Chapter 8

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The corridor leading from the reception is dark. Candles flicker - causing elongated shadows on the narrow walls which dance across closed wooden doors. The air is cold, clinical – the scent of carbolic disinfectant lingers.

What the hell is this place?

I walk through the archway at the end into a circular room. A high stone statue stands in the centre. I approach it, my footsteps echoing off the walls and high ceiling, and look up at it.

I feel a jolt of familiarity.

It's a male; chiselled, relaxed – his muscular chest exposed but wearing some kind of tunic on his lower half. He wears a Roman helmet atop his head. As I circle him, his unblinking eyes seem to follow me.

I put my hand on the cool stone.

"Surely not..."

A female cough breaks through the silence of the space behind me. A grin spreads across my face.

"Jekyll, darling," I say.

I turn around slowly to face her. She is leant against the frame of an arched doorway, the candlelight flickering over her pale face and red hair. My eyes study the curve of her lips, the shape of her slender body beneath her black, long sleeved dress.

She's a human, I'm sure of it.

But why is she so unafraid?

She looks at her fingernails for a moment then brings her gaze up to meet mine.

"So, you want to know who the Ripper is?" she says.

I nod. She grins wickedly.

"It's me."

***

The two of us stare at each other in silence, the air feels heavy, both of us waiting to see what the other is going to do. I take a step backwards; my back touches the cool stone of the statue.

"I...uh..."

My mouth falls open. Questions and thoughts burst through my mind.

I'd known there was something wrong about her the moment I'd seen her. And Klaus had told me she had been the one to lead Remus away. But it doesn't stop the shock that this small, slender looking human could have committed such brutal atrocities.

A human wouldn't have the strength. Surely...

"Well, darling," I say after I have composed myself, "I must say, you've caught me a little off guard. I hadn't expected a human would have been responsible." I look at her, her eyes are filled with silent challenge – but there's something else behind them too.

Sadness? Regret?

Power.

"Ah, but you're not a human, are you?"

She pushes off the door frame and takes a step towards me, entering a beam of moonlight shines through a window in the high ceiling.

"Oh, I am. For the most part, anyway."

She smiles - but I think I detect sadness behind it.

"I'm glad you accepted my invitation to come here, Mino."

"Where is the wolf boy, Remus? Is he dead?"

She shakes her head.

"He's fine. For now."

I raise an eyebrow.

"For now?"

"Yes, we don't need him until the next stage. You can see him if you like?"

I shrug.

"The boy means nothing to me. I was just curious. So why am I here?"

She nods.

"We've been watching you for a long time. You're very powerful – more powerful than other Myths we have studied. Some have been forced to join us..." Her  eyes glaze over for a moment. "But we know we do not have the strength to overpower you...not yet anyway. So, instead, we invite you to join our cause."

I watch her carefully. Is she mad?

I would love to explore her mind.

I will.

But first I will see what information she will offer me.

"Why did you kill all those people, my darling?"

She sighs.

"Sometimes...there must be casualties."

"And, what, dare I ask, is the cause?"

She arches an eyebrow.

"Come on, Mino. You're not stupid. Surely you can piece it together."

I look over my shoulder at the statue then back at her. I nod.

"Yes, I think so."

She smiles.

"Now, I have been instructed to give you a one-off offer to join us. If you walk away from this, you become our enemy."

I walk forwards, stop just inches away from her. She looks up at me, unafraid.

"Who gives you your instructions?" I say. "Why did you kill those people? How did you kill them?"

She shakes her head.

"All will be revealed. But only if we know you're on our side. Join us. With your power you would be a general in our army, Mino. You will be highly rewarded. And I believe you are just as interested in our cause as we are. We've been watching you."

She looks up at me. Her warm breath tickles my face.

"You're right, I am powerful, darling. So why is it that you, of all people, were you sent to bring me in?"

As I'm watching her something seems to move beneath her skin - like she is made of rubber and something is trying to break out. 

I jump backwards then raise an eyebrow at her.

"How very curious..." I say.

She smiles thinly.

"We're not so different, you and me," she says. "So I wouldn't try anything if I were you."

I grin widely.

"Wouldn't dream of it."

She cocks her head to the side, looks up at me with bright green eyes.

"Well, will you join us?"

I don't move my eyes from hers. There is something about her; something both powerful and vulnerable. It intrigues me.

I think about Crystal for a moment. I should probably walk away from here, tell her what I've found so far. The thought of her being disappointed in me hurts me more than I would care to admit.

But yet the doctor is right – I am as interested in this corporation's purpose as they are. If I've understood correctly what it is, that is.

"Just to get this straight," I say. "The cause is..."

"Destroying the Cupids Matchmaking Service," says Jekyll simply.

I grin widely.

"Thought so."

I give her a nod and she smiles widely. A flicker of relief passes over her face which she attempts to conceal. She turns and walks towards the archway, her black skirts scraping across the chequered tiles.

"Come along then," she says.

I take one last look at the statue over my shoulder.

I was right.

A War is coming.

Then I follow Jekyll through the door.

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