Chapter 23-The New Divide
The moment I enter the big loud room I feel like my clothes have already soaked in the smell of beer and sweaty bodies. I decided on wearing a white top and black velvet skirt to go with the black floppy sunhat I’m using to hide my hair. Feeling self-conscious in the crowded mass, I hug my tote to myself remaining near the wall by the entrance. Pain sears across my stomach and my carefully picked out outfit disappears, replaced by my would-be black funeral dress.
I practically stomp around the edge of the bar in search of the demon. Angry at it for ruining my night. Hopefully, it’s a small one like a rat and no one will notice me take care of it. Maybe I can get it to go outside and handle it out there.
“Wooo!” A witch beside me hollers and I grin at her dramatic arm movements in sync with the heavy beat of the song. I do recognize a couple officers here sitting over by the bar and chatting outside the crowd of people dancing in the middle. I don’t see Yansmen anywhere though. This may be the first time I’ve been in a public space with more vampires in it than any other supernatural. Still, there’s a good amount of humans and of course coven members too.
It is really hard to see anything else with the ridiculous lighting in here. There’s no constant light shining down, only the flashing club lights spinning above on the ceiling. They flood the room in flashes of red and yellow in rhythm with the upbeat music.
“Sorry, excuse me...” I apologize to a group of humans dancing by as I wedge myself between them and the wall to keep moving around the perimeter of the room.
Where is the demon? Usually, they find their way to me by now. I clutch my gut in agony when another wave of pain passes over my stomach. Growing impatient, I turn on my phone flashlight. It isn’t much help, but it’s better than blindly looking around in the dark relying on the brief flashes of light to spot the demon.
With a grimace, I see a small black ball of fur dart out from behind the bar and under the row of occupied bar stools. There’s too many people in here, if I get distracted I could end up sending someone to hell instead of the stupid rat. The rat’s fur stands on end as it starts gnawing away on the bottom of one of the wooden bar seats. The man sitting on top of it is completely oblivious, but when the rat bites of more than it can chew the chair collapses in on itself.
The bartender hurries into a back room probably to get another chair for him. After the man stands up, he walks off onto the dance floor with his friend. Right away, I head for the rat trying to get it out from under the counter area where everyone is milling about. I pretend to accidentally drop a napkin from the bar counter then bend down crawling on my hands and knees, focusing my magic on the tiny creature.
Maybe I can capture it in a ward and get it outside.
However, the vile demon decides to spit out the wood it chews in its mouth and dash off down the length of the bar.
“No...” I grunt in frustration while jumping to my feet and chasing the mischievous red-eyed rodent further back into the bar. As long as it doesn’t run off into the giant crowd, I should be able to detain it eventually and properly dispose of it.
However, not only is the music much louder back here, but it’s darker since the lights don’t completely reach all the way back this far in the bar. Someone steps out in front of me and the gold flashing light flickers around us for a brief second.
“Valerie? You came! Let me go get you a drink.” Will breathes out in excitement.
He never did tell me the name of the bar he was going to. Since there are only three in town the chances of me being at the same one as him were higher than I initially thought.
I’m really glad he’s here, we can look for the demon together and find it faster now too. I thought Beth would be with him. When she speaks, I jump not having seen her in the darkness standing right beside him. It really is too dark back here. If the lit up DJ’s stand wasn’t by us we wouldn’t be able to see anything at all until the lights flicked our way.
“We settled for five hundred so far, hoping for a thousand by the night’s end. Let’s go find somewhere to sit!” Beth yells to me over the music.
A red beam of light shines over her for a brief second. She wears a very professional looking dress that fits her form perfectly. It makes me feel out of place because Will is wearing a suit and dressed pretty nicely too while I’m stuck in this hideous worn our looking black dress until I find the demon.
Beth turns away from us, covering her ears as she disappears in the crowd heading back towards the front of the bar to find us seats. We’ll be lucky if we find anywhere to sit with all the people in here. Finding the rat now will be like looking for a needle in a haystack, I don’t even know where it went since I ran into Will.
