Mae stood on the darkened stage, not sure what to do. Except for the stage lights, the space hadn’t been all that well lit in the first place. Now it was pitch dark. Before she knew what was happening a hand grabbed her arm and pulled her. She tried to struggle but the hand had a firm grip and she couldn’t get away. She was dragged through the crowd, which was still milling around the room in a state of confusion. People were asking each other what had just happened, but no one knew.
She was dragged out into the bar where they had first come in. The room wasn’t quite so dark, as the frosted glass in the windows allowed some light in. But, it didn’t help much. If anything it made everything more frightening somehow, shapes of different sizes were everywhere, some human, some not, and the confusion that had been in the back bar, was very much in evidence here.
Whoever the person was, dragged her behind the bar, and through another door. She found herself in a passageway, lit by torches shining some kind of strange violet light. They looked like flames but there was no heat. It took a moment for Mae’s eye to adjust to being able to see again. Finally she was able to see who was pulling her. Her first thought was to wonder how the orange hair didn’t somehow glow in the dark.
Amity turned around. She grinned, “Come on girl!”
“Where are you taking me? Wait. Why are you taking me?”
“Like chill okay. You’re like with friends. We like just couldn’t stay up there.”
They reached the end on the passageway which appeared to be boarded up. The board was covered in graffiti. In the middle of the artwork a man in a top hat stood grinning, while holding a playing card, the five of diamonds. Amity placed the palm of her hand on the middle diamond. There was a slight rumbling sound, and then the board slid open, revealing an extraordinary lit room.
In the middle of the room, was a rickety old kitchen table, and a number of mismatched chairs were all around it. Seated around the table were the two blonde giants from behind the bar, and Hector.
Back at the hotel, Beatrice and Melusina surveyed the obviously empty room. Despite the blackout, there was enough light coming from the window to allow them to see. Frantic, Beatrice went into the bathroom, hoping to find her daughter there. But she was gone. Where was she? Had someone taken her? She glanced toward to TV cabinet. Even in her state of near panic she recalled leaving the room keys there. They were gone. Would someone coming to kidnap Mae bother to take the keys with them? She decided that was unlikely. It appeared that whatever happened since, Mae left of her own volition. She was so relieved that she wasn’t even mad that her daughter had disobeyed her. Not very mad anyway.
She turned toward Melusina, who she was surprised to see was even more concerned than she was. She and Melusina had never been all that close. Even back in their days at the Institute, although they had all hung together as a group, Beatrice had always felt like an outsider. Her dear friend Clarissa was her only reason for spending time with them at all, and then later when Frederick realised that they were as close as sisters, he was always kind to her. But Melusina had only ever really just tolerated her. So to see her so upset made her think that she had misjudged the woman for all these years.
Melusina’s face had drained of all it’s colour. She looked around the room.
“She’s not here?” Her voice was slightly panicked.
“Clearly not.” It was strange, seeing this woman’s almost over the top reaction to finding her daughter gone, helped to calm her down. “It looks like she’s gone out.”
“But, but, you said she was here.”
“Yes, I did. I told her to stay here, but she’s a wilful young woman, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised that she’s taken off.”
“But, it’s not safe!”
Beatrice sighed. “I know that, and you know that. I thought she understood that, but I don’t think I’ve handled this very well. She didn’t take it very well when I told her about herself, and about her parents.”
“Well what are we going to do now? We have to find her!”
“We will. We will.”
Beatrice moved to the window. She looked out the city. It was strange seeing the city without all the lights. She looked up, it was clear night, and she could see the stars. She mused that it has probably been a long time since anybody in this place had been able to do that. She lent her face against the glass, her eyes went wide, coming through the glass she could feel power. Only faint but it was there. It was a bit like the smell of gunpowder after it’s gone off. Except this wasn’t a smell, it was more like an overwhelming sense of calm and well being.
She motioned to Melusina. “Come and sand here.”
Sceptical, Melusina stood at the window. “Now what?”
“You need to touch the glass.”
She reached out a hand and put her index finger on the glass. She immediately jumped back shaking her finger like she’d burnt it. “The power!”
“I think we might be able to find her. Don’t you.” Beatrice was already moving to the door.
“Yes. I think so.”
“Of course, that means he can too. So we’d better hurry. Come on.” The two women left the hotel.
Above the city Alistair was on the phone barking orders.
“Bring the H.O.R.S.E. around now! We’re going to the old city.”
He hung up. He then grabbed a pistol from his desk. Tonight it would be over, and he would finally be able to crown himself king. There would be no dispute. The power would be all his.
He got into the lift, and went down to the basement and to the H.O.R.S.E. waiting for him. Henderson held the door open. He eased into the back seat. He smiled.
Not since his mother died had he felt such power. The feeling of contentment that enveloped him was extraordinary. He almost felt sorry that she had to die. To extinguish such a talent seemed such a waste. But, he would get over it, he was sure.
The H.O.R.S.E. sped through the darkened city. People had begun to spill out of the building, coming out to investigate the cause of the black out. Only a few would ever know the true reason. Alistair directed Henderson where he needed to go. As he got closer, the feeling inside him had become one of pure ecstasy and joy.
Eventually, they pulled up outside The Local Tavern. As soon as he saw it he knew that this was the place. He knew that she must have been drawn here, almost like he was. He got out of the car, Henderson came around and stood beside him.
“M’lord? Do you need me to order reinforcements?”
“That won’t be necessary. I’m going to do this myself, and it’s going to feel good.”
He walked into the bar.