“Today’s your lucky day, vampire! I’m going to do a little experiment on you. Everyone says that only a stake to the heart can kill a vampire. Well! Let’s test that theory. Let’s start with electrocution.”
Robin cried out and opened his good eye. “Isellta.”
Isellta didn’t respond.
He frowned. “Isellta. Come here now!”
Isellta didn’t come.
He sat up. “Look. I’m sorry I…”
Isellta was not in his rocker.
Robin glanced around the room. “Isel…”
Isellta was not in the room.
And here he goes playin’ this game again. Stupid fey.
He laid back down.
Isellta will come back to me.
He’ll come back.
Isellta curled up on his own bed. He stroked the pillow in smooth, steady strokes.
What will I do?
Sit and live in this silence, surrounded by ghosts?
But it makes sense.
It makes sense.
If I can’t live anywhere else, I can live here.
He thought about Robin.
At least, I know he won’t miss me. That is a relief. He’ll be fine. He’ll manage without me. He’ll be fine without me. He wants…
Something inside his chest hurt.
He wants to be without me.
I’ll let him be without me.
And he’ll be fine.
He’ll be fine.
A door opened and closed.
Isellta sat up.
His wings flapped.
He’s come already?
He got out of bed and ran to his bedroom door. He opened it.
He stuck his head out into the hall.
“I’m not even sure what we’re looking for.”
Isellta shrank back into the room.
That is not Robin’s voice!
What should I do?
I should tell Olessa.
Oh. Olessa’s dead. I can’t tell her anything.
It’s up to me to defend the keep.
He went invisible and left the room.
“All right, vampire! Let’s try something new. How long can you hold your breath under water?” She pushed a button on a remote control. Thick metal walls rolled down from the ceiling.
The second wall came down in front of her.
He stood alone, pinned to the wall, as the water came rushing in.
Robin woke up, shuddering. He looked at Isellta’s rocker.
Isellta still wasn’t there.
But he’ll be back.
He ain’t gonna stay away for too long.
He’ll come back.
Robin laid down and stared up at the ceiling. He listened hard for Isellta’s voice.
“What’s it matter? So what if he’s gone? I don’t need him.”
But I want to be comforted.
I want him to comfort me.
Why isn’t he here?
When’s he gonna return?
Isellta found the two men poking around in the dungeons.
“Don’t see anyone here.” That one had a face like an aggressive bulldog – all heavy jowls and a strong tendency to snarl at nothing.
The other man was thin and reedy. He reminded Isellta of a sick squirrel he saw once. “It’s a fey we’s lookin’ for.”
Isellta stopped and held still.
They’re looking for me?
“Ain’ts gonna be easy fin’ing him. Them little thieves can goes invisible-like.”
Bulldog snarled. “Lovely. How we gonna find him?”
“Easy-like. Da boss gaves me a Gobstop 3500.” He pulled the coffin-shaped flashlight out of his ratty gray parka. “Thems thieving feys can’t resists these things.”
Squirrel Man pressed the red and black bouquet. The coffin lid sprang open and light poured out.
Ah. His wings fluttered happily. Fey magic.
Isellta walked towards the two men. Their faces were illuminated by the Gobstop’s white light.
He stretched his arm out.
His wings beat happy and strong.
His long, thin fingers entered the light’s beam.
He became completely visible.
Bulldog and Squirrel Man looked at him. They smiled.
He tried to teleport away from them.