Dreams that Mask the Shadows

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Chapter Eight: Reality Check

Waylan

“Kylie Roth?” Hermie said over the phone. “Yes, that is what the demon said. We believe that’s the girl’s name.” He glanced over at me as I cut into the pant leg of her sweatpants, trying to find where the wound was. There was blood everywhere and most of it was demon blood. The blood was caked to her pants and had seared holes into some parts. Hermie turned away, “No, she hasn’t awoken yet. Yes, we took the proper precautions before entering the building, we are not amateurs…Sir…Sir, I don’t believe that’s a good idea right now…Yes, sir, you are…Alright.” Pause. “Waylan, your father wants to speak with you.”

“I’m a little busy here,” I replied as I held up the pair of scissors in one hand and the piece of cloth I had just cut in the other. “My hands are tied.”

“It’s kind of hard to tell your father, ‘no’,” Gadge whispered to me as if I had forgotten. Gadge had met up with us at the safe house. He had managed to capture the third demon that he had gone after. He now held the demon in a glass orb connected to a chain around his neck. It was the easiest way to keep track of a demon and there was no way they could escape the confines of a Dreamcatcher glass orb. The orb glowed a dim red, showing the strength of the demon inside. Gadge continued on as he helped me wash away the blood on the girl’s arms, face, and legs. “I remember telling your father that I didn’t want any ice cream at your fifteenth birthday party and he didn’t take it very well. He yelled some nasty things.” I didn’t say anything as I wrung out the washcloth and dipped it back into the bucket at my feet. We had set the girl down on the couch and I was sitting on metal stool near her leg. Gadge was seated by her head. He dabbed carefully at her neck and went on with his story, “Of course, later we realized he had been contacted through his headset about a rampaging rogue demon child, but still. I think that scared the living crud right out of me.”

“Well,” I grunted as Gadge draped a warm cloth over the girl’s eyes. “I couldn’t scare you that bad…” I shot him a grin. “You’re still so full of it.”

Gadge snorted and rolled his eyes. “Hardy har har.”

Hermie’s voice broke in as he paced the room in long strides, “I’m sorry, sir, but Waylan is busy with the girl…attending to the wounds, sir.” He scratched at chest where he had wrapped a large bandage around his middle section. He glanced over to us, tending Kylie and continued, “No, sir, nothing more than that, I can assure you. Yes, sir.” Hermie paced the room once more and soon left it as he finished up with the debriefing.

Gadge waggled his eyebrows at me as he sprayed some cleansing liquid onto a cloth and handed it to me. I shook my head and dabbed at the wound on the girl’s leg. It was on the side of her upper leg, right above her knee. The demon must have tried to grab her right before it evaporated.

That pepper spray she had was no ordinary pepper spray, that was for sure. I wondered who tampered with it and added the holy water. Demons hated many things, and holy things being high on that list. If you blessed a sword or a dagger, or had holy water, it would either kill or gravely injure the demon. This also depended on the demons level and background. If they had adapted to holy things, and had learned how to be around things that were holy, then our special weapons would be useless. So far, none we had encountered was completely immune to the power of purity.

It made more sense when they taught it in Demon Killing 101—sarcasm not included.

“Her hand twitched,” Gadge noticed.

I muttered, “Thank you, Mr. Observant.”

“No problem, Sir Brooding Eyes. Let’s sit her up. She’s going to want water when she wakes,” Gadge replied with ease as he wiggled an arm under her legs. I moved from my seat and wrapped an arm around her shoulders as I supported her head with my free hand.

My head had started hurting the second I saw her. It was as though she were a direct link to the pressure behind me ears, leading to the whispery voice in my head. A part of me wondered if hearing voices was a side effect of sleep deprivation, because maybe I had it. People didn’t hear voices. Dreamcatchers, maybe, but it was just another power that would have been developed at a younger age already. If I could hear voices, I would know long before now.

Waylan, protect her. The voice had demanded.

I’m trying, I thought back now, although the presence had gone just as quickly as it came.

