Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The Traveling Story: A Book Blogger Round Robin
Part 1: From Romance In The Backseat
We have all read the books, and seen the movies, and dreamed them up in a passing cloud, but there is no such thing as dragons. Or so Eliza McKenzie thought. Then early Saturday morning the door to her apartment was set on fire. Just the door, one second a normal door, the next it looked like the flaming entrance to hell. Eliza might have been able to rationalize this. Fires happen, maybe arson, maybe spontaneous combustion, she would have come up with something after she climbed out the window and dropped from the second story into the bushes.
The explanation would have had nothing to do with a giant, green, winged, lizard knocking through the door and standing on the welcome mat surrounded by fire. Eliza’s eyes doubled in size as the massive beast (her mind had not come up with the word dragon yet) opened his mouth to suck in a deep breath.
Fire came rushing for her face just as the dragon, yes it was definitely a dragon, was pulled from the room by his tail. The wall shook, the ground quaked, and there was the horrible sound of wood breaking mixed with the screech of nails on a chalk board. The floor gave another bounce then the sound of the hallway window shattering held Eliza’s full attention.
Eliza’s window still looked inviting as heavy footsteps made their way back towards her apartment. The green shape, flashing golden wings gliding by outside changed her mind. Whoever was walking towards her had kicked a dragon’s ass, but hopefully would lack a muzzle full of sharp teeth. After the dragon a troll, wizard, or kilt clad Highlander would feel down right normal. Though if that actor guy walked in and started preaching Scientology Eliza would know this was all a dream.
Henry Howard her somewhat geeky next door neighbor stepping over the smoking door was a bit of a let down. Tall, slender, wiry, Eliza had often wondered how he carried victims out of burning buildings. Henry was a full time Fire Fighter for the city. His moving in down the hall three months ago had actually allowed Eliza to sleep better at night. She just felt safer for no reason, or at least not one she could pin down. Though the feeling now seemed more than justified.
Henry gave her his usual crooked smile, eyes flashing behind his soot covered glasses.
“You still have your eyebrows, or were they singed off? Can’t tell from here.”
The possible loss of her eyebrows was just too much to contemplate. Eliza’s temper began to simmer and boil as Henry calmly used his t-shirt to clean his glasses. “Who the heck are you anyway?” the question forced its way out between clenched teeth.
PART 2: Cheeky Reads
“A better question might be who are you? Since I believe it was your apartment I just had to keep a dragon from making an inferno out of,” Henry quipped with a lift of his brow.
“Listen here mister,” she sputtered as she placed her hands on her hips and tried her best to stand up straight and present an intimidating figure. Ok, so at 5’4 intimidating was pushing it, but hey, a little display of confidence could help a girl through a lot of messy situations. She watched as Henry’s lips twitched. A sure sign he was holding back laughter. No way was he standing there laughing at her!
Poking her finger in his chest she demanded, “How did you manage to chase off a…a dragon? I mean you have to admit you’re not packing any serious muscles. Unless you’re some sort of Superman/Clark Kent superhero? And seriously, a dragon? I think we are both inhaling some serious toxic fumes from this smoke and have lost our grip on reality. Dragons do not exist.”
This time he let a deep chuckle escape at her overflow of questions. “If you say so, but then what do you call the giant, green scale-covered creature I just ran off for you? You and I both know that was a dragon.”
“Exactly!” She exclaimed. “You want to tell me how come you aren’t freaking out about that. And how did you drive him away?”
“Now you’re asking the right questions. I think it’s time we had a nice long chat over a cup of coffee.”
Henry reached out and brushed a smudge of soot from her cheek. Instead of the irritation that had been welling up inside her, she felt a frisson of excitement as his fingers moved against her skin. Startled that she had just stood there staring at geeky boy next door; she backed away and turned to stare at what remained of her front doorway.
“I don’t think my apartment is in any shape for entertaining.”
She met Henry’s gaze and couldn’t help but smile. “How about we figure out something to do about my front door before we head over to Mel’s? Somehow I think a dragon trying to fry me to a crisp calls for something a little stronger than a cup of Joe.”
Walking over to Eliza’s phone, Henry checked for a dial tone and then dialed a number from memory.
“Dek, I need the team over here for a clean-up and containment job fast.”
Eliza watched as Henry ran his hands through his slightly wavy brown hair that was just a tad too long and wondered what he was going to say to his fellow firefighters when they arrived. Had he said containment?
“Yeah,” Henry murmured. “Apt. 303. I must have been right about this one,” he said and then hung up the phone.
“This one,” Eliza demanded feeling her previous agitation start to rear its head again.
“Hold off on that anger until we sit down to have our talk. You’ll have a whole bunch more questions and some issues to deal with after that. You don’t want to waste all your anger on me just now.”
Putting a hand on Eliza’s back, he attempted to start moving her toward the crispy doorway.
A.) Growing frustrated with the situation and not sure if she should be trust him, Eliza felt her anger and frustration overflow. One minute Henry is touching her back. The next, he’s flat on the ground with her foot on his throat.
B.) Looking up into Henry’s eyes Eliza can’t believe how calm she feels by his side, even as her partially scorched apartment surrounds them. What is it about this man she thinks right before she lifts up onto her tiptoes to press a light kiss to his cheek? “Thank you,” she whispers.
C.) “A girl cannot go out looking like this. Give me five minutes to freshen up unless you want the whole apartment building to think I’ve been the victim of some horrible accident. Ok. They would be right, but I have the feeling this is something we might want to keep to ourselves,” Eliza questioned.
How do you want the story to continue?
UPDATE: You Voted for A - Now head over to Twisted Fates Cafe to read the next installment!