Elian entered the library a few minutes before two on his first day. He was dressed in a pair of slacks and a green polo shirt. Cat Taylor, Sam Woodburn, and Victoria Giordano were at the desk helping patrons. He looked in the back room and there was Jess and Rae. Jess waved him back and he bypassed the other girls and entered the back room.
“Elian, welcome.” Jess said as she shook his hand. Elian gave her a smile. Rae gave him a small smile as well. Elian saw a few pieces of paper in Jess’s hand. He read them over. It was the announcement of the new hours starting just a week from then. Every single day the library was going to be open from nine a.m. to twelve a.m. except for Sunday. He had found out from Rae the other day that the library was going to be open longer but that was a big change in hours.
“Thanks.” Elian pulled out his wallet and handed her his photo ID. He’d changed the address over that morning before work. The only thing left to do was to tell his parents. Jess took the ID and entered her office. She came back out with a folder full of papers and handed it over to him. Elian noticed that she had a purse in her other hand.
“Rae is going to walk you through everything. The director of the libraries of Washington County dropped a sudden managers meeting on us. I have to be in Marietta in a half an hour. Good luck on your first day.” She swept past him and was gone. As she moved, Elian smelled decay. He wrinkled his nose and breathed through his mouth for a few times before breathing through his nose again. This time the smell was gone.
“We can use her office for this.”
Rae waved him into the little office that was at the back of the workroom. There was a desk, two different file cabinets, and a bookshelf in the small office. There were only two chairs, the one for whoever was sitting at the desk to sit in and one between the smaller of the two cabinets and the bookshelf. Rae sat at that chair leaving a place for Elian at the desk.
It was an hour of form after form. The only one that really interested Elian was the direct deposit form. He didn’t know how much he was going to be making exactly but his monthly deposit from the trust would be lessened by that much. He had a debit card that would take the money from the trust account for big purchases. It’s what he used to buy all of his things for the house.
“What’s next?” Elian asked as he put the last of the papers into the folder.
“Now the job.” Rae stood and Elian followed her out of the office and into the workroom. “This is the pony room. This is where we load and unload the daily delivery of books from all over the state.”
Elian thought about why it would be called the pony room for a few seconds before he laughed a little. “Pony, like Pony Express.”
“Exactly. Cargo comes around eleven each day. Sometimes he’s early and sometimes he’s late.”
“He?” Elian asked.
“Craig. He delivers to a great deal of the libraries in a near hundred mile radius out from us. Whoever is the opener does a pull list and then closes up the cargo each day. It sits here in these bins on the cart until Craig gets here. Unloading of cargo takes about two hours depending on how many people are here. You’ll miss a majority of cargo.”
“Why doesn’t the night close it up?”
“The shelves were sometimes getting way too full. The morning pull list is sometimes up to nearly one hundred books. The average is in the seventies and eighties. We would rather just ship them out each morning. It gets it out of the way. The night will bag up the majority of the cargo that goes in bags and not envelopes and we just add to them and then close them up. You’ll learn that over the week. Sam and Victoria will show you the computers after I’ve gone through everything else. You know your way around the library thankfully and know all the books?”
“Oh yes. I know where everything is. You don’t need to show me around.”
“Follow me into the staff room then.” Rae entered a room at the far end of the staff area near the back door. Inside was a table with two chairs, and a small kitchen area. There was a microwave, a sink, and a fridge. A book shelf at the back of the room held eight bins of varying colors. Each bin had a name on it. There was even one with his. There were two names though that Elian didn’t recognize. Kathy and Donna were on a shelf all alone at the bottom. Each of the eight bins had something in them except for Elian’s. “These are where you can put things. Above the bins is your mailbox where you checks will go and anything else important. Always check your mailbox at the start of each shift.”
“Yes. I can do that. I see a paper in it already.” Elian moved over and found the box with his name and pulled the paper out. It was a list of email addresses and voicemail boxes for all the employees for the Washington Country Public Library system. The complication date was for that morning. He found the Cs and then his name. E.Coats@washcolib.org. He smiled and folded up the page and put it in his pocket. He turned and saw the staff bathroom standing wide open. There was a cart inside that looked like it was full of makeup and other girl things. He smiled a little before turning back to face Rae.
