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?

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12. Twelve

I needed to order my thoughts, as they had been scattered like ashes all over the place. The fresh air aided my task, by soothing my pounding head and pushing my knowledge around in my mind so that it made some kind of sense.

It was then that I heard voices. They were just around the corner. I recognised them almost instantly and knew I had to listen in. It was an opportunity for more information.

“Zachariel,” the leader’s voice whispered, “how are you doing with your current food source?”

There was a pause and then Zach replied, “I think everything is going to plan, sir.” And that was all he said.

“In what ways, Zachariel?” the leader pressed, clearly needing details.

“She is compliant and obedient. I have been feeding frequently off her and she seems to be a strong human, with plenty of energy. What more could I ask for?”

“Hmm...when are you going to complete the feeding process, Zachariel? It has been a while since you first brought this mortal here. Don’t you think it is time for the feed to be completed? Especially since the next new moon is approaching. The timing seems perfect, don’t you think?” They were going to get him to kill me. I knew it. I had to be on high alert now. The leader wanted Zach to finish me off so he could get his next victim. I couldn’t allow that to happen.

Zach paused, probably contemplating his choices. He then said, “No”. It was just a simple no, with no reasoning what so ever, but it changed my opinion of him almost instantaneously. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I had seen him as. Maybe I didn’t give him enough credit.

“Why not?” the leader seethed, clearly building up a temper.

“She is strong, sir. She has at least another moon cycle’s worth of energy in her. I can just tell. I think I need to keep this one for at least another cycle. She is a strong woman, with lots of energy within her and I just know I need to keep her, at least for a little while longer, sir.”

I couldn’t understand why Zach was standing up for me like this. There was no reason for him to do this, yet he was. I didn’t think I was any different than the other girls he had fed off, but obviously I was wrong. Or maybe he was like this with all the mortals he fed off. There was a possibility he just had a soft spot for humans and didn’t want to kill them.

“Ok, Zachariel. It is your decision at the end of the day. If you die, do not blame me or your brothers. This was your choice to continue feeding off this mortal. If she dies, you must not come to your brothers or me asking to feed of our mortals. Do you understand?”

“Yes. I do, sir. I would never do that to you or one of my brothers.”

“Good, Zachariel. I trust you have kept the girl on the euthanacide?”

“Of course, sir.”

Wait, what was euthanacide? It sounded like some kind of drug. Maybe that’s why Xander had told me not to eat or drink anything the angels gave me. They had probably been drugging my meals with this euthanacide since I got here to try and keep me unaware of what was going on and in that state of ecstasy I had been in back when I first arrived. Like all drugs though, the effects were becoming less apparent in me. My system had adjusted to the drug and put a halt to the side effects and the highs and lows had become increasingly closer together as I continued to take the drug, without realising.

I bowed out of my eavesdropping, thinking I had heard everything that I needed to from that particular conversation. I had to find Xander now. I had to tell him about what I had just overheard about the euthanacide. If I found Harriet along the way, that would just be a bonus.

I dashed back inside, the grass brushing against my still bare feet, leaving the talking angels out in the still night air. The corridors were filled with people, talking in quiet voices as they talked about topics that I could not identify.  There were a few that were shouting to their friends in other rooms, but aside from that, the harsh whispers were the only thing that slithered down the corridor, muffling together into a mass of hushed riot.

The ball room was the most likely place he would be as that was where everyone had been before. I entered the stunning room, finally taking in the details that I had not noticed before. The walls were covered with floor to ceiling mirrors, making the room look thousands of times bigger than it already did. There were slim marble pillars, white with small specks of black interwoven in an intricate chaos, which split the mirrors into sections, giving the place even more extravagance.

It was so fascinating and detailed, large and perfect, yet you wouldn’t want to live there yourself. The place exuded a coldness, that was not aided by the white colour schemes and monochrome furniture that the owner had gone for. I felt unease from the place that came from the foundations up. It slithered up the perfectly painted walls like a snake and flared up to the ceilings.

Couples danced uniformly around the ball room, their backs primly straight and their noses upturned to those lower than themselves. A string quartet played in the corner of the room, their faces solemn and uninterested, and their fingers moving monotonously up and down the strings of their instruments.

Despite this room being slightly less crowded, I could not see Xander anywhere or Harriet for that matter. All I could see was the aristocratic angel couples that swept the floor with their gowns, their necks adorned by hundreds of gleaming jewels.

I departed from the room, retreating as silently as I could, not wanting to be scrutinized by the piercing glares of the upper class.

“Oof” The air was knocked out of me as I bumped into a hard body behind me. A hand slithered up to my face, covering my mouth, my eyes bulging out of my head in pure fear. I tried to scream but nothing came out. I couldn’t struggle, the man was too strong. I began to panic, as I was dragged into an unoccupied room, unsure of what was going to happen.

I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, indulging myself in the pitch black silence that accompanied the action. I didn’t want to know what was happening to me. If this was the end, I didn’t want to know. I wanted to go quietly and without hassle. I didn’t want the person behind me to have the satisfaction of my screams and my tears or to hear my pain as they took my life.

