Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Aquila Felis 2
Michael Kohlhaas was a nice person. He loved justice and tried everything to achieve it, whether it was for him or for others. All people who knew him would have described him as a good friend, a reliable, honest and nice person, and there was no one who had something bad to tell about him. When his family died, everyone felt sorry for him. The funeral was visited by everyone around town, and the graves and gravestones were probably the most beautiful one could find on his cities graveyard. Kohlhaas had spent all of his money for them, telling everyone who asked that he wanted his family to have the most beautiful place possible for eternity.
Michael Kohlhaas felt uncomfortable. The main reason for this was the fact that he was sitting in a tree. For about three hours by now. At night. In front of someone else’s house. Looking through the windows. But he had made a decision. With no other way left, he himself had to fight for justice. He looked at a small bag he held in his hands. It was merely as big as a tennis ball, and a sparkler looked out of it. He lit the sparkler, and threw the bag at the man behind the windows. It crashed through the window and, by now a ball of fire and melted iron, hit his head, burning right into it. The man didn't have enough time to scream before he died, but died with no sound at all. His body lit the carpet, the carpet lit the furniture, and soon the whole house was on fire. By this time, Kohlhaas had reached the end of the street, and standing there he called the fire brigade.
From Kohlhaas's diary.
My love and my angel
living with me in our own little heaven.
An island of peace,
surrounded by waters, to dark to be clear.
My wife and my daughter,
my life and my sunshine.
living with me in our own little heaven.
Oh, what a lucky man I am.
Justice - isn't it meant to be for everyone?
Sometimes,justice seems to be just for the strong
They kicked him out of his job,
although everyone I asked said, he did it good.
Why did they do it?
He damaged their business, they say.
Justice shouldn't be just for the strong.
I'll make sure there is justice for everyone.
I won't give in, I promised to help.
And a promise is a promise,
was a promise,
and will be a promise.
Of course we first tried to convince them.
He was a good worker, why did they kick him?
Whatever it was, they don't want him back.
Now it's up to the court, I'll go with him and help him.
Although I'll have to leave my family for a few days...
A promise is a promise, after all.
"It's my sisters husband!"
all he needed to say,
to take our hopes away.
"It's my sisters husband!"
with a stupid grin,
pointing at the judge.
"It's my sisters husband!"
We won't accept the courts decision,
we'll go on to a higher court.
"You didn't accept my students decision?"
I left my home, my love and my angel.
Left them alone, waiting for me.
After all I really want to keep my promise.
But I still have hope; we'll see.
Rejected by the next higher court.
Why did he have to work for a family of lawyers?
The one sorting through the cases,
the cousin of his former boss.
We'll never reach this court.
A letter, waiting for me
in my hotel, it said:
"You'd better have returned to your family earlier."
I packed my bags
I didn't care it was messy
I took the next train.
Ra-tam, ra-tam, ra-tam...
I won't sleep 'till I'm at home.
They are waiting, all alone.
Minutes are hours, hours are lifes.
Ra-tam, ra-tam, ra-tam...
every ra-tam a new thought
a new fear
a new hope
a destroyed hope
a new thought
a new fear
a new death.
Ra-tam, ra-tam, ra-tam...
Dieing, bit by bit
ice in my stomach
pudding in my knees.
I wish I'd already be at home.
The first few days Kohlhaas worried that the police would find him. But days went by, and no one even mentioned the murder, and no one seemed to know that he had died. Actually, officially he was missing and they suspected him that he had burned down his house himself. "No body, no murder." Kohlhaas thought. Only problem was, he had no idea where the body had gone.
"As I said when I called you: We're finished. Here's the key... I wish you a nice day!" The police officer gave a small smile and left, leaving Kohlhaas all alone on the stairs. They had been searching for a clue of the murderer’s identity for two months. Some pieces were still in their labs. But now they had returned most of his furniture, cleaned, and he was again allowed to enter his house. Only problem was: He didn't want to. The last time he had opened this door ... all the blood ... their faces...
He pushed away the memories with all his force. ”The only thing we have to be afraid of is fear itself." he mumbled as he pushed the key in the lock and opened the door.
Kohlhaas kept his mind on the present, concentrating on every ever so small detail. Dust, glittering in the light of the lamps - the weather outside was horrible, cloudy sky, stormy wind and it just had started to rain - footsteps in the dust on the floor, creating small paths to where they had put all the boxes with his belongings, the boxes made of paperboard, as they were typical packing cases, the corner had turned and where he had first seen the blood...
Kohlhaas ran to the bathroom and said goodbye to his breakfast. His stomach had just calmed down again, when the doorbell rang. He stood up, wiped his mouth and left to open the door. But it was noone there. He was just about to close the door, when he saw the small envelope on the door mat.
He picked it up, then looked around again: still no one there. So he closed the door and went into the kitchen... well, the room the kitchen had been in. The cupboards were open and empty, the table and chairs filled with boxes. He sighed, freed a chair, took it over to the worktop, sat down on the worktop and put his feet on the chair. Then he opened the envelope, which had nothing written on it, curious about its content. The letter was written in a strange, old looking, beautiful handwriting, and with black ink. The paper was heavy and seemed as well old as precious, and it smelled like a sunny summer’s day. Now he was really wondering about it: that was probably the most perfect letter he had ever seen, and he knew that he didn't know a person writing letters like this one. He started to read:
"Dear Mr. Kohlhaas,
first of all, I want to express my sincere condolences. Although we don't know each other, I heard only good things about you and your family. Also, I once met your wife and was deeply impressed by her beauty, intelligence and talent. Her death, as well as the death of her daughter, is a tragic loss for our society. From all I've heard, neither you nor they did anything to deserve this fate. That's why I decided myself to help you. You surely already wondered about where the body did vanish to - yes, I know you killed him, and no, I won't tell anyone, since I deeply appreciate what you did: he always was a disgrace for our society. Anyways: I cleaned your mess up. Know you probably wait for my requirements. Well, I don't have any. I demand nothing. I just want to help you. Yes, I know, this sounds too good to be true. And why should you trust someone you never heard of and who only wrote this letter for you? To show you that I'm honest with you, I'll share my information:
You guessed right about him being the man who hired killers to kill your family. You weren't his first victim, but luckily you're his last. The revenge you take was also a revenge for five further families: a lawyer’s, a policeman’s, and a judge’s, who all made the same mistake as you: Trying to sentence him. But he also took revenge on the families of a postman who woke him for a neighbour’s packet, and the family of a driver who made a scratch in his car. As you can see, his death is a good thing. But you probably knew that he deserved death, even though I'm fairly sure you didn't know the whole extent of his depravity. But now to what you probably didn't know: he wasn't working on his own. He was part of a network of heinous men, who are part of all classes of society: from gardeners, butchers and butlers over business men, bankers and directors all the way up to high ranking politicians and judges. You probably noticed how impossible it was to sue one of them: There was always at least one of them in your way.
You might wonder why I'm telling you about them. Why would someone write a letter to a stranger, especially if it's about a highly dangerous, secret group? I'll tell you why: I need your help. For years I tried to hunt those men down for what they did to me - my fate isn't that different from yours - and although I had success with doing so for a few years, they became cautious with me being around. More and more, sueing, discrediting, disempowering and yes, sometimes even killing them became difficult. They know my way of thinking, of working, of trapping them. And therefore, they see my next step coming, are aware as soon as I am around, and are pretty much out of my reach. But now you came along, and you managed to kill one of them in your first attempt: something no one has managed before. That's why I'm asking you to help me: I need you to kill some of them. Of course we will concentrate on getting the heads, that's my part. I'll deliver you the information you need, hoping that you'll get to kill them. You don't have to care if it's messy or of getting rid of the body, that, too, is my part of the work. Only thing I need you to do is to plan and carry out the murder itself.
Don't misunderstand me: The choice is completely up to you. Do it or don't do it.
If you decide to help me fight them, just let me now by putting the letter back in the envelope and laying it down in front of your door. If you decide not to help me, please show it by setting the letter on fire in front of your kitchen window.
I'm hoping for your help and looking forward to work with you, in case you decide to work with me.
Kohlhaas finished reading the letter, but kept looking at it, thoughts racing through his mind.
I know you killed him – Who's "I"? - I won't tell anyone – should be glad about that, right? - I demand nothing. I just want to help you. - As if. Nobody just wants to help. Never. Too good to be true fit's perfectly. - Giving me information to make me trust you? Ts. And you can keep your asking for help to yourself, too. - Only thing I need you to do is to plan and carry out the murder itself. - course that's what you need me to do: it's the dirty part of it! - Telling me about other victims and a "network" to motivate me? Won't work this way. - Cleaned your mess – true, and probably the best reason to work with you. But I'll be the one choosing the conditions.
Kohlhaas smiled, and took a scissors. "If someone gives you two ways to choose from, take the third one." he thought, grinning. And with that, he cut the letter in two halves. He then took one of the halves and wrote on its back "If you want me to be your assassin, pay me as one." and put it back in the envelope. He then placed the envelope on his door mat. Still grinning, he returned to the kitchen and burned the second half in front of his window.
"If you want me to be your assassin, pay me as one." he read. A smile played across his face. And he started to prepare the next envelope.
He smiled. She sighed. But she didn't have a choice. She took the envelope and left his hideout. It was a good hideout... even she wouldn't know where it was. The moment you left it you forgot it... except you were him, of course.
It was really easy to put the envelope on the door mat. This Kohlhaas wasn't exactly observant. She rang the doorbell and hid in a tree next to the street.
The doorbell rang. Kohlhaas woke up, sighed, and walked to the front door, still in his pj. He opened the door, wondering who'd visit him that early, and expecting a postman. No one was there. But another envelope lay on his doormat, bigger than the last one.
He opened the envelope, pulled on the first sheet of paper... and a lot of other sheets came falling to the floor, along with euro notes... a lot of them.
"Didn't think whoever would do that.” Kohlhaas mumbled. 300 000. And a name, address, hobbies, daily routine and other information on his victim. And a letter giving him one week to come up with a plan.
She threw the powder in the air, created a small wind and, as soon as it had created a small cloud of the powder, closed her eyes and set it on fire. The light flashed like a lightning and remembered her why she had chosen this place for practicing. High trees surrounded the small clearing she was standing in, making sure that no one from the 30min of walking away town would see her. She grinned: it had worked out just the way she wanted it to. Next she took another powder, and did the same, but this time she walked away from the cloud and only lit it being at a safe distance: it exploded. Now she grinned even more. Last thing she did was taking some water and a battery to separate oxygen and hydrogen, caught the hydrogen in a balloon mixed with air, and... this time she put the balloon on the other end of the clearing before she lit it. The explosion threw her to the ground, first lit some trees and blew them out again. Aquila blinked. "Shouldn't do that again... ", she mumbled, glad she hadn't been closer to it. But the explosion had been pretty loud... she took her things, that were now spread all over the clearing, and left.
The frog had killed him in his sleep. It hadn't been too difficult to get one of them. But it had been quite difficult to get it into his bedroom. His bad he had the habit of having flowers in it. Kohlhaas smiled.
"Let me try something... “Tristessa said, drawing a symbol she had just thought of. She smiled, looked at Lilith, tapped it... and water appeared right above Lilith, falling down on her. "Hey!" Lilith screamed, "What did you do that for?" "Just wanted to try it... ""You're meant to find those disappearing people, not to pour water over me!" "I know... but I had the idea and couldn't resist it...Plus I thought it'd lighten the mood a bit... “ “Lighten the mood? People keep disappearing, and it's quite probable that they are dead!" "Yeah, but still... "Lilith sighed, and Tristessa continued searching for a symbol that'd help them.
Kohlhaas picked up his weekly letter. The fifth one. By now he was quite used to them... and he had had his fun with some of the victims. The most comfortable thing about it was that he didn't have to clean the mess and evidence he left. But this letter was different... he was meant to kidnap a young woman. From the information he got it looked like an easy thing to do... he only wondered why he'd have to wear fire-proof clothes and sunglasses, and why he'd have to catch her in a strong net.
