Word of the Week: Betrayal

The word of the week is:

Share a snippet of your work that uses this word or evokes the nature of the word!


I finally had to look at where I was stepping when something crunched beneath my boot. I lifted the little straw doll I’d crushed, but my hands shook too much for me to even make out the details of its painted face. My eyes snapped to the side, toward the tiny silhouette cowering at the end of the dead-end alley next to me.

I cradled the doll against my chest as if it was made of glass, and stepped lightly into the alley. I rested the doll against the far wall, next to the cowering silhouette, reuniting the child with her lost toy after all these years.

Gooseflesh prickled across my skin as shadow fell over me, and I turned to see a figure darkening the entrance of the alleyway. Crow stood eerily still with an ear turned toward me. His face betrayed no emotion. I could easily imagine him, with eyes aglow like Hellfire, being the very last thing I’d see.

I backed against the wall, cornered alongside the little girl who had perished—flash burned—long ago. Had I also reunited her with her murderer?

Mini Moo, the confrontation between father and daughter:

“Get in the truck. I’m driving.” An angry Pa was always a calm Pa. He wasn’t one to explode in rage, but would stay icy cold while seething, never showing a bit of it on his face. But children respond to anger, no matter how well a parent controls themselves. Anise was still enough his little girl to know that he was far more angry than she’d ever seen him before. Unlike Vance, who showed he would lash out at an appropriate target, Pa never did. If he ever decided violence was the answer, it would be separate and aside from his anger.

She shoved the never-touched food at him. “No, Pa. You’re hangry. I’ll drive and you eat. I promise to listen.”

This was a test of wills on several levels: from obedience–and betrayal–to their standing with each other. Their lives rested on these moments where a father chose between his child and the woman she was becoming. He offered up a prayer for mercy in dealing with Anise. His boys were simpler. “Alright.”

I like this :eyes: We should have done it sooner :joy: This is one of my favourite exchanges ever, and it happens to include the word:

“I won’t hear it!” She shot up to her feet. “You lied to me! All this time, you’ve been lying to me! How could you? How could you, when you knew how much I suffered, how much I lost? He’s my son, not yours!”

“Saoirse, please – ”

The look of utter sorrow on his face registered briefly, before his betrayal tore at her insides and erased it from her mind.

“Don’t. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to see you until my son comes home. And if he never does…”

Her chest heaved with laboured breaths.

“You are dead to me.”

An extract from my first novel, To Fall for an Angel.

Zimmer pulled his coat across his shoulders and looked out across the shadow-cloaked airfield. A tractor with a Hind in tow pushed its way through the soft snow towards him. ‘I guess this is the last one, Karen. Your pilot has commendable skill; landing at night with a dead engine.’

‘Radnor’s resume is impressive,’ Karen said as the tractor shuddered to a halt by their hanger’s entrance. ‘Perhaps to only lose one gunship is not so bad.’

‘You may have lost this one as well,’ Zimmer said as Polanski appeared beside him. ‘It has taken a good beating.’

‘What happened out there, Ivanov?’ Karen asked the gunner as he climbed out.

‘We met an old acquaintance,’ Ivanov replied. ‘Edgar.’

‘What?’ Polanski gasped. ‘I heard he was dead.’

Ivanov grunted and opened the pilot’s door. ‘Even hell has standards.’

Zimmer frowned. ‘Who is this Edgar?’

‘Simple, he’s an un-hung bastard.’ Ivanov reached up to help Radnor from the cockpit. ‘He is South African with British heritage. He trained and flew with the RAF. I think he served in the Falklands War; search and rescue and covert operations.’ Ivanov lowered Radnor onto the ground and laid the shaken pilot on his back. ‘After the war he returned to Africa to fly helicopters for anyone willing to pay. At one time that was the Russians, including my unit. In the end our commanders weren’t paying him enough, so he joined the other side. We discovered this defection when Edgar led my men into an ambush.’

‘I see,’ Zimmer said as Polanski paced up to the Hind’s crew. ‘Is your pilot okay?’

