Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Chapter 22

“Ok, fine. Maybe it wouldn’t kill me to learn how to use a gun, but does it have to be him? Why can’t you teach me, I mean he’s such an ass.” I said to Lucas, as I stood from my seat on the forest floor. 

With a small laugh Lucas replied, “Believe it or not but Daniel is a better shot than I am.”

Picking up the clean pan off the grass, we both walked back around, to the front of the cabin.  

“You ready?” at the question, Lucas and I both turned around in the direction of the voice, and saw Daniel, leaning on one of the hundreds of trees that surrounded the cabin. 

“Ready for what?” I asked Daniel, as I tried to contain the annoyance in me, he seemed to invoke whenever he opened his mouth.  

“For your first lesson.” Daniel casually answered, lifting his hand and showing me my grandfather’s gun.

Looking over at Lucas, the amused expression on his face quickly died as he caught the glare I threw at him. Using my gun Daniel pointed to a tree more than a couple feet away, with a bull’s-eye carved about 5 feet up, into the thick dark bark.

“It’s ok. Lucas said he’d teach me.” I said with a feigned confidence.

“I said, what now?” Lucas asked in surprise.

“Lucas has other obligations that need his attention.” Daniel said to me, his gaze locking onto Lucas’ “I said I’d teach you, let’s go.”

Shifting between them both, I watched as they traded intense glances until finally Lucas walked off into the cabin, without a word.

“What the hell just happened?” I asked, confused about his sudden behavior.

“Nothing.” Daniel replied before walking over to me.

Holding out my gramps- my gun in front of me, I took the revolver from him and watched from my peripheral vision as Daniel walked around to stand at my back.

“Do you know how to clean a revolver? How to take the safety off and put in the bullets?” Daniel asked, as he reached for my arm from behind.

Pulling away from his touch I answered, “Yeah, gramps showed me a few times, not really rocket science.”

“Good, then we don’t need to start from scratch.” He added, before grabbing my arm once more.

Lifting my right arm up from behind me, Daniel held it out towards the tree’s carved target. Leaning in close I felt his left hand lightly rest on my waist, “Don’t be so stiff, relax.” Daniel softly whispered in my ear.

Taking a deep breath I let my body soften and adjusted my hold on the gun’s hilt.

“Now widen your stance, take aim and be prepared to feel some recoil.” Daniel added, before leaning away from my shooting arm.

Focusing on the middle of the target, I held firm and pulled the trigger. The loud crack as the bullet fired, along with the slight recoil made me step back into Daniel.

“Not bad for a first try.” Daniel said as his arm wrapped around my waist, keeping me balanced. 

Looking over at the trees target, I saw that not only did I miss the center of the target but the entire target itself and hit the tree a few inches to the right.

“My god I suck.” I laughingly said, as I turned to Daniel and saw he had the same amused smile on his face.

Looking up at him and those beautiful dimples, his arms still wrapped around me from behind and his face so close to mine, I was thankful for the sound of someone clearing their throat. 

My head snapped across to the right to Lucas, as he turned away from me and Daniel towards the missed target. Stepping out of Daniel’s arms and putting some space between us I said “I think you were right.”

“As I usually am about most things,” Lucas smugly replied over his shoulder, “but to what in particular, would you be referring to?”

“About me learning to shoot, if you hadn’t persuaded me to, we would have never known how truly bad I am at it.” I laughingly said to him.

“Ahhh yes, well your welcome then.” Lucas said with a small smile, facing me.

“Ok, breaks over. Gear up for round 2. Don’t stop after you fire the first shot this time, keep going till there’s no more rounds.” Daniel sternly said, as he took a step back from me.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Chapter 21

Looking up at me, Lucas stopped whistling long enough to flash me a mischievous smile as he asked, “Lover’s quarrel?” 

Shooting Lucas a questioning look, as I took a seat on the grassy bank, “I’m guessing that murderous glint in your eyes has something to do with Daniel.” Lucas explained.

Snorting at his words, “He TOLD me that I have to learn how to use a gun. He didn’t suggest that I learn or even ask me, he told me. Who the hell does he think he is, telling me what to do?” I heatedly rambled out.

 “Well… he has a point.” Lucas said looking down at the now clean pan in his hand.

“Point? What point? I can handle myself without a gun. ” I defensively retorted.

“October you were there, you saw what went down with the cop. Those things are fast, a few feet closer when it lunged at us, and we could have all been killed.” He reasoned, resting the rinsed pan beside him.

“I have my daggers, I know how to use them. I don’t-” I started to argue.

