Out of the Darkness

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Chapter 2

It didn’t take long for the news of Raven working here to spread. There were certainly some mixed opinions about it, some thought it was a practical joke, others thought that our agency was turning evil, and some even thought she was bribing us! But needless to say, not many were happy about it.

I have had absolutely no peace the past couple of days since Raven arrived at that interview. There have been threats of many kinds, some to quit, some to sue us if Raven were to hurt them and they even threatened to kill her. Yeah because they really had a chance of succeeding at that. Well maybe if they all joined forces…that is not something I am willing to think about though. She seemed unbothered by all of the threats, didn’t make a fuss over anything, did all of the necessary tests without arguing or complaining, read over and signed the contract without changing a thing, she even agreed to combat training. Even though we all know that she doesn’t really need to be trained. Honestly, I think she’s just humouring us on that one.

Her fighting ability amazes me to no end. How can someone be graceful and yet fierce at the same time? I am not the only one who is astounded by this. Her fighting is drawing attention, she is currently in the gym sparing with Tom and was managing to prove herself without hurting him so she obviously isn’t as ruthless as we first thought. I wonder what else we were wrong about.

I was standing in the corridor, watching through the one way glass as a crowd began to form. At the front stood James, Alexander, Jonathan and myself. Close behind us were Jimmy and then behind him were some of our other agents. Raven had pinned Tom down countless times already, he is our best fighter and it doesn’t even look like she is putting all of her effort in to beating him. She doesn’t gloat when she is victorious. Just gets back up and waits patiently for further instructions from Tom.

I worry about some of our other agents watching Raven fight. There are already many concerns about her intentions to come here and it has struck up quite a large amount of fear throughout the agency. Word gets around quick in a place like this, and with even just a few agents watching her; this could cause quite a few more problems for me to deal with.

I wouldn’t bother with this much hassle for just anyone, but she is Raven, the Raven. We have been following any activity that is related to her in the slightest for years now and we haven’t managed to figure her out. It didn’t help matters that she just disappeared for almost two years. Some thought she was dead. But somehow I knew she wasn’t, but the Demons that she would usually be killing began to mount up, they were getting a little cocky at the thought that she could finally be dead and therefore couldn’t ruin their evil schemes. But then, just like that two months ago she showed up on the radar again and killed any Demon that posed a threat, the world was set back in to order again. Back to how it used to be before she disappeared, and had every Demon with half a brain terrified of her once again.

Inside the gym Tom was obviously declaring the combat training over. Raven nodded once, shook his hand, picked up her bag and headed to the showers. The crowd began to disperse as the show was now over.

“Everyone in the conference room in 10 minutes please. Spread the word.” I said to the retreating crowd. I didn’t turn around to face them when I spoke nor did I doubt that they would do as I asked. There was just James, Alexander, Jonathan, Jimmy and myself left when Tom came out of the gym.

“She is as good as we thought.” James said.

“No, she is much better.” I corrected.

“She was holding back so she wouldn’t hurt me. She is the best fighter that I have ever come across, and that is including the vampire agents.” Tom said.

“I understand that she was holding back in order not to harm you. But what else is she holding back on?” Alexander said. “We still do not know her intensions.”

“Alexander just because she didn’t go all out with fighting doesn’t mean she is up to no good. Every other agent that we have had here fought to the best of their ability in order to prove themselves. Raven doesn’t need to do that.” I said.

“Why do you trust her so much?” Alexander asked me sharply.

“Well you are basing your unease on theory’s and rumours. I am basing my opinion on what I have seen so far.”

“So you think everything we have heard is just that, rumours?” He asked me.

“No I am sure some of it is true. I mean we just saw that she is an incredibly skilled fighter. But it would be unfair to judge her on what we have heard and not by our own observations.” I replied.

“You could be endangering a lot of people with this decision Adam. Many of our people are threatening to quit or sue us.” He said.

“I have her word that she means us no harm. And I will speak to our other agents. I will properly introduce Raven to them when she comes out of the showers.”

“Her word means nothing to me. How do you know she is not lying? And even if she isn’t going to kill our work force then she may have a different plan.” He argued.

“Like what?” I challenged.

“I don’t know, maybe to gain information. How do you know she isn’t evil?” He demanded.

“I would have sensed that.” Jonathan said, speaking up for the first time. Alexander paused, he knows better than to argue with Jonathan.

“Ok so she’s not evil. But you must find this even a little bit odd Jonathan. I just think we should be careful. And maybe demand some information. Like why she disappeared for two years.” He said.

“I don’t think demanding information will get us very far.” Jonathan replied. “And as for her disappearance, have you simply tried asking her nicely?” He added.

“Er well no, I haven’t had a chance to speak with her since the interview.” He said.

