A Slur of Words
I down the rest of my drink, slipping off the rickety bar stool and followed Jameson and the two Nephilim down the hall.
The four of them were in the last room, one of the many that served as place for patrons to sleep off their drinks. As I crept toward the cracked door, I could hear the conversation Jameson hadn’t wanted the bar to overhear. It was dim, but the fear on the woman’s face was unmistakeable.
A simple bed had been pushed into a corner with a mattress half eaten through by time. Rusty springs poked perilously through its surface and dirty, folded linens lay on the mattress. A flaking wooden desk was in another corner; a backless chair pushed under it and a large candle flickering on the desktop. A window yawned open on the wall opposite the door and another candle dripped wax down the windowsill onto the floor. The rest of the room was open space where the four of them stood a fraying shag rug under their feet.
“So, is the human to your liking?” Savoy asked. He showed the woman off as if she were a piece of merchandise to be bought. In these times, humans were just that. He lifted her clothing above her knees, exposing long pale legs.
Jameson took the woman in his hands, pushing the hair out of her face and patting her down as if she were carrying a weapon. He pinched the underside of her arm, barely getting the skin between his fingers.
“This is the best you could find? I asked for red hair. Something with meat on her bones, and a full bosom.” He said gripping her petite breasts in his hands. The woman cried out and squirmed out of his grasp. “What am I supposed to do with this?”
“Pickings are slim, you know this.” Frederick replied holding the human’s arm like a vice. “She is all we could find, the rest—her family—went elsewhere. You aren’t his only ally.”
“Yes, but I am the best, surely I deserve better.”
“What she has to offer is as good as any other human. She should sustain you for a long time. The younger, the better.”
Jameson studied her, and the look in his eye turned from scorn to hunger. “Yes, I suppose she will do but find something to fatten them up first. You can tell Araziel that I am faithful, as always.”
Araziel. The name filled me with a seething hatred. I wanted him dead for what he’d done. And I would see him bleeding out at my feet. Even with my dying breath. I clamped down on the gruesome memories his name brought. I couldn’t think about them right now.
“We will be in touch,” Savoy said. The pair of Nephilim turned to leave the room.
“Wait,” Jameson said snapping out of his reverie. “There’s something else.”
“The Seraphim he asked me to keep tabs on—he’s back. He was at the bar when you came in. His name’s Elijah.”
I froze. I couldn’t believe it. I’d been coming to Jameson for years for information or for bounties. He kept a thriving business going with trading secrets. I always thought we were friends, but I was wrong.
I should have been paying more attention, but before I realized it, the pair of Nephilim threw the door aside and flung me into the room. I landed at Jameson’s feet in a crumpled heap—I could feel the scorching anger radiating from him like a open stove.
Suddenly, I was aware of how intoxicated I was. The image of Jameson’s face wavered before my eyes.
“So, you couldn’t take a hint, could you Elijah?”
“What are you doing, Jameson?” the slur in my voice muddled my words.
Jameson was holding the human now his fingers digging red crescents into her arm. She struggled feebly against him. Her emerald eyes bore into me, begging silently to free her.
But I couldn’t. Neither of us was getting out of here alive.
“Please,” the woman whispered and I felt the weight of the word, the desperation hidden within. There was more meaning in that word than anything else she could have said. I felt something inside me snap. I set my jaw.
I had made up my mind.