I decided to share the first chapter in my second of the atlantis series. Hopefully to be published soon:
The air still held the coolness of the fall. The black mountains protected the valley much as a crib protects a child as coyotes prowled the night. While some stars twinkled in the sky, unseen storm clouds camouflaged most, engulfing the land in complete darkness.
Dirt resting on the rooftop dug into her arms as she lay on her stomach peering at the building across the street. At this late hour, downtown streets were free from the hustle of the day. Concrete buildings, all bearing the column architecture of the capitol, rested in darkness. Jocasta shifted her attention from the building in front of her, glancing at the desert spreading behind her. The faint glow of a campfire on the outskirts of town told her they still waited despite the threat of rain.
She could see them clearly in her mind, five men with their sandals resting beside them. Her men would take any opportunity to rest, not knowing the next time it would appear. A small breeze brushed a few stray strands of hair out of her face. She took in a deep breath, taking in the sweet smell of bone-dry dirt rejoicing at rain. A mile away?
Jocasta sighed. It’s time. She turned back to the building, placing her eye next to the scope of the shooter. She inched the sight upward until the only lit window came into view. Inside, an oil-lamp hung from the ceiling, it’s steady flame illuminating the room. Next to the door she knew led into the hallway stood a wooden chair with a flat seat and reamed back. Jocasta doubted anyone was actually supposed to sit in the chair.
A maple desk on the far left dominated the room. Through the mountains of documents, she could just make out the top of the leather chair resting behind. Hanging behind the desk was a scenic picture of Zeus’s beautiful desert, more than likely drawn by a local artist.
Looks so much like a regular office, she thought. On the opposite side of the room stood a locked cabinet, plaques and medals cluttering the top. She couldn’t see the plaque faces due to the angle, but could imagine the name Highest Chair Paeonia etched into the marble. A large bookshelf rested beside it. The thick, books with worn and faded bindings looked lethal should the shelf topple, yet the shelves didn’t even appear warp under their weight.
No details gave away the façade of an ordinary office. Surely, there must be something that indicated many life-altering decisions were made within this room. This place, after all, belonged to the capital building of Zeus and the possessions within to Highest Chair Paeonia, leader of the nation’s court system.
Jocasta had just about memorized every feature within the room when the door finally opened. Patience is a learned trait, she thought with a sigh. Paeonia, her dark-brown hair pulled into a tight bun, entered with a bulging folder tightly grasped in her fingers. Half-circled glasses rested upon her pointed nose. Jocasta didn’t have to see the paper to know it was undoubtedly her speech for tomorrow morning, her final verdict on a case that had the whole world talking. She walked over to the desk, adjusting the folder to better see as she settled into the chair. She leaned back, her eyes seeing only the words in front of her.
With a steady hand, Jocasta focused on the target, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger. Her gun snapped, sending the small glass blade sailing through the air. Shards of glass fell from the window, marking its path seconds before the jagged edges embedded into the Highest Chair’s chest. She dropped the papers upon impact, her lips parting in a small gasp. A small red dot appeared on her silk blouse, uniformly expanding.
Jocasta’s pulse slowed as she watched a shaky Paeonia stand, the red spot beginning to drip onto the documents on her desk. Her hands braced her body against the desk. With hands on any furniture within reach, Paeonia guided herself toward the door. As she reached the middle of the room, Jocasta’s shooter snapped once more. This time, the blade slit the jugular vein before shattering against the wall.
Paeonia swayed, blood seeping past her fingers as she tried to cover her neck. She continued to fight, her eyes focused on the door. She staggered forward, resting her free hand on the golden handle. Before she could open the door, her legs gave out, and her body fell to the floor.
Jocasta watched her until a guard came rushing in to find the Highest Chair dead on the floor. Within seconds, she disassembled the shooter and placed it gently in a black bag. She left the rooftop and mounted a horse waiting below as the rain began to sprinkle down.