In The Darkness

What she would find that day would change the world she lived in. Ancient pages would show her things that no one would ever believe and lead her to a land beyond her home town of Lockley.
Louisa McCain discovers an old diary in her basement, that tells her of a fantasy land that she could only dream of. She slowly gets entranced by the idea of the beyond, the potential that it holds. She becomes obsessed with finding this place called Philia, frantically scrambling to put together the clues and find the portal.
If she does, will it all be what she imagined or will she be plunged into a world that she wishes she'd never found?


10. Ten

That visit had gotten me two things: new clothes and more information on Zach. The politics system within this society seemed to be coming clearer now. It was obvious that the angels held the majority of the power but I was yet to fully confirm my theories about the fountain.

Another question I also had to answer was were there just angels, werewolves and merfolk, or were there more supernatural beings out there in this world? Finding out that answer may just help me understand this world that little bit more, that could be the difference between me failing and succeeding. Having knowledge of every species that dwelled here could help provide me with as many of the pieces of the puzzle that I could get my hands on, giving me more chances at creating worthwhile alliances with people who opposed or wouldn’t be a liability and give me away to Zach because of his high stature.

I went back out onto the square after saying good bye to Miss Pennyweather and the old man, deciding to linger by the fountain for a little while, trying to decipher its hidden message a little more.

Upon closer inspection, little fairies spiralled up the lower section of the column, smaller than all the other creatures and just higher than the merfolk in the bottom pool. I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed them before, but could now see their iridescent glass wings and tiny stone bodies that had been carved into the grey stone.  

There was nothing above the werewolves though, that I could see from this angle. I decided to slowly walk around the circular fountain to see if there was anything else I had missed within the stone.

I was so engrossed in the details of the carvings, trying to remember every single detail that I didn’t notice someone leant against the fountain.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!” I rushed to say after I had bumped into the person.

“It’s ok, no worries. Say, I haven’t seen you around these parts before. New around here?” I looked up to see a male of around my age, with olive green eyes that bored into mine. His hair was only slightly lighter than mine, the colour of milk chocolate, and it flowed like liquid chocolate too, just lightly dusting his brow.

“Yeah, I’m new.” I told him cautiously, not aware of what creature he was, yet there was something unusually familiar about those eyes that drew me to him.

I flashed back to the night with the wolves, my mind replaying the events as I blanked out for a moment.


It was the wolves.

I stayed as still as a statue, not wanting to be noticed by the creatures. I could still here them, padding around amongst the leaves, seeming to almost be circling me. I could see their shapes now, their broad shoulders and pointed snout and ears. There were around seven of them from what I could see, all sniffing the ground as if they had picked up a scent.

One came excruciatingly close to me, mere feet from my hiding spot. I held my breath, not knowing how receptive their hearing was but knowing from the nature programmes that my mum sometimes watched that it was pretty good.

One of them looked my way. Its olive eyes glinted, as it seemed to stare right at me. I stared right back at it, hoping to communicate that I wanted to remain hidden with a desperate look.

Stupid girl my conscience said it is only a wolf. It will not understand you. To my surprise, the creature, with a subtle nod of its head, turned around. The look in its eyes was almost human, as if it understood more than I thought it did. Maybe they were some kind of phenomenon as well.


“Are you ok? You seemed to blank out there for a moment.” He shot me devastating smile that had probably broken hundreds of hearts, yet it only continued to confuse mine. I was sure he was the wolf from the clearing, but I couldn’t be sure. Also, I couldn’t exactly come out and bluntly ask ‘Are you a werewolf?’ as it may be socially wrong around here.

“I swear I’ve seen you somewhere before.” I replied, a little dazed.

“Yes, there is something familiar about you too. I’m Xander Wolfendale by the way, a werewolf.”

Well that answered my question.

“I’m Louisa McCain.”

“And, if you don’t mind my asking, which group do you belong to, Louisa?”

“I’m...human.” I didn’t know if that was the right thing to say or not, but it would have to do. I was no good at lying or coming up with things on the spot, so the truth would have to suffice.

“Ah, that explains why I haven’t seen you before in Philia. I think I may have seen you on the Earth plane a few new moons ago though, correct? I would’ve been in my wolf form by the way.”

“Yes! I think so. I was the girl hiding in the bush. If I remember rightly, you nodded at me?”

“Oh yes, now it’s all coming back to me. So, what brings you here to Philia?”

“I was brought here.”

“By who?”

