Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘Jack of Hearts’

Jack of Hearts…Post Script

Ace told the Jack of Hearts to get lost and when he refused she talked to his Queen.  Jack is now stationed in Iceland and communicates with his Queen and King via Skype.  Queenie told Ace that Jack won’t be back anytime soon and that if he returns without her permission she should feel free to off him.  Ace thanked her and went home to polish her favorite pistol.

Ace and Tim continue to fight Darklings and are quite happy together.

Tim turned the guest closet into a room for the Crow.  It’s filled with perches and seed/peanut cups.  The bird doesn’t spend much time there, however, preferring to be with the rest of the family.

Bluebell, the blue Off World being, decided not to return to its home planet.  It lives in a corner of the living room in a small plastic wading pool and eats marshmallows and seaweed, not necessarily at the same time.  Ace believes that Bluebell and the resident spirit have bonded.  Tim bought Bluebell a tiny shelter kitten, and it was love at first sight. The kitten doesn’t seem to mind having blue smudges on her pure white fur.  The cat has shown no magical abilities as yet, but Ace said that’s just because she’s still a kitten, so she remains hopeful.

Ace took Tim to meet the Joker and it did not go well.  Ace told the Bicycle she was thinking killing the Joker. The Bicycle said it was a good idea, since he never liked the Joker either.  He said the Joker wasn’t the least bit funny and sometimes, it’s just easier to kill people rather than waste time talking to them.  Ace didn’t agree but she is keeping an open mind about it.

Leo, Ian and Joseph spend a lot of time at Ace’s, although, they did move into a townhouse in a quiet neighborhood, since they are going for a more mainstream approach to life.  They hunt Darklings with Ace and Tim and are basically quite happy with their lives.

Smokey lives in the oven most of the time but in the summer he loves visiting the neighborhood grills.

Tim still does the cooking.

Ace has a new front door and much stronger wards.

 

Thank you for reading the story.  🙂

Jack of Hearts…Chapter 55, FINAL CHAPTER

Ace knew how to listen, so she went deep into herself, then opened.  Three men on the catwalk, two out and the third still hidden. The cat, two life forms to her right and fear behind the door directly across from her.  The cat shot her an image of two mice in a corner to her left and several spiders still in their webs.  She also showed her a man, flat against the wall, slowly moving in her direction.  Ace turned and shot him through the head, then she walked to the center of the warehouse and took out the three guys on the catwalk.  The cat wound around her legs and started toward the door of fear. 

“You are a very good cat.”

“I know,” said the cat. 

“How many are in there?” whispered Ace, staring at the door.

The cat stiffened for a moment, then said, “Four men, two on the right, two on the left and many other life forms. Dying things too.  Sick things.”

“Any other guys around?”

“No.”

“You can have all the treats you want for the rest of your life.”

“All nine of them.”

“Yes, all nine of them.”

The cat looked satisfied.  Ace counted to three, threw opened the door and started shooting.  She grabbed a knife and it flew true.  The screaming was loud and she didn’t know what to call the other noises she heard but they were loud as well.  It was over fast.  She stood in the center of the room and turned, her gun held high, no bad guy left standing.  Oops, she shot the guy sitting on the floor with the Off Worlders. 

“Nice,” said the cat, who was getting pets from a blue being with huge bright yellow eyes.  The cat rubbed against what seemed to be the being’s chest and came away with a blue streak running down her side. 

“Nfrh,” chirped the being softly.

“That must mean cat where he comes from,” said the cat.

“Right,” said Ace, smiling.

“Ace?” said the cat.

“I know,” mumbled Ace.

“Underneath us.”

“I know,” said Ace. Then she started yelling.  “Everyone OUT! NOW!”

Ace began pulling Off Worlders up and pushing them out the door, the cat, well, the cat, did what she could. Suddenly, Tim and the others were there getting Off Worlders to safety, carrying those who couldn’t walk and helping those who could move of their own volition. 

The rumbling grew louder and the floor started to shake.  “RUN,” yelled Ace, hoping they understood what she was saying. 

The floor imploded.  The pressure was not as bad as she expected it to be.  The cat walked around the rim of the open floor and gazed down at the stars. 

