Kat sat up quickly the cloak she’d been using as a blanket fell from her shoulders. She looked around the room intently trying to detect the source of the noise that had shaken her from her uneasy sleep. The room was pitch black Kat could hardly see her own hand in front of her face let alone what had fallen. Kat crawled out of her makeshift bed and felt her way across the room. Her hand made contact with the door. She slide her fingers up the cold wood until she found the door knob she pulled the door open ajar. The light from the living room seeped through the opening, hurting Kats tired eyes, she blinked in the light. She rose to her feet as she opened the door all the way. Stepping out into the living room she found the source of the noise.
A young man was kneeling next to a puddle of spilled ink on the floor cursing under his breath as he mopped up the mess with a dirty rag. His shaggy black hair fell in lanky locks hiding his face from Kat. He wrung out the rag squeezing the ink back into the inkwell.
“Is that a good idea?" Kat asked, startling the young man. He nearly spilled over the newly retrieved ink. He steadied the inkwell before looking up at Kat, a small smile quirked at the edges of his crooked mouth. All his features seemed to follow the same pattern as they all were on a slight slant. This made it appear he was always smirking; this effect was only aided by his mischievous blue eyes and the bandage over the far left side of his face that looked of trouble.
“Black is black.” He said. “Give or take a few splinters.” He stood cleaning the outside of the inkwell.
“I didn’t know Skipper had a daughter.” He said.
“I didn’t know he had a son.” Kat retorted.
The man frowned.
“You’re not his daughter? Obviously…who exactly are you?’
“A friend. You?” Kat asked.
The man raised his eyebrows at Kat amused.
“A friend. I didn’t know Skipper had anyfriends…I always thought they’d be older.” He said, his voice implying much more than friends.
“He’s friends with my father.” Kat clarified pointedly.
The man gave her a knowing little nod.
“Right. Friends with my father...I like that. Don’t worry I can keep a secret.” He said putting the ink on the table where he was working. “I’m Toby his assistant.”
Toby nodded, chuckling silently to himself as he returned to his work.
“What happened to your face?” Kat asked.
“Not very polite, I could be sensitive about it.”
Kat gave a nonchalant shrug.
“A fight. You should’ve seen the other guy.”
“What’d you do to him?”
“Nothing! He was a beast I couldn’t touch him. Like really huge, claws and fangs the whole deal.”
“Not the least bit exaggerated I’m sure.”
“Exactly.” Toby nodded.
“Where’s Skipper?” Kat asked.
"He’s locked himself in his study ever since this I got here. Good luck getting a response from him, he seemed busy.”
“Thanks.” Kat said striding across the room. She knocked on the study door.
“Come in.” Skipper called from inside.
“Hey Skipper.” She said closing the door behind her. Skipper was sitting at his desk a quill in hand looking distantly off into the farthest corner.
Kat looked around the room awkwardly.
“I met your assistant.” She said taking the only other seat in the room.
Skipper laughed dropping his head in his hands.
“Ah…Toby…ah…how was your sleep?”
“Good I guess.”
Skipper nodded distractedly.
Kat glanced around the room once more.
“I haven’t seen Theodulus yet this morning.” Kat said.
“Oh. Toby didn’t tell you? I put him to work he was getting bored.”
Kat shook her head.
"I didn't ask him...actually, I just wanted to thank you for helping me."
Skipper waved his hand dismissively.
"Don't trouble yourself over that"
Kat smiled appreciatively.
"Kat what happened to your father after he left, I swear he sounds nothing like the Adrian Parker I knew."
Kat shrugged helplessly, looking sadly down at the floor.