“Lord Zachariel, one of the angels.” His face fell at my news.

“Oh.” Was all he could say, clearly disappointed to hear.

“Don’t worry,” I whispered in his ear, “I’ve figured them out and am trying to escape.” I don’t know why I told him my plan, but I had a gut feeling that I could trust him, and I had learned to never ignore my gut again.

A smile broke out onto his face at his new discovery. I was glad to have found someone who didn’t get along with the angels; it took me one step closer to Earth with the alliance that I could hopefully form.

“How did you figure it out? Zachariel has brought many humans home but none have ever figured out until it was too late.”

“I overheard him speaking to some friends one night when I was going into the bathroom. They were laughing and joking about how he had tricked me with the oldest trick in the book.”

“You fell for that one! The angels have been using that one for centuries, the whole ‘we’re meant to be and I’ve been searching for you forever’ regime. Pretty much every girl falls for it straight away and goes back to their lair.”

“I almost didn’t at first!” I had to regain some of my pride here or else I would have no chance of getting his help, “In the beginning, I thought it cliché and typical, but then he looked at me and used some kind of angel magic on me or something and I just lost control of everything and ended up going with him.”

“Let’s find somewhere more private, Louisa. This place looks perfect from the outside, but in reality, it has its dark side as well. There are people pretty much everywhere spying for one species or the other, trying to pick out any traitors or revolutionaries.”

“Ok” was my reply as Xander took me through the village, down several narrow streets, and into a house down Lock Street.

All the houses on the street were the definition of perfection. Despite appearing rather small from their terraced exterior, they were all painted in untarnished sand. Their windows were precise squares that seemed to fit correctly in the crevice they were made for, gleaming like a jewel in the sunlight. Chronological numbers glinted in all their brass glory, as did the knockers and door handles that were placed in identical positions on each piece of walnut wood.

There was one house that stuck out like a flame in the dark, and not in a good way. Its windows were cracked and smashed, clearly abused and uncared for. The remaining shards of glass that precariously sat in the filthy frames had something on their tips that appeared to be dried blood, burgundy and foul smelling. Paint that was once the golden sand colour of the other houses had now been bleached to a peeling straw shade, which revealed the unsightly grey breeze blocks beneath. The door was hanging on to its hinges with its final strength, the wood cracked in places where, I assumed, someone had tried to break in. A solemn number ‘2’ swung by its final nail, covered in a grimy layer of dirt, unpolished for years. Compared to the other houses, or any house in that we had passed on our way to Lock Street, it looked like a mess, completely abandoned and dilapidated.

“This place is the only place I know we can pretty much guarantee privacy. I know it’s not the nicest looking place in the world, but it’s all we can get for these kinds of conversations.” Xander opened the door for me, screaming on its rusty hinges as it cracked a few inches to allow us inside.

“So,” he began, “tell me what’s happened so far. Every detail, no matter how stupid or ridiculous you think it sounds.” He placed both his hands on my shoulders, allowing me to relax without realising it for the first time in days.

“I know about the portal and the basis of it and where it leads to on Earth. That was where I first encountered Zach.”

“That’s a good start then. Some humans that come here are completely oblivious to what’s happening and just think it’s a dream. It’ll make it a lot easier to escape if you make Zachariel think you think this is all a dream or some kind of fantasy. He’ll keep his defences down a little more, giving you a better chance of getting back to Earth.”

“Ok. I don’t know what he thinks I know at the moment, but I’m sure he thinks I’m still oblivious to what’s going on fully.”

“Good. Now, continue with what’s happened so far, if you don’t mind.”

I recounted every moment I could remember from the moment I was taken here, to when Zach left me by the fountain to meet with some friends. I told Xander about the blue smoke and how I had found out about the fraud. Everything.

“Let’s clear some of this up for you then. Bear in mind I don’t know everything about the angels and what they do to their humans, but I know some basic things. That blue smoke you see? That’s the energy transfer. Zachariel uses you as a food source almost, taking energy from you every time you some into contact. The blue smoke only appears after you kiss because it is a stronger energy transfer, going directly from your lungs to him.”

“How does that work? I need to know as much as I can about them so I can be prepared for anything, so tell me everything you know.”

“The biology of it is that when you take a breath in, the oxygen that is used for your respiration goes to your cells, as usual, but the blood stream takes about half of the energy you make back to the lungs so that an angel can feed off the energy.