“Well here’s your chance.” Jonathan said looking behind me and Alexander. At that moment Raven came round the corner and walked up to us. “You didn’t feel like announcing your presence?” He asked her.

“You knew I was there.” She replied.

“You have been standing there this entire time listening to our conversation?” Alexander demanded. He turned back to Jonathan, “You see? This is exactly what I mean, you expect us to trust her and yet she does this?”

“Well it was about me. I wanted to know what was going to be said. You realise that you could have just said all that to my face? I do not get offended easily and I may have answered a few of your questions. You speak of me being untrustworthy and yet I cannot trust you to speak with me when you so obviously have a problem with me being here.” Raven said. I couldn’t believe she had stood up to him like that, no one is ever that brave, Alexander turned and glared at her.

“Fine. Why are you here?” Alexander said to her.

“I needed a job. Even I need to earn a living you know.” She said calmly whilst looking in to his eyes. He was still fuming.

“Why not somewhere else? You have an impressive résumé; it can’t exactly be hard getting a job.” He said.

“Getting the job isn’t the problem, it’s keeping it. I seem to make people…uneasy.”

“Why did you disappear for two years and where did you go?” He asked.

“Personal reasons.” Raven replied after a slight pause.

“Why did you disappear for two years and where did you go?” He repeated raising his voice.

Personal. Reasons.” Raven replied, still calm. “Move on, pick a different question.” Alexander huffed.

“Are the rumours true?” He asked letting that topic drop although I knew he wouldn’t stop searching for the answer.

“I’m afraid you will have to elaborate. There are so many. I probably haven’t even heard them all.”

“Did you kill your own soul mate?” He asked her. Now that was getting a little too personal.

“You don’t have to answer that-” I began but Alexander cut me off.

“Do you want to know what kind of creature we are dealing with here or not?” He asked.

“Did you just say creature?” Raven asked. Alexander looked back at her.

“Yes I did. What’s a matter, are you offended?” He mocked her. Her eyes grew dark.

“Listen to me. I agreed to answer some of your questions as to clear the air a bit. That obviously is not working. I do not have to tell you anything about my life and at this rate you will hear nothing else about me. As for the creature comment, I have been called much worse. I really don’t know what your problem with me is but whatever it is just get over it. I don’t know what you have heard about me but it’s obviously everything bad that has ever been said. You shouldn’t believe everything you hear.” She said. Alexander looked stunned. Raven’s eyes returned back to their normal colour again.

“Did anyone else see her eyes change colour?” Alexander asked staring wide eyed at her.

“They do that sometimes. Mainly when I lose my temper. I apologise. Some of what you have heard is probably true. I will give you one piece of advice though, if you ever see my eyes turn completely black and my anger is directed at you, then get the hell out of the way as fast as you can.” She said. Alexander looked stunned; for once he had nothing to say.

“Do they turn black often?” Jonathan asked.

“Not any more. On very rare occasions they still do. Sometimes my powers can be difficult to control. They become over whelming. I have managed to get better control on my anger recently and that has helped to control my powers. It got to a point where it was dangerous for me to be around people.” She admitted, looking at the ground.

“Is that what you were doing for two years? Because you had that much power?” Jonathan asked.

“That was the time when I was at my worst yes. But that was not my entire reason for being away.” She replied calmly.

There was a brief pause, she had half answered the question Alexander asked but I didn’t want to push her in case she completely shut us out.

“Raven, if you would like to follow me then I can introduce you to the rest of the work force.” I said to her. She nodded and followed me. James, Alexander, Jimmy and Tom went off to deal with other business so it was just Raven and myself heading towards the conference room. When we were nearly there she pulled me aside.

“Look if I’m causing too many problems here then I can leave. You just have to say the word and I’ll go.” She said sincerely.

“Its fine, I may not know your entire reason for being here but you deserve a chance, and that is what you will get. I will make sure of it.” She nodded and I led her in to the conference room. It was filled with all of our agents, so it was pretty packed, everyone stopped talking the instant that they saw Raven and just stared at her. “Everyone, thank you for coming. As I’m sure most of you already know, this is Raven. She is our new agent, I wanted to take this time for a proper introduction to resolve any unease.” I addressed the room. All was silent. Everyone was staring at Raven, assessing her, and she matched each pair of eyes calmly as she leant causally against the wall.

Suddenly Raven’s head snapped to the left and every pair of eyes in the room followed the movement. Raven straightened up and then a little girl appeared in the room and ran towards her. She crouched down, took a lock of the little girl’s black hair and smelt it.

“Fire demons.” Raven concluded. “How many?” She asked the little girl.

