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Whispering Death (part 12)

Drina let out a long and exhausted sigh, pressing her head against the door to the entrance of the hostel. She couldn’t take any more of this night and just wanted to sleep. Although, the moment she stepped inside the building there was no way Lulu nor Ocan would allow it without answers. It will only be a little longer, she promised herself. If she just ripped the bandaid off quickly seeing them tonight, she could get a few hours of sleep before morning. After all that had happened, she highly doubted they would be able to leave town so easily now. Having to lie low for a while because of the events of the night, Drina planned that once the uprising had washed over, they could leave in peace. All of it was speculation, however, since she needed to speak with everyone inside before a plan could be formulated. No longer did she have full control to just do what they needed to. Ocan had a say and it was time Drina respected it.

Holding the handle tightly on the door, she pushed it inwards and prepared herself for the worst. The foyer was empty leaving Drina to suspect that everyone had gathered into the office instead while they waited. Before she could finish turning the corner to the hall, she was ambushed with a wind-knocking hug. Drina grunted at the blow, her body almost giving out as Ocan took the full weight. Her grip was tight and relentless around her hips, tears staining her clothes as Drina wrapped her arms around Ocan.

“Lana! I was so scared! I thought you were going to die on stage and I couldn’t do anything to help you!”

Although Drina was upset that her sister using her real name, it was not the time or place to chastise her. “Ocan. I’m sorry, I am alright. I am glad to see you here safe.”

Down the hall in the common room entrance stood both Lulu and Hestar. They watched with solemn eyes, waiting until Ocan had calmed down enough to release her death grip around Drina. Even though she was too old to be carried, Drina lifted her sister into her arms. Ocan wrapped her arms around Drina neck, hugging her gently while she held her sister close. Carrying her, she met the other two in the room. Together they head toward the couches, taking one in the far corner.

“Are all the guests asleep already?” Drina asked Lulu, adjusting Ocan on her lap.

Lulu sighed, rubbing at her temple. “There are no guests tonight. In fear of what had happened, most knew you were staying here and left elsewhere. For the better, I think anyway.”

Drina felt terrible at the news. “I am sorry to scare business away. I didn’t expect...Well I mean, I didn’t know this would happen.”

Everything was a nightmare. The show ended poorly, the town was buzzing at the news of the missing boy being found, and to top it off, she was losing Lulu business. Closing her eyes, she rested her head against Ocan’s. How could it possibly get any worse?

“Lulu, I know that you refuse to take my coin, but is there a way I can repay you for everything you have done for me and Ocan?”

There was a grumble from the women, her words leaking her frustration yet they were kind. “No, it is fine. How could I possibly take your coin after all the help Ocan has been to me? I will ask that you do something about this mutt though. He is spreading mud all over the place and I generally don’t allow animals to stay inside.”

Drina shot her eyes open. Did she say mutt? No, there was no way. “What are you ta- AAAHHH!”

The feeling of a wet nose nudged at her hand, starling her. Her yell spooked Ocan causing her to jump, hitting her head against Drina’s face. The chain reaction caused both of the girls to grab at the collided parts of their body while the mutt jumped up in an attempt to sit on both their laps. Lulu sat back unamused at the sudden chaos unfurling before her while Hestar desperately tried to hold her laughter in. Dealing with both Ocan and the mutt on her lap, Drina lost her temper. She was far too tired to deal with all that was going on and shoved both of them off her lap. The dog landed on the floor while Ocan slid off to the side of her on the couch with a giggle. Standing up, she growled at the mutt.

“What are you doing here?! Go home!”

Waving her hand towards the door, the mutt sat down instead, tilting its head. Ocan grumbled loudly in discontent. “Awwwweee. Can’t we keep him?”

Drina pivoted around to face the group. “No! We can’t keep him! He is not ours! Besides, do you even know what this beast is?!”

Hestar spoke up, crossing her arms in defense. “Hey now, that is cruel! This dog followed us after you left the stage and never left Ocan’s side.”

The news was not any more comforting to Drina since she knew what it truly was. Glancing between Hestar and Ocan, they both wore puppy eyes that were hard to argue against. “Wha….” She looked to Lulu for support instead. Maybe she would help her rid of the hellhound. Instead, all she did was uncross her arms to stand. “He did stay to protect Ocan. If it wants to stay, then you need to deal with it.”

Drina’s jaw dropped at the reply while Ocan cheered alongside Hestar. Palming her face with her hand, it was no use to fight it. “Fine. I will deal with it in the morning. We can talk then too. For now, I desperately need sleep.”

Throwing her hands into the air, Drina stomped off towards the sleeping area. Hestar called out behind her to stop her. “Maybe stay in the office tonight. Since no one is here, we are going to close the room up. No need for it with so few people around.”

