“Go get some rest if you can. We’ll be going out late tonight to try and get the drop on the Caliban. I’ll come by later…”
Christof left the young man in the hall as he entered his own room. He removed his heavy cloak and threw it across the chair in the corner. It was only autumn, however the weather in Ettermoor was deplorable. It had been raining since the day they arrived and the streets were incredibly muddy. Chris opened the shutters in his room and climbed into his bed. He lay there for a good twenty minutes, watching the rain. He finally closed his eyes and listened to the steady rhythm the rain made as it landed on the roof.
“Tired?” Said a voice.
“Yeah, a little…” Chris replied. He opened his eyes, but no one was in the room. The voice sounded like Ariana’s. Actually, it didn’t sound like her voice, it was her voice. He was positive. Was he crazy?
“Is this a dream?” He finally asked.
“You tell me.” She said
He closed his eyes and ran his fingers across the scars on his face.
“Where did you get those?” She said in response.
“You gave them to me.”
“I would never do that to you, Chris!”
“I know… It wasn’t your fault… You couldn’t control yourself…”
“Don’t apologize. There was nothing you could have done.”
“I’ll find a way to save you… I’ll kill Samael…”
There was a long silence before she finally asked, “How’s Gretchen doing?”
“She was fine the last I saw her, but a month has passed since… It hurts me to leave her…”
“There’s nothing you can do about it. You have a job to do. She understands that.”
“I hope so. I don’t want her to resent me the rest of her life.”
“What about this boy you’re training? How’s he doing?”
“Ambrose? His heart is in the right place, but he’s naive. He still has a lot to learn. I rarely even call him by his name…”
“You shouldn’t be so hard on him.”
“He’ll never learn otherwise…”
“Would you want Gretchen to be treated that way?”
“I’m sure he’s trying his best.”
“He is… He’s a good b- No… He’s a good man. He’s more of a man than I am. He has spirit and he can still see so much good in the world…”
“You used to be that way.”
“That part of me died a long time ago… I’m a hollow shell of the man I once was…”
“You’re a good man, Chris. I’ll love you no matter who you are…”
“I love you…” Chris replied.
Chris lay there expecting a response, but none came… His conversation had ended. “I’m losing my mind.” He said to himself as he put a hand over his face. “I’m hearing voices… Talking to myself… Can’t let anyone see me like this.” Chris rolled over as sleep finally overtook him
Chris awoke to knocking on his door. He realized that he had slept a lot longer than he had planned to. He answered the door to find Ambrose there.
“You had said you were going to come by, Christof. It started getting late though and I wanted to make sure you didn’t oversleep.” The young man said.
“Yes, I slept a bit too long. It’s my fault. Give me just a few more minutes, b-... Ambrose. I’ll meet you downstairs and we’ll eat before going out.”
Ambrose acknowledged him and seemed a little surprised when Christof called him by his name. The young man went down the stairs as Chris walked over to gather his cloak and other belongings. He rubbed his eyes before turning towards the door. He stopped just before he opened it and reached into his bag. He pulled out an engraved gold ring that seemed slightly worn from time. He stared at it with a saddened expression before recalling a few of the words he had heard earlier. Even if they were his own delusions, it gave him peace. Chris smiled for the first time on his journey as he clutched it tightly in his hand. He placed it on his finger and opened the door…