The being human universe belongs to the incomparable creativity of Toby Whithouse. Once again, just falling through the looking glass to play there for a bit...
Wyndam did stop George, and took Mitchell, and those actions have impacted all. But what has Wyndam really let loose?
The sequel to Consequences...
Wyndam has...requested...I invite reviews and comments, as all are welcome and most appreciated.
"Run!" Carl yelled, pushing Leigh behind and away from him, and not taking his eyes off the spot the voice came from. He heard her start to run, but she suddenly cried out. Spinning around, he saw Padraig with eyes solid shiny black, easily holding a struggling Leigh and pushing her head to one side, exposing her neck. Lawrence stood next to Padraig, blocking any escape. Carl looked back to where the voice had come from, steeling himself for who he knew he would see.
"Hello, Carl." Mitchell smiled as he stepped from the shadows. "Peter sends his regards."
"Mitchell." Carl cleared his throat and forced his tone to be quiet and calm. "And is Peter...well?
"For now. He's on his way back to Bristol. Wyndam wants to see him." Mitchell smiled again. Carl didn't ask the next question, knowing there was no point. He straightened up and nodded at Mitchell.
"You've saved me a trip. I was just coming to find you."
"Really. How...interesting. Now why would you be looking for me?" Mitchell said, stopping in front of Carl.
"Let her go, and we'll go grab a drink and talk about it."
"We may just do that," Mitchell continued to smile. "But first, I need you to answer two questions. One, who is your still-alive-at-this-moment human friend? And two, where are Nina and George?"
"Why do you want to know?" Carl asked.
"Really, Carl?" Mitchell countered, his tone patronizing.
"She has nothing to do with this. Let her go, and you and I can talk."
"But she is part of this. You saw to that, didn't you?" Mitchell taunted, using the same words Wyndam had spoken to him. He chuckled softly, then stepped around Carl and moved towards Leigh. Carl grabbed his arm and he stopped, looking down at Carl's hand. Slowly he raised his eyes, the smile gone, and Carl inhaled sharply.
"Mitchell! Your eyes! What's he done to you?"
Mitchell didn't answer and after long moments, Carl finally removed his hand and Mitchell continued walking toward Leigh. When Carl moved to follow, Lawrence stepped in front of him, stopping him.
Leigh was no longer struggling, and her eyes were wide as Mitchell walked toward her. Padraig had released her head, but still held onto her upper arms. She looked small against him. Mitchell stopped in front of her, and looked down at her, smiling. He could smell her fear, and inhaled deeply.
"What's your name, sweetheart?" he asked nicely. Leigh's eyes darted to Carl, but Mitchell moved and blocked her view.
"No, don't look at Carl," he said softly, capturing her eyes with his. "Look at me. Just tell me your name. That's all." He continued to smile. She gave a slight shake of her head, but didn't look away from him.
"It's alright. Nothing's gonna happen to you. Just tell me your name. That's all," he told her, staring into her dark blue eyes. "It's alright, don't be afraid," he was still smiling. He saw her shoulders relax, and some of the tension leave her body. His smile deepened.
"What's your name?" he asked her again.
"Leigh," she whispered.
"Hello, Leigh. My name's Mitchell. You know what we are? What Carl is?" She nodded. Mitchell reached out to touch her shoulder-length blond hair, and she cringed as his hand came near her. He stopped for a moment, then slowly took a lock of her hair and rubbed it between his fingers, all the while looking into her eyes.
"Good. You're friends with Carl, aren't you?"
"Mitchell, stop this!" Carl shouted.
"Lawrence," Mitchell said quietly, keeping his eyes on Leigh. Lawrence quickly closed the distance between himself and Carl and the warning clear: Don't interfere. Carl's hands clenched into fists at his side.
