Eve Landru peered out of her window into the gathering dusk. The same shadowy figure she had seen the night before was there again, skulking behind the hedgerow that overhung the cemetery railings. Visibly shaken, she snapped shut the curtains as he pulled down the brim of his fedora and slipped deeper into the shadows.
Double-checking that every door and window was firmly secured, she took up her studies again, but the disquieting thoughts of her Peeping Tom persisted. After only a few minutes at her laptop she gave up on her thesis and pulled down the lid. It seemed pointless to continue when her mind was clearly elsewhere. Shoving the laptop to one side, she leant forward and picked up the silver framed photo of her late parents. A solitary tear traced its way down her cheek as she stroked the glass.
Even the prospect of a good night’s rest was slim. Over the last several weeks she had been plagued by nightmares and she feared what new terrors awaited her. Only now could the twenty-year-old fully appreciate how isolated she had become. Her diffident nature and the recent death of her parents had left her friendless and alone. There was no one to whom she could turn for help.
The sudden blare of a passing car’s horn shook her from her thoughts.
‘What a mess.’ she thought as she took in the piles of discarded books scattered about her. “What was it you used to say, mom; ‘a place for everything and everything in its place?’”
Returning the photo to its rightful spot on the coffee table, she began the onerous task of tidying up after herself. Within minutes her chore was done and, reluctantly, she made her way to bed.
The next morning she awoke bathed in sweat and with the odour of urine in her nostrils. Even an early shower could not wash away her sense of debasement as she sobbed, pulling the sodden sheets from her bed. There seemed neither rhyme nor reason for the nameless horror that pursued her through the labyrinths of her dreams. Even the recent appearance of her stalker could not account for her nightly terrors. They had begun long before she had even become aware of him.
Shortly before 8:30 am. she heard a gentle rapping at her door. Un-securing the safety latch, she opened up. Outside stood a tall, brindled haired, man carrying a briefcase. He looked to be in his early thirties.
He smiled warmly. “Miss Eve Landru?” he enquired.
Eve regarded him with suspicion. “Yes. Can I help you?”
The stranger looked with pity on the careworn, young woman framed in the doorway. “The thing is, Eve, I think that I may be able to help you.” he said, releasing the catches on his briefcase.
“I’m sorry, but whatever it is you’re selling I’m not interested. Now if you don’t mind I …”
“Oh, but I’m not selling anything, Miss Landru,” he cut in, “merely conducting enquiries into this man’s whereabouts.” He pulled a worn photograph from the briefcase and handed it to Eve. “I think you may have come across him recently.” he added.
“Yes!” she said, “I remember him!” She looked again at the photograph. “It’s hard to forget those creepy eyes. He was here a few weeks ago selling religious tracts or something.”
Handing it back to him she added, “He was very pushy and wouldn’t leave until I’d bought something from him. He had a curious name, too…”
“Wormwood? Eli Wormwood?” he interrupted.
“Yes, that was it! You’d think I would’ve remembered a name like that, wouldn’t you Mr …?”
“Forgive me,” he said, my name’s Kahn, Emile Kahn.”
Eve noted the lack of a formal title preceding the name. “Oh, so you aren’t from the police then?” .
“No, I’m not.” He shuffled uneasily on his feet. “But it is true to say that I’ve been keeping my eye on you for some time now.”
Eve’s heart almost burst from her chest. “Oh, God! You’re the creep whose been following me around!”
A preemptive foot in the door jamb stopped her from slamming the door in his face. He grimaced in pain, dropping his briefcase “Please wait! You’ve got to understand, you’re in great danger!”
“Get the hell off my doorstep before I phone the law!” she warned, slamming the door agonizingly hard against his foot again.
Emile threw up his arms in submission. “Okay! Okay! I’m leaving, but that wont stop the nightmares!”
She ceased her frantic assault. Maintaining a firm grip on the door she asked, “My nightmares? How do you know about…?”
“Because you’re not the first this has happened to.” he cut in, “There were others just like you. I tried to help them too. They went through the same things you’re going through, and things are going to get much worse.”
“‘Others’? What ‘others’?”
Emile felt the pressure on his foot ease a little. He was beginning to make some headway. He bent down and picked up several newspaper cuttings that had spilled from his briefcase and passed them through the crack of the doorway. He heard the shuffling of the papers as Eve studied them.
“My God! All these women are dead!”
