I was running through a hall, a brown-haired girl ran in front of me and I wasn’t able to catch up. It was the middle of the summer, the sun was setting, the house was full of giggles, and I was the happiest I had ever been in a long time. We ran towards the door for the backyard, the closer I got the brighter the light, and when I reached the frame the light was so bright I had to close my eyes. Everything went dark, and the giggles began to fade, in their place other aged voices began to sound in my head. My parents? My grandmother? My older sister?
I recognized Miss Duran’t voice, but not the language. Was I always this slow? A male voice, probably Mister Durant, also seemed to be speaking whatever she spoke. It took me about ten seconds to recognize it as French, and then I noticed they where switching between English and French. I could only make out a few sentences.
“…how did I not foresee it? Je n’en sais rien, Adéle! … maybe, but…”
“…I’ll investigate it further with Dietrich… Oui, oui, oui…”
I opened my eyes: my vision was hazy and all I could make out was a ceiling. I blinked a couple of times to try and clear my vision until I recognized the color of the walls. We were back at Miss Durant’s and I was probably laying down on one of the sofas. Did I black out? Was I hit? What where we chasing anyway? I rubbed my eyes a bit, and sat up.
“Miss Gladstone, pleased to see you back among the living.”
“The new secretary?”
“If she decides to stay, after these shenanigans I might’ve scared her off. However I have confidence in her senses. ”
“Nonsense, I bet she loved it.”
I sat facing Miss Durant and who I assumed was her brother, as I did a wet towel fell from my forehead and onto my lap. I placed the towel on the coffee table in front of me and noticed a glass of water with a slice of lemon. Was it the same one from earlier?
“Miss Gladstone, this is my brother, Luc Durant.”
“Enchanté, miss Gladstone.”
We shook hands, I was still a bit dizzy.
“I’m sorry, Miss Durant, I think I was knocked out by… whatever we were chasing…”
“Not to worry, I believe you dove a little too late to use your shield properly. But you are safe and well.”
“Miss… what… why… I mean, what happened back there?”
There was a silence in the room, Miss Durant looked at her brother and made a pleading face. Mister Durant shrugged and got up. I was feeling slightly frustrated. I was promised no harm, and there was clearly something in that house that might’ve caused more harm than a blackout if I had let it. Although because I was too slow I might’ve even returned fully aware. And unless Miss Durant didn’t know about the thing, she might justify her lack of worry… But then why take a damn shotgun and antique shield?
I reached up to touch my forehead but found no scars.
“You were the one interviewing her. I suggest you finish.”
Miss Durant gave her brother a threatening look and turned to me.
“Miss Gladstone. Abby, was it?”
“Trust me, I am just as dumbfounded as you, we are not quite sure what that creature was. If we’d have known we would have either been alerted of its presence in the vicinity, or else the news would have already spread some form of warning. We were not expecting anything to go wrong tonight.”
I felt my frustration slowly fade, being replaced by confidence in Miss Durant’s words. But there were details about the incident that made me doubt she wasn’t as astounded and clueless as she claimed. My frustration rose again.
“You seemed prepared, though.”
“Ah, the shotgun? Merely a precaution. We had already sent a boy to inform us of the situation, and his reaction and description of the situation convinced me we might need some form of defense.”
“And the shield? I mean, it looked pretty old.”
“That old thing? It’s been in the family for years. I thought we might as well give you some form of defense, and we didn’t exactly have, um, those… um…”
“Oui, merci, Luc. So I gave you the closest thing we had that would grant some protection upon you.”
“Why would I even need a bullet-proof vest, then? If you where expecting gunfire I don’t think I was the right person to accompany you tonight.”
“Gunfire? Not at all, Abby. I only meant to prevent even the slightest bruise. Clearly my promise was broken in the process, and I do apologize. I expected nothing of the sort to happen tonight.”
The room had finally come to a complete stop, but my mind was still going in circles. I wanted to interrogate them further, but felt they had given me all the answers they could give me. Then again I was to work for them, and I didn’t want to always have to risk my health.
“Why take me, then? I wasn’t bait, was I?”
“Abby! Of course not! Why on earth would I use a person I am to employ for what I hope to be a long time as bait to assure my safety?”
I was slowly starting to trust Miss Durant’s story, but my gut kept resisting her words. Maybe I needed to think this on my own without any influence.
“Miss Durant, thank you for the interview, but I will think about it and let you know tonight. Is that ok? I mean, I don’t mean to be rude for the opportunity… But…”
“Of course, Miss Gladstone, I understand perfectly. This was quite the interview and I can only imagine how many things you must think of before confirming or denying any employment with Durant & Dietrich. I do apologize about the whole affair tonight.”
I gave her a smile. Damned if I knew why, though, I just felt like it.
“Would you permit us to drive you home, at least?”