Tainted Victory – Chapter 9, Part 2 (Page-a-Day)

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Claudia shifted her eyes sideways, uneasy at the details Evelyn just gave. 

Hugh stepped back into line with the two ladies. “I haven’t figured out much.” He crossed his arms. “I do suspect there is a passage on the other side.”

“Obviously,” Evelyn said. “If the killer came from this direction,” she pointed at the wall, “they would meet Raisor,” she pointed behind her. 

“Exactly.” Hugh tilted his head down. “I just can not seem to find where the entrance is in this mess.”

Claudia squinted. The wall blurred then cleared up. Her eyes popped up. “I can!”

“You can?” the two said in unison.

“I can!” She stepped up to the wall. “It clicked with what you said about trap tiles when we were neck deep in conflict.” Evelyn said nothing. “I don’t want to assume you forgot.” She raised her hand to the bricks. They were cool and coarse against her skin. “I think you’re probably too busy making love eyes at the doctor.” She looked at the two, their gazes were pointedly not crossed. “Anyway.” She began walking deeper into the throne room, making sure to keep her hand firmly pressed against the wall. “Evelyn said that trick tiles, and I assume the same is true for bricks, stick out and have more damage or marks along the side due to being pressed in and out.” She stopped, turned around to face the doctor and assassin and placed her right hand on the wall. “Using that I figured out where it was. So…” she pushed on the brick. Her body leaned inward, toward the wall. The muscles in her arm tensed. The brick did not budge.

“It is the one just in front of it,” Evelyn said. She pointed a thin finger to a nebulous space in front of Claudia.    

Claudia took the step and pressed on the brick. It clunked into the wall. The bricks began to split and fold inward at the crease. The clunking sound echoed down the opening passageway. A stray gust of wind bellowed out the black hole. Scuff marks along the floor curved into a gradient deeper into the passage. Their ends marked the edge of visible light. The brickwork settled with a final, booming clunk into place. 

“I was close,” she said.

“You were close,” Evelyn said. She walked up to the edge of the door. Her black clothes flowed backward, behind her. “Just need a little more practice is all.” She peered into the door. Everything beyond the visible was a single, impenetrable black wall. “Gives me the chills.”

“We’re gonna need some lights,” Claudia said. She took out a fire arrow and scraped the tip against the wall. It sparked then pulsed into a blaze. She took a cautious step in. The brickwork felt stable. She stretched her arm into the darkness. It receded with an orange glow. Then the arrow sizzled and fizzled out. “That isn’t these.” She held the arrow up. The tip and wooden shaft were charred, barren, and smoking.

“I’ll get my salablazer jars,” Hugh said.

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