It's still very rough and needs some help but what the heck. I want to share tonight.
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Isabelle Lamont hailed a cab two blocks from her high rise apartment on Glenmeadow drive. The sun had begun to set, casting an orange glow against the purple clouds in the sky. She stood still while all around her people ran about completing last minute errands before the sun completely slipped beyond their grasp and fell into night.

The witching hour.

A time when it wasn’t safe to be on the streets, even here in Fairhaven, for only dark forces moved in shadow. All good citizens knew better than to be caught out in the pitch black of night.

A deep breath brought the smell of autumn to her lungs, the air clean and crisp, almost painful to inhale. It would be cold tonight. When had the leaves on the trees turned such beautiful colors and how had she missed such a simple pleasure? It was odd how everything looked so normal outside while inside her a tempest raged, tossing her emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other. Fear, desperation and finally hope that it would all be over soon.

She let out a tired sigh, the street lights would come on and people would vanish into their homes, afraid to be caught on the streets after dark. A single thread of doubt wove its way through her conscious. Was she doing the right thing?

Probably not.

A yellow cab pulled over to the side of the street where she stood and the window rolled down to reveal a ruddy, weathered face. The driver’s weary eyes betrayed his exhaustion. “Where to?”

Isabelle straightened her shoulders before she answered, ready for any resistance. “4355 Hells Circle.”

The driver did a double take, his steel gray brows shooting straight toward the receding hairline he tried hard to hide. “Are you nuts? Men don’t go to that place. Much less a woman.”

Prepared for this, she took a deep breath, counted to ten, and then replied. “If you won’t take me, there are others that will.”

“Yeah, others with a death wish. Nobody comes out of that place in one piece.”
Did his hands actually tremble on the steering wheel at the thought? Isabelle shrugged. That was exactly what she was counting on.

“Fine. Get in, but it’s gonna cost you.”

Money wasn’t a problem. Taking her right hand out of her black leather jacket she showed the driver a wad of credits. “I think this should cover it.”

“Christ.” The man shook his head. “I must have a death wish.”

Somehow she doubted it. She opened the back door of the vehicle and slid in taking note of the trash and empty beer bottles littering the floorboard and shoved them aside so she’d have a place to put her feet. Desperate times called for desperate measures she reminded herself.

4355 Hells Circle would take her into the heart of the Inner Sanctum. A half hours drive from the pristine streets of Fairhaven, and time enough that she might change her mind if she lost her nerve.

She couldn’t lose her nerve. He was her only chance.

Isabelle had been close to the Inner Sanctum only once before, when she’d found Mouse on her search for him. She knew the well kept streets of Fairhaven would fall away slowly, street by street, to be replaced by dirt and run down buildings. Places that the ‘good’ people would shun and turn their back on, and actually that’s what they’d done hadn’t they? Politics had changed little in the last hundred or so years, at least according to the history books. The rich only got richer and the poor only got poorer. It was no where more evident than on the streets of the Inner Sanctum, where you could find drug dealers or prostitutes. Lives could be bought or sold, begun or ended for a handful of precious credits.

Mankind had sunk to a new low. A low where the only concern was not that of a fellow man but only thoughts of self preservation and the need to survive. She’d been lucky, born to a life of privilege, but fate had a sense of humor. There were always sacrifices. Even for the rich.

Lost in her own thoughts, Isabelle was surprised when the driver pulled to a stop on a street corner a block away from her destination.

“That’ll be a hundred and fifty credits.”

Isabelle shook her head knowing the man was taking advantage of her, but really, she couldn’t take the money with her, could she? She handed the driver a wad of bills, not even bothering to count it and leaned over to get out of the cab.

“Hey, wait.” The driver looked uncomfortable, a lock of his thinning gray hair falling down from where he had pulled it over his far left part. “This can’t be a good idea for a lady like you. Lemme take you somewhere else.”

Isabelle hardened her gaze, even with nerves knotting in her stomach, she’d come this far, she wasn’t going to back down. “I’ll be fine.”

“Well, I tried.” The driver shook his head. “Can’t save ‘em all.”

Head high she stepped away from the cab. She’d finish the last leg of her journey on foot. A prickle along her spine gave away the beady eyes that watched every step she took. She could feel the malevolent stares at her back. She didn’t belong here. They knew it and she knew it but the knowledge wouldn’t stop her. Letting no emotion show on her face, she kept a careful watch out for those that might do her harm. She’d been prepared for this, and with a fluid movement swept back one side of her full length black leather coat to make visible the gun at her hip. It might not stop them, but it would make them think twice. She was a crack shot and no one would fault her for killing one of them. They were quarantined to the Inner Sanctum where the ‘others’ were kept away from the good citizens of Fairhaven. Fair? She mentally snickered, No. But then little in life was fair.

Isabelle came to stand in front of the steel gray granite building that seemed to sprawl like outstretched cold stone hands to the left and right. It had to take up an entire city block. Not to mention being hundreds and hundreds of years old. There was character is such older buildings. Memories of a better time and place, and even now hundreds of years later you could still see glimpses of a grandeur that man hadn’t been able to steal away.

She glanced up and saw the numbers four-three-five-five in red above the gothic wrought iron doorway. This was it. She paused, took a deep breath for courage, and then walked up the steps and quietly slipped inside.

copyright 2008 by D.M. Bailey

4 comments:

Wow, it is edgy (sp), but now I need much more information! Is this an adult or a YA?

Oh, it's definitely an adult, and it's definitely a romance. A bit different for me. *grin* But I like it. The hero in this one is sooooo tortured. He hasn't had a good life.

Let me know how it progresses -- you have me really curious!

Ah, then I've done my job. *grin*
Glad to see you Bonita. Tell everyone I said hello.