 “Look I get it, you don’t like guns. But a gun puts a safe distance between you and a demon, enough to level the playing the field and quickly take them out.” He simply stated.

“Why are you so adverse to guns anyway? What’d you do, shoot and kill a cute bunny or something?” Lucas playfully added.

At his words, I felt all the blood in my face pool under the skin at my cheeks. Dropping my head I let my hair fall around me, hiding the embarrassed flush that began to blotch my face. A flash of white, from the corner of my eye as I took a quick peek through my curtain of hair, was enough to tell me that Lucas noticed my unguarded reaction.  

“What?” Lucas asked with a smirk, “What’d you do?”

Biting down on my bottom lip, I closed my eyes tight. “I don’t like guns because I accidentally shot gramps once.” I said in one quick breath.

I heard Lucas’ sharp intake of breath before he erupted in a fit of laughter. “Wow. Of all. The things. I would have. Never guessed.” He sputtered out between breaths.

Looking up at him I angrily said, “Don’t laugh! I shot him in the foot, it was a serious injury!”

My words only seemed to add more humor to the situation as his hysterics increased, leaving me to patiently wait as he calmed down.

“I’m sorry, but that was just too damn funny.” Lucas said without apology.

“For you maybe, but I was traumatized. Whenever I think about firing a gun I think about shooting some innocent person.” I confessed.

Wiping the tears of amusement from his eyes, Lucas got up and walked over to me. “Shit happens, don’t be so sensitive.”

“I’m a girl, I’m hardwired to be sensitive.” I replied.

“There’s no place for it in this kind of life. You’re a hunter now, it only gets harder form here on out.” Lucas said as he crouched down next to me, holding my gaze he continued in a much more serious tone. “You’re going to see and hear things that would make most people cringe, and be put into situations where your forced to do things that you never even knew you were capable of. But you swallow the bile an do it anyway, because your only one who can, because if you don’t no one else will, and that’s when innocent people die.” 

Dropping his gaze, I turned and looked out at the river’s glittering waters. “I still don’t wanna learn how to use a gun.” I said with a heavy sigh.

“Yeh, but you should anyway.” Lucas retorted.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Chapter 20

            “I’m sorry-” Lucas began apologizing            
            “For what?” I asked confused.

            “Daniel told me what you said last night and he was right. I should have just kept my mouth shut, instead of bombarding you with information like I did.” He guiltily said, turning away and breaking eye contact.

            “I’m the one who asked you all those questions Lucas. I just wasn’t prepared for the answers.” I admitted. “Where’s Daniel?” I asked him, steering the conversation in a different direction. “He wasn’t here when I woke up either.”

            Looking up from his half eaten plate of food to me, he answered “Oh, he took the jeep into town.”

“For what?” I nosily asked, pushing my plate and the few remaining pieces of bacon to Lucas, having had my full.

“Not really sure, just said he was going into town a couple hours ago. He should be back soon.” He coolly replied, before finishing off what was left on his plate and mine.

Sighing in frustration at not being given a straight answer, again, I started back flipping through Daniel’s book, reading through some of the hand written notes that littered the pages. While some of them were only a few words, clarifying the meaning of phrases or unfamiliar words, others spanned from the top of the page straight to the bottom, filling up the margins, arguing with characters and their actions. The comments were smart and witty, full of humor and amazing insight, that had me smiling as I read. I was just about to enter another scene, when I felt the book being lifted off my lap and torn from my hands.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Daniel said, his voice a harsh scrape. As I looked up at Daniel’s face, I saw his hardened jaw and flinty eyes, and knew that I’d somehow crossed a line. 

“I’m sorry, I just found it on the sofa.” I apologized.

The edge in his eyes slightly softened at my apology and I turned to look at Lucas, who wasn’t sitting on the floor across from me anymore. 

“Where’d Lucas go?” I asked out loud.

“He went out back, to clean up the stuff he used to cook.” Daniel answered.

How long was I reading that book?

I thought, looking across to the now fading fire. Waking past Daniel, I headed outside to find Lucas and see if he needed any help with the cleanup.

“Hey.” Daniel said to me, as he reached out and grabbed my wrist, stopping me before reaching the door. Lifting my fist, he opened it and placed a small box in my palm.

Furrowing my brows in confusion I looked down at the box in my hand before looking back up at Daniel.

“I tell you I don’t like guns and you give me a box of bullets?” I said, handing the box of bullets back to him.

Refusing to take them back, “Their standard bullets, not like the ones we use for hunting. You can use them to practice with.” He replied in a serious and unwavering tone.

“I told you, I’m not good with guns.” I rebutted, matching his tone.

