Monday 31 March 2014

When in Doubt, Make it Out

By Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga
“The Lady in Black!”
The lady in question smiled and launched a volley of smoke grenades. Alarms sounding, the army of police swarming towards her shouted and cursed, but not before one emerged wearing a gas mask to hurry hot on her tail, ripping it off as soon as they were out of the smoke’s range.
“Your men are getting smarter detective!” she called back.
The detective in question ducked just in time as the Ace of Spades whizzed over his head. His response was one syllable as the hallway filled once more with smoke. The Lady in Black turned a corner and mounted a set of stairs, not without pinning its guards to the wall with aces up her sleeve and deciding to run up the rails instead of the steps. She reached the top floor using marbles that exploded in pink smoke to clear her way. Finally, she arrived at the door, sleek black in the middle of an empty hallway past another locked door that used eye recognition software and five more ‘elite’ guards that currently snored in a pile behind her.
Raising one gloved hand, the Lady in Black pressed it onto the door’s flat surface, devoid of any lock or even a handle, yet the toughest of all to open. She took a deep breath and let her shoulders sag as she closed her eyes. Behind their lids, the vision of a field blossomed. Her father was laughing, telling her to take his hand; they’d go flower-picking. The Lady in Black clenched a fist, gritting her teeth as a bead of sweat rolled down her face. The vision was the door’s lock. To unlock it, she had to resist the temptation to take that hand and surrender to her past of warmth and lavender fields…
The Lady in Black slowly opened her eyes. Had she done it? Was the door finally sliding open? After years of struggling would she finally make a breakthrough-?
“You’re under arrest.”
But no, it was only the cool metal of a handcuff that clipped around her wrist and the frigid barrel of a gun that nuzzled her shoulder blade. The rest of her body was hot with sweat and exertion yet strangely stiff.
How long have I been cracking this? A part of her thought. The other part hoped that the handsome detective at her back wouldn't notice she was nearly spent.
Her mouth curled into an easy smile. “How long have you been practicing that line in front of the mirror?”
Using one hand, the detective merely unglued her other wrist from the door and cuffed it with a final click.
“You have the right to remain silent. Don’t try anything funny,” he stated tonelessly.
“Why so serious?” the Lady in Black questioned. “You’re much too young to be this uptight.”
“Considering I need to protect Vadalia from terrorists like you, I think my conduct is justified.” The detective replied. The barrel pressed deeper into her shoulder. “Now walk.”
“No,” The Lady in Black replied. Her arm received a rough tug to which she reacted by letting her weight fall on the detective. He readily shoved her off him so that she leaned back on the door, staring straight into his dark eyes through the slits on her mask. His gun still pointed at her shoulder blade.
“Go on,” The Lady in Black encouraged. “Shoot me.”
“I’m a police officer,” the detective readily replied.
The lady’s easy smile widened. “With no back up.”
“I told you not to try anything funny,” the detective pressed.
The Lady in Black slowly shook her head. “No, what I’m going to try won’t be funny mind you.”
“I’m warning you…” The detective’s finger flexed over the trigger.
Suddenly, the Lady in Black fell forward. A shot sounded, followed by a splatter of red all over the polished surface of the black door.
The detective’s eyes widened in horror as his body fell back. Contrary to what he was seeing, the Lady in Black still stood, rubbing her freed wrists. The detective could hallucinate whatever he fancied for all she cared. Of all the things to notice, he had failed to see that she had been chewing gum throughout the night’s chase – and not the minty kind. She turned her back on the fallen man, for once not finding any humour in the way she left him, whimpering with pink goo stuck to his forehead. Only once she was safely beyond the barricade of police cars circling the building did she glance back at the magnificent structure, its blaring lights mocking her efforts.
For once the Lady in Black could not go far before she slumped against an alley wall, one fist pounding into it as she held back tears of pure frustration. Once again, she had been powerless to move past the lock, a spell cleverly disguised as her weak point. She had given too much time for that clever police detective to get to her and barely escaped without a scratch.
And it all hurt!
Why did the man behind the door have to taunt her so? Why was it so hard to get back at him? Why did the police have to be against her simply because they and half of the city were blissfully ignorant of Vadalia’s magical side?
Suddenly, a foot crunched on a wrapper. The Lady in Black tensed and turned to stare into the violet eyes of a man half-hidden in shadow. A guitar’s silhouette was slung over his shoulder while a bracelet momentarily glinted in the stray glare of a flashing siren. The lady relaxed slightly. The man nodded.
Ignoring her aching bones, she stood. The man slipped back into the shadows while the Lady in Black faced the light emanating from M.X. Corporation HQ.
“I know,” she said. “I won’t let you down.”
At that moment, the building’s fifth floor exploded in pink confetti.

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