Warlock (part 2)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Dare/Mangus/Benedict is hardly struggling in the 21st century where everyone is strange in their own way. He lives with several identities so that he can go around with different jobs and simply delete an identity if that life gets too difficult. The nagging feeling that someone's still after him to kill him is still at the back of his mind but for now he's choosing to ignore it...

Submitted: June 29, 2012

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Submitted: June 29, 2012

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Her heart was beating faster with a mix of adrenaline and fear. Dare continued to hold his breath anyway. Why hadn’t she said anything? “Well? Is he dead? It’s impossible to see his chest in the dark.” The impatient voice of the bald man interrupted Dare’s thoughts.

Silence. For them at least. The rasp of air being brought into the woman’s lungs let Dare know she was about to speak. “He’s… Dead. Does that mean that he’s a warlock or not?” She knew the answer to that question already. Now Dare did too. He was a wizard. A warlock. Why hadn’t he known that before? Was it an after death thing? So many questions yet nobody to answer them.

“I believe whether they’re a wizard or not they die. It was obvious that he was a warlock in the first place. Pure British, at least he probably was, yet a redhead and had multicolored eyes. No need to feel guilt.” She wouldn’t have any need to feel guilt. He, meanwhile, would probably wonder whether he’d killed an innocent man or not for the rest of his life. The goon’s breath had remained even the whole time so he most likely would think this another odd job with a wacko boss. All goons were money oriented only.

The woman nodded silently then, with the help of the goon, began lifting the stones off of Dare’s chest. He felt the pressure decrease yet he felt no sudden pain. Everything was normal. The last stone was lifted off of him and he realized how energized he was. If they didn’t leave soon he was going to explode. If the woman chased after him he knew he could outrun her. Or could he? Was she afraid of him or was she simply waiting for them to be alone to kill him properly? The sound of receding footsteps alerted Dare of the bald man’s departure from the yard. “You’re welcome to leave now Mister Braet. I have a special place where I put my victims and I’d rather you not see it. Don’t take any offense.” The goon might’ve been a mute for he simply shuffled away into the night without a reply.

His eyes. He needed to open his eyes. The sudden urge caught Dare off guard. The woman was leaning over him, her breath smelling of mint. She wore no kind of perfume like the bald man had. Such an unusual woman. Dressed like a man, a murderer, and she wore no perfume. “Are you going to open your eyes now or do I have to pry them open? We both know that you aren’t dead.” That was all he needed. Dare’s eyes snapped open and he let out the breath that he’d been holding in for a few minutes now. Another thing that should’ve left him dead. What had happened to his eyes was the most magnificent change of all of his other senses. Not only could he see in the dark but everything was crystal clear. He noticed things that he wouldn’t have noticed before and connected them so that he could figure out nearly everything that had happened around him. It was overwhelming. Dare closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths before opening them again. The woman continued to stare down at him curiously. “Interesting… I’ve killed many an innocent man for Master Terel but you would be the first actual wizard.”

“I prefer the term warlock.” The words came out of his mouth before he could even think. Warlock. It did sound much better than wizard. Somehow it seemed to match him. Wait, how could he have spoken with the gag in his mouth? Dare did a double take. The gag was hanging in the air, untied, as if it were being held by an invisible thread. Had he done that? Dare narrowed his eyes and thought of an invisible hand moving it off to the side then letting it go. Without hesitation the rag moved off to the side and dropped itself on the ground. Both he and the woman were watching in astonishment at the feat. Now would be a good time for Dare to start pretending he knew what he was doing. The ropes binding his wrists and ankles untied themselves but, just in case his telekinetic powers had a downside to their use, Dare didn’t use them to toss the ropes aside. The woman involuntarily took a step back when Dare stood up. “So, now that you’ve realized what I am, tell me this. Where is Cricket?”

A confused look spread across the woman’s face. Then something clicked as she realized he was talking about the person Cricket, not the bug. Cricket hated the reactions people always had when they heard her name, but enjoyed the sound of it. “I… I’m so sorry sir. Your friend… she’s dead. The bald man ordered the execution of anyone who happened to see you getting kidnapped.” She flinched and took a few more steps back. Did she think he would hit her? It was very tempting. Dare shook his head. He wouldn’t become a murderer like her.