Being this close to the girl made me think of that first moment she had seen me. Her green eyes had shone like a light and my heightened vision had caught the gold flecks radiating from her pupils. They were mesmerizing. Even if she was ‘Just a Human’, I had no doubt that she was a leader. Something deep within me told me she could lead hundreds—either for good or for bad, I couldn’t tell.

With training, she would destroy many a grown man. She wore danger like a second skin. I didn’t want to know what she could do with a sword.

I frowned, shaking myself. First I was hearing voices, now I was imagining things? What the hell? You saw that stunt she pulled with the can of pepper spray. What kind of person retaliates against a demon attack with pepper spray and girlish squeals? Like you faired so much better on your first mission, my conscience laughed at me. Shut it.

My heart ached. I hoped she was not working with the demons and wasn’t one of them, but one could never tell. My mind told me to be careful but all I wanted to do was keep her safe, even if it meant going against everything I had been taught as a Dreamcatcher. Even if I would be breaking so many rules.

“She’s cute.” Gadge shot me a knowing smirk when I had to jerk myself out of my trance. He leaned towards me and loud-whispered, “Since you just broke up with Skylynn, you’d better watch out for your heartstrings. I can practically hear ‘em twanging all the way from here.”

“I think you were dropped as a child.”

Gadge pretended to think this over as we slid her up. “It certainly hasn’t been proven yet, but there are files in my parent’s offices about such conspiracies.” We moved her slightly so she was leaning against the pillows that were put at the couch’s armrest. Her head slumped to her right shoulder and I quickly righted it, taking the washcloth away as I brushed her hair out of her face.

Shaking my head, I said with a chuckle, “Well, here’s your proof.”

Gadge snapped a dry towel at my face and I jolted back, laughing.

“Thanks, bud, you’re the best.” Gadge smirked.

I retaliated with a side kick and Gadge danced out of the way, nearly toppling the small pile of bloody towels near his feet.

Hermie scowled as he walked back into the room carrying the girl’s small purse. “Quit acting like children and get the girl a glass of water.”

“She’s not even awake yet,” Gadge replied.

The girl groaned and her eyelids twitched. Gadge hurried out of the room.

“What did you find?” I asked, moving to stand by Hermie.

He glanced up at me before frowning, “Nothing. All she had on her was a cell phone, a pair of keys, a small notebook with random little notes, a ballpoint pen, and that pepper spray.”

“No incriminating evidence that she was working with the demons?” Gadge quipped as he hurried back in with a plastic water bottle.

“None.” Hermie sounded almost disappointed.

“Wow, smart move,” Gadge said, “I should remember not to carry any incriminating evidence on my person the next time I go out for a run.” He snorted and whispered, “Come on. You can’t really believe she’s evil?”

The girl moaned and began to move as Gadge sat by her head.

“Want some water?” Gadge asked immediately.

My heart quickened as I moved to Gadge’s side. This girl was a mystery that I was wanted to figure out. The knife in my belt did little to reassure ne. It usually made me feel strong and prepared. Now, I felt vulnerable and worried sick. How could this one person cause so many emotions?

While I was worried about me, I knew Hermie was worried about the group as a whole. We were letting another person into our lives, into our secrets. This couldn’t mean anything good. I looked to see Hermie watching me. He gave me a stiff nod and I returned it.

The reader hadn’t picked up on what she was. Something hid her from us. We didn’t know if she was human, demon, Dreamcatcher, or a mix—if that was even possible. We had no idea what to expect and that set all of us—possibly minus Gadge who was too busy preening—on edge.


Kylie

“Want some water?” The tanned skin boy with hair that was dyed black looked down at me, light brown eyes wide as he repeated his question. I noted the small piercing in his ear—small golden hoop, and for a second, I wondered if he was a pirate.

A pirate? I was being offered water by a pirate. The thought made me smile.

Snap out of it, Kylie. I blinked but otherwise didn’t move a muscle. Maybe this was all a bad dream and none of this had really happened. I just…fell and…hit my…my head during my run and now I was having weird hallucinations. I cringed at the thought of dreams. My last one had proved to be all too real, my memory reminded me. Thanks, memory. Thanks so much. Now go away.

