Butler & Co.
We had been running for a while by the time we stopped, panting and utterly out of breath. I turned to Marietta, even more puffed than I was and red in the face. Only then did I think to see what she had taken from the room. I looked down at her shaking hands. A bar of soap; I smiled, the top hat and a gold chain.
“Why are we running from that man?” Marietta’s voice rang in my ears
“Look it’s a long story,” I said, “but what you do need to know, or what you should know is that that man. He’s Butler Junior and basically he needs, or wants, to get us.” I pulled the hat from her grip, dug my hand inside and pulled off a green, silk sticker with the words ‘Butler & co’ written on it. “Here,” I showed it to her, “Ever see that and you’re in deep trouble. That’s all you need to know, for now.” She looked at me stupidly and I waved the hat in my hand behind me. “We should go. Before Butler gets here.”
We started walking. Silently stepping. The wind was getting stronger. I wrapped my arms around my stomach, trying to keep warm, but it didn't help much. It was almost winter and I didn't have a coat; they were left in the house near the frozen Madame Polly, let alone a jumper.
Just then the hat loosened from the grip of my frozen fingers. The wind caught it and it flew higher and higher. My first instinct was to run, exactly what I did. I followed it dancing in the wind and beside me Marietta did the same. We chased it through street after street until it led us to a round-about; a big one. One that was very familiar, and the name soon came to me. The Arc De Triumph. It towered above us, looming and blocking out all traces of sunlight from the late morning sky. But still, we didn't stop to gape at it. We ran on towards it and as the hat flew higher, landing somewhere on top of the arc we raced to the flight of stairs on either side. We pushed through the guards and the satin rope blocking our way up. We sped up the stairs tripping only occasionally.
The wind was a great deal colder up there and I found myself shivering. The hat was lying on the ground. I walked towards it.
There was a shuffling of feet. I swivelled around to see Marietta, who had been standing right behind me, had been pulled into a tight grip with a knife to her throat. I watched intensely at the blade beginning to rip the skin on her neck. I watched her gulp, a trickle of blood running down her pale neck. Her face showed a worried expression and I realized that I couldn't move, as if my shoes were glued to the ground. Fear had me.
When I finally looked up to see who it was holding her, I realized, I should have known. Now there was no escaping Butler and his colleagues.
There staring at me with gleaming eyes and a devilish smile, holding tightly to Marietta and the knife against her throat was the woman who was present at my father’s death. Her chestnut brown hair fell limp on her shoulders draped in a grey coat half covering her green dress, her bare arms pale from the cold wind. I had seen her all too many times in my life.
“Pique,” I scorned
“You know that’s not my name!” anger rose in me like boiling water
“Well it’s not like you actually have a name, now is it, Plume or should I say Macabre?” she taunted
“It’s Misterie and you’re going to have to let my sister go!”
“What makes you think I’ll hand her over that easily?” and I was sure I saw her push the blade further but certain that Marietta hadn’t noticed, she was staring at me questioningly.
“Oh,” I said, “it really just depends on how easily I can persuade you. But by the looks of it you’ll kill her first I know that’s not what Butler wants and you wouldn’t want to disappoint him, now would you?” I mocked
I saw a worried expression crawl onto her gaunt face and she almost let go of the knife. But she held on tightly and her eyes turned back to the fierce ones she had worn before.
One of the guards that we had pushed past on our way up appeared and when he saw us he panicked and started shouting in French. Pique pulled out a gun with her freest hand and pointed at him. He froze only managing a gulp of terror. As Pique was turned looking at the statue-like guard I motioned for Marietta to try and get away.
I watched her reach up her hand and try to ease the knife away from her, Pique hardly even noticed. Marietta ducked out and came running to me, but by then Pique had noticed and she dropped her hand and walked slowly over to us. I could hear her stilettos clicking on the floor each step.
“You think you can get away that easily? Unlikely.”