Your Loss, pt. 11

1940's airport

The beginning of the story

One day in London turned into Petra and Robert replaying the good parts of Niagara Falls. The first two days were spent fasting, and nearly dehydrating, in their hotel room. On the third day Petra and Robert ventured out, finding their way to a restaurant, and then to a racetrack, somewhere Petra could place a bet. It could have been anywhere, but Robert did love the horses. They got his heart racing in a way that nothing else could with the exception of the roulette table. Petra went along with it without much to say. She could live without gambling for once– the entire escapade a gamble, whether they lived or died, together or alone.

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Your Loss, pt. 10

hotel balcony

The beginning of the story

That is the moment when Robert finally kissed her. Not until Petra had said the words that showed she got it, that she understood, did he even get close enough to her to touch. She got it. One thought that kept him awake at night was that he was that kind of fool, misjudging the kind of girl she was, misjudging what she was capable of. At some point in the air on the way to Monaco, he had made a decision. He wanted to be with her. He couldn’t live without her and they would be together one way or another. If it were to be, he would dig out the good part of the girl, the heart of her, the place in her being where she was capable of love. After she said those words, he reached her in two strides, grabbing her shoulders hard and kissing her fiercely, almost violently. The waiting was too much for a man to bear and his arms went around her then, not letting her get her breath.

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Your loss, pt 9


The beginning of the story

Petra and Robert were less than two hours in the air, but it felt like more. Petra had been nearly killed, but it didn’t cause her the personal agony the hours did while flying next to him. Robert was polite. He let her sit by the window. He stood when she needed to walk about the plane. He ordered her a drink. God knew they both needed one. He was insistent that this ‘talk’ they were going to have was not going to be in public. He was not going to be standing in front of the world while she removed the dagger from his gut that she had left there in Niagara Falls.

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Your loss, part 8


The beginning of the story

Robert went through the attacker’s pockets, putting their contents into his own pockets. He did not remove his gloves. Petra did as he told her to do, getting a pair of shoes she could run in and a skirt that did not trip her up. But there was no time and she barely got dressed before he was pulling her out of there. She grabbed her purse and followed him out of the door to the bank of elevators.

“Do you expect anyone you know to still be in the hotel, perhaps in the lobby?”

“No, they leave after the parties. They live in the city. But the workers in the lobby know who I am. They always speak to me.” He took a look at the elevators then kept walking, never letting go of her. He walked with her through a darkened ball room, and to the freight elevator, taking a chance on the one that got him up here. The thing about paying off the help is there is always someone around to pay them more to cross you. The elevator operator took them to the ground floor and gave them a verbal map of how to get through and out of the parking garage to street level. Robert thanked him after paying him some more. Petra was silent.

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Your loss, part 7

night balcony

part 6

Petra didn’t hear an answer, turning her back to the balcony and shimmying down carefully. She liked this dress and didn’t want to snag it. She finally got her second foot down to the floor of the balcony and suddenly there were hands on her neck, then something more deadly. She could not breathe, unable to catch a full breath and feeling as if she would black out.

She frantically tried to get her fingers under the cord, loosening it briefly until it tightened up once more. She struggled and looked down, seeing the end of one of her stockings, realizing that it was a stocking, one of her own very expensive silk stockings. This angered her and helped her to struggle harder. She tried to kick backwards, kicking at his shin behind her and stepping hard on his foot, but without her shoe on she didn’t cause much damage, and he remained silent. other than a soft groan, flinching at the surprise attack back. It gave her a moment to pull away from him, but her attacker still was between her and the room, and she was even closer to the edge of the balcony. When she got a breath, she tried to scream, eliciting only hoarse words.

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Your Loss, pt 6


begin at part 1

Six weeks had passed like days, one night the same as any other, a buffet of excess and hedonism. Sometimes Chicago would cross her mind, but Petra would drink another glass of wine and then set the memory aside. She was the perfect companion for Charles Perkins. She danced when he wanted to dance, ate when he was ready to go in to supper, and she was charming to his friends until it was time for the men and the women to separate, as often happened at their parties.

That was the portion of the evening that bored her the most, and this evening was no different. The women did not talk about things that she was interested in, and she sat with them at poolside, playing with her ring and reclining on the chaise lounge, her legs crossed, one foot swinging to keep herself awake. The alcohol was making her tired, but this was her life, and she was a young woman. That never held her back from a good time.

