She was still in her hiding place when Atlas and Stefan came into the room.
When she heard Atlas’ voice, she started to come out, but there was a whimpering that caught her attention. It caught her because maybe she was just being paranoid because Tairyn was a big shock to her system, but it sounded like a whimper she knew far too well.
So she didn’t move. Instead, she tried to remember the amateur spell Ribbon had taught her earlier that week, the one for shifting her vision through solids. Ribbon had, of course only taught her as a joke so that she could see into rooms to see if anyone was busy before she barged in, but she was thinking this was a good use for it, a better use for it, actually. If only she could remember the hand gestures. She could remember the words, Sha mi re.
As she thought it over, she listened.
“I’m telling you, she is here. She can control him if you just give her a chance. Getting rid of him is an incredible waste, Atlas.” Stefan was arguing against something, but Amadhay hadn’t listened enough to the conversation to know what they are talking about.
“I’m not taking the chance,” Atlas said, sounding tightly wound but in control. “I don’t think she is in the place where we can ask her to do something like this for us, not yet. Maybe not ever.”
“What use is she if we don’t—” Atlas cut Stefan off before he could go any further.
“She isn’t something to use,” he hissed.
That was when Amadhay remembered the hand gestures. Pressing her forefinger and thumbs together to form a long teardrop shape and pressing the rest of her fingers together at the knuckles, she put her hands to her face so that her forefingers were at her hairline and her thumbs were at her chin. “Sha,” she whispered before slowly spreading her fingers until they are all forming an oval around her eyes, with her thumbs pressed together on her nose. “Mi,” she whispered before flicking her hands outwards at the seat, which was obstructing her view, and whispering, “Re.”
It worked instantly and Amadhay froze when she could see Atlas with his hand around Stefan’s throat. He was squeezing, making the other man choke. “And you don’t make the decisions about her. I do.”
He let go of Stefan and the man coughed, trying to get air back into his lungs as he turned away from Atlas, bracing his hands on his knees.
“Do you understand?” Atlas asked, bending over so that his face was inches from Stefan’s. They stared at each other for a few clicks before Stefan nodded.
“I understand,” he hissed, his voice sounding rough.
“Good,” Atlas said, turning from Stefan and, coincidentally, Amadhay, to face the whimpering mess on the floor near the door.
It was Indigo.
Atlas knelt down to be on Indigo’s level, pulling the cat-boy’s head up to look at him. “Indigo, I’m only going to give you one last chance. If you would only agree to help us, none of this would be necessary. We wouldn’t have to keep you here, locked up. You could be free to wander as you please.”
“Indy only makes mud men for Mistress Kitty,” Indigo spat in a hoarse whisper. Amadhay could see marks on his throat, a dark red against his pale skin. From her distance and possibly because of the spell, she couldn’t tell what they were from, but she would guess that hands probably left them.
“We have your Mistress Kitty, Indigo,” Stefan claimed, making Amadhay angry. Why wouldn’t they have just asked her to talk to Indigo? She would have. She hated the thought of him being chained and hurt.
“Mistress Kitty would never work with bad men,” Indigo claimed, once again freezing Amadhay in her spot. “Mistress Kitty is good.”
Atlas sighed. “We are good, Indigo. I’m sorry that we’ve hurt you, but we need you to make golems for us. If you will help us, I’ll take you to Amadhay. I’m sure she’d like to see you.”
“Indy only makes mud men for Mistress Kitty,” Indigo said again, before adding, “Indy would die before letting bad men close to Mistress Kitty. Bad men want to make Mistress Kitty bad too!”
“No one wants to change Amadhay,” Atlas crooned, reaching out to pet Indigo’s head. The cat-kin tensed, as if waiting for pain. When Atlas didn’t hurt him, only stroked his head, the catboy hissed and bit Atlas, who didn’t so much as flinch, before pulling his hand back. “That was unnecessary.”
“Bad man hurt Indy before,” the small man whispered, curling up, and facing the wall. “Bad men hurt Indy and bad man will hurt Mistress Kitty. Indy will die before Indy lets bad man hurt her.”
“I would never hurt her,” Atlas said, starting to sound irritated that the situation wasn’t changing.
“Bad man will. Bad men always do.”
Atlas finally scoffed, standing up at his full height as he shook his head in disgust. “It isn’t working,” he said, more to himself than to either of the known occupants of the room. He turned and stared thoughtfully directly at Amadhay, as if he could see her, even though she knew that he couldn’t. After a moment of silence, he glanced back at Indigo. “If we told you that Amadhay—”
“Nothing bad men say will change Indy’s head. Indy only makes mud men for Mistress Kitty. Mistress Kitty is good. Bad man isn’t.”
“This is pointless.” Atlas spat as he shook his head. He knelt down to Indigo and forced the catboy to look him in the eyes. Amadhay couldn’t see what he was doing, but she knew that he was saying something softly to her former servant. After a few clicks of that, Atlas stood back up, ignoring Indigo. “Kill him however you want,” he waved at Stefan before stepping over Indigo and leaving the room.
Stefan shook his head, looking away from the door, to Indigo, where he was curled into a ball. “Waste. Such a terrible waste,” he muttered. “And all we had to do was bring my Little Warrior here.” He shook his head again, but this time, a grin started to take over his face, a look Amadhay wasn’t used to seeing on him. His lipless mouth widened and curved at the corner, showing a hint of his sharpened teeth.
He took his time moving around the room as though he were setting the scene, rolling his crisp white sleeves up to his elbows and pulling his cloak open and behind his hips to reveal a gleaming silver gun in its holster at his hip. The closer he got to Indigo, the more Amadhay wanted to reveal herself and save her friend.
But she couldn’t.
It was as if she were five again, hiding in the trunk, watching as her parents were murdered. She couldn’t move, even though she knew that she could save him. All the same terror and powerlessness came back to her. It was happening all over again, and all because she was too much of a coward to move.
She had almost pulled herself out of her paralysis when he knelt in front of Indigo and the voice he used sounded gentle, like the one he used to comfort her. “Want to hear something funny?”
Indigo shook his head, his ears folding down as he whimpered. Stefan’s grin turned into a full, open-mouthed smile, showing off his teeth, which were becoming even sharper, much like a vampire’s did with increased bloodlust. Amadhay didn’t even breathe, the fear coming back at seeing the change in someone she had stupidly trusted.
“Your Mistress Kitty is much worse than any of the rest of us combined. We’re trying to make her good. If you saw her now, you probably wouldn’t even recognize her.” He gave a sharp laugh, “Now that I think about it, having her here probably would have just killed you faster.” He slapped Indigo none-too-gently. “Be happy. You get to keep your ideal Mistress Kitty with you.”
He shot Indigo three times. It happened so quickly that, had Amadhay blinked, she would have missed him drawing the silver pistol, aiming with haphazard looking precision, pulling the trigger three times, and then tucking the gun back into its holster. Then the man was stepping away from the cat-kin.
“Bleed out quietly, will you?” Stefan asked, a serious expression on his face as he rolled his sleeves back down and straightened them. He looked down at Indigo, who made no sound, his violet eyes closed as he silently cried. “I don’t want the girls to hear you. Their bleeding hearts would make them try to save you and then I’d have to kill you all over again.”
He smiled at Indigo before he, too, stepped right over him and closed the door behind himself.