Chapter 45: No Good Deed
The sound of Tarlac’s voice ripped through the concrete walls of Erebus’ home and broke all peace, if any left, that hid between the cracks of my utter torment. A cold string of chills ran painfully down my spine and made my heart drop to the very pit of my empty stomach.
Genesee whispered in a shaky breath, “They’re going to kill us.”
I could see right through her.
I shouldn’t be able to see right through her…
Genesee was an assassin. Assassin’s are trained to stare at death with a stone-cold face. Ultimately, however, I believed that even Genesee understood that the finding of me here wouldn’t be death.
Death would be too kind…
I had to pull myself together. Well, I had to keep myself together. Not for a single moment was I allowed to sit there and fall apart because this life of mine would not be over if today went in anyway the way that Genesee pictured it—at its worst. I had to think about everyone, apart from myself, in that very moment.
It was something that I wasn’t too familiar with anymore.
“Genesee, please,” I whispered as I cupped the sides of her face with my shaking hands, “Shut up. No one is dying today.”
“How..?” Her voice cracked.
I could feel her trembling under my touch. It was very unpleasant. I wanted to calm her. I did. I wanted to sit down with her and tell her that everything was going to be okay because despite circumstances, Genesee had stood by me through it all. I had grown fond of her in ways that I never thought I could or would. I grew fond of her because even before she knew who and what I am, she treated me with respect and looked out for me when she didn’t have to.
I owe her this much…
“Get me to Doraime.” I said to her as I dropped my hands from her face. I took her hand in my own, urging her to sneak me into the dungeon in what I hoped would be the last time she’d have to bend the rules for me.
Her eyebrows furrowed, obviously having been taken aback by my request. She shook her head, trying to comprehend why in god’s name would I ask her to do this.
“How is she —”
I cut her off in my desperation.
“Just!” I caught myself, sighing as I attempted to keep my cool.
“Please, Genesee.” I begged.
I knew that she wasn’t okay with my request—she was from from okay with it. I think that a part of her wanted to turn all of her emotions into hate toward me, but in that moment, she couldn’t. She wasn’t given the right to hate me or be angry with me to the point where she’d abandon me because I was her only hope.
I was all that she had left.
She had taken a moment to think, or so I thought she had. It became clear to me that she had turned to this “do now and think later” mode when all she did in that set of seconds was give in to the natural instinct that I was all too familiar with. It was the same instinct I learned to give in as I desperately fought through the hard years of training that my father forced me into.
Turning back to look at what I assumed to be an empty hall just outside of my room, she pulled me to follow her every move. I knew better than to slow her down once she decided on what she wanted and had to do. I would have to keep up with her.
“Keep quiet.” she whispered.
We moved quickly, passed what felt like an endless row of bedroom doors and down a very long flight of stairs. I couldn’t think. All I was allowed to do was move with Genesee as quickly and in whichever way she wanted me to. If she said “jump” all I was allowed to do was ask “how high?”.
It wasn’t like anything that I had done before, so the more we moved, the harder it became to ignore the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I couldn’t control the fear coursing through my veins and the closer I felt we moved to Tarlac, the more overwhelming the fear became. I wanted to convince myself that I wasn’t given the opportunity to think, seeing as I had to keep up with Genesee, but that was far from being the case. Truthfully, all I could think about was the fact that I knew that none of the “Big Three” ever traveled to this realm alone. I knew that if Tarlac was here, that only meant that Kenneth and my grandfather would be too.
Suddenly, my breath caught in my lungs as we came to an abrupt halt. When I finally got a second to process what was happening, I found myself pinned against the wall with Genesee’s hand pressing firmly against my sealed lips. As expected, her eyes had gone dark as she stared into my own and held her finger against her lips.
She quietly hummed, “Sh…”
“Seekers…” Erebus’ voice overpowered the low shush. “How can I help you?”
“Where the hell is your brother?” Tarlac spoke angrily. He didn’t have to say it, but I knew all too well that Tarlac was threatening Erebus. He was threatening him to say or make a wrong move, and ultimately, he was also daring him. If I knew anything about my great uncle Tarlac was that he had a great way of making people tremble simply by changing the tone of my voice.
