And here it is, Chapter 12 of Ageless! This is the last part of, Book One, Lazarus. We hope you have enjoyed the story so far! Please let us know your thoughts about Ageless. look for much more coming soon!
By James R. Colbert, Jr. and David R. Smith
Book One: Lazarus
The first thought Lucy had when he saw Darin West was: I’m getting too old for this shit. She didn’t say it aloud, but instead pushed a soft smile to her lips, slid off the wagon, and came resolutely around to the man she’d been looking for and courteously extended her right hand beaming with forced amiability.
“Darin West?” Lucy asked. She managed to make her query sound pleasant.
“That’s right,” the old man replied. “But most people just call me D.W.” He then winked flirtatiously. “You can too, if you share my dislike for needless formality.”
The look on his scruffy, overly-confident face showed that he considered the matter settled, and from the tone of his voice Lucy could tell that in West’s opinion everything would be agreeably cooperative right from the start.
“What can I do for you, little lady?” West asked, ignoring the too-friendly overture he unassumingly projected.
Fear touched at Lucy’s chest as she began to sweat. The manner in which West moved about, acting almost as if he owned the station, seemed he were measuring her up for size.
“My name is Lucy Haverling.” She answered blithely, her hands in her pockets. Eagerly, she examined the voluminous crowd lining the nearby wall waiting to trade with the station’s patrol as she spoke. “I’m an electrician working my way south – towards the southern tier. I was told you might be able to offer me some assistance.”
“Is that right?” West scrutinized the girl for a moment, and then turned his attention to the station’s patrol. “Good with electronics, I suppose.”
“Yes. In fact, quite good.” Lucy regarded him steadily. For all she knew West’s preoccupation with the crowd was simply a rouse.
“Is that your private opinion?” West met her gaze guilelessly.
“Private and public.” She retorted. “The gov’s pleased with my work.” She then quickly added, “As pleased as the slavers could be.” Lucy winced, but outwardly remained impassive. It cost her an effort, though. She wondered what West really thought. What was actually going on inside that skull of his? The old man seemed disturbingly clever. West was definitely nobody’s fool.
“That’s pretty much my understanding, too,” West replied. “I mean, about the government and all.”
West looked Lucy over. “I’m under no compulsion to hire. Mostly, I travel alone.” He spit on the ground. “Mostly.” Lucy nodded, her expression still guileless.
“Of course.” West continued, and with an effort Lucy cooled down a trifle. “I am headed out that way and could possibly use your services.”
A grin burst across Lucy’s face, real this time and completely unforced. “Hey, you’re the boss. What you say goes.”
“You would be working for your fare, let’s just get that straight.” As they talked they began to walk along the busy, yellow-lit tiers of the station’s offices. “I presume you have already taken that much for granted.”
“Yes, sir,” Lucy replied.
They had come to the edge of the station and were now looking out across the lake. To the left of them rose impressive banks of equipment – machinery of every shape and size, metal bands, and bundles of wiring. West studied it as though it was the precisely reason he came there. For the first time, West’s face lost its breezy confidence. A sick, dismayed expression crept into his eyes, a mixture of shame and moral shock. “That’s not — pleasant,” he murmured under his breathe. “I didn’t realize they were so-” He groped in his mind for the right word, gesticulating. “-prepared.”
“What’s the matter?” Lucy asked curiously.
“Nothing,” he muttered. “Nothing at all.”
Darin West tossed the solemn expression aside and turned rigidly to face Lucy. “We leave first thing in the morning.”
*Copyright 2016, House of Darkness Publishing, All Rights Reserved