Deathly Secrets, Chapter VIII

"Who's there?" Alina called, shivering. If it's the criminal, I think I'd rather die than open this door!

"It's me, Conner. Please, Alina, open your door. I have to talk quickly."

Relief flooding through her veins, Alina opened the door and ushered Conner inside. Conner was holding an old cloak with some tears in it. "I had to make it look like I had a reason to come," said Conner, throwing the cloak on Alina's tailoring table. "'You don't have to fix it - I just didn't want anyone wondering why I came."

Alina nodded and nervously wrung her hands. "So...why are you here?"

"I think you know." Conner's dark brown eyes betrayed his nerves, and he absently ran a hand through his dark blonde hair. 

Nodding again, Alina pulled out a chair. "Please, sit down," she said.

Conner shook his head. "I haven't the time. I just want to see what you know about the situation."

"All I know is I've been drafted to work by this criminal, and I haven't the faintest clue why."

Shoving his hands in his pockets, Conner's gaze seemed to be glued to the floor. "I know," he finally said. "I know why he chose you, Alina. You're gentle and beautiful. He told me so himself. He said he thought you'd be a trustworthy, decent sort of woman." A dab of pink seeped into Conner's face, and he nervously diverted his eyes from the floor to the window. 

Waving aside the indirect compliment, Alina asked, "You've actually talked to him?"

"Yes. He came to the O'Breen Saloon. I, like everyone else, thought he was just a man passing through Summeridge on his way somewhere else. Only until he leaned close and showed me his gun did I realize he wasn't there for beer. He hasn't been around since, but I know where he's staying. Nobody else does, except the innkeeper - I think the innkeeper's been chosen, too." Conner paused. "What's he got you doing, Miss?"

"I had to write down the names, ages, and addresses of fifteen people in town. But I don't think he's done with me. Not yet, anyways."

Conner shook his head remorsefully. "It's too bad he's got someone like you involved," he muttered.

Alina opened her mouth to add to the conversation, but Conner opened the door and shrugged his shoulders. "I have to be getting back, now, Miss," he said with a respectful nod.

Only until after Conner left did Alina realize he hadn't once looked her in the eyes.

The End

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