I guess when you’re as strong as they are, you can do that.
Again, we were moving. This time, however, we didn’t stop until the dungeon door was sealed shut behind us and we stood inside the sinister room with the thing that had set out to destroy me since I came to know about her. Ironically, that very same thing was the only thing that could help us now.
“What now?” Genesee’s voice echoed through the long and dark corridor.
“You, keep watch.” I responded lowly as I stared at the darkness before us.
I knew that Doraime did not have the power to hurt me. Not at the moment, she didn’t. However, that did not stop me from feeling reluctant toward the idea of going up to her and asking her for her help.
See, that’s the thing. Right now, I would not be asking for her help—I would be demanding for it.
Once Genesee had exited the dungeon, I began taking short and steady steps toward the witch. Though it was quite a long trail until she finally came clear into my sights, I could see her shadow from a distance and it seemed that the closer I got to it, the more I began to second-guess the very idea of even going to her.
“Silver!” Her voice echoed as I took the final step that made the sight of myself clear to her as hers became clear to me. “How’s your King doing?”
She was taunting me. Whether she knew what I was there for or not, she made me regret having the idea a single thought.
How could I ask this of her? She’ll never agree…
I could tell that she had anticipated what was to happen next. I didn’t know how, but I knew that she knew about the situation and for a second, I wondered if she had somehow manipulated things to turn out this way.
With a humbled pride, I reluctantly stated, “I-I need you to hide me.”
Not a second passed before Doraime let out a sinister chuckle. Again, she mocked me. “Hide you?” she stated sarcastically.
I realized then that there was no way that her and I could talk to each other nicely. She wouldn’t have it. I had yet to harm her. I had yet to do her as poorly as she had done to me, yet she spoke to me as if it had been otherwise.
I didn’t like it.
I demanded, “Or, cloak me. Whatever the fuck it is you call it. Just, do it.”
“And, why would I do that?” she asked.
A nasty smirk had been plastered on her face. She carried this arrogance that only made me grow frustrated and angry.
“I have really had just about enough of everyone underestimating who the hell I am.” I growled through my clenched jaw.
“Who’s fault is that?” Doraime insisted on provoking me. “I never told you to lie about who you are or to hide your identity. That was all you, sweety.”
“I never told you to put me in Erebus’ territory,” I argued. “That was all you, sweety.”
Standing my ground, I cut her off, “And unless you want me run to my grandfather right now and tell him exactly what you did… I bet I could even convince him that you manipulated Erebus into thinking that I was someone else.”
I can be manipulative too…
“Someone like, I don’t know, Hope?” I smirked. “Let’s not forget that I’m my grandmother’s and grandfather’s only grandchild. Should anything happen to me, let’s just say that things won’t end well for you.”
I saw a different look wash over her. It almost appeared to me as a look of terror.
Of course she’s afraid. Even someone like her is afraid of them.
“You may not be in the other side anymore,” I continued, “but the Seekers still very much run that place and you still have a coven living in their world, in this world, and in the next.”
She knew that I was right. Every word that was coming out of my mouth was a fact and the fact that she couldn’t do a single thing about it was what I assumed to be the most frustrating thing for her.
This woman...this very strong and powerful woman could bring even Erebus crumbling down to his knees. Someone with that much power could deal some serious damage to even a Seeker, but even with that much power, ultimately, she would never win. Despite how much she may wish otherwise, she was utterly powerless against them and she knew it.
I sympathized her. In a way, I knew exactly how she felt.
I sighed. “I don’t want to be your enemy, Doraime, but just like you,” I explained, “I’ll protect what I hold dear.”
That was it.
Surprisingly, that had done it.
The look on her face softened immediately. Her eyes began to stray away from my own and she slightly bowed her head. A soft sigh passed her lips and she stated, “I can’t. My magic is only strong enough for me to speak to and see my fallen. If I was strong enough to hide you, I’d be strong enough to break myself out of here,” she made a brief pause, slightly lifting her shackled wrists and shook her hands to show me the dangling chains that were clearly bolted to the floor.
