Cat and Mouse

Chapter 11: Dodging Bullets

I was bitterly angry at Skye and kept an eye on every piece of information I could find. Mineral Town was finally on the map thanks to the case, not that something like that would bring any tourists to town anyway. When the news reached me that Skye had escaped, I cursed the sneaky thief.

Karen heard my plethora of verbal obscenities and sarcastically, or at least I thought it was sarcasm, asked. "Why don't you curse him for real?"

"If only I could." I grumbled bitterly.

"Maybe you should see the Witch Princess," Karen suggested and I no longer knew by her tone if she was kidding or not.

"The Witch Princess?" I questioned curiously.

Ever since Skye was caught and everything except Mary's involvement has come out on the open, Skye's reputation at Forget Me Not has been discovered too. If only I had investigated there, if only I had discovered that dirty liar! "I think I will go." I got up from the bench and started walking while Karen stared after me. I was serious too. If there had once been a mysterious supernatural being known as the Harvest Goddess around, why not a witch?

xoxox xox xoxox

I arrived at Forget Me Not out of breath. I couldn't wait to get to my destination. I asked around and found my way to the Witch Princess' house, even if the locals advised me not to go there. I knocked softly on the door, having second thoughts.

A young woman opened the door, "who are you?"

"Um..." For some reason, I didn't think that it was wise to reveal my name to her. "That doesn't matter. I want to ask about Skye... I hate Skye."

"A lot of people do, but not intensely enough. It's the same for you." The Witch Princess spoke with such certainty that I felt appalled.

I frowned, "how do you know?"

"I know," her gaze was piercing and solid. "Your hatred is weak." She shut the door on my face.

I backed away automatically and stared at the closed door. I looked up at the skies and shuddered. This was a bad idea indeed. I'll just go back to Mineral Town.

xoxox xox xoxox

Evening fell over the land in the middle of no where. As I crossed the bridge back to Mineral Town, almost there, I found who I least expected. I don't know if I should say a move like this is very stupid or very smart. Who would think that the slippery Phantom Skye, who hid in plain sight for so long and had all the time in the world to leave the scene of the crime squeaky clean, would actually return there again?

He gave me a charming smile and I began to recover from my stupor just enough to glare fiercely. "Please, let me explain, my fair maiden."

That was it, hearing him calling me one of his stupid sweet nicknames made me snap and as I recovered my power of motion; I aimed my gun at him. "Phantom Skye, I give you a choice, rot in jail or die!"

"Now princess, there's no need to get violent." He pleaded, holding his hands up in front of him in a defensive gesture.

"Confess!" I growled threateningly.

"I admit that I befriended you to get close to the one at the center of the investigation, but I realized it wasn't necessary, because other than Alice as the star witness there were no clues," Skye confessed. "I could have run then, the longer I stayed the worse it would be. I should have disappeared, but I was already too involved to go without you. I thought we could forget the past."

"Murderer," I growled in a low voice at first, then rose my tone to an accusing volume. "You're a filthy murderer, Skye! How could I forget that?"

"I'm not!" Skye defended as if he really meant it, but I was determined not to fall for it. "I was hired to rob her, she fought back. I paralyzed her to get her off and escape, but she has a strong mind, so it took a moment for it to work and she was close to the edge. She fell, I didn't mean to push her off the bridge, I thought my eyes failed me for the first time. I didn't mean for her to get hurt and it's haunted me ever since. I thought that there was nothing I could do but try to move on. I felt helpless and you cheered me up. I can't fix the past, so I wanted to erase it and build a new life. Don't you know? I was so overwhelmed I wanted to drown myself that night. I'm a thief and a heartbreaker, I'm not a killer. It was the Harvest Goddess; she told me that life was not something to be thrown away."

"It all fits with what Mary said. Did you tell on her?" I accused.

"No," Skye assured me, I could believe that much at least. "That sweet lady doesn't deserve to be blamed for her dealings with a thief. I'm not one to really hurt people, honestly, I'm not. What happened with Alice was an accident and I would make it up to her if I could."

My grip on the gun shook, "you can't. You can't give her back all the time you made her lose any more than you can take back all the lies you told me. Give up Skye, I may not be able to arrest you myself, but I'll make sure it happens. I'll hunt you down however many times it takes until you're finally locked up in a place you can't escape from!"

"There's really no hope for me?" Skye looked sad, but I refused to let him convince me. Then he did something to me and when I looked into his eyes, I was paralyzed. I couldn't move an inch as Skye came closer and leaned in nose to nose with me. I couldn't pull away, but I doubt I would be able to move away from him even if I wasn't paralyzed. His lips touched mine with the same intensity as always and I missed those times so bad. "You can't shoot me, fair maiden, because you love me and I love you." Then he left, disappearing into the distance.

xoxox xox xoxox

My next few meetings with Skye went in a similar way. I wanted to send the police after him, but my pride prevented it. I think that somehow he knew I wouldn't reveal his location so he stayed. Or maybe the cocky thief was just confident he could escape when the police arrived. Either way, I didn't keep his location a secret as a mercy, far from it. I wanted to be the one to take him down. I wanted to muster the courage to pull the trigger, not to kill him, but to hurt him, in more ways than one. I would show him I wasn't a slave to his lies. I would prove that he had no power over me. I would get my revenge.