"No... “, Lilith was hit by a small stone. "Nope...”, Lilith saw everything in shades of green and blue. "And that one neither..." Tristessa sighed, whilst Lilith became the size of an apple. The small Lilith glared at Tristessa. "Oh, sorry..." and with that, Tristessa turned her back to normal. "Why do all your tries end up with something stupid happening to me?" "Cause you're not doing your part of the job but are only standing around, watching me." she said, smiling. Lilith mumbled. "How am I supposed to investigate here? That's Germany! I don't understand a word of what they say!" Tristessa sighed. "I'm sure you know at least one German. Right?" "Well... ", Lilith sighed. "See? Now go and ask him or her for help." "But..." "Lilith, I really can't concentrate with you watching me." Tristessa said, giving her an apologetic look. "Fine..."And with that, Lilith took her jacket and walked out.
Aquila came back from her training. She had grown used to practice every second day, and she also always took the same way back to home. And always walked down the street that had been covered in dead zombies a few months ago. She grinned. Luckily they had actually cleaned it... "That was an awful lot of work you made us do there." She spun around, only to see a young girl that seemed a bit familiar to her. "Hi. I'm Lilith. From the wedding." "Oh... hi." Aquila answered. "I think I don't remember your name, though..." Lilith continued. "Israel told me my real name is dangerous, so I didn't tell it...but just call me Aquila."
It had taken him quite a while to get fire-proof clothes. But with all that money he had by now, it had been merely a matter of time. With a bit of luck the job would be finished by tomorrow... although he still wondered why it was that different from the ones before.
Nyx mumbled angrily. "Working for Dusk becomes less fun every day..." "True." Rosella answered. "But at least we get paid for sitting here." "Yup. And Isabella visits us on a regular basis, too" Nyx said. "Just a shame we can't talk to her..." They both looked at Isabella, who was standing behind a sound-proof glass, looking at them sadly.
"So you're trying to find out why they're missing?", Aquila asked. "Yes, and also where they went or where they were brought to." " You think they're still alive? Some people say they're probably dead..." "We don't know." "Oh." They fell silent for a moment. "How are you searching for them?", Aquila asked curiously. She had heard that those people disappeared. The police had given the information to the media, which gladly published the pictures, and everything they were able to find out about those persons. It had been close to impossible not to take notice of those 8 people, who didn't seem connected. They came from different cities, had different jobs, knew different people. The police wasn't sure if the cases were connected, but investigated. But a lot of other people were searching for them, too. Journalists, to be the firs ones with a brand new story. Private detectives, who were paid by the families. And others, who just wanted to become famous by finding crucial evidence. So Aquila didn't really see what they could do that all those others couldn't. "Tristessa, who is working with me, is trying to find a symbol that'll be of use. And I'm meant to search for hints at the places they went missing, as well as to listen to what people are saying... Problem is: I don't understand German." "And that's probably why you need my help." Aquila smiled. "Another question answered.", she thought, before asking: "How are symbols meant to help us searching for something?" Lilith sighed, but then she started explaining.
He looked at the clearing. It was well hidden, and although he had had a description of where to find it, it had took him quite a while to do so. It was in a part of the forest no ways led to, and had probably been a quiet, wild and untouched place. But now the meadow was mowed and had some burned parts. Kohlhaas saw some hay, but most of it seemed to be in the bag she used as a target for her arrows. There were some broken branches and a fireplace surrounded with stones. Half hidden under some roots was a fox's hole, and in one of the trees was a big nest. He wondered if the animals who had built them still lived here. "Probably not.", he decided. Then he started to look for the best place for his trap.
Isabella decided she had heard enough. Lilith'd get Aquila’s help. That wasn't a problem. Kohlhaas was probably the least suspicious person of this whole region – they wouldn't hear anything bad about him. And she, together with the other people who had to clean the mess Kohlhaas tended to leave behind, had been very careful not to be seen. It actually wasn't a problem for them that Aquila'd help Lilith. It was perfect. Everything seemed to work out just fine. "At least for him.", Isabella thought angrily. "He's not the one who's got to sit in a tree for more than half an hour, being as quiet as possible" But Lilith was a lot more difficult to follow than Kohlhaas. Isabella restrained a sigh of relieve, when they finally decided to see Tristessa (Aquila still didn't really understand how those symbols were meant to help them) and left. She gave them a few minutes, than climbed out of the tree and headed off to the meeting point.
