T Minus Eight Days
“Do you know about the… the special tradition that our kind has before the Bonfire Ball?”
Nevena’s question gives me pause.
“We”, she says, and looks around in the cafeteria to make sure that nobody is close enough overhear, “have a special get-together before the Bonfire Ball. Us supes.”
“What kind of get-together? With Herm-” She waves a slender hand. She has a shimmery nail polish on. “No, no, for young supernaturals. The kind with alcohol, sex and mistakes we’re kind of supposed to regret. A time when we can be ourselves, truly be ourselves. No glamour for the fae, no need to sheath claws, no no need to be human in any way.”
I have this image in my head of supernatural orgy. But I don’t say that; I may be socially inept, but I am not stupid. And I am learning. “And all of our parents, or in my case guardian, is okay with this? Bunch of minors with magic and alcohol sounds like a straight-up recipe for doom?”
Nevena gives me one of those impish smiles that I can never translate.
“It’s understood that we’re not supposed to do drugs, burn down the forest or you know– tell the ordinary folks what’s under the rug. But other than that-” SLAM.
I jump at the sound; Nevena glares at the slammer. Elena steals a chair from a nearby table and plonks her blond head next to us.
“You guys are not going to believe this.” Before I or Nevena have time to comment on that, she bulls ahead. ” The killer has killed again. Bjarne Odre and Miriam Mizat are dead. Miriam was strangled to death, and Bjarne’s jaw was ripped off.”
Me and Nevena exchange a look. Looks like Gravsten is at it again. “How did you learn this?” Nevena’s question stops the avalanche of words that is threatening to spill out from Elena’s mouth. “Oh, the news hit Ochre about ten minutes ago. They’re talking about it everywhere. So what do you think is their connection to Gran and the others?”
A rape. An adolescent necromancer with a grudge and a servant out of ancient Norse poems. “Did they know each”, I ask, leading her on, and feeling all the worse for it.
“I think, I am not exactly a hundred percent certain, that Tregaro and Odre were related”, Elena muses. She frowns.” Miriam is harder to place, but all of the victims are of the same year, and I mean, come on, there’s not that many people in Fallowfell.”
“Five victims”, Nevena says. “Five people dead because– why? Has the police found any actual clues as to why the killer is doing this?”
This time Elena shrugs. “If they have, they sure isn’t telling. But here’s what I think….”
Cordelia Holm scratches her head and takes a good and long look in the mirror. Her brown hair seems familiar. Her eyes, which are blue, they too are familiar. But there is something else. Something on the edge of her tongue, an innate knowledge, timeworn and familiar– something she needs to remember.
Without realizing it, she has started to peel off skin from her head. The sudden pain brings a flash of something…. a glass of red wine….
Her recollection is blocked by a mindsplicing static, a form of static that erases what she just remembered.
Cordelia Holm scratches her head and takes a good and long look in the mirror. Her friend, Helena Gravsten is out on an errand. Meanwhile, she is…
What is she doing, she thinks to herself. I am helping my great friend, Helena Gravsten. Because she deserves her revenge, revenge for all the hurts that she has suffered due to those evil people. Yes. She nods to herself. Those people are evil, and so they deserve to die.
Friends help each other, they don’t kill each other. She starts to scratch herself. Where did that thought come from….? She shakes her head. It isn’t important, nor relevant, for obviously the thought is untrue.
Her scratching intensifies. But… but if, if the thought is true… a voice larger than life booms through her head. FORGET. FORGET EVERYTHING.
The static eradicates her last thoughts and halts her recollection. While she shudders on the floor, her self-inflicted wounds heal, as if they never happened.
Cordelia leaves the room and checks out the rest of the summer-house they’ve invaded. An old kitchen that has seen better days, built in a style that was old…. when? A long time ago she decides. There’s a square television in the living room, with a table in front of the tv and a sofa behind the table.
She walks upstairs and enters the room where Helena Gravsten, her most important friend sleeps. In one corner, on a matress, a corpse lies. In another corner, on another matress, this one dimpled by someone sleeping on it, lies a book. There is something terrible about that book. One cannot look at it for too long before feeling nausea.
She walks down to the kitchen. Her eyes are drawn, almost involuntary to a discarded box that contained a pizza once.
She closes her eyes. A shared pizza, halfway vegetarian, halfway meat. Her eyelids flutter open to a stream of blood flowing freely from her nose. I am there, but not there yet.
She thinks about the girl, the dead girl one floor up. Brough back for the sake of justice. No, she thinks to herself. Not justice, revenge.The stream of blood becomes a torrent.
A girl brought back… against her will. Just like me.
Less than a hundred miliseconds, a fourth of the time it takes for a person to blink passes before the static comes crashing down like an avalanche.
Cordelia Holm wakes up on the floor of the kitchen of the house they have invaded. Her head is pounding and she keeps on seeing black spots.
What was I about to do?
She absently scratches herself, before stopping. Shower. I was about to shower.