Man that moth hauled in some serious cash. Stashed it in the bank with the rest save for a little money I took out to use for food, clothes and a place to stay for a few weeks. I also used it to finance my next job. That’s why I’m sitting in Cairo waiting for—
“Inan!” The idiot cutting my name in half is Bryce, he’s a good guy and I say idiot in the most endearing way. He’s making his way through the crowded riverside café towards where I’m sitting. Today I’m dressed in tans and browns with an Indiana Jones hat on. I’m leaned back in my seat, the hat tilted down over most of my face. I can see him just under the brim of the hat and I sigh, kicking out the seat opposite me so he can sit in it and then sit up right, taking the hat off and letting my black hair fall down to shoulder length.
“Seriously, it’s Inanna, I hate nicknames.” As if I haven’t said this before.
“Inanna is such a mouthful though,” he says with his ever present grin. He’s dressed like a damned tourist out of Hawaii, I’m not sure how you get by wearing a Hawaiian shirt in Cairo, but here we are. At least my skin tone resembles a faded version of the locals; he’s as white as snow. He needs to get outside more often.
“You weren’t complaining about mouthfuls last night.” That gets him to blush; now he’s red.
“Inanna is an important name, I’d just prefer you not truncate it”
He rubs the back of his neck. “You never told me what it means.”
“It means Lady of the Sky and I’m named in honor of my mother’s first mother.”
“Lady of the Sky huh? Cool. So, I got it.” Just to be sure you understand, he’s not an idiot. This has been a coded conversation from the beginning, except the bit about him not complaining about mouthfuls. That was pure glorious ad-lib. Also, my name, that part’s real too. Anyway, I watch as he pulls a briefcase out and slaps it onto the table. A few buckles later and he opens it to reveal the contents and turns it so I can see it. Remember that coded conversation? It’s because we wanted certain people listening and watching.
I put on gloves and take the scroll from inside the case, carefully unrolling it across the table. The scroll is an ancient Sumerian map and the material is older than dirt and more fragile than a ninety year old woman’s bones. My sapphire eyes widen. I can’t help that first reaction.
“Jesus Christ. It’s real.”
You ever do something and immediately question your life choices? Yeah, that’s what I’m doing right now, hanging upside down from the ceiling of a dust encrusted ancient tomb in what used to be Sumeria. This would all be fine except I have six automatic rifles pointed at me by a bunch of men dressed like locals. They’re not locals though; they’re hired thugs from my previous employer who’s really interested in this tomb and its contents. Actually, no one gives a damn about its contents except for one piece. There’s a spear on a plinth below me. The golden spear is what everyone here wants and its what I came for. They can’t have it, my employer is paying me way too much to let this go. Plus—I feel somewhat attached to it.
I do as they say and drop from my harness, twisting around in mid air to land flawlessly in front of the spear, facing them with my back towards Bryce, who’s frozen in fear behind the plinth. Bryce is smart but he’s not brave. “Ok boys, let’s all calm down. You want the spear? What if I don’t want to be the idiot who sets off all the traps or releases the ancient curse?”
“Shut up and give us the spear.” Eh, it was worth a shot. I pick it up. Surprisingly to no one but fans of adventure movies, nothing happens.
“Now hand it over and no one gets hurt.” Bwaahahahaha! Yeah right, they’ll just leave two perfectly good witnesses to their grave robbing alive. That’s how that works.
I walk up to him, closer than necessary to hand over something as long as a spear. I grip the shaft of the weapon in both hands and hold them out stretched so he can take it. He reaches for it and I pull it back a little.
“You know it could shock you to death.”
“Nonsense, you’re fine.”
“Yes but, what if I turned it on?”
“Only she can turn it on, or one descended from her blood.”
I grin and morph my wings out of my back, spreading their leathery glory to their full twelve foot span at the exact instant his hand touches the spear’s shaft. “Wouldn’t that be something?” He screams as electricity blazes through his body, burning through his veins. I rip the weapon free of his grip and drive the pointy end through the right eyeball of the man next to him. From there I’m a whirlwind of death. I fold my wings on my back and cut down two more men before they bring their weapons around.
Bullets fly, slamming into my chest and stomach with brutal impacts. The bullets flatten against the bullet proof vest I’m wearing beneath my shirt but it’s gonna bruise something fierce. It takes all of my training to keep from falling from the pain of the impacts and I grab the gun of the man closest to me, rip it from his grasp and use it to cut down him and his friends. For a moment, there’s only silence and the ringing in my ears from weapons fire at close range.
“I should have known. Inanna seems obvious now.”
I turn to find Bryce pointing a desert eagle at my head. Figures.
“Don’t be like that Bryce.” It’s a stalling tactic, though I really have no idea what I’m going to do with any time it buys.
“It’s just business. You know my bosses’ secret now, he had to get rid of you but he wanted the spear too. Only one thing left to ask, who employed you?”
“A lady never kisses and tells.”
“When did you get powers? All the years we’ve worked together I’ve never seen you shock someone to death.” He’s stalling—he doesn’t want to do this. Interesting.
I take off one of my gloves.
“Electro-shock gloves insolated with rubber compound lining. I can no more shock someone than you can.” I have some interesting parentage but I don’t have any special powers unless you count making my wings appear or disappear. Everything I do I have to do with my wits and the ability to think ahead. I suspected I might need to use the spear and just in case I did, gloves. I didn’t expect Bryce thought. That’s my fault; I let him get too close. I toss the glove gently, as if to let him look it over. As I suspected he’s not a trained assassin, he acts instinctively to catch the glove before it hits him and in the time it takes him to do that I charge him.
I grab his gun hand and twist it away and down, forcing him to release the weapon, then I drive the spear up under his rib cage and pin him to the wall. My own stolen gun clatters off somewhere. I watch him struggle a moment against the spear, gurgling with wide eyes.
“Never hesitate,” I tell him. I pull the spear and let his dying body hit the ground. I take my time to wipe the weapon off on someone’s shirt and then walk over to my harness. It’s a simple process to get into it again and climb back out of the tomb. My employer will be waiting for me back in the States and this one’s a lot less likely to try and have me killed than the last one.
Concepts, Lore, & New Developments.
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