Drake (Book 1)

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[51]-Soundscape to Ardor

Chiltern Hills right outside of London

11:39 a.m.

For once, Aaren didn’t wear his mask when he ventured outside the safe house. He felt ashamed of his crude appearance, facial scars, and blind eyes. But it was different ever since his vision returned. He had learned to live without it for so many decades, relying on his keen hearing and sonar-like perception.

His vendetta against Drake still lingered in his heart like a raging storm. He would have his vengeance. He strayed away from the path of hatred he condemned himself to. His memories returned day by day, becoming more vivid each time. Painful recollections buried in the depths of his soul.

Aaren had always been different. As a child, he excelled in everything he committed. He was stronger, faster, and astute. His vision faded as the seasons passed since his first encounter with Drake. In exchange for Drake’s power, something would be lost.

He looked up at the sky, a baby blue, and smiled. He realized why Drake had spared him that night; almost as if he had chosen him to pass on his power.

His father’s limbs were torn off and his torso thrown across the living room. His feet could barely grip the floor from the blood that wetted it. Anya, his sister, laid in her bed, her body stiff and pale, completely drained. He could only imagine what happened to his mother, who was killed on the floor above him.

If he couldn’t kill Drake himself; then he would find someone who would. Until then, he too remained a slave to eternity.


12:00 p.m.

He took a lorry and traveled outside London to the countryside, taking long winding roads across the rolling hills and woodland walks. He rested in the back with the crates of fruit and bundles of hay. The truck passed a myriad of fields, their soil plowed and planted for the next harvest. A fringe of the forest came into his view the further they traveled. Carefully tucked away amongst the forest was a farm.

The truck stopped, and Aaren hopped off the back. He gave the old man a few pounds before thanking him. The truck’s engine spurted a few times before starting and taking off again. A rooster crowed from the farm, catching Aaren’s attention.

A fence of chicken wire surrounded a small hut where chickens and roosters gathered. Cows grazed in the fields beside the farms, the bells on their necks ringing as they moved. A wide red barn stood in the back next to a large silo. Rust and moss covered its surface, and Aaren guessed it hadn’t been used in decades. Gardens directly in front of the house offered a plethora of fruits and fresh vegetables.

Towards the back, rested a comfortable cabin, elevated from the ground. A set of stairs led to its entrance and the front patio. Turquoise colored glass filled its windows and roof. The storm door swung open, and a woman emerged. She lifted the cat sleeping on the steps and stroked its fur. Stitched in gold letters on her apron were the words: Serina Ackner.

Aaren exhaled sharply and approached the cabin. She ambled down the steps and released the cat. Something caught her eye from behind, and she failed to notice Aaren as she tended to one of her plants.

He watched her water the tiny sprout, handling it with the utmost care. She smiled as she sprinkled the plant and added a bit of fertilizer. Aaren clenched his fists. The words caught in his throat and he gulped. Then she turned towards him.

She stood up and formed a smile as warm as daybreak. Her hair was a platinum blonde with golden eyes. Though her skin was pale and Aaren’s like coffee; he inherited the sharp lines that made her triangular face.

“You look just like your father,” she chuckled. “You have that curly hair, too.”

“Drake told me everything. My memories have come back…”

Serina shook her head. “He didn’t tell you everything. Come inside, I’ll make some tea…”


12:05 p.m.

Aaren stared into the teacup, steam still rising from it as he stirred. Serina sipped her tea and peeked out the window at the grazing cows. She placed her cup down and joined her hands, staring at Aaren solemnly. He could see suffering in her eyes. His eyes reflected that pain and told the same story.

“You’ve done well,” she prompted.

Aaren nodded. “It wasn’t easy…”

Serina looked away and her face softened. She met her son’s gaze. “Aaren, there’s so much to say. I don’t know where to start-”

Aaren leaned forward. “I know the truth, grandpa Earl told me. Those people I lived with weren’t family by blood. But they were the closest thing to family I ever had…” Venom dropped from his words.

“Aaren-”

He knocked away the cup and the sheet covering the table. His nostrils flared. “Why did you abandon me!” He glanced at the shattered cup within the pool of tea and glowered. “Sorry…”

Serina took a deep breath and stiffened her posture. “It was the only thing to keep you safe.”

Aaren wore a dubious expression. “From who?”

“There is another like Drake, someone much worse. Aaren, Drake isn’t the one who killed your folk that night. It’s not his style to leave such a mess.”

Aaren scoffed. The idea seemed far fetched. There was someone worse than Drake? He would have never thought it possible. Though that night, he had never seen the perpetrator actually kill them, only Drake, with his fierce blue eyes dragging him from his bed by the ankles. He sat there pensive and realized that not a speck of blood covered Drake’s clothes.

She stood up and unbuttoned her flannel shirt. Then she turned and removed it, exposing her back and scar. The scarlet letter branded into her skin. The letter A. She put her flannel back on and faced him.

“I was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1676. I had a twin sister named Anna… When I was sixteen years old the town magistrate accused me of adultery and branded me, hence the letter on my back. Coincidentally, Anna was accused of being a witch. She ran off with a man named Drake and I never saw her again…”

Aaren’s face was aloof. “You expect me to believe this?”

Serina nodded. “It’s the truth…”

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