“Yes, they are, and they’re all Wormwood’s victims. Look at the dates on the cuttings, Eve, they go back more than fifty years.”
He heard the rustling of papers again, then, “I don’t understand what this has to do with me though.”
“Look at their pictures. Don’t you see the uncanny resemblance between them and you?”
There was a long silence in which Emile pressed home his advantage. “Look, Eve, If I’d wanted to cause you any harm do you think I would choose to confront you in broad daylight and on your own doorstep? It doesn’t make sense. Surely that must tell you something of my intentions.”
“I … I guess so.” she said, uncertainly.
“Please let me help you, Eve!” he begged, “I’m the only one who can!”
Whether through lack of sleep, or an overriding need for human companionship, Eve stepped aside and ushered him into her home. Imprudent though her action was she still had the foresight to leave the door ajar. One wrong move and she’d be out of there in a shot.
As she showed Emile into the living room, he noticed the pile of books stacked neatly on the table.
She led him to a large and comfortable armchair. Strategically placing herself nearest to the open door, she took her place on the sofa.
“I see you have a fondness for Shakespeare.” he said, attempting to put his host at ease. Here at least he had found some common ground in which to engage her.
“I’m writing a thesis on him for English Lit at the university.”
“I’m a Wheatley fan myself.” Emile admitted. “He isn’t as high-brow as the Bard, but he knows his subject matter.”
“He wrote occult fiction, mainly.”
“Oh, I see. So you prefer horror then?” Eve was beginning to feel uneasy as to where the conversation was heading.
“Actually,” responded Emile, “my interest goes beyond mere works of literary fiction and that, in part, is why I’m here.”
The tension in the room had become almost palpable. Eve was now sitting on the edge of her seat, her heart racing, her gaze darting to the passageway and the open front door.
“Please, Mr. Kahn, just cut to the chase and tell me what you’re leading up to. Why does this Wormwood want me dead, and what have my nightmares to do with anything?”
“Wasn’t it the Bard who wrote, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy?’”
Eve became conscious of her fingers biting deeply into the arm of the sofa, her knuckles blanched white with the pressure. She made a concerted effort to relax.
“Well let me tell you;” he continued, “there are more things in this universe than you could ever possibly imagine. You need to consider the unthinkable, and all I ask is that you keep an open mind to what I’m about to tell you. Can you do that?”
Eve hesitated. “I think so; yes”
Emile sat forward, causing her to draw back.
He held his hands up and settled into the armchair again.
“When Eli Wormwood was still a young man,” he began, “he was the youngest ever to hold a professorship in anthropological studies. He was the best in his field and considered by many to be an intellectual genius. His studies into the magical beliefs and practices of diverse cultures were unequalled, but at some point his pursuit became more than just a hunt for knowledge. He began to practice what he had learned, synthesising these seemingly disparate magical beliefs into a complete whole. Invading your dreams is child’s play to him and he is without remorse or pity.”
In a tremulous voice Eve asked. “But why choose me?”
“The victims of serial killers often share similar characteristics or traits.” he explained, “These women share the same physical characteristics as you. He’s singled you out simply because you look like the others.”
She began re-examining the cuttings in greater detail. “And the dreams, what part do they play in all of this?”
“Don’t most predators seek out the weakest of their prey?”
She nodded her agreement, separating one of the cuttings from the pile.
“Your nightmares have weakened you and have made you vulnerable to all kinds of physiological and psychological disorders”, Emile continued, “thereby making you an easy prey.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, finally looking up. “but your analogy is flawed, Mr. Kahn. The predator isn’t always responsible for its prey’s weakness, but simply takes advantage of it. Your telling me that Wormwood is responsible for my nightmares, that he’s manipulating them, and that’s impossible.”
“Not if he shares a sympathetic link with you.”
“A telepathic connection, if you like. He uses a form of ESP, known as psychometry, to establish this link with his victims. Simply by holding something belonging to you he can gain insights into who you are; stuff he couldn’t possibly know by any other means.”
“You mean like the few coins I gave him?”
“It’s unlikely. The coins would have been handled by literally thousands of people before they fell into your hands.” He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “He’d need something more personal than that to establish the kind of link he has with you; like a ring or some other cherished possession.”
“Other than the money I gave him there’s nothing he has belonging …”
She froze in mid sentence and looked at the framed photo of her parents, her eyes focussing on the rosary her mother was holding.
Emile sat forward. “What is it? What have you remembered?”
