Tag Archive | Danger

Vestige Novel Chapter 2 (Reworked and Edited): Rena’s POV

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Chapter Two: Rena’s POV

How could this have happened? I watched still as stone as Amos and Constantine reach out and catch Jamie before she hit the ground. She had fainted. Much worse than that, she knew about the Dark Ones now. A dangerous force in the world that Vanessa never wanted her to know the existence of. What was Jamie doing in the woods at this time of night? My mind whirled as I ran my hands through my long dark locks.

            I had met her a few times before when I went to visit my old friend, Vanessa. Jamie was Vanessa’s seventeen-year-old adoptive daughter. As hard as this was going to be for the both of them, and more so for Vanessa, Jamie knew about them now, and something had to be done about it.

Amos and Constantine looked up at me with the same matching expressions on their faces of concern and shock. Neither of them had ever seen a human be so bold as to attack a Dark One without fear. I had never known humans were strong enough to actually take one down without dying in the process.

Gazing down at her now, a silent sigh of disappointment slipped between my lips. Jamie was still out cold. Her dark golden hair and her life drained face was covered in beads of sweat, matting strands of hair to her forehead.

“Is she alright?” I finally asked them, not bothering to check myself. Their guesses were as good as my own.

They placed her down carefully on the ground and looked her over. Amos put two of his fingers to the main vein on the throat of her neck to check her pulse. “She is breathing; unconscious, yet breathing. She will live to see another day.” He examined, his Spaniard accent clear in his voice. He met my gaze with worrisome eyes. “What should we do now with the girl? She has seen too much for human eyes.”

I knew what he meant.

Constantine’s eyes rounded and bulged at the same time we heard his sharp intake of breath.

“What is it Constantine?” Amos and I asked in unisons, stepping closer to him.

“Her arm! Look at the girl’s arm! Tell me it isn’t what I think it is.”

At my son Constantine’s request, I walked over and bent down hovering over Jamie like Amos and Constantine were now doing. He pointed a shaking finger to the nape between her upper and lower right arm. “There,” he pointed.

We followed his gaze and direction with our eyes. Amos positioned his flashlight on the section of her arm, so we could see it better under the fluorescent light. When the light shone over the area, we saw what Constantine meant. In the nape between her upper and lower arm were three distinct needle marks. They were surrounded by bruises and her veins were a vibrant violet color at the moment in hand.

It was clearly obvious to Amos, Constantine, and I what the marks meant. We all stood back up.

“The girl has been marked. She probably fainted from the pain of the change,” Amos shook his head. “She’s so young. They always are.” His gaze fell on her. “The world will never be the same for her again.”

Constantine nodded in agreement. “Because she is going through the change that must be why she had the strength to take down that Dark One. Strange, but intriguing. However, even those going through the change shouldn’t be able to be as strong as she was.”

It made complete sense if one looked at it that way. Still a newly changed Immortali shouldn’t have the knowledge it would require to defeat a Dark One or kill it, let alone one who’s still going through the change.

Amos yawned. The dark lines under his eyes were evidence of his exhaustion. We had been tracking the Dark One for days and chasing him for hours. Ours wards were waiting for us to return home.

“What should we do with her now? We can’t just leave her here and have humans find her. We would be risking exposure.” Amos was right. We couldn’t just leave her here.

I thought it over briefly though I already knew the answer. I knew the answer the second I realized that the girl was Jamie. “We will take the girl to her adoptive parent’s house and see where to go from there. Her house isn’t far from here. A few miles at best.”

Confusion was written in the furrowing of their brows and the stillness of their movements.

“You know this girl and her adoptive parents?” Amos wondered.

I nodded my head in her direction. “Yes, I do. Her name is Kathleen James McKenna, though she prefers to be called Jamie. Her adoptive parents are Mark and Vanessa McKenna of Trenton, New Jersey. They adopted her two years ago.”

Understanding flashed over their features the moment I said Vanessa’s name because they knew Vanessa as well.

Amos kneeled down and slid his hands under Jamie, lifting her off the ground, and put her into his arms without waking her up. She was still out cold.

Constantine’s eyes flickered down to the unconscious Dark One and up to me. “What should we do with him then?”

