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Dekker's Dozen #004

*clink* *clack*

Dekker breathed hard and heavy, mimicking the noises a sleeping body should make. He barely moved a muscle as he silently wrapped his fingers around the pistol that he always kept holstered between his mattress and wall.

Whoever was in his bedroom, they didn't belong. A thief? Definitely none of the Dozen; everybody knew this was his most holy sanctuary.

The only question he wondered, as he listened to the intruder's random shambling in the dark, is how such an inept burglar got past all their sophisticated security systems. The shambling noises stopped; some item had the thief's attention.

Dekker let his vision adjust to the darkness as they scanned the silhouette near his closet. His eyes picked the intruder out from the darkness; he pulled his weapon to bear and sat up.


"Put your gun away," spat the intruder with a raspy voice. He chided Dekker as if he should've expected him. He flicked on the lights, blinding Dekker.

Surprised, Dekker winced and discharged the weapon, blowing a hole though the wall a half meter from the intruder.

"Wow," he examined the smoking weapon with wide eyes. "I don't remember you shooting at me." Holding the Reliquary, the old man shambled over to the bedside and set the massive gun down on the mattress, examining it in great detail.

Dekker recognized him because of the heavy, bronze amulet that hung from a chain about his neck—he would never forget what happened just after their last encounter. Ezekiel, the self-proclaimed time traveler possessed an identical talisman to the one hanging on Dekker's wall nearby—a gift from his father.

"What are you doing here?" Dekker demanded, still too bewildered to address the trespass into his private sanctum.

"Yes, I see," Ezekiel muttered to himself, giving Dekker no heed. "So that's how that works."

Frustrated, Dekker shook his head wryly. "Nobody knows how it works. And it's been examined by a lot of people but its technology simply doesn't exist." Dekker set his weapon down beside him. He didn't exactly understand what was happening, but he figured the old man was mostly harmless.

"Well not here yet, it hasn't... or maybe not anymore, I mean," Ezekiel muttered. He whirled around to take two large shells from the nearby ammo box. The stain of ancient dirt clung to the old box; it had been encased in clay for several millennia. Unable to locate any more, the reliquary's ammunition supply was limited: about half the box. Ezekiel examined the engravings on a shell casing, about the size of a fist, and smiled. "I remember now: the sequence of Greek alphabetic characters." He chuckled to himself and rammed one canister-like cartridge into the chamber and clicked it shut.

"Whoa," Dekker squinted against the light and snatched the gun away. He safely unloaded the shells. "That's a terrible idea. A double-load is a bad idea, but never triple load it."

"Oh, it's quite alright," Ezekiel reassured him. "I built it. Or at least I will... I think. It's one or the other. I lose track sometimes."

Skeptically, Dekker looked at him and rubbed the sleep from his face. Ezekiel looked exactly as he did when he last saw him several weeks ago. In fact, Muramasa's blood still looked wet on Ezekiel's shirt.

Ezekiel took a strange device from the leather satchel that hung at his side. It attached by an adjustable band which he strapped over Dekker's left forearm.

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