Elian entered the library. It’s nearly eleven and Rae would be getting off her shift in just over an hour. He wanted to have dinner with her. He was finding that if he went to sleep after one in the morning, he would wake after about five hours and be fine for the rest of the day. He tried to do that daily now. Rae looked up at him and smiled. She waved at him and looked genuinely pleased to see him even though he had left work only three hours before. She had been staring at the screen typing away so Elian knew that she had been busy.
“What brings you back” Rae asked as she shifted back from her computer to face him. He moved over to his normal computer and sat down. Rae turned to face him.
“I was just going to see if you wanted to have dinner with me at Hardee’s when you get off?” Elian felt a stab in his heart. He and Marie had been fighting a little about how much he hung out with Rae after he got off of work. Marie held that when he hung out with a woman by himself was cheating. Elian didn’t think so. Rae was a friend and a good friend. She listened and talked to him and he never felt that she judged him. He had needed that when he had separated from his parents’ home. She was his first friend. She was the balm to his soul. He wouldn’t stop hanging out with her just because his girlfriend said so. She would just have to learn to understand that he loved her but he liked hanging out with Rae.
“Sounds wonderful. I don’t have any other plans. I can meet you there after I close up here.” Rae turned right back to the computer and started to type again.
“That sounds wonderful. I’ll wait for you then.”
Elian smiled and waved as he left the library. He hadn’t taken his car to the library because he figured that he would just drive over with Rae but she didn’t seem to want company at work or she wouldn’t have said she would meet him. He knew that her job with the college library was getting more and more demanding during her library working time so he didn’t hold it against her. He jogged across the street and started to walk to Hardee’s. He took his time and walked the five minutes to his house. He kept an eye out for the panther. There had been a few sightings at the edge of town but no more inside of the city limits. Elian liked that. He hadn’t been able to run for nearly a week because of the panther but now that it had been nearly a week since the last sighting, the cops had been relaxed and he could run without the cops practically following him around the town. He liked having his life back to normal.
Instead of stopping at the deck at the back of Hardee’s, Elian moved to the stairs and went down to sit at the boat dock and watch the river. He had never lived in a sea town in his entire life but he loved water. The Ohio River at this junction was way too nasty looking for Elian to even want to go for a swim in.
Tonight was the night that he was going to tell Rae that he was going to propose to Marie. He had wanted to wait but he couldn’t any longer. He wanted to see her with his ring on her finger. He wanted to see her waking up in his bed with the sunlight illuminating her face. He wanted her with him all the time.
He was so focused on the waves and thinking of Marie that when a hand touched his shoulder, he jumped in surprise and growled, landing on his feet crouched. Rae jumped back from him a look of fear on her face. Elian felt so bad that he had scared her that much. Rae was a recluse almost as bad as him. Her family wasn’t around and she cared not for most people. He had figured out that she didn’t like to talk to people that much at all from working at the library. She never volunteered information at all. Instead she would listen and comment on other’s stories instead. Elian was the only one who had been able to pull her out of her shell.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. I thought that you heard me. I wasn’t being that quiet. I kicked up quite a few rocks.” Rae gave him a very weak smile. He knew that smile. She was going to run soon if he didn’t let her know that he wasn’t upset or mad.
“No, I was just lost in my thoughts. I don’t think I would have heard anything at all that came up behind me.”
“What were you thinking about?” Rae asked as she moved to the dock to sit down. Elian followed suit and sat down beside her. Now that she was here he was finding the words hard to find. He just stared out into the river for a few more minutes.
“Whatever you have to say, Elian say it. I don’t know why you are afraid of me all of a sudden.”
Elian started to talk but the words choked in his mouth. He wasn’t sure why he couldn’t talk. Rae was his best friend. There wasn’t any more to it than that. He had no reason to worry about telling her. He loved Marie. There was nothing more to it than that.
“I told Marie that I love her.”
“Wow,” Rae said with a voice that Elian had never heard before. There was an accent that Elian had never heard in her voice. Elian tried to place it but it slipped from his mind before he could even think on it.
