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Pain of Exile
Author's note: I've always been interested in darkness and well Pain of Exile explains my love for it.
I finished moving my last box up in my room. I turned around to gaze at it, unhappy. Bare. Just like my heart. I sighed and touched my chest, picking up a box. I set it on my dresser, pulling my paintings from it. My paintings once consumed me at one point. It got to where I never left my room, struck in my drawings. I gazed at the one in my hands. It was of an angel, his back showing. Scars and gashed covered it, his wings down. His once-beautiful wings were not plucked and scared. Chains were around his wrist and ankles, bounding him. Pain of Exile it was called.
A light rap on the door alerted me, drawing me from my thoughts. I opened it up, knowing it was my Father. I only had my Father and brother. My mother and sister died only after three years of my birth. Father never said how, but kept it to himself. He kept moving us from town to town, busy in his ‘work’. He never said what his ‘work’ was, saying I never needed to know. For my safety. Then again we moved because of Father, but many that’s why my brother gets sick easy. The stress. With a sigh I went to let my Father in. My Father’s name was Tyler Rick Jones. He was tall and slightly muscular with broad shoulders. He was darkly tan, given what job he did. His head was oval shaped and he had a cleanly shaved head. His eyes were a deep black, holding sorrow, pain, sickness, but deeper within them…love. Tonight he wore a tight black sweater that hugged his form with black jeans and combat boots. Around his neck on a silver chain was a pentagram on it. He was young, thirty-six and psychically fit, but something was deeply wrong. He never said so, but I always just knew. I was strange that way.
“Raven do you have everything?” he asked, with a small smile. I hugged him, feeling my body worn out from the move. “This time, yes. How long are we to say here? You know I tire of moving and it's making Hayden sick. Plus, I heard there’s a doctor in town that might be able to help him,” I said, quickly. For the past few days I thought over my words and this is what came out. He smiled and hesitantly ran his hand through my hair. “I promise this is our last move. Hopefully my chaos will die down and things will return to normal.” I smiled at him and stretched my wary body to wake up. “Besides coming up to see if I had everything, was there another reason?” I glanced at my room, noting how many boxes I had and the setting sun. “Actually yes, I wanted us to drive around town and stop to catch some dinner. Jack said he’ll send some people over to set up our beds and furniture. I’ll tell them to leave your boxes alone. You two would want to set them up and paint your own rooms.” I smiled brightly, loving the thought of being able to paint my room. “Sure. Thanks, Dad. I’ll go see if Hayden needs help and then go get our jackets.” With those words, I closed my door and left him in the hallway. I found Hayden’s room on the second floor, in the second biggest room. Father had the Master bedroom on the second floor. He had boxes and wood pieces of his bed frame everywhere. I glanced in the corner, seeing his wheelchair and crutches. I winced at the memories, noting his inhaler and oxygen tank were on the wheelchair. He has to get better. “Hayden,” I said, seeing him kneeing down by an open box. He sat whatever he had in his hand down and turned to me, a smile on his face.
“Raven, I wondered when you were to show up. Sorry it’s a mess,” he said, sheepishly looking around the room. I chuckled, helping him up. He was stronger today, not as weak as last week. I just hoped he got better, quickly. When he was sick, I would care for him, that taking a toll on me. “Mine’s not much better. How do you feel today?” He heard the worry in my voice, seeing it in my eyes. He laughed and hugged me tightly. “Better. I don’t want to talk of my illnesses, Raven. I heard you talking to Dad, can we go?” There was eagerness in his voice and eyes. “Of course. Let’s go get our coats.” I ran my eyes over him, glad he was okay. He was tall and very skinny, thanks to his illness. He was pale with spiked black hair and dark green eyes. His long face held a small mouth that always held a smile, even in pain. He wore skinny black jeans and a vested, silk shirt with his converses on. On his right forearm was the tattoo of a fire forming a rose. He was only sixteen, a year younger than me. He got the tattoo at fourteen by my Father’s friend when we thought he was so close to death. And as the pentagram…Father said it would protect us and needed to be worn at all times. I have one, but it is always tucked under my shirt, cold against my skin. “Hey! Raven! Are we going or not?” said Hayden, his voice drawing me from my thoughts. I shook my head and laughed. “Of course! Let’s go get our coats!” I said, pushing my thoughts from my mind. Hayden ran out of the room, going down the stairs. I followed, but not before taking Hayden’s inhaler.
It was a chilled November night. All I knew of what were he said was that it was on the outskirts of some town in England, close to London. The country air was pleasant, calming. I hoped it would help Hayden, cleanse him. We piled in Dad’s car, Hayden up front. He chilled easy so I thought it was best he got most of the heater. Father drove us out of the country and into a light city. My attention rested on the sight driving past us, trying to remember it. I would drive into town tomorrow with Hayden to get a better look of it while Father is away. Right now, we only have one car, but also of custom Jack would leave us one for me and Hayden. I didn’t have to go to school since I dropped out at sixteen to care for Hayden. Hayden claimed to be home schooled, but since we moved a lot we couldn’t find a teacher. I taught him every now and then, but with each move it becomes less.
After a good hour of driving around, he stopped at an old 70’s theme dining place. It wasn’t my taste, but it was food and I was hungry. I watched Hayden get out of the car before I did. He seemed all right, but I did worry. After ordering a few burgers and shakes, I let my eyes rest on my Father. He started to twirl his necklace, his eyes showing a blank stare. “Dad,” I said, sharply. Hayden-who was sitting beside me-glanced at me then at Dad. Dad’s eyes flashed to us and he shivered. I recognized that action. Memories returning. “Sorry. Spaced out,” he said with a small smile, “Ah. Food’s here.” After the waiter left, I gazed at him. “Tomorrow…will you be at home?” I asked, more interested in him then the food. “No. Jack…found something. He wants me to look at it.” He started to eat and I sighed, frustrated. “Dad, could I come? I want to know what you do.” His eyes snapped on mine, anger in them. “No. I’ve told you it’s too dangerous. Besides you need to care for Hayden and get the papers ready. The usual.” The anger rose in him, but died quickly. I ate my meal, disappointed in him. When we were getting ready to leave, Dad’s cell rang. “Jack,” he mouthed and quickly went outside. I waited for Hayden who was using the bathroom, toying with my necklace. A few waiters gave me looks and scurried away. I laughed at that, used to it by now.
A few more minutes passed and Hayden didn’t return. I got up and knocked on the door, listening for him. I heard sharp gasping and my mind flashed back to when Hayden would choke, gasping for breath. The door handle started to turn and Hayden stumbled out, pale and gasping. His hand was at his throat and he was straining for breath. I pulled his inhaler out and caught him in my arms. People stared at us as I pushed the inhaler past his lips. He choked on the air for a few seconds as I pushed it down, hoping he would be able to breathe. He took several breathes and calmed down after seconds. I looked at it him, pulling the inhaler away worried. “Thank you,” he whispered softly. He was weak and I placed my arm around his waist, trying to get him to the door. “Come on, Hayden. We’re going home,” I said, frightened by his attack. I helped him outside, leaving the people to stare as we left. Dad was still on the phone, ranting of something. “-serious?! How-why? Now? But what of-no…yes. Yes. I know!” he yelled, hanging up on Jack. His back was to us as he paced, still ranting on. “Dad!” I yelled, gaining his attention, “We’ve got to go! Now!” He turned around and his eyes landed on Hayden. “Yes, your right,” he sighed, “Get in.” He started the car, warming it up as I helped Hayden in the backseat. He laid back, weak and tired. I got in the front seat, glancing as Hayden as we pulled out of there.
We said nothing as we drove down the street. He was speeding, distracted by whatever was on his mind. Once home, Dad ran into the house and turned on the lights. He helped me get Hayden inside and on the couch. He had some color back and his breathing was normal, but he was extremely tired. “Raven, can you handle him? I’ve got to go. Now,” he said, patting my shoulder in comfort. “Yeah. Whatever. Just go,” I growled. He patted my shoulder once more and left. I locked the door behind him, hoping against everything that he didn’t have his keys. I helped Hayden upstairs and into his bed. He was half asleep, looking a bit better. “Hayden, I’m going to hook your oxygen tank to you, I don’t want to take any chances tonight. I will see if I can work in the kitchen and see if the phones and fax machines are connected. I will be up to check on you,” I whispered, my eyes on him. The boxes were packed away in the corner. His tank was by his bed, the wheelchair and crutches in the closet. I hooked him up and dimmed his lights. He took no notice, already asleep.
I went to the office on the second floor. There was one on my floor and the first floor, but the second floor one was for Hayden. I checked the phone and fax machine, making sure they worked. A box and desk was pushed in the corner with bookcases lining the wall. I yawned, too tired to unpack or fax for Hayden. I checked my watch, seeing it read three in the morning. I checked on Hayden, finding him deeply asleep in his bed, unknown to the dark world. I smiled at him and turned his lights off, going to my room, to my bed. I was poked awake, annoyed at even being awake. Hayden stood over me, smiling. “It’s ten, Raven. Get up,” he said, laughing at me. I sat up, stretching. “Where’s Dad?” I yawned, struggling to stay awake. Hayden sat on the edge of my bed, running a hand over his hair. It fell in his face, pulled back by rubber band. “He’s been gone. He left a sum of money and keys on the table with a note. It told us to get paint for our rooms and for you to do the paperwork.” I grumbled, still angry at our Father. “I bet he did… He needs to get it together.” I slipped out of bed, stumbling awake. Hayden got up too, watching me and knowing my mood. “I know you are mad at him, but he does try.” I sighed and clapped his shoulder gently. “He doesn’t, Hayden, but go take a shower and get ready. We’ll leave at noon.” Hayden smiled and left me to my thoughts.
I made a mental note to talk to my Father of his ways as I got ready for my shower. Once Hayden was done with his, I took mine. I gazed at myself in the mirror, looking myself over. I was tall and skinny, but built with unseen muscle. I was pale with long, straight black hair that curled at the end. I had a strong, pointed face with emerald eyes. I had full breast and an attractive body, but men didn’t speak to me, much less look. Today I wore my black jeans and a tank top with my boots. My necklace was out of the top, showing, but it was hardly of worry as I didn’t care much. I toyed with the blade I usually kept with me before I set it aside, deciding it wasn’t needed. Coming downstairs, I found Hayden cooking on the stove. “I didn’t know we had food,” I said, yawning. I looked on the counter, finding the keys and wad of money there. The note simply said to buy paint and food. Our phones were in the car. We could pain our rooms and offices, but unpack the downstairs while it dried. He wouldn’t be back until the weekend and Jack would check on us. Plus, I had to be careful of Hayden. “He thinks little of me,” sighed Hayden, pouring oatmeal in two bowels, “And Jack dropped some food off this morning.” I rubbed Hayden’s hair, smiling. “I know, but I will speak to him.” He smiled and hugged me, blushing. “Thanks, Raven. Do you know if the faxes work yet?” He sat down with the bowels, pushing mine towards me. I took a bite, finding it perfectly spiced. “They do. Don’t worry, I’ll get the papers by tonight and filed away. I have you handled.” He smiled as we fell in silence.
We ate in silence for a few before I sipped my juice, clearing my throat. “Hayden, last night…what brought on your attack?” I asked, my voice soft. Hayden’s face fell as he pushed his empty bowel away. “I hardly remember, Raven. I was looking at myself in the mirror and something flashed behind me. I felt as if the air was gone and I fainted for a minute. Next thing I knew, you had the inhaler in my mouth. I was better after that, but that figure, his eyes…so familiar,” said Hayden, his eyes closed as he lost himself to memory. A shudder ran through him as I took his words in. They were true, I believe him, but it troubled me. The figure? The same one. “Calm Hayden, calm. It seems I have much more to talk to Jack of.”-I smiled gently at him-“Go get your shoes on and I’ll get our coats.” He smiled and handed me our dishes. I was washing the dishes when Hayden ran down the stairs. He held his shoes in his hands, his hair blown back. “Hayden, why aren’t your shoes on?” I asked turning to him. I had pocketed the money in my wallet and the keys on my pants. “I…heard a noise…in my…room. Below, the…yard,” he said, gasping. I peered at him, closely. “You look on the verge of an attack.” He trembled lightly and I sighed, pulling myself up. “I…think I…am.” His teeth chattered and he started to waver where he stood. “Sit down, Hayden and calm down. I’ll check on it and then we’ll leave. I’m sure it's nothing, but the wind.” I patted his shoulder and ran up the stairs.
I found my blade in his doorway and I stared at it for a few. I remember leaving it on my dresser, wondering how it ended up on a different floor. I picked it up and gripped the hilt tight, opening his doorway. The room was empty besides his boxes and bed. I noted his inhaler was gone, but he had it with him. I checked under his bed and in the closet, bare except for his medical items. I gripped my blade tighter and looked out the window. It-the yard-was clear with frost, but clear of people. I shuddered and felt a sudden hand on my shoulder. I gasped and turned around, raising the blade. …Except none was there. I was about to leave when I cast my eyes in the yard again when I saw a dark figure in the yard. I ran to the window when it only waved and disappeared. I walked back downstairs, the blade still in my hand. Hayden stood by the door, pacing. “Raven! Did you see it? Do you believe me?” he asked, his voice pitched with fear. I noticed I was trembling and forced myself to stop before Hayden could notice. “I didn’t say I didn’t beleive you in the first place, Hayden. But yes I did see it and I do believe you. I will speak to Jack,” I said my voice wavering, “You have your inhaler on you, yes?” As I spoke I slipped on my jacket. I watched Hayden slip on his reddish leather jacket, like mine except black. He slipped his inhaler in the inside pocket and smiled at me.
I opened the door, expecting to see the figure, but we only saw the black car and the frost. Hayden locked the house as I slipped in the car, warming it up. I picked up my cell phone, noting how Jack called twice an hour ago. Hayden got in, his eyes on me. “Jack called, didn’t he?”-I nodded-“Speak to him at lunch. There will be much to talk of.” I nodded and handing him his phone, I pulled out. We drove into town, passing out of the country. We passed the doctor’s office and I had Hayden jot down the number for me. We stopped at Albert’s Home Work Store. Once inside we walked around, finding the paint in the back. It was a small secluded store, but holding the items we would need. “I don’t know Raven,” he said, running his hands over the paint cans. I smiled, knowing exactly what I wanted. “I could help, but it will be…different then my own,” I said, not wanting to give much away. He turned to me, smiling. “You do it, Raven. You are the artist. You choose.” I chuckled and had him go get us several carts while I looked over the paint. I had half the inventory of black and white, but several blood-like reds in the carts. Hayden didn’t question my color choices while we got the tarp and several brushes. We walked around for a few more minutes before checking out. If surprised, the manager said nothing. His eyes lingered on us, on the pendants before he started to help us take the carts to the car. We found ourselves at a small hamburger joint within the hour. I wasn’t hungry, but I had Hayden eat something. We ate outside, even though it was chilly. “Just call Jack, Raven,” said Hayden in between bites. He was watching me play with the phone, flipping it in my hand. I sighed and nodded, deciding he was right. “It might be a few. If I’m busy when you are done, don’t wonder please,” I said with a small smile. As I spoke I dialed Jack’s number, wondering what I had in store.
Jack answered after two rings, the deep voice soothing. “Raven? Right on time,” he said, sounding as if he was chuckling. “Good. Look, Jack…is Dad busy? What of you?” I said, glancing at Hayden. He still sat at the table, flipping through the book menu as he ate. “Your father is. I’m not. Is there a problem? Something wrong with Hayden?” I sighed, leaning against a pole. “He always is. I must speak with him, but of you to. Hayden’s fine today. Could you happen to fax over Hayden’s papers?” There was earnest in my voice and Hayden’s eyes fell on mine. “Sure, but surely he doesn’t need it. He can’t be sick again and all this equipment is pure folly.” I sighed, knowing he would give me no answers. “Then explain to me how it’s folly Jack!” As I yelled Hayden quickly stood up, his eyes on me. “Raven, I-I can’t. It’s not my place. You know it. I want to, but I cannot! Do you wish for me to still fax over those papers?” I sighed, wanting nothing but answers to the mysteries that surrounded us. “Yes, just in case. He needs more refill on his tank and inhaler. Since you gave them to us, I hope you can give him more.” He seemed to sigh and I heard light tapping. “Yes, I’ll be able to do that. They’ll be faxed over by tonight and his items will be on your doorstep tomorrow morning. Anything else?” I looked for Hayden again, seeing him leaning against the wall, his eyes closed. “Yes. I think you should know something…” I caught his attention now. “Well, Raven speak up then.” I gazed at Hayden before I spoke. “Hayden had an attack yesterday and before he did he told me he saw a flash of figure behind him. That the eyes were familiar and then the air was gone. He fainted then, but he is fine now. And today when he was in his room he heard a noise and saw a figure in his room. Yes, I went to check and saw the same figure, but in the yard. It waved at me and then was gone.” Jack was quite before he spoke, his voice thoughtful. “I must check into that. For now Raven I suggest…” I didn’t hear the rest, finding Hayden running down a broken road.
I hung up on Jack and ran after Hayden, wondering why he ran. He was far ahead of me, but with his weak body he started to slow down. In a few strides, I caught up with him, finding him leaning against a wall. He was pale and sickened looking. He gasped through his inhaler, his eyes on me. I was about to yell at him when his eyes traveled to the alleyway. I nodded and ran down the alleyway, my eyes searching for what he was after. There! At the end of the alleyway stood the figure, taunting me. I chased after it, my annoyment and anger fueling me. I pulled my blade out and threw myself at the figure, hoping to strike him. I hit it, but my blade was suddenly gone from my hand. I was slammed into the wall, my wrists held above my head in the blackening moment. “Raven Silver,” it whispered in my ear. It bent close to me, the cold increasing. It seemed to smell me before chuckling. I started to tremble now, feeling fear. “Who are you? What are you?” I asked, glad my voice didn’t show I was afraid. I heard it laugh, the noise familiar, but yet sickening. “Wouldn’t baby Raven like to know?”-laughter!-“Fly away, Raven. Fly away to your brother, dear sweet Hayden.” And with those words, he was suddenly gone.
