She woke up. She could vaguely remember going back to her house after a long while, but she couldn’t remember actually going back inside. Adeline sighed, pulling her covers up to her chin. It was cold outside of her bed. She glanced over to the window. Clouds drifted across the pale blue sky. The trees swayed gently in the wind. She turned over, staring at her wall instead. Adeline didn’t feel like she really needed to go to the village square. To be quite honest, she didn’t want to, either. She sighed, shutting her eyes again. She didn’t feel well. She felt like she was going to throw up.
Adeline was still in bed when she heard someone at the door. She sat up, rubbing her eyes. She felt like death. She yawned, standing up and walking toward her door. She stumbled before she reached it, stretching out a hand to catch herself. There was something wrong with her. Adeline stood there for a few moments, leaning against the door, breathing slowly. Then, she took her nightgown and put it on, tying the sash and heading downstairs. She took a deep breath before she opened the door, before putting on her best smile and opening it.
Keelan stood there, looking concerned. “Are you alright, Adeline?” Was the first thing the woman asked.
She shrugged, indicating for her to come in. “I think Mervin… was the diseased.” She muttered, closing the door behind her.
“Yeah, he was. We found out this morning.” Keelan nodded, walking into the main room. “So I’m guessing that’s why you didn’t come to the village square. Although, you probably seem pretty suspicious to some people right now.”
Adeline walked over, and sat down in one of her chairs. “Well, if you go by logic, then they would think the werewolf wouldn’t risk seeming this obvious, so the werewolf would have gone along. It would be foolish to stay at home after they know you’re ill, correct? So the werewolf would have gone along regardless. As I haven’t gone along…” She covered her mouth as she yawned. “Excuse me. As I haven’t gone to the village square, they would think I’m innocent, because no one would be that stupid.” She took a deep breath. “Besides, I’ve not turned up for the morning questions before, haven’t I? They would probably think it’s normal behavior for me. Perhaps I have a weak body.”
Keelan sat down opposite her. “Perhaps you do.” She sighed. “So what are you going to do later? Are you going to vote? Wouldn’t it look suspicious if you don’t vote?”
“Well I can choose if I vote or not… I could say that I’m shaken up by Christina’s death.” Adeline paused, letting a moment of guilt move through her. She was using the death of a friend to cover up her illness. “After all, she was my roommate, after all.” She shut her eyes for a moment, leaning back. She had really killed someone last night.
The woman opposite her was silent, watching her quietly, a slight frown on her face. “Are you alright, though? I mean, you remarked that Mervin was the diseased, but… are you alright? And then what about Christina? Were you two close?” She stopped, tilting her head slightly to one side. “How did you find killing Mervin last night?”
Adeline met her gaze head on. She had decided that she would try not to show weakness. Or at least, not in front of Keelan. After all, if Keelan were to die, they both knew that she, Adeline, would take over the job of the Seer. “We were fairly close. I mean, we spoke nearly every day, and she was the only person I ever spoke to. And yes, I’m fine. I feel terrible, but I’m generally fine. And as for Mervin… I suppose I just sorta faded out. I sorta forgot that I was doing it.”
“So what do you plan on doing from here on out?”
“Will you excuse me if I don’t tell you?” Adeline asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I suppose so. I mean, I am your enemy after all. If you told me, it would be like… the Evil Villain telling the Superhero what their evil plan was, as they were in the process of capturing the superhero.” Keelan smiled playfully. Adeline smiled back, with a fair amount of stiffness.
“I guess that make me the Evil Villain, then.”
“You guessed right.”
There were a few moments of silence.
“How do you know that everybody else here is some criminal? How do you know that they aren’t the bad guys here?” Adeline was speaking defensively now. “For all you know, you and I could be the only good guys here.”
Keelan shrugged. “I couldn’t really change it if they were bad. Besides, how do I know that you’re not just a mass murderer playing the innocent?”
Adeline sighed. “Well there’s no way to know, to be honest.”
They fell into silence again.
“Did you know that there was a small parcel on your doorstep?” Keelan finally asked, deciding to change the subject.
“There is?” This was the first Adeline had heard of the parcel. She hadn’t noticed it last night- or, if she had, she had forgotten. She hadn’t received any letters of any kind since the beginning of their time here. She was fairly certain that no one else had, either.
