I left the house without having breakfast. I drove to Mom's apartment in my old SUV. I was so thankful that it started. I wore sky blue boyfriend jeans, a white tank top and Rider’s grey hoodie.
My car bumped and skipped until I finally made it to the apartment. Parked outside was a familiar white Toyota Corolla. Nicholas…
I stepped out into the wind and I ran into the building. Winter was coming, quite normal weather in October. We didn't usually get snow in SilverLake, didn't seem like we would get any this time around. I waited for the elevator to stop and when it did the red head from a week ago walked out. She was wearing royal blue six inch heels this time. She nodded at me on her way out.
I stepped in and punched in mom's floor number. Grandma was waiting for me in lounge when I walked in. Nicholas was staring out the window.
“Are you alright?” Nicholas asked me. I chose to ignore him.
“What's this about Grandma?” I asked instead.
“Answer the man Avalon.” Grandma demanded.
“I'm fine.” I said through clenched teeth.
I turned back to my grandmother and rephrased my earlier question.
“Nicholas I think we need to have this conversation in private.” Grandma turned to Nicholas.
“Of course. I'll go check on… somethings” He quickly turned on his heels and left the apartment.
I took a seat on the couch and lifted my legs and crossed them. Grandma sat on the chair opposite me. She placed her hands carefully on her knee. She took a deep breath, I watched as her chest rose and fell. The silence was terrifying, my heart rate accelerated with anticipation of what she had to say.
“Dear, life's always been a constant battle between good and evil. A battle fought between the forces who seek to destroy the world and those who wish to protect it. Here in SilverLake those forces are many but we're going to start with The Moon.”
I blinked at her rapidly. I was trying to make sense of her words. “That sounds very poetic grandma… but what the hell are you talking about? Is this just one of your fairytales? Is this what you called me all they here to tell me?”
“Yes,” she said, unfazed. The determined look in her eyes told me she believed what she said.
“The Moon is a secret organization that protects SilverLake and the world. They fight the darkness on this earth. Our family has been a member of The Moon for centuries. Your Mom's a hunter, and I am guardian. The Star is another secret organization they are the contrary to The Moon. They control everything pertaining to the darkness.”
“Well, demons, vampires, angels of darkness. Of course there's many more. The Star can chose to use human beings depending on the shape of their hearts.” Grandma’s words were spoken with so much certainty and sadness.
“You do realise how this sounds don't you Grandma?” I asked. I thought my scepticism was only natural, though it seemed to be upsetting her.
“The truth is stranger than fiction. The only reasonable explanation for the deaths of those three men…”
My eyes surely widened and I swallowed my next retort. I sat silently watching her as she watched me. I was going to be reprimanded for being a murderer. My palms starting sweating because I was caught! I was a filthy damned murderer.
“Is that you unleashed the power inside you and you used it in self defense. We didn't think… you could have any powers.”
I sat quietly fiddling with my fingers, listening to my heavy heart beat thundering in my chest.
“You're no killer, Avalon. Those men were sent to capture you and bring you to your death. But as long as I live I'll make sure no creature ever touches you again. The world's half in darkness and the light of the world is going out. We've lost too many people to this gruesome war.”
I stood up quickly without and yelled.“And where’s mom where is she?”
Grandma stood, “she's fine. There was an emergency and she was needed. Now that you know this you have to be careful until the time comes.”
I didn't even bother to ask until the time comes for what. Without thinking I ran out of the room. I had no idea where I was running to, or why I was running away from this. It was my reality.
I got into my car, I'd never felt so happy to see it and sit in it. Before I could drive off Nicholas snatched the keys out of the ignition.
“What are you doing?!” I screamed.
“You can't drive like this.”
“What do you care?”
“I wasn't sent here to protect you just for you to go and kill yourself.”
I panted so heavily I was exhausted. He stared at me his gaze not in the least calming.
