Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Niko and Leni

Chapter 7

"This is crazy" Leni muttered several times. "I'm going back to my hotel and will hole up there until my flight on Monday and get off this crazy island."

"There's a fair chance your hotel room will have been tossed, he knows who you are - he's that good." I tried to explain. "We need to get off this island now, not on Monday."

"Who is he?" Leni crossed her arms across her chest and looked at me stubbornly.

"Doesn't matter." I said, trying to pull her along as we were now standing in the middle of an almost deserted street - if he was still looking for me, he wouldn't have to look very hard.

"Yes, it does! If you're going to drag me down with you, I want to know why and for whom!" Leni's voice carried through the night air.

"Leni!" I hissed. "Let's go, I will tell you everything I know if you get the hell out of the street now." I glanced around but didn't see any unusual shadows lurking about.

Leni seemed to finally catch on to my anxiety and looked panicked for a moment before nodding. "Fine. But we're going to my hotel." And just like that she was off, leaving me to follow her for once. I rolled my eyes but I was just glad she was moving again.

As suspected, her hotel room had been trashed. There was no sign of forced entry so I can only assume he got a key from the front desk some how. Her laptop was smashed on the floor, papers and files were scattered everywhere, some of the papers were charred.

"Gah!" Leni shrieked as she first stepped in and surveyed the damage. "How...why...?" she whirled around on me and grumbled. "What are you involved in?!"

I let out a low guttural growl but otherwise said nothing. This woman was possibly the most irritating person I'd met in recent history. "Why don't you get what you came here for?" I said, stepping around the mess to the window.

Leni looked like she was fuming and not quite done but after a moment she stomped to her laptop to survey the damage. I let her take her time picking through the wreckage while I looked out the window, watching for shadows. What exactly was I involved in?

When I looked back at her after a few minutes, she had changed and was attempting to disassemble her laptop with a pocket knife. "I think it's fairly trashed Leni." I said as I watched her work.

"May yet be something salvageable if I can get to another computer." she muttered, not looking up at me.

I shrugged and looked back out the window. I thought I saw someone lurking in the shadows but when I looked closer there was no one there. The tinkering noise from behind me finally stopped and Leni cleared her throat. She had a small backpack stuffed with whatever she could carry and the laptop looked gutted, laying on the bed. "Are we still leaving?"

"Mmhmm." I said, looking back out the window as errant thoughts and questions tumbled around in my mind. I creased my brow at one particular thought and turned to face her. "How did you find me?"

"What?" Leni asked, confused at the sudden change. "I told you, it's what I do."

"I get that...but how, specifically? No one knew I was here. The only person who ever knew about this place was Felicia" I said.

"I talked to your brother - I saw a picture of you and Felicia here and asked her family about it - your brother just confirmed what they already told me..." she was chewing on her lower lip a bit.

"I don't have a brother." I said thinking about her story, she seemed to be telling the truth as far as she knew it though.

"What?" Leni's eyes were wide. "No, he said he was your brother and the Gianni's said they'd talked to the same person...."

"I don't have a brother Leni!" I said loudly. I turned from her and pinched the bridge of my nose. When I looked back, Leni looked confused and uncomfortable. After another moment and a deep sigh, "Let's go..." I said even as I thought about just leaving her behind in the hotel room.


We took the darker, silent side streets to the marina docks where rows of sleek boats were nestled. I scanned the row of boats until I found the one I was looking for. I climbed on board but Leni hung back on the dock, looking uncomfortable and confused again. She was actually a little cute when her brow furrowed like that - or she would be if she weren't so damn irritating. "Are you coming?"

"Why a boat?" she asked.

I smirked and leaned on the railing, "Because you may have noticed that there is only one flight a day to and from this little island back to the mainland and I'd rather not have another run in with our would-be killer."

She considered my words and finally, with a begrudging look, she climbed aboard the sailboat. She sat quietly as I prepared the boat and didn't speak until we were underway. "Nice boat." she said softly. "You really don't have a brother?"

I shook my head. "No."

"Damn!" she said. She lapsed into another silence for awhile. Without word, she got up and walked, a little unsteadily, to the front of the boat.

I watched her for several minutes as she leaned against the railing. Was the guy claiming to be my brother Victor Luna? Or was this a copycat of some sort? Maybe Luna really was dead and some nut job had just read about him on Wikipedia and decided he liked the M.O.

When I came up behind Leni, I didn't say anything to distract her from her thoughts and for a few moments she didn't acknowledge me. But when she turned to look at me, her face was crossed with worry. "This is my fault isn't it?" she said softly.

"What?" I asked surprised by the question.

"I led him here...he's after you and I gave him the answer...I didn't know it but this is all my fault." she said.

"No...well him coming here specifically maybe but he probably would have found me eventually." I said.

"Who is he?" Leni asked.

"I don't know, honestly. I have guesses though." Even though we were both tired, we sat back on the deck and talked about everything we knew - which wasn't much at this point. I told her about Victor Luna and described him to her based on the picture I'd seen in the file but she said that didn't sound like the person she'd talked to. She told me about my so-called brother and the beginnings of her investigation into Felicia's disappearance which had led her to me.

We were both yawning when everything had been said and re-said. "There's a bed down in the cabin. I'll show you." I said leading her down the stairs.

"Um..." she looked awkwardly at the one double bed and then at me.

"Don't worry about it. I'll be up on the deck." I said with a small smile.

"No, we can.." she started to protest.

"There's a small bathroom over there, you can get cleaned up." I said with a a nod in the direction of the bathroom. "We'll probably make port by morning."

"And then?" she asked.

"Well, I'm going home - but can wherever you want from there." I turned back to the stairs. "We'll figure it out when we've both slept a bit."


I didn't really sleep that night, I laid out on the padded benches on deck and tried to close my eyes but my thoughts were going to fast to sleep. Staring up at the stars above me, everything that had happened in the last couples days played through my mind. I didn't know what would come of going back but the island no longer seemed like home - it never really had been home I suppose, just a place to avoid reality. I glanced over to the stairs leading down to the cabin and wondered if Leni was sleeping.

Before sunrise, I descended the stairs quietly and cleaned up quickly. Leni had tossed the covers aside and was sprawled across the whole bed. I grinned at her for a second before going back up to the deck. I watched the sunrise from the front of the boat and saw a sliver of land ahead of us. If the guy who'd run us off the road thought we were actually dead, he might be on the morning flight to the larger mainland airport, we'd probably be arriving at the same time...on the other hand, he could be waiting a day or two on the island to see if we surfaced.

I didn't hear her approach until she was right behind me. "That where we're headed?" Leni asked.

I nodded. "Yep, there's a larger airport - lots of flights to just about everywhere."

"Good." she said simply. I heard her walking away but didn't turn to face her, still watching as the land before us grew larger on the horizon.

After awhile, I went below decks to get dressed and was thankful for the clothes I had on the boat. With reluctance, I also shaved the stubble I'd grown accustomed to in the last six months. It felt like I was shedding part of my brief life as an islander.


I didn't ask Leni where she was going, I hoped she had enough sense to disappear somewhere for awhile but I wasn't going to suggest it and risk pissing her off. We passed through security together without a word but I noticed we were both looking over our shoulders a lot.

"Keep your head down." I told her as we were standing at the arrivals/departures boards. She had become slightly less irritating over the last few hours - while she was asleep - but mostly I didn't want to see anyone else hurt or killed.

"Right." she said, sticking her hand out. We shook hands and then walked in different directions. I paused and looked back at her but she was gone. Just as well.

End Chapter

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