Agent India watched as Othello worked on Emerald's computer. His slim brown fingers flew over the keyboard as he scanned directories, opened up files only to close them, ran searches only to discard the matches they threw up, all the while not saying a word, totally absorbed and barely aware that she was in the room, it seemed.
It was nice to be away from that demon, she thought. She hadn't been joking when she said it made her teeth itch: its physical presence was a constant irritation, like fingernails scraping down a blackboard. It was also nice not to have to witness its slimy attempts to make friends with everybody. Did it seriously think anyone here, of all places, would fall for its blandishments? It must be the stupidest demon in the history of the world if it thought that. It probably was, though, she reminded herself: it was that monkey-thing that was doing all the thinking in that outfit.
She couldn't be the only one champing at the bit to send it back where it belonged, surely. What had that angel been thinking, teaming OGS and a demon up together? It was like one of those really terrible B-movies, where the hero and his arch-enemy have to work together and then become grudging friends – the sort of movie that has you reaching for the channel changer after the first five minutes. Well, there'd be no friendship, grudging or otherwise from her. Not after what had happened to her family because of fiends like that one.
Her brother David had been in his last year in High School when he'd met the beautiful Saskya. She had been new in town, new to the school and, being a kindly soul, David had taken her under his wing, as it were. Soon they were dating and when he brought her home to meet the family, India's teeth had itched mightily. Of course, she hadn't known what was making her feel so bad whenever Saskya was around – her gift had not been explained to her yet.
She had tried to warn David that she was suspicious of this beautiful, funny, charming, clever girl that he was smitten with, but he'd just laughed it off as younger sister jealousy. She sort of half-believed him. The two of them had always been close – as thick as thieves, as their grandma would say - and the arrival of David's love interest had reduced the amount of time he spent with his little sis. That's all it was then, just little sister jealousy. Wasn't it?
Then David had started staying out late on school nights, and when his parents tried to talk to him about it, India's normally peaceful and easy-going brother would fly into a rage and go stomping upstairs to his room. All of this could just have been teenage rebelliousness, but then he started skipping classes, choosing instead to lie on his bed all day, talking to Saskya on the phone or just staring up at the ceiling. Suspecting depression, India's parents had tried to get David to see a doctor, but he was having none of it.
He became gradually more and more moody and withdrawn. India had suspected he was using drugs and had searched his room when he was out. She didn't find anything; he was obviously too smart to hide stuff in the house.
So she'd confronted him.
If there was one single moment in her life that India would go back and change, it was this one. She'd accused him of taking drugs, and had accused Saskya of giving them to him. As soon as she'd mentioned his girlfriend's name, David had gone berserk, shouting and swearing and throwing stuff around the room, denying everything and telling her to get the hell out of his room and his life. As she'd been scurrying out of the room, he'd called her name. She'd turned around, thinking that maybe he was going to apologise or something.
The look on his face still gave her nightmares. His eyes were as dead as two stones and, while he was smiling – at least his mouth was in the shape of a smile – there was a fixed, frozen look to it, as if someone else were operating his muscles by remote control.
In his hand, he held up a little china figure that India had bought him when she was eight. It was Mickey Mouse and Pluto at the seaside, complete with buckets, spades, starfish and whatnot. Having got her attention, he slowly and deliberately set the thing down on the floor and then stamped on it, smashing it. Keeping his eyes on her the whole time, he had ground his heel back and forth on the pieces.
When he had started laughing, she had fled the room.
That day, David had left the house and disappeared. The Police searched, India's parents searched, driving for hours all over the town and local area. The school reported that Saskya had also disappeared and the address on her file turned out to be a derelict property which had not been lived in for years.
The end of the whole sorry chapter came a year later when a policeman had turned up at the door, bearing the news that a body had been found in a filthy squat in a town in the next state. ..
She was startled upright out of her reverie as the door opened and an excited Prada and Harold burst into the room.