The Beginning Pt. 1
“We are different. We are superior. We are powerful. We need to hide our true selves from the world. If we fail to do so, then the world will hang us on trees and burn us alive.”
Gabriel Luca Toscano, found this written on the back of an ancient notebook while he was helping the staff clean the study room. The room has been locked and abandoned for years but recently his father has acquired the rights to the property and is trying to clean the palace. They still lived at their old place beside their old family friends, Madizza’s, while the mansion was being brought to life.
It was built by Gabriel Silverstone Toscano by his very own hands in the 17th century. He was born in Italy where he lived in the Liguria region but his family shifted to Britain when he was a young child. He settled here after running away from Massachusetts. If words were to be believed he was one of the Salem Witch Trial survivors.
He had seen the inside of the mansion and it was old and rusty. Two months ago, his father brought him to the house and the minute he stepped inside, he felt something. He couldn’t understand what it was but some unknown force gravitated him towards the study where he found the book and out of sheer curiosity he hid it under his shirt.
There was an old clock that kept time in a house that was no longer alive. He wondered who was changing the batteries. No sunlight danced in through the dirty windows the first time he saw the house. Cobwebs hung loosely, its occupants dead or gone. The dust lay on the floor, a dreary carpet on a sagging floor. A chandelier that stared miserably down from where it was bolted to the ceiling and open doors creaked as a breath of wind caused it to move on its rusty hinges. It was an empty, forlorn building, without a breath. The mansion felt like a bird whose wings were being trapped against his will.
But the mansion had not always been void of life. A long time ago, the house had lived and breathed. His ancestors have walked through the velvet carpeted halls for centuries. Red, white, and yellow roses still grew on the walls outside the building. Willow tress drooped over a pond, creating a very romantic atmosphere. Grass covered the lawn without an imperfection. Small children played in the house and garden. Marriages and feasts took place inside the mansion.
Old and revered grandfathers and grandmothers and been laid to eternal rest in the charming cemetery that lay in a copse of trees behind the mansion near to the daunting forest. Friendly birds sang in the trees and kept the squirrels’ company. Sunlight flowed in like a river through the crystal- clear windows. The wind entered with the sunlight and played tag with the muslin curtains. It danced with the flowers in the garden and sang the trees to sleep. But all of this was a long time ago.
The house’s days were past. It was an old, long forgotten, abandoned mansion not because no one bothered but because it hides a dangerous past. Weeds filled the garden where once the grass has been as soft as a blanket. Birds no longer sang in the trees, and even the insects had largely left the house. The tree at the front of the house was a place of horror. It was dying carrying the solemn past of this family. Part of the roof had caved in after years of storms. The house lived no longer and it never would again.
Or so people thought. But his father, Antonio Lorenzo Tolcano, managed to legally name the property to his name. As the word got around, so did the long-forgotten folklore and tales. The ancestral family of witches and warlocks back in their rightful home. He was too little to understand but it was just the beginning to a nasty end.
He knew he was different. He has been told so all his life. He was a warlock, a wizard, a witch. He had the power to make things happen that people around him or his friends from school couldn’t. But he wasn’t supposed to use these powers in public or without an elder watching. So far, he hasn’t tried anything without an elder looking over his shoulder watching his every move and spell.
But lately, he was trying to understand his culture, his history, his powers. He was no longer a child, he was almost sixteen now. No child was supposed to be present in the room when The Elder’s Meeting was being conducted in the mansion but it’s been fifteen years and for the last few years, the children of the family are getting curious, they want to know why they are excluded from it. It’s like as soon as the kids turn sixteen something changes.
They no longer sit or play around with the younger kids. He wants to know what is so secretive about these meetings that they have to have it every year on the same day without the presence of the kids of the family.
So, he broke a rule.
The fallen branch of a tree creaked behind him and he turned sharply at Rosalie who was the same age as him. She followed him when he snuck out from Billy’s place. The girl is trouble. Everyone tells him that.
Billy Bob Marley was the local babysitter and for some reason every year on this day he would gather all the Toscano and Madizza family’s children and have a sleepover in his farmhouse. It was huge and he inherited it from his father. It used to be fun but not anymore. He doesn’t need a babysitter. Rosalie was a Madizza. She was like a second family to him but right now she was getting on his nerves.
“Keep it quiet, Rosalie or I will dump you right here.”
He used his firm voice which he knew would upset Rosalie. She was timid until provoked. She had a temper and unfortunately, he was the only one who knew that. To everyone else, she was just wide-eyed sweet little Rose.
