Little Boy

black-and-white, playing, happy

Emmy woke hours before the alarm went off. Coming to the familiarity of her bedroom, she wondered what had disturbed her. Laying in the early morning light, Emmy’s dark hair spread across the empty pillow next to her, she realised she was not alone.

‘Mummy?’

A soft child’s voice whispered in her ear.

A shiver rushed up her spine and Emmy felt frozen to the bed.

‘Mummy?’ the voice repeated.

‘Hello?’ she finally breathed.

‘Are you awake?’

‘Yes,’ Emmy answered.

‘Me too. I couldn’t sleep anymore.’

Emmy squeezed eyes shut and took a shuddering breath. She felt a small, cold hand on her bare shoulder and a breath against her face.

‘Can I stay with you?’ the voice whispered.

‘I wish you could,’ Emmy gasped, feeling tears in her eyes.

‘Why not, Mummy?’ her son asked.

‘Because you’re gone,’ Emmy chocked out.

‘Gone where?’ the small voice quivered.

‘To heaven.’

‘Oh.’

‘But it’s okay…’ Emmy trailed off as the tears consumed her.

‘Don’t cry, mummy!’

Emmy felt small arms wrapping around her and a head, pushing against her shoulder blade. She brought her hand up and patted the space were she felt the hands interlocked around her throat.

‘I have to go now,’ her son muttered.

Emmy fought back her words and bit her dry lip.

‘I’ll come back. They don’t mind sometimes. Goodbye, Mummy.’

‘Goodbye sweetie,’ Emmy burbled.

She felt the duvet move slightly to the side and the arms around her go. Emmy blinked away tears and finally rolled over. The other side of the bed was empty.

Church (Chapter 5, Part 4)

Angel

(Continued from Church Chapter 5, Parts 1, 2 and 3)

I thought about arguing further with her, but decided against it. My story wasn’t as long as her’s. Fixing my eyes to the ceiling, I tried to recall back to that day in the Heavenly Realm when I had received my orders.

‘I’m listening,’ Rain cut in.

I smiled, ‘my General called me. He told me there was a hard mission they wanted me to go on. It involved the hunting and slaying of a manipulating daemon. It sounded easy enough, but they told me the daemon had gone to ground and I’d have to track it down. No one else had been able to.’

Rain hummed to show she was still awake, so I carried on, ‘just before I set off, another General, who was soon to be retired, came to me. He told me that there was something I needed to know that everyone else had refused to tell me. The daemon was manipulating fallen angels and making them kill any angels they could find. The Generals didn’t really know what the daemon’s ultimate plan was, but it had to be stopped.’

Rain shifted slightly and I thought she was going to roll over. Instead, she pulled a blanket over her shoulder. I glanced at this before turning my eyes back to the arched ceiling. There was a spider building a web up there that I hadn’t noticed before.

‘What did you say?’ Rain spoke.

‘I would still go. It was my duty,’ I replied, ‘he then told me that the last warrior angel to face the daemon had been one of his Lieutenants. He had been killed, the daemon had taken his power and grown stronger. They feared the same thing would happen to me. But they currently didn’t have anyone else they could send.’

‘What was his name? The warrior who died?’ Rain cut in.

‘Jarad. I think, I didn’t know him. The daemon has a name too…it’s Bane.’

There was a pause. Rain rolled over and looked up at me. I kept my eyes to the ceiling, trying to think about what else had happened.

‘See? You’ve always known what you had to do,’ Rain’s voice whispered.

‘I’ve been putting it off. Trying to believe I couldn’t find the daemon,’ I explained, ‘it doesn’t scare me. It’s my duty, but I…perhaps, I’ve been enjoying my time here too much. It’s been years since they last give me anything to really do.’

There was a moment then Rain asked, ‘Blaze, how come you’ve only just remembered all of this?’

I took a deep breath, ‘I don’t really know. I guess because you made me think about it.’

‘Do you want me to help you?’ she suggested.

I looked at her then. Her cheeks were slightly flushed and her eyes looked wet. Her hair was scattered around her and she looked so childish. So innocent. She had her hands under head and was almost curled into my side, just like before.

‘I couldn’t ask you…it’s not your job,’ I replied.

‘I’m not asking,’ she said quickly and I realised that something else was going on here. ‘It’d be better. I’m good at tracking things,’ Rain carried on, ‘I’d let you kill it of course.’