“I gave a set of keys for my house. She was happy.”
“Did she give you a set back?” Rae asked.
Elian opened his mouth and then closed it. He had no clue what that had to do with anything. He had told her that he loved her and given her a set of keys to his house. There was nothing more or less to it than that. He had no idea why she would ask a question like that. He turned to stare at her.
“No. I didn’t ask her to and I am not going to. She will give me a set when she feels like it.”
“You gave her keys and she didn’t even mention getting a set for you and she hasn’t even invited over to her house…Elian that is not a relationship, not an even one that is.” The words were like a slap to the face. He stood up and Rae followed. “Are you crazy? You’ve only known her a few months and you already think you are in love?”
“Don’t you even tell me that I am not in love, you have no clue how I feel and you have never been open enough to even become friends with anyone but me. You have no clue what it’s like to love anyone.”
Rae stared at him in shock. She opened her mouth and closed it several time before she turned her back to him to stare out into the water. Elian felt a shock of pain that radiated from his heart to his head. He reached out to touch her but she just stepped away from him so that he couldn’t reach.
“You don’t see how much being with her has changed you. Your life revolves around her being happy. You sacrifice your own happiness to make her happy. You give and give and give and she gives you nothing back in return. You made up with your parents to make her happy because she wanted to meet them. You’ve not talked about your garden in weeks. You’ve changed Elian and you can’t see it!” Rae turned to face him and there were tears in her eyes.
Elian couldn’t look at her. He jerked his eyes away from her face and behind her he saw the black haired woman. She was standing there staring at him with no blood on herself and no arm in her hands. If looks could kill, he would have been dead many times over from her look.
“I think that this was a mistake.”
“If you think that then you are not the man I thought you were. She is not any good for you and she will lead you to ruin. You are so blinded by the chance of pussy that you won’t even see the way you are changing. I think that making friends with you was a mistake. I won’t be quitting at work so you either need to get your act together and be civil or I will make sure that you are the one who leaves and not me.”
“You’re a vindictive little bitch aren’t you?” Elian asked as he took a step towards Rae. He expected her to back up away from him but she didn’t move. Elian felt a heat on his face and Rae gasped as she looked at him.
“Call me bitch all you want, Elian Coats. You’ve not met the bitch yet.” Rae turned from him and jumped down off the dock into the water. Elian rushed forward but she was nowhere in sight. About a minute later he saw her come up a good distance away. She had to be swimming towards the Kraton area of the river. He knew from their talks that she was a good swimmer but he would have never gone into the river if it had been his choice.
The numbness started to spread all over his body. He had no clue why he felt like that. He turned towards the stairs to head home. He was kind of glad that he hadn’t drove. He was in no condition to drive after the fight. He was kind of happy he was off the next day. It would give the both of them a chance to cool down.
When he crested his porch, he found a letter attached to his front door. He opened it up and found that it was from his parents.
I know that you are enjoying living alone but with all that is happening around town with the panther and Marie told us of your sensory spikes, we feel that you need to move back in with us. You are alone in your house and even though you have given Marie a key, she does not live with you. We worry about you constantly. You are our only child and we would fee horrible if something happened to you. Please Elian, move back home with us. We would stop pushing you to get a different job and we would not ask for rent or anything like that. Please son, we miss you.
Mom & Dad
Elian wasn’t sure what to think of the letter except that he was never moving back into his parents’ house. He loved his parents but he didn’t think that he could stand to live with them again. He liked living alone and while his parents worried about him that wasn’t his problem. He needed to stay living on his own for his own minds sake if for anything.
The knock on the door surprised Elian. He never got visitors and Marie just let herself in when she came over. He wasn’t expecting her. For a few seconds before the person at the door came into view, Elian let himself hope that it was Rae. He missed hanging out with her after work. He missed texting with her and he just missed her. She had been his first friend who had become friends with her after seeing the real him. Marie had been so happy when she had found out that Elian and her were no longer friends and barely spoke to each other.
