Dark City: The Challenge

Kaleigha froze.  Her mind processed the words, but it searched for any other meaning than actual death.

“Do you accept?” her father narrowed his eyes at her. The others watched her, small smiles plastered to their faces and hands hidden beneath the table.

“How is that serving the city?”  she asked.  She feared any answer other than yes, might bring about her immediate demise.

“Your bloodline is such that depending on how you die, your spirit will remain on earth,” Her father sighed, annoyed.

“How does that help the city?” Kaleigha asked,  she kept her voice modulated, allowing only a hint of curiosity to flutter in.  She had to play these people just like she would any of the small time gangsters in the neighborhood.  Despite their obvious wealth and the opulent surroundings, these people were nothing but bullies.

“What does that matter?”  her father barked.  “It is your fate! It is your duty! And it will be done!”

He stormed out of the room shouting curses. The people at the table looked terrified. Kaleigha derived great satisfaction from the scene.  Clearly they had never been challenged before.

“Are you going to tell me?” she asked those around her.

The other man, who looked as if he might faint, jarred the table as he jumped to his feet. He nodded to the women, then gave Kaleigha a fearful glance before leaving the room.

“Is my father in charge?”  She asked, hoping the women would be more forthcoming. “Is that why you all are so afraid of him?”

“Of him?”  the woman closest to her let out a sound that was part laughter and part sob.  They all stared at the air in front of the woman’s mouth as if the sound would materialize before them. The woman clapped a hand over her mouth and looked down.  Her tears leaked silently onto the table.

“No, my dear.  We are not afraid of Felder,”  the other woman said, her voice shaking.  She pulled her hands from her lap, revealing a golden orb that pulsed and writhed like a living thing.  “We are afraid of you.”

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