“Will! There’s a demonic rat in here. I have to get it. It could be anywhere in here.” I tell him quickly while grasping his shoulders to draw his attention.
I don’t want to be rude and shine my flashlight on him, but I feel pretty silly talking to him when I can barely see his face back here. So I just hold my phone between us to create enough light to see each other. He grips the sides of his face, leaning forward slightly scrunching his eyebrows.
“Ugh, sorry. Getting... a headache. Let’s go look for it.” He says loudly while grasping my hand and leading me further back into the bar and beyond the bar area. He pulls out his phone using its light to scan over the floor like I am.
In our hurry, my elbow hits a bottle of vodka and I hold my breath watching it go crashing to the floor. Thanks to my fantastic luck, it belonged to an older coven couple lounging in a love seat in front of a flat screen tv. The warlock has thin graying hair just like the witch seated next to him. Hearing the bottle shatter, they look up at Will and I.
I wasn’t really watching where I was going because my eyes have been glued to the floor. So have Will’s and his reaction time is still a little delayed as his eyes adjust to the bright glow of the screen.
“Wasn’t ours!” The woman cackles and the warlock beside her laughs heartily while accidentally spilling his glass of beer on his dress shirt. He wipes at the spill with the black material of his cloak. When their attention returns to the football game, I look back to Will.
“Come on.” I mumble in growing worry and he nods his head letting me lead the way. I’ve never seen the demons attack anyone, but me. With so many people in here though I’m afraid the rat may hurt someone if we don’t find it soon.
Finally, I spot a familiar clump of black fur run out from beneath the gap between a trash can and the wall to the left of us. I tap Will’s arm and point in the direction of the evil creature. Quickly, we follow after it.
“Val, Beth just texted me the alpha we’re waiting on is here. I’ll tell her I’ll come once we’re done here.” Will says in a serious voice and he grabs my arm halting my pursuit.
“It’s okay, go ahead. I can find it.” I tell him and he kisses my cheek, departing from me.
I reach up to adjust my hat feeling loose strands of my hair sticking out. Then I speedwalk towards the last direction the possessed rodent ran off in towards the back exit.
When I hear a werewolf seated at a couch nearby me growl loudly at something on the floor I turn around just in time to catch the demon run behind the couch and wall. The werewolf gets up taking his lady friend with him after seeing the rodent run by. I make my move and head behind the couch. On my hands and knees, I crawl between the two-foot gap watching the demonic rat chew at the fabric of the couch.
Fed up with the demon, I murmur the devil’s curse watching its body twist up. The next moment, it disappears with a popping sound. Leaving behind a six-pointed star of ash. After I scatter the ashes to cover up my use of black magic, I crawl backward.
Standing up, I dust off my hands in satisfaction seeing my black dress is gone and my real outfit returned. Now that that’s taken care of I should probably see if Yansmen is around. I did tell him I was here earlier and he told me he was too.
Since the pool tables are all the way back here there are a couple of hanging lamps lighting up the area. I put my phone in my tote seeing Yansmen playing pool with Heinrich and a few other off-duty officers. This is kind of nice, everyone seems to be having a good time. None of the coven members seem to mind the vamps being here. No one seems to be disturbed by my presence here either. At least, from what I can see.
Actually, when I use my sight I don’t really see any other types of supernaturals back here. Now that I think more about it, mostly only vamps are in this area of the bar.
None of them are dressed in uniform though, but maybe the coven members are just giving them their space. Still, the werewolves aren’t sitting all the way back here either. The humans and weres wouldn’t really know them to be vampires. To some people the vamps may give off more of a predatory vibe and, subconsciously, it could be offputting to them.
I had hoped people would mix and intermingle more now since Will got elected. It’s early on though, but I can’t shake the unsettling feeling it brings. It’s like the humans and other supernaturals are hiding from the vampires by staying up by the bar and away from back here.
“We couldn’t find seats.” Will chides from beside me.
“No kidding.” I laugh and he follows my gaze towards the pool tables crowded by vamps.