“This process begins by an angel’s kiss and the only thing that can stop it continuing, and eventually killing you, is by killing the angel who began the process. Think of it this way, the angel is like a magnet for your energy. The energy is attracted to the angel so goes towards it. The only way to stop the angel from being the magnet is by destroying it so it can no longer attract the energy.”

“I see...” I dwelled on what I had just been told; now realising I had another task to add to my agenda.

“In order for you to be fully free, we need to also kill Zachariel, or else you will still have ties to this world.”

“What would happen if we didn’t kill Zach and I went back to Earth?”

“I have no idea. I’ve heard that angels can always find the one they’re linked to for energy transfers, so he would probably go through the portal and get you at the nearest new moon.”

“And if he didn’t find me?”

“Oh, he would. If he didn’t, he would surely die, as would you. Therefore, the only way for you to escape is to get rid of Zachariel.”

“How do we do that?”

“Who said there was any ‘we’?” Xander seemed to be getting a little annoyed at my assumption that he would help me.

“Are you an enemy of the angels?”

“Yes.” He replied curtly.

“Do you despise them?”

“Hell yes.”

“Do you have a reason not to help me?” I asked, hoping he wouldn’t find a way to answer no to this final question.

“Not really, no. I suppose it’s putting my life on the line for yours but if I got my pack to help, I’m sure we’d have few problems disposing of Zachariel and getting you through the portal to Earth. I’d definitely see some benefits too.”

“I was hoping we’d be able to shut down the portal as well, so no more people will be in danger, like I have been.”

“WHAT?!” Xander bellowed, shaking the unstable foundations of the building. “We can’t do that. It will mess up the natural order of life and potentially kill off Philia’s angel population.”

“Isn’t that a good thing though? I thought you hated the angels.”

“No, it’s not a good thing. I hate the angels, don’t get me wrong, but if they became extinct, Philia would be submerged in a war that would last decades, if not centuries. Our political system would collapse from the top downwards and would cause a giant scramble between all the species to gain the angel’s position at the top after they’d gone.”

“Oh.” I hadn’t expected that doing one seemingly minor thing would set off something so major.

“Yes, you see why we can’t do that now? It’s like if you decided to save all the rabbits from the foxes, the foxes would die out and there would be too many rabbits as well. It is exactly the same with humans and angels. There has to be predators in the world to keep the balance of the prey. If that balance is upset, many other aspects of the world will also become unbalanced until every species on Earth, Philia and any other dimensions that are linked to these two worlds will become lifeless, barren lands. All of the life that has been created there made just to be destroyed again.

“I’m not really supposed to be helping you escape. I’m upsetting the balance just that tiny bit by doing this. Hopefully, it won’t be enough to cause anything too major as it’s only one angel and one human, but I don’t know. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

“But you don’t even know me!” I blurted out, mentally scolding myself for trying to dissuade Xander from helping me, yet my inner curiosity wanted to know why this new stranger wanted to help me when he could potentially be upsetting the balance of our two worlds.

“I don’t know why I’m going to do this.” He shot at me, “It’s stupid, reckless and downright idiotic, nothing like I normally am. Yet, I have a feeling in my gut that I should help you. That you need saving from Zachariel and that I can’t let him take your life today, tomorrow or whenever the hell he wants.

“My head says this is ridiculous but my gut says to ally myself with you. That something good could come out of this hole riddled plot that we’ve just half constructed.”

“Listen to your gut.” I told him, knowing from experience that ignoring it was the worst option, “I ignored my gut back when I first met Zach. It kept on telling me it was all wrong, he was all wrong. Me being stupid, I put a damper on my instincts and listened to what my head and heart told me was more rational and believable, that there was no way that angel could do no wrong. Clearly, I was wrong, and I’ve been regretting not listening to that niggling in my gut since I found out that Zach was a fraud; a liar.”

I don’t know why I was spilling my heart and soul out to this guy. I had known him all of five minutes and I was already making alliances with him and telling him my innermost thoughts and feelings. My gut told me to though. And I was never going to leave my gut instinct in the dark again; never would I abandon it to the oblivion inside me again. Something just felt right about Xander, just not in the same way that Zach had felt ‘right’.

When I looked back on the first time I met Zach, that feeling felt plastic; fake in comparison to the emotions I was experiencing now. Xander just somehow felt like someone I could trust, that I could rely on to help me out of the pit that I had got myself into.

