Darcy watched the tow truck pull into the post office parking lot with a jaded fascination. Something was happening. Something, which was quite curious. The driver, a young man with straw-blond hair began hooking up a familiar jeep to the tow chains. The owner of the jeep was not there. In fact, she had seemed to disappear into thin air just a few hours before from the Leeds library.
Most likely, the jackrabbit had help. As Darcy followed her through the afternoon streets, she noticed the panic in her prey’s eyes. Something, which she found exhilarating. She enjoyed the levels of fear she caused. The jackrabbit deserved every bit of it and more.
But she had been eluded, and this would not do. It didn’t take long to figure out her prey did not actually reside in Leeds. There were other places nearby to start checking. The jackrabbit’s five month respite was going to come to a very abrupt end.
Darcy decided she would start with the tow truck driver. He might be willing to tell her something. Men liked to do things for her at first, getting lost in her eyes, if not her cleavage. Such simple, predictable, creatures. It was only after some time passed that her male prey items became uneasy around her, her hypnosis not working quite as well.
It was what happened with her Jacob. If she had just a little more time, she might have been able to seduce him once more. But she was locked in that cage for a few years, before she convinced those who needed convincing she was perfectly well. By then, Jacob had been stolen by the jackrabbit and had gotten sick and died.
These thoughts passed through her head in lightning flashes of rage as she started to walk toward the post office parking lot. The tow truck driver would give her some answers, she was sure of it. Adjusting her top and adopting playful smile, she began to walk toward him.
“The owner of that jeep isn’t going to be coming back any time soon,” a voice behind her said casually. “And Curtis there doesn’t really like girls that much.”
Darcy spun around, barely concealing the scowl on her face. He was perched on the hood of her car in the lengthening shadows of a mountain dusk. His head cocked to the side inquisitively and an amused smirk played across his lips. She felt a shudder pass through her, recognizing his manner as predatory, having seen cats with similar bearing just before they pounced.
“Who are you?” Darcy inquired coldly.
“An interested party,” Lankin said simply, his grey eyes not wavering as he pulled himself from the hood of her car.
“’An Interested Party’ is a rather odd name,” Darcy mocked.
“I believe it’s Swahili, but it might be Diné,” Lankin remarked. “And you’re Darcy McCellan. Come all the way up from Prague, New Mexico.”
“You apparently know things.”
“I’m a likable sort, so people tell me things.”
“You’re the one who helped her at the library.”
Darcy walked closer, swaying side to side. Lankin stood firm, his arms folded across his chest. Their eyes remained fixed on one another, neither willing to break their gaze. Such an action would spell defeat.
“You should stay away from her. She is not what she seems.”
“Which makes her all the more interesting.”
“She’ll break your heart.”
“Preposterous! My heart has no bones.”
“She’s a whore and a thief,” Darcy whispered, her voice almost sweet, despite the venom carried upon her words. She placed a hand on Lankin’s arm.
“You are a stalker and a dog-killer,” he said coolly. “So far, you New Mexico girls seem to be anything but virtuous.”
Darcy’s gaze hardened and she withdrew her hand as she backed away. Normally, her charms would have achieved their ends by now. This one was more of a challenge than most men. In fact, the only interest he seemed to have in her was that of an adversary.
“Then I am dangerous,” Darcy stated, adopting a colder tact. “If I could kill a dog than I could be considering killing you right now.”
“You most likely are,” Lankin said dismissively. “But it would be rather embarrassing for you to try.”
“You seem to think I would fail.”
“It’s a given.”
She began to walk closer once more. This time, there was more of a predatory stride in her movement. Lankin let out a heavy and disappointed sigh as he uncrossed his arms. His gray eyes narrowed and something that sounded like the growl of a mountain lion rattled in the back of his throat.
“I promise it’ll be the last thing you ever do.”
Darcy stopped cold. For the first time she could ever remember, she found herself standing completely still. She found herself looking down at her feet, ceding the primal and predatory challenge that had existed between them since they started speaking.
“Why are you here, An Interested Party?” She asked.
“I came to make you an offer.”
“Of what sort?”
“Sydney Pollack is no longer in New Mexico. She’s nowhere near the places your mutual dead x’s remains lie. In a sense, you’re victorious.”
“I’m offering you a chance to walk away now,” Lankin said plainly. “Go back to New Mexico happily knowing you won.”
Darcy started to laugh. It was a twisted, mocking, hateful sound, which had gotten those hearing it to shiver in the past. Lankin listened impassively, simply folding his arms across his chest once more.
“You don’t understand!” She spat.
“You’re the second girl from New Mexico to say that to me today,” Lankin shot back. “Are the boys down there a little less bright?”
“It’s you who should walk away,” Darcy hissed. “You should run.”
“We’re going for a wander,” Lankin said. “The Backcountry around Gaia’s Backbone. Up the Death’s Head, to be specific.” It was then he turned and began to walk away, melting into the gathering shadows, but added over his shoulder; “Don’t be here when I get back.”