“Tough Luck. You have a gun, you’re gonna learn how to use it. Whether you like them or not is irrelevant.” Daniel told me, as if it was his decision and I had no choice in the matter.

My eyes narrowed to slits at his tone, as I threw the small box of bullets at him before walking out the front door. Walking barefoot on the lush green ground, the blades of grass gently stroking the pads of my feet, I followed the soft sound of a whistled song to find Lucas, crouched down near the edge of the shallow river a couple feet downstream.

“Hey.” I said catching his attention as I made my way to him.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Chapter 19

The smell that filled the air when I opened the cottage door and walked in, made my stomach ache and my mouth water. Hurrying over to the bedroom, I threw my things on the unmade bed before walking over to Lucas, as he knelt in front of the growing flames that now danced within the chipped and faded stone hearth. Curling up on the sofa and tucking my feet under me, I reached for Daniel’s pillow, still lying on the end of the sofa where I left it earlier. Pulling it into my lap, I heard a soft thud as something hit the floor. Looking down to the bottom of the couch I bent over and picked up a weathered paperback book from the ground.

The sound of bacon sizzling had me looking back over to Lucas. Sitting with his back to me I watched as he held out a cast iron skillet, which looked as old and worn as this house, and held it high over the fire’s flames.

“What are you doing?” I asked, curiously watching Lucas, as he poked the frying bacon strips with a plastic fork.

“I don’t know about you, but I like my bacon crispy.” He threw over his shoulder, along with a sly little smile before turning back to his skillet. 

Looking back down to the small battered novel in my hands, I turned it over. I was barely able to make out the words, Hamlet, written in bold font on the scratched and tattered cover. Flipping through the stained and creased pages, I stopped several times to look at the small, scribbled notes that filled the margins in almost every other page.

“Hey, is this yours?” I inquired, looking up to see him pull a large brown bag out from the right side corner, beside the fireplace.

            “Is what mine?” he answered with a question. His eyes never leaving his task, as he dug through the bag.

“This….” I said, waving the book back and forth in the air, trying to get his attention.

Finally looking up to see what I was talking about, “Oh! That’s Dani’s. His m-” he started to say before stopping himself.

“His what?” I eagerly asked, silently begging him to continue so I could find out more about Daniel.

 “So how do you like your eggs?” he asked, avoiding my question. “Scrambled or-”

Tuning Lucas out as he continued talking, I thought about the last time I saw my gramps. How I watched him make eggs that morning for breakfast and how we talked about my trip. Thinking back, it felt like a lifetime ago.

“I’m good. No eggs for me.” I told Lucas with a tight smile.

“Well the bacons done, so have at it!” he said to me as he took the strips out from the hot pan, and laid them on the paper plate he pulled out from the magic brown bag.

Still clutching the book in my hand, I hunkered down next to Lucas on the floor and took a bite from the still blistering hot slice of bacon. Unconsciously closing my eyes, a soft little moan escaped my lips when the hot meat touched my tongue.

“You…ah… you got a little bit of drool right there.” Lucas said, startling me out of my bacon trance.

Reaching up I wiped the side of my mouth with the back of hand, glaring at Lucas when his amused smile morphed into a deep husky laugh.

“Don’t you have eggs to make.” I snapped. Still glowering at him as he turned and cracked a few eggs, into the same mug Daniel had offered me soup in last night. Using a plastic fork, he whisked to eggs into a frenzy before throwing them into the heated skillet.

Throwing the cooked eggs into another paper plate, he rested the scorching hot pan on the other side of the stone hearth. Settling to face me, the plates of food between us, Lucas dug into his eggs and I nibbled on my bacon as we both ate in silence. I’d just polished off my 6th strip, and was staring at Daniel’s book in my lap but not really seeing it, when Lucas’ raspy voice cut into my thoughts, shattering the unintentional silence.

“So how’re you doing? You know, with…..everything?” Lucas asked.

Looking up from my lap to Lucas, I saw the concern and wariness that flickered across his grey eyes as he patiently waited for me reply.

Holding his gaze I took a breath, “I’m…..dealing.” I softly murmured.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Chapter 18

           I woke up to a cool softness against my cheek and the crisp, clean smell of soap tickling my nose. Barely cracking my eyes open, I stretched and preened like a cat as I reveled in being woken up by the morning sunlight, streaking through the window’s dusty glass, lighting up the room, instead of the horrid nightmares that had begun to plague my dreams. Sitting up on the couch, I rubbed my eyes, clearing away the layers of sleepiness, my hand brushing back against the pillow I’d been laying on, Daniel’s pillow. 

