Gods And Monsters

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Chapter Eight

A storm begins brewing that Sunday as I sit on the couch that gives a rather impressive view of The Cursed Cliff. The always grey skies are now an even darker shade of grey and thunder is rumbling, the sound bouncing off of some of the trees that surround my new home.

As I stare out at the rain as it pounds on the back deck and listen to the wind as it howls like a banshee, I can't help but picture Marie on that cliff. I wonder why she killed herself. Was she sad? Was she alone? Did she want to leave me? Or was it something else altogether. Soon after Marie killed herself, it all stopped. The kidnappings, the bloodless victims, the Wolf sitings, all of it.

I wonder if that's why she killed herself. To put an end to all of it.

And then, I had strolled into town and--according to what Elijah and Ophelia's conversation--the Medallion had started it all up again. I had started it all up again.

I press the cup of coffee to my lips, savoring the warmth that floods through my chest, right as a powerful burst of thunder shakes the entire house and a flash of lightning streaks across the sky. The lamp--which is turned on beside me--flickers for a moment before steadying itself.

The lights will probably go out tonight. That thought makes me feel more uneasy than I've felt in a long damn time. If according to Ophelia, Vampires were going to start running around soon, I didn't want to be here alone and in the dark. Not that Vampires cared about darkness. According to a lot of myths, Vampires could actually see in the dark. But still, having light made me feel safer. However stupid that may have sounded.

In the end, wanting to keep my wits about me, I grabbed a burner phone I had purchased from the Walmart a town over before I got here, and dialed Paige's number. We had been keeping touch these last couple of weeks and she had been informing me of Damien and his gang of hooligans. Luckily for her, Damien didn't know that she was my literary agent, so he couldn't corner her and force a location out of her. Not that Paige even knew exactly where I was. All she really knew was that I was somewhere outside of Maine. That was all.

"Natasha, I'm glad you called," Paige murmurs after we exchange pleasantries. "How's your writing going? Crank out anything new?"

I glance over at the new laptop I bought when I bought this burner phone. This past couple of weeks, writing has been the last thing on my mind. If I'm not consumed with figuring out what exactly is going on in Lacome Cove, I'm worried about my past catching up with me. I worry about waking up and finding Damien standing over my bed, a vicious smirk on his face as he reaches out for me, crooning a spine-chilling, "I found you."

"Not exactly," I answer, sighing. "I'm sorry, Paige. I really am. There's just so much..."

"Hey, I get it," says Paige softly. "Psycho ex, new town to get away from said psycho ex. It's hard on you. Besides, you don't have to force yourself to write. It has to come naturally. You have to feel it. And, sales are looking incredible this month. People are really loving that book. A girl who has to sacrifice herself to save her children and her town. How on Earth did you come up with that?"

When Paige described my book the way she did, it makes me think of Marie. My mother. I now see many similarities between my book and Marie's untimely death. In my book, my character Maria--very similar names, I know--attaches a powerful cursed object to her child, knowing that her daughter will be powerful enough to contain its power. However, there are other supernatural beings who wish to obtain this object, so Maria sends her child away with a guardian angel. This angel hides the child. In order to finish the spell that will successfully bind her daughter to the cursed artifact, Maria must take a life as a price to complete the spell done by a powerful witch. The life Maria chooses to take is her own. She plunges into the cold, black sea, regretting nothing as she knows her child will be safe.

Was it possible that I unwittingly wrote of my mother's own demise without knowing?

I try to recall how I had come up with the idea for the book. It just came to me, I realize. One moment, I had been sitting at my computer typing out a different story, and then I saw Maria so clearly. I felt her thoughts and her presence so strongly.

It never occurred to me that maybe the girl I was seeing spreading her arms out, a smile of peace on her face as she threw herself back and into the cold, unforgiving sea was my mother.

"Natasha?" Paige was calling. "Natasha, are you still there? Are you okay?"

I cleared my throat, struggling to sound normal when I spoke again.

"I'm fine, Paige. Um, there's something I need to take care of. I'll call you soon."

"Yeah, okay," Paige says, her voice sounding suspicious. "Just hang in there, girlie."

When we hang up, I toss the phone on the oval-shaped coffee table in front of me and just stare into the greyness in front of me. It's only two in the afternoon, but the way the clouds have obstructed the sun and painted everything in darkness, it might as well be eight.

Had I really somehow seen my mother's death? Had I really heard her thoughts? Seen the tenor of her mind and wrote about it in a book?

If I had, there were many questions that needed to be answered. How had I done it? Could I do it again? Who was the witch who had cast the powerful spell binding me to the powerful artifact that hung around my neck, always growing warm and vibrating softly? Where was my father? I hadn't seen him committing suicide and none of the archives mentioned that either. Where had he gone? And, according to the conversation Elijah and Ophelia had, Ophelia had been the one to hide me as a baby. If I matched that up with what I had written in my book, that meant that Ophelia was an...

I lean back in my chair and swallow a huge gulp of hair.

Because, Holy crap, I think Ophelia is a mother-bleeping angel.

***

That night, my dreams are nightmares. I see my mother, on The Cursed Cliff, in the middle of a storm. I see her toss herself back, falling into cold, unforgiving waves. I see Ophelia with large, white wings, carrying a tiny, bundled up baby in her arms. I see a man with crimson eyes and sharp, pointed fangs snarling angrily as my mother falls to her death, shouting out that Marie's death wasn't the end and he'd have the Medallion eventually.

Then, my dreams switch and I see Damien. A cold, calculating smile on his face as he reaches out for me. He pulls me tight against him and, in this nightmare, I can feel his breath on my face. I feel the cold steel of a gun as he presses it against my forehead, his sinister smile never once wavering.

"Did you think you could run away from me, baby?" he asks, the gun clicking as he uncocks it. "You're mine. Forever."

And then he pulls the trigger right as I wake up in a cold sweat.

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