‘I’m fine, sir.’ Radnor gave Zimmer a faint smile then glanced up as Polanski knelt beside him, placing a hand on Radnor’s shoulder. ‘The engines stopped a kilometre from the base. The stick became very heavy. Almost broke my arms.’

‘I guess you will never grow tired of showing off,’ Polanski whispered.

Radnor poked his tongue out at his blonde companion.

Extract from my second novel, One Army, Many Tribes

Ashley switched on the reading lamp by her desk and yawned as she glanced at her watch. With a slight grunt Ashley pulled the sleeve of her buttoned shirt over her watch band then returned her gaze to the sea of notes and open textbooks covering her desk. ‘Okay, one more chapter review then it’s time for–’

A low knock shook her bedroom door.

Ashley sighed. ‘I’m tired and I don’t have any spare time, Naida. Sorry.’

‘Naida?’ a deep voice smirked from behind the door. ‘Have I changed that much since my trip to Spain?’

Ashley spun her seat around. ‘Zorik?’

The bedroom door opened and a mountainous form stepped inside. ‘How have you been, little angel? I do not see a rifle, so perhaps I have made the curfew.’

‘How did you get in?’ Ashley asked as Zorik closed the door. ‘I didn’t hear any alarm warnings.’

Zorik smiled as he sat on the side of Ashley’s bed. ‘Every good soldier should know how to sneak into their own barracks.’

‘You’re the perfect sight for exhausted eyes.’ Ashley sat next to him. ‘Welcome home. How was Spain?’

Zorik shrugged. ‘Still there, but a bit boring. The most interesting and painful part was the flight home. Remind me to never deliver a child without medication again.’

Ashley raised her eyebrows. ‘For you or the mother?’

Zorik laughed. ‘Both. Now back to my question, how have you been? Are you coping with your university studies?’

‘Kind of,’ Ashley replied as she slouched against Zorik’s side. ‘The studying is tedious, and the exams like to ask the wrong questions. But I will not let either defeat me.’

‘Well, when we first met you defeated one private army and befriended another,’ Zorik said. ‘What hope does a piece of paper have?’

Ashley smiled and lifted Zorik’s hand to her lips. ‘Back then I had help. I had you.’

‘And I hope you had similar help while I’ve been away,’ Zorik said as Ashley draped his arm around her back. ‘Did your ginger friend keep her promise? Did Naida look after you?’

‘Naida?’ Ashley snapped upright and her wandering eyes fixed on her lap. ‘I…We…Naida is my family now…I adopted her.’

‘Mazel tov,’ Zorik said as Ashley’s arms began to shiver. ‘That was a noble mitzvah, and maybe a formality. Why are you nervous?’

‘I betrayed you,’ Ashley whimpered. ‘I also made Naida my girlfriend…and we have been sleeping together.’

Zorik let out a soft calm sigh. ‘Little angel, relax.’

Ashley stifled a cry as Zorik’s hand moved to her shoulder. ‘But what I did–’

‘Is not as important as why,’ Zorik said. ‘Is there a reason why you became intimate with Naida?’

Ashley sniffed. ‘Naida was alone. I have been by myself before; when I ran from Uric. That was the worst time of my life. I hated knowing that Naida did not have anyone, and she was fearful of trying because of Uric. I became Naida’s partner so she wouldn’t be alone or afraid.’

‘Then you were loyal to a dear friend who has known you longer than I have,’ Zorik said. ‘There is no betrayal. Besides, I also have a confession to make.’

Ashley gazed up at him as her twitching hand brushed stray tear from her nose. ‘What do you mean?’

‘I have been to Europe twice, and on both trips I broke off contact with Karen and our friends,’ Zorik replied. ‘With Wolff’s help, I vanished from their world and smuggled myself into Russia…and then to Siberia.’

Ashley tilted her head. ‘You and Wolff lied about being in Europe to make new weapons?’

‘No,’ Zorik replied. ‘That task only took a few weeks. Both Wolff and I had personal business in Russia. Mine required greater secrecy.’

‘How did your secret involve Naida?’ Ashley asked.

