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Seraphine and the Orphan of Castlepoint



The room drifted into focus; the Light locked away safely inside me again. My skin tingled, hot to the touch when I rubbed my arms. It was residue of the lashing heat that had washed over me only moments ago, a side-effect of my own powers. I hated it.

Rounded crystal lamps dangled from chains, forcing their dim light through gaps in the metal platform above my head. The heavy clamour of working machinery echoed from the upper level of the factory, and the dull thrum of an extractor fan throbbed through my ears.

The scent of scorched flesh permeated in the air. Seven bodies surrounded me, one of them the mother. I’d been too late to save her, just like I’d been too late to save the father. The truth is: I’d had no intention of saving them in the first place.

The arm of a massive machine crossed in front of the lamps, casting striped patterns again the steel wall. They flickered over the vent, drawing my attention to the frightened child hiding within; the only survivor of this bloodbath. How she’d survived through me releasing my power when all others had perished, I’ll never know, but honestly; I didn’t care.

She wasn’t my concern. Orphans were shard a dozen in this city. She’d be dead before long. Either that or she’d turn to prostitution, and then she’d die; charity had long ago ceased to exist in Castlepoint.

I turned away. My body tensed and I bunched my fists to try stop them shaking. What frustrated me most was that my prey had somehow managed to elude me. Maybe the shade provided by the vent had protected the girl, but there was no explanation for how Blackmantle had escaped. And I’d done so well to track him here to this bloody factory.

The girl’s whimpers reached me and for a moment there I contemplated putting her out of her misery. My hand rested on the pommel of the sword at my waist. It would be a kindness, the only one she’d be likely to get. I walked away instead. I’m not like them. I don’t murder children.

It was quieter in the hallway, easier to relax and not care about the mess I’d left behind me. My foot bumped up against the body of the father. His chest was bloody from the bullet holes. What had brought them here, why had they been running from the Royal Guard? I doubted I’d be getting any answers from a corpse, or that broken shell of a child. My curiosity wasn’t worth the effort.

Little feet padded over concrete behind me. They stopped. I refrained from cursing at her, instead squeezing the bridge of my nose between forefinger and thumb. Why me…? The girl stood a few paces away from me.

I didn’t have time for this. ‘Sorry kid, but I’m not giving hand-outs today.’

The dark pools of her eyes remained fixed on mine.

‘Scat. Go on now, get!’

The Four curse me. That lost puppy-dog look of hers was hard to ignore. A stuffed bear hung from her hand, stained red with blood. Her knees too; the skirts covering them slicked red, adding to the black stains that ruined her white dress.

I should leave her. My job didn’t spare me the room to babysit a kid. Yet why did I just stand there, listening to the distant throb of the extractor fan? A faulty crystal lamp flickered overhead. Damn it.

‘Come on then,’ I said.

The girl hugged her bear against her chest and kept her gaze fixed on me, avoiding the body at my feet. Smart kid.

I slipped the leather jacket off my shoulders and put it on her. There was no way she was going anywhere with me in her current state. The brown jacket fell to her ankles, but at least when closed it covered the blood.

I must be mad, taking her with me. How in the Four Circles of Hell I was going to explain this to Luca.

1 comment:

  1. Dramatic, I want to know how she got to this point and where she is going :)