My inner monologue was cut short by a voice. It was a voice I had met only once in my life, but the way it sternly said my name made me the happiest person alive. I turned and embraced the man, thanking all the gods that it was Xander that I had bumped into and not an angel or, even worse, Zach.

“Thank god it was you.” I whispered into his shirt, not even aware of the tear that slipped down my cheek.

“It’s ok, Louisa. There’s no need to get so emotional.” He told me, hugging me back a little.

I pulled back then, wiping my face of the salty tracks that were on my face and the droplets that sat in the corner of my eyes, waiting to fall.

“I’m ok.” I told Xander, and partly myself, exhaling a large breath I had been holding.

“Good. We have important business to discuss.” Xander had put on a serious tone, going from friend to ally in an instant.

“Where should we begin?” I said back, in an equally business-like tone.

“My pack is waiting outside, around the back of the angel king’s mansion. They are in their wolf forms but are prepared to turn to their human forms as soon as we obtain a safe distance between the angels and ourselves.”

“Are there any other werewolves in here?”

“No, I managed to sneak in around the back and hid among the humans as one of the food sources. It was a huge risk, but I managed to stay undercover.”

“Good.” I faded off into silence, then a question hit me that I needed to voice; that I needed to know the answer to. “Why did you risk so much for me? What am I to you?”

“A way to get back at the angels for what they have done to this world.” Xander replied nonchalantly.

“Is that all?” I had a feeling that wasn’t everything, but I wouldn’t push him too far if he didn’t want to tell me.

“That is all, Louisa.” the way he said it made it seem final, that he would not be questioned further on the matter. So I left it, deciding that he would tell me some other day and that there were more important topics to discuss at this moment in time.

“Can we go out to your pack now?” I asked after a minute or two of silence.

“Of course” Xander replied, ushering me towards the door.

His mouth came towards my ear, and then he whispered, “People will know who you are. We need to leave this room separately so it does not look suspicious. You will leave first and head towards the front door. Then turn left and you will see that the stone porch wraps all the way around the mansion. I want you to walk around the left hand corner and wait there for me. I will only be a short while. Once you leave this room, I want you to act inconspicuously and give them no reason to find you out of the ordinary. I need you to stay out of the sight of the dignitaries, and if Zachariel is back or any of the other arch angels for that matter, I need you to avoid them. If you come into contact with any of them, you may be taken away for the rest of the night and my cover may be blown, putting my whole pack at risk. Do you understand, Louisa?”

“Yes” I said simply.

With a final reply of “Good”, Xander pushed me out into the hallway, concealing himself from sight as the door opened and then closed again.

I put on a neutral expression, focusing my eyes on my point of exit, only taking a few seconds to browse the crowd to see if any of the arch angels were out there. They weren’t there yet.

I briskly walked through the corridor, sliding in between the people that stood congregated on either side of the hallway. No one I recognised stood against the walls, which was a good thing for once. The dark wood door was right in front of my now, the brass door knob beneath my fingertips, ready to be turned. Then I heard a voice.

The voice was familiar and sent shivers up my spine. It had been doing for a while but for multiple reasons. I saw the face that accompanied the voice, the perfect face with those silver eyes that seemed to look into your soul.

I had to get out now, or I would never get out. The door knob twisted smoothly beneath my grip, my hand beginning to sweat a little from the riskiness of this mission. I slipped through the small space between the door and the frame, just slinking through the gap that would hopefully go unnoticed from a distance.

My breath expelled a small cloud of mist as I released the sir I had been holding in my lungs.

“Harriet!” A male voice yelled in the distance. It had to be Raphael.

I ran around the corner that Xander had told me to go around, diving behind the wall just as Harriet appeared from around the opposite corner, her cheeks stained with black mascara died tears.

“Raphael! I know you think lowly of me but I never expected you to try something like that on.” Harriet hissed at the raven haired figure as she sent him a cursive glare.

“I need to feed off you though, Harriet! I can’t go much longer. Either I die, or you do. I thought you wanted this!” Raphael exuded an anger so fierce that it would make the strongest of mortals quiver with unadulterated fear.

“I know! I know! But I don’t want that anymore Raphael!” She screamed at him, rivers flowing freely down her flaming cheeks, extinguishing the fires under her skin.

“What do you want then?” Raphael retorted, sounding even more frustrated.

“I want to be happy.” Harriet whispered, the tears slowing to raindrops of pain.

Raphael was silent as he looked at Harriet, seeing her for the damaged young woman that she was.

I felt like I was intruding at that moment, that I shouldn’t be listening in on this row that they were having but I just felt in my gut that I had to. I would probably be able to discover more about the angels and their prey after a few moons and how they interacted, possibly how they finally took the lives of their victims.

It was clear to me that Raphael and Harriet were nearing the end of the feeding process as Harriet had been missing from Earth for several months. I knew that an angel couldn’t feed off one human forever; they had to kill them eventually and find a new prey.

