Chapter Ten: Information
Art class came without hesitation in the day and I was almost sad to hear the bell go as I made my way down the other end of the high school, to make it to my art class before she started the class. I squeezed past a few freshmen that found it necessary to block the hallway by my class and skidded into the large, art room and slinked over to where Skylar was already perched and waiting for some answers. Her eyes were unreadable, but the expression that licked across her pale lips was evident: intrigue. She was planning on torturing me with a million and one questions just to get down to the dirty, grimy stuff she’d been hearing all morning from her preppy friends, in their tight shorts and almost see-through shirts.
I took my seat with the edge that I wasn’t the only one who could answer her questions, I only had to wait for Alex to arrive and show her that nothing was going on. I wasn’t necessarily prepared to give her a good story that she wouldn’t see through like the tank top of the girl leaning over the teacher’s desk.
“You’ve got about ten minutes before Alex shows up to tell me what happened last night, and I’m really good at catching lies.” Skylar winked.
“What? There’s nothing to tell, honestly.” I crossed my heart with an airy “x”.
“Right. And that’s why it’s been around the school that your truck never left their driveway last night, and Alex was seen sneaking around in the cab? You really are a bad liar.”
“She’s not a bad liar, just really bad at keeping secrets.”
I swung around to see Alex standing directly behind my chair; his posture was protective but still so smug and certain of himself.
“Alex?” A loud thud popped inside my chest and I shook my head loose of the incoming thoughts that swarmed my conscience and went back to focusing on the confused face of my new acquaintance.
“Oh really now? Then why don’t you set the record straight for the whole class Alex?” The way Skylar moved made her eyes darker, her whole face seemed to morph right before me in a way that was so demonic I couldn’t have seen it better in a horror movie, filled with cheesy affects. White teeth sparkled from behind her pale grimace and lured Alex into the sense that he was invincible and he turned towards the rest of the class with his hands raised in attention. My heart jumped into my throat and I buried myself in my hands and rested my head on the cold table, images of the class spread like wild fire through my thoughts.
“I know you’ve all been hearing a certain rumor today, and I, being the main protagonist of your little tale, would like to set the record straight. Nothing happened last night at my house but a little movie watching and sugar intoxication. Olivia fell asleep and we let her stay over in the guest room, no big deal. Satisfied?” Alex glared at a very specific group of girls who were all staring very lustfully at him, in a way that even I never would have done.
One of the girls however, seemed a little less than satisfied. “That’s all fine and dandy in the Brady Bunch, but what was she doing there in the first place? You didn’t invite any of us over for a movie night.” Her brown eyes were the exact color they should have been, and I wanted to slap her upside her tawny little head.
“Are any of you friends with Vivian?” Alex winked and with the matter settled, sat down next to me in his usual seat as the chatter silenced and the girls all fell numb with the question.
“Not satisfied.” Skylar glared.
“Too bad. That was a lovely speech.” I mumbled and let my head fall back down to the tale with a loud thud.
I had been right; my day had dragged on for hours with no release from the continual loneliness and torture I endured. It was a relief to finally step out the front doors and down the cement steps into the late afternoon, October air. The coolness clung to my bones and gave me a nudge to walk a little faster off the school grounds. I had decided at lunch hour to leave my Mother’s truck at the house and just go back to school with Alex, the stares came even stronger when they saw me step out of his car during the busy lunch hour rush to get to classes.
A chilled breeze kept me from sliding deeper into the memories and I got a chance to look around. The trees danced among the clouds and made the sun splatter across the blacktop streets. My new home was a place of drama and confusion, but beauty lingered so close, it materialized around each corner just waiting to be admired.
That would be when I saw the Audi wheeling around a corner to retrace its tracks, only to make it back to me on eighth street, not but a few blocks from where I lived. Its tires spun violently, but the body stayed indisposed and classic. I watched in wonder until it stopped in front of me.
Alex’s head popped out of the passenger side window.
“Want a ride home?” He smirked.
I beamed. “If I said no, you’d have to kill me.”
