“Okay Leon, here is the book, now speak.” Zira said putting the book in front of him; Leon looked at her and smirked.
“I’m not telling you anything.”
“Rispondimi prima che la pelle in vita!” Zira yelled grabbing a knife; Dante grabbed her hand and lowered it.
“You can’t skin him alive we need him.” He said softly, Namine looked at everyone confused did everyone know Italian except her.
“HOW about this since I can’t skin you alive let’s play a game, it’s called Five Finger Fillet. Have you heard of it?” She asked sitting in front of him with a knife and cutting board, his eyes sparkled as he looked her in the eye.
“I love this game.”
“OH GREAT! I haven’t played it before so I would like to play it . . . ha-ha but of course not with my own hand, that would be stupid.” She said laughing as she took his hand down and placed it on the cutting board; he tried to wriggle his arm free.
“Why are you pulling away, you are just guaranteeing me to miss.” She smiled wickedly; Leon stopped moving and placed his hand flat on the cutting board. Zira began to sing the first verse the butcher knife going between his fingers 1-2-1-3-1-4-1. 1 Being after his thumb, two being between his index finger and thumb, three being between his middle finger and index finger and four being between his ring and middle finger. Namine watched her sister play this game all the time after a bad break up, she never missed.
There's an old tradition
A game we all can play
You start by getting liquored up and sharpening your blade
You take a shot of whiskey
You take your knife and pray
You spread out your fingers and this is what you say!
The sound of the blade hitting the cutting board echoed loudly, Zira was stabbing into the board loudly full force. Leon was twitching, Zira smiled.
“You still don’t want to tell me?”
“I’m not saying shit.”
Oh, I have all my fingers
The knife goes Chop Chop Chop
If I miss the spaces between
my fingers will come off
And if I hit my fingers, blood will soon come out
But all the same I play this game, cause that's what's it's all about!
The knife still echoed loudly, Dante watched in awe as Leon twitched even more, the blade crashing into his ring finger. Leon screamed out in pain. Zira smiled wider as she watched the flesh on his finger being filleted and the blood spilling out.
“Still won’t tell me?” She asked seeing the pain clear in his face he shook his head no. She shrugged and continued with the game each time getting faster and harder with the knife:
No you can't use a pencil. You cannot use a pen,
The only way is with a knife when danger is your friend
And some may call it stupid, some may call it dumb
But all the same we play this cause it's so damn fun!
Leon’s hand jerked which caused her to stab his index finger causing him to scream in pain again, Namine wanted to stop her but she knew this was Zira’s revenge for what he did to her. And who was she to stop her.
“I can’t tell you!” Leon said his eyes now pooling with tears, Zira shrugged.
“Why not?” She asked continuing on with her chant and game:
Oh! I have all my fingers
The knife goes Chop Chop Chop
If I miss the spaces in between
My finger will come off
But all the same I play this game, because it's tons of fun!
“Because he will kill me!”
“Who will kill you!” She screamed the knife hitting his thumb, Zira was missing on purpose, Namine felt guilt overwhelm her, Luca simply looked away and pulled her into a hug. Dante just snickered at Leon’s pain. The cutting board was now soaked in blood spilling on to the carpet.
“I can’t tell you!” He cried out, she smiled and picked up the pace.
Oh! Chop! Chop! Chop! Chop! Chop! Chop! Chop!
I'm picking up the speed
And if I hit my finger
Then my hand will start to bleed!
She finally stabbed the knife through the top of his hand.
“Tell me now, Leon or I swear to God I will chop off more than your fingers!” She screamed grabbing his throat, he coughed loudly and looked at Namine begging for her help.
“No, No you look at Zira, she’s the one that chooses if you live or die not Namine.” Dante spat walking over to Zira.
“Ok- Okay. Our father, he will kill me if I interfere with his plan.”
“What plan?” Luca asked as Dante threw a towel at Leon so he could cover his hand.
“He wants you to break the shield that binds us here to this land and century.”
“And how do we do that?” Zira asked as she watched Leon’s eyes move to book, his eyes were beginning to gloss over as he started to lose consciousness.
“666” He said before he collapsed on the ground in shock from the pain.
“Oh well, I thought he had a higher pain tolerance.” Zira said taking the knife and handing it to Dante.
“Have you really never played that game before?” Luca asked, Zira smiled at Luca and grabbed the book walking to the black sofa that was in the Dante’s living room.
