For the A to Z challenge, I present Murder Most Fowl, an unedited serial story from the unpublished Cera Chronicles. Please excuse the grammar mistakes. This hasn’t been critiqued yet. If you’re just diving into this story, you may want to start with part A.
Keeping one arm wrapped around the masked man’s legs, I elbowed him with the other. He gave a muffled harrumph from behind his gag and squirmed some more. I batted my eyelashes at the bartender. “Do you have a room we can use?” From the thumping coming from over our heads, I guessed the place doubled as a hotel. Or a brothel.
The bartender narrowed his gaze on me and his lips compressed around the toothpick. He tossed me a key. “Up the stairs, first room on the right. Don’t be getting blood all over the furniture.”
I couldn’t guarantee that, but offered him a convincing smile. Molly followed and we climbed the steps and ducked through.
A small window lit the tiny sleeping area, and a familiar bird-shaped shadow splayed out against the worn wood floor. I scowled up at the bird. “Go away.”
It snapped its beak and screeched in reply.
With a huff, I dropped the masked man on the bed. He flopped a couple times before flipping over and rolling off the back side. I leaned forward to peer over the edge. He rose to his feet—completely untied, though who knows how—and pulled the gag from his mouth, letting it hang around his neck. His gaze raked me from head to toe. “You’re the most peculiar person I’ve ever met.”
I puffed a bit and suppressed a smile. “Flattery will get you nowhere.”
“That wasn’t a…” He sighed and shook his head. “So now what? A standoff at high noon?”
I shrugged. “Really, that’s up to the kid here. Though I’m pretty sure she’s innocent.”
The masked man’s brow twitched and he folded his arms across his chest. “Why? Because she says she is?”
“No. I’ve seen her aim a gun. The barn’s broadside hath no fear of this woman.”
Molly made a choking sound. “Hey!”
“I would’ve blamed her for shooting me, if she hadn’t been the one with the ray-gun.” I studied the now unarmed masked man. “Speaking of ray-guns, maybe you shot her husband.”
He sneered. “I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot the deputy.”
Molly gasped. “Bobby’s dead?”
“No. I had my phaser set to stun.” He walked around the bed and approached. I stepped in front of Molly. He met my gaze and held it. His jaw tightened. “Why are you protecting her?”
I shrugged. “She’s cute.”
“She has a nasty personality and her features are only mediocre.”
“Says the man in a mask.” I rested my hands on my hips. “Who are you to her anyways?”
“Her brother-in-law.” He matched my posture. “And according to the law, she’s now my wife.”
Thanks for reading! If you want to start at the beginning, find it here. Don’t forget to visit other bloggers participating in the A to Z Challenge.