Title: Welcome to Camelot Hotel
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur, Mordred
Summary: He heard the sound of the gun being cocked. A sudden freezing chill crept up the back of his neck. “Any last words?” (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4)
Warnings: Violence, attempted murder, minor character death, stalking, rampant clichés and horror tropes everywhere.
Word Count: 995 words.
Prompt: #235 Suspense Month - Chaos.
Author's Note: Sorry I'm late, I've had a bit of a rough week.
The distant past slowly faded from Merlin’s vision, leaving behind the now-familiar apartment and an empty sense of desolation. He remembered now; remembered how his previous life had ended. The mere thought of it made him dig his fingernails into his palms, needing the small hurt to ground himself in the here and now. Arthur was dead and gone, and his previous life was over. It was stupid to be upset about something that had happened hundreds of years ago.
“I never understood what you saw in him, really,” a voice said from behind him. Merlin whirled, his heart thundering. In his trance state, or whatever it had been, he had stopped in the centre of the living room the same way his past self had; now, the door to the hallway closed behind him with an ominous click, revealing a shadowy figure that Merlin recognised all too well. “He never had any power, not really. Him and his father, persecuting witches. They barely even scratched the surface of the things people like you and I could really do.”
“Mordred,” Merlin said, his voice shaking. “What are you — how did you find me?”
“Mostly by luck, really,” Mordred said, shrugging. He took another step closer, and the light from the street outside gleamed on the barrel of a gun pointing straight at Merlin’s chest. Merlin froze, a horrible sense of deja vu sweeping through him. “Admittedly, a small amount of precognition and housebreaking was involved. There isn’t much magic left in the world anymore, so we have to work with what we can get.”
He gestured, and Merlin allowed himself to be walked slowly back into the kitchen, where Mordred made him sit down on one of the few dining chairs that was still intact and tied his hands behind his back.
“The previous tenant,” Merlin said. “That was you?”
“You know what they say about criminals and the scene of the crime.” Mordred smirked. “I’ve been waiting for a very long time to find you, so that I can finish what I started.”
Merlin licked his lips. “Well, the joke’s on you, then,” he said, wishing that he were the sort of person who owned a pocket-knife. Any kind of weapon would be really handy right now. “Because I haven’t even met Arthur in this incarnation; I have no idea where he is.”
Mordred clucked his tongue. “You misunderstand me,” he said. “It was never Arthur I came here to kill.”
“You tried to shoot him!”
“I tried to shoot you,” Mordred corrected. “I wanted him to watch. After what he did to Kara, that was the least he deserved.”
Merlin’s head spun. “But,” he said. “Why kill me now, then? Arthur’s not here to see it. He doesn’t — “ His voice caught. “He didn’t love me anymore, anyway, after what I did.”
“Such a pity.” Mordred shook his head, sarcastic. “But now that I know what you are — who you are — and what you’re meant to do, I’m afraid I simply have to kill you. I can’t let you stop us from bringing it back, you see.”
“Bringing what back?”
Mordred leaned in close. “The magic,” he said. “Camelot. Albion. Really, Emrys, you have no idea what you’ve walked into, do you?”
There was a faint note of pity in his voice, but when Merlin looked up, he couldn’t see any compassion in his expression whatsoever. He heard the sound of the gun being cocked. A sudden freezing chill crept up the back of his neck. “Any last words?”
“Yeah,” Merlin said, swallowing hard. “Look behind you.”
And that, of course, was when all hell broke loose.
As Merlin tried to explain to the police afterwards, he was never quite sure how Mordred had ended up falling through the living room window to the street below. Nor was he ever certain how it happened that the would-be murderer came to be shot at point-blank range, with a gun that hadn’t been manufactured in over a hundred years.
“Of course, it’s not like he didn’t have it coming,” said the officer who came to talk to Merlin about it, scratching the back of his head ruefully. “He’d been stalking this young girl for months — Kara, her name is. Poor kid’s been scared out of her mind, said he thought he was in love with her. Completely obsessed.”
“He did seem to be,” Merlin said, nodding. “He had some kind of — of mad idea that we were all reincarnated figures from legend. You know, King Arthur and all that. He thought he had some kind of magical powers.”
“Mm.” The policeman’s gaze flicked to the dark bruises around Merlin’s throat, then back up to the scratches on his face. “Sure you can’t tell us who killed him?”
Merlin thought about it. He thought about how he’d thrown himself at Mordred in a desperate attempt to make him drop the gun, and how it had gone off only inches from his ear, before Mordred had thrown it away and tried to strangle him with his bare hands.
He thought about another gunshot, this time from somewhere far away, and Mordred letting go of him, cursing, to face someone Merlin couldn’t see. As Merlin had watched, Mordred had stumbled back in shock – lost his balance – and after another, teetering second, fallen as though shoved and plunged straight through the shatterproof living room window.
Most of all, however, Merlin thought about the cool, invisible hand that had cupped his cheek, the whispered apology he had heard before a bitter wind had followed Mordred out into the night, and Vivian had started pounding on his door. Did he know who had killed Mordred? Or had he imagined everything?
He shook his head.
“I didn’t see them, officer,” he said truthfully. If there had been someone else in number 7D, they were gone now, so there was no use talking about it.
It wasn’t as if anyone would believe him, anyway.