“I have concluded that this was both repulsive and intriguing.” I threw the book that I just finished onto the table.
“I would have to agree with the intriguing part since you haven’t put it down since we got home, Mum.” Anthony grinned at me as he walked into the room.
“Mum?” I glanced around the room for others. He never called me Mum unless we were alone or with his brothers. “I thought Trinity was coming over tonight?”
Anthony continued grinning while he sat down in front of me. Using his powers he pulled the book across the table and began examining the cover. “Trinity came over. We ate, watched a movie, and now that it is well past eleven she’s gone home.”
“No, she didn’t. He has her tied to the bed posts in his room.” Matt joined our conversation. “You were so into that book that you missed the pounding against the walls and the sudden earthquake that had taken place just above you. I could hear her screams over the movie for the entire two hours that it was on. I swear if he keeps it up then I’ll never get my work done.”
“You could do your work without a second thought.” My attention turned from Matt to Anthony swiftly though. “I told you about that. Not while anyone was home. It is just wrong.”
Anthony rolled his eyes and switched the toothpick in his mouth from one side to the other. “We didn’t do anything, Mum.”
“Good, now get that out of your mouth, please.” I hated the fact that his father’s apparent addictive personality was coming through. I had tried since he was young to stop all and any habits from forming. The toothpick was the least of my worries, but it did pose a small feat for Anthony to retract it from his mouth.
Anthony rolled the toothpick between his fingers on the table as Matt pulled the book to him, “So Mum, what kept you so occupied all night?”
“Matt, don’t you dare call me Mum again or I will take that book and beat you with it. Understand?” I reached across the table and ripped the book out of Matt’s hands. I lifted it slightly ready to strike him, but he rested back in his chair out of my reach. I sat the book back down in front of me, “That’s what I thought.”
“Mum.” Matt repeated once I had returned comfortably to my seat. Just before I was about to stand up and reach across the table he threw his hands up. “No, I was just saying it. Mum. It’s been, what, eighteen years since I’ve called someone Mum. Mum, mum, mum. So what’s so interesting about that book there, Mum?”
Instead of hitting him with the book like I wanted I stayed calm and scowled at him. Anthony didn’t hesitate in smacking him upside the head though. “She’s my mum not yours.”
“Thank you.” I finally felt a small bit of gratification when Anthony stood up for me. “It’s just one of Blyth’s books. You know witchcraft.”
“So you are done with the Salem stuff then?” Anthony inquired taking the book back and looking through several of the pages. “Witch-hunting in Europe and New England? Please tell me you aren’t going out trying to hunt down witches.”
“Would you believe that back in the early centuries they concluded that witches were mostly women late in their age and worshiped the devil? That book states that the ratio between men and women accused of witchcraft were one to four. One out of four witchcraft trials were men and most of them were acquitted. Now look at us, four in a house, and only one being a woman. How is that compared to what they knew back then? I think the only thing right in that book was that it was passed down by heredity.”
Mathieu took the book and examined himself, “There are more things in here that are truer than you would heartily believe, Ash.”
“The only trials in there that made any sense that they were indeed witches or warlocks were the ones where they were acquitted and then vanished. I mean that is obvious in so many ways that I can explain, but them claiming that witches worship the devil or having the mark of the devil on their skin that’s just absurd. Cannibalism, orgies, killing children, infanticide, incest, and so many other cruel things were mentioned that I could not see any witch or warlock doing.” I would have continued on, but Matt’s laughter cut my voice clean from the air.
Anthony and I just looked in confusion as Matt sifted further into the book. “One thing that my father insisted on teaching me was a history of what we are, what we’ve overcome as a whole society, and you’ll be shocked at this one, what our ancestors have done to keep us as cleansed as possible.
Your first accusation of cannibalism being cruel to us is wrong, but it was believed, as you read, in the early first century that eating other witches or warlocks or drinking their blood would enable them to gain more power. Yes, gross. No, it didn’t work, and yes they did do it.
Second, orgies were quite common. You know quite well how our yearnings need to be fulfilled. Another reason for them was to procreate. Back in those times gathering were called to quench our insatiable lust, and a way for us to continue on with full powered witches.
