Drake (Book 1)

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[4]-The seamstress and the musician

Hampshire

9.00 a.m.

Lyn formed a frown. She stared out the one way Judas window again, its glass panels arranged in a plethora of colors. Snowflakes fell from the heavens like spice from a shaker. Frost covered the stone ledges and flying buttresses outside. The sky was plain white with little clouds. A dying fire cackled in the fireplace in her bedroom. Lyn took it upon herself to add an extra piece of wood and stir the flames. The fire festered within her brilliant emerald eyes.

She thought of her mother, Wanda, and her father, Sasha. She missed watching her sew and make wedding gowns. The sweet music of her father’s violin flowing through their home played in her head. Ella, her younger sister always cried as if the world had ended when she scraped her knee from playing outside.

Her eyes watered as she unearthed more memories. Memories so precious to her she wished she had forgotten them to spare her the pain. Yearly during Hanukkah, she and her sister Ella would light a candle each night. They would play games with the other children at festivals and eat oily foods. They would clap and sing songs in Hebrew around an enormous bonfire. The assortment of nine candles lingered in her mind until fading from existence.

She released an exasperated sigh and stared blankly through the Judas window again.

“You look troubled…”

“Drake?”

He entered the room, holding a glass of wine in each hand. He offered Lyn a glass, which she dismissed. Drake raised a brow and placed her glass on the stand next to her.

“Is Lyn Valeska saying no to wine?” he quipped.

Lyn hid a slight simper. “I’m not really in the mood…”

Drake undid the latch to the Judas window and swung open its panels. He caught a small snowflake that floated into his palm and closed it. Lyn pulled her knees to her chest and continued staring at the frozen countryside. The flames within the fireplace rekindled as it regained its strength from the fresh logs. Embers jumped onto the stone hearth, still glowing.

“I always liked winter here,” Lyn prompted, “everything is black and white. It’s very plain and I like it…”

Drake smiled. He caught another snowflake. “Lyn, do you know why snow is white?”

She shook her head.

“Snow is white because it’s forgotten what color it is…”

She turned to him and there it was. That same wry smile he wore all the time. The same smile that made her fall in love with him all those years ago. They listened to the wind whistling from outside. Lyn opened her mouth and caught a snowflake on her tongue. Its icy touch vaporized from the warmth of her mouth but left a satisfying chill. Drake reminded her of her mother in some ways with his witty remarks and cryptic messages.

“My mother was a seamstress in Paris. My father was a Russian Jew and musician who played the violin.”

Drake wore a dubious expression.

“You asked me a long time ago what my parents did before the war,” Lyn said. “Before the Nazis murdered them. That night-”

A terrible shrill from a woman flashed in her mind. Then she saw a wall of flames that touched the sky,

“The night they slaughtered the town. They made piles. Piles of wedding rings, golden teeth that they plucked from corpses. And then they loaded it all into trucks and took it away. I was coming back from ballet that night when it happened. I was lucky to hold on to this-”

She reached in the pocket of her robes, revealing a golden clamshell. Engraved on its top were the letters W.V. Drake took the clam and opened its shell. Inside was a small mirror embedded in one half. The other half contained red powder. Drake closed the shell and returned it to Lyn.

“Wanda Valeska?” he asked.

Lyn nodded. “This shell is the only thing I have left of my mother. The only thing left that she ever existed at all. I don’t even have a picture of my father. Drake, I have to ask…” Her emerald eyes blazed. “That night you found me. What were you doing there-?”

She jumped from her seat from the sporadic ringing of the telephone. It vibrated the stand as it rang. Before she could answer, Drake was already walking towards it. She scoffed as he answered. He muttered a few lines, but she could only catch a few words. Drake spoke for a few more seconds before hanging up the phone. He made a face.

“What’s wrong?”

Drake ran his hands through his hair.

Yep, called it…

“That was Ulysses,” he replied. “We have to go to Romania for a contract.”

Lyn’s face illuminated. “What are we hunting this time?”

“Werewolves. And besides- I’m running out of blood…”

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