This is Issue #29 of DeathWatch, Book II: tentatively called Heart Of Ilona, an ongoing Serial. Click that link to go find DeathWatch, the first in the series, or start from the beginning of Book II!
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“Guess we don’t have to kick anyone out,” Sha said, going back to her room to find it empty. She turned around to tell Kieron good night, but when her eyes found his, his had gone glassy and lost.
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At first, he thought it was agony. The heat of it began in his belly and tore up through his chest like the leftover spasms he recognized from being poisoned.
At first, he thought it was pain moving through him, and he tried to speak, but both breath and word were denied him.
He then thought it might be fear; panic should set it, should be what coursed through his veins, pumped by a weakening heart.
Kieron Brody dwelt within the skin of a dying man, sitting behind a desk, and he knew, from the man’s mind, that he was dying at the hand of his daughter, that he was betrayed, that all his machinations and plans were coming to nothing, because that worthless bitch had finally shown her true colors.
He gagged on his own blood, and Kieron could taste it, and that’s when he realized it was not pain and it was not fear.
It was anger.
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“Brody?” Sha whispered, reaching to touch Kieron’s shoulder. “You in there?”
Kieron snapped back to attention, and he moved faster than Sha expected; she felt his hand close around her throat. The venom on his face was shocking, as he leaned in his teeth nearly at her lips as he snarled, “Te stupri cunni.” You stupid cunt.
Sha struggled, bringing her hands up to try to push him away, startled at the rage on his face; it transformed him into something — someone else.
“Te non possunt me occidere,” Kieron snarled, shoving him into her room and closing the door behind them with a kick. You will not kill me. “Erit tibi non,” he growled. You will not. “Non,” he hissed. No.
“Brody!” Sha snapped, and she twisted, pulling him against her shoulder and then kicking him hard in the knee. When he folded, she grabbed his collar, and punched him in the face, once, twice, three times. “Wake up!”
“Te non possunt me occidere!” Kieron shouted, his words beginning to slur, blood running from his mouth. He reached for her, grabbing her fist in his hand, twisting, wrenching it fiercely. “Erit tibi NON!”
“Fuck, fuck, FUCK,” Sha shouted, rolling. She moved to pin him, then, and laid atop him, sitting up, moving to kneel on his arms. “Brody! Fuck, Brody!” She punched him again, twice, a third time, no longer trying to hold back the force of her strike. “CADET, THIS IS YOUR MOTHERFUCKING CAPTAIN SPEAKING!”
Just before she struck him the last time, Sha saw the strange hate leave Kieron’s face. His eyes cleared as her fist struck his jaw. Kieron’s head rocked back, it snapped against the floor. His whole body jerked, and he went limp beneath her, pissing himself, drooling blood against the floor.
“Fuck,” Sha panted, sitting back on her haunches. She stared down at Kieron for a moment longer, before she checked for a pulse, and leaned down to see if he was breathing.
A minute more, and he began to rouse, coughing and groaning. “What? Sh–Captain? What happened?” Kieron’s eyes fluttered open, and he tried to sit up.
Sha pulled back, moved to stand, and helped Kieron get to a sitting position. “You weren’t yourself,” she said, panting. “You were some crazyfuckingfaced man screaming at me in Ilonan.”
“Exosus Praedirus Aecus,” Kieron whispered. “His daughter killed him. His anger was so… It was so vast, Captain. I’ve never felt something so immense. I lost myself.”
“Well you damn near lost me, too, Brody,” Sha said, sitting on her bed. “Your dead guy tried to choke me. How’s your head?”
“Sorry about that.”
“Better me than you,” Kieron said, reaching up to gingerly touch his face. “I think you broke my nose.”
“Pretty sure I did. Want me to set it?”
“Nah. Just gimme a towel,” Kieron said, shaking his head. Once she handed him one, he blew his nose into it, wetly, pressed his fingertips together over the bridge of his nose, slapped his palms together, and drew down. Twice more, and then he hawked and spit, dabbed at his upper lip, and then wiped off his hands with the last bit of the clean part of the towel. He got up, and staggered for the door, turning to say, “I’m… gonna go clean up, then get some sleep.”
“You sure you’re good to go?” Sha wondered, frowning, following after Kieron.
“Good enough.” Kieron’s expression was blank, without sadness or anger, but instead just a heavy resignation.
“Fuck, Brody,” Sha sighed. “If we get out of all of this, you’re getting a fucking promotion just for surviving.”
He shrugged, mismatched eyes looking up at her, and said, “I don’t know as anyone’s getting out of all of this.” He turned to shuffle away, leaning on the hallway wall, moving slowly.
“Change your mind? Want to turn and go?”
Kieron looked back over his shoulder at Sha, his expression almost offended. “Seriously? Just run, and leave her behind? Sha, that’s not anything I’d have expected from you.”
“I didn’t say I’d turn and go with you,” Sha said, her own expression fierce. “You just look beat.” Her dark eyes stayed on Kieron, watching him with concern, and she lingered in her doorway watching him.
“I am beat, Captain. You just beat me,” Kieron snorted, shaking his head. “Now I just need time to rest.”
Sha laughed, nodding at his joke, but the smile on her lips didn’t touch her eyes. She nodded, still watching him, her eyes narrowed, studying his face, and let him go on his way. “Time to rest,” she agreed.
As he walked into his own room, and Sha slipped back into her own, Kieron’s expression shifted to something darker. His eyes were faintly glassy as he as he muttered, “Tempus ad requiem. Et modicum tempus ad meditandum.”
Time to rest. And a little time to think.
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