With a slight turn of my head, my eyes were trapped by those of the boy with the striking blue eyes—the Warrior. For a second, we were both caught by surprise. As if we had just caught each other naked and outside in public.

Our expressions were left unguarded for a second and I saw worry in his eyes. Then, his gaze flattened as he saw that I was actually awake—and staring back at him—and he looked away. The Giant, who was slightly behind the Warrior, leaned against a wall. He simply glared at me with an expression of cold neutrality, waiting for my first move like we were playing a seriously scary game of chess—scary in my eyes, child’s play in his. He looked like he wanted to wring my head of its information. I swallowed dryly.

The black haired boy glanced from the Warrior, the Giant, and back to me. “Don’t mind those two, they can be a little tight in the ass, er…all the time.” The black haired boy sighed, turning back as he handed the plastic bottle to me again. “I’m Gadge, by the way.”

I dubbed Gadge to be the Jokester of this ragtag gang—mafia? They seemed too small to be a mafia. Maybe they were just hitmen. I squinted my eyes. Hitmen? Seriously. I could not picture Gadge as a hitman or even part of the mafia. I straightened slightly. Possibly the mob.

Slowly, I took the bottle from his hand and looked at it. Was it poisoned? I thought before another thought chased it away. If they wanted to kill you, why would they bother waiting for you to wake up, Kylie? I took a tentative sip before realizing how incredibly dry my mouth was. The thirst took over from there and as I was gulping down the rest of the water, spilling some over my chin and down my neck, the Giant spoke.

“She’s sweet.” The Giant grunted towards the Warrior before he turned away, apparently uninterested.

An indignant blush crept up my cheeks but I didn’t slow in my mission to drink all the water that was humanly possible.

“Hey, what’s your name?” Gadge asked me once I had finished. He took the empty bottle from my hands and I wiped my mouth with my sleeve. All I could think was that after drinking so much water I’d have to pee soon.

Finally, I replied, “Kylie.” My voice was still raspy and it grated against my throat. I coughed, turning my head away. The cough shook my body, making me gasp in pain. The Warrior was suddenly there at my feet, hand on my leg. I stiffened, putting my hands onto the couch in case I needed to…To what? To do a back flip over the couch? You’re not a ninja, girl. Calm down. I shook my head. Or maybe I was a ninja. That would explain things. Some things. Wait, if I am a ninja then why didn’t I kick some serious demon ass back there? Yeah, that can’t be it.

“Damn,” The Warrior mumbled, looking down at my leg. “It’s starting to bleed again.” He glanced up at Gadge, “We need to bandage this up.”

“Who are you?” I whispered as Gadge and the Warrior sprang into motion. Everything they did seemed fast and filled with purpose. Although I couldn’t see him with my eyes, I knew that the Giant hadn’t moved. He was simply watching me.

“Over there, that quiet giant, who can be gentle if you get on his good side, is Hermie,” Gadge told me as he helped the boy at my feet wipe away blood and wrap gauze around my leg. There was so much blood but most of it was already dried onto my clothes. My pant leg was cut up and it looked like I had been attacked by a rabid dog. A thought amused me as it floated through my mind. I wonder if Evelyn would believe that story if I came home looking like a train wreck. I scowled. She’d probably think I was out doing something illegal and deserved what I had gotten.

The Giant grunted in grudging acknowledgment at being introduced and I did a mini salute with one hand as my other gripped the couch cushion. I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes tight before opening them, forcing my breathing to slow.

“And that is Waylan,” Gadge said, nodding with his head towards the avenging angel looking Warrior. I titled my head slightly, studying Waylan—the name seemed to fit him—and I wondered what he would say if he knew that I had nicknamed him ‘Warrior’. Would he laugh at me? Would he be proud of that title? I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. Stop wondering about silly things that have no importance.

Waylan didn’t look at me as he spoke to my bandaged leg, “We washed you of the demon blood and we found your wound and cleansed it with the supplies that we had.” He stopped.

“So.” I swallowed. “They were demons.” The words that came out of my mouth weren’t so much a question as it was a statement since I knew the answer before I even said it.

“Yes, they were demons.” Gadge nodded, almost enthusiastically. “One hundred percent, bona fide.”

