I woke up tangled in my sheets, Blue standing next to the bed, his eyes glowing green in the darkroom. He whined at me gently. "I'm okay," I told him. He pushed his nose against the mosquito net and whined again. "You don't think so?" I asked with a small laugh.
He circled around to the net's opening. I sat up and reached through, petting his head to reassure him. Blue was a giant of a dog with one brown eye and one blue. When I adopted him he was tall, the height of a Great Dane, but thin. Still a puppy really. The pound in Bushwick, Brooklyn thought he was about a year old at the time.
Over four years later, Blue looked very different. His coat, which had been ratty when I brought him home to my apartment in Park Slope, now shone in the soft light of my bedroom. He had the markings of a wolf. Black and white and beige all sharing space on his large form. His snout was long and made me think there was some collie in his ancestry. Blue's chest was broad and strong. The pink scars that marked the entrance and exit wounds from a bullet he took for me were hidden beneath his long coat.
My scars from that battle were more obvious. One ran under my left eye. White and pink, it arched across the top of my cheekbone, puckering the skin. Above that eye another scar, fainter than the first, ran across my forehead, slicing through my eyebrow and disappearing into my hair.
I wore my bangs long, covering the top scar. They almost reached to my gray eyes, but I made sure they never got in the way. My hair was dyed black and cut short, barely reaching my chin. The heat here was too much to bother with long locks.
I looked out the glass doors of my balcony and into the jungle. The sky was still dark, the foliage a pitch black mass. I heard the guttural roar of the howler monkeys and knew the sun would be here soon. Blue's nails clicked against the tile floor as he walked to the door.
Blue stared at me, then looked at the door, then to me again. "I get it," I said. "You want to go for a run." He lowered his front end, waving his tail around in the air and let out a low warble. Some things would never change.
Throwing off the sheet, I climbed through the opening of my mosquito net. The tiles were cool against my bare feet. I dressed quickly, Blue following me around the room, encouraging me by tapping his nose against my hip.
Sneakers tied, headlamp in place and phone in hand, I opened my bedroom door. The villa was dark. My house-mate, Cynthia Dawlings, was still in bed. The sky outside the glass was just turning a milky gray. As I closed the door behind me, another group of howler monkeys began their morning call.
As Blue and I started down the path toward the trails, I heard another group of monkeys start up in response to the ones in my yard. And then another, like a round robin of roars. The path we walked on was lit by low lights, yellow and solar powered. The air was moist and fresh-it carried a chill that wouldn't last long once the sun rose.
I passed other villas on my route. This was once an eco-resort. Now it was a training center for Joyful Justice, the stupidest named vigilante organization to ever blow stuff up. But no one asked me when they were naming it, even though I inspired the whole thing. They had it wrong-I am a monster, not a hero.I don't care about justice; I crave revenge.
P.S. The dog does not die.
**Beware: If you can't handle a few f-bombs, you can't handle this series.**
About the Author
Emily Kimelman not only writes adventure, she lives it every day. Embodying the true meaning of wanderlust, she's written her Sydney Rye mysteries from all over the world. From the jungles of Costa Rica to the mountains of Spain, she finds inspiration for her stories in her own life. While living under communist rule in the former Soviet Union, the KGB sprinkled her with "spy dust", a radioactive concoction that made her glow and left a trail they could follow. She was two. She was destined for amazing things after that, and she continues to find adventure to inspire characters like the badass Sydney Rye.