This was a job they could do without me for tonight at least. My current job was to make sure Vanessa knew what happened to her daughter. This is going to break her heart, I think sadly, but it has to be done. I held out my arms extended. “Give her to me,” I told Amos. He placed her into my arms, and I held her tight against my chest, so she wouldn’t fall. “I’m taking her to Vanessa. I’ll call you when I’m going to return. You two can deal with the Dark One without me for tonight. This is much more important than him.”

Neither of them contested my words.

Amos put his hand on my shoulder gently. “Be careful and return back safely to me, Renata,” he whispered. He worried too much. He knew that I was more than capable of taking care of myself.

Without another word to them, I carried Jamie back to her car on the side of the road. I found it easily in the night, and I put her securely in the backseat. I shut the door silently without waking her. Looking around, I see no one in sight for miles. Thinking over what I should tell Vanessa, I got into the driver’s seat, shutting the door, and I turned the key in the ignition. As the car hummed to life, I drove off on a new mission. A mission that I didn’t want to do, but I knew I had no choice.

Chapter 9 and 10 of Path of Shadows

Chapter Nine: Stone’s Throw (Diana’s Point of View)

“How much longer until we reach Pittsburgh?” Raphael asks the next morning as he walks up behind me.

The map is placed on a table in the kitchen of the church. I hover over it and try to count the miles from here to Pittsburgh in my head. I count the days and divide them by hours of daylight. “A few days by foot. Maybe five or six days tops.” I look up. “Where’s Emma?”

“Outside taking a walk. I would’ve accompanied her, but she’s safe in the daylight,” he says and leans against the counter with one leg lapped over the other. “I was wondering what you plan on saying to your Aunt when you find her. Have you given any thought to what you’re going to say?”

I don’t know what I’m going to say to my Aunt. I haven’t really thought that far ahead. Now, it does make me wonder. “I’ll figure it out when I get there.”

“You have a few days to think about what you’re going to say to her, but you should really think about it.”

Hurrying footsteps get louder the closer they get to us. Emma runs in the kitchen and over to us with a huge grin on her rosy face. “You guys’ll never guess what I just found,” she says. Her voice is high and giddy.

Raphael and I stare at her, confusion on the both of our faces. I question whether or not she’s finally cracked.

“Come on,” she says and pulls me along with her by the arm. “Let me show you what I discovered.”

Raphael’s right behind as Emma leads us out of the church through the front doors. We make our way around the side of the church and over to the wooden garage in the backyard. She pulls the garage doors open. Sunlight seeps inside and lights the garage up.

There inside sits an old green Chevy truck with the logo of the church on its side doors.

“See,” Emma points at it and almost bounces on her heels.

“How do we know this old thing still works?” I don’t want to give myself false hope, though I can feel it blooming inside against my better judgement.

Raphael walks over to the truck and pops the hood open. “Let’s find out,” he says and takes a look under the hood.

Beside him, Emma and I watch him pull tubes, nozzles, and wires out. He open them and look through every little part inside the engine. Satisfied, he walks over to the driver’s side and opens the door. We see him hop into the driver’s seat and have a look around. A few minutes later, we hear the rattling of keys. A moment after that, the rough sound of the engine comes to life.

“It works,” I whisper in disbelief.

The engine dies down and quits. Raphael hops out and walks over to us with a smile on his face. “The truck runs fine,” he examines. “There’s enough gas to get us to where we need to go.”

Emma and I share a look.

“Do you know how to drive it?” Emma asks him before I can.

“Yeah,” he answers and looks between us. “Don’t you two know how to drive?”

“In this type of economic downfall people don’t really drive cars,” I tell him. “No, we don’t know how to drive.”

He nods like he should’ve considered that. “Okay. You both go get your stuff and we’ll head out. I can drive.”

With his reassurance, we run back inside the church and pack up all of our stuff. It’s not much, only two backpacks full of clothes, bottles, and hunting equipment. We had to pack light when we left South Dakota because we were travelling by foot and didn’t want to be weighed down.

Raphael places our bags into the bed of the truck while we get into the passenger side. Packed and ready to go, he gets back in the driver’s seat and shuts his door. He puts the key in the ignition, turns it, and brings the old beast back to life.

“Here we go,” he says as we pull out of the garage and head for Pittsburgh.

