Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday! This week I’m sharing Chapter 3 of The Unspoken Game: The Mummy Maneuver (out this May). I don’t think anyone has read this chapter yet (except the Sexy Editor). Not even my CP’s. So this week is pretty special.
If you need to play catch-up, you can read Chapter One here, and Chapter Two here.
And then Tuesday, April 8th I’ll be participating in the First Kiss Blog Hop with a piece of Flash Fiction inspired by the viral video of strangers kissing on camera! All I can say right now is my piece includes an adorable geeky-type guy (or is he?!) and a reluctant lady. And a kiss, of course!
But for now, here is this Friday’s Flash Fiction. Enjoy!
Antonia was relieved to see the familiar Seleron Technology logo on the side of the private jet. In the back of her mind there was still a little lingering doubt she’d just agreed to follow a complete stranger to her death.
The jet was top of the line. Leather seating that felt like butter beneath her fingertips, dark wood-grain accents, and soft lighting that was soothing to the eyes. She could get used to traveling in private jets.
“Can I get you a drink?” the flight attendant asked. He was incredibly short compared to Donovan and Scott, who turned out to be nearly as tall and fit as Donovan. Maybe there was a corporate policy at Seleron Technology that required all men to be huge?
Antonia wasn’t exactly short herself. Five-foot eight wasn’t tall, but it was above average. Maybe she’d fit right in. “Just a water for me, thanks.”
“Sure…” she drawled. She didn’t really care if came from a spring, carbonated, or distilled from the air. She just wanted a glass of water.
“And for you Mr. Donovan?”
Antonia’s eyebrows shot up. Mister?
“A water for me, as well. Thank you, Hank.”
Hank smiled and left to get their drinks.
“So…” Antonia began. “Donovan is your last name?”
His expression didn’t change in the slightest. “Yes, it is.”
The man could be surprisingly difficult when he wanted to be. “So what’s your first name? You introduced yourself as Donovan, I just assumed it was your first name.”
This time he smiled behind his black sunglasses. “You know what they say about assuming.”
Antonia sighed. “Fine, Donovan. I take back my offer. It’s back to Dr. Warren for you.”
This time it was Donovan’s eyebrows that shot up with surprise. He didn’t seem to like that turn of events very much, which was fascinating to Antonia.
“No one calls me by my first name,” he finally said. He sounded stunned, like he couldn’t believe he was telling her this.
And that made Antonia bizarrely thrilled. “Why is that? Is it something embarrassingly horrible?”
Donovan chuckled. “No, actually, it’s not.”
“You aren’t named Fitzpatrick or Himey or something?” she was playing with him now.
“Hey,” he scoffed. “What’s wrong with Fitzpatrick? That sounds distinguished to me.”
“Fitzpatrick Donovan? Talk about a mouthful…”
He grinned, showing all of his perfect white teeth. “You do have a point.”
Antonia wished she could see his eyes and gauge what he was thinking better. As it was, she was staring a set jaw and a pair of shiny black lenses. He was impossible to read like that.
“What’s with the glasses, Donovan? You wear them all the time. Can you see through those things?”
He nodded, and adjusted in his seat, sitting forward to reach across the little table separating them, taking off the glasses and handing them to her. “Take a peek.”
He was actually offering his sacred glasses. Antonia had a feeling it wasn’t something he did every day. She hesitated at first, taking a moment to look at his eyes one more time. He looked wary despite the smile on his face. “Alright.” She took the glasses and slid them on her face. “They’re a computer!”
“Basically. I can do just about anything with these babies.”
Running down the side of each lens was a stream of data. It took her a moment to adjust to what she was seeing, but only a moment. Down one side seemed to be coded updates, and down the other was data for Simon’s case. “How do you control it?”
“Eye movement, mostly. And this baby.” He held up the watch on his wrist. Upon closer inspection Antonia realized it was also a computer.
“It’s like I’m wearing glasses, not sunglasses.” Everything around her was as clear as day, not shaded like she expected.
“The lenses always look black on the outside, but inside adjusts based on the lighting of the room.”
“Amazing, can I get a pair?” she asked, reluctantly sliding the glasses back off.
“Negotiate it into your next contract.”
Next? Was there something she needed to know? But before she could ask, they were interrupted.
“Donovan,” Scott called as he climbed inside. “Here are the updates you asked for from HQ.” He handed Donovan a black laptop.
“How are things coming with the others?”
Scott smiled tightly, “Sparks has agreed to meet you in Atlanta and we’re still working on Patterson, but there’s a complication with Reynolds.”
“Complication?” Donovan asked as he opened the laptop. “What kind of complication?”
“She’s in jail.”
Donovan groaned. “Again? I told Jones to keep her out of trouble for forty-eight hours.”