“And if I was strong enough to do that,” she added, “I wouldn’t be here now, would I?”
In that moment, I felt a familiar tug, and a sudden chill consumed me. Without a second thought, I embraced my gift and sunk into the other world that my Traveler’s ability allowed me to roam.
As the other realm accepted me, a pair of women appeared before me. I recognized them from the same old journal that I had read and told me everything that I now know about Doraime.
It was Katherine’s journal. My grandmother kept it in her study and often told me that it was nothing to play with, but I never listened. In that journal, my aunt Katherine wrote about Los Muertos necromancy clan. She kept photographs of all seven members. These two women I recognized as the fraternal twin sisters: Maya and Amelia de la Cruz.
“It was you. Both of you…” my voice trailed off as I studied them in awe.
I had read terrible things about them—both of them. It had dawned on me then that they had been the ones that attacked Kevin.
Of course… Someone like them wouldn’t have a problem hurting an innocent child.
“This is Maya and Amelia,” Doraime introduced them. “Sisters and both killed by your grandmother, Angela.”
The way that Doraime said that...if I didn’t know better, I’d say that she wasn’t trying to make my grandmother out to be a bad person.
I knew exactly who and what they were, but for the sake of time and desperate help that I nodded, I pretended otherwise.
“Why?” I faked my curiosity. “She wouldn’t do it without reason. She isn’t like that.”
“She never said we were innocent.” They spoke in unison.
“Mercy…” Doraime mumbled.
I was surprised. I never expected them to admit to being in the wrong. Moreover, I never expected to hear that name out loud.
He was one that we didn’t speak of. At least, no one apart from my mother did.
“Unfortunately, freedom came with a price.” Amelia stated.
Doraime sighed. It seemed that she was truly affected by the falling of the sisters.
“They were freed from the darkness when Angela killed them.” She explained.
A sudden loud bang echoed through the dungeon door and I knew that was Genesee’s warning. I had to hurry up and get the job done. If I was going to get help, I had to get it now.
“Help me, please.” I begged the sisters.
Amelia furrowed her eyebrows at me, questioning, “Why?”
“Listen,” I breathed out desperately, “I don’t know what happened or how things happened when Mercy’s coven—your coven—clashed with the Seekers, but I have to believe that any kindness shown by my family toward you and your kind had to be because of my mother.”
That was true. The reason that my mother—Isabelle—is the only person who ever talked about Mercy is because she shared a bond with him that my family never understood.
“So, please,” I begged. “Help me.”
They stood there with a thoughtful look on their faces. I didn’t want to pressure them, but I couldn’t help the feeling that my face was giving it away. I was in no position to rush them because it was not my place to ask for their help, but I didn’t have a choice. So, I hoped with everything inside of me that they’d take pity and give me what I needed to save Erebus and his family.
Finally, Maya spoke.
“We only listen to her.” She said as she nodded toward Doraime. “She is our Supreme, regardless of where we are or who our coven leader was.”
“What do you want?” I turned to Doraime, my voice sounding as desperate as it could.
She was certain and firm—confident in her answer. She said, “Freedom.”
How can I get that for you when I can’t even get it for myself..?
“They’re coming.” The twins said in unison.
I could feel the adrenaline begin to wildly course through my body again. I felt a very new level of anxiety and the word “nervous” could not begin to explain half of what I felt.
I felt sick.
“Please…” I begged, knowing that I could not deliver what she wished.
Maybe I should’ve lied…
No. I am done with the lies. I am here because of the lies.
Doraime understood what my pleading meant, and I only hoped that she understood why I couldn’t give her what she wanted.
Eventually, I think that she came to appreciate my honesty. Because, then, she tried to compromise though she didn’t have to.
“You keep Erebus away from what’s mine and away from me.”
I can do that.
“Okay.” I whispered. “I promise.”
At first, it was painful. I wanted to scream as I felt their magic tear through the one coursing through my veins. I was all too familiar with the spell and in order for a witch to use their power against any supernatural being, they had to overpower the magic coursing in that being’s blood. Doing that meant fighting the body’s own automatic response to what it only processes as an attack.
