“Is that so?” Nicolas seems intrigued yet sceptical. “And yet you still choose to help him?”
You lower your eyes before answering. “It’s more complicated than you know.” An image of Gabrielle’s face flashes behind your eyes.
Nicolas gives a small snort. “Complicated isn’t the half of it.” He pulls a crate from the corner of the dank shed and lowers himself onto it.
The small space is filled with silence for several minutes, Nicolas rubbing the bridge of his nose. No doubt, he is deciding what he will and will not tell you, you think. You decide to keep the silence.
Finally, Nicolas speaks, proposing a question. “What do you know about Cal?”
You don’t hesitate to answer. “I know he killed my Father. And others. What I don’t know is why.”
“Is that all?”
“I know he needs your help, like the note said, but, again, I don’t know why.” You decide to continue keeping the werewolf story to yourself until Nicolas confirms it for you.
“Cal has found himself in a bad situation. I know because I have been there, in his exact place.” Nicolas seems sad, yet angry at the memory. You keep quiet, waiting for him to continue. “He is working for this Radovan you asked me about; an evil, heartless creature.”
“Why is he working for him?”
“Because he is being forced, I would imagine.” Nicolas pauses. “Although, this letter, the apology, I can’t seem to figure it out. I can’t think why Cal would need my help but also feel any sort of remorse towards Radovan. It doesn’t make sense.”
“Why doesn’t it make sense?” Nicolas seems to be talking in circles, more to himself than to you. You try to get his train of thought back on track.
“It’s difficult to explain.” Nicolas stops there. He begins again after a few more thoughtful moments. “I need to go further back for you to understand.”
“Radovan recruited me to work for him. I was unwilling, of course, but he forced it upon me.”
“How did he force you?”
“That is not important right now.” Nicolas’ eyes go dark for a moment. “In the end, I betrayed him and refused to do his bidding. He punished me, of course, in the worst possible way.”
“What did he do?” You are mesmerized by his words.
“He killed my wife. And left me to die.”
You inhale sharply at his harsh words.
“This is where Cal enters. He was my replacement. I escaped Radovan’s watch and went into hiding. By that time, he had forgotten all about me. Clearly, Cal has not. And now he seeks my help to get away from Radovan himself.” As an afterthought, Nicolas asks, “Has anything changed in Cal’s life recently? Anything major?”
“He’s engaged, with a baby on the way. And I think he started to realize that I was becoming suspicious of him.”
“Ah. That explains it.”
The small space becomes quiet again. Until, “I think that is all you need to know for now, Edward.”
You are disappointed but also relieved that you now have a firmer grasp on the situation you are so desperately tangled up in.
Just then, a thought occurs to you, a question that you cannot keep to yourself. “What does Radovan do? What does he need Cal to do?”
Nicolas looks surprised for a moment, as if it were impossible for anyone not to know. “He kills people, Edward. Just kills them.”