“Huh… ?” that was all I could say.
After that I was speechless. Avalon? Daimonar? I was on a TV, or what?
“What a joke,” I said, twisting my mouth in a grimace. “Excellent one. You’re with those brats from across the street? If you break my window once again, I’ll break your legs!”
Blonde named Krish took out from her pocket a tiny notebook with a pencil.
“Unkind,” she began to speak and write. “Vulgar, old-fashioned, savage –”
“What are you doing?!” I got angry and wanted to snatch her notebook, but Nelavarasi grabbed my hand.
“Don’t waste our time, Stewart,” she said. Suddenly her expression changed. She looked at my hand, backing her. “You… You’re warm.”
“Huh?!” It totally baffled me.
“You shouldn’t be warm,” Nelavarasi said and glanced at her companion. “Krish, you know anything about that?”
Krish had still this tired expression on her face and continued to write. It really began to irritate me.
“Our task: find and bring to the Afterworld daimonar Toby Noel Stewart, residing on Bagnall Rode in Nottingham, UK,” Krish recited.
“You’ve made a mistake,” I said, even though all the data they received was correct. However, I had no intention of going to the so called Afterworld, or Avalon, with two madwomen.
“There is no mistake,” Nelavarasi said.
“Toby?” I heard a voice, coming from the kitchen. “Who is this? Someone to me?”
“No!” I shouted. “It’s… a classmate!”
“Remember that you’re grounded! Don’t talk too long!”
“Thanks,” I growled.
When I turned to strange girls, the expressions on their faces changed again. This time on both of them, which was amazing.
“Why are you still with your family?!” Nelavarasi hissed, again grabbing my hand and pulling me out of the house.
“Hey! What are you –” I protested, but she was surprisingly strong. Krish closed the door and followed us. “What are you doing?!” I yanked my hand from her grasp. “It’s called kidnapping, you know?!”
“After the Departure you can only once a year become a living and wander on the Earth!” Nelavarasi said. “Now… Now you won’t have a chance to do this on Halloween! Thanks, you ruined everything!”
“W-what?” I muttered. I had no idea what she was talking about. “What departure? What on Halloween –”
Nelavarasi had more to say, but Krish grabbed her sleeve.
“He’s not the daimonar,” she said.
“What did you say?” Nelavarasi asked dully, frowning. “But it all made sense! His personal data and place –”
“Apparently, there was a mistake,” Krish said. “He can’t be a daimonar, because he’s alive.”
“Alive?” Nelavarasi gasped and looked at me, as if it was a terrible news.
“Is it so weird?” I growled. “You would be happier if I was dead?”
“Well…” Nelavarasi grumbled. “If there was in fact a mistake, we apologize. Now you can continue to live.”
“Thank you,” I said angrily and was about to leave, when I saw something strange.
On the street not so far from us ghosts glided like a haunted procession. They were bewailing and I sensed from them… fear? Can ghost be afraid of something?
I got the answer a couple seconds later, when I saw behind them some stooped gentleman in a suit.
“Ghosts are worried,” I said and wanted to hide, but Nelavarasi stopped me.
“What did you say?” she asked shocked. “Something about ghosts?”
“Give me a break!” I growled and glanced anxiously over her shoulder. “If you value your life, you better run. Something uncool is coming.”
Suddenly a car exploded near us and choking smoke reached us. I coughed. Someone grabbed me by a shirt and I jerked, thinking it was that gentleman. Krish was piercing me with her grey eyes, not letting go of my clothes. Nelavarasi was looking for something in her bag.
“Damn it!” she hissed. “Where is it…”
A strange gentleman was getting closer. Ghosts already scattered and disappeared. What was even stranger, from nearby houses no one came out to see what happened, as if there was no explosion.
“Whatever you’re doing, hurry up!” I hurried Nelavarasi. “It’s getting closer!”
“Don’t stress me out!” Nelavarasi growled, pulling something out of her bag. “Found it!”
She held two stone seals in the shape of Celtic cross. She gave one cross Krish and put to her heart the other one. I was about to ask what it does, when gentleman suddenly roared and attacked, making around us even bigger cloud of smoke.
I screamed and covered my face with hands. After a while I lowered them, realizing I was fine. I blinked, trying to get rid of the dust from my eyes, then looked up.
I experienced another shock. Nelavarasi and Krish were standing in front of me, but they were not alone. Next to them were two wolves, one white and the other one with honey-colored fur.
“Are you okay, Stewart?” Nelavarasi asked.
“Y…Yeah…” I muttered. “What happened? What are these… creatures?”
“Creatures?!” the white wolf snorted and I got goosebumps. “You better look at yourself, brat!”
“It…” I stammered. It happened. I went crazy. “It talks… Why it talks?!”
“Shut up and –” Nelavarasi began angrily, but was interrupted by Krish’s warning.
“Fionn, combat form!” Nelavarasi said to the white wolf.
“Yes, ma’am!” the wolf cried and began to transform.
It wasn’t a pleasant sight, believe me. Its white fur stuck together like mud, which after a while covered wolf’s muzzle and paws. It became a mush. I was about to shout to Nelavarasi that her wolf rather than combat form turned into the mush, when the mush broke with a soft pop. Then I saw a beautiful Japanese sword with crisp white handle.
“What –” I said confused. “What happened to the wolf?!”
