"After weeks of searching I honestly feel like we have gotten nowhere with this." I tell my brothers and Arlene truthfully.
I see my brothers slightly nodding their heads in agreement. Arlene's face wears a heavy frown.
That's when I hear the shop's front door open followed by a faint voice mumbling Arlene's name. It's quite late and it should be common knowledge that the shop is closed. So why would someone be here this time of the evening? A woman by the sound of it.
"Arlene, did you perhaps forget to lock the front door to the shop tonight?" Callan asks, confirming that he heard it as well.
Arlene turns her head to him, the frown now replaced by a mix of confusion and suspicion. "Of course I did, I always do, why do you ask?"
We are currently in the room upstairs designed to keep the sound inside, preventing any eavesdroppers from hearing confidential information. Unfortunately, it also keeps most of the sound out, making it very difficult for anyone to hear any of the events taking place outside of the room. Well anyone besides us of course. I sometimes forget that not all beings have the advanced hearing that my brothers and I have.
I hear uneven footsteps trying to make their way up the stairs, moving suspiciously slow. The woman is either drunk and struggling to move correctly or she's trying to be sneaky. I'm not ok with either.
"Does anyone else have a key Arlene?" Callan speaks again.
My brothers and I are all focused on the door. All curious to see what is lurking around on the other side of it.
"Well, yes. Only one other person has a key for the front door, but I believe she is trustworthy enough to have one."
The steps are moving closer to the door and in unison we stand up, ready to take on whoever dares to come into this room.
Arlene looks between all of us, now amused. She is usually able to sense when a malicious presence is near by. Since she is so calm I know that whoever is here is good, even if just to some extent. Even though Arlene is amused with the actions of my brothers and I, I can still see the curiosity urging it's way through.
The door knob turns and the door opens. That's when we see her. My brothers and I stand frozen not at the realisation of who it is, but at the shock of her appearance. The normally radiant beauty that is Valerie Blaine is now faded away into a woman with a deathlike pallor overtaking her face. Weak legs use the last of their power to attempt to carry her into the room, but they fail. After one inaudible call to Arlene Valerie's entire body collapses on the floor.
I escape my trans to notice Arlene and Ethan calling out her name and kneeling by her side to assess the now comatose woman sprawled out on the floor.
"What's wrong with her?" Callan asks, anxiously standing behind Arlene.
Arlene is too focused on Valerie to acknowledge Callan's question, so Ethan decides to put his hand on Arlene's shoulder and ask the question again.
Arlene's eyes are locked on Valerie, seemingly trying to analyse the situation in front of her. After a long moment Arlene decides to speak, not moving her focus away from Valerie for a second. "I think you boys need to wait outside."
"Why?" Ethan questions, clearly opposed to the idea.
"I said wait outside!" Arlene commands and the three of us follow suit. We've learned over the years that Arlene is not someone to defy, ever.
"What the fuck! Did any of you know it was her?" Ethan asks. Callan and I shake our heads. "I didn't recognize her voice, it sounded so different. And her usual sweet smell was masked by something I can't quite put my finger on." Callan replies.
Minutes feel like hours as we silently wait for Arlene to open the door. I'm feeling a mixture of anger and confusion. What is wrong with her? What happened in the short time we weren't here?
If it was another woman I don't believe that my brother and I would've even given a single shit, but this fiery beauty is doing something to us without her even realising.
Eventually the door opens and Arlene steps out, shutting the door behind her. She stares at us, unsure of where to start or what to say.
"Arlene just spit it out!" Ethan impatiently demands.
She gives him a warning glare before speaking. "This is serious boys. She's been drugged, but not with some drug from the human world. This is much stronger, much more dangerous. It is made by using dark magic. The drug is called Campresia, when ingested by a human it makes them lose complete control of their movements and their ability to think rationally. It makes it easy for the victim to be captured. The other thing is that the victim develops a strong desire to offer themselves, their blood and their body, to their capturer."
She pauses, as if trying to decipher something in her mind.
"Something I don't quite understand is how she managed to make it here. She shouldn't have been able to even think of getting help let alone thinking of a place to go. She also shouldn't have been able to move her way through the front door and up those stairs, let alone wherever she had come from."
My brothers and I just stand there, our minds racing with too many questions. Black magic is being performed on our turf without us knowing about it, who thinks they can enter our turf in the first place and then place their attention on Valerie.
I take a moment to look at my brothers and it's clear - they are as fucking pissed as I am.
Arlene interrupts our thoughts by opening the door, telling us to follow behind her. We follow her into a room where the comatose body has now been moved to a couch.
Stepping closer to Val I pick up the smell disguising her usual delicious scent. The scent of a man. The man that will soon be a dead man.