Happy new year y’all!!
The missing daughter – part 3
I am an statue in ivory
my creator was old
therefore I am eternally young
therefore I am splintering
and cannot sleep
but cannot wake either
I am my creators dream
I will never die
for I have never lived
no one can hurt me
no one can I love
not even myself
– M. Strunge
The sun was setting when Trey let himself in. Caleb had lent him an extra key, Trey had proved more than helpful when it came to Greta’s diary, since he could decipher it tens times as fast as Caleb could. So this last week Trey had had a key and had come in to help Caleb with his work. He had not brought up the name discussion again, and seemed content with an extra key.
The floorboards creaked as Trey walked upstairs and knocked on the bathroom door. “Starling? you still sleeping?” he said softly through the wooden door.
“I’m awake” Caleb answered with a yawn.
“I’m gonna make some coffee and take a look at the disks until you can come out” Trey said running his hand over the old wooden door, in some strange gentle gesture.
“You do that” Caleb sighed, pulling his jacket tighter around him, turning his back to the door, trying to get comfortable in the bathtub.
Trey left the bathroom door and walked downstairs again, The house was lit up with golden light, and the sun would set within the hour. He didn’t know much about Caleb, but he did know that something had freaked him, something in his past had scared him off intimacy, you didn’t have to have a doctors degree to figure that out. He just wished he knew what or who, there was nothing he wanted more than to take Caleb’s fears and put them to shame, but he wouldn’t let him. For a moment he wondered what it would be like to never see the day again, never to see anything but darkness. To have the moon as your only sun.
The doorbell disturbed his thoughts, and he went to open the front door without thinking of who could call Caleb a house call at this time, when the vampire would clearly not have risen yet. He opened the door looking straight at a blond man outside, something was wrong with him, the energy that came off him was like a dull vortex. “Can I help you sir?” Trey said, looking up, making sure the chain was in place.
“I am Amon, Greta’s father, and I really need to have a word with Mr. Starling” Alastor said, eyeing the nymph in the door. he had expected the vampire to have someone to care for him while he was forced to the shadows by day, but a nymph? that was new!
“I am sorry sir, but he is still sleeping” Trey said.
“I can wait” Alastor said, “The sun will set soon”
“Alright” Trey said, unhooking the chain from the door, letting Alastor inside. “I was just about to make coffee, would you like some?”
“Yes, please” Alastor said with an amused smile.
Alastor smiled politely “Her mother, my wife, is elven”
“Oh” Trey blushed, “I didn’t know that, the diary said nothing it”
“Does not surprise me” Alastor sighed, “She was not exactly thrilled to be halfbreed,” He sighed even deeper, “I guess she resented us for it to some extend”
“I don’t exactly..” Trey started, but his words died on his lips as he looked into Alastor’s eyes. “I have my own place, I just came by to help him with this case cause I am better at elvish than he is” Trey looked down into the table surface which needed desperately to be cleaned from dust. It was not really the truth was it? he was here because he had gotten a chance to stay with Caleb, to show him that he was useful and charming.
“Just out of curiosity.. eh..”
“Snowball” Trey said.
“Right, Snowball” Alastor said with a sweet smile, like a cat before it eats the mouse. “What did he promise you? did he tell you that he would turn you into one of his kind as a prize for your loyalty?”
“No!” Trey gasped “Nothing, he promised me nothing!”
“Good” Alastor just said with the same slightly amused smile. “I would hate to see you being used and tricked” Alastor looked out the window on the sun’s dying rays, and then turned back to Trey, looking at the tattooed nymph. “He can’t do that, just so you know. I don’t know how much he told you about vampires, but believe me when I tell you, he cannot turn you into a vampire”
“Really?” Trey said, “I mean, not that he ever said he would, I just didn’t know he couldn’t”
Alastor threw out his arms “Vampires” He said “They are a low caste demon to begin with, but vampires like Starling, are of even lower caste, much like a ghoul” When Trey looked oblivious, Alastor grinned “A man made demon”
“He was a human boy once?” Trey asked, finding this truly insane, that his beautiful lover, had once been a mortal boy, born of mortal parents.
“Yes” Alastor said, eyeing Trey close, until his face lit up in a knowing grin.
“What?” Trey asked, thinking he might have said something wrong.
“He didn’t promise you the thrill of the hunt, or crimson dreams” Alastor said his voice flat but his expression still amused. “He promised you a place in his bed”
“He sleeps in the bathtub” Trey said, slightly blushing, telling Alastor more with his red cheeks than his spoken denial.
Alastor’s smile widened. “I would have thought someone like Starling to be a ladies friend, but seems like his taste in lovers lie differently” he chuckled amused, watching as Trey blushed crimson.
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Snowball” Alastor said pointing at Trey “I am sure he is a charming”
“You are” Alastor said with a smile, “Like all your kin, can’t very well lure a victim to the shadows if you do not master the art of seduction”
Trey blushed, and Caleb frowned. “Snowball, weren’t you about to work on those disks?”
“Yes” Trey said. and after a moment of silence he realised he was being dismissed. “Oh I really should go do it then” he mumbled, getting up from the chair.
“Yes please” Caleb said smiling strained. What the fuck was that demon doing in his house? Had Trey let him in? Did Trey even know what he had let through the front door?
“Nice to meet you Snowball” Alastor said, his smile still in place.
“Likewise” Trey muttered, fleeing up the stairs, not really sure why Caleb had been as upset as he clearly was.
“I has been almost ten days, and I wanted to know if you had made any progress” Alastor’s smile faded, “My wife is worried that Greta might not make it home for the wedding, you see”
“Oh yes, the wedding” Caleb mumbled, “Lord Bune made me quite aware of my time limit in this case” he said acidly while turning his back to Alastor walking into the living room to find the notes he had made for Greta’s diary.