“Then you are no longer of use to me. If you tell anyone about what I am I will personally kill you. Goodbye.” Dare walked slowly into the darkness until he rounded the corner. Then he began to run. Cricket was dead. Dead. The only friend he’d had his whole life was dead. Even if he could bring her back to life with his newfound magic he knew she probably wouldn’t be the same. He’d read enough books to figure that out. It wasn’t something he was willing to risk. Now he was alone. All alone. A sob escaped from his throat but the night swallowed it up like a starving beast. Nobody cared, nobody even realized the events of the night besides the four of them.

 

2012 A.D. - Era of Elizabeth II - Spring - Time Unknown

 

The music was deafening even with extra thick earplugs in. When he’d finally found ones that fit in his ears they’d immediately become his favorite thing to wear. Flashing multicolored lights set up to create a disco ball effect changed color to the beat of the music. On a platform high above the people dancing and making fools of themselves below a man watched over all of them. His pale gray, nearly white eyes scanned the crowd. Leaning against the wall was a woman who wasn’t wearing one bit of makeup besides a bit on the cheeks stood watching just like the man. She wore the same kinds of ‘latest fashion’ clothes as everyone else except hers were obviously new and didn’t seem to have any stains on them. The mini vest attached to her shirt had an unusual fold in it that wouldn’t naturally be there. She had a gun. The man suppressed an exasperated sigh. The police had sent someone to watch over the parties again. Right after he’d upped his security to keep them out.

Hopping over to the metal stairs leading down from the platform he slid down the railing and began to make his way through the crowd. Most of the people were too drunk or focused on each other to notice him and recognize him as the famous host of all of the illegal spring parties in New York but a teenager who wasn’t as sober as the others saw him. “Magnus! Oh my god it’s Magnus da Vinci!” He stumbled over to Magnus and pulled out his phone. Magnus smiled and allowed him to take a quick picture of the two of them for Facebook then quickly disappeared into the crowd again. This was one of the reasons he mostly stayed above the crowd during the parties. The sparkle-covered fedora and batman sunglasses made him stand out in a crowd but it was part of this personality.

The fake smile quickly vanished from his face. He pasted a look of curiosity on his face. The police expected him to believe this undercover cop was just an average teen or college student in their early twenties so he would act like he did. The woman glanced up when he approached. “Hey. You don’t really look like you’re enjoying yourself. Some friends of yours convince you to come or something?” Supply them with an alibi. It was the fastest way to get them to think they were actually convincing.

She smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Yeah. Not as fun as I expected but now I’m the only one who’s not drunk so I have to stay so I can drive them home. Don’t want to leave them stranded.” Magnus leaned against the wall next to her. She was clever but he was ready for her.

“Oh don’t worry. I have everything planned out so that we don’t have drunk drivers in the street. You may have noticed when you entered that you had to give your car keys to one of my employees and tell them your first and last name. When you go back to get your keys they’ll make sure you aren’t too drunk before giving them back. If you’re too drunk you’re told to go to a hotel that way,” he pointed to the left, “Where you’ll stay till morning. So basically almost everyone stays in that hotel till they’re no longer a danger to the streets. You’re welcome to pick up your friends from it tomorrow if you’d like to leave. I don’t want anyone to force themselves to come to my parties. I don’t really find them fun but I know that others do.” He pointed to the earplugs in his ears. “Far too loud but if it were quiet nobody would come.”

The police woman seemed surprised at the organization of the place. This was probably her first time going incognito. She opened and closed her mouth several times but couldn’t think of any excuse to say that would let her stay. “Well… Okay. Thank you I guess.” She slowly walked through the crowd to the door. That was one problem gone. Now all he needed to do was get the police to stop trying to find a problem with his parties.

As he headed back to the platform several people took pictures of him and tried to pull him back but he ignored them. Having a habit of never coming down from the platform was making him get far too much attention when he did come down.

 

2012 A.D. - Winter (December) - 9:07 P.M.

 

Shoving his gloved hands into the pockets of his black wool admiral coat the man pulled his collar up to his cheeks. The bronze buttons had a thin layer of ice on them from only ten minutes of walking through the snowy streets. Bright red and green lights lit the streets and pictures of reindeer, Santa, snowmen, and everything to do with Christmas were pasted on every window. He hated it. He’d hated it since he was born. The point of it always seemed to escape him. The only good holiday was Halloween. Scaring people was fun. Getting presents that most of the time aren’t the things you wished for? Not so much. The only good thing about it was that there was so much of the color red. Red was a good color. The color of blood. If only it weren’t so close to pink.