"She's the only German you know, isn't she?" "It's not like I'd be in Germany on a regular basis. And I don't think you know that many Germans yourself, do you?" "Well... not really." "Hah!" Aquila yawned, then lazily changed into a cat. She jumped on the windowsill and continued listening to Tristessa and Lilith. They had been discussing whether or not she'd be a help for about an hour, and Aquila was pretty bored by now. She curled up, let the sun shine on her fur and closed her eyes, not really caring what they'd agree to. On one hand she WAS curious what all that was about... but then again it'd be a lot of work to translate about everything to Lilith. Not to mention that she wanted to continue her training and had a lot of class tests in the next few weeks. Aquila yawned again, and then acted like she was asleep, listening to the both of them.
Kohlhaas looked at the clearing, pleased. The target now lay in the middle of it, a small letter pinned to it. Everything else lay in the middle, too. Broken branches and hay, mainly. He also had digged the fox hole bigger, and made it his hideout. He'd stay in there and wait for her to come... and to go into his trap. But not today. She wouldn't come today, but tomorrow. Kohlhaas left the clearing and went home to get some sleep. He'd probably need it.
Isabella followed him back to the hideout, angrily. "If I only could remember where it is! But no, it has to be a hideout everyone but him forgets as soon as they leave it." Knowing where it was it wouldn't be that difficult to get her friends out. But nothing seemed to work. She had taken notes whilst being inside the hideout, but they didn't make sense as soon as she left it. She had dropped stones whilst leaving it, but trying to follow them back they ended in the middle of nowhere. She had written down the coordinates her GPS gave her being inside the hideout, but the place they described was empty . And not the same place the stones had led her to. She had no idea left how to find it. And from the grin on his face every time he took her back to the hideout he knew it. From what she could tell, it was just impossible to find a way back to it. She also had tried to learn the way he drove her, but it seemed to always be a different way. Although that was something that was difficult to tell whilst being blindfolded. Isabella sighed.
She sighed. He smiled. The spell around his hideout seemed to work perfectly. Even Isabella couldn't tell where it was, although she was the one who came and left the most. But even better was the fact that he had tricked her into thinking that he'd caught her friends. She did whatever he told her, whilst Nyx and Rosella wondered why someone'd pay them for sitting in a cell a few hours a month. Kohlhaas did a good job in carrying out his orders, and everyone else was working properly, too.
"Aquila?" Lilith poked the sleeping cat. It opened an eye, than the other one, started to stretch itself and jumped to the floor, before shifting back to her human form. "What is it?", she asked. "We agreed on deciding it later. We'll have to report on our progress tomorrow. Could you come here again the day after?" "Sure." Aquila shrugged. "That'll be on Saturday... which time do you want me to be here?" Lilith looked at Tristessa. "How about 9am?" Tristessa nodded, and Lilith said: "At 9am." Aquila grinned. "Already heard that the first time.", she said, picked her things up and walked to the door. "Bye!" She waved, and left. It was already dark by now, but her way wasn't long. "So tomorrow I'll learn for maths and do my training and on Saturday I'll translate." She sighed. Usually she'd learn at the last moment possible... but since she didn't know if she'd have any time to learn on the weekend, she didn't really have a choice.
"Parallel, schneidend oder windschief, Stützvektor, Richtungsvektor, Faktoren... " Aquila sighed. She never had been able to really make herself learning for maths. All she had done was reading through some pages, and she now realized that she should look some of the things up again. Or just rely on her luck, as usual. It always worked out somehow, and she was usually slightly above average. Plus she couldn't learn that much, even if she wanted to. Concentrating for more than half an hour was something she hardly ever managed. So she had decided to go and do a bit of training. And, more importantly, take some water in bottles to her clearing. It was summer by now, and she wasn't really willing to get a headache from not drinking enough. But the water was heavy... she probably wouldn't do much training in the end.
