Secrets of Ravenstone: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book One

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Chapter 19

Underground, Jonathan memorized the directions taken, in case we escaped, which I didn’t think was possible at this point. Sarah was too frightened to pay much attention as she continued her struggle.

The only lighting, were four torches with dying flames.

The men abruptly threw us to the ground in front of one of the large cells; roughly gouged out from the stone walls and floors. Thick iron crisscrossed prisons bars lined the front from wall-to-wall. One of the men unlocked the cell with keys hanging from his belt. Before throwing us in, the men removed the rags from our mouths.

“Go ahead and scream. No one’s going to hear you.” he muttered, “But before I do...I want something from each of you. Consider it as a keepsake from our catch. Hold them.”

One by one, he cut off locks of hair from Jonathan and Erik but from Sarah and I, he chopped off our ponytails leaving our hair hanging in scraggly layers that fell above or below our shoulders.

The man smirked smugly as he hung our hair off his belt like trophies. His smug smile faded as the hair cut from Erik and Jonathan dried out before disintegrating. He didn’t understand why. The others threw us in forcefully once he finished, with our hands still shackled behind our backs, throwing our bags inside with us.But before throwing Sarah inside, one of the men touched Sarah’s hair, commenting that he favored blondes. Grabbing her face with his left hand, he stroked her cheek with his right.

She pulled her head away, spitting in his face before falling to the ground from lack of balance. Stepping toward her with a smug smile wanting to take advantage of her in the worse possible way, the others shouted out, that now wasn’t the time and that he’d have his fun later.

“You bloody pig!” she shouted in sheer terror and anger.

Once closing and locking the cell door, the men walked away, leaving us screaming and yelling out in retaliation as we managed to push ourselves up from the ground with our legs and feet, leaving Jonathan and Erik bouncing in place from the shackles bound around their ankles, and the grotesque collars still in place.

All the cells were identical to the next. There wasn’t much to them.They were made of stone with the walls and floors being rough cut with no smooth surfaces. Sharp ridges jutted out everywhere, obviously made that way. The whole point was to make their prisoners feel as miserable and uncomfortable as possible and they certainly succeeded. Poor Anthony laid there unconscious and with our hands still shackled, we weren’t able to help him. The cell had two metal benches set on opposite sides while a small window let in the evening light.

“Couldn’t they have at least removed these damn shackles?” I asked as everyone tried relaxing their arms. As I continued shifting in place, it was then I thought about how long the chains were, connecting the shackles, “ long are the chains.” I turned my back to him.

He shifted awkwardly.

“I’m guessing…six inches maybe. Why?” he replied disgruntled.

“Six inches? Okay, good.” I mumbled as I plopped on the hard stone floor; cool and damp beneath my weight due to rain that streamed in through the window.

Since I’ve seen it done so many times in movies, I started slipping my hands under my butt and legs, then up and around my feet until my arms were down in front of me.

Everyone smiled as they too, all plopped themselves down on the ground, following my example. One by one they slid their hands under and over. Jonathan came up with the idea of picking the locks on the shackles using one of Sarah’s hair pins which turned out to be very successful. Once the shackles came off falling to the ground, they created a loud metallic clank. These weren’t your average sized shackles. They were thicker, heavier, and the chain links were one inch thick, crafted of both iron and silver. We all rubbed our wrists in relief and I made sure Erik and Jonathan were all right, taking notice their burns from the iron were beginning to heal, as they rubbed their throats and neck.

I too rubbed my wrists, worried about the effect it may have caused to myself. Briefly pulling up my sleeves, no burns were found. I sighed of relief as I closed my eyes.

Sarah sat on the ground crying about her hair as she held her hands to her shoulders. She wouldn’t stop talking about it so Jonathan turned to her rudely telling her to shut up and that more important things are happening other than her damn hair.

After Jonathan removed Anthony’s shackles, he and Erik lifted him up onto one of the benches, leaning him against the stone wall. A puddle of water pooled near the window so ripping the hem of Anthony’s white shirt, I walked over dipping it in the water to clean his head wound. Once cleaned, I created a bandage. Poor guy. He was just trying his best to protect us, and didn’t deserve this kind of treatment.

