He turned to look around the room. This was Cazalla's quarters, richly furnished. A dark-haired girl was in the bed. She looked at him in terror, holding the sheets to her chin, as Hunter dashed through the room to the rear windows. He was halfway out the window when he heard her say, in English, "Who are you?"
Hunter paused, astonished. Her accent was crisp and aristocratic. "Who the hell are you?"
Hunter's mouth fell open.
"Well, get on your clothing, madam," he said.
At that moment, another glass window shattered, and Cazalla landed on the floor of the room, his sword in hand. He was gray and blackened from the powder explosion. The girl screamed.
"Dress, madam," Hunter said, as his blade engaged Cazalla's. He saw her hastily pulling on an elaborate white dress.
Cazalla panted as he fought. He had the desperation of fury and something else, perhaps fear.
"Englishman," he said, starting another taunt. Then Hunter flung his sword across the room. The blade pierced Cazalla in the throat. He coughed and sat backward, into the chair by his heavy ornate desk. He leaned forward, pulling at the blade, and in his posture, he seemed to be examining charts on the desk. Blood dripped onto the charts. Cazalla made a gurgling sound. Then he collapsed.
- Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton
I thought I was aware of Crichton's body of work but I'd missed this one. Thanks, Mike!ReplyDelete
That's why I'm here . . .Delete