#WriterinMotion Week 3–The Self-Edited Version

Welcome to Week 3 if you’re following along the #WIM feed. Last week, I’ve posted my rough draft version for my adult short story (part two from this summer’s entry Light My Fire). Any rough draft can be messy and a bit long. Before we can get to the polished draft stage, this week focused on self-edits to get it down from 1511 to 1007 words. For my three-pager short story, I went back and forth to remove repetition, shorten sentences, cut words down, and anything else that didn’t help the pace. I kept it during the storm and at the train station. It wasn’t easy. But I managed to get it done and ready to post here (and also at the WIM forum) for comments and feedback. This weekend, it’s off to my two new betas, Rebecca Fryar and Skaeth, two Twiends I’ve known for a long time. And I’ll pay it forward for feedback this weekend. We’re halfway through the journey with two weeks left to go before it ends in December.

I’ve also changed the title, which was also hard, from Cat to Mouse, to the Final Goodbye, which seems to be fitting in the end. Enjoy this new version!

The Final Goodbye

The flights flickered inside Adrienne Sinclair’s office. When it darkened, she grabbed her flashlight to find her way out.

Thunder boomed in the distance. Lightning crackled across an evening sky. Torrential rain drenched the streets. She groaned. What else can go wrong tonight?

She spotted a mysterious envelope by the crack. She stashed it in her pocketbook and widened her eyes on the handwriting. “What the hell? I have no time for this or selfless mind games.”

Adrienne snatched her poncho, her briefcase, and her key ring. Thunderstorms sometimes creeped her out like in the past. It carried a subtle hint of déja vu too.

She sprinted to the front desk and zipped across the parking lot. She escaped inside her car to dry off and get warm. As she started her engine, she fished for her penlight in the glove compartment, and lifted the envelope.

Sebastian. Once again, you’re getting under my skin. “’Rennie, you know where to find me. Follow the clues. Sebastian.’” If she wasn’t stuck in this storm, she would’ve ripped the photo in half.. after she memorized it.

Thunder rattled. Lightning struck twice near the complex. Too close for comfort. She peeled away, flicked on her wipers, and headed for the highway.

At first glance, she’d known where to find her ex-lover, Sebastian Pruitt. Their secret hiding place where they held clandestine trysts. Plotted their next moves in a treasure trove-filled cubbyhole. “The Amtak train station to Cotati.”

There weren’t any train tracks shown. The woman looked like her in disguise as a fellow cat burglar. Dressed in black, she held a lightning rod on a stormy night like this one.

The platform and the antenanae were held at Amtrak’s station in Inverness. Inside the depot, that key led to a secret locker. “Sonofabitch!” Why would he send me this note when I’ve sent him to prison, a week ago? While Sebastian waited for trial, he led her to where he stashed more stolen goods. Like a dog chasing its tail, she flared her nostrils at his cat-and-mouse games once again.

Adrienne focused on the words “cat-and-mouse” in her head. How ironic did he think he was some big cheese? Or referred to his loot, too? Was she the “cat”, who trapped him and sent him packing? Did he consider himself the “mouse” in question? I’m no longer a cat burgular anymore, when he’s still up to his tricks as usual. A dawning thought hit her like Zeus’s trident striking in a pitch dark night. “Bastian wouldn’t daren’t to try to trap me in payback… and from behind bars. Or would he?”

At the parking lot, she veered to the right and stopped at the nearest slot, closest to the entrance. She checked the train schedule on her tablet. Survyed the tracks. Not many people in the empty terminal. “A half-hour before it arrives on schedule. Just like old times, too.”

She hopped out and dashed to the sliding doors. She raised her brows to not see any security detail around, except for the surveillance videos. She preferred to pick the lock than spin the combination dials. Easy to break, easy to crack the safe.

She returned her gaze to the photo once more… and flipped it to the backing. Sebastian wrote the number and its location. I hope I won’t find you there, Bastian. “’320—Near Cotati Gate.’”

That wasn’t too far for her. Straight ahead. Ten paces toward the right and to the vending machines. With her penlight, she kept the beam shining bright in the darkened hallway.

She placed her gloved fingers on the lock and turned around. Too hard to detect any moving shadows. But she could hear her heart beating inside her chest.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are, Bastian,” Adrienne said. She couldn’t shake this feeling he lurked around somewhere like last week at the Point Reyes Shipwreck.

“Boo!” Sebastian approached her and laughed out loud.

She jumped and dropped her penlight on the tiled floor. She hated him when he scared her like that and scowled. “Why are you here? Aren’t you in jail, awaiting trial?” She didn’t hear any prison or jail breaks in the news.

“I’ve been released on bail by my lawyers and made a deal.”

I don’t like the way this sounds. I wouldn’t bail him out anymore. “What? What deal?” Did he know something else he didn’t let on again?

“With the D.A.’s office. For a lesser sentence, I’ve told them what I know and kept your name out of it.”

Someone like him should spend twenty years behind bars. He took the easy way out. She blinked. “Go on. Thanks, Bastian, I guess. What sentence?”

“Immunity in exchange for my testimony against my former employers. The whole damned lot.”

Adrienne gasped. If she’d known anything, they were dangerous and would kill him on the spot. Was

this some death wish? “You’ve turned State’s evidence against them for probation or lesser jail time?”

Sebastian nodded and stepped closer to her. “Yes. A lighter sentence of five years and four months of community service. Two years probation. My trial’s two months from here…”

“Why? They would kill you more than me.” When she worked undercover, she fell for him, and learned insight from Bastian himself.

“I know they’re ruthless. But that’s why I’m entrusting you with what’s inside the locker. Open it.”

First the safe on the ship, now a locker in this train station. “Key?”

He handed it to her and stood back. “My lips are sealed.”

Adrienne opened it and shone the penlight inside. Bound money bags, another letter stack, journal entries, and small framed artwork along with Da Vinci’s secret project. Her jaw dropped. “Woah! No idea there was more…”.”

“That’s all I’ve stolen from our former fencers. It’s for you.”

“Why?”

“Because I’ll be placed under WitSec until my trial. It’s goodbye for now.” Sebastian vanished. Except for his retreating footsteps.

 

 

 

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