tagSci-Fi & FantasyChosen Mate Ch. 11

Chosen Mate Ch. 11

byHarryHill©

Harry's notes: Nearing the end of this story friends. Thanks to all who have commented here and in private pm's and feedback. This is the shortest chapter in the book as the story begins to turn once more to darker conflicts that will come in chapter 12. As always in my stories there is romance, heartbreak, and hope somewhere in the lines. Enjoy

*

It was early when Oldman began his bitching. Harry opened one eye and explored his surroundings.

"What?" He asked in confusion. He could not remember leaving the window last night.

--Customers are downstairs, buddy. It's time to rise and shine; and just so you know, you're talking to yourself again.

Harry sighed, swinging his legs to the floor and dressing slowly. He stumbled out of his door and past the banks of monitors that were mostly for show now. Six Fay, sleeping wrapped in their wings, were the only other inhabitants of the third floor. He called the cafe' while he emptied his bladder.

--Lori, is there any chance of getting a cup of coffee up here? Her amused thought returned.

--I live to serve the people and customers, Har ri na. I will send Mira. Is there anything else?

--Are you busy down there? He asked, as he washed face and hands.

--I am feeding the hungry horde; people continue to walk in; things are normal here. She sent the image of fluttering, dismissive fingers and returned to her duties.

--My love, where are you? I missed you when I woke up, he called next, nodding to the Fay sentry at the top of the landing, then made his way down the stairs to the second floor fitting rooms.

--Good morning, love. Her sweet thought caressed his mind, sending imaginary kisses his way. ...I'm in the store-front talking to customers. I'll be up soon. There is much work today. Are you ready?

Mira walked into the room and placed a tray of coffee and bear claws beside Harrys fitting table. He sent the image to Sandra and replied.

--I will be in a moment. Harry sweetened his coffee and performed obeisance to Mira, sighing with the first sip. Mira sat on the floor and studied his detached observation of reality with interest.

***



The bell rang over the door of the café. Jeremy walked in. The crew were eating again. Cat calls, jibes, and laughter pelted him as he came smiling across the floor. Lori met him in the middle.

"Coffee?" She questioned. The room became quiet except for the sound of food being eaten.

"Are you open?" Quiet, choked, laughter sounded around the room along with whispered words and occasional outbreaks of hearty chuckles. Lori looked at the crew with no amusement.

"For you Jeremy, we are always open. When the inspector comes we can even charge you, sit."

"Uncle Abraham said to meet him here this morning. I think I know what he wants, and if I'm right, you should get your inspection quickly." He sat at the window table and opened his laptop again. Lori placed his coffee down. She stood beside him with her smile placed patiently on her face.

"Turnover?" Jeremy asked hopefully. Again the laughter erupted, subdued and hushed.

"No turnovers. Today we have bear claws for lunch, maybe. Robert! Bring bear claws."

The change in Bob was noticeable. He walked erect with the platter and sat it on the window table and then returned to his dough, replying to the low masticating greetings of the crew as he passed. Lori watched him go with a different smile than the one that hid her from humanity and the Formorians.

The bell rang steadily after that. Abraham showed with his granddaughter and her friend again. Lori served him tea at the window table while the girls drank hot white chocolate and walked the side wall of displayed fringed accessories. Gerry walked in from the street and to the table and took a chair.

"I can get your inspection today if you are ready," Abraham said, destroying the flaky bear claw he held. Gerry's eyebrows rose from behind the pastry that had leapt from the platter to his hand as he settled into his usual chair.

"Good," came the muffled reply. "We can stop giving food away and make some money with it. Jeremy's the only one not paying for food. Do you know why?" Gerry snickered.

"I would guess that's because you're not open yet. Isn't that right, Jeremy?" Merry eyes inspected his face.

"Go ahead Uncle, burn me again," he said, smiling. "It looks like my account is due and you are calling for payment. Do you want me to speak to Ronald?" Abraham smiled a decidedly wicked smile.

"Oh yes, and take him one of these bear claws when you go. He will come running," he chuckled. Gerry looked across the room where Lori moved to them. He waited, smiling at his cup, while she poured.