I dropped to my knees, trembling trying to control myself from sobbing. I soon stood up, brushing myself off. I felt weak, but I had enough control to where it wouldn’t show. I found my blade where the figure once stood with a black rose wrapped around it. I placed it in my jacked with the rose and walked back to Hayden. He staid where I left him, looking weak. A guy, maybe of twenty stood beside him, looking worried. I helped Hayden up as he watched, confusing rising in those eyes. “Miss,” he said, his voice having a sweet British accent, “Miss we need to talk.” I barley glanced at him, having Hayden leaning against me. Black hair fell in his face, black warm eyes, and his crescent skin. Darkness. His features were constructed after a Roman God, made out of darkness and light. The beautiful, heartbroken sight. I started to walk away, confused by my own thoughts. “Miss!” he yelled, running after me, “You are in danger! Now more than ever!” His hand grazed my arm and I assumed he meant to grab me despite I had Hayden in my arms. “No, sir. You are the only one in danger if you continue to follow me,” I growled, turning to him, “And I’m not afraid to strike.” He stood there, a few feet behind us with a small grin on his face. “Very well, lady of the night.” With that grin and a bow, he let us walk on. Once home, Hayden helped me unload the car. It was nearly five now, the sun setting so we decided to eat before painting. Hayden was silent, but he looked better as he made our dinner. “Hayden,” I said, putting away the dished I had washed earlier. He looked at me, his eyes sullen. “Yes?” he said, his eyes back on the sauce he was stirring. “You’re silent and sullen. What is it?” he turned away, seasoning some pasta slices. “I’ve been thinking. Plus, I was just tired form my run.” I poured our tea, adding ice to our glasses. “Why did you run away?” His eyes flashed and his hands started to tremble “I saw him. That figure. He started to run so I didn’t have time to tell you. I followed.” He poured the sauce on our plates and sighed. “And he led you to the alleyway?” I gently rubbed his shoulders. “That’s where I stopped. He was gone and I was weak.”-He looked at me, his eyes bright-“What happened in the alleyway?” I sighed and rubbed my bruised wrists, having my jacket still on. I slowly told him what happened, my voice dull. “I don’t understand the rose, though,” I continued, “We can’t tell Jack, though. Not yet.”
We ate after that, the silence around us. “Did you know that guy? The one that was telling us we were in danger?” I whispered, pushing the food around on my plate. My appetite was done, my stomach seeming to be made of lead. “No, but I’ve seen him before. He’s never tried to talk to us before, but follow us at a distance. If you think back, Raven you will remember seeing him,” he said with a soft smile. My thoughts returned to him, wondering why my thoughts were that way when my eyes were on him. “I do. But who is he and why was he following us? Especially from home to home.” Hayden shrugged, taking my plate from me. “Could be one of Jack’s?” I watched him place mine in the fridge and wash his own. “Can’t. Too young.”-I sighed heavily-“Let’s not worry of it, just yet. We can paint now and forget our worries. I’ll set up everything in your room while you go put on some music to beat out the silence.” With the heavy drums of African music, I changed into old clothing and set up the tarp in Hayden’s room. He had removed the boxes, but covered his dresser and bed with plastic. I set up some buckets of white paint, deciding it was best to use that first. Hayden came in, setting the boom box outside the door. He had a brush, looking around the room. “White first then?” he asked, rolling up his sleeves. I noticed he had put on old clothing like me, but used a hat to cover his hair. “As a base color,” I explained, “Then we’ll work with the others.” He shrugged and dipped his brush in the paint, his eyes on the wall.
Hours had past and our troubles were forgotten. The sound of Hayden’s CD filled the background, the drums soothing. I relaxed when I helped Hayden paint, my hand around his wrist. He wasn’t so weak now, but he was tiring. I asked him era times did he want to stop and rest for the night, but he wanted to continue and finish the room. The fumes were starting to make me dizzy so I opened his windows, the fresh air refreshing. When we decided the paint was even and could dry on all of his walls, we went to his office. It was smaller and already a dark, black color so we just removed the boxes, desk, and other items until it was bare. ‘The fun’ came when we dripped our rushed in the black and flung the paint against the wall. Hayden enjoyed it quite much and I smiled, glad to see him happy. I left Hayden to go what he wished when I went downstairs to fix some coffee. It was well past midnight when I started the pot. I noticed my phone vibrating while I paced. It read Dad.
I sighed, my anger igniting once I answered him. “What?” I snapped, jumping to sit on the counter. “Raven? Jack told me to call you. I just got some time. Are you two okay?” he asked, his voice rough. He sounded tired, worn out, but I didn’t care. “Oh yes we are fine. No thanks you to you.” My voice betrayed my deep anger and I growled. “Wow, Raven. Calm down. Speak to me.” “Why should I, Father? You’re not even a father to me, to us!” There was a silence and my words hurt him. “What do you mean, Hun?” I sighed, angry at him for not understanding. “You don’t understand, do you Dad? You are hardly around! How can we trust you?! You are always off on these ‘missions’ and you hardly tell us what they are! We move nearly every month and Hayden gets sick from it! We can’t get comfortable! We hardly know who we are much less you! I feel I know Jack more then I know you! And yesterday, when Hayden had his attack you just left! You don’t care of us!” My words rang through the house and I knew they had stung him. There was a deep, pressing silence and I growled to fill it. “…what do you want me to do, Raven?” My thoughts were blank as I snarled. He’s asking me what to do? And he’s to be my father? “Figure it out.” With those words, I hung up on him, my anger sated. A few seconds past and I let my body and mind calm down. I felt a faint touch on my shoulder, but turning around none was there. I sighed and poured me and Hayden a heavy cup of black coffee. I returned to Hayden, finding him on the stairs. “You okay?” I asked, handing him his mug. He took a few sips, silent. “Yea. Just tired and the fumes were making me dizzy,” he mumbled, sipping the cup. I patted his knee in sympathy. “Do you wish to stop for the night?”-he shook his head-“Well while your floor fumes out and dries, let’s go unpack downstairs.”
We finished the coffee, making small talk. Once getting downstairs and through the door to the living room we realized it was already unpack. There on the table was a vase of white and blood-red roses with a clear vase. That wasn’t ours. We never had a vase, much less any flowers. “Hayden,” I whispered, “Did you-” He shook his head, biting his lip. “I’m just hoping Jack’s men did this. Not that thing!” I continued, tearing my eyes from the vase. “Raven can I go? I feel uneasy!” he said, his whisper fast. I patted his shoulder with a sigh. “Yes. Go cover up the paints in your office and set them by your room. Make sure your room is still covered.” He nodded and quickly left, the door swinging close behind him. I went to the vase, too busy to observe the room. I took the black rose out from the vase, glad I could spot it out of the red. I stared at it, seeing a name scrawled on the stem. Devin. I suppose the little scrawling on the side was to be a rose next to his name. Sighing in confusion, I carried the rose to my room, leaving it by the door next to the other one.
Going back to Hayden’s room, I found him looking at his wall. It was the only one left white. I looked up, noting the ceiling had splotches of black on it and none was on the fan. He had done well. I stifled a yawn, gripping the doorframe. “Hayden, it’s late. We can continue when we awake,” I said, struggling yet another yawn. Hayden turned and looked at me, his eyes soft. “Go to bed, Raven. You are dead tied,” he said with a smile, “We will continue in the morning, but I want to get his down.” I looked, seeing he moved the tarp to the wall near his door. The red and black paint stood there with the brushes. “Are you sure? It can wait.” I moved to his bed and dresser, rolling up the plastic. I placed it in his closet for now. “And maybe it can, but I can’t. Go to bed, Raven.” I smiled and bade him goodnight. Going up to my room, I found my blade’s top buried in my door with a note hanging room it. I was annoyed, snatching the note and blade from the door. I opened my door, finding it bare. I turned on my light, the blade clinched in my hands. Nothing seemed out of ordinary, everything how I left it. I threw the knife and note on my bed, getting the roses too. I went to my bathroom, getting ready for another long night.
Coming back from the bathroom, if found yet another black rose on my dresser with the other two beside it. Who are you? Are you the same man that leaves me these roses? The God of Darkness or the one that threatened our lives? I noticed the new rose had the name Devin on it again. The rose I revived after my attack had only an L. on it. Who are you? A figure of my nightmare or the God of Darkness? Show yourself! With a sigh, I sat on my bed and stared to read the note.
Raven Shade Silver-
You do not know me. You’ve seen my face. You may recognize me. I hope you do; you’re smart. I know of you. Your real past. The answers. You seek them, don’t you? Come in dm e. I will be at the coffee shop at dusk tomorrow. Come alone. Hayden doesn’t need to know. Yet. Plus, I hope you like my gifts: The vase of roses and your dining room set up. Please remember, Raven you are in danger. Carry your blade and sleep with hit. You know how to protect Hayden. Protect yourself now, Raven Silver.
I stared at the note in confusion. Who are you, Devin? What do you mean? I sighed and laid the note down, laying back. I fell asleep, bathed in confusion. In the dead of the night, I trembled. It was not from the cold nor my pain plaque nightmare, but a touch. I felt it on my cheek, the cold shocking touch. It heightened my senses, even in my sleep. It made me aware of that I wasn’t safe as I thought I was. More of Hayden then me. It made me aware.
Waking up with a painful gasp, I tried to reason where I was. I was sitting up, my head pounding. It took me a few moments to realize where I was and that I was alone. Everything looked the same, my note and the roses were in the same place. Normal. I scoffed at the word and got up, getting ready for my day. Taking a long, warm shower I finally woke up. The radio in my room read close to noon. I yawned, feeling as if I hardly got any sleep. I glanced at my reflection seeing a mark on my cheek. It was smooth, looking as if a scar. What the hell…? I ran my hand over it, feeling how smooth it was. Smoother then my own skin. I put it away in my mind, acting like it didn’t bother me. As I went downstairs, I decided my mind was made up. I would go meet this Devin and get some answers. I just needed a way to go alone. Hayden was in the kitchen, placing something on two plates when I walked in. he looked tired, but pleased with himself. There was package on the table, my name scrawled on it. “Jack dropped off more good and this package. He’ll be back over around six tonight,” he yawned. The air smelt like bacon and my stomach growled for the want of food. Six? An hour before dusk. There is no way Jack would let me go. I can’t tell him. Maybe if I’m out before he shows up, he wouldn’t bother with it, but I can’t leave Hayden alone. Not after last night. I sighed in confusion, deciding to stay and see how things turned out. None the less, I’m going. Whether Jack approves or not.
“Why?” I yawned trying to straighten my bed-hair. He slipped some batter on the skillet and I poured myself a cup of coffee. “He wants to speak to us of whatever you told him,” he said softly. His eyes met mine and knew he had hardly slept. “Why couldn’t he just call then?” I was grumbling, annoyed at Jack’s time. Hayden shrugged, his attention on our meal. “He said he rather talk to us in person.” I sighed and sat down, rubbing my eyes. “Did you get any sleep?” I stretched and watched Hayden cook. “Some. I finished somewhat of what I was going and fell asleep soon after. But a noise woke me up. I felt a presence though, a dark one this time.” My eyes snapped to his, worry in my own. “Same as when that figure shows himself?” He nodded as my hand traced the scar. “The very same.” I lapped into silence, thinking. Hayden served us some bacon and pancakes while I lapped in my silence. We were silent, thinking over what was said. Once we were done, I washed the dishes, in silence. “We have to think of what will be said,” said Hayden from behind me. He sipped from a mug, his eyes on me. “I know. That’s what I’m thinking of,” I sighed, placing the dishes up to dry, “Go back to your room and finish the last touches in your room. I’ll be up shortly.” Hayden nodded and gripped his mug tighter. “Knock before you enter.” He smiled at me and left.
I turned to the package, watching Hayden climb the stairs. Ripping it open, I pulled out Hayden’s inhaler and tank. They were cold and yet at the same time warm. There was nothing else left of that I could find, so I threw the package away. Hayden’s door was closed when I got up there and music poured from the room. I knocked several times, but he didn’t open. I opened the door myself, slipping in. Hayden stood against the wall he had left white. Expect it wasn’t white. It was not a dark red color with the black outside of a forest painted under the blood-red sky. Above the sky were outlines of bats painted over in black. On the top of the wall was written: “Fly thee away, my darkened spirit. Fly thee away as the pain grasps my heart for you are done and I’m alone.” I gapped, my eyes traveling over it. “Beautiful, Hayden,” I whispered, my eyes still on the picture. He turned around, a smile on his face. “Thank you Raven. It’s been in my mind for days. The quote is so familiar, but I can’t place where,” he whispered. It took me several moments to realize he had turned the sound of the drums off. I smiled and looked around the room. He had removed the tarps and paints, the boxes still in his room. “Where did you place the tarp and paints?” He glanced at me, switching lights on. He opened the window, the breeze cool. “In your room. I know how you want to work on your room alone and I shall let you. You can go and I’ll work on my office and unpack. We can discuss of what we will say to Jack before the hour he is to come.” I smiled and hugged Hayden. I left the room, giving him his items. He took them, reluctant.
Going to my room, I found the tarp and paint set up. I set to work painting two of my walls in a base of black. Painting was nice and distracted me. It kept me calm and soon I forgot my problems. Once the base was done and drying, I opened my windows. On the window cell were claw marks and specks of blood. I ran my fingers over it, thinking. No human could’ve done this, but it seems too much for an animal. I glance at the tree before my window, spotting a silk ribbon. It was back and engraved on it was the name Lucian. Lucian…so familiar. I set it by my roses with a sigh, turning back to my walls. I painted the other two walls white with my mind heavy. I painted until I tired, my eyes on only the wall. Near four, I placed my tarp and sealed the containers of pain in my closet. I showered again, my mind on this Devin. I decided to dress in a black tank top and jeans with my boots. My hair fell around me, left down. My pendent showed, the item cold against my skin. I would wear this to talk to Jack and Devin. Going downstairs, I found Hayden already changed and cooking dinner. He wore a black dress shirt and jeans. His hair was slicked back and he wore his boots. “Are you going somewhere?” he asked, catching me looking at my reflection. I chuckled and turned to him. “Yes-whether Jack lets me or not,” I growled. Hayden nodded, not questioning me.
I left Hayden to return to my room. I closed my windows, my eyes on the marks. My blade was on my bed with the note and ribbon. Hopefully this boy can shed some light on this mystery of my life. I hid my roses under my pillow and placed my blade on my belt. I tucked the note and ribbon in my pocket. My mind returned to that Devin when I heard Hayden’s voice yell, “Raven! Jack’s here!” I cursed, finding he came too early. I ran down the stairs, finding Jack hanging his coat and bowler hat on a rack by the door. Unlike my family, Jack wore different varies of color. He was tall with deeply pale skin. His dark brown hair curled to his shoulders. He had a triangle strong face, with deep, black eyes piercing my soul. He had broad shoulders with a muscular body. He never worked out of that I’ve known of, but still he kept it. He had scars lacing his hands and arms. There was a deep scar on his cheek and another one going over his right eye. He was a war character in so many ways. Tonight he wore dark blue jeans with a button up red silk shirt with his dark brown shoes. “Raven,” he said, his voice rumbling, “So good to see you.” He hugged me tightly and it was like hugging a childhood friend.
We sat down to a dinner of steaks and potatoes. My stomach was an uproar, clenching horribly. I forced myself to eat while Jack’s eyes rested on me. “Why are you here, Jack?” I asked, taking a swig of my drink. He smiled at me and pushed his plate away. “I want to talk to you two. Can we do it to the living room?” he said as I stood up. His eyes fell on my blade and he sighed softly. “Sure. Do you want me to get the dishes?” said Hayden, reading Jack’s eyes. Jack stood up, glancing at Hayden. “If you please. I would like to talk to Raven alone for a few.” My heart skipped a beat in my chest as I walked to the living room. Hayden’s eyes caught mine and he nodded. I have to be careful of what is said. Jack led me to the living room, his eyes on my outfit. “Speak,” he said, motioning me to sit down. I didn’t, preferring to stand. “Of?” I said, raising my eyebrows and having my arms crossed over my chest. He sighed and eyed my blade. “You’ve been noticing a lot more darkness these days. It’s expected. I just beg you not to seek answers.” I couldn’t resist the growl that escaped me, my mind returning to the notes. “I must!” I gripped my blade, my body tense. “Why?” Even though his voice was soft his eyes were hard. “I am tired of moving. I want answers! You won’t give them to me and that man I call my father! I’ll seek them myself!” He gripped my shoulders, his eyes pleading. “I beg you not to. You don’t know the danger!” I pulled away, moving towards the door. “Tell me why I shouldn’t!” I already had the door open, the breeze cold. “They can destroy you, Raven!” I laughed, the pity sight of the man that has always helped me. “Let them. I don’t fear it.”
I slammed the door closed behind me and ran out to the car. I had only the car keys, no jacket, and no cell phone. But at this moment I didn’t care. I started the car and sped towards the town, shivering. Rather from the cold or fright, I didn’t know. I pulled up blocks away from the coffee shop. I walked around, my eyes on the ground. When I reached the shop, I noticed the sun had set and darkness arose. There was no moon tonight, only darkness. Entering the shop, I was surrounded by the aroma of coffee. I looked around, seeing none taking interest of me. Where are you Devin? I decided to sit at the table in the back, deciding if Devin wanted me, he would have to look.