           Looking around the seemingly empty room, from the lifeless stone fireplace, blackened with sot and ash to the closed front door, the still silence within the cottage felt deafening. Getting up I walked over to the bedroom, calling out for both boys as I peeked into the room and found it empty. With no answer in response, it wasn’t a stretch to assume that I was alone.

Where are the boys? I mean they wouldn’t just pack up and leave, right? They probably needed to head into town or something, maybe they went for food.

I thought, rationalizing my new found solitude. Entering the bedroom, I knelt on the ground beside my bags, unzipping and rummaging through my luggage, I found my small bag of toiletries and some clothes to change into as I slipped on my shoes, intending on heading to the waterfall. I was about to grab a towel from the armoire when the small pile of dirty clothes on the floor, sitting behind the bedroom door caught my attention.

Unable to just ignore it and leave the heap of clothes, I’ve used and discarded over the last few days, I threw my things on the bed and picking up the few pieces of clothing, walked out and around the cottage to the shallow river behind it. Toeing my shoes back off, I stepped ankle deep into the cool, clear water. Dipping each piece of clothing in the clean water and soaking it, I scrubbed each against the larger rocks along the river’s bank. Wringing out as much water as possible and spreading out each item of clothing on the grass for the sun to dry them.

A few minutes later as I sat spreading out the last hand washed piece of clothing along the grass, a whisper of sound reached my ears before a familiar voice spoke.

“You know, we usually just carry all our dirty clothes to the Laundromat in town. But hey, if you wanna kick it ole school, don’t let me stop you.” Lucas teased.

Turning to look up at him from my seat on the grassy bank, a towel around the crew neck of his loose fitting white t-shirt, “Huh….. I did not think of that.” I said.

Chuckling as he walked over, Lucas closed the small distance between us, taking a seat on the grass beside me and rolling up the bottom of his blue-black jeans, sank his toes into the sparkling waters of the stream, right next to mine. Raising an arm, the muscles in his back and shoulder involuntarily flexing under his shirt, Lucas ran a large hand through the damp tuft of his long, wavy hair.

 “Got a little restless, huh?” Lucas asked, a twinkle of amusement touching his deep grey eyes.

“I woke up and you were both gone, so I figured I’d do something to, you know, past the time until you guys came back.” I replied.

“So sure we were gonna come back?” he asked, a hint of curiosity in his words.

“Daniel said he would help me. He may act like a jerk, but he doesn’t seem like the kind to make empty promises.” I honestly answered.

Lucas’ lips slightly curved upward as he said, “He’s not. Hey, you had breakfast yet?”

“There’s nothing to eat in there.” I said tipping my head toward to the cottage behind us.

“Do you have tunnel vision or did you not see the bag of groceries near the front door.” Lucas said as he stood, extending his hand to help me up.

Accepting the help and placing my hand in his, I smiled up at him as he gently pulled me to my feet, “Thanks. And if this is you offering to make me breakfast, I say hell yeah.” I said, pushing my feet back into my shoes. 

“Cool” Lucas replied, flashing me a lusty smile.

Rolling my eyes, I turned and headed back to the cottage. Walking through the front door and into the bedroom, I grabbed my stuff from earlier and walked back out.

 “I’ll be back in a few.” I shouted over my shoulder to Lucas, passing him as I ran back out the cottage, heading to the falls.

Feeling clean and a little more like me in a pair of faded straight jeans and a dark brown tank top. I lazily followed the river along the fringe of the forest, making my way back to Lucas, and hopefully food, as I walked past the dark green canopy of the trees as they let stray beams of sunlight filter through to the thick, rich green of the forest floor. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Chapter 17

I could feel the smoke invading my lungs with each strangled breath, burning its way up my nose and down my throat. Stinging my eyes and blurring my vision as the unbearable heat of the mounting fire surround me.

My face snapped up from the pillow, where it was buried, as I woke with a jolt. Turning over unto my back in the dark room, the lit candles already burnt out, a sound full of exhaustion and frustration escaped my lips. It felt like the allotted time for my eyes to be closed before the nightmares began was becoming shorter and shorter. Slowly rolling off the bed, tired and unable to sleep I began pacing the floor of the small room. Seemingly unable to stop myself, I eased the door open, cringing at every squeak and creak it made, I tiptoed over to the couch.