“Hey, isn’t that your work buddy?” Will asks me while nodding his head toward Yansmen.
“Yep.” I reply while watching David play. All of them are crowded around his table watching him aim his pool stick with intense focus. Heinrich hits his back with a pool stick and Yansmen turns around jousting him on with his own stick and forgetting about the game.
It doesn’t take long for more of them to grab pool sticks and swat at each other in their pretend sword fights.
“This is good. You know, seeing everyone getting along in here. Did you get the demon?” Will asks me casually.
He’s right, but I’m not really sure if this counts as everyone getting along exactly. They aren’t really all interacting with each other, just sticking to themselves.
“Yeah, I took care of it.” I reply while remembering how I had to crawl behind the gross area behind the couch covered in dust and who knows what else. The floor was sticky too and my hands feel like they are covered in syrup.
I try to brush them off on my skirt not really wanting to go to the bathroom after Will told me how stinky it was back there when he went to the bathroom earlier before I arrived. I’m not really a germ freak, but I do keep cleaning wipe packets in my tote in case of emergency. Will sits down beside me on a couch nearby and when I finish cleaning off my hands Beth joins us with a couple of werewolves following behind her.
They all sit down on the couch across from us.
“Pretty rowdy aren’t they?” The man in the green camo shirt comments while watching my coworkers in the back. Someone beside him, probably his beta, hands him a long wooden box with a smaller black box on top of it.
While the werewolf handles the boxes Will whispers in my ear that he’s the alpha of the black diamond pack. The biggest werewolf pack in our community. Will told me earlier he had given him the remaining amount needed for the shelter.
Will takes the long wooden box from the alpha and opens it. It’s full of freshly picked and neatly wrapped wooden sticks, herbs and flowers essential in basic potions. Such as blackthorn, aster flowers, thyme, lavender and hawthorn. They probably don’t know that hawthorn is a sign of bad luck. The branch pieces are commonly used for black magic in crafting hexes to set on other people to hurt them. A couple of the picked plants are rare and I’m not sure their names, but I’m sure Will has some use for them. I never really studied much about potions, but Stella would definitely know what the rarer plants are and how to use them.
“So kind of you all, I’m sure they will be put to good use. Right, Will?” I tell them while looking at the pretty plants.
“Yeah! We really can’t thank you enough for this donation, some of these plants were imported too.” Will says knowingly.
I smile up at Will in surprise when Beth passes me the black box to open.
Inside, I find a pouch of beautiful turquoise rock clusters cut in the shape of diamonds as well as pieces of silver with red rock embedded in their centers. I could use these in jewelry or just for decoration-they are so fascinating. Each rock slightly cut differently with its own unique appeal.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before. Thank you so much, they’re beautiful.” I thank the werewolves.
“I’m sure this transition has been tough for the two of you to handle. We are pleased with your platform’s goals and wish you the best. I’m afraid our ride is here now, we’ll have to be on our way. Have a nice night!” The alpha’s mate tells me and the rest of the werewolves follow her back to the front of the bar.
“You as well.” Will chides back seeing the alpha lag behind.
He still is sitting on the couch and his easy-going expression turns serious as his stare turns to me. Will’s hand grabs mine in comfort when the werewolf leans forward toward us and speaks in a lower voice.
“Look at them now, don’t you think they all kind of act the same? They’ve got this certain air about themselves, don’t you think? Mayor?” The werewolf whispers to Will only.
I’m hoping he can just drop the conversation so we can actually enjoy ourselves and not be stuck listening to the alpha’s conspiracies.
“So do we.” Will chuckles back, but it’s forced.
I know Will doesn’t want to sit here and listen any longer, but he is kind of obligated to since the man just funded the rest of the homeless shelter for the town.
With a grimace, Will nods his head politely as the werewolf explains his disappointment of the coven’s passive behavior towards the vamps being on the police force. The best I can offer is a tight-lipped smile. Clearly, the alpha has no idea what he is talking about. It was only a few weeks ago the witches were rioting right outside the station. They aren’t passive, they’ve only been silenced and obedient about it since Will persuaded them to once he got elected. I don’t think he knows about my car accident either or the coven’s involvement in it.
