Evie screamed and threw the sword at the disembodied head. It cleaved straight through, causing only a flicker in the projected image before bouncing off the wall behind with a sharp clang and clattering to the floor. The disapproving eyes spared a single glance to the sword lying on the ground before they moved back to her.
She pressed herself against the wall, her palms flat on the smooth stone surface behind her, her feet planted hard to the floor. Her breathing constricted, forcing her lungs to work as bellows to move life giving air in and out. She didn’t know what to do. Her eyes darted right and left, looking for a way to escape.
“What do you do here, Madame?”
Again, the head’s thundering voice reverberated through the chamber. She quaked to her core.
“I…” Evie’s throat tightened before she could get anymore out.
“Well, speak up!” His tone indicated impatience and the flush to his cheeks showed temper. “What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Where am I?” Was that breathless squeak really her?
“I ask the questions here, Madame.” His voice boomed throughout the small area. “What do you do here?”
The fear that had paralyzed Evie began to ease a bit as the holographic image engaged her in conversation. Was this image a projection of someone in another room? He spoke perfect English – the Queen’s English in fact, complete with an upper crust accent.
“I have no idea.” Her voice grew stronger and lost its raspy squeak with each additional word. “I was in a beautiful mountain meadow in the high country of Colorado examining an ancient sword, and the next thing I knew, I was in this chamber.
“Ah, the sword you so ineffectively threw at me?” His inflection spoke volumes. “Is that the sword of which you speak?”
Was that a smirk? For an image, he sure as hell had a chauvinistic attitude. So that meant he had to be more than an apparition. “Hey, there’s no reason for you to be condescending.” Evie threw back her shoulders and straightened to her full five foot nine inches. “You’d have done the same.”
“No Madame, I would not.” A hint of humor further indicated his human range of emotions.
“Oh yeah?” Evie wasn’t sure quite how to proceed but knew she’d better get in a lick or two. “Well I hit you dead on.”
“Indeed you did, Madame.” Sarcasm joined the list.
“OK, so whatever.” Evie waved her hand, shooing away his last comment. Her fear was rapidly dissipating, replaced by impatience at having to deal with what was obviously a rude male of the species. “Where am I?”
“You do not know?”
Evie threw her hands into the air. “Would I ask if I already knew the answer to that?”
The smirk was back. “I do not know, Madame.”
“Please.” Evie cringed at the word Madame. “Call me Evelyn. Or Evie.”
“Very well, Madame Evelyn.”
“No.” Evie almost laughed. The way he said her name made her sound like the proprietor of a bawdy house. “Not Madame Evelyn. Just Evelyn.”
“Very well, Evelyn,” he said. “You are in the chamber of Prince Alexander, the Great.”