Zeke seemed a little nervous as they waited on the doorstep.
“If that’s more salesmen, I’m going to scream!” shouted a voice from inside the house, making Zeke smile.
The door opened, revealing the man that Zeke had brought them to. His glittering gold eyes widened when he saw who was at the door. His hair was neon yellow and ruffled as if he'd just got out of bed. His skin was a pastel pale green that made him look as if he were constantly ill. He wasn’t short, but not tall either, probably around average height and slim. He had a faint scar that went from the right side of his nose, across his lips and stopped at his jaw. It did so without disfiguring his face, which was a wonder. He didn’t look old, maybe thirty, thirty-five at a push.
He was wearing a pair of black sweatpants and a baggy grey V-neck t-shirt. He was only wearing one sock which made Beth wonder about what happened to the other one. He had a small stud in his right ear and a ring the same as the one that Zeke was planning to give to Caelan. He also had a thin chain bracelet around his left wrist.
“Zeke? What are you doing here?” he asked.
She couldn’t place his accent; it seemed to change every other word, but it was easy to understand and soft on the ears.
“I didn’t know where else to go,” Zeke whispered. All of a sudden he buried himself in the other man’s arm, squeezing him in a hug.
“Come on in, before the neighbours think I’m harbouring fugitives,” the man said, trying to make light of the situation. Once Zeke released him, he stepped aside to let them in, gesturing towards the living room. “What brings you here?” he asked after he’d shut the front door and walked into the living room.
“Conrad is back,” Zeke murmured from beside Beth on the sofa. Again, she was between him and Caelan.
“Ah. I see. Well, you know that—” He stopped midsentence, pausing to stare at Zeke.
He strode up to him and pulled at his eyelids so he could see the whites of eyes. He sighed and walked out of the room, through a set of open double doors that led into a room with shelves full of bottles and jars of things. It looked like some sort of medieval alchemist laboratory.
“Anyway, you know that you’re welcome here for as long as you want,” the man said as he walked around the other room. After a few moments, he returned with what looked like a wooden mortar and pestle. He knelt down in front of Zeke and, using two fingers, smeared the stuff over Zeke’s eyes. It was a dark blue colour. “What did I tell you about avoiding bright lights and rooms with few furnishings?” he muttered as he straightened up.
“I’m not a child anymore,” Zeke groaned, moving to wipe the stuff off.