“That’s how they were getting them here,” said Ace, staring at Jupiter.

“I thought Jupiter was farther away,” said Tim, as he burst out laughing.

“The technology that did this is inspiring, to say the least,” said Ace, watching stars being born.

“I’m glad you think so, Ace,” said Benny, as he walked through the wall to her right.  There were problems, of course, gravity and radiation, you know, those kinds of problems.  It took a long time to perfect and it was, well, let’s just say, it cost more than you could afford. Fortunately, my investors believed in me and the scientists who did it, apparently loved their families enough to keep working around the clock.”

“You are an icky person,” said Ace.

“That’s what you have to say to him?” said Tim, staring at her.  “You think he’s ICKY?

“You don’t care what you do to others, you only care about yourself,” snarled Ace.   “You should run for political office, you’d be perfect.  Hateful, egomaniacal, ruthless, disgusting, cheap, mean, boring, and ugly.  You’re empty inside.  You’re just plain ICKY.”

“Now, now, name calling is beneath you, my dear.”

“Your DEAR?” laughed Ace.  “Yeah.  No.”

“You don’t think big enough,” said Benny.  “Other ‘beings,’ as you call them, are ours for the taking.  If they can BE taken, then that’s what they are for.  If they can be taken, they DESERVE to BE taken.  Just like the animals you love so much.  If things are weak, they deserve…”

The cat bit Benny in the leg and raked her claws down his calf.  Ace shot him through the head and heart and Tim pushed him into the opening in the floor.

“How’s THAT for perfection,” said Ace, as she watched Benny disappear.  She took the Memory Stone from her pocket and dropped it into the opening as well.  The hole started closing immediately. 

“Jack,” said Ace grinning. “You can come out now.”

The cat stretched and rolled on her back.  “I like it in here,” he groaned. “It’s warm and soft and I can run really fast.”

“Enough, already,” laughed Ace, rubbing his ears. 

“Will you rub my ears if I come out?”

“Never.”

“How did you know it was me?”

Ace smiled.  “I just did.”

“Can I catch the mice first?”

“If you promise not to hurt them,” said Ace, knowingly.

“Spoiled sport,” hissed the cat, as she sprinted away.

“The Jack of Hearts is INSIDE the cat?”

“Most definitely,” snickered Ace.  “Our side has been working on what we call ‘hitching,’ for some time. We want agents to be able to hitch rides with others, if they are willing to carry us.  I don’t care how smart cats actually are, this one was a little too savvy, if you know what I mean.”

“Can I keep the gun?”

“Sure. I have lots of others.”

“Thanks.”

“Anytime.”

“I’m never leaving you,” said Tim, throwing his arm around her.  “You know that, right?”

“I do know that,” said Ace. 

“Caw?”

“Yes, I know you aren’t leaving either.”

“What about me?” asked the Jack of Hearts, who was walking toward her, his long, muscular body, moving more like a cat’s than a man’s.  His dark brown eyes staring into hers.

“Nice to meet you,” said Ace, holding out her hand. “How are the mice?”

“The mice are fine but I must admit that I suddenly found playing with them a bit boring,” he said, turning her hand, kissing her palm, as he looked at Tim.

“Don’t even think about it,” said Tim, coldly.

“Uh, excuse me?” said Ace.  “Could you two put the down your clubs and lower the testosterone?”

“I didn’t even realize….” said Tim.  “Sorry.”

“I’m not sorry in the least,” said The Jack of Hearts, a lustful smirk on his full lips.

“Caw?”

“Good idea,” said Ace, as she grabbed his tail feather and disappeared.

Once home, Ace stood looking at the blue being huddled on the kitchen floor.  “Nfrh?” it said, looking around for the cat.

Jack of Hearts…Chapter 54

 

“Caw?”

“You heard me tell him not to look down, didn’t you? I can’t help it if he never listens.”

“Caw, caw, caw,” said the bird, fluffing his feathers.

“It’s NOT funny.”

“Caw?”

“Well,” said Ace, starting at Tim’s unconscious body, “maybe it’s a little funny.”

“Caw?”

“No, I don’t know if being unconscious as often as he is will hurt him.”

“Why?” mumbled Tim, groggily.

