*Edited version*

Disclaimer-I don't own any part of this series, and some of it is ripped off from the original book so I really don't own those parts

"Today's the day," Mae thought to herself, "The day where I see if that stranger was right about the people at the address being able to help me."

Mae and Jamie approached the house, the one that held the key, as cheesy as that sounded, to their problems. Neither knew what to expect but they need to do it if it meant getting rid of the mark, the mark on Jamie's skin that had suddenly appeared one day and became more complicated in a few passing days.

Mae could still remember the day Jamie had actually told her about the mark. It was as surprising to her as it had to most people when she had dyed her brunette hair pink. The moment after she learned about it, Mae began to research all she could about what kind of mark it was. Although she had no idea what to find, she did discover pieces of information that could be useful but the fate of Jamie's incoming future depended on those who lived inside of this house.

Mae was about to ring the front door when they heard noises coming from the inside of the house. Mae being older than Jamie led him to the back of the house trying to find out what was going on and if they might be of assistance by calling 911 or something like that. Peeking inside the house from a broken window that seemed to be in what was the kitchen, Mae and Jamie saw two guys fighting ravens.

The sight of this was so weird that it would have been met with raised eyebrows of most people had it not been for the fact that it looked like something or someone could be killed. Mae was so surprised that she just stared but as Mae looked to her right she saw that Jamie was seconds away from screaming. Mae put her arm around him to try and calm him down which helped till one of the guys brought out a gun and killed a raven which turned into a man. Looking away from the window, Mae tried to get her head around what she had just observed.

"Um what did we just see?" Mae whispered to Jamie. Jamie just looked at her then into space and zoned out. Mae sighed and gave Jamie some time to think. Crouching she moved to the closest door into the house, which was the back door and had fully opened it and walked a few steps when she felt something sharp against her throat and heard Jamie yell, "Don't hurt her!"

Mae tried not to look afraid which was hard thanks to the sharp object pressed against her throat but Mae did manage to look up at the guy she say, "I heard this was the place to come if you had a problem that was…out of the ordinary."

Mae had paused a little in fear that saying something like magic or mystical would make the dark haired guy who could easily kill her, think she was out of her mind even though he was the one who was living in modern times and using a sword instead of the usual weapon of choice of this day and age, a gun.

"Obviously that isn't true," Jamie said, taking a step to be next to me then back, "Obviously this is the place to come if you want to get murdered by lunatics. Um—we're sorry to have bothered you! Is there any chance we could just leave?" The guy holding the sword seemed to be studying Jamie and Mae.

"Wait," The guy said.

"O-okay. Is there any chance we could get off with a flesh wound?" Jamie asked clearly showing his fear with his stuttering. The guy who had been holding a sword to Mae's neck moved and looked to the red haired guy who had just been standing there with a gun. Mae and Jamie were both preparing for the worst when the guy holding the sword said, "I know this guy. He's harmless."

"Sure?" The red head with glasses asked skeptically.

"Sure, James Crawford. Trust me, if he was a magician, he'd be able to defend himself at school. He's harmless. He's useless."

At this statement Mae felt a rush of anger at the dark haired boy for calling her brother useless. It brought up the urge to start protesting when Jamie interrupted saying, "Let's not argue with the crazy person holding the enormous sword! And—did you say school?" Jamie stepped back a bit to take a better look at crazy guy with a sword. "Oh my God, Nick Ryves."

"You know him?" Mae asked Jamie.

"Well, yes," said James. "He hangs around with a pretty rough crowd at school, Seb

McFarlane and that lot, but they're smoking-behind-the-bike-shed rough. This is different,

there were gunshots. My life was going to flash before my eyes, but it decided to hide

behind my eyes and quake with terror instead. I think we should just go."

"I'm not going anywhere," Mae said. "I saw that bird turn into a man! You saw it too,

Jamie. You must have."

"I don't know what I saw. It could've been a hallucination. You get those from sniffing

glue."

"You've never sniffed glue!"

"I've smelled glue," Jamie said after a pause. "In art class." Mae was just about to get angry at Jamie for sniffing glue when one of the guys said her name along with the command to the guy, Nick, to put down his sword from her neck. Surprised Mae looked over to the red haired guy with the gun who had just stepped out into the light to see that it was Bookshop Guy, Alan. Mae really didn't know what to think now. The guy who turned pink when she talked to him, killed people and had a gun? The weapon against Mae's throat dropped its tense position against her throat but she hardly noticed with the shock that she had just seen Alan of all people use a gun.

Jamie was also staring at Alan before he exclaimed, "You helped me find Catcher in the Rye today and now you shoot people?"

"He only shot one person," Weird sword guy Nick stated in a serious tone. "But the night is young."

Alan looked disapprovingly at Nick before starting smiling and looking like the guy who was absolutely normal in nearly every way except for his slight limp.

"Forgive him, he has no manners." Alan said his soothing voice.

"I get by on good looks,"

At this statement Mae smiled a bit to herself because even given the situation, she found what he said to be somewhat amusing. Also although it wasn't completely appropriate considering the situation, Mae couldn't help herself from noticing how good looking Nick was.

"I know all of this is pretty strange," Alan continued, "but you came here for a reason,

didn't you?"

"We came here because—something really strange has been happening to Jamie," said

Mae serious. "I was expecting someone who could give us real occult help,

though, not a guy who works in my bookshop and a school thug younger than I am. I

wasn't expecting birds that turned into men and weapons and weird necklaces. I don't know what the hell is going on!"

"If you're so disappointed, get lost. We're busy." Nick said coldly.

"No, no," Alan said at once. "I know all this must look strange, but we can help you. We

want to help you."

"I don't. And we've talked about this, Alan. Don't you think we have enough going on without opening up a charity shop for people who think they need occult"—he let his lip curl—"help?" the entire message was said in a cool unfeeling voice that sent small shivers down Mae's back and not in a good way.

"Look, please come in. I can explain everything." Alan reassured Mae and Jamie. His voice automatically calmed them both for unknown reasons. As Mae passed Nick, her curiosity got the best of her and she tapped her finger on the mysterious necklace that he was wearing and asked what it was.

"It's a talisman," Alan answered gently. "It warns him when magic is being used nearby,

and it protects him from smaller spells."

"Protects him," Mae repeated a bit astounded that someone like Nick needed protection. "So you're talking about black magic, then? The kind that hurts people—that causes trouble." Mae was surprised when a laugh came from Nick while he looked around.

"There isn't any other kind."

"I have a feeling this is going to be one hell of an explanation," Mae said following Alan.