The Witches of Ravenrook 02byFinalStand©
*Our shadow is always with us, thou we cannot always see it*
(Thanks to Talenwolf for ideas story ideas and Shawhollow for editing.)
(There is a great deal of violence in this tale but I promise it will make sense before we are done. The 'hero' is no Conan the Barbarian – normally. Slapping girls and woman is very abnormal but I hope understanding will come)
The rest of breakfast is sort of stand-off which we mutually break for our first course of the day . Bernadotte and I agree to touch base between each class. Actually going to class at my actual college is mind-numbingly surreal after the bizarre activity of the last eight hours.
My second class kicks me back to reality. I have one of the raven-haired twins in class with me, two chairs behind me – Coincidence?; I don't think so. Before class begins, I bolt into the hall and look for something to use as a weapon but there isn't even an umbrella to be found in the hall and the janitor's closet is locked – which is normal, damn it. I return to my classroom in despair.
Roughly half way through class the girl behind me taps my shoulder with a small note. The last time I got one of these was 5th grade. The girl taps me again.
"My religion requires a token of blood to be placed upon it before I can receive it," I blatantly lie. You would have to be an alien to buy that. The girl seems confused for thirty seconds or so then retrieves her nail clippers and cuts her finger and bleeds on the note.
I've taken the time to tear out a piece of paper from a binder so when she hands me the missive the third time I have her drop it in the folded sheet, wrap up the message most likely from the kook – says the guy taking a note on a piece of paper to avoid contact. I fold up the larger paper and put it in the back pack for Bernadette to look over at lunch. Why am I being so cautious? All I can think is that I have lost my mind like everyone else.
Dispassionate Blackie tries to slip close to me while we are exiting the class and I see her making her move to touch my hand. I pick up a school chair and slam her with it because she knows about my No Touching Rule. I am not expecting what I get. The chair hits her alright but turns into ashes; not bursts into flames but literally incinerates. I'm left with partial portions of the chair's back with glowing embers at the base.
The Black haired girl slams against the wall, smudges the chalkboard and slides down as if truly hurt. Everyone is staring and more than half the class seems confused by the presence of the witch/alien/telepath. I come across as some kind of crazed animal and she's the bizarre damsel in distress – but they all look at her funny too. They see the real her. Their power is not limitless and that realization makes me want to summersault.
More to my current situation; I see everyone staring at us – me with my charred chair pieces and her, the weird chick who has suddenly appeared among them. I take three steps over to her and extend one piece of wood her way.
"Take it and I'll help you up," I whisper. "Try and touch me and I'll gut you with the other one; are we clear." She nods slowly.
There is no deception on either of our parts and slowly the drug that everyone else is on kicks in and no one sees, or at least assigns any importance to, what had just transpired. She lets my stick go once she's standing so I go retrieve my bag and am ready to leave. She's standing where I left her.
"If you don't touch me, I'm not going to fight you right now," I relate then motion her to go ahead but she seems reluctant. "You sat behind me during class so I get to stand behind you when we leave; besides, I just told you I am not going to fight you." She nods, turns and leaves though she's nervous the entire time .
Once we are in the hallway, I speed up so that we are side by side.
"If I talk to you about stuff, are people around us going to get weirded out or are they going to ignore us?" I question.
"They don't ignore us," she suddenly speaks up, "We are weaving magics we put upon the school grounds themself to alter perception into a form more useful to us; in this case we want to be ignored right now."
"And I broke that in the classroom...because you had to defend yourself?" I theorize.
"Yes," she answers. "My name is Midnight and my sister is Twilight."
"I am Richard Vandemeyer, but you've already been told that I am of no account," I sneer.
"That was a tragic and sloppy mistake on our part," Midnight admits. "We won't make that one again."
"As long as we understand I will put down you and the rest of your minions if you come after Bernadette or me again," I tell her, "we can be okay."
"Minions will always be coming for you both as long as you shield her, Richard," Midnight threatens. "We will expend everyone on the island if that is what it takes."
"Even the ones who are your boyfriends?" I question.
"They are tools, nothing more," she answers. "Humans hold no interest for us except as extensions of our power."
"What does that make me?" I ponder.
"We don't know. Let me run my hands over your naked body and we will find out," she promises. Now I've been cautioned about this but I'm starting to think that I'm succumbing to the mental collapse affecting everyone else because I am thinking that I might know better. Also, while she's no Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, she's very physically attractive and all this violence has made me terribly horny.
"Over there," I direct her to a stone buttress that shields us from most snooping. It also leaves her mostly at my mercy if I turn hostile.
"How do I know you won't try to hurt me?" she hesitates. "Recreating this form would be time consuming." I shudder because a teeny-tiny bit of this makes sense.
"What makes you think that I won't kill you here in the open?" I remind her. It takes her a moment to nod and head into the shadows provided by the buttress and the tall, blue-tinted glass Gothic window .
When she gets there, Midnight places her back against the stone.
"Okay," she whispers. "Take my hand." She starts whispering in something akin to Bernadette's Basque with a healthy sprinkling of habanero to the eardrums just for listening to it. I'm thinking Acid or LSD or if Acid is LSD then...fuck if I know.
I grab the wrist of the hand, making sure to keep her shirt sleeve in between our flesh. She flinches slightly but is incapable of resisting my pull. I place her hand over my heart which surprises her; she thinks I've acquiesced. I step into her and I'm 1 cm from her face when she finally realizes what I am about to do. Panic fills her eyes as I plant my first kiss.
"I told you I would touch you, just not how," I say softly. Then I kiss her again; this time she is trembling like a leaf, her eyes flutter, and her breathing is coming in gulps. For almost two more minutes I rape this girl's virgin mouth with my tongue and lips. I pull away and smile.
"Well, you touched me," I inquire. "Did you learn what you wanted?"
"I – what – wait – I didn't," she mumbles. "You tricked me!"
"Yes I did," I acknowledge, "but you earned it by treating me like dirt beneath your heel since we first met. Now, if you want to actually meet and talk, contact me at lunch and I'll see what we can do. I want to hear your side of the story. By God, Bernadette hasn't told me a damn thing I can understand." That seems to make Midnight secretly happy.
The Power In My Hands
Bernadette and I met for lunch as we had previously agreed. After getting our lunch, we sat down for a discussion. Bernadette is a bit alarmed about the confrontation, illumination and the kiss in particular. I honestly tell her that I don't know whose side I am on – and she understands. I ask her why.
"There are two possibilities that explain why you can do what you do; you are a creature of Light or Darkness," she waits for my laughter. I'm not laughing. I have people popping in and out of people's perceptions, I'm kicking more than serious ass – I'm acting psychotic.
When Option A is smacking a girl half my size with a chair because I'm afraid I've lost my grip on reality. And beating up girls is unlikely to make me one of the good guys.
"I