“Then get in. I don’t want to dirty my hands.” The passenger side door opened and I minded my bag as I slid into the carefully crafted vehicle. Everything was like a piece of art and I fell violently depressed by its beauty. So unnatural yet, it was purposeful and elegant.
I hadn’t even noticed the car was moving until Alex started speaking and I looked past the windshield.
“Are you okay?”
“Would you stop asking me that? It’s not like I took the plunge off a cliff yesterday.”
“No, but you did just find out that many of the movies with those awful special effects could be real.” Alex gave me that same smug grin he’d been giving me since the day he was seated next to me in my personal class of torture.
“So, it’s not that hard to get used to. You can turn that way you know.” I corrected his driving. He stopped the vehicle and spun around to take a different road to reach my house. All along the opposing streets were foundations being stripped of their greenery for the future houses that were intended to be built in the future year, nothing ever seemed to stay the same in this town.
I looked back down at my knees and then found myself admiring the work on the carving of the floor, and once again I was lost in the magnificent detail of my future car. Even if I had to marry an 80-year-old millionaire to get one, I knew in my heart I would eventually.
“Do you mind if I come in?”
I glanced up through the windshield; we were on the side of the road by my house. The afternoon sun bounced off all the windows, casting rainbows in different directions. I hadn’t even noticed that we’d come to a stop, and I bit my lip for a second thinking about how lonely the house would be. My shoulders slumped. “I suppose.” We really didn’t have any reason to be in my house together, after all, we’d finished our history project and it wasn’t like I was in need of a babysitter.
“Sure.” I stepped out of the car in an easy step and made it to the grassy lawn instead of slipping off the curb.
“Where’s your Mom?” He asked flatly.
“She left a note saying that her and Sabrine were in Winnipeg. Nothing really more than that, I think it’s to get a business license to start up shop here.”
“Why is that good?” I gulped, as I slowly removed my keys.
“Sabrine doesn’t like me.”
“Oh, right. As awkward as that would be, I still miss her.”
“I can understand that perfectly.” Alex assured me, his eyes losing their smugness and sincerity and trust flooded through me.
My keys were warm in my cold hands and I walked up to my front door and they clicked as it came unlocked. I moved from the doorstep into the porch with Alex close behind me. Inside it was dark and cool, the smell of a morning coffee pot still drifted easily throughout the first level. I wandered up the stairs to find if the coffee was still there, but only a mug of stale brew sat by the sink.
I ran through the upstairs rooms checking for any surprise visitors or if my Mother hadn’t left me alone for an entire weekend, to fend for myself.
“We can sit in my room. It’s too creepy up here.” I shrugged and skipped down the stairs to my bedroom, trying to seem up beat to lighten his mood.
He lingered in my doorway appraising the awkwardly shaped space that I called my own. I offered him my office chair or my reading mushroom; he took my faux leather desk chair and sat back against the headrest.
“Nice room. Not too shabby for your space.”
“Well not everyone can have their own personal hotel suite like room all to themselves.”
Alex looked at me for a moment, trying to guess my tone but obviously gave up when he noticed I wasn’t trying to be coy. He played with a few items that were sitting out on my desk and went he tapped my mouse my whole life popped up on the screen. Of course everything was password protected, only the background and the icons were truly evident. “Nice.” He smirked.
“Alex… can I ask you something?”
He looked at me, his expression alert. “What would that be?”
“You said something about the Society of Hunters yesterday, that both my Mother and Sabrine were a part of it -”
“Marley was, but she lost her seat when Gabriel left her, after the incident.”
“Oh… I guess that makes sense.”
“But, it still runs in her blood. The Hunter thing I mean.”
“So, by any chance, would that also mean that I’m a Hunter?” I asked timidly, twirling my fingers as I sat cross-legged on my bed.
“I should hope so, it would be unfortunate if you didn’t.” Alex relaxed his eyes and spun around in the chair, finally able to relax.
“So is Vivian a Hunter as well?”
“Not really. She’s not human, so she can’t be.”
