The City of Lost Souls

Arcanum Corvus is an author. He has a book on the New York Times Bestseller list called, Amissus animarum. There's a catch, nobody know's what he looks like. Matter of fact, nobody knows who he is; well there are a few. Arcanum has a past, and he cautiously exposes it through his characters. There's more to Arcanum than meets the eye. So who is the mysterious author, nobody truly knows.

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24. Chapter Twenty Four

        I pulled my coat together, and fastened the buttons. I swung my messenger bag over my shoulder, and left the house. Once everything was locked up, I made my way down the street. I fished my headphones out of my pocket, and popped them in. The morning ride on the MBTA was the usual hustle, and bustle.
        Once I arrived at Patty’s office, her assistant went to retrieve her. It was a nice office, a bit of historic charm, with modern amenities. 
        “Hi there Allan. Pleasure to see you again.” She smiled coyly. Patty always found it amusing to see if I responded to my biological name. At first, it would take me a few moments to catch on, but now I was used to it.
        I followed her back down past the cubicles, and to her office where she shut the door. I set my bag down on the adjacent chair, and unbuttoned my coat. 
        “You’re awfully quiet. Would you like some coffee?” She smiled, and poured herself a cup. I lifted my Starbucks cup at her, and shook my head. 
        I quietly took a seat in front of her desk, as she tended to her coffee. I checked my phone but neither, Emily, Abby, or Cass wrote back. I was honestly quite glad. I was still absolutely disgusted with the fact that two people believed I would ever do something so despicable; as to place my hands on someone in harm. 
        On Patty’s desk was a photo, of her and Robert in a silver frame. They were both smiling, and holding one another. She walked over, and sat down. She smiled at me, and I returned the smile. 
She dialed the number of who we were about to speak with. The phone rang, then someone picked up. 
        I sat through the meeting, and listened quietly while Patty spoke. 
        "Yes Arcanum is present. He's going over something. Continue speaking. 
        The insecure voice on the other end of the phone spoke, "Well they were hoping for an interview. We asked them to send over the questions, so Mr. Corvus," 
        Patty interrupted, "Arcanum is what he prefers to be called. Yes send them to my office. He'll reply to the questions, and we'll send them back once we're done." 
        The now apprehensive voice on the other side spoke again, "We were also curious about a sweepstakes. Possibly an autographed copy oaf the book." 
        Patty watched me, and I nodded.
        "Arcanum has agreed." Patty smiled jotting down notes. 
        There was a sigh of relief. I scribbled on a pad of paper, "The poor thing sounds terrified." 
        Patty read it and nodded. 
        I cleared my throat, "My dear child, please calm down. I'm not some villain. I'm a compassionate man. Now relax please."
        Patty looked at me shocked.
        The voice spoke softly, "Thank you sir." 
        The rest of the conversation moved with ease, and a steadier voice from her. 
        We finally finished up the teleconference, and Patty hung up the phone.
        "I never expected you to speak. That was an absolute first. She's new over there."
        I nodded, and leaned back in my chair, "So I will look over the questions, reply and then drop them off to you."
        Patty smiled, "You're quite crisp today. What's going on?" She started putting everything together in her leather binder. 
        "I've had a few bad days. Honestly, I'm leaving town for a few days." 
        Patty stopped looking at me, "Well this is definitely unexpected. What should I do for you?" She quickly had her phone out, and opened to the calendar. 
        I sat quietly, as my fingers were steepled against my lips, "So I will be heading to Forest Hill. Not the place at the end of the Orange Line. I mean back to what you might refer to as home. I just need some space, and I feel as though I can't get it here. You see there's a lot going on." 
        She looked up at me, "How long Arcanum?"
        I shrugged, "I said a few days. I'm thinking a few weeks, maybe a month." 
        Patty sighed, "Can we Skype weekly?"
        I nodded, "Of course love." 
        She tried to suppress her emotions, but I could see them coming through. The eyes are the windows to the soul. 
        “I’m sorry this has happened. You truthfully don’t deserve it.” Her voice was meek, and pinched the bridge of my nose. 
        I sighed, and looked at her, then there was a knock on her office door. 
        “Come in Carlie.” Patty spoke. 
        Her assistant stepped in with a small package, “This just came over. They rushed it.” 
        Patty took it, and opened it, “Arcanum the questions are here.” She slid them across her desk to me. I picked them up, and looked them over. 
        “I will email them to you. You can answer them when you get a chance. I know you want to get out of here.” She started typing on her keyboard, and glanced at me. 
        “Please trust me, I’m coming back. I just need to go on holiday. My darling woman, I’ve not been holiday in two years.” I smiled at her, and leaned forward patting her hand. She smiled. 
        “So it’s not just a few days then?” She looked sad.
        I shook my head, “At least a month. I just can’t write while I’m here. There’s so much going on. Look after my mail please.” 
        She nodded, and stood up, and walked around her desk to me. She sat in the adjacent chair, and looked at me, “In the time I’ve known you, I never have seen you like this. I know you need it. Just hard to say see you later. You’re more then a client, or boss to me.” She smiled, and a tear slid down her cheek.
        I chuckled, “Like wise. I need to go home, and grab my bag. My flight leaves in a few hours.” I stood up, and slipped my coat on, and shoved the envelope, and papers in my bag. Patty stood up, and hugged me. 
        “Be careful. Email me when you arrive so I know you’re safe.” I hugged her back, and agreed. 
        I walked past her assistant, and flipped on my iPod and left the building. 
        I was sitting at Logan, waiting for my flight. All my luggage scanned, and being placed on the plane. My laptop sat quietly in my bag beside me. I was reading Gabriel’s Inferno again. My iPod softly hummed, subduing some of the nonsense noise around me. The young woman who spoke much too loudly, and didn’t respect the signs asking her to speak in another area. Other passengers arrivals, and departures being announced. Finally I heard it, “British Airways flight BA51 Non stop to London, now boarding.” That’s all I needed to hear. I had my Passport, License, and boarding pass ready to go. I proceeded to step in line, and wait until it was my turn to board. 
        "Have a safe flight.” The small petite woman smiled, and ushered me through. 
        I found my seat with relative ease. A window seat, and there were no complaints. I was ready. 
       The Captain, and flight crew gave there whole rigamarole, and explained everything. Then we were off. I pulled out my laptop, and started writing. 
       
