Episode Three: Her Ladyship: Scene 23

It had taken me a couple of days to really shake the funk that came over me at the discussion of goddesses of death.

And I wasn’t sure why it bothered me so much. I mean, sure, I didn’t want to die any more than the next woman did. Maybe old people who were sick wanted to, or people with really screwed up lives. Me? I had a screwed up life, but I’d much rather fix it.

But five minutes of research had shown that I was right. Hel. The Queen of the Underworld in Norse mythology, daughter of the god Loki and a giantess named Angrboda. The names felt natural and right, but that name scared me.

Somewhere in my past, something had happened to make me afraid not of death, but of this goddess. Which all fit in with knowing runes.

Somewhere in my past I’d been…raised to worship the Norse gods. Everything fit that pattern, even the martial nature of my training. Maybe I’d been raised by a bunch of fanatics. Every religion had them, after all. That fit it all too.

There were footsteps behind me. My hand dropped to my gun – I kept it concealed, but I didn’t go anywhere unarmed these days. If I got arrested, so be it. Besides, I had a feeling Thea and her sisters would get me out. She hadn’t said as much in words.

Then something made me dive to the side, right as the shot went past me. So much for Her Ladyship’s truce.

Or maybe so much for her control over some elements of her own organization. That was almost more likely. But I wasn’t going to fire back right now, instead, I moved into the alleyway.

Anyone bold and stupid enough to shoot at me in what was, while not broad daylight, certainly not the dead of night? I was going to feed them to the cops if I could.

Maybe that was a bad idea, but I was willing to swear up and down that I didn’t know anything about his ravings.

“Come out, little girl. This won’t take long.”

I ignored him, backing further into the alleyway. A dead end. No, there was a fire escape. It was hooked up, but…

But…could I jump that high? I crouched and leapt, barely grabbing it, pulling myself up with strength I knew was as much adrenalin as reality. It went all the way to the top of the building, but what did I do then? I didn’t have one of Batman’s grappling hook guns, and all I’d done was removed witnesses.

I could hope he couldn’t make the leap I had, but men were generally stronger. Hrm. I kept climbing, all the way to the top, breathing hard. Once there, I crouched behind the elevator hood.

And waited.

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