An hour past and a figure entered. He wore a dark cloak, the hood pulled over his face. He turned in my direction and walked towards me. I didn’t stand, but unsheathed my blade halfway, gripping the hilt. The cloaked figure stood by the empty chair facing him and slowly removed the cloak. Devin? The man was the same one as before when the figure confronted me in the alleyway. “Are you Devin?” I asked, reaching into my pocket. He nodded and smiled. “I suppose you are Raven now?” When I nodded he took his hand in mind and kissed it. It was sweet, but I hardly took notice of it. Silence past between us and during that time I worked my note and ribbon out of my pocket. “I assume you are of the same Devin that gave me this?” I asked, tossing the note to him. He caught it and smiled. “The very same.” He folded his hands over the note and I leaned to him. “Tell me who are you are. Why have you followed us? Why come to me now?” I bit back my tongue, in fear I said too much. He smiled and chuckled. “You presence is enjoyable, but my time is limited. I will say what I think is appropriate tonight. But more…if we meet later on.”-he sighed-“I am sure you are reluctant to return home after tonight. But I advise you to in spite of your brother.” I forced myself not to gap, wondering how did he know of that. “Very well. Say what you have to say then.” He smiled again, running a hand through his raven-color hair. “I think I will tell you somewhat of myself. You don’t need to know a lot, just enough. If I say too much forgive me, but if I say too little it will need to be-for now.”-his eyes met mine and I found myself lost in his gaze-“My name is Devin James Thomas. I come from Romania, deep within the dark, cold wall of my castle within winter. I was raised to care for my brothers and sister, but within a war I was left alone. Alone, as you are now. I know of you Raven. I know of your real past. I have followed you for many, many years. And still yet you are a challenge. You seek answers and I can give you some, but not all. You would be driven if I had the permission to give you all. But some are better than one. Decided now to find you because things are pressed to certain ends. You will seek more of darkness as time comes, but I beg you do not find it.”
My head was bowed as I took this in. “I didn’t ask for this. Darkness found me,” I growled, flipping my hair back to show the mark. I tossed him the ribbon and met his eyes, challenging him. He seemed to gap, shaking his head. Slowly, but gently he touched the scar and I saw him hesitate at the sight of my pendent. His eyes fell on the ribbon, reading the name. “No,” he whispered, stunned, “He already marked you.” I stared at him, confused. “Who is he? Is this bad? What does it mean?” He stood up, grasping the ribbon in his hand. “I apologize dearly, my sweet Raven, but it seems I have a lot more to think of.”-he pulled his cloak on-“Allow me to walk you to your car.” I smiled and stood up, taken by his hospitality. The walk was silent for both of us lost in thought. “When will I see you again?” I asked, my blush rising, “So we can talk more.” I added this bit quickly as he looked at me. His hood was down and though it was pitch black I could tell he was smiling. “I will give you a note to tell you when. I cannot say how long this space will last for I must think. I only request you think of what I said and say none of it to your people. Also, please protect yourself. Don’t seek anymore darkness.”-he sighed and gazed at the sky-“It is close to midnight, Witches Hour. Return home and be safe. You’ve caused enough chaos.” We both chuckled and he gently cupped my cheek. He smiled and kissed my knuckles with such speed, but gentleness. And then…he was gone…
I got in the car, sitting in it. I trembled from not only the cold, but from what Devin told me. I soon started the car, sitting there until I stopped trembling. After I calmed myself down to a point where I knew I could hide this fear, I drove home. My mind was on Devin when I realized a mistake we both made. We left the note…I cursed myself, hoping none would read it and it would just be thrown away. I would’ve gone back and got it, but Devin was right. It was close to midnight and leaving Hayden alone like that was chaotic within itself. Pulling up at the house I found Jack’s motorcycle gone. Going inside I found Hayden in the living room curled up on the couch with a book. He was asleep, the blanket tucked around him. I woke him up and he stood up, tense with his eyes on me. “Raven…?” he yawned, “Jack left an hour ago for some emergency. He seemed upset.” He seemed really tired and I started to help him up the stairs. “Did he say anything?” I asked, opening his door. “No, but he seemed upset when you left.” I laid him in the bed, the darkness covering other items. “Very well. Sleep well, Hayden.” Before I left I placed his pendent on his chest, hoping it would protect him. I was too wired up to sleep. I decided to paint more, taking the white paint out. I splattered white on the back, making it artistic. I started with black, painting the rims on the walls with white swirls on them. On the white walls, I painted one with dark red paint. I had my windows open, letting my room air out. I feared of that figure lurking, but he wasn’t in the house. Sitting on my bed, I started to sketch something on my unlined pad. I let my mind return to Devin, letting my hand move on its own. A few hours past and I realized with detail I had sketched Devin. He wore his black, tight shirt with his tight jeans. I gazed at the drawing before I slammed it closed. No, curse this mysterious boy. He may be on my mind, but I can’t let it distract me. Damn him!
I went back to painting on the red wall, furious at my mind. I painted until the sun rose and I couldn’t lift my arm anymore. My thoughts were none as I shed my clothing and fell asleep. I woke up after one to Hayden banging on my door. “Raven! Get up! You slept late!” he yelled, sounding annoyed. I got up and shivered, realizing I left the window open. I shut them and pulled on a sweater and jeans, my blade still on my belt. I ran downstairs, pulling my hair back. “What is it, Hayden?” I yawned. He had bowels of porridge on the table. He stood by the window, looking out it. “It snowed for one, but look outside. That is what troubles me,” he said, glancing at me. I walked past the luscious meal and to the window. Snow. It covered the ground and tree tops. But in the middle of the ground was a symbol. I stared at it, trying to make it out. “Come with me,” I barked, turning to run up the stairs. We climbed to my floor and went to the window. The wind was chilly and made me shiver. The ledge was covered in snow. “It’s too slippery for you Hayden, stay here,” I said, balancing myself on the ledge. I just managed to grip the branch, my grasp slipping in the snow. Once I steadied myself I readied my grip and climbed the tree. I was amazed I had good balance as I climbed from the tree to the roof. The roof was easier to grasp, but slippery with the snow. I stumbled to the chimney and grasped it, retaining my balance and energy. I gazed at the sight, the sight running my blood cold.
Drawn in blood was the symbol of a pentagram, but in the middle was an upside down cross. I could guess it was not animal blood by sight. I slipped down the roof and called to Hayden, “Hayden! Bring me our old camera! And a few empty jars! Hurry!” I heard him run as I made my way down the roof. I balanced myself on the tree, waiting for Hayden. Hayden returned with the camera and jars. “I found them!” he said, handing me the camera. I grasped it, balancing again. “Good, now keep the jars and stay down there,” I said, placing the strap in my mouth. Climbing back up I went to the edge of the roof. I took pictures of the symbol in many angles, grabbing the film as it came out. I placed them in my pocket and bit the strap again. I climbed down, numb from the cold. “Hayden move from the window. I’m coming down. Take the camera,” I said, hanging the camera down. I felt Hayden take it and I hung off the rafters. I swung my body in and hit the floor, rolling.
I found Hayden standing back, clutching the camera. “How is it?” he mumbled, helping me up. I let my body stop trembling as I pulled the photos out of my pocket. I let Hayden see them instead of me answering as I grabbed the jars and ran downstairs. He followed me, struggling to keep up. Today wasn’t a good day for him. I ran outside and into the symbol. The blood was thick, fresh. In several different spots, I took several scoops of the blood and snow. I went back inside, trembling from the cold. “We can handle this, Hayden by ourselves. But we have to cover all evidence. I’m going to store these and the pictures in my room. Dress warmly and once I’m back down we’ll get rid of that symbol.” he nodded as I headed up the stairs, the items like heavy weights in my arms. After placing the items in my drawer with the other mysterious items, I dressed in sweats, snow boots, and a sweater. Hayden was already by the door when I got down, waiting for me.
“So how are we going to do this?” he asked, pulling his jacket tighter around him from the cold. We both carried snow shovels, worried and tired. “We are going to have to spread it around. A lot. And get fresh snow. Are you up for this, Hayden? You don’t have to help me, you know?” I said, looking at him, worried. He did look weak today and ill, but I just hoped it was the lack of sleep. He smiled and gently shook his head. “No Raven, you need help. You won’t be able to get this done in time.” I chuckled, admiring his strength. “Very well, then.” With nothing else said, we set to work. Noon had come and gone well enough as we worked. Spreading the bloody snow was easy, but backbreaking work. Getting fresh snow wasn’t so easy. Several times I climbed up to the trees to shake down fresh snow. Hayden had to spread it around and I saw his body strain. Once we were done, we quickly went inside wet, tired, and hungry. “Go shower and change, Hayden. I’ll heat up that porridge,” I said, slipping my boots off. He nodded and quickly ran upstairs as I watched. I went to the kitchen, looking at the gunk that was our breakfast. With a sigh, I heated it up, listening to the water run. After a warm shower, dry clothing, and a meal, we found ourselves in our own rooms. We wanted to sit and wait for a while before we spoke to calm ourselves. I decided it was best we thought it over before we spoke.
It was about four when I was done with my murals. On my white wall was a dark city in black and the sky was red and black, dusk. On what looked like a chapel was a figure, clad in black. He was kneeling down on it, a pair of rosary beads in his hands. So familiar, I thought, stepping back. I tore my gaze to look at my other wall, my mind heavy. On my other wall was a shadow outline of Big Ben with the same figure on it. There were a few bats handing upside down around him. I paint that of what is in my mind. And he is. Who are you? Sighing, I turned back to my room and started to place the paint and tarp up. Hayden came out of his room to help me bring the items to the outside closet. While he helped me, he was silent, his eyes glazed over. “Hayden?” I said, placing the items in the shed. He nodded, allowing me to speak. “Why the silence? What’s on your mind?” He sighed as we made our way back to the kitchen. “The things that have been happening to us. As I think back, I realized we missed a lot. I don’t mean a normal life, Raven, I mean with the things happening now,” he said in one breathe. I smiled softly, but leaning against the counter with my arms across my chest. “So what you are saying is that if we haven’t been so naïve and blinded back then we would’ve been noticing what is going on now?” He nodded; glad to see I grasped the point. “Exactly. Maybe that’s why we moved so much?” I shrugged, but found myself wondering the same thing. “Maybe, but how is Jack involved in all this?” He shrugged and I knew we were thinking the same thing. How do you we stop all this?
Later that night we separated again, a lot on our minds. I wasn’t hungry again, but I had Hayden eat. I wondered what happened to Jack or my father and why we haven’t been contacted. I was letting my murals dry as I unpacked. Most of my boxes were paintings or notebooks. I started to unpack my small glass figures and skulls, my mind heavy with thoughts. As I worked, I wondered on how I would end this, how I could finally feel safe. I found myself, hours later in my bed. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I could hear Hayden’s music through the walls and had to admit it was comfort and nice to fall asleep to. I woke up rather a bit early. I used that chance to change clothing. I pulled my hair back and went to the kitchen, deciding for a change I would cook for Hayden. It was only eight in the morning, but I felt wide awake. Looking out the window, I saw a fresh blanket of snow and I shivered. I ignored the thoughts and started to make the omelets. They were never of my taste, but Hayden loved them. By the time I was done, Hayden was already up. “Looks good,” he commented, sitting down. I smiled, looking over him. He looked even weaker and tired. He had bed hair, wearing oversized pajamas. “Did you sleep well?” I asked, worried. He silently ate his meal, his eyes half closed. “Not really. I’ve been thinking a lot.” We ate for a few, before he sighed softly. “Raven we can’t escape this. He follows us. We move, they follow. If we want this to stop…we’ve got to face them head on.” I bit my lip, nodding. “I’ve realized that, but how?” His eyes met mine and he sighed. “I haven’t thought that far yet, but I know we will find the answers to our past.” I sighed, my eyes closing. “In a way, I want to know, but then I don’t want to.” I heard him sigh as well. “As do I.” We were left in silence in which I placed my head in my hands. I had an image in my mind, a deep image of Jack. I felt weird like my mind was being pulled on. Finally I pulled away, gasping. “Jack is on his way,” I murmured, “And he is pissed.”
We soon started to get ready for his arrival, straightening the house up. By then there was a sharp knock on the door. I answered it, my blade in my hand. Jack stood there in a white collared shirt and black pants. He looked tired and stressed. “Jack,” I said, eyeing him with a sigh. He stepped in, not even invited. “Sorry for not warning you of my coming,” he said, eyeing the room. I followed him, hearing Hayden come down the stairs. “You didn’t have to. I knew.” Jack eyes me, looking my body over. “You did? Oh yes, yes…too late.” He murmured the last part to himself. I stood there, his eyes on mine. He knows something. Hayden came downstairs, looking at me. “Raven there is something you must know, but it can wait,” he said, edgy. I sighed, but turned my attention to Jack. “Why are you here?” Jack said nothing, but let me to the living room. “What is this?” he snapped, tossing a paper in my lap. I was sitting on the couch with Hayden in the doorway while Jack stood before me. I looked at the paper, my eyes bulging and my heart sinking. The paper we left at the coffee shop. “A paper, Jack. Surely you must have seen some before,” I jived, slipping back to old habits. He glared at me, his eyes glinting. “Don’t give me that attitude, Raven. Answer me. Do you know who this Devin is?” I shrugged, really annoyed now. “A guy. I told you Jack I want answers. I know what’s going on. I’m done with this. I want it to end! Don’t question me of my actions unless I will receive answers.” I stood up, my anger releasing now. “You are not allowed to see him, Raven. He will hurt you, I know…his kind. You are going to get hurt in the end. You can’t do this.” I snarled, angry. He stepped back, his eyes meeting mine. “What right do you have to control me? I raised Hayden. I’ve been on my own! I want answers and Devin will give me it!” Jack gripped my shoulders, holding me in place. “Raven he will hurt you. You don’t know him…how I do. He’s crafty. You don’t know what he is. We-your dad and me-are trying to protect you two. Don’t you see that?” I growled, my eyes meeting his. “No, I don’t. I see two grown men stopping me from getting answers I rightfully deserve.”-I scoffed, looking at the door-“What do you protect me from anyway?” I glared at him, snarling. He stood there in silence, his eyes on me. “The Truth!” I could only shake my head at the pathetic sight of this man.
I left, slamming the door closed. I walked past the cars and down the beaten path, shivering from the cold. I wanted nothing more than my answers. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to face Jack for a damn while until I calmed down. “Well I’m tired of being protected! I’m tired of being closed in the darkness! Let it show!” I snarled, yelling at the trees. Naturally they didn’t talk back… Angrily I walked on, the anger fueling me as I wondered into town still very much pissed. Nearly past one I was in town, tired from my walk and wondering I didn’t let my body nor mind rest for even a second. I wondered into caries shops, shivering and trying to keep warm. I finally let my staggering body rest in the back of a bookstore in a chair. I was so tired that I nodded off without realizing it. I woke up to heavy, deep voices in the front of the room. “…no, mam. Black hair, green eyes. Wears a pendent,” one growled. My heart skipped a beat, realizing he spoke of me. Slowly I stood up and crouched towards the back exit. “Oh, yes. I saw her. She’s in the back. Poor lass fell asleep,” whispered the old lady’s voice. Cursing, I ran out of the back door and scaled up the fire escape. I looked at the sky, seeing dusk was turning into night. I heard the back door slam open and saw several husky men come out. “She’s up there! Catch her!” yelled one of the men. In my first glance of them, I could tell they weren’t of Jack’s. They all bore a scar over their right eye and on their forehead was burned the symbol we has in the snow. Yeah, defiantly not of Jack’s.
I ran to the edge of the roof, hearing them come up the latter. No…I can’t be trapped. I looked at the edge of the roof, looking down. We were below a building that looked safe to land on. I was about to turn back, doubt eating at me when I heard their feet land on the roof. “There she is! Get her and do not let her out of your sight! She’s worthy to our Lord!” someone yelled. I didn’t have time to consider his words as they ran at me. My decision was made… I ran to the edge, quickly jumping off before I had any second thoughts. A heavy yell came from me as I hit the tin roof, my shoulders rolling with the hit. I didn’t have time to calculate the wounds before I jumped up, running. I knew there was deep pain in my sides and my shoulders were bruised. I couldn’t feel much pain, going numb. I ran to the edge of the roof, seeing the only way down was to the alleyway and if I did jump I’d surely break my bones. I was trapped… I wasn’t going to give up without a fight, but as I gripped my blade, my wrist exploded with deep, agonizing pain. “Raven! This way!” yelled a strange voice to my left. I had no time to consider my options as the kidnappers came my way. I ran to the cloaked figure, following him down the rope. He cut it as soon as my feet were on the ground and grabbed my hand. I was blinded as we ran down the street. He said nothing while we ran and I hoped he knew where we were going because I was helplessly lost down these winding streets. When I fell behind, staggering from the pain and weakness, he quickly stopped and pulled me in his arms. He picked me up and ran with me. I let my head fall on his shoulders, my eyes closed.
It seemed within hours he stopped. My eyes opened as he sat me on my feet. I gazed around, seeing we were in a cemetery. “They wouldn’t have followed us here,” he said, panting some, “You should be safe here while they scurry around.” His voice sounded so familiar as I listened. “I can’t stay here. I’ve got to get home and protect my brother. They will use him to get to me!” I said, frantic. He chuckled and laid a gentle hand on my arm. “Trust me, they won’t dare.” Strangely I did… “So who are you?” I asked, turning back to him. He wore his cloak, the hood up and it concealed his face. He chuckled and I deeply blushed. “You’ve forgotten me already, Raven? Oh cruelty,” he laughed and I only blushed more. Slowly he removed his cloak and I gapped. “Devin! But why?” He smiled and cupped my cheek. “You are dear to me, my creature. I can’t see you being taken by their hands.” I couldn’t help, but to blush. “Thank you, Devin. I owe you one, I really do.” He only smiled and led me to a large headstone. “I’ll think upon that. For now I want you to rest, you are cold and wary. I’ll handle the wounds you manage to receive.” He helped me sit down and took his cloak and wrapped it around me. “You don’t need to.” I was wrapped in the warmness of the cloak, snuggled into it. “I want to. I hate to know you are in pain.”