“My rosary!” Eve rose up from the sofa. “He has my rosary. I thought I’d lost it. It hung on the coat rack next to the door. Several days after his visit I noticed it was gone, but I thought I’d mislaid it. He must have taken it when I went to get my purse!”
“And it took you several days before you noticed it was missing?”
“I’m a lapsed catholic, Mr. Kahn, and have no use for it anymore.”
Emile knew why she had forsaken her faith and that it had to do with the sudden deaths of her parents, but for the moment he would keep his own counsel and let Eve broach the subject.
“So you’ve given up on your faith. I’m sorry to here that.” he said.
“I told you, Mr. Kahn, I’ve given up on all that nonsense.” she replied, turning her attention to the coal fire and poking it briskly, “There are no gods or angels, fallen or otherwise, we’re simply the by-product of a series of blindly random and indifferent events. It was chance, and chance alone that took my parents from me!”
The heat of her passionate outburst was beginning to burn brighter than the fire she was tending, and it was getting hotter by the minute. It was time to add more fuel.
“I’m truly sorry for your loss, Eve.” he said, awaiting the outburst he knew would undoubtedly follow.
With tear filled eyes she spun round and confronted him, stabbing the poker in his direction. “Spare me your platitudes. It’s people like you I feel sorry for, with your antiquated notions of good and evil and the need to invoke some all-seeing, all-knowing deity to bring meaning into their lives! And another thing:” she continued, “It might well be true that Wormwood murdered those poor women, but it wasn’t with the help of some supernatural intermediary. Maybe one of his equally deranged disciples did his dirty work for him when he got too old to do it himself!”
Emile kept his composure throughout her tirade and in a calm and measured voice replied, “He has no disciples. And higher beings, or whatever you want to call them, are not the delusions of madmen. They’re as real as you or I. My beliefs aren’t based on faith alone. I’ve seen what he can do and have witnessed first-hand the power he wields.”
“Shall I tell you what I find really odd about all this, Mr Kahn: the fact that you haven’t managed to save any of those women, not one. That’s some track record!”
She threw down the poker into the scuttle and stood, arms crossed in defiance.
Emile felt the sting of her words. Now it was his turn. Rising smartly from the chair he pointed out, “Don’t you think it odd, given the nature, the time span and the brutality of his crimes, that there’s not one shred of forensic evidence to be had?”
“Oh, but there is Mr. Kahn, and it points to the fact that at least one of his so-called ‘victims’ didn’t die by his hand.” She picked up the cutting she had chosen earlier and read it aloud. “’The mutilated body of Miss Marie Anne Mendenhall, daughter of Samuel J. Mendenhall, was discovered on common ground near her home during the early hours of July 16. It is believed that the 28-year-old spinster had been exercising her pet Labrador when she was set upon by a pack of wild dogs, known to frequent the area of the near-by slum district of Malton. The one-year-old pup was later discovered by police officers, unharmed, at the front door of his mistresses home …’”
Waving the editorial in front of him she declared, “So she wasn’t murdered like the others and there’s no mention of sleeping problems either. How do you account for that?”
“If she wasn’t having sleeping problems, then what on earth was she doing walking her dog in the early hours?” he countered, “And what about the pup? Surely it would have been an easier target for a pack of hungry wild dogs. As for the victim, she would have borne all the hallmarks consistent with a dog attack. Presented with that kind of evidence, why would the local constabulary think otherwise?”
Eve threw up her arms in exasperation. “Exactly my point! Even the thickest plod knows a dog bite when he sees it! They were obviously canine!”
Emile’s frustration, too, had him animated.
“I’m not saying they weren’t. I’m merely saying they weren’t inflicted by dogs!”
“Some prefer to call them ‘objectified thought forms’; others, ‘elementals‘. In black magic they’re known as ‘fetches’; constructs of the magician’s thoughts given concrete form.”
Eve shook her head in disbelief.
“Whatever form it’s given,” he continued, undaunted by her scepticism, “it is this construct which becomes the vehicle for the magician’s consciousness and awareness. What it experiences he also experiences. However, the fetch is an autonomous creature and will struggle to free itself. Maintaining control over it is difficult – as is its destruction.”
“So he’s inside this thing, making it do what he wants and…”
“Not physically.” Emile interrupted, “It’s his etheric double, his spirit if you like, which inhabits it, but it remains connected to his physical form via an umbilical ‘silver cord’ that is capable of infinite extension. His physical body could be thousands of miles from the scene of the crime and that’s why there’s no evidence of him ever being there.”
