Chapter Four: Leianna
We are cousins. I know what I am about to do is wrong. But nothing about anything I tend to do is right, even if it is, it is probably for the wrong reasons. I can see her on edge. I don’t think I have seen Trova relaxed. Not even in the dreams. But right now, getting in under her skin, getting in her head is important, if I can twist her even slightly, I might stand a chance.
“No one’s here” I say, I drop the tone in my voice slightly, letting my smile falter. “I must make you really uncomfortable” I say undoing the wrapper on a mint from the pack in my pocket. I offer one to Trova, I enjoy watching her indecision, trying to decide if she should take one. But she does, and I can’t hide my smile when she pops it in her mouth, she doesn’t see the smile for what it is though. I watch her and wonder if it was a mistake, letting it be this easy. Don’t movie villains normally have plans and webs of deceit so much bigger than this? Perhaps I am a lousy Villain, but I am certainly never going to be a hero. So I watch her a moment too long.
I find myself smiling when she mumbles a thank you when she finally swallows the last of the mint. I crunch mine away to catch up and smile, feeling a little less fatigued I stand up when I see her posture slacken a little. I step towards her, slowly I begin to pull my tired frame into a new more assured position. A slightly more confident posture, my shoulders back and relaxed, a soft smile, everything I should need to get what I want. I let my voice change a little, I aim for something a little more enticing, something like a whisper but a little more calculated, “are you curious?”
I smile at her confusion, trying to work out what I am asking, I step closer. So very gently I extend my hand not wanting to spook her I push back a loose lock of hair that had fallen into her face and tuck it behind her ear. “About what it would be like to kiss someone who looks almost exactly like you.” I try to sound more curious than anything even though it makes me feel like a creep. I’m the only one of the two of us who knows exactly who and what we are.
“Can’t say I even thought about it” she says a little flustered, her cheeks a different shade of red, I let her register how close we are. I let her watch how my eyes move between us, from my hand to her face, a quick skim of her body back to her lips. I smile.
“Liar” I say through my smile and take a step back turning to sit back on the stone. I draw some moisture into the breeze to break her thoughts. The cooling sensation of the soft wind on the back of my neck refreshes me. I let her go back to watching for her friends.
I don’t say a word now, neither does she. I watch her carefully from my peripheral vision now. I see her posture stiffen slightly. Taking this as my que I straighten my back and ready myself. Within minutes I see the one she likes most come to stand beside her. I watch her shift just slightly so that their hands touch before their fingertips catch each other. So its more than just like each other I suppose. The leaders have introduced themselves as Bleddyn and Orla. I answer every question concisely. I leave out one detail, the conversation between myself and Trova. I see her relax slightly as I skip by the wait for their arrival.
I see the one who introduced herself as Orla turn to Ward, the guy stood next to Trova, their fingers no longer touching, I hadn’t noticed them stop but I did notice it now. The leaders ordered a change in patrol pattern, it would be overtime. The one called Monty who I had caught staring once or twice offered to help at the warehouse in case of another ambush. Perhaps there may be a little rivalry or angst I could use to my advantage here. I ignore how they divided the rest of the patrols. It seems that Ward and Trova aren’t the only flirtation amongst them, Beth and Francis seem to have a nice little banter going. I watch them.
I wonder if it is too late or have I already established myself as some sort of damsel in distress that has messed up a little bit too much in their eyes. I’m undecided if Monty’s offer to join in the trip to the warehouse was tactically driven, a hero complex or if it was hormone driven. But I can’t wait to find out.
With Orla and Bleddyn with us there is a slight tension the closer we get towards the warehouse I had helped Henry set up. It’s a darker walk to the door, the streetlights are blown, probably the work of the summoned demons, or Henry. A nice touch. Monty is the first to draw the quartz blade, we all follow suit from habit. I doubt he sensed anything yet except his own fear, I am only just starting to pick up the residue of old moisture in the air. The closer we get the more I see them tense up a little. I take the lead now, directing them to the larger warehouse, smashed windows and old rusted metal shutters. The closer we get we see the curled ripped doors almost off their hinges. I hear Monty swallow before I feel his presence behind my right shoulder. The moisture in the air is getting more noticeable and not just to me. I don’t quite know how it feels to them, how they experience this kind of energy but I can see it makes them uncomfortable, like they are waiting for a storm to happen, I suppose it is almost like how we feel about their energy. The dry heat feels threatening, I push how their energy feels out of my mind for a moment, I have to fit in right now and getting lost in that won’t help.
We reach the doors and enter slowly. I feel the moisture begin to cling to my skin a little more, but that won’t last long. They are pulling it out of the air slowly. When they pull their torches out they begin to slowly syphon the air. I hate to use my own, I know there is meant to be something here for us to find. That was the set up. We split in separate directions I take the chance to move forward. Out of sight of them I see cat’s eyes glowing at me green and mischievous. I follow the eyes calling over my shoulder that I am just going to check something out. I don’t listen to the response, I can feel the energy, the reason we chose the warehouse, the lay lines. A soft splash tells me I just stepped into a puddle, but the cat’s eyes keep looking back disappearing momentarily as the shadow turns. I walk forward a little faster wanting to catch up and find out whose cat’s eyes they are. I decide to follow a little faster and yet the cat’s eyes are always ahead of me. I follow the eyes softly bouncing down some stairs, not a single sound on the cold metal, unlike myself. My shoes barely grip the metal, wet and slick. I have no choice but to walk a little slower, one and then another until I have been lead through what must have once been a doorway. It feels large and cold and solid, unlike the rest of the building. The darkness slowly begins to lift, like bright moonlight on soft rippling water. One step and then another, there is no metal, no concrete under my feet but only water. The figure is exerting his own control, walking though still a dark shadow the cat’s eyes are softer. I can feel its energy keeping me on my feet not waist deep or more in water. Whoever it is, is exerting the control to keep me above the surface, not a splash from either of us, I try to read the energy, to somehow replicate some form of control too, trying to help. I hear a chuckle from the shadow, it’s laughing, it’s not a cackle or some deep monstrous laugh. Just an amused chuckle. I look around at the darkness trying to see where we had come from, instead there is nothing but strange sight, water all around a large black doorway. We walked straight through onto the lay lines to what I have heard Henry refer to as the Styx.