I sat on the garden swing outside, it was cold but it didn't bother me that much. I pulled my knees up to my chest and rested my chin on them. The sun had made a vague appearance in the sky earlier in the morning but now the sky was clouded, the day matched my mood. We had only managed to escape from the Edison Group by the skins of our teeth; it was only a matter of time before they caught us. I knew being a pessimist wasn't going to help, but they always seemed to be one step ahead of us. I mean, come on, what chance have four teenager, even if they have extra powers, got against loads of fully trained adults. Being a necromancer won't exactly stop people with guns chasing after me. With the others it was a totally different story. Simon and Tori could use a knock back spell to throw back their attacker and Derek – Derek could hurt them more than I could probably imagine, and that was only if they managed to get close enough to hurt him.
But now we were at the safe house that would definitely make a difference. Andrew had said this was a place for ex-Edison Group employees to seek shelter. I guess that extended to us – ex- Edison Group experiments. We'd arrived here about two hours ago. Tori had run upstairs to take a shower and I hadn't seen her since, she'd probably gone to sleep. Derek had Andrew had gone into the basement together to talk. Derek must've wanted to know about his transformations. I guess he wanted to know if it was regular to have false starts. Simon had grabbed hold of my wrist and we searched for a kitchen, when we were there he had sat me down at the table, rooted for tea bags and made us too steaming mugs of tea. I'd sat there wetting my lips with the hot, sweet liquid. Simon had tried in vain to start conversation, but I didn't feel like talking, even though I was drinking my throat felt dry, as if someone had run sandpaper down it. Simon had held my hand in the car on the way here. Did that mean something? Or was he just trying to comfort me? I didn't know how either option made me feel.
"Chloe!" I heard Tori shout from the back door. She was dressed a clean pair of pyjamas and a fluffy dressing gown but she had her trainers on her feet. "Dinner's ready." She said. I disentangled myself from the bench and walked towards her.
"Where did you get the clothes?" I asked, they looked warm and comfy.
"There are loads of clothes in the drawers upstairs. Andrew told me to make myself at home and to wear whatever I wanted." Tori beamed happily, a rare sight, it was different to her normal snide grin. The smell of tomatoes assaulted my nostrils and I realised how hungry I was. Derek and I hadn't eaten a proper meal for ages and it would be nice to eat something hot.
In the kitchen, Simon and Derek were already at the table digging into two large plates of spaghetti bolognese. Their hair was wet, everyone but me must have already showered. Simon patted the chair next to him and I sat down. Derek looked up just as I sat down beside Simon. There was an empty chair next to him as well. Tori sat beside me. The seat next to Derek staying empty. Our gaze's locked. I broke my eyes way from his and stared at my plate my cheeks turning pink, why was I embarrassed? All I was doing was sitting in a chair beside Simon. Thankfully Andrew chose this moment to come over and take the spare seat; I picked up my fork and began to eat. I spent the meal eating in silence, and as usual Derek did too. Andrew and Simon chatting easily, even Tori made an input every few minutes; I just didn't feel like talking. I was too wrapped up in my own thoughts about earlier.
How come I was the only one to see Aunt Lauren? She was there, I know she was. She'd said she'd seen the error of her ways and had finished with the Edison Group. I know she'd only wanted to help by putting me forward for the Genesis project, but I still found it hard to forget the fact that she'd betrayed me and brought me to the research centre. When I was done with my dinner I stood up and put my plate in the sink, I scrubbed it, lost in my thoughts. I was only vaguely aware of Derek nudging me on the shoulder.
"Chloe, I think you're plate's clean." I looked down. It was spotless. Derek handed me this towel to dry it.
"Uh-thanks." I said snapping out of my revere. Drying the plate quickly and putting it back in its place on the table. Derek watched me for a minute, staring at me intently. "What?" I snapped. I was in no mood to be scrutinised. Over at the table Simon and Tori were deep in conversation, she'd moved into my seat. When they caught me looking over at them, they both stopped speaking. Simon looked up at me his eyes sad, Tori looked at me with pity wrote all across her face.
"Do you want me to show you where the towels and stuff are?" Tori said gesturing for me to follow her. What the hell! Had Tori had a lobotomy since yesterday – she was acting like a nice person! "It's up here," she said walking up an old wooden stairs that creaked with every step. She walked to a small closet and pulled out a fluffy green towel handing it to me. "You can sleep in this room if you like, or you can share with me, it doesn't really matter." Woah! Major personality shift. Had the Edison Group caught her this morning and switched her brain with someone else's.
"It's okay Tori, I'll be fine, I'm a big girl now." I said.
"Well there's clothes in the drawers," she pulled them open. Sure enough inside was a selection of girls clothes. "I was just checking they were girl's stuff not boys." I stood in the middle of the room. Tori hung back at the door, she looked unsure if she should leave or not.
