Kerry found herself climbing the stairs into the library again, clutching the five silver coins tightly in her hand.
‘Right,’ she said uncertainly. ‘Here we are in the library... not my house obviously, but Auntie Jo and I are staying here for a while, and I like to come in here... go in this library, I mean. I haven’t actually read many books yet. I had a quick read of that one about Coin Magic... couldn’t find anything about Silencers though. Or Wraiths.’
She approached the sliding ladder. ‘I haven’t used this ladder yet either,’ she said, gazing at it.
Grinning, Kerry suddenly walked her way up the rungs and pushed off from the wall, clutching the edge of the ladder in one hand. She laughed as she flew sideways, and then the ladder slowed down, and she was next to the blue bookcase.
Her head was level with the top shelf holding the incredibly old and rare volumes. She wondered very briefly what was in them, and considered picking them up and perusing them. However, to do this would have been abusing Payton and Claudia’s hospitality, which Kerry didn’t want to do. They were nice people, after all.
And after all, the two of them didn’t have to look after Kerry and Auntie Jo. They could kick them both out of their house and leave them to either mad Wraiths or mad Silencers.
Well, just the one mad Silencer. Dorus.
This got her thinking about why Ranajay was helping her and Auntie Jo. Kerry and Ranajay knew nothing about each other and had met first outside a circus tent, and then again in a fish and chip shop. Ranajay didn’t even really know who Dorus was, yet for some reason he had taken Kerry and Jo away to a sanctuary – of sorts – and gone off to find Dorus himself. Why?
Who was Ranajay?
Who, more importantly, were these people that he’d left them with? And how was she so sure Ranajay’s intentions towards them were benign?
She gripped the coins more tightly in her hand and told them everything she’d just thought. But of course, they didn’t respond.
‘You’re being ridiculous,’ Kerry told herself aloud. ‘Payton and Claudia are a very nice old couple, and they’re only trying to help. So is Ranajay. Maybe you’re... you’re just being paranoid.’ She paused, looking at the coins. ‘Maybe being chased by someone who wants to kill you makes you more paranoid. I don’t know.’
She’d just have to forget about that intriguing collection of books for now, and try to get a move on learning Coin Magic. She wanted to be able to protect herself if she had to.
‘I mean, I don’t want people looking after me forever,’ Kerry confided to the coins. ‘I feel like I’ve been getting under their feet a bit so far. I should... I don’t know.’
* * * * *
Dorus was currently hiding out in a thus-far empty theatre, a few miles from the place where he had first lost his mind to a Wraith wearing a nightie. He crouched in the costume room amongst dusty old princess gowns and gorilla suits and thought about what to do next.
Dorus had figured out that Kerry Grail, the Wraith he’d been searching for all these days, was now situated in the Payton estate. He couldn’t be much bothered about who actually lived there, but ‘Kerry’ and ‘Jo’ would have to die. And if the occupants of this house got in the way, they would need to die too.
Dorus thought it was a shame that these days, whenever he tried to kill someone, another person who had to die turned up shortly after. The hit list was now getting rather long, so he hoped beyond hope that it would be as simple as walking in and getting Kerry and Jo.
Dorus drew out his weapon. This was the only thing that could kill a Wraith. What Kerry had thought looked like a torch with a long barbed metal spike on the end was in fact, Dorus’s most prized possession, a Revenant weapon.
This was the only way to kill something that didn’t have a soul. Many people believed the soul resided in the heart, or within the brain, or somewhere behind the ribcage, or wherever. For his part, Dorus had no idea, but wherever it was it did not have any physical form. You couldn’t stab a person in the soul, after all.
But this device made killing any kind of soulless being very easy. And it worked on normal people too, though not as well. Any human that caught the blast from this handy piece of equipment was sure to die a rather more slow and painful death. Wraiths never felt pain; they only approximated the sensation.
These Silencer robes were beginning to itch. It was starting to bother him. Maybe it wasn’t just lice. Did he have fleas too?
He wondered if all the others in the Consortium felt this way before they killed a Wraith. They claimed to be professional and unselfish in what they did, but Dorus knew the kind of dedication and patience that was required to complete each kill; not to mention the years of training that preceded it. They must enjoy it a little, he thought.
Dorus also knew he would have to turn up to meet Kerry Grail in disguise. She would recognise his face from the last encounter and might not let him in.
There and then, he picked a costume from the racks, chose a mask at random and slid it on, and then tucked his weapon away. He dropped his robes on the floor and left before anyone came into the theatre.