Chapter 8: Flirting with Death
My victory surprised everyone and they made me well aware of it. Lucia and Gaven walked with Echo and me to the dining hall for dinner. We all laughed at Annabell’s tantrum afterwards and her screaming that it wasn’t fair and how a first year could never beat her. Echo even praised me on my battle tactics.
The dining hall was a smaller room reminding me of my school cafeteria but more elegant and refined. Velvet chairs with gold paint and red covers were placed at the long table that stay center in the room covered with a black table cloth. The walls much like the hallways held the pictures and paintings from history. Two doors were on the far wall that seemed to lead to the kitchen. We all took our seats with me and Echo placed on the far end next to Lucia and Gaven with a few empty seats between us four and the others. Annabell and Hallow sat on the opposite end with Annabell at the head as if she were the host of an extravagant dinner party and Hallow, her faithful butler waiting to serve. I looked down at my empty plate and several organized silverware placed particularly at each seat. I looked over at Echo who seemed uneasy from the sight.
“I don’t know what they’re for either,” I laughed joking at my lack of sophistication.
“Can… can you just take them away…” she whispered shaking slightly in her voice.
I rose and eyebrow at this request, “Why?”
“I jus-… I just.” Hallow’s voice cut her off.
“It’s because she’s afraid of them,” he said as if he was impatient by my lack of knowledge.
“Of silverware?” I joked.
“Silver,” he finished.
I looked back at Echo who still seemed in a state of terror. “Why silver?”
“It’s the only thing that can kill a Demon,” Gaven frowned grinding his teeth.
“It is?” I asked pulling away the silverware from her.
“You’re really dumb aren’t you?” Lucia laughed.
“Hey,” I called.
“I only tell the truth,” she snickered.
Servers came from the kitchen doors placing food in front of us. I looked at the plate presented to me with a watery expression. Potatoes, carrots, a roll, and beets with roast beef piled onto the feast. Water was poured into my glass from the boney servants. I took a whiff of the addictive smell. It’s been so long since I’ve eaten dinner and when I did it was never something like this; normally it was canned goods given to us from friends and neighbors.
I looked around the table where everyone else was already eating the stew. All but the demons and angels. Two more sets of bones came out bring out the other feast. Cages of live mice and rats were placed on the plates of Echo, Hallow, and Gaven. While white deserts were brought for the wings.
Echo opened the cage and picked out one of the mice by hand. It was a white field mouse of an average size. The creature ran across her hand as she continued to lace the poor creature’s tail through her fingers. A wicked smile took her face as she watched the mouse run and play. Echo’s razor teeth grew in length as she grabbed the being holding it by its tail. The mouse tried desperately to get away but it was to no use. Echo’s eyes locked on me.
“May I?” She asked sweetly.
“Umm ok?” I said confused by her meaning.
Her lips kissed together when her eyes locked back onto the mouse. White swirled from the mouse as its cries rebounded across the room. Echo sucked out the smoke swallowing it. Horror filled my eyes as I watched and listened to the poor creature’s screams of pain and fear. I wanted to vomit from the event. My eyes locked with the mice own fear, its pain, became mine.
“Stop,” I yelled red filled the room as my eye activated.
All angels and demons in the room fell against the table with a hard crash. Groans and wails came from them as this was obviously painful. I grabbed the slow breathing mouse from Echo’s hand holding it in my own. The poor creature was barely hanging onto dear life as it lay limply in my hand. I looked around seeing everyone’s eyes locked on me with shock. No one could look away and no angel or demon could move. I feel the energy draining from my body as I stopped the glow. Echo sat up picking up the empty cage that had spilled over when her head crashed into the table.
“What in Hell is wrong with you?” She screamed rubbing her head in the silent room.
“Why were you killing it?” I cried.
“I was feeding, you told me I could,” Echo growled.
“I didn’t know you were asking to kill it.” I called.
“How else do I get the soul? That’s what we eat,” Echo yelled echoing herself.
“What was that?” Fawn asked with a hint of fear in her voice.
“I don’t know really…” I admitted petting the mouse slightly with my figure.
“That eye what is it? A curse? A natural born gift? Tell us its secret,” Danny barked from across the table.
“Dominic,” Lucia cursed.
“I knew there was something different about you,” Annabell smirked, “Dominic.”
“Echo?” I asked her.
Shame filled her face followed by anger, “I told you to lie,” she gritted under her breath so that none could hear her.
“Echo, I knew you’d have something to do with this,” Gaven grunted.
“You know I’ve never done anything to you before,” Echo retaliated trying to change the subject.
“Your presence is enough. You’ve never worked a day in your life and you come in with this reject loser and you expect us to be the best of friends. Did you even think any of this through?” Gaven spat.
“Gaven,” Lucia blurted out.
“It’s true,” Gaven huffed.
“The eye was a mistake that shouldn’t have happened but I will not dwell. Gaven you can whine all you want and you can complain and insult me with all your might but, it still means nothing. I mean why should I listen to anything an inbreed has to say?” Echo retaliated.
Gaven's face turned a bright red. Hallow laughed a twisted chuckle from the comeback, “For an inbreed to even be allowed to live is a mystery in its own.”