Jess had been the first to notice that they were not as friendly as they used to be. Both of them acted friendly at work. There was no cause for concern about them being able to work together. When Elian worked to eight and Rae closed after that, they just barely spoke but when they did, it was respectful. Patrons had commented but neither of them said anything was wrong.
The dreams of the black haired, purple eyed woman were back and they were getting worse. He was seeing her more and more during the waking hours as well. He wasn’t as happy with his life as he had been but being with Marie made it all better.
The lady at the door was dressed to impress. He had seen women dressed like her in big business offices in Columbus. She had her back to the door was looking out onto Washington Boulevard. When Elian opened the door, she turned around to face him.
“Elian Coats?” the woman asked as she looked down at a piece of paper. “Child of Edward Coats? Descendant of Edmond Coats?”
“May we speak?” She looked around him into the house and Elian pulled the door shut as he stepped out onto the porch. Marie was at work and not inside the house.
“We can speak out here.”
“That’s fine with me.” The lady turned and moved to the chairs on the right hand side of the porch. She pulled out a clipboard and on it were several pieces of paper. “My name is Daphne Stein and I am with Stein & Stein in New York City. In Eighteen Forty Eight we were just a starting out law firm and a man with a very thick English accent came to the firm and handed over a thousand dollars and instructed us to deliver these two letters to an Elian Coats on this day, in this city, at this house. We’ve watched the house over the years and some of the higher up partners have had a bet going for years on the fact that this house would never have a person named Elian living in it. I, of course, never doubted that it would happen. I believe in the mystics that surround our lives. It’s why I volunteered to take this letter to you years before. Months ago when we did the property search as we always did on the final day of the month. Here you were. A great deal of money exchanged hands on that day and much of it entered my wallet, so thank you.”
“You’re welcome?” Elian said. He looked at the woman and tried to figure her out. Was she pulling his leg? Was this something that his parents cooked up? He then thought of all that he had figured out. Vampires and werewolves were things that were real. They were things that went bump in the night. Things that killed.
“Thanks. Anyway.” The woman reached into her briefcase and pulled out a sealed envelope. It looked new. There was no way it was one of the ones that had been given to the law firm all those years ago. She opened the envelope and pulled out two yellowed envelopes. “Here they are. There is one with your name and…”
Daphne flipped back a page on the clipboard and looked at something on the page. “Yes. There is one with your name and one is blank. The man who brought the envelopes to use said that you would know who to give the letter to when the time came. He also stated that you would not want to open the other one because it would not go good with your plans for the future with…Marie.”
Elian took the two letters as Daphne handed them over. The one on top was blank and he shifted the both of them so he could see the other and there in big, bold handprint was his name. The way the ink spread on the page reminded him of old time writing with a feather and ink. He ached to open it but he didn’t want to with her there. He knew where he would put both of the letters when the time came. It was the same place that he had the journals. There was a floorboard in the dining room that had been loose and he had gone to fix it but found that he wanted to hide the journals underneath of it. The letters would be safe there.
“I really must get home. Thank you, Mr. Coats for being here. I really didn’t want to have to stay the night. I don’t like sleeping away from my bed and my dogs. Have a wonderful day and a wonderful life.” Daphne gave him a small bow and then started off the porch, putting up the clipboard as she went. It was then that Elian noticed her car that was parked at the edge of his driveway. She had pulled all the way through his horseshoe and had walked the distance to his house.
Moving into the house, Elian sat down on the couch and opened up the envelope, taking care to make sure he didn’t damage the letter inside. It was then that he realized that Daphne had never told him the name of the man who had brought the letter to the lawyers. Shrugging to himself, Elian started to read the letter.
Trust Raven. Those are the only words that I can give to you. She will protect you. By now you have seen that things are not what they seem. Your waking should have started and you need help. When you need that help, Raven will come to you. Trust in your instincts. Trust in your sense of smell. Remember everything.
Raven Shadow will be the only person in the world who smells of Roses and Cinnamon.
