I was being led up the stairs by another boy. Markus, I think Eredan said his name was. He had his dark brown hair in a ponytail, and a biker looking outfit on.
“Don’t worry about Dante, he’s an ass.” Markus chuckles.
We reach the second story. The long hallway had several doors and pictures along it. Scounces dotted the empty spaces of the wall with unlit lights. Hard pounding music came from one of the doors and that is where he was leading me. Three doors down the hall, just at the end of the hallway, he stopped and rapped on the door.
“Tob!” Markus called.
The music suddenly stopped. Footsteps. Then the door opens. A boy my age stood there. His black bangs fell over his face, he shook his head to move them. He wore a top with some kind of writing on it, and black skin tight jeans. He opened his mouth to say something, then he glances in my direction.
“She needs clean clothes, Eredan told me you’d have something to fit her.” Markus explains, “Oh, This is Danni. Danni, this is my little brother, Tobias.” Markus introduces us. Tobias rolls his eyes at the words little brother.
“Yeah. I might have something.” Tobias says.
“Alright. I have to finish cleaning up blood before Dante has a fit.” Markus walks a door down on the other side of the hallway and goes inside.
I say nothing, but I walk through the door. The absence of light, aside from a flashing ball and a screen made it hard to see a foot in front of me.
“You probably can’t see in dim light. Here.”
Light suddenly floods the room, making me close my eyes for a moment. When I open them, I see posters posted across the dark ivory walls. Several of which had the same writing on them. A black desk sat in a far corner of the room, books, pencils, drawings, and a screened device clutter the desk. While belts, boots, and fingerless gloves clutter the floor. There was a bed in the corner across from the door, under a window with blood-red curtains drawn.
“I have some old clothes in the back of my closet. One minute.” he says, walking to a closet that looked as if a natural disaster had hit it.
I study the various posters, not all of them were printed. Some of them looked to be hand drawn. A skeleton. Many boys with long hair and black eyes. Another skeleton in red and white clothing. Various groups of words written in different fonts and styles.
One had a strange looking man with cuts across his face, much like Eredan. His hair wild. Pale skin. The strangest thing were his hands, they were scissors. I wondered where this idea had come from and it the boy had drawn this.
“You like it?” Tobias’ voice startled me.
“You drew these?” I ask, turning to face him.
He smiles, “Yes. He was the hardest damn thing-. But I proudly admit to drawing those.” Tobias says, tapping the picture of the scissor handed man.
“These are beautiful.” I say, turning my head to glance at them one last time.
“Thank you.. Danni, was it? Anyway, here.” he handed me dark clothes. “I hope they fit.” Tobias seems to think a moment, “Just in case.” he grabs a belt off the floor and hands it to me.
“Thank you.” I look at the clothes.
Tobias seems to read my mind, “You can change here, I promise I won’t look. Or you can use the bathroom- On second thought that might not be such a good idea.” he shakes his head to move his bangs again, “There is blood all over the place in there. Markus just won’t clean up after himself.” Tobias groans.
I look to the ground at my bare feet. I had left my shoes in Eredan’s room, along with my hoodie, I felt exposed. I was not so much worried about anyone seeing me change; I was more afraid of how vulnerable I was without the protection of the clothing.
“Hey, you alright?” Tobias asks.
I nod, “I- I’m fine.” I say, “You promise you won’t look?” I ask, hugging myself.
“Yeah. I promise.”
I nod and turn around. I hear a gasp from behind me, I turn back to face Tobias. He had a look of confusion, concern, and astonishment on his face. It made for a strange face.
“Danni, what in hell happened?” he asked, trying to get a look at my back again.
I look to the ground again, “You promised,” I say.
“But what happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” I turn around.
“Alright. I won’t look.” he promises.
I change out of my top and Eredan’s jeans, and into Tobias’ dark gray skin tight jeans and the top he had given me. It had the same strange group of words as some of the pictures on the wall. It didn’t really sound like a proper thought or English.
Tobias turned around in his desk chair at the sound of his brother’s calls. He caught a glance at me and chuckled.
“God, girl, if you ate more you’d be able to fit into something.” he gets up and walks over.
His jeans were still a little too big, but the belt kept them from falling down. He picked up my camisole and his brother’s jeans and walked to the door. I look down at my frame. I had lost much of my weight and I didn’t like it. I missed the feel of soft skin. All I had now were pointed bones.
“ Come on, dinner’s ready.” Tobias stands in the doorway until I walk out. He follows then takes the lead. A door opens behind me and a familiar shape darts past us.
“You better hurry before Eredan eats it all.” Markus laughs, dashing down the stairs.
Tobias laughs, grabs my hand, and takes off down the hall and down the stairs. It was difficult and easy to keep up. I almost tripped down the stairs a few times, but I managed to make it to the kitchen safely. We had arrived after Markus. Tobias let go of my hand and went to argue with his brother about who had gotten there first.
“Danni?” Eredan’s voice reached my ears. I turn around to see him standing behind me. I jump and back up a step.
“Don’t do that.” I say softly.
“My apologies.” he chuckles.
I glance down at the floor not saying anything. I feel a hesitant hand on my shoulder, I shrug away Eredan’s hand.
“You broke your promise.” I tell him.
“I know, I’m sorry. Will you eat please?” he asks in a gentle voice.
I nod. I was starving and anything was welcomed. Something smelled good, it made my stomach growl.
Three brothers were seated around the island. Tobias and Markus were playing around, still arguing about who had gotten to the kitchen first. The other one was silently eating his food, glancing occasionally my way.
