1.15.2015

Novel: "Renegade" Chapter 2

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Note: This book contains mild language.


Renegade
By Eve Estelle

Description: Elena Belletori, a woman with a grudge against society, fights injustice with a vengeance - but when she is recruited by a like-minded organization, it turns out to be more than she bargained for.


Chapter 2
(New to Renegade? Start here)


     A horrible chill went down my spine. Without thinking, I shot back out of bed and ran to the door. I hesitated a split second before opening it. What was I going to see? Some stranger robbing my parents' home? Worse?
     I opened it. More accurately, I flung it open as fast as humanly possible.
     "Oh," my mom said, looking up at me from her bent-over position as she picked up the remnants of a tea glass, "I'm sorry, Elena. Did I wake you?"
     I stared at her for a moment, expressionless. Okay, so I may be a bit paranoid. You would be too, if your house burned down. I finally let out a little laugh. "No, you didn't. Wow, I thought something terrible happened. Got me shaking a little bit." I lifted one of my hands.
     "Aw, honey," she said sympathetically, and examined a broken fragment. "Something terrible did happen though - I broke one of my favorite old cups," she sighed. "Oh well.."
     "Here, I'll get it," I told her, bending down to help pick up the rest of the fragments. It's less than brilliant to touch broken glass with bare hands, but I felt confident that I wouldn't end up cutting myself. They were fairly big pieces.
     A passing thought went through my head, and I instinctively looked down at myself. Good. I'm not naked, I thought to myself. I didn't remember doing so, but I had apparently traded my normal clothing for a long, soft night gown. High five, self.
     The sound of footsteps preceded my father as he came down the stairs. "Everything all right?" he asked.
     "Everything's good," replied my mother, "I broke a glass."
     My father walked over to us and carefully took the shards of glass in my hand, allowing me to continue with empty palms. "Aw, Isla, this was one of your favorites," he said. My father had a naturally cheery-sounding voice; the kind of voice that has an effect similar to puppy dog eyes when made to sound sad.
     Mother smiled. "Yes, unfortunately. One of the silver ones I had brought from Tallinn."
     My mother was Estonian. She was born in Tallinn, Estonia's capital. She left for the United States during the early '80s, in an attempt to avoid being caught in the middle of the various political power struggles occurring in Europe at that time. She still retains much of her accent, and has even tried to teach me a few words from her own language. No pop quizzes, though - I'm far from bilingual.
     By the time we had collected and discarded the shattered cup, the mild rush of adrenaline that had surged through me faded, and I nearly fell over while trying to stand up.
     "Careful," said Mother, helping me to my feet. "Poor thing, you're always so tired when you come home."
     I nodded my thanks to her, and gave a little shrug. "That's life for you, I guess. Not a big deal."
     "It can easily become one," she replied, concern in her voice. "Life is easy for no one, Elena, and sometimes you get wrapped up in certain things - like money, a job, or similar. It's easy to forget, but you have to enjoy life along the way."
     I didn't respond, and just glanced down at the floor.
     "Your mother's right," my father said, "it can be too easy to rush through life without enjoying it." He paused for a minute before continuing, "We've been a bit worried about you since the fire."
     "Ryan," my mother hissed.
     "I won't lie or hide it from her, Isla, we're her parents, and parents worry. No matter how old or strong someone is, a tragic thing like that changes a person."
     "Jah, but it's not a thing you just plop into a conversation like that," she sighed, giving me an apologetic look.
     I couldn't help but smile slightly at their brief exchange. "It's okay, Mom. I don't... I don't want sympathy," I said, trying to be as polite, but honest, as I could. "What happened with Jasper was - it was scary, and sad, and..." I swallowed. "But I'm coping with it in my own ways," I continued, taking a deep breath before adding, "I really should get to bed, though, if you guys don't mind. I still have work in the morning."
     My mom pursed her lips. The worry in her expression told me she wanted more from me, but she wasn't going to push. Instead they both nodded, and I turned to head back into the guest room.

     I woke up the next morning with a start. Not unusual for me, these days. I sometimes like to think that I've gotten over the emotional trauma from nearly two years ago, but my dreams like to remind me that isn't the case.

     After getting dressed, I continued my daily routine by making my way to the small bathroom that was attached to the guest room. I turned the water on in the sink, and let it run for a second before lightly splashing a bit on my face. Then I simply grabbed a brush and combed the unruly, static-inducing mess atop my head until it became something slightly more decent. That was pretty much my morning routine for you. Simple, quick, easy. I wasn't one to wear layers of makeup - except perhaps for special occasions, I considered it to be way too much work for a false mask. Indeed, no eye liner, mascara, no luscious red lips, no creams and no powders for me. I've always preferred a more natural look. The most you'll see me do is dye my hair once in a blue moon.
     After I finished combing and brushing, I paused for a second to stare in the mirror. The gray eyes looking back at me seemed so familiar, and yet so foreign, strange. My dark auburn hair fell just below my shoulders, the red tint one I always found to be an interesting contrast to my eyes.
     Life wasn't always like this for me. I didn't always feel the insatiable need to personally take down the criminals around me. I never liked the ideas that society put into people's heads - of how you should live, look, act, and essentially breathe. Of how successful you should be by so-and-so a time in your life, and even the ideas of what success is. I'd been strongly disgusted by society and its ideals since I could remember - but even then, for better or worse, I never acted on that feeling. Boy, how things can change.
     I sighed, and stepped back into the bedroom. Glancing at my alarm clock - which was also my cell phone - I decided it was time to get going. I grabbed my phone, wallet, and a heavy coat. It was late fall, and the winds were absolutely frigid.
     The main floor was empty when it came to people, but as I was leaving through the front door my mother called to me from upstairs, "Have a good day, honey," she shouted.
     "I will, thanks," I called back, and exited the house to begin a twenty-minute walk to the coffee shop.