"So, tell me, Leigh," Mitchell continued softly, still holding her gaze with his own. "Were Nina and George here?" She slowly nodded again. "Good. And where did they go?" He saw her tense again, and Padraig tightened his grip on her. "It's alright, Páidí. Leigh's gonna tell me what I want to know. Aren't you, Leigh? I'm not gonna hurt you. Just tell me where they are and we'll leave. That's all." His voice took on a lilting cadence, soft and easy, his Irish pronounced. He saw her pupils flare, and he tried not to grin. What was it about the accent? He could also see she was trying not to tell him, and he took a step closer to her.
"Mitchell, stop." Carl said it quietly. "I'll take you to them."
"I don't believe you, Carl," Mitchell answered in the same soft cadence, as though talking to a child. "I will believe Leigh, though. And she's gonna tell me, aren't you, darlin'?" He moved another inch closer to her and this time she didn't flinch. Her eyes were still wide, but he knew she wouldn't look away from him.
"Mitchell, please," Carl whispered. "Leave her alone. I'll help you. I swear it."
Mitchell didn't answer, still rubbing her hair between his fingers. He continued to hold her with his eyes, considering Carl's offer. The girl would tell him, eventually. Her heart was pounding and she was still trying to resist him, but she was becoming compliant. He could see it in the softening in her eyes. It just might take awhile, and he didn't want to waste time. He could always take her blood, weaken her to the point of telling him. He swallowed at the thought, and the smell of her blood ran through him. He shifted closer again, his eyes intense as they held hers.
"If you hurt her, you'll never find them," Carl warned. "I'm the only one that knows exactly where they've gone and how. She thinks she knows, but she doesn't. I lied to her, to protect her."
Mitchell focused on her heartbeat and what lay just under that throbbing point in her neck. He wasn't hungry and didn't need to feed, but it would feel good. It would also make a point to Carl. But Carl would do just that: lie to her to protect her. He had to admit that finding them would be easier with Carl's help. And he needed to find them, for Wyndam.
"Another time," he told her softly, slowly letting go of her hair. He raised his head, releasing her from his gaze, and she blinked several times as he stepped back from her.
"Where?" he said to Carl without looking back.
"Let her go."
Mitchell half turned and looked over his shoulder at Carl. He was no longer smiling.
"I won't ask again," he said. Taking a deep breath, Carl shook his head. Mitchell turned fully and faced Carl.
"Padraig," Mitchell said it quietly. Padraig's arm wrapped around Leigh's throat, his hand covering her mouth, and he again pulled her head to the side. Hissing and fangs showing, he slowly lowered his mouth toward her neck.
"No!" Carl yelled, jumping toward them, but Lawrence grabbed him, and then Padraig's teeth were at her throat. She was trying to scream, but Padraig's hand was covering her mouth.
"Okay! Okay. They've already gone. Airport. Ireland." Carl said it quickly. Padraig stopped but his teeth had broken the skin and droplets of blood were running down her neck. He licked at the blood and closed his eyes a moment, then raised his head, just a bit.
"See, now that wasn't too hard, was it?" Mitchell asked Carl.
"Let her go, Padraig," Carl said, eyes still on Mitchell. Padraig didn't move.
"Padraig, let's wait a bit," Mitchell finally said. Padraig hissed again, but raised his head away from Leigh's neck and retracted his fangs. His eyes remained solid black and he was breathing hard.
"Airline, names, where?" Mitchell asked, taking a few steps toward Carl.
"What about her?" Carl asked. Mitchell didn't answer, and waited for Carl to tell him what he wanted to know. Carl sighed heavily. "Why, Mitchell? They were your friends. They still are! You asked me to help them! Has Wyndam so brainwashed you?"
"I won't stop Padraig again," Mitchell told him. Carl clenched his jaw, and nodded, once.
"Ryanair. James and Elizabeth Thompson. Cork." Carl stared at Mitchell as he said it. Lawrence spoke into his mobile, telling someone to check the passenger list for the airline.
"Let me help you, Mitchell. Please. This is not you, it never was. What Wyndam has done to you is unforgivable. Let me help you," Carl said it softly, but Mitchell shook his head.