“I’m sorry, but it’s just too utterly fantastic to believe.” she responded, taking up her seat again on the edge of the sofa. “Do you know how it sounds?”
“About the same as it did to all the others, and they suffered because of it.”
As he took to his seat, Eve saw the look of dejection on his face.
“Hang on! You said ‘all the others’ just then! Just how old are you, exactly?”
“No I didn’t say all!”
“I distinctly heard you say it.” Eve challenged.
Before Emile could respond, an icy breath of wind swept across the living room, billowing the curtains and sweeping the newspaper cuttings from the table.
Emile and Eve instinctively looked at one another. Each could see the others breath in the now icy atmosphere.
“My God! What is it? What’s happening?” Eve exclaimed, vigorously rubbing her arms.
Emile shot up from his chair and cried out, his gaze darting from one end of the room to the other. “Not this time, old man!” he cried out, “This time I’ll have my revenge!”
The neatly stacked books flew from the coffee table onto the floor and Eve screamed in terror as the front door slammed shut. The last thing she saw before passing out was the fluttering curtains.
When she came-to she was lying on the sofa. Emile was dabbing her brow with a damp cloth, a look of genuine concern etched on his face. She looked nervously around the room.
“It’s okay he’s gone.”
“You mean that was…?”
Emile nodded. “Not exactly in the flesh, but yes.”
She began to weep. “I’m sorry! Forgive me for not believing you!”
“There’s no need. I would probably have done the same in your shoes. At least you now know the truth.”
Eli Wormwood’s angular frame shuddered. He felt nauseous, drained. In former times he had taken for granted the consummate ease with which he had bilocated his etheric double. Now, his powers were in obvious decline, as evidenced by his latest sojourn. Even so, the discovery of the whereabouts of his erstwhile confederate had more than made up for his shortcomings. He saw no reason to delay his plans for Eve Landru. His dissolute hunger for her continued, unabated. His earlier lewd encounters were merely vicarious pleasures designed to titillate him during the long and involved ritual of creating the fetch – the living, tangible entity that would act as a repository for his consciousness and awareness. Through it he would experience fully the sensual delights of her abasement and ultimate death. But first he needed to rest. Bitter experience had taught him that the creation of such a creature was not to be gone into lightly.
On coming-to, Eve began to consider her options. One by one they fell by the wayside. Involving the police was certainly out of the question. She knew how her story would sit with them. It was just too incredible for the analytical minds to comprehend. Even if they accepted her account, what could they possibly do to protect her from a man who could seemingly be in two places at once. Inevitably, she reached the same conclusion as Emile; that only the death of Eli Wormwood could bring about her salvation.
Since neither of them knew when he would next appear, it was decided that Emile would remain with her until the ordeal was over. He had yet to specify how he intended to carry out his intentions and Eve, having been made aware of his failure in rescuing her predecessors, was less than optimistic of the outcome. Only later did it occur to her that she knew very little about her would-be saviour, beyond the fact that he was not the law. His personal life remained shrouded in mystery. She wondered if he, too, was a victim of Eli Wormwood.
The following morning Emile noticed a subtle change in his charge’s demeanour. There was a glimmer of hope in her eyes.
“Sleep well?” he probed.
“As well as can be expected under the circumstances.”
By mid-afternoon Emile became unusually withdrawn and seemed hardly aware of her presence. Though unsettled by these latest turn of events, she did all she could to distract him from his sombre thoughts, until it suddenly occurred to her why his behaviour was so constrained.
“You’re expecting him to come again very soon, aren’t you?”
The look on Emile’s face said it all.
“There are more things you need to know, and preparations to be made if we’re to have any kind of chance.” he said.
Within the space of an hour Eve had been fully briefed about the creature and what to expect. Regardless of what form it took their main objective was not to destroy it, merely distract it long enough for Emile to wrench free a talisman from its neck. It was this amulet, he told her, that helped Wormwood maintain control over the creature. Without it the fetch was relatively benign and had a mind of its own.
“And Wormwood?” Eve asked.
“The moment he loses control he’ll be forced to return to his own body. In order to escape its own destruction the fetch must return with him before the banishment ritual is performed to destroy the pentagram and, God willing, him too,”
With the coming of nightfall Eve’s apprehensions grew. What if something went wrong? What if Emile wasn’t strong enough to overpower the fetch? Maybe it would be upon her before she could even cry out for help. What then?
