Today’s prompt is “shimmer”. As a romantic suspense author, a lot of things can shimmer. Heat can cause shimmering waves to rise off a road. Light can shimmer off all manner of things—weapons, water, women.
Despite the warm weather, the air was brisk and chilled Nico. Didn’t help matters that he only wore shorts. Rushing out without at least throwing on a t-shirt suddenly didn’t seem like such a great idea, even with the adrenaline rush of freedom.
At the bottom of the cliff, he’d turned away from the orphanage, but after only a kilometer or so, he changed his mind, turned around, and drove to San Crisogono. No one wants to end up in an orphanage, but his time there hadn’t been too bad. Certainly wasn’t as bad as Vinnie’s.
Sometimes a guy just needed to go home, wherever “home” might be, whatever it might mean. In his case, he wanted a walk through the olive groves.
Nico cut the engine early and coasted onto the property so as not to disturb the residents. The kids were staying in the convent until the orphanage proper was rebuilt, but the Ducati was pretty loud, and he didn’t want to take the chance of waking anyone. When he reached the circle out front, he parked the bike, climbed off, and made his way around back.
Rows and rows of olive trees stretched as far as he could see, the canopy of silvery leaves shimmering in the moonlight and blocking his view of the Brotherhood’s villa at the top of the hill. He walked through the grove, his footsteps silent on the well-trod path.
When he came to his favorite tree, an old gnarled one at the very center of the property, he sat beneath it and rested his back against the trunk. As a young boy, he’d climb the tree and hide there for hours when he was supposed to be picking olives. He’d pretend he was a lookout on a pirate ship or a sniper in a jungle. Miss Teresa never complained when he returned without even one full basket of olives. And Sister Catherine never kept her eye on him—she was much too busy making Vinnie’s life hell to bother with Nico or any of the other boys.
Yeah, that old tree provided him with plenty of hours of fun as a child. It let him be whoever or whatever he wanted to be, without judgment.
Too bad he didn’t have that same luxury now.
He sat there in the dark for who-knew-how-long, picking at the few blades of grass that bloomed under the trees and ripping them into confetti. He took a deep breath, inhaled the scents of damp earth, loam, and ripening olives. Any day now, little hands would be working the trees as he and his brothers once did. The orphanage relied on the crop as one of their primary sources of income, and harvest season was nearly upon them. Thankfully the explosion that destroyed the building hadn’t carried destruction into the grove.
Despite the peace he felt in solitude, he found no answers in the dark. In fact, the time he spent there in reflection had, if anything, only yielded more questions. He stood and stretched. The bark had dug into his back, and on top of everything else, made him itchy. It was time to go. Fleeing had been a nice reprieve, but it hadn’t solved anything. And it undoubtedly made everyone angry. Hopefully they’d all be asleep when he returned and he could sneak in without incident.
When he emerged from the grove and walked around to the front of the property, he glanced at the convent. It was too early for the boys to be awake, but there was a light on inside. Curiosity got the better of him, and he walked toward the building to see what was going on, praying it wasn’t another problem to deal with.
I hope you enjoyed this brief look at Body Armor. If you have any thoughts regarding this excerpt, I’d love to hear them.
This post inspired by the WordPress daily prompt: Shimmer.