Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cymbaline Pt. 2

The crunch of fall’s leaves was deafening under his boots as Emile took his position. He heard Tomas’s voice with an awful, supernatural clarity from the other end of the field.

“Turn on two, fire at three! One!” Linnie almost darted forward. She almost took the pistol from Emile’s hand and killed that bastard Nikolai, but Emile’s honor prevented it.

“Two!” Nikolai stared down the field. While he could barely see the buttons on his opponent’s coat, he aimed carefully, confident at least in that.

“Three!” Gunshots cracked the air like lightening.

Loyalty had never been a feeling with Linnie, more like an urge. She got patriotism like some people got seasickness. So when the shots rang, she couldn’t help herself. She shoved her brother aside, his gun flying away across the damp grass. The bullet flew through the air, directly where Emile’s chest had been.

“What the hell, Linnie!” Emile stared up into his sister’s determined face.

Nickolai was bent over him a moment later, his face stricken. “Emile! I’m sorry, I tried to shoot past your shoulder! These guns are dreadfully innaccurate.”

Emile sat up stiffly, his sister rolling off him into the grass. Tomas offered him a hand, and Emile accepted it gratefully. “No harm’s done, though my hip is going to hurt later.”

Linnie scrabled to her feet, brushing down her full skirts. “Better than having a hole in the middle of your chest!” She snapped, glaring at Nickolai. “Is your honor satisfied, sir?”

“Quite adequately.” Nickolai nodded.

“Then you will not object to our being on our way.” Cymbaline took her brother’s arm and led him off the field. There was a closed carriage waiting there, and they disappeared inside.

Nickolai and Tomas watched as the carriage rattled away, then collected the spent pistols and went to their curricle. Nickolai took the reins, still frowning. “I missed! How could I miss?”

Tomas gave him a surprised look, pausing with a hand on the side of the carriage. He stared up at Nickolai. “You meant to kill Emile?”

(c) Emma Seif

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