"Wyndam hasn't done anything except help me. He does, however, want to have a word with you," Mitchell smiled again.
"Then let's go somewhere and you can tell me about it. Just you and me. Let's go get a drink, we'll talk about this, and then if you still want to work for Wyndam, I'll leave you alone."
"I'd love to say yes to that," Mitchell told him.
"Great!" Carl said quickly. "Let Leigh go, and you and I will be on our way!"
"But the problem in getting a drink with you," Mitchell continued as though Carl hadn't spoken, "is that you mean a drink, not a drink." Smiling again. "Now, if you'd like to get a real drink, warm and salty and red, we'll go." Carl didn't answer, and Mitchell chuckled again. "Yeah, didn't think so."
"Flight's already left," Lawrence said, closing his mobile and looking at Mitchell, "but those names are on the passenger list, seats taken."
"Seems you're telling the truth, Carl," Mitchell said.
"I've never lied to you, in all the years I've known you. Can you say the same about Wyndam?"
Mitchell didn't answer, lost in thought.
"The jet will be ready again within the hour," Lawrence said. Mitchell looked at him and nodded, and Lawrence again opened his mobile.
"Now what?" Carl asked.
"Now, we bring them back," Mitchell told him. "They won't escape him. You do know that, don't you?"
"No one ever does," Carl said softly, his voice full of sadness.
"I know you don't understand this - yet," Mitchell told him. "But you will."
"No," Carl shook his head, "I'll never understand this," he gestured to Padraig holding Leigh.
"Have our people watch for them in Cork," Mitchell said to Lawrence. "Hold them until we get there. And check the airport here, and flights to London, Edinburgh, and all airports in Ireland. Just in case," Mitchell smiled again at Carl. Lawrence continued to speak into his mobile.
"What to do with you?" Mitchell mused, looking back at Leigh. Padraig was still holding onto her.
"Let her go, Mitchell," Carl told him. "If your people miss them at the airport, I'm the only one that can help you find them. You need me."
Mitchell turned back to Carl, wondering whether he could believe the words. Carl had never lied to him, but would he do it now to save a human? Probably.
"Here's what's going to happen," Mitchell said, walking closer to Carl. "Lawrence is going to have some of our people…escort…Leigh to Bristol, for her own safety. No," Mitchell held up a hand when Carl started to protest. "You come with us to pick up Nina and George, and then you return to Bristol, to Wyndam. Don't lie to me, don't cause problems, and when we get back to Bristol, she'll be released unharmed. Until then, she'll be under Wyndam's protection." Mitchell smiled again. "She can keep Peter's girlfriend company."
"Peter's girlf…you didn't! Tell me you didn't!" Carl took a step toward Mitchell.
"No, no, she's fine. For now. Wyndam will have Peter take care of her."
"Oh, Mitchell, how could you?"
"Back to your friend," Mitchell ignored Carl's question. "Give me your word, and we'll all be on our way."
"I see," Carl said. "And if I say no?"
"Well," Mitchell smiled, "then I guess Padraig finishes his snack."
"Don't, Carl!" Leigh yelled. Padraig clapped a hand over her mouth again. Her eyes were wide with fear, but she shook her head at Carl.
"The problem with your suggestion," Carl said evenly, "is that I don't trust Wyndam. You say she'll be released unharmed, but we both know Wyndam won't allow that. So I really don't think I can agree."
"You don't have a choice."
"Yes, I do. If you kill her now, or Wyndam does it later in Bristol, she still dies. You still turn me over to Wyndam. Either way, she and I both lose. So why should I agree to do anything?"
"Who said anything about killing her?" Mitchell said it softly and waited for Carl to understand. It didn't take long. Carl opened and closed his mouth, and narrowed his eyes at Mitchell.
"You wouldn't. Not even now, you wouldn't!" Carl said with disbelief. Mitchell didn't answer.
"You would recruit her?" Carl said through clenched teeth. Mitchell held his gaze and nodded.