“Why do you say things like that? Don’t look down? Really?”

“I tried to warn you,” sighed Ace.

“Caw?”

“No,” said Ace, “there’s nothing psychologically wrong with him. At least I don’t think there is.”

“MEOW.”

“Meow?” muttered Ace, looking around.

“I couldn’t leave her behind,” said Tim, “so I shoved her into my bag.”

“Is that why you’re bleeding?”

“Yes,” he said, sarcastically, “that’s exactly why I’m bleeding.”

“Nice kitty,” laughed Ace.

“Caw.”

“Hiss.”

“He did you a favor,” crooned Ace, petting the cat. “He was trying to save you.”

The cat unsheathed her claws.

“Yes, I know you can take care of yourself but he was worried about you.”

“You do hear the shooting and screaming, right?” asked Tim, getting to his feet, walking to the edge of the roof.

“I do, actually. Sounds as if the party has started without us.”

The fighting was in full swing by the time they reached ground level. Bodies were everywhere but she saw Leo and Ian. Ian pointed to her left and she nodded at Joseph. Smokey drifted in and made crispy critters out of a couple of guys who were trying to get behind Ace’s crew. Queenie’s army was getting up close and personal with the inner guard, trying to open a path into the warehouse.

“It’s like a war zone,” whispered Tim.

“It IS a war zone. I’m going to make a run for the doors. Watch my back. Once I’m inside, stay in front of the doors and keep everyone else out. Oh, and one of the the modifications on the Sig will let you go back in time a few minutes, so you can kill the guy shooting at you before he pulls the trigger.”

“Nice touch.” “I thought so. I wanted it to make hot chocolate but…”

“Just go,” sighed Tim. “I’m right behind you.”

The Queen’s men were keeping the path open for her. Ace focused and took off running. She didn’t look away from the doors, her spell, racing in front of her, silenced the moment she hit them like a battering ram. Once inside she rolled, stood up and moved to the wall. Then she listened and looked around. The plans for the warehouse were old but the person who gave them to her swore that no changes had been made since the building went up. The place was empty and dark with extremely high ceilings. Water was dripping somewhere and it smelled like blood and things she didn’t want to think about. She knew Tim was guarding the door, so she slowed her breathing and saw the floor plan in her mind. Something hit her leg and she froze.

“Meow?” said the cat softly.

Ace smiled, nodded at her, and using two fingers directed her across the warehouse floor. The cat nodded and sauntered over the cement meowing and chasing a dried leaf.

“How the hell did a cat get in here?” asked a man, moving out the shadows on the second floor catwalk.

“Get outta here you moldy flea bag,” he spat.

The cat smiled and ignored the insult, knowing she would get her revenge a little latter. She sat down in the only ray of light available and began to bathe.

“I don’t like cats,” said another voice. “I’m allergic to them things.”

The cat’s inner kitten purred and she wondered why bad guys never really got the whole grammar thing. No matter, she thought, flicking her tail.  They’ll all be dead soon, so she concentrated on making sure that her claws were very clean and sharp.

 

 

 

 

Jack of Hearts…Chapter 53

“I never thought you were a unicorn, you know that, right?” said Ace.

“Yes, I do know that,” he said, laughing. 

“Smokey was here last night.  He said he was sorry he missed all the fun.”

“Where was I?” asked Tim, frowning.

“Asleep.  He said California is a nice place to visit, if you like forest fires.”

“Do you think he knows Smokey the Bear and Boo Boo?”

“You can ask him when you see him.”

“Can we get rid of Benny so we can move on to the Darklings?”

“Actually, we’re going to hit Benny tonight.  Well, I’M going to hit him.”

“You know I can fight.”

“Smokey is going to blow up his car, hopefully, with him in it.  I’m going to kill the guys who work for Benny.  And yes, I know you can fight so, wanna come along and play?”

“Do pigs fly at night?” said Tim, happily.

“No.  Actually, they don’t.”

“Well, I mean yes.”

“Think before you speak next time,” said Ace, kindly.  “You do know that everyone dies in the end, right?”

“What?  The end of when? You mean tonight? We’re going to die, tonight?”