“Five.” She answered in a small voice. Raven nodded, stood and moved in front of the girl so she could protect her. Just then five flames appeared in the room, revealing the demons. As soon as they saw Raven protecting the little girl, as one they all shot fire at her. But Raven was ready for them. She held one hand out in front of her and water appeared in the air and intercepted the fire. She guided the water with her mind so it formed a tidal wave and crashed over the demons. With their fire temporarily disabled they had to count on fighting her. Raven dashed forward and with her bare hands ripped off one of their heads. Beheading is the most effective way to kill most demons, although most use swords as they don’t have the physical strength to rip bone and flesh. The other four came at her together, probably in hope that they would have strength in numbers, but soon enough three more were beheaded. There was only one left, he backed away from her with his hands held up in surrender. He looked terrified. On her way towards him she picked up one of the dead demon’s heads.

“It’s your lucky day.” She said to the remaining demon. “I am going to let you live. But in return you have to tell me who sent you.” She said in a dangerously calm voice.

“I-I-I-I c-c-c-can’t tell you. He’ll k-k-kill m-me.” The demon stuttered out in fear.

“And what do you think I’ll do to you if you don’t?” She asked him but he didn’t answer, just stared at her, shaking in fear. She sighed. “But do not worry, I need you to send a message for me and today that is much more important than killing you. I have a good idea who sent you anyway.” She handed him the head of his dead comrade. “I need you to give this to your leader. And if I ever see you anywhere near that little girl, her family or well near any one with the intent on harming them, then it will be your head that I send back next time. Do you understand me?” She asked and was right in his face.

“Y-yes but will h-he know who it’s from? Y-you don’t have a spoken message you want me to tell h-him?” The demon asked.

“No, he will know who it’s from. And he will understand the message loud and clear. Leave now. And remember my warning.” He nodded and with that he disappeared. Raven held her hand out palm faced down and set the remaining bodies in to flames leaving four piles of ash as the only sign the demons were ever here. She turned and walked back to the little girl.

“Are you ok? Are you hurt?” Raven asked as she crouched down to her level.

“I’m fine, thank you.” She said.

“You’re welcome, anytime. Did they say anything to you?” Raven asked softly.

“Just that I had to go with them. They said that you wanted to see me and had sent them to collect me.” She replied. Raven nodded. “What was their plan? They must have known that wouldn’t have worked, I know that you don’t associate with demons.” The little girl added.

“His plan turned out exactly the way he wanted it to.” Raven said.

“What do you mean?”

“He wanted me to understand his own message.” Raven replied with a faraway look in her eyes.

“What was the message Raven? And who is he?” The little girl asked.

“Nothing, it doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about a thing Melanie.” Raven said. Just then, Jonathan walked in.

“Melanie what are you doing here?” He asked her surprised.

“Oh, hey dad.” Melanie replied. She went over to him and hugged him. Raven looked slightly taken aback, clearly not knowing that the girl was Jonathan’s daughter. “Dad have you met Raven?” Melanie asked him, she took hold of his hand and pulled him towards Raven.

“I have sweat heart. But how do you know Raven?” He asked.

“Well if a demon is ever after me. Then I go to Raven. Like just now.” She replied.

“Just now? What happened? Are you ok?” Jonathan asked, a little panicked.

“Just a few fire demons, nothing to worry about, they won’t be going near her again.” Raven said. Jonathan looked up at her and then back to Melanie and asked.

“Sweet heart, can you show me everything that happened from when the demons approached you?” Melanie nodded and put her finger tips to his forehead, using telepathy to show him what he wanted but needing the physical contact due to her young age. A few minutes later Melanie dropped her hands again. Jonathan nodded, stood up and looked to Raven. “Thank you.” He said to her. She nodded in response. “Melanie, was this the first time this has happened?” He asked his daughter.

“No, it’s happened lots of times. So often in fact, that Raven said to go straight to her as soon as a demon showed up.” She replied.

“Did she?” Jonathan asked.

“Yeah, before that she showed up every time I was attacked by a demon anyway.” Melanie said.

“How come you told her to come straight to you every time she was attacked? Why not continue like before?” Jonathan asked her curiously.

“In case I don’t see when a demon attacks her.” Raven stated.

“I don’t know how many times you have saved her but I can’t thank you enough.” Jonathan said sincerely.

“Its fine don’t worry about it.” Raven replied. She appeared uncomfortable but I couldn’t figure out why.

“Melanie why haven’t you mentioned this before?” He asked.

“Well er…” Melanie hesitated and looked up at Raven.

“Melanie?” Jonathan asked. She sighed but answered anyway.

“Well I told mum and she said that I should stay away from Raven. She said she was dangerous. But I like Raven dad, I don’t want to stay away from her.” Melanie said clearly upset by the idea. Raven looked puzzled.

