“Hello, little brother,” said that voice, the one reminiscent of a long-lost accent.
“Hello, Robert,” Alex said quietly.
“How have you been lately?” Robert asked with false sincerity.
“What do you want? If you’re here to kill me, get it over with.”
“If I were here to kill you, I wouldn’t just ‘get it over with’, I’d make it long and painful,” Robert said casually. “But that’s not why I’m here, not yet. I’ve come to give you a warning.”
“What is this warning then?”
“‘It's coming’. That was all I was told. I’m not here to hurt you, not this time, despite what I told Catalin. I’m here to help you.”
“Why?” Alex said.
“Because this thing was strong enough to persuade me to come here, and it didn’t use normal methods.”
“‘Thing’? So, it’s not a vampire?” Alex asked.
“I don’t know, brother, I honestly don’t. I know that you and Catalin don’t kill, so you aren’t all that strong in comparison with... other entities. So that’s why I’m here. I’m here to help.”
Alex watched his older brother carefully for a long time. “If you really are here to help us, you have to promise me two things.”
“It depends what they are...” Robert said slowly.
“Well, you have to promise not to kill anyone while you’re here. These people are innocent. I don’t mind you feeding on them, but don’t kill them. And if I have to clean up your mess, you’ll be out, okay?”
Robert grimaced. “Alright, done. I promise.”
“The other thing is, you need to stay away from Beth. She found your note on her bag, and it scared her so—”
“Wait, what? Note? I never sent a note.”
“Hmm. Well, you need to stay away from her, okay?”
“Are you afraid she’ll choose me over you, little brother?”
Alex scowled at Robert.
“Okay, okay, calm down. Are there any other rules you want me to swear to?”
“Not at the moment. I’m not sure whether I believe you’re actually here to help or not, but I’ll permit you to stay for now.”
“As if you could throw me out,” Robert scoffed. Alex glared at him. “Joking. I’ll be going now. I’ll see you around, little brother.”
Then he was gone again, as quickly as he’d arrived. There was a raven stood on the bonnet of the car. It looked at Alex for a second, before taking off. Alex could have sworn it had winked at him.
When he arrived home, Alex stood in the hall for a few minutes, listening to the silence. If there was one thing he believed from his conversation with Robert, it was that he didn’t want to kill them. If he did, Catalin and Alex would already be dead.