“No, I mean everyone dies at the end of their lives.  See, we don’t know when we’re going to die, so it’s silly to waste time thinking about it.  Dying is something we all do.  Life kills us, so do bullets and blades and fire…”

“I get it, thank you.  If that was supposed to be a pep talk, think before you speak, next time,” said Tim, staring at her.

“You’re no fun at all,” sighed Ace.

“That’s not what you said an hour ago.”

“That was an hour ago,” said Ace, slipping two knives into her boots.  “What have you done for me lately?”

“Do we have time?” he smirked. 

“We do not,” said Ace.  “Queenie has troops around the warehouses. They’re waiting for us.”

“I want to save all of them,” said Tim.  “Every single one.”

“Then let’s do it,” she said, just as the crow flew into her chest and knocked her over.


“What the….” said Ace, scrambling to her feet,

“CAW!”

“How many men are on the stairs?”

“Caw!”

“Did he just say, “Duh?”

“Pretty much,” said Ace, heading toward the kitchen window.  “My place is warded but since I’m not sure who’s coming at us, we need to move.”

“Caw.”

“Great.  They couldn’t wait until tomorrow?” snapped Ace.

“Who?”

“The Darklings have found you.  You must have become traceable once you remembered who you were.”

Tim smiled and pulled the modified .357 Sig 1911 from behind his back.  “I like this gun.”

“I’m glad.  Now be quiet, please.  Leo,”  Ace said, into her phone.  “We’re at my place and we’re under siege.  Get to the warehouse on Addison.  Queenie should be there.  Do what you can to stop tonight’s shipments from going out.  Hopefully, I’ll be there soon.”

“What’s he saying?” asked Tim, facing the front door.

“No Leo, they’re not Benny’s guys.  They’re Darklings.”   Ace waited.  “Leo?  Are you still there?”

“We either need to go, or we need to star shooting through the door,” said Tim.  “They’re here.”

“The door is reinforced steel but the first ward just fell.  I felt it go,” she said, calling to the crow. 

“Caw,” he said, landing on the windowsill. 

“Tim, hold on to me,” said Ace, as she grabbed a tail feather.  “NOW” she said, and the crow threw himself into the air.  The bird’s magic flowed over them and they were airborne.

“Caw.”

“Uh, Tim.  Remember about not looking at the light?” asked Ace.

“Sure.”

“Well, this time, don’t look down.”

Jack of Hearts, Chapter 52

“Where did you go?”

“Lay down,” said Ace, shoving him backwards, putting a blanket over him.

“I’m not cold,” he said.

“You might be, when you’re under.”

“Under what?”

“Just relax.”

“If I let you do this will you tell me where you went?”

“No.”

“You’re such a bad-ass,” he said, smiling at her.

“You have no idea.  Now close your eyes and let go of all stress and worry. 

“Just like that?”

“Yes, just like that.  Relax,” she said softly, her voice rhythmic and steady.  Just completely relax.”

“It didn’t work, did it,” said Tim, knowingly.

“If you don’t count the last hour and a half, then no, it didn’t work.”

“Hour and a half?”

“You should remember all of it but I took notes, in case you had blank spots.”

“Tell me.”

“Your name really is Timothy and you must take after your father because he liked to cook…”

“Skip to the good stuff, please.”

“Your parents were killed by Darklings….”

“By what?”

“Darklings.  They’re kind of like wizards but they’re more like the government, greedy, murdering, hateful, bastards.”

“Uh…”

“Your parents must have had something they wanted and they knew the Darklings would come for you, so they wiped your memory, even though you begged them not to.  You were just a kid.”

“I…”

“You had a dog named….”

“The good stuff, please.”

“Your parents were…”

“Archeologists,” said Tim.

“Yes.”

“They went on digs all over the universe.  They brought me an Kathxz once, because they can live on earth.  She sang the most beautiful songs.  Kathxz’s don’t actually have genders but she was so sweet we thought she must be a female.   She wasn’t happy away from her home planet and asked to be returned.  So my mother took Zee, that’s what we called her, home.  We kept in touch, as much as we could, and I think her mate had three small ones.  Zee said they were yellow and pink.”

“I’ve seen them,” said Ace, smiling.

“Can we kill Darklings, when you’re finished with this job?”