He took his shirt off, showing his muscular I couldn’t help, but to ogle at it. His eyes met mine and I was lost in his gaze. He gently grasped my right wrist and I winced. His face betrayed of pain from my own as his cool hands touched me. “I can heal your minor injuries like your wrist and shoulders, but your ribs I cannot. I need to allow me to, though,” he whispered in my ear. I met his eyes, thinking of the possibilities. “You can, but will it hurt you?” I asked, worried for him. He chuckled and gently stroked my wrist. “Don’t worry of me. Now close your eyes and clear your mind and keep it cleared.” I felt him grip my wrist with both hands as I did what he said. Within the seconds I felt deep warmness in my wrist and the pain relaxed until the end. The warmness expanded over my whole body and I felt it consented in my wounds and bruises. A few more seconds of this comfortable warmness and it was gone. “Raven how do you feel?” he whispered, close to my ear. I opened my eyes, finding him crouched before me. “Better,” I said, weakly, “Thank you.” He smiled, but grew serious and gently touched my ribs. I winced, the pain deep. “You bruised them. Badly. Here” Taking his shirt he gripped it up and bounded my ribs. It was painful, but helped. He smiled gently and looked me over again. “I’m sorry, but that is all I can do for now. Once we get you home, I can patch you up better there,” he whispered softly. He quickly unwrapped me and sat beside me. He wrapped himself and me in the cloak and placed his arms around me. He felt soft and cold, yet warm. “Thank you, Devin,” I mumbled, “You’ve really helped me tonight.” he squeezed me gently, holding me closely. “I have my reasons, Raven. Now rest. I’ll be a while.” Slowly my eyes closed and I pressed my face to his chest, content.
“Raven,” he said softly and touched my cheek, “Wake up. They’re gone.” My eyes fluttered open and he smiled. “That’s a first,” I muttered, yawning. It was well dark now, nearly two in the morning. “What is?” He gently helped me up, placing the cloak around me. I winced, my ribs still hurting. “I slept peacefully…” The thought troubled me as he grasped my hand. “Don’t you normally sleep well?” He glanced at me as we walked out of the cemetery, holding hands. “No. My dreams are plaque with pain and blood. I can’t understand why.” His eyes showed worry as we worked up the hill. “How long have you had them?” The path was full of snow and drenched us up to our knees. “Since birth.” He made a soft, comforting noise and I sighed. “I wish to help.” I stumbled, the snow thick. “You’ve done enough, Devin. Let me face this.” He sighed and stopped us from walking. “Very well. I must bow to your wishes, but I won’t bow to this sight.” I stared at him, confused by his words. “This…sight? What sight?” He chuckled and picked me up suddenly. “The sight of you. I cannot see to have you walk another step in this snow.” he chuckled and I held him tightly. “You refuse to let a lady lift a finger, don’t you?” He laughed again and started to walk faster. “No, I refuse to let you lift a finger.”
He set me down once we were at my house. Only my car was in the driveway and I wondered when Jack left. “Your brother is inside. He’s in his room,” he said, softly. He rubbed my shoulder, making me shiver. “How do you know?” I asked as I struggled to open the door with my numbs fingers. “I can hear it. You want to talk to him. I have to tell him what happened.” He gently slipped his fingers over mine, opening the door. I listened closely hearing the faint beat of music. “Very well. What would you like me to do?” I slipped in, hearing him close the door. “Go to my room and wait there. Excuse the mess as I am unpacking. If Hayden is too weak to come to my room then we will go to him.” I sighed and quickly he cupped my cheek, calming me. “Too weak? Is there something wrong with him?” I looked into his eyes as he smiled. “Yes. He gets sick easy. I haven’t been able to look at his files yet, but I fear he is getting worse.” Slowly Devin released me and leaned against a chair. “Mmm…tell me, Raven did he get worse as you moved and your father disappeared? And did things like this happen more? I mean with the darkness?” I stood there, thinking over what he said. “…in a way, yes. Why do you ask?” His arms crossed over his chest, thinking. “Don’t worry of it. I must think of this.”-he smiled gently-“Now show me your room.” I sighed and led him up the stairs, to my room. “Shouldn’t you already know by now?” He chuckled and stood in my doorway. “I do, but I rather not freak you out. Much.” I laughed and he cupped my cheek. “Much? You are something, all right!” He laughed and swiftly, but gently kissed my cheek. “I know. Now go and check on Hayden, my lady.” I left him in a slight daze.
I knocked on Hayden’s door, finding it cracked. Hayden was sitting on his bed, having his laptop on his lap. “Hayden?” I said softly, leaning against the doorway. It was dark in the room, but the laptop gave enough light to see why. He looked up, his eyes on me. “Your home,” he said, simply. He closed the laptop and slipped off his bed. “Yes. I’m sorry on. I didn’t mean to-” He hushed me by hugging me tightly. I winced, gasping in pain. “I forgive you. Jack pushed you to the edge”-he smiled-“But once you left Jack was ranting. He demanded to know what was wrong and what has been going on. I didn’t tell him anything, but he’s pressing. Soon we have to tell him.” I nodded, already expecting this of Jack. “Yes, I know. How do you feel?” His eyes met mine and I looked past him, at the wall. “I’m fine. Are you all right?” I looked down and nodded, “Come to my room. We must talk.” I left him, returning to my room.
My lights were off when I went in and I couldn’t remember if I turned them off or not. “Don’t be alarmed. I want you to close the door and come to your bed,” he said, softly. I slowly moved, easily finding it in the darkness. “Why?” I said, sitting on the bed. He was near my closed, head bowed. I couldn’t see him, but I could just tell. “I have given you another gift. To save you time.” His voice was now a whisper, a hint of nervous in it. “You don’t have to, Devin.” He was smiling now and I blushed at it. “Hush now and shield your eyes. I’m going to turn the lights on. “I pulled his cloak over my eyes, wincing as the lights came on. I felt a gentle hand on my ribs and the dull pain was gone. Slowly the cloak was removed from my eyes and I blinked against the light. A gasp came from me as I looked around. My room was perfectly decorated. On the North wall was black with white splotches and beside the door was my black dresser. On my dresser was a mirror and hanging above it was my old drawings and painting. On the East wall was my mural of Big Ben and an easel with the paint around it. Beside the easel was my black desk. Beside the desk was my bookshelf, overflowing with books of many kinds. On the South wall was my bed draped in black and on either side of my bed was bay windows. On the right side of my bed was a bedside table, holding a clear glass skull Jack got me. On the West wall was my mural of the figure with the rosary beads. Around them were paintings I had done with oil.
“You did my room,” I whispered as he smiled. I was leaning into him, his arms around me. “Yes. I hope you like it. I also have done your office and set it up for you,” he said, stroking my hair back. I was comfortable, but he seemed tense. “Are you okay?” My voice was hardly above a whisper. “Oh, yes. Your brother is coming up the stairs. Shall I hide?” Slowly and painfully I sat up and with his help I manage to stand up. “No, but stay by my bed.” he nodded and gently let me go. I stumbled to the door and opened it. Hayden stood there, his hair rustled and a knife in hand. “Where’d you get that?” I said, eyeing the blade. He gazed at me, but his grip tightened on the blade. “Jack. He said I would need it,” he said softly, “I heard another voice in your room.” I nodded and looked down at him. “You did. Sheathe your blade and come in.” Slowly he did as I said and slowly went inside. I looked back, seeing Devin leaning against my bed. “Hayden,” said Devin softly, “I’m-” Hayden gazed at him and said sharply, “I know who you are. I know you.” Devin slowly nodded and motioned for me to close the door. As I did he came to my side and helped me sit on the bed. “You do?” I gasped through the pain, teeth clenched. Hayden looked at me, sitting on my desk. “Yes. I told you he looked familiar. Now I can place him. He’s been in my dreams,” said Hayden, his eyes on Devin. I felt the cool hands on my ribs, calming me and taking the pain away. “We will talk of that later. Let me tell you why I’m here,” mumbled Devin, pacing now. I watched him, the pain dulling to a small ache. “Then go ahead, sire,” mumbled Hayden softly. Devin winced and looked at Hayden then to me, sighing. “Not anymore. I don’t want to speak of that, right now. I want you to sit back, Hayden and listen.”-he sighed softly, looking at Hayden-“I have followed the two of you for a while now, since birth. I know your secrets and your past. But I shall not talk of that…yet. Earlier…” And so I listened closely, my mind on Devin. By the end he had spoken of the men and the attack. “There is nothing that can be done for now, but wait. You two will need to rest and think. I suggest you research in the morrow,” finished Devin, his eyes on Hayden. Hayden slowly stood up, nodding. His moves seemed careful. “Yes, very much so. Thank you, Devin,” he said, his words seeming spaced out, “Sleep well.” With a nod at me, he left. Devin sighed and turned to me.
“He will be asleep soon,” he said, laying me down. I smiled as he placed a hand on my ribs. The pain died down again and I sighed. “I bet so-oh…thank you,” I whispered the pain dull. He smiled and hovered above me. “You will be in pain for a few days. I am unfortunate to leave you at sunrise, but I will return at sunset for you. Take it easy tomorrow, please.” He stroked my cheek and I sighed softly. He smiled and kissed my forehead. “I will, Devin. You don’t need to worry of me.” he smiled softly and pulled me in his arms, lying down. “But I do and you can’t change that.” I snuggled close, my head on his chest. “I wouldn’t.” He smiled and cupped my cheek. “Hold very still.” slowly he sat up, laying me back down. Even more slowly he hovered above me, two inches from my face. “Raven…” he whispered and deeply kissed my lips. Slowly and gently he released me, laying me down. “I’ve waited many, many years for that,” he said softly. He stood up and pulled his boots back on, pulling a shirt on. He tucked his cloak around me. Kissing my forehead, he smiled and left me to dream of him. But in the back of my mind, I thought. Dream of him? Have I fallen to the curse of love or content with is acceptant? I couldn’t think much as I fell asleep with him on my mind.
Waking up that morning, I found myself very sore. I wished Devin was here to ease the pain as I shuffled to the bathroom. But was that the only reason why? I pondered the thought as I gazed at my reflection. I was bruised a little, but whatever Devin did to me, he took my bruises away. I was a little sore on my wrist and shoulders, but painfully bruised on my ribs. I took the remains of his shirt off, seeing the painful black bruises. The pain made me grit my teeth, but I managed to ignore it. The long, hot shower soothed the pain and I managed to relax. I took ace bandages and wrapped my ribs tightly with them and my wrist up. I dressed in a pair of sweats and sweater, going downstairs. Hayden wasn’t there and even after I made coffee and toast. It was well past eleven by now. I forced myself to eat and went to check on Hayden. He laid on his bed, laptop open and asleep. He must’ve fallen asleep, researching. I closed the laptop and tucked him in the bed. Leaving his room I found a black rose on hid dresser, labeled Lucien. My anger raged as I grabbed it tightly and went to my room. I took out the box out that held the items given to me by Lucien or Devin. I went to my office and locked myself in. I researched the name Lucien. I received fake names, vampires, movies, etc. I looked up the symbols I have seen, finding some articles on it: ‘Seen in many places of strange murder, it puzzled forensic scientist. The symbol is always written in human blood, but the upside-down cross within it is written in strange blood. This is usually seen in murder. Is London terrorized by a new cult?’ - London Times
And are we the next victims? I thought, turning the computer off. I pulled out the blood samples and turned on the lights. The blood seemed a lot thicker than normal blood, but different. I smelt it, knowing the risk of opening it. It smelt intoxicating, sweet and inviting. So very much, I wanted to taste it. But somehow I knew if I did, I would be damning myself even more. It was past four in the afternoon by the time I pulled myself away from the office. I got no more information than before. I switched my research to the pentagram and why or how it would help protect us against these forces, but got no answers. Hayden was downstairs, reading a book and writing notes at the kitchen table. “Research?” I yawned as I poured myself some coffee. He barley looked at me before nodding. “Yes, so far I’ve come up with next to nothing. What of you? How do you feel?” I shrugged, sipping the liquid. “Some, hardly anything. Sore, but I’ll live.”-I smiled-“Devin will return tonight.” He nodded as I turned to look for some food to cook. “You’re happy of that”-he glanced at me-“There is hardly any food left. We can go shopping tomorrow.” We ate a decent meal, speaking of research. I told him of the article and blood I found while he told me of the pentagram meanings. “None that will help us, but I think tonight you can relax with Devin. I’m going to search my dreams,” he whispered softly. I nodded and accepted it, knowing I couldn’t pull him away from it. I looked at him, telling him with my eyes set, “This nightmare will end soon…”
After our talk I returned to my room to think. I put on some soft random band from my CD player hidden in the corner. I sat on my bed and sketched whatever was on my mind. I had Devin’s cloak around me, the smell of him intoxicating. My thoughts were of him as my pencil moved along the page. Devin. Why do you taunt me so? I sighed and smiled. “That looks nothing of me.” I jumped at the voice, turning around to find Devin lying on my bed. I put the sketch pad on the floor and glared at him. “You scared me!” I yelled, still staring at him. He chuckled sat up, pulling me to him. Any pain I felt was gone. “It was cute.” he said this innocently and I blushed. He stroked my cheek and I nuzzled into his hand. “For you,” I mumbled. He laughed and cuddled me. “No,” he whispered in my ear, “Of you.” He held me to him with a happy sigh.
“Let me see your ribs,” he said after silence. I pulled my sweater off and had him undo the bandaged. He gently touched them, pressing on them lightly. I gritted my teeth, groaning. “They seem to be healing rapidly. That is well. Just put your sweater back on.” I did as he said and he pulled me on my feet. “Where are we going?” I asked, my heart racing. He smiled and only had me pull on my boots. “I want to take you outside. To show you how I see the night.” I hesitated as we went to eh front door. “But…what of Hayden?” He pulled me in his arms and I relaxed. “He’s okay. No one is going to hurt you two.” We walked outside and into the cool air. He held my hand we walked in the forest. It was beautiful and peaceful. He had me get on his back as he started to race up the trees. I screamed and closed my eyes in the fear of falling. He laughed and suddenly stopped, taping my hand at the base of his neck. “Open your eyes,” he said softly. Slowly I did and gapped at the sight. The night sky was a dark black with twinkling stars above. Below was a forest covered with snow and we were standing on one of the tallest trees. “It’s beautiful,” I whispered as he sat me on the branch. It was wide and smooth enough to sit on. “As you are,” he whispered, cupping my cheek. He kissed my lips and gently pulled away with a soft sigh.
I was in his arms, watching the sight. “Tell me of your life at home,” I said softly. He looked at em and smiled softly. “Very well, Raven,” he said, his voice soft, “I was second oldest. My brother, Richard was three years older than me. He was a warrior and held a bold, courageous heart. He taught me how to survive and fight since our parents were never around. For a short time it was enjoyable, but a hard life. Time past and mother gave me two more brothers. Richard was called away more and I was left to care for them. It was difficult, but I did my best like Richard did for me. A few more years past and I received a sister. More time past before war broke out within our city. Richard forced me to run away while he and my brothers fought. My little sister, hardly of two was kidnapped. I can guess…she is dead. I wondered lost and traveled to places I wish you will never know. You could say I was a lost man, living in misery. Nothing can change that, but I couldn’t get revenge. Richard did it for me. He struck them down before dying of a fatal wound to his chest. Maybe my life wasn’t best there, but I do miss my family.” He sighed softly, lost in memory. I snuggled close to him and he held me even closer. “I didn’t mean to upset you,” I whispered, stroking his neck. He smiled down at me and stroked my back. “Never, my dark light. I am only lost in memory.” He continued to rub my back and I smiled. “Would you like me to leave?” He stopped and looked me in the eye. “And how would you get down?” I glanced at the edge and felt a shiver run through me. “I…don’t know.” He laughed and kissed my forehead. “No, I rather you stay with me. It calms my wary soul.”
He held me in silence for the night. Next thing I knew I was naked and being tucked into my own bed. He was by my side, kissing my lips gently. “Sleep well, my sweet love.” And with those words he was gone. I woke up the next evening, sleeping late into the day. I was extremely hungry and weak. I was still a bit sore, but found it easy to move around now. The bandages around my wrist were gone and I found it back in the bathroom. Hayden was downstairs, looking like he just woke up himself. “You’re finally up, Raven. He brought you home well close to dawn,” said Hayden, chuckling softly, “Good you needed the sleep.” I sipped on some coffee he gave me, trying to wake up. “Yes he did. It was nice,” I said with a smile, “You look like you just awoke.” He chuckled and ruffled his own hair. “I did. Do you wish to shop now?” I yawned, nodding. “Sure. Let me change.” After a quick shower and change of clothes, we left the house. We kept our blades close once both of us remembered my attack. “Stay by my side,” I said, slowing the car down as we pulled into town. “Why?” said Hayden, his eyes on the surrounding. We pulled into a small grocery store and I glanced at him. I made sure I had my credit card as we entered the store, staying close to him. “I don’t trust anyone.” My voice came out in a growl and many people stared at me. Hayden did stay by my side, his hand always on his blade. We shopped until sunset, nervous the whole time. We glanced in the corner, looking the shadows for those figures. Once we got what we wanted we quickly checked out and loaded it in the car. It was dark and we were uneasy driving home. Once home and unpacked I let Hayden start dinner while I went to check for Devin. He wasn’t in my room nor in the house and I felt extremely disappointed. I saw a note and a shiny object on my bed. It read:
I apologize very dearly for not being able to see you tonight. I am nearly disappointed as you. My heart waits for you. There is something that has come up and must be handled before it gets to you. Stay well and be safe. I want you to wear this and think of me as I am of you. Do not take your pendent off. Stay well.
