::: excerpt of an indie novel | out now in paperback and eBook :::
Every avenger must have its lair, he told her half jokingly. She loved that sometimes what they were doing was more than parkour, or even stopping criminals, but part of mythology, part of the night, a part of the city. She wondered how her father and Momma met, what brought them together and, sadly, what drove them apart.
Seamus had taken her to a half abandoned building on the harbor; during the day the bottom floors were used to lathe small water craft parts, box them up and ship them; the upper floors were used for administration, but the top floor had long been abandoned. The elevator in the building didn’t work, people had to take the stairs if they needed to, and the door to the top floor had been bolted shut from the outside. The only way in to the vast upper floor was through a fire escape door, which had as a front step an escape that eons ago had been removed. There was a small platform to land on from the roof, easily accessible by drainpipe and window ledge; a little precarious but not too dangerous for them (a deterrent to most). The two PKs did it with ease. The door was pried open using a screwdriver.
The first time Seamus took her to the vacated upper floor he carried candles, a small bottle of wine, glasses made of plastic, a picnic blanket in his knapsack. They laid down on the blanket encircled in the glow of candlelight. Seamus took his iPod out and attached a small speaker to it, and played Washed Out at low volume. They drank wine, and read to each other from a book of Kevin Rabas poems, Ell had on her phone. They kissed, helped each other undress in the light – part moon, part candle; they made love, and held each other for warmth afterwards. They stared into each other’s eyes.
“Were you scared?” Ell kissed Seamus’ hand, the one with the fingers missing.
“Always afterwards, never during. During the adrenaline has you going and sometimes you’re so mad for being shot at, that carries the day. But you’re scared afterwards, always. Amazed you made it through another day of patrols.”
“And the day this happened.”
“Much the same. I went into instant shock, and it was only hours later, in a hospital bed did I shake with such fear, the kind I’d never felt before. I had this one staff sergeant, one of the, if not the bravest man I ever met. St. Sgt. Kung. We called him King Kung, because he was such a big guy. He came to see me before I was airlifted to Germany. I told him I was scared and he said he’d be worried if I hadn’t been. Half of your hand’s been shot away he said, rolling that toothpick in his mouth like always did. He said everyone gets scared, there’s always a modicum of fright, the idea is to departmentalize it, put it in a box. Kung said it’s got different names, hurt locker, personal panic room, he said it was the circle. Inside. Find that circle inside, and emotionally go there to recover. It goes everywhere, he said, but its circumference will never be found. It’s not about shutting yourself off, it’s about finding your strength, finding the optimum place from which to battle the forces that would destroy you.”
They lay for sometime in the blue of the moonlight streaming through the windows, The Bad Plus now on the iPod. Their moon dappled skin looking like the color of skim milk. Seamus drew a circle on Ell’s torso; she drew one on Seamus’ chest. “This place will be our circle,” he said. And they slept.