“I don’t see why not.”

“Do you think they’re looking for me?”

“Yes.”

“Good, because I saw the faces of the men who killed my parents.”

“I’m sorry but that’s actually good, if you know what I mean.”

“I want to kill them.”

“I’ll back you up.”

“Thanks Ace.”

“You know what you are now, don’t you?”

“I do,” he said smiling.  “Where do you keep the guns?”

 

 

 

 

 

Jack of Hearts…Chapter 51

       “How long have I been asleep,” yawned Tim, rolling onto his back in a full body stretch.

       “Three days.”

       “WHAT!”

       “You were tired and I didn’t think you’d starve to death but I put an IV in for fluids.”

        Tim’s stomach growled and he pulled the needle out of his arm.  “I am starving and my teeth have fungus growing on them.”

      “Get cleaned up and I’ll meet you in the kitchen.  Take these while you’re in the shower and once you pop them in keep your mouth closed for the count of ten, that way you’ll be home free.”

       “What are they and why are they glowing?” he asked, looking at the pills in his hand.

       “Just do it, or important parts of your body will fall off.”

       “I don’t even know why I ask,” he muttered, turning toward the bathroom.

       “Caw?”

        “It wasn’t his fault.  He didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to look at the light.”

      “Caw?”      

      “I don’t know if he’ll do it again.”

      “Caw!”

      “Yes, some humans aren’t too swift.”

      “Caw.”

      “Did you eat all the bread?”

       The crow ruffled his feathers, turned and hopped away.

      “Why do you DO things like that?” shouted Ace at his back.  

        “Meow.”

        “I’ll add cat treats to the list now go take a nap.”

      “There’s NO food,” said Tim, checking all the cabinets and opening the fridge for the third time.

      “You haven’t gone shopping for three days,” said Ace.

      “I was UNCONSCIOUS for three days, remember?”

      “I’m just trying to explain why there’s no food,” she said.

      “Why didn’t you go to the store?”

      “Seriously?”

      “It’s not that hard,” he said, biting into a stale cracker.

      “I was busy and besides, I don’t shop for food, I kill people, you know that, right?”

      “Yes, I know that and I’m sorry, it’s just that I’m hungry.”

       “I’ll get the door,” said Ace, standing up. “It’s probably the pizza guy.”

       “I love you more than ever, you fantastic, amazing, gorgeous woman,” he said.

       “It’s just a pizza.”

       “You’re dessert.”

       “Not a chance.  I’m outta here.  Be back late tonight.  Try not to hurt yourself while I’m gone and when you get food buy treats for the cat and peanuts for the bird, please.”

        “What about Dex?”

        “He lives on dreams and lost moments.”

        “I HAVE to stop asking questions,” mumbled Tim, tearing the top off the pizza box.

        “Oh, and I’m going to regress you and find out about your past.”

        “What?”

        “It won’t hurt, I promise,” laughed Ace.

        “Where are you going?”

        “Out.”

        “Where out?”

        “Enjoy the pizza,” she said, slamming the door.

        “Caw?”

        “One slice, that’s it,” said Tim, eyeing the bird.     

       “CAW!”

      ” Okay two, but no more than that.  I know how you are.”

Jack of Hearts…Chapter 50

  “Why were you singing to them?” asked Tim, as he watched Leo swing back and forth.

 “Some people never grow up, do they,” said Ace, staring at Leo.  “Leo had a tough childhood.”

“Okay, but what about the singing?”   

 “They’re water angels.  Things sound different when you’re underwater.  They were out of the water and things were loud, they were also dry and terrified.  Singing calms them and reminds them of the water they live in.  They aren’t from around here, remember?”

  “Will they be okay?”

 “I hope so,” said Ace, keeping an eye on Joseph. “They are peaceful and beautiful beings.”

“Don’t look but Ian just went down the slide,” whispered Tim.  “They aren’t like the guys in The Godfather movies.”

 Ace turned to him.  “There are a lot of things I like about you,” she said softly.  “I hope you don’t die.”

“Thanks,” he said.  “I hope I don’t die either, but we’re standing in a playground watching grown men play on the swings and slide, what could possibly happen?”

