Dominick went to his friend’s house, still thinking about Iris. His friend was a guy who worked in and out of architecture and was kind enough to bring Dominick in. He entered and found that his friend was having a little get together.
“Aw, Dom. There you are. Where’ve you been?” he asked as he got off the couch from in between two girls.
“Since when did you have ‘get-togethers’ with the ladies?”
His friend gave him an odd expression, and said, “You should know not to answer a question with a question.”
“And I thought you knew not have these kinds of things without me knowing about it.”
“I tried to call you, but I guess you were in a tunnel or something.”
“I don’t carry a phone. I keep it here so I’m not getting tracked by the cops, remember?”
“Oh. Beer?” he asked as he offered one to Dom.
“Come on. Let’s just be two guys with dates tonight.”
“No thanks. I’m going to bed.” Dominick started to go upstairs.
“Come on. You’re going to miss out!”
Dominick stopped and leaned over the rail. “I’m going to bed.”
His friend got the message and put his hands up with a beer in one hand.
“Okay. I get you, dude.”
Dominick continued up, and then his friend turned to the Hispanic ladies. “Guess I get you all to myself.” He teased, and plopped on the couch, making them laugh as he lounged across their laps.
In the bedroom, Dom sat on the bed, hands folded and propped forward, thinking about nothing but Iris. He still felt her kiss on his lips and the silk feeling of her hair on his fingers. Something about her had made him nearly obsessed. He wanted to see her again, but he didn’t know how or when. But why? They were complete strangers, yet somehow, they had an unexplainable chemical connection. Laying down, still in his jeans and clean white t-shirt, he put one arm over his head, he continued to think and almost lust for her. Then, placing his fingers lightly on his lips, and letting out a scoff, he reached over and turned off the light.
“Charles. Charles?” Uncle Grinshaw pressed a button so that Charles could acknowledge him. “How may I help you this evening, sir?”
“Is Iris asleep?”
“Okay. Um…can, can you give this to her in the morning when she wakes?” He slid an envelope into a small slot.
Grinshaw gathered his robes, glancing back at the door, and went to bed himself.
Through the night, Iris dreamed of Dominick, and Dominick had his own thoughts about Iris. Iris stirred, and then she couldn’t believe her eyes. There he stood, in the corner of her room. She sat up. “Dominick? How” “It doesn’t matter,” he said softly, approaching her slowly. Reaching her bed, he sat next to her. Still stunned that he managed to find her, much less get inside, she was speechless. He then placed his hand upon her cheek, scanning her eyes for information. After a moment, he kissed her, and it lasted for several pleasantly long minutes. Then as Dominick pulled back and started to smile, a bright light showed behind him and began to seamlessly swallow him up. She woke.
Sadly, it was a dream and was now morning. Iris lifted her head just a bit, held up her hand to block the unnatural light, and squinted, barely making out what it was that was creating the light. “Good morning, mistress.” Charles’ voice sounded and Iris grunted and threw her head back down, jerking the sheets up over her head. “Sleep well?” “No,” she said, muffled under her covers.
“Well, you did stay up past midnight.” She grunted again. “Nevertheless, you need to get up and do your duties for the day.”
“Oh…what day is it?”
“Friday,” Charles told her as she sat up.
“Must every night be booked with low lives?”
“Actually, miss, tonight’s man is the man you told to get information from Genievo’s computer. Why he knew of your existence, to be exact.” “Oh, right. I forgot,” she said swinging her legs off the edge of the bed and rubbing her eyes. She looked to her right as if she felt the presence of Dominick, but he wasn’t there.
“Everything alright, miss?”
“Yes. Thank you, Charles.”
As Iris looked at her hands, she noticed that her claws were not extended. “Odd.” She thought. Then she got up to head to the closet so she could get dressed.
“Oh, my,” Charles said, noticing something different about her presence. “Um…mistress?”
She turned to look at his screen.
“Don’t be alarmed, but uh…”
“But what?” she asked, more awake.
“Um, perhaps you’d care to look in the mirror,” Charles told her as he pulled a body length mirror from the wall, and rotated it so it was facing her.
Her vision still a tad blurry from the morning start, she stepped closer. Then, as she saw it, her eyes widened. “AH!” She looked behind her, and sure enough, she had a tail. “How, how did this happen?” She asked herself, and Charles, grabbing it. “I can’t hide something like this,” Iris said, staring at the small, pointed tip. The tail was thin as rope but was almost like dolphin skin. It was greyish black, smooth, and at the end, a small arrowhead tip. “What’s happening to me?” “I’m not sure miss. It’s never happened before, and I saw no signs of this kind of thing.”
“Well can’t you fix it?”
“I’m afraid not. The only way to get it off is by amputation, and I don’t have that kind of capability.”
“That’s it. I’ll cut it off, and everything will be back the way it was. No one will ever know.” Then Iris went to a small drawer, looking for scissors or a knife of some sort.
“Uh, madam, I wouldn’t recommend you do that.”
