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.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Chapter 12

           The gentle tumble of the waterfall behind us, along with the night forest’s sounds, helped to fend off unnatural silence as an awkward hush fell between the three of us. 

 “Hey, what’s that?” I asked Lucas, breaking the quiet. Tilting my chin at the dark bundle tucked under his arm, unable to see it properly as the sun vanished.
             “Oh!” he answered, almost as if forgetting he even had it before gently throwing it at me. Involuntarily catching it in reflex, my gaze never wavering from his, I saw Lucas’ brows shoot into his hairline in surprise.

“What is it?” Daniel asked curiously, peering down at the wad in my hands. Looking at them both in turn, touching the soft fabric that felt all too familiar to not know what it was.

            “It’s my batman t-shirt” I announced, more than a little confused. A wave a comfort washed over me as I felt the rip at the bottom of one short black sleeve, and a finger sized hole at the neck that told how old and worn it was and without a doubt, that it was mine. It took a minute or two for the surge of nostalgia to pass, by then the in-credulousness of what Lucas did, finally began to sink in.

“You went through my bag?” I said tight lipped, watching as his face fell.

“No!.....well…….well yeah. I just thought that, since you were out here at the falls that maybe you’d like to change into your own clothes.”  He rambled out in his defense. “I was just trying to do something nice for you.” Lucas added apologetically.

“And that makes it okay!” I snapped. Jumping off the rock and rushing to Lucas, ignoring the way he towered over me. “You dug through my stuff!” I said furiously, jabbing a finger in chest.

“I’m sorry. I-” he began, only to be cut of by Daniel.

“Alright, Alright!” Daniel laughingly said, stepping between Lucas and me and putting space between us. “October, why don’t you go ahead and wash up first, Lucas and I will just go back to the cabin, before he digs himself into a deeper hole than he already has.” He delegated, his lips still holding unto a small smile.

Folding my arms and starring at Lucas through narrowed slits, I sharply warned them both, not to touch my stuff, as Daniel dragged Lucas back in the direction of the cabin. Turning away as they both disappeared into the thicket of trees, I stared down at my batman shirt, unwrapping the bunched up cloth.

“You went through my underwear!!” I screamed at the empty spot between the trees where both boys vanished into, before looking back down at the matching baby blue bra and panties, sitting next to a pair of yellow shorts that were all swathed together in my shirt. Throwing the clothes next to the velvet drawstring bag and my shoes, I tore off Daniels clothes, still seething as I crawled up unto the huge rock and dove into the temperate water to cool off.

Swimming against the water flow to the pools floor, coming up for air beneath the waterfall and drifting languidly as my toes scraped the pebbles below the water, the falling cascade showering down on me. The sound of tussling bushes caught my attention, shifting my eyes away from the sky and the distant crescent moon above, barely lighting the night as the stars twinkled in one by one. It could have easily been the wind or any number of nocturnal animals rousing from sleep, but gramps always said that it never hurt to walk the line between cautious and paranoid. 

The sharp, shocking sound of twigs snapping had my head whirling toward the sound, my eyes gliding over the other side of the river, where the trees were denser and the shadows darker. Scanning the darkened woods, a flicker of movement in my peripheral vision had me staring at a black shadow that stood out against the gloom of the trees. I kept staring at it, my eyes finding it hard to leave until a few seconds later I lost sight of it as the blackness slowly slipped back into the shade. 

It must have just been the silhouette of an animal or something, I mean what else could it be  Right? I'm probably just still a little shaken up from earlier, that's all. Yeah, that's it.

I tried to convince myself. I was still turned to the other side of the falls, staring at the trees where the silhouette receded, when I heard the thump of boots on rock behind me on the bank, and my name being called in a hushed whisper.