“Of course I have Luca; in fact I am really good at it. Ask Namine, she’s seen me play it multiple times.” She said turning her emerald eyes on to the book and turning the pages softly, she thumbed through it, the pages quietly being torn from their binding. She looked at page 666 the page was written in blood, Zira’s hand lightly touched the words elegantly written with a calligraphy pen.
There is a way to end this war! I can’t risk my wife being killed in battle for me, I know she is strong and powerful but watching her die would end my life as well. She is my soul mate and if I do this we can both live and forget this land. I just need to find a voodoo priestess; she is the key to allow us to live. I set out tomorrow at dawn, I can’t risk Xaviera finding out.
Zira smiled softly he would do anything for me. She looked up to see Dante in the kitchen cleaning the knife and cutting board, for a man he was very cleanly. Zira felt the sofa dip a little as Namine and Luca sat next to her, Namine was on her right and Luca on her left. Zira continued to look at the page another journal entry was written.
We are about to perform the ritual, I know the consequences but I have no choice. The items were in order, Vera’s prized dagger, a voodoo doll with black hair, Cumin and Salt, Oil of Abramelin and the blood of the one I love. Xaviera, she would kill me, but in order to save her she has to come back from the darkness. The witch and I mixed Cumin and salt together and placed a protective line across the window sills and doors, she assured me it would keep the spirits from entering the house , next she made a concoction in a bowl, cinnamon, myrrh and galangal. It smelt horrendous but it was necessary to protect Vera from a physical Demon or Angel attack. She gave me the mixture and I softly rubbed it over Xaviera’s flesh. She was starting to wake up. She looked at me and then down at the metal shackles that were binding her, she screamed no and begged me not to do this. I have no choice is what I told her, I saw the sadness in her eyes as she fought back the tears. Please . . . don’t do this to me, I don’t want to die. She whispered to me tears streaming down her face. In all the years we have been together and known each other I have only seen her cry twice. Now Santiago. I heard the priestess say. I whispered I love you to Vera before I stabbed her own dagger into her heart, she screamed in pain and tried to reach up to me but the shackles forbid it. I felt my own heart break as I watched the last bit of her life slip away from her lips before she fell still. The priestess quickly took Vera’s blood and drew a pentagram on her stomach before she looked up to see the full moon cast a ray of light over Xaviera’s body, the candles lit quickly around us as she began chanting, she asked me to say it too but in English:
For thou who sleeps in stone and clay,
heed this call, rise up and obey,
treck on through the Mortal door,
assemble flesh and walk once more.
The priestess continued to chant the same thing over and over in Latin:
Quia dormit in lapidem et
fictilibus attende, invitamento,
surge et pareat Treck on per mortalem
ostium congregamini caro et ingredior iterum
The candles quickly blew out as Xaviera gasped looking around. I smiled gently and kissed her before everything went dark.
Zira looked up from the book and covered her mouth in shock.
“I have to die and come back but only a witch can do it. The only one I know of is. . .”
“Renegade” Dante said under his breath, Namine looked at her sister shaking her head.
“No we will find another way, maybe we don’t’ even have to go back, yeah we can stay here and forget about any of this-“
“Namine we can’t stay your people are in danger.” Luca said softly looking past Zira and at Namine. Dante walked over and squatted down in front of Zira and the book.
“Hey listen to me, we will find a way okay, I won’t let you die.” He said looking at the book seeing a picture.
“Wait what is that?” He asked examining the drawing it looked familiar. The necklace was an oblong diamond the outside of the shape was etched with small circles as if it was handmade with a nail. Inside of the thin border was a row of raised squares that encased an emerald gem stone shaped like a tear drop.
“It looks familiar” Zira said, Dante looked at her.
“I have that necklace; it was something my mother gave me that was passed down through generations. She told me that if I gave it to my soul mate that it would capture the memories that were made between us. But how, how can it be in this book, this over a century old”
“Well you said it was a family heirloom maybe Santiago is related to you?” Namine stated seeing Luca’s eyes quickly look away from Dante.
“Dante do you have the necklace?” Zira asked as he looked at her sadly.
“My mother gave it to him.” Dante said looking at Leon’s sweaty body that was muttering incoherently.
“Namine. . . ?” Leon whispered, Namine jumped up and walked over to him cradling his head in her arms. She knew what he did and what he said, but he was her first love and she wasn’t about to let him suffer alone. Zira rolled her eyes and pushed off of the couch walking past the kitchen and down the large hallway, she heard soft and light footsteps follow suit as she looked back to see Dante.
“Hey sweetheart, are you alright?”
