To Lumie’s great disappointment, Dad informed me quite loudly that I wasn’t allowed to date. He reminded me Villy, Presea, and Gladdy all had to wait till they were sixteen and so I did too. I put up a feeble argument but then let it alone. >If you want to argue with them, you can,< I informed Lumie as she was disgusted with my giving up so quickly.
>What’re you going to tell Kim?< she asked, still trying to get me to convince our dads we were old enough to be dating. >We are old enough,< she added miserably.
“Then YOU tell them!” I yelled down the hall before throwing myself into my bedroom, slamming the door shut behind me. I put up my barriers to keep my sister out as I texted Kim. I typed swiftly and nearly hit send, but then I stopped. We were just hanging out with our friends for the most part. What was wrong with that?
So I deleted my text and instead I wrote, my dads say i can only go on group d8s. Because seriously, what was the different between going out with five friends and going out with four friends and one girlfriend? None that I could see.
The six of us did go to the haunted house which wasn’t that scary, it was all mostly hokey stuff. The atmosphere was a bit creepy, as this place was reportedly one of the most haunted places in a huge radius, but all the stupid stuff they added in took away from the creepiness. The only truly creepy part was when our group was down in the basement and there was nothing. No gimmicks, no mysterious lights, no weird sounds… just our small group being led slowly through the dark after being informed three people had been killed in this very room on that spot.
Kim and Trinity were both terrified during the entire thing. Trin kept a tight grip on Clay while Kim had her arms tightly around one of mine. Trysh didn’t seem very scared and kept making soft snorting sounds. Steve, to my great amusement, was scared. Clay seemed bored, and I… well, I thought it was kinda disgracing and stuff cause yeah, I knew ghosts, I was technically maybe part ghost? The ghosts at the labs weren’t chain-rattling ‘oooooing’ shadowy things. They were just see-through people of varying colors.
We got to the backyard (where some bones were found buried) and had to wait in dim light, in the cold. I shivered and moved closer to Kim. “We should get some fries after this, if we have time,” I suggested. “Something hot.”
“You’re already hot,” Kim whispered in my ear and I began going red as Clay and Steve made hooting sounds. There reallllly was only one response to that so I kissed her cheek and said, “Not as hot as you!” which gained more hoots. It felt wrong, though. Not that she wasn’t hot, cause she was totally hot, but because I didn’t like the way it felt to feel like I had to say it.
“Duuude that guy has been watching you, Kim,” Clay said in a hushed tone, jerking his head. “No don’t look. He like, came here alone, the only one alone in our group and like… he’s been watching you…”
“Which guy?” I asked. “I’ll look.”
“The guy by the tree, in the black.”
I made a big show of turning towards Kim so I could look past her, taking off my jacket and wrapping it around her shoulders. I could see some guy by the tree but the darkness and there was hardly any light, so I couldn’t see his face. But there was something horribly creepy about this. I turned back around, arm over Kim’s shoulder. “He’s been watching us?” I asked very quietly as I began shivering both from creepitude and cold.
“Kim, yeah,” Trinity said.
“I wanna go,” Kim said, latching onto me. “Please? Let’s go, I–I don’t feel comfortable anymore. Please.”
Trysh’s sister had brought us there in a van and seemed more than happy to head back to town. We did stop for some burgers and fries but I barely ate. I could only think of that guy stalking Kim. Was that what was going on? Or was it just Clay’s imagination? It was quite odd, someone going to a haunted house tour on their own. Same guy from the park? Same guy from Hidden Springs?? But if he was stalking Kim why wou–
Oh. Duh. He wasn’t watching Kim on the tour, he was watching… me? Kim was stuck to me like glue the entire time it would be easy to think it was her being watched, not me. I felt very ill and there was really no way of ignoring the fact he was stalking me. If it was the same guy an I was like, 80 percent sure it was. But why? Was it to do with what Rhoen told me? Maybe?
I looked down at my plate of fries and decided I needed to get to the Rag and talk to one of the witches or wizards.
I had to wait a week before going into the Rag and I felt scared and nervous the entire time. I got the feeling of being watched, and continually looked out my bedroom window. I never saw anything though, except the occasional animal. On Friday night I swore I saw someone but when I aimed my flashlight out there it was just shadows playing.
Saturday morning I went to the Rag with Villy. Dad wasn’t going in since he had the day off and technically Villy had the day off too but he didn’t mind getting in some overtime. We chatted the whole way and he quizzed me a lot on Kim, since I could tell he suspected she and I were dating. When we pulled into the parking lot I inquired about him inquiring he said, “Eh, I went behind our dads’ backs when I was fourteen, to date.”
