His eyes flickered from sadness to sadistic delight. Edda sat back in her cage. The longer the man stared at her, the more frightened she was.
“Are you going to kill me?”
The man thought a moment, his head resting on the metal bars. He looked at Edda intently.
“Why would I need to do that?”
Edda shrugged her shoulders, too afraid to answer.
“Are you going to give me a reason to kill you?”
Edda shook her head.
The man smiled the same devious smile. “Then I guess you’re safe.”
The man stood up straight and adjusted his jacket. He reached his hand through the metal bars at Edda.
Edda reached for her pocket then stopped. She reached out her hand.
The man paused.
“Negotiating? Not really my style, but I could think about it.”
He looked over his shoulder at the leather bag hanging carelessly off a branch. He looked back at Edda and her hand that was now shaking.
“You certainly are attached to that bag,” he said thoughtfully.
Edda sat up a little straighter, her hand still extended.
“Do we have a deal?”
The man looked back at the satchel.
“What’s in there that you don’t want me to have?”
“Nothing,” Edda said quickly.
The man shot his glance back at her but said nothing. He took a step towards the hanging bag.
“No!” Edda didn’t mean to shout but her heart was racing.
She pulled the curse out of her pocket and held it out for him to see.
“This is what you want isn’t it? Take it. Then let me go.”
The man pondered his situation. He looked at Edda, studying her, looking for a sign of weakness.
“What is that satchel worth to you?”
Edda held the curse closer to him. “I don’t need this.”
“But you do need that.” He pointed to the satchel.
He grabbed the iron bars and squeezed his rough face in between them. The pressure smoothed out the wrinkles on his face, which made him look even more disgusting.
“What is it worth to you?” He asked again slowly.
Edda licked her lips. She wasn’t sure how she was going to talk her way out of this. Her heart pounded with each second she didn’t answer him. Her throat was too dry to form words. She grasped at every passing thought, trying to make a plan.
“Take it.” Edda threw the bottled curse at him.
The man quickly grabbed it before it could smash against the bars.
He held it up to his face. “You have no idea the kind of power you were carrying, do you?”
Edda shook her head slightly, afraid of his explanation.
The curse turned over in the man’s hands as he admired it, like a precious jewel. “Let’s just say,” he said, slipping it in to his pocket, “it will give me back what’s rightfully mine, once and for all.”
As soon as he spoke, Edda reached back for the curse but the man swatted her hand away.
“Tisk, tisk, we made a deal remember? No going back on that now.”
Edda’s stomach churned. In her attempts to save her sister she was slowly tearing this world apart.
The man’s lips curled into a smile. Edda felt the color drain from her face. The man reached in, grabbing her hand just below the wrist. Edda struggled but his grip was too tight. She pulled and writhed. His hand held her arm tighter. She kept pulling her arm back, scraping her feet across the floor to gain leverage. But the man’s strength was overpowering her. She kicked her foot against the metal bars where he stood, trying to push him back. The man just kept smiling, holding on to her arm.
She broke free. Her hand whipped back and hit the bars behind her. The man’s eyes widened and he crumpled to the ground. Everett stood behind him, the sword in his hand dripping with fresh blood.
For more of Casey Roach: