Elian relaxed back into the chair beside Officer Self’s desk. He had given his statement and the Officer said that it matched up with what they had figured out form the CSUs and the witness reports. Elian was just waiting to sign the statement when another cop came running into the room.
“Shots fired. All available.”
“Elian, stay here. I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Officer Self said as he ran out of the room. Elian pulled out his phone and opened up the Kindle reading app. He had been reading a book on it when he had the time. Just as he started reading his phone started to ring. He looked at the caller ID and it was the library.
“Elian. It’s Jess. Rae got a hold of us to notify us and so did the Belpre Police. I wanted to let you know that when you feel you are up to coming back in, just let me know. Rae is donating vacation time to you for covering.”
“Thanks Jess. I’m at the station right now giving my statement. I don’t know what I am going to do about getting a hold of her family and giving her a funeral.”
“Like I said, just let me know.” The line clicked and Elian knew that she had hung up. He looked at the phone in surprise and then shook his head. He opened the reading app again and set to read.
“Elian?” a voice asked what felt like hours later. Elian looked up from his phone and saw an officer that he didn’t know. The man was in a regular civilian suit. He flashed out a badge and Elian saw that it was the Marietta Sheriff’s office. “Elian Coats?”
“Yes?” Elian set his phone down on the desk beside him and stood up. The detective looked a little upset.
“Officer Self told me that I would find you here. The entire Belpre Police responded to a call of shots fired in a residential home. It’s been a while since the cops here in town have had a call like that. Marietta was called in as well. I was just getting ready to head to work so I responded first.”
“Two intruders entered a house to rob it and startled the married couple inside. The intruders killed the residents and when they went to flee opened fire on the officers who had arrived.”
“Was anyone inured?”
“No injuries on the police side.” The officer looked away from Elian and Elian knew then who had been killed. He dropped back into the chair and there was nothing.
Raven was sitting on her back porch watching the day go by. In her hand was a cup of iced tea. She had seen all of the cops going to the far end of town but that wasn’t that unusual. People wrecked all the time. She heard the sirens and barely paid attention to it at all. It wasn’t until James Atrian came running onto her property that she sat up at attention.
“The Matians invaded town today. I caught their smell and traced it to Elian’s parents. Edward and Gail are dead. The police are calling it a home invasion.”
“Where’s Elian?” Raven asked. She grabbed the glass of tea and started into the house. She had to get dressed as Rae quickly. She looked at James for a few seconds before she beckoned him to follow her. She went right to her bedroom and started to change. James looked away as she stripped her dress off.
“He’s at the police station. I figured that me arriving would not be good. I’ll stay here and wait for updates. You are the better fighter.”
Raven snorted and moved to her closet to grab a pair of jeans and a shirt to wear. As she was putting her jeans on, James grabbed her arm to stop her. He had in his hand a small bottle. Raven sighed and grabbed the bottle. Taking the oil that was inside and spread it all over her body. She hadn’t done it yet that morning. “Thanks.”
“Always.” James was silent the rest of the time she was dressing and putting on her wig. Her contacts were last. She stood up and spun in a circle for James before he nodded and took hand, linking it with his arm. “Where is your dagger?”
“I am going into a police station, James. I have all my weapons in the car. I date not wear any on myself. Of course I am always a weapon.”
James laughed and smiled. He stopped when he reached the door. Rae moved to her car and paused before entering the care. She looked up at him. “What is he going to do when he finds out that I am not Rae Smith a regular born vampire and he figures out that I am Raven Shadow last of the Shadow line to be born?”
“I don’t know but I wouldn’t wait much longer before telling him. The longer you wait the madder he is going to be. Darkans are ruled by emotion. You need to not be.”
Raven got into the car and drove the short distance to the police station. She was standing outside and a dispatcher came out to talk to her.
“I’m here for Elian Coats.”
“Come with me,” the dispatcher said and she showed Rae through a door into a small hallway that led to two different doors. The first door had a window and she could see the regular police station. The second door had a window she could only see shapes through. “He’s in here.” She opened the door and Raven saw Elian lying on a couch with an EMT checking his pulse and vitals. There was a detective in the room that smelled of woodsmoke and trees. A bitten wolf then. He must have something to block the smell of blood if he worked at a detective. Raven used an essential oil solution when she worked to make sure that she never smelled a great deal of the smells inside a library. She looked and Elian and saw that he was moving, waking.