“Oh-ho,” I laughed. “Really now?”
“Mm. Lasted like… two weeks. But ah well. Hey, just be careful, all right?”
“Brotherly advice to take to the heart. ‘Disobey the dads and don’t get caught’, huh?”
“Oh yeah.” He gave me a big grin and then said, “Hey, how about after we go bowling or something? A little competition? You’re not afraid of the big bad wolf, are ya?”
I laughed, shaking my head. “I’ve seen you in the mornings there ain’t a thing terrifying about that.”
“Oooooh you brat!” He reached over, arm wrapping around my neck and giving me a noogie. I screeched, flailing in his arm and we both were still laughing when we went inside the Rag.
I had been there for a long time but it didn’t look any different. I followed Vilkas to where he signed in and then he took me to one of the lounges. He left me to my business and I flopped down on one of the couches, pulling out my phone and texting my friends as I waited for someone to come in. Preferably a witch or wizard but anyone really who could direct me to one…
It took nearly half an hour before anyone came in. It was a young girl that I was pretty sure was a vampire. I wasn’t positive but she had weird eyes and definitely wasn’t a werewolf. She came in, looking a bit lost but then she smiled when she saw me. “Oh! Hello,” she said, looking now relieved. “I’m so lost, could you tell me where the bathrooms are?”
“Erm, down the hall and uhh take a left and you should see them,” I muttered, disappointed since she’d obviously have no idea where a magic user was.
“Thank you, sweetheart.” She turned to leave then stopped. “My name is Shelby. Shel for short. What’s your name?”
“Uh… Z-Zaid,” I said, sitting up a bit now.
Shelby looked me over then got a bigger smile on her face. “You live here? Or work here?”
“Um, nah. J-just visiting really. Like you?”
“Mmm…” She pushed her hair back and then came closer to me. “I guess so. You’re just human, right? You don’t seem… like one of us…”
“No. Yeah. Uh, I mean, uh, yeah, I’m human. You’re, er, v-vampire?” I stammered, and she nodded, sliding into the seat next to me. I was suddenly very aware of her low cut top. “Nice to, uh, meet you.” What should I say? What was I supposed to say? How was I supposed to act? I was very self-conscious now. “So you, uh, visiting a friend or just… seeing what the Rag is about?”
“Rag?” she asked, giggling. “Nice name. No, I’m visiting. I’ll be around for a while though. Maybe sometime you could…” her hand went onto my shoulder, “…show me the town?”
I gave a very nervous laugh. “Not much to–to–to see, really.”
“I’d still like to see,” she said in a luscious voice that shook me to the core. “You’re so cute. How about a movie tomorrow night?”
“I–I’ve got a g-g-g-girlfriend.”
“Oh, how cute!” she squealed, clapping her hands, her boobs bouncing (NOT THAT I WAS LOOKING AT okay I was looking). “We can go as friends, right? I just want to see what a real town is like. I grew up in the middle of no where. Your girlfriend wouldn’t mind, right? If I were a boy this wouldn’t be an issue? Would it? We can pretend I’m a boy, can’t we?”
As she was leaning forward and giving me an excellent view of her, er, ah, her cleavage, I highly doubted I could pretend such a thing. “I guess y-you’re right,” I stammered. “If you were, uh, male it would’t, uh, wouldn’t… yeah. Um. Well. I can’t stay out late…”
“I can’t go out during the day,” she said, still leaning forward. “We can catch a movie in the early evening though, can’t we? Please? I really want to see Moonlight Falls. Please?”
“Um, I–I guess–“
“Good!” She straightened up and whipped a phone from her pocket. “What’s your number? Where should we meet?”
“Outside the, er, theater? At, uh, 6:30? Most the movies start between 6:45 and 7:15.”
Her eyes sparkled brightly. “I can’t wait. Won’t you give me your number though?”
I hesitantly gave her my digits and once she put them in her phone she began leaning forward again to talk. I was saved from this by the sight of a lab worker walking past the door. “I gotta go, uh, see you tomorrow!” I took off running after the employee. I felt both relief and annoyance about abandoning Shelby like that. And once I left the room I felt my head be a bit clearer. Why had I agreed to meet with her? It was stupid! She wasn’t a boy, she was very much a female. Kim would be pissed. Don’t worry about it now, I decided.