The hours passed inexorably, and with their passing came a deep and insidious sleep.
It was 1.20 a.m. when Eve was awoken by the sound of footsteps in her bedroom, and the sensation of her blankets being pulled from her. She lay trembling in the dark, a nauseating stench filling her nostrils. She sensed a nearby presence and tried to rise, but a great pressure bore down on her chest holding her fast to the bed.Her heart pounded wildly as she struggled for breath. Weird, wraithlike, ribbons of light appeared out of nowhere and began snaking around the room. Her ordeal had begun!
Then she saw it – a nebulous mist looming over her head morphing constantly from one formless shape to another. She sensed the malign presence leering at her from within. It drew closer, its rank breath against her face. She wanted to call out, but couldn’t. Unseen hands traced the outline of her hips and moved slowly across her abdomen. It was touching her, intimately! Fear at last found its voice. She screamed, breaking the spell. The nightmare was over.
But where was Emile?
It felt like an eternity before the bedroom door finally burst open, the light from the landing silhouetting the burly frame of her protector.
“Where were you? Why did you leave me alone?” she cried, hysterically.
“I heard a noise downstairs and went to investigate.”
He scanned the room. “What is it? There’s no one here.” he said, moving to her bedside.
“But he was! He was here!” Her resolve gave way to tears and she began trembling anew. “I’m frightened, Emile.” she confessed, “I can’t remember a time when I’ve ever felt so scared.”
He sat by her. “`Fear is for the living my dear,’” he said, paraphrasing Holy Scripture. “Only the dead are conscious of nothing at all.`”
She looked at him, stupefied. “What do you mean? I don’t understand.”
“Don’t you?” he grinned, cupping one of her breasts.
“Oh God, it’s you!” she whimpered.
He seized her by the throat to stifle her cries.
Clawing hysterically at his hands, she struggled desperately for one last breath as his mocking words of the dead and their unconscious state echoed through the blackness threatening to engulf her.
But Wormwood’s lust had yet to be sated before death could finally claim her.In the throes of his craving he straddled her, letting go of her throat.
She gasped, charging her lungs with life-giving air as he tore at her nightdress, exposing her nubile body to his lecherous gaze.
Emile lurched abruptly through the doorway, his face awash with blood. He cursed himself for having been caught off guard. His negligence had almost cost him his life. Hell-bent on protecting Eve from such a fate he blazed, “Let her go!”
The fetch’s head snapped round, its malevolent eyes now firmly fixed on Emile, the tone of its voice sardonic.
“Ah, if it isn’t the firstling. Right on cue, my friend. A definite improvement on your past record, wouldn’t you say? “Tell me,” he goaded, “how many does this one make, hmm?”
“Too many, old man, but not one more,” he said. “It stops right here!”
Wormwood’s anger surfaced and he let go his grip on Eve. “Imbecile!” he shouted, “Do you really think that by saving this slut you can salve your stricken conscience?”
Emile saw his opening and sprang forward, his reflexes dulled by the cleaving pain in his head. All too easily his protagonist stepped aside, and he came crashing down onto the bed.
It was then Eve saw the vicious wound in his scalp and reached out to him.
A terrible sound erupted within the room, half man, half beast, and Emile turned to see the creature in mid-change.
It’s clothes shredded as its dimensions altered and hair began sprouting from every pore in its body, exposing the talisman that hung around its thick, muscular neck. Within seconds the transformation was complete and before them stood the lycanthrope in all its horrifying glory, its muzzle pulled back exposing the razor-sharp teeth.
Eve screamed hysterically. This was her worse nightmare come true. Wormwood had chosen well the form that would instill the maximum terror from his victim.
Before he could react, Emile was dragged unceremoniously from the bed, agonising pain crucifying his body as he was slammed against the wall.
With sadistic delight Wormwood stamped his heel deep into Emile’s stomach. “How does it feel, firstling?” he snarled.
Racked by convulsions, and with his accursed epithet ringing in his ears, Emile held back a little while longer, but he hadn’t anticipated Eve’s next action.Screeching like a banshee she threw herself onto the creature’s back, locking her arms about its neck and her legs firmly around its waist.
Wormwood howled with rage at the probing hand at his chest. He spun like a dervish to dislodge the hellcat before she could wrestle the talisman from him.
But Eve was having none of it and clung on to him for dear life.
It was all the time Emile needed.
