Chapter IV: An old Friend
The place Zaka had spoken of wasn't too hard to find, it was right across the streets in the alley that zigzagged between the larger buildings of the old square. Although he had called it a crossroad, it was more of a slightly elongated 'T' with one branch finishing as a dead end about fifteen yards further down.
The alley was plunged into darkness, with only a single light bulb at the back of a convenience store's back door providing the only form of light. Even then, I could see the location where my father had been killed, a pool of pink coloring that hadn't faded quite yet marking the location.
I walked around for a moment, using the zippo in my pocket to try and make a bit more light, not knowing what I was searching for exactly, that the police wouldn't have had picked up. I noticed in one of the corner somebody had placed candles and a small pictures of my dad along with clipping of newspaper speaking of his death. I picked it carefully up, reading the headline.
Brutal murder in the french quarter, no suspect yet.
Like my sister had told me, it confirmed that nobody had seen or heard anything until a man taking the trash out had found the body. I leaned down to put the thing back on the ground when I noticed a glint of a reflection of light from the pile of papers. After digging in, I took out a small pendant with a broken chain which I recognized instantly.
Someone had built a shrine in my father's memory and dropped this... I flipped the pendant open and looked at the picture of my mum that was inside. My father had always been wearing it ever since my mother had passed away.
I examined the flip side of the inside of the necklace and noticed the sigil that had been engraved in the gold, something that wasn't there in my memory. I stashed the thing in my pocket, knowing it raised more question than it could answer.
The broken chain showed that someone had ripped it off. Probably during the altercation and that whom ever had built the shrine had found it and deposed it there. I had the feeling it wasn't of Eli's making, she would have never left the old man's most treasured item behind and not bury him with it.
"Damn it..." I swore under my breath, now determined to figure things out. I started walking out of the Alley just as I heard the foot steps of someone coming my way. My inner paranoia kicked in and I leaned behind a dumpster.
Just as I did, a man wearing a bright red hoodie that concealed his face. He walked past me and toward the altar, leaning down on it and taking a fresh candle out of the backpack slung across his shoulders.
"Another one for you, old man." The man said, his voice sounding rather touched and hurt. From afar I saw him place a few things next to the candles, a pack of cigs and the bottom of a whiskey bottle which he poured onto the ground onto some nearby weeds.
After he finished the little ritual, he started walking toward another exit and I got back on my feet, making only one step forward before kicking an empty soda can which got propelled onto the nearby wall. The man turned around and saw me, he didn't even hesitate to charge me, closing in the distance between us in record time and pushing me against the wall of the nearby building.
"Why are you following me?" He asked, holding me in the air with one hand smashed against my chest, pressing me to the wall. I got a look under his hood and saw the icy blue eyes that hid under it.
I chocked out an answer and be released his grip on me. I slid down to the ground and he stood over me menacingly. I took a moment to breathe back before answering. "That's my father that died here..."
With that, he took a step away and leaned over, looking at me carefully. "Sebastian, is that you?" He asked, visibly surprised.
"Caleb?" I offered, now recognizing how his voice was familiar.
"It's me brother." He confirmed, giving me a hand back up. "What are you doing here, after all these years? Heck, I didn't recognize you without all that steel in your ears, nose and brows."
I nodded in the direction of the altar and he nodded somberly. "So, you came back for his funeral then?"
"I was there this afternoon. What about you, did you make this?" I asked, pointing at the candles and everything.
"Aye. He might not have been my old man, but he kept me out of jail even when 'Ma and 'Pa had given up on us. I couldn't bring myself to go to the burial, Eli wouldn't have liked it..." He said. "What happened to you, bro? Did they finally break you and fit you into a suit?"
"I guess you could say that, I work for a magazine in New York now. Do yous till run with Kings?"
"Nah, the fella got busted a few years back, I'm with a bloke called Aleister now." He saw me frown and he clarified. "Nothing illegal, I'm his assistant you could say. I don't touch dope either." He swore.
"What do you take, shit, you look like you haven't aged a day since I last saw you."
"Can't say the same for you. But I tell you; plenty of exercise and food strait from the kitchen to the soul. I'm married to Emily now, she takes good care of me."
"I need to ask you something." I said, taking the pendant out of my pocket. "It was with the candles and things you brought here. Where did you find that?"
"He swiped the thing from my hand and inspected it. "That wasn't me. Are you sure you found this with the rest of the stuff?" He asked, his question not needing to be answered.
"Somebody else must've found it and placed it there I guess."
He shrugged and tapped me on the shoulder. "How about we go to your place and get outta here? This place gives me the creeps."