I stopped the employee, who immediately got a fake smile plastered on his face since he knew I was the boss’s son. He enthusiastically helped me find a wizard who was in a kitchen area, watching his food cook in a microwave. I thanked the employee and then went over to the wizard. Hmm, how do I bring this up? I wondered, clearing my throat. The wizard didn’t even look. I cleared my throat again to no avail and then finally said, “E-excuse me, sir?”
He turned and fixated a sour look on me. “What d’you want, kid?”
“Er, uh, sorry to bother but I needed… I had a couple questions… about some things… about magic things…”
He looked me up and down then his face softened. “Are you a wizard?”
I shook my head. “No, uh, but um I needed to talk to one about–“
“I’m not here to entertain you, kid. I’m not a magician.”
I couldn’t help but grin at that. “No, I know. This is about real magic, proper magic. I heard these rumors. I mean, I talked to a witch and–well see, weird things have been happening to me. I talked to this witch and she said… my name… is… rumored to possibly be something connected with, uh, something unbalancing. Or something like that.”
One eyebrow raised and he pursed his lips in annoyance. “What are you talking about?”
“There are tales of someone who will unbalance magic?” I asked and I could see in his eyes he knew what I was talking about. “The witch said my name… is… connected with that.”
“What is your name?”
“Z-Zaid Danevbie-Greyson,” I said and he took a step away from me. “It’s true, isn’t it?”
“You’re Specter’s son?” he asked and I nodded. “I guess I should tell you stuff then.”
“Um, you don’t… err I mean, don’t feel like you have to tell me!” I didn’t like the idea of him giving me information because of who my dad was. “Though I really would like to know about what’s going on. This guy’s been stalking me.”
He rubbed his nose then opened the microwave, taking his meal out. “Fine, fine. All right, it’s a load of toad’s warts, honestly. Lies. Fake stories. People panicking over nothing. Magic is… magic… oh Watcher.” He set the meal down then picked up his napkin, holding it up. “All right, pretend this is magic. Magic that I control, magic that surges through the body of your werewolf brother, etcetera etcetera.” He waved it around and then crumpled it up in his fist. “Problems can happen, like this. Magic can get all bunched up and weird. But give it time…” He opened his hand and the napkin slowly began spreading out. “Maybe a bit of help here and there…” He poked at it until it lay flat in his palm. “See? It’s fine. That’s all this is. A hiccup in the magic timeline. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying.”
I looked at the napkin, feeling… what? Disappointed? “But this witch knew my name,” I said. “She said–“
“She probably said a lot of things, most of them not true,” the wizard snorted. “There are magic-users who believe this old tale of someone being able to destroy magic. But there are some, like myself, who don’t. These stories and rumors are going around everywhere. You must have annoyed someone for them to dump your name into the possible-magic-destroyer pot.” Though as he said this, he didn’t sound positive.
“What if the stories are true? And I am going to… do something to magic?” I asked and he rolled his eyes. “No, but what if it’s true?”
“Watcher, you have a superiority complex, don’t you? Look!” He crumpled the napkin in his fist again. “This is the most you could do, not–not what others say!”
“What do others say then?” I pressed.
He looked like he might hit me but instead he stalked over to the sink, jerking the knob so water began flowing from the faucet. “The false stories say this person who doesn’t exist can do this.” He held his hand under the water. The napkin began lumping up and then falling apart. He turned the water off, came back over to me, and slammed the pulpy mess into my hand.
“Nobody can do that, though. It simply cannot happen. Magic is more than any of us, and definitely more than an annoying pipsqueak like you.” He poked my chest with one finger. “Just go home, and live your human life. You’re not a wizard, and you’re not magical, and you’re not a creature who exists through magic. So just forget about all this.”
I looked back down at the soggy, broken lump in my hand then moved to the trashcan so I could toss it out. I left the kitchen since the wizard was sitting down to eat and I didn’t want to stick around him. If he was right… and Rhoen was wrong… then why was I being stalked? Or was it just someone who believed in the whole me-destroying-magic and wanted me dead? That was creepy to think. If he was wrong and Rhoen was right then it was probably still someone wanting me dead.
I began to feel super uncomfortable, as if this person was right behind me. I hurried to a lounge, not wanting to go back to where Shelby might be. I flopped onto a couch and texted Vilkas, letting him know where I was and asking how long it would take. Then I just texted my friends and played some games on my phone until Vilkas fetched me nearly forty minutes later.
Villy and I spent the rest of the day together. We played bowling which he creamed me at. I wasn’t very good at bowling, the ball kept slipping out of my hand at the wrong time–when our family went together I was always second to last in scores (with Pa being the worst). Plus I was really distracted.