‘I was searching for her family,’ Zorik said. ‘I realised that to survive in this country Naida is going to need more than a few close friends. So, I tried to find her old family. I couldn’t let anyone know what I was doing. This had to be a surprise for Naida. Her own unique gift.’

Ashley sighed as the shivering faded. ‘So, you care about Nadia, like I do?’

‘In our own ways we both desire to protect her,’ Zorik replied. ‘Battles can create great soldiers, and wars can destroy them. When Naida enlisted in the Army, I knew the strains of Israel’s unofficial war would affect her. I was not pleasant company when the wars broke me, and I don’t want Naida to share that fate. Before I left for Europe, I made a plan to get Naida out of the Army. I can accept her fighting for Israel. But only as a member of Karen’s group where I can watch over her.’

‘Oh…’ Ashley slumped against Zorik’s side, resting her head on his chest. ‘Did you plan for all of this to happen?’

‘No, I left the important part of my operation to you,’ Zorik said. ‘When Naida tried to reassure me of your safety as I left for Spain, I hoped your roles would be reversed. My faith in your nature to protect those close to you is again proven well founded, though also unpredictable.’

‘Zorik,’ Ashley whispered, ‘can you make me a promise?’

‘And what is that?’ Zorik asked.

‘I know you are being kind to me,’ Ashley said. ‘You may think I was loyal to Naida, but I was selfish and disloyal to you. I understand if a part of you hates me. Please don’t hate Naida too. She admires you, and I talked her into–’

Zorik scooped his arms beneath Ashley’s legs then lifted her onto his lap. ‘It’s okay, little angel. Just relax. Before I left, I knew you would be under immense stress. However, you were the only person I could trust to watch over Naida. But she can never know about this discussion or our reasons for these events.’

Ashley frowned as Zorik’s arms looped around her. ‘Why?’

‘First, I have a question for you.’ Zorik rested his chin on Ashley’s head. ‘You are in love with Naida, yes?’

Ashley nodded.

‘Like you are with me?’ Zorik continued.

‘No,’ Ashley whispered. ‘It’s different.’

‘I thought so,’ Zorik said. ‘Unfortunately, Naida’s family is gone. You are all she has. So don’t change anything, and never again apologise for your bond with our ginger comrade.’

Ashley patted Zorik’s chest. ‘Is that you or Uric talking?’

Zorik shrugged. ‘Well, I have to be three people for you; your brother, your bodyguard and your boyfriend. So perhaps this reply came from a majority vote.’

Ashley smiled and kissed Zorik’s neck. ‘Thank you. I am exhausted now. Can you turn off the lights? I want remember the feeling of sleeping beside you. We can catch up with the rest when I have more time…and energy.’

Another extract from my second novel. Might help to explain the other extract.

Mica leant back into the visitors’ couch in Naida’s ward and gazed at the small glass of dark tea clutched in her hands. She glanced up as the door opened and florescent light from the hallway flooded the dark room. A young porcelain woman stepped inside, closed the door behind her and made her way towards the couch with her arms held out, searching through the darkness.

‘Wait there, Ashley,’ Mica whispered as she stood up.

‘Uh, thank you,’ Ashley said as Mica’s hand clasped her arm and guided her to the couch. ‘How is she?’

‘Naida’s been asleep since I came in,’ Mica replied. ‘The nurse said the medicine takes a while to wear off.’

‘Maybe Naida thinks sleeping will keep her out of trouble,’ Ashley said as they sat down together. ‘Her plan is not going to work.’

Mica placed her tea on the floor beside her army boots and turned to Ashley. ‘How do you feel about Naida being close to me? Are you sure it doesn’t upset you?’

‘You need to ask the mirror those questions,’ Ashley replied. ‘Naida and I are close, in a way we are family, but she doesn’t belong to me.’

‘Does Zorik belong to you?’ Mica asked with a slight smile.

Ashley bowed her head as her fingers traced around a small object in the breast pocket of her shirt. ‘At the moment I’m not sure.’

‘Oh,’ Mica sighed. ‘Did Zorik become upset with you about Naida? Last night he almost seemed happy about that.’