“Not human? What the – what is she then?”
“A nymph.” Alex stated simply.
Something clicked and a little giggle escaped. “An evil nymph?”
Alex’s expression turned humorous, and he leaned forward in his chair. “Only when she’s having a really bad day. Nymphs are normally sweet and extremely loving, or at least most of them pretend to be, but it would appear that her sad upbringing morphed her into a different state of mind.”
“Why does she live with you?”
“Well, we were all looking for you. Her and Kat are like my adoptive sisters, Vivian was found abandoned after her parents had been killed and the demons that thought they could raise her, gave up. However, evil souls can’t handle a child who changes into a rose bush.”
I started to laugh at the analogy, though by the look on Alex’s face I knew it was no joke. The rose bush suited Vivian, pretty to look at, but watch her thorns.
“I would’ve thought she was a siren or a vampire. She sure is cruel.”
“That’s her, she’s quite a card. Having Kat balances our happy, family out.”
“Do you have parents? It just seems that neither of your sisters do.”
“I do. My Mother is Lucille and my Father is Aldwin Teagues.”
“OH, I see. And why are you here again and not with them?”
“Because, I’m looking - I mean ‘was’ looking for Gabriel Sommerland’s only daughter.” Alex nodded.
“Too long and so many fakes.” Alex sighed. It was evident relief dawning on him until something slid into his mind and his face was once again serious and directed towards me. “Someone’s after you. Have you ever heard of the name HAEDES?”
“You meant the God of the Eternally Damned, from Greek Mytholgy?”
“Sure, but this is an organization like the Society, but they are a massed grouping of the damned souls of the world. Demons. Vampires. Lycans. Gremlins. Sprites and so much more.”
“Okay… I’m following.” My stomached knotted, but I wasn’t sure what I felt.
“Good. This is much better than last night.” Alex gave me another smug grin and carried on. “So, HAEDES is led by Lucien Tabiris, the longest living demon left - 600 plus years actually. Now sixteen years ago, Lucien led an uprising for demons to take all seats of power in the human world, we would have been one or two at the most. When the Society caught wind of his plan, they gathered their forces and tried to wipe out Lucien’s numbers. Gabriel and Marley were on the head of the Society at the time and effectively killed many of the oppositions numbers.” Alex paused to remember his tale and to make sure I was being informed with only the most truthful of facts.
I was sitting on the edge of my bed in anticipation; as if I were a four-year-old waiting to hear how a fairy tale ended, but I knew this was no children’s story. “Question. Does that mean I once living in Dublin?”
“I think so. Marley and Gabriel joined the human world in New York when you were very young, and you lived there until Marley moved to B.C., after the incident.”
“Okay. That’s new information.” I lay back on my bed letting it all soak in and continued to listen. “Continue.”
He gave a slight nod and took in a deep breath and prepared to continue. “Many of Lucien’s men were his son’s and wives and Grandson’s. When his family and members were slaughtered he made sure that the Society would suffer. Many of our members were also killed, like Vivian’s parents and Kat’s. Gabriel barely escaped and in the process of his attempted assassination Lucien discovered Gabriel’s ability and his daughter.
“Knowing that Gabriel could see the future at will, Lucien longed for the ability so he could finally have what he always wanted, the human world. So Gabriel and Marley hid and vowed to keep you as far from him as possible and never expose you to that life.
“But now Lucien has found out where you are and he’s hunting. Sabrine and Marley are most likely preparing for the worse. Purchasing airfare and what not.”
“What? Why?” I shot up, giving myself a head rush.
“If they need to get out of here fast, they can.”
“But, I’m fine. I have three Hunters and a nymph watching out for me.”
“And a vampire and a were-cat.” Alex added and then lowered his head shamefully. “Pretend I didn’t say that first one.”
“Vampire? I have a vampire looking out for me?”
“Nope. I never said that.” Alex smirked.
“Who? Sara? No way. She’s more of a fungus than a vampire.”