I smiled and looked at the object. It was a necklace and the silver chains woven into each other and before it was a silver heart with the words I Love You engraved on it. I smiled and placed it on my neck, seeing it fit perfectly. “That fits you perfectly,” said Hayden once I came downstairs. He had some meat sizzling in a pan and it smelt wonderful. “Thank you. Devin left it with a note. He can’t come today, something came up,” I said softly. I poured tea for us while Hayden continued to cook. “He’s protecting us. Don’t feel bad, he means well.” I could only smile and nod. “I know. I’m just kind of disappointed.” Hayden only nodded and turned back to cooking. After our meal I went to my room, finding myself tired then I relied. I slipped into my pajamas and slipped into bed. I wore his necklace, never wanted to take it off. I fell into dreams, stroking the soft silky chains.
I was used to my old dreams, used to hiding from it. But this dream was a whole new one in reality and it seemed nearly real as me being there. Tyler was running down a beaten forest path. His black clothing was disparity torn and worn out, barley clinging on to him. He was covered in gashes and bite marks, scrapes on his hands. He was pale and there was a frantic look in his eyes. He was running blindly and glancing back every now and then as if something was chasing him. I heard his labored breathe and the crunch of his feet on the forest floor. He often hid in hallow places, using this time to rest and collect himself. I could tell he was near the end, he was too tired. But he would fight to the end. As he ran from his spot, he tripped and rolled down an unseen hill. He stood up quickly and started to stumble run. Your end is soon… I heard this in my mind and has no doubt he heard it too by the way he looked. He continued to run, so close to the river. It seemed that if he reached the river, everything would be okay. That’s when I happened. A figure attacked him, pinning him down. I could hear his blood-curling scream of pain. The scream of death. Tyler fought the figure, but he knew it was the end. Slowly the dream dimmed and I struggled to concentrate, wanting to know how it ended. In the depth of my mind I heard, Don’t worry, dear Raven your time is close too.
I woke up sweaty and tangled in my sheets. I was gasping for air, my heart beating franticly. My room was dark and I quickly switched on my light, expecting to find a figure in my room, but there was none. It was near five in the morning and I was left wide awake. My ribs felt better and the pain was almost gone. I took a long shower, trying not to think of the dream. I went downstairs, finding Hayden at the table. He looked nearly worse as I felt. “Did you have a bad dream?” he mumbled, his voice thick. I nodded, finding it hard to speak. He sighed and stood up, suddenly hugging me. I closed my eyes, his embrace leaving me cold. “Yes…terrible,” I crooked. I pulled away from him, going to the fridge. I took a long drink of juice, trying to calm my nerves. “I can imagine. How about I cook us something and we try to get it off our minds?” I said nothing while he busied himself with cooking. The meal was bland and I hardly thought. The dream plagued my mind over and over again. “Raven…are you okay?” asked Hayden, softly. I could only nod, my mind running over the dream. “I will be. Let me just think.” I returned to my room and pulled out my sketch book. I stared at the picture of Devin, wishing he was here.
Around eleven I wondered to Hayden’s office, deciding to file the papers. Once I entered, I found books on the shelves and the computer set up on his desk, but no papers. I checked the drawer and files, but there was none. I went to Hayden’s room to ask if he had the papers, but found him collapsed on the ground, gasping for air. I was quick to react, grabbing his inhaler. Several minutes later he was on his bed, coughing and sputtering. I had forced him to use the oxygen tank, worried for him. “You are weak,” I said, looking over him, “Don’t try to get up.” He breathed through the tank, his eyes half closed. I had him drink from water he had by his bed. Once he calmed down I sighed softly and stroked his cheek. “This wasn’t…a normal…attack,” he wheezed softly. I looked at him, confused. I looked at him, confused. “Explain.” He sat up some, still breathing with the tubes on. “I…was to get…Labby…when behind me…a figure-the…same one…appeared. He…threw me…to floor and tried…to bite me.” I smiled softly, but shivered at the thought. “Tried?” He smiled and nodded. “I got…a knife in…him. He disappeared after…that. I am…to believe…he causes…my attacks.” I nodded, knowing what he said makes sense. “Very well, but I am to believe that as well. Did he say anything?” Hayden was silent as he thought this over. “Yes…he said, ‘You will….die…as your…father did…” I took that in, a cold feeling in my chest. I left Hayden to rest, picking up his Labby. Labby was his laptop he had for several years. I sat in the living room, trying to reason with what I know. There was a sharp knock on the door, drawing me from my mind. I opened it, finding Jack there. He looked haggard, tired. His eyes were blood red and he was pale. He was scared even more, ill looking. He wore an old, ripped up black shirt and pants. “Jack,” I breathed, “What happened to you man?” He barley looked at me before stumbling in. “Where’s Hayden? You both need to hear this.” I was about to tell him about Hayden when I heard a soft thump behind me. Hayden stood there, leaning against the wall. He still had the tank in his hands, caring it. “What is it?” he mumbled, looking dead at us.
Jack had us sit in the kitchen, all of us having a bottle of cola. “I wish this was a pleasant visit, but it is not, children. Your father is dead. His body was found last night outside my house. I could tell he had been dead for several days. You don’t need the details-I’m sparing you of them,” said Jack, his eyes sullen. I felt no tears, no reaction nor the cold feeling. I looked at Hayden, seeing he paled some. I squeezed his hand in comfort. Jack-of course-looked like hell. He had lost his very close friend, his brother and the reaction scared him. But where were my tears? “We already know them,” I mumbled softly. I already knew the dream was reality and somehow I knew Hayden did as well. Jack looked from me to Hayden, surprised. “You know…how’d your father was murdered?” I smirked noticing how Jack’s eyes lingered on me. “I told you, Jack we are not blind to the obvious.” I couldn’t help, but to smirk as I said it. I felt Hayden’s warning glance, but my eyes rested on Jack. Jack only nodded, accepting what I said with no argument. “Jack,” said Hayden before I could say anything to ruin Jack’s control, “What does this mean for us?” Jack sighed, his eyes shut. I knew he thought of what he would say, cutting down his information. “More protection. Most likely I won’t be here, given what this will bring so more of my men will be over here. You will know them, so no worried. Plus…if anything sumptuous happens I want you to tell me and your protectors. They will know what to do given the situation. Has anything like that happened today?” His eyes met mine and pierced my soul. I considered tell him when his phone went off, breaking the silence in the house and making us jump. As he listened to the person speak-saying little himself-he paled, nodding. Slowly he closed his phone, sighing. “Children, I hate this terrible timing, but I must leave. I would say no if I could, but I cannot with this. In little of a few minutes your protectors will show. They will stay outside and never come in. They know what to do. I ask that you do not leave the house.”
Jack hugged us goodbye, deep sorrow in his eyes. Once he was gone, I turned to Hayden sighing. He trembled lightly, pale. “We have little of then a few hours, maybe a day to prepare of an explanation of everything to Jack. He had to know we notice of these things going on now. We both know what killed Ty-Father wasn’t human,” I said, leaning against the door. Hayden nodded, wary and weak. “But how are we to manage that?” I clapped his shoulder and he looked up at me, wary. “You are wary and tired from before and these recent news do not help you. Why don’t you go rest and I’ll clean the kitchen up?” Hayden seemed to wonder what I said before he headed up the stairs. I straightened up what I could before heading up to Hayden’s room. I heard him crying and went in. He sat on the bed, his head in hands as he cried. “Hayden. Shh.” I whispered, putting my arms around him. I tried to comfort him, best I could, but found no comfort myself. I pondered why I still felt no sadness in his lost. He cared for me and he was my father, but still yet no tears. I loved him, yes and there was no denial he was gone, given the dream. Could the anger of before still hold onto me?
I placed Hayden to sleep as soon as he was calm. It was close to dusk so I retreated to my room, mentally exhausted. I felt tired, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to rest. Switching on my light, I stood in the doorway, blinking against the light. Devin. He leaned against my window. He was paler then before, his hair windblown. Most of all he looked exhausted, worried. “Raven,” he breathed, strutting to me. His arms were around me and I felt safe. A soft gasp came from me and I felt a flood of emotions at once. I realized being before Hayden made me up on a natural mask to hide any emotions, but being with Devin released them. Slowly I realized he was speaking, “-so sorry Raven. I heard of Tyler. Do you feel okay?” He pulled me away, reading my eyes and face. There they were. I felt the soft prickle of tears and I trembled lightly. Devin wiped the tears away gently and smiled at me, stroking my cheek. “You can let the tears out, Raven. You’re safe with me.”-he kissed my lips-“Are you okay?” I met his eyes, letting my body relax. I pondered the question, sighing. “I will be Devin. The tears won’t come out,” I whispered softly. Slowly he laid me on the bed, kneeling above me. “Raven can I tell you something?” He stroked my cheek and I relaxed even more. “Yes, Devin you can. But what requires you to ask my permission to speak?” He chuckled and shook his head at me. He bent down, his lisp close to my ear. “I love you, Raven. I loved you from the very first time my eyes laid on you.” Next thing I knew…my lips were on his, kissing him deeply.
Yes, I loved him too. I knew it from deep within. Our love was strong, deep. Sweet passion of love filled the room. Our souls entwined, holding each other as if we were one. Our bodies held each other close, minus the clothing as if we could mold into one. The sweet passionate love of sex.
I woke up the next day, tangled in Devin’s embrace. It was close to sunrise, dawn over the horizon. I snuggled into Devin, waiting for the tears to come, but they never did. Slowly the man of my heart woke up with a groan, his arms tight around me. “Raven,” he mumbled happily. There was a smile in his voice and I nuzzled into him. He chuckled and pulled me on top of him. I was sore, but it was expected. I felt better in some ways, but worse in others. “How do you feel?” As he spoke, he ran a hand down my back, sending shivers down my spine. “A little sore, but worth it,” I said softly as he chuckled. He kissed my lips and held me close. “Very much so.” I smiled and we sat up, still embracing one another. “Devin, it's close to sunrise.” he looked at me, raising his eyebrow. “Yes?” I managed to blush, casting my gaze down. “Well…don’t you have to leave?” He laughed and squeezed me tightly. “No, I only did that for you protection before, but now I think my protection is needed here.” With those words, he kissed my lips and held me silently. We soon got up and he left me to go downstairs. I went to take a short shower, stroking his necklace. Once dressed in light clothing, I flew downstairs, finding Devin setting breakfast on the table. “Come here, let me feel your ribs,” he said, smiling at me. He had set a plateful of waffles down, looking at me. I blushed, but let him place his cool hands on me. There was neither pain nor soreness in them. “They’re nearly healed completely. Another night of rest and your good,” he said, pulling my shirt back on. I smiled as he went back to the pan. “Thank you,” I said pouring a cup of coffee, “It smells good.” He laughed, but in truth it did. It smelt like maple syrup with sweet batter and coffee. It made me realize how hungry I was. “It does. Go awake Hayden up. He’ll need to eat as well.” I smiled and quickly left to wake my brother.
Hayden didn’t seem surprised that Devin was still over, his eyes still dull. As we ate our meal, Devin said he wasn’t hungry, saying he didn’t need to eat much. He did sip from a dark flask, his eyes on me. I asked what it was and he said it was best I didn’t know. “So what are we to do?” I asked, helping Devin with the dishes. We both could hear Hayden’s water running. “Go out in town. I’d like to question some people. I also don’t want you worrying of what to tell Jack, I have that handled,” he said, quickly kissing me. I smiled and started to dry the dishes. “I know you do, but don’t push him too far.” I caught a glimpse of something in his eyes, but couldn’t figure what it was. “As long as he doesn’t push me first…” Within the hour we found ourselves in town. Devin drove, keeping his hand in mine. Hayden stood by us, having his inhaler in his pocket. We kept his tank in the trunk with the wheelchair folded up. He was weak today, but refused to get a walker or use his wheelchair. “I’m not crippled,” he snapped, embarrassed, “Just weak.” Devin said he wouldn’t mind the slow pace or us stopping as long as Hayden was okay.
“Raven can you trace your steps from the last few days here?” said Devin, capturing my attention. I nodded and started to wonder, pulling Devin with me. We wound up at the bookstore where they first were. “I ended up here. I fell asleep and woke up, hearing them ask the lady of me,” I said, looking at the display of books. Devin nodded, his hand on the glass. “Very well, hon. Go where you were and search there for anything out of the ordinary. I’ll question the owner.” I pulled Hayden with me inside, going to the back. I had him search the shelves and books while I did the floor. An hour or so past when I was about to give up. I was about to stand up, spotting something silver under a case. I picked it up and cried out, the item burning my hand. Hayden and Devin were instantly at my side as I nursed my hand. Hayden slowly picked the blade up while Devin slowly rubbed my hand. An ugly red mark appeared on my hand, the pain deepening. “It doesn’t burn me,” whispered Hayden turning to us. The pain in my hand was dull now, the mark remaining. Devin peered at the blade, but didn’t touch it. “Pure silver,” he murmured, glancing at me, “It explains itself to me.” he took the knife and wrapped it in a velvet handkerchief. “What do you mean?” I asked, glancing at Devin. He sighed and pocketed the blade, being careful to not touch it. “I will in explain in due time. Now let’s continue this miserable journey.” He led me outside to the back of the building. “I ran up there and they followed, even when I jumped,” I said, pointing to the top of the buildings. Devin nodded and we climbed to the top, having Hayden come up with us. “Oh, yes,” said Devin looking at the next building, “This is where I saw those bastards chasing you. Shame I never got to get a good look at them.” I looked down, shuddering at the memory. Devin glanced at me, rubbing my arm, but I knew he knew I remembered them. “Let’s get to the next building and look around,” he said in comfort. After little argument Hayden was pulled on Devin’s back and I was left to wait on top of the building. “Wait for me here and do not follow,” he said, stroking my cheek, “I can’t afford to lose you.” I watched him run to the edge and grip Hayden to him as he jumped from the edge. Amazingly, he gracefully landed, kneeling on the tin roof. He gently unhooked Hayden’s arms from him, making sure he was okay before returning to me.
That was an adventure all his own. He pulled me on his back, his arms gentle. I wrapped my arms around his neck, being careful not to choke him. He gently touched my hands and gripped my legs. “Close your eyes and place your head between my shoulders,” he said, purring. I did as he said and forced myself not to gasp as I felt him start to run. It felt like a gentle strides and suddenly he landed. He gently touched my hands and helped me off of him. I trembled lightly, but smiled. He kissed my lips whispering, “Excitement all in its own.” We walked to the edge of where he grabbed me from before. “This is where I grabbed you,” said Devin, inspecting the cut rope. I glanced at Hayden, seeing him leaning against the edge, tired. “Could they’ve followed?” I asked, looking at the ground. He glanced at me, nodding. “They did, but I just don’t know where they stopped.” Hayden stood up, limping to us. “Can’t you figure it out?” he growled, locking eyes with Devin. Devin sighed and bowed his head with eyes closed. “I could but…I’ll have to shift and be up ahead. I will have to leave you two behind.” I glanced at Hayden, seeing him nod. “Do it, we’ll meet you up somewhere.” Devin shook his head, looking at me. “I can’t let you do that, knowing the danger of them.”-his body trembled-“I’ll take you to the café. Stay there.” After getting us to the coffee shop and making sure we were okay, he pulled me aside. He kissed me deeply, holding me close. “Don’t leave here. I can’t say what will happen and I want you safe. Wait until I return, I won’t be long.” He kissed me again and just as that, he was gone. I ordered some coffee, staring out the window. “You don’t know much of him, do you?” said Hayden softly. I turned to find him starting at me. “I know what he tells me,” I said, glancing out the window. He sighed and bent towards me, close. “But not the whole truth?” Hayden nodded, sipping his drink. He sighed again, glancing out the window. “I suppose you do?” He nodded again, glancing around us. “I do. More than I would like to know.” I sighed, making no sense of his words. “Then how?” A strange bit of laughter escaped him, frightening me. “My plaque of dreams.” I leaned back, nodding. “Then tell me.” he sighed again and bowed his head. “It’s not my place to tell. It will be his.”
Near dusk, Devin stumbled in. The café was nearly empty by then. I ran to him and he held me close. “You’re safe,” he mumbled, tiredly. He kissed me and smiled. “Did you-” began Hayden until Devin cut him off with a look. “Not now,” he growled, “Let’s head home.” I helped Devin into the car, driving. Once home Devin was more silent, lost in thought. Hayden went to his room, saying he wanted to be alone for a few. I helped Devin to my room, sitting him on the bed “That’s funny,” I commented, closing the door. Devin looked up, raising his eyebrow in question. “Jack said we would have people to protect us here. I haven’t seen them,” I continued, sitting beside him. He pulled me on him, holding me close. “They’re there. They keep away to distance. They do not know I’m here. I want to keep it that way,” he said, rubbing my back. I nuzzled to him, calm. “I agree. Jack would disapprove.” He chuckled and tightened his hold on me. “I see why.” Silence followed us as he held me. An hour past and Devin sighed softly. “You hunger. Let’s get Hayden and cook,” he growled in my ear, “After that we can talk.” He stood up and looked down at me, seeing me on the bed, crouched down. He bent down to me and playfully it tackled him. He caught me, stumbling to the wall. “Calm, my little tiger.” Still laughing he carried me down the stairs.
