As Talia (no, Nyx) walked towards the theatre, she thought about…well, everything! It was a lot to absorb, and even though she had felt calm in the dream –or coma- it was as if it had just hit her when she had woken up. She sighed, and quickened her pace.
Dusk was waiting for her with the man who had been behind him when she had met him, and a slim woman with auburn hair that reached her shoulders. They all looked both extremely beautiful and dangerous. Dusk turned around and smiled. It sent shivers down her spine. She reminded herself that he had offered her this new life, and she wasn’t about to take it down, or be ungrateful about it.
The woman muttered something to him, and he raised an eyebrow. “So, you’ve already chosen a name,” he murmured. “Very impressive, Nyx.” His cold smiled broadened when Nyx’s eyes widened. “Yes, my friend’s talent here is that she knows if the person has a taken name, and what it is.”
“And what’s your talent?” She asked, unable to hide the wonder and excitement in her eyes. “Ah, that’s a very good question…well, I don’t have one.” She raised an eyebrow and he leaned in closer. “Do you believe in monsters, Nyx?”
“As much as I believe in fate. Which was until I was nine,” she replied coolly.
“Then you’re going to have to start over. You’ll have to leave Talia’s life behind, forget everything you knew before.” His dead eyes were lighting up feverishly. “We’ll look after you, we’ll teach you everything. But others will want you dead. We have to kill them before they kill us,” she stared straight into his eyes.
“I’m ready,” is all she said.
A light flickered in front of Nyx’s eyes. She groaned and tried to sit up, but she couldn’t move anything except for her head. Once her eyes grew accustomed to the dim lighting, she noticed the faces around her. They were all there, and even a few more that she didn’t recognise. “She’s awake,” Kallista murmured and a figure stepped forward. It was the man who had shot that damned ball of lighting at her. Israel, if she remembered correctly. Even with pure anger running through her, she smiled at him. His face stayed grim. “You know, all those binding spells aren’t necessary,”
“Maybe,” he said slowly, as if choosing his words carefully. “But you might break through ropes, and if we didn’t bind you, you’d put up a fight.” He was right of course, but they couldn’t know much about who she really was. Then again, Kallista had found her, and seemed to know what she did. “What’s your name?” Came a question from a young girl in a Union Jack top behind Israel. “Holly Black,” Nyx said reluctantly, hoping they’d believe her. It was the name she had put the hotel room under, before Dragona, Bridget and Kallista had broken in. “So, Holly,” Israel continued without glancing at the girl. “Who are you after? And don’t pretend that you weren’t sent to kill one of us,”
“Funnily enough,” she replied wryly. “I was sent to kill all of you!” Her eyes flitted over to the Union Jack girl. “Except for her. I’ve never seen that one,” the girl scowled hatefully and she smiled back.
“And how would you have managed that?”
“Well, maybe if you all stayed very still, and didn’t do anything, it would make the job a lot easier…”
“Seriously,” Israel said evenly. “How did you expect to kill us all?”
“Maybe I’d pick you all of, one by one, the others knowing that they’d be next, but not being able to stop it.” A fly buzzed by her face, brushing the charcoal fringe irritably. She tried to brush it away, before realising that her hands were magically bound. She groaned, and then the fly made a high-pitched villainous laugh. She paled as it buzzed by again, still laughing. Israel raised an eyebrow before talking, maintaining the calm tone. “Mar, please leave Miss Black alone.” The fly buzzed, protesting, before flying over to the others who were chuckling. And then the fly started rippling, multiplying and changing, until a young girl stood in front of Nyx. “Ah yes,” she murmured. “You can transform.” The girl smiled wryly and shifted from foot to foot, as if she couldn’t stay still for even a minute.
Israel cleared his throat, and Nyx looked back to him. “You have been accused of murdering innocent people,” she raised an eyebrow, wondering who had seen her.
“I hardly killed any of those people!” She protested. “They just fell onto my knife!”
Israel paused for a minute, studying her. “You aren’t going to tell us much, are you Miss Black?” She shook her head, and started planning how to escape. “Can you tell us what this means, then?” He asked, throwing a crumpled piece of paper in her face. She peered at the neat cursive writing. “I can’t see with you holding it,” she complained. Israel glanced over at the others uneasily. He obviously didn’t trust her. Not that he should have. “Release the bonds on her arms,” Kallista chirped, stepping forward. “If she tries to escape, there are more of us than her. We’ll overwhelm her.” She looked at Nyx as she said it, as if trying to send her a message. Israel sighed heavily, and muttered some words, tapping the symbols on the chair she was sitting on. A moment later, Nyx’s arms tensed up and then relaxed, as if freed from a great weight. He handed her the page, and she started reading the script.