Third, killing children was indeed quite common even, well, even now. Not killing children as some would refer to in this book, but killing of their own children yes. Being a horrible mother implied that one was a witch. The only reason they had done so was because most of us are women. Even though it isn’t apparent here, you can see the difference in Bradford. Looking at the number of females compared to males is at least one to three if not more now. Witches usually killed their infant girls. Most would think or assume that they were carrying a girl and immediately cast the child from their womb, your infanticide.
Incest is gross, but you must think of it in those times. Not many people traveled farther than was necessary and it was the same with us. Therefore, finding others like us, especially when being hunted cruelly by those who didn’t understand us, made it extremely hard. Their opinion in the matter was to keep the power undiluted by mere human blood.
As for the devil worship and having the mark of the devil were superstitions almost from the beginning. It also reads in here that those first being accused were Christians by other religions, but what it doesn’t say is what some of us actually believe. Unlike several of us, there are those who believe that it was the devil that first gave a select few of his follower’s gifts.
After the famous Salem ordeal, those at Norcia had believed my father as being the devil himself. They beseeched him several times while I was still a boy to go back and preach to them. There were two apparent reasons why they believed such, but, I mean come on, he was just a simple warlock like the rest of us, right?
They held him among God status because he helped in founding the school and several centuries later he was still alive. Not mention quite young in appearance as well. The biggest one I believe was that he almost single-handedly, after Salem, calmed the witch-hunting craze that was beginning. I’m sure that it would have spread further than what had happened, but he began pulling in witches or warlocks as servants offering them sanctuary. That’s how my mother got there.
I still don’t believe that their requests would have stopped though. Even though he had created a school here for those who they detested, they still believed. If anything it just insisted more so that he was of a Godly nature when the school became quite prosperous.
Now if they understood our family in any sense they would see it as a family created by the devil himself. One true son born as a phoenix, but forced to walk the earth as a dead man would just be a beginning. Two other sons, not of blood, but of love incapable of dying just like him would be another. Another son bore several centuries after first brother, and a phoenix just as well. It might change their opinion of phoenixes, but if they were to enter this house Blyth would be considered their God or the Devil.
So Ash to put this very lightly, you may not have worshiped the devil, but you definitely fornicated with him.”
By the time Matt had ended his speech I gawked at him in awe. Shaking my head in disbelief of what he had just said I planned to object to at least one of his items. “Blyth is not the devil, and they could plainly see that with him being dead now.”
“Really?” Matt questioned nodding towards the window behind me. As I turned to look there was a reflection of Blyth chuckling lightly to himself. “As I said if they enter this house he would be considered their God. I may have his life and power, and you have his soul. Still he remains. How?”
My eyes watched Blyth as he turned and walked into the darkness of the night behind the window. After he was gone from my sight I faced Anthony to get his thoughts, “What do you think about all of this?”
Anthony seemed quite deep in thought while staring at his brother searching for answers or just ciphering everything he had just said I wasn’t sure which. I frowned that he once again had the toothpick back clenched firmly between his teeth. Slowly he turned from Matt and looked at me with all seriousness. I hoped that his answer would side with me and consider Matt insane.
The toothpick finally was taken out of his mouth, “Can we move to Bradford?”
“Are you serious?” This time I took the book and flung it at him, “Out of all of that, the only thing you heard was there were more witches in Bradford? You are definitely your father’s son.”
Anthony was effective in halting the book before it got halfway across the table, “Whose son would I be if not his?”
My breathing halted and my eyes fell on Matt sitting across from me. I hadn’t for some years thought about it, but now Anthony joked around without knowing the full extent of everything that had perspired eighteen years ago. I shook my head when the air filled my lungs again. “You would be your father’s.”
“What was that?” Anthony looked between Matt and I confused as I would have expected. “Why did you look at him like that?”
“No reason. It’s getting late.” I hoped to ignore his inquiries further by getting up and leaving. “We should go to bed.”
I stopped briefly at the door when neither of them followed. “I had assumed Michael by how she looks at him, but you. Wow. You, really?”
“Anthony just let old dogs lie.” I announced again, “We need to go to bed.”
Matt thankfully helped and got up from the table starting to follow my lead. His words though lead me to believe otherwise. “Don’t worry about it. The thing with your dad wasn’t premeditated at all.”
“Oh, great thanks Matt.” I groaned. “If you tell him you had better make sure that you don’t leave anything out, especially the fact everything was meticulously planned before I was even born.”