Erik leaned against the damp wall near the window avoiding the water, watching as I cared for Anthony. He grew a warm grin seeing how even at the worse of times, I showed compassion for someone else. Despite their species. “NOW SHE’LL MAKE AN EXCELLENT KEEPER.” he thought then glanced away, once I turned looking in his direction.

Time passed, which felt like forever.

We took turns sitting on the unoccupied bench, but I gave Sarah my seat as I stood, pacing. I saw our bags laying on the ground and thought maybe we could use something inside to call for help, but found nothing useful. I did find my I-pod still intact and when I turned it on looking at the screen, I couldn’t believe the time; 5:45p.m.

“F***ing Marxus!” I cursed, as I kicked the cell door, “Mother…ow.” I bit my lower lip as my foot throbbed.

“I agree. This whole f***ing idea of leaving us here, is pissing me off.”Erik replied as he stood, giving Jonathan his seat then walked toward me, changing the subject, “Are you okay? I know that’s a stupid question but...”

“No, I know. But thanks. Never mind me. Are you okay?” I looked at his face making sure he wasn’t hit or injured, and he seemed to enjoy my touch as I checked him.

“No, I’m fine. But thanks.” he smiled, “Gentle touch there, love.”

It was then I noticed the lock of hair that had been cut, had already grown back to full length as if it had never been cut. Looking over at Jonathan, his too had grown back.

Noticing their hair made me conscious of mine and being a woman, I reached my hands to the back of my hair and felt that he had cut pretty much most of it. My hair was mid-back before and now it was cut just above my shoulders; a choppy medium bob. Erik quickly commented after noticing my bummed out expression,

“It’s alright…you’re still beautiful, Keeps. Hair doesn’t make a woman who she is.” as he combed a strand off my face.

I stared into his eyes, feeling at ease with his comment.

“Sweet words, Erik…thank you. But my mom’s going to be pissed.” I mumbled.

“Eh…I’m sure she won’t mind. I’m sure she’ll still love you…even if you returned bald.”

“Maybe. Maybe not. And that’s not funny.” I nudged him.

Erik grinned.

Marxus, Thomas and Nathan had arrived at the camping outlet, located in the town we had passed through, before the town with no name. Once stepping foot outside the craft, Marxus listened to the continuous rants that both Thomas and Nathan rushed from their mouths. He closed his eyes as he turned, leaving them standing by the crafts that he had locked, ensuring they couldn’t drive off with them. Zanz howled, scratching at the windows, releasing low growls in the process. He left deep scratch marks on the crafts’ interior. Thomas and Nathan rushed after him, wanting to make a quick in and out purchase.

Marxus had purchased gallons of diesel fuel and waiting for them to be filled out back behind the store, he noticed the clothing section. Knowing some of us needed lighter colored attire, he purchased newer coats and boots. There wasn’t much to choose from but with Thomas’ reluctant help, they managed.

As they shifted through the racks of coats and shelves of boots, Nathan decided of all things to be thinking about;to flirt with the female clerk.She brushed him off, telling him he wasn’t her type. Disgruntled, he walked away with his tail between his legs standing by the doors, waiting. He removed his cigarettes from his pocket and attempted a light but the clerk told him to take it outside, pointing to a non-smoking sign behind the counter. He huffed, roughly pushing the doors open. Exhaling the smoke he stared out into the distance, worried for his sister. His thoughts were broken when Zanz began cracking the glass with his massive wolf paws. He threw the unfinished cigarette to the ground then peeked his head through the doors, calling out in a somewhat urgent tone,

“Hey, Marxus mate…you might want to hurry it up along a bit, yeah!? The wolf out here is breaking the glass of the second craft.”

