This week featured Semantics from Alethea Kontis and Victory Garden by Avery Flynn. Recently, we corned our fellow mermaids in the lagoon and got the story behind their stories.
(Waterworld Mermaid Note: If you haven’t already, please read Victory Garden (Part One) first.)
“We don’t have time to figure it out now. Come on.” Amalee dragged him through the shoulder-high maze in Talbot’s garden.
Ethan’s stride was much shorter than in his own body, he stumbled into the prickly greenery. Strands of his – her – long blue hair became tangled in the bushes. Afraid of losing her in the maze, Ethan yanked the hair free, pocketing the bright tufts into the inside pocket of her jacket. Left. Right. Left again. Finally they arrived at the green house at its center.
The humid air inside made the cotton of his shirt stick to his breasts. Fucking hell, her breasts. Hers!
She paused inside the glass door. “Stay here.”
Glancing around, his gaze took in the riotous colors of blooms mixed in with the deep green of ferns. “You took on Talbot’s guard for a flower?”
The perfectly sculpted, mushroom-shaped shrubbery at the garden’s edge provided just enough cover that Amalee Watts could scope out Fox Talbot’s property without alerting his mercenaries to her presence. Unlike the birds who’d been chirping since shortly after dawn broke, the power hungry despot’s staff seemed to be slow to rise. That made this the perfect moment to slink across the property line and ruin Talbot’s plans for world domination. If she succeeded, October 18, 1888 would go down as a major success for The Resistance, perhaps the seminal victory against Talbot’s dark forces. If not – Amalee’s jaw tightened. She refused to consider any other outcome.
She untangled her goggles from her electric blue hair and lowered them to cover her eyes, then wound the clockwork gear near the clasp until the temperature gauge blinked. Holding her breath to avoid fogging up the lenses, she scanned the lush green hedgerow maze leading to the garden surrounding Talbot’s country estate. When she zeroed in on the courtyard, five red shadows appeared. One guard per shadow, her kind of odds – if the gauge wasn’t acting up. Again.
“Okay, this is as far as I can go.” Her partner, professor Henry Mogg, twitched, his red nose wrinkling. “You understand your instructions?”
Amalee drew her four-barrel pistol and checked the sights. “Cross the twenty feet of open space without being seen. Hurdle the security fence. Disable the private militia. Sneak into Talbot’s garden. Find the one-inch by one-inch Thurston gear hidden in the conservatory under some flowers and return it to you so you can fix the War Bird. Then, we fly out of here and bomb the train before all hell breaks loose. Easy-peasy.”
“Orchids, it’s under the orchids.”
Gaze locked on the gun, she flicked open the chamber and confirmed the twenty bullets were loaded properly then flicked it closed. “I’m going to kill you after this.”