“It’s Rose and I’m sorry. It’s dark out here, Gabriel. I can’t see anything. You are taking longer strides than me and you know how much I hate being in the dark and alone.”
Her voice was soft, raspy and scared. He cursed under my breath. He has a temper too. The whole coven knows that, but he doesn’t take it out on young girls, especially, sweet ones like Rosalie. She follows him around and he knows she has a little crush on him so he doesn’t talk to her harshly. He doesn’t want to upset her.
His mother told him to take care of her because she doesn’t have parents. She was adopted at a young age but soon the parents who adopted her died in a car accident. She was there in the backseat, unscathed. It was a miracle that she survived. She’s been living with Kelly and Brian. Brian Madizza is her adopted father’s younger brother. They have two kids of their own but they took in Rosalie too.
“I’m sorry. Here, hold my hand and don’t let go. We need to be fast or we will miss out on what the elders are doing.”
He grabbed her hand and took longer strides and crossed the forest. It was a shortcut. The mansion was surrounded by the tall canopy trees covering the forest but one side of the forest wasn’t deep enough. Roads and houses have been constructed so most of the forest was cleared enough to walk without getting lost.
It was a bad idea but he couldn’t take another Billy’s Day without a good enough reason. He was not a child anymore. Even though he could wait one year to find out, something kept him from turning back.
He has been eavesdropping on his parent’s conversations for a few weeks now and it made no sense at all. They were talking about some kid and how it was necessary to do this. Madizza’s are like a second family to them and we often see them in every family event. They are at our birthdays, funerals, anniversaries and graduation parties and every other free weekend.
He saw the ancestral mansion from where he stood. A few lights were on but what alarmed him were the sounds. It sounded like a group of people were chanting something. He couldn’t quite understand what they were saying but somehow he felt every word. He understood the language, it was part Latin.
He tightened his hold on Rosalie and pulled her closer to him. She shouldn’t be here. Hell, he thinks he shouldn’t be here too. Marcus, his cousin was covering for him at Billy’s but no one was covering for Rosalie. They were going to get caught.
“Did you tell anyone that you were going out with me?”
“No. I just saw you leaving and followed you.”
“Why would you do that Rosalie? You shouldn’t be following me in the middle of the night like this. What if someone had found you before I did? You need to be responsible for your own safety.”
“I thought you were sneaking out to meet Crystal. I don’t like her.”
She pouted her lips and looked away from me. Crystal is my on again off again girlfriend but this time I’m ending it for sure. No girl is worth that much drama.
“Next time, don’t follow me around like a lost puppy.”
“What about your safety? Just because you are a boy doesn’t make you invincible. I had your back.”
“What would you have done if someone had tried to hurt me? Hit them with rocks?”
“Yes, and I would have aimed for the head and eyes. Both heads and both balls or does it make it four balls, two eyeballs, two you know what balls.”
That made him chuckle, imagining little Rose turning someone blind to protect him and making them impotent at the same time.
“Rosalie, what am I going to do with you?”
She said something in response but he couldn’t hear it anymore. There was a loud buzz sound in his ears and he dropped down to his knees.
“What’s wrong, Gabriel? Are you okay?”
“This noise. What is this noise? It’s unbearable.”
“I don’t hear any noise, Gabriel. I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“It’s killing me.”
He turned around to look at Rosalie to see if she was lying to him or not. Rosalie gasped out loud and took hurried steps back before falling to the ground. She groaned in pain as a branch poked her skin and the gravels under her palms sliced her.
She looked up at him and she was terrified. He turned around but saw no one behind him. He took a step towards her, the buzzing in his ears was not so overbearing anymore.
“Rose, what is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost. Get up, you are probably bleeding.”
She hesitated before giving him her hand to pull her up. She never hesitated before. Why would she be scared of him?
“Gabriel, your eyes. They were glowing. They were changing colours. Golden, blue and then black. I couldn’t see your eyes for a minute there. What is happening, Gabriel? I’m scared. We should head back. Something is wrong. I can feel it.”
Rosalie was panicking, hugging him tightly and looking around for any danger.
“What the hell are you talking about? It might be the light from the moon. Are you still feeling sleepy? Now, get up before someone sees us lurking around.”
He threw the branch away, checking if the wound was deep or not. Thankfully it was just a scratch. He rubbed the dirt out of the cut and tied her scrunchie tightly around her wound. Rosalie rubbed her other hand on her dress before extending it to capture his again.