“You just HAD to say something, didn’t you,” she said, shooting a guy out of the tree.  “Don’t look at the light.”

“What light?” he asked, and fell face first into the sandbox.

“THAT light,” she sighed, shooting two more men.

Leo, Joseph and Ian were shooting and yelling to each other as the light from the drone swept back and forth.  Ace pulled a button off her jacket and threw it into the air.  It attached itself to the drown and the light went out, as the machine crashed into the wading pool.  Everything stopped for a minute and when nothing happened Ace and her crew, hauled Tim to his feet.

“He looked at the light,” said Joseph.  “How stupid is he?”

“He didn’t know,” sighed Ace.  “He’s not one of us.”

“I thought everyone knew not to look at the light,” said Ian.

“I don’t think he’ll look next time,” chuckled Leo.  “Want me to throw water on him, Ace?”

“Oh, please do,” smiled Ace.

“Why am I all wet?” asked Tim, gasping for air.

“I don’t know,” snickered Ace, “but I love the way your t-shirt looks.”

“Funny,” he said.  “My head is killing me.”

“You looked at the light.”

“THAT’S what people DO when you tell them NOT to DO something,” he groaned.

“You’re lucky you passed out right away.  You would have been blinded if you had stared at it.  The headache is a normal reaction to looking at it,” she said.

“I know something that could make me feel better…I think,” he grimaced and covered his eyes.

“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.  Take these and you’ll sleep for a few hours.  When you wake up you’ll be fine.”

“What are they?” he asked, looking at the three orange discs in the palm of his hand.

“They are pills that help people who looked into the light,  Just take them.”

“Did you take the pills for your leg?” he asked, as he chewed.

“Sure.”

“How are the others?”

“Fine.”

“How many did you kill?”

Ace smiled.  “All of them.”

Jack of Hearts…next chapter:)

“Sit down and pay attention,” said Ace, pacing back and forth.  “The Message Stone has one play left, so listen up and you’ll understand what Benny is doing to those he enslaves. Help me take him down.”  Joseph, Ian  and Leo nodded.

Ace played the stone.

“Why’d ya do that?” said Joseph.  “How am I supposed ta sleep tonight?”

“That was bad,” said Ian, looking down.

“I know where one of the warehouses is,” said Leo.   “It’s on the Northwest side of Chicago.”  He brings them there and those who make it, are sold and shipped.”

“Well, go now,” said Ace, making a call.

“What?  No recon?” asked Ian, nervously.

“We’ll look when we get there,” said Ace, pulling on fingerless gloves.

“How we gonna get them back to where they came from?” asked Ian.

Joseph shook his head.  “Maybe the same way they got em here.”

“Oh, yeah,” said Ian, nodding.  “I bet you’re right.”

“Let’s go,” said Ace, heading toward the door.  “Leo, tell me where we’re headed.”

                                                  ***

“Nice park,” said Leo.

“Chicago’s full of parks,” said Ace.  “People identify where they’re from by naming their park, you should know that.”

“What’s this one?” asked Leo.

“Portage.”

“What’s that mean?” he asked.

“No idea,” said Ace.  “Let’s just keep going, shall we.”

“I’ve never been in this part of town before.  We tend to stay away from nice neighborhoods.”

“Ian,” said Ace.  “This is just a regular neighborhood, not necessarily a nice one.

“Ah,” he said, nodding. “I don’t hear gunshots, so I just thought, you know, nice neighborhood.”

Ace’s phone vibrated.  “They found the Three of Spades,” she muttered, scrolling down on her phone.

“Alive?” asked Joseph, hopefully.

Ace shook her head. “I should have said, they found parts of him.”

Jack of Hearts…Chapter 47…I’m so fortunate to have Melanie. Poor poet, she just told me I skipped the numbers on a few chapters and repeated one…I really don’t know what I would do without her (thank you Melanie). I’m sorry for mixing up the numbers and repeating a chapter…I’m not good at that stuff…I start out with a list then just give up and guess…anyway here’s chapter 47 and we’ll just keep going from there…thank you :)

“Do you ever wonder why you do what you do?”

“Someone has to do it,” said Ace.  “I’m good at it, I get to travel, the pay is great and occasionally, I get to pick up weird guys in empty bus stations, who could ask for more than that?”

