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Lydia had been reading and considering getting up when the knock came at the front door. She leapt out of bed, dressed rapidly and got to the stairs in time to see Daniel and Karen heading to kitchen with Laxmi. Matthias was coming up the stairs with a couple of flasks.
“That’s the antidote?” she asked.
“Yes. Darlryan sent it with Laxmi; he thinks she needs to tell us about her people.”
“That’s probably a good idea,” Lydia said. “I think I’ll join her and Karen. I’m nosy and I want breakfast anyway.”
She slipped into the kitchen and sat down at the table opposite Laxmi. “Good morning.”
Karen looked around at her and smiled. “Morning, Lyd. I’m just pouring Laxmi a cuppa before we head to the lounge. Do you want some?”
“Yes, and I’ll make myself some breakfast in a minute as well.” She looked over at Laxmi curiously. “This is probably a totally inappropriate thing to ask but can I see your claws, please?”
“Uh?” Laxmi looked flummoxed by the request for a long moment before she nodded. “Yes, of course.” She stretched her fingers out on the table and the shadowy claws appeared around them. “But why?”
“I’m curious about them and you.” Lydia leaned over for a closer look. “Can I touch them?”
“I-I suppose, but I doubt you’ll like the feeling of them. Be careful not to cut yourself on them – the wounds don’t heal easily.”
“I know,” Lydia said absently as she studied the claws some more. “I saw what they did to Halia.” She reached out cautiously and prodded one. Immediately a slimy cold feeling shot up her arm and she pulled her hand back with a startled cry.
“I’m sorry, I did warn you it would be unpleasant,” Laxmi said.
“Unpleasant yes,” she said. “But it’s intriguing as well.” Lydia reached out and stroked the same claw again, shuddering at the cold feeling but managing to not to pull back. “What makes you feel like that? I mean obviously it’s part of what you are, but do you know why?”
Laxmi shook her head. “I think our energy is out of sync somehow, but I don’t know how or why.”
“I’d agree with that,” Naria said from the doorway. She was standing there with Andrew. “It would explain why you taste so horrible.” She paused. “That was creepy of me, wasn’t it?”
“Yes,” Karen said as she put the teapot onto a tray with several cups.
“Not at all,” Laxmi said simultaneously. “You just spoke the truth.”
“Well I think it’s creepy.” Karen picked up the tray. “Let’s head into the lounge and check the news like we were going to.”
Much to Karen’s relief, the news showed no further flare ups like the one they’d responded to yesterday, though there were a lot of talking heads speculating about what was happening – and inevitably the supernatural was being mentioned more seriously. After all, what else could have caused the rip in the sky?
One piece of news did make her stomach knot up though.
“Parliament is being recalled.” She chewed on her lip. “Here we go.”
“I’m just amazed they didn’t do that immediately,” Laxmi said. “I would have expected them to.”
“Yeah, that is a bit odd,” Lydia said. “I wonder why they didn’t?” She poured herself a cup of the tea before biting into her toast. “I wonder what they’ll do now.”
“They’ll want to quell the rioting,” Karen said. “The worst case scenario is martial law. Hopefully they’ll do something less aggressive. Martial law would be awkward if we need to move to help someone else like those kids yesterday.” She looked around as their parents came in. “Won’t it?”
“Well it won’t help,” Matthias said. “But it could be worse. We can work around them if needed.” He looked around the room and hummed thoughtfully. “Selene and those two kids from Birmingham will be fine now and there’s still enough antidote left for one or two more people. We’ll wait for the others come down and the Laxmi can tell us about her kind.”
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