My body was trying to defend itself.
The scariest part of it was that my body did not put up much of a fight. Whether it was because my body was growing weak again due to malfeeding, or because they were just that much more powerful even as their bodies laid dead in my world and they only existed in spirit in the other world.
Just seconds later, Genesee hurried in and just a couple of seconds behind her in entered Kenneth.
“Silver…?” Genesee whispered as she desperately looked around the room.
She was looking for me, but I was standing right in front of her.
She can’t see me….
I only got a small taste of relief before all of my anxiety returned as I watched my grandfather step foot into the dungeon.
I held my breath as I watched Kenneth and my grandfather steadily approach Doraime and myself.
“Genesee…” Kenneth called as he came to a halt. “It’s nice to see you again.”
It was clear to everyone in the room that she was terrified, and rightfully, she should have been.
“Hello, Kenneth…” her voice shook.
I followed Kenneth’s deep blue eyes as he scanned the room then narrowed them on Doraime. “Hmm…” he hummed.
“Doraime?” My grandfather called.
She was nervous too. I knew it. But, she fought so hard to hide it, and if I had not been standing so close to her, I would’ve bought it.
“Hello, Andrew.” She greeted.
“Wow.” Kenneth chuckled. “He’s an even bigger idiot than I thought.”
My grandfather nodded, agreeing as he added,“Keeping the most powerful witch locked up without fully disabling her magic? Truly an idiot.”
He can feel that? He can feel her magic...? How…?
Kenneth drew his attention away from Doraime for a second, turning to Genesee and demanding, “Leave.”
They waited, both of them. And, the second that Genesee left the room, my grandfather stated, “Her scent is gone.”
He picked it up… He came in here looking for me…
“Just vanished as if she were never here.” Kenneth added.
I stepped back, away from Doraime and away from them. I took quiet and cautious steps back, into the cell that Erebus used to lock me in, and kept walking until my back met the concrete wall and I had nowhere else to run to.
Whether it was because he was tracking my scent or because he could sense my presence, my grandfather took his own cautious steps toward me until his face was but an inch away from my own.
“Grandbaby…” he whispered and his breath fanned my forehead.
I could’ve died, but I would’ve stubbornly died holding my breath because I felt as if I so much as blink, he’d know that I was hiding right under his nose—literally.
I stared into his eyes, watching him as he did his best to focus on picking up any kind of energy. As powerful as he is, I was certain that he was going to find me. I simply waited. I waited to meet what would be the beginning of me and the end of Erebus and everyone in this house.
But, his feelings were clouding his senses. I had to assume that that is what it was because my grandpa...my papa would’ve never missed this. He couldn’t…
But, he did. And, I wasn’t sure whether to be heartbroken or relieved when I watched him give into whatever his judgement was telling him and backed away and out of the cell.
I watched him walk away. I stood silently as I watched him walk back to Doraime and squatted down, lowering himself to her eye level.
“I truly hope it is not your coven causing this...disruption.” He stated calmly. “Erebus’ time has been narrowed down to two weeks. He may not be able to figure it out, but I sure as hell will.”
He knows… He has to know.
“If you had anything to do with my granddaughter’s disappearance and if any harm comes to her…” his voice trailed off.
No one had to say it. Everyone knew what would happen if anyone crossed the Seekers, especially their family.
My grandfather knew it. He knew he didn’t have to say anything because his eyes gave it all away. So, he paused and straightened on his feet. With that, he left. He left and left behind the one man that can’t help but do everything he can to let everyone in the room know that his balls are bigger than yours.
Kenneth scoffed as he lowered his gaze to Doraime once again. He didn’t do this just to look at her. He did this as a way of letting her know that he was superior to her.
“It would be a shame to rid of another legendary necromancer.” He mocked.
With that, he turned on his heels and took his leave.
“You have to go home.” Doraime said.
She never turned to look at me, not even as the twins’ magic faded and I appeared whole again.
“I’ve paid for having brought you here,” she claimed. “That was me paying, and I am done doing favors for you."