Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Complete Transparency

Written for 3WW - demure, offend, volatile
“Excuse me.  Is anyone there?”
Siti could have identified that voice in her sleep. She readjusted the worn Oriental rug so that the man hole was concealed and scanned the tent for any residual signs of her guests.  She had already hidden the tea cups and the plates of half eaten food behind the small stove.  Content that there was nothing, Siti pulled the black crocheted wrap tight around her shoulders and head, pulled back the flap of her tent, and stepped out into the tunnel.
In the ten years that had passed since their last meeting, the Supreme Scientist had changed little. Other than a few new gray hairs, and a hardness in the eyes that hadn’t been there before, he was the same.  The best plastic surgery his money could purchase had seen to that. He appraised her coolly, as if she was a car or a suit of clothing but she shrugged off his gaze and pulled him into the present with her.
“It has been what, ten years?”
“At least.”  Even in the gloom of the tunnels, his teeth flashed brightly.  Siti wondered how many Believers could be fed on the amount of money he’d spent keeping those teeth so perfect, like carved and bleached ivory.  “And, you are just as lovely as I recall.”
Her laughter was loud, disingenuous, as rough as burlap, and he winced until she stopped.  “Not to offend, Professor, but you are just as full of it as you ever were.”  She coughed, to clear the hatred from her voice and asked, “What brings the Supreme Scientist to the sewers?”  He studied her face for long seconds before answering, and Siti could tell that he was deciding which would get him further, the truth or a lie.  She answered the question for him.  “Let us begin with the truth, shall we?”
The Professor glanced over Siti’s shoulder to the opening of her tent.  “This might be so much easier if we could sit.  Won’t you ask me in?”
At their last meeting, Siti had been a perfect hostess, offering him a seat and a cup of tea.  Despite the gracious hospitality, she had been stubbornly obscure.  He had no reason to believe that now, when she wasn’t even interested in the pretense of good manners, that she would tell him anything.  The Professor snapped his fingers and a man dressed in the gray jumper fatigues of the underground security came forward.  Siti didn’t recognize him as one of her men so she made a mental note to deal with him in the manner that all infiltrators were handled.  The Professor waved him forward.  “Search the tent.  See if the girl is there.”
“Girl?”  Siti blocked the entrance.  They would never find Honor, but she wasn’t about to make it easy.  The guard removed the electro compliance weapon from his belt and leveled it at her chest.  Siti glanced at the Professor, “Whoever she is, she must be important.  Never thought I’d see the Supreme Scientist roaming the old sewers like a rat.”  The guard pressed forward, but Siti’s left arm shot out, her fist landing squarely between his eyes.  He fell to his knees and in one swift motion, Siti’s leg sliced the air striking him again.  She liberated the weapon from him and pushed him onto his back, her bare foot pressed beneath his chin.  Her demure façade fell away with the wrap revealing course ringlets streaked with gray.

The Professor’s gaze warmed a bit.  “Such a volatile reaction.  One might think you had something to hide.”
Siti shrugged her shoulders.  “No.  I just don’t like you.  Nor do I enjoy having strange men rummage through my belongings.”
The Professor advanced, but was careful to remain at least arms distance away.  He knew her gift; he knew she could be dangerous.  No matter, Siti closed the brief distance between them and his eyes widened in alarm, but he did not back away. 
“Complete transparency, Professor.  Yes?”
He nodded.
“You are looking for the girl Honor.”
He nodded again, lips parted.  Siti fought back the absurd urge to put her finger into his mouth and tap one of those teeth with her nail.  “I know she came into the sewers.”
“She did.”
“Where is she?”  His breaths came in quick little peppermint scented whiffs.
Siti smiled.  “I’ll never tell, and that Professor, is the truth.”
A bit self-conscious about this micro short.  Still battling some writers excuse the bad writing.  K
Also, don't forget to read chapter 8 as that chapter is closely related to this short.  Thanks.


  1. I didn't think this writing bad. I have the same trouble. I have a standard much higher than anyone about my own work. Sometimes I post a poem against my better judgment and find that my audience loves it and I get more comments and visits than some of the posts I think are great. Of course the whole point is to do well but mainly write every day, and more than a little. That's the only way I know to increase in quality whether it is wordsmithing or music.

  2. Oh I just loved this, I could keep reading and reading ... so well written ... brilliant!!

  3. I think it's very tightly written. The dialogue feels a bit forced, but it's almost there. A fine job and a wonderful continuation of an interesting storyline.

  4. I enjoyed this. I like that Siti isn't afraid to stand up to this guy, even though I get the impression he could make her life very unhappy if he wanted to.

  5. Thanks all.
    @Ann, indeed he could make her life difficult, but, and we will learn later, she isn't exactly a push over.

  6. k keep writing i think it a great chapter in an ongoing story...the art work is mighty fine too...