Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Fiction for February 18, 2011

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by the always gracious Joanne, over on her blog, An Open Book. Pop on over, if you haven’t already, say ‘Hi’ to Joanne, and see what other stories are waiting for your reading enjoyment.

In this week’s excerpt from Precocious by Consent, our enigmatic Russian stranger makes another appearance, with some hints about what he knows. I hope you enjoy. P.S. If you know Russian, and spot some glaring errors in the Russian transliterated vocabulary I'm using, please let me know. My Russian is pretty much limited to "da" and "nyet," and online translators are not always the most reliable sources, particularly without a good way to check syntax and context.

Chapter 33

Friday night

He entered the small, ordinary looking house, and secured the door behind him. Most of the lights in the house were out, save those in the back bedroom. Classic Rock music played from a portable stereo in the room, set unceremoniously atop a stack of banker boxes.

The woman sitting at the old desk in the room didn’t look up from the computer screen as he entered. “Zdravstvuj,” she said. “And what did you learn today?”

“I learned that our little matryoshka doll is a better actress than she is a swimmer. Her first stroll in the ocean, and she had to be rescued from water shallow enough to stand in.” He pulled a rolling chair over and took a seat next to her. “And you, my Tasha – what did you learn today?”

She leaned back and flipped her hair back with both hands. “If I did not know better, I would think she was working for the Agency again. She is playing the Lolita on Facenet, as though she were seeking clients as Katy again, but she is being very coy when boys respond. I find no trace of any contact with her husband, or of him trying to contact her, but there is no mention of any problem between them on any of his social network pages. His comment about her is that she is visiting her grandmother in Russia, and is not near any network connection.” She made a couple of quick mouse clicks and pointed. “He has no photos of her on his page, though. What do you make of that?”

He leaned forward and scrolled through the page. “Perhaps, he is cautious that a former client will recognize her. This is interesting, though. See? A few days before Ekaterina left for Russia, they were visited by the same detective that helped bring down the Agency. Odd coincidence, no?”

“Lloyd Timmons is the police officer that arrested Polzin? I did not know that.”

Da. Apparently, he has remained friends with Ekaterina and her husband. Strange association, but it seems to have been harmless so far.”

“You do not believe his visit to be a coincidence, though. Shall I look into what this Timmons has been working on lately?”

He rubbed the stubble on his chin. “Be very careful. I don’t want to attract scrutiny from any police, and poking into a police lieutenant’s business might draw attention to us.”

She shot him a look. “When am I ever not careful? Polzin may have grown careless and foolish, but you should know that I am better than that.”

He leaned over and kissed her cheek. “You, my dear Tasha, have always been better than Polzin in every way.” He dropped his voice to a low, serious tone. “Yet, something is going on here. It has taken me much time to find Ekaterina again, and I do not want to chance losing her to an impetuous move.” He reached across her and clicked over to Katya’s Facenet page. “Were she living on her own, I would think she and her husband had split, and she was looking to make her money as she did for the Agency. Being ‘adopted’ by these doctors, though, does not fit. They do not seem to be the kind of people that would be comfortable running a brothel out of their home.”

“I have been following the Adamsons online as well. If they are aware that Ekaterina is anything but the young girl she is claiming to be, they have given no indication of it. The doctors have little on-line presence, but their sons are far more active on the ‘net. They speak of her as their sister, and comment how happy their parents are to finally have a daughter.”

He spoke towards the computer. “It is a strange game you are playing, lapochka. I wonder, though, just how many moves ahead you have played this one? Have you considered your endgame, Ekaterina, and what will happen to the other pieces in this match?”

“I do not think this is her game, mllaya moya. It seems another may be directing this play.”

He flipped through a series of screens on the computer, quickly scanning the information on each one. Katya was in her room again, logging onto her Facenet page. A few moments later, a status update appeared, commenting on the fun she’d had at the beach with her friend RikkiChickie. Just as if you were a real little girl, Ekaterina? This also does not fit – if you are just playing at being the child, why drag an innocent girl into the drama with you? If you just need the appearance of a friend, I would expect you to recruit one of the other former Agency girls, not a real child that is ill-equipped to deal with whatever you may bring upon yourself with this charade.

Is there a Master somewhere moving you about as his Queen? If so, where are the opposing pieces, and just how dangerous a game is being played here? He leaned back and lit a cigarette, which Tasha immediately took from him to smoke herself. He lit a second one to keep, and took a deep drag of the smoke. I do not like this not knowing. You are much too valuable to me to lose again, Ekaterina, even if it means I must steal you away from this game myself.

Tasha took control of the computer again, and found information on Timmons. His photo accompanied a short news story about a recent murder case he had solved, and she stared at it with raised eyebrows. “This is the man that took down Polzin?” She muttered some expletives in Russian. “Polzin must have gotten very careless.”

Are you directing this game, Timmons? You do not look like a Master, yet, you are obviously good enough to have gotten the better of Polzin. He blew smoke at the photo on the computer screen. If you have put Ekaterina in danger for your own game, lieutenant, then we may just see what kind of man you really are.


BethL said...

I wish I knew some Russian, sadly I do not. :) You are a master at creating intrigue and weaving the plot. Wow!

Debra Gray-Elliott said...

You always leave me wanting more!