“No I’m not alright Dante; I have to die for us to return to our real home, what if I don’t want to return home, I don’t even know why I’m calling it home. I grew up in this century with Namine, she actually has a future here, I can’t strip her away from here. If she wants to go then I’ll do it, I just I am scared-“She rambled out looking past Dante’s shoulder to Namine catering to Leon with Luca’s help. Dante stepped in front of her line of vision and pulled her against his chest, his heart beated calmly against her ear as she took deep breaths. She felt his hand run up and down the small of her back as he comforted her.
“Zira, I need you to do what is best for you can’t keep denying what you are anymore. You have made sacrifices all your life, but are you willing to sacrifice thousands of your people to protect your sister?” He asked, Zira sighed and pulled away from his embrace and looked at Dante’s light green eyes.
“Are you truly asking me to choose between people I don’t know or my sister?” Zira asked leaning against the wall. Dante gave her a serious look and cupped her cheek.
“Of course not, I just want you to think of all of your options. But whatever you decide, I will be with you every step of the way.” Dante said smiling softly before attempting to walk away, Zira grabbed his arm and pulled him back towards her, he smiled and looked at her as she backed up into the wall fully. He gently pressed his lips against hers, the softness of her lips driving him wild. She smiled against the kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck pushing his head into her more. He growled and slid his tongue across her lips waiting for his entrance; she opened her mouth slightly as she felt his warm tongue enter. Their tongues intricately danced with each other as he slid his hands down to her thighs, she felt his hands wrap around to the back of them as he quickly lifted her up off of her feet, she wrapped her legs around his waist as he walked down the hallway and into a dark room. Zira wasn’t really paying attention at that point in time until she felt something soft hit her back. She broke the kiss and looked around seeing nothing; it was completely dark; she let her eyes adjust to the darkness as she felt Dante’s hot breath against her skin. She looked to her right to see the back of the white sofa that she was laying on and beautiful drawings hanging behind them, she was about to turn her attention the rest of the room when Dante pressed his lips against the side of her neck, sending shivers down her spine, she softly ran her hands down his back to base of his shirt slipping her hands under it, her cold hands hitting his warm flesh as she felt a sharp pain stab her in the neck. She let out a quiet moan as she felt his teeth sink into her neck, her own blood spilling out of her flesh.
“Zira! We can’t do it!” Zira snapped out of the lust filled session with Dante as he quickly got off of her. She pecked his lips licking the blood off of them before running out of the room and down to her sister.
“What’s wrong?” Zira asked seeing Leon was laying there breathing heavy.
“We can’t do the ceremony-“Namine said looking away from Leon and at her sister.
“Why not?” Dante asked coming into the living room, Luca sighed and stood up.
“Because once we cross over all of their memories will come back and even their hatred for each other.” Luca said walking over to Dante touching his shoulder.
“I need to speak you privately.” Luca said walking down the hall with Dante close behind.
“We need to make sure our people are safe, I know you Namine, you won’t let thousands even millions die for a selfish reason.”
“But if we go back, then thousands will die because of our feud.”
“I WON’T let that happen, okay you are stronger than that. It will be okay.” Zira said looking down at Leon smirking.
“As for you I could care less about what happens to you.” She said quickly before she heard a loud ring come from the counter. She walked over to it to see it was Dante’s phone,.
“Hello?” She answered as she heard a small and mousy voice speak.
“Hello ma’am, I need to speak to Dante Vitale.”
“Sure what is it in regards too?” Zira asked, Dante’s last name through her, she has never actually heard his full name.
“It’s in regards to Renegade Imani.” The woman on the phone said her voice lowering as if it was depressing news.
“Oh okay let me get him.” She said walking down the hall hearing Luca and Dante.
“How the hell did you not know us? Did you even try to look for us, no, you didn’t and you didn’t even attend OUR own mother’s funeral. How the fuck can we be related, and if that book is true and has our history, where do you fit in?” Dante asked harshly, Zira took a deep breath and walked into the room to see Dante pacing and Luca leaning against the wall.
“WHAT?” He shouted looking up from the floor to her, he shook his head and saw the phone in her hands.
“It’s the hospital, it’s about Renegade.” She said tossing him his phone. He quickly caught and answered.
“This is Dante. No, it can’t be- Alright I will be there shortly.” He said hanging up the phone, his face was stoic, no expression was made on his face it was unnerving.
“What happened?” She asked as Dante ran at her and grabbed her arm storming out of the room.
“I need to see it to believe it. Namine, Luca we are going to the hospital and make sure to bring the boy.” He said coldly as Namine quickly gathered some of her things as Luca ran over to help her.