“Hello?” I called out, swiveling my head in the darkness. The hood pressed against my face, my breaths were labored. “Where am I?”
I tried to stand but my hands and arms were secured to the back of the chair I was sat in by some kind of straps, or cuffs. In all honesty, I wanted to die. Meredith was dead, Meghan was dead for all I knew, and I had no idea where mom was. I was alone, so alone. The hole in my heart was growing every second, the weight in my chest dragging the rest of my body downward. I didn’t know that I could experience a sadness like this. It was debilitating, it was draining, it was hemorrhaging the very life from what remained of my tattered soul. All at once the hood was yanked from my head and a dull yellow light assailed my senses. A strand of my black hair caught in my eyelid as I squinted, trying to see who was in the room with me.
“And just what the fuck is this?” Broderick’s voice, I would recognize it anywhere, even having only met him the one time. He was standing in front of me. Behind him, a tall blonde woman with a slender build, thin lips, and a pale complexion, though not nearly as pale as Meghan’s. Her hair was wavy. “This is exactly why your mother put you under contract, so you wouldn’t go wandering off and putting yourself and everyone else in danger. Now what do you have to say for yourself?”
“Fuck you!” I literally leaned forward as far as I could, spitting on the ground in front of Broderick’s boots. “FUCK YOU!”
“Oh that was a mistake,” Broderick stepped forward and reared his hand back, striking me across the face. The chair must have been bolted to the ground; it didn’t move, but I did. I felt the pain on my cheek, it was like I’d been struck with a car. I didn’t care. “Now do you want to try again?”
“Why don’t you go stuck your thumb up your ass and spin like a top,” I growled at him, an expression of pure hatred of my face. I wanted him to hit me. I wanted him to kill me. I wanted to be dead, right now. “Go ahead and hit a child, you fucking coward!”
“Oh believe me, I will,” Broderick reassured me. “Just as soon as I get Meredith on the phone so she can come down here and collect you. Going to have her put a shorter leash on you. Mellie, be a dear and phone Meredith.”
Behind him, I saw the tall blonde woman take a phone from her pocket and begin to place a call. If only it would go through.
“Kill me,” I hissed at Broderick. He turned and looked at me, a frown on his face. “Just kill me you coward. If you can hit a kid you can kill her, now just KILL me!”
“The call isn’t going through,” Mellie informed him. Broderick turned from me and looked back at her.
“Try again,” He insisted, looking back to me, then to her again. A moment later she shook her head and put the phone down.
“Kill me,” I said again, although this time it was more of a plea. “Just do it, Broderick, do something. You have to know how, KILL ME!”
“I think we need to untie her,” Mellie said, her voice was a mixture of confusion and worry.
“If you take a swing at me, I’ll knock you across the room,” Broderick warned me as he walked behind the chair and unbuckled the straps that had been holding my arms in place. As soon as my arms were free I rose from the chair, turned, and charged him. I thought for sure he was going to hit me, I wanted him to. I wanted him to hit me hard enough to knock me out just so I wouldn’t have to feel all the things that I was feeling. He didn’t hit me, instead, Mellie grabbed my arms from behind and pulled me across the room toward a metal desk that was sat at the front corner, beside the door. For the first time I noticed that the room was a sort of office. Mellie set me down on the desk and pushed me over, easily until my head was resting on the wooden surface and my legs were curled up beneath me. She pinned my arms into place in front of me and used the rest of her body weight to press me against the desk.
“Stop,” She said softly, but firmly, her eyes fixed on mine. “I know Meredith has been training you, I know she taught you better than this. Speak your words, what’s happened?”
At the mention of Meredith’s name I burst into tears. I turned my head and tried to bury my face in the surface of the desk; my eyes closed, my lips quivering.
“I’m going to tell Craven to get people out to Angeline’s house,” Broderick said finally, walking toward the door. Before he could leave, it opened, and another unfamiliar voice spoke.