Elian opened his eyes and stared up at the light above him. He could hear the noises of people talking and moving around. He let his eyes adjust before he turned his head to see who was there. Rae was talking to the detective.
“So he was here when it was happening?” Rae was asking him.
“Yes. The two men who were killed by the cops are wanted in a string of robberies in Nelsonville. It was the first time that they broke into a house when people were inside. It’s an open and shut case. The poor guy. His girlfriend killed yesterday by a panther and now his parents. If the panther hadn’t been seen so much in the area before hand, I would be calling bullshit but I’ve been on one of the hunting parties for it. I’ve seen the damage it’s done. That it attacked humans was a surprise but not that much of one.”
“I know. I’ve contacted our work.”
“I was worried about the fainting but the EMT said that it was nothing serious just brain overload.”
“He’s had a time of it. Listen I know that you have a great deal to do. I have the contact for his lawyer who I am sure will handle all of the legalities of getting the house taken care of. His mother owns her own coffee shop in Parkersburg. I will take care of alerting the night manager to her death and them getting a schedule set up for someone to open tomorrow.”
“You are on top of this.”
“My parents were killed when I was in college. Drunk driver ran them off a bridge. I know how to close down a parents’ estate.”
“He’s lucky to have you.”
Rae didn’t answer him instead she looked over at Elian. “Elian!” Rae moved over to him quickly. Elian wondered at why she looked like the human instead of the vampire but he figured that she was just trying to stay hidden as a vampire in the human world.
“I want to go home,” Elian said. He hated that he couldn’t go to his home since the cops were treating it as a crime scene.
“Actually, we’ve been told to open it back up. We covered the upstairs window with a board, you can go home, Elian.” The detective handed over a sheet of paper that declared the crime scene at his house closed. “You know though, one would think that if we were in a crime drama novel, there would be some kind of link like the robbers bought the panther and turned it loose and you’ve been training it to attack Miss Harper for months using her scent. That you set up the robbers to kill your parents.”
“What about having him identify the bodies?” Rae asked. Elian looked at her in shock. He hadn’t even thought of that yet. Rae sat down on the edge of the couch. She placed her hand on his shoulder and rubbed a little. He closed his eyes and let himself relax. He could feel the wolf there just under his skin. If he wasn’t careful, he was going to change right there in the station.”
“You know I think that I know you from somewhere,” the detective said as he looked at Rae. Elian sat up quickly at that. The detective just stared at the both of them. He looked hard for a few seconds and then moved his hand up to his face. It looked like he was picking his nose but after a few seconds two little plugs came out. He inhaled deeply and then centered his gaze right on Rae.
“A born vampire…how interesting and a wolf…” He inhaled again and this time he looked at Elian in shock. “I’ll make sure that everything is dealt with quickly on this end, My Lord. You have my word on it.”
“Thank you.” Rae’s voice was careful and the detective looked at Elian and Rae both before he bowed and left. The EMT was in the hallway waiting for him. He shut the door and Elian wasn’t sure what just happened. He took a deep breath and all he could smell was smoke and trees. He took another breath and smelled not just smoke but it was like a burning tree.
“What was that?” Elian asked his voice pitched low.
“The rumors of a Darkan heir have been spreading through the wolf ranks for a while. He was a changed wolf. He was human before he was bit. James and I need to get you trained up on smells.”
“Each family of the twenty five has a smell to them. Technically two but one is indicative of the breed. I smell of cinnamon meaning that I am a born vampire. You smell of water and fresh turned earth. Earth is the smell of all born wolves; water is the smell of the Darkan family line. HE smelled of woodsmoke and trees. He basically smells like a forest that just had a fire. Before you were changed you smelled of crushed leaves and water. A born wolf that hasn’t changed will just smell of crushed leaves, only the ancient bloodlines smell of their bloodline smell as well.”
“What about the immortals, faes, and the witches?”
“They are easy. None can be made those so it’s just the simple smells. The only thing is that there are only five immortal families and no immortals that are not them. The rest are humans and they smell like…”
“Decay and almost like perfume.”
