Thursday, April 30, 2009

Friday Fiction for May 1, 2009

Friday Fiction is Dancin’ on Rainbows this week, courtesy of our hostess, Sharlyn. Dance on over to her blog, and allow Mr. Linky to lead you to some terrific fiction.

Since Katya is going to play such a major role in Precocious by Consent, I thought I should feature an excerpt with her in it. Lloyd and Faye Timmons have traveled to where she is now living, and shown up at the church she attends. They are invited to join the pastor and his wife for Sunday dinner, and in the previous chapter, Lloyd has dropped a bombshell on the meal by blurting out that they are there to ask for Katy’s help. In angry reluctance, Katya affects the persona of Katy at the end of Chapter 1.

Chapter 2
Sunday noon

Lloyd looked across the table. The eyes that stared back at him were those that had once defied him in the interrogation room. It wasn’t Katy, the innocent little girl he’d first met on the platform of Tibbington Street station; it was Katy, the guarded and savvy performer. What have I done?

What you needed to do, detective.

Not now, Ilsa. I don’t have the time.

He slipped the photo from his shirt pocket, and handed it over the table. “Those two girls are Lara Schumacher and Celia Moore. Celia’s body was left in a parking structure for us to find. As of this morning, we have no word concerning Lara, though she is probably also dead already. While Celia was still alive, the killer carved a message into her back with a pocket knife. He sprinkled alum powder into the wounds, and then continued to torture her for several hours before electrocuting her with a lamp cord. The only reason we know that she was picked was that her last name was the same as the login alias of an FBI agent working to catch him on Facenet. He has a knack for ferreting out law enforcement officers posing as children on the ‘net, so we need someone that can pass for a child anywhere.”

“What do you expect me to do?”

“The FBI has a good idea what the killer looks for on Facenet, and they think he looks for evidence that his subject is who she says she is. He might check school newspapers, or watch bus stops, or music recitals, or any of a number of things that an adult posing as a child would have a difficult time faking. Katy looks like a child and knows how to act like one.”

Katya leaned back and crossed her arms. “You want me to live full time as a child? Is that what you’re asking, lieutenant?”

“It’s the best chance we can think of to catch this guy. The FBI has tied him to the deaths of twenty-nine girls all over the country, and he’s taunted them by saying they’re missing a lot of his victims. A child goes missing roughly every forty seconds in this country, and with that many missing children, he could easily be connected to a lot more abductions.”

She looked at Faye. “You said God would set me free of this.”

“Katya, I-”

Gosia interrupted the response by tapping on her glass with a spoon. “I do not know how things are done in California, but here, Sunday Dinner is a time of peace. You may continue this discussion in the living room after lunch, but for now, all it is accomplishing is to make our food and our hearts grow cold.” She alternated glances between Lloyd and Katya. “I put up with it this long, because I hoped you two would settle it and we could move on, but that isn’t turning out to be the case. Now, Lloyd, pass me the bread, and let’s enjoy lunch in peace.”

“Yes, ma’am; I apologize for my poor timing,” Lloyd said, handing the basket of bread over to her.

“I’m not hungry anymore,” Katya commented, starting to stand.

“Please, sit,” their hostess said. The request was a nearly perfect balance of gentle entreaty and firm command. “I know you, Katya; if you do not eat, you will be ill before the afternoon is out. You need the food, and you need family right now.”

She reluctantly sat down and picked up her fork. With little enthusiasm, she speared a carrot and ate it.

Asher took a bite of the roast, closing his eyes with a smile as he chewed. “Sweetheart,” he said after swallowing. “The roast turned out fantastic.”

Lloyd chewed a mouthful of the tender beef, and had to agree. If Faye didn’t ask for the recipe before they left, he would.

The pastor dipped his bread in some of the drippings. “So, where do you folks fellowship out in California?” he asked, before taking a bite of the bread.

“We go to Shepherd’s Chapel in Sunny Grove,” Faye said. “The teaching is solid, the music is good, and it’s just big enough to have ample opportunities for service and fellowship, without being so large that we feel we get lost in the crowd.”

Lloyd’s mind drifted away from the small talk. I blew it, he thought.

You didn’t ask the right way, detective. You asked for Katy, and in Katya’s mind, Katy is the prostitute she no longer wants to be.

Katy was also the child that could have fooled all of us, if we hadn’t already known about you, Ilsa.

You first saw Katy as the child on the platform, but did you ever consider how long Katya lived as Katy, the performer?

No, I never did.

So much of your identity is wrapped up in the work you have done for years, lieutenant. What if you decided your work was immoral, and that you needed to walk away from it? Would you still appreciate being called Lt. Timmons?

I don’t know; being a detective has been so much a part of my life for so long, I’m not sure I can imagine not being one.

Perhaps Katya had been Katy for so long, that she had a hard time imagining not being Katy. Now, you have come here and suggested she is still Katy.

I was right; I blew it.

She will agree.

After what I just did to her?

Trust me; she will agree, because she cares. She knows what was done to me, and she cares about what was done to Celia. She cares about what will be done to other girls if she doesn’t help.

“Lloyd?” Faye nudged him.

“I’m sorry; what?”

“Asher asked you a question.”

“Oh; sorry. My mind was wandering.”

“I could see that,” Asher said with a chuckle. “I asked what had you so deep in thought.”

“I was just thinking about – someone.”


Dee Yoder said...

Every week you add another dimension and plot to strengthen and bring this story to life! Another great excerpt, Rick.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Intriguing! I like the mystery you are building, even as you develop and introduce us to the characters.

LauraLee Shaw said...

These characters have wormed their way into my heart and mind. I am totally intrigued. Incredible.