The Puppet Assassin - Ch 27 [faults]

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Morse. I shuddered. I still hadn’t been able to tell anyone about what had happened. Luke was still asleep, Garth obviously didn’t want to hear it and Larkin… Well, it was hard to speak to Larkin after what had happened this morning. He kept looking at me in a way he never had before and I couldn’t speak to him without stuttering a little.

I straightened and looked back at the kids. Marcus and Harue were clapping excitedly and Shelley was gaping in awe. I grinned, this was the response I’d wanted.

“I can flip too.” Dexter stood, brushing grass off the back of his pants and, without hesitation, somersaulted backwards. He stumbled a bit on the landing but grinned at me triumphantly.

“No way!” Shelley squealed, her boredom long gone. “Can you please teach us? Please!”

Casey scowled at her friend and rolled her eyes. “I don’t even want to watch this. Someone is gonna break their necks.” She flicked a glance at Dexter and looked a little desperate. “I can already somersault anyway.”

“What?!” Shelley exclaimed. “You never told me! Who taught you how?”

Casey shrugged. “I just did it.”

“Show us then.” Dexter folded his arms, taking a few steps toward the group.

Casey stood up quickly and edged away from the group to make room, looking slightly nervous. “It’s been a while since I tried.”

I wondered if I should stop her before she hurt herself but as I took a step forward she started a run up towards a bench in the garden. I clenched my fists as she leapt up onto it and flipped forward. She landed on two feet with a jump and turned back to us with an exhilarated grin.

“No way!” Shelley said again. “Oh mega! Can someone please teach me!”

“And me!” Marcus shouted.

“Ah, sure,” I said. I’d have to start them with the basics and then work them up to a flip. I still couldn’t believe that two of the kids, ten year olds, had already mastered it.

“Teach them what?”

I turned to see Kayli walking over to me on the lawn, a guy that looked about the same age as her walking a few steps behind. He had his shoulders hunched and was typing something on a small screen but was able to halt himself next to Kayli without looking up. He was much taller than her, about my height, maybe taller, and his dark hair flopped over his forehead.

“She’s gonna teach us to do some flips and stuff,” said Marcus excitedly.

Dexter stuck his hands in his pockets and strolled over to my side. He didn’t say anything but the way he was standing made it seem like he was guarding me. The top of his head didn’t even make it to my shoulders.

“Sweet,” Kayli grinned at Marcus but not before I saw her react with a raised eyebrow to Dexter’s move. “I’ve always wanted to be able to do cool tricks like that.”

I took in her petite, wiry body. “Surely you can somersault.” She had muscle and basically zero body fat.

She shrugged. “I used to do some flips, in my old pastime.” She smirked and I remembered that she used to be a thief. “But I’ve never been able to do one on the spot. I’m too scared that I’ll land on my head rather than my feet.”

The guy next to her chuckled and looked up. I tensed. Despite the amused expression on his face, his darkly-coloured eyes looked too focused.

“But your head is so hard that it’d probably be the same as landing correctly,” he said in a smooth, deep voice. He blew his hair out of his eyes and glanced over at me. “I’m Donovan, by the way, since Kayli seems content to just leave me standing here as the awkward stranger.”

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