Is that the guy stalking me? I wondered as a guy dressed in black strolled by. Or is it him? Or what if it’s two people? One of them a girl? There was a group of girls watching us for quite a while and I was getting super paranoid until one of them came over and asked if Vilkas was single. Or was that just a ruse? The guy who sold us our drinks and fries seemed suspicious.
“You all right?” Vilkas asked and then, “Whoa!” when I jumped. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, I’m fine,” I said, casting a glance around the room. “You’ve got super senses and stuff, right? Hearing and stuff? Has anyone in the room been talking about me?”
Vilkas coughed and then tapped his ears. “It’s loud here, it’s all running together and awful. Especially the cracking of the ball against the pins. Why? Got your eye on some girl? Giving up on Kim?”
“No! Just, Iunno, wondering and stuff.” I looked around again then picked my phone from my pocket since I got a text. Grams wants too now if you want too stay the nit. “Stay the ‘nit’,” I said out loud, pronouncing the word as it was and not what he meant. “Well, the words are spelled right, I’ll give autocorrect that.”
Vilkas laughed. “Pa text you?”
“Mhm. Grams wants me to stay the night.” I started to respond that I didn’t want to, but then thought maybe it’d be a good thing. It would give me some time to think by myself. Without Lumie trying to get into my thoughts before I could figure them out myself. I replied that would be great, and Vilkas said he could take me there after swinging by the house so I could run in and get a few things.
Before long I was at Grams house. She gave me a huge hug and pulled me into the kitchen so I could have some cake she made. I smiled happily as I ate, feeling pretty good about being here. I usually didn’t stay here unless Pa and Dad were going somewhere, and I had never stayed here by myself. The only one that really did was Gladdy. But having some time with just one person around while I dealt with this crap would really help.
Grams asked about how things were going, and I told her about school and how I was going to try out for the basketball team, and I told her some about Kim. She smiled. “I met Mr. Penstone in high school, you know,” she said. “I was a cheerleader, he was a football player. Classic, cliche love right there.”
“You were a cheerleader?” I asked, a bit surprised. It was hard imagining Grams as anything but an old lady.
“Oh yes,” she laughed. “I always wanted to be head cheerleader but never got the position. Still, I was one of the popular girls in school. A bit like Lumie, if I’m not mistaken. Always a gaggle of guys asking to carry my books or to dances or to the movies.” Grams smiled, shaking her head. “But I only ever had eyes for Gerald.”
“Dad and Pa say I’m too young to date,” I said, making a face.
“Well, if that is one of their rules then you should listen to them. Nowadays it seems kids fling themselves into relationships without really thinking. Now I’m not saying that’s you,” she added, holding up a hand since my mouth opened to protest. “But when I was young kids were dating just to date and it ended in all sorts of messes.”
She sipped at her tea and said “If you do decide to do anything, be sure to wear protection.”
I literally spit my drink out onto my lap and the table. “GRAMS!” I shrieked. “NO! What?! NO! Oh Reaper, oh Watcher–n-no!”
She was chuckling as she moved to the counter. “Just stating the facts, dearie. Your fathers are sweet and mean well, but they didn’t have to worry about accidental pregnancies until after the–” She stopped and then pushed a couple of paper towels into my hand. “Clean that up, please.”
I began wiping the table, feeling curious and suspicious. “Pa couldn’t get ‘accidentally’ pregnant though, cause they’re guys and needed to go to doctors and stuff to get knocked up.” I blinked a few times then faced Grams. “Right?”
“Would you like more milk?”
She sighed and sat back down, reaching down to pet Mr. Fluffy on the head since he finally decided to grace us with his yawning presence. “If you’re curious about something about your fathers, it’s something to talk to them about not me.”
Of course I was curious after a comment like that. I burned with curiosity. I wanted to go home right then and there and ask my dads about this. Guys couldn’t have accidental babies. It wasn’t possible. Unless… something super… weird… happened? And caused that sort of thing? What if that happened, and that was why I was bringer of doom to magic (or possibly bringer of doom)? Like some sort of freakish magic accident happened and Lumie and I were born? But then, why me and not Lumie?
I barely slept that night, too many questions on my mind. It didn’t help that in the middle of the night there was a crashing sound and I ran from the bedroom, terrified someone was breaking into the house. It just turned out to be Mr. Fluffy, up on a counter by a window with a flowerpot broken on the floor and a ‘I didn’t do it’ look on the cat’s face. He must have been messing with the flowerpot since there was some dirt on his paws. Stupid cat.