A faint giggle seeped from Ashley’s lips. ‘There are no problems between us. Zorik is my brother, and my boyfriend, and he may become my husband. But that has to wait.’

Mica scowled. ‘Naida told me Uric was killed by a sniper. How could Zorik be your brother?’

‘The battles that took Uric almost claimed Zorik as well,’ Ashley replied. ‘Many parts of Uric’s body were used to mend Zorik wounds, and bring him back. Uric and Zorik became the same person.’

‘Then maybe Naida didn’t lose him,’ Mica said. ‘So why is Zorik not with you tonight? I always thought families and partners should be together for Shabbat.’

Ashley sighed. ‘Someone else needs his company. Someone who has been close to Zorik longer than I have.’

‘Sorry,’ Mica said. ‘I can’t stop prying into matters that don’t concern me.’

‘You should join the Mossad,’ Ashley said. ‘So, can you answer your questions?’

‘Naida is not the first girl who has shown interest in me, but I have always had Luke,’ Mica replied. ‘When Luke died, I felt comfortable with Naida, and she acted like being with me was natural. Maybe I went along with this because Naida did not give me any time to worry about living alone or about missing Luke.’

‘Are you worried that you will miss Luke?’ Ashley asked. ‘Or are you worried that you might forget him?’

‘I could not forget Luke even if I needed to,’ Mica replied.

‘You are no different to Naida,’ Ashley said. ‘So why hesitate with an answer? If you had to decide to either stay with Naida or to walk away now, which would it be?’

Mica fell silent and retrieved her tea. She stared at her faint reflection in the fluid’s surface as it swirled around in the glass.

‘There is no right or wrong answer,’ Ashley continued. ‘Just one you have to account for.’

‘No,’ Mica said. ‘I had already made the decision. I would stay–’

The pair froze as a muffled giggle came from Naida’s bed.

Ashley groaned as she stood up. ‘Naida, have you been pretending to sleep?’

The blankets retreated down the bed and a bandage-encased Ginger struggled to sit up. ‘It’s not my fault. You woke me.’

Mica reached over to the desk beside her and switched on a small reading lamp, bathing the room in soft orange light. ‘How long have you been awake?’

‘Since Ashley came in,’ Naida replied. ‘I heard everything.’

Ashley paced over to Naida’s side, grabbed the scruff her friend’s medical gown and launched her left fist into Naida’s cheek.

Naida winced as she tried to move her jaw. ‘Ow! What was–?’

‘Don’t you dare scare me again!’ Ashley snapped. ‘Have you forgotten your promise? You always come home with Zorik, alive!’ The back of Ashley’s fist collided with Naida’s other cheek on the return swing. ‘If I see you being carried out of a helicopter again, for any reason, I’ll get Yasmine to hit you.’

Naida’s eyes widened as her blood-laced mouth dropped open. ‘Okay, okay, I’m sorry!’

Ashley’s body began to shake and she leapt onto the bed, tackling Naida back into her pillows. ‘Don’t you remember what I said in Hungary? I can’t lose you.’

Naida reached up and wrapped her arms around her shivering companion. ‘I’m really sorry, Ashley. I’ll be more careful next time. Even if I have to borrow Zorik’s body armour, I won’t get hurt again.’

Ashley sighed and returned Naida’s hug. ‘Just don’t break your promise.’

‘I won’t – Ah!’ Naida gasped and shuddered as Ashley tightened her hold. ‘But only if you give my wounds a chance to heal.’

‘Oh…okay.’ Ashley placed a kiss on Naida’s chin then climbed off the bed and turned to Mica, wiping fresh tears from her cheeks. ‘Naida is now your responsibility. I need to bury my hand under the North Pole. It’s starting to hurt.’

Mica responded with a bewildered nod as she watched Ashley leave the ward. ‘Ashley has a strange way of showing how much she cares about you, Naida.’

‘Lucky she doesn’t hate me,’ the Ginger mumbled.

‘I doubt Ashley hates anyone,’ Mica continued as she walked up to Naida’s bed. ‘At least, she does not hate anyone who is still breathing.’

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