Edward Owen – Author

Ray Bradbury Challenge #46- Darya Salko

This is part of the first chapter of my new series, Dark Angeles. The main character, Darya Salko, is a Deputy District Attorney for the City of Los Angeles. Her childhood was far from normal. Think Law and Order meets Supernatural. This is not exactly a complete story, but the muse wouldn’t let me waste the word count on something else. Feedback, as always, is welcome.

 

Darya Salko

 Katana and briefcase

“And Truth or Darya strikes again,” Stephan said as he collected files from the table and slid them into his briefcase.

 Darya enjoyed Stephan’s boy-next-door good looks that belied his age.

 He looks like a college student, she thought.

 “You’re going to tell me you didn’t know she would be here? What did you plan to do if she didn’t shown up?”

 “C’mon, there’s always a plan B,” she said. “It’s lunchtime.”

 Darya turned on her heel and made a beeline for the exit. Stephan scrambled to catch up.

 “Let me guess, you told Robert not to tell you if he found her so you could honestly say you didn’t know. Sandoval would be pissed if you got your skirt tossed in jail for a week.”

 The junior D.A.’s tone bordered on hero worship.

 “Oh, my young Jedi, you have so much to learn. Thompson knows I won’t waste his time. Besides, I knew he would give the jury a whole day to think about what a lying bastard Gainsworth is. I’ll bet his poor grandmother’s been dying since he was in high school.”

 Darya strolled down the steps of the courthouse thankful for the clear spring skies and the warm California sun.

 Doesn’t get much better than this.

 “What do you want for lunch?” she said as Stephan caught up to her.

 ”You buying?”

 He rushed to keep up with Darya’s long strides.

 ”Yeah but only if we go to Antonio’s.”

 Stephan rolled his eyes. “Let me guess, Veal Parmesan?”

 ”Is there anything else on their menu?”

 ”That’s fine, it’s not like I’m going out on a date tonight anyway.”

 Darya nudged Stephan in the ribs. “That is your fault. I happen to know that Elise was very interested in going out with you.”

 Darya continued down the steps but Stephan had stopped behind her. She turned. “You coming?”

 Stephan wasn’t moving. Silence filled the air as the entire city came to a halt. The people on the steps, those walking back-and-forth on the sidewalk and the cars on the street were all frozen in place.

 Small hairs stood up on the back of Darya’s neck. Old memories, locked away for more than a decade crept back into her mind.

 No, this is not happening again.

 Movement near the top of the steps caught her eye. A woman, dressed in designer clothing, pranced down the steps toward her. Darya studied her as she drew closer. The woman stopped and her bright blue eyes faded to white.

 ”Hello, Darya,” the woman said in a lilting voice. “How have you been, darling?”

 ”Do I know you?” Darya said.

 The woman looked down at herself .

 ”Oh, I suppose you wouldn’t recognize me in this.”

 The woman waved her hands. In her place stood a tall, lanky man with scraggly hair braided down his back. An anemic goatee clung to the bottom of his chin.

 ”Tonaias!” Darya’s eyes widened in surprise. “What the H … What in Heaven’s name are you doing here?”

 ”Nice save. Although, I daresay your first inclination was correct. I’m afraid my reason for being here has very little to do with our team.”

 ”I don’t want to hear about it. Undo your little magic spell. I’m going to lunch.”

 ”Celeya you know you can’t run away from this.”

 ”My name is Darya.”

 ”Why do you insist on pretending you’re something you’re not? Besides, better you go to the battle on your terms than theirs.”

 ”I finished this fifteen years ago. I did the good deed, I fought the good fight and we won. I have a life now. So go back and tell whoever’s in charge I’m done. And really, Tonaias, a rich socialite? I thought you were above vanity.”

 ”Well, my child, one takes the appearance that will allow one to blend most easily. Besides, have you seen the selection of men’s shoes this day and age? That is the true definition of Hell on Earth.”

 Tonaias  resumed his socialite appearance.

 ”Seriously, Celaya, there’s a storm brewing. You might want to be sure you have your umbrella.”

 Before she could reply, Tonaias disappeared and the city returned to life. Stephan nearly ran into Darya as he came down the steps.  The look of surprise on his face at her sudden change in position produced a small knot in her stomach.

 I know you can hear me. Leave me alone. You are not screwing with my life again.

 Darya forced herself to smile across her clenched teeth.

 ”Come on,” she said, “let’s go eat. I’m starving.”

 She scurried down the steps to the sidewalk and hailed a cab.

 *****

 Darya did her best to fake conversation during lunch. The incident outside the courthouse had clouded her mood and the meal barely held her interest.

 ”You okay?” Stephan said.

 Any other time, the look of concern on his face would have been amusing. Darya pulled herself from her reverie long enough to give him a smile.

 ”Yeah, I’m okay. Just a few things on my mind,” she said.

 ”Must be. You’ve hardly touched your lunch.”

 ”Guess I wasn’t as hungry as I thought. Can you let Lisa know I’ve got a couple of errands to run this afternoon? I’ll be back later.”

 ”Don’t forget, we have the Wilson deposition at 3:30.”

 Darya pushed her plate away. “Oh, I should be back by then. If I’m not, you can handle it.”

 ”Sandoval will be pissed if you’re not there,” Stephan said around his last mouthful of food.

 ”He’ll get over it,” she said as the waiter dropped the bill on the table. She signed it and handed it back to him.

 ”I don’t mean to be rude, but there’s something I need to take care of.”

 ”Hey, no problem. Thanks for lunch,” Stephan said as Darya left the table. “We will have to do it again sometime when your mind and your body are both here.”

 

 

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