Standing in the soft glow of the fire that filled the small room, I looked across at both boys as they lay fast asleep. Daniel’s towering frame barely fit on the sofa as he lay on his back, his arms folded over his chest and his feet dangling off the end as Lucas rested comfortably in a dark sleeping bag, situated right in front the fireplace. Daniel was as still and soundless as a statue as he lay on the couch, if it wasn’t for the steady rise and fall of his dingy t-shirt covered chest, I would have thought him dead. In total contrast, Lucas had kicked off the top of his sleeping bag as he lay on his naked stomach, his arms tucked beneath his pillow. Snoring softly through barely parted lips, his tussled black hair covering his eyes as the flickering light of the dying fire, danced across the rich, olive toned skin of his back.

Leaning over the back of the sofa I lightly nudged Daniel’s shoulder and softly called his name as I tried to wake him from sleep. A couple seconds later, Daniel’s head tilted toward me as his eyelids slowly fluttered open and eyes the darkest shade of bitter chocolate met mine. 

“Oh God.” he said with annoyance, looking up at me before closing back his eyes.

“Well good morning to you to sunshine.” I said dryly.

“What time is it?” He mumbled.

“I don’t know? Early.” I guessed.

Resting my chin in my hand, I balanced my elbow on the back of the couch and watched as Daniel ignored my vague answer and stuck his hand under the pillow his head rested on and pulled out his phone. Quickly glancing at the lit screen, “Its 2am. Leave me alone.” He grumbled before turning away from me and settling back into his sleep.

Looking over to Lucas and seeing him still sleeping, I crept over to the other side of the couch in front of Daniel, crouching down and leaning close.

“Daniel!” I impatiently whispered through clenched teeth.

“What!” he answered, matching my tone as he fully turned to face me.

“Did you mean it?” I said with a solemn tone.

“Mean what?” he asked with heavy eyelids.

“What you said earlier, about you helping me. Did you mean it or is it just a way for you to get what you want?” I clarified. 

“And what is it that I want?” Daniel asked with a cocked brow, my question seemingly holding his attention.

“Answers.”  I responded.

A lazy smile touched his lips as he sleepily drawled, “Yeah, I meant what I said. I’ll help you.”

“Daniel?” I said.

“Mmm….” He wearily sounded in answer.

“Please, don’t ask me anymore questions.” he didn’t respond but his face was blanketed by questioning and concern.

“I’m just not ready to talk about the fire or gramps or any of it right now, especially after finding out so much so fast-”

“I told Lucas to keep his mouth shut.” Daniel interrupted, glancing over at Lucas’ slumbering body.

Just, stop pushing. Okay?” I finished.

“Okay.” He answered nodding in agreement, “Like I said its past 2, you planning on going back to bed anytime soon, so that I can.”

I looked back at the dark and empty room I just came from and answered, “I think I’ll just stay out here for a while, if it’s okay?”

“Yeah, sure.” he said before slinging his arm over his eyes and drifting off.

Walking over to the small pile of twigs and broken branches at the side of the fireplace and tossing a few into the red and orange fire, I watched as it slowly devoured the firewood and fed its flame. Quietly stepping over Lucas I settled in beside Daniel, sitting on the floor the sofa at my back, I pulled my knees to my chest. The deep breathing of both boys quickly lulling my eyes closed as I fell asleep to the pops of the crackling fire. 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Chapter 16

       My Dearest October, 

       If you’re reading this, then to our both misfortune, I’m no longer with you. The items you’ll find along with this note are yours to keep. The gun is a family heirloom, handed down from one generation to the next. I know you’ve never really fancied them, no lack of trying on my part, but I hope you’ll keep it safe and with you all the same. The daggers are a gift, I had them specially made for you after your first lesson. Even at thirteen you could throw and wield a blade far better than most. You were a natural. 

Tobi, there are parts of my life that you don’t know about, things that you may not understand and I hope you never will. My untimely passing may create ripples and I pray they never reach you. But there’s no way for me to know whether they will or won’t. Your uncle Jon and I have kept in touch over the years and if you need anything, find him. He’ll take care of you like you were his own. Be careful and stay safe, don’t forget the things I’ve taught you. 

Your Gramps.
Marcus Latro.

I must have read through the letter almost twenty times already. If the hand writing wasn’t enough to convince me this was from gramps, then the length and vagueness would have. I was still staring at the faded words when Daniel offered me a small mug of heated up, can soup.

Guess that’s what he was stirring in the pot over the fire.

I thought, barely looking up at him before declining with a dismissive nod.

When did gramps even write this letter? Why did he write it? Why Uncle Jon?

“October? You doing alright?” Lucas asked in a soft voice, cutting into my thoughts.

Turning away from the paper and my wandering thoughts, I glanced up at Lucas as he sat next to me on the battered brown sofa, his eyes shining with concern. A tight smile stretched across my face as I gave him a small nod before looking away from him, my gaze shifting to Daniel as he sat with his back to us, on the bare wood floor in front of the fireplace.