Devin insisted making dinner while I went to Hayden. I found Hayden in his room, clutching at his throat. Yelling for Devin, I unsheathed the blade at my side. I saw a faint outline of a figure clutching his throat. I threw myself at Hayden and swung my blade at the figure. It went right through and I knew I was screwed. I heard Devin run up to the room as I threw Hayden to the other side of the room. The figure lunged at me and I swung my blade again, cursing. Devin stared at the figure before something set in. His eyes narrowed and he carefully unsheathed the blade wrapped in velvet. He lunged at the figure, trying to knock me to the side, but the figure used me as a shield. The blade cut into my forearm, cutting deep. I cursed out and thrashed angrily. I kicked Devin away and grabbed the silver blade, ignoring the burning. I stabbed it at the figure’s chest and slowly it disappeared. I collapsed on my knees, dropping the blade. Devin ran to me, seeing the blood on my arm. “Get to Hayden, stay there, and do not leave his room, Raven. Put pressure on that wound. I’ll be back,” he snarled, suddenly gone. Gasping for air, I moved to Hayden and pulled him on his bed. He was pale, breathing shallow. I rubbed his chest, weak to do anything else. I felt alone, I felt fear. Fear for Devin, fear for us. When would it end? Soon Devin returned, tired, bruised, and bloody. I wanted to run to him and confess my fear, but he stumbled to me. He was reaching to me to nurse me, but I shook my head. I looked at Hayden, afraid to speak. He nodded and slowly pulled me off the bed, laying Hayden down. His hands were on Hayden’s chest, silent. A few moments past and he pulled away, looking at me. “He will be okay,” he said, softly, “Now let me nurse you and tell you what happened.”
He led me upstairs and undressed me. His healing hands calmed me and dulled my ache. As for my wound, he washed it, saying his energy couldn’t heal it because of silver. He bounded it tightly with bandages and held me. I silently washed the dirt and blood from his body, glancing at his eyes. Dull, confused. Once I was done, he pulled me to him and sighed. “Tell me what happened,” I sighed. His hands rubbed my back and he sighed softer. “Once I recognized who and what he was, I went in rage. I tried to protect you, but that damn thing used you as a shield. After you hurt him, I chased after him. Unfortunately he used your protectors to stall me. I knocked a few harmlessly out and chased after it. It waited for me by a river taunting me. He pinned me to a tree saying, ‘I have a message from him. Stop protect ring her and that human boy. Release her back to me and return to my side. This can be forgotten.’ But worst off…Jack knows something is up now,” he sighed, fist clenched. I nodded, taking it in. “You’re not leaving me,” I said this quickly in fear of losing him. He held me tight, nuzzling me. “Never. It will cause some problems, yes, but we can handle it.” I smiled and he continued to rub my back. We were silent and I thought over the message. “Devin what did that message mean?” I asked, quite. Devin sighed and slowly je stopped. “I must still think of that, dear Raven. For now sleep, I’ll wake you when needed.” he laid back and held me in his arms, rubbing my body. He had pulled the sheets over me and I nuzzled him. Slowly and comfortably, my mind cleared and he held me closer.
I woke up with a slight jump. Devin still held me and I struggled to control myself. I calmed myself, trying to remember what my dream was. But there was none. Devin groaned softly and pulled me to him tightly. “Morning, love,” he whispered softly. I nuzzled him, feeling safe with him. And yet there was a nagging feeling at the back of my mind. “How do you feel?” I asked, thinking of last night. He smiled and gently pulled me to him, kissing me. I snickered and kissed him back before pulling away. I went to take a shower while Devin checked on Hayden and made breakfast. He seemed distant and quite, but I knew he had a lot on his mind. My wound burned like Hell, but I gritted my teeth against the pain. I placed on jeans and a tank top, wrapping my wound up again. Devin was downstairs with Hayden, both silent. Hayden poured over a map of the area while Devin seasoned some highbrows. “Why so I silent?” I said, pouring myself some tea. I drank it, finding myself thirsty. Devin glanced at me and turned the stove on low, turning back to me. “Do you remember what I told you last night? Of Jack and those men?” he said, crossing his arms over his chest. I turned to him, nodding. He sighed and met my eyes. “Well…he is on his way over now. Your protectors have informed him early this morning.” I stood there, frozen as I took it in. “Now…?” I mumbled, trying to get my mind to work, “We will have to confess everything.” Devin nodded and gently wrapped his arms around me. “I will handle it,” he promised.
Within an hour we ate quickly and placed Hayden’s work in his office. Once getting back downstairs, Devin pulled me to him. Hayden was limping down the last step when the door opened. Jack quickly came in, his eyes on us. His eyes fell on Devin and his lips curled in a snarl. “What are you going here, bloodsucker?” he snarled, instantly pulling a silver blade out, “And with my Raven?” Devin’s arms tightened around me and I pulled my own blade out, ready for a fight. “She is no longer yours, but mine. Besides it is my right to be with her. Do not try to stop me,” said Devin, rather calmly. His hand wrapped around my wrist and slowly pulled the blade from my hand. “You are in no need to be around my family, especially with a past like yours. You cannot be trusted! You will harm them!” He was yelling now, his body rigid. My eyes were kept on the blade in his hands. “That was a mistake! A mistake I’m still trying to fix if you gave me the chance!” Jack barked out a laugh as I pulled Hayden to me, fearing of Jack’s next move. “A mistake that won’t be forgotten! I don’t know why I haven’t killed you yet, given what you did. Maybe I enjoy seeing you suffer. Tell her, Devin tell her what you are!” Devin’s face turned pale and he shook his head. There was a light tremble to his touch. “I refuse to, for her protection. I refuse to ruin it!” Hayden gripped me, fear shaking him. I couldn’t blame him, if I wasn’t full of adrenaline, I would have felt it too. “Ruin it? You bring her danger! What good are you?” Jack growled and strutted to us. “I protected them! Leave now Jack or face what you have done.” Jack stared at us, his eyes fixed on Devin. His next moved made me realize how rash he was as he threw the blade straight at Devin. Devin simply raised his hand, catching the blade by its hilt. “Tell her the truth, Devin! If you really do love her-can you even love?-then tell what you are! Tell her or I will.” Devin dropped the blade, rubbing his burnt hand. He looked at me, reading my eyes. In his…I saw pain, loneliness, and fear. His body and eyes pleased to not judge him nor leave him. He grasped my hands, kneeling before me. “Raven, I am a creature of the night. Feeder of the living. The living dead. I am a vampire.”
I didn’t know what to think, my mind was haywire. But it made sense. It made sense to everything. The darkness, the things happening, the figures, my dreams, our past. I felt weak and yet relieved. I did something, I thought I’d never do…I fainted. I woke up in soft arms. Devin. The man that just confessed one of his many secrets. I noticed Jack was gone and it was silent, deeply silent. Hayden was by the wall, his eyes on me. “Raven?” he murmured softly. I met his eyes and he held me close. I breathed him in, accepted him for what he was. “I’m okay,” I breathed and he sat me up. He pressed a glass to my lips and nursed me the sugary tea. I shivered and he held me, calming me down. “I was so worried. After you collapsed, I threw Jack out. I…don’t blame him in a way for he is deeply upset. His friend, his brother-Tyler-has been murdered and you being with me-as what I am-set him off.” I nodded, taking this in. I leaned against him with Hayden watched us from by the wall. I was silent, thinking everything over. He soon picked me up and carried me to my room. “Your silent,” said Devin as he sat me on my bed. I was weak and tired, but wanted answers. “Yes,” I said, sitting up and leaning against the wall. He sat by my side and Hayden followed, sitting at my desk. “Tell me why.” he cupped my hand, stroking it. Hayden’s eyes rested on me and I looked down. What does Hayden know? And Devin? “You have told me some of your past and what you are. Now I want more. I want answers of me and my past. Jack has left me and now I know not of myself. I want answers. I wish you to give them to me.” Devin was silent, his eyes on my bed. “Fine,” he sighed, “I can give you them.” Hayden’s eyes fell on me as Devin sighed again and looked at the ceiling, speaking,
“I can tell you of your mother. You are not related to Hayden here. At a young age your mother fell for your father, Raven. He was a full blood vampire and ruthless with power. He killed when he feasted upon the blood and he feasted every day. In time he couldn’t come out in public at night for most knew his face and wanted him dead. He used your mother to feed him. Thing is…he didn’t have to feed every day, he just did for power. He would have your mother find humans to feed on and she would have to get rid of the bodies, hiding all evidence. When she did a good job, he would make love to her. When she did a rough job, he would beat her. But when she could find no humans for him, he would feast off of her, body and mind. Her life there was a living hell. Each new day was a new challenge for her. He made her believe he really did love her. He didn’t, he used her. But behind his back, she saw Tyler. He knew of your father and of her. She feared for her very own life, but what could she have done?
“Soon she fell pregnant with you, Raven and your sister Allison. She feared of your lives and her own. She ran away, in hope your father never found out of her pregnancy, but he did. She ran to Tyler and with very little questions, he accepted her. Jack and Tyler protected her with little concern of your father. Oh, but he knew. He made his time, chasing her silently. Three years after your birth, he attacked. He toyed with Tyler and Jack before attacking your mother. He only scared them, but killed your mother and Allison instantly. He didn’t know of you, but now he does. After her death, Tyler took you in as his own. He searched for your father in revenge. Now, Hayden here is not your brother of blood… Shortly after her death, Tyler met another lady. She fell pregnant and died of giving birth. Tyler cared for Hayden as he did you. But yet you aged slowly, given of your blood. Tyler convinced you that you were always a year older then Hayden, but in truth you were always three years older. You aged differently, given of your blood. You aged one year for every three. So how you look older then what you should, but that is for what Jack has done. He gave you special drinks when you were younger to make you look older. It seems they have caught up with you now. I can’t say in what was in those drinks, but it worked. I am sorry for this, Raven…but it is the truth.”
I bit my lip to stop the tears, to gain control over myself. So my whole life has been a lie? I’m not human, Hayden isn’t my brother, and I’m actually twenty? I age slowly and given to drinks Jack gave me I look seventeen? “Their names…” I gasped, tears in my eyes, “Tell me my parents’ names.” I couldn’t look at Devin nor Hayden so I shut my eyes. “Olivia and Lucian,” said Devin softly, rubbing my arm. This is the truth of who I am? Must I know more? “I know…how I’ve fallen here, but tell me how’d you end up here. And what does Hayden have to do with any of this?” Devin sighed and stopped touched me, speaking again,
“Hayden…he has very little to do with any of this. He is plaque by the dreams and sickness due to you. Lucian uses him to get to you. In ways of his sickness… Yes, he is prone to get sick more due to stress, maybe with his sudden attacks and weakness were caused by you and Lucian. See Lucian attacked him and fed off his energy, making him weak and sick. The feeding from Lucian cut off oxygen supply and choked him-how Lucian liked his victims. When gone, Hayden would struggle for air so his inhaler and tank weren’t really needed until the attacks. You have noticed how the tank is a little warm? That’s another one of Jack’s concoctions. To understand this, you need to know where you play a part in his attacks, unmeaning. Unknowingly you feed from Hayden’s energy. You can feed from blood as well as mind and once stared of blood-in which you are-you feed unknowingly from his energy. Now in that tank and inhaler is some damn magic or air that is able to give Hayden back his lost energy. It helps not only him survive, but you.
“What I am, I cannot help much less stop. But my real past is a lot to do with you. I told you the truth of my past, just not all of it. Yes, I was born back in Romanian age, the time of ruthless warriors. I think it was around 1601, I can’t remember well. I was raised in the way of a warrior, thanks to Richard. Yes, everything I said was true, even the attack. I lost everything that day. Running away was cowardly, but I had to do it. I wondered into town, weak and hungry. A family took me in and fed me, taking pity on me. They were nice and treated me as one of their own. They knew of what happened, that’s why they showed me sympathy. I tried to forget the past, just ignoring it, but I was plagued by the dreams. I blamed myself of their deaths and not being able to fight with them. But as time dragged on and I stayed with the family, I realized Richard showed me right. By having me run away, he kept me safe and I had a better chance of living then my brothers. Why me…I still don’t know. A few years past and those memories remained. I was plagued by them, locked in my own mind. I decided I wouldn’t stay in Romania anymore. I needed to get away. The family I stayed with was sad to see me go, but they understood and would help me. The husband had contacts and arranged for me a ship to England. He told me from there I was on my own. Their children even gave me a few of their own, pure silver blades for protection and I kept them close. The traveling made me sick. It took months to reach England in despite of our speed. The sailors treated me right and we spent many nights drunk. By the time we reached England I was sick. Sick of ale, sick of water, sick of the sailors’ life.
“England was a nice relief and I was lost within the city, traveling around. I had little money and couldn’t work. I was fourteen, too old for any trade now. I wondered the town, looking for anything to do for some money or somewhere to stay. At times like this, I was still plagued by my dreams. I thought it was luck when a rather young boy came to me one dark night. The dreams were worse and I hardly slept in fear of them. The boy hardly looked over ten and yet he was able to lift me up. He gave me a strong alcoholic drink and I forced myself to swallow it, gagging. The boy dragged me down to the tunnels. I didn’t know where we were, but wound up taking a latter to a house. It was hours later that I woke to a dark room. I found myself sick and weak again. The boy was there and he fed me some sickly broth. I kept it down for the most part. I fell asleep again after the meal. I woke up to the boy again and he fed me, but behind him was a man. He was rather young and yet old. He spoke to me in a deep voice that calmed me. He told me of whom he was and he would care for me. He said I only had to learn my studies and entertain Toby-the young boy. I agreed, not realizing my choice.
“A few years past and I came to know what he was. Damn fool. I accepted him for what he was, not realizing the truth. He promised me that once I was fifteen he would turn me into a half vampire. I accepted it and as a mortal he taught me his ways. Lies. And so my year came and I was turned. The years were slow and hard. He taught me to kill and hunt, killing mankind. I wasn’t a killer and my blood thirst wasn’t as great as his. Behind the veil, he was ruthless. He used Toby as he did Olivia. Yes, Raven the man that turned me was your very own father. I stayed with him for over eighteen years. I stayed with him to seem loyal when I purely hated him. But in truth, I needed him. I haven’t had a clue who I was nor what I’d become. He taught me his ways, not mine. By the end with it, I told him this wasn’t who I was. He told me while grabbing my throat, that I would become of him. You see, he is known as the Lord of Vampires. He needed an apprentice, an heir and that was to be me. To become as the Lord of Vampires, I needed to be like him. That wasn’t me, I couldn’t do that. He was to force me to be him. I couldn’t do it nor fake at it. He would’ve saw through it. I was forced to blackmail him, not wanting to kill him. He made sure it was clear that I won’t become a full vampire until he thought I was ready to become one. A few days past and while he was terrorizing the town I stole a few vials of his blood. It was quite simple after that. I forced him to tell me where other vampires were. He was reluctantly to tell me until I threaten to expose his face to the sun and its people.
“I didn’t stay, but set out that very night. I wondered to Scotland and he cursed my name, but still yearned for me. I found vampire ally in Scotland. I bargained with him the blood to turn me into a vampire-a full blood one-and teach me of their ways. He was too happy to agree. I will not explain of what a full vampire does, in hope you won’t have to suffer at it. I traveled with this vampire and he treated me right. We became good friends and I told him of my past. I didn’t forget of Lucian and I always kept an eye out for him. He was sour in losing me and would not let that go. But I grew stronger than him. And so the years past and I cursed my trust of him, this damn Scotland vampire. He betrayed me in despite of our trust to Lucian. They were after me that night. So I ran away in looks of peace. Lucian never gave up and I committed more murdered then wished with him. He was trying to turn me into him and I refused to. Still he didn’t give up and chased after me. It was a mistake I wished I never made. And so the years past and I learned of being a full blood vampire in my ways. I soon found a pact of vampires like me. They knew of my ways with Lucian-most vampires did-and never liked him as well. They branched out and let me travel with them so I could rest and heal. The years that followed were long and good to me. I was sill hunted, but kept safe to my pact. I was soon to leave them to follow on my own way to new land when I got hint of word that Lucian impregnated a mortal. I must say it is a very hard to pregnant a mortal and once done the deed can’t be taken away. Depending on the vampire, the child would be as of its bloodlust. Usually. In a women only a male vampire can pregnant a women vampire. Don’t ask me how this is for it just is.
“The pregnancy set me to a real reality. He will try and use the child as he did me, raising it in lies. I couldn’t let the child fall into the lies like I did. I wanted to protect it and the mother. This time, I searched for Lucian and unlike him I kept to myself and in the shadows. How funny our kind lives in darkness, but never checks there. Within a few months, I found your mother in Tyler’s arms. I knew she used to belong to Lucian for she reeked of him and he branded her. Yes, the same mark in the snow. After your birth I kept a close eye on you and your mother. I wanted nothing more, but your family protected. I kept all my attention on the wrong thing. I should’ve kept my attention on Lucian as well. How could I have forgotten? I let myself been known to Tyler and Jack. They were reluctant to trust me, knowing what I was and whose blood was in me. You see that damned vampire in Scotland drained me of my blood and replaced it with Lucian’s blood from the vials. Twice the power. I told them of my past and of Lucian. I spoke of my travels and betrayals. Slowly, they trusted me. Even while that went on, I kept my eye on you more. I should’ve kept my eye on Lucian. Exactly two months before he attacked your mother, I was kidnapped. He kept me for over a month, draining me of blood and energy. He told me he would release me if I told him where Olivia was, but I refused to. This set him off. He hurt me, but the pain wouldn’t work. He was in rage and desperate for answers. In my weakened mind, he pushed past my boundaries and searched for his answers. If I wasn’t so weak, I could’ve fought, but I couldn’t… Next thing I knew he released me and I rushed back to Jack. I found them and explained everything. Tyler and Olivia ran to hide with Faith. They had left you with Jack and that explains why he never knew of you. Jack instantly blamed me, saying I betrayed them all. He banned me, cursing my name. I was weak with the drawn out periods of no blood. I went into a rage and nearly killed him, but the only thing that stopped me was you. Your eyes met mind and your hand touched my own. You calmed me instantly. Walking away, I looked at you to him, telling him I will still be watching over you. I honestly don’t know how Lucian found out of you. I think some unfortunate soul gave him the information or he found out from my mind. I watched Tyler and Jack over you and Hayden more times than ever to search for Lucian. Maybe that was it. But this darkness has happened all your life and maybe Lucian did know about you, but let you go. I don’t know. Your past is a hard one raven, and it’s amazing you’ve survived it. But now you need to survive the future.”