“We usually keep this one locked away in the basement, but he escaped this time around,” Hermie grunted. My eyes widened and I stared straight ahead, watching for Waylan’s reaction. Waylan chuckled and stood. The Giant must be kidding then…Who knows with these people? I wouldn’t put it past them to lock someone in their basement. Was this even their home? Imagining them as three roommates in this run down, dusty apartment was hard to believe. Picturing them going to school or the grocery store was even harder. I mean, they just went all…all ninja-warrior-demon-slayer on my ass out there. I couldn’t see them as normal.

“What are you guys?” My mind was a mess of thoughts. I have to call Rhiannon. What time is it? I have to call my mom and let her know that I’m alive, still. I gave an inward eye roll at that. She’ll be disappointed. Even my subconscious had sarcasm. Good to know, I thought.

“We are part of an organization called The Dreamcatchers.” Gadge spoke up first. I was starting to see him as the most talkative of this group. He leaned towards my head and I glanced at him. He stage-whispered, “I like adding ‘the’ in front of it because it makes us sound so much more official. Like, ‘the Avengers’. I’ve always wanted an outside opinion. Thoughts?”

I blinked at him before pretending to mull it over. Why not? “Well, you bring up an excellent point, I’ll have to say. I’m impressed, really. I know of few superheroes that held such a title that you speak of with ‘the’ in front of their names. There’s The Hulk, The Invincibles, and The Rugrats.” I frowned. “Many didn’t have that privilege. No one knew Superman as ‘The Superman’, or Hawkeye as ‘The Hawkeye’.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Waylan smile and I couldn’t help but feel like I had accomplished something.

“What have we gotten ourselves into…?” Hermie growled to Waylan. “We’ve got another Gadge on our hands. Only this one is the girl version.”

Gadge let out a hoot and went to high five me. I hesitated and he must have noticed because he pulled it off as if he had simply gone to pat my shoulder. “Just the answer I needed. Thank you for filling out this complimentary survey. Would you like a complimentary chocolate? Or a complimentary backrub?” He waggled his eyebrows at me and I fought off a laugh.

“Maybe later…” I said, twisting my hands uncomfortably. “What are Dreamcatchers anyway? Are you guys…human?”

“We are like a superhuman alien that is actually part vampire, part were—.” Gadge began before Waylan shoved his shoulder.

“Don’t listen to this one,” Waylan said thrusting a thumb over his shoulder as Gadge stumbled back, feigning shock and hurt. Waylan continued, “We are part of the Dreamcatchers organization, but no, we are not human. We are Guardians to the Humans.”

Gadge called over Waylan’s shoulder, “A.K.A. Angels. Holler!”

My mouth dropped. Sorry, couldn’t help it. I guess when I meet a trio of angels, I am struck dumb. Who knew? “Huh?”

“Yes, we are most commonly known as angels, but we usually just go with Dreamcatchers since we are a different generation of angels.” Waylan shrugged. “The real angels are the ones Up There, working with the big Boss Man. We are the ones here on Earth. We are very similar to humans now, evolution and all—.” He shot Gadge a look as he opened his mouth. “—and no, we don’t have wings.”

Gadge’s mouth snapped shut, pouting, he said, “You take all the fun out of scaring the newbies.” He leaned over to me, whispering, “We do have halos and play lutes in our free time. When I’m in a good mood, I transform into my alternate form. A cherub. Then I shoot love arrows at people.”

“That’s not our division, Gadge.”

“You’re right.” Gadge smiled, glancing at me out of the corner of his eye. “That’s for the lucky bastards who get to meddle in people’s lives and change their fates.” He grinned excitedly at me. “You know those little coincidences that you think are just pure luck or even fate? Well, most of them are courtesy of the angels in the Fates division. If I were there, oh boy, I’d mess with people so bad.” His grin was almost infectious. I didn’t know what I was smiling about, but I wanted to be a part of it.

“And that’s why you’re with the Dreamcatchers,” Waylan murmured, rolling his eyes.

