Copyright 2012 Katherine Rochholz
Published By E.A.R. Publishing Company
All rights reserved as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. No portion of this book may be reproduced by any means, mechanical, electronic, or otherwise, without first obtaining the permission of the copyright holder.
This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead (unless explicitly noted) is merely coincidental.
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
~Edgar Allen Poe
This is for
Darby and Aaron Harn
In a place ten thousand miles away, a woman cried. She could feel the pain of Katy, and she knew now was the time to come back. Truths must come out and now was the time to figure out a way to leave. Her powers may have been striped but this child needed her. She looked around at her, and used the only power she had left. The power to tell the bone changers from other prisoners, well the power to see past lies and spells. She watched the large bat like creatures, with their pale greenish yellow skin and blood red eyes, their mouth full of sharp bat like fangs, their rotting flesh hung from their bony body, their wings now rotted away, holes where there was once flesh. The bone changers once human cursed to this state because of the crimes they had committed. She would not allow that to be her fate. But first she must remove the binds on her power. They allow them a bed, a sink and a toilet, and she had also gotten permission to have a mirror. She looked in it and wondered if Katy would listen. Would she care? Would she believe the truth? She looked at herself, the tattoos once so colorful and vibrant now drained of color. Her hair once short and spiked and dyed with many colors, was now flat, dull and lifeless blonde as it fell to her waist and she knew what she must do. She shattered the mirror, picked up the largest piece. She pulled off her shirt, and looked at the brand, the brand to bind her powers forever. It had the letters BF in a fanciful script, but they meant bound forever. She knew that if she cut it off, she would die, unless she reached him. He would help her. He believed her. If she could get to him she would have a chance. But would her former fiancée give her the time of day now. Six years ago he stood by her side, did he still to this day? She would find out. She took the sharp edge of the mirror and as quickly as she could, cut so deep, that none of the brand would remain. The piece of skin fell to the floor and she teleported, before the bone changers even realized what she had been up to, she was free. For now.
In a place much closer to Katherine Lillian, a dark figure went to meet another, they went to meet the white being, in the same cemetery that now is home to two Solomons.
“You swear you power to me? Your loyalty?” A crackle of a voice stated.
“Yes, mistress.” The other women responded.
“Then make sure, she realizes her power would be much better spent giving into the darkness of her soul. That together we can rule the world. Go.”
“It shall be so.” The two figures disappear into the night.
Back at the Hepburn house, Katy and Gaivan shut themselves into Gaivan’s room and went through every single piece of paper, every scrap, of what was in Edgar’s file on Katy. “I don’t get it. It says my aunt killed my mother. There is no picture of her. It barely states her name. It just says her name is Aaliyah Stephaney Poe. It says she was engaged, but the person’s name is blacked out. It also mentions that they have a sister and a half-brother but again the names are blacked out. I don’t get it. There is no real proof that she killed my mother. Just that she was in New York at the same time as the accident. And this says my mother’s body was never found. I thought they buried her. That is what the social worker stated anyways. And I know that Lua and Headmaster O’Cuinn are my family.” Katy shook her head. Nothing added up. Plus they also had received a warning from the Banshee Queen that nothing was as it seemed. Did that mean that her aunt was innocent?
“Well, maybe we can go and talk to her. They are allowed visitors. Or at least Guardians can visit them. They bind their powers, but the really spooky things are the bone changers. They have done worse crimes; they are lifers, which change to these creatures, who become the guards of the prison. They lose their free will, they becoming like rotting bats, but they create an illusion of being normal. You never know who is a bone changer and who isn’t, they will drain the power of the witch or warlock that they are seeking if they manage to break out. Which they can’t.” Gaivan stated.
“Why?” Katy asked as she went over the laptop Gaivan had borrowed from his mother. She turned it on and waited for it to boot up. It was rare that a witch or warlock would have a computer, but the magical community did keep up with technology. She knew what none of the magical information would be online, but she did know that the normal mortals would have had to report something about an explosion.
“Because, they brand them with a powerful binding spell. The ones there forever get BF branded into their chest. If they try to remove they die. Others get B and a number meaning how many months how long they are in prison for. As they serve their time the number goes down, once they served their time the brand disappears on its own. Once that happens they are teleported in front of the elders for their release. It is really strange. But it works; the last jail break was over five hundred years ago according to dad, and that person died within minutes of breaking out. They cut off their brand, and bled out. It was really bad. So sad…” Gaivan stated and walked over to where Katy sat as she searched for news about the day she lost her mother.
