30: Unexpected Guests

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                                                                     Part 30: Unexpected Guests


                                “Listen to him sharpening his knife!" (Clever Gretel, Grimm Brothers)




            I lower my knife back to my side. The blank, empty faces of my two former servants stare back at me, silently accusing their murderer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t me. Even now that I'm back in my normal state, I still wouldn’t be capable of causing such tremendous damage to a person. Just looking upon the carnage done to their corpses makes my stomach protest. I pull my eyes away to focus on the floor, the ceiling, anywhere but their horrific faces. Or what was left of them.

            Without warning, the door to the room is thrown open, allowing light to come flooding in. Panic sets in and I quickly glance around, searching for a hiding place. It wouldn’t do to have someone accuse me of murder, especially one that I didn’t commit. I’m not sure what the penalty would be, but if Father’s law are still in effect, my head could be the one rolling across the pavilion.

        The closest place to hide is the bed. It rests just high enough for a body to slip under. I sink to my hands and knees and scramble beneath it just as a dark figure enters the room. I curl up in a ball, and squeeze my knife's handle so hard that my hands begin to tingle.

        What reason could anyone have to come into the room of these two dim-witted fools? Besides to kill them, that is. Is that who the person is--Munich's and Mildred's murderer?

        My lungs gather a mouthful of dust as I involuntarily gasp. The air under here is thick with dust. It coats the inside of my nose and mouth in no time at all. It takes all of my strength not to sneeze or cough and give away my location.

        Muted breaths sound from the figure as they observe the room. They hadn't heard my gasp. My fingers twitch against my knife as the footsteps of the mysterious stranger begin. The door closes behind them, taking away every last ounce of the sudden light. I bite my lip as darkness once again stakes its claim over the room.

        The footsteps are growing closer to the bed. Due to the darkness, I can’t see a thing besides the occasional glint of my knife reflecting the dull moonlight. Judging by the way the floor shakes just slightly after every footfall, I can only guess that the feet belong to a man or a larger woman.

        My breath hitches in my throat as the footsteps sound right beside the bed, where they end abruptly. The person is standing so close to the bed that the tips of their feet stick underneath it, nearly bumping against my forehead. The rusty smell of metal wades from the person and into my nose. Remaining as silent as possible, I scoot my body away from the feet before I suck in a quiet breath and listen. The person seems to be murmuring. I can’t discern exactly what they are saying, but the desperate, forlorn way in which their words are whispered leads me to believe that they are praying.

        Could this really be the killer, returned to the side of his victims to pray for forgiveness? I shudder and scoot even further away from the feet, silently begging the crazed, murmuring person to leave the room. Something wet falls against my face from above as I scoot, but I can’t wipe it away without letting go of my knife. I continue scooting.

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