“Why are we telling this girl so much about ourselves? I thought we were the ones supposed to be grilling her?” Hermie’s voice slammed into my head like a hammer, deep and reverberating. I couldn’t see him but I could sense his dark frown. The feeling that I was slowly getting to know these three unique characters made me realize that they were slowly growing on me. Like fungi. Or kudzu—the plant that grew over trees and other plants, suffocating the plants it wrapped around like a giant, massive serpent—.

“Because!” Gadge exclaimed suddenly. “We aren’t planning on having a barbeque. We aren’t barbarians, Herms! I don’t see no guest list here. Where’s the party?” Glancing at him rewarded me a quick wink, giving me the confidence to speak up.

“I really think I’d better call some people first. And then, we can get a few questions answered...” The entire time I was thinking of fungi and characterizing angels, I had been wishing desperately to change the subject since the not-so-gentle Giant had been glaring holes into my head. I think I had even begun to feel a slight burning sensation. Who knew what angels could really do?

“Go for it.” Gadge smiled, his earring glinting in the light.

Waylan had moved to a table nearby where he picked up my purse and walked back over to me. “Here’s your purse.”

“Thank you,” I murmured, taking it quickly. Setting it on my lap, I paused. “Did you look through my things?”

Gadge whispered, discretely pointing behind him to Hermie. “They did.”

“Gadget, buddy,” Hermie rumbled, taking a step forward out of the shadows. “You have about three seconds to move your skinny ass out the door and help me do surveillance before I kick your sorry—.”

“I’m out, I’m out!” Gadge was already halfway across the room before Hermie even had a chance to finish his threat. Hermie moved soundlessly, I noticed, and he had a predator-like grace to him. With a nod towards Waylan and a suspicious sneer at me, he quickly exited the room behind Gadge. Gadge called back, “See you in a bit, Kylie! Don’t let Mr. Moody-Pants get you down!”

I gave a tiny wave and a surprised smile before I caught myself and turned back to the contents in my lap. Digging my cell phone out of the small bag, I dialed my speed dial for my mom and quickly pressed the phone to my ear. Pick up, pick up, pick up.

“We are a secret organization…so please, try and refrain from broadcasting that little bit of information,” Waylan said to me,“And it probably won’t look good if you go off mentioning angels and demons, unless you’re talking about the movie.” He stood there for a moment longer before he silently walked away.

I nodded once, absentmindedly to myself as I heard the dial tone again and again. And again. I didn’t want to be lying on a couch, doing nothing. I wanted to be pacing and walking about. The best I could do, however, was sit upright. So I did, swinging my feet to the ground slowly, careful not to upset the wound on my leg. After a minute of waiting, I finally figured that no one would be answering anytime soon and hung up.

“Maybe she’s not at home,” I murmured, staring at the cell phone in my hands. Now what? I could call Rhiannon…and tell her what, exactly? That I am hanging with three Dreamcatchers and I had no idea what Dreamcatchers were—although angels seemed legit, but they seemed to be the good guys while the demons were the bad guys? And that she was right about me meeting an Avenging angel warrior?

“Did you try her cell?”

I almost jumped right off the couch. Waylan had now sat down at the far end and was tapping his foot lightly against the rug covered ground.

“Um…no. She lost hers about a month ago,” I said, cautious. Whenever I was around him, I wasn’t sure how I should read his emotions. I didn’t even know how to act. Just be yourself didn’t seem to cut it.

“That’s strange.”

“We are talking about my mother, right?” I finally asked, uncertain if he even knew who I was trying to call.

“Yes.” He gave me a look as if I was still doped up on demon blood. “Of course. Are you going to try to call your father?”

Looking away, I pressed random buttons on my phone before looking down again. “I think that would prove difficult, especially now that he’s been gone for a year.”

There was no response and I could practically feel the silence settle in as I fiddled with the things around me. Finally I said, “I should probably text my friend…I was supposed to meet her after my run.”

“Good.” Waylan nodded. “Just, don’t tell her about…”

“Demons and Dreamcatchers? Yeah, I won’t,” I mumbled, opening up a new text message to Rhiannon. I didn’t know what to say so I simply said that I wasn’t feeling too great, probably too much exercise and that I was going to go home and take a very (very) long nap. I told her that I would text her tonight in case I was feeling up to our planned sleepover at her place.