“Yes, and the fact that you couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to mess everything up.” Matt glared at me as he sat back down. Anthony’s eyes followed his brother’s and I felt ashamed that the topic was even brought up. “I understand now why they tortured, burnt, and hung witches. They are always too head-strong to follow simple instructions.”
I had thought about leaving the conversation there, but perhaps Matt was right I was head strong. My voice came out calm, but the resentment in my eyes I let fill him entirely. “Simple instructions coming from a man who had planned everything out so that I could not, would not, trust him with anything let alone my heart or the heart of another. Whether you would want to believe it or not I did love you. You were the first love that I had ever had and I hoped that you would have been my first in other aspects of my life like I had foreseen. Instead you turned me down and sent me home. It was your fault that I…”
My words slowly stumbled and fell just as my eyes did over Anthony staring at me wide eyed. This was an argument coming from eighteen years ago that was never completely dissolved. It didn’t matter how much I tried to keep the truth of everything hidden it was all boiling to the top right in front of Anthony.
“My fault? I sent you away for my own health not because I didn’t want you. And if you remember correctly it was you that had turned me down just the night before when I had touched your scar.” Matt stood up bringing my eyes up from Anthony’s to his. “Not once did I tell you to find someone else, especially my father.”
“So what would you rather I do wait another seven years until I married you or find a different way to release everything building up inside of me?” I stepped forward into the argument. There would be nothing to hold back from Anthony now that he had already heard enough to question about it. He might as well discover what he could from this because I was determined now to make this the last time the topic ever arose again. “Matt, it was just supposed to be a onetime thing with no strings attached, and if you remember correctly I went back to you.”
“Yes, but I also remember you distinctly telling me that you tried to take his head off with a desk. Also, you said; what were your exact words? ‘I think I’m the only one immune to him.’ Immune to him the next day you were in his bed. How is that immune to him?” Matt’s rage continued until Anthony got up and walked out of the room. I had glanced to the side to see that Marcus was beckoning him. I backed slowly into the corner out of fear of what Anthony had just heard. When Matt stepped closer to me his words were hushed and they broke my heart. “Remember that night in the motel I told you the moment our eyes met that I was yours. It is still as true today as it was then. I wanted something to live for and that something was you. I’m just sorry to say that it was the devil himself that got between us.”
I bit my bottom lip to help keep my tears from falling. Another thing that didn’t help was the fact that Marcus was standing in the doorway watching our feud. Once my eyes fell upon his blonde hair, which now was starting to turn white and his russet eyes, I threw him from my sight immediately. My body slowly slid down the wall, which I had backed up against, to the floor.
Carefully I ran my fingers over the bullet wound just below my collar bone. “You loved me enough to keep me around forever.”
Matt knelt down in front of me, “Ash, I can’t keep apologizing for something that I never actually did.”
“Well, the scar is there so you can’t deny it.” I never raised my eyes to his, but I’m sure that he had seen my tears falling one by one to the floor. “Out of all four of you, Blyth was the one that never harmed me. That in itself holds a great deal to my heart. You wanted me to live forever with you, Marcus killed me because I refused to love him, and Michael brutally murdered me for revenge. I can’t forget the fact that they drove me to the point of suicide.
I have inside my heart lifetimes of love and hate, but to know that they were never real is what really kills me. Deep within the bounds of my heart I do love you, and Michael. There was even a part of me that liked Marcus, but none of it was real. Blyth was real though. Our time together was short, but I can still feel his soul surrounding my heart. I know that in some odd way he did love me.”
“In some odd way?” Matt’s tone grew angry, “Ash, the only reason he loved you was because of Anthony, plain and simple. The one thing that you cannot deny me is my father’s own feelings when his life and power are mine. You might have a piece of him with you, but I know what I feel. Anthony is the only reason I believe he watches us.”
“He loved you too.”
Matt paused for a few moments to gather his thoughts or calm his feelings. I wasn’t sure which, but when he spoke again he was completely composed from all the anger that was beginning to take form in him. “And it was his love that cursed us all. I just hope that Anthony won’t be brought down with him being around like he is.”
I knew every word that Matt spoke was true. Blyth himself told me nearly the same thing just before he died. Well, he didn’t die outright. I had killed him. “He gave his life for you. Doesn’t that account for something?”