London was surprisingly quiet on Christmas night. There were cars and buses occasionally but that wasn’t relevant. What mattered was that there was hardly anyone in the streets and the people that were walking around weren’t talking. He could actually take out the ear plugs for once. Instead of opening his eyes he simply looked at the street once then walked along it blind. He would hear if someone approached. Looking around would simply tell him a million stories at once. That made it impossible to relax.

When he turned a corner and opened his eyes again to make sure he didn’t trip he froze in surprise. A couple people who looked like they might be cops were gathered around the dead body of a man. By the pattern of wet marks on their pants they’d walked through grass recently and a man who looked to be in his late early forties was still clipping his car keys to his belt. They’d parked not that far away and all came in one black, normal car. A woman, not too old but clearly in her late fifties, stared at the dead body with an expression of shock. She’d been the one who called the police. By the scared but not too scared expression she wasn’t faking the shock and but wasn’t so scared that she’d been told by whoever had murdered the man to call the police. That eliminated her from being a suspect.

Taking another step forward he noted that the man had a strange coloring in his face that wasn’t the normal paleness of death. By the lack of broken bones and only one scratch it was clear that he hadn’t fallen from one of the rooms of hotel next to him but just while he was walking. His watch had stopped at 8:36 p.m. because of hitting the ground too hard –if it had been tampered with it would have been facing up instead of the edge of the clock part on the pavement. Either the woman had noticed the body not long ago or the police were getting slower. By the lack of too much flush in her face she’d been outside for about five minutes so the police weren’t to blame.

The man was wearing a suit and looked to be Russian so he wasn’t originally from London. Nobody wore suits on the streets at night unless they worked nearby and there weren’t any fancy buildings nearby. A credit card was in his hand so he was probably about to go into the hotel to get a room for the night. From his viewpoint it looked like the man’s shoes weren’t too dirty with the street grime so he’d come by taxi. A taxi driver was now a suspect. Now all he needed to do was smell the man. If the facial coloring was from what he thought it was then the man had been poisoned.

He blinked and shook his head. This was what happened when he let his mind wander. The police woman standing next to the man with the car keys glanced up and saw him. “Nothing to see here. Please continue on your way.” She looked like she was in her early thirties. A normal age for a police woman. The longer they had their job the more stoic and bossy they got so Benedict hoped she hadn’t had the job for long.  

“Can I do something really quick?” He couldn’t believe he was doing this. Without waiting for a reply he kneeled down and smelled the dead man. “Poison. Vendati’s kind. Didn’t know he was in town.” Either the Russian had been at a meeting with the most famous poison assassin in all of Italy or Vendati had pretended to be a taxi driver and somehow slipped the poison into the dead man’s mouth. His curiosity now satisfied he stood up and began to walk away. He was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. It was the police woman.

She stared at him closely. “You said the murderer was a man named Vendati? How did you figure that out when you approached us only a minute ago?” The others were staring at him too now. Wonderful. He’d returned to London just three days ago and now he’d already attracted the attention of the police.

Biting his lip to hold back a groan, he went back to the victim. He turned to the older woman. “You might want to go inside if you don’t want to catch a cold. His cause of death was poison. His face isn’t the right color for a dead man. If you sniff him you’ll smell something odd which would be the poison that Vendati uses to kill all of his enemies. If you want proof do a toxicology test. Vendati is a tall Italian man with dark brown hair, a big nose, small eyes, and a long face if you’re looking for a description.” Once again he turned to leave but was stopped.

The icy air was starting to become an annoyance from his lack of movement. The police woman wasn’t the one who had stopped him this time though. The police man in his forties was the one scrutinizing him now. “What’s your name and cell number? If you’re wrong we might want to contact you. If you’re wrong that means you’re trying to lead us in the wrong direction. If you’re right then we might give you a bit of a reward.” That was going to be a problem. Which identity was he using in England again? While pulling out a piece of small notepad paper he glanced at his ID card. His name was Benedict Colentov. Fancy names were his favorite. Writing his number and name on the paper Benedict turned and began to walk away. Christmas and police. The two worst things in the world on the same day.