“You’re looking at it,” Nelavarasi said, pointing to her katana. “His true form. Daimons are our partners in the fight against the demons.”
“Daimons?” I said, having now a bit of a chaos in my head. “Demons?”
“Forget it,” Nelavarasi growled.
I looked at Krish and realized her wolf also disappeared and now she was wielding an elegant, honey-colored gun. I was on the set of some fantastic movie, or what?! Or it could be a dream. I prayed it was a dream…
“D… Daimonars…” the gentleman wheezed and looked up.
I shouted. Nelavarasi and Krish flinched and looked at me.
“What is it this time?!” Nelavarasi hissed.
“What… What is THAT?” I pointed to the gentleman’s face.
He had one big eye on the right side of his face, while the left looked like it was melted. That sight made me sick.
“You sure you’re not the daimonar?” Nelavarasi asked.
“You sure you’re alive?” Krish added monotonously.
“Yeah, I’m sure of both! Get this thing out of my housing estate and leave me alone, all of you!!”
“U-u-u,” I heard in my ear and instinctively hit there with my fist.
“Shut up! The last thing I needed was you!”
Poltergeist smiled sheepishly and looked at the one-eyed monster. ”It’s a fomhoir,” it said.
“Fomhoirs are one-eyed creatures from the Afterworld, or Avalon, call it what you want. It usually doesn’t appear before Halloween, but something interested it here.” The spirit fixed its gaze at me. “U-u-u, I wonder what it is?”
“You say ‘u-u-u’ one more time, and I’ll seriously treat you with the pepper spray,” I growled.
I looked up, watching the struggles of strange girls with the fomhoir.
“You’re saying I’m the reason for appearance of this creature?” I asked the spirit.
Poltergeist gave me an amused look.
“Why should I answer you?” it chirped.
“I’ll bring the pepper spray.”
The spirit laughed, but then became serious. Stranger and stranger things happened: wolves spoke, poltergeists became serious.
“The role of the Afterworld is complicated,” the spirit announced. “Daimonars are spirits trained to destroy the demons on the Earth, such as this fomhoir. He’s one of many demons haunting the world of the living, but they also wreak havoc in the Afterworld.”
“So…” I looked again at Nelavarasi and Krish, who were slowly becoming tired of fighting. “They’re daimonars, right? And these wolves?”
“They’re called daimons. They’re parts of daimonars’ souls, connected into one. Their neutral spiritual form is the wolves. They’re also weapons in a fight against the demons.”
“So… daimonars are the good guys who beat up the bad guys, and the wolves live in them like some tapeworms?”
The poltergeist chortled.
“You’re exactly as you should be, Toby Stewart.”
“What do you mean?” I asked worried. Only now it hit me I never talked with the spirit for so long time. In addition, about something normal. If you could call the current situation normal, of course. “How do you know me anyway? Until now ghosts didn’t care about my life, not to mention my name.”
“Oh, I know you from the very beginning,” the spirit said and began to disappear. “It was me who decided about your birth after all.”
“What?” The ghost vanished. “No! Wait!”
I flinched and looked up. Before me were standing Nelavarasi, Krish, and their daimons as wolves.
“Who were you talking to?” Nelavarasi said with raised eyebrows.
“With no one,” I lied and stood up, brushing off my pants. I looked around and saw surprised that the car, that exploded a moment ago, was still here, as new as before, as if nothing actually happened. “Now that you finished, I’d be glad if you go.”
“Not yet,” Nelavarasi said. “Something is fishy here.”
Krish again grabbed my shirt, as if she was making sure I won’t run away.
“What?” I asked.
“You smell like one of us,” she said in still idly tone, but now I sensed a note of interest in it. “But you’re not one of us. At least not entirely.”
“What are you talking about?” I turned to her companion. “What is she talking about?”
“Krish is saying we didn’t make any mistake,” the honey wolf said. “You’re the daimonar.”
“But it’s impossible!” Nelavarasi cried and her daimon growled, agreeing with her (probably). “To be a daimonar you have to be a deceased person! He can’t –”
“Only the director will be able to answer this,” Krish’s daimon said. “We have to take him. The demon could have come here because of him.”
“Teafa is right,” Fionn confirmed. “And after what he saw, we can’t leave him alone.”
“We always can use the forgetter,” Nelavarasi blurted.
“What do you have?” I gasped, then burst out, “What happened exactly? I still don’t understand a thing! These daimonars, daimons, weapons, Avalon, or the Afterworld, fomhoirs –”
“How do you know about the fomhoirs?” Nelavarasi asked suspiciously.
“How?! That dumb spirit told me that!”
“So you really see ghosts?” Teafa said.
“Yeah, I see them and listen to their moans all my freaky life!” I had to say this. They were the only peo… okay, dead creatures who could understand me. “And now some goners talk to me about the afterlife! Great birthday gift, thank you very much!!”
Nelavarasi exchanged glances with Fionn, while my hands began to tremble.
“You have birthday today?” Fionn said.
“Does it matter?!” I blurted dumbfounded. That was the last thing I expected to hear.
“Yes,” Teafa added. “If it’s true that you were born on the October 20th, that means only one thing.”
Suddenly the white wolf laughed. Seeing laughing wolf was the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
“Now all is clear!” it cried.
“What are you saying, Fionn?” Nelavarasi asked. “Who is Stewart?”
“Daimonar,” Teafa explained. “In addition, a living one. We welcome you among us, Last Sage.”