The Innkeeper’s Apprentice – Pt. 9

Read Time: 6 mins | Serial Fiction | Part 9 | Read from beginning

The evening had gone too smoothly. There was no delightful satisfaction, however, as revenge seldom brings closure. This was about justice for my wife and child. The other goal was to reestablish the normal order of things by putting an end to the tyranny that was subjugating the fraternity. Even the silence, under which we had operated for centuries, had been agitated to the point where certain elements within society were beginning to bring a spotlight. Some of our kind craved this notoriety, and others, like me, feared it would hasten our demise. We operated best in the shadows.

The shadows are where I had stood for the last five minutes, observing my young apprentice and the other occupants of my home. All four of them were lost in the glow of technology, the opiate of this generation. The girls were both squished on either side of Michael, who in turn had his headphones on while scrolling through his phone. Naomi was reading something. Probably another romance novel.

I entered quietly and made my way to the study. Michael was caught in a rather unforgiving position. But it was a necessary dilemma. On the security monitor I observed him. He was reading stories related to Senator Mendez. I knew what he was looking for, and what he would never find. That story was given to a journalist who had just watched his wife die in a horrible accident at a railway crossing. I texted Michael that I was in the study and watched as he gently released himself from his two new best friends. The power of innocence and vulnerability. Only a callous mind, absent of emotion, could harm a child. I knew men like that, men such as Denzel, whose actions had forced me to take a twenty-five-year break from this job.

“There is no mention, anywhere, that Senator Mendez lost his family in a car crash.” He declared as he entered.

I gestured to the chair. “Many men have a past they wish they could make disappear.”

“Public records say that I am the son of Denzel Keynes, and …”

“Philippa Keynes, who died giving birth to you.”

“Is any of it true?”

“The people are very real. Denzel, you have known all your life as your father. Philippa Keynes did die during childbirth at the Inn.”

“Who was she?”

“No relation to you whatsoever. This is just one of the masks the Innkeeper must wear sometimes.”

“Who was she?”

“A misguided teenager, who fell in love with the wrong man. She was a street worker, not far from here. Originally from Idaho. Her father found her, beat her, and left her for dead. But we take care of our own.”

“Where is the Inn?”

“When you’ve taken your vows, all will be revealed.”

“Are you going to kill my father?”

“Denzel has done me no wrong. I cannot lay a finger on him.”

“No sir. You misunderstood me. Denzel I will personally take care of. I was referring to Senator Mendez.”

There was a coldness to Michael. A frigidity that could douse the flames of sentimental attachments. But I doubt that he was ready to allow me to make that call yet. There were many unanswered questions still nibbling at his conscience.

“It is my intention to do so by this time tomorrow.”

“What if I were to ask you to reconsider?”

“On what basis?”

He walked toward the small bookshelf, where I kept my most treasured collections.

“You read a lot of philosophy and history books. Quite dull reading.”  He adjusted the books, and then fingering them one by one, while inspecting his fingers for dust, he finally settled on one volume.

“I never figured you to be much of a reader. One can only imagine what your preferences are.” I already knew Michael spent many hours at the local library. Mostly to kill time during the day.

“You’ve spent a lot of time in this book quite recently. It’s perhaps one of your favorites.”

It was an old book, a compilation of essays and discourses on enlightenment and reason. A favorite. I smiled at him. Inside I was applauding his powers of deduction.

“What does this have to do with your request for clemency?”

“Killing the senator, though within your rights, would significantly impact young Annabelle.”

“I have considered this.”

“Have you? Yet revenge still spurs you onward in your quest?”

“It is not revenge that spurs me onward. It is duty.”

“A man cannot be reasoned with, when he is driven by self interest.” He was shaking his head at my answer.

“What would you do, if you were in my situation, Michael?”

It was obvious that over the several hours I had left him alone, that Michael had been working through every conceivable scenario. There were things he couldn’t know from Google searches. Snippets of information, that only graves, in far flung places would reveal if one were to recognize the clues being offered. He was grasping at straws, but I would indulge my young apprentice.

“I would have butchered him. Publicly. Sent a message to everyone. But we are two different people. One possesses all the facts to make a decision, while I would be reacting. You told me once that the Innkeeper never makes decisions based on his emotions. Are you making an emotional decision?”


“Tell me the facts, Innkeeper. For if you were to conduct your mission of vengeance, then as your apprentice, vengeance, whether holy or unholy, would be the lasting impression.”

“Are you ready to take your vows?”


“It will not change the outcome; it will only delay the inevitable.”

“Senator Mendez is the least of my concerns. He’s never existed in my world. Both her parents are alive and well. Annabelle, she will be fine. But my mother and my siblings were stolen from me, and I was offered up as a sacrificial lamb by that man, for a reason. I just want to know everything. Then sir, I will play my role willingly.”

“The rabbit hole goes quite deep, Michael. There is no turning back after tonight.”

“Sir, I have been a ghost all my life. My birth isn’t real, my identity isn’t real, heck my very existence isn’t real unless you hadn’t made it so yesterday. I don’t even know who I am. Michael is just a name assigned by my abductor. I was traded like some commodity to a very vile man.”

“Then the first path to your liberation is choosing a name.”

“You already gave me one.”

“No. It must be one which you choose.”

He thought about it for a moment. “I am a Mendez?”

“Not quite. The good senator never acknowledged that side of his life. It’s a long story.”

“What is Denzel’s real name?”

“Why do you ask?”

Because no one in this messed up world of yours seems to be real. I figure that Denzel Keynes must be a lie as well.”

Wonderful was his mind at work. It would be something to behold when I finally gave him permission to play and be all he can be.

“You are correct. I gave him his identity.”

“Then, with your permission, am I free to erase him from existence?”

“Of course.”

“I have made up my mind.” He said pointing to a name underlined in the book.

“Very well, Nicollo it is.”

“No. I wish to be known, simply as Nico.”

To be continued tomorrow…



11 responses to “The Innkeeper’s Apprentice – Pt. 9”

  1. This tale is not letting you go easily!

    “A man cannot be reasoned with, when he is driven by self interest.”


    I need to mull over this one…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol one more episode… Then I try my hand at something different..I will revisit with stories of the journey of young Michael/the apprentice… That was the entire reason for doing this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just one more lol

        Every time your notification pops up, I drop what I’m doing lol it’s becoming a problem 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah.. I promise to revisit it… But there are stories bursting in my heart to come out. I’m so happy you’re enjoying it though. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m looking forward to all the stories! 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

    2. “a man cannot be reasoned with….” Is similar to a quote I read ages ago, about the Renaissance period. Saved it for a later date..thought it would be appropriate for young Michael to throw it in the face of the Innkeeper.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ✨️👏🏻✨️ Nigel ✨️👏🏻✨️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you more to go. It’s robbing me of much needed sleep. But it’s been fun

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This story is getting better and better. I look forward to the next part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pooja. It’s been a wonderful experience to write a series daily. Tested my creativity. But I have truly enjoyed the process. Thanks again for supporting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

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