I had a little bit of trouble picking a direction to go with today’s prompt. It took me about 600 words of nothing to come up with what I ended up writing. I think this is a piece I’m definitely going to revisit at some point and give an edit. I came up with some interesting ideas I’d love to explore towards the end of writing this and I definitely want to explore the characters of Kayden and Raine more (Raine especially since she never really got any “screen time” so to speak). Anyway, without further ado, here’s Day 5:
Prompt: “The dress spoke for her…”
Kayden didn’t have to speak a word to hold the old man’s attention. The dress spoke for her. A deep navy, almost black, the floor-length gown was a strong contrast to her waves of rust-colored hair. Strapless and cut just low enough to make imaginations run wild, Kayden had spent the better part of the last three days finding the right tailor to make sure every aspect fit her figure perfectly.
Laughing politely as the man told her a joke, Kayden traced her right hand along her ear jacket. “It’s definitely not him.” She thought the whisper, “Unless he plans on driving Wem to suicide with his conversation skills.”
“What about the woman from just a few minutes ago?” Kayden’s ear tingled as she heard Raine’s thoughts in her ear.
“Clean. Like everyone else has been.” Kayden kept working her finger along the ear jacket. “I’m starting to think your information was bad Rai.”
“It’s possible, Raine conceded for a moment, “but keep at it anyway. Unless you’re willing to stake Wem’s life on a gut feeling?”
Kayden didn’t justify the question with a response. Raine knew better than anyone she wouldn’t bet Wem’s life on anything. Neither of them would. Even if the hunts were over, witches were far from popular with the masses, and even less popular with the nobility. Men in charge are always afraid of women with power. Kayden thought to herself, pulling her finger from her ear.
But Wem had taken her and her sister in despite the risks. He’d fed them when they were hungry, clothed them when they’d thought they would freeze, and given them beds when all they’d slept on for months had been cold, hard, earth. And he’d never asked for anything in return. Not once. Neither Kayden nor Raine was trusting by nature, but over the last ten years, both of them had seen first hand that Baron Wembley Oben was a good man. One worthy of their help—even if he wouldn’t ask for it.
Scanning the room for anyone she might have missed, Kayden made her way around the dance floor and towards the large winding staircase at the other end of the room. Gripping the rail of the staircase as she went to keep her heels from slipping on the polished marble, Kayden turned right as soon as her feet left the bottom step, and made her way into the massive labyrinth of a garden at the heart of Wem’s estate.
Slipping by a meandering couple, and avoiding two men with unwelcome advances in their eyes, Kayden ran her left hand along her ear. She winced as the garden exploded with sound. She could hear crickets —and one more adventurous couple—rustling in bushes, the trickle of running water from the fountain at the center of the garden, and every whisper in a hundred yards.
Quickly running her fingers along the rim of her ear like a tuner, Kayden muted the world around her, before reintroducing sounds one at a time. She kept working her ear until she found the right level of sensitivity, making sure all she could hear was the sound of the wind and the whispers it carried.
While Kayden’s power wasn’t suited for any sort of direct confrontation the way Raine’s was, it was infinitely more subtle—and in situations such as this one, much more useful. Casually turning her head in all directions, Kayden caught pieces of secrets in the air around her. Filing away the most important snippets of gossip to use later, Kayden started a lap around the garden.
Kayden finished her first lap in just over ten minutes, then made a second followed by a third. Kayden released her left hand from her ear and lifted her right to the ear jacket. “There’s nothing here Rai. The garden was the only place I hadn’t checked. Your information was bad.”
“Stop pouting just because Wem’s been busy all night.” Raine thought back.
“I’m not pouting.”
“Suuure you’re not.” Kayden could feel the exasperation in the thought.
“Fine. One more pass.” Kayden switched the hands on her ears and started combing through the labyrinth of hedges again. This time, however, she stopped as she made it to the fountain in the center of the garden.
Wem’s jacket and shoes lay on the ground beside him as he sat on the grass staring up at the fountain. He’d undone his tie and the top two buttons of his shirt and hung the former loosely around his neck. His white blonde hair was the only kept part of him at the moment—still slicked back tight against his scalp.
Kayden watched Wem for a moment before taking a seat beside him in the grass. “Bored already?”
“Just needed some fresh air.” If Wem had been surprised at Kayden’s sudden appearance, he didn’t show it. “And to get out of those.” He nodded his head towards his shoes. “You?”
“Fresh air.” Kayden stretched her legs out and leaned back using her hands as support. “And to get out of these,” she kicked her heels off. “You know—“ Kayden’s words stuck in her throat as she gripped both sides of her head in a silent scream. A moment later, Wem was on the ground beside her doing the same.
“Kay? What’s wrong?” Raine shouted over the psychic scream.
Struggling to put together a thought coherent enough to send her sister, Kayden watched in horror as an enormous man, clad in solid black, and wearing a red horned mask emerged from the hedges and scooped Wem up. Tossing the Baron roughly over one shoulder, he ducked back into the bushes, disappearing as quickly as he’d appeared, and taking the pain that racked Kayden’s mind along with him.
“Raine.” Kayden gasped the words out loud as she sent them to her sister, “We have a problem.”