He was silent after that and I pulled my legs up to my chest, my head on my knee. I felt empty, dead inside. I didn’t know who I was much less who was around me. The silent past over us for a while besides Hayden’s heavy breathing. I realized he was crying and still I felt empty. Devin got up and I heard him whisper, “Come on, kid. I’ll put you to bed. You’ll need your rest.” I heard Hayden mutter something in reply and Devin sighed, “I’m nearly as much as you, kid.” Devin left and I curled up on the bed. My eyes were closed and I wanted everything to be gone. I was stripped of my whole being and mind; for once I had no questions. I knew what and who I was now and wished I never asked for it. I wanted nothing more than peace of mind now, but it would never be found. Devin returned and he picked me up, laying me close to him. “You wanted to know,” he mumbled softly. He sounded completely miserable and I still didn’t look up. I wondered if he was okay with me living as the lies before. “I know,” I grunted, my face in the pillow. He sighed and rubbed my arms. I felt chilled now. “I wanted to hide the truth from you. You didn’t need to know. Now look at you, your miserable.” I sighed and turned to look at him. He looked miserable, deep within sadness. I sighed and sat up. “No, you’re wrong, Devin. I needed to know. I couldn’t stand my protection, I wanted free. I needed an explanation. It’s just…not what I thought.” Devin sighed and pulled me to him, rubbing my arms. I shivered and he wrapped my sheets around me. “No,” he whispered, “It never is.”
The night and next day were slow. I stuck to my room, still thinking. I came to accept myself and yet I wanted more answers. I wanted Hayden gone and away to be safe, but with me, Devin, and Jack he was still in danger. He had no one and the more I thought of it I was sure he would be safer with Jack. When I did go downstairs once he was at the table, staring at photos of me and him. Devin was beside him, helping him cope. Hayden heard me come down the stairs and he stared at me. His eyes were so…empty. I quickly went up the stairs, slamming the door shut. Devin was already there, his eyes soft. “It’s not your fault,” he mumbled softly. I strutted towards my dresser and pulled my blades out. “I can’t stand who I am, Devin! I’m a monster! Hayden-he-he doesn’t need to be here! I-I-I don’t need to be here! I’m the danger!” I yelled, pushing past him. I wrenched my window open, the cool breeze making me shiver. He grabbed me and shoved me against the wall. “You aren’t going anywhere. I’m not seeing you leave.” He was growling and in his eyes I saw sudden anger. “Then stop me.” I challenged him by shoving him back, but found myself suddenly weak. There was a heavy force on my mind and his hands were on my shoulders. Suddenly and deeply he kissed my lips and pulled me to him. With one hand he shut and locked the window. He threw me on the bed and glared at me. His eyes were hard, but soft as he strutted towards me. I felt a small ounce of fear as he gripped the scruff of my neck and pulled me to him. His lips were hard on mine as he released me and set me down. “As I said,” he said in a low voice, “You aren’t going anywhere.” He left me after that to return to Hayden. I staid where I was for a while, staring at the door. What am I losing? I moved to only put my blades up and sit back on the bed. “You aren’t weak,” he said suddenly from by me. Devin held a plate in his hands of food and set it on my bed. “I’m not?” I scoffed and shoved the food aside, not even hungry. He sat before me, holding my hands. “You're not. You are weak as of now from the lack of many things, but it’s not your fault.” He ran a hand through my hair, smiling. “Then make me strong.” His eyes hardened and he bowed his head. “Very well.” He was gone within seconds.
He returned in a little over an hour later at my side. “Hayden is gone,” he said, quickly catching my panic expression, “I took him to Jack’s. He will be safe there. I also told him to tell Jack what all he knows and I’ll handle the rest.” I nodded and my head bowed. I didn’t see him move, but I felt his hand on my neck. “Look up,” he growled softly. I looked at him, meeting his eyes. I saw a small cut on his neck and it bled porously. I looked at it and shook my head, not wanting to become what I feared. “No,” I gasped and his eyes set. He gripped my neck and pulled me up to the cut. His hold was hard, but gentle. I found myself drinking the warmth of life. It tasted thick and salty, yet sweet. Deeply sweet. He moaned and pulled me away. I found soft tears caressing my cheeks. My first taste of blood was magical. It was my source of life and fueled me. I felt powerful. It powered my body, but what of mind? “Now you will see why I had Hayden leave,” he said, pulling his shirt off. The cut had healed and the blood turned to a rusty color. I stared at it, finding myself holding no bloodlust. It was sated and I was amazed, knowing who my father was. “You’re amazed, aren’t you?” he chuckled, looking in my eyes. I could only nod, not finding my voice. He chuckled and kissed my forehead. “Your eyes tell all, especially your lust. You will make a fine vampire yet. I must explain that with blood it fills the body and lust, but with energy it fills the soul and mind.” I nodded, grasping this information. He pulled me to him and stroked my neck. “To feed from the body’s energy is tricky, but useful when hardly any blood is around. It takes a while to get used to, but you’re smart and I’m sure you’ll get it. Now I want you to completely clear your mind and emotions, think and feel of nothing. Don’t even think. Relax into me, yes like that. Open your mind completely. Don’t worry I’m here. None will attack you.” I struggled to do as he said, finding it hard to clear my mind. Devin gently kissed my lips and every thought cleared and my emotions emptied. He smiled and stroked my cheek, looking into my eyes. With very little struggle, I opened my mind, fearing of the outcome. He gently touched my mind with his and I shivered, feeling his force. He pressed against my mind and I could feel him covering it. Don’t fight, he said, deep in my mind, Just take the energy in. Slowly he let his energy flow into my body. I didn’t struggle, taking it in. It felt like a quick wave of new energy, making me able to feel it pound in my heart and veins. I shivered, eyes shut. After a minute he pulled away and I staggered, gasping. I closed my mind and slipped to my knees. I was shivering, my eyes shut right. I would have start thrashing if it wasn’t for Devin holding me to him. “Raven, it’s me. Calm down hon, calm down,” he whispered in my ear, “I love you.” I stopped shivering, pressing myself against him. I felt alive and yet weak, but better. “It will take time to get used to. Your body was stared of blood and lived off of very little energy. I gave you too much, but it was needed. That’s why you went into a fit,” he whispered, holding me to him. I didn’t care, I felt whole, better than ever. All I wanted him. Now. I pressed my lips to his, parting mind under his. The sweet feeling of making love filled us both.
The next day I woke up, chilled. Devin wasn’t in my room, but I could hear him in the kitchen. My senses had greatly improved beyond the mortal extent. I could hear Devin in the kitchen and the far off sound of a sizzle with a distant bird call. I could see the splotches of paint and small cracks in the wall. I quickly got up, wondering how strong I was. I glanced at my bed and picked it up with two hands. It wasn’t light as I expected, but it wasn’t heavy. I quickly dressed in tight clothing and ran downstairs. I kissed Devin’s lip as he handed me a plate of food. “Eat,” he said, sitting me down, “As a half vampire you will need to eat, but very little. It depends really. Eat more food and drink less blood, you will appear more human. Vice versa and you are more of the…living dead.”-he chuckled-“We-I need you strong. I will help you break some of those human habits.” He pulled my hair away from my face as I ate. “But what of Hayden?” I asked as he pulled a flask out from the ridge. He sniffed it and turned back to me. He’s better off with Jack for now.” As he spoke, his eyes flashed of something. Remorse? I nodded and pushed my half-empty plate away. “I thought so.” My words came out in a sigh. He rubbed my shoulders and leaned against my chair. He sipped from the flask as I played with his fingers. “Devin, do full vampires need to eat human food?” He chuckled and shook his head. “No. They’re body is pretty much dead. They won’t be able to handle it.” I nodded and pushed the food around on my plate. “What of the sun? And fire? Does it kill them? What does kill them?” He chuckled again and looked at me. “Trying to kill me, sweet Raven?”-I laughed, blushing- “The sun does burn us, but by drinking rather amounts of blood and cloaking ourselves we can withstand a few hours of it. Fire…it burns us, but doesn’t it burn mortals as well? Let’s see…large amounts of sun can kill us, also steaks, but that’s anything that can pierce our hearts. Bullets don’t work, but silver bullets will burn us. Silver will in general. The only way to kill us is pierce our hearts and that is rather hard to do. Besides…you can’t kill of that is already dead.”
We sat in silence as he sipped from the flask. I let my eyes closed as I called my mind. “Drink,” he said and I heard a soft cling on the table. The black metal flask sat on the table, the smell of blood rising from it. It smelt different, saltier then vampire blood. I picked it up and sniffed it, knowing it wasn’t a vampire blood. “This isn’t vampire blood,” I said out loud without realizing it. I took a small swig, tasting it. Oh it was intoxicating. It was rich in flavor and filled me, second best to vampire blood. I sipped from the flask slowly as he watched me. “Your right,” he said, watching me, “It’s human.” My first taste of human blood was nearly as rich as my last. “I need you strong,” he continued, returning from upstairs with a pair of scissors, “That human blood and mine will keep you sated for a few days. I plan to teach you how to survive and use your mind in battle. You will need these tactics.” He undid my hair, combing it out. I knew what he planned to do. He wanted to cut my hair saying it won’t be as easy to recognize me. “You speak as if we are in war,” I said as he smirked and sighed softly. “That’s because we are…”
Noon found us outside in the shadows of the forest. Devin wore his cloak, keeping close to me and the tees. I worried for him, but they told me not to. “Keep your mind cleared, Raven. Are you even trying?” he sighed, frustrated. I couldn’t blame him, I was annoyed myself. I was to keep my mind clear and feel around for any presence, but it was hard to keep it cleared. “I’m trying! It’s hard!” I sighed, closing my mind. He was suddenly behind me, knife at my throat. I gasped, standing frozen. “If I was Lucian you would already be dead!” I tried my best after that, wanting to keep my mind ready. In my mind I was and felt everything through shows and light. I could feel presences of animals around us and pressing figures. I needed to search for one that was cloaked, knowing how it felt. I slowly walked, keeping to shadows as I walked. I struggled myself to cloak my own mind. I felt it! Behind me was him, his mind feeling a bit heavy. It felt different, cloaked as if a heavy presence covered it. Silently I unsheathed my blade and threw it in his direction, pulling away from my own mind, running up the threes. My strength and balance was better than ever and I was level to Devin now in the trees. “Very good, Raven,” he said, smiling, “You have improved well.” We continued this for several days so he would know I had some grasp of the mind. “You’ve done well,” he commented late one night. We were up in the tress now, resting. My mind was now past its limit and I was able to grasp anything Devin threw at me. My body was stronger and I was pushing myself past the breach of it. “How?” I said, sitting back. He smiled at me and cupped my cheek. “You’ve pushed yourself for beyond mortal capability. You’ve done well.” He kissed me sweetly and rubbed my back. “Because I have a good teacher.” He smiled and I cuddled up to him. The next few days faster quickly and I grew stronger. I thought less of my past and more of the future. I fought harder with body and mind, knowing every second I trained would mean my survival against Lucian. All I knew was I wanted to get revenge on my father for making my life a lie. I wanted to make amends with Jack and still care for Hayden despite what I was. As my time past I came to think of Hayden more. I missed him and wanted to see with my own eyes that he was safe. I asked Devin of it and for the rest of the night he stayed in silence, thinking. By morning they said we could go, but not until sunset.
That morning I found Devin downstairs on the phone. He had a plate of food for me and a thing of coffee. He motioned for me to start eating and walked away. I took no notice of it, eating my meal. It seemed he spent a lot of time on the phone now and I didn’t know who he spoke to, but I wasn’t worried. Once I was done he came back in, smiling at me. “You’ll need to drink, just in case,” he said, going to the fridge. He pulled out two flasks, handing one to me. “We can catch an animal on the way, just in case. We don’t want to take a chance,” he continued, sipping from his flask. I sipped mine, nodding. “I just don’t want to hurt him,” I mumbled softly. He looked at me, reading my eyes. I smiled and he kissed my lips, the sweet taste of blood on them. “You won’t,” he promised. The next few hours found me in my room with Devin. I was wrestling with him, trying to pin him down. He was stronger, but he often let me win. I guess tonight was my luck as I pinned him on the ground. “You let me win!” I said, leaning back on his legs. He slowly smiled and sat up some. “Honestly no. You managed to beat me,” he said with smile, “And I don’t see how.” He kissed my lips and stroked my cheek. “Maybe I can beat you.” I stuck my tongue out at him and he chuckled. Strangely he sounded smug… Soon we were driving to Jack’s house. He lived well past the city and deeper in the country. Jack moved when we did, always at a distance. I remember when I was younger I would go to Jack’s home for safety. But now that safety was shuddered. The truth was exposed. Parking some distance from his house, we walked into the woods. Quickly we attacked several rats, squirrels, and birds. We fed off of their blood and energy. It wasn’t as nearly as filling as human blood, but it would have to do for Hayden. Next thing I knew we were heading up to Jack’s home. I was extremely nervous and the only reason I didn’t run was for Devin’s hand on my arm. You made it this far, he said gently in my mind, And if you gave up now you would hate yourself. I had to admit he was right. Walking up to Jack’s doorstep, Devin’s arm flew across my chest. “Stop,” he growled, his eyes narrowed. I stopped walking, knowing something was deeply wrong. Very wrong. “Open you mind,” he whispered, crouching down. Everything seemed okay, completely normal. Slowly opened my own mind, searching for something wrong. I deeply cloaked it, looking around. It didn’t feel right anymore, something ark in the air. Someone of our kind was here, someone evil. I didn’t know who, but I just knew it was a vampire. The air smelt strange, a smell of blood and feeling of death.
“Devin!” I snapped, not caring how loud I was now, “Someone was here. A-a vampire!” He sighed and nodded, touching my shoulder. He pulled me from my mind and smiled weakly. “Yes, I know. They’re long gone,” he said as I strutted towards the front door. “I want to go in.” He read my eyes and sighed softly. “I can see I can’t pull you from this thought. Very well.” He gripped my hand and quickly opened the door. It was dark inside, the smell of smoke in the air. Everything was destroyed beyond identification, burnt, or broken. The lamps and television were smashed, hanging in only limps. Holes were in the walls and his furniture was destroyed. Everything was charred and smelt like smoke. It was as if someone tried to hide evidence with fire. “Why?” I said out loud, pressing my hand to the wall. It was cold for the most part, but still felt slightly warm. It’s as if this was hours ago, I thought, turning to Devin. He was bending near a pile of burnt items. “I don’t know Raven. Maybe to cover evidence to the human eye. But I can say we are alone,” he sighed, gripping a burnt piece of wood. I came to his side, pushing back my tears. “Why are you searching?” He glanced at me and knelt before some piles. “This is all wrong,” he growled, “It’s too easy. As if they wanted us to find who did this. That we know they did it. If they didn’t want us to know, they would’ve covered up their scent and findings.” I walked away, looking at the wall. Deep claw marks, bits of blood were in it. “Do you have any idea who?” I heard him scoff as I ran my hand over the marks. Human hands. “Yes. But so do you. So you tell me.” I sighed, finding this very overwhelming. My answer was a low growl and my anger rose. “Lucian.”
We spent the next few hours searching. I didn’t know what we were searching for, but he said I would know it once I found it. I couldn’t search well, staring blankly at objects that used to belong to them. Could they really be gone? My hands trembled heavily and I struck them in my pocket half the time. Devin worked fast, but at times I found his eyes lingering on me. “Raven come here,” he said, after finding me staring at a pile of burnt clothing at used to be Hayden’s. The only way I could tell was the charred belt buckle. Of what I could see was the wolf howling at the charred moon. It was his favorite. Silently and slowly I stumbled to Devin and he caught me. I realized we were upstairs, in Hayden’s room. For a good minute he was starting at the wall, muttering and running his hand over it. I only took it that he was just as lost as me, but guess not. He had an arm around my shoulders as he stared at the wall. “Raven what do you see?” he asked softly. I stared at it, finding nothing interesting of the charred wall. “A charred wall,” I said bluntly. I wasn’t interested in the wall; I was interesting in finding Hayden. “Look closer Raven. You can find it.” What are you trying to teach me? Why? Even in my pit of misery! He sighed as I bent closer, laying my hands on the wall. I jumped, feeling slight rigid. It didn’t feel…right. “Bring me some rags and a light.” Devin left, leaving me with this mysterious wall. The wall was deeply rigid, something engraved upon it. It was different from the claw marks, looking unhurried. Devin returned with a flashlight and rags. I wiped the wall down, having the light shine on the wall. A small symbol was engraved on it, expertly done. “Raven, check the back door. See if there is any evidence of force entry,” said Devin, moving to the symbol. I left him, confused. The backdoor was left swinging open, a note pegged it. I carefully undid it, my hands trembling. Raven, it said, scrawled on the top. Call the doctor. I stared at it, confused. I tried to think of the hidden meaning. I was returning to Devin when he met me outside Hayden’s room. “It’s a mixture of Greek and Latin,” he said, spotting the note in my hand, “It means war. I can tell you…it wasn’t done by Hayden or Jack.” He took the note from me, reading it with a sigh.