“How did they convict my aunt if they only had this for proof?” Katy was confused. “The normal news reported it was a gas explosion, that five people died, and my mother’s name is not listed as a victim. There is not even a Jane Doe listed.” Kat stated.
“I don’t know. What did dad say?”
“Nothing that is the problem, he just gave me this folder and then he took off. He said something was off though. He said it felt wrong. I mean I know now it was magical, and since the lights I saw were green I know one came from my mother, and the other from another Earth witch or warlock. Which my aunt is an Earth.”
“Then something is wrong. At least they said you could stay here during break. Sandra and Antonio Sr. are here like every day. I don’t know what will happen Katy, but I know this, they are going to try to pull us apart. They are going to try to gain your power again. After all Solomon tried, Ebony tried, who is going to be next. Who is going to try to take you away from us this year? Maybe Sandra and mom are correct, maybe we should consider home schooling this year.”
“No Gaivan; that would mean they won, even a small victory such as that cannot be allowed. We cannot give them even a chance, a hope, that they can scare us, that they can win. We won’t allow it Gaivan. We can’t let it happen.”
“No, Gaivan you give them an inch they will take a mile. We can’t let them win anything. And if we let them drive us from school then they win. They would isolate us. We can’t win this by ourselves. We need our peers. I need you stand by me, I need you Gaivan, more than the others, but we need them. I thought for sure you were going to turn your back on me when I killed Raven.” Katy said with finality to her words, and went back to trying to decode the papers in front of her.
“Never, I know you did only what you needed too. Well I understand that now about you. Why go for the kill? I never asked.”
“She had you. She threatened your life. Do you think Edgar could be keeping some more papers in his study?” Katy asked as she put an end to the conversation and brought them back to the problem at hand.
The day of her birthday she woke up and again felt a presence outside. This one had a light to it, sadness and pain could be felt. She opened her mind to the being; she needed to know who it was before she went outside. Suddenly she was no longer in her bed.
Katy knew she was inside the memories of the person outside. She saw a being, whose skin was so pale, that it had to be from lack of sunlight, and the holes in her nose, ears and lips were one could tell there were once piercings. Tattoos covered her; however they were drained of all color, of all life. The only thing that covered her was a pair of thorn up pants, no shoes and her long blonde hair. Kat sat and watched as a man ran out of a small cottage. Kat looked towards him; he was so tall; he had tattoos just as the person that lay on the ground, his hair black as coal, his eyes just as light as his hair was dark. “Aaliyah!” The being yelled as he pulled out his wand and rushed up to her.
“Robert…” Aaliyah tried to call out, turning over.
Katy could see there was a large chunk of flesh missing and there was so much blood. Katy tried to run to her, tried to do something but she couldn’t as this was the past, a memory. Katy just stood and watched. Then it hit Katy who Robert was, it was Rob, the old brownie keeper at school. When he got his powers back it helped transform him back to who he was, a young and powerful Warlock.
“Oh Aaliyah… this was stupid.” Rob stated, as he took his wand out and started to speak the words needed to try and heal the wound.
Katy saw the fear in each of their eyes. Though Katy knew it worked in that memory Katy feared for her aunt’s life. She wanted to yell out to use phoenix tears or unicorn blood. “PHEONIX TEARS OR UNICORN BLOOD!” Katy yelled but she knew that they couldn’t hear her.
Rob still looked up, as if he had heard her, and ran to his cottage and came back with a vial, which looked to contain unicorn blood as it was pure gold. He took off the cap and dumped the contents on the wound. It seemed like it worked, but that did not stop him from using anything and everything on the wound.
Aaliyah sat up with a start, and Katy was back in her bed. The memory ended.
Katy got up and threw on her cloak and her invisibility hat and ran outside. She stopped in the middle of the yard and looked around; she knew her aunt was here. But where was she? Katy opened her mind to find her. Her eyes snapped open she was right in front of her. Her aunt was invisible; Katy knew that it was just bending of the lights, which caused the effect. She knew if she took a moment to stop and think about it, she might think of a spell to use to reveal her aunt. Katy let her wand slip to her hand and thought of the elements but before she could say anything her aunt became visible. She had a hat like Katy’s. “Oh…”
“Katy, I can see you. It is my special ability. We all seem to have one in our family. I see the light bending, I can see past lies, I can see past deceptive spells. I wish I could just have seen what your mother, my sister was turning into.” Aaliyah stated as she reached out and took Katy’s hat off.