"Bring a bag for Jeremy. Bring my breakfast before I eat all the bear claws. What's for lunch?"

"Gumbo. I have fresh seafood from the market today. Bear claws for desert, maybe." She yelled, "Robert, bring breakfast for Gerry, bring paper bag." Abraham was looking at Lori, a question in his eyes.

"Did you say gumbo, my dear? I am an expert on the making of it. Can I offer my poor talents?

"Of course you may. Wash your hands." She looked at Bob as he placed Gerry's breakfast on the table. "Robert will help."

***



The café was full of humans; Edgar gave them a dismissive thought, stepping the short distance from the back exit of The Fringe, to the open door of the van that waited. He looked out of the darkly tinted back windows and began his briefing to the occupants of the three vehicles; the one he was in drove down the alley and onto the streets of Memphis, while the two others flanked them on their final recon.

--Always keep moving. Anticipate the prey as it scurries through it's habitat. Do not halt your actions during the stalk. When will we have first movement?

--Fifteen minutes or more, Ed gar ri. We can set our timepieces by his movements.

--Bring us near the entrance when he is clear.

***



The Formorian waited as traffic cleared enough for him to pull onto the street then accelerated into the maze of vehicles; he sped toward his offices to oversee the affairs he was concerned with today. The emotions of the commuting drivers were strong as scent as he drove south. One was the stink of hate; he waved it away, driving closer to the sweeter smells of lust, greed, and apathy.

***



Edgar looked to where the dark feel of the Formorian moved away in the traffic. He smiled with the knowledge that the Black Ones last few hours were dwindling. Thoughts leaving the target, he continued his instruction.

--When the safety of his lair beckons let him know you; then, he will run before the beaters to where his fate awaits. We will do a dry run after dark tonight. Add two more crew vehicles to parallel his path if he should decide to bolt. If he does, things will get very dirty for us. Decide where you will park before tonight. When he goes to ground tomorrow night, I will be close by. The jaws of the trap will close then. Clear the house quickly after I am done. Set half of the crew on watch; the rest will collect all else of value. Egress like the fingers of your hand spread before you. Now, give me a driver to return me to my Owl.

***



Abraham was in command in a corner of the kitchen. A white apron covered his suit-pants and shirt. He held class, while Bob listened and prepared onions and okra at a wide chopping block.

"The secret to a good gumbo is in the roux." Abraham said, busy with a large sauce pan as he browned flower and butter over a low flame." He stirred swiftly, then dumped the roux into a ten gallon pot half full of crushed tomatoes. He turned to the twenty pounds of shrimp, sautéing in butter and garlic. He stirred them, popping one of them in his mouth. "Mnnn, Yes. Never overcook your shrimp before it goes into the pot. They cook fast." He picked up a container of spices and removed the lid. "The file' should be fresh." He smelled the container, smiled, and began measuring with his hand into the pot. He stirred again, tasted, and added more.

"Now we add the shrimp and uncooked crab meat." He pointed to Bob. "...and the okra and onions. Stir well, and often. Prepare the rice just prior to serving. A note of caution," he looked sternly at Bob. "Never add the rice to the gumbo. It absorbs the gravy like a sponge; you will be left with a mass of food and no soup. I think my work here is done" He removed his apron and leaving Bob to strir, returned to the big room.

"Where's Harry?" Lori looked up from serving a woman who was looking at the items on the wall.

"In his fitting rooms." She pointed her chin at the building next door. "second floor, the door is open."

***



Harry's body was working; Oldman used it to adjust the fit of a skimpy leather bra while Harry supervised.

--Now shorten that lace." He kibitzed.

--Why don't you go away and let me work, you pest. Oldman grumped at him. Harry turned his thoughts to Sandra, as she demonstrated the convenience and seductive ease of removal of various designs to more dancers that Mira's advertising brought to the shop. Harry drifted away. They were all busy and he was left to think. He drew within himself to the boundary between reality and the shining paths, examining the film that separated them like a glass window.

***



Abraham stepped into the refurbished rooms of The Fringe then toward the stairs at the back of the building. There was a bright faced young man working the store front; he nodded pleasantly as Abraham crossed the front room that held a large assortment of fringed leather goods well displayed; more were visible, separated by style, stacked in the rooms before the stairs.