“Under the sink is the first aid kit. Wash your dishes when you are done with them or before you leave for the day. Clean out your things from the fridge when they start to go bad. We’ve not had issues with people eating other people’s things but if you want to put your name on things you can. There is water in bottles inside the fridge and a small jar to put your money inside of. Its twenty cents per bottle and the money is used to buy more water. The condiments are kind of just bought by everyone when we need more.”
“Cool.” Elian looked around the room. There were cabinets that he was sure were filled with dishes of some kind. He would spend some time later familiarizing himself with all of it.
“The only thing left is the actual workings of the library, which is going to take the longest. We’ll show you closing procedures and tomorrow, Tam will get a key made for you. She’ll give it to you on Wednesday. We’ve never needed this many keys before.” Rae walked out of the room muttering something about a schedule and Elian followed her. She went right to the backroom while Elian stopped when Victoria waved him over.
“I got the job of training you on the computer so. I have a chair waiting for you right here and you will shadow me for a while and then later, you can start to do things for yourself.”
Elian looked at the screen of the computer. The program that was up had a lot of words that he knew but didn’t know the context of. This was going to be a long day and a very long week but he was optimistic. He felt that he was going to like the job.
The porch light was on when Elian got out of his car. As he was walking up the walkway, his mother opened the door. She was looking at him and he was unsure of the look on her face. Elian stuttered in his steps but forced himself to walk up the stairs onto the porch.
“Elian, where have you been today?” She pulled him into a hug and the smell of her perfume wafted over face and he nearly sneezed. She always wore too much for his liking. “I tried to call you several times and it went straight to voicemail.”
“I was at work, Mom.” Elian tensed after he pulled back from her. He waited for the blowup. His father came to the door and looked out. He smiled when he saw Elian and opened the door back up.
“Father.” Elian gave his father a smile as his mother pulled him inside of the house. As soon as he crossed the threshold, Elian shook his arm and his mother let go. “I have some news.”
“Yes, your job,” his mother said as she sat down the couch. His father sat down in a chair across from her. It was in that instant that Elian noticed that his mother and father never sat on the same piece of furniture when he had been growing up. Unless they were at a function where it was expected. He wondered if his parents were even in love anymore or if it was just a marriage of convenience.
“I got hired at the library here in town. I started today. There is a chance at a later time I can get more hours but right now I have twenty hours a week.”
“That’s not a lot. Surely there are other jobs that you can get more hours with.” His mother straightened her posture on the couch and stared him straight in the eyes.
“I’ve made my decision mother. When I turned eighteen, that winter after I finished high school, I was visited by a lawyer. I have a trust that fell to me when I turned eighteen. It was set up by my ancestor, Edmond Coats’ father before he died. It was handled by the law firm for years and just finally traced by them to me. It was to go to the youngest heir over the age of eighteen.”
“How much?” his father asked. Elian didn’t turn to look at him. Instead he kept his eyes on his mother. He watched the anger track over her face and then the betrayal. He was finding himself not caring what his mother thought of him. It was money that was given to him. He didn’t care how it came to be his but the lawyer had shown him the very old papers that had been preserved over the years to show the heir when he was found.”
“It took them over a hundred and fifty years to find you?” His mother asked as she shifted around on the couch again. She moved to a position that Elian’s mind supplied as an attack pose. Elian stared at her for a few seconds before he moved to put the coffee table between her and him.
“They uncovered the body of Edmond’s father and did a DNA match. I was part of that DNA study at OSU remember?” Elian took a step backwards.
“Where you are going to live because I don’t want you living under this roof. You are a little liar and I won’t have you in this house.”
“No, Edward. He needs to learn his place. I want him out of the house tonight. You can come back when you have grown up and act like a man.”
“Don’t worry about it, Mom. I’ll come back when hell freezes over.” Elian put his hand in his pocket and pulled out the key ring that had the house key, his parents’ car key, and the key to his room on it. He leaned over to set it on the coffee table before he turned to leave.
“Elian, wait!” his father yelled as Elian reached the front door. Elian turned as soon as he stepped over the threshold.
“Please don’t go. Not like this. Where are you going to stay? Your car?”
Elian didn’t answer straight away. He stared at his father. He watched his father’s face. There was a determination there but the second that his mother stepped up behind his father, his father’s demeanor changed. There was something there in his father’s face that Elian equated with someone being drugged.