Scott smiled and crossed his arms, easing himself into a wide stance. “In his defense, I don’t think it was Jones’s fault.”
“I’m sure,” Donovan agreed under his breath. “Change of plans, then. We’re headed to Vegas.”
“You got it, boss.” Scott headed directly for the cockpit.
“Vegas? Shouldn’t we getting to Atlanta as fast as possible?” She didn’t like this turn of events one little bit.
“It will be a quick detour, besides,” he said turning the laptop toward Antonia. “You have plenty of work to do.”
On the screen was a 3D scan of Simon’s lab.
“As you can see we’ve scanned everything. There’s also enhanced security footage and photographs of any evidence our team was able to find.”
Antonia studied the screen intently. She worked with 3D scanning all the time. It was common to scan archaeological sites and digs, even artifacts. She knew the software in front of her well, but it was like it was juiced up on crack. “Let me guess, this is the Super-Seleron version of 3D scanning software.”
“You better believe it,” Donovan replied. “It’s like you’re already in Atlanta. I think you’ll find this is just as useful as being in the lab yourself. Besides, my team is tracking down leads right now. Hopefully they’ll find Simon before we get there and all of this will turn out to be a fun plane ride for you.”
Somehow, Antonia doubted that very much.
“An old friend with as many—if not more—interesting connections to unscrupulous people as you.”
He was probably slimy and completely untrustworthy.
“And this Reynolds we’re going all the way to Vegas for?”
“She’s… complicated. But her skills will be useful to us. Trust me.”
Interesting choice of words coming from a man she’d known for a couple of hours and hid behind computerized glasses.
During the flight Antonia combed through the data from the lab. She was so focused on the images in front of her she felt like she was really there in the lab. It was hard to believe Simon felt scanning this mummy was important enough to risk so much. It was a mummy. A person dead and gone for thousands of years.
She was often in the minority when it came to her opinions on the past. She wasn’t a “put in a museum” kind of girl. The past was a tool for the present and a way to plan for the future. It was incredibly important, but it had a time and place in modern society.
Yeah, her mother hadn’t agreed with her on that point, either.
She moved away from the scans of the lab and started pouring through the security footage. It was hard to watch. Seeing Simon dragged off, limp and drugged, was painful. The question that kept bugging Antonia was why. If they were after the mummy, why did they take Simon? Or were they really after Simon and using the mummy as cover?
“We’re getting ready to land,” Donovan said quietly.
“Good,” Antonia replied. The sooner they got Miss Reynolds, the sooner they could move on.
“Finding anything useful?”
Antonia took a deep breath and sat back and away from the computer for the first time in well over an hour. She rubbed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. “I’m confused. Why do you think they took both Simon and the mummy? It seems like if they were after the mummy they wouldn’t need or want Simon around to complicate matters.”
“That’s an interesting point.”
“I mean, the whole history surrounding this particular mummy is complicated at best. It’s now been stolen three times and because of its bizarre history.” She sat up and ran the security footage again. “They took the everything with them, Donovan.”
“What’s your point?”
She had his attention now. “Why? What are they doing that requires Simon and his equipment? They aren’t just taking it to sell it. Something else is going on here.”
Donovan rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. “You don’t think they’ve moved it very far from the lab, do you?”
“I think it’s somewhere very close by.” The thieves had an objective–and it wasn’t fleeing the country.
While they prepared to land, Donovan sent off several emails to his team in Atlanta refocusing their search. Antonia set aside the data she’d been asked to look at and instead started to think like a thief.
She scanned maps of the surrounding neighborhoods hoping something would jump out at her. Then she looked at her contacts, hoping to see a connection. The minute they landed she had her phone out making calls. Even if they weren’t planning on selling the mummy, they had to prepared to take it. There had to be a clue somewhere.
“Leave your things here, we’ll be back in less than an hour.” Donovan grumbled.
“It’s going to take you more than an hour to spring this lady out of jail, Donovan.”
He smirked at her as he stood up. “Maybe for you, but not for me.”
“Does everybody always do whatever you say?” Antonia was starting to see a trend where Donovan was concerned.
“Pretty much. I have that special way about me that makes people bend to my will.” He was grinning the whole time he was talking.
“Be careful, those special qualities have a way of backfiring,” she warned.
He laughed out loud, but then suddenly stopped at the door and turned around, looking down at her. He was impossibly tall. “My name is Cole—but never call me that,” he warned, then turned and walked down the stairs.
Antonia was stunned. Cole was the perfect name to go along with those black eyes and dark demeanor.
Thanks for joining me for another Flash Fiction Friday! Stop by next week and see what I have in store! And don’t forget about the First Kiss (#firstkiss) Blog Hop the week of April 7th! Three blogs a day, all week long, posting fresh flash fiction for free!
Also, join us Tuesday, April 1st for Music as Muse!