The Hunter Part 4: The Hunter Deceives

Here is part four of The Hunter, my seven-part series over seven days based on prompts from Describli.com. It is a writing site for short pieces of fiction, it is relatively new, but I really like it and think it has potential.

Part One of The Hunter is here, Part Two here, and Part Three here.

On with the new one. ๐Ÿ™‚


Uncertainty.

Lena laid her hand on her fork. The voices around her muffled, words flowing over her like a river. She picked up her fork, opened the tray of food.

He had no shadow.

He had no shadow.

That wasn’t possible.

What was he?

The food, as always, tasted bland. Of nothing. Certainly not the tomato and pasta it was supposed to taste like.

Something struck her leg. She blinked. Everything slipped back into place. Zinna was staring at her. “Where were you?”

“Did you just kick me?”

“Yes. Now answer the question. Do you want Tang to follow us back to the station and help us with the cargo?”

She hesitated. She shouldn’t hesitate. “I don’t… I mean,” she looked at him, his open, trustworthy face. He has no shadow. “Don’t you have your own business to attend to?”

“Not at the moment, I am afraid,” his eyes lowered to the half-eaten meal before him, “not much call for my type of service these days.”

“And what service is that?”

Leo’s glare told her that Tang had already explained while she’d been realising that this man had no shadow.

“I provide protection,” he said, “to anyone who needs it. But since the S.R.S started to patrol more, I seem to have lost customers.”

Was he angling for a job? “Right. Well, if you have nothing else to do, I suppose it would be all right then,”

He smiled, clearly pleased with himself.

“We can’t afford to pay you anything though,” Zinna said. Her gaze and speech was sharp.

“Oh, I wasn’t expecting anything.” Tang’s eyes widened, as if he were shocked by the idea. “I simply wish to get to the space station and see if there is any business there for me. I thought perhaps some company would be nice.”

“It would,” Lena said, giving Zinna one of her own sharp looks back again. “Thank you.”

Zinna’s expression didn’t alter.

No shadow.

After the meal, Leo whisked Tang away from Zinna and Lena, while talking his ears off. Lena stopped Zinna before she could follow. “Did you not notice?” she asked.

Zinna raised her eyebrows. “Notice what?”

“He has no shadow!”

She cocked her head, unconvinced.

Lena pulled her from the kitchen. She followed Leo’s voice to the bridge. He and Tang were stood talking. She stopped in the doorway, hoping they wouldn’t be noticed. “Look.”

Zinna’s eyes narrowed, her sharp eyesight taking in every detail. “Well I’ll be a Carnite’s mother!”

“Nothing has no shadow, right?” Simaens had shadows. She knew that.

“Nothing I’ve ever heard of.” She hissed out a sharp breath. “I knew something wasn’t right about him!”

Discomfort. “He seems so trustworthy.”

“All the best liars do.” She grabbed Lena’s arm and marched her back down the hallway. “He’s clearly got some sort of elaborate subterfuge going on. We have to work out what.”

“And how are we going to do that?”

“By taking a look at his ship.”

“And how are we going to do that?”

“There’s an old scanner in the cargo bay for a start, and if that fails there’s the transporter.”

“There’s the what? We don’t have one.”

“We have a possible one.”

Zinna punched in a security code at the cargo bay doors. They opened with a whoosh and admitted them, closing the same way behind them.

Fifty barrels clogged up the relatively small space. All full of wine. Not the most expensive vintage out there, but they were earning a pretty sum for moving it.

Zinna pulled her over the right side of the room, where the control console sat. She hit some buttons. The display flickered several times, before showing a distorted radar image. It looked a bit like the interior of a ship.

Lena scrutinised the image as Zinna fiddled with some of the controls. “What exactly are you hoping to find?” she asked.

“Not sure. But there has to be a clue somewhere.” Tense silence passed, then she hit the console. “Damn it! This thing’s useless!”

Her words from earlier came back to Lena. “What exactly did you mean about a possible transporter?”

“Something Leo picked up at a market a while back.” She stalked over to the other side of the room and opened a secure unit on the wall. “It works. On cargo, anyway.”

“Not people?”

“We haven’t tested it.”

A cold chill ran over her. “And you want to use it?”

“Not want. Going to.”

She pushed Lena into the cavity, and stepped in with her. A glass door shut on them at the touch of a button. “Close your eyes,” Zinna advised.

The last image Lena had was of Zinna’s finger heading for another button. Please let this work…


Today’s prompt: An elaborate subterfuge.

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13 thoughts on “The Hunter Part 4: The Hunter Deceives

  1. I liked the way you showed Lena’s thoughts, how she was out of it for a while. I don’t like the sounds of this transporter, but I don’t think I’m supposed to. Why didn’t Lena know about it? Just a question, not trying to find another possible hole. I really didn’t think the first was a hole just a forgotten explanation. (Okay I’m babbling.) Nice story so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Babble away, I don’t mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Lena doesn’t know about the transporter because Leo didn’t want her to know. There’s backstory there. Which may make it into a story at some point. Do you think it needs some explanation?

      Sorry if I’m asking too many questions of you.

      Like

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