‘You knew,’ I responded and sat up.

I crossed my legs and put my hands into my lap. I dropped my head and glanced at her. Rain hadn’t moved. She had been lying to me all this time. I shook my head and tried to control my anger. I had the urge to shake her and demand she tell me everything. No more secrets.

‘I…suspected,’ she corrected.

‘You could have said something!’ I snapped.

‘No, I couldn’t.’

I grabbed her shoulder and shook her, ‘why not?’

‘Calm down,’ she said sternly and put her hand on my arm.

I felt a small electric shock travel up my skin. I stopped shaking her and tried to look for the source. I felt Rain move and her other hand pressed against my cheek as she sat up. She turned to turn my head so that I’d meet her eyes, but I refused. I clenched my teeth, swallowing words I wanted to shout at her.

‘We…can’t talk about it here,’ Rain spoke out, ‘there’s too much listening.’

I felt her grip tighten on my arm and the electric charge growing. I give into her wanting to turn my head and our eyes meet. Her’s looked different. There was power shinning out of them. I loosed my hold on her shoulder and felt a slight stickiness of sweat on my fingertips.

‘I’ve my reasons for staying quiet,’ Rain picked up, ‘you’ll just have to deal with that.’

‘And if I can’t?’ I shouted. I felt the need to re-press my fingers down then grab her other shoulder. The anger swelled inside me, like a balloon about to pop. A small part of me wasn’t sure why I was reacting like this. It felt as if something else was puppeteering me.

‘Then you’ll fail and die just like Jarad,’ she concluded.

His name jarred me back and quickly I pushed away my anger. Rain wasn’t the enemy, she was making herself my aid. Yes, she had kept all this from me, but at least she was telling me now. I didn’t have the right to behave like this.

Taking a deep breath, I heard a voice hissing in my ear, ‘You can’t let this go, Feathers. She betrayed your trust. You should punish her. She lied and deceived you. No one should be able to do that to an angel like you and get away with it.’

Get out of my head, Haku or whatever your name is, I thought back.

There was a lash of laughter and I saw a black mist in my mind’s eye. The laugh faded and was replaced by more chilling words, ‘she’ll never tell you the whole truth about anything. You think she’s helping you? She’s just doing it all for herself.’

That doesn’t make sense. This daemon isn’t the kind she vanquishes. I’m not listening to you.

I imaged a wall and put it up. The voice of Haku sniggered then faded. I looked at Rain. From her expression, I knew she had heard that conversation. I removed my hand from her shoulder and rubbed her face, trying to erases the pain across it.

‘You have to keep fighting him,’ she breathed, ‘believe what you want. It’s probably all true anyway. Though, Haku only lies when he wants something.’

‘He want’s my soul,’ I stated.

Rain nodded. She put the hand she had had on my arm on top of my hand, which was on her cheek. Her fingers stroked my knuckles and she kissed my palm. I felt tiredness pulling me to sleep. Without saying anything, I gently pulled Rain against me and lay down. I held her and put my chin on top of her hair.

‘He’s a danger to you,’ Rain mumbled, ‘but I’ll defend you.’

I kissed her head and tried to tell her I was sorry, but the words stuck in my throat.

Rain nestled against me, her hands curling up on my chest, just below her head. I listened to her falling asleep, before finally giving in myself.

Church (Chapter 5, Part 3)

Angel

(Continued from Church Chapter 5, Parts 1 and 2)

I stood up and collected my sheathed great sword. Oddly, I knew it wouldn’t be much use right now, but just holding it made me feel better. I turned to Rain, she was still sat on the trunk lid. Her head was down and she seemed to be fighting something in her mind. I went over slowly, my bare feet hardly making any sound on the wooden floor.

‘It’s your sword isn’t it? I asked softly, ‘there’s a spirit trapped in there.’

Rain’s head shot up. Puzzlement swept the concentration away on her face. She nodded once, ‘Normally, it takes a lot longer for people to get that. And even longer for them to understand it,’ she explained, ‘I had no doubts about you though. I’ve not met a more powerful angel than you in a while.’

‘Then why didn’t you tell me sooner?’ I pressed.

‘There was no point till he started affecting you. Don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to block him out.’

‘I want to know,’ I started then paused, remembering what she had said about secrets she had to keep.