“Just calm down and I'll give you the keys.” He said. I sat still in my seat, gripping the stirring wheel tight. I tired to calm my breathing and my shaking. The enormity of the situation hit me, my life was in danger.
“Why are they after me.” I asked, glaring at Nicholas.
“Is that what your grandmother told you?”
“No, but it's not rocket science. I've been attacked by three men this month alone. What do they want from me?” I demanded. Nicholas surveyed his surroundings. I half expected to see the red head out there smoking but didn't.
“This isn't the place to talk about this. We have people watching you. You'll be safe.” He handed me back my keys and strolled off.
I looked up so see the beauty of the winter sky. Massive grey clouds hang heavy in the sky, hiding the sun and protecting our skins for a while. I liked this weather, I preferred it to the heat of summer. I liked covering my skin with layers of clothing, long pants, soft cotton jerseys and warm leather boots. My friends said I exaggerated too much about the weather, maybe I did.
I layed low for the past few days, I tired to return normality. I went back to school, I busied myself with getting my assignments done and retaking tests. I went out with my friends and Rider a lot. I felt so good.
Although, the normality wasn't complete, for one Nicholas’ presence in my life remaind constant. I was afraid to stay out late, I felt the shadows move in my apartment, I woke up screaming after every nightmare.
Although I tired to be normal and not think about how I'd killed those three men, my dreams turned to nightmares. I was failing somehow to shake myself back to life.
My day was going great, I was leaving the library with Cass, Frankie and Rider. Cass and Frankie had come to pick me up. I had no classes left, thankfully. I was so glad that Rider and Cass weren't at each other's throats.
We chatted a little about what to do over mid semester break. Everyday was mid semester break for Cassidy. The excitement mostly came from Frankie and I.
“My parents are so fucking annoying!” Cass ranted. Rider stared intently at his phone as if there was something so important on it.
“It’s okay I mean you've got another car Cass.” I said. She was ranting about how her parents were punishing her by taking away her cars and allowances.
“That's Richmond’s car. I had to do him a little favour to borrow it.” She said. I didn't even need to ask what that favour was.
“It's a nice car,” Frankie added. “It's all my mom's fault. She all of a sudden cares about my shit.” Cass continued.
Cass lives with her Dad most of the time, she doesn't really get along with her mother.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I was with Peter last night and I was so drunk I told him to take me to Mom's place. You can imagine her freaked out reaction.”
“So she wanted me to tone it down on the drinking and parties. Good luck with that mom.” She added.
“Maybe it's for the best Cassidy.” Rider spoke for the first time.
“I don't care about your option Rider,” Cass chuckled but it wasn't funny.
“Of course not you're too self centred to care about anyone else.” Rider said, avoiding eye contact.
“Is that why you don't trust me with your precious girlfriend?”
“I don't have to trust you, but yes. I don't trust you with my treasure.” Rider finally looked her in the eye and smiled.
His words hurt her for some reason, they whipped off the challenging and cheeky smile on her face.
Students walked by us, some staring at us as they scurried along to their next classes. Frankie and I were silent until Rider’s phone beeped with a notification.
He scanned it quickly then shoved his phone back in his pocket. “I've gotta go babe, it's my dad he needs me.” He kissed my cheek and left.
Leaving me to face my angry friend. All three of us headed to Cassidy’s borrowed SUV, I opted to sit in the back this time.
The conversation was minimal, Cass was fuming we knew better than to try to calm her down at this moment. She'd recover in her own time. She dropped me off at my apartment and said she'd see me later.
I was shocked to see my apartment door was unlocked.
“I could have sworn I locked that door.” I said.
What do I do? Do I scream? Gosh who are my neighbors maybe they can help. I was panicking, was another assassin laying in wait for me in my own home?
“I should call management, no the police?” No what if it's a demon and it just vanishes into thin air. Or worse a vampire and it sucks them dry.
I should just run. But no, I wanted to know what on earth was in my house. With no peper spray and confidence I slowly walked into my house.
