It seems that Jacob is pretty good at what he does. I requested a new partner only a few days ago, and this afternoon I got one. I'm not particularly happy with it, but I was told quite clearly that any requests to change would be ignored. At least I don't have to run all these blogs by myself. I need to focus on the positive things, otherwise I will be stuck with this noise in my head repeating over and over.
He came in about three or so, carrying a suitcase in one hand and a cloth covered cage in the other. He's a big man, actually. It seems like he would be much better off hunting down runners than tracking them down with me. I am not very big in general, but I feel like a child when I stand next to him.
He placed the suitcase on a table and gently put the cage on top of it. After that, he looked to me. "Poe I suppose?" he asked, and I nodded. I can't say why I was afraid to speak. Aside from his size, he is unassuming enough. There is nothing incredibly strange or menacing about him. Something about him just put me on edge. It might have been his smile. The whole time he talked to me, he never stopped smiling. There was something unnerving about it. "I am Screwtape." he told me, "I'm to be your new partner."
He took the cloth off of the cage, and I looked inside. A raven sat there. It didn't look particularly happy, but it wasn't trying to get out of the cage either. It just sat there staring at me for a moment. I stared back at it. I might have stared longer if Screwtape hadn't spoken again. "So I heard you have started your own blog?" he asked, and I was too distracted to lie. I nodded, and stumbled around explanations before he stopped me. "I hope you know that is forbidden. A tracker with a blog can have some very nasty repurcussions. But we have time to talk about that later." he answered, and opened the door to the cage.
The raven hopped back a little, but after a moment of caution poked it's head out and looked directly at Screwtape. He offered the bird some food, which it took before flying off to the various corners of the room in search of an exit. After not being able to find one, he landed on top of my bookshelf and glared at us. With the raven no longer paying attention to him, Screwtape focused his attention back to me. "I hope you don't mind that I looked into you a little bit before I got here." he told me, "It is always good to know who exactly you're working with. You have quite an interesting history." I swallowed a bit, but didn't say anything. I'm not sure I said anything during the entire exchange. The whole situation made me a little uneasy, and I'm not particularly great at talking in general. I just nodded my head, occasionally looked at the new bird, and tried not to pass out.
After a few minutes of what I can only assume was him waiting for me to speak, Screwtape looked over at the raven as well. "Beautiful birds aren't they?" he asked, and held out a hand full of food. The raven flew down next to him and didn't fly off afterwards. Screwtape started stroking the bird with his free hand as the raven ate. "Delicate. Intelligent. And yet so fragile." he continued, and my eyes were barely fast enough to catch his hand find the creature's neck and twist.
The sound of cracking bones isn't something you forget, even if your memory isn't as good as mine. I have heard the sound a few too many times. I heard it the night Caper died. I remember going up to him and hearing that sound as Caper tried to sit up. Then he coughed a bit and tried to make a joke, as if it wasn't a big deal. I know too well what death sounds like, though. In that one moment when one man twisted an innocent bird's neck, I heard all the death and all the pain that I have witnessed these past six months. I also took it as the threat that it was.
Screwtape wasn't done talking. He likes to talk. In the few hours I've known him, I have discovered that. "I want to make one thing clear. I don't like you. I don't like how you came to us, or what you have done since.You are an embarrassment to Father and should be either dead or a mindless slave like the others who defy his will. Yet here you are, alive and with your own identity. If I could, I would kill you now. But until then-"
He never finished his sentence. He just placed the dead bird in front of me and took his suitcase out from under the now empty cage. "I look forward to working with you, Raven" he told me.
I can't get the sounds of that animal out of my head.