The screams continued to pelt Graciela’s ear drums, though there seemed to be no way out of the small room. She slumped down by her bed, cupping her ears in an attempt to quiet down the voices. “There’s no one here. No one is here.” She chanted this mantra to herself in order to quell her fears, but it was to no avail. The voices never stopped shouting.
“Ladies, that is enough.” The voice in her head had cajoled the females, soothing their screams so they could rest peacefully.
Graciela lifted her head. The noises were gone, as if they hadn’t been begging for her to free them. She shuddered at the thought of them. “Did you send them to me?”
“No no, child. Those voices are the screams of people who have succumbed to the darkness of their world. They can only interact through one channel, and unfortunately you’re the only person able to access it.”
“What channel?” Graciela demanded.
“Why, the darkness itself of course. Unfortunately for you, it is your family that bears the curse so you must fulfill your destiny. The ending is inevitable but perhaps you can make a difference along the way.”
Graciela peppered the voice with more and more questions but it had refused to answer any more. Instead, it had disappeared altogether leaving Graciela with her thoughts. She tried to make sense of the cryptic words, but there just wasn’t enough there for her to confidently make a prediction. She wiped the remaining tears from her eyes, stood up, and dusted herself off. She suddenly didn’t feel like being alone anymore today.
Angel hadn’t felt this amount of trepidation in a long long time. When she was told she had a visitor at her little castle, she hadn’t expected to see her, Everly Thorn, standing there just as stunning as she had been decades ago. The girl’s thighs had been a little thicker, her hair a little longer, and her outfit showing off a little more skin, but Everly acted and talked just like Angel’s old high school sweetheart. “Everly,” Angel muttered, locking eyes with the mage. “You’re still…alive.”
“Wow, don’t sound too excited Angel,” Everly replied, shifting her weight. “There’s potions for this kind of thing. you should be more surprised that I came all this way to see you.”
“Yes,” Angel agreed. “You’re the last person I expected to show up here. Especially after the last thing you said to me. What was it? Oh, right. You hoped I destroyed the place I loved so much that it became unrecognizable.”
“I think you succeeded in that,” Everly retorted, lowering her eyes. “You said you wanted to make a future for all supernaturals to live without prejudice or discrimination. That’s hardly the case! Moonlight Falls, one of the few sanctuaries for our kind, is being ruled by a tyrant!”
“Hasn’t it always been run by a tyrant?” Angel asked, kicking her leg up on the end table that was littered with literature she had been reading a couple of days ago. “Damian was no saint.”
“Damian was terrible, but at least he maintained order! Altiere is despicable! Innocent people have died, been pushed out of their homes, tried for treason and worse!” Everly cried, stomping her sandal on the ground. “This is the future you saw for us?”
Angel glared at the girl. “First of all, you’re not in my future and you made that decision all on your own. Second of all, I fail to see how I’m to blame for Altiere’s rule.”
“See, that’s what I thought at first too. How in the name of the watcher could you of all people cause such mayhem? Even with your far out ideas, I never thought you leaving our town and founding your little guardians could cause so much trouble! What’s even worse is that these actions aren’t accidentally causing bad consequences. You’re doing this all on purpose!” Everly cried out, taking a step back as if for the first time she was very clearly seeing Angel for the monster that she was.
“I’ve done nothing but what needed to be done to make the future a better place for all of us, even the ungrateful people like you,” Angel replied, straightening herself up.
“Because taking the DNA from an old ancient vampire ruler, mixing it with Alistair Gray’s DNA, lying to him about it, and creating false memories about the man in everyone’s heads is helping the future? Do you know how many people you hurt? People like Declan Gage who might still be happy with his partner Alistair had he never got mixed up with a man YOU created! For crying out loud, you implanted false memories of love in his head when he had never even met the vampire!”
“Declan would have turned on Alistair anyway,” Angel said. She was glaring at Everly as if what the girl has said aloud was poison filling the room. “You don’t know that he wouldn’t have. His infatuation with Altiere was necessary…”
“For what?” Everly cried. “For what reason did you need to take Alistair’s DNA and mix it with a pureblood vampire’s? There was no reason to bring a fake Altiere to OUR home! Moonlight Falls is destroyed because of him!”
Angel waved the girl’s cries off and ignored her question. There was a good reason for all of her actions, but Everly didn’t deserve to hear any of them. “How do you know so much, and how did you find me?”