 

2012 A.D. - The Next Day - 9:00 A.M. (on the dot)

 

Benedict Colentov. What a fun name. He would have fun introducing himself as that. The name’s Colentov. Benedict Colentov. It actually sounded better than James Bond. He chuckled and shook his head. This personality was supposed to be serious and quiet; he couldn’t introduce himself like James Bond. It was a bummer but if he wanted any relaxation whatsoever he needed to have a quiet personality. Benedict pulled his iPod out of his pocket and changed the song. Should he try to change his taste in music? Nah, he was pretty diversified already. Or was he? There was always room for improvement.

 Tapping his heel against the floor in rhythm to the song he was listening to he continued to put together the tiny parts he’d ordered using a miniature flame thrower. It was working well so far considering he’d bought it for cheap on Amazon. The parts he couldn’t risk burning he connected using a paintbrush with a special kind of glue that basically fused things together but didn’t leave any residue behind. He’d already put his invention together before but now that he was going to actually try selling it as the owner of a small company he was going to make it more compact and much prettier to the eye. At last it looked good and he molded a metal cover around the devise. Using the miniature flamethrower he closed it then shook it. There was no rattling sound. Compact enough for now. He carved out a hole in the metal for the on and off button on the side to actually be useable. Tossing the paintbrush he’d been using to glue into the nearest trashcan Benedict grabbed a red sharpie and wrote the name of the personality he would be using for this business on the side of the devise. It was now complete. Azteco. It was an odd name but he was fine with that. Most of the names he made up were odd. What was the point of a name like John Smith? It was far too boring and hardly memorable. Not that he wanted to be too memorable. Just not completely ignored.

A whiny, high pitched buzzing noise interrupted his music. Benedict winced. The whole point of the ringtone was to annoy him out of doing whatever he was busy with to answer the phone but he still didn’t enjoy it much. After putting the sharpie on a glass coffee table he answered the phone. The caller waited for a moment as if expecting Benedict to introduce himself. He didn’t. “Is this Benedict Colentov?” They were British and had a nervous lilt to their voice. Most likely a newer secretary of some kind. With modern people it was harder to tell whether it was a man with a feminine voice or a woman with a manly voice who was calling you but Benedict decided it was a girl. “Yes.” One word answers. It matched his ‘Benedict’ personality. “This is the detective services. We found out that the information you gave us was correct. You may pick up your reward.” There was a pause and through the phone Benedict could hear the shuffling of papers. They were definitely a newbie. “Oh, would you like directions to the station?” They hadn’t even realized they hadn’t hung up the phone yet. “No.” He hung up. Two words in one conversation. He was getting better at this.

The newly made devise sat on the coffee table besides the sharpie, just begging to be used. Benedict shrugged on his long black overcoat and shoved the devise in one of its many pockets. To ‘the station’ he was going. Directions only confused him and the only way he could learn the newer layout of London was to figure it out himself and make a map in his head. Benedict froze a moment before going out the door. There were only two sheriffs in London but that didn’t mean there weren’t smaller crime solving establishments. Hopefully the one he was going to wasn’t a fake one. It didn’t seem like one but Benedict decided he would be careful. He’d built up plenty of money over the length of his life and if this ended up being some kind of scam it wouldn’t make much of a dent in it but he didn’t want to get hurt somehow.

London was even busier on the day after Christmas. Especially since it was daytime. Benedict pulled earplugs out of one of his many pockets and packed them tightly in his ears. Having sensitive ears in a city sure wasn’t something he enjoyed.

He didn’t encounter many people on his way down from the apartment but the people he did encounter smiled and nodded in a greeting. He’d been as rude as possible to everyone he met when he’d first started rented the apartment yet for some reason they were still nice to him. It made no sense but he didn’t dwell on it. Maybe if he ignored them they’d stop trying to befriend him. The city was just as loud if not louder than he’d expected. A car rushed by and nearly hit the curb. American drivers always had a difficult time adjusting to the rules of the road in Britain so Benedict gave the driver a common American greeting which included pointing his middle finger in the air.

It only took a few minutes to reach the station and by then Benedict had memorized about a square mile of London that he hadn’t seen before. The station was pretty much what he’d expected it to be; a small, squat building with a sign that said ‘Investigation Services’ in front of it and windows covered by cheap blinds. So they weren’t police. Just detectives. They hadn’t acted like they knew what they were doing the day before so they were most likely not very good detectives. Benedict sighed. They would most likely not give him much of an award. Not that he really cared. It would’ve been nice though. With a wanting look back in the direction of his apartment Benedict walked up the two steps to the door of the building and knocked.

