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From what they would see, Grace had already stopped breathing. Her eyes, dull and lifeless, stared blankly into the eyes of her son. Horror was all that he could feel; shocking him to the point of immobility. He could only shift his gaze from his mother to the murderer behind her. The sun was setting and the shadows from the trees stretched into the empty room and touched the wall opposite the window.
It was barely bright enough to see the cloaked man in black holding a machete; the sharp edge bathed in deep crimson, which shone drearily when he tilted it towards the last rays of light.
'Mother, wake up'' The boy's voice was weathered down by the perilous journey he endured. For months, he and his guards were in search of a healer to rid him of his illness. The task, however, was ongoing due to the fact that magic users were dwindling away. So not only was he mentally drained, but physically as well.
'Forgive me, Athem.' The murderer said coldly as he came closer to the cowering boy.
Athem recoiled; accidently kicking his mother's hand, which she outstretched towards him before she died. He moved back until he was in the corner of the room, beside the large red curtain that hung idly beside the window.
'Why, Johnus?' He cried.
The large man referred to as Johnus stopped and looked at the dead woman. The darkness that loomed over the room fooled both the child and the murderer because it seemed, for only an instant; they could hear a soft whisper escape from the lips of the queen.
'It pains me to do this. However we cannot exist.' He raised his eyes after a moment to see the boy half hiding his face behind the curtain. Johnus stepped over the Grace's body and made his way towards him again; holding the reddened blade at his side. 'I must protect this world, even if it is from my own kind.'
The boy sat still; frightened and crying. Slowly, Johnus raised his blade'
'What more do you want to know?' Johnus asked Themara indifferently; sitting on the empty floor behind his cell. The sun, which had now risen through the barred windows behind him, gave the young woman's tears a soft glistening effect.
'They were innocent!'
'It wouldn't last.' Johnus sighed. 'They were Mehbu's, so it was only a matter of time before they lost control of both their minds and bodies.'
Themara lowered her head; trying as hard as she could to stop her tears. When she spoke, her voice was weary and cracking. 'You're a Mehbu! Johnus, you haven't lost control'' She paused to gather her thoughts. ''Or have you?'
Johnus answered with a shake of his head. 'You don't understand. Within every Mehbu is a power that only grows stronger over time. Eventually, they go insane' I knew when both Athem and I would die.'
'You're psychic?' She asked sadly.
Johnus' eyes softened. Slowly, he raised his hand and felt the metal bars before him. 'I want you to see what happened. You're the only one who had ever tried to understand''
Themara wiped the tears away from her eyes. After a moment of silence, she tucked her long black bangs behind her ear and nodded slowly.
He outstretched his hand through the bars of his prison. Themara, still upset, placed her hand in his.
'Now close you're eyes.'
She followed his instructions. Suddenly, Themara could see the vivid image of the dead woman on the floor, and Johnus looming over the cowering Athem.
Wavering in the initial decision to kill, Johnus looked down at the young prince thoughtfully. Athem cried softly and hid his face behind the red curtain. Eventually, though, he looked up into Johnus' eyes; heartbroken but showing signs of rational thought.
'I know why'' Athem began to say, but took a deep breath and his voice wavered. ''I know what you're doing now.'
Johnus lowered the blade slightly. 'You're a mind reader?'
The boy nodded.
'Then you understand?'
Athem's bright blue eyes shifted to his mother. There was a certain eeriness about his stare that made Johnus feel uneasy. ''Mother had been acting strangely. I didn't understand until I saw the answer in you. Were the last of our kind, aren't we?' As Athem spoke, his voice calmed. The calmer he became, the more he differentiated from a normal child. He still had his soft, childish voice. The way and manner in which he spoke, however, revealed his level of understanding.
'I don't want to hurt people.' Another tear rolled down his cheek, but he quickly wiped it away. 'So please, just do what you think is right.'
Johnus took a hesitant sigh, and then raised the machete over his head. 'I'll join you in the netherworld soon.' His voice, unlike before, was soft and somewhat apologetic. With that, he hacked the blade downwards; killing Athem quickly with a blow to the head.
Sitting in Athem's room near the window, Themara watched as a man in a black hood led the shackled Johnus up the steps of the gallows. A small crowd huddled together in front of the courtyard to watch the execution. Being a royal bodyguard, she would usually attend to keep the peace. However, this whole situation left a bad taste in her mouth. She wasn't sure if it was justified, as she once was before.
When Themara saw the noose being placed around his neck, she turned away from the window and eyed the floor sadly. 'Was it the right thing to do?' She questioned herself brokenly as she heard the executioner ask for last words.
She couldn't make out what he had said, but it was only seconds later before she heard the trap floor beneath him drop.
Her heart sunk because she knew that his neck broke instantly. No one understood his way of thinking, and no one will because the last of the Mehbu's were gone.