Chapter 16: Aftermath
It was about three weeks later.
Owen stood, in front of the window. The streets were quiet. Or, they seemed that way. He decided that it was impossible to really know. He couldn’t think about Evangeline or Morgan or Daveigh or Alyssa. He thought back to the night.
He watched Daveigh snap the man’s neck and then bleed him dry and smile. Owen thought about how he held Evangeline. And how she suddenly stirred. And how she changed.
Owen thought about how badly he wanted to say something there.
Because when her black-yellow eyes stared back at him, he couldn’t think of the words to say to her. He wanted to tell her how sorry she was. Then she sat up, and she began turning into werewolf, broke free of his grip, started screaming from what he speculated was unimaginable pain...
And then she ran.
He realised that he was still looking out the window. He secretly hoped she would just show up. Maybe it was pointless, but he still held out a little hope.
The first night he was out looking for her. He called Evangeline’s house. She never showed up. The second night he continued to search for her. She was nowhere to be found. She didn’t show up to school for the week after that. Daveigh did, but Owen avoided her. Morgan found out about Evangeline from Alyssa and nearly knocked Owen’s teeth in. Then they went looking together. But she was so far gone. Two more weeks had passed.
His phone vibrated obnoxiously on his desk, interrupting Owen’s thoughts. His finger hovered over the dismiss icon, but then he decided to answered. Morgan spoke quietly.
“We found something.”
“No. The demon that attacked us a few weeks back.”
“I know it’s not the news you wanted.”
“No. But at least it’s good news.”
“We’re going to Alyssa’s. She’ll pick you up in half an hour.”
“Have you talked with Daveigh?”
“Alyssa told me she saved your lives.”
Morgan sighed. “See you in thirty.”
Owen tossed the phone down and let Morgan end the call. Owen didn’t really want to talk to anyone about anything. He dressed himself and Alyssa eventually pulled into his driveway.
He scowled as he entered through the passenger side door. Alyssa noticed his demeanour but decided not to be the first to speak.
“I think I’ve thought up a plan. Something that I can do.” Owen said calmly.
“What’s that?” Alyssa asked with a frown.
“It’ll take some preparation… But…” Alyssa noticed how Owen’s hands started trembling. His eyes widened and he gave a manic smile. “Maybe, if this works, I can save a few people. Alyssa, I made you a promise. That everything is going to be okay. And it will.”
“Are… Are you okay, Owen?” She asked.
“No, I’m anything but okay. Evangeline ran away. I can’t really talk to Daveigh right now. I’m pretty pissed off at Morgan because he was nowhere to be found on Friday and he hasn’t explained jack. But at the same time, if I can get this to work… Then I’ll be more than just okay. I never thanked you. For fighting so hard.”
“I’m a very distracting punching bag, I’ve noticed.” She winked.
“I also don’t want you to leave.”
“No, hear me out. We got off to a rough start, and it’s been nothing but a river of shit flowing down a steep mountain. But at least the three of us have been together. You, Morgan and I. And I’m involved. I’m involved with you. With Evangeline. With Morgan. With Daveigh. I’m part of this world by my own choice now. But you guys act like it isn’t possible to live some semblance of a decent life. Just because the world got weirder and my friends got weirder doesn’t mean I have to lose friends and fight every minute of every day. So when the fighting is over, you’re going to stick around, and you’re going to be my friend and we’ll laugh and joke and talk about exes and mistakes and what normal people talk about. And if they try to mess with us, we deal with it. But it’s doable.”
“That easy, huh?”
“That easy.” Owen nodded.
Elsewhere, Peppers sat behind his newspaper sipping his organic tea while waiting for his charge to finally come downstairs. Julie impatiently tapped her fingernails against the table top, but Peppers didn’t voice his grievances with the insufferable practice.
“I could never understand why anyone would want to return to high school.”
“She never finished. I thought it would be a good life experience. Bad luck with that werewolf. Although it never stood a chance. Daveigh has taken down bigger and uglier.”
“You seem very indifferent.”
“Well no harm has been done, Juliet. We cleaned up the body, and the supernatural population of this town has taken a severe dent.”
“That demon girl is a problem.”
“She might be nice. You never know.”
“In my experience, one demon attracts the herd.”
“You’re still young, Juliet.”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Do you dislike your name?”
“Juliet was a lovesick teenager. Call me Julie.”
“If you insist.”
“You’re telling me you aren’t attached to your nickname?”