"Spit it out Tori." I said crossly.
"Nothing to spit out. Showers two doors down and across the hall from you." She said giving me one last sad look before closing the door behind her. What was up with her, I wondered. She was treating me like a person who'd just found out I'd a life threatening illness. I grabbed a dressing gown, pjs and clean underwear before heading to the bathroom.
When I was inside I locked the door and stripped off. The shower was worm and I felt my muscles relax under the flow of the hot water. The water ran out with bits of black, I guess I really hadn't washed it out properly at all. I got dressed and wiped the steam from the mirror. The black in my hair still looked bad but it wasn't was lank and dead looking as before, thank God. There was a bang on the door. I jumped, startled.
"Chloe I need to talk to you." It was Derek.
"One second." I answered picking my clothes up from the floor. I unlocked the door and opened it. Derek was standing there. His hand poised to knock again. "I just want to throw my stuff in the room." I threw my clothes on the floor beside the door and pulled on my trainers. When I turned around Derek was running a hand through his hair. He looked nervous, that was a first.
"Will you come for a walk outside with me?" He asked. I nodded my head; he probably wanted to tell me about what Andrew had told him. We walked down the stairs in silence. The steps creaked loudly as we walked down them, Simon was sitting on the counter in the kitchen and he nodded to us, he looked much more serious than he normally did.
We walked out the back door and Derek headed down the wide path that went down. The garden was huge and had a small gate at the end. We walked in silence to the gate. There was a wood on the other side of the gate and we walked slowly into it. The woods felt eerie and claustrophobic compared to the large spacious garden we had just left. The trees block out the light of the moon only allowing slivers of light to pass through the leaves. Derek stopped suddenly and turned around to face me.
"Chloe, I need to talk to you about something. Something I overheard earlier. We weren't sure if we should tell you…" Derek started.
"What do you mean we?" I asked folding my arms across my chest.
"Simon, Andrew, Tori and I," he continued. "You see, the thing is, when I was looking for Tori I heard the Edison Group talking. They said –," He paused for a second taking a deep breath as if to calm himself. "They said that your Aunt, was dead." He stopped.
I didn't breath. No, I though. No! She wasn't dead! I'd seen her in the forest! She must have followed the Edison Group to Andrew's house and had ran into the wood near there when she had seen me coming to tell me what to do.
"B-but I s-saw her!" I groaned.
"Chloe you're a necromancer. If she was a ghost of course you saw her." Derek explained reaching out for my arm. I jerked it back and glared at him. A strange look passed through his green eyes but I didn't dwell on it. Derek was lying to me. I didn't know why – but I knew I didn't believe him. He had to be lying. Aunt Lauren wasn't dead- she just couldn't be! Why Derek would lie I didn't know, but I sure as hell planned to figure out.
"You're lying!" I screamed at him and turned running back towards the gate. Derek lurched after me, grabbing my fore arm.
"Chloe, I'm not lying." His face was serious. I spun around to face him and fixed my most murderous glare on him.
"Why should I believe you? You've lied to me before! Don't deny it! Why should I trust you? You probably think this is the easiest option to stop me from doing anything stupid to try and check is she okay, and to stop me from trying to find out if the Edison Group haven't caught her and locked her up!" I tried to wrench my arm free of his grasp, but of course I couldn't. Derek reached down and put his free hand on my shoulder and lightly shook it.
"You have to believe me Chloe. I'm serious." That's when I snapped I pulled my fist back and punched him in the jaw, hard. Well as hard as I could. Then I sat down on the ground and cried. I knew he was right. Aunt Lauren was dead. Why would the Edison Group have let her live if they killed Liz? They had no mercy. They were like a dangerous New York gang. Blood in, blood out. Derek knelt down next to me and tentatively reached out his hand and covered mine with it.
"I'm sorry, Chloe. I didn't want to be the one to tell you but I guess it is only fair considering I'm the one who heard it. Simon said he'd tell you if you wanted. I'm sorry, I should have let him tell you, he'd probably have handled it better…"
"Derek," I cut him off, "It's fine. I believe you, sorry about hitting you." I looked up at him and gave him a watery weak smile. "Thanks for telling me." I bent my head and let the sadness wash over me.
Finally the tears stopped, I don't know how long I stayed there, crying quietly but Derek stayed with me the whole time, holding my hand silently.
There you go! That's the first chapter in my story about what I think will happen in The Reckoning, the third book in the Darkest Powers Trilogy. I hope you like it. I'm just going to start the next chapter now. Also I was wondering, if anyone has read the Otherworld Series, what is the protocol about mates in it? I know the Twilight version and the L.J. Smith Nightworld version but am curious about Kelley Armstrong's version. Please leave a comment or if you have any suggestions!