Eve could hang on no longer. Her strength deserted her and the furious creature flung her across the bed. As he slowly approached her, his eyes fixed and menacing, she backed away and drew the bed sheet about herself. “No! Please don’t!”
Over its shoulder she suddenly caught sight of Emile – or what had once been Emile, but was now something equally as horrific as the fetch – approaching them.
“Old man!” he growled, bearing his teeth, his powerful hirsute body poised for action, “It’s time to end this.”
The fearsome pair leapt at one another. Colliding in mid-air, they fell to the floor snarling their fury.
Emile was the first to draw blood. As they circled each other he suddenly lashed out with his lethal jaws, tearing the flesh from his adversary’s shoulder.
Eli’s response was swift. He lashed out with his clawed hand, lacerating his combatants face and spattering blood and flesh across the vanity mirror.
Eve watched the battle royal in muted terror. Her fate was sealed if Emile should lose and, given his recent metamorphosis, even if he won.
By now Wormwood had gained the upper hand and had Emile pinned to the floor by his shoulders, exposing his throat to his snapping jaws. They were mere inches away when Emile caught sight of the talisman hanging close to his own jaws.
Allowing Wormwood to draw closer still, he clasped the talisman between his fangs and shook his snout violently back and forth wrenching it from his assailant’s neck. It flew across the room, shattering the vanity mirror before falling onto the table.
With a terrifying howl the creature was flung back by some unseen force and bounced off the far wall, collapsing in a bleeding heap onto the floor. It lay motionless as Emile reverted to his human form, he too naked and bloodied.
Eve leapt from her bed and pulled a clean sheet from the linen cupboard and draped it round him.
The pair watched closely as the lycanthrope began shuddering intensely.
“He’s starting to lose his hold over it. It won’t be long now.” Emile said, breathlessly.
No sooner had the words left his mouth than a grey outpouring of ectoplasm began issuing from the lycanthropes jaws. It hovered momentarily above its now inert body before exiting through the solid wall of the bedroom.
“Is that it? Why is the fetch still here?”
“Give it time. It’ll soon be over.” Emile assured an anxious Eve, “It’ll take Wormwood several minutes to deconstruct the protective pentacle.”
As Emile sat by the stricken fetch’s side, Eve went off in search of something to dress his wounds. She returned to a haunting and incredible transformation: the creature had taken human form, a perfect likeness of Emile. They could have been twins. Free of the evil that had previously governed it, it lay propped against the bed its eyes filled with uncertainty and fear.
Emile backed away. At his prompting the fetch then faded out of existence.
Eve gazed mutely at the spot it had once occupied, her heart filled with conflicting emotions. Her distraction was short-lived, however. “Do you hear that?” she asked, pricking up her ears.
The noise sounded uncannily like a spinning coin. As its resonance grew the cause soon became apparent. Amidst the detritus of overturned ornaments and broken perfume bottles on her dressing table they saw the amulet. It was shuddering, moving of its own volition.
All of a sudden, Emile was dragging her to the floor. She was about to protest when an ear jarring report sent lethal shards of exploding metal from the talisman zipping across the room, peppering the walls.
In the deathly quiet aftermath, Emile looked to his companion. “It’s finished,” he said, almost disbelievingly. “Wormwood’s dead! You’re safe.”
She hugged Emile through clouds of tears, but he shied away.
“There’s something you need to know about me, Eve.” he said, “Eli Wormwood was my father, my creator.”
“I sort of figured that out the moment you changed,” she said, smiling. “He called you ‘firstling’ because you were the first of his creations, weren’t you? The things he would have done to me, he made you do to someone else. That’s what he meant by you being ‘conscience-stricken‘.” she said.
Emile nodded. “Back then he was inexperienced. He made a tiny error when he deconstructed the banishment circle. I should have died, but because of his mistake I managed to escape. I vowed then never to rest until I had put an end to him, because of the terrible thing he made me do.”
“And you have,” she said cupping his hands, “You have!”
“Yes, but the irony of it is I’ve killed the man who gave meaning and purpose to my life. Without him there’s nothing.”
“Then I’ll give you a purpose.” She began bandaging his wounds. “That poor creature we sent back is your brother, your twin, and the nearest thing to family you’ve got. Find him and bring him home. He’s going to need all the love and help we can give him.”
Emile looked up from the floor. “You said ‘we.‘”
She looked into his eyes. “We’re all orphans now and it seems to me that there is a common bond between us, just like any other family.”
© David Calvert 2012
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