"Damn you, Mitchell!" Carl's hands were clenched into fists and he was shaking. He took a step toward Mitchell, but Mitchell made no move, only watched him, wondering if he would really attack. Finally, Carl blew out a breath and turned, walking away from them all. Lawrence started to go after him, but Mitchell shook his head. Carl paced for several moments, and then stopped, remaining perfectly still with his head down. Finally, he raised his head and turned back to Mitchell.
"I don't trust Wyndam, at all. I'll trust you, though, if you give me your word," he told Mitchell. "I think some part of you is still in there. So I'll agree to this. Leigh stays here, in her own home, with one of yours. One that can be trusted. I'll go with you, and we'll find them. When we do, she's released. When I know she is safe, I'll go with you to Bristol and turn myself over to Wyndam."
Leigh squealed against Padraig's hand, and struggled against him, but Padraig held her tight. Her eyes were filled with tears.
"It's alright, Leigh," Carl told her, looking back to Mitchell. "I know what I'm doing. He knows if he hurts you or turns you, I'll never help him. He knows this is the only way." She squealed again, but stopped struggling.
"So, what do you say, Mitchell? I won't agree to anything else. Your way, she's already lost so I have no reason to agree. My way, you have my cooperation. I will trust you, and in the end, Wyndam wins. Again."
Mitchell was quiet for several moments, staring at Carl, considering the offer. Lawrence cleared his throat, loudly.
"Yes, Lawrence?" Mitchell asked.
"I don't believe Lord Wyndam would agree to such an arrangement."
"No, he probably wouldn't," Mitchell agreed. But Wyndam had made it clear that Mitchell was leading this mission, and his decisions were final, his orders to be followed. Mitchell looked over at Padraig, whose eyes were no longer solid black. Padraig nodded once, and Mitchell knew he'd support whatever decision was made. Lawrence's expression was, as always, unreadable. Finally, Mitchell took a breath and looked back at Carl.
"Alright. We'll try this your way. Leigh stays here, with Padraig, and you come with me. But if…"
"No," Carl interrupted.
"No?" Mitchell couldn't keep the surprise from his voice.
"No, not Padraig," Carl clarified. "He's tasted her. She won't be safe with him."
"He's bound to an Old One and under orders to do as I say. If I tell him to leave her alone, he will," Mitchell said evenly. Carl shook his head.
"Not Padraig. And not a new one. Someone old enough to be able to control themselves." Carl didn't blink as he looked at Mitchell. The silence stretched and neither of them would look away. Finally, a slow smile touched Mitchell's lips.
"Alright, Carl," he said quietly. "You wanna control the terms of this arrangement, you be willing to accept the consequences if you violate them." Carl frowned, and narrowed his eyes.
"If you lie to me," Mitchell said, "or deceive me, or try to help them, it will be you." He waited for Carl to understand.
"No!" Carl finally hissed.
"Yes!" Mitchell said loudly leaving no room for compromise. "You do anything but help me, you will be the one to turn her."
Carl didn't answer and his fingers curled into fists again.
"Well? What's it to be? Here, with a good chance of survival and an escape at the ready, or Bristol with little chance?"
"Who?" Carl asked through clenched teeth.
"Lawrence," Mitchell answered without hesitation, knowing Carl would accept. Carl's eyes darted to Lawrence.
"Whose is he now?"
"Wyndam's. For this assignment, mine."
"No," Carl shook his head. "If he's still Wyndam's, I won't trust him."
"Lawrence?" Mitchell didn't need to elaborate.
"Mitchell is the final say in this," Lawrence told Carl. "Even though I disagree with him, it is his decision to make, and I have been instructed to follow his orders. I will abide by whatever he promises you."
Carl looked at Leigh and the fear still showing on her face. She was shaking her head, eyes wide and filled with tears.
"It's either Lawrence, or Bristol," Mitchell said quietly. "If I have to decide for you, she won't like it."
