In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Sixty Four
BY AL BRUNO III
Friday December 3rd 1996
Everyone went about making preparations, Isobel gave most of the cash back to Sig, she didn't think she would need would it all and she didn't want a reward for this.
While Hao was packing food and first aid supplies into a backpack and Zeth was pocketing a few of the kitchen's more sinister looking knives, Isobel tried to find Galen. She wanted to talk, she needed to talk but he wasn't in her room or his. She checked the solarium and the library but there was no sign of him. She had half a mind to scream his name from room to room until he showed his face but that would be as crazy as it was humiliating.
They all began to congregate near the front door- Magwier and Sig were waiting for Isobel and her two bodyguards when they arrived. Bodivar and Jack quickly followed, their arms heavy with winter clothes. Jack had been true to his word and he had everything they needed; heavy coats, gloves and sturdy hiking boots. Hao, Zeth and Isobel got ready to go, everything fit perfectly. Warren wondered aloud why everyone had the right sizes now when he'd had to wear castoffs earlier.
“It took the house a little time to get used to you.” Jack said.
With that said the eight of them stood in the vestibule, looking at each other in awkward silence.
Warren was the first to speak, he tugged the hood of Isobel's parka up and tied it, “Christ, you all look like Eskimos.”
Hao smiled, Zeth rolled his eyes, Isobel was still looking to the stairway hoping that Galen would change his mind and come with them, Or at the very least say goodbye.
“I can never thank you enough for this,” Sig hugged each of them but his embraces were halting and uncomfortable, “you're more honorable than I ever was.”
Hao looked up from pulling on her gloves, “Us refugees have to stick together.”
“No sense putting it off,” Jack opened the door and held it for them. Cold air rushed in, bringing a few flakes of snow with it.
“Oh great,” Warren said.
Grinning like a lunatic Magwier rushed outside and began trying to catch snow on his tongue. Bodivar patted Isobel on the back, “You'll be just fine, everything will be just fine.”
“Here's hoping,” Isobel walked out of the door; Warren followed them, the rest stayed behind. Magwier had already wandered off.
The late afternoon light was blunted by the low-hanging, precipitation-heavy clouds. The heavy snowflakes spattered on their coats like raindrops. The shadow of Laurel House stretched to the treeline and Isobel realized for the first time that she hadn't heard the sound of windchimes all day. She didn't like that, not one bit.
“Get back inside,” Hao said to her lover “you're not wearing a coat. And you're in your slippers.”
Warren's ruined fingers clenched into fists and he stepped forward kissing Hao on the mouth with such force that she staggered back. The kiss was long and noisy and it left Zeth and Isobel staring anywhere else in embarrassment.
The kiss broke and Warren's voice was almost a whisper, “Hurry back.”
Hao smiled from ear to ear and gave him a wink.
And with that they started walking but Isobel had to turn back one last time to see her brother watching after them and shivering.
But there was no sign of Galen, not even a glimpse.