A cheery young woman who looked to be only sixteen or so opened the door and flashed a grin at him. To Benedict’s amazement her smile actually seemed to be sincere. “Hello! You must be the famous Benedict that Julie, Cal, and Nick have been talking about. They said you looked real serious and I agree. The black hair adds to the effect. Kinda odd for someone that’s serious to dye their hair. Are you emo? Oh yeah, I’m Silvia. Nice to meet you!” Benedict barely managed to keep his mouth from hanging open. Never in his life had he met someone as talkative as this girl. It would be difficult keeping up the quiet persona around her. She continued to smile at him as if expecting an answer.

“Hmm. Am I showing myself in?” Being rude usually kept people away from him but lately it hadn’t been working as much. He needed to make himself look less ‘emo’ and more serious. Silvia frowned and pursed her lips but said nothing as she stepped out of the way. Benedict smiled and stepped inside. The place was smaller on than inside than he’d expected but was neat and tidy. There were four large desks, a couple couches by a coffee table, and another room that had blinds over the windows but could’ve been an interrogation room. It was impossible for Benedict to tell; there weren’t enough facts.

Each of the desks had a person sitting at them expect one with tons of sticky notes on the bulky computer that sat on it and papers stacked in neat piles. Benedict assumed by the lack of a name plate and the fact that it was the only empty desk that it was Silvia’s. The man Benedict had seen at the crime scene sat at a desk covered in a massacre of loose papers and had a small laptop sitting on a pile of papers, the woman Benedict had met sat at desk that was neat like Silvia’s and had one picture of her and what was probably her family but no computer, and the last desk was occupied by someone who was probably around Benedict’s licensed age. He had a shock of white-blonde hair and eyebrows to match so Benedict knew that his hair wasn’t dyed. His desk was slightly cluttered and had an Alienware computer on it. A gaming computer. Benedict got a feeling that he didn’t spend much time doing actual work.

Unsurprisingly the oldest person in the room, the man who’d been at the crime scene, was the one to get up and greet him. The younger you were the less experience with people you had. Most people Benedict knew would happily hand over a tough job to someone older than them. Even the ones who were loud and talkative like Silvia. Before Benedict or Silvia could say anything he began to speak. “We looked over the evidence last night and found out that the victim had been poisoned and it was poison commonly used by the criminal Vendati, just as you said. You gave us a description that matches someone who happens to be one of the twelve people in Britain with the last name Vendati and has been suspected of several crimes but never has been proven guilty. Because of your… help we would like to give you a reward and a proposal.” The hesitation in the man’s voice implied that they hadn’t told whoever they worked for, or if they didn’t work for anyone they hadn’t told any news reporters or other places, that he’d been the one to solve this part of the case. Benedict didn’t care.

He raised an eyebrow and waited for the man to continue. Everyone seemed to have been expecting him to ask about the reward – it was evident by the confused looks on their faces. The man’s shoulders slouched down a bit more than they already were and he stared intently at some point to the side of Benedict’s face. “The proposal is this. Right now our private detective firm isn’t really doing so well with some of our cases and we can use all the help we can get.” That explained the sad look that occupied his face.

No mention of the reward yet. They were a detective firm going nowhere and clearly losing money so they probably couldn’t afford much of one. Benedict wasn’t so cruel that he would kick someone who was already down. He’d accept their offer until they got to a higher point in the hierarchy of the law then leave London again. “I accept your offer. Don’t pay me. No reward.” He did a quick visual sweep of the room and spotted a calendar on the other side of the room. They all seemed to work the whole week and there was no specific time to get to work written on the calendar. “I’ll start tomorrow.” Everyone except the younger man was staring at him in amazement. The towhead simply watched with an expression of interest. He’d have to keep an eye on this one. Benedict nodded to them and slipped back out the door past a wildly grinning Silvia.

 

1873 A.D. - Victorian Era - The Pacific Ocean – 2:00 P.M.

Salty wind tossed Dare’s hair around as if he were in the middle of a whirlwind. He was one of the only men on the ship who wasn’t wearing a top hat so both of his hands were free from any tasks. The others who weren’t wearing top hats were the crew members. His lack of fashion. Another thing that would set him apart from normal people. It wasn’t as obvious as red hair, though. Dare squinted into the wind and watched for land. They’d been sailing on the ship Rushwater for a couple months so far and according to the captain America was really close. The trip had been worth spending hours forging a ticket that he would never have been able to afford even when he had been able to access his money without someone screaming dead man. Hopefully they didn’t figure out that he was actually a stowaway before they reached land. Dare had never paid any attention to what the penalties for those sorts of things were but now he wasn’t sure whether he’d like to know or not.

