Siddha Lee Saint James was curled up on an antique settee made of dark maple wood and the softest deep shade of purple she could find.
It sat in front of a giant picture window that gazed out lovingly over King George Highway and 108th avenue. The apartment sat over top of the Creole Cafe, which housed enough room for sixty maximum, a small kitchen that always made her apartment smell of collard greens and fried chicken, and a minuscule stage.
The stage was for the Jamaican and African bands that filled her apartment with music from across the globe every weekend. It was the perfect place to sit and watch as Surrey’s Fire department raced to the aid of a human sitting in the centre of the highway.
She had no knowledge of who the body belonged to, only that it hadn’t moved in more than an hour which obviously meant the human was no longer a part of the mortal coil.
That wasn’t what was strange. Surrey was known for the number of dead bodies that had randomly began scattering around town since the revolution.
Dead bodies were normal around Surrey, what wasn’t normal was the amount of flowers that accompanied the dead body.
A knock on her door let Siddha know that the RCMP had arrived to ask questions, but she didn’t answer. As a member of the Kris, Siddha was granted diplomatic immunity and wasn’t required to speak to the RCMP.
Standing back from her chair, Siddha gazed down at the RCMP officers who had gathered to ask questions of neighbours and possible witnesses, she saw a couple of them in their uniform blue’s gazing up at her open window.
“Ma’am, could you open the door please, RCMP,” one of them called up. Gazing down at her silky black pants and the tank top she wore, Siddha gazed out the window and yelled back. “I am not dressed for company. Unless it’s Timothy Bailor,” Siddha said referring to their Captain.
A close personal friend and an Officer who understood how things worked in Surrey.
The two cops down below stared up at her for a moment and then turned to walk away. There were many who knew about the Kris society outside of their exclusive gypsy community. They weren’t a secret, the two cops knew they wouldn’t be talking to Siddha tonight.
It had become a running joke, Siddha thought, “useless,” she muttered turning to walk across the hardwood floor that made up her living room. Around the giant leather chest slash automan that sat beside a matching couch. “You going to tell them?” Siddha turned to her left to see Alexander O’Bryan standing in the centre of the hall leading towards her bedroom.
“Tell them what? that I was right and Jonah Kingston is a fucking serial rapist who just graduated to murder?” her gaze stared at him hard as he frowned at her, “how do you know for sure it was Jonah?” Siddha snorted.
“The flowers. Jonah loves flowers.” Siddha said as she moved into the stonework kitchen. It was a small kitchen made out of oak and iron, but it fit her needs, she’d replicate something like this in a bigger apartment, but for now this would do she thought as she reached to the counter holding the tea pot.
Picking up the antique tea pot Siddha turned to her left to fit it from the sink that sat fourteen and a half inches away from the stove.
Alex wandered out shirtless and sat down on the couch as Siddha made her tea, “you could stop this,” he said quietly. Siddha shook her head, “there’s nothing to stop, he didn’t do that for them, he put that body there for me. There won’t be any more victims.”
Siddha’s reply was quiet, she was certain about that fact, just as she was certain that bringing Alex to Surrey was the right decision.
He had woken from the sound of the sirens, he knew without question that it had been Siddha who called the police. Just as he knew she woke in the middle of the night with the certainty that someone had died.
Neither knew until she went to the kitchen to make tea did she call him to come out to the living room where they saw the body.
“What about your friend Timothy, will you tell him?” Siddha snorted, “he’s no friend, he is a…a liaison, nothing more.” Siddha replied quietly. “No, this will have to be handled internally. I am going to need to step things up.” Siddha replied quietly.
“You’re going to need a suit.” Siddha said as the tea pot began to whistle. “Why the hell do I need a suit?” Siddha chuckled softly, “you can’t go to a party dressed like that.” Siddha said shaking her head. “Okay seriously, because you’re a Gojer, it’s a sign of respect,” Siddha cleared her throat. “I’m going to need you to pretend to be my driver.” Alex raised one dark eyebrow and stared at her quietly.
“It’s the only way they’ll let you stay. If they think you already know who we are.” Siddha said as he continued to stare at her. Standing to his full six foot three inches, he walked towards her like a cat hunting. “There are other ways,” he said as she put a hand on his bare chest. “It’s forbidden,” Siddha said. “What we had in Hawaii…we can’t have that here.” Siddha said firmly watching the confusion and hurt enter his eyes.
“I am about to take my place as a Matriarch, the next man who touches me will be my husband. And that can’t be you.” Siddha said quietly as he stared at her before clearing his throat.
“Then.” He replied quietly, “teach me how to be your driver, or whatever. What do I need to know?” he asked watching her as she watched him, squarely, covering any emotion he had in his eyes with a dead look. “First and foremost, I need more tea. And you need to put a shirt on.”
They talked for hours, while the Police investigated and neighbours were questioned. When the light came up, traffic resumed and the world went on, while inside Siddha’s antique filled apartment the two conversed about everything she’d been running away from.
She told him about the fact that in her culture, her grandmother and grandfather were considered royalty. “They were the King and Queen, but she had more power than he did,” Siddha explained the matriarchal society as best she could. Including the parts about dark majick and the difference between light and evil.
“Our people believe we are descended from the thirteen tribes that originated with the children of Jesus and Mariah Mary Magdalena of Nazareth. We believe that when Jesus was killed she sent their children away with thirteen guardians. They’re children still protect our tribes today, they are called the Osiahyahrune, or Guardian’s.”
She even showed him copies of the family bible that she kept, “we each have one that goes back hundreds of thousands of years. I’ve been studying it in pieces since I was a child, hence the photocopies. I can show you the real thing when we get to the castle.”
Alex raised a brow, “castle?” he asked in a quiet sense of awe, he’d wanted to know about Siddha for years. They had practically grown up together, become adults, together, for the last ten years, but this was the first time he was really learning about who she was.
“We have thirteen tribes, but we mass in the millions, so every major city in the world has a place designated as “The Castle,” it’s where the Royal families rule from. They’re really just large old mansions, but each one reflects the society and the tribe it represents.” Siddha explained.
“Ours is Chateau de Illumere, or Castle of Light,” Siddha said quietly as she curled up on the couch facing the television on the other side of the living room. “I know it’s a lot,” Siddha said quietly as he stared down at her from where he stood in the kitchen.
By this point they had both made breakfast and eaten, talked through it all and it was well into lunch. “So I have to pretend to be your driver, from Hawaii,” Siddha stood and walked over to the island, standing on the opposite side to face him. “You have to pretend to be my Guardian. You’re the only one I can trust. You’re a trained Cop, I’ll be safe with you. I don’t know how many people Jonah has under his payroll.”
Siddha didn’t tell him she suspected Jonah of killing her grandparents, it wouldn’t be something she’d put passed him.
“I already told you I’d do it, there’s just a lot.” Siddha nodded her head quietly. “With the funeral, the Elder’s will gather. I’ll be expected to host the gathering at the Chateau, in three days time.”
Alex folded his hands together over his stomach, he stared at her for a moment, he’d put on a black t-shirt over his maroon red sweatpants. Thankfully.
“Is that all?” Siddha cleared her throat, “I’ll have to wear a crown…” Alex stared at her narrowing his eyes for a moment before he doubled over in laughter. “Of course you will. I am so getting pictures.” Siddha nearly snarled as she swatted at him. “It’s not funny.
Alex kept laughing, “oh yeah, it really is,” he chuckled as he pretended to wipe tears from his eyes.