Sitting and looking out the window, I have time to think about Raphael’s question. Does my Aunt even knows of my existence, and if she does, would she want to know me. I’ve travelled across the country to seek her out. The least she can do is talk to me. But that’s if I find her. I turn to see Emma. She’s passed out with her head leaning on my shoulder. I hope we didn’t travel all this way for nothing. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive myself if I’m wrong, and I’ve dragged Emma along with me. Sighing, I turn my head to look back out the window.

The day passes before I know it. Hours of sitting in the truck has time lapsing in my mind. I stare at the yellow and white lines painted on the roads blankly. The sky’s a deep shade of purple by the time I see a green sign that identifies the town we’ve entered as Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.

The truck comes to a stop in front of a library and the engine dies.

“Why are we stopping?” I turn and ask Raphael.

He points out the window at the descending sun. “It’s almost night. We’ll stay here and continue travelling at daybreak tomorrow.”

“We’re so close,” I tell him and remove my seatbelt.

We unpack for the night in the former library. There are shelves upon shelves of dusty books with yellowed pages. There are lines pressed into the red carpet of the floor where desks, chairs, and tables once sat. I breathe in the thicker air that mixes with the fresh air from outside now. The scent reminds me of an abandoned building. Emma falls asleep as soon as she lays down on the blanket. I sit next to her on the blanket and stare blankly at the dusty books.

“You need to stop worrying,” Raphael says as he walks over and kneels down beside me. “We’re only a stone’s throw away from Pittsburgh. We’ll be there in the morning. Just relax.”

I know he’s right. He always seems to be right. I lay down and try to relax my tense muscles. Noises outside of the library make me sit up with a quickness.

“Stay here,” he whispers and walks out of the library doors without making a single sound.

 

Chapter Ten: Family (Diana’s Point of View)

Raphael reenters the library and comes back over to me. He shrugs his shoulders as he sits down next to me on the worn-out gray carpet. “No one was out there. It must’ve just been the wind.”

I lay down on the blanket to sleep. The creeping feeling inside of me makes me feel we aren’t alone. Brushing it off, I close my eyes, and know I’m safe as long as he’s next to me. Within no time, I’m comatose.

The next morning we’re back on the road. I grow anxious in my seat as we enter Pittsburgh. Emma nudges me with her elbow and smiles widely; her way of saying we did it. Our premature excitement is thwarted when the truck begins putt, putting and comes to a slow stop.

“What happened?” I ask Raphael when we come to a complete stop in the middle of the road.

“The truck stalled,” he replies and opens the driver’s side door. “We ran out of gas.” He sighs and hops out of the truck. “We’ll have to continue on foot.”

Emma and I get out. We grab our backpacks and follow Raphael down the road. He has the map out again and looks it over as we venture. I try to stay in high spirits as we go. I can’t let one thing like a truck stalling completely destroy my excitement today. Not when we’ve come so far.

Almost an hour passes before we reach the neighborhood of Morningside. I check every street sign we pass by because I know we’re getting close to our destination. All the houses lining these streets are older, Victorian maybe, and once upon a time could’ve been historical houses.

“Wellesley Avenue,” I say under my breath as I stand before the sign.

We head down Wellesley Avenue, the street Thea’s supposed to live on. Rows of houses blur passed me in a haze as I speed walk towards the 1400s numbered houses. 1401, 1403, I think as I pass them. 1405, 1407. I stop in front of a three story reddish-brown brick house with a front porch.

“1409,” I say. “This’ it.”

Standing still, I take a soothing breath to counteract the anxiety. One step before the other, I suck it in and walk up the steps onto the porch. Emma and Raphael are with me as I’m in front of the door. My fist raps on the wooden door.

We wait, but no one answers.

I knock again, a little harder this time.

There’s only silence on the other side.

“Maybe she doesn’t live here anymore,” Emma sympathizes in a soft voice. “She could’ve moved.”

What more can I do? I travelled across the country to get here. I’ve done all I possibly can. I nod slowly and feel my shoulders slump with defeat. I can’t believe we came all this way to discover no one lives here. I don’t protest when Emma leads me away from the door with her hand on my back guiding.

A loud crashing sound comes from within the house and alarms us. We stop and turn back to the door. Raphael puts his hand on the doorknob and twists it. It’s unlocked. He pushes the door open with a gentle nudge. It squeaks as it swings.

“Is anyone here?” He calls out inside.

No one answers again.