Once I finished, back to fidgeting I went. Waylan was quietly sitting at the other end of the couch and I couldn’t take my mind off of him. The fabric of my pant leg had proven quite interesting when Hermie came back into the room—apparently they had finished their “surveillance”, whatever that meant.

“Way, can I speak with you for a moment?” Hermie said. “Gadge, go watch the girl.”

“Why? I need to speak with Waylan too,” Gadge protested. “Why don’t you go? It’s not like you’re second in command here. And not that I wouldn’t mind spending some alone time with a lovely lady, but I can take care of the business with the Way Man too.”

“Oh come on, what’s with all the bickering?” Waylan called to Hermie and Gadge—who was still in the hallway.

“Fine,” Hermie grunted to Gadge before muttering under his breath, “But I can’t promise she’ll be conscious when you two get back…”

“Hey, I heard that!” I said. Hermie glanced up, surprise flashing across his face before it was chased away by a look of cold suspicion and hate. I shuddered, wondering what had made him react in such a way. Waylan stood easily—not quickly, but not too slowly—and gracefully. As he passed me he paused and placed a hand on my shoulder. Startled, I glanced up.

“I’m sorry for bringing you into this. We’ll figure it out.”

“‘This’ is an awfully broad term,” I noted wryly. He gave me a smile that sent my heartbeat fluttering. He has a nice smile, Kylie, my heart squealed. It even managed to reach his eyes…until Hermie cleared his throat and ruined the moment. We broke eye contact and Waylan turned to go. Hermie glowered down at me as Gadge and Waylan’s voices disappeared down the hall and they made their way to another room. Private conversation. Maybe eavesdropping would be an option—

“What are you playing at?” Hermie said, moving closer as he spoke. I guess eavesdropping was now out of the question. He grabbed the stool that was by the end of the couch and sat down, so we were sitting directly across from each other. He crossed his arms. I stiffened, breathing in slow breaths through my nose and trying to make as little movement as possible. Maybe I could play dead. That usually worked for the possums that came into the backyard and when we caught them with a flashlight, they did just that. They were always gone by morning.

When Hermie simply sat there glaring, I realized I couldn’t pull a possum…yet. “Playing? About what?” I coughed into my hand briefly. “I’ve never been great at chess, or checkers for that matter. I do like some board games though—.”

“You might be able to sway Gadge into liking you, he likes anyone, or maybe even Waylan, but you can’t fool me. I know who you are, Kylie Roth. I know your family and I don’t trust you.” Hermie’s eyes narrowed slightly as he continued, “Your family name has never been trustworthy, how can the Dreamcatchers trust you? Especially after what your father did.”

“First of all,” I said as I tensed, sitting up—alert at the mention of my ‘family name’. “You can’t be seriously blaming me for what my family has done. Honestly, I don’t even know most of my family. And my father? What do you know about my dad?”

Hermie’s gaze narrowed. “You are lying?”

“Why the hell would I be lying about not knowing about my father?” Now I was getting pissed. When he didn’t answer right away, I continued, suddenly realizing all the things that I really wanted to say. “Firstly, you can’t kidnap me and bring me to some secluded house in who-knows-where-ville. I have no idea where I am…Then you spring the whole ‘we are Dreamcatchers and save humans’ deal on me. And not to mention the demons! I mean seriously, demons? Am I going crazy? Crazy enough, that I’m actually semi believing the things that you people are telling me? So crazy that I believe you when you talk about demons and demon blood and getting attacked. It’s almost natural. It almost seems so…so explainable and normal. How do I know it wasn’t all a dream?”

“Things are rarely dreams. Most things are reality. You should know that.”

“Really?” I snapped, “Should I? Then how come, I fell asleep the other day and thought that I had woken up in some weird place with grass, trees, and a lake…and I thought I had died and gone to a magical place people would call ‘Paradise’? And not only that, but some weird-ass Guardian dude decided to save me from drowning, only to attack me right after.”