Rain looked up at me almost shyly and embarrassed from under her hair.

‘About him, the spirit. And how you ended up with that sword. Can you tell me that?’ I finished.

‘Only, if you tell me the reason why you were sent here. You must remember some of your mission,’ she countered back.

‘I’ll try,’ I responded.

Rain dropped her head and took a deep breath, ‘the legend goes that there was a great Japanese samurai in the medieval period and he lusted after power. He enjoyed killing and death. He went against the samurai code and let himself become consumed by greed. He went insane, perhaps he gave his soul to a daemon, but it’s unknown.’ She shrugged.

‘When he was finally killed, it was decided that he had to be punished further. His soul was fused to his katana and his line cursed. At the time, the samurai had no male relatives, so the curse fell upon the women. Thus, the katana has been passed from mother to daughter, sister to sister, aunts to nieces. Never breaking the line.’

‘And they…all used it?’ I broke in to question.

Rain shook her head, ‘in the early days they kept it hidden and only told the story on their deathbeds. Then, one day a mother used it to defend her daughter from a rapist. It’s claimed that act woke the samurai’s soul. Since then, he has grown and grown in power. People have tried to stop him, but nothing has worked. He can’t be locked away or destroyed or released.’

‘How could humans have wielded such power?’ I mused.

‘They couldn’t. The Mestemalum Senātus, The Reapers Of Death To Evil Senate, sensed the power and went to studied it. They decided that the katana was too dangerous and they tried to remove it, but the woman at the time, my great times four grandma, didn’t want to let it go. She made a bargain with them. If they would train her and her daughter to control and harness the katana, she would carry out any task they give her.’

‘And they agreed,’ I slotted in, ‘and that’s come around to you now?’

Rain paused, her face saddened. She looked at her boots then at me, ‘my story is different, but she and her daughter created my first destiny.’

I tried to digest everything she had told me, but I had never heard a story like it. Clutching my sword, I went and sat down in the chair. I felt Rain watching me, but I just wanted a moment to reflect. It felt like she had told me so much and yet she was avoiding the true point.

I heard her getting off the trunk and coming over to me. Gently, she took my sword from my hands and carried it over to its place against the wall, as if it was a child’s teddy bear.

‘No one can lift that sword but me,’ I gasped, turning to face her.

‘It’s bonded to you, yes,’ Rain said in a low tone, ‘and it has the powers of Heavenly Light, but it would let anyone use it to do good and defeat evil, because that’s its purpose. But it’s not alive.’

I frowned, trying to grasp her meaning.

‘Haku is,’ she stated simply, ‘no one else can touch him. If they do, he gets inside their heads and convinces them to kill themselves. He feeds off souls. That’s how he gets his power.’

‘I understand,’ I answered reflectively.

Rain sat down on the bed again and drew her black pants up. Underneath, her skin tight leather boots went up to her knees. She began to unlace them. I watched, but didn’t take any of it in. My mind was on what that whispering voice had been saying before.

‘Is that his real name?’ I asked aloud.

‘No one knows. It’s the name he gave me. Sometimes it’s different, or so I heard,’ Rain responded. She placed her boots slightly under the table, then started undoing a silk belt around her stomach.

I glanced over at the trunk then back at her. Questions drifted into my mind, but I didn’t give voice to any of them. Instead I pushed it from my mind and watched Rain taking off her top.

Underneath, she had on a black vest, which revealed her shoulders, but covered the rest of her upper body. Her breasts were now clearly defined. She lay down, arranging the pillows and blankets.

‘Why the trunk?’ I muttered to take my mind off her.

‘Huh?’ Rain yawed.

‘Why put him in the trunk?’ I repeated.

‘It helps to contain him. It won’t fully stop him from reaching out though. The more you think about it and open your mind to it, the more he can get in. Don’t think about it. Come to bed,’ she added and patted a tossed aside blanket.

I nodded and stood. I went to take off my robe then thought better of it. I walked over, stepping over her and knelt down to make a space for myself. Rain had rolled over and curled her hands under the pillow. I settled down, laying on my back with a single blanket covering my lower body. I put a hand behind my head and looked at her bare shoulder.

‘Tell me your mission,’ Rain muttered.

‘Later. You’re tried,’ I pointed out.

‘No, now,’ she mumbled and rubbed her cheek against the pillow.