“And that’s why you didn’t tell me?” He asked. Melanie nodded.

“I figured you would say the same thing. I don’t understand why though, she’s really nice. And she kills the horrible demons so they can’t hurt anybody. I invited Raven to out home so she could meet you both one time but she said no, and that what mum said was probably right and that I should stay away from her unless I’m in danger.” Melanie answered. Jonathan looked up at Raven and she shrugged, unsure of what to say.

“Well you can talk to me about anything any time you want. And I’m fine with you hanging out with Raven at least I know you will be safe. But as your mother isn’t very happy about this situation maybe you shouldn’t mention it to her.” Jonathan said to Melanie.

“You mean I should lie to mum?” She asked.

“No, not lie sweet heart. Just……withhold information.” He said, she nodded in understanding and wrapped her tiny arms around his neck in a hug.

Something told me that these last few moments would have mixed effects on the other agents. I wasn’t entirely sure that it would help to solve any uneasiness though. I didn’t know Jonathan’s thought process but he was trusting Raven around his daughter, and that will confuse our agents, they don’t want to trust her but they trust Jonathon’s judgement. As they pulled back from the hug Jonathan noticed a pendant hanging from Melanie’s neck.

“Where did you get this? I haven’t seen it before.” Jonathan asked his daughter.

“Oh….um.” Melanie mumbled.

“It’s fine Melanie.” Raven said to her.

“But you said to keep it hidden and not to tell anyone.” She replied.

“Yeah but I didn’t mean for you to lie to your parents.” She turned to Jonathan. “It protects her from super naturals using mind control on her. I’m working on one to protect her from physical powers as well but it’s……tricky, it’s difficult to get one object to protect her from all of that.” She said to him.

“I have heard of one’s like these-“ He gestured to the necklace around Melanie’s neck. “-but I haven’t heard of the other one, is that even possible?” He asked Raven.

“I guess I’ll find out.” She replied simply and he nodded.

I concluded the meeting after that, before leaving I inclined my head to Tom, asking him without speaking to stick around and keep an eye on things. He nodded in understanding. Whilst I wanted to give Raven some space so she wouldn’t feel like I didn’t trust her, there was still likely to be a lot of unease amongst our agents. I knew Tom would be able to handle any trouble if it came to it.

When I arrived at the lab to see Jimmy, he barely even noticed my presence. He was leaning over a microscope, completely engrossed in his work.

“You wanted to speak to me about something you found in Raven’s blood?” I asked. He looked up from the microscope and smiled apologetically for keeping me waiting.

“Yes, I haven’t managed to find much out just yet, the analysis of her blood has been just as difficult as she predicted.” He told me.

“Did you manage to find out what the scientists changed in her DNA?”

“Well I did find something that is unusual, however there’s no way of knowing if it was caused by the scientists or not. I’m going to be honest with you here Adam, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find out what in Raven’s blood is natural, and what was changed.” He spoke in a disappointed tone.

“Hey, you can’t do the impossible, so let’s focus on what you did find.” I tried to keep him motivated.

“Well, I managed to identify that Raven’s DNA can repair cells at an accelerated rate.” Jimmy put simply, knowing that if he gets too technical I’ll only have to get him to repeat it in a way that I can actually understand. I am no medical expert after all.

“But witches don’t naturally have accelerated healing, only demons, werewolves and vampires do. Witches can only heal themselves through spell casting.” I said, thinking it over.

“Exactly. But Raven can.” Was Jimmy’s only response.

“It would make sense if that was down to the scientists, if they were creating weapons they would want them to be as indestructible as they could manage, and advanced healing would certainly get them one step closer. But it would be nearly impossible for them to infuse that with Raven’s DNA unless they had super natural blood to analyse before that. All of the other people in the experiment were human, if the scientists knew about super naturals, they would want to start with powerful beings to begin with, to make the most effective weapons and to achieve the best results.” I spoke my thoughts out loud to try and make sense of the situation.

“Unless?” Jimmy asked.

“Unless of course Raven’s accelerated healing was already part of her DNA, and not down to the scientists. Which would have to mean both of her parents cannot be witches, one has to be either a werewolf, a vampire or a demon.” I paused for a moment and Jimmy nodded, confirming I had gotten to the same conclusion he had.

“Which would explain why she’s so powerful.” He added. “Other than talking to Raven about this, I suggest we keep this information on a need to know basis, because if we are right, and the other agents find out that there’s a possibility of Raven being half demon, all hell will break loose.”

I nodded, knowing that Jimmy was right. I didn’t like the idea of keeping information from our colleagues, but this would easily cause chaos, and I didn’t want to make the already tense atmosphere worse than it already was.

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