We all have something in our past we are reluctant of coming public. I wish it was something I could simply get embarrassed about and get it out of my system for good. Unfortunately, I happened to be special and being the only possible child for another very special person, I just loathed publicity.
“You were searching for your father.” Mykola drew out, innocence written all over his bluish face. “Isn’t that what you were saying?”
His innocence wouldn’t save him this time.
Saul-Erik asked something. He was losing his patience, asking this what felt like sixth time, but I wasn’t paying him much attention. I was busy beheading Mykola with my eyes. Drops were forming over my scalp, I could feel my hair greasing up. Or was it sweat? My throat was dry and my muscles ached from the running yesterday.
Saul’s fingers closed around my elbow and it jerked from under me, forcing me to look at him. I still avoided looking higher than his gritting teeth and tense jaw muscles, too afraid of what I might see.
“You are Huntsman’s daughter?”
Oh great, I was near finding my beloved daddy and now this?
“Are you Huntsman’s daughter?” He repeated, the heat radiated from his body, making me dizzy.
“Don’t you dare faint on me!” He bellowed. “Answer me!”
“Yes! I am Huntsman’s daughter!” I screamed and tried to pull away, the heat from his slap now mixing with the pain.
He was like out of this world. I tried pulling away, but instead the fingers clammed tighter. He shook me violently, pressing me off my chair and forcing to look up to his eyes. I didn’t like what I saw. His face was inhuman, distorted with anger. I had seen him angry before, but never been the target of it. I guessed my betrayal was worse. I got close and after all the trouble I caused, he lost it. I didn’t blame him for flooding me with every bit of the rage he had in him. In a way I welcomed it, it soothing the pain caused by all the hiding I had been forced to do. I no longer had to and the rebellious sense of freedom was intoxicatedly sweet.
I had never seen him lose it that bad. Get angry, turn away, mock me – anything but hitting. He let me go and I fell away. I thrust myself further out of his reach and I hit against the wall. It wasn’t far enough, but it was furthest from anybody else in the living room. Meanwhile, his slap worked its way to my brain and the light throbbing from the red mark changed into headache. I wanted to cry.
This is why I didn’t want to tell them before I could reach my goal. Before I could finish the terror my father brought and make them understand I wasn’t the same. I am not my father, I wasn’t killing for pleasure!
I peeked towards Rasmus, Oliver and Malek sitting on the sofa, Janay slouching on the edge of another chair, eyes fixed on Mykola. They were my friends only days ago, but it no longer mattered. Rasmus was just as prepared to kill me now as Saul was, having first hand felt the agony my blood relative had caused in the group. Malek just stared, eyes fixed in empty chair towards the center of the room. My heart bled, seeing him like that. Rasmus had to punch him hard to move his legs before Saul would tumble over them in the anger blinded rounds he was making. He was now pacing between the glass table and the kitchen island.
I had to get Mykola away from here. If he decides to come all clean and reveal to them I had blood on my hands already, things would never be the same around here. I let out a sigh – as if anything was not different from now on.
With that I gasped and I wanted to beg. In my entire life I had never had to beg, but tonight I was willing to do it, beg for Saul’s forgiveness and make them see that I wasn’t same with my father!
Saul stopped abruptly and I jerked in my place, eyes shooting up and locked in his. He frowned in oblivious stare and then he was out the front door before anyone understood.
“Shit.” I whispered and rose, trying to go after him. I froze on the second step, Mykola standing on my way. I ran into his chest.
“That’s what happens if you hold back information, darling!” He punched me back, but he was the least of my problems right now.
“Like you were any better!” I shot back, eyes running past him to the open door, but he hit me again, harder this time and I had to turn my attention back on him.
I only felt the wind as Saul pushed himself between us and pushed Mykola away until he fell back on his seat. “You knew and said nothing to me! That is hardly honesty!”
“Saul –“ I started, but he interrupted without looking at me.
“So! As neither of you speaks the truth, I figure I can get to it myself!” He put something on the table. “That’s the one you’re hiding things in, isn’t it?” he asked after a minute, as if the words choked him, still standing with his back to me. They probably had, I thought miserably. My head was swarming from pain. He moved away so I could have a complete picture of what he had brought.
I didn’t need the picture. I already knew. There was an old dusty carton box standing on the table, contrasting with the sheer coldness of the glass. Mykola let out a whimper and Saul sent him a warning look.
“Let’s have a look, shall we?” he clapped his hands clean, eyebrows arched lower. He walked straight at me and reached his hand behind me, keeping eye contact and pulled out the kitchen knife from the sink. The sound it made, when it screeched against the metallic sink made me shiver. He did it deliberately.
“Don’t you faint now, darling,” he warned me quietly, “this just gets interesting!”
I couldn’t breathe, hardly faint.
“You open that box, I burn you with it!” I heard my lips whisper, glaring back. I hadn’t planned to say it out loud, but I meant it.
His fingers tightened around the handle. “Wait it out first!” he said. His tone was cold, but before he pulled away, I couldn’t help the feeling as if he was trying to say something more.
They all walked closer to the box and he beckoned me to join them.
I’m dead. That was the only thought that kept echoing in my bruised mind. Dead! Mykola’s eyes were running from one target to another. I watched him squeal – so close and yet he didn’t dare to touch what he had searched for so long. Rasmus stood between Saul and Mykola while Malek and Oliver filled the rest of the circle. I was fitted in near Rasmus.
“Oliver, get that box.” He reached him the knife.
I saw from the corner of my eye how Oliver turned around and reached after the box.
