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Starlight Manor

Part 8

By angela hepworthPublished 20 days ago 6 min read

The rest of the night is dark and quiet. Nobody feels like talking, not even Weyah. They play cards in silence, the three of them, and they curl up in bed and cling to each other as tight as they can.

Lise is sick of feeling so restless, so afraid. She finally tugs on Alois’s arm. He wakes up, his face bleary and miserable.

“Let’s check on Cami,” she says intently. “See if he…” She swallows. “Did it.”

Alois looks like he’d rather do anything else, but he nods. They leave Weyah in bed, fast asleep.

The moment they’re out the door, Lise’s heart sinks. Splotches of blood that had not been there mere hours ago coat the carpet.

“That bastard,” Alois snarls. He bangs his fist against the world. “That stupid, brainwashed son of a bitch.”

He storms towards the door, bare feet sinking into the wet, red spots on the floor. Lise avoids them the best she can,

Alois stops short, Lise closing in behind him.

Mayuri is standing there in the dim light, his face pale. Bandages hang from one hand, a wet, bloody cloth from his other.

He’s alive, is Lise’s first thought. Something like relief seeps into her bones, until she sees what lies below him.

Face down on the bed, nearly unrecognizable, is Cami. His arms are limp, one hanging off the bed near lifelessly. But all Lise can see is the dark red mess of Cami’s back, blood and torn, broken skin covering the entire expanse of it. He’s facing them, his head sideways, but he stares at nothing, his dark eyes glassy and unfocused. Lise can’t bring herself to look at his back; Alois seems unable to look away.

“He will be okay,” Mayuri says quietly. For once, there is no trace of humor in his face, his voice. His words are serene. A promise. “Kwithra has banned your sister from helping him, so it is up to me. Do not send her. It will make it worse for him.”

“He saved you,” Alois says. His words come out twisted, confused. Like he has to speak them out loud in order to believe them.

Mayuri stares at the wounds in front of him, the deep gashes criss-crossing Cami’s mangled back.

“I know,” he says.

It feels wrong to close the door on Cami, on both of them, with how hurt he is, but they can’t do much more. Lise is not her brother, and neither is Alois. All they can do is leave Mayuri alone and let him work.

The moment the door closes, Lise feels herself crumple, her knees hitting the floor hard. Alois drops with her, opens his arms around her, and envelopes her in a tight hug, and she cries into his shoulder. She can feel his exhaustion through his body, the slump of him. What this place has taken out of him in only a few days’ time. She hates herself for the carelessness with which she pried him about his past, about the darkness of this place. If she were him, she may have kept this locked in a dark, cold place of her own heart, just as he had.

“We leave tomorrow,” he says into her curls.

The next day, they go to meet Kwithra in the chambers, the same room they had watched her scold Cami. The moment they walk in, Lise’s nose twitches and she nearly gags. The smell, and the sight of the blood-soaked whip on the table, unwashed—this was the room Cami was almost killed in last night.

Yet Kwithra still sits there, still and unaffected in her large chair like a queen. She raises an eyebrow at the two of them. “Yes?”

“Lise is leaving,” Alois says.

“That is fine,” she says. “Farewell, Lise. You may take her gold and show her the way out.”

“And I’m going with her.”

Kwithra’s mouth twitches. “You are doing nothing of the sort, Alois.”

“I am,” Alois says. “And if you wish to stop me, you’ll have to kill me here and now.” Lise tenses. “Like you almost killed my brother.”

“Do not overreact,” Kwithra says with a sigh. “That butler is tending to his wounds as we speak. He will make a speedy recovery.”

Alois’s eyebrows draw together in a tight, harsh line. Lise just watches them, her heart thudding in her chest. Finally, he opens his mouth and speaks.

“You’re jealous,” he says to her. “Because even Cami is more than just a puppet to this family. He’s a person. We’re all people. With real emotions, and real love for others. I don’t have to manipulate those around me in order to get them to love me. And you can’t say the same.”

