Chapter 19.6: Veiled Threat

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"You said I'd have a chance to speak!" William shouted at his father.

"So I did," Mathias relented. He took another deep breath and took his seat on the bed as he pulled on his shoes. He wasn't listening. He was to focused on how to get through the next couple of days. Too distracted to care about what William had gone through or even why.

What was there left to say really? He was sorry? He wasn't.

His father glanced at William over his shoulder, a silent order lingering on his face. "If you can't tell William, I have to leave. Say your piece. Whatever is on your mind. For you, I can manage to be a few minutes late. This," he gestured to Wiliam and himself, "this is important."

He couldn't find the words to explain himself. He had so much to say, about everything, but nothing he could think of made any sense. He figured he might as well start with what his father wanted to hear. "If she's not Enhanced, then she's got to be a monster." Okay, maybe not exactly what Mathias was expecting, but admitting that there was a possibility that she might not be Enhanced at to be some sort of middle ground.

His father gave him a doubtful look.

"I know how it sounds, but..." Thinking about the way the shadows moved through and around Astral as though she existed in a separate reality, out of sync with the rest of the world, sent shivers down his spine. He glanced to the E.M.I. who guarded his only exit. Both held supernatural traits but not as extreme as some of the others he had seen today. William just his chin toward the woman, "Her hair is on fire." He was calm about it. She inspected a lock of her blond hair and arched a brow. "He's got weird pale moon shapes all over his skin."

To his father, he said: "You've got like... you know when you see an animal in a shadow or something and the light hits them in a certain way? Your eyes do that. Seth is like a smoky window with a fire burning inside. And Astral... she's just pure black. Empty."

Mathias nodded to himself, pressing his lips together in a tight line. He gave his son's arm a squeeze before rising. His father didn't believe William. "Do you remember living at the monastery?"

William nodded. He was so happy the day they told him that his father was coming to get him. "You used to see monsters everywhere. In the usual places of course. Under the bed, in the closet, in the cellar. All very normal expressions of fear for a child of that age." His father explained.

"At first they thought that you were struggling with the loss of your mother. You had been left alone for days. No child should have had to have endured such neglect. But then they found your mother's body and they suspected that you had seen her attacker, which in turn manifested in a child's mind as monsters. Monsters, everywhere and in everyone."

He didn't remember his mother. He had photos. She was beautiful. But he couldn't remember her smell, her voice, or anything about her really. "Did she want me?" William had to ask. He didn't like talking about his mom, but the question nagged him.

"Yes, very much so. She wanted a different life for you, something of your choosing instead of being told where to be and what to do. She didn't like that we couldn't shape our own destinies," Mathias explained.

"Do you miss her?"

His father hesitated. "I'm ashamed to admit that I barely remember her. We married so young, she was fourteen, I was sixteen and a newly appointed Master Hunter, the youngest ever. I was selfish and full of myself."

"Wow, fourteen. Wait didn't you have to serve in the war?"

"As a practicing Hunter I did not. I'm to serve my lifetime hunting demons within the Council's registered safe zones. We moved a lot. It was soon after you were born that I took a mission at the Killing Fields to root out a nest. I never saw your mother after that. We'd been married less than six months." Mathias lingered on the memories.

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