It was late afternoon when I saw the first figure. She was about two hundred meters away from me, standing by the government building. From my perch on top of the house roof, I could see her notice my presence and begin walking towards me.
A surge of panic shot up in me. Was she Stolen or was she safe? Would she attack me or would I have to make the first move? Was she here as an ally or an enemy of the Stolen?
When she was thirty meters away, I clambered onto my feet, raised a hand and shouted something that I vaguely remembered from the people who took Lukas away.
“Stand still and state your name and business!”
Even from that distance, I could see the teasing smirk creep onto her face. She froze and pointed to her leg, revealed from a pair of shorts she was wearing. There was an inked design but I struggled to see it. When I shrugged at her, she turned and lifted the back of her startlingly clean white t-shirt. The same design was on her lower back: an eye.
“My name is Kaylin. I am here to attend to a request set by my leader.”
“Who is your leader? Do you work for the demons or the safe people?”
She smiled again. “Both but neither. I work for Sam. I am a messenger of Samuel Grigori.”
My older brother Sam went missing on the day when the first voice crept up on me. There was nothing suspicious about him going missing: he told me how much he hated Gerado and that he would leave at the first chance he got. I just never expected my thirteen year old brother to leave his eight year old sister.
If Kaylin was a messenger for my brother, surely she would be able to take me to him?
I threw a cautious look at the girl with the carrot-colored hair girl, each lock falling perfectly straight to her narrow waist. Her delicate facial features and her complexion reminded me of a China doll: beautiful. I felt a pang of jealousy looking at her but that emotion was empowered by my curiosity of how she came to become a messenger of my brother.
“I'm surprised you haven't started asking me about Samuel yet.”
She sat with one leg hanging over the edge of the roof, the other bent so she could rest her pointed chin on it. Both of her slender arms were draped across her legs as she raised a perfectly arched eyebrow at me.
I resisted the urge to slap the arrogant look of her face. “I was about to,” I sighed. “How do you know him?”
Kaylin smiled but it was more like the look of an animal hunting its prey. “I met him six years ago as of yesterday...”
Her full name was Kaylin Maurice and she had lived in Gerado, the opposite side of the town so where I had lived. She was in the same class at school as my brother was. I had never been to that school since you started in January if you were to turn ten years old that year. I was sent to Roscoff before I had my chance.
Kaylin admired my brother in everything he did. The only reason he spoke to her was because they shared one interest: their hatred for Gerado. Together, they planned to run from Gerado at the most unexpected moment so they would have a chance to get far enough away so the authorities couldn't find them. The Gerado government didn't care too much about runaways anyway: the town was too poor and concerned with their own problems.
The things that Kaylin didn't tell me were the things that I was desperate to find out. Where was my brother? Did he know about the voices? Was he involved with the attacks?
I shifted my weight slightly, using my arms to lift myself up so I was in a comfortable position to jump off of the roof. I remembered enough about Sam to know that if he had a messenger here, he wouldn't be too far away so he could watch. That just seemed like the Sam thing to do in a situation like this. Waiting until Kaylin turned away, I moved a few more inches to the edge of the roof and prepared to jump...
I wouldn't do that if I were you, Laure.
Kaylin's wiry hand clamped onto my forearms and dragged me back onto the roof. I screamed and writhed as the rough stone of the roof grazed my back and snagged at the hem of my t-shirt. As I was shoved onto my front, I tried to hit out but my arms were twisted behind my back and my wrists were bound. I whimpered as Kaylin hit me hard across the face and tucked a small object into the pocket of her denim shorts.
“Samuel said you might be a bit of a handful, little Laurali.”
The last thing I remember was the lemony scent of her orange hair as she leaned over me before the dark swallowed me.