“Not when he took away my reason for living.” Matt lifted my face so that our eyes were meeting. “Ash, there was nothing in this world that I had to live for other than the fact that I couldn’t die any further than what I was until I met you. There was a great suspicion in me that judged you as a witch, but until I saw you that night in Bradford I wasn’t sure. The moment that I knew, every piece of my life seemed to finally fit together. When you stayed the night with me after knowing what I truly was, my hope grew even more, so I called Marcus and begged for him to help me keep you. It all went wrong though.”
“In the first fate that I had seen we were together as I said. I loved you, but the same man that you begged to help you stole me away. In that fate he killed me because I didn’t love him. I understand his disposition a little. I loved both of his brothers, and despised him. If anyone were to blame for this future that we are in is not your father, but your brother. If he were to have left us well enough alone, I’m sure after sometime I would have forgiven you of our wedding night. We will never know though because right now between you and I is a brother and a son.” My eyes lowered from his as I set my head down on my knees in the disillusion of what we could have become together. “Marcus at least got what he wished. He has me once again right where he wants me, trapped.”
Matt laughed quietly as he sat himself on the floor next to me. “Ash, you are not trapped. We can do anything and go anywhere we want. I don’t see that as being trapped.”
“I may be able to come and go as I please, but I will never be able to do as I want.” My hand reached over and touched Matt lightly as I took him to my room. We were still sitting on my floor but I held a photo album in my hand. A sigh escaped me as I opened the first page. “I left my dad’s right after having Anthony because I knew I couldn’t stay there forever. The only place that I could go to was Blyth’s home in Rome, but with a baby my funds were exhausted quicker that I would have thought. Being seventeen forever doesn’t help when you are trying to find a job to support you and a child, but I did my best until Anthony was five.
When he started school life became more difficult. I wanted him to go to school here in the States, but for that I had to gain a residence here. That just meant more bills. The hardest thing was dealing with the school though. I could have taught him everything myself, but I wanted him to have the interaction with the other children. Either way, I was frowned upon because they had assumed me as a teenage mother. Could you imagine how I looked in their eyes? I would have been no older than thirteen or so when I had him.
On Anthony’s seventh birthday I had decided to become his older sister and guardian on the paper work. It was that day that I first asked Marcus to help me. I needed the proper paper work and he knew how to get it. Things just continued to spiral downward from there. I was left with no other options except just try to survive, until Marcus offered us all of this.
Now this year I am going to graduate high school in the same class as my son and then watch him go off to college. I would never be able to afford this life that was given to us, and now I will forever be indebted to Marcus for giving Anthony what I couldn’t. He gave Anthony the life that I wanted to be able to give him, but it was too far out of my reach being stuck at seventeen.
So you see Matt, even when Anthony goes to college, and I am free to leave here I won’t ever be truly released. There are so many things in this life that I wish I could have given Anthony, but everything was just outside of my powers. Marcus is paying for his college tuition and everything else that he needs. I have given my son nothing in comparison to what Marcus has in these past few years. My love is the only thing I can give him and that breaks my heart.”
“And to think I thought you were happy here. I thought you wanted to be here, not because you had to be here.” Matt took the photo album from my hands and pulled me into his arms. I fought back and slid away from him. Even if it was just a gesture of friendship I couldn’t let it happen. “You know you could have asked me for help.”
Matt turned himself so that he was facing me, “Why? Is it because you blame me still for putting you into this predicament of being seventeen forever?”
I shook my head.
“Then why? Ashley, you know I could have given you everything you needed plus more, but you turned to Marc instead of me. I want to know why.” Matt beat the palm of his hand against the floor, in hopes I assumed, to release the frustration that I heard building in his voice.
Slowly my eyes rose to his and I let my sincerity and honesty flow through my voice as best I could, “Because Matt I couldn’t. I owe you already for ruining everything we could have had. I can’t forgive myself, and I guess that I feel you shouldn’t either.”
“Yet you blatantly said it was my fault not more than an hour ago.” Matt’s eyes narrowed as he searched mine for unseen answers.
“I only said it to hear it contradicted. I wanted to hear you finally blame me. Each year that passes you never say anything, never look at me any differently, but I know that you blame me. I just needed to hear what you felt. I waited eighteen years to hear you say everything you did tonight.” My chest began aching with a pain that I could only describe as crushing. It felt as though everything inside was getting tighter and tighter until I began choking on my words as they came out. “Even though I felt it and knew it you were the one that needed to say it out loud for me to really accept it.”