“It reminds me of Ophelia.”
“Why’d you even stay with my aunt? You’re a troll.”
“Half-troll. And your aunt was a beautiful person. Simple as that. She cared for me, I cared for her. And when she passed away, I took on her only child as my own.”
“Did you have feelings for her? Were you like, in love?” Julie asked.
“Nothing as paperback romance as that. Ophelia was my family. I would like to think that I was hers. And then she got married and had Daveigh.”
Daveigh came down in a zombified trance, her hair a mess, in her shorts and a large shirt hanging down obnoxiously. She stumbled towards the kitchen.
“So have you heard from your guy?” Julie asked.
“Can we not talk about Owen?” Daveigh moaned.
“Gave you the bat after he found out you were a fanger.” Julie laughed.
“You’re lucky I’m too tired to deck you.” Daveigh yawned. “He hasn’t returned any of my calls and I mean… God, it’s just such a fuck-up.”
“Language.” Peppers said.
“Screw-up, sorry. Like it really is sort of a blow to my self-esteem.”
“Maybe he needs more time.” Peppers suggested.
“It’s been three weeks.” Daveigh said.
“Well, despite all the films and novels, reveals like these rarely go as smoothly as planned. Sometimes people need to process.” Peppers sipped.
“I think you should make him jealous. Show him what he’s missing out on.” Julie smiled.
“I think that is a terrible, terrible idea.” Peppers said.
“No, she’s right. I deserve fun. And Owen might never even call me back.”
“Juliet.” Peppers scowled.
“You have no idea how to work with girls, Mr Beaumont. Now Daves, we’re going out tonight and we’re going to meet cute guys and get drunk and we’re going to make it very public what a great time you’re having.”
“I refuse to be part of this self-destructive ritual.”
“What would you have me do?” Daveigh asked.
“Talk to the boy. Were I you, I would corner him and force and explanation out of him. He owes you that much.”
“After three weeks? No, I’m sorry. I’m going out tonight and I’m having fun and I’m not going to mope about one asshole guy.”
Peppers sighed. He could have almost sworn that Daveigh and Julie were sisters.
Morgan stood in Alyssa’s lounge, a map out on a table. Her house was small and on the outskirts of town. Owen shut the door behind himself after Alyssa walked in.
“So we have a location on this guy?” Alyssa asked.
“Yes. He knows he can’t come near our houses, so he’s been slumming around in a warehouse. I can safely assume it’s the most dangerous place on earth for the three of us. So we’re going there midnight tomorrow.”
“Okay, so this is the part where you tell me about your super ultimate weapon to kill this freak?” Alyssa asked.
“Yes. Owen.” Morgan smiled.
“Come again?” Alyssa blinked.
“Yeah, Owen. Ever heard of a magician’s pact?” Morgan smiled.
“Where mages and warriors would fight as a team with the mage acting as a support while the warrior does the dirty business?”
“You make it sound so cowardly.” Morgan sighed.
“No. Anyway, I’m not really a spellcaster. But, we can engineer a makeshift pact. Where a normal magician’s pact would take all of my magic to amplify Owen’s physical abilities, I’m going to use runes to enhance Owen’s physical abilities. Makes me a bit weaker but it means I can stay out of the fight and give direction. It was Owen’s idea actually. We’ve bought some sports equipment to use as armour. I’ve engraved runes into everything. Some to take the weight off, magic shield, telepathic connection between the two of us, et cetera. Basically Owen should be able to keep up with you in combat and then some.”
“As impressive as that is, and don’t get me wrong, I like a good three on one, but that is a surprisingly underwhelming ultimate weapon.” Alyssa nursed her temples.
“Well… The next part is tricky.”
“Owen has to talk to Daveigh.”
“You’re kidding. I thought you were going to ask for something like the left testicle of a volcano troll. You use that word, ‘tricky’, but do really know what it means?”
“If we have a vampire, we stand a significantly larger chance of beating this guy. Owen and I hyped up on vampire blood makes us not only harder to kill but we get heightened senses. And I like four on one better than three.”
“Only problem is that if you die, you change.” Alyssa looked at Owen.
“So we just have to not die.” Morgan grinned.
“Great. Two drugged up pipsqueaks, a barely functioning me and a pissed off vampire.” Alyssa sighed.
“Owen and I go in first, detonating or defusing what we can, then you and Daveigh come in from above. From there, it’s whoever cuts off something important first.”
“Beautiful. Owen, get your girl on the line.”