Hearing his warning, Marxus rushed to the doors, observing Zanzs’ actions. He frowned as he turned to Thomas, instructing him to just grab the clothing leaving the shelves and racks almost bare, laying them on the registers counter. The female clerk raised both her eyebrows as she asked in a Scottish accent; ringing up all the items,

“Wow. You’re buying a lot. Are these for your sons and daughters?”

“Oh, They’re for my students.” Marxus replied anxiously tapping his fingers on the counter, “They didn’t listen to me when I told them to wear lighter colored clothing and...never mind. It’s not important. I left them waiting in the tavern down the road.” he rested his hands on the ledge of the counter then nervously glanced out the windows.

“You don’t mean…the town with no name!? You can’t be serious!?” she worried, “Why on Earth would you do something like that!?” then she realized,“ don′t…know…do you?”

“Know what, young lady?” Thomas worried as he stepped forward.

“There’s a rumor about that town being an isolated cannibalistic society.Everyone knows around these parts to stay clear away from there. People go missing from time-to-time and are never found. If I were you, I’d get your students out of there. And fast.” she insisted, “They claimed the land that was once that old campground. It didn’t take them long to build their own town.”

“Are you sure of this!?” Marxus urged.

She just nodded in a positive response, as if not wanting to talk about it anymore.

“We don’t have law enforcement in this region, so we handle our own matters. But that lot...are bad news. Years ago, they used to come through here but since my father and a few other residents up this way, armed themselves…we haven’t seen them since. They’re like Lepers of our society; cast out and never to return.”

Marxus paid her in Scottish currency,then grabbing the bags of supplies and clothing , they rushed outside, packing; more like throwing them into the back of the crafts. Another worker came from around the building, handing Thomas and Marxus four metal five gallons of diesel fuel. They thanked him quickly, carefully throwing them into the trunk and backseat of the first craft, leaving two out to refill the crafts engine tanks.

Marxus!?” Axeon’s voice entered Marxus’ mind, “Something is wrong with the young ones. I feel they are in great danger. You must hurry!

Yes...yes, I know.” Marxus replied, “I feel it too. Yet again, they didn’t listen.

Do not always blame it on the actions of the innocent. Sometimes, you must take the blame as well.

Marxus frowned.

Before anyone could say anything, Zanz began howling continuously. When Marxus opened the door of the craft, Zanz jumped out of the craft, breaking the door from its hinges. Dragging it behind him, he ran a little ways ahead before the door broke free from his leash. Marxus examined the interior then turned to him, frantically trying to call him back. He returned, repeating the process several times, signaling he wanted them to follow. Marxus ordered Nathan to ride with Thomas, as they’d follow him.

Axeon, who remained cloaked was ordered to fly on ahead viewing everything. They drove off at high speed giving the engine boosters a real work out. Zanz ran ahead of them at 37 MPH and was so intent on finding me, that he didn’t feel his lungs tiring or his massive feet hurting from the cold wetness of the ground as he ran.

Jonathan and Sarah sat on the bench talking, trying to remain calm in our current situation. Erik and I on the other hand, paced. I looked up noticing the small window, hearing noises from outside. Wondering if maybe I was just hearing things, Erik confirmed he heard them too. I glanced from the window over at him and I could see a spark in his eyes, as if he knew my thoughts and idea.

“Sarah...Jonathan...we need that bench.” Erik said as he walked towards them.

“Why?” Sarah asked as she stood,glaring at Erik.

“Because we need it to look out the window. The other one is occupied.” I barked, as I gestured my hand over to Anthony, who remained unconscious.

“Oh.” Sarah said as Jonathan stood.

Erik and Jonathan dragged the metal bench against the stone ground creating a loud screeching-grinding sound that pierced our ears; causing Sarah and I to cover them with our hands. Once placing the bench below the window, water began dripping on the bench creating a slippery surface. Cautiously stepping up onto the bench, I peeked out the window. Actually, it was more of a hole in the wall with iron bars. Looking out, I was able to see the outside street but not well enough due to, of all things, a man’s large foot, that just happened to be right there in sight. Oh, please. If I wanted to look at a foot, I’d look at my own.

