Chapter 60: Perspective
AGATHE shot me a crucifying glare through the thick, titanium bars of the cell door.
“Turn around,” I said.
She sighed, rolling her eyes, then turned her back to me.
I punched several numbers on the keypad before entering the correct code. The primary lock beeped, but I still kept pressing numbers to add heat signatures to those buttons. Agathe couldn’t just see through things—she could see heat signatures, infrared, and other wavelengths, too. One could never be too careful around her.
I used a key to open the secondary lock and pushed the door open. “There’s still something I can’t figure out.” I took a couple of steps inside the door. “How did you get inside Braden and Robert’s rooms without their keys?”
Agathe turned and gave me a hard look, folding her arms. “Why should I tell you?”
I shrugged. It’d help to know so we could change the system to make sure it didn’t happen again. We were pretty certain we knew how she’d done it, but we wanted to make sure.
I’d done a little reading about serial killers in the library earlier that day to learn more about her behaviors. As it turned out, TV and movies were largely wrong about them. They weren’t necessarily smarter than other people. It was just their obsessed psychopathic personality that drove them to be very good at what they did, much like many CEOs. But they wanted others to think they were smarter than them, not only because they really thought they were, but because they wanted to feel more powerful. That’s what the games were about.
Agathe would answer my question because she’d want us to believe she was smarter than us in order to put us on edge. By asking her about the murders, I was appealing to that desire in her. The only thing that worried me is that she had powers, which meant she was smarter than most people. And possibly even smarter than us.
She thought for a moment. “Lena had the keys made from wax impressions of Joseph’s keys.”
“That only explains the first murder. Artie changed the locks after that. How’d you get into Robert’s room?”
“I slipped in one day when he hadn’t locked his door, then locked it on my way out after I put a knife in his chest.” A subtle, pleased smile curled the edge of her lips. Her bloodlust was unsettling. “I’d hoped that’d cast suspicion on Kat, but you all were too stupid to think of that.”
I wouldn’t tell her Abby and I had thought of it. Her thinking that we were idiots would work to our advantage if she ever managed to get out of her cell. And she would try to get out. If she really were a serial killer, she’d eventually go crazy in the cell unless she satisfied her urge to kill someone.
I sat the tray of food on a table just inside the door. “Why’d you get me exiled from Winter’s Edge? Why not just kill me, too?”
She sighed in annoyance. “Can’t you figure these things out on your own?”
I had to play this out carefully for it to work. “I’m pretty sure I know why, but being pretty sure and knowing for certain are two different things.”
She stepped closer, possibly intrigued, thinking I was a worthy opponent for her games. “So why did I do it?”
“You spied on me and Asa through the training room wall and figured out I was a Telekinetic. And besides, you like to play games. It’s why you left the note for me at the warehouse and the message for Abby in the flowers.”
A tiny smile tugged at her lips and her eyes licked me up and down like a lollipop. She stepped intimately close. “Killing a Watcher is easy. Their power isn’t a threat. But trying to kill a Telekinetic is dangerous.” She slid her finger along my cheek. “It was smarter to set you up and get you exiled. More of a challenge, too. And it lowered everyone’s guard for a while.” Her warm breath touched me as her hand rose to my face. She traced the edge of my jaw with her fingers.
I grabbed her forearm and she gave a lively moan as if roughhousing excited her. She was either trying to distract me with seduction or she was completely delusional. If she knew I felt any sympathy for her and her situation, she’d take advantage of it. So I kept up the angry façade and pushed her back telekinetically, letting go of her arm. “You were right to be afraid of me.”
Agathe’s excitement shifted into frustration, her tone dark. “You know this isn’t over, don’t you?”
I turned to leave.
Had it really been her childhood that had turned her into a serial killer or was it the madness that had taken her? The thought nearly sent a shiver through me, but madness was no longer an issue since the dark one had left me.
“The Hunters aren’t just going to give up.” She started to close in on me again but stopped when I glared back at her in warning. “They’ll never stop.”
I stepped out the door, ignoring her threats…
…until she said, “Aren’t you curious what happened to the second dark one that came out of you?”
That stopped me dead in my tracks. What exactly had she seen with her powers?
I shrugged it off, ignoring her once more, and shut the door behind me. Only one dark one had come out of me. She was just trying to get in my head, make me worried…wasn’t she?
