Chapter 12

So long and good-bye

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I was three months in to my spell at La Morte. Sleeping like a baby. No more hellish night visits from violent apparitions. La Morte was behaving herself wonderfully. I guess she didn’t count on my insanity outmatching her own. However today I woke with a different sense of dread. I had been worrying on the approach of this day more and more since the sudden realisation that I had feelings for Erica. Today was her last day at La Morte. After this she was free to go. Back to her family. Back to her cat. Back to her old life. I didn’t even know if she knew how I felt. How did she feel about me? Did she give a shit? I had been trying to work up the courage to tell her for weeks. I love you. So simple. So mushy. So scary. So much fall out if it goes wrong. Fall out for me. I’m sure she would just walk away and never look back. I would. If I was her. And it was me. I really am just an insecure mess when it comes down to it. 

I woke early for once and went down to the deserted café. I wanted Erica’s last day to be special. I brewed coffee and set to work making her pancakes. Breakfast in bed. Everyone likes that don’t they? Then I would tell her. Then I would only have to face one full day of rejection if… perhaps I would tell her later. As I was making a second batch of batter (my first had been a lumpy mess not fit to serve a rat) Erica drifted down the stairs. She looked refreshed. But also slightly sad. I guess after 12 months you do get attached to…. Get used to a certain way of doing things. 

‘So…. Your last day eh? Pancakes?’ I asked, smiling my most dazzling morning smile. 

‘Oh that’s so sweet of you, yes thank you, and coffee if it’s going please Damian,’ she smiled back. I thought I would split at how happy that smile made me. 

I poured her coffee and took over a stack of misshapen pancakes. Cream, strawberries, maple syrup, butter, lemon, sugar. I had prepared everything.

‘This is quite luxurious I must say!’ she laughed. Damn it! Why did I love that laugh so much.

‘Now you have to wait until midnight don’t you? Before you can head out the door?’ I asked. I genuinely hadn’t even thought about this. Of course a day ticks over at midnight, so it would make sense. 

‘Nope, I can go anytime I like. Technically my time was up at midnight last night, so I was gonna pack my things after breakfast and head out. I wanna see my mum and my cat first,’ she replied, still smiling widely.

‘Are you going to call your mum before your see her?’ 

‘I thought about it. I think I might have to be a bit careful how I do this. I’m going to go to the police station first and hand myself in. I’m still a missing person, and it will be easier for my mum to handle my return if it comes from the police. I think,’ she furrowed her brow and looked down.

‘Well,’ I forced a smile of my own, ‘it sounds like you have a plan, and everything is under control, now eat your pancakes before they get cold.’

A few hours later and Erica was all packed. Luke was supposed to come past and say goodbye, but he had yet to make an appearance. Erica wanted to wait for him, to say thank-you, but I suggested just dropping past another time to see him. It was also a good way for me to see her again too. I remember the time being emblazoned on my memory. 3:15pm. She was walking out of my life. Perhaps forever. And there was nothing I could do about it. I still didn’t have the courage to say anything. Coward. I watched her walk away towards the door. Open the door. Step out into the patchy sunlight and then immediately collapse in a heap on the cold concrete footpath outside. My eyes widened as adrenaline coursed through me. I ran through the café, pushing people aside, tearing open the door and within moments I had her cradled in my arms. Serendipitously Luke chose those moment to appear. It felt as though he had planned this. 

‘What’s happened?’ has asked innocently, though in my eyes he was anything but blameless. 

‘She just walked out the door and then… this,’ I said not bothering to look up at him.

‘Hmmmm,’ mused Luke, ‘that’s a shame.’

‘And I guess I’ve fucked up too now. I've gone outside, broken the rules. Just like you wanted. I bet you planned this all along, you evil bastard!’ I screamed, finally looking up at him.

‘Me? No of course not. It looks like Erica just got the date wrong that’s all.’

‘So, she’s gone then?’ I looked up at him finally, tears burning my eyes as hatred seared my soul.

‘Dead? Yes, it looks that way, but I’ll let this one slide for you, after all you were only trying to do the right thing.’

‘No mate, forget it, I’m done here,’ I said stonily.

‘What do you mean?’ asked Luke, with more than a touch of surprise.

‘I’m out, if she’s dead, I’m done too. I don’t want to recover. Cancer can kick my arse all over town, I don’t care anymore.’

‘Look come inside, we’ll call an ambulance for the girl, people are starting to gather,' said Luke, and now I could hear tension creeping into his voice.

‘I don’t care!’ I screamed, laying Erica gently down and getting to my feet. I was beyond angry now. Satan had stolen my girl and I was not ….. well I didn’t know what, but I wasn’t gonna be quiet about it.

‘Damian please….’

‘You killed her, you toyed with her for a year and now you’ve killed her… again… I know it was you who gave her the dirty shot, you think you’re so bloody clever don’t you? Manipulating all the poor little humans, but I’ve figured you out, you lying bastard!’

‘Well, I am Lucifer…’ he began.

‘Shut your mouth before I shut it for you. I researched you, in this mortal form you are fucked,’ I said stepping forward and producing a switchblade from my back pocket, where I had been keeping it for days. The long, thin blade shot out from it's spring loaded clip, and before Luke could move I sliced him every which way from Sunday. Blood gushed and poured, covering Luke, me, Erica, the sidewalk. Everywhere. Luke started laughing. 

‘Oh Damian you truly are your father’s child are you not, so you love this girl then? There’s no other explanation for such completely over the top insanity. I love it!’

‘What do you mean!’

‘Hang on a moment,’ he said, waving his hand elaborately across the sky. In that second time stopped, or at least appeared to. 

‘What the fuck now?’ 

‘We need some privacy,’ he said, ‘you’ve managed to create quite a scene here. We also need to clean up this mess,’ he added as he looked up at the clouds. In an instant they gathered darkly together, and rain began to pour, soaking everyone and everything still frozen in time.

‘So I haven’t hurt you then?’ I sighed, realisation punching me in the guts.

‘Only my pride, now come on let’s get her inside.’

The minute we entered the café, Erica drew in a sharp breath, returning to life and gasping for air. 

‘What happened?’ she asked, before looking down at herself. Seeing so much blood on herself, along with the blood on Luke and I was too much for her. She passed out. But at least I knew she would be OK for now. Her breathing had evened out, it was almost as though she was…

‘Asleep, she’ll need her clothes changed before she wakes. I trust you can do that in a gentlemanly way?’

‘Yes,’ I said sullenly, ‘so what now?’

‘OK well for a start let me apologise, this was a genuine mistake, I didn’t know you were in love with the girl.’

‘Moving right along,’ I said, my cheeks flushing crimson, ‘what do you mean I’m like my father? My father is a fucking accountant for sucks sake!’

‘Um no, he’s …. Well look you were adopted right?’

‘No, my parents are my parents!’

‘Oh right she must have… how can I put this delicately.’

‘Put what delicately?’

‘You’re mother is your mother, her name is Elizabeth right?’

‘Yes…’ I said, not liking where I felt this was going.

‘But the person you know as your father is not really your father…. Your father is really …. Me.’

Now it was my turn too black out. And fair enough too, I thought as I crumpled in a heap on the floor.