“My mother is dark isn’t she, she is alive isn’t she? Raven Ebony said that someone else was the power in the family.” Katy said and looked up at Aaliyah. Katy was shocked, though her aunt’s skin with still pale her hair was cut and dyed with bright colors of blue, purple, and red. The color started to come back to her eyes, and back to the tattoos, and the holes of her piercings were now filled with jewels.
“Oh, my little lost niece, yes, your mother is dark. I knew what she planned to do, that is why I sought her out. But when I got to New York, she was prepared for me. She blew up the square, allowing everybody to think she was killed. They thought I had done it because I was knocked out and the Guardians swarmed the area before the normal cops could be called. They threw me into the prison, branding me, without a trial.”
“You shouldn’t be here! Edgar would have to turn you in!” Katy said as she grabbed Aaliyah’s hand and tried to drag her off the property, she thought about teleporting, but knew that Edgar would find her.
“Don’t worry, I will leave soon. But I had to see you. You are so pretty; I can’t believe how much you have grown. You had to grow up quickly. It is not fair to you. Or your brother or your young friend. You all are so important to the coming war, I wish I could spare you the pain, but you already know that pain. The pain of loss, the pain of taking life.” Aaliyah stated; she didn’t even bother to ask.
“Yes…” Katy stated and looked up into her aunt’s eyes; she let her see the events that have played out the last two years.
“Oh my Goodness!” Aaliyah gasped. “If they weren’t already dead I would kill them myself. Putting you in that position is a crime! It is pure darkness. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you are bad, it means you do what you must, and you know that it hurts, but allowing that dark power to remain on this realm is worse. You did right.” She stated and grabbed Katy into a hug. “That is your gift my niece, your strength, your light, don’t worry others may come your way, they seem to come into light around the ages of 15 and 16.”
“Is there nothing we can do to clear your name?” Katy asked, now that she knew the truth, well some of it.
“Rob is talking to Oeric; let’s see if my headmaster brother can do something this time to protect his niece. I am surprised Lua hasn’t stepped in, she is the oldest, well Oeric is, he is our half-brother. I can’t believe they allowed you to remain on the streets.”
Katy was shocked, that her aunt gave information so freely. “They thought I was dead, but the trace picked up.”
“Oh, that makes sense but why are you living with the Hepburns? Not Oeric or Lua?”
“I live with the MacCathmhaoils actually. I am here for the break. Gaivan Hepburn is my best friend. And we had the custody trail last year, Headmaster O’Cuinn said he thought it was to dangerous for us to stay with him, and Lua concurred that it was good for us to stay within easy reach of Edgar. She said she would visit us, but she hasn’t yet, or even sought us out at school, except she told me at the end of the year that she would try to spend more time with me.”
“Oh. They are a nice family, I hear. I had to see you on your birthday.” Aaliyah stated. “I have something for you. Rob’s family was holding it for me.” She stated and took out a pendent. “It is an aquamarine pendent that has been in our family from the beginning of times. It was given to the first woman of our family; it was given to her by the queen of the fairies. This gem was made of the tears of the fairies when Goodness died for our lives. They said to protect it; it would find its way to Goodness who will know what to do with it when the time is right. I believe my sister, your mother, is Darkness. You, of course, would be Goodness. You know you are.” Aaliyah said as she took Katy’s chain that held her blue topaz pendent and added the aquamarine one to it, and clasped it back on Katy’s neck. “You will know what to do with it when the time is right. But for now I must leave. You know that truth and that will have to be enough for now.” Aaliyah stated and hugged Katy. “Don’t say I was here; pretend that you didn’t know when they tell you of my escape.” Aaliyah stated with a wink and then teleported out.
Katy smiled and walked back into the house. Her aunt didn’t kill her mother. There was a deep sadness that her mother was her enemy but there was also a weight lifted from her. She had family. Blood family that would seek her out no matter the cost. And she would do everything she could to find out information on how she could save her family, her aunt from dying or going back to prison. Katy went back up and crawled into bed, after all it was only six in the morning. Katy fell into a dreamless sleep, and knew that no matter what, she had Gaivan and her family, and now she found out information about her mother’s side. She just hoped that none of them turned out dark.