We go inside the house with quiet stealth. The three of us split up and have a look around the house to see if anyone’s here. I head up the stairs to the second floor. No one appears as I peek into the rooms: two bedrooms, a bathroom, a room filled with books, and a larger room with unopened boxes on the bare wood floor. There’s no dust. Everything gives me the impression it’s been used recently. The air even smells of Windex, polish, and potpourri.

Where are they at then?

Finding no one upstairs, I head back down to the first floor. Raphael’s at the bottom of the staircase when I get there. There’s a crease forming in-between his black eyebrows. I can tell he found no one either.

“No luck,” I shake my head in confusion.

“Someone definitely lives here,” he observes.

Emma’s voice calls us from below. “Guys, come downstairs. Please.”

We find the basement door in the kitchen. I go down the stairs with Raphael behind me.

“What did you find?” I ask Emma and pause in step as I see her in full view now. She has her trembling hands raised in the air. She’s as still as a statue. All I can focus on is the guy, a year or two younger than us, holding a shotgun. The barrel’s pointed in Emma’s direction.

 

Chapter 2 of Path of Shadows

Chapter Two: Sixteen (Diana’s Point of View)

The word echoes in my head as I turn and run once more. The demon doesn’t pursue me. He stands in the same place I left him and watches me. Nephilim, a word I haven’t heard in years. The memory of my mother calling me a Nephilim as a child comes to the forefront of my mind. My mother’s dark brown eyes gaze down at me as I play with the doll she’d made me before my birth. She smiles sadly and lifts me up into her arms.

“You are special, Diana,” she says to me in a tone that borders happiness and concern. “Diana, my Nephilim.”

The memory is one I don’t want to remember, so I shake it away and focus on the here and now. I find myself passing between two tall brown brick buildings whose paint is chipping. There’s a large metal trash bin at the end of the alley that’s overloaded with debris and trash. I come to a complete stop when I realize I’ve made a wrong turn.

“A dead end,” I say aloud.

There’s nowhere for me to go now. The only way out of the alley is the way I came in. I know I can’t go back that way because the demons will be waiting for me if I do. Every door to both buildings are locked as I try to open them. I look around spinning and try to find another means to escape, but there’s none. I stand in the alley anticipating my death, defeated.

Looking at the only way out, I see the darker than dark shadows slither across the ground. I take a few steps back as if it makes a difference. They encircle me and begin to take shape. Six of them, flesh and blood, manifest out of the night around me. I’m defenseless against so many. Their towering posture, curious stares, and demented smiles tell me they know they have me right where they want me.

I don’t shed any tears, yet I’m terrified. My fate is sealed. Death has come for me in the form of demons. Is this how I end? I wonder as I face them.

“What do we have here?” The blonde one facing me says and takes in my entire being with his eyes.

“A Nephilim. Half-angel and half-human. A rare breed,” the one beside him says.

The others are too captivated by my glowing skin and the odd symbols to add to the discussion.

“What should we do with her?” The blonde one pulls out a knife with a black blade from his back pocket and strokes the blade with the tips of his fingers as he paralyzes me with his piercing gaze.

The other one shrugs his shoulders. “She’s a Nephilim. We must take her to the Master. That’s the law,” he replies and takes a long pause before he speaks again. This time in a deeper voice. “We don’t have to bring her to him alive.”

The blonde one smiles so wide I can see his white teeth.

I want to run. I want to scream. Anything that’ll get me further from them. I need to fight, but I can’t manage to move as I’m lost in his eyes. The only movement I can do is ball my hands into fists and flex them.

They are all in agreement about what to do with me. They close in on me. The blonde one touches my arm. A cold fire spreads where he touches me. Repulsed, I try to shake his touch off, yet I’m immobile.

“This will hurt a lot,” he says. There’s sadistic undertone in his promise as he pulls his knife back to cause me untold pain.

I fight to shut my eyes and I can’t.

“Hey!” Someone yells from the entrance to the alleyway.

They look to where the voice originated. The blonde one looks away from me and breaks his hold over me. I can blink and follow their stares, but I’m too fear stricken to run.

A tall man with dark brown eyes, short untidy black hair, and a slender muscular build stands at the entrance to the alleyway with his hands behind his back. There’s no distinct expression of fear on his face as he skims the group of demons around me. He takes a step closer to us as he speaks.

“Leave the girl alone.”

The demons hiss at him when his hands fall to his side and he shows them the shiny, silver sword with a gold hilt in his right hand.

