They staked out the bank again that evening and the next without anything useful. On the third night Gideon sent Rille to the other side of the bank to have a different view. Gideon wondered if he’d misheard the code, till on the fourth night someone put a knife to his neck.
“What are you doing here?” A voice asked.
“Well,” Gideon said, “I’m trying to prevent a robbery.” He grabbed the attacker’s arm and rolled forward, flipping the attacker over himself and onto the ground back first. Gideon landed on top of the attacker, knocking the wind out of him.
Gideon scrambled to turn over. He grabbed the attacker by the collar and raised his fist to punch them in the face, but when he saw the attacker, a boy he stopped. He breathed heavily and dropped his fist.
“You could have gotten killed,” Gideon said to the boy. “I almost-”
“Your mistake,” the boy said and thrust a dagger into Gideon’s side.
Gideon stumbled backward and let out a yell.
The boy looked over his shoulder and saw Rille coming up fast. Her skin turned bright red and she grew six inches as she advanced on the boy. Hell hath no fury like a female Moorvat.
Rille shot with her pistol. She caught the boy in the arm. He dropped his knife and ran. He jumped over the side of the building and was gone before Rille arrived.
She stepped to Gideon’s side and tended his wounds.
“Come on, ya big lug,” she said easily lifting him off the ground.
She looked to see if anyone else was about. Then jumped lightly down to the ground and set Gideon on his morse before returning to her normal form. She climbed onto the morse and set off.
From a nearby rooftop, the sheriff stepped out of the shadows to get a good look at them as they left. “Pooshka voss Moorpepishi,” he whispered to himself.
One of the local doctors, a friend of Rille’s, patched Gideon up. The wound was more superficial than the blood flow suggested. Rille helped him back to his room and laid him on the bed.
“You’re losing your edge. That kid snuck right up on you,” Rille said.
“You have no idea how sharp I am.”
“Dull enough to take a knife in the gut.”
“He almost slit your throat.”
“What’s your point?”
“Maybe you’re out of your element here. Maybe we need more help.”
“Who? Your sorry husband? That Pashhtakka Sheriff? Your underground connections?”
“You got sliced up by a child. Almost anyone else would be a help.”
Gideon shook his head.
“If you’re the head of law enforcement here, why are you insisting on doing this alone. You got a death wish?”
Gideon looked at the floor.
Rille gasped. “Oh, frabscht! You do, don’t you?”
“Not a death wish,” Gideon said. “I wonder if there’s a pasture left for this old goat.”
“Then why bring me into this? I’m trying to gain my life, not lose it.”
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Did Sarah give her life so you could waste yours?”
Gideon’s eyes narrowed at the mention of his last partner, the one who’d died to save Gideon and the Grand Premiere. “What?”
“I didn’t know Sarah, but I doubt she’d be happy with this.” Rille gestured to Gideon.
“Get out now.” He said. “or so help me I will put one between your eyes.”
Rille laughed. “I’d like to see you try.”
“In a way that would be a relief,” Rille said.
“Just let me be,” Gideon said.
And then Rille saw it, something behind the hemming and hawing and pushing her away.
“Who is that boy?” she asked.
“Don’t play dumb, you know who I’m talking about. The one who stabbed you.”
“Which can only mean he’s someone.”
“He’s…” Gideon trailed off and waved a hand.
“I got all night,” she said. “Plus I’d love to see the look on Rodgers’s face when he hears I walked outta here in the wee hours. Wooo. That’d be a sight to see.”
She waited with baited breath. “Yes?”
“I’ve never seen the kid before. Now get out of here and let me get some sleep so we can stake out the place again tonight.”
“Gideon Bartholomew Wright, you are the worst.”
He smiled. “See you tonight.”
She left, shaking her head.
A moment later a knock came at the door.
“Rille, seriously,” Gideon said under his breath and trudged back to the door. He yanked it open to see a seven foot tall, red Moorvat flanked by the two men he’d overheard near the bank.
“I–,” Gideon said.
The Moorvat grabbed Gideon by the mouth.
“Your son would like to say hi.”
To Be Continued…