Thanks to the dry weather of the last few days the fox hole was dry, and, except for some roots of nearby trees also empty and surprisingly clean. Also, he had hidden the earth he had taken out of it. All he'd have to do now was waiting for her to go into his trap. But, wearing the fire-proof clothes, it was too warm to be actually comfortable. Kohlhaas just hoped she'd turn up fast.
As soon as she was able to look into the clearing she dropped the water. Someone had been here. Everything had been brought to it's middle, and an envelope was pinned to her target. She looked around: noone was here. And there were no other traces that someone had been here. She carefully stepped out of the wood, but nothing happened. So she slowly walked over to the target with the envelope, reached for it and: the floor gave in. She tried to get hold of something, but all she managed to get a hold of was the net where all those branches and the hay had been on, making it look like solid ground. Within seconds she was completely caught up in it. And struggling only made it worse. Unfortunately she had not only dropped her water but also her bow and her knife. But maybe if she changed into a fox she could use her teeth... Aquila realized too late that someone was up there when she changed. And she didn't have a chance to change back and act like nothing happened. While the man looked at her in shock, the net closed in on her, leaving her now even less space. She'd probably squash herself if she'd try to change back. Looking up she noticed that the man was wearing heavy and warm looking clothes and some strange-looking sunglasses. In any case, he was probably the one who set the trap up. Aquila gnarled and than started to bite at the net. But she realized within seconds that she wouldn't manage to get through it. "Changing into a mouse or something would be of use, now..." Aquila thought. The man now had shaken off his surprise and started pulling her up. But he made sure to stay out of the reach of her teeth, and she didn't have enough space to struggle. Aquila could do nothing to escape. So instead she tried to concentrate on the way. Wherever he planned to take her: she'd make sure she'd find her way back. Or so she thought, until he put her into the boot ² of his car.
² trunk for Americans.
It was dark, but not completely. The bit of light that reached in was enough for her fox-eyes to see the net she was caught in. She couldn't be bothered to try to notice where the car was driving. She wouldn't be able to remember all the turns either way, and her biggest problem was definitely to get out of the net. Being free of the net she could just wait, as an eagle, till the man'd open the trunk and then fly away. From the shocked expression on his face when she changed to a fox she concluded that no one had told him she could shape-shift and she was going to use that advantage. But first, she'd have to escape the net. It was completely knotted and she didn't really have enough space to move...
Aquila changed into a cat. Now she was able to turn around and look at the open side of the net... well, the side that could be open. She had given up on trying to bite through the net, it was too stable. But she might be able to get it in order and herself out...
Untangling a net with a cat's paw definitely was no easy thing to do. If cats would have had the ability to sigh, Aquila would have done it. It seemed like she'd have worked on it for hours, but still she couldn't get out. "Next time someone catches me in a net I sure as hell won't move." she thought angrily. But at least there was a progress. She was just about to continue, when she realized something had changed. A moment later she had changed into a fox and laid herself down. The car had stopped. Not only on a traffic light, but it stood still, and the engine was turned off. And that probably meant... The trunk was opened and the man looked at her. Then he walked out of sight for a moment, but still in the net, she didn't even try to escape. Instead she tried to look as harm- and helpless as possible. Maybe she could get him to underestimate her. For the same reason she had changed back into a fox: No need to let him know she could be a cat, too. He returned, now wearing some thick and stable looking gloves. "Wouldn't have bit him either way. It'd be quite stupid to make him angry, and I couldn't escape from that net, either." she thought. So she didn't move when he got her out of the car, but looked around curiously. S, she read on the number plate. That meant she wasn't too far away from home, S standing for Stuttgart. The street was just a normal street with houses on both sides. "Just your average neighbourhood, it seems." Aquila didn't mind that he carried her inside one of the houses, she knew what she had wanted to know. The inside of the house surprised her, though. It seemed as if the man had just moved in or was about to move out: cupboards were open with half filled boxes in front of them.