“Pardon my asking but do you know when we’ll reach land? This ocean air is so very uncomfortable.” A sweet voice used to being listened to intercepted Dare’s thoughts. He glanced around and saw that a petite young woman wearing a dress that he thought rather ridiculous considering they were on a ship had joined him at the ship’s rail. She wore a look of curiosity and mild poutiness.

Dare closed his eyes against the wind to keep them from drying out. “Today or tomorrow. I’m not sure. The captain’s definition of ‘really close’ may be different from mine. If you wore something less fancy you’d probably find this trip more comfortable.” The woman stared at him with an expression of amusement, curiosity, and shock. He dug his fingers into the palm of his hand. If only he could make his mouth speak more like normal people. Things like this would only make him get noticed more.

A giggle escaped from her mouth and she shook her head. “Well that’s… Unexpected. You have a point, though. The sad thing is I have nothing else to wear but ‘fancy’ dresses like this. I’m hoping we reach land by tonight. Ships make me feel slightly ill. What’s your opinion of the ship?” She was pointing her face at an odd angle so Dare assumed she was trying to get the wind from whipping her hair onto her face. It looked ridiculous but he decided not to make a comment. For some reason most people found this embarrassing. If he were doing something that looked ridiculous he’d rather have someone point it out than do it all day thinking it looked good. Nobody appeared to have the same opinion about that as him.  

“I think the ship is fine. The wind is bothersome. That’s all.” It was more than bothersome. The wind was a beast that aimed its salty claws at Dare’s eyes whenever he dared enter its realm. Sometimes it tired and only flicked little gusts in his direction but most of the time it persisted with its attack. If only it had more substance so that he could fight back. Dare sighed inwardly. Thinking in a mindset like this was one of the many things that set him apart from others. Nobody thought about whether they could fight wind, they simply complained, ignored, or hid from it. There was no way he could mold himself to everyone else’s expectations; what they expected wasn’t him. It was a depressing thought that was starting to press down on the already massive weight on his shoulders.

The woman squinted at the wind and gave up on keeping her hair out of her face. She put her elbows on the rail and rested her chin on her palms. “The wind is full of the whispers of the dead and the alive alike. If you listen carefully enough you can hear it. Maybe you can even add your own voice to the conversation. That’s something my father always told me when I complained about the wind. He had a saying for every complaint. I’m lucky I didn’t inherit his eccentricity. Do you have any strange family members?” She continued to squint off into the distance. There were no clouds above the water so Dare didn’t see why she bothered looking for land.

Dare smiled slightly. So he wasn’t the only strange person in the world. Simply one of the oddities people mostly chose to ignore or avoid. It was a little better than what he’d thought his life was like but not by much. “If I do have a family out there somewhere they’re most likely all strange.” The line she’d quoted from her father sounded unrealistic but Dare listened closely to the wind anyway. Nothing could get as unrealistic as telekinetic powers and who knows what else. Now that he listened hard he could hear almost silent voices in the wind. They were hardly audible even for his enhanced hearing. Maybe this woman’s father was a warlock too. She was still squinting into the distance –most likely trying to figure out whether he was an orphan or a child runaway – so he decided to add more to the conversation. “Your father, is he still alive? He sounds like an interesting person.” It was so difficult trying to be polite. He definitely didn’t enjoy thinking over what he was going to say before he said it. Talking was more like lying than actually talking when he censored himself.

“He’s alive. I’m visiting him in America, actually. My Mum and Pop are separated. She agrees with me that he’s bonkers. That isn’t an opinion, that’s a fact.” Now she didn’t seem so amused by him. Dare tried to look neutral. If she thought he was just as strange as her father she’d probably not tell him where he lived so he’d never find out whether this man was another warlock or not. “Would you like to meet him?”

The perfect opportunity. He couldn’t believe his luck. Dare turned away from the wind and watched the crew of the ship rush around men wearing top hats with ropes and other gear. “Sure. Once we get to land, lead the way.” 


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