Whatever caught his interest, must have been very amusing, for I could hear him sharing a moment of laughter. As I tried peeking around, my own foot slipped on the sleek surface of the bench, causing me to lose my balance, and falling in the most unlikely place.Erik’s arms. Reflexes so acute, he immediately used his speed catching me, holding me there for a moment.

“Wow, Keeps. You’re really tiny and light. I don’t know if I want to put you down. You feel good in my arms, pissant!” he joked as he stared into my eyes, “Mm, Latina for sure.”

“What did I say about calling me pissant? Now, please put me down, you jackass before this Latina gets a little too hot for you.” I jokingly answered.

“ thank you?” he gently put me down.

“Thank you.” I gave him a quick smile, then glanced toward the bench.

The elders walked through the kitchen of their butcher shop, examining the preparations being made. This was the first time in a very long while they would have vampires AND lycans together on their menu. They last had a lycan a few years back, and they relished in that.

“How are the preparations?” Elder C asked.

“Coming along perfectly, Sir.” a man replied as he sharpened his carving tools, “We should be all set and…ready in two hours or less.”

“Wonderful.” Elder D remarked, “Don’t forget that when you get to the vampires, drain them first and make sure you save every drop of their blood, then behead them immediately after. I’m afraid they won’t be on the menu!”

“Will do, Sir.” the man nodded.

“And the…two women?” another butcher questioned eagerly.

“Oh, we have plans for them indeed. No worries, gentlemen…you’ll have your fun.” elder A smiled before turning away, walking out, leaving the men to prepare for whatever was to come.

We sat in silence for a while after, when Anthony began waking from his unconscious state. Sarah and I walked over, helping him prop his back against the stone wall, as he blinked his eyes, holding his head, feeling the on-the-spot bandage. He briefly asked what had happened and we quickly relayed the events that took place. He glanced around the cell seeing the conditions of our environment, and grew disgusted.

“This isn’t good.” he commented then attempted to lighten the mood, “Now which of you pretty young ladies were kind enough to bandage me?”

Jonathan and Erik rolled their eyes as they turned their heads.

“That would be Yza.” Sarah answered bluntly as she gestured at me.

Anthony glanced up at Sarah confused by her tone of voice then turned to me, thanking me for my kindness. Anthony being Anthony, winked, then began flirting in the worse possible moment, but I knew he was just trying to lighten the mood once more. I shook my head with a smile letting it slide, then offered to help him to his feet. After gaining his balance and composure, he slowly walked toward the window, staring up at brief glimpses of the night sky outside. He wiped away a stream of blood that dripped beneath the makeshift bandage.

Sarah and Jonathan walked over, sitting on one bench while Erik and I sat on the other. Anthony began pacing trying to get the strength back in his legs.I sat there looking at everyone thinking to myself, “WELL, HERE WE ARE. IF THERE WAS A WAY TO SAVE MY FRIENDS, I WOULD DO IT. IM NOT A MARTYR, HEROINE OR ANYTHING, BUT IM JUST KEEPING THE PROMISE I MADE TO MYSELF TO PROTECT THOSE WHO I CARE ABOUT.

“Keeps?” Erik asked as he broke my thoughts, “Remember that day in the training area where you said you’d sacrifice yourself to save all of us if you had to?”

“Funny. I was just thinking about that. What about it?” I replied as I looked at him.

“I may not have the chance to say this again but I if I could and I think you know that I mean this, I would sacrifice my own life for everyone here, especially you. Except Anthony. I care a lot about you, Keeps. Hope you know that.” he reached out holding my hand in a comforting gesture, and at that moment I knew he could hear my heart beating just a few beats faster.

“Well, thank you.” I stared into his intense gray eyes, sensing he was absolutely sincere, “Even though we started out on the wrong foot, I never hated you, you know. I could tell that underneath all that spoiled rich boys appearance and attitude, you’re a really sweet guy. Even for a jackass.”

Erik smiled as he glanced away then back at me, nodding his head.

“Okay. You got me. Now, there’s something I want to ask you.”