“Yes.” Rae smiled at him. A sound from her pockets alerted her that she had a text. She pulled the phone from her pocket and opened the message.
“Your lawyer has already gotten in touch with your parents lawyers. Once the death certificates are obtained the entire estate will be handled. Since you are the only living child, there is little that needs to be done by you. He’ll contact you.”
“How did you know that he was my lawyer?”
“The Atrians are in control of the Darkan trust. It’s known by a great deal of people. I was able to let them know that I knew who you were and where you were and that I wasn’t a threat. I am sure that I was looked into with great depth before James returned my call.”
“Why do you look so scared?” Elian could see the fear in her eyes when she thought that he was looking at her. He didn’t like her looking scared. He didn’t like it at all.
“James followed the smell of a Matian into town and he traced it to you parents. The Matians killed their own when she proved she couldn’t stop you from turning.”
“They were sure that I had already had sex before. Sex with you. Why couldn’t my mother have smelled that I wasn’t a human?”
“You would have still smelled like an unchanged wolf. The smell would stick with you until the end. You would be human yes but still smell like a wolf. It would have been your children, if you had them that would have smelled human.”
Elian just let the fact that his parents had been killed by the Matians go for now. He would talk it over with Rae at a later point in time; when he was settled in his house. Rae was typing away on her phone. Elian was tired and worn out. He didn’t care what she was doing.
“Will you drive?”
“I can yes. How did you get here?” Rae looked up from her phone at him. She had weak smile on her face.
“Walked. It’s not that far from my house.”
“Good. I drove in anticipation of that. We are free to go and James has a contractor coming to replace the glass in your house and to outfit it with an alarm system.”
“I don’t…” Elian stopped. Would a regular alarm system even work? “I don’t need one.”
“Yes, you do. Until you have control over your wolf form you will have trouble shifting to and from it. When you are settled, you can shift in seconds at the drop of a hat. Before that it will take time to start the shift.”
Elian stood up and started towards the door. Rae followed right after him, not touching him to help him at all. He was thankful for that. He was sure that if she touched him now he would start to cry. He didn’t want to cry in front of her. He wanted to cry in the solace that was his bedroom. The passenger side door of her car was open when he noticed he was beside it. He dropped into the car and found Rae already in the other side of it. She started her car with little fanfare and started to pull out of the parking spot. He tried not to think at all while they drove to his house. He saw that there was a car parked there in front of the house but not in front of the garage.
“I’ll check out the grounds and get all locked up. The people to fix the glass will be here in half an hour. I’ll take care of them. Elian you look like you got little sleep which I know you did. Go take a nap. You’ll find you are going to sleep a lot over the next few days and at odd hours. I’ll take care of everything.”
“I shouldn’t trust you as much as I do.” Elian stated. Rea just shrugged at him and shut off the car. Elian looked up and saw James sitting on his front porch. He was writing with one hand and using the other to hold up a glass to drink some water. He was talking and Elian couldn’t see anyone that he was talking to. Then he noticed the ear piece on his left ear and cell phone lying on the little table beside him. He waved at the both of them but went right back to writing. Elian barely made it up the stairs onto the porch. He entered the house when Rae opened the door. He entered the house and found no smell at all. There was no smell from Marie. No smell from the humans. He was intrigued but tired. He moved to the stairs that would take him upstairs but had second thoughts. Someone was coming to repair the window. He didn’t want to be bothered while sleeping. He turned and moved to the guest room on the ground floor.
Rae watched him as he opened the door and moved inside the room never saying a world. Elian dropped to the bed and closed his eyes, willing sleep to come.
Raven moved around the house fixing what the police had moved around. She waited until his breathing evened out and she was sure that he was asleep before she moved out to wait on the repair people. There was a small group of business men in Athens who did repairs and installs on Mystic houses. It was the same people who did everything on her house. She had given James their name and the man had arranged it all. Rae trusted the men with it all.
“The lawyers are being assholes.” James set down the notepad he had on the table and relaxed back a little.
“All lawyers are assholes. You are no different.”
“It’s going to take weeks to get the estate settled which I figured would happen but then if Elian wants to sell the house, the lawyers would handle that and then give him the money.”
“What about the coffee shop?”
