Today’s piece continues directly on from day 21.
“There isn’t much time. They’ll kill us if we’re still here. I’m sorry.” He sounded older and more tired with every word, “Your mother didn’t want this life for you, so I’ve done my best to keep it away from you both. My best just wasn’t good enough. I know you don’t recognise me, that you’ve got no reason to trust me. She told you I was a fire fighter. That I died on the job. I was one. A lifetime ago. But I didn’t die. I learnt secrets I shouldn’t have and being around me became dangerous. So, please, trust me just long enough to get away from here.”
My mind raced as I thought. I rarely talked about my father, but it was hardly a secret. Any old geezer could have found that out if he’d put in even a cursory effort.
“Look,” he continued after another sigh, “You don’t have to trust me. If you really insist, I can forcibly remove you from here. I’d rather not do that. I’m tired and I’d rather save my energy in case they catch up before I’ve gotten you to safety. But there’s no time for you to decide. Pack a bag and come with me or my shadows will carry you along, bag be damned.”
He removed his hand from my face and stood. The light in the room returned to normal, barring a ball of pure shadow floating above the man’s hand. I fought down the urge to scream and struggled to calm my thinking. That was the night I learnt magic was real. I was further out of my depth than I ever had been. And I knew it. Better to play along and escape later than be overwhelmed now. I stood and quickly threw some clothes into an overnight bag.
He watched and as I zipped the bag shut he nodded, took my hand and led me out the back of my building.