It was nothing like those gooey romantic novels where the protagonists say ‘it’s love at first sight’ and all that jazz. It was more like I could just tell; almost predict that Xander and I would form a strong alliance, if not friendship, that would last a long time. I knew that I would have his back and he would have mine, even though we had only met a few mere minutes ago.

We stood in silence for a few minutes, whilst we both were consumed in deep thought. It wasn’t an awkward silence though; it was comfortable, as if we both knew what the other was thinking about.

“I’d better get back to the fountain. Zach said he would meet me there at sundown after he had met with some friends.”

“His friends are the other politicians in the area. This world is run by the angels, you see. You know the fountain in the middle of the square?”

“Yes. It represents something, doesn’t it?”

“Exactly. It represents the political structure of Philia.” Just what I’d thought. “As I’ve said, the angels are on top, then it’s the werewolves, like me, then the fairies and finally the merfolk.”

“How come the angels are on top?”

“They were the ones that discovered the portal that led to Earth. Simple as that. The werewolves were next because many were afraid of us because of our strong pack bonds and loyalty to one another. The fairies just beat the merfolk to third because of their powers, but they’re still no match for the angels or werewolves.”

“Where is the portal then?”

“You’re just full of questions aren’t you?” He joked, opening the door so we could leave.

“Yes. I need to know as much as I can though, to have the best chance of getting away from this place.”

“Ok. I’ll have to show you the location of the portal some other time, as you’ll have Zachariel waiting for you soon.”

I looked up to the now flaming horizon that burned with an orange rage that continued up to a ruptured red that exploded in a magma of colour. It was almost sundown, which meant it was almost time for me to go back to that beautiful prison.

“So, you’ll help me then?” I asked Xander, wanting to be one hundred percent sure of where I stood after our conversation.

“Yes.” He replied confidently, sticking out his hand for me to shake, “Allies?”

I shook his hand, confirming his question with an answer of “Allies”.

“Good. I’m guessing you’re going to the official’s ball tonight with Zachariel? He normally brings his current human with him, so I’m expecting you’ll be there.”

“I think so. He hasn’t mentioned it yet, but Miss Pennyweather in the tailor’s mentioned it to me as if she expected I would be going as well. So probably, yes.”

  “Good. We can meet there then. I’ll try and find you if you do go. If not, I’m always around town if you need to discuss plans any further.”

We were just around the corner from the fountain by now, after our relaxed walk from the wrecked house within the labyrinth of streets and alleys. We stood still for a moment, my back against one of the walls.

“Ok. We need to discuss, when,” I counted off one finger, “where,” a second, “and how.” a third. “Once we have those details secured, we should be set to go. I’ll see you tonight then at the official’s ball.”

“Yes. Remember, I’ll find you. Don’t look for me. Zachariel might get suspicious and pick up on our plans. We can’t let that happen. He would terminate you. So, I will find you tonight and we will further discuss our plans with a few members of my pack, ok? Are you clear?” Xander went extremely stern then, obviously very serious about how we would arrange the plan and our council.

“Clear, Xander. I’ll see you tonight then. Bye.”

“Bye Louisa. Don’t do anything you’ll regret before tonight but act natural. Oh, and, also, don’t eat or drink anything Zachariel or any of the other angels give you.”

And with that, he was gone, heading off back into the maze of streets as the sun sunk over the roofs of the buildings.

Why couldn’t I eat anything? I knew not to trust them anymore so why didn’t he just leave it at that. Maybe they were putting something in my food and drink. I did feel like I was drugged, especially at the start, after eating. I would have to ask Xander about that tonight, or possibly see if they had a library in this village that I could visit on my next trip here, they would probably have a book or paper on the drugs of this land.

I would have to ask Zach if they had a library or book shop, and then just say I was bored and thought reading would give me something to cure that boredom, to cover up my tracks.

He was stood by the fountain when I reached it, his golden hair glistening attractively in the evening glow. His silver eyes gleamed when they saw me, like a predator had spotted its prey. Before, I would have surely swooned or something dramatic, but now, I felt like throwing up at the sight of his perfection. It was now too perfect to be real, too fake to belong anywhere in my life.

“Hello, my love. Did you have a good trip?” His smooth voice glided over me like honey, yet made me want to spit in his face and tell him to go stuff himself. I had to keep up the facade though, just for mow, just for my safety.

“It was lovely thank you.” I strained to keep my voice polite, but I did with great effort.

“It completely escaped my mind earlier and I just remembered after I had left, would you like to attend the official’s ball with me tonight?”