“It’s not that easy.” Owen said uneasily.
“Because you’ve been ignoring her for three weeks?”
“She might not agree to it.”
“If you don’t call, I will.” Alyssa glared at Owen.
“Fine. Whatever. I’ll call her.”
“Tick tock, Owen. Okay. This isn’t entirely terrible. We might actually stand a chance.”
“Hey, we have still have thirty hours to fuck this up.” Morgan smiled.
“I swear we only need one.” Alyssa sighed.
Daveigh and Julie sat in one of the booths at the local bar. They were swopping anecdotes and laughing about their lives.
“God, you wouldn’t even believe what a mess I made that first week learning some of the Native Shaman rituals… A swear, I came out with bruises in shapes you couldn’t even imagine!” Julie laughed.
“Oh my God… I was always horrible at that stuff. I don’t even know how you battled it out that long.” Daveigh smiled.
“So it was nuts. My mom just got so obsessed with traditional magic. But Daveigh… No one heard from you guys in months. We heard your mom and dad died, and that you were a vampire, and then… Poof… You went off the map. What happened?” Julie frowned. “Malachi refuses to talk about it.”
“The truth is we don’t really know ourselves. Peppers and I spent months just trying to track the vampires who changed me. And with no luck, we never found them. I just remember waking up to corpses.”
“I’m so sorry…”
“Peppers was especially devastated about it. I love him to bits… And truthfully, he’s been more of a dad to me than my own dad was. But my mom… I couldn’t even think who’d do it. She was nice to everyone. Especially the people who hurt her. She just had this well of kindness that never dried up. She never yelled at me, not once. I-…” Daveigh felt her phone vibrate… She picked it up and frowned. “It’s Owen.”
“Are you gonna answer…?” Julie asked with a grin.
“I suppose I’ll let him explain.” Daveigh said, and walked outside.
“Hey.” She answered.
There was a silence for a few seconds. Daveigh half-wanted to scream at him. Eventually he spoke.
“You know, I haven’t seen or heard from Evangeline since then.”
“Owen, where are you going with this…?”
“At this point I have to assume she’s either dead or doesn’t want to be found. So she told me her reasons, right before everything happened. And I fucked up. It was me.”
“Is this a sympathy plea? You ignored me for three weeks. I could have helped. Maybe if you let me explain or just didn’t run every time you saw me, we could have found her. Together.”
“Yeah. Maybe. But it got me thinking. I haven’t changed. At all. I know I actually really liked talking to you. I liked who I thought you were. And I’m still adjusting to the whole supernatural thing… But I know you had your reasons for hiding what you are. So I wanted to say how sorry I am. Because I had no idea how to face you and I couldn’t form the words to say and I didn’t want to involve you because I feel guilty. And I’m going to feel even guiltier because I’m going to do the selfish thing and ask your forgiveness, because I need your help. Daveigh… I’m so sorry. I fucked up. With you, with Evangeline. And I don’t know how to make any of it right. But I need your help. And you’re the only person I can turn to.”
She let out a deep sigh. “I’m still mad at you but… You sound like you’re in real trouble. So after we sort it out, we are going to have a long conversation on how you’re making it up to me for kissing me and not saying a word. And then if you want me to… Maybe I can help you find Evangeline.” Daveigh bit her lip. “You know… If I could have stopped everything that happened that night, I would have.”
“Could you meet me somewhere? Tomorrow morning, I mean.”
“Maybe.” She laughed sombrely.
“Ha-ha. Funny. Coffee, tomorrow morning. I’ll text the details.”
“Make it coffee and breakfast and you have a deal.” She smiled.
“You’re really going to milk this, aren’t you?”
“Goodbye, Owen.” She smiled, and hung up.
She walked back inside. Julie sat in the booth talking with someone. He had fandango pink hair that formed a thick curtain over his eyes. She admitted he was kind of attractive, in the scene-kid-leather-jacket-bad-boy way. He winked at her. Daveigh tiled her head in a way that asked Julie for an explanation.
“Hey Daves. And? You’re actually kinda smiling.” Julie raised an eyebrow.
“I’m meeting him tomorrow.”
“God, you’re so easy!” Julie laughed.
They stood in silence for a bit. “Forgive me, where are my manners? I guess I get shy in the presence of such astounding company… My name…” He smiled and flicked his hair out of the way long enough for Daveigh to look into his cruel eyes.
“… Is Drake St. Claire.”