I’ve been alone for days now. It’s a different world, alone. My work for Alaun is only ever going to be part-time. We knew that going in. Classes take up another small fraction of my day. That still leaves…hours.
Hours to sit in my room on the sixth floor and just…think.
Mak is gone. He’s been sent somewhere that I am not allowed to know about. On a secret mission. I suspect he’s guarding Kindara now, in the actual demon world.
I feel like I’ve lost my only real friend in the world.
I can’t stand it. I’m going to get out there. Actually walk around of the evening. See what the hotel has to offer without having to have my big sister there to hold my hand. I’m going to stay where there are other people. I have my phone with me, too.
I can’t do this; I can’t stay in my room forever. I already feel invisible. I don’t want to be invisible, too. I’m on the sixth floor. Next to Joselyn’s cousins, though they rarely venture out. When our paths cross, we rarely speak. They are just as afraid as I am.
Demons want to kill them, too. No one is exactly sure why demons are suddenly so angry at Dardaptoans. Especially since their new queen is one of us. Then again, maybe that is it.
This time when I opened the door, there was a young female leaving the room next door.
She paused and stared at me, a suspicious look on her face. She had green eyes, like Mickey’s. She is a head shorter than I am, with straight dark hair.
“H-hello.” I can’t stand it. Not connecting with my neighbors. I have spent the last sixty-eight years living with and working the farm in Woald Hollow. It was not unusual for us to meet up once or twice a month for cookouts and sitting around the fire, roasting marshmallows while Alleah and the Woald cousins would play.
This…this floor in the hotel is nothing like that of the ruling Equa and Equan. It looks much more like your generic chain hotel anywhere in the world. There are no beautiful decorations, just a few floral arrangements—plastic—here and there. The doors to the small suites are plain and utilitarian.
It’s also where government refugees were housed. There were four suites three doors down from mine used to house the witnesses in some of Theo’s trials. A guard stands at the door to keep them from intermingling. Another three guards were throughout the hall—to guard me, and to guard the Boltier sisters.
“I-I’m Jume. I’m stuck here in hell, too. Would you like some company? We can share a guard? Make it easy when the demons finally c-catch up to us.”
“What?” She shot me a suspicious look. “What do you know about demons?”
I pushed back the sleeve of my yellow vestis. The scars would be with me always. “They came for me, too. And I don’t know why. It’s the reason I am stuck here on this floor—instead of at home with my sisters.”
“I’m sorry. I…demons want us dead, too.” She held out her hand, in the typical greeting for humans. I shook her hand quickly. “I’m Coty Boltier. Third sister.”
“Jume Woald, fourth sister. Of seven.”
“There are seven of us, too. Strange that. We have seven cousins, as well.”
“Some say seven is the number of the goddess. I’m not sure I believe in that. I’m headed to the cafe. I want real food.”
“I just have to get out of the room. My sisters…sometimes I just need quiet.”
“I understand. Would you like some company?”
“I’d like that very much.”