Will froze, still and rigid like a water droplet had run softly down his spine. His hand released the handle and he let the door slide shut and immerse them in silence. It was a daring move to speak such a name, to say it so boldly and without dread. When he looked at them both again, they were paused and waiting for his response.
“That’s – that’s –,”
“Yes,” nodded Percival. “Willow Avaric, it has an interesting ring, doesn’t it?”
“This isn’t funny,” he whispered, burning with confusion, and above all, irritation.
“No, it is not. This is quite serious. You wanted to know why we came: for you. This is the reason why, because you are –,”
“Stop!” he exclaimed, his voice ringing. The room felt cold and hollow around him, beginning to revolve. He breathed out, the air carrying a laugh, one short and derisive. “Just stop,” he said, much quieter. He didn’t realise how weary the encounter had made him, stretching his nerves like rubber, and the lies he had been told made him feel ridiculous for ever believing any truth or enlightenment could have come from it. “I’m done.”
This time, he swung the door open quickly and left like a breath of wind. His head was fixed down as he traversed the staircase, eyes from below touching him, appearing lidless and hollow, ridiculing him for his hopes and daydreams. His mind battled with pieces of itself, his cold and conditioned self anguishing the ghost of the boy who felt betrayed and wanted to cry. He took one look back, only to check that he was not being trailed, and seeing only an old man sucking whisky from the tip of his nightcap, he pushed through the front door and strode with tears in his eyes towards home.