Keelan stood up, starting toward the door. “I’ll get it for you, shall I?” She offered, barely giving Adeline time to reply before she opened the front door, took a step outside, bent down and then came back indoors. Adeline noticed how blindingly bright it was outside. Keelan gave her the small, brown-paper-wrapped box, before returning to her seat.
Adeline looked at it for a few moments, frowning. There was something about it that she found unpleasant. Something that made her want to throw it back at the ground. Hesitantly, Adeline started to unwrap it. Keelan watched with interest. The brown paper fell away, leaving a small wooden box. Adeline looked at it suspiciously, anxious to open it. Who was it from? She hadn’t seen anything on it to indicate the sender. After a few moments of examining the box, she opened it.
She threw it to the floor almost immediately, standing up on her chair and leaning back. When she realised what she had done, she looked at the box, confused. Keelan stared at her in curiosity. “Are you alright?” She asked, bending down to pick up the box. Its contense was littered around the floor. Adeline glared at the leaves in distrust.
When she noticed Keelan had spoken, she shook her head at looked at the other woman. “Sorry, yes. It was just… a reflex…” She frowned, sitting back down. “Who is it from?” There was a small card among the scattered leaves. Keelan picked it up.
“It says: To Adeline Marsden, Number 1, Stony Line. From the Doctor.” She looked at it for a few moments, turning it to look at the back. When she found nothing, she shrugged and read the rest out. “This is mountain ash. Scatter it by your doors, and it will prevent the werewolf from entering your home to kill you.” Keelan chuckled quietly. “It seems this was from our dear friend the Doctor. Poor soul decided to protect you last night. How ironic.” She looked up at Adeline. “How do you feel, being protected from yourself?”
Adeline sighed, reaching down to pick up a leaf. She stopped mid-action, and felt something in her stomach. She frowned, before straightening up. “I can’t pick it up. I just… I start feeling scared, or something…” She muttered, shuddering.
Keelan shrugged. “Well, it is something that’s said to ward off werewolves. This was sent to you because of its… warding properties. Although, I wonder if it will still be effective tonight…”
“Well, would it be? I mean, Reagan’s wolfsbane only worked on me once. It didn’t work the second time. And I wasn’t particularly phased by it yesterday.” She looked behind her, as though she were to find a patch of wolfsbane. “Besides, it wouldn’t make sense, and wouldn’t be particularly ‘fair’ if people who the Doctor protected got protection for the rest of the game.”
“Yeah, but they never said it was a fair game. Maybe you were doomed from the beginning.”
Adeline shot her a poisonous glare, pulling her legs up beneath her, onto the armchair. “Well, maybe, but then why would they also force us to kill someone each day?”
“We haven’t had any consequences for not killing someone, because we haven’t not killed anyway. For all we know, we’re killing people for no reason. Which would mean that everybody here is guilty of murder. Unless people have intentionally been not voting. But we haven’t actually tested it out, to see what would happen if we didn’t kill one person a day.”
“Either way, I still killed Reagan, even though she had the wolfsbane.” Adeline muttered, looking into the space right over Keelan’s shoulder. She didn’t fancy meeting her gaze this time. “Maybe I grow immune to whatever it is after it’s been introduced.”
“Perhaps. I suppose the only way would be to test out all the things that have already been given out. But we can’t find out what they are without asking the Doctor, or the people who were protected.” Keelan smiled. “And that would just draw more unnecessary suspicion to you and me, correct?”
“Yeah. Which is why I’m guessing you’re against that idea.” Adeline sighed. “Well, your curiosity will have to wait. I’m not particularly bothered about the details of whatever the doctor uses to protect people from me. All I need to know is that it will wear off at some point, and so far that has been shown to be true.” She stretched, yawning as she did so. “I’m… pretty tired. Would you mind showing yourself out, I think I need some more sleep. Well, if I’m to show my face for the voting, that is.”
Keelan shrugged, standing up and looking down at Adeline. “No offence, but I do rather hope that it’s you who dies.”
Adeline smiled back, trying to seem as convincing as possible. “None taken. I mean, it’s only natural for one human to wish death upon another. Especially if the other human would mean death of the first.”
Keelan chuckled. “But you’re not human, are you?” Before Adeline could answer, Keelan was out of the door. She watched the woman walk down the path with curiosity. Despite the constant reminders that Keelan wanted her dead, Adeline couldn’t bring herself to hate the woman. She was only feeling what everybody else was feeling. Adeline sighed, pushing herself up and heading upstairs. She was tired. Just that small conversation between her and Keelan had tired her out. When Adeline reached her bed, she let herself flop down, and stretched out. After a while of just lying there, she took off her dressing gown and retreated into the covers, pulling them up around her.