Sandra was standing by herself, arms folded, watching while Oldman finished the alteration. Abraham moved into the silence of the room to her side.

"I'm not interrupting am I?" This was his first time observing the intimate process of custom fitting. He stood there watching the woman on the stool and the man that moved around her.

"No, You're not bothering Harry." Oldman snickered within her thoughts. "If it bothers her Harry will refuse to continue. He hates to be interrupted. Can I help you with something Abraham?" He continued to watch and spoke lowly.

"Yes I was going to invite him to a game tonight, that is, if he's not busy. Tell him to ask the clerk on duty at the hotel for Mr. Abernathy's suite." His eyes had strayed to hers while he spoke; they returned to the room when Harry said.

"Shake 'em." The clasp came loose with the woman's violent movement.

"My word!" Abraham let slip, then managed to finish. "9:00 O-clock." He made his way hurriedly back downstairs as Harry bent to his task.

***



Edgar slept during the return drive to Backwater. The angry one sided conversations the Fay driving expected, and was spared from, were replaced by disturbed dream thoughts coming from the back seat; he cringed at the violent scenes of escaped images. Dropping Edgar at the bar in Backwater, he hurried away to eat, fill up, and load for the trip back; it was sure to be more peaceful.

The bar was empty when Edgar walked in. He nodded to Silas and passed in the center of the room. His progress didn't stop as he continued out of the tavern at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the Great Hall. The council waited at the table raised there. Daniel was sitting by a small flat protrusion; it was colored with the squares of a chess board. Idealistic figures moved toward the misshapen forms of the opposing forces where they would soon be drawn out with the first kill.

--Ed gar ri, I greet you. Wine for our brother he called as Edgar stepped up to the table. ...You were not seen? Edgar spoke with traces of annoyance, eager to begin his preparations, waiting the final words that would begin his long sought revenge.

--No, I was not; but, I know his haunts well. He drank from the cup, looking at the board where the dark queen presided over the center of the board. She would be in danger with the next move of the forces before her.

--Very well, Daniel said with a sober look at Margay. ...Begin Operation Dry Run. You may prepare for the night. Do you need anything? Edgar strode away toward the hanger, answering as he returned to his aircraft to begin his secret modifications.

--Just my owl, Dan na el. They watched him leave with no other thought as Wayne issued instructions.

--Dry Run is enabled. All call signs acknowledge. Mark time now. Margay spoke the words that cried in her heart as Daniel watched him walk away.

--I fear he was left too long to burn in his service. All caution has left him. He will burn still when this thing is done. Daniel looked at the chessboard and said nothing as the imaginary sky in the Great Hall faded to twilight and the operation clock descended slowly toward zero.

***



As night fell over the green hills surrounding Backwater, the small LTA's composing the infant air force of the Fay began appearing in the field behind the shop. The pilots were becoming increasingly proficent now; they spred an ariel net in irregular patterns, skirting and observing traffic and occupied areas. They practiced flying with no inhibitions inside the secured space provided; taking the place of one of the wide spread observation posts, they took turns in the colossal game of connect the dots.

Edgar stroked the cold iron sword beside the seat as he waited for the all clear call from the OP Net around the hanger. Looking at the ancient weapon with anticipation, he spoke.

--Soon you will taste the flesh that I have honed you for. It will be just a snack for the feast that will follow. Ahh, what sweet gluttony awaits us as we avenge the people and our father.

The all clear call came. Edgar cleared the area, hovering momentarily over the patrol car that waited, lights off, beside the road that paralleled the interstate. It flashed its lights twice. The Owl rotated on its tail, then rose straight up into the sky.

At last they were alone in the bowl of the sky, turning to the west. Soon he would hover not one hundred meters from the Black One; the next night... A twisted smile crawled across his face in anticipation.

He was fifteen minutes from his starting position over an island on the river when the call came.

--All call signs, Target is deviating. He cursed and waited for instructions.

