Dragon Soul(4)

By: Katie MacAlister

The drone of the engines and white noise of the air circulating through the planed lulled me into a half sleep. I must have dozed off because one moment I was mentally wandering in a bleak landscape made up of a pointless life, and the next, I realized that Claudia was gone and a strange man was leaning across me with one hand stretched out toward the sleeping Mrs. P.

“Hey!” I said on a gasp, instinctively jerking backward against my seat. “What are you doing?”

The man’s head turned, his dark eyes narrowing on me. There was something about his face that wasn’t… right. It was his eyes, I think. The pupils in them were elongated, like a cat’s. That and there was a sense of doom about him that had part of my mind screaming warnings.

“You have caused us enough trouble,” the man hissed, his voice pitched so low that only I could hear it. “Do not interfere again.”

That’s when I saw a glint of metal in his hand. I didn’t pause to think about how the man had managed to get a knife on board the plane, I simply reacted to a threat to a relatively nice—if somewhat confused—old lady who was in my charge.

“Terrorist!” I squawked, simultaneously pulling up my knees and using them along with my hands to shove the man into the seat in front of us. “Help! Air marshal! Someone help!”

He hissed again, not a normal sucking in of air, but an animalistic hiss, and jerked away. At least that’s what I thought he did, but I realized there was a second man beyond him, one who had evidently grabbed Hissy Narrow Pupils by the back of his jacket and pulled him off us.

I checked Mrs. P quickly to make sure she hadn’t been harmed, but her eyes were closed, her mouth opened a smidgen as she gently snored, and one earbud dangled free of her ear. Anger roared to life in me, sending me lurching to my feet to where the two men were standing.

“That man tried to stab my old lady!” I snarled, jabbing a finger toward the hissing man. He stood with his back to the dividing curtain, his head down as if he was about to charge, but the other man had a fistful of his jacket. “Are you an air marshal? I hope you arrest him, because he was clearly about to attack an innocent passenger.”

The second man turned his head slightly, just enough that he could look at me. He was a few inches taller than me, had short, curly, dark auburn hair, and gray-green eyes framed with the blackest eyelashes I’ve ever seen. It was like someone had dipped them in kohl. “I don’t think that’s very likely, do you?”

“What do you mean it’s not likely? I saw it!”

The green-eyed stranger considered the other man for a moment before turning back to me. “Why would he wait to kill her on a plane when he could have done so at any time?”

“What is going on here?” Adrienne pushed aside the curtain, accompanied by two male flight attendants. “Who was yelling? Is something that matter with Mrs. P?”

“No, but only because I woke up in time to catch this man trying to stab her. And then the air marshal here heard me and grabbed him.”

“Stab?” Adrienne asked. One of the other flight attendants said, “Air marshal?”

“Yeah, him.” I nodded toward my green-eyed savior. “And yes, stabbed. As in, with a knife. You can see it in his hand.” I gestured to where a bit of metal glinted in the man’s hand. He lifted his head at that, and shot me a look with so much malevolence, I swear there was a faint red glow to his dark irises.

Handsome Green Eyes released his hold on the jacket and took a step back, shaking his head a little. “I’m afraid the lady is confused. I’m not an air marshal.”

“No, he’s not. He’s a passenger,” Adrienne said with a little frown.

“Well, whoever you are, you stopped that man from stabbing my little old lady,” I told him before adding to Adrienne, “I hope you guys have some restraints on the plane for nutballs.”

“I have no knife,” Mr. Hissy said, holding out his hand.

I stared in confusion at the curved metal bracelet that sat on his palm. The silver crescent glittered even in the dim lighting of the plane, designed to resemble a twisted braid. It was very pretty, but not in the least bit deadly.

“Wait… that’s not what you had in your hand… I could have sworn it was a knife…” I frowned, trying to make sense of it all. Had I seen a knife, or did I just assume the man was attacking Mrs. P?

Adrienne turned to the green-eyed man. “Did you see a weapon, sir?”

“No.” His gaze flickered toward me for a moment, then away again. “I heard the lady complain about this man assaulting her, and was about to ask if I could be of assistance when he retreated.”