“Were you aware that she had every intention of not marrying Bune?” Caleb asked casually, “Pray tell Lord Amon, and I would like the truth this time! While I appreciate and understand that you would pride your family and hide its dirty little secrets, then why tell me about your son, and then tell me nothing of your daughter?”
“The truth?” Alastor said, his face angelic. “I knew she didn’t want to marry Bune, but I made her go through with the engagement, as I told you once Starling, this is a political marriage”
“Why didn’t you tell me that you had had several fights? were you ashamed that she challenged your authority?” Caleb took a deep breath, “Sir, it is not my place to argue with your decision, but it ‘is’ my problem to find your daughter since you hired me to do so, and you are making it harder than it needs to be. I do not believe you are as oblivious as you are pretending to be”
“You’re right” Alastor admitted reluctantly, “But when we spoke last, my wife was there, and I do not want to upset her” A smile graced his lips “And neither would you, believe me”
Caleb nodded and then folded his arms across his chest. “Tell me of her mortal boyfriend”
“Oh so you do know about him?” Caleb said calmly, “Jeremiah, right?”
“I don’t remember his name” Alastor growled, his eyes flashed a dangerous red, making Caleb step backwards. “She told me that she could not marry Bune, because of her love for this piece of trash boy” The word ‘boy’ was spoken with such venom that Caleb winched, but this time he stood his ground. “I tried to tell her that a mortal boy was not for her, that her bloodline was far too great to indulge in such common vulgarity, but she wouldn’t listen”
“We just wanted to give her a life without perils or sorrow” Alastor continued, his voice dropped to a sad whisper, “Like any parent we just wanted to see our daughter safe and happy” Looking away from Caleb Alastor ran a gloved hand over his own face. “Bune’s elder brother was the commander of my region when I served in the war, before I met Zarah. Even after I left the cities, Bune’s brother and I kept in touch, and he visited us on more than one occasion. So when he mentioned that his younger brother had been announced lord of the whole 8’th circle, and now he needed a wife and offspring. Zarah and I decided that Greta would welcome the life as a lady in a court as big as the 8’th circle, she would have servants to tend her every need, and she would never have to fear death, hunters, poverty or famine”
Caleb nodded, he understood clearly what Alastor meant, life here was not easy, and all they had wanted was for their daughter to have a good life, but Greta had not liked that anyone tried to decide for her. “And if she really did marry this mortal boy, then she would have no one to protect her, am I right?”
“Yes” Alastor whispered, “And think of her children, my grandchildren, they would be in grave danger”
“As much as I understand what you are saying, then I think there is something off, something is not right. If Bune is a lord of one of the inner circles of the cities, then why would he be so desperate to marry your halfbreed daughter?”
“Watch your words little vampire!” Alastor growled, stepping closer to Caleb, a warning written all over his face.
“Please sir” Caleb whispered, ducking his head in a gesture of submission. he was not about to get in a fight with a pure bred demon in the middle of his living room.
“Lord Bune called me and.. Lets just say he is very interested in finding Greta, and it just strikes me as odd” Caleb whined his gaze still on the floor. his mind churned like crazy, trying to explain to Alastor that he feared that Greta was in much more danger from Bune than any hunter.
“Do not insult my friend and his family by implying anything this dangerous” Alastor growled.
And then; In one insane moment, Caleb blew up. “You have no fucking clue as to what I am saying? I am saying that you forgot what your fellow demons are like! I am afraid that Bune does not even mean to marry her, he just needs her for something, you should have heard him sir, nothing in his appearance or message was kind, please sir, you have to at least consider the possibility that Bune don’t care for your daughter, but only cares for his own Lordship”
“I told you not to insult my friends and family” Alastor said, heat starting to radiate from him like were he a furnace, Caleb’s heart sped up, it had been very, very stupid to yell at Alastor like that, but he was just so frustrated that he got nowhere here because Alastor was too proud to see things for what they were, odds were he didn’t even know his own daughter as well as he thought he did.
Caleb covered his face and whimpered, completely confident that he would be engulfed in flames or something worse within seconds. But nothing happened, instead he heard Alastor breathe heavily. “I’m sorry” Alastor mumbled out of breath. “I am not like that, I..”
“The fault was entirely mine, my lord” Caleb panted, smiling a guarded smile. “I should have stilled my tongue when you warned me the first time”
“Maybe you are right Starling” Alastor sighed deeply. “Maybe I should look into Bune and his family, but I better have a damn good reason to do so”
“What about your daughter? I would think she is a good enough reason. Just making sure she will have all those things you were promised, nothing wrong with that, is there?” Caleb slowly straightened up, his eyes not meeting the demons, but flickered all over the place, nervously.
Alastor nodded, and Caleb sighed content, apparently he had made sense to the demon after all.
“In regards to what you came here to know” Caleb said, “I think I know where she is, and I shall look for her tomorrow, seeing as there are really a number of places where I think she might have went, if she did in fact run away” Caleb straightened his jacket sleeve in a self concious, vain gesture, “I do not believe her to be in danger, sir. Not yet”
“Starling?” Alastor asked.
“Yes my lord?” Caleb said, looking puzzled up at the tall demon.
“Tell your lover that my wife would greatly like to meet him, I am sure she would be pleased to meet someone who spoke her native language” Alastor said with a smile, padding Caleb friendly on the shoulder.
“Snowball is not my lover” Caleb said with a low growl. regretting his words the moment they left his lips.
“If you say so” Alastor said with puzzled expression, “Lady Zarah would like to meet him none the less”
“I will let him know” Caleb said, embarrassed looking into the floor.