Risen From Ashes

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Chapter Twenty-Six

June 2, 2028

The Memoirs

“Phoenix sent me to my prison in Vallø Castle in Denmark for what I thought would be the rest of my life. Every hour I spent in that tower of doom and boredom felt like one single day. I only managed to know the date because of my… because of the guards that patrolled the stronghold. After six years of confinement, removed from the world and presumed dead, General Matthew Allen’s men rescued me. There were only five of them and they managed to kill almost sixty guards. Matthew was my high school friend.”

Meryl paused to prevent more tears. She gathered what was left of the composure and stoic stature she had gained from her years in isolation.

“I helped Matthew’s men rescue the presidents from the palace when we discovered that they were in danger. Phoenix and his puppets destroyed the place. They rigged the area to explode. I stayed behind to let my teammates escape safely. Even as that magnificent structure collapsed, Phoenix and I fought. Eventually, we were buried beneath the rubble.”

Silence followed Meryl’s chronicle.

“So.” Megan repressed the urge to be sick from this gruesome account. She did indeed look green. “You said he murdered your family?”

“He stayed with my family during Christmas the year before the war started. Christmas day, he shot everyone. He shot those most dear to me.” Meryl’s tone became cold and detached from the air around her. “A single shot to the heart and they perished instantly.”

“Why did he not…” Megan was cut off.

“Kill me?” Blackbird finished Megan’s reluctant question. “He was too weak to grant me that one desire. He didn’t kill me, he maimed me.” She suddenly stood up, as if remembering something. “You’ll want to shut off that camera.”

“Why?” Cameron protested.

“Trust me.”

Before he could reply, Megan clasped her hand over the lens and Cameron obliged. He turned it off and set it down.

Meryl pulled up the patient’s gown. She was thankful for wearing undergarments.

Megan and Cameron gasped, wide-eyed at the many old scars that destroyed and distorted her beautiful figure. There were even burn marks that had never fully healed. The door opened and Jack Reede, the boom operator, another of Megan’s goons, walked in but stopped in his tracks as his gaze fell on Meryl. She was reminded of Ira when he had walked in on her in the laundry room.

“This is what he did to me,” Meryl stated as she pulled the gown higher until it was under her chin. “He took an edged knife and scarred me to the point where I could no longer scream for mercy, where I was stuck in Limbo, unable to move on or go back. He left me to bleed out on the floor. And yet, I found strength to get medical attention.” She dropped the gown and sat back down.

After regaining their composure, Megan motioned Cameron to turn the camera back on. Jack moved to the corner, away from the doctors and his boss.

As Meryl studied everyone, she noticed that Jack was the youngest of the present company. He had short black hair, friendly hazel eyes, and a slightly cleft chin. Cameron, however, had medium hair with grey streaks, and dark eyes, he was older, maybe in his late forties.

Once the camera was back on, Megan asked, “Blackbird, what is your real name?”

“Why?”

“Why not?” Megan half smiled as her old self returned, “We want to get this story out for the world to see.”

Before another word was spoken, the door opened again and a nurse admitted Kai in to the room.

Without greeting, he spoke in a stronger voice than before. “The wench’s name is Meryl Renée Grigori. I am Kai Grigori. It is an old name, the Grigori’s. Known as the Watchful, the ever seeing, call it what you will. My mother was a Grigori until she married the spiteful Arsenii Gavriil. Too weak, without support of my despicable father, my mother died. He left her after my birth. He left because of me and my mother paid for it. But the man died before I could repay him in kind, before I could kill him myself.”

Megan was about to speak when Meryl leaned forward and grabbed her wrist. She inaudibly shook her head. That motion said it all.

Let him confess.

The reporter nodded and remained silent. Sure enough, he spoke again.

“My grandmother, Swan, and dear Blackbird had sympathy for me. They knew I was not the cause of my feeble mother’s surrender to her mortality. Nevertheless, my brothers, aunt, and uncle hated me to the core. Wretched, narrow minded and simple, I was glad I killed them. They were pathetic pawns with no ambition, living on that lowly, desolate farm. My grandmother, a witch, passed away at an old age. She taught us rituals and unimpressive things like listening to the trees or hearing the wind. Although she was more considerate than the miserable lowlifes, Grandmother Swan still preferred my cousin, Blackbird.”

Meryl scowled as he sighed with satisfaction. She knew he was trying to justify his killings. However, her parents were never cruel, least not to him.

“But there was still my sweet, gullible cousin, Blackbird. She taught me useful things, to use my mind, read thoughts, and detect lies through a man’s eyes. When I was stuck in Russia with my scornful brothers, she would send letters and presents to cheer me up. Even though I was younger, I could have easily broken her, but she showed strength. I knew she was a worthy being.”

“Worthy of what?” Megan asked before she could stop herself.

Meryl noticed that the reporter’s painted nails dug hard into her closed fist. Her knuckles turned white.

Kai continued his soliloquy, “Worthy of a chemical I alone created. It is a serum that endows the subject with extraordinary strength and agility. I injected it into myself and survived any stone thrown in my path. You could almost say that I am… immortal.” He impressed on the word as if he were superior to all others. “After I launched my missiles in to your corrupt country, I had my men steal Blackbird’s living corpse from the morgue. The men injected the same substance into her. She revived quicker than we anticipated. She killed the men, not that I cared, but she grabbed my knife and drove it into my stomach.” He grinned broadly, his yellowing teeth bared like sharp razors as he finished. “I felt no pain, no torture, no death.”

Everyone’s gaze shifted from the lunatic to his cousin. Their voices were lost as their throats dried like parchment from this frightful, egregious confession.

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