“Alois,” Kwithra says softly. Her rage is only poorly concealed. “You will watch what you say to me.”

“I’m leaving, Mother,” he insists. His eyes are cool and confident, and his shoulders are relaxed. “And you won’t stop me.”

Kwithra stares at him for a long while before narrowing her eyes and leaning back in her seat. She rests a chin on her hand.

“I suppose I cannot, can I?” she asks. Her voice is as quiet as it is poisonous, like the hiss of a snake. “Unless, as you say, I were to kill you.” She gives him a small, tense smile that doesn’t reach her eyes before she lifts a hand, as if shooing them like flies. “Go.”

Alois falters. “What?”

“Go,” she repeats, narrowing her eyes. “Leave this place.”

“What are you talking about?” Alois looks shell-shocked. “You can’t possibly—what is this?”

“This is me,” Kwithra says spitefully, “giving up on you completely, Alois. You will never make me proud. You will never live up to your potential as an assassin. You will simply stay intent on tarnishing my good name wherever you go. So leave.” Her upper lip curls. “No real loss will be felt by this family.”

There is no trace of sadness on Alois’s face, no trace of hurt. He gives her a tense nod and a small, half-hearted bow. He turns and gestures for Lise to follow him.

Kwithra’s cold eyes on her as she awkwardly attempts a bow fill her with an indescribable dread, and she quickly scrambles after him towards the door.

“And Alois?”

Cautiously, Alois turns, as does Lise. Kwithra’s tight smile is still painted across her pale face, as fraudulent as it is beautiful. “Do not bother coming back.”

“What are you saying?”

Explaining their sudden departure to Weyah is both heart wrenching and necessary, but Lise can barely look her in the eyes when they do it.

“You can come with us, Weyah,” Alois insists. “You can leave and come with us.”

“I don’t want to leave,” she says quietly. Her soft voice is shaky. “I want you guys to stay. You and Lise.”

Lise’s heart aches as she looks at Alois and sees his lower lip trembling. “Weyah—”

“I want to stay here, Alois.” Weyah suddenly looks older than she ever has, her posture straight and firm. “With my family.”

“I’m your family too,” Alois says, and his voice breaks. “And I wouldn’t make you work. I wouldn’t make you kill people.”

“But I like it,” Weyah says, and Lise stares at the adamance in her young face. More firmly, she adds, “And I’m good at it.”

“I bet you’d be good at a lot of things, Weyah,” Lise says softly.

Her large eyes bore into Lise’s. “I’m good at killing,” she says, more firmly this time. “I’m a good assassin. Mother needs me here.”

Alois looks at her for a long moment before he meets Lise’s eyes again.

“That’s it, then,” he says simply, echoing Lise’s words about the day they would inevitably leave, and Lise’s heart aches painfully in her chest.

Thank you guys so much for reading! Final part coming soon ♥️

SeriesShort StoryHorrorFantasyfamilyAdventure

About the Creator

angela hepworth

Hello! I’m Angela and I love writing fiction—sometimes poetry if I’m feeling frisky. I delve into the dark, the sad, the silly, the sexy, and the stupid. Come check me out!

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Comments (5)

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  • Murali13 days ago

    I'm waiting for the last piece.

  • C. D. Guzman15 days ago

    This.......... was epic.

  • Kodah19 days ago

    I feel bad for everyone in their own way ☹️ I understand where they are all coming from 😕 Nooo I don't want it to end 😫😫😫 I love this series!! 💖

  • What in the actual hell is wrong with Kwithra?! I don't like Cami but what she did to him really broke my heart! And Weyah seems so determined. I mean, I'm all for killing, I love murder but it made me sad that Weyah is on Kwithra's side. And what do you mean final chapter? Is this series gonna finish? 😭😭😭😭😭

  • Every time I see "Starlight Manor" come across my feed or notifications I get excited because I know it's going to be another whirlwind chapter. I am loving this series! I'm so glad Cami didn't kill Mayuri. Great job on this!

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