Drina stopped, turning back towards her. “Wait, where are you going to sleep then?”

A small brief smirk crawled across Hestars face, one that screamed mischief. Intense heat swarmed Drina’s face. Was she going to sleep in the same room with her? It meant that they would be in close proximity without the distance the bunks offered. Once Ocan had fallen asleep, the possibilities were endless to what could happen. The idea of sleeping next to each other, feeling her warmth made her feel faint as her imagination began to wander. It was quickly squashed by Lulu, who knew the trouble Hestar was starting.

“With me in the back room. You and Ocan will have privacy together. Alone.”

Ocan broke out into laughter at the sudden disappointment on Drinas face, her dreams crushed in a single second. Flustered that she was caught by her sister, Drina scoffed and flew down the hall. Maybe a good cold shower would calm her, not to mention the smudged makeup, mud, and soot covering her body. She was in need of a good scrub. Heading to the bunk to remove their things, she brought them with her inside the washroom. It was strange to see the place completely empty, the intense calm in such a building made it uncomfortable. It was a good idea to spend the night in a smaller room instead of the larger one, Drina would find it harder to sleep otherwise. She didn’t mind sleeping out in the open when they had been traveling and there were no places to stay, however, it was easier to find secluded spots to shelter from on comers. Staying in such a room without other people made them an easier target to find and attack.

Shaking off the heebe jeebes, Drina bolted the rest of the way into the washroom. The small room held several stalls, each with curtains to give privacy. A table sat just inside the stalls, far enough to keep from getting wet yet protected from passer byers from thieving while the person was rinsing. Given that no one else was with them, it gave Drina some comfort that she needn’t bring all the things into the cramped stall. Instead, she plunked it on a bench provided in the middle while she began to dig for her things. It was as good a time as any to wash her clothes since they could be hung to dry. Pulling out two bars of soap, a clean change of clothes, and her toothbrush, she set them into a small pile from the rest.

Placing her hands on her hips in compilation, she glanced at the door while biting at her tongue. For once, there was no reason she needed to rush in and out of the shower. With a smirk, she felt confident to strip out in the open. Removing her wraps, she took time to inspect them as well for wear or tears, dropping them to the floor until she was bare. Before picking the clothes up, she inspected her arms. The red paint had smudged off and the blood was already flaking in chunks. Rubbing at her muscle in her forearm, she thought back to how it must have looked to the crowd at her using her blood to draw the markings. Letting go of her arm, she reached to look at her stomach as well, the sigil distorted with both mud and soot. Climbing through the window of the building also had scratched along her skin, leaving a jagged cut. It was small and would heal quickly leaving her unconcerned.

Turning to face the wall where a line of mirrors hung, she caught a glimpse of the makeup on her face. The red was worn off, mostly from the use of her protection spell which ate at the color. The fact it had gone clear meant it served its purpose, which was more disturbing than relieving. Her eyeshadow had streaked down her cheeks from tears and sweat, giving her a worn and wrecked look. Scoffing at how terrible she looked, Drina grabbed her clothes and soaps with haste, turning to the stall closest to her. Tossing the bundle to the table, she turned the water on to run, letting it warm up a little first. Feeling the water with her hands, she allowed the water to soak into them, watching as the red began to trickle off and hit the floor. It mixed with the water, leaving a line as it streaked towards the drain.

It was a good thing the pigment was strong, even better it didn’t dye any surface it touched. With all the magical properties it held, it made for the best kind of paint to use for spells and rituals. Not that she knew many in the first place since her specialty was not on the same line as those skills. She only knew those that would protect her or Ocan, if she ever needed to use them. Brushing her hand against her skin, the paint washed off easily. All Drina wanted now was to remove the memory of the day’s events. Making quick work of the soap to her clothes and body, Drina felt refreshed once the water was turned off. Stepping out of the stall, she hung her wet clothes first then began to wrap the clean, dry set around her. They were not colorful like her other pair, made with blacks and shades of brown instead. Drina didn’t like wearing them as much since it reminded her of constantly being surrounded by death. The colors gave her a sense of living, brightening up her day just a little.

Finishing the first cloth around her torso, she considered the second piece, debating if she should layer more. Looking down at her loose flowing pants and exposed stomach, she bit her lip. Was it worth wearing more clothes since she already had shown so much of her body during the seance? It wasn’t something she commonly practiced, though, with only the women left in the building, she didn’t feel the overwhelming need to be modest. Plus, the way Hestar stared did make her feel attractive. Feeling the fabric between her fingers, she decided to wrap it up again, placing it back into her bag. Maybe she could embrace her physic a little since there was no rush to leave. They would need to keep it low for a while now with all the uprising she had caused. Packing up her things, she left. In the morning she would deal with the hanging clothes so for now, she just wanted to sleep.

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