         “So what now we just run off when there’s a problem Olivia?” Micah had the gall to call out after her. She spun around, and was mere inches from my face. 
        “That’s what you do. I on the other hand, look for a new path in life.” She was tense, and emotional. 
        “Olivia please don’t do this. We need each other to get out of this mess.” I was pleading with her, reaching for her hand.
        She quickly snapped it away from me, “Bull Micah. Absolute BULL! You don’t need anyone. You’re wandering forever alone. It’s what you chose. You had your opportunity, you pissed it away. Selfish little boy.” She yanked her coat close, and started walking again.

        “Excuse me Sir, would you like something to drink?” The stewardess smiled at me. Her soft pink lips, had a sheen from lip gloss. She wore thick mascara, and eyeliner. 
        “Brandy, on the rocks.” I smiled, and returned my attention to my computer. 
        The passenger beside me looked at me, “You writing a novel there?” A young man, no more then twenty one spoke to me.
        “Yes I am.” I replied, and moved the cursor, sending the computer into screensaver mode. 
        “Cool. What’s it about?” He asked, looking at me. 
        I quickly went through my mental catalog, and had to come up with some fake scenario. 
        “A love triangle. Guy likes his best friend, who’s a girl. She likes another guy. Ya da ya da. You know how that goes.” I smiled.
        “Oh a chick book. That’s cool. Hopefully you’ll make it, and be famous or something one day. Hey that Twilight chick made it big. So did that Fifty Shades of Grey one as well.” He smiled, shifting in his seat. 
        I smiled back, and mentally remarked, “Oh my dear boy. I’m quite famous, just nobody know’s who I truly am. Even I don’t know anymore.” 
        The stewardess returned with my drink, “Here you are Sir. Anything else?” 
        I shook my head, and she left me to attend to another passenger. At this point, I wasn’t ready to go back to writing, especially since someone had decided to strike up small talk. I went through my bag, and pulled out my well worn  copy of Inferno, and pick up where I left off. 
        “You must love that book huh?” The young man spoke again. 
        I looked at him, “One of my absolute favorites.” 
        He smiled, “What’s it about?” He looked at the cover. 
        “An mans struggle with his decisions he’s made in life. He learns slowly to let love in, and overcome his demons.” 
        The young man nodded, “Sounds pretty cool. I’m Arthur, and you are?” He offered his hand to shake. 
        I shook his, “Allan. Allan Presley.” 
        “Cool name. Like Elvis.” He smiled. 
        “Yes. Your name means noble strength.” I smiled, and took a sip of my Brandy. 
        “Whoa that’s cool. You’re good with names.” He looked at me shocked.
        “As a writer, you do a lot of research of names.” I smiled. 
        “I love Poe. Such a unique name. Hey your names Allan.” He chuckled.
        I swallowed, and finished the Brandy quickly. 
        “Whoa you ok?” He asked moving the headphones into his lap.
        “Yes.” I wasn’t but I had to lie.
        “So you a fan of Poe? I love Dickens as well. Actually I’m going to check out his house. I’m traveling for two weeks through London, and a few other places.” 
        I nodded, “Very busy, but lovely city. I’m from just outside of the city. About twenty minutes.”
        Arthur smiled, “That’s so cool. I love your accent.” 
        I smiled, “Thank you for the compliment.”
        Arthur started again, “So are you heading home now?” 
        I shrugged, “Visiting. Not quite sure right now. I have a home back in Boston.”
        Arthur nodded, “I just graduated, and wanted to travel a little before I start work.” 
        I smiled, “What do you do for work?”
        He spoke, “I’m a nurse actually. I’m a hospice nurse. I worked over the summer, and decided to just take a few weeks, then head back. Hard job, and it never get’s any easier.” 
        Now his name really spoke for his character. 
        “So you’re a writer?” he asked. 
        “Yes. Freelance.” I was trying to be as elusive, and simple as possible.
        “That’s cool. Pays good I’ve heard.” He tossed a handful of the crappy airline peanuts in his mouth.
        “I can’t complain. I live comfortably.” I motioned for the stewardess, and handed her my cup,         “Another one please.” 
        She took it, and disappeared down the aisle. 
        The rest of the flight was quite pleasant. We chatted, and then it became quiet as people opted for sleep. I was one of them. 
        Once we landed, and I claimed my luggage, and hailed a cab.
        “Eh mate. This is going to be quite a tab ere’. You sure?” 
        I looked at him, in the mirror, “Drive, and don’t worry about it.” 
        He pulled away from the curb, and we were driving through the wet streets of London. We pulled up to the house, and I handed him my credit card. 
       The driver spoke, "Eh mate. It comes to, thirty one pounds seventy pence."
 I signed the slip of paper, and tossed him some money for a tip. 
        “Thank you sir.” I grabbed my bags from the trunk, and fished the keys out of my pocket. 
        The house looked the same. It was still maintained, and the gardner kept it the way my mother had all those years. She never sold it, once we’d moved to the states. She left it to all three of us in her will. The others never came back, I was the only one. I needed to be here. Maybe I would fix whatever in me was broken. 

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