I turned and frantically tried to go back into the building. Somebody had to help Hiromi! The door was locked from the inside. Plum went to a dumpster, fished out a wad of plastic bags, used them to wrest the dagger from my hand and tossed the whole thing into the dumpster, concealing it beneath an overflowing trash bag.
From her purse, she pulled a pack of wet wipes for her hands and the blood on my face. Plum cleaned us up, depositing the soiled wipes in the dumpster, and started pulling me out of the alley. I fought to free myself, screaming hysterically. Plum grabbed my shoulders, angrily shaking me.
“Stop that Patricia. You’re attracting attention. Are you trying to get us caught?”
I began cried inconsolably and sank to my knees, weak with grief. Hiromi had become like a friend to me…as close to a friend as someone like me will ever have. She had warned me about Plum and I didn’t listen. Part of me believed that Hiromi would have helped me, when the time came to leave Plum. I know it sounds crazy, after the way she used me. But that’s where my head was at the time.
With her dead, I was completely dependent on Plum to help me navigate through a world peopled with witches and warlocks. Now, I was a murderer. Why had Plum made me do that? I thought she was my friend. If I couldn’t trust her, then who could I trust? Nothing made sense anymore.
Somehow, Plum got me up on my feet, propelled me down the street and into the car she had driven. I couldn’t stop crying. Plum drove into a nearby park. She pulled tissues from a box on the back seat and dabbed at my tear-soaked face.
“Please stop crying Patricia. You’re going to make me cry. I’m sorry…I didn’t realize killing Hiromi would have this affect on you. I thought we agreed…”
“You insisted and I stupidly agreed, just to shut you up! I wanted to talk to her, to find out why she…”
“I don’t understand people’s pathetic need to hear people’s motivations. Do you really think there is any justification she could give that would make it okay for her to use you to murder me? I don’t understand why you’re so upset. Were you friends with her?”
“I…no, to tell the truth I barely knew her.”
“Then what was it…were you attracted to her?”
“No, I just didn’t want to kill her okay?”
“Even though she was willing to get you killed, by pitting you against me? If you’re going to be part of my coven, then…”
“Maybe I don’t want to be a part of your coven anymore. What makes you different from Hiromi? You don’t care about me any more than she did! You don’t give a fuck about me!”
I had finally said out loud, what I had feared the whole time…that Plum was never really my friend and no matter what lengths I went to, she would never care about me. I was still all alone. I would always be alone. Tears flooded my eyes. I sobbed until my breath came in jagged gasps. My heart was breaking. I half expected Plum to berate me for being so weak.
“Look at me Patricia.”
I was too afraid to look at Plum. It would be unbearable to look into her eyes and see disgust or pity sitting in them. Instead, I turned, climbed out of the car and ran blindly into the darkness. Already short of breath from sobbing, I didn’t get far before Plum’s hand closed around my left wrist. She turned me to face her, with my wrists captured in her strong hands, and spoke consolingly.
“Please stop Patricia. Don’t go…don’t leave me…I need you…I love you,” she panted.
Her words had barely registered before I felt the shock of her warm, soft lips on my chilled wet cheeks. Her hands released my wrists and slowly slid up my bear arms, along the tops of my shoulders and up to cradle my face. I gasped involuntarily and her lips closed over mine.