Leaving the house was cheating. Not technically — there were no actual rules to mercy, except that you stopped trying to kill your opponent when they cried “mercy” — but if Zebra had found Katters out here, sitting on the hood of the car, he would have cried “foul” first. And he knew she would have done the same, if she’d found him.
But cheating is only cheating if you get caught.
He sat on the hood of their rented, puke-green four-door and stared up at the house. In the interest of not getting caught, he needed to kill time until he was sure she was far away from the foyer, so she wouldn’t see him sneak back inside.
He did like the house. He almost wanted to keep it, but it would never be worth the hassle or the expense of owning a second home in a different country. It was too far away to be convenient, too close to be exotic.
But what he really wanted was to know why it was his now, in the first place.
It wasn’t a mystery why Great-Uncle Anthony hadn’t left it to any of his many, more-deserving relatives. Great-Uncle Anthony was even more of a black sheep than Zebra was, and had been pushed away from the family when Zebra was very young. But that was just it. Zebra barely remembered the man. He had never been invited to the house for a holiday, had no fond memories of bonding with his great-uncle over whatever it was people did for fun in Bayhedge. Had no fond memories of his great-uncle at all.
Why had the house been left to anyone? Why hadn’t Great-Uncle Anthony died in as much familial obscurity as he had lived, and let the house go to the bank, or whatever friends he’d gathered in his old age?
It was time to go back inside. If he waited too long, Katters would loop back around to the foyer, and he’d be stuck out there until she went back upstairs again. And his butt was getting cold.
He slid down from the hood of the car, dusted off the seat of his slacks, and crept up the porch steps. He kept his hand in his pocket, on the derringer he’d stolen from Katters’ luggage. Continue reading