“Of course, I would love to!” I almost squealed with anticipation, knowing that Xander had planned this to happen so that we could continue to piece together the puzzle that was our plan. Everything seemed to be laying into place too perfectly. I knew there had to be a catch of some kind attached to this that would make the meet up more difficult or impossible.

“Great! I should have told you earlier so you could’ve gotten a dress sorted-“

“No problems.” I butted in, “I got a dress suitable from the tailor’s earlier.”

“That’s great. It means I don’t have to go running around trying to locate one at such short notice for you.”

Silence fell over us, an uncomfortable noiselessness that was the complete opposite of the break in the conversation that Xander and I had experienced earlier in the house.

We completed the same routine as we did earlier, him holding me beneath him as we flew back to the cave in utter silence.


I was ready for the ball, the bags that cursed my eyes disguised by a layer of foundation that had been precisely layered on my face. The bronze dress fit like a glove and went perfectly with my elegant up do and subtle makeup. 

Any other night, I would’ve been excited to get this dressed up and go to a ball with a boy but not this time. This ball had a darker purpose, I could tell. It seemed like it was a congregation of all the creatures of the world, or at least all those with a position worth accounting for. I knew that there were clear enemies between the species and certain groups within them for one reason or another that I did not know. I hoped nothing would break out tonight between them, that they all had some kind of pact that they upheld, at least for this one night, that prevented them from transforming a serene ball room setting into a battle field for politics and lives.

A blood bath was playing out in my head, being premeditated in my mind. Visions of fairies being beheaded flashed in my imagination, merfolk being scaled like helpless fish out of water, unable to do anything to prevent their demise except meagrely trying to fight back for their final breathes. I knew that, if it came down to it, the final species remaining would be the werewolves and the angels. They obviously didn’t get to the top of the pyramid by sheer luck; they would’ve had to work for it in blood, sweat and tears.

“Louisa!” Zach called out from somewhere in the cave, his voice echoing around the empty space.

“I’m coming now, Zach!” I shouted back, pulling on my heels as I opened my door.

“Our transport is here now, my love.” He said as I walked out into the hallway, meeting him halfway. “You look stunning.” He told me, a smile on his face, that seemed so real, yet I knew was not as real as I had perceived it to be.

He came over to me and hugged me around my waist, seeming to breathe in the scent of my freshly washed hair. His lips moved into my scalp, caressing my skin with their gentle softness that I knew had a much darker agenda than they seemed to.

“I love you, my Louisa.” He whispered with a hot breath that sent involuntary shivers down my spine. I couldn’t help them coming, in rolls of pleasure across my body. It wasn’t my mind or my heart that was reacting though, it was just my body. I did not love this angel and never could, I only lusted for him. There was a big difference.

I tried my hardest not to stiffen beneath him as he moved his lips to mine for a soft, slow kiss that I knew was his way of feeding off me. I had to restrain my instinct to back away, the flight reaction that was building up inside me in a huge hold of tension, like an earthquake being held back, ready to be released and building up power with every second longer it was held. I had to fight it off though, had to restrain the urge to shove him away with all my remaining strength.

I had to make a decision soon if I was going to push him away, as he delved deeper into my mouth with his tongue, eating at my very essence and taking my energy from its very source. I could feel myself almost floating away, on the verge of being fully drained. Could that happen just from a kiss or did something more have to happen?

Xander’s words of warning drifted through my head like a balloon through the sky, reminding me what he said I shouldn’t do. Don’t do anything you’ll regret before tonight but act natural. The words haunted me, reminding me to act natural but not do anything I regretted at the same time. My strength continued to dwindle as Zach continued to kiss me, becoming more violent as I tried to seem responsive whilst thinking of what to do in my head.

Would I regret pushing him away? Would it not be natural to push him away if I thought things were going too far? I was being paranoid, over thinking things like usual. I just had to listen to my gut and it was telling me to push away. It knew things were going to go too far if I wasn’t careful and I would do exactly what Xander had warned me against.

I felt the flood of energy that I was losing slowing down to a trickle, signifying the near end of my supply and that I would soon hit the floor and breathe my last breath.

I mustered all the strength I had left, getting a good grip on Zach’s broad chest and shoved, removing my lips from his by a few centimetres, but it was enough to save me.

“No” I whispered, before collapsing onto the cold, hard floor, relenting to the exhaustion that had built up and finally, consumed me in a dark embrace. 

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