Later that day, I sat under the purple petals of the jacaranda tree while Abby rested her head on my lap. Each flower bud that spiraled down from above gave off a distinct feel through the new connectedness I had with the world. Streaks of sunlight streamed through the branches all around us as I stared into Abby’s beautiful blue eyes. They seemed to smile back at me without a single movement from her lips.
“You have the most beautiful eyes,” I said. “I could get lost in them all day.”
Abby blushed. “Says the guy with the brooding, hazel eyes that melt girls’ hearts.”
I snickered. “Whatever.”
We sat silent for a bit just enjoying the moment.
But before long, a thought came to mind and I broke the silence. “You know, my dad said something weird before he died. He said to ask my mom about secrets. I’m not sure what he was talking about, but if I find her and ask, I might put her at risk…not to mention getting exiled from Winter’s Edge. I don’t know what to do.”
She shook her head. “I wish I could help, but I don’t make the rules around here. And I wouldn’t want your mom to get killed because of some bad advice I gave you.”
“It just seems like an impossible situation.”
She nodded, snuggling closer to my stomach. “I’m sorry.”
I gestured toward the Hebrew journal that sat on her stomach. “Why do you think Agathe stole that?”
“Maybe her day job is a serial killer, but she moonlights as a klepto.” She gave a quirky smile and I laughed.
“No really. How did she know the names of the flowers were in the back of your journal? And why would she steal the one journal that teaches the language of the Old City? Was she looking for something?”
Abby frowned. “What would she be looking for?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. It just doesn’t make sense to me, that’s all.”
“Yeah, it’s a little strange,” she said. “But I can’t imagine what she’d want with the Old City.”
“What if the Hunters wanted her to find something down here?”
Abby frowned. “I think you’re making a leap there. The Hunters probably didn’t even know about the Old City until they got here. I doubt they have any interest in it.”
“But what if Lena told her something about the Old City?”
“Not likely. Lena didn’t know much about the Old City. She never seemed interested in it.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Despite my dismissal, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something we’d missed. Something big. If Lena or Agathe had found something valuable to the Hunters in the Old City, they’d stop at nothing to get back to Winter’s Edge. Unfortunately, worrying about it wouldn’t help.
The walls around us wore inscriptions making beautiful designs all throughout the room, which reminded me of something.
“Remember the prophecy I deciphered by the theater? The one about freeing the people from darkness and bring them into the light?”
“Some are saying that prophecy is about me.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Maybe. I wouldn’t discount it. The Hebrew letters did spell English words, and you were the one who figured it out.”
“But what’s the darkness? And how did I lead anyone out of it?”
She shrugged. “It can be pretty dark down here in the Old City.”
“But we’re all still here.”
“Hebrew poetry’s difficult to figure out. All the prophecies are written in it. Maybe we have no clue what it’s really talking about.” She had a thoughtful look. “Or maybe it’s not finished yet.”
I hadn’t considered that. “I don’t like it. I’m no different than anyone else here.”
Something about it made me uneasy. Maybe it was that people might think I was someone special or might have expectations of me. I wasn’t quite sure. All I knew is that I wanted to relax and forget about the world and just be with Abby.
“All I ever wanted was to be normal,” I said. “But I realized that if I were normal, I never would’ve met you.”
“Often, it’s the things we don’t like about ourselves that lead us where we need to go.” She smiled endearingly. “I wouldn’t change a thing about you. Besides,” she poked my side, “normal’s boring.”
I returned her smile, but my mind just couldn’t seem to stop drifting. “This is all going away, isn’t it?”
“It’s hard to say. Dad said a few people left this morning. But others don’t want to abandon the life and home they’ve built here. They’re arguing that even though the Hunters found us, it’ll still take them a while to find their way back again since we blew the tunnel. You’ve seen how long that thing is and how many branches it has.”
I looked up. “What about the holes in the ceilings?”
“We’ll probably have to close them up.”
“Why not just go to Summerlight?”
Abby’s lips stretched flat. “I’m not sure we’re welcome there. And Dad says it’s not that simple. We’ll have to stay here for a while.”
A light breeze fell through the hole above and blew a lock of hair in her face. I tucked it behind her ear, looking deep into her eyes.
She leaned up and pulled my head close to hers, then pressed her lips against mine, kissing me for a long moment. When she pulled back, she said, “Don’t worry, we’re safe for a while. Everything’ll be fine.”
And like a fool, I believed her.
Because, after all…things are not always what they seem.
End of Book One
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