"I will hold you responsible if anything happens to her," Carl told Mitchell.
"Agreed, Lawrence, here," Carl said quickly to Mitchell, holding out a hand. Mitchell shook it and smiled.
Looking away, Mitchell glanced at Lawrence and his smile faded as he wondered if Lawrence was right. Would Wyndam completely disapprove? He'd not heard Wyndam in his mind since leaving Barry. He might very well be making a mistake in doing this. He did, however, think Carl was the best way to find Nina, and this way, he'd have some leverage over Carl. If need be, Wyndam could always change his instructions to Lawrence and alter the arrangement. At that thought, Mitchell felt the soft brushing of approval in his mind, and he relaxed, smiling again.
"Good. Time to go. Lawrence, take Leigh inside," Mitchell said, turning to Leigh and grinning. "I look forward to seeing you again, Leigh."
Carl started toward her, and Padraig let her go. She ran to Carl and threw her arms around him. Mitchell chuckled softly when he saw Carl hold his breath against the smell of the blood on her neck.
"Are you all right?" Carl asked her, hugging her tightly.
"Yes, I'm fine, but please don't do this!" she told him.
"It'll be okay, don't worry. You'll be free of him soon, I promise," he whispered to her. "Remember what we talked about. Always wear it. Don't take it off, for any reason. I'll find a way to get you out of this. I promise." She nodded into his shoulder, tears running down her cheeks.
"Leigh, invite Lawrence inside," Mitchell reminded her. "Now, please."
Carl pushed back from her and wiped the tears from her cheeks. He nodded and smiled at her. Her lips quivered but she didn't smile.
"Lawr…" she cleared her throat. "Lawrence, I give you, and only you, permission to enter my home." She whispered it, but it was enough. Carl took her by the arm to walk her into the house.
"No, Carl," Mitchell told him.
"I need to collect my things."
"She can bring them out to you."
Leigh started to protest, but Carl shushed her and asked her to get his bag. She went into the house, and Lawrence followed her. She returned shortly, but it was Lawrence who held the bag in his hand, and with a look at Mitchell, he gave it to Carl.
"Nothing," Lawrence told Mitchell, indicating he had searched the bag. Carl just shook his head.
"Leigh," Mitchell said softly. "Please don't give Lawrence any trouble. Carl will be safe, as long as you behave yourself."
"Shut up, Mitchell!" Carl hissed.
"She needs to know she has a responsibility in this, too," Mitchell told him.
"Don't worry, Carl," Leigh said loudly. "Obviously, I'm very dangerous and Mitchell doesn't think Lawrence can keep one small, human woman prisoner inside her own home."
Her sarcasm made Mitchell laugh, and he walked over to her, again stepping in close and looking down at her.
"I like you," he told her softly, again picking up a piece of her hair. She didn't flinch, and he saw the defiance in her eyes. He liked her eyes, the deep blue of them, and imagined watching them as he took his time with her. "I'll look forward to seeing you again," he whispered, his grin anything but nice.
"Leave her alone, Mitchell," Carl growled. "If you've finished threatening, let's go."
Mitchell chuckled, and finally let go of Leigh's hair. He looked back at Lawrence and motioned with his head for Lawrence to step off to the side.
"Be careful," Mitchell warned Lawrence, speaking quietly. "Carl will have taught her what to do to protect herself. Watch for the religious shit, and there's probably several stakes in every room."
"Are you sure about this?" Lawrence asked.
"Yeah, Wyndam's cool with it. Carl is smart, and he'll have sorted some way so we can't find them. I expect him to still try to throw us off track, but now he'll think twice about seriously lying. For some reason, she's important to him. Find out who she is. And find out what she knows and what he told her."
"Be careful. I don't trust him, this was too easy."
"I'll check in later." Mitchell turned and brushed past Carl, heading for the road where their car and driver waited. He didn't look at or speak to Carl. Carl sighed and followed him, Padraig not far behind.