more of your kind.”
“Why haven’t you?” He hesitated when others wouldn’t. Tesza dropped her hand and studied him. He was beautiful like many of his people. Dark hair, dark skin, green eyes. His jaw had a strong line. A day’s worth of whiskers clung to his cheek and soot from an earlier engagement was smudged across his jaw. He had a straight nose, not too big, not too small and his mouth was set in a stubborn line. Tesza could only guess his intent, his body language gave nothing away.
“I don’t feel like killing today. You intrigue me, standing there; holding that knife as though it could make a difference in your living or dying.” The stare grew hotter and her stomach flipped.
He motioned with the tip of his weapon toward a pillar lying on the ground. “Sit.”
Not die, or run. Sit? Why was the Kori toying with her?
He nodded towards the perch he wanted her to take.
Tesza backed up and sank down, all the while clutching the knife so tight, her hand went numb.
Her fingers sprung open. The weapon clattered to the broken tile, as useless as her legs. “Are you going to let me go?”
He cocked his head to the side. “Should I?” He took three steps and held the weapon on her with one hand, while he reached out with the other to touch the mark on her face.
Tesza flinched. His fingers brushed her skin. They felt warm, not like ice, not dead like she’d expected.
“You’ve told me you could breed more of your kind. It’s my duty to make sure it doesn’t happen.” He dropped his hand.
She shouldn’t have come here, but it was buried in this courtyard. Her mother’s necklace, her grandmother’s before that. She needed it for Fourth night. Tradition. Gods, what had she been thinking? A stupid family tradition wasn’t worth her life.
She hadn’t realized the Kori occupied this sector. The first wave flattened most of it seventy years ago and for that span of time, it remained neglected, ignored, of no interest to the invaders. Until recently.
She knew they were rebuilding on the old ruins, sprawling out to accommodate the growing population as more troops and their families arrived. She didn’t anticipate they’d moved out this far.
Tesza swallowed and stared at the ground. The Kori gently grasped her under the chin and lifted her eyes to his. “Were you going to use that knife on me?”
“I would’ve tried to run first. Then if you’d backed me into a corner...”
“Yes, your kind doesn’t like to be cornered, do you?” His face looked deceptively gentle. His eyes held hers as if he were reaching into her mind, her soul, searching for something. She broke contact, staring at the weapon in his hand, reminding herself where she was and who she was with.