“I will burn you with that box!” I shot at Oliver with all the venom in me. Second later, his eyebrows flew up and eyes wide, I realized how this was not working for my cause at all. I had never been more serious. But it worked and Oliver lowered his hands. I turned my eyes down on the fist his hands had formed between them.
“You’re not in position to make threats like that.” Saul grounded me. “Oliver, the box, please.”
Oliver filled the task with my glare as his company.
“The box and what’s in it belongs to me.” Mykola tried to stop him, clearly unsettled by the possibility of them finding out the formula.
I felt grim joy warming me up inside. “You open this one and I don’t care what position I’m in,” I dared Oliver, seeing from the corner of my eyes how he jolted closer to it again and cut through the closer end of the tape. “I will burn whoever opens that box!”
“Including me?” Saul asked in low voice.
“Starting with you.” I hissed and pressed my teeth together.
“Mykola says you stole it from him.” He glanced at the Ukrainian. Mykola wanted to add something, but was late.
“He is ready to say anything he can,” I wasn’t giving up the fight, “every sentence he says shortens his life by breath he wasted!”
I responded with curt smile.
“What’s in it?” Rasmus asked.
“Not your problem.” I clenched my fingers into fists.
“Everything’s my problem! That fucking drug is my problem!” Saul was so close to my hearing, it made my ears ring.
“What drug?” Malek sent confused looks to Janay. They probably felt they were inadequate for the upcoming conversation and they were right.
Oliver picked up. “You’re some drug dealer?”
“Oliver, you’re not helping.” Saul tried to ease his stepbrother’s jumpy temper.
“Understood two words from the conversation and off you go?” I teased back.
“You came here to sell drugs?!?” Oliver rallied.
“I’m no drug dealer!”
“Oliver! That is enough!”
Oliver prepared to give me a mouthful, but instead landed back on the seat fuming with anger. There was a reason Saul-Erik was their leader and I obeyed reluctantly too.
“Destroy the formula yourself!” He ordered me.
I think I swayed, because I felt his hand grab mine and twisted it hard. He eyed me with concern that puzzled me, but the emotion was gone from his face before he turned back to others.Where was Janay? Why was I suddenly thinking on the assassin?
“No.” I said firmly. It was the only thing that kept me safe against Mykola and others of his self-created blue faced race.
“It’s my property!” Mykola screamed. His fingernails were scratching the glass, feeding my headache.
“It’s not your property! Ida gave it to me and I be damned if it gets back in your hands!”
“She can’t…” he tried reasoning with Rasmus, but the old man looked bored already.
“Ok, then we’ll take a look.” Malek announced and in swift move cut through the last of the tape.
I saw a lighter in Saul’s jacket’s pocket. Before any of them could stop me, I grabbed it, flung the cover and torched the entire box. It was so dry it went up in flames in mere seconds.
“You crazy bitch!” Oliver roared while others shot themselves away from the table.
“There! Problem solved!” I yelled to Saul’s face and flung back on the sofa, followed by their shocked stares.
Oliver jumped off his chair and ran to get water from the kitchen, which he then poured over the box. “You need a strait-jacket!”
Saul straightened himself and pushed the box away, nearer to the edge before sitting on the table, eyes fixed on the smoky trail rising from the carton box.
My heart was bleeding and my brain was damp with hidden tears.
“I’m dead.” I realized, eyes focusing on the dark-haired man behind my God of Wolves. Before, I had the formula they desperately needed. Being the only one, who Ida had taught the art of reproducing their much needed drug had me protected from them. Destroy me and they signed their own death penalty.
I turned my eyes on Saul. His eyes had darkened considerably, glaring at me. Though he had demanded me to destroy it myself, I don’t think he expected to witness such fiasco.
Shit. Now I had exactly nothing.
Mykola was still in shock. I saw Janay standing behind him. The way he edged closer to him gave me hope. I didn’t think my plan through, but I grabbed the moment. I bolted from my seat, out from the open door and ran back to the house next door. I hid myself under my own rusty bed and quickly lowered the cover.
I should have run further, but I reacted by hiding myself under my bed like I did whenever they showed my father on TV. Back then I waited friends to call and mock me for it, realizing I was his daughter. Tonight I was hiding for my life and that only because I was his daughter.
There was shouting. A lot of it. I didn’t want to know or see. My mind told me I should, get myself up and at least peek between the curtains, but I decided against it. Instead I kept counting time when they would come after me – either Mykola or any of the neighbors. It was matter of time, not if they would come.
Few hours later the sounds ceased. I didn’t hear anything from their house anymore, but didn’t come out either. The floor was cold and the wall molted, reeking of wet wallpaper and old newspapers that I saw under it.
I heard footsteps on the stairs. They were heavy, wearing big boots and I knew it was Rasmus, because no one else had such boots around here. The kind that clings every time the chains brush against the buckles.
I pressed myself further away. I knew I should have pulled the blanket lower to hide myself better from being seen from the door, but it was too late. He had already reached the door and the door handle creaked.
The door opened and he looked in.
I held my breath. My shoulder was in the light and I instinctively pulled it in the shadow.
He was about to close the door, when he probably heard my movement, because he reached his head out one more time and eyed lower. He held his breath for a moment and I knew he had seen me, but instead of coming straight after me, he simply sighed, closed the door and left.
I panicked. I wanted to leave, but I could still hear him on the stairs, so instead I crawled up against the most darkest place I could manage and I begged God to forgive me the killing in Sandlewoods, for trusting Mykola and for any misleading action I had ever taken, as long as he would keep me from their revenge. Moment later I cursed him for letting me be born, because this faith, I assumed, had to be punishment for doing something very bad in my youth. Or my mom doing something wrong, for there was only one thing my daddy was and that was our punishment.