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   Chapter 18 No.18

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 6143

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

'Oh, wait-a-minute…' He thought. 'That looks interesting.'

* * *

The last three days had been relatively dull for 'Adam', the man formerly or generally recognized as "Blachart". The Sherriff's Office on Caries – yes, there was only the one – was small, practical and only had a staff of ten, only five of which were ever on duty at any particular time. It did have quite a few holding cells, one of which Adam had seen quite enough of for one day – or three. The local law enforcement – after tracking him down, had finally accepted his explanations after talking to some witnesses and eventually getting round to reviewing the security feeds from the spaceport bar incident. The fact that he had a formal pardon on his file in the Central Database seemed to help his case a lot. Surprisingly, after a few hours, and after the usual surly warnings to 'Stay out of trouble or get outta my town', the Sheriff let him out to go on his not so merry way.

In the old days, Adam reminisced, he would've escaped the cell, killed everyone in uniform inside the building, and then vanished off-world virtually undetected, but that was not his way anymore. That was Blachart's way. Blachart would've swung his sword and put his Luger to good use. Or perhaps, he meant bad use. He suppressed an involuntary shiver. Yes, he was familiar with psychology, and he knew that just changing his name – again – would not make him into somebody else or absolve him of any of his past. He still bore the guilt and the blame for everything he'd done in his life – and under various names – but the name he'd worn at the time of whatever he'd done had always been a symbol for him, to color his actions good or bad. For some, names were as easy to change as clothing – or as a tool picked up from a shelf, and to discard as easily the shaving of a beard, or

ll town from end to end, passing this corner café, near what passed for the hub of it all – the spaceport. Ships currently landing on it shook the crisp morning air in the distance, sending up clouds of brown dust. Marsha liked to come here for breakfast, but not today it seemed. He hadn't seen or heard from Marsha since that day at the bar. Truth be told, he couldn't blame her. He was bad news, after all – even if she didn't realize it. Anyone would have to be crazy to get involved with him, he thought, knowing who and what he'd been… but neither could he help thinking about her.

Passersby did what the term suggested, creating an endless, subtle sense of motion in the landscape around him as the waitron returned to place a tray carrying a tea pot, cup and saucer, sugar bowl and milk jug on the table. Adam settled back to enjoy his tea. The cup he'd been served tea in was not real china, but about as close as refined densified plastic could get. At least the cup was white, not green, he smiled whimsically. He felt the rim of it scrape against the stubble of two days' worth of growth on his lower lip as he sipped from it, allowing the sensation of the sweet hot fluid to soothe his being all the way down.

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