After a moment, Hermie murmured under his breath, “Thatcher.” He stood suddenly and pointed a finger at me as his eyes lost its suspicious squint and took on a more human expression—one of slight confusion. “That was you.”

“What? Yes, that was me. Isn’t that what I just…said?” I replied before frowning. “Wait, that wasn’t you that was there. How do you know about that?”

“The man that attacked you was doing his job. Somehow you had broken past the gates to the Dream World.” He looked at me as if he was trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together and he was still fifty pieces short. “That’s not possible.”

“Well, great,” I muttered, “I always knew I wasn’t normal.” Rolling my eyes as Hermie ignored my sarcasm, I forced myself to take slow, deep breaths as he began to pace the room, hand rubbing his forehead. Finally, he stopped, plopping down on the seat in front of me again.

His gaze reminded me of that of a lion that was somehow now questioning whether or not the gazelle it had cornered was really a gazelle or a magical unicorn that could poison it if it did decide to eat it. Not very reassuring. Hermie finally said, “You’re not human.”

“Then what am I?”

“Either half demon or half Dreamcatcher, or both. Your pick.”


Waylan

“You did what?” I asked, unsure if I had heard him correctly the first time.

“Hermie wanted to do a background check on Kylie, so I agreed to help him.” Gadge rolled his eyes and threw up his hands. “Actually, I did all the work while he got me the proper access to a Dreamcatcher computer.”

Realization dawned on me. “You guys popped back into Headquarters—even though Hermie was suspended from using the portals because of that incident with the level four demon leader a month ago—just to do a background check on this girl?”

“Yes, Hermie was very adamant that we did so.” Gadge shrugged. “He said he would give me his lunch money for a week if I did.” Suddenly he laughed. “Nah, he just has to take my Training duty for the next two weeks. Sucker.”

“Okay, okay.” I shook my head. There wasn’t anything I could do about what had already been done. “Did you find anything?” A little part of me felt wrong for poking into Kylie’s life without her knowing or without her permission but then again, the Dreamcatcher and protector in me overpowered that feeling. I had to make sure that Kylie was safe. Why were the twin demons so interested in Kylie? They had obviously known of her, even though she seemed to have no idea what they were talking about. Besides, I barely knew her, what harm could it do?

“Yes. In fact, there is quite a bit on her family lineage and how great they were.”

“Dreamcatchers?”

“Well,” Gadge cleared his throat, “That’s the thing…she’s both.”

I frowned. “Both? Both what?”

“Demon and Dreamcatcher.”

A second ticked by. Then two, as I tried to wrap that sliver of information around in my head. I couldn’t. “She’s both? How…” I paused, trying to compose my confusion. “How the hell is that even possible?”

“It’s not. Dreamcatchers aren’t supposed to be able to…well…to, er, love demons at all or even have those kind of…um, emotions towards them. It’s like it’s programmed in us to hate demons—.”

“I don’t need a history lesson, Gadge. I know this already. Back to the Roths.”

“Right.” Gadge gave a firm nod and glanced down at the papers grasped in his hands. “Kylie’s father is a demon. He left when she was seventeen because he was summoned—by who—we don’t know. We do know however, that it was against his will. It was brought to the Dreamcatchers’ attention by Kylie’s mother…based on my finds, she was sort of freaking out, to say the least. In the records, Kylie’s mother had worked with the Dreamcatchers for a while, before she was married and had any children. She was the best Warrior in the business back when she was a teen. Now, she wants nothing to do with the organization and has hidden everything from her daughter.”

“No other kids?”

“One older daughter.”

“Older?”

“Yes.”

“Does Kylie know?”

“I doubt it since this daughter is living with a Dreamcatcher family. The older daughter is a full Dreamcatcher, not a half, like the younger daughter.”

“Like Kylie,” I clarified.

“Correct.”

“This is way bigger than we had originally thought.” I knew that I stated the obvious, but I had to hear it spoken aloud, to have it confirmed.

Gadge looked at me with excitement sparking his eyes. “Just what I was thinking, Waylan. Just what I was thinking.” His smile made me nervous. Gadge was like an unplanned firework show at the end of a calm picnic, there was no way you could predict when he was going to blow and how loud it would be.

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