“Oh?” I sighed.

“You say you’re a…” he whispered in my ear, “demon, right? How did that happen?”

“It’s a really long story, but…” then I briefly explained what I knew, which involved my death at birth, leading to my resuscitation and it was then, that somehow, I was brought back, “But as what? I didn’t know until a few years ago.” I continued, “Before we moved here, my mom discovered that little tidbit of information in old hospital records and she couldn’t believe it. And that’s nothing.”

“There’s more?”

“Mm-hmm. Through a medium that once read my palm, she revealed that I was, in her words…something special. A hybrid of half human-half demon and soon to be very powerful. She saw fire everywhere and a woman standing among flames. In the beginning that all made sense to me because when I was younger, I’d have dreams and other times when angry or provoked, I’d steam which you’ve already seen, or light things on fire. Which is why I was home schooled before my last year of high school. It’s a part of myself that I try to control because I’m afraid of its full potential. I don’t know what I could do if it gets out of control. It’s like your kind living in Ravenstone. Being what you are, but having to suppress it. Now, is that enough information for your vampire mind to soak up?”

He nodded; eyes wide with wonderment and intrigue. He wanted to hear more, but before he could respond, Sarah shot from her seat, pacing; breaking the moment.

“There has to be a way out of here!” she said then looked up at the window, “How about the window? Can’t we climb out through there? Jonathan...Erik, can’t you just vamp us out of here!? Anthony!?”

“No.” Jonathan replied as he stood, “Unfortunately the bars of these cells are iron forged, blocking our vampire capabilities.”

“Wish I could but unfortunately I’m too weak at the moment, due to the fact that I was knocked out with a silver tipped club.”Anthony added as he gestured to his head, “Besides, the bars are too thick for me to grasp.”

“Great!”Sarah commented, ”Just great! What use are all of you then!? Vampires and a lycan…yeah right! You’re worthless when you’re needed!” she threw her hands in the air, then walked over standing on the bench.

As I sat alongside Erik, I too began feeling the slow effects of the iron taking its toll. Taking in deep breaths, I tried hiding my uneasiness.

All of us wanted to lash out but we all went through our own emotional states.

Sarah tried pulling on the bars thinking that maybe if she pulled hard enough, they would break free from the wall, giving us the chance to somehow squeeze through. But I as well as the others, knew that wouldn’t work. Her hands wouldn’t even fit around the bars. As she continued pulling on the bars I commented softly,

“That’s not going to work, Sarah. The bars are too strong and the hole’s too small.”

“Well, do you have a better idea Miss Know-it-all because we’d all love to hear it!” she replied as she jumped off the bench, “Or why don’t Erik and Jonathan just vamp out and tear our throats out, then kill each other. That way we won’t have to worry about those men taking us and doing God only knows what. I’d rather be dead.” she folded her arms, shaking in fear.

Jonathan mumbled as he turned his head away,

“Not a bad idea at this point.”

I listened to what she just said and it gave me one hell of an idea that was absolutely crazy. Then again nothing could be worse than what these maniacs want to do with us.

“Say that again.” I asked as I walked toward her in small steps.

“Why don’t they just tear our throats out and just kill us.” she replied, “Are you deaf!? Didn’t you hear me the first time!?”

“Yeah, I heard that. And quit the attitude! But…that’s an excellent idea.”

“What?!” everyone asked in unison as I reached for our bags, shifting through Erik’s and Jonathan’s.

“What are you doing?” Erik asked as he approached me.

I reached into their bags retrieving one each of their thermoses containing their blood then turned to them, holding them in each hand. I looked at everyone and said as I held them up,

“I have a great idea guys, but I need your cooperation. Do I have it?” and they all looked at each other then back at me nodding their heads as I continued, “They don’t know what I am, so let’s give them something to think about?” I then explained my plan and really hoped that it works.

I guess the idea came from the fact that I’m an avid horror movie buff, watching many different ways to escape from situations and fools who were stupid enough to believe it.

Now is the time to see what I can do with my demonic attributes.

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