Dmitry…Dmitry Darkan, father of Darius and wife to Adriana; the graves that he was dreaming about. The people he was having waking dreams about. He wanted to know about these people and he needed to do the research but he hadn’t been taking the time. He knew the names but he didn’t know places and that was where he was getting into problems. Having that the man had a strong English accent meant he had either traveled to America to give the letter or he had recently moved to America. Either one would help him. He had to find more on Raven Shadow. If she was still around. That would mean reading the journal more. He had just a few entries left to read. It wasn’t going to be that hard to just sit down and read the both of them. There was something though about the journals that still scared him. Reading him would mean that he believed what was in the journals. Believing that meant that his life wasn’t normal because of them. Seeking out Raven Shadow for any reason meant that he was going to take his life and give it a twist. Did he want that in his life? Did he want to worry Marie and go and search for a woman who would over four hundred years old if the journal was correct?
His life was going to change no matter what he did. He had to talk to Marie first. That was the first thing that he needed to do. She would help him make sense of everything. He would help her sort it all out. It was what he needed to do…he just didn’t want to do it. He loved her, he knew that but there was something that was holding him back from telling her about all of this. She had never once seen the journals. He had never told her about the dreams and the visions. She knew a little about the sensory spikes but that was it. She didn’t know how much he could smell things.
Grabbing the envelope, Elian put the letter back inside it. He grabbed the unopened letter and looked at it. He assumed the letter was for Raven. That was another thing. Did he want to open it? Did he want to chance losing Marie over what was in the letter? He knew enough with the visions that he was having that it could happen. Entering the dining room, he pulled the two floorboards up that he needed to access the hidden area where he kept the journals. He opened the box and placed the letter underneath the journal that he still had to read. Rocking back on his heels, he sat down to read the journal entry that was next. His hands started to shake. The last time that he had read and entry, his whole life had changed. What would this entry hold for him
I write in this journal even though I feel like I should be out ripping the heads off of wolves. I came home for a visit. With Dmitry and his family gone, my closest friend gone. I have little that binds me to England. My parents visit me often in Scotland so I have little reason to visit them but I decided to on a whim. Finding quick passage had been tricky but I had managed it. I didn’t want to run the entire way, that wouldn’t have done for a lady of my stature.
I arrived at dusk and found it odd that there was no one around. It was then that it hit me. This was the same thing the night that I had found the Darkan family slaughtered. I rushed forward, going faster than I should have and found the servants all dead. I found my mother in the entryway to the house, her heart ripped from her chest. I found my father not far from where she was, his heart ripped out by his own hand. My father loved my mother so much that he couldn’t think of living his life without her.
The Darkans and the Shadows were gone. The pseudo-royalty that had been the shining light for the vampires and werewolves was gone. The same weak strain of wolves had wiped them out. I have no clue why but they made an error that I will not give them the chance to repeat.
I vowed twenty five years before to kill those who killed Dmitry. The smell of the wolves surrounds my nose. Every time I smell this smell I will think of those who killed my friend and his family, as well as my family. The entire house smells of rotten milk. Other than in a rank kitchen, I had only ever smelled it the night that at the Darkan house. It was something horrible, the smell of rotten milk. To match the horribleness of what they were.
Elian closed the journal and felt a tear streak down his face. Raven’s story was making him cry. He hadn’t read a story that had made him cry in a while. He put the journal back in the floor and closed it all up. He had a lot of thinking and working to do.
I fear for the young wolf. I don’t know what he knows of the world that truly exists. I fear that coming to him and trying to give him help might just scare him away. I have to watch from afar as he makes decisions that he is not capable of making. I can smell something that he gives off. The smell of burnt sugar. I had only smelled it once before and the woman who smelled like it had been killed by the Darkan servants. Dmitry had been young and I had never been given the reason she had been killed. Now I wish I knew.
I left Dmitry. I might have been able to save him and his family if I had just stayed around. I won’t make that mistake again.
I will redeem myself but saving him from the things that he can’t save himself from. Even if it means that I have to let him stay human. Even if the Darkans have to leave the world forever.