“Did you call the number on the napkin?” he snickered, handing her the box she received from the Queen.  “Why don’t you open this so I can see what’s in it?”

“I did call and I’m not ready to open the box just yet.  It doesn’t feel right.”

“Who answered the phone and can I open it, if I don’t tell you what’s inside?”

“None of your business, on the phone guy, and no, you can’t open it.”

“Please.”

“No.”

“Pretty please?”

“Caw.”

“What?” asked Ace, staring at the bird.

“Caw?”

“I hate when this happens,” she sighed, staring at the bird.  “If you want to communicate with me, speak clearly.”

“C  A  W.”

Tim started laughing.  “He did what you told him to do.  It’s not his fault you only speak one language and it’s not his.”

“NOT helpful,” said Ace.

“Meow.”

“WHEN DID MY LIFE BECOME SO COMPLICATED?” asked Ace loudly, closing her eyes.

“As soon as you started letting people and animals INTO it.”

“Cute.”

“It’s true, now open the box.”

“Fine,” said Ace taking off the lid.

“Looks like a plain old stone to me,” he said. “Are you afraid to touch it?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll do it,” he said, reaching for the box.

“Don’t even think about it.  It’s a Memory Stone.”

“What’s that?”

“A record of something she wants me to see, or hear.”

“Maybe it’s important.”

“She wouldn’t have given it to me if it wasn’t.

“So?”

“If I end up unconscious, I’ll wake up again, so leave me alone and don’t worry.”

Having said that, she picked up the stone and hit the rug hard.  Once the background name calling, cawing and meowing went away she was floating through the universe.  She saw planets and ships, suns, moons and so many, many stars.  She was relaxed and enjoying the view when screams of terror suddenly surrounded her.  Horrible sounds of   overwhelming fear.  Feelings of loss, grief, desperation, depression and emptiness.  And then someone whispered, “Help us.”

“ACE, ACE, ACE,” yelled Tim.  “Wake up.” 

“Why am I soaking wet?” she mumbled, staring at him.

“I threw water on you.”

“Why.”

“I thought that’s what a person was supposed to do when someone was unconscious.”

“I told you I might pass out.”

“Your T-shirt looks outstanding,” he chuckled, staring at her.  “Are you okay?”

“Yes and no.  Yes, I’m okay but no, I’m furious at the Off World slave trade that’s going on.  I heard the sounds of those taken and of those left behind.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to stop them.”

“Caw?”

“It was a Intergalactic Message Stone.”

“Caw?”

“It’s up to you.  You can help, or sit it out,” said Ace.

“You’re talking to the crow.”

“I can understand him now.”

“Meow?”

“Yes, you as well.”

“How cool is that?”

“Depends on how you look at it.  Now I know he wants peanuts and she wants to hunt.

“I want to…”

“I KOW what you want to do,” she said. 

Jack of Hearts…Chapter 45

“Do you ever think about the people you kill?” asked Tim.

“What do you mean?” said Ace, taking a bite out of a brownie.  “Why would I?”

“What do you think about when you’re doing it?”

“I hope I’m faster and smarter than they are.”

“Good answer,” he said, wiping powder sugar off her lip with his thumb.

“Look.  I just flip a switch and my feelings go away so that I can concentrate and stay alive.  I take out the bad guys, so they can’t hurt people any longer.  It’s quiet in that space.  It’s nice.  I like it there.  I’m not attached to what I do.  It’s no big deal so don’t get all weird on me.”

“Okay,” he said. “It’s just that…”

“If you can’t handle who I am or what I do, just leave.  I love my life and I’ll love it with or without you in it.”

“That’s cold,” he said shaking his head.

“It’s the truth,” said Ace, grabbing another brownie off the plate before the crow reached for it.

“Caw!” he said.

“You’re too slow, bird of mine.”

“Caw.”

“Yeah, tell it to the cat,” she mumbled.

Tim put his arms around her and took a bite of the brownie.  “I’m not going anywhere.  I think you’re amazing and exciting.  I’m falling in love with you and, truthfully, I’d follow you anywhere.”

“Great,” she sighed, pushing him away.  “You’ve just become a liability.”

 

 

 

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