Capturing The Last Gasp

Orville the Alchemist in the Sovereign City of Angels

Elliot R. Roberts

Smashwords Edition Copyright 2011

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ORVILLE SCURRIES SILENTLY. HE IS a shadow passing through the dark alleyways. He flits from dark corner to dark corner. He never rushes or darts, he never sneaks or crawls. All of those things quicken the eye the way a whisper entices the ear. He simply moves quickly, deliberately. He never makes a wrong step. His foot never lands in the flowing stream of disgusting grey liquid in the gutter or in a pile of broken glass and pottery shards. The garbage and worse that people throw from their windows never finds his head. The cats and the…things living in the alley don’t stare at him. He is good at sneaking through dark alleyways, but in these specific fecund swamps Orville is more than good. In the back paths of this particular warren of the violent and the desperate, Orville is a ghost.

Orville does not live around here. He hates this neighborhood. Everything about it from the human waste in the gutters to the pervading dank that doesn’t dry out in a noon sun makes him feel like his skin is puffing up and peeling off in great masses after being scorched by a flat piece of hot iron. And the people here, he tries not to even think of what a den of thieves and rapists and slavers this is. He keeps one hand tucked inside of his jacket, his fingers wrapped around a cruel weapon. He made it for terrible excursions into the darkest parts of the city. For nights like this one. The weapon is a devilishly sharp spike made from a stick of wrought iron the length of his forearm with the tip carefully ground to a fiendishly sharp point. The black, matte metal gives no reflection so if Orville needs to use it it won’t catch the light and draw attention to him. He hopes he won’t have to use it tonight. Orville hates having to stake people in alleys.

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