Drake (Book 1)

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3:41 a.m.

A heavy sack. He remembered that night vividly. That was what her body sounded like when Irene Irons fell from the second story of the west balcony. A heavy burlap sack filled with gallons of sand and a wet rag being smothered across the floor. How could he forget it? The terrible crack of her skull hitting the floor face first. His floors were always a dark gray color, with a golden hue depending on how bright the lamp posts were. But that night they ran red…

He pleaded with her, begged her to stop. But he saw it in her eyes long before she jumped. Her decision was made well before she stepped over the edge of that balcony. After that night, he forbade any mention of her. Any servants muttering her name were expelled on the spot, a task Godfrey disdained but did so to please his master. Even his motley crew kept their lips sealed shut to include Lyn.

Drake slipped a comfortable white dress shirt over his shoulders and buttoned it halfway. He reached for the dark trousers that somehow ended up on the floor and tied a red sash around his waist. A light thunderstorm drizzled the tall windows with fresh drops of rain with calm, yet authoritative thunder. Lyn continued her slumber, unaware of his departure. She groaned and rolled over; her disheveled green hair facing towards Drake.

He smiled and quietly closed the door before walking down the halls of the east gallery. From his bedroom he passed the assortments of antique furniture and tapestries with sets of fully completed armor. Most of them from fallen crusaders, but also a few stands displaying hoplite armor from Greece, a Roman legionnaire, and a strange set from Babylon. Red carpets lined the halls, with candles perched in every other corner.

Before he turned to enter the billiards room, he stopped and admired the colossal statue centered in the main lobby. A prolific marble statue of Atlas shouldering the world on his back, using all his might. Moonlight shone through the glass panel ceiling, with a few clouds rolling by as the storm settled. He pushed through the wooden doors leading to the billiards room where Godfrey played a game of pool.

Playing as Godfrey’s opponent was Kalen Beckwith, a hardened soldier now turned fearsome mercenary. His head was mostly bald save for a lone rat tail colored like snow. A vertical scar ran down his left eye. His stoic face had seen too much evil for one lifetime. He left his thick, scruffy beard untamed and ungroomed. His one good eye remained focused on the ball at the other end of his pool stick.

The pool balls smashed into each other dispersing into every corner of the table. A few rolled into their holes, to include the dreaded eight ball. Kalen released a heavy sigh and tossed his pool stick.

“You’re the worst pool player I’ve ever seen,” Drake said with a smug.

“I agree,” Godfrey added, further salting Kalen’s wounded pride.

Kalen snorted derisively before pouring himself a glass of Macallan.

“Master Drake, that reminds me. You’re aware of the party tomorrow night, correct?”

“-yeah...” Drake replied, although in all truth, he had completely forgotten about it.

Drake leaned against the pool table, but not before grabbing an apple from the nearby fruit tray. He bit into it, taking a sizable chunk. Juice dribbled down his chin, but Godfrey had already removed his handkerchief. He wiped the juice from Drake’s chin and stepped behind him.

“I have a problem,” Drake said. “Irene Irons, there’s a rumor she might be alive…”

Kalen dropped his glass, shattering into pieces, His face was dumbstruck as was Godfrey’s. Drake shared a glance with each of them, his face as serious as a heart attack. Godfrey rushed to clean the mess, relieved that he had something to distract him. Kalen sauntered to the mini bar in the corner and prepped another glass.

“Obviously, there’s no proof,” Drake continued. “But Lyn and the others can’t find out about this- yet… That’s why I’m going to investigate it myself.”

“But what about the party?” asked Godfrey.

“It will have to continue without me. Godfrey, make sure that our guests have a splendid evening will you? And Kalen, do wear something nice please. You smell like liquor and wet dog-”

Kalen snorted and downed another glass of Macallan.

Drake shook his head. “My flight leaves for Paris in a few hours. If Lyn asks, tell her I had to leave for a business trip.”

Godfrey formed a scowl. “If that is what you wish, sir.”

3:51 a.m.

Kalen watched Godfrey along with another servant clean the last few remaining glasses in the bar. Godfrey dismissed the man for the night and started taking inventory of the liquor collection. Bottles of different sizes and colors lined the shelves with a few kegs on each side. Kalen finished his last cigarette and smashed it into an ashtray. Smoke filled the surrounding area, lingering towards Godfrey who waved away its ghostly finger tips. Godfrey continued cleaning the last glass until it sparkled.

“He’s lost his mind you know…”

Godfrey continued cleaning, although he had finished five minutes ago.

Kalen slammed his fists on the table, shaking the ashtray and the small chandelier hanging above the bar. His face was dark with anger. “Why didn’t you talk him out of it? Everyone in this house knows that woman’s been dead for years-!”

“Keep your voice down!” Godfrey gritted.

“Lyn is gonna lose her shit when she finds out…”

“And that’s why you’ll keep your bloody mouth shut!”

Godfrey released a heavy sigh. He rubbed the sweat from his face with a thin cloth. “I don’t think he really ever got over her death. I mean how could anyone get over that?” Godfrey leaned closer to Kalen. “Just before she died, they lost a child. A stillborn…”

“Is that why Irene killed herself?”

Albert paused, his expression resigned. “You could say that…”

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