Caderyn stopped at the fifth apartment. From within there was scraping and a woman shouting as if she was on her last nerve. He counted the doors to make sure he chose the right place as the woman grew angrier, her shrill orders coinciding with louder scraping. Then came what approximated as someone spanking a naked bottom, a child bawling. He raised a hand intending to knock then chose instead to scratch his forehead.
Wrong casa. Had to be. Even if Cilo got married in the months since they last saw each other, the cleptus would hardly abide a ready-made family, not with his profession.
“Cilo?” Caderyn yelled. And again. Once more.
The door swung open. A feral-looking brunette glared out, her bony body sporting a loincloth and a breast-strap. The cesta—a poorer, untailored version of a strophium—flattened her tits to the shapes of empty waterskins and cut into her sides.
He mumbled, “Cilo?”
“Not here. You go.” She slammed the door in his face.
Miserable cunnus. Caderyn knocked, waited, knocked harder.
The woman again answered. Rosiness replaced the sallowness of her cheeks, blue eyes shining bright as an ocean on a sunny day.
“Cilo,” insisted Caderyn.
“Not here. You go.”
“Where is he?”
She gritted and bared brown teeth. “Not—”
“Here and I should go, aio. First tell me my friend’s whereabouts.”
“Friend dead. Clepta corpse.”
Her assertion was a blow in the gut. “Dead…? When? How?”
“What when-how matter?” She tapped the side of her head. “You thick.” Then sniffed. “Phew.”
The door’s slamming boomed throughout the hallway. He lashed out with his foot, kicking the entrance open. There was a thud. A shriek. Before the woman could gather herself and come out from behind the door that had knocked her down, he barged into a room wherein a young girl rested upon a urine-stained mattress. Gouges marred the floor in front of her, the spike she had used clutched within her tiny fist. Snot ran over her lip. He scanned the wall and saw the hole for the spike from which the thief had hung his tools. The lone painting of harenarae fighting was absent as well. Like the tools and art that were gone so were the articles of clothing the thief folded and stacked under the window overlooking the avenue Caderyn had traveled.
The woman crept from behind the door wiping blood from her nose. “You no belong here. See, friend dead. Verum.”
A mouth that had gone dry turned his words into thick utterances. “For how long?”
“Last full moon.” She pushed at his chest. “Daughter me live here now.”
He retreated to the hall on heavy legs. “What happened?”
“Caught stealing. Died in—how you say square arena?—quadratum. But where make no difference. Neither when-how. Corpse never rebirth. You” —she waved as if shooing a fly— “go.”
About the Book
Author: Mark Stone
Caderyn Fortis has been many things—loyal husband, soldier, war veteran, public servant. Now he is a fallen nobilis and gambling addict, an alcoholic who never got over the murder of his wife. In his darkest hour an opportunity comes that can help him recover his self-worth and make up for the mistakes that cost him his wife. All he has to do? Discover who kidnapped a young woman and where they took her, then rescue her. He must do this while not alienating his employer—the best suspect—or falling in love with the woman helping him.
Mark Stone lives in the United States and Spain with his greatest inspiration, his wife Cinta. Having written award-winning Flash Fiction, he is now a novelist writing tales of Fantasy that take place in Calasade, a world heavily influenced by Ancient Rome. You can find him at:
- Twitter — twitter.com/calasade
- Facebook — facebook.com/calasade
- WordPress — wordsbycalasade.com
- Official Website — authormarkstone.com
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