The Banked Flame, part one

Laticia jumped to her feet, sword in hand, when the door crept open.  Barnabus stepped in, followed by the biggest teddy bear she had ever seen.  Barnabus stopped and looked around, puzzled.

“Where are Marley and Hamish?”

Laticia glared at him with her one eye.

“Where have you been,” she asked in a flat voice.

Barnabas snorted before replying.

“Yes, it was just a moment to find what we needed so I decided to take a vacation.”

The large bear’s brow furrowed.

“Well, you were on a cruise ship.”

Leticia sucked in her breath to unleash a blistering tirade, but Barnabus interrupted her.

“Latitia, this is Janice, and vice versa.  Janice and I hunted a demon on the ship.  Can we delay this lovely reunion to cut the damn cords off of Montrose?  Yes?”

Without another word, he walked over to the bed, drawing the jinn’s knife.  Laying it on the bed, he carefully sliced through the cords on that wrist before moving to remove the rest.  After a few minutes they heard a soft groan from the bear.  The three watchers gave a collective sigh of relief.  Barnabus walked to the chair in the corner and collapsed.

Latitia stood in shock, knowing that teddy bears don’t sleep, but Barnabus had slipped into a stupor.  She looked at Janice, but the large bear just shrugged his shoulders and returned to looking after Montrose.  She stared at him before speaking.

“Does this not make you curious,” she said incredulously.

He turned back to her, briefly taking his attention from the bear in front of him.

“No.  I don’t waste time worrying or clinging to grudges.  Neither does me any favors.”

Latitia closed her mouth and remained silent.  Janice did not know Montrose, but still fretted over him as an old friend.  Wordlessly, she walked over to Barnabus and slipped a footstool under his boots.

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