“Did you see something?” Matt’s question caught me off guard. I knew exactly what he meant, but there was no reason why he would ask something like that. All I wanted from him was to hear that it was my fault and now he was questioning my future seeing ability. I didn’t get it. “That would explain why you were sitting at the table all night completely oblivious to everything going on around you. What did you see?”
When Matt stood up and stepped towards me I shrank back away from his outstretch hand. “I didn’t see anything. I haven’t seen anything for years now.”
There wasn’t enough time to fight against him as he quickly lifted me up off the floor and pushed me into the wall. His eyes dove straight into mine. I could see in his eyes the determination, but I didn’t understand what he wanted from me. “Ash, I know you and this isn’t who you are. What did you see?”
“I told you I haven’t seen the future for years now and I don’t plan on looking any time soon.” With Matt’s hands on both sides of me I shuddered at memories flying back. My eyes fell down to our feet so that I didn’t have to look to him. Facing my recollections seemed worse than my future right now. At least with my future I could change the outcome. “I’m just tired. I should go to bed.”
Matt blocked my attempt to duck under his arm keeping me pinned against the wall. “That’s just an excuse. You are always happy and joking around, but today you just stuck your nose inside that book.”
I was thankful when I saw Matt’s arms drop releasing me. Instead of leaving the spot where I was I continued to stare at the floor while he stepped away. I watched his feet as they carried him towards my bed. My attention was directed to where his was, the pile of books sitting on top of my nightstand. I could have just put them back, but he had already seen them so it was no use.
“Malleus Maleficarum, The European Witch-craze of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Religion and The Decline of Magic, Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, Narrative of the Witchcraft Cases, The Life and Times of Cotton Mather, and Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England.” Matt named them all off as he tossed them off my stand onto the floor. I looked from them to Matt staring at them all intently, “What are you searching for?”
“Nothing in general. I’m doing my English final on witchcraft.” I began sending the books back to the shelves downstairs. “There isn’t anything wrong with doing research, is there?”
Matt frowned at my answer and then patted on the bed for me to sit beside him. “Ash, come here.”
“Fine,” Matt’s voice fell into thin air just as he appeared right in front of me. Instead of looking away from him this time I glared at him. I could feel him trying to pull my magic down from around me, but I wasn’t about to let him. “Ashley, take down your façade. I want to be able to see the real you.”
“Will you leave me alone then?”
My hair fell down out of the large curls and back to red from the dark brown that I had it. I pulled all my makeup off, but I was thankful that my eyes didn’t have to change. When Anthony had turned twelve and we had been living with Marcus and Matt for about a year I finally pulled Blyth’s blue out of my eyes. They were now their natural color of brown.
Matt studied momentarily then the overhead light came on. “Have you been sleeping?”
I knew that he was commenting on my eyes. They were all puffy and discolored slightly looking as though I haven’t been sleeping. “Yes. I just have allergies.”
“Allergies?” Matt lifted my face towards the light.
Quickly to end this night I lifted my hand to his face holding my prescription for the allergies. “See. I’m not lying.”
Matt dropped my face and took the bottle in his hand. “Mike gave these to you?”
“They’re for my allergies.” I rolled my eyes. “He gave me a script and I took it to the pharmacy. There is nothing abnormal about it at all. Now can I please go to bed? We do have school in the morning, and if you remember correctly I do need sleep.”
“Alright, I’ll see you in the morning then.” Matt handed me back the bottle. “Just to let you know I’m not done with this.”
“Good night, Matt.” I pushed passed him and walked over to my bed without glancing back to see whether he had disappeared or not. Once I had sat down the bottle on my nightstand I felt him leaving. A sigh of relief escaped me as I pulled another prescription bottle in to my hand. I studied the label and tapped my finger repeatedly on the lid.
Quickly I closed my eyes and forced an image of me into my bed. When I opened them a smile finally came over me. It was like I had split myself in two, but the only difference was that other part of me couldn’t wake up. It would be enough to fool anyone who would be looking for me while I was gone.
“Seventy, seventy-one,” Michael continued his crunches even after I showed up. Either he ignored my presence or he was just waiting for me to say something first.
I waited patiently in his chair for him to finish. Once he got to a hundred he stopped and relaxed back on the floor. “Michael, these aren’t helping me anymore. I need something else.”
