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It amused her to watch him. She knelt against a broken third story railing of the Little America Hotel a block away as he blended into the broken city streets. Her eyes paced his movement. The same world that had turned him into a killer had forced her into becoming one, tooo. Her training in martial arts had enabled her to survive so far on her own. She liked it that way. Every other woman she'd seen was owned. It might be the wave of the future, but it wasn't one Lani planned on sharing.

The smoke of the devastation had attracted her. She'd moved up to view the wreckage. A tight smile shadowed her lips. "Valiant effort gone to waste." She'd been keeping an eye on them, wondering how long the outlaws would allow the organization to exist. Three months wasn't bad. They'd pulled together enough resources for the outlaws to finally decide they were ripe for picking.

Before that they'd spent their energy on her. Being only one person, they'd thought her easy to capture. Lani supposed she had a reputation in their camps by now. She'd killed seven of them in seperate fights before their attention had turned to the organization forming in their midst and stopped stalking her .

She lost him but knew where he was headed. The flicker of his rifle glinted occasionally as he climbed up a nearby building to take up a shooter position. She knew his work. He didn't miss. She admired that about him. He was a disciplined assassin. They both knew each other were active in the area but gave each other a healthy breathing space. You didn't waste energy in this world. All your time was spent on the immediate threat of chaos and survival. 

That is, until you gave up. It was like a switch turning inside making your soul dead as you gave up the struggle, and the body shortly followed. When he ran out of bullets they'd have him, of course. He'd been a secondary target of several of their forays, as they tested the strength of the organization. That's when he had come to her attention. It was like a game to her, waiting and watching the killing. It made it easy for her to stay invisible.

Always before, they hadn't pushed too hard. They had only wanted to prevent the group from becoming too strong before they took the plums away. So far the man had been prepared and always had an escape route. It was a pity that the man wanted to die. It meant they'd be after her again. 

Knowing they'd be coming for her again, now that the organization was out of the way, made her arm her cross bow. Chaos was sweeping everything in its path. She didn't want to get in the way but if it happened, she wanted to create a little chaos of her own. 


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Shades of Fantasy

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Revised: March 6, 1999
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