SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured currently is “Darque Designs,” the sixth installment of the Myanna Moore serial, which will run over the next several weekends. This is Part Four.

“But then, Darque made sure I forgot, didn’t he?”

“Only because I begged him to. My Dudley wanted to torture you with the truth of who you were, and that despite all your efforts to get away from the culture you had been raised in, you still lost. But I persuaded him that would be too cruel.”

Myanna handed the photos back to Duana.

“If you have that much power with your son, then why can’t you stop him on your own?”

“Myanna, if you could remember being a mother, then all would come crystal clear to you. I cannot turn on my own child, not alone. No matter how much I understand it needs doing, no matter how angry it makes me how much others have been hurt.”

“Then help me find my daughter, Duana.”

“We both know she’s better off with you not knowing where she is.”

Myanna did not have a comeback for that.

“I won’t fight you on that. She’s better off hidden. But please, give me one thing in return in exchange for help. Give me my daughter’s name.”

“Names are power, Myanna. And sometimes they’re not even real. How many names have you gone by over the years? Which ones do you feel are really you?”

“At least having a name would be something I can take with me. As long as I carry her name with me, those words help bind us.”

Myanna hoped that Duana actually understood and would compromise. Otherwise all of this would be pointless, and she’d be no closer to dealing with Darque.

“Tell me how you’d be willing to help,” Duana pressured Myanna. “You tell me what you plan to do, and then I’ll tell you the name you seek.”

Myanna realized though Duana would be willing to compromise, that would not come easy.

“We know he’s looking for me, to kill me because I know too much. I’m willing to slow down as bait, to let you catch him. I will put my own life at risk, for the promise that you will keep my daughter and son safe should I fail, and not let Darque find out where they are. All I ask is to know my daughter’s name.”

“I am surprised by your trust, after all I have told you. This could all be a trap with us working together to trap you, by gaining your trust only to turn the tables. Why are you willing to trust me, Myanna? Simply desperation, or something more? I need to be clear where you stand.”