He groaned and rolled over. I almost thought he was going to continue ignoring me when he started doing push-ups, but instead of counting as I thought he was about to start he finally spoke. “You can’t just keep popping in whenever you want. What if I had someone here?”
“You haven’t lived here long enough to meet anyone.” I laughed at him. “Plus, since I’ve been just popping in, not once have you had anyone over.”
“I guess your timing is perfect then.” His breathing started to become labored while he continued exercising.
I almost blushed at the thought, but after eighteen years of his teasing about it I was finally able to throw it back at him. “Well, I know yours isn’t.”
“A couple of years ago it was impeccable.” Michael teased about an occurrence that I would readily forget if I could. Quickly I got up from his chair and forced my foot into the middle of his back. Hoping that it would push him to the floor I was shocked as he rose up nearly knocking me off balance. “Don’t be sore about it.”
I pushed harder down on him as he lowered himself. “You said you would never bring it up.”
He fought back against my foot with little effort enabling him to bring himself back up again. “And I haven’t until now.”
“But you said we wouldn’t talk about it.” I finally took my foot down realizing that it didn’t get the effect that I was hoping for.
“You are a bit more irritable than usual. So what’s up?” Michael finally did his last bit of exercising and finally stood up, “I’m taking it that this is not an entirely social visit.”
“No,” I tossed the pill bottle at him, “I need something stronger.”
Michael caught the bottle and threw it on his chair without taking his eyes off of me. I could tell that he was slightly disappointed in my reason for coming. “Have you tried relaxing for more than two seconds?”
“You know exactly why I can’t do that!” I pointed my finger at him then towards the bottle. “I can’t keep this up any longer. I need something to put me to sleep.”
Lust engulfed Michael’s disappointed eyes as he came towards me, “But you said this wasn’t a social visit?”
Once Michael was right in front of me I pushed him back and glared, “And it isn’t. I haven’t slept for almost a month now, and the stress is starting to drive me insane.”
Michael’s eyes narrowed as he studied me more intently now. Quickly he took my hand in his and led me back to his chair. Once he was sitting comfortably I waited for him to get another chair for me, but instead he pulled me down on his lap wrapping both of his arms around me. “Tell me what happened.”
I felt a bit odd inside of his embrace, but welcomed it greatly as I leaned in against his chest. “What is this? This isn’t you.”
“You’ve got that right.” Michael answered, “Now tell me what is going on. Did you break Marc’s nose again?”
I closed my eyes and rested hoping that he might have known what he was doing taking me into his arms like this. I hoped that I might be able to finally sleep again. “No, I don’t think I hurt him, but I got into a more serious fight with Matt than I would like to have. I was fine until I saw him again, and then it just felt like everything inside of me was starting cave in. My powers that were controlling my emotions crashed and I was left defenseless against them. Michael, if I can’t control my emotions my powers will become uncontrollable.”
Michael listened intently as his fingers combed through my hair that was still red. “How did you see him again? I thought…”
“I know what you thought, but it was another reflection in a window. Matt was sitting there telling me how the people from Norcia thought Blyth was the devil, and then everything just started falling apart when I saw him watching us. If I had some good dreamless sleep then I would have had a better guard than turning and seeing him when Matt nodded in his direction.” I could feel my emotions starting to take over once again, and it took everything within me to not let the tears fall. “I need to sleep without him being there in my dreams, Michael. I can’t do it anymore.”
“I gave you an unlimited prescription long ago for your dreamless sleep, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen you.” Michael ran his fingers down along the side of my face over my neck and then he started down my chest. “Why would you wait so long to come and see me?”
My heart raced as his fingers ran softly over my bare thigh. “Because Michael, I don’t want to have the past come back into the future. I still don’t trust Marcus.”
“Ash,” Michael stopped with his caressing touch and turned my face up towards his, “There is a line that I refuse to cross with you. Neither of us is in danger.”
“And what is that?”
Michael grew more serious as he held me back away from him. His eyes examined my face crucially before he finally answered, “I could still kill you.”
“If you were able to,” I muttered almost wishing that he could. “What would you do if it comes to the point when you can’t?”
“If it ever got to the point where I didn’t think I could, I would kill you and then disappear.” Michael’s earnestness threw me off. It seemed that he had put more thought into this than I would have given him credit for any time prior to now. “You would never see me again.”