“You have no right to care where I stay as long as you don’t stand up to her and force to let go and let me be what I want to be. As long as she dictates what she wants me to be, I won’t be coming back here. I am an adult and I will live how I want.”
Turning away from his parents, Elian stepped down to the ground and made his way to his car. It was a nice night so he had his windows down. As he pulled away he could hear his falling yelling his name. Elian passed his house as he drove and pulled down into the park. As he sat in his car, watching the waves, he thought about his life. About every interaction between his parents as he grew up.
His father was near obsessed with his mother but it always got worse when his father was around her. His mother on the other hand, she didn’t seem to care about him at all. She cared about her job and she cared about how she looked to the outside world. She played the wounded wife when the two of them fought. She played the caring mother when Elian had been injured over the years. She wasn’t a perfect person but Elian knew that no one was but she tried so hard to show the world that she was perfect.
Elian knew the stories. His parents had been college sweet hearts. Meet freshman year and were married just after they graduated. They both became successful and influential in Columbus before his mother had left her job to open up a coffee shop with the money they had been saving for years. She had the shop for nearly a year before she had got pregnant with him. A room at the back of the coffee shop was turned into a play room for him and over the years as he grew up, the room was updated with older toys and bed before it turned into a room where he could do his homework when he no longer needed naps.
The room sported a desk and a giant comfy chair where he could relax and do his reading for schoolwork or use the desk to do the actual work part. By the time that his junior high school, the desk acquired a computer. When he graduated high school, the room was turned into a break room for the inevitable college and high school students that his mother employed. They could do their own school work while on break for the day. College students would get out of class and show up to work early so that they could start their day’s school work before they started to work. Elian himself rarely went to the coffee shop while he was in college. He lived in a dorm and he loved it.
When the announcement of his father’s new job at Kraton in Belpre, Ohio came, Elian was still in school but he didn’t blink at agreeing to move with them. There was something that made him want to come down and live in Belpre. He had never thought of it before but now that he saw seeing his parents in a new light he wondered if the same hold his mother had over his father worked on him somewhat. That Belpre was named in the letter from his ancestor, that came later. He wasn’t sure what hold the city had on him but being here was changing him. He knew that his mother didn’t like the changes but he wasn’t sure he was going to like the end changes either. He just had to ride the waves of his life out and live with what happened to him in the end.
He reached into the back seat of his car and grabbed the journal. He’d only read two entries and he found that he was enjoying the story. He opened the book and started to read.
When I was seven years old, I met others of my kind. At seven, I was ready to protect myself from others of my kind. A grand ball was held in my honor. Children which are turned continue to age to a certain age, it’s never an exact but usually sometime between eighteen and twenty five years old looking. It takes longer than that though. As I have said before, it’s not until a Vampire has spent one hundred and sixty years as a Vampire that they are considered an adult.
I smelled them for the first time. The smell was earthy, where the others of my kind smelled of metal, sky, and cinnamon with a few other smells mixed in but humans smelled of decay and perfume, the werewolves smelled of earth and a myriad of other things. My own scent is masked. My mother puts an oil solution on me that makes me smell like a turned vampire. The smell of sky and metal is used to mask my original scent. I can’t even remember what I am supposed to smell like. I probably should smell like my mother but I am unsure. My father smells of grass and cinnamon. My mother tells me that it’s to save my life but I don’t understand how it can save my life. I know how to make the oil. My mother made sure of that.
There was one person thought that I could smell and while he smelled of earth, there was the smell of water on him. I was drawn to him and saw that it was a child like me. He was standing off to the side, watching the other vampires and werewolves dance around the room. I stepped up to him and he jumped in shock.
He looked at me with wide eyes and right then, I knew we would be great friends. He held out his hand and waited for me to extend mine before he kissed my hand.
“Lady Shadow, my name is Dmitry Darkan. I am at your service.”
This friendship would shape the entirety of my life from that moment on. For ill or for good.
Elian closed the book before reading another section. He was getting hungry and needed to eat and get to bed at a good time. He had a good bit of things to do in the morning. He would have to work on getting his mail changed over and getting little things taken care of. He wouldn’t need his box at the Post Office anymore.