‘All right, I’ll tell you want I remember.’

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 5, Part 2)

Angel

(Continued from Church Chapter 5 part 1)

I felt the words on my lips, but couldn’t get them out. My thoughts tumbled and I was back in the alley with those thugs and that poor girl. Rain had seen everything, but I didn’t seen or sensed her. My eyes were frozen on her’s as my mind tried now to work out what this staring look was. Rain didn’t seem pleased or concerned. It hadn’t bothered or fazed her either. Pity, I decided. That was what her eyes said, I pity you.

‘What did you say?’ I finally forced out.

‘Nothing. I didn’t reveal myself. I couldn’t risk the exposure. Too many reapers know me or are aware of me. I didn’t know him though,’ Rain explained.

‘But you saw everything I did?’ I pressed.

She nodded and helped me slip the left arm and shoulder guards off. They were added to collection on the floor. Rain stood before me and put her hands to my chest. Her fingers rubbed against the rough cotton of my under robe. She looked down, almost as if she was thinking of pressing her head to my chest too. I waited for her to speak, but she didn’t say anything.

‘Don’t you care about it?’ I asked desperately and grabbed her hands, ‘you could have helped. Maybe then…’

‘No. It’s human life. It’s nothing to do with me. I can’t save people…’ she trailed off.

‘You just take their souls?’ I ended for her.

‘I only take the non-human souls,’ she stated.

I let go of her hands, but they didn’t fall, she kept them against my chest. I pulled her chin up and noticed the determined look on her face. I had no idea what was going through her head, she was so closed to me.

‘Then why did you watch?’ I enquired gruffly.

‘Because…I felt sorry for you and have done since we met,’ she confessed, ‘you are doing tasks you weren’t meant to do and are blind to the job you need to do.’

‘Rain,’ I grabbed her shoulders, ‘do you know something about me? Do you know what I need to do?’

She shook her head and I badly wanted her to be lying.

‘You must tell me!’ I pleaded.

Rain pressed herself to me. She wrapped her arms around my neck and put her forehead to my throat. I could hear her breathing and warmth swapping between us. My hands slipped from her shoulders and wrapped around her upper back. I turned my head and put my cheek to her soft hair.

‘You have to concentrate on finding a way home,’ Rain began, ‘stop wasting your powers on things. Do you remember why you were sent here in the first place?’

‘Not really,’ I said aloud, then give it some deeper thought.

Rain rubbed her face into my robe before looking up at me. It looked like she was about to cry. I had the urge to kiss her.

‘You were going to tell me how you ended up here, remember?’ she recalled.

Keeping one arm around her, I brought the other hand to her face and rubbed her cheek between my thumb and finger. Her skin was soft and warm. A ghost of a smile appeared on her face, then flowered into a real one. She tiled her head slightly and kissed the side of my thumb. Her lips were softer than her cheek. My head emptied and I just wanted to kiss her.

‘Blaze?’ she hummed.

‘Yes?’

‘I think you’re getting distracted.’

‘You’re the one causing it,’ I pointed out.

Rain pushed away from me, breaking the hold I had on her. She walked over to the bed and sprawled out over the mountain of pillows and blankets, ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t lead you on. I’m bad.’

‘No you’re not bad, Rain,’ I argued and went to sit beside her.

‘You don’t know me. What I’ve done,’ Rain muttered.

I looked down at her. She had shut her eyes and was clenching her fists as if the memories were too hard to deal with. Her hair was scattered out around her and the candle light was making some strands shimmer bronze. Her face scrunched up then relaxed.

‘Confess to me, Rain. I can forgive your sins,’ I said in a low voice, ‘I have the power to release you from them. Just like that man I let go in the alley.’

Rain shook her head, tousling her hair more, ‘you can’t. If the Mestemalum Senātus couldn’t, then nor can you or anyone else.’

‘Not even God?’

‘Not even Him,’ she whispered.

I paused and tried to think what the beautiful, fierce Rain could have done which was eternally unforgiveable. I heard her fighting back a sob and I grabbed her hand. Lying down next to her, I watched her eyes open to blink away small tear drops. I squeezed her hand and she rolled over into me and nestled at my side.

‘You could still tell me. We could find away together,’ I offered.

‘I can never walk in the Light,’ Rain breathed, ‘my path is darkness to the end of time. No one can save or stop me. I’m a lost cause.’

