The Colour of Darkness

We get the titular character’s nephew sorted out but it appears he’ll be back shortly. The pace of this story once again slows down with two new friends content to simply be with one another.

And, yes, Aurie’s line below was cribbed from “Blade Runner.” Authors steal from each other all the time; it’s the nature of the calling.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

It was not until they were outside of the building before he spoke again.

“I apologize, General Hartmann,” Filk said politely but still a little petulantly.  “What is your interest in my aunt?”

“Her interest,” Colour said, stepping out of the twilight and leading her horse, “is that we are friends.  I don’t recall you ever having a single one, Filk.  But enough pull with the voters to make it onto the Council.”

Even in the low light, his frown became a scowl.  If the Machine Prime Minister of the Russian Empire, Reina, had not recently gotten married, I would have tried to hook this guy up with her, Aurelia thought.

“Colour,” she said softly taking her right hand with both of hers as the other’s left held the reins.  “I was surprised you were not in there.”

“While I help out now and again, my trip to see you, for example, I’ve no taste for politics,” the older woman began.  “Perhaps, because as you said, I have no future generation to look to.”

“You’ve got this pouty boy, here!” Aurelia laughed.  She laughed more at his teeth grinding.  “Your Council is still talking and Mister Jansen is detailed to see me to you, as I’ll be spending the night in your country.  We should wrap up pretty quickly in the morning.”

“And since you are now with my aunt,” Filk began, “I’ll head back to – ”

“You will stay with us, Councilman,” the general turned about with a cold tone, “as Mister Locknar ordered.”

Even if they made a little sport of him, he could cause me trouble if a part of their debate.

Leading her horse a few more steps, Colour slapped her nephew across the back of his head.

“Do something useful like find accommodations for her men.  Nice accommodations, Filk!” she ordered.  “Then come on to my place.  We’ll be there.”

“Your place is a dark, cold dump,” he muttered.  When she raised her hand again he had turned to Aurelia’s aides.  “We don’t have a BnB or hotel with enough room for all of you…”

“That’s fine, Councilman Jansen,” Hartmann spoke up so her men would hear her.  “We legionaries sleep under the stars, not in some politician’s feather bed.  The Pathways Church grounds, open and wooded, just five hundred feet east of here will be fine for them.”

While her men laughed and prepared to move out, Aurelia turned back to Colour.

“Where’s your house?” she asked.

“Um…” she began, a little uncomfortable, “it’s about two miles west of here.  Across the old highway, on Durham Road.  My nephew was right about one thing:  it’s not the most modern…”

“Friend,” the princess said, using her right index finger to stop the other’s lips, “I, too, sleep under the stars.  Hell, I had you piss in a slit trench if you recall?  That was the height of luxury for the legions!  Let me get my mare and we’ll be off.”

“What about your staff?  Your bodyguard?” Colour asked.

“I’m safe with you.  No worries.”

Once again almost physically sick that one of the most powerful people on earth would say that to a middle-aged woman like her, Colour bit her lower lip to keep her emotions at bay as they both swung up onto their mounts and started west.

“These northern forests are so beautiful,” Aurelia said after they crossed the old Interstate.  “So different from our trees in the south.”

“How…?” Colour made her way by experience in the total darkness.  “How can you see anything?  Yikes!”

Demi-human Aurelia Hartmann leaned toward her friend and once again let her golden eyes flash.

“More human than human, friend.  We see things you people wouldn’t believe,” she said lightly, to take the scare away.  “My aunt once led an army through a hurricane.  And don’t even get me started about my cousins in space.”

When Colour fell silent, the little general thought that, once again, she had gone too far.

“Here,” her friend said, gesturing left at a gravel path into the trees.  “About twenty yards; my place is at the end.”

Coming up to the small, nineteenth-century house, a single electric light burning over the front porch, Aurelia reached her left hand over to Colour’s right.

“No.  Your place will be with us.  At the new beginning.”

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