Back for another chapter of Gemini! For more details on this, please check out:
The stairs creaked with unnerving familiarity as Stacey made her way to the porch. She thought of how her heart used to grow louder in her chest in anticipation and delight when she ascended those stairs over ten years ago. Right before she and Rat came here the last time. Before everything went to hell.
Anthony opened the door, and his brown-green eyes squinted against the light. Even his dreads looked the same—ginger-brown and carefully braided. His teeth flashed in what Stacey, foolishly, had first thought was Anthony’s usual, friendly grin. It turned into a scowl quicker than she could open her mouth. He saw through her business-woman camouflage in less than a second, not that she expected to fool him.
“No. Get out.” The door slammed in her face, rattling the flimsy frame. So much for “hello”. Stacey stood for a moment, her desperation battling longing and guilt and pride. Desperation won.
“Anthony!” She banged her fist on the door. “I need your help!” This small effort made her dizzy, but she gritted her teeth, slamming her open palm against the wood. It left a bloody smear. “This is important!” She took a breath. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t. Please, Anthony!”
There was a long silence, interrupted only by Rat’s chattering. His long tail curled upward and around her ear, and she wondered if his small rodent brain comprehended what was happening and was as nervous as she was. Finally, the door creaked open, allowing the figure of the man back onto the porch.
“Are you here to ask me another favor for a friend, White? A favor that will get me banished from another coven or make my work forfeit?”
Stacey cringed. “No,” she said, lifting off her hand to reveal the gaping tear-wound on her stomach. “This time the favor is for me.”
“So, let me get this straight,” Anthony pinched her shredded skin together and threaded a needle through with a little more force than was necessary. Stacey squirmed. “This garbage eater here,” he nodded to Rat who was curled in Stacey’s hair and napped contentedly, “is Javier, the idiot mage that came up with the most dangerous fire rune ever known to man?”
Stacey lay on Anthony’s tattooist table, in her bra and jeans. Her crumpled, bloody shirt had been reduced to rags when Anthony cut it off her with his usual careful skill. Last time she was on this table, her Mir tattoo had just been inked into her skin. Anthony had wiped off the blood from the black, upside-down triangle, and kissed her lower belly just beneath it… and then, well… Yeah. She pushed the memory away, and focused on not fainting from the pain.
“You’re saying that after I tattooed him, you begged for his life… and what? Gemini just turned him into a rat?”
“Yes,” she said again, watching his hands stitch her abdomen back together.
He scoffed, his upper lip curling. “They excommunicated me. For life. And all he got for blowing up half the coven in his little experiment was ten years of eating his own feces?” Anthony looked up at her face, and Stacey had to look away at the rage that stirred right under that handsome, calm exterior.
“Rats don’t eat their own – “she started automatically and rolled her eyes at her own stupidity. “Never mind. Look. If you had let me explain… if you had returned my calls…”
Anthony laughed, bitterly. “Yeah. If only, right?”
She opened her mouth to say – what, exactly? She didn’t know – but Anthony was moving again, standing up and snipping off the last bits of thread. He walked to the fridge at the end of the shop, and took a blood bag, donor issue, from the bottom shelf. He tossed it to Stacey.
“Drink. You’ll be as good as new in a few hours.”
At the sight of human blood, Stacey’s fangs descended readily, scratching her upper lip. “I don’t think we have a few hours.”
Word Count: 671