“Why? It’s not like I’ve had it so long that I have control and nerves in it,” she said, finding a small letter opener.
“Mistress?” But it was too late. Iris held her newly found tail down, and slowly lowered the opener. She took a deep breath in, and slowly let it out. Before she could even get it through, it started bleeding and shot a sudden, sharp pain through Iris’ body. “Ah! Ou!” she shouted, and then grabbed it, hoping the pain would stop.
With tears in her eyes, she slowly looked over to Charles. “There’s no taking it off. Is there?” she asked; her voice filled with sorrow. The computer-generated face for Charles looked down with his eyes, and shook his head. Then he remembered the envelope her uncle gave him earlier that evening. “I have something for you,” he said softly as a shelf came out of the desk with the card on it. “Your uncle dropped by last night, and asked me to give you this.” Iris got off the bed again, and walked over to the desk, still holding her bloody tail. She took a seat in the chair, let go of the tail, and picked up the card sized envelope. Opening it, she read her uncle’s handwriting.
“My dearest niece,
I have given a lot of thought to the fact of you being the way you are, and how hard I must be sometimes. And for that, I am sorry. I am writing this note because I love you. I know I’ve not told you that since the time I took you in, but I do. I love you. Iris. If you feel the need to leave the cave after 10 because another evil doer is executing another devilish deed, then go. I no longer hold you as a child in my eyes. You’ve grown into a strong, beautiful, independent woman who needs to “spread her wings”, and fly. See the world in her own image. Darling niece. As you read this, take heart, and understand what I am about to tell you. I am leaving. I will not return. My time here has ended, and the dawn of your era has begun. No, I am not dead, just leaving. Don’t go looking for me, for you will not find me. Not even in the most secret place you’ve known me to hide when we played hide and seek when you were a little girl. However, there is one thing I wish you to do.
When you’ve finished reading this, go into my room; the door will be open. Go into the closet, and look upon the back, top right shelf. There, you will find a box; open it. You’ll know what to do from there.
I love you, Iris.
My deepest love and respects,
Uncle Gerald Grinshaw”
Iris set the note down in her lap and gazed solemnly at what sat in front of her.
Iris looked up at Charles. “Go to Gerald’s room. I’ll be there shortly.” She told him. He slightly nodded and disappeared. Iris slunked back in the chair, and looked at the note again; noticing she stained it with her blood. She sighed, set the note down on the desk, and then pushed herself up out of the chair to get to her uncle’s closet.
“Aw. There you are,” Charles said gently as Iris entered the room.
She looked around, seeing how out of order things were around the room. “Goodness,” she sighed and started forward again. “Closet, back, top shelf, aw. Here it is.” She said to herself as she found the little box he wrote about. Pushing the items on top of it back as she pulled the box forward, she brought it down and found a little stool like thing to sit on. “At least his closet’s organized,” she thought. Iris opened the box one flap at a time. As she peered into it, she found yet another box; but this one was made of polished cherry wood. She removed the protective sheets and pulled out that box. It was a tiny treasure chest looking jewellery box. “Now why would he have a woman’s jewellery box?” “Hey, Charles.”
“Did Gerald ever bring home any sort of jewellery or rare, interesting items?”
“Not according to my records, no. Why do you ask?” Iris traced her fingers over the smooth carpentry and then found the little latch to keep it from opening and closing so easily. She lifted the latch, and then placed her hands on either side and gently lifted the hinged lid. As soon as she saw the contents, she understood why he wrote the letter, but wasn’t sure why he left.
“Charles, did he ever come home looking suspicious?” Charles’ screen zoomed through footage and files within a few split seconds. “No. I checked and rechecked, but I didn’t see anything that looked or sounded suspicious. May I ask what is wrong?” Iris just looked down at the contents of the box she pulled out as she stood in front of him. “I think the events of the past few have been planned and set out intentionally. That means that I sent a man who was part of the operation to just go back to the office and relay to his boss that I was real. And if that’s true, then…” She fell silent, thinking about Dominick. Was he also part of the operation, or was he just part of that small thing that had nothing to do with all that? She couldn’t be sure. Not unless she found him, and asked. “Back to the room, Charles. Now!” she said, soon running out and heading back to her own room.
As they returned, Iris quickly sat in the seat that rolled, and it slid all the way over to her computer.
“Not now Charles.” She set up the flight deck, and then pushed herself to the other side of the room where she had another computer. Charles, however, never knew of this one, and watched in silence as it popped up. She pressed a couple buttons and then the enter key. Rolling back over to Charles, she stood and then asked, “Charles, can you pull out the stabilizers and the flight pad?” “Certainly.” As he did so, steam hissed as the flight pad emerged from the wall. “What exactly do you plan to do?”
“I have things to take care of. Questions that need answering,” she responded as she put on her wing set on. “If I’m not back in 5 hours, contact the address I arrive first at. Understood?” Charles nodded, and she took to the sky, almost sounding like a hawk screeching as she zoomed left.