“I think I’m gonna go to bed.” I said to no one in particular as I stood up and walked over to the bedroom.

Walking into the faintly lit room, I stepped over my bags, still sprawled on the ground from when I tripped over them, shutting the door behind me. Walking over to the lit candles that sat on the curtain less window sill, I held up the note I still held in my hands. Reading through it once more I held it out over the flame and watched as the fire spread, turning my gramps words to nothing. Sitting on the bed, the worn and old mattress creaked under my weight as I began pulling off my shoes. A light knock on the bedroom door interrupted my nomadic thoughts. Shifting my attention, I quickly tore off both shoes before shuffling over to the door and slowly creaking it open.

 “Hey.” I said to Daniel, trying to keep the surprise out of my voice.

“Hey.” He repeated as he just stood there leaning in the doorway.  

“Where’s Lucas?” I curiously asked, looking past him and seeing nothing but an empty room and hearing nothing but the occasional crackle of the dying fire.

“Oh, he went to get some more wood for the fire.” He replied, “uh….. you left these on the couch.” He said as he held out the same black velvet bag and its contents. 

“Thank you.” I said as I took the bag from him, peering inside to see both the gun and my pair of daggers sitting at the bottom.

“And…” Daniel blurted out, stopping me from closing the door.  “I just wanted to say thanks, you know, for letting us read the letter too.” He added, his eyes looking everywhere else but mine.

The corners of mouth tilting up at his unease “No problem. Goodnight” I said as I began to close the door once more.

Resting his hand face down on the door, Daniel held it open as he continued to speak, his dark eyes meeting mine “If you want to go to your uncle’s that’s fine. Luc and I, we’ll take you.” 

“Thanks Daniel, but I haven’t seen my uncle Jon in years. I have no idea where he is.”  I said to him on a defeated sigh.

“Then we’ll help you find him. If Marcus wants you to find your uncle then, we’ll help.” He said with conviction.

“Thank you.” I said to him with a genuine smile as he lifted his hand off the door and walked backed to the sofa.

Closing the door I treaded back to the bed, falling face down on the soft and threadbare pillow and tried to fall asleep.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Chapter 15

Tugging the bag open, Lucas reached in and pulled out two swaddled pieces of black velvet, the same as the bag. Handing over the bulkier wad to Daniel they both paused before opening it to look at me. Nodding at them both in a gesture to continue, I watched as they both gingerly unwrapped the folded black cloth in their hands. Revealing his first, Daniel held out a handgun with elaborately engraved metalwork and an ivory handle.

“It’s a .38 caliber revolver.” Daniel said, wrapping his hand around the grip as he opened the cylinder and inspected the empty bullet chamber.

“It’s old.” Daniel said, scrutinizing the gun as he turned it from side to side in his hand. “ And heavy, Silver?” he asked Lucas with a raised brow.

“Could be.” Lucas answered, undraping the inky fabric he held out, unveiling a pair of identical double edged, short blade daggers, about 8 inches in length. Almost matching the revolver, they both shared the same ivory white handle and the same intricate carvings on the dagger’s vane as the gun. 

“Definitely, silver.” Lucas declared as he weighed a dagger in his palm. Gripping the hilt he slashed the air in front of him, frowning as he said “The grips too small and the blades to thin. No way was this Marcus’.”  

“Do you mind?” I asked, gazing down in awe at the beautiful weapons Lucas held. Wearing an amused expression, he rested the hilt of both daggers in each of my palms.

                           It’s been a while since I’ve had a blade in my hand.

I thought, feeling my lips twitch as I looked at the knives. Lucas was right, the blade was light and the handle almost too small to grip but as I fisted the hilt, it felt perfect in my hands. Twirling the length of the short blade between my fingers I gently threw it in the air by the blade, catching it back by its white hilt as it fell.

“Whoa.” I heard Lucas softly exclaim.

“Well I guess those are yours.” Daniel said, clearly not as impressed as Lucas was.

“No, I’ve never seen these before. They’re not mine.” I told them. When gramps first had me train with knives all those years ago they were plain, standard daggers used for practice, nothing as beautiful or finely crafted as the ones that now sat comfortably in my hands.

“Obviously they were meant for you.” Lucas said in a soft murmur, holding the revolver by the barrel and offering me the handle.

Holding both hands up I took a step back from him, “I’ve never really been comfortable with guns.” I said cringing as he brought it closer.

“This is Marcus’ gun. Now it’s yours.” Daniel stated with absolute conviction.

 “How do you it was his?” I asked him, stressing the past tense even as it caused an ache in my chest. 