Elian sighed as he closed his workstation at the library. Rae had just finished locking the doors for the night. Elian had dealt with the family of five who had come in fifteen minutes before close and had checked out nearly forty items. It was his second day and Rae had thrown him in the deep end when the family had come up to the desk at two minutes till. Rae had smirked at him and stood up to start the closing procedures.
“So second full day. How was it?” Rae asked as she shut down her own workstation before moving to the backroom to grab her folder of things. Elian hadn’t brought anything with himself that didn’t fit into his pockets.
“Fine. Except for the coworker who abandoned me,” Elian said with a laugh. Rae smiled at him.
“We all have to do it. Wait until you get some of the regulars. There is one who will attach herself to you because you are pretty.”
“Yes, I’ve seen the way some of the women look at me.”
“Men who work here are few and far between. The old women love it when guys work here.”
Elian rolled his eyes and moved to the door to wait for Rae to set the alarm. The squawking of what sounded like a duck mixed with a dog started and Elian opened the door. Rae was right behind him and shut the door behind herself. Elian moved to check the men’s restroom while Rae checked the women’s and then meeting room.
Out the back door they went and dead bolted the door.
“What are your plans?” Rae asked as she looked out to the parking lot. Elian looked as well. There was only Elian’s car. He only drove because he had been doing some running before work. He had been worried about not being able to walk to work in time. It only took him about five minutes to walk on a normal day. He could do it in less but it wasn’t worth the sweat usually.
“I need to get something for dinner and after that, I have the whole night.”
“Wanna get some food and go to the river and eat?” Rae looked at him hopeful. Elian didn’t know much about the girl. She listened to everyone talk about their families but she never ventured anything about her own.
“Hardee’s?” Elian asked.
Elian unlocked his car and Rae got into the front seat. The ride to the fast food restaurant was silent. Elian ordered his food and then Rae ordered. They went through the drive-thru but parked and then went to the back dock area that over looked the boat ramp and the river.
“I heard you tell Jess that you have fully moved out of your parents. You didn’t look happy.”
“No, I’m really not. I love my parents I really do but I don’t like them. My father has no backbone. When I went to college the first year, halfway through when my mother figured out that I wasn’t going to take the classes she wanted me to and get the degree she wanted me to, she pulled all of their financial help. Luckily I had just got access to a trust that would pay for schooling but as far as getting money from it, I really wasn’t able to until I was twenty-one. When they moved down here, she asked me to move with them and promised to let me live with them until I found a job. She didn’t like my job and the fact I had kept the trust secret from them and threw me out. Luckily, I had already move all of my stuff out.”
“No shit. I used the trust money and bought myself a nice house here in town.” Elian spared a glance behind Rae to his house. He didn’t know why but he felt it wasn’t the time to tell her where he lived. He quickly changed the subject started to talk about the library and the troublesome patrons. If Rae noticed the quick change, she never made a comment.
When I exit my front door at near three a.m. on a Saturday night I find the smell of the humans nearly overwhelming. I have to take a few deep breaths before I can trust myself to head out. I spent too many years living out in the woods and not among the humans over the past hundred years. Even the past nearly ten years of living around humans hasn’t broken me of the hunting response. Most of the time when I am around humans, I douse the inside of my nose with a mixture of essential oils created just for hiding the smell so of the world. I dose myself with a scent blend that disguises from those who cross my path, its better that way.
When I hit the main thoroughfare of the city, I find his smell. It’s recent. I start to follow the scent and all it does is lead me in a circle around the city. He must have run sometime during the night or early evening. I try to find where the scent started and stopped but the smell is still too old for that. It’s spread out way too much. I move down to the river. It’s a full moon and I have decided that I will go to the island for the night. Blennerhassett Island is the perfect place to sate my hunger.
Still the thought that he is there hiding from me without ever knowing it excites me. His entire family relied too much on what they saw and not enough on what was going on around them. I hope that the line that will follow from this one man will be one worthy of holding the name again. The urge to hunt becomes too much and I know that I can only resist for so long.
As I crest the sand beach that rings the island, I can hear the animals flee. The smell of me is something that the animals have come to fear. I feel bad for a few seconds that I have made the animals fear a beast that they would have never had to fear before but it’s the way of life. Every single thing on the planet lives to feed another creature that is above it on the food chain. Even those at the top, feed something when they die. Humans see themselves at the top but when they die, they feed the worms and the plants. I cannot feel sad for the way I was created.