He reached for a door, opened it and she saw some stairs. "The cellar? Great... " Cellars usually had a lot less ways to get out. To her surprise, it should be even worse. A cage. He had a cage in his cellar, comfortable enough, though: it had a bed and a small separated room in the corner, which she suspected to be a toilet. The man opened the cage, put fox and net on the bed and looked at them. "Erm... Do you understand me?" Aquila nodded. "… will you be able to get out of that net yourself?" Aquila shook her head. The man sighed. Then he picked fox and net up again and laid them down next to the cage's bars. He left the cage, locked it and went away, just to return with scissors. "Don't move." He said, and then he started to cut the net open. Aquila stayed still until he was finished and had taken his hands out of the cage, then she stood up and changed back to human. "Why did you kidnap me?" She asked angrily. He shrugged. "They pay well." And with that, he left her alone.
Aquila looked around. She was in quite a huge cage, the bars reaching from floor to ceiling. The bars were too close to each other for a fox to get through, but... Aquila changed to a cat, walked up to the bars and comfortably out of the cage. Now that was just a bit too easy. All she'd now have to do would be to get out of one of the cellars windows. Yes, they were closed right now, and yes, they were quite high above the floor, but by changing into a human both problems could be solved easily. She wouldn't fit through them, but would be able to open one, but a shelf or something else next to it, change into a cat, climbed up the chosen part of furniture and just jump out of the window. For a quick moment she considered to do exactly that. But what use would it be? Someone was paying this guy for kidnapping her. Yes, she'd be able to lead her friends to him, and she was quite sure that he wouldn't stand a chance. But it was probable that she'd soon have someone else trying to kidnap her instead of him. And next time she might not be lucky enough to have an incompetent kidnapper like him. So, what she really needed to do was to find out who had sent him after her.
She looked around. This cellar didn't really look like a place for prisoners. Except for the cage, it was just your average cellar: Lot's of boxes, some shelves, and everything filled with dusted items. Here, too, everything was half unpacked. All the boxes had labels telling what was in them. "Newspapers", "Books", "Bills", "Wires of different kinds", "Old electronics", it didn't really seem like the way someone would pack and label his or her things for moving. Besides, who'd take old newspapers, single socks, diverse pieces of wood or broken ceramics with them when moving? And then she found a small box, labelled "diaries and photo albums". Aquila changed to human and grinned. Just what she needed. She'd look through them until it was dark outside, hopefully being able to find out who had paid him to kidnap her. And then she'd leave in the cover of the darkness.
Aquila had found out which diary was the newest one, and had taken it back into her cage. Not that she'd feel a need to be in there, but the bed was the most comfortable place down here, and besides, she didn't want her kidnapper, who she now knew as Michael Kohlhaas (thanks to the "Dieses Tagebuch gehört..." sticker on the first page of the diary), to know that she was able to escape the cage.
Aquila awoke. There were footsteps on the stairs, so she hurried to hide the diary under her pillow. Then she walked up at the bars at the other end of the cage, close to the stairs. She didn't want to be caught with it.
Kohlhaas came down the stairs and stopped in front of the cage, just out of her reach. He was holding a plate in one, and a bottle of water in his other hand. "It's time for breakfast." he said. Aquila barely managed not to swear. Apparently she had not only fallen asleep, but also slept all of the night. Now she'd either have to wait another half day, or risk running through his garden (as a cat) at day. She didn't like either thought, but now it was too late, she had already overslept in the worst conditions she could think of.
She held back a sigh, and looked at the plate. Bread with butter. She didn't like butter. This time, she allowed herself to sigh, but still took bottle and the plate, which barely fit through the bars, mumbled a thanks and sat down on her bed.
Tristessa and Lilith reached had been waiting for a whole hour. "We said nine, didn't we?", Lilith asked, for the third time by now. Tristessa didn't bother to answer, but instead said: "Maybe she just forgot..." "I doubt she did." "Too." They waited another few minutes, and then decided to go and look for her.
Looking for someone whose name you don't know, in a country which’s language you don't speak isn't an easy thing to do. Lilith and Tristessa had tried, but after an hour of asking people they had gotten nothing but weird looks and some mumbling behind their backs when they walked away.