“I’ve found a home here.” Harriet continued, tears bleeding from her eyes then falling to the grass below her feet. “I never thought I would, but I did. I never thought I would be able to love anyone but I am.” She then looked up at Raphael, their eyes meeting, creating a connection so powerful, it was almost unreal.

I looked away for a moment, leaning against the smooth wall behind me. Harriet had fallen in love with Raphael? The way he looked at her clearly indicated that her feelings were reciprocated, or was it just an act that every single one of the angels had orchestrated to play upon their face every time they were confronted with this situation? I suppose I could never really know as I was not one of them. I would never know the inner workings of their minds and what their motives were for every individual thing that they did. I could never truly know an angel, or anyone else for that matter. Everyone has their secrets, the things that they want to keep hidden from everyone else that only they know. Everyone had their mystery.

I peeked around the corner, wanting to know what had happened between Harriet and Raphael.

I saw Raphael, a shocked expression on his face as Harriet just stood there in front of him, clearly waiting for some kind of answer.

“Well then?” Harriet demanded. I began to think that maybe Harriet hadn’t fallen for Raphael, maybe it was someone else.

“I don’t know what to say.” Raphael said, “How could you fall for one of them ugly beasts!?” he roared, clearly angered again by what Harriet had said to him.

“Love is unpredictable!” Harriet countered, “I didn’t exactly have a choice in this! I just met him that time when we visited the village and everything went from there!”

“You did have a choice!” The fight continued, their voices both escalating in volume.

“I did not!”

“You did! You didn’t have to fall in love with the guy! You didn’t have to kiss him!”

“Who says I did kiss him!”

“Well you certainly implied it by saying that you fell in love with him!”

“Ok, then. I have kissed him! What’s that to you though, eh? Nothing.”

“It is everything to me!”

“And why’s that Raphael?” Harriet spat, looking at Raphael as if he was dirt on the bottom of her shoe.

“Because I have to feed off you, Harriet, and I don’t like contaminated food personally. You are mine and mine alone. I have kept off killing you so far, but your chances of survival are looking pretty slim at the moment.”

“Oh are they now? Who’s to say that I have to stay with you in anyways?” Harriet was getting a little too cocky now. She clearly didn’t know that Raphael would be able to find her, even if she did escape with her new boyfriend.

“I say and so do the laws of this world. If you run away, I’ll be able to find you. You can’t run away Harriet Shaw. Wherever you go, I will always be able to find you. I will always drag you back here, kicking and screaming if I have to.”

“How will you know where to find me, huh?” her challenge was doomed from the start. She was a goner, I knew. Raphael wouldn’t put up with this for much longer, so he would complete the feeding process, in the meantime, killing Harriet.

I knew it sounded morbid, but I had to watch. I needed to find out how the angels completed the feeding process so I could avoid it happening to me. It sounded selfish, I know, but all I could think about at the moment was self preservation, as most others would if they were in my shoes.  I would not die to the hands of any of the angels, whatever the costs, I would not die.

“I’ll know, Harriet. I’ll just know.” Raphael grabbed Harriet roughly by the forearm, his fingers squeezing at her pale skin, creating a patch of fire in the snowy white.

“You’ll never get to me, Raphael. I won’t let you, my werewolf won’t let you.”

“Well, he’s letting me get to you now, isn’t he? Where is he now, huh? Not such an obedient dog now, is he?”

The crack of Harriet’s palm hitting Raphael’s cheek echoed around the house, a sharp crack that sounded similar to a firework exploding in the sky.

“Oh, Harriet, Harriet, Harriet, you’re going to regret ever doing that when I’m finished with you. Actually, you won’t be around to regret anything. I’ve put up with you for goodness knows how many moons now, more than any angel has ever kept a food source around for and you repay me like this. I thought you were better than this Harriet, more respectful than that. Clearly I was wrong and need to terminate you whilst I still can, whilst I still have you here.”

Raphael twisted Harriet’s arm around her back, rendering her body useless as she collapsed against Raphael without any other options. He hissed something in her ear and she nodded, helpless to the powerful angel that stood behind her, his wings fully outstretched.

I couldn’t hear any more of their argument. It was all whispers and hisses now. They soon rounded the other side of the house, coming back the way they had come. I hoped Harriet would be alright. I wanted to know how angels finished off their food cycles, yes, but I wasn’t that mean to wish death upon someone who had no darker a record than my own.

All I could hear now was the rush of wind hissing through the branches, nothing else. There was no life to be seen outside the mansion any more, only the slight hum of hundreds of voices that came from the mansion. I looked up the driveway, into the darkness that could be seen out there. Silhouettes of trees and other plants swayed in the cool, night breeze, dancing solemnly in their uniformed lines.

Where was Xander? I was beginning to become more and more on edge, picking up on the slightest rustle in the grass below the porch. I poked my head around the corner of the house discreetly, hoping no one was around there waiting to see me.

My head collided with something rather solid yet fleshy. A chest I decided, looking up to see who I had bumped into.

 

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