A flash out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. So what was going on, she hit him over his head and then tried to trip him up, but she stayed around to make sure he was all right? That was a mistake.
She took off, but he was faster, and now, he was angry. She knew the area better, but he knew it fairly well by now. And he was very angry.
Every time she took a turn, he took it a little faster. Every time she tried to double back, he blocked her way. Little by little, he cornered her again—into an open-air alley, with natural light, with no windows, no exits, no tunnels nearby. She was trapped.
If he hadn’t been blindingly angry, he would have felt bad about it. But just in case, he made sure there was nothing around that she could hit him over the head with again.
There was a small, quivering shadow in the corner, almost hidden behind the trash bins.
Her time was up.
“Imreen Dal. Show yourself!” Bosaru shouted.
For a minute the alley was dead silent. For a minute he didn’t think she would comply. Finally he heard a rustle in the shadowed corner before an indistinct form emerged.
Even before she hit the light he knew who it was. The white and gold fabric of her priestess shift glinted, just enough to highlight the curves it was wrapped around.
Imreen Dal. The same priestess he first encountered in the shrine.
Imreen Dal. The woman who had been his dreams’ companion all these years.
“Imreen Dal.” Bosaru took a deep breath. “Good to see you again.”
The expression on her face was pensive. Or was it doleful? “I wish I could say the same, Officer Bosaru,” she said. “I did my best to keep away from you, but to this end.”
Her face shifted from pensive—resigned, he realized—to something set.
There was a glint in her eye. “I thought it was clear. I do not want to speak to you.”
Well, that was blunt. “Just a few questions.”
“Why? You don’t even know what I’m going to ask!”
“I can guess.”
“Then why didn’t you just decline instead of leading me on a chase?”
“Would you have let it go at that?”
“No,” Bosaru said. “And you didn’t have to hit me over the head, either.”
“I didn’t,” she said.
They stared at each other for a second. “Then who did?” he asked.
“I don’t know.”
Bosaru stared at her some more. “You weren’t in the burned-out building around the corner?”
She shook her head. “I was hiding around the corner of it when you went inside. I avoid that building. It’s not stable.”
“But it’s got an entrance to the tunnels. I thought that’s where you were going.”
“I don’t like the tunnels either,” she said. “I only use them when I have to.”
“Then why weren’t you gone by the time I got back out?”
“I was worried about you,” she said. “I stayed until I saw you coming out and knew you were safe. And then I left.”
“Then why didn’t you go into the alleyway that was closest? That would have let you in a safe place.”
“I don’t like that alleyway,” she said.
“Is there anything you do like?”
“Being left alone.”
“What is with you?” he asked, exasperated. “I’m not asking for m—”
“I need to get out of here,” she said, her eyes huge. “Now.”
She tried to leave, tried to run, but Bosaru stopped her. “Why?”
Imreen Dal looked up at him, her eyes wide. “Haven’t you noticed? The sun’s set. We can’t be out.”
ECHOES OF PASSION Available at Ellora’s Cave