“I’ve been watching you,” Everly said as tears formed in her eyes. “This entire time.” She reached into her pocket to pull out a keychain with a dragon’s eye in the center of it. It was the same one she had given Angel when the woman had claimed she was leaving Moonlight Falls. “Something to remember me by, does that ring a bell?”
“You’ve enchanted the keychain you gave me!” Angel cried in realization. “You’ve been watching and listening to me through the keychain this entire time. How did I not see that earlier?” She balled her hands into fists as if she was ready to throw a punch.
“To be honest, I didn’t think you’d keep the keychain because it was from me.” Everly took a step closer to Angel. “Finding you was the hard part, that’s why I haven’t been here sooner. But…at least I know you still have feelings.”
“Get out,” Angel demanded, recoiling backwards before Everly could touch her. “I don’t know what you think you can accomplish, but just because you know what I’ve done in the past doesn’t give you an upper hand over me.”
“Of course it does,” Everly replied. “I know your list of guardians right now is really short. I also know you had to outsource your help from Declan and his little gang. Now, I’m aware I can’t save the world. I’m not that powerful. But, I want to protect Moonlight Falls with everything I’ve got. You will not tear it down any longer.”
“You can’t tell me what to do,” Angel spat, grabbing hold of Everly’s arm. “You’re still the same girl from back then, but I’m different. I’m more powerful.”
A loud shriek escaped from Everly’s lips before she could even fight back. A bolt of electricity ran up her arm. Everly tossed up a barrier, though it was hard to maintain it with the searing pain. “What…is this?” Soon the pain sizzled away and she was paralyzed.
“Alien technology,” Angel replied, holding up her finger. “Nano technology, so small you can’t even see it.” As Everly’s motionless body hit the ground, Angel called for one of her lackey’s to grab the girl and lock her up in the dungeon.
Camilla pulled her legs up to her chest. She listened as Graciela talked about the boarding school her parents wanted to send her to. “I don’t know what kind of school it is, but considering we haven’t seen Leon in five years…” Graciela’s voice trailed off. “Doesn’t bode well for me seeing you guys again.”
“Do you think it’s the school that is preventing Leon from coming home?” Camilla asked. “Or do you think it’s something else?”
“What else could it be?” Graciela asked, shaking her head. “The only other reason sounds way worse and it’s because he doesn’t want to come back. It doesn’t really matter anyway. I’m not going to that school and I probably won’t ever see Leon again.”
“Are you okay with that?” Camilla asked. “You never seeing Leon again is like me never seeing Pax again. We’re best friends, it’s impossible.”
“We’re sixteen now,” Graciela replied. “He left when we were still kids. I’m sure he’s grown up and matured just like I have. We probably don’t mesh well anymore.”
“Sounds to me like you’re just scared,” Camilla said. “That Leon has forgotten about you. We can call it a hunch, but I have this feeling you and Leon have this…connection. I don’t know how to explain it but I always felt like the two of you need to be together. Maybe he can help you with the new voice.”
“The new voice isn’t as scary,” Graciela admitted. “I’m sure it’s not here to help me, but at least it doesn’t taunt me and actually tells me what’s happening even if the information is vague.”
“So then maybe you really don’t need anyone,” Camilla concluded. “You’re strong as hell. If you don’t want to go to the boarding school, then to heck with it. Stay here with me and Pax.”
A loud knock on the door had Charlotte groaning outwardly. Her husband had been playing some video game with Waverly, Pax, and Gregg so she had no choice but to answer it herself. She placed the dish she had half washed back into the sink and waltzed over to the door. Opening it she let out a small squeak. “Dionysus? What are you doing here?”
“Miss me?” He asked before pulling his old friend into a tight hug. “Because I sure missed you guys so much. The life of wandering is tough.”
“Wander no more,” Charlotte said, taking a step back and allowing him entry into her house. “Should I even be surprised you found us in Fortitude? The place is well hidden.”
“I’ve been here before,” He admitted. “It’s a long story but I’m well traveled. Though when I heard you guys were here, I felt compelled to come and see how everything was going.”
“That sounds a little ominous,” Charlotte said. “You can just say this isn’t a simple hello kind of thing, it’s alright.”
“If you must know,” Dionysus began. “You’re going to have to feed me because I’ve been out for awhile. A nice dinner with the kids and seeing Camilla again will be good for everyone, no?”
“Then you’ll drop the bad news,” Charlotte replied. “After everyone is really happy to see you?”
“Never,” Dionysus replied. “I don’t have any bad news. Just some…speculations is all.” Before he could say more, he could hear the happy squeals of two teenage girls as they rushed to welcome him into their home.