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[excerpt] Errand Girl for the Dead part 2

The second excerpt from Errand Girl for the Dead [Click here to just purchase the whole book]

 

My head had become a little woozy while I was working, so I turned off the Sight to let it pass. I’d used a ton of power to get that engine’s parts moving again, and I needed a rest. Mel walked over to the fridge at the far end of the room, and before I knew it there was an open can of MilamUp in front of me.

 

“Sip it slowly,” she said.

 

I chugged it down and slammed the empty can on the table. I shrugged at Mel, who was doing her level best to look mad without wrinkling her face. I didn’t feel anything at first, then suddenly a surge of energy crinkled through my nerves. My brain felt like it had expanded and would foam out my ears.

 

“Your head is going to burst one day if you keep drinking those like that, Duke.”

 

“And I will chug right up until the time it does. Can you grab me another, please?”

 

Mel pulled another MilamUp from the fridge and tossed it to me.

 

I took a sip and kept working. She waited for a minute, but when she realized I was done talking, she bent next to me, hair still flowing.

 

“What do I need to tell her?” she asked.

 

“I’ll explain it to her—”

 

Mel waved her hand. “You know I trust you, but there’s no way I am going to let you talk to her.”

 

“Then it is a good thing that I’m wasting my valuable time to come down to you.”

We both looked up at the sound of another voice. Carmo Tobin came down the stairs, and her heels made tiny dinging sounds when they hit the metal steps. No doubt a glamor; Carmo Tobin didn’t wear anything that wasn’t beautiful.

ding

ding

ding

ding

Carmo appeared on the landing.

 

She was the very epitome of a perfect Praina woman. Her silk robes shimmered here and there even though the sun hadn’t been out in days, and certainly wasn’t shining in my workroom. As a matter of fact, it was raining so hard outside I could hear it from all the way down here, yet her hair was dry, flowing in waves behind her like Mel’s. Her tall frame was curvy, her skin was a sun-kissed bronze. I tried to keep from staring at her wide and beautiful golden eyes.

 

She had more metal in her face than an Agnon. Well, she didn’t have nose armor or anything, but I could see the glow of gems and hoops from her septum to her ear. I was sure she was using quite a bit of magiera to make carrying all that metal seem effortless. I was half-tempted to make that comparison out loud, but nothing would start a fight with a Praina faster than comparing them to their leather-clad, battle-scarred, non-powered, brute-force, gun-toting neighbors to the north.

 

I shook my head at the thought of all that magiera being wasted, and went back to the bike.

“I might be more amiable to bad news if the person I hired didn’t complain about having to work for a living,” Carmo stated, a little louder than I thought was needed.

 

Mel put her hand on my shoulder and squeezed, but I was not having it today. High-powered Praina had soft hands; they never knew a hard day’s labor.

 

“My complaint is that you didn’t do anything with this bike other than putting your ass on it, Mma Tobin.” I said. I put extra emphasis the honorific, pronouncing it “muh-map” so she knew I didn’t mean it with respect. “I would have been less inclined to complain if you had taken care of the damned thing.”

 

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