This is part of my novel, "What Losing You Did to Me". To start at the beginning, click here. Right now a new section of my book posts every Tuesday and Thursday.
It's the dude I saw kissing Mai, looming over me. Thayten.
I take a step back, but he grabs my wrists, shaking my arms.
"Who are you?" He hisses.
"Wh-what?" I stammer, trying to wrench my arms free and move away. This only succeeds in Thayten stepping closer to me and tightening his grip on my wrists.
"How dare you wear that face here. Drop your guise now."
"I'm just looking for Mai." My voice comes out in a squeak and I finally manage to shove Thayten with a well-placed kick that fell somewhere near his groin area. Not near enough, but he lets go of my arms.
"Not with that face, you aren't. What a sick joke, to wear the guise of our dead friend in a place like this. What game are you playing? Did her grandfather send you?"
I freeze. "Carri's dead?"
Thayten stares at me. "Duh, what do you think I am, an idiot? Don't expect me to fall for your act." He reaches for his pocket, and I realize he's going to call someone.
Just then the door opens and Mai walks in. She's carrying a try of sandwiches.
"Mai!" I yell, running towards her. She's staring at me, her eyes wide, her free hand on her belly.
"Thay, who is that? I know her! Don't I know her?"
"Mai, I need to talk to you!" I pluck at her sleeve as she pivots to stare into my face.
"I don't feel so good..." Mai lurches towards me, the tray of sandwiches sliding out of her grasp and clattering to the floor. Her hands go to her head. "Theyten, it's happening again!"
I watch as her eyes roll back in her head and she slumps sideways. My abductor easily slings one arm around her, guiding her to a couch at the far end of the room. She can barely walk, but she's still conscious.
"I know her...I know her. But I can't remember. Why can't I remember? It's sad. It's sad if I remember. But I can't. " I'm shocked to hear Mai sobbing.
"Shh, it's okay." Thay says. "Just close your eyes. It's okay." He helps her sit on the couch, facing away from me. "Just sit right here. I'm going to call Mix to come look at you."
He glares at me from across the room. "Drop your guise now."
I drop my guise. As the prickle of magic subsides, I'm left in my real skin. I feel somehow naked.
His eyes widen. "I don't know you. Another trick?'
This is not going at all how I imagined.
"Mai knows me. Or she did know me. She helped me out last year." But I'm whispering, my eyes stuck on Mai so I don't know if he hears me.
"Now I know you must be joking." A voice behind me, standing in the silhouette of the door. Logan. "Mai lost her memory about seven months ago. Everyone knows that." He looks across the room, his eyes meeting Thayten's. "I knew it was a good idea for you to follow her. Freaked me out a bit when she suddenly became Carri."
He strides into the room, closing the door behind him. "I already called Mix. She's on her way. Then I think you and I should talk to our guest."
Mix is a short girl with rainbow hair and lots of piercings. As soon as she got here Logan escorted me to the back of the room where a small door rested. A broom closet. I should have known. He pushes me in and closes the door. "We'll be right back, don't worry." He says. I heard the lock snick into place.
I immediately pressed my ear to the door, using my own magie to sharpen my senses. Drat it all to hell--magie is no help when fighting. I should have taken more karate classes.
I can't hear anything but mumbling. They must be talking really softly. I strain against the door, searching for any tidbit of sound. My position only causes me to fall in a heap on the floor when Logan suddenly opens the door again. He glares at me but helps me up and leads me to the couch. Mai and Mix are gone. And I don't know where to start.
I take a deep breath, trying to calm down. I'm okay, but Cielen is probably going crazy trying to find me. So all I need to do is stall for time...
"I need to talk to Mai. What do you mean she lost her memory? I'm not here to hurt her. Last time I saw her..."
Thayten interrupts me. "I've known Mai for almost five years. I know all her friends. She's never mentioned you."
I don't know what to do. I don't know if I can trust these guys.
"I just came here to see if she was okay." I say. "Last time I saw her she was going South for school, with no plans to return."
Logan's eyes are cold. "But then she did something bad. And her grandfather punished her."
"What did she do?"
"We don't know." Thayten says. "She can't remember anything but the punishment."
"What was her punishment, then?" I ask. I think I can guess why Mai's grandfather might have been upset with her. It probably had something to do with me.
Theyten looks at me. "Her grandfather killed her pair."
Oh, my gosh. "What?" I squeak out. "So she has no magic?"
Thayten stands. "We aren't here to answer your questions. We are here to make sure Mai is safe."
"You need to get her away from her grandfather! How can you just sit around? Call the police! Tell them what happened!"
Thayten laughs at me. "You're stupid, aren't you. Mai's grandfather...Mr. Durithean...owns this whole town. We are taking care of Mai."
"After she lost her memory she was placed in a psychiatric hospital for several months. She just got out."Logan says. Thayten glares at him.
"Logan, shut up."
"Dude, I don't think this girl knows whats going on. Something is fishy here."
They both turn to look at me. "I do know...a little...about whats going on. Maybe. I know Mr. Durithean...Mai's grandfather...is a black magie. He has a black bond on his son." I take a deep breath. "And Mai helped me escape from her grandfather about a year ago."
They are both staring at me like I've lost my marbles. "It's true!" I say. "I'm back here to rescue...everybody...from Mr. Durithean."
I don't want to tell them about Aainn. I don't want to tell them about Cielen.
"I have to make a call." Thayten says. He exits the room, leaving me alone with Logan.
"So that's why you were following Mai." He says.
"Yeah. I saw her when I was eating breakfast. I thought she'd be South. I wanted to know what happened to her."
"She had her pair killed." Logan says dryly. "She lost her memory."
I don't know what to say to that.
"Do you want me to clean that up?" I ask, pointing to the plate of overturned sandwiches by the door. "Mai dropped them when..."
"I know, I was right behind her, trying to stop her from coming in here. But I couldn't get through the crowed in time."
"Uh, I'll take that for a yes." I stand up and walk over, my mind turning. I feel better being close to the door. Trying to think of what to do, I begin to lift the pieces of meat and bread and cheese back onto the platter.
Logan just watches me, standing near the couch. "I'm sorry," He says.
"Sorry for what?" I ask, setting platter by the door. There are still a few streaks of mustard on the tile, but I don't see a sink around. Guess it'll have to do.
"Because Mai did lose her magie." Logan says. "But we know of a way to get it back for her."
"What?" I'm curious. I can't think of any way to regain magie once lost through the death of a pair. If there is a way, it would only be dark.
"There was someone else Mai's grandfather wanted. Someone he would do anything to get his hands on. But since we both know he can't travel outside of this town...and this someone was all the way up North out of his jurisdiction..."
I freeze. No.
"I'm sorry. This is the only way. He'll let Mai go now. Now that he has you."
I grab for the door, hurling the platter towards Logan. The door yanks open and the sounds of the nightclub spill into the room. Without a second thought I fling myself into the crowed. The people dancing pay me no mind, their ears only for the beat and the sway of music.
Cielen! Where is Cielen? I'm pushing through people, making a mad dash towards the little rectangle of light I can see in the distance. The door...to outside.
I'm almost to the door. I have to get outside. If I understood Logan correctly, Aainn's grandfather is already on his way here.
A shape fills the doorway. A man wearing a long coat. His eyes meet mine and he mouths one word.
I feel myself passing out. My legs feel like rubber and my heart is beating so fast I think it's going to burst. There in the doorway is Aainn's grandfather. And behind him stands Aainn.
Everything went black.
Click here for the next part.