Adder's kiss still lingered upon my lips as I moved like a ghost up the steps to my apartment. Everything about him was positively enchanting. Captivating. I doubted the memory of his mouth against mine would fade away with ease.
The apartment I called home was a small place, with little to no personal touches. It wasnt as though I needed it, not really. Most of my victims ended up taking me to their own houses, or flats, or even some other secretive place. Once I'd been led into a wooded park, laid down amidst the trees, with the sharp blades of grass digging into my bare back.
No, the empty walls held no safety for me. But with the new darkness creeping through London, I almost welcomed its bleak shelter. With a quick turn of the handle, I was inside, door falling into place beside me.
I could tell something was off long before my hand connected with the light switch, flooding the apartment with an artificial glow to confirm what I already knew. A slight gasp escaped my lips; my body went rigid, frozen in place.
The place lay in shambles. Furniture was flipped over, and anything that had been on a surface was strewn across the floor. I bolted from the foyer to the kitchen, down the hall to my small bedroom. Both rooms mirrored the first: complete disasters.
While most of me simply wanted to lay down and cry, there was some rational part of my brain left. It demanded answers to a wave of questions. Who could have done this? What did they want with me? It couldnt have been an average robber; my emergency money stash was still perfectly intact. So if it wasnt a human thief, that left only one thing.
It was someone of the demon world, and they were really, really pissed.
The Pig's Head had never felt so cold. Everywhere I turned my gaze was laced with suspicion, wondering who might have ransacked my apartment, and who might know more than I did. My violet eyes traveled over faeries flirting shamelessly, werewolves drinking pitiful amounts, and the occasional vampire lurking in the shadows that clung to the back of the pub. For all these people, The Pig's Head was home.
I made a straight line for Demrin's table. Somehow I knew he would be there, with that steady gaze and that air of superiority. He'd lived a long life, and he knew much. Perhaps it was what kept me coming back to him. Somehow being around Demrin made me feel safe, like with him near to me no harm would ever come.
His lips moved into a crooked smile as I sat down. There was something so wistful about it, an unspoken sadness in the back of his eyes. "Something tells me your return is not for pleasantries." Demrin had always been one to get straight to the point.
I fell into the seat across from him. "Someone has torn my place to shreds," I replied hastily. "I cant be sure what they were after, but I have a feeling this has only just begun." I watched as my old friend's expression shifted into something different, something so unlike him.
He composed himself quickly. "You're welcome to stay with me," he offered. A bit of warmth had returned to his voice. "But," he added, "if I find any dead men left around, I might be inclined to curse you for life."
I laughed at his words, although even that sounded dark. Whatever was going on, I didnt like it one bit. I could feel a change in the atmosphere around me. The feeling that everything I'd ever known to be true was about to come crashing in.
"You look tired," Demrin noted. "You'e not been feeding, have you?"
I couldnt bring myself to meet his eyes. "I was...distracted," I muttered. By Adder.
The warlock cocked his head to the side, gray hair dancing about his aged and familiar face. "Go on, then," he said gently. "The door will be open for you." I nodded a silent thanks, stood up to leave. I'd barely taken a step when he called me back.
"Calla?" In his voice my name sounded childish and weak, instead of sultry and sensual as it did when whispered low amongst lovers. I didnt look back, only paused where I stood. "Be careful."