Closing the distance Daniel came to stand beside me, so close I felt a lot shorter than my 5’6 as he towered over me. Leaning into my shoulder with his, Daniel bent his knees as he brought the gun to eye level and showed me the back of the handle. There were more than a dozen initials carved into the white ivory, one after the other in a row going down. Looking through the carved signets, the last two initials gripped all my attention. M.L. I figured stood for Marcus Latro my grandfather, followed by another pair of etched letters, S.L. Sarah Latro, my mother.

To stunned to respond to Daniel’s find I grabbed the gun from his hands, running the pad of my thumb across the letters as I stared at them and thought.

Holy Crap. My mom was a hunter.

“Uh……October?” I vaguely heard Lucas call my name through my haze of confusion and about hundred other potent emotions.

“Yeah” I answered without looking up from the gun.

“You might want to see this…..”

“What!?” I snapped.

Glancing up at Lucas with an impatient stare, I watched as he held up a small note between two fingers. Flipping the crumpled paper over to its other side. I felt my entire body go still as I read my name, scrawled across the note in faded black.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Chapter 14

Ignoring his playful tone, I continued with my question “Before the policeman, you know…-” 

“Sprang towards your throat like a predator about to kill its prey?” Lucas added, finishing my sentence.

“Yeah. Before that.” I said, tilting my head in his direction “Did you know what he was? That he was a demon? Did you and Daniel know?” I rambled out, waiting for his answer.

“No.” he answered dismissively, as if already bored with the topic of conversation.

“No?” I repeated, staring over at him. “No, you didn’t know? Or No, you’re not answering?” I asked a little confused.

“No. Neither I, nor Dani knew the cop was a demon.” He answered, clarifying my confusion about one question as it raised several more.

“But you said you were hunters? Shouldn’t you both have known?”

“We are. Well I am.” He hedged “Just like Marcus, I was born and breed into the hunting world. But like you, Dani was sort of dropped into it.”

Turning away from Lucas as the cabin came into view I tried to make sense of what it is he was telling me.

“But you are a demon hunter?” I asked him.

“Yep.” He answered.

“So how didn’t you know he was a demon?” I asked, slowing my gait.

“Because, I’m a trained hunter not a bloodborn. I can track and kill them but, distinguishing a demon from a human is almost impossible for us.” He explained.

“And Daniel? If he’s not a hunter then how’d he get involved in all of this?” I asked Lucas, tugging at the dark sleeve of his sweater he had pushed up to his elbows, stopping him before we reached the cottage.

Looking down at me, I saw the uncertainty flickering in his storm cloud eyes. His expression seemed almost torn as he reached up and rubbed the scruff on his jaw, as if contemplating how to answer before his gaze skated away from mine.   

“You knew.” He said, deflecting from the original question as he turned and continued walking towards the cottage, along the edge of the dark spread of trees.

“Huh?” I intelligently responded, losing train of the conversation.

“At the house, you knew the officer was a demon.” he stated matter of factly, glancing back over his shoulder at me and raising a brow as I lazily trailed him.

“Wait, Lucas I don’t understand! How did I know?” I asked, wondering if Lucas heard the plea in my voice.

“It’s a bloodborn trait, being able to separate a demon from the glamour they use to blend into the human world. Marcus could do it. He was the strongest bloodborn hunter the association had seen in almost 100 years, I think. Most bloodborns before him could only get a sense or a feeling when around demons but Marcus, he could actually see them.” Lucas replied as we walked between shadows.
           “And now so can I.I softly murmured under my breath.

There were so many questions on the tip of my tongue as Lucas parted the curtain of vines that draped across the cottage. Opening the door I walked in with blinders on heading straight for the bedroom, barely acknowledging Daniel as he crouched in front of the fireplace, stirring a small pot over the open flame. Almost falling over my luggage bags as I rushed through the bedroom door I righted myself before slamming it shut, dropping everything and bracing both palms face down on the door. 

You were my everything, my father, my friend and protector and I didn’t even know you.

I sadly thought, looking down at the black velvet bag as it hung from my tiny wrist, swaying back and forth in the flicker of the candle light as it dimly lit the room. Resting my forehead on the cool wood, I took a deep breath, blinking back would be tears as I shook off the hovering cloud of emotion. Silently cracking the door and peeping through the slit, I watched as Lucas’ profile lazily treaded to the couch, slouching down and spreading out as he sat, making himself comfortable. Looking across to Daniel, still hunkered down, his back now to the fireplace as he faced Lucas, speaking to him in hushed whispers. 

