Time passed as I sat by the window, with the cool, fragrant night air on my face. Roses, I thought, trying to remember whether I'd seen a rose garden outside. And pines. I looked at the sky, wondering how long it would be until dawn. I tried to recall the events that had taken place earlier that evening, but everything was a blur. There was an image of Rodan's room, of Rodan asleep, his eyeballs moving restlessly behind his near-translucent eyelids, but that was all.
Paulos hadn't spoken since we came in, nor had he bothered to light a candle. Instead he had taken my elbow and guided me through the dark to the seat where I was sitting now. There was a table in front of me and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness I could make out more details - a bookcase, scattered pens and papers on the table, and Paulos' silent form facing me.
"Good," he said.
Well, yes. There didn't seem to be a lot that I could say to that.
I could hear him chuckle. "You don't realise how unusual this place is. Or how much it cost me to make it what it is. To keep the... madness out."
There was an uneasy silence, as neither of us seemed to know what to say next.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to be rude."
"That's quite all-right."
"Is there anything that you want from me?" He probably wouldn't answer, but then again you never know.
"Want from you, my dear fellow, whatever would I want from you?"
Suddenly I felt cold and I could feel the little hairs on my arms stand on end. I didn't know what it was, but there was something about his apparent good cheer, about that 'my dear fellow' business, that set off alarm bells all over the place. I began to shift forward on my seat and moving my weight toward my feet, so that I could get up and get out in a hurry. I risked a glance, trying to assess whether there were any obstacles between me and the door.
"Now, don't go just yet." He laughed, a sound as scary as any I had ever heard in my life.
"Please," I said, "I have done nothing to you."
"Oh, but you have." I thought I could now make out his eyes, staring at me from across the table. "You have robbed me of a very dear, old friend."
I couldn't move. I couldn't think, or speak, and all impetus to fight or flee had drained from my body. Part of me wanted to protest, to say that I didn't know what he was talking about, and, in truth, I didn't - and yet, I had killed so many, so did it even matter? He obviously thought I was guilty and, in all probability, I was.
"You don't know who I'm talking about, do you?" I shook my head, unable to reply.
I could see him covering his face with his hands, and the sound of his belaboured breathing, amplified by his cupped palms, seemed to reverberate in the room. My chest felt constricted and I could only take slow, shallow breaths as I waited for him to continue.
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