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Your loss, pt. 5

black gown crop

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4

Didn’t Charles say that he would always take care of her? Petra opened the expansive closet doors in her suite and surveyed what her husband had filled it up with. Dresses, gowns in several colors, skirts, blouses, an alpaca jacket, a pair of beaded lounge pants, and every ridiculous hat in fashion in both Paris and New York. Below were shoes, not shoes like someone might take on holiday, but shoes that a woman might accumulate over a lifetime. She did not react or squeal or get particularly excited or giddy, because this was her life. He had said she would never be left wanting and he had kept his part of the bargain. Her part was simple in theory–do everything he askd of her. So far she had done so, and without question. He had never had to get rough with her or even order her about. She was a tough girl and a little sadistic, just enough to enjoy what she was doing.

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Your Loss, pt. 4




part 1
part 2
part 3

“Petra can’t be forced to be a witness at my trial. She’s my wife.” Robert took a long drag on the cigarette Margil handed to him from across the table. The guard watched closely from across the room, but allowed the exchange of cigarette and words between Robert and his lawyer during the ten minutes allowed on this prison visit.

“She ain’t your wife Robbie–she’s his wife, ain’t she?” Margil brought him back to the present, then followed the question with a raucous hacking cough. Still, he took another drag off the cigarette, watching his old friend and client. He was exploring every avenue to try and help him but he was running out of options.

“Then drag her in here!” Robert stood quickly, upsetting the folding chair. The guard took a step in his direction but he held his hand up that he was done, setting the chair to rights and sitting back down. He lowered his voice, leaning forward over the table. “Bring her in to testify. Bring her in here first, so we can find out what she’ll say. She knows the truth. She knows that I didn’t kill her aunt Sadie. Hell, I never killed nothin’ but time.”

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Your Loss, pt. 2

noir street


part 1


Robert took Petra out every night that week. Wednesday he took her on a river boat ride. The water that was green during the day glimmered under moonlight. On Thursday they settled at a smoky club, claiming a corner table as theirs for hours. She talked about times before the war and reminisced. He looked into her eyes and got lost. On Friday he realized as evening was coming on that they had not made any plans. The evening loomed empty ahead of him and he stayed home with the cat and tinkered at the piano. About 9:30, the phone rang and he jumped up, catching it on the second ring.


“Robert, I need you. I need you please! Hurry!”

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Second Childhood

Marion heard David come into the apartment and waited for him to come into her room before speaking. She was 85, disease having taken its toll on her body while leaving her mind intact. David walked to the head of her bed. “How is it today, Mom?” It was their way of discussing her pain and energy levels without talking about sickness. She hated that.

“4. Maybe 4.5. I saw a robin on the windowsill.” She smiled and lifted her hand to him, the child of her middle age, nearly 50 when he was born. When she was widowed, he moved nearby, only too glad to live away from his ex, and the town where he never did get to start a family. “Today is the day. Are you ready?”

“I’m ready.” He dropped into the small chair and ran his hand over her hair, smoothing it back. He pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. “I don’t want to go yet and leave you alone.”

“I’m not alone. The nurse will take care of me.” Her blue eyes looked as crystal clear as they did when he was a child, despite her dark eyelids and being ringed in red. David picked up a notebook and looked over her usual scrawl of equations. “You’re sure then?”

“Positive. The sun and earth won’t line up this way with the planets for another 25 years. You must get to the ley lines we discussed. It’s today or never.” She looked up at a painting of Stonehenge on the wall. “You have the location and all my maps. You will find me there. The window is tight, between when I became orphaned and when I was taken to the refugee camp. Promise me you won’t wait. Then I can run again. I’ll have my childhood again. This time with someone I trust.” Her eyes looked tired and they fluttered closed. She let go of his hand. “Go.” He kissed her forehead and left.

David approached Stonehenge with a photo of his mother from 1945 with trepidation. He was scared that she was wrong about the timing, and of what he would find. He was as afraid it would work as much as he feared letting his mother down. Quantum physics was her field, and he trusted her completely. He stepped into the space where he expected to find the portal and braced himself. He felt nothing, and no different than the moment previous. Taking another step, he looked around. He detected no real changes that the naked eye would notice without a close study of the stones; but, he followed her instructions, leaving there and traveling to the town where his grandparents had lost their lives. According to her calculations, he would arrive moments after Marion had left her hiding place to find food. The war had been over for days, but she hid as long as she could make the provisions last.

David started across the bridge. The town was bombed about, but there were no sounds of battle. Suddenly he saw a girl running her heart out, her heavy braid bouncing around and slapping her in the back. She stopped suddenly when she saw him. She looked behind her, then to him once more, where he blocked her path with his body. He smiled, then opened his arms, to show that he knew her without scaring her off.

“It’s okay, Marion. Don’t be afraid. I am here to take you home.”