In the morning Grams took me home. We slowed down as soon as the house was in sight because there was a police car out in the front. Grams and I exchanged looks then she sped the rest of the way while I checked my phone for any messages. There was nothing. Someone would have messaged me if something had happened.
Maybe we had a break in, maybe the person stalking me broke in last night. I jumped out of the car and ran inside. “Pa? Dad? Lumes?” I skid to a halt when I saw everyone was standing around and there were two cops right there.
Pa ran over to me, wrapping his arms around me. “Thank Watcher you’re home, Zaid!”
“What happened? Did something happen?” I looked around, feeling such fear welling up within me.”What happened?”
“Zaid Danevbie-Greyson?” one of the policemen asked.
“Y-yes?” I stammered, terrified.
“Do you recognize this girl?” He pulled a photo from his pocket and showed it to me. I leaned forward to see and then I gasped. It was the vampire from the day before. Shelby. On a morgue slat. Dead. “I take that as a yes?”
“Y-yes,” I said, hardly able to talk. “I m-m-met her yesterday, at the–the Ra–the uh, Research and Guidance Facility…”
“Do you know her name?”
“Sh-Shelby, that’s all I g-got from her… how did… you…?”
The other officer coughed. “She had a phone with her, with only two numbers programmed in. One of which was yours. We couldn’t find any ID or information about her. You didn’t get any other name? No last name?”
I shook my head. “N-no sir, uh, just Shelby. She said she was visiting from the country. She–she wanted to go to the movies. She… she’s dead…? H-how?” Though I knew how already. Rarely were vampire deaths accidental, and never natural. She was murdered. The officers didn’t say so, but I knew perfectly well she had to have been murdered. “Hunters?” I asked. “But–hunters have never been in Moonlight Falls?”
I spun around, worried for Vilkas. He had a very troubled look on his face. I knew he was thinking the same thing. If hunters were in Moonlight Falls then he, the most public non-human in town, would be a target.
“It was an accident,” one of the officers said, snapping his notebook shut. “Probably a fight with another vampire. We just needed to try to find identification.”
“Why would a vampire carry with them something that could kill themself?” I asked, folding my arms.
“A werewolf then,” the officer spat out, giving a dark look towards Vilkas who gave a soft growl. Presea moved closer to him, putting a hand on his arm. “Who knows what goes on inside the minds of these… things,” the officer continued and now Gladdy moved next to Villy as well, both girls holding onto him as his hackles rose. The officer smirked, as if being reassured in his idea of supernaturals being animals.
“I think you have what you came for, officer,” Dad said, standing at full height, shoulders squared, chest puffed up a bit, showing all his height and muscles (which was a lot on both accounts). The officer swallowed and stepped back a bit. “If you really wish to investigate this young lady’s death, you are welcome to come to the Research and Guidance Facility to see if anyone else talked to her. Any of the vampires… werewolves… faeries… ghosts…” With each word, the officer winced.
“I’m sure we have all we need,” the policeman said. “Thank you for your help.”
He and his partner left, sweeping past Grams who was by the door, arms folded. As soon as the door was shut, Grams gave a rather rude gesture towards the door and there was an uproar as everyone began speaking at once. Names were said about the police force and Lumie was grabbing my arms, digging into my head for more information. I yanked away from her, struggling to keep the barrier up, struggling with not feeling overwhelmed as everyone was wanting to ask me about her.
I insisted I didn’t know anything other than what I already said. I pulled away from everyone, trying to get free. “I swear, I said all I know–I–I only talked to her a few minutes, she–she–” She’s dead, I thought. Dead, murdered, killed. Why? Who? “They’ll never look into this, will they?” I asked.
“No,” Dad said, rubbing my shoulder. “They’ll mark it as an accident, with any luck.”
“With no luck they’ll blame a supernatural,” Vilkas spit out angrily. “Or stop looking into it, and not care. Like my birth mother.” Dad and Pa jerked their heads towards him at that. “Shot by farmers and left to rot in the woods because she was a werewolf.” He pushed past us all and left the house, slamming the door shut.
“Vils.” Presea ran after him, slamming the door as well.
I took in a deep breath and moved towards the stairs. “I’m going to my room. No,” I said when Lumie began to come towards me. “I want to be alone right now.”
I went upstairs and shut the bedroom door, wishing I could lock it. I climbed onto Vilkas’s bed, everything weighing down on me. All I could think was what the wizard had said. At the sight of the water pouring onto the napkin, turning it into an unfixable mess. If what Rhoen believed was true… and if that was what I would do to magic and those who live through magic…
What would happen to my brother…?