“Stop it,” Gaven howled his eyes turning wide with anger.
“An inbreed vs. a pure it is obvious who will win, better to save your strength,” Lue laughed slightly.
“What’s an inbreed?” I asked Lucia.
“It’s kind of like an incest made mutt. To a demon they’re the weakest and considered worthless. But Gaven’s different, he’s stronger than most here and he has come so far. Inbreds normally don’t survive to mature. Gaven worked for Echo’s family and has vowed revenge on them for years of slavery. When we made a contract it was to be the most powerful and wealthy people alive so that we could both know what it feels like to be on that end of the world,” she whispered.
“So that explains why he hates Echo so much…” I whispered back.
“Really how?” Lucia whispers confused as if she hadn’t heard the conversation.
“Why would you even care? Inbreed, pure you’re still no match for a holy angel,” Fawn smirked softly eating her cake.
“What makes you so special?” Echo spat.
“I am the example of a perfect being, why wouldn’t you be envious?” Fawn continued.
“It’s you who is envious Fawn,” Rainia giggled. “To never do wrong is to never have fun.”
“At least I don’t sleep with every male in sight, to be holy you are quite a slut,” Fawn said almost politely.
“I just found my balance between good and evil,” Rainia said petting Danny’s hair in a flirty manner.
“Can we go five minutes without someone starting a fight?” Max sighed in annoyance.
“Are we asleep but do not know it?” Lucia studied with everyone ignoring the random comment.
“That demon is trying to get us off topic,” Annabell blurted.
“What is going on here?” The room grew silence with only the sound of ticking.
Pitch stood in the donnish hall doorway with an impatient expression. Everyone sat attentive to his presence. I didn’t understand why we did it but we did. I am not afraid of death. I have lived through it once and thought of it so often that I no longer dread it only welcome its relief.
“Sasha, explain what’s going on here,” Pitch commanded.
“An argument…” she said hoarse with little audibility.
“Speak up,” his voice rang through the room with a great might.
“Dominic didn’t want Echo to…” Sasha said a little louder.
“Dominic didn’t want Echo to what?” Pitch asked softer with an almost surprised tone.
“To eat the mouse,” Lue finished lazily.
“You understand this is how demons survive correct?” Pitch’s eyes locked on me with a curious gaze.
“Why?” I blurted.
“You question death?” His shadows floated over to me.
“I question what’s wrong,” I spoke strongly, I am tired of being beaten around like a doll.
“And what gives you the authority to say what’s right and wrong?” His voice hissed.
“Because I know the difference,” I stood my eyes meeting his chest.
“Do you?” Pitch said smugly.
“Do you?” I retaliated.
“Why do you go against fear?” Pitch asked in a confused tone.
“Because he does not fear you….” Hallow smiled.
The world froze with those simple words which no one wished to hear. I looked at Hallow who couldn’t seemed more thrilled to see me stuck in this position. My thumb began nervously petting the mouse who lay in my palm.
“He doesn’t fear you like the other one,” Hallow laughed.
“Pitch,” Echo called. “He’s just some dumb kid who doesn’t understand what he’s talking about-“
“He knows perfectly well what he’s set in motion,” Pitch hissed.
I honestly didn’t but at the same time I did. I’m sick of being pushed around and being thrown into this with little to no information and just to be expected to do what I’m told and follow the madness. I refuse to be lost in the lies and darkness of this place. I’m not the good guy here I know that but I guess it’s all a matter of perspective; like the mirror.
Echo stood hopping on top of the table walking over to us. She stood slightly taller than Pitch. She placed her weight on one of her hips and her hand leaning against it like girls do so often.
“You know what Pitch. For the first time I agree with this little punk,” she smiled teasingly. “What gives you the right?”
I’m surprised she even cared about me. She cares enough to stand up against death, but then again I am only her food.
“You agree with who is destined to die?” Pitch inquired confused.
“If it’s against you, umm yeah,” Echo laughed.
“You know Pitch did you ever think your name was a letter off?” Echo laughed leaning on his shoulder.
He seemed less than amused. Quiet laughter filled the table.
“Hey Pitch, one of your clocks is off,” Echo joked poking his chest.
The hooded man looked down at the perfectly good clock to be met with Echo’s finger hitting his face or what I think is his face.
Echo pulled away her hand from the blackness, “Well someone doesn’t use moisturizer.”
The laugher could no longer be contained in the teenagers who sat watching the show. Pitch glared over instantly quieting the masses.
“Watch your tongue girl or soon you won’t have one,” Pitch whispered in a deadly voice.
“Watch your tongue girl or soon you won’t have one,” Echo mimicked in Pitch’s voice.
Two blades shaped much like scythes connected by a metal chain formed in Pitch’s hands. He rose the weapon of strange design up to Echo’s eye level. A hush formed over the crowd as they both stood in a stand still.
“Do it,” Echo hissed unafraid from his threat. “Show him how death is supposed to act. I mean surely it will be nothing like Elijah. Don’t you agree?”
The chain disappeared in a shadowy cloud followed by a chilling command, “Both of you, in my office, now.”