Risen From Ashes

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Chapter Twenty-Nine

June 18, 2028

Hôpital de l’Hôtel-Dieu, Paris, France

Gripping and twisting her wrist and arms nervously, Meryl silently made her way down the empty hallway of the chilled hospital.

As she happened to pass by the staff lounge, she quickly glanced through the window. Everyone, Megan and her goons, and the doctors and nurses were sitting around, chatting jovially as if everything in the world was right.

This evening, muted on the television screen was Megan’s second interview with the troubled woman; again, her identity had been concealed.

Just thinking about that interview made her spine tingle and yet Blackbird was about to do something rash and stupid, more so than a silly interview.

Tip-toing past the door, staying out of sight, Meryl opened the door to Kai’s temporary home. Turning the handle, Meryl stepped into the dim room that housed her maniac-of-a-cousin, and locked the door behind her, not daring to take her eyes off of him.

Sitting in a wheelchair by the window, as Meryl had first seen him when she recovered from her comatose state, Kai was so still that the woman would have mistaken him for dead. His long black hair had been cut short. The burn marks on his hollowed, pale features looked like badly printed tattoos. As he could not see, his eyes were covered, hidden with bandages. His hearing, however, was pristine; turning his head, he faced the door that had just opened and closed.

With a cruel, degrading smirk, he stated proudly, “I knew you’d eventually come, Blackbird.”

Standing where she entered, her back against the door, Meryl asked, “Why did you do it?”

In a toying voice, he responded, raising both his arm and stub of an arm, “I have done many things; you must be specific with me.”

“Why did you kill my family? Why did you steal thousands, and maybe even millions of lives? What was the point of this damn war?” her voice nearly shook as she gazed at his silhouette. The full moon rising had illuminated his broken features. “If it was revenge, why did you not just kill the Grigoris? Me?”

“This world is imperfect,” he stated coolly. “This world is infested with scum and trash who walked the earth as if they, and only they, were important. They did not realize that they had a much more minuscule role to play in this hell. Those people, every one of them, deserved to be on their knees, slaves to what I could offer them. They needed to be controlled by a higher power, to show that there is no God, no hero who could save them. The ones who would revolt, like the Grigoris, were made an example of as you would have been.”

“So that’s why you planned to kill the presidents? That’s why you started this war? So you could rule the people in that fantasy dream of yours?”

His cruel, guttural laugh echoed throughout the halls. “It was no fantasy. I had already set my plan into motion the moment I slaughtered the Watchful.”

“If we were such a threat to your dreams, then why not just kill me along with the others?”

“Because you showed potential. You are like me; you are a bloodthirsty menace who will go to any extreme to get what you want. You only needed a good mentor.”

Meryl’s words were dangerous as she alleged, “I am nothing like you.”

“And yet, here you are. Locked in my temporary berth, discovering my true intentions. You, like the other souls that still breathe, need to be ruled, controlled. You need that power of freedom stripped away to show that you are nothing more than insects who infect the earth.”

“And you think you are the one to lead us?”

Laughing again, he stated, “Of course I am. The mind is so easy to tame. I know what the people want. I know what people fear. And I know how to use that power against them. I learned that from you.”

Anger rising, Meryl spat, “You’re insane! I trained you how to detect when someone is lying. That’s all!”

“Then why did you admit that you taught me how to read minds?”

When she did not respond, he knew that he had stunned her. “Oh, yes, my equally insane cousin. I know all about that little interview with that pathetic general and my lame pawn, Wilson. You took the blame for teaching me so much more than just detecting lies. And it made me wonder why. Then I knew that you were still so gullible. That you were in fact, exactly like me.”

Stiffening, Meryl stated as the doorknob behind her turned. “I took that blame because I blame myself for not killing you sooner!”

Fists hammered on the door as the cousins felt their own tempers rise. Kai, grinning maliciously, retaliated over the banging noises, “And that is what unites us. You kill without hesitation. You manipulate weaklings to believe you. You distort truth to fit your fiction. We are one and the same.”

“I. Am. Not. You!” Meryl stepped towards him. Her fingers quivered with anticipation. She wanted to wrap them around his pallid neck. She wanted to feel the life leave his shell. She wanted to watch as the light left his eyes.

Behind them, the door burst open; two doctors, Megan, and Cameron gazed horrifyingly at Kai, who was smirking, and Meryl, in the middle of the room with her foot suspended and her fingers twitching.

“What’s going on here?” the senior doctor pulled Blackbird out of her trance.

Huffing, she gazed at the intruders. “Nothing. Just dealing with… family business.”

Shoving past the four, Meryl stormed out and found the shower room down the hall. Stepping in with her clothes still on, she roughly twisted the shower knob and stinging jets of cold water hit her.

Shaking, the woman knew that she had again fallen into his trap. It infuriated her! When was she going to learn? When would she tame her own mind and fight off his influence.

In her uncontrolled temper, she punched the tile wall; it cracked and shattered, and her knuckles bled.

Leaning against the wall, she was again reminded of Reims. Sliding down, pulling her knees close to her chest, Meryl hugged them tightly, and buried her face as her soaked tendrils fell around her.

“When will I finally learn?”

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