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire.
And your children are all gone.
All except one,
And that’s Ann,
For she has crept under
The frying pan.”
Nyx’s frown turned abruptly into a broad grin. “This is a nursery rhyme!” She cried, waving the paper in the air. “My parents…used to read this to me when I was little…” She trailed off, not wanting to discuss her family. “We all know that, Miss Black,” Israel murmured politely. “But this was sent to us from a good friend of ours. He thinks that there is a hidden message in the text, about the whole world’s future.” She chuckled as he spoke. “How could this be a prophecy? This is a children’s rhyme! I think your friend has lost his mind.” Kallista’s eyes flashed with fire for a second, then turned back to the cool aquamarine colour. “He’s not mad,” she said stubbornly. “He’s my friend.” Nyx pitied the girl. Not because she was standing up for her friend, but because she had friends. Nyx had stopped having friends a long time ago. Anyone close to you would crush and destroy you. She had been taught that, disobeyed her lessons, and then payed for it.
She folded the paper and placed it in the pocket that held her dagger too. She’d almost forgotten it. “Well, I’ve had a really fun time, but could you guys kindly release me now?”
Israel started to say something, when the wall in front of Nyx crumbled. The mages yelped, and whirled around. A bulldozer smashed into the room, driven by a nervous-looking man. Another was laughing madly on top of the truck. “FEAR THE MIGHTY SCAPEGRACE!” He bellowed.
Dragona lifted an eyebrow. “Pardon?”
Scapegrace looked down his nose at them and sniffed. “Hmmm…they would make good sidekicks, wouldn’t they, Thrasher?” The man driving the vehicle nodded eagerly. Nyx wrinkled her nose. There was something wrong with those men. Or maybe they just really stunk. “Why did you just smash into my HOME?!” Israel roared uncontrollably. The men looked at him blankly, then turned back to the crushed wall. “Oh, uh. Yeah…sorry about that.” The man said awkwardly, and then shook himself. “But soon, your home will not matter. I will turn you into my own zombie minions, and you will follow ME!” The companions looked at one another –no wonder they smelt so bad- and Nyx used the distraction to her advantage. Her hands slid down to the place where the symbols should be for binding her legs and body. They started tapping lightly, remembering her studies of basic symbols and charms. Meanwhile, Scapegrace was starting to realise that he was out numbered with a roomful of agitated mages. “Uh, how about we all forget about this ever happening. What do you say, fr- OUCH!” He was cut off as Dragona lazily tossed a fireball at his chest. He started to smother the flames by flapping his arms wildly around his chest. March stifled a laugh and Thrasher glared at her, as if his eyes could bore through her head. “You will pay for wounding my master!” He growled.
“I’m not wounded, you moron, I just don’t want to turn into a human inferno!” Scapegrace snapped. Thrasher nodded thoughtfully. “Hmmm…yeah, I can see your point…”
“Enough, let’s leave!” Scapegrace said as majestically as a zombie can be. Which was quite minimal. “This isn’t over!” He narrowed his eyes at the companions. He then tipped his head back and laughed evilly. Thrasher blinked and smiled, and Scapegrace frowned down at him. “Drive away, you moron!”
“We rehearsed this, Thrasher! If something goes wrong, we drive back!”
“Oh, right…” Thrasher looked back at the dashboard of the truck. “I uh…seem to have forgotten how to drive again, master…” Scapegrace groaned and slid into the driver’s seat, knocking Thrasher over to the passenger seat roughly. “Stupid zombie…” Scapegrace muttered as they backed out and sped away from Elysium Asylum, leaving a group of confused mages. “Well, anyway…back to something a bit less random that the author added in because she was running out of ideas for the plot!” Mar chirped, turning around to where Nyx had been. Only, she wasn’t in the chair anymore. She heard curses behind her, and Israel stepped forward again. “She must have tapped the symbols to free herself and run out the hole,” he murmured.
“Well, obviously!” Mar snapped, making him flinch. The frustration in her face died down a bit. “I’m sorry, Israel.” He responded by patting her gently on her shoulder. All the companions turned back to the gaping hole. “Well,” Aquila sighed, breaking the heavy silence. “I guess we better fix this wall, now!”
Nyx sprinted back to Rosella’s warehouse. She avoided everything; she knew even animals weren’t safe, now that there was a group of shape shifters after her. She wondered how they had known about her, and why Dusk wanted them all dead.And how was she supposed to kill all of them?