Yet every time he dared to repeat the actions of that fateful night, my resolved weakened. Then eventually he didn't need to paralyze me to get close, because I loved him and I could somehow tell that he was in pain with all that happened. He wanted our life back, but I wouldn't give it to him even if I wanted it too.

Then finally, there came a fateful night when I was determined to end the struggle and he knew it. I pointed my gun at him and he paused unsure. "Won't you even consider-"

"No," I growled.

"You won't even tell me what I can do because of your stubborn pride? Is that the only thing keeping you from thinking of forgiveness as an option?" He was right and I didn't deny it.

"Yes, you lose Phantom Skye," I held my gun steady. I would make him lose even if I ended up losing just as much. I would give him much more regret than he already had, even if I ended up in sorrow. I would sacrifice myself to get back at him, but would it be worth it? I have no room for doubts now; I must act while my determination is strong.

Skye tried to paralyze me with his eyes and I stared into them boldly. Nothing happened and he tried again, but still there was nothing. "Why?"

"Because there's no conflict, I love you, I can accept it and I'm willing to kill my own heart if it means breaking yours!" I pulled the trigger then everything was enveloped in a deep dark haze after that. I couldn't believe it, I shot, I won, the game of cat and mouse ended with blurred roles. Then the flood gates opened up and an endless river of tears cascaded down my face.

The bullet had barely graced his arm. It wasn't even a flesh wound, more like a scratch, but he was bleeding and it was dark so I thought it was worse. "Is this enough?" He must have been in shock that his ability didn't work on me. Perhaps what stun and stung more so was that I was willing to admit that I loved him and even then I could go this far. That I was stronger than my own heart, or was I?

"Yes..." My voice was but a whisper and that was all I could say. Skye held me for a long time, I don't know for how long, but later I realized that the one word I spoke was true. The battle was over and I don't know if I should say we both won or more likely we both lost.

xoxox xox xoxox

It was a new day and I found myself at the Mineral Town inn with none other than Alice, Charles and Mary. Mary's secret dealings with Skye would remain a secret. That might be related to the reason why she so readily agreed to this, but it is actually good for her, she wants to be a writer after all. Alice finished looking through the script with a critical eye. "Fun Land has been looking to expand into TV and the premise of a series about the action filled adventures of a dashing young thief and the detective trying to capture him is good. I am willing to at least film the pilot episode for review." Her eyes were focused and piercing. "I take it this is a peace offering? Skye will be the protagonist you suggest, right?"

"He can do it," I insisted. He might as well put his charm and handsome face to good use on TV if it'll save him from a life of being hunted by the police.

"He is in this town," Charles ascertained and I didn't confirm or deny it.

"Let him try," Alice decided. "However, his debt to me will not be easily paid, so he better be ready to do a lot of acting and be profitable. I can let him off the hook with my connections, but I can also change my mind if he disappoints me or tries to escape."

"It's a deal," I agreed.

xoxox xox xoxox

Skye's wound wasn't serious and he recovered from it relatively fast. I'm thankful for the darkness messing with my aim that night. If I had hit him on the shoulder how I intended, it would have been much worse. It might have permanently damaged the use of his arm, instead of the superficial scratch he got. I got my revenge, I guess, and he accepted it if it was what it took for me to move on. I didn't feel satisfied as I imagined I would, but we both made mistakes and in the end we agreed that we could leave them behind after all.

Skye has a lot of work to do as an actor and somehow I got roped into the series too in the role of the detective. I wouldn't have it any other way. The series has been successful and the wrath of Alice has been appeased. Even if the filming days may be long, we have our home built on the former farm grounds in a corner of the studio's land and it's quite cozy. The staff is all over the place, but they are certainly less people than what an amusement park might bring. Mineral Town is getting used to filming and even looking forward to it.

The Harvest Goddess has even made a few mystifying appearances, she is camera shy, as if to keep her mystery, but a few shots of her have been caught, giving the whole process a more surreal feel that, if anything, had benefited the hype of the series. Even if this series one day ends, I know Skye can go into movie acting. I might not always act by his side, but I'll still be there with him to keep him safe from his fan girls, after all, I did accept his blue feather in the end. At last I can finally say that all is well; or at least a lot better than we imagined and we are happy. I've finally found where I belong and it is with Phantom Skye.

End

Disclaimer, I don't own Harvest Moon.