His knocking had become insistent and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was a patient woman but this boy knew how to test his luck.
Pulling on a pair of soft pants and a t-shirt that wasn’t dirty or drying at the moment, I gave a hard look at Howl who I could tell didn’t want me to let him in either but she didn’t like the noise he was making either. I pulled out the straight stick from my hair and let it down so it could continue to dry. Usually, I did that before I fell asleep but with the asshole outside, I didn’t get that chance.
I made sure I had the blade in the band of my pants before I opened the door for the second time. The bright sun filtered through the entryway and covered Comfrey in a horrible glow. I am a hundred percent sure I truly loathed this man before me even with the grin he had on his face when he saw I opened the door for him again.
“That wasn’t so hard, was it?” His voice was like nails on a chalkboard to me and he came into my house anyway.
“What do you want? You know better than anyone that this is my sleeping time. I can’t kill on only an hour of sleep a day.” I reminded him as he walked by the bookshelves and looked along the spines of the old and new books. He was one of the only other people to help bring this collection to our new world. But I wouldn’t forgive him just because he did something like that.
“Did you get his latest note? Or shall I call them love letters?” Fucking hell, I knew he wasn’t here for anything other than this stupid subject. “What does it really matter to you? It’s my note, my letter, my presence he wants.” I took the armchair near the bookshelf on my left while he took the one of the opposite side. He stretched out his legs and arms and took over the chair. It was to show his dominance in this conversation but I didn’t care. He could pee on everything in here and I still would have the upper hand in this situation.
I could hear the slight rumble in Howl’s chest as she stared at the man that nearly got her killed on a hunt. Somedays she was more like me than I thought.
“It mattered that day when you decided on the first letter to go and see him. I stopped you that day for a reason, he wouldn’t have let you leave his kingdom. Just like your mother, he wants you.” He reminded me of something I had known for years. Since I was sixteen actually. It was a running gag we had and I hated it.
“I am aware of what he wants, I have seen him in person before. I’m not a dumb child anymore, I won’t be going to see him. In fact, I’ll burn his note right now.” I stood up suddenly and walked to the last bookshelf on the wall. I had put the note there when I started to wash my clothes in the basins near the bathroom. I grabbed the light brown parchment paper that was neatly folded in fours between two books.
“What does it say?” He asked almost more intrigued by the note then I was when it was forcefully pressed into my hand last night before I killed the vampire messenger. “It probably says what it always does. ‘Redley the slayer, Master Ba’al requests your presence in his throne room in three days.’ What more could you want the note to say?” I mocked the former contents of the notes I’ve gotten in the past with his pretentious accent and old ways of speaking. That man was truly a joke.
Unfolding the note read the carefully written cursive letters as the master attempted to speak to me from a distance.
“Well?” Comfrey asked after I made it clear I wasn’t going to read the letter out loud.
I gave him a look over the edge of the paper that told him I wasn’t done and I wouldn’t be telling him anytime soon. He got the hint and sat back in the chair and finally stopped talking. My eyes wouldn’t lift off of the paper, this note was a little different than the last two I’ve gotten over the years. The first one was when I was sixteen and Ba’al discovered I was at the main compound even though I had been there for six years before he found me again.
’Dearest Redley, (Ugh could thoughts barf? Cause mine were)
You’ve been hiding rather well these last few years, but I know where you are. The compound you’ve so lovingly helped build and reinforce is quite a sight. The silver bars that keep us out is a feat of ingenuity, but it won’t last and you know it. You nearly met with me fourteen years ago in my kingdom. Since then I’ve made the trips out to see you but you still push me away. I could give you the entire world but you choose to kill my people and stay in your guarded tree house. This is the last invitation I will be sending and this time I will make sure you come to meet me.
The humans must die and when you’re down to the last few you’ll come to me just as your mother did all those years ago.′
- Master Ba’al the destroyer’
I wasn’t one to break down at the first sight or sound of trouble, I was raised to force my way into it instead. But this was different. This was bait and he thinks I’m just going to take it. I balled the parchment paper up in my hand and threw it against the oposite wall in frustration.
“The note was that good, huh?” Comfrey spoke up while I walked back to the armchair. I felt the soft fur of Howl’s head under my fingers telling me she was here for whatever I needed.
“You knew my mother just as much as I did. You lived in the same house growing up with your family just as I did.” I started to go somewhere with this conversation but I was worried I was derailing it as I went.
“Yeah, what does that have to do with the note he had sent to you?” He took a seat opposite of me again and I tried to let the anger roll off of me. “Did my mother even meet with him in secret? I know she met him before I was born before he was the master of the vampire race, but did she ever meet with him after she met my father and had me?” If anyone would know it would be Comfrey. He was about four years older than me and remembered a lot more from the communal houses than I do.
“Why are you asking questions you don’t want the answers to?” My anger was coming through my veins like fire. I needed to know the horrible answer, even if it kills me.
“Tell me the truth, you were basically a son to her, I know she confided in you for more than just learning the ropes from the previous generation.” I wasn’t implying that my mother had a weird or romantic relationship with a child but they were tied at the hip when he was a kid. His mother died in childbirth and his father didn’t know how to care for a child by himself. My mother was always one to keep things from her husband, it wasn’t that she didn’t trust the adults in her life but that a child wouldn’t judge her for the secrets she told them.
“She would meet with him in secret and in my opinion, she was in love with him. Don’t get me wrong, she loved your father and she loved you. She loved leading the resistance but there was a moment near her end that she knew we wouldn’t win. She knew that the human race was doomed and I think she just gave in. I don’t believe Ba’al wanted her to die in that fire, I heard through the grapevine that he killed a few hundred of his own men that night because of their mistake.”
I wasn’t sure what to believe but even if I nearly died at the hand of Comfrey when I was sixteen I knew he wouldn’t lie to me. Not about this anyway.
“She didn’t believe in her own cause, yet she wanted me to lead them when I got older. She told me the night of the fire that it would be up to me now. Was she even thinking about our race? Or was she thinking about his? Did she secretly want me to give into Ba’al and let the human race die with us.” I took to biting my cuticle again after years of breaking the habit. I couldn’t look at him in the eyes right now.
“It wasn’t her original endgame, she told me something similar when we left that house the night of the fire. I was fourteen so my memory is a little better than yours was then. She asked me to watch over you and if it came time to put forth plan B then I would give it my all.” I met his eyes this time and something clicked into place.
“Tell me, Comfrey, where have you been in the last week? You’re not on clean-up crew or training with the others, I haven’t seen you in the kitchen or the late night pool for the kill hits. I know for a fact you haven’t spoken to Jillian if you know what’s good for you. Now it’s your turn to explain yourself.” His eyes didn’t leave mine and he didn’t answer my question. He was trained well and he was fast. But not faster than I am.
In a second I had the blade in the waste of my pants in the air and slicing through the side of his neck. I didn’t want to kill him just prove a theory I was putting the pieces of together.
In the moments I used to throw the knife he had stood up from the armchair and right in the way of my sharp blade. The wound was superficial but the deep red blood that oozed from the wound gave me all the answers I needed. “You’re in more trouble than you realize, Comfrey. I can’t let you leave his house alive, you know that right?” He said nothing and he didn’t move, but I watched the slice on his neck slowly seal itself while it sealed his fate.