Friday, December 9, 2011

Excerpt from The Burning Sky

“Stop right there.” Taziri drew the revolver and leveled it at the two men. “Just get out of here. Walk away now or I start shooting.”
The knife man said, “Take it easy, flygirl. I think we both know you’re not going to shoot anyone. In fact, I’ll bet that’s the first time you’ve ever held a gun, isn’t it?”
“Actually, it’s the second.” Taziri swung the weapon to the center of the carousel and started firing. Bullets pinged and thumped against the engine, and one of them burst the oil pan into a small fireball, and another shot ruptured the boiler. The metal barrel tore apart and a roaring gust of steam rushed out directly into the rising curtain of flaming oil. The burning wave swept across the carousel, igniting the rotating dais and all of the tiny wooden ships on its rim.
The men’s eyes went wide as the crimson flare painted their faces in red and yellow. They dove over the railing to plummet into the harbor below as the flaming thunderhead rolled across the pier and set fire to the rail. Taziri threw up an arm to shield her face from the heat as she stumbled back down the pier. She paused to watch the little wooden airships crackle and snap, bathed in flames and spitting cinders. Then she put the gun away and jogged back to the Halcyon.
She leapt into the cabin, ignoring Kenan’s demands for his gun and the doctor’s mad sputtering in Hellan. Taziri crossed the cabin and put her boot on Hamuy’s crusty black hand. “You said before that they did something to Chaou. They put something electrical in her, didn’t they? When did they put it in her? When?”
Hamuy grimaced and looked up through heavy lids. His face shone with sweat and his eyes twitched. “Four or five years back, maybe?”
Taziri straightened up and backed away. Without looking at the marshal, she handed back the warm revolver. In the cockpit, she took the pilot’s seat and slowly draped her scarf across her face as she took the controls.
“Taziri?” Ghanima leaned over her shoulder. “What was that all about? What does it mean?”
“It means this is all my fault and I have to fix it.”

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