***



Harry and Sandra were under the portico of the elegant old hotel that saw its share of many games in its long history. There was talk and rumors of infamous craven deeds and bloody disagreements in the far past. There were no other tales told in later years; they were very discrete. This promised to be a pleasant evening of gambling and socialization. Then the call came. Sandra stopped walking.

--Where is Owl? She asked immediately. Harry looked to where Sandra glanced about their security team.

--Forty clicks west, two thousand meters, holding. Mira said.

--Say Target location.

--Proceeding south from northern most blue dot, four kilometers from your location.

Dear God, Sandra said only to herself; he's coming here. She pointed to Groundhog then to Harry, blowing him a kiss and the little flutter of dismissal so common among WoFay. They left as commanded. Harry looked at Leon as they walked away. The expected smile was not there. He stopped dead and turned, poking her preoccupied thought with a questioning mental finger.

--Guardian requests instructions. Sandra's icy stare contemplated her difficult mate and answered.

--Find some way to slow him down Guardian. Throw some stones in his path. Send, all call signs, implement Alpha. Owl may proceed to Jump Off and hold, Confirm.

--Affirmitive, ammending operation parameters.

She went to Harry, promising him physical abuse or pleasure, then drew him to the desk without protest, just a frowning thought that served him well through the night. There was no way to get him clear; What he needed now was massive amounts of positive reinforcement.

--Come on Oldman; it's time for the cure. She smiled for the clerk with decorative ease as they entered the lobby.

"Mr. Abernathy's suite," Harry said to the clerk. They followed the bellman away while the clerk stuffed a bill in a pocket with a satisfied smile and watched the woman walk away. He loved poker nights.

***



Owl proceeded to the woods behind the estate and hovered close above the trees. Annoyance at the interruption of his well laid plans seethed within him; he waited while the stones tumbled, listening to the reports and watching his screens for any that came near him.

***



The Formorian fumed at the slow traffic and irritated emotions from the drivers around him as they inched past the collision blocking the intersection. He watched the two men argue heatedly in front of the head on collision that was minor considering the damage. He sped toward the hotel when the accident was cleared.

***



--Target is just passing Road Block, one kilometer your location, five minutes.

Sandra tucked Harry's shirt in and led him out of the bathroom. There was one good thing about seeing into your mates mind; she took him just short of his limit repeatedly in the limited amount of time allowed. For the moment he thought of little more than release, as Sandra poured another stiff Jack Daniels for him.

--Target is entering hotel. Guardian request instructions.

--Continue Dry Run. Send affirm.

--All call signs, acknowledge. Turtles Shell is modifying instructions. What was Donna up to now? Sandra asked herself as the elevator guard reported.

--Target has arrived.

--Show time! Oldman called. ...Places, and action. Harry drank deeply and looked where Sandra's hands chanted a mantra of sensation on his thigh. She draped her body over Harry; hands traced trailing fingers over his leg; hot breath and nipping teeth played about his ear. The Formorian walked into the room and inspected the players.

***



His oil black eyes looked first to the table when he walked into the suite; the repast of chips waited in colorful, tasty presentation. He handed a bundle of cash from his inside pocket to the banker, who rushed away to count out his chips for the game. His next look covered the room and all that were there.

There was the hairy man from Tunica. He lounged in the middle of a sofa with his tasty trinket of a wife displayed ornamentally alongside of him. The hairy man showed little greed tonight. The Formorian frowned; greed paid him so much better than the lust that the man poured at woman beside him. There was no doubt that she had been at him. She was dressed in a short suede skirt that showed her fine legs; her breasts spilled over a matching top. He imagined he could see the dimples of her nipples from across the room.

The Formorian examined the players next, feeling the quality of their emotions that he would use to determine their level of excitement during the game; then, he looked to the security men, seemingly at ease, but intent on the hairy man, who must pay them well for the level of concern they felt for him.

He wondered at the number of body guards accompanying the hairy man; there were none at Tunica; there were three now, all formidable looking and armed. He made a note to task his security chief with compling a background check on the strange man. He took his seat, ready for play to begin.

The dealer showed anticipation for the generous tips that would come his way during the game and resignation for the long hours in which it would take to earn them as he shuffled and delt cards for starting positions.

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