“I think they’ve got the governor’s liking. They want to turn the humans against us, probably for that legend you all were going on about.” The werewolf tells Will.
He continues on discussing vampire history, their violence and having a tiny bit of demon heritage in them too as the coven likes to remind everyone. Of course, he doesn’t leave out their supposed interest in the white witch legend either and the police chief being hybrid too.
Chilly air pours down on us when the air conditioning kicks on in the vent above us. It makes me want to get up and leave even more when the alpha starts bluntly stating his hatred of vampires. To distract myself, I watch the games going on at the pool tables beyond our couch and the exit behind them.
The red glow of the exit sign catches my eye, illuminating pale skin and the black material of a short-sleeved shirt where built muscle lays beneath. Nick moves away from the wall and more into the light looking over at us. Like a baby, I sink down further in my seat so he can’t see me. Well, to be honest, so I can’t see him.
“Is he seriously watching us? Hope he’s not counting on me paying them for showing up. I didn’t ask for them to come babysit.” Will huffs incredulously seeing the direction of my stare, but I barely hear him over my buzzing mind. The alpha keeps discussing his ridiculous conspiracy theories while I sink further into dread.
All the doubts and my secret fears that keep me lying awake at night ring through my head. Like whether I made the right decision to work at the station and Stella’s sudden odd behavior. Have I been too quick to set aside some weird things, like how he found me so quickly out in the woods when the supreme sent the warlock after me?
What if Colin didn’t have a panic attack? What if he was telling the truth about Nick? His father was the extreme case, but could any of that have affected Nick growing up if he didn’t stay at home long? He saved my life from being captured and killed by the warlock. Then, he went ahead and supported Will being mayor. He even paid my hospital bills from the crash.
I scoot up slightly on the couch closer to Will seeing Nick now occupied over at the pool table with Yansmen and the other officers playing. He gives me a small friendly wave and feeling like a child, I wave back in embarrassment. Someone like him could never be so cruel or after something so silly like the legend. I can’t let myself get brainwashed by the coven and I can’t let Will either!
“Hey, are you alright?” Will asks me. I hadn’t even noticed the werewolf and Beth get up to leave, but we are sitting alone together now. I rather not bring up my worries to him right now. It would only make him upset. I know he isn’t fully on board with the police’s presence in our community or me working with them for that matter.
“Yeah.” I mumble thinking about something else that’s been bothering me. Stella and Colin should be getting back in the morning from their trip tomorrow. I did reach out to Stella last week to see how she was, but she didn’t get back to me yet.
She always returns my texts within the hour and it’s been days now.
It’s not long before Will offers to drive me home and I take up his offer. After he drops me back off at the house, I collapse onto my bed feeling drained.
I don’t feel like I got to relax at all.
I don’t like being in the house alone anymore, not after the witches tried to break in. Truthfully, the alpha’s talk of the vamps scared me. Not of the vampires, but of the werewolves’ new anger towards the vamps which will soon surely pass over onto me too.
My phone rings suddenly and I pick it up.
“Hello?” I say.
“I won’t be in the office tomorrow. I’m leaving town tonight for a court ordinance. The supreme of our state is suing me for using magic in court.” Nick tells me sounding calm as if it’s no big deal.
“The governor pardoned you I thought? She recovered, it was an accident. You didn’t mean to.” I panic.
“Yes, however, William has notified the council about it. Something the governor did not do. I must obey accordingly.” He states sounding all serious.
“I...” Is all I can manage to say as confusion and fear fills within me. How could Will do this to him?!
“You can have off tomorrow in the meantime. Do not be afraid to use your craft to protect yourself if it comes to it.” Nick warns me in a gentle voice and I lean back on my pillow, cradling my phone closer to my face.
“Are you going to be okay?” I whisper softly.
A long moment passes before he answers.
“Do not worry, I will return.” He soothes sounding assured. Before I can ask anything else, he hangs up.