Now, in the past, this inspiration came in the one or two sentences provided by the hostess. Silk, however, has taken the concept and twisted it into a "picture is worth a thousand words" thingy, providing us with 3 photos each week to provide inspiration. One may choose to use any of the photos or all of them. When I saw this week's photos, I knew that I'd be writing again. So, this one is for SpySistah...
The sleekly sexy couple was preoccupied on the bridge, sharing a kiss that conveyed love at its most passionate and consuming. Or so it seemed to on-lookers who gazed at the couple and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. To the trained eye though, Samantha’s well-toned musculature, coiled and poised at the ready, belied a different agenda. Mark’s strange posture in the kiss, too, would have given them away to a professional. But in the pre-dawn haze, no innocent would ever suspect.
Mark whispered into Sam’s ear as he pretended to nuzzle her neck. “Do you see her?”
She tapped her finger twice on his neck where her fingers had been playing in his hair, indicating no.
Partners they were: teamed together in life and in the desperate game they played for their country. They were both American, but as is so often the case with spies in the field, they could blend into any culture. Samantha’s dark straight locks, almond eyes, and olive complexion made it possible for her to be Hispanic, Italian, Israeli, or Arabic. She spoke French, Russian, Spanish, and enough Yiddish and Arabic to get by. Mark's genial features allayed any questions, making him look younger than his years and putting people off guard. He could pass as Irish, Spanish, French, and Russian if he brooded. His years as a military brat had served him well: he spoke Russian, French, German, and Farsi.
But today’s mission had them speaking French on a bridge and searching for a contact in the light mist that enveloped the early dawn hours.
Samantha spotted the young Algerian girl over Mark’s shoulder and tapped his neck again. He lazily wrapped his arm around her and they sauntered toward the other end of the bridge. The dark haired young lady moved industriously, setting up her artist’s easel facing the Seine. She had palette in hand and was quickly making short work of the canvas before her, painting an impressionistic scene from the Bois du Bologne from memory.
They stopped in front of her to admire her artistry. “That is the Bagatelle Gardens, non?” Mark asked in perfectly accented French.
“Oui.” The girl responded. “A very romantic place, where my parents were engaged.”
“Do you, by any chance, do portraits? We’d love to capture this perfect morning of our love.” Mark was all casualness and calm while Samantha peered away from the artist, seemingly bored with the conversation.
“Non. Je regrette. I am not so good with the human figure. This one you may like.” She said handing him a landscape.
“Beautiful. How much?” Mark finished bargaining, taking note of Samantha’s tensing. The sun had still not risen completely but the mist had stopped. A profound and unnatural stillness enveloped the area.
“What is it?” Mark asked quietly, wrapping his arm around Samantha’s form.
“1,000 yards back, a homeless man…seems a little too interested.” Samantha was a professional and whispered this while gazing besottedly into Mark’s eyes.
“Let’s see if we can’t get back to the van and decode the message. Just for safety, you take it and I’ll keep the picture.” Mark’s hand slipped negligently to the back of the picture, dislodging the chip, and then into his breast pocket. He handed Samantha the chip in his crumpled handkerchief and she blew her nose.
The snort was lost in a staccato of rapid gun fire. Mark and Samantha ducked and ran to cover behind a pillar. Samantha was further encumbered by dragging the young contact along with her. Mark’s weapons were concealed in a pair of shoulder holsters under his jacket. Samantha ran and tore the tear-away bottom half of her sheath dress free, revealing her twin 9mm Berettas with the mother of pearl grips.
The two spies exchanged gunfire briefly with their pursuers, before splitting up. “Stargazer! This is ‘Ursa Minor’, plus one. Taking fire! ‘Ursa Major’ north-bound from point. Need Extraction!” Samantha cried this into her coms unit hidden in her necklace. She ditched her spiked heels and ran south toward where she knew the company van was parked. It was driving toward her at breakneck speed and slowed as she approached. The side door slid open and she grabbed the proffered arm and jumped into the vehicle, pushing the Algerian woman in before her.
“Drive up the street, but take the first left!” Samantha urged the driver. She reloaded then looked to her appearance. “Jim, give me your boots!” she ordered, tossing him the chip. Samantha tore away the bodice of her dress, revealing a hot pink pleather bustier. She donned some pink eyeshadow and black lipstick, then spiked her hair up with her fingers by teasing it and letting the severe bun out. “Stop here.” The van slowed to a stop and Samantha hopped from the vehicle, playing the new role of punk rock chick.
She walked with attitude back around the corner and toward the café where she had last seen Mark headed. Her approach was casual, but as she got closer, she began to hear fists hitting flesh. Samantha looked around to make sure that she wasn’t observed. Then, she headed down the alley toward the sounds, stepping carefully and deliberately to keep her presence unknown.
In the dim light, she saw Mark near the end of the alley in desperate need of her assistance against five martial arts aficionados. She engaged two almost immediately. She sent one to his maker rapidly with a swift thrust of her hand, sending his nose into his brain. Another passed out when she kicked him into the brick alley wall, smashing his head. She turned to assist Mark and noted that he was fighting his last foe. When this last villain fell, she turned to the mutilated Mark and suggested they get the hell out of Paris.
“Where are we going?” Mark asked breathlessly.
“Cairo. The cell is in Cairo.”
“Any news of Atta?”
“Sorry. I was a too busy trying to save your ass to debrief. Shall we?”
UPDATE: The other participants have posted.
Mark, the WitNit has a description-rich Femme Noir tale he has entitled Sin City, with a shocking surprise ending. FABULOUS!
Silk weighs in with a tale from the sands of Egypt entitled Masked. I think you will love the ending.
TeaFizz posts with a sad tale of love and loss.
Heather's story concludes happily, though it leaves many questions in my mind.
And Amelie, the blog cousin is expected to post later.