“Very true. She tried to convince me that her name was Olivia when I asked about you.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes Olivia, I am. It’s ridiculous how desperate some girls are.”
“Well that and, you were asking her about me?”
“Yes. I saw her sitting at the benches with A.J. and it made me curious, so I asked. Little did I know you were the girl who fainted on me.”
I blushed and rolled my eyes. “Gee thanks.”
“Alex… do you want to go to the dance with me?”
“I already asked you that, remember?”
“I do. But I mean as a date.”
“Sorry Olivia. I don’t date.”
I felt rejection and embarrassment soak into my bones, a chill ran up my spine, but just the way he said it so shamefully made me wonder what he could possibly be hiding. It only took me a moment to come up with a guess and I decided to try it out.
“Alex, who was she?”
“Who was who?” Alex’s smile softened sadly, I knew I’d hit the target. “You knew her.”
“Who?” I pressed, now drawn in by curiosity and I went over every possible female I’d every known that had mentioned an Alex.
“Melissa.” He answered sadly.
I felt a pang of regret for asking, I really missed her and it was if she never existed. Now I had someone though, who knew her fairly well and I never would’ve known in a million years he’d be sitting across from me. I wish I’d known where she had gone; I would’ve followed her. But, why is he so sad?
“She died before you moved. Lucien killed her, because she was a Hunter, protecting you.”
“Oh Alex.” I moved to him, hesitating as I slid to the end of my room to place my hand on his knee. No, that can’t be. Not sweet little Melissa. She was really a Hunter? How strange, she was so tiny and… Lucien would’ve had no problem doing away with her. What a monster.
“She was just doing her job. We may have only been fourteen, but Gabriel always told me that we would grow old together.” Alex lowered his eyes quickly. “She talked about you a lot, not just about her objective, but about how cute you were and smiley. She even went on a ‘double-date’ once to satisfy you.”
Now I felt awful, that sweet girl who had been my sleep over buddy had died because of me, and I had guilted her into going out with someone she thought was gross. “I didn’t believe her when she said she had a boyfriend in Dublin.” I apologized.
“She understood. Her real last name was O’Hannah though she preferred Bremner but – oh never mind.”
“I understand.” I nodded and removed myself from his space. “But you can make-out with other girls?”
“Uh, why? What did you hear?” Alex reddened.
“Not much. Skylar mentioned that you were – OH MY GOD – SKYLAR! She’s the vampire.” My nightmare now made sense and I did a little happy dance in the center of my room.
“How on Earth did you figure that out?”
I tapped my forehead. “My nightmares are like a window to the world’s secrets.” I suppressed wild laughter and continued to enjoy my genius, reminding myself the seriousness of my previous conversation.
“Can you tell me what Vivian was doing last weekend? This Andrew guy she’s dating bugs me.”
“Sorry. I can’t tell you that.” I beamed. Skylar’s a vamp! And she’s watching out for me. Thank you Alex!
“But Olivia, Skylar may not be the good vampire.” Alex added solemnly.
“Way to kill a moment. Who is then? A.J.? Is it A.J.?” That would make no sense.
“I don’t know. Skylar seems to be interested in keeping you alive however.”
“Isn’t that good? Wait, I think I’m having an information overload.” My head started buzzing and I knew what came next. I squeezed my eyes tightly shut to view my bedroom as it was now, but in a different time. Michael stood in my doorway with Alex next to me, his arms tightly gripped around me.
‘Olivia, tell Michael to leave.’
‘Alex, don’t tell her what to do.’
I couldn’t speak, I was choking on tears and it slipped away.
“Olivia?” Alex asked, his arms were around my waist to keep me from falling over during my vision.
“Bed.” I pointed with instruction and he sat me down on the mattress.
“You alright?” His right arm gripped my shoulders tightly, holding me upright as he sat next to me.
“Fine. It’s just rough to see certain things.”
“I guess so.”
Smart move Ollie: he loses his future wife because of you and you’re worried about Michael.
“How can I teach myself to see what I want to see?”
“I’m glad you asked, just call me teacher.”