“Broderick,” A male voice said. “There’s a vampire girl here, she says she’s here to see the girl, your prisoner.”
“Vampire girl? The sister?” Broderick growled. “Sister or not I don’t want a vampire in this establishment and NOT down here.”
“Broderick for the love of god,” Mellie said. “She can probably clear this up, whatever it is.”
“Gods,” Broderick groaned. “Send her down. Check her for weapons first.”
“Surely you can handle one little girl,” Mellie mocked.
“We didn’t fight a two-thousand-year war with them just to let our guard down. Two thousand years on EARTH mind you.”
I heard footsteps outside the door, shuffling, and then, from the corner of my eye I saw Meghan burst into the room.
“Where is she?” Meghan demanded. “What have you done with her?”
“Meghan?” I said weakly, sniffling a little. Mellie removed her hands from me as Meghan took her place at my side.
“My god, are you okay?” She asked, looking over my body as if she were trying to find bruises. I guess she forgot that Fae heal super fast. My body wasn’t broken, just me.
“What happened?” Broderick said loudly. “Someone had better start talking!”
“Meredith is dead,” Meghan said, turning around to face Broderick. “The house was attacked by a Zuh’Gath.”
“A drone?” Broderick’s face turned pale and he began to regard me very differently. “And Meredith? You know how Fae souls work, she’ll be fine.”
“Meredith was not in her human form when she was struck down,” Meghan said it slowly, making sure that Broderick soaked up every single word. I watched his expression change from one of annoyed apathy to one of horror.
“No,” He said, shaking his head, looking to me. I saw Mellie place a hand against her mouth, her eyes wide. “No, that can’t be. She wouldn’t-“
“She was protecting Jasmine. She had to do it. You know she had to do it,” Meghan told him. Protect me from what? What was going on.
“Do you have ANY idea what she did for you?” Broderick demanded, pointing a finger at me in anger. “Do you have ANY clue what kind of sacrifice was made today?”
“She knows,” Megan insisted. “She knows very well.”
“Word from Angeline,” Mellie said, indicating her phone. “Earlier she said they came for her. The Seelie court is after her on a trumped up charge from her escapades in the late 1800’s.”
“Ah yes, the Godhead incident,” Broderick rolled his eyes as Meghan pulled me into a sitting position on the desk. “Young lady, your mother was a problem, to say the least.”
“Wait,” Meghan said, sounding confused. “Wasn’t Angeline ascended in 1958? During the space race?”
“She was indeed,” Broderick nodded. “Funny story that. Your mother is particularly good at soul transformations, so good in fact that she managed to transform her own soul in late 1700’s. We didn’t catch her until far later. Essentially, she ascended to godhood and created the largest criminal underworld the city has ever seen. Not her fault really, she didn’t know what she was, but we found her, put a stop to it, returned her soul to its former condition, she lived two more lives before ascending, the right way.”
“Jesus,” Meghan muttered.
“Imaginary friends have nothing to do with it,” Broderick said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Angeline is an extraordinary woman.”
Broderick suddenly paused his speech and walked to the other side of the room. He returned, holding my bow in his hand. He pushed it toward me, I took it in my hands and stared at it, still whimpering. I couldn’t stop.
“Weapons have names, little girl,” He told me. “You’re not alone, but you are out here, in the world now. No one is going to coddle you. Those days are over. You give that bow a name, you make it a part of you. Stand ready and be prepared to defend your life, and the lives of those around you.”
“I…don’t…know if I can,” I said quietly between sobs.
“Cut that out!” Broderick ordered. “You are a Fae, be the Fae your mother would have wanted you to be, and don’t let the death of Meredith be in vain. Tell me, what is the name of your bow?”
The tears stopped, at least for the moment. Meredith was gone, but my sister was here, mom was out there somewhere. The fight had to continue, and now I was very much a part of it.
“Meredith,” I said, standing from the desk, planting my feet firmly on the floor. “The bow’s name is Meredith.”
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