Aquila finished reading the diary. It seemed as if that guy at least had some reason to be angry. After all, his family had been killed. But that still wasn't a reason to go around and kill others, at least not in her opinion. Since the diary had been full after his first murder, Aquila didn't know if he was actually responsible for all the other missing people, as well. But it seemed probable. She doubted it'd be easy to get his current diary, and besides she was already late, Lilith and Tristessa would now either be worried or think she forgot. Or changed her opinion. In any case, she was late. And she didn't see a point in being more late. Yes, there was a chance that there'd be a better kidnapper the next time, but that one only gave her bread with butter... Aquila changed into a cat and left the cage. She changed to human, put two boxes on top of each other, climbed them and opened the window. Then she changed back into a cat. She had been practicing to jump. She knew a cat should be able to jump high enough. But still, she had to get rid of a picture of herself, jumping face-first into a wall. Aquila-cat shook her head, then jumped on the boxes and for the window. On her first try she only reached out of it with her front legs, and hadn't be able to climb out, but the second time she managed to jump out of it. She looked around the garden, decided to leave it on the front side, since the fences around it seemed quite high, and did so. She made sure to get some corners between herself and the house before she hid behind a car and changed back into a human. Then she realized she didn't have any money on her, so she wouldn't be able to buy a ticket home... she sighed, hid again, changed back into a cat, climbed a tree, and changed into an eagle. Not exactly a common sight in this region, but she'd have to risk that. Aquila spread her wings, jumped out of the tree and into the air, and, above the warm streets, won height quite fast. When she was above the roofs, she managed to find the river and followed it, back to her home town.
"You'll ask next." "Why me? You can ask as well." "But they seem to prefer listening to you." "They don't understand a word either way." None of them really wanted to ask once more. They had been doing it for close to two hours now, and had only found a few people who had been both, able AND willing to answer. Both had been of no help. To be fair, it seemed that brown haired girls of Aquila's size and age weren’t exactly seldom. It was quite clear that, without knowing her name, they wouldn't find her. Not to mention they, by now, got strange looks from most people around. "Some do." "Yeah, but the ones who do either don't want to answer us, or their English isn't good enough to answer us, or they are no help." Most who had seemed to understand at least partly what they were asking had been children and teenagers. Some had tried to help, but they really didn't speak enough English to do so. And the ones that did started to list names, hardly ever two of them saying the same one. The majority, though, hadn't been willing to help two strange people asking for someone whose name they didn't know in a strange language.
Lilith and Tristessa were just about to give up when they saw a HUGE bird landing in a tree close to them. "What the... " Lilith said, while the bird hid itself within the leaves. A moment later, a familiar looking cat climbed out of the tree, sat down in front of them and meowed. "Aquila?" The cat meowed again. "You know you're about two damn hours late?" The cat tilted it's head and gave Lilith a strange look. "So what if I swore?" The cat just continued looking at her for a bit longer, than started to clean it's fur. After a while Aquila-cat looked up at Tristessa and Lilith. They both just looked at her, trying to figure out whether they were more angry or relieved. She hid herself in a bush, and changed into a human again. She stood up, struggled out of the bush, which was a lot more difficult as a human, and smiled apologetically. "I know I'm late, but at least I think I saved you some work." "How so?" and "Did you hear something interesting?" they asked, both talking at once and then giving each other an irritated look. Aquila grinned, but then said "It seems I managed to get kidnapped by the person you are looking for. Oh, and that's also why I'm late. I actually thought about waiting until it's night to escape, but it worked just as well at day. Good thing that guy didn't know I could shape shift into more than a fox. Although my arms are still tired from flying back. I really should fly more often... " Aquila interrupted herself. " ... in any case it's probably better if I tell you all of the story." Lilith nodded and Tristessa said: "That would probably be a good idea."
Aquila actually managed to convince her family that she had been at home. They had only noticed that they hadn't seen her, but hadn't been bothered to look for her. And while Tristessa and Lilith went to catch Kohlhaas, Aquila continued learning for her maths class test. After all, she'd have to do good in it. Two thirds of the marks she'd leave school with would consist of her class tests. And besides, she really wouldn't have been of much help.