01 | “don’t worry there’s nothing here anymore.”
“I need to live my own life, follow my own path.”
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CHAPTER ONE - CHARLOTTE
Blackthorn Forest, Shadow Creek
AS I’M WALKING through Blackthorn Forest, I can feel a million eyes of the wild animals overseeing my every move, and I also hear the crunching of leaves and branches as Jake follows firmly behind me. The night is still in silence, and the more into the woods I walk, the more the feeling of black magic increases in the pit of my stomach. I can hear Jake’s breath hitch up as we see the old library coming into clear view. Before we step foot onto the sidewalk, I turn around to face my stubborn and demanding student, Jake Nightingale.
“Jake, listen to me.” He huffs and looks down at me with those captivating light blue eyes. “Since you are not a member of the coven yet, the Blackblood Clan can sense and control you because you don’t have the proper way of defeating them using the right magic.” He rolls his eyes and glares down at me. “Don’t give me that look, Jake; you’re the one that does not show up to training on time. Now, listen to me. You are to follow my lead at all times. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Charlotte.” He says emphasizing my name with a smirk, I roll my eyes at him and begin walking towards Maxwell’s library.
I don’t like being referred to by my full name because it reminds me of the defenseless child that I used to be before I found out that I was a Demon Hunter. I now like to go by the name Charlie, but when Jake feels the need to get under my skin, he uses my full name against me.
I slowly make my way up the library’s broken stairs, which create a creaking sound with each step. ”Charlie,” I hear Jake’s urgent whisper behind me.
“Be quiet,” I hiss at him, turning around to look him in the eyes. “Something’s wrong, and I know this because there is black magic in the air tonight. I can feel it inside of me.” I explain to him, the sour scent of it also fills my nostrils. My eyes dart between the forest trees in search of the cause of this feeling.
“What do you mean you can feel it, and dark magic?” He trails off looking around like he will be able to feel it too or even catch it somehow, in his eyes, I can see the gleam of fear.
“Soon enough when you’re ready, you will be able to sense it too, but Jake. I think that you should turn around and head back to Shadow City.” Jakes’ eyes land on me again, and his feared expression changes into a stubborn one.
“I’m not going back without you, Charlie, I’m staying here with you. I can’t have anything happen to my favorite tutor.” I ignore the feeling that I get when he says this and roll my eyes. “If there’s dark magic around us, then that means if I don’t go in with you, you could be in danger and will need my help.”
“I will be fine on my own Jake. So can you please leave and go back up the path we came from?” Jake does not move a muscle, so I can tell that his determination to stay and help will not just fade away. I sigh in frustration and defeat then turn back to the library’s old double doors. “Do you at least have your amulet with you?”
Jake reaches under his shirt and pulls out a blood-red amulet attached to a chain around his thick, muscular neck. “You know me, Char, I’m always prepared.” He smirks. All I do is a nod, pull out my unique amber rose amulet from my jacket pocket and place it into the secret compartment under the doorbell that only fully trained Demon Hunters can see.
“Charlie. I don’t have a good feeling about this. Max usually has his lights on, even at night.” Dark magic reverberates in the air, it’s like an incredibly dense heat, and it’s making me feel claustrophobic. I place my hand on the doorknob and slowly turn it once I take my amulet back. When it opens Jake, and I slowly make our way inside.
Under my breath, I recite the words that will eternally tell me if any other presence is in the room. Living, dead, or even the undead, and when I do, I feel a cold shiver making its way up and down my spine. Before my eyes even adjust to the total darkness, I know what horrible thing has just occurred.
“Jake, turn on the lights for me,” I say, trying to keep my voice even but struggle miserably. Jake does not do what I tell him to because he’s afraid that he will find someone or something he will not like. “Don’t worry; there’s nothing here anymore. It’s just the two of us.”
When he flips the switch, a bright light fills the room, and I can see all of the beautiful books covering the walls on bookshelves. In front of me, two staircases meet in the middle and lead to the second floor, also in the middle of the room stands a marvelous desk.
I creep my way to the main desk, on it, documents are scattered all over the place, there is also a picture of Max and Jake with a newly caught fish in Jake’s hand. They are both victoriously smiling, which makes my heart melt. I let out a shaky breath and set the picture back down carefully. I feel Jake’s presence behind me, he is about to make his way into Max’s study, but I stop him by placing my arm in front of his chest.
“You shouldn’t go in there.” He stares at me with confusion evident in his eyes. He tries sidestepping around me, but I’m much faster than he is, so I once again end up blocking his way.
“Okay, what is your problem? I have to go see if everything is okay in there.”
“No, Jake, I’ll go. Okay, stay out here please.” He shakes his head and pushes me out of the way, making the small of my back hit a corner of the desk. I wince in pain and turn to see Jake about to open the door, but before I can yell at him to stop, he is already walking inside.
“No!” I hear Jake yell and see him stop abruptly. I run inside and slow down so that I’m standing next to him. Sure enough, it’s Max’s dead body sprawled out on the hardwood floor. I gasp when I see the deep claw marks on his torso and neck, besides that he looks somewhat peaceful, more so like he’s just sleeping.
“I’m so sorry, Jake.” It’s hard for me to get those words to come out of my mouth without breaking down. I hear a sob escape his throat rather than words while tears begin to well up in his eyes. Max was like a father to him, so I can’t even imagine how he must feel. I turn my gaze back to Max and start making my way towards him. I go down on my knees and take out a small pack of black and green herbs that I got from Jordyn’s garden before I left the city.
“What are you doing?” I glance at Jake’s shaking body, I have never felt so sorry for him before or have seen him this vulnerable.
“I’m just going to place these herbs on him and do a spell to see if I can find out if someone from Alpha Kayden’s pack did this to him.” He nods in understanding, I turn my attention back to Max and begin pouring the substance onto him, reciting the words of the spell all while closing my eyes and moving my hands across his corpse without actually touching his body. I gasp and open my eyes.
“What! Charlie, what’s wrong?” I take in a deep breath and let it out slowly. Standing up and brushing off the herbs and dirt from my jeans, I turn my body towards Jake.
“Not only did he get attacked by a wolf, but the Blackblood Clan had something to do with his murder too.”
“So what you’re saying is that a werewolf and magic killed him?” I nod sighing. “Was it from Kayden’s pack?”
“I don’t know. The Blackblood Clan probably used some protection spell on him or her to stop us from finding that out. Anyway, we should go. Whoever did this is probably going to come back soon. We have to head back to headquarters so that I can inform the Mistress of what happened and have someone come and pick up his body.” He doesn’t move, only stands there and keeps staring at Max.
"Hey.” I walk over to him and pull him into a tight hug. He stiffens and does not hug back at first, but then after a few seconds, he wraps his arms around my waist and places his head deeper into my neck, letting out quiet sobs. “Everything is going to be okay; we will find out who did this and bring them to justice. I promise.”
“Yeah.” He lets me go and wipes his eyes with the sleeve of his black leather jacket. “Race you back to the city!” He yells, taking off into a sprint. I laugh and chase after him, closing the doors to the library on my way out.
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A/N - Author’s Note
What did you think of the first chapter?
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Stay tuned, Lovelies. 😜
➭ Dez Joyner