‘I’ve only just found out myself,’ he replied.
Agnes stopped right in front of Joe. So close to him in fact, that he could feel her warm breath on his face.
‘And you expect me to believe you, because…?’
‘Look,’ he said, ‘I can prove it to you!’ He flipped open the book and looked at the page. It read:
You fucking idiot. I am going to fucking kill you when I get my hands on you. What part of don’t tell Agnes did you not fucking get?
Absolutely fabulous, thought Joe, how do I end up pissing off every single person that comes into my life? And why do they always want to kill me? The day was getting worse. And it hadn’t even started off on a good note anyway.
He offered the open book to the witch.
She snatched it from his hands and began to read. Her face turned from anger, to confusion, to murderous rage in a matter of seconds. Agnes snapped the book shut and threw it back to Joe.
‘And what,’ she said, spitting out each word with poisonous venom, ‘the fuck am I supposed to do with that information? Why the fuck did she do that to me? And why the fuck is she talking to us through a book?’
Joe had no words to comfort her. He hadn’t got a clue what was going on himself.
Agnes turned to look at the woodcutter. She gave an agonised sob and collapsed onto the floor.
Thirty minutes later and everything had calmed down.
Agnes was sitting on the woodcutter’s lap on a rickety old chair in the corner of his cottage. She hadn’t stopped saying sorry and stroking his head like he was some pet dog.
‘I’m sorry baby,’ she kept saying over and over again.
Hel, on the other hand, was sitting on the floor, her arms wrapped around her knees staring at the Book of the Dead as she rocked backwards and forwards.
‘And you’re sure,’ she said, for the hundredth time, ‘you didn’t know any of this before we set out? Because if you did, well, Agnes would be right to be angry.’
Agnes was already angry, thought Joe.
‘No,’ he said, for the one-hundredth-and-one time.
‘But why would she do that? What could she have thought she would achieve?’
‘I don’t know,’ repeated Joe for the one-hundredth time.
‘Why would she steal Agnes’ heart and frame the woodcutter?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Joe for the one-hundredth-and-one time.
‘And when did you realise she was talking to you through the book?’
‘I’m not sure,’ he said with a shrug, ‘it was just a theory and then…’
‘You’re not sure?’ she asked, her one eyebrow cocked high upon her forehead.
‘Well, I thought it…look, I’m not used to all this. I’m just a human.’
‘Mmmm.’ Hel did not look convinced, but at least she wasn’t giving his dagger eyes, unlike Agnes.
Agnes finally climbed off the woodcutter’s lap and came over to where Joe was standing. Yep, if looks could kill…