“We need silver if we are to defeat them,” he said, leading me down the stairs. He was more confused over the note then I was. I leaned against a wall, ignoring the soot. “I know we do, but where?” I said, finding myself tired. He started to pace, deep in thought. “Jack. He’s a practical man. Would you have any idea where he’d keep them?” My eyes opened and I met his eyes, thinking of the past. “He once told me something of, ‘Hidden, yet in plain sight.’ I was young. I didn’t know what he meant. Now I do.” I ran up to his room and to a hanging photo of fresh flowers. It was burnt to a crisp, but still left hanging. The photo was too normal for a guy who hunts vampires for a living. I took my blade out and ripped the photo. Rows of elegantly made silver blades hung there. Devin helped me collect the blades, a smile on his face. “These aren’t the only ones,” I said, watching Devin roll the blades up in some rags. “I wasn’t expecting so,” he mumbled softly. I turned to the room, tearing down anything that looked normal for Jack’s appeal. By the end we received well over twenty blades. I knew Jack had more and several guns hidden around the house, but this was all we could carry. “Caring more than this into a fight would alter our chances. We need all the chances we can get,” he continued. I found myself extremely tired, wavering on the spot. Devin caught me and next thing I knew I was asleep… I woke curled up on my bed. I could tell it was late morning by the sun’s position. Devin wasn’t in my room and I didn’t hear him downstairs. I walked downstairs, hearing only silence. I found myself sated and not hungry for once. I looked out the windows for Devin, but he wasn’t out there. I trudged back to my room to take a well deserved shower. By the time I was out and getting dressed I realized the blades were gone. I didn’t worry much of it, still thinking of yesterday. If they really do have Hayden and Jack, why can’t we go get them? I turned back to the mirror to brush my short hair with a soft sigh. “Because for one, we don’t know where they are and two it would be incredibly dangerous. You’ll be sighing your own death certificate then,” said Devin coming through my window I sighed and placed the brush down. “I don’t care. I want them back!” Devin cupped my cheek, sighing. “We must figure this riddle out first.” He kissed my lips with a sigh.
I spent the day helping Devin with the blades. He wanted to wrap them in velvet so we would be able to hold them. I spent most of the time doing it myself since Devin seemed to be either away or on the phone, arguing. I didn’t question him, enjoying the silence. I finished with the blades myself and wondered the house, silent. I went to the living room, where the note sat. I read it over and over, still finding no sense of the words. Devin returned, looking tired and haggard. “Did you sleep?” I asked as he sat down in the kitchen. I had drunk several glasses of tea, giving him a half-full flask. He started to drink it, rubbing his eyes. “No. After you collapsed and I put you to bed, I went back to Jack’s house. By the time I was back there, it was up in flames. I sat there until near dawn watching it. There was no evidence of how the flames started,” he sighed, eyes half-closed. I rubbed his shoulders, sighing. “We have enough of the blades. Why don’t you go to my room and rest?” He looked at me and pulled me in his lap. He nuzzled me, sighing softly. “I think I will. If you are to stay up, hun, don’t go outside. The forces are pressing.” I didn’t question him, promising I wouldn’t venture outside. He kissed me and went upstairs. Why did he taste so bitter?
I sat up well past dark in the living room, simply staring at the note. It was written by Hayden’s handwriting and yet reminded me of Jack. Hidden in plain sight. I ran up to Hayden’s room going to his desk and drawers. Nothing. His tank and inhaler were empty, thrown in the corner. I stared at his wall with the forest, reading the script. Lucian must’ve sent you your dreams. Why these words? I felt a shiver go through me. I knew, deep in the back of my mind they were meant for me. Hayden’s paralyzing dreams were because of me. He is better off without me… I slowly went to his office, sitting in the chair. I gazed at the floor, refusing to give up on them. I saw his computer wasn’t even plugged in, given reason to the silence. I plugged it in and waited for it to load, enjoying the slight noise. I rummaged through his empty files and drawers, wondering why he didn’t set things up in here. Once the computer loaded and I checked to see if his fax and printer were connected, I saw something blinking. Files faxing over. Cursing, I realized he never received them. That’s why I could never find them. He must’ve been tired of me doctoring him and trying to get answers when he hinted the answer himself. I sat back, eyes half closed and empty minded. I listened to the papers come and strangely it was soothing. Once it stopped I sat up, sighing. I looked at the papers, my mind snapped into place. Hayden’s doctor files. Doctor… I gasped, standing up, the puzzle coming into place. Doctor. I remember mine and Jack’s conversation of getting the files. Jack reluctantly to. Hayden writing the number down. Call the doctor… I jumped up, running to the living room and kitchen. I searched the drawers and waste bin for it. It wasn’t there. I ran to Hayden’s room, finding that small paper in his waste bin. I pulled it out and dialed the umber. The drone tones reached me and I struggled to calm myself, hearing my own heartbeat. “Raven Silver, I’ve waited long enough. You know where I rest now. Hush-don’t speak. You’ll ruin the moment. You wish to see Hayden and Jack alive, yes? Then show up. Tonight.” I ran up to my room, my legs trembling. My body trembled and I leaned against the wall. I didn’t feel fear; I was determined to kill Lucian. My heart was pounding as I let my eyes close. I ran into my room, wanting to tell Devin what I found. I saw he wasn’t in my bed or room for that matter. That’s when I felt something painful deep in my mind.
…Darkness rushed to meet me…
Groggily, my eyes opened somewhat, bleary-eyed. All I could feel was my head pounding. I tried to reach up and touch my head when I felt a tug on my wrist. Bounded. I felt the cold chains press against the fabric of my shirt. I closed my eyes, trying to work the lock off when I felt a slow burning sensation in my mind. The binds were made of silver. I sighed, my eyes opening. I was in a car, in my car. I was in the backseat with Devin driving at a slow pace. What the hell… I felt groggy again, sick. I came to realize he was speaking into a phone. “…system by now. Yes, I told you I would-oh give me credit! Yes, yes. On way now. She should be. Yes. He better!” I didn’t want to make a sound, but as he drove I felt the cold metal press my wrist. They were defiantly silver because they burned like living hell against my skin. I was glad to be gagged, screaming. Devin quickly pulled over, glaring at me. He no longer held that sweet, gently gaze or the caring tone. He was truly wild, truly a vampire. He gripped me tightly by the throat and looked me in my eyes. Suddenly I felt dizzy, sick. My mind was a haze. This was no longer the man I knew.
…Slowly darkness rushed to me…
I spent a lot of my time in darkness. My life. It was full of darkness, making me live a lie. I wanted it to stop and live the truth. But now I had to deal with my main problem. My father. I was thrown on heavily on a cold, tile floor. I rolled to a stop, a foot on my side. I forced my eyes open, unable to see whose foot was on my side. Devin stood before us, his arms crossed over his chest. He looked pissed, but pleased. “You have her. Now give me what I deserve,” he growled, his eyes falling on me. He smiled slyly and chuckled deeply. I felt no fear, just deep anger in my betrayal and worry for Hayden. The room itself was dark, a few beads of light in random places, but it wasn’t enough to see by. The man above me sighed and worked with someone on his belt. I saw Devin grasp an elegantly made sword in its sheath and a small leather bag. “You can leave now,” challenged the man above me. Devin laughed and smirked, shaking his head. “No, no. I’d rather watch. She is quite sly.” Next thing I knew I was being dragged up by my bounds to my feet. My knees and shoulders protested as I struggled to stand, stumbling ahead. I only received a blow to the back of my head, making me gasp. “Hey!” I heard Devin shout, “Don’t hurt her! Lucian did say he wanted her whole. He said he didn’t want her injured. We need her. She is an important key for us.” We walked on with Devin some distance behind us. I could only think of my betrayal. We walked down, long dark halls and through many rooms. Finally he stopped at a large, brass door. It read Operation Room. I felt myself tremble as the door opened. I wanted to shut my eyes from this, but I couldn’t I had to think. But the sight before me was gut wrenching. The room was large and round, a small makeshift platform against the wall. I saw on the raters were broken bodies hanging by their neck on ropes. I saw Tyler and Jack’s body up there, but not Hayden’s. I could grieve for him later. The green and white tile floor was smeared with blood, human blood. On the walls were silver weapons: blades, knives, a sword or two. A few blood vials were on the desks or scattered brokenly on the floor. Sitting on the platform, surrounded by his fellow vampires sat my father. He was stunning, alright. His eyes were a mirror of my own with his even paler skin and darker hair. His hair fell to his shoulders, pulled back by a thong. His face was hard, holding high cheekbones. He wore black, just as I did, shrouded in it, except he wore it elegantly. He wore a silk black shirt with leather slacks. His hunting boots were black as well as the velvet cloak around his shoulders. He was strong. I could feel the deep energy around him. This was my father, the reason to my life being a lie. Lucian.
“Ah. You did well, Devin. You took longer than expected, but you did well,” said Lucian softly. Devin smiled, kneeling before his master. “I did have to prepare the wrench in our ways. Now she is yours. Just as you wanted,” said Devin, his voice holding no remorse. He looked at me, a smile on his lips. There, I felt deep anger. Hayden snarled loudly and pulled from his holders, attacking Devin. Devin chuckled and gripped Hayden’s throat right when Hayden threw himself at him. “You betrayed us! How…we accepted you, trusted you…” he gasped, eyes shut. Devin threw Hayden back to the vampires, snarling. “Yes, I suppose I did. I suppose you did trust me as well.” He stood by Lucian, looking at me. “Why?” I said, struggling to not fall on my knees. The man behind me grasped my wrists, holding me up. Lucian’s eyes fell on me and he smiled. “I think…its Devin’s right to explain,” he said simply. I gritted my teeth and glared at Devin. Devin jumped up, looking at me. “Oh, I will. First cut her bands. Now!” he yelled when the vampire behind me hesitated. I felt the chains fall away and I rubbed my wrists. They were bruised and burnt, but I ignored the pain. My eyes were on Devin, glaring at him with deep anger. “Why?” he repeated, “Because I wanted to, really. You fell to my trust. You were easy to even get to make love to. In fact easy all around. Telling you what I was easy. You played the part of a fool and anything I said you believed. You don’t know how easy you are to kill. If I wasn’t getting paid by Lucian here, you would already be dead. Quite a few times I fed off of you and Hayden. You mind was easy to feed from. But my past…well most of it is a lie. I did run away from him and didn’t want to be of him, but that was my rebellion and my reasons. I didn’t want to be like him until that Scotland vampire talked me into it. He told me of the glories ideas and realms of Lucien’s ways and being heir. It was a good idea, so with Lucien’s bottle blood that Scottish vampire turned me into what I am today. Lucien accepted me and forgave me for my rebellious moments. He said it was expected of a newly turned. He made me work hard for my forgiveness though; he set me to travel off to different lands. He needed more followers so, I was to act like I hated him and find those that did hate him and join them. I told Lucian of them and their hiding places. He did what he wanted with them. When it came to your mother’s pregnancy, I acted on not only his orders, but mine being as well. He wanted his children and mate back. I did what I said with her. I in fact did betray you guys. When ‘kidnapped’ I told Lucien of your mother and whatever he asked, telling him of you, Raven. He accepted it and planned out. I returned to Jack a month later and told them what supposedly happened. You see, he always knew he had two daughters. Your sister didn’t have vampire traits, only human traits. That’s why she had to die. We couldn’t use her. You should’ve listened to Jack, Raven, but you never will listen to anyone, will you? Especially Jack, you had to rebel, but it doesn’t matter now. Not now anyways.”-he glanced at the body-“Besides what can I say? The man pays well and I do love his ways.” With those words, he pulled Hayden to him and quickly sunk his fangs into the boy’s neck. I screamed, puling from my holder. I tried to run to him, but the vampire caught me, gripping me tighter by my arm. Devin threw Hayden down, a trail of blood on his neck. Hayden fell on his back and for a heartbreaking moment, I thought he was dead. But, thank the gods he was breathing, his chest slowly rising and falling. I snarled, trying to pull away again. The vampire only held me tighter as Lucian watched me. “Bring her to me,” said Lucian, slowly rising from his seat. Stumblingly I was brought before him.
Lucian looked in my eyes, his hand at my neck. The wounds slowly healed, but I had to force myself to calm my heart and mind. Devin stood by us, his eyes on mine. I wanted nothing more, but to sink a silver blade into both of their hearts. Lucian examined my eyes, his never leaving my own. “You look just like your mother. Pity she’s dead,” he said mockingly. I could only snarl at him. He chuckled, sitting back down. “Only because you killed her!” I yelled, angrily. He simply smiled, nodding. “That I did, but it had to be done. She wouldn’t have stayed with me anyhow. Unlike you.” I glared at him, silently snarling. “What makes you think I want to stay?” I growled, pulling away from my holder. I stumbled away, nearly falling on Lucian. Devin patently stood there, arms crossed over his chest. “Really, Raven? Do you really think you can stay here, in this mortal world knowing what you are and what you burden?” he said, deep questioning in his eyes. I took a step back, feeling vampires backing up with me. I came to realize they feared me. Why? “Burdon? What do you mean?” He smiled slyly as Devin smirked, coming to the solution before I did. “You haven’t noticed Raven? I mean…I did give Devin orders to…make love to you.”-he smirked-“Why…you are caring my next heir. You’re pregnant!” I struggled to not collapsed, even though my world crashed around me. I’m pregnant, caring Devin’s child. I had nothing left in my own mortal world and I was wanted here. I didn’t want to be here! Now I just felt empty, nothing but deep emptiness. I had nothing else to lose… My eyes snapped open and I found everyone staring at me. I couldn’t live with the lies, now I couldn’t live with the truth… I jumped back, crashing into the vampire behind me. My fingers closed around the hilt of a blade on his belt. My very first blade. I know the feel of it. Jack gave it to me when I was five, telling me it had to stay by my side and that it used to belong to his father, now me. Anger rose in me, deeper than ever before. My mind’s eye opened up and I snarled, angrily. I kicked the vampire behind me back, unsheathing the blade form his belt. I charged at Lucian, but Devin got in the way. He meant to lunge at me, but with a wild yell I slashed at his face, causing a deep gash to cross his face. I kicked his trembling, screaming body away from me and threw myself at Lucian, pushing the blade into his chest. I expected him to die, but with my damn luck I missed his heart by a few inches. I was grabbed the back of my neck and thrown into a wall. I was sliding to my knees, but he only picked me up and threw me down again. Devin. He picked me up again and slammed me into the wall, making me feel my back crack. I grasped his belt, struggling against him. He gripped my throat tightly and pushed my head to the side. He sunk his fangs into my neck, his mind wrapping with my own. It was painful and he forced the pain deep in my mind as well as body. I screamed and tried to fight him, but he only held me in place.
“Devin, release her!” said Lucian after a few agonizing seconds. Devin slowly released me and I collapsed, my hands flying to my neck. He turned to Lucian, going to him. “But, master…she hurt you! In fact…she nearly killed you! Why in the names of the gods would I release her?” he yelled, glaring at me. Lucian nodded, clasping his shoulder. I saw that the wound in his chest was healed, the blade on the floor. “Yes. I know. You will forget of her hurting me. She holds my-your heir. You will not hurt her. She is needed,” he said, strutting to me. I shivered, slowly standing up. “I won’t join you! Never! You are a ruthless, evil creature! I can never be you!” I snarled, standing up. He looked at me, studying my movement. “Oh, but in due time you will. Trust me. You will. You have nothing else to lose. You have nothing more to lose. You will realize our ways soon enough. Remember, Raven…you are my child. My flesh and blood. I will have you on my side. You may not agree with my ways now, but soon in time you will. You are my child, not anyone else’s. You do not belong with these mortals, you belong with me. Soon you will see my ways and return to me. Until then, I wait,” he growled, nodding to Devin. I felt sudden hands on my shoulders, kneeling me down on the floor. Lucian stood before me and my eyes closed as I felt the sharp pain in my neck and wrists. Suddenly I was unconscious…
It seemed for a damn while that I was out. I was feeling shaken with Hayden kneeling over me. He looked weak and pale, but relived to see me awaken. “You’re awake,” he breathed, sitting back, “I thought you never would awaken.” I nodded, struggling to sit up. I saw that he was being careful, giving me space. I was feeling weak and ill, realizing how much blood they took from me. I noticed they-the vampires-were gone, leaving no signs of that they were ever here. “Yes. Lucian wouldn’t kill me. Yet. Not while I have Devin’s child in me. He needs me,” I said with a soft hand on my stomach. Yes, I came to accept I had a vampire child in me, but I wouldn’t raise it as Lucian raised Devin. Hayden watched me with wary eyes, seeing how tired he was. “What now?” he asked as I stood up. I walked with a limp, probably holding more wounds then I ever remember having. I was too numb to feel the pain; not caring if that was good or bad. I leaned against the wall my eyes closed. I felt his symbol on my wrists with the two fangs’ piercing on my neck. I sighed deeply, knowing he marked me. “We’ll move. Start anew in this world. We’ll plan and think. We’ll catch them in the end,” I promised to him and myself.
With those very words I sealed my fate. I would end this all, no matter what the cost was. I would kill Lucian and Devin for damning my life and Hayden’s. I will have this child and raise him right. I would see to that my revenge was set…