Tribute, p.5
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       Tribute, p.5

           L. D. Dailey
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as his spymaster. "Jerusalem, the Kingdom of Heaven." A cynical snort answered his own mutters, "Nothing here but a den of thieves, murderers, and rapists. These fools pose no threat to the empire, just Christian wolves killing Muslim dogs, the whole lot of them."


  Dexterous fingers, more accustomed to stringing the harp strapped to his back, clutched the eyelid of the water dragon in a fearful grip. To the bard’s great shame, his girlish squeals filled the salty air as the sea drake uncoiled and stretched toward the cavern underneath the mysterious sky-town floating above the sea. As the beast accelerated toward the small opening, Krastyo Gurav surmised a problem and shouted to his sister, calmly meditating at the creature’s crown within an ebony cloud of wind-whipped robes. “Bakarne, its head’s too big!”

  Bakarne’s tattooed hands waved him closer, as milky eyes stared with a blind nonchalance that unnerved the musician. Krastyo shook his head and slammed frightened eyes closed, shoulders hunched as he braced for impact.

  Something thick with corded muscle seized him as prideful laughter filled his ears. “Come brother! No one will sing of the bard murdered by a flying mountain.” Air currents shifted about him as realization dawned that his younger brother threw him. He threw him- amid the sea- atop a suicidal dragon- and laughed!

  Tormented Souls

  Levi turned the ebony Dodge into a ravaged driveway meandering toward the desolate barn he overheard local drunks joking about earlier. The poor bastards, some legends were true and not to be mocked. “Just like those old fossils said. Nobody here.” A calloused hand rolled down the window and Levi peeked up at a silhouette of the full moon peeking through a cloudy sky. “Yea. Night’s right.” He peered at his twin sister and nodded, clenching fists against encroaching fear, “It's time.”

  Trembling fingers reached out, tugging on his plaid shirt while Shelly’s other hand massaged a charcoal, multi-shot rifle loaded with silver tinted bullets. “Levi, the moon. Is this a good idea?”

  Levi frowned, feeling the tug of an old scar curving along the contours of his face from eye to lip, but hesitated to lambast her up and down the countryside as was proper. I ain’t scared! Yet, his body sat frozen. A memory of pa before they closed the casket, his body unnaturally shredded, pierced through apprehension to where vengeance lay beneath. He stared into azure eyes with hardened resolve. “Lock and load.” He stormed out of the old pickup, determined to end yearlong hunt, alone if necessary.

  A Wasted Life

  Squeezing his slight paunch between a maze of empty desks obstructing a direct path, the weary cop meandered his way to the women's restroom, now the co-ed bathroom because of a bad pipe. In the triple-stalled bathroom, the officer stared at a pathetic image in the mirror while washing his hands. Tired, sunken, azure eyes stared back. A wrinkled hand traced the lines along his clean-shaven face. One more and you can turn me into a raisin. Combing over an ever-expanding bald spot in a futile attempt at concealment, he once more contemplating shaving all of the silver hairs and being done with it, and once more rejecting the insanity. Look like one of those Saturday Night Live Coneheads if I did. Straightening the chestnut tie, the vice detective pursed reed-thin lips as a chocolate stain revealed itself. Fifty-bucks down the drain. That's enough for one day. Time to go home.

  Three minutes later, the officer began the journey home in a standard issue, ebony Expedition. He decided to check in on his partner, busy stashing away the cocaine from the earlier bust. The senior detective pressed the autodial on his Nokia. "How's my investment, Ernie?"

  "We got a problem, Duvall." Mandrel sounded strained, and not from his forty-year-old smoking habit.

  Duvall assumed the worst and leaned for the half-empty bottle of Rolaids stashed in the glove compartment. It never ends…

  Herald of the New World

  Wintry mists blew dark strands of hair into her face as the she crested the cliff. Ku’ Noi gasped as a crescent moon illuminated a pale spire resembling a massive claw that dominated the inky sky across the rocky plateau. Apprehension blossomed, a foreign emotion not felt since the old master’s took her in decades ago. What lies within? She gripped twin ninjatos, quelled weakness, and raced across the mountaintop.

  She smiled behind a dark cowl at a sinister doorway arched with a chi dragon. Even monsters respect the gods. Ku’ Noi ignored the door and spied the property for a window. However, the samurai lord’s final orders battled an ingrained instinct toward stealth. Kill the invader before sunrise, make the murder obvious, and pin it on the clans of the east. She shook her head at the deceitfulness of honorable samurai as she picked the lock and entered, leaving the door open.

  A Thief’s Honor

  The pudgy thief clung to a jagged overhang with knobby fingers as he bemoaned the series of disasters leading to this fool’s undertaking. He cursed the blinding sunrise shimmering along Widow’s Bay as a stiff breeze tousled auburn strands of hair into his eyes. He cursed pa, the lousy good-for-nothing, bedridden with the Bagave Flux, while maneuvering a hardy build atop the precarious outcropping. Rolled shoulders screamed in pain. Deep pants of frigid air burned his lungs.

  Weary eyes gauged the distance to the earth. He groaned against an assault of dizziness. He was going to die, alone, and without knowing a woman at twenty and nine.

  Connect with the author:

  Portfolio: https://Writing.Com/authors/duggadugga



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