They were walking through the ancient
Roman marketplace, which was deserted now. When the girl got closer to the
church built on the site of an old temple, the man began to close the distance
Falcon shook his head as she reached
the church corner. She never noticed the man who was just a few feet behind her
now. When the man pushed her into the gloom around the church corner, they were
lost from his sight. The girl screamed.
Sprinting, he rounded the corner.
About ten feet away, the man was trying to wrestle the violin case from her
against the wall.
Falcon pulled out his gun and aimed.
“Let her go.”
The man turned toward him, and the
girl pulled at his ear. The man bent, holding his stomach. He made an
inarticulate sound before running away along the side of the building into the
Falcon darted past the girl and
followed the man into the shadows.
What the hell?
Something flitted overhead, darker
than the darkness in which he now stood alone. He pointed the Glock upward even
as a figure walked up the side of the building. It looked like a black cloud
but more solid than it should be.
Before he could get off a shot, the
darkness disappeared over the side of the roof.
Staring at the dead end in front of him, Falcon put his gun
away. No doors or windows on either side.
Where is the guy? Must be a
hidden door somewhere, he’d check it out later.
Falcon turned back toward the girl. Beyond her, across the
street, the man he had been chasing got into a car.
“No way,” he
murmured as the car sped off. No way could the man have gotten past him in the
The girl had both arms wrapped around
the violin case in front of her. She was leaning against the church wall,
A street lamp flickered on above
them, belatedly bathing the passage in revealing light. She did not seem to
realize that he was there.
“Did he hurt you, Signorina?”
She looked up. He lifted his gaze
from her heaving chest.
“Grazie,” she whispered, wiping her
face with the back of her hand. She shook her head. “I am fine.”
“You should not be walking alone at
night.” The harsh reprimand in his voice surprised him. She was very young. Her
tears wrought such vulnerability that he softened his tone when he came to
stand in front of her. “Do you know that man?”
“No, I have never seen him before.
But … he knew me.”
“What did he say to you?”
She looked down at the violin.
He stared at her until she looked up. Ah, she had just found her story. It was in her eyes, and it was not truth. The fear in her eyes told him that story would never change.