“Danni, come on over here.” Markus says, playfully pushing Tobias over a seat.
“Hey what was that for?” Tobias glares at his brother.
I watch the two bicker, twisting my brown hair in my hands. Tobias lets out a sigh and walks over to me. He takes my wrist and leads me to the seat between himself and Markus.
“Finally, you act civil.” Markus teases. Tobias rolls his eyes.
I hesitate before sitting down. Eredan sets a bowl of something in front of me. He smiles and sits down himself next to the other brother, I think Dante was the name that was tossed around. He didn’t look very happy.
“Dude, you emo-ified the girl.” Markus teases, poking my arm.
“It’s not any different than what she had on to begin with.”
I stir around the food in the bowl before gingerly taking bite. It was nice to have something to eat and it didn’t taste terrible either. I take a few more bites.
“We finally get a sister.” Markus ruffles my hair.
Eredan chuckles, “Markus, Danni isn’t staying around that long.”
“That sucks. Can we trade in Tob?”
“Markus!” Tobias exclaims.
Both brothers were at it again. Eredan rolled his eyes and chuckled at the two. He looked in my direction. The meal continued in silence aside from Markus and Tobias’ bickering. I had eaten three bowls of food by the end of the meal and was very grateful for it. Dante immediately left afterward while everyone else stayed to talk.
“There’s a spare room upstairs, Danni. You can sleep there.” Eredan says, clearing the kitchen island.
“Or you can stay in my room, I won’t bite… much.” Markus chuckles. He tries to lean against my shoulder, but I move. He falls to the ground.
“God damn.” Markus groans, slowly sitting up.
Tobias laughs, “Getting beat up by a girl I see.”
Markus stands up fast and moves in front of Tobias, “No it is not.”
I watch the two start up the fighting again, wondering if they ever got along. Eredan’s soft, deep chuckle came from behind me. I turn to find him watching the fight. I give him a questioning look.
“Those two are incredibly close. Even if it doesn’t look it. That’s their way of caring.” he explains. I nod.
“Oh, your bag and shoes are still in my bedroom. I’d think you’d like them back, so feel free to grab them.” Eredan says, returning to the dishes.
“Okay.” I respond softly.
Slowly, I walk back the way I remembered. Eventually, I reach Eredan’s bedroom. My green shoes, hoodie, and bag were still on the floor. I hurry in to grab them.
The door closes behind me and I turn around to see what I had done. There stood Dante, arms crossed. He still had that scowl on his face.
He steps forward, “My soft-hearted idiot of a brother made a mistake.” he states. He takes another step closer to me. I back up until I hit the bed. Pain soars through my back. I wince.
“I don’t know what he told you, but he has obviously lied. So it would be best if you just left,” he says matter-of-factly.
I felt afraid and confused, “But, I thought-”
“What can he possibly do for you, dear? What we do is kill demons, not perform miracles,” he scoffs at my ignorance.
I open my mouth to say something, but I don’t. There was nothing to say. Dante was right; they’re demon hunters, what could they possibly do? Except kill me. Since I had been here nothing had been talked about or done. I knew it.
“I want you to leave. There is nothing we can do for you,” he reiterates plainly. He wasn’t demanding, yet.
I look at the ground as I respond, “yes..” I can almost hear the grin Dante gives.
“Danni? Are you alright?” Eredan asked when I entered the kitchen.
I nod, “I- I’m just tired.” I respond.
It was his turn to nod, “Hey Tob? Will you show Danni to the spare bedroom?”
Tobias gets off the sofa and walks over, “Yeah, sure.” he answers.
He grabs my wrist and leads me to the stairs. We walk up them and then down the hall. Tobias stops at the second door from the end of the hall, the one residing just before his.
“This is the spare. Hasn’t been cleaned in a while.” he says light heartedly, running a hand through his hair.
“Alright.” I say, opening the door.
The room was a pale blue color. The only furniture in the room was a bed with black sheets, a desk, and blue desk chair. I take a step in.
“You know, if you want, you can hang out in my room for a bit.” Tobias suggests.
“Oh, um, no thank you.” I answer, turning to face him.
He nods, “Alright. Night, then.” he says and walks to his own room.
I close the door and walk over to the bed. Sound comes from Tobias’ room, it was a hard beat again and then some sort of screaming. I walk to the window and look out at the ground below. It was a long drop, I knew I’d never make it. I lean against the wall then sit down.
Even if Dante hadn’t said anything, I think I would have left anyway. I was beginning to think Eredan was lying about my wings. I remember being told years ago that wing removal was permanent; there was no way to get them back. Even if I did get them back, I feared the council may find out and worsen my punishment. Though I failed to remember what I had even done all those years ago. Were they even still concerned?
I sigh and lightly hit the window with my fist. I had let my hope get the best of me and now I was going to be back where I started. I should have known to never trust humans, they all lie. Perhaps it is for the best.
Quietly, I stand up and cross the room. I shut the door behind me softly and make my way down the hallway. It was dimly lit, but lit enough that I could find my way to the stairs and down them. I stop to listen for voices. When I hear none I continue on my way. I catch sight of Dante reclining on the sofa, a book in hand. We both look at each other for a moment then I run out the door.
The pavement is rough beneath my bare feet. I keep running, not looking back. I keep running until I reach the alley where I had met Eredan. It had began to drizzle. Sitting against the wall, I put my shoes on and place the hoodie on my head; it was my umbrella and blanket.
“I knew it was all a lie. I knew there was no way to retrieve my wings. How could I be so stupid,” I feel tears slide down my cheeks, mixing with the rain drops. I pull my knees to my chest and close my eyes.