“Angel,” the blonde demon growls.

The tension building between the demons and him fills the air around me. It’s filled with a deep hatred. The demons ignore me now and focus all of their attention on him like I’m invisible to them.

“I guess the girl wasn’t alone,” the other demon says to the blonde one.

The guy walks towards them now. He looks calm and collected as he strides over to them. The demons run towards him with their weapons out. All of their hate and desire to kill is aimed at him.

He’s going to get himself killed, I think as I watch the demons go at the stranger.

He doesn’t run as they reach him. Instead of cowering or bowing out he raises his sword and attacks them as they reach him. The fierce will and warrior-like strength in his movements as he fights leaves me watching with a growing fascination. One by one he overpowers the demons and defeats them. There’s no hesitation in his attacks.

Minutes later, he rushes over to me after destroying the demons. He isn’t fazed by the glow emitting from my body. He wraps his hand around my arm and pulls me along with him down the alley.

“Now would be a good time for you to start running,” he tells me and releases his hold.

We run as fast as possible down and out of the alley. I look back and notice we’re still being followed by demons. Not the demons from the alley, but others. He leads me down a few blocks and tries to find a building that’s unlocked or unoccupied. No such luck. We cross another street with only one working lamp light.

The goose bumps all over my skin reminds me that we’re still being pursued.

He runs up to a glass door to a five story building that looks like it could’ve been a newspaper business back in the day. He tries to open the door, but we discover it’s locked. I look behind me and see the shifting shadows at the end of the street slowly inching closer.

“They’re coming,” I say to him. My voice quivers and breaks.

“Forget this,” I hear him say as he kicks at the glass door once. The glass cracks and shatters into a million tiny pieces. The shards fall onto the ground sounding like a waterfall. “Come on,” he says and pulls me into the building by the arm.

My legs grow tired as I run stair by stair up three levels on his heels. Another setback awaits us as we get to the door. It’s locked. He takes a few steps back and rams his body forward at the door. It collapses and we walk over it. We walk around the third floor. Cubicles, offices, and conference rooms are all on the third floor.

“This way.” He leads me into an abandoned office.

Inside the office, he shuts the door and takes me behind the desk. He looks out of the window at the street searching for the demons. I don’t understand why he helped me escape, or why he is protecting me now.

“Who are you?”

He turns to face me and puts a finger to his mouth shushing me.

I shut my mouth and stay still as he places his hands over my collarbone. His eyes shut close and he whispers something in a language I don’t know over and over again. I don’t know what he’s doing until I look down and see the glowing fade until it disappears. The black symbols fade away, but not into nothing. I feel them sink into my skin and attach to my bones. They become etched into my bones.

The pain is agonizing as they burn into my bones like a tattoo. I scream, but he covers my mouth with his hand tight. I try to ignore the pain, but I can’t. He wraps his arms tight around my upper body as I wither in pain. It’s the only thing he can do to keep me from convulsing, or ripping out my hair.

Outside of the door, we hear footsteps and see the shadows of the demons walking around from under the doorway. We crouch down, with his hand still covering my mouth, and hide behind the desk.

“They aren’t here,” one of the demons say. “The signal has disappeared. The angel must’ve clouded her signal. They can’t be tracked now.”

A long moment of silence passes before another demon speaks. “All we can do now is go tell Beelzebub that we saw them and see what she has to say.”

Silence comes from outside of the office. The goose bumps go away. I no longer feel cold or a sense of danger.

They’re gone, I think with relief.

He stands and removes his hand from my mouth. I stand and face him still with a burning pain in my chest like I had inhaled smoke from a fire. My throat burns with a dry sensation. He puts his sword into its sheath at his waist and turns to face me.

“What did you do to me?”

“I shielded your beacon,” he answers, and adds more to his explanation when he sees my confusion. “I carved a protection into your bones to prevent the demons from tracking you.”

The office begins to sway around me. I’m spinning and spinning, yet I’m standing completely still. I hold onto the desk for support to keep from falling. My legs quiver as they try to stay in place without giving out.

“I don’t feel so good,” I say, dizzy.

He doesn’t look surprised as I collapse to the ground on my back. I look up at him through hazy eyes. I feel light-headed as I fight to keep my eyelids open against the heaviness trying to close them.

“Happy sixteenth birthday,” I hear him say before I pass out from the pain.