Joe took his seat in between Mr and Mrs Crow.
‘I will explain when -‘
‘Sorry I’m late everyone!’ Joe turned to see a tall blonde woman enter the room wearing a long black cloak, followed closely behind by a rather small man with a long crooked nose that was too big for his body.
‘Bitch,’ said Mrs Crow, under her breath. Joe could see Mrs Crow’s hand tightening on the arms of her chair, so much that her knuckles were turning white.
‘What was that?’ asked the blonde woman.
‘Sorry Morana, I was just coughing. It’s one of the pitfalls of being so old. My throat gets very dry.’
‘That’s okay, Corvina. I can’t stay long. Meetings all day. What’s the latest on your problem?’
Morana took her seat at the head of the table. The small man sat at her right. He took out a notepad, ink pot and quill from his tatty leather satchel and placed them on the table.
‘It’s not just Corvina’s problem,’ said the man who had been introduced as Marcus.
‘I agree,’ said Febris. She stuck her finger in the air as if she was going to say something else but then began a coughing fit. Everyone ignored her.
‘There have been no death’s in England for sixty-seven -‘
‘Nearly sixty-eight,’ interrupted the blonde woman, looking at the giant watch on her wrist. It looked to Joe like it belonged in a museum.
‘Nearly sixty-eight days,’ finished Mrs Crow.
Joe noticed the small man to the right of the blonde woman was scribbling notes furiously on his pad as everyone spoke.
‘And what do you intend to do about it?’
‘Well, I asked my sister to attend this meeting but, as you can see,’ said Mrs Crow, pointing to the only vacant seat around the table, ‘she hasn’t taken me up on the offer.’
Morana placed her pale hand up to her face and gave a short, fake cough. ‘Forgive me, Corvina, I don’t seem to quite understand. You asked the woman, your sister, the person who has stolen your scythe to come to this meeting, in the hopes of achieving what exactly?’
‘Well,’ said Mrs Crow, leaning forward in her chair, her hands still tightly clenched around the arms of her chair, ‘it wasn’t to offer her tea and biscuits. I was going to fucking stab the bitch.’
Everything went quiet. The little man beside Morana dropped his quill on the table, sending ink splattering across the table. Mr Crow coughed to break the uncomfortable silence.
‘I hope you’re going to clean that up!’ said Mrs Crow.
‘Let me get this right. You were going to stab your sister?’
‘Yes. Well, not me, Marcus was going to do it for me.’ Everyone in the room turned to look at Marcus who nodded and moved his jacket to the side to reveal a dagger attached by a belt to his waist.
‘Okayyy. But how would that get the scythe back?’
‘I was going to send Joe,’ she said, flicking her head in Joe’s direction, ‘once the bitch was dead.’
Suddenly everyone looked at Joe. Joe turned red.