     I arrived at the New Leaf Cafe a bit later than usual, with about three minutes to spare on the 9:00 AM start of my shift. I walked through the doors and was warmly greeted by Mallory, one of my coworkers.

     "Morning, Elena," she said, smiling.
     Mallory was the kind of person who was difficult not to get along with. She was easygoing, down-to-earth when she had to be, and preferred listening over talking. She also had great control over her temper. We would get some interesting characters in at the New Leaf, not all of which were friendly, and she would always just go with it.
     I walked up to and then behind the counter to clock in, and returned her smile. "Morning, Mallory. Busy today?"
     "Not unusually," she replied. "The morning wave has passed by now, and the next one likely won't be 'till lunch."
     I let out a quiet sigh of relief. "A normal day, then. That's great to hear."
     "You don't like our lovely customers?" she asked with a chuckle. "Even the ones who want their coffee freshly brewed, imported from France, and delivered within the hour?"
     I paused and stared at her incredulously. "You're kidding."
     Mallory shook her head. "Afraid not. I did have someone like that. Just this morning, in fact."
     I rubbed at my face and let out a laugh. "I do love our customers," I said, "most of them are wonderful people. I've just felt a little anti-social as of late."
     "Understandable," she responded, signaling me to hold on for a moment as a woman came up to the counter. I nodded, and Mallory began taking her order.
     I opened up the door directly behind the counters and entered the employee break room. I took off my heavy coat, placing it on the brown leather couch sitting to the right of the door, and grabbed my employee name tag off of the table in front of it. After making sure I had everything I needed, I left the room and took my place at the counters. Time to serve some heaven in a cup.

     My shift was over by five o'clock, but I didn't end up leaving the coffee shop until around five-thirty. Finally, after getting my things, I headed out. Instead of going home, though, I walked a quick five minutes to Sistine Avenue.

     Once inside the run-down garage, I traded my work clothes for my... crime-fighting apparel? Well, I'd certainly need to think of a better name for it than that, but I would do that some other time. I put on my pants, which were essentially black stretch jeans with a couple of thin layers of cut-resistant fabric attached underneath, and my black long-sleeve shirt and jacket, both being made of comfortable material and lined with the same cut-resistant fabric. Next went my gloves, also black, but offering little in the area of protection aside from helping me to blend in.
     You may be wondering why the stereotypical, close-fitting black outfit, but there's a reason why it's essentially the default choice for spies, thieves, and numerous others like them. The dark colors offer better concealment within the night and its shadows, while the tight, stretchy materials allow you to move more freely. Plus you've got the added bonus of looking like a pretty decent badass. At least compared to the sagging pants that you're detaining. Seriously, why in the world is that a thing?
     Anyhow, I got my things in order and prepared to get to work. I did, by the way, remember my - hopefully - bulletproof vest this time. With that done, I grabbed my cellphone and dialed one of my source numbers.
     The phone rang twice before someone with a clear, confident male voice answered, "Marlowe."
     "Garret," I said, "find anything for me tonight?"
     There was the sound of computer keys clicking, and the voice responded, "Yes, as usual." He paused briefly, and the clicking keyboard was replaced with the sound of shuffling papers. "Looks like a robbery at the Park 'n Go on 110th. Occurred less than three minutes ago, no injuries as the store was closed at the time. The perp ran when the security alarm went off and, according to calls made to nine-one-one, threatened at least two innocent bystanders with a gun."
     "Sounds good," I nodded, even though he wouldn't be able to see my nod over the phone, "but if there were calls made to the police already, then they have it handled."
     "Maybe not if the suspect is still on the loose and they're not even at the scene yet," Garrett replied, patiently.
     "Ah. Better get on that then," I said.
     "Yes."
     I double-checked my gear, and made sure I was ready to go. "On my way. Thanks, Garrett."
     "'Till next time, Miss Belletori. Don't get killed." He hung up.



4 comments:

  1. This is amazing, I'm dead, & need more. xD
    ~Adi

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    Replies
    1. Haha! Working on the third chapter now as we speak. ;) Hopefully I'll have it up a bit sooner than this one.. won't promise that, though. Thank you, Adi. :)

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  2. Looks like things just got serious. I am in love with this story. I also nominated you for an award http://irunthenight.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/awards-and-complete-randomness.html

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you love it, Stella. And yes, there are a couple of interesting things planned for chapter 3. :) Awe, thank you so much! I will get to work on that ASAP!

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