Everything seemed untouched, pictures frames and ornaments were unmoved, the empty glass I left on my coffee table however was missing. The blanket I left ruffled on my couch had been folded. What kind of bugler was this. He broke in just to clean up?
“Hello? Who ever you are come out in peace!” I yelled. “I'm armed!”I moved slowly in the house.
“Mom?” I hoped. She's still gone and no one will tell me where to.
Seconds later Nicholas walked out of my kitchen. I was utterly disappointed.
“You have a lovely home Avalon. Filthy yes, but lovely.” He said.
“Were you expecting someone else?”
“No,” I sat down much relieved now.
“What are you doing here anyway?” He glanced around the living room before answering, staring at my second hand furniture and family pictures. One of my dad and me was among them. I was a little bit embarrassed about the way he'd found my house.
“I just came to check out the place. I love the portrait in your room.”
“You were in my room!” I stood.
“I came to check up on you.” His tone turned serious.
“There's been an attack and your grandmother had to leave.” He explained.
I really didn't want to be hearing this. “So what you think them- the vampires and witches-”
“The Star-” he rolled his eyes. “What ever. You think they're coming after me?” I asked, somewhat worried now.
“You're the one they want,” he sighed.
“So then are you going to stand guard outside my door or what?” I was scared.
“It doesn't work that way.”He said as if I was stupid.
I was silent, the fear made me quiet. Any day they could burst through the ceiling and get me and Nicholas could be sleeping in his bed. I wondered if I should tell Nicholas about my nightmares but they could easily be that just nightmares. Though not everyone dreams about being torn apart by thousands of grim rippers. What if it was another way the Star were trying to get me.
“Don't worry about it, we won't let anything happen to you.” He assured me.
He started for the door, he was leaving! He couldn't leave me like this as scared as I was. I couldn't go to Rider’s house they would probably get me there too. Oh my gosh my boyfriend what if they were watching him too. They knew I loved him and would use him as leverage to get me. My friends they were all in danger too. How do I stop this?
“Nick wait… what are you? ” This question felt stupid to ask, I was glad the expression on Nick’s face didn't seem to think so.
He promised to tell all he could about The Moon and The Star and I was kind enough to offer him tea and some biscuits unfortunately for me I was out of tea so I offered him coffee which he accepted.
Some of what he told me Grandma had mentioned. She left me too, after promising she wouldn't let anything happen to me.
“So what are you?” I asked while we stood in my kitchen drinking some coffee.
“I'm a keeper.” He plainly said. “And what is that exactly?”
“We're like magical bodyguards, though not all keepers are assigned to protect humans. Others are keepers of ancient objects, others are destined to be gatekeepers.”
“What are gatekeepers? Sounds interesting do they guard portals to other dimensions, keeping the world safe from monsters from other realms. Sounds like a fun job you should have gotten stuck with that one.” I joked.
Nicholas laughed, “not even close, Avalon. Gatekeepers devote all their lives to guarding powerful ancient objects. Like the holy grail for example. It's the worst job to get stuck in.”
“Never mind then. Aren't they allowed to take holidays to see their families?” I found myself feeling sorry for them.
Nick sighed then continued, “They're not allowed to have families. They have to be dedicated and well prepared for anything. Most gatekeepers were children lost and forgotten, orphaned and abandoned.”
“That's awful.” Nick was quick to try to changed my mind.
“It's not so bad their well taken care of until the time comes for them to take their places as gatekeepers.”
I wasn't convinced, still during that time they couldn't search for love or have any families. I couldn't imgaine my life without Rider or Mom and Grandma.
“So… what am I?” I asked, scared.
“As far as I'm concerned you're a normal human being.”
I turned my head to the side and rolled my eyes. “One that shoots lightning out of her body parts. Come on!”
“No not lightning, but light. That's pretty much all I can say. There are certain things I can't tell you right now, Avalon.”
I could feel the my eyes go tense, I saw his muscles flex, his eyes wonder around my kitchen. I had the feeling there was something awful they were hiding from me.