Widening the door open, both their faces snapped up in my direction. Walking to stand next to Lucas on the couch, I threw the velvet bag in his lap as Daniel stood.

“Open it.” I said without prelude. My eyes shifting between them both as I watched them give each other another one of those looks that felt like words being said.

“You sure about this?” Daniel asked, his voice soft and gentle.

“Just open it.” I said with an exasperated breath.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Chapter 13

“The fuck Lucas! You scared the crap out of me!” I yelled as I turned to see him settling himself on one of the rocks ringing the pool. 
“Have you forgotten what happened the last time you snuck up on me? Or does your face need a reminder!” I said through clenched teeth, sinking myself shoulder deep into the dark water.

“Sorry…. I just wanted to-”

“What Lucas? You just wanted to what? To find another way to invade my privacy? Or maybe you just-”

“I just wanted to apologize!” he shouted over me, cutting me off. “Look, I’m really sorry about what I did. It was stupid. But I honestly was just trying to do something nice for you, I didn’t think it through and I’m sorry.”
Taking a deep breath he hesitantly continued “I just don’t want you to be scared of me.” He added in a solemn tone.

“Why would you think I’d be scared of you?” I asked, feigning confusion. Knowing exactly what he was talking about.

“Most girls wouldn’t have gone toe to toe with me the way you did back there, after what happened in your house earlier. They’d probably leave running and screaming.” Lucas said, referring to him and the officer and everything else that followed afterwards.

Since getting in the jeep, I’ve tried to put the entire scene out of my head. Lucas slaughtering the offi-, I mean demon? like he was a just some rabid animal that needed to be put down. Lucas wasn’t wrong, in a way he did scare me, his strength and the brutality in which he went after the demon was more than intimidating. But a little voice in the back of head, probably my gramps’, kept whispering that I could trust them both.

I mean, I’ve been alone in the middle of the forest with both boys for almost two days now. If Daniel or Lucas wanted to hurt me they probably would have already, right?

I thought, dipping myself even lower into the water, hiding from the cool breeze that  began to make me shiver.  

“Lucas, he- that thing it attacked us. Who knows what would have happened if you hadn’t done what you did. You were just protecting us.” I said to him with sincerity and gratitude.

“Daniel said you were different from most girls.” He said to me, his mouth curving into another one of his panty dropping smiles.

“Lucas, couldn’t this conversation have waited till we were all back at the cabin?” I asked him, trying my hardest to stop my teeth from chattering.

“I figured this way you’d have no choice but to accept my apology.” He answered, his smile turning into a wide toothed grin as he lifted his left hand, holding out a soft yellow towel.

“If looks could kill.” He said with a short laugh.

“You’d probably be dead already.” I retorted, forcing myself to pull my eyes away from him before I was even more tempted to slap that grin off his face.
Sweeping my gaze across the river, my eyes landed on the spot where I glimpsed the unusual dark shadow. Now shaded by soft moonlight, the trees casting eerie shadows as their branches shifted in the wind. Flicking my gaze back to Lucas, I watched suspiciously as he folded the towel and neatly laid it on the boulder, next to my shoes and my drawstring bag

“Thank you. So very much.” I said dryly.

“You’re welcome!” he replied purposely ignoring my snide remark.

Jumping off the rocks he walked a small distance from the pool, close enough that I could still see him as he stood there with his back to me. More than ready to get out of the water, my fingertips all turned to prunes, I dashed out the pool quickly grabbing the towel and drying off, never taking my eyes off Lucas’ back.

“You don’t have to wait for me!” I shouted in his direction as I began wringing out my braid.

“Not a problem!” He replied barely tilting his head in my direction.

Finished dressing I shoved my toes into my shoes as I slung my used and damp towel over my shoulder and pushed my hand through the drawstring of the black velvet bag, I still hadn't opened. Grabbing Daniel's used clothes I walked past Lucas following the river downstream back to the cabin as he kept pace beside me, scanning the trees as we passed by.

Looking over to the other side of the river, back at the shades in the trees I couldn’t help thinking about it. The dark shadow and how-

“Looking for something?” Lucas asked, his warm breath close to my ear startling me out of my thoughts.

“What! No!” I blurted out, taking a step back from the delicious heat of him.

            Turning forward, I continued walking, feeling Lucas watching me. Refusing to meet his stare I wrapped my arms around myself to deter the nip in the air. It doesn’t snow or have four seasons in Troian but as the October month began the days grew shorter as the nights grew colder. 

“Can I ask you a question?” I hesitantly asked between the choruses of chirping crickets, my eyes staring straight ahead.

“You just did.” Lucas teasingly answered as the sound of the crashing falls faded away into the distance.