Katy woke up as Gaivan jumped on her bed and yelled to get up. “I am up.” Katy said and sat up.
“Happy Birthday Katy!” Gaivan said with a smile. “What do you want to do?” Gaivan asked as he thought of the donuts that his mom and Sandra had made for breakfast.
“I have something to tell you first.” Katy said then started a silent conversation. “My aunt broke out of prison!”
“What? How? How do you know?”
“She came to see me.” Katy told him as she pulled on her robe to walk downstairs to get breakfast. “She is innocent. My mother isn’t dead.”
“My mother is Darkness. And I think that your father is right. I am Goodness, but I don’t want that. I am still hoping it is not true. After all that means we are all in for a lot of pain. There is still doubt right?”
“Well it isn’t so bad if you are Goodness. Your aunt really stated that your mother lived? And of course this can’t be happening; I mean we are mature children and all. But we are children.”
“Aaliyah said that the only reason she was caught for murder was mother faked her death. Mother caused the explosion. Aaliyah was knocked out cold.” Katy told him as they walked into the kitchen. “Good morning!” Katy said to Edgar, Jane, Antonio Sr. and Sandra.
They all smiled back and said happy birthday. But Katy could tell there was something they wanted to tell her. But they all went back to their papers and coffee, as Katy and Gaivan sat down and each grabbed a donut. “Jerome and Riley went to Marcus’s Valley, they will be back soon.” Jane stated as she gave them a displeased look at the fact they grabbed the donuts and none of the other breakfast food. “Now you both have to eat something other than sugar.”
“May I have some orange juice please?” Katy asked.
“Me too mom! Oh and is there any bacon left?” Gaivan asked as he turned back toward Katy. “Go on!”
“Okay, well the blast knocked me against the wall, and Aaliyah was knocked out as well, so when the Guardians got there they took her. They didn’t see me I guess… Wait if they were first on the scene why didn’t they see me?”
“Katy… I don’t know! Oh goodness, do you think they are lying?”
“No, I don’t see that… They wouldn’t let a kid live on the streets alone would they?” Katy thought with a hurt sadness.
“No, I don’t think so.” Gaivan thought firmly.
“Will you two stop doing that? It is kind of rude. Having a mental conversation when we are all at the table.” Edgar stated.
“Katy was just telling me about a dream of hers.” Gaivan said and went back to Katy. “Ignore him go on!”
“Well, anyway, she said she was branded and thrown in prison without a trial. Oh and get this! Rob, the brownie keeper, was her fiancé! And Headmaster O’Cuinn as you know is my uncle; but he is my mother’s half-brother. Oh and my other aunt is Assistant Headmistress Lua Notte-Preto and Aaliyah thought it was strange that Lua would not be visiting us. I saw in her silent thoughts. She thinks something is preventing Lua from visiting.”
“OH MY GOODNESS!”
“I know right! Now I know I have more blood family other than the Solomons! And one of them is willing to risk death to just say Happy Birthday to me! And the headmaster is avoiding even being alone with me, and of course Lua said she was going to make more of an effort but she is not here today.”
“WOW! I wonder why they didn’t tell you. Or why they didn’t take you in… Dad could easily stop in over there anytime. Katy they are hiding something aren’t they?”
“Yes.” But that is all Katy got out before Edgar interrupted them again.
“Okay you two, please stop. We have something to tell you.” Edgar stated, as he cleared his throat. “Katy Lily, your aunt, she…umm… escaped from prison yesterday.”
Katy looked him in the eyes for a moment then said something that shocked even herself. “I know; she came to see me this morning. She told me that she was put in prison without a trial. She told me that my mother is evil, that she faked her death. But the most interesting piece of information is that the Guardians were on the scene first. That is why my aunt was arrested. If you all were on the scene first why wasn’t I found?” Katy demanded.
Edgar looked her in the eyes, he knew he was bound by an oath, but at this moment he didn’t care. “I was under orders to leave you. My boss told me to leave you. I felt so bad about it. I thought they moved you from New York City. I had gone back trying to find you. My guilt eating at me. But I couldn’t find you.” Edgar gave the truth.