‘I won’t believe it!’ I cried and held her hard.

‘It’s okay, Blaze. I’ve all ready accepted it. And you’re going to have to too. Just like everyone else.’

Like the owners of the notebooks? Like everyone who stayed in the bedroom before me at the Paradise Garden? Surely, someone must have tried to help her? Or is this all recent?

I heard a small snicker, which I knew hadn’t come from Rain and that same hissing male voice from before crept into my head, ‘she’s completely right, Feathers. Nothing can save her. The only way to help her is to give your soul to me.’

‘Rain?’ I uttered.

‘Yeah, I know,’ she responded, ‘just ignore it.’

A sudden bust of cruel laughter filled my mind. I sat up too quickly and pain shot into my head. Pressing a palm to my forehead, I looked over at my sword and thought about grabbing it.

Rain moved from beside me and stood up in a graceful single movement. She walked over to her katana, picked it up and carried on walking. She stopped at the trunk, swept my robe off it and opened it up.

Before I could ask her what she was doing, she had laid the weapon inside and shut the lid. She sat down on top of it, balancing herself on the edge and crossing her arms over her chest. The laughter stopped, disappearing just as fast as it had come. My migraine vanished and I felt an ebb of power returning to me.

‘You do that again, Haku and I’ll slit you in two from bottom to top,’ Rain hissed at the trunk.

‘Ameya, Aijin. I can’t promise that,’ the voice whispered before fading completely.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 5, Part 1)

Angel

Continued from Church Chapter 4

Make sure you’ve read the other chapters. They can be found here; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/category/church-novella/

Previously;

Blaze, a warrior angel, who is trapped on earth has made his home in an abandoned church. He fights a taunting daemon and a Demigod Bear. He is rescued by Rain, a Reaper. She takes him back to her ‘home’, a Paradise Garden seemingly inside the remains of a cathedral and encourages Blaze to talk. After which, she tricks him into combat then she revels some of her story and dismisses Blaze. He goes back to the church and reflects on Rain. Then he goes out and tries to rescue a human woman who is being attacked. Failing to save her, Blaze returns home to find someone has followed him.

Chapter 5

‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’

Matthew 7:7

 I turned fully and stared down at the figure by the lichgate. I hoped it was nothing more than a trick of the rain and shadows, or else some kind of spirit. My hand went to my sword. The figure moved forward and walked right through the padlocked gate. I growled, shuffled my feet and began to draw my sword.

I couldn’t tell what this figure was. I felt no energy or aura coming off it. The rain seemed to pass around it, as if there was an umbrella over the shadow figure. I walked out to meet it, my sword half-drawn.

‘What are you? What do you want?’ I shouted.

The figure didn’t stop, but came right up to me on the path. Before my eyes it took shape into a masked and caped ninja. The body was wrapped in the blackness of the cape, which almost touched the floor. The hood completely covered the head and was drawn down over the top half of a face. A large black cloth covered the rest of the face, leaving only the eyes out. I saw they were mismatched in colour; one green, one blue. Instantly I knew it was Rain.

‘What are you doing here?’ I asked.

‘I followed you,’ she said simply, the mask not muffling her words at all.

I felt the rain stopping, but resisted glancing up. I could still hear heavy drops falling onto the headstones and tall grass. I slipped my sword back down and took her in again. Wondering what she really wanted. Did she know I’d taken the notebooks?

‘Are you going to invite me in?’ she asked after a few moments, ‘I was hospitable to you.’

I glanced over my shoulder at the church and felt uneasy about her question. I frowned a little and my mind went to suggest we find some other place, ‘perhaps we could go somewhere else? You’ve still not told me what you want.’

‘I got lonely after you left,’ she muttered.

‘It’s only been a day!’ I reminded her, ‘what do you really want?’

Her eyes tensed up and flashed with anger, ‘why would I want anything off you? I thought you wanted my help. Clearly I was wrong about you, Blaze.’ She turned and the back of her cape whished around her legs.

I felt the rain hitting me again as she took her first few steps away. She had her large katana stripped to her back in a fabric sheath. A whispering male voice, which I didn’t recognise spoke into my ear, ‘your loss, Feathers.’

‘Rain! Wait. I didn’t mean it like that,’ I called after her, ‘It’s a mess inside there. It’s been abandoned for so long and I’ve nothing to offer you. Not like your Paradise Garden.’