“That will take a few weeks to figure out as well but they are starting the paperwork to change it all over into his name. Until it’s changed over all the money made each day needs to be put in the bank. All employees need to be paid and all bills paid. The bank has been notified and all forms are taken care of. I’ll be getting them in a few hours for Elian to sign. I have a notary bringing them, so that she can witness the signatures.”
“I’ll get ahold of the college. My replacement on the college level has been trained and able to take everything over. I’m done at the Belpre Library, their hours will be going back to normal effectively now. If need be I can take over for Elian at the coffee shop.”
“Good. I’ll go over everything with you before we talk to Elian.”
Rae nodded and pulled her phone from her pocket. She had a lot of texts to make over the next while. Elian was going to sleep and Rae would watch over him. She grabbed a chair and set it outside his room so that she wouldn’t have to focus that much on him as she worked. She silenced her phone and set about getting her life in order.
Elian knew that he was in a dream. He was standing beneath the half burnt tree. He could see the gravestones. The stones were cared for well. There was little age on them and the grass was taken care of. He looked around and saw no one but there was the castle. He started towards the castle and the smell of blood assaulted his nose as he went. It got stronger and he wasn’t able to smell anything but it.
Shoving the front doors open, Elian saw the destruction all around him. There were dead bodies all around. He looked back and saw that the tree looked normal and there were no graves below it. He started to wander around. He knew what night this was. He found the room. He found Darius lying dead in the crib with his father dead above him.
The smell of smoke drew him over to where a window looked out over the area where the tree was. Half of the tree was on fire and as it burned the leaves turned orange and stayed looking that color. The bark darkened and didn’t drop. Instead when the entire half of the tree was lit up, the fire disappeared and the tree was left looking like it had been. He stared at the tree and saw a woman with long flowing black hair staring up at him. She was too far away and he could only really pick out her hair. Her dress though was a deep blue color. As he watched her, she held out her hand and lightning struck all around the tree. He watched in fascination until she turned and pointed at him. A bolt of lightning arced right at him.
Elian woke up with a jerk. He looked around and saw that it was nightfall. There was no noise inside the house. He quickly got out of bed and opened the door to see that the house was dark. He padded around the living room looking outside. Rae’s car was still there but James’ wasn’t. He moved then to the back and found the back door shut. He just caught movement of Rae in the backyard though.
Watching her for a few seconds Elian made up his mind on what he was going to do. He moved to the dining room and pulled out the letter for Raven and the journal. If anyone would help him find her it would be her. She would help him find her. She would protect him. He trusted that Rae would protect him and James but Raven Shadow was his family’s friend. She had been hunting down the Matians for a while now. She would know best how to protect him.
The door sliding open had Rae looking back at him. She tucked something in at her side and shifted her skirt to cover it. Elian then noticed that she had changed into new clothes. These clothes were something that Elian would have probably seen on Rae the human but there was something that screamed Vampire to him.
“I need you to help me find someone,” Elian said as he sat down on the bench beside her. He worried at the letter a little before he sighed and showed it to her. There was no writing on it at all. There was only the smell of Earth and water. Her eyes widened at that. It was a strong scent like it had been around a Darkan wolf for a long while. She took the letter from him and held it up to her nose. “I need you to help me find who that letter belongs to. I need to find Raven Shadow.”
“Why do you need to find her?”
“I have to talk to her. I have to understand everything about my family. I need to understand why the Matians want me dead.” Elian looked at her and saw the look on her face. He couldn’t place it at all. “Will you help me find her?”
I cared for Elian today. I watched him while he slept and made sure that his house was safe; as safe as could be without witch enhancements. He is going to be so lost. He is going to be so vulnerable for a long while. I will be stuck with him for years. The Matians are still out there and after him. They have proven that they will kill innocents to get what they want. They will do whatever needs to be done. I will do whatever needs to be done.
Elian’s life was not served by him turning. If he had stayed human, his life would have been easier. I spent so long worrying about my redemption when I should have just left and never looked for him.
Who knows what would have happened if I had done that. He was obviously having visions of at least my garden. Who knows what else he has seen. He’s not called my Raven yet. He’s not even asked if my name is really Rae Smith. I’ve already made the decision to tell him who I am when he wakes up.
I just hope he don’t hate me too much for it.