“Don’t be scared please,” he whispered, his voice trembling slightly.
“Why would I be scared of you?” I asked.
He replied, “I’m not normal.”
I paused, wanting to stand up and open the door myself. He sounded normal. He talked with respect. Surely he couldn’t be that odd.
His foot scraped against the stone floor. “Can I come in now?”
“If you want,” I answered, sitting straighter in my chair. I quick glanced around to make sure my room was clean as he opened the door, slowly pushing against it. He kept to the shadows, hesitant to enter.
“What’s your name?” I asked, trying to let him know he was welcome. “All I hear Will call you is ‘the Master’.”
“How do you know I am the Master?” He sounded more curious than surprised.
My mouth twitched into a half smile. “Will said there were only you, me, and him in the whole castle. And you don’t sound like Will.”
He stepped inside, keeping his head down so his face was shadowed. His dark hair looked patchy, his scalp showing in some places. His cheeks were raised as if he was smiling. He bowed slightly, his clothes, covering every inch of him from neck to ankles and wrists, rustling. “Kendrew. My name is Kendrew Wray.”
Silence fell then and I shifted. “Would you like to come sit by the fire? It gets chilly in here at night.”
He shuffled forward, preferring his right leg to his left. “Thank you.” He sat in a chair close to mine but kept his face turned away. “I trust you are comfortable here, aside from the chill?”
“For the most part,” I replied, smoothing my hands down my skirt.
He nodded absently, “May I call you Ichelle?”
I looked at him questioningly.
“I heard you and Will the first day you arrived. I’m afraid he cannot speak so well, which is why he calls you Ah-shell.”
“What am I to call you? Master?” I asked warily. I was not going to call anyone ‘master’, not even if I was to be his servant.
“No,” he said quickly, sounding horrified. “You may call me Kendrew, as is my name. I should hope you will see me as an equal.”
Anger burned suddenly. “Then why did you kidnap me?”
He looked sad now. “Would you rather be in county jail? Or would you prefer to be here where it’s comfortable?”
“I want to know why it’s necessary I be kept here.”
“For your own good. They were going to sentence you to death. I said I’d handle you and it wasn’t necessary for them to do that.”
“Why?” I demanded.
A sad smile appeared. “Will and I get lonely. I figured we could benefit from having another person here.” There was something he wasn’t telling me, I could tell, but I didn’t press the topic. If the man wanted a convicted felon in his castle, that was his decision to make.
Upon that thought, pity blossomed within my chest and I felt bad for him. Why did he isolate himself in his castle? And, for the love of God, why wouldn’t he show me his face?