Rain paused and looked over her shoulder at me.

‘I just used it for a base. Unfortunately, it’s now become home. And…I wasn’t expecting to see you again so soon. You took me by surprise. You can come in, if you want.’

She half turned on the path, but I couldn’t make her expression out or read her eyes clearly.

‘Sometimes, reality is more beautiful than any dream garden you can create,’ she replied softly with an undertone of sadness.

I puzzled over her words as that same male voice muttered, ‘you are too easy, Feathers. Your soul looks pretty tasty…’

‘What?’ I hissed and looked around the graveyard. Somehow, I knew that voice wasn’t in my head. There was an malicious spirt watching us, I could feel it at the edges of my senses.

‘Be quiet, Haku. Stay out of his head,’ Rain whispered as she bounced the katana.

I put my hand to my sword and kept my eyes searching the graveyard. I heard Rain let out a deep breath and come over to me.

‘It’s all right,’ she said and put her hand on top of mine, stopping me from drawing, ‘Let’s go inside.’

‘You heard it, right? That strange voice?’ I questioned.

Rain nodded and put her other hand on to my arm. Slowly, she hushed me back under the church archway. She tried to push against the door, but it didn’t give way. Easing my arm away from her, I used both my hands to open the door enough.

‘It’s wedged,’ I explained, ‘there’s some fallen bricks.’

I slide easily through the gap and tried to open the door further for her, but Rain quickly followed me through. We closed it together and heavy darkness settled around us. I let my eyes adjust and was about to reach out for her, when a ball of white light appeared. I paused and watched the light growing in her hands.

‘I don’t like small dark spaces,’ Rain declared.

‘Watch where you step,’ I responded back and moved off.

‘How did you end up here?’ Rain’s voice called from behind me.

‘I’ll explain upstairs. What was that voice? Did something follow you?’

‘No. I don’t…it’s complicated,’ Rain sighed, ‘Don’t worry about it.’

I stopped and spun back to her. She was still by the doorway with the ball of light now floating in front of her. Her eyes came back to mine, from having been on the glass-less windows.

‘There are some secrets I’ve to keep from you,’ she stated, the words heavy, ‘you must forgive me for that.’

‘Perhaps, I can help you?’ I suggested slowly.

‘It’s my burden to bear.’

I turned and walked on. She followed me and I took her up to the bell tower. Leaving her in the doorframe, I lit some candles and shuffled the notebooks under the books on the table.

‘I’ve some food and water, if you want,’ I called over my shoulder.

‘Thanks. I’m fine. ’

‘There’s only one chair…here.’

I pulled the wooden chair out for her, indicting with my hand and looking over at her. She was touching the stone blocks and looked distant. I let go of the chair and unstrapped my sword. Placing it between the wall and desk, I then took off my top robe. I crossed over to the large trunk and dropped the robe on top of it.  I took off my boots and socks, before starting on my armour.

Rain stepped in and after a quick look around, sat down in the offered chair. She pulled the mask from her face and the hood from her head. Her light brown hair fell about her and settled around her rounded cheeks. Her expression was unreadable, though her lips crinkled slightly at the edges.

‘I’ve stayed in worse places,’ she said gently.

‘I feel safer here,’ I countered, ‘closer to my real home.’

Rain licked her lips and pulled the sheathed katana off her back. She balanced it against the table. Then stood and took her cape off. Draping it over the chair back, she came over to me and began undoing the leather straps of my shoulder guard. She was wearing a tight black top and pants that covered her as much as the cape had done.

‘You’d have a lot more movement without this metal,’ she said.

‘It’s all part of the uniform,’ I explained and tried not to laugh.

Rain pulled a face and I couldn’t help but smile.

‘I’m use to it,’ I put in, dropping the chest plate on the floor. I started on the other shoulder guard.

‘I’m sorry I surprised you. I didn’t mean too,’ Rain uttered as she tossed down the armour.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ I replied.

‘I saw what you did in that alley.’

I paused and looked at her. She was unstrapping my arm guard and I could feel the brushes of her warm fingers. Her eyes were fixed on the buckles, but as soon as she had pulled off the guard, she looked at me.

‘The reaper who showed up wanted to know what’d happened,’ she concluded.

To Be Continued…