Kill All Your Characters
The cutlery in the hall stilled. One diner knocked over his goblet. Red liquid leapt from its grasp and pooled across the old banquet table. It spread across the ancient wood, squeezing in between plates and silverware, rippling as it pressed up against each object.
A chair tumbled over, a young girl falling to the flagstones with her eyes fixed in a glassy stare of horror. She hit her head but didn’t feel it. Blood and small splinters of skull smattered the old stone.
Dee’s knuckles burned white as she gripped her goblet, the burning haze filtering through her blood as she stared at him. “Why?”
The grin on his face made him look drunk. Perhaps he was drunk. Drunk on power. His lips curled upwards to show his perfect teeth, causing the bile in her stomach to rise. The dark dilation of his pupils roved over her pale skin.
Years of a secret love had washed away when he’d realised what she’d done and how she’d hidden it from him. But that wasn’t all.
“You told me that you cared about me. You told me you were taking the potion and that everything would be alright…”
She faltered, the effects of the poison taking over her system. Her head felt so heavy. If she didn’t persuade him to help her soon it would be too late.
“It is alright. What…? I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”
He chuckled to himself, smoothing his thumb over a small picture in his hand. It had been taken only days ago but the glossy image was already wearing away. He’d had it delivered inside an antique clock so that they wouldn’t know. They were always reading his mail and prying in his things.
However, the people in the hall were all still now, except for the two of them. He’d made sure it would be that way so that he could talk to her in peace before she died. Before they both died. There was no privacy in that place, which was why they’d kept him there.
If they controlled him, then they controlled his bloodline.
Red rimmed eyes burned up at him. “Give me the antidote, Christian. Give it to me!” Her screech rang out around the hall, bouncing off the stony bodies and vibrating the dinnerware.
He tipped his head on one side. The grin was still there, playful and stupid. She wanted to scratch it out with her fingernails but she could feel herself slipping away, fighting at the inevitable tiredness that tugged her deeper and deeper, closer and closer to death.
“Give it to me!”
“What’s her name?” he inquired softly, smoothing the photograph out on the edge of the rough table. He caressed the picture with a gentle gaze. They’d lied to him. They’d all lied to him about her, telling him that there was no pregnancy and that he was paranoid.
“Christobelle,” she spluttered. Blood leaked from her lips. She panicked and pushed back from the table, her chair toppling over and spilling her onto the dirty floor. He was soft. Sympathy would do it. Bleary eyed, she dragged at the floor as if to pull herself along. “Please, I… She needs me.”
“No she doesn’t.” He smiled to himself, tone calm and controlled unlike his dream lit gaze. “She doesn’t need anyone.”
The burning sensation wrapped around Dee’s heart. She pushed against the stone floor, red essence leaking now from her eyes too. It dripped onto the grey floor, already coagulating. What had he given her? What despicable potion was this?
“What the hell do you mean?! What have you done to her?!”
He smiled again. They’d needed his bloodline and, matched with the line of a witch as powerful as Dee, they could create a gifted child with extraordinary talents. It was what they’d always wanted. Christobelle was just one of their experiments. Just like he’d been.
“What have you done to her?!”
The shrill cry drew him back to memories of earlier that evening. He’d gone to the house, of course. How could he not? Christobelle was his daughter. He had to see her.
The problem was what he had to do. She was so pretty, like her mother. Love had clamoured in his heart almost immediately choking up his throat. The emotion had filled him to the top, making it so difficult to do what he had to do.
And he’d had to do it. There was no other way.
“They won’t be able to hurt her any more. They won’t be able to taint her. I’ve protected her, Dee. I’ve protected her from us all.”
Tears mingled with the blood on her cheeks, sobs wracking her body. “You… You didn’t… Tell me you didn’t…”
He stepped from the table and moved over to her, sitting by her on the floor. She looked up at him with weeping eyes and then everything within her stopped. He smiled, stroking her hair and taking her in his arms.
Christobelle had looked so like her.
He’d taken her in his arms too, after he’d gotten rid of the ‘carers’ they’d provided to watch her. It had only taken a few heavy duty hexes that he could flick easily. But he couldn’t do that to his Christobelle.
She’d had no idea who he was, thinking him a psychopath from off the street. He’d tried to explain to her that he was her father, but she’d called him a liar, telling him her father was dead. It had broken his heart all over again.
But it was okay. He’d helped her.
Bullets were quicker and less painful than spells. It had only taken one shot to help her slip away. And now he only had to wait to be with them, the poison working slowly in his own veins and giving him the clarity he’d needed to say goodbye to Dee properly. He laid down beside her and closed his eyes.
Now they would be together forever. His little family.
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