Katy looked at him and stood up. She said nothing, she would have sat back down but Gaivan said something.
“You left her? How could you leave her to fend for herself?” Gaivan yelled at his father.
“I didn’t want to; my boss said that she would be put in the system, that she had a mortal birth certificate, of course we found out later she did not have a birth certificate at all. But at the time I was told that she couldn’t just disappear.”
“She lived alone on the streets! The normal mortals did not care! They hurt her; they left her on the streets! She stole, she fought to survive and her own people, her own kind left her there!” Gaivan would have continued to yell but Katy ran out of the room. “Katy!” Gaivan moved to follow her, but Jane grabbed him.
“No.” Jane said simply, as Edgar stood up to go and get Katy. “Let your father.”
“He just left her.” Gaivan said simply.
“And he has regretted that choice from the moment he made it.”
Katy ran outside, she couldn’t take the yelling. She didn’t care. She knew she should, but she just did not care! She sat down on the swing, which had long been unused and was deep in thought when Edgar came and crouched in front of her.
“Katy, I am sorry.”
“I am not mad.”
“I know I should be, logically I should be. If this was even a year ago I would have been. I would have teleported from the scene, but now, I just don’t have the energy to fight my family. I don’t have enough energy to be mad, it is so much easier to forgive you, and understand you regretted it, rather than fight about it.” Katy stated simply.
“You know sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if we had taken you that day.” Edgar stated. “I went back.”
“I heard that. So you had been lying, telling everybody that I was dead.” Katy didn’t bother to form it as a question.
“Yes. We kept the lie up, even after we knew otherwise. The Solomons would have put their claim in, and they would have won five years ago. You hadn’t had a chance to be with Antonio and Sandra. There was nobody to fight for you.”
“Why not my uncle and other aunt?”
“Oeric thought it was better you stay away from him. He couldn’t see the darkness in your mother, or, as everybody thought, Aaliyah. He felt that he let you down, let down Riley and the rest of the family. Lua married and pretended to go on with her life, but it ate at her insides that she didn’t know how dark her sister was, that she was dark enough to kill her own child. However we did finally tell her. She begged us to find you. She didn’t give up the search. Then the trace picked up. We forgot the trace location went right to Lua, she after all sends out the acceptance letters. She saw your name and the location that they gave and she was furious. She went and had a huge fight with Oeric. Oeric stopped her from getting you herself. We don’t know how but he also convinced her not to tell the truth when you came to school. She was forced to stay at a distance from you. We were trying to draw out the Solomons; we thought if nobody claimed you then they would make their move.”
“They did. Why not claim me now? Why keep it a secret.”
“Because they were the ones to discover your mother was still alive, or they do think that she is, but we do not have proof. If she is, they don’t want her trying to get to you. So by having you live with us or the MacCathmhaoils they think that they are protecting you. Well that is Oeric’s thoughts, Lua fights them everyday. But she stays away in case he is right that someone else will try to take your life.”
“Edgar, I love it here and I love it with the MacCathmhaoils, you all are my family. But I don’t get why the secrets. I guess I will understand some day. I wouldn’t change the fact I live with the Sandra and Antonio Sr., but it would have been nice to know what other people know about me. I hate finding out about myself secondhand. Gaivan got mad for me… I didn’t expect that. He has been a little cold, he doesn’t think I notice but I do, since the whole Raven Ebony thing. I think there are only two outcomes to the things I have done in concern with my friendship with Gaivan. Either he is going put an end to the friendship or we become closer. I don’t like the way it is going. I know that darkness is in all of us. But why did I feel the best way to deal with Raven was to throw the dagger at her heart?”
“I don’t know. We might never know the inner workings of a person’s mind. But you did what you had to do. I thank you for that, I couldn’t lose Gaivan. Gaivan will come around, you will see.” Edgar said and stood up. “Now let’s get back to breakfast before Gaivan comes out waving those spells you keep having him learn at me.” Edgar said with a wink.
The day ended up being very somber, Katy didn’t really want to do much, she was too wrapped up in her own thoughts and of course the file with a lot of black marks. The only time she really was away from the file was when Gaivan, Jerome and Riley dragged her outside for a snowball fight. She, for a few minutes, forgot about the pain that was sure to come into her life. Maybe she shouldn’t have begged for her life, but then again she knew she couldn’t leave her family to fight this war alone.