She had drifted off within a few minutes.
She was vaguely aware of being awake some time later. She drifted between full awareness and dreaming for another hour, before finally getting up again. Adeline looked over to the clock in her bedroom. It was 4:36. She sighed, dragging herself out of bed and pulling on some clothes. When she looked at the clock again, it was quarter to. She figured she didn’t have any time to do anything else, so she went downstairs and stepped outside. Now she had the glorious task of finding her way without getting too disoriented. She groaned when she thought of how hard she would have to try to act when she got there. She couldn’t seem suspicious. If she looked suspicious, then it would all be over. Adeline stood at the end of her path, thinking this all over for a few moments. When she was ready, she set off, opening the gate and walking out.
She walked slowly, and that annoyed her, yet she couldn’t do anything about it. She was too tired, too ill to walk any faster. She kept stumbling as she went, having to steady herself every few paces. Every time she did, she cursed herself, spurring herself onward to try and walk normally.
By the time she reached the village square, she could. She walked as naturally she could onto the cobbled area, joining the small crowd that had gathered. She was right overestimating the time it would take her to reach it. It was a minute or so until five. Adeline sighed, returning her gaze to the platform. She had nobody that she felt she could talk to now. Annelise had tried to befriend her, sure, but Adeline had only spoken to Christina and Keelan properly. Now, however, Adeline could not speak to Christina, and she did not feel like Keelan was really somebody she could call a friend. She sighed, standing to the edge of the crowd, twiddling her thumbs nervously. She hoped she would die today. She hoped nobody thought of her actions as suspicious. She took a deep breath, attempting to calm her nerves, before her attention was drawn toward the stage. Aeron stood on the raised platform, looking down on them solemnly. The entire ordeal had taken its toll on him, Adeline could tell that. He looked far more tired than he had been on the first day, and she could tell that he wasn’t as cheerful.
It had taken its toll on all of them. Nobody was the same as they had been when they first entered the village. She didn’t know whether the change in some people was for the worse or better, though.
“Hello everybody.” Aeron started, quickly scanning his piece of paper. “Today… the vote has gone toward Elvin Webster.” He said, standing tall for Elvin as the man walked up onto the stage. Nobody was resisting any more. After four days of the same routine, people were starting to accept that their deaths were inevitable. Adeline swallowed the lump in her throat, stretching the muscles in her shoulders. She felt as though her senses were dulled today. In some ways, that made her glad. It meant she wouldn’t be able to hear every moment of Elvin’s death, it meant that she wouldn’t be able to smell the fear that leaked off him, dripping into the mass of nervousness that was the crowd below. Everybody, except her and Keelan, of course, hoped that this man was the werewolf.
He stepped on to the box, pulling the rope around his own neck, before standing tall, hands clasped in front of him, staring off into the distance.
Adeline didn’t take her eyes away as the box was kicked from under him. She didn’t stop looking when the two- Cameron and Todd, this time- came to move him from the rope. The swaying off his body was strangely mesmerizing.
As soon as Todd put one hand on Elvin’s clothes, a bright light dazzled them all. Adeline had to shield her face, looking away as quickly as she could. When she could see again, she looked back up to the stage. Nobody seemed to be hurt- she was vaguely aware of being relieved. Elvin still hanged there, swaying slowly from side to side, as though somebody had pushed him a little. Adeline frowned, staring at his body for a few moments. There was writing. It was there, etched into his clothes, still smouldering. The edges of the cloth were glowing bright red- which was slowly fading to black. There was one word written, and that word was:
Everybody stared at it for a few moments, before Aeron sighed, standing up again. “It seems… Elvin was the Sorcerer.” He rubbed his hands together. Adeline hadn’t noticed the chill in the air until now. “Did he tell anybody if he knew who the seer was?” There was silence. Aeron sighed again, walking toward the edge of the stage. “I guess our roles are still a complete mystery…” He muttered, as he walked off back into the crowd. Todd and Cameron got back to work, taking Elvin’s body from the rope.
Adeline was still staring by the time everybody else had left. She shook her head to clear her thoughts, trying to lift the fog that had started to descend. She couldn’t think properly. Something in her mind was off, she could tell. She sighed, turning around on the balls of her feet, swinging around to face the street she always came along. She looked down it for a few moments, before she started walking. She was starting to feel dizzy. It wasn’t that bad, but it was there. She could feel it nagging at her, and she veered off to the side occasionally as she walked, nearly falling into a garden, nearly tripping over the curb. After only a little while, she had to stop and steady herself. She winced, feeling a headache starting to emerge, as well. Today was not a good day for her, she decided.
She sank to the ground, and sat there for a while, regaining herself. As she did, she thought about the day so far. It had been fairly uneventful, she decided. Being ill tended to mean she got little done. Adeline sighed, leaning back into the fence, looking toward the sky with her eyes shut.
She must have been there a while, just sitting there. She was lost in thought, until a voice from somewhere called out, saying, “Adeline?”
She frowned, opening her eyes and finding the shape of a person. She stared at them for a few seconds, before her eyes focused. “What?” She muttered, rubbing her eyes. Emlyn stood there, hands on his knees, looking at her.
“Are you alright?”
Adeline waved a hand. Something in the back of her mind told her that she shouldn’t let anyone know that she was ill. She felt as though if she did, they might figure out something… important. “I’m… fine…” She winced as a new aching pain moved slowly through her head.
“Of course you are. I mean, everybody sits on the pavement when they’re feeling well.” He said, crouching down in front of her. Somewhere in Adeline’s head, warning bells were adding to her headache. “You really don’t look good, you know.”
Adeline didn’t answer, her head nodding slowly. She was struggling to keep her eyes open.
She still didn’t answer.
“Okay, Adeline, really now, stop fooling around. I think you should go back to your house.”
Emlyn sounded concerned. Adeline didn’t know if he looked it, though. She wasn’t really paying attention.
“Can you stand?”
“No…” She mumbled, yawning.
He sighed, partly with relief, partly with exhaustion. “Alright then. I’m going to help you stand, okay? Just… try and walk with me. I’ll get you back to your house.”
Adeline muttered something.
Emlyn paused for a moment, before putting her arm over his shoulders, and lifting her into a standing position. “Okay. Lets go.” He started shuffling in the right direction, almost completely carrying Adeline, who was slowly losing consciousness.
Adeline woke up. She felt something warm, something comfortable around her. It felt good. She turned over in her bed, snuggling down into the covers, before she remembered something. She was being carried home by Emlyn. She opened her eyes, frowning once again. She faced a wall. Adeline turned around, quickly glancing around her room. There was nobody there. It was dark. Adeline blinked in surprise, standing up suddenly and walking toward the window. She cursed quietly to herself, standing still as her light-headedness passed. Outside it was dark. The moon was out.
She stared at the sky for a few moments, confused. Then, it clicked. She wasn’t a werewolf. She quickly looked at her hands, confirming that they were indeed hands, and not paws. She was still human. It was night. There was movement from below. Adeline froze in place, slowly turning around as she heard footsteps up the stairs. There was a quiet knock at the door, before Emlyn walked in. At first, he looked toward the bed, then looked at her.
He raised a hand in greeting. “Hey. Uh, you sorta… collapsed? On the pavement.”
Adeline stared at him in confusion. A few seconds passed. She blinked slowly, before shaking her head to herself. “Sorry, yeah. Thanks for that. I… I don’t know what came over me.”
Emlyn shrugged, smiling. “It’s fine, it’s fine. At least you didn’t keep you door locked. Otherwise I would’ve had to take you back to my place instead.”
Adeline nodded slowly. However you looked at it, this was an awkward situation. “So, uh… I suppose you might as well spend the night here. I mean, you don’t want to get caught out by the… werewolf…” She laughed nervously, starting toward the door where he was.
“The werewolf isn’t going to come tonight.” He said, looking straight into her eyes. Adeline stopped in her tracks. She couldn’t break his gaze. Something about it seemed… serious. He seemed like he knew something. Adeline shifted nervously.
“What makes you say that?” She asked, clenching her fists.
Emlyn looked at her, a slight frown appearing on his face. “Well there’s a number of reasons, to be honest. Firstly, the werewolf ate the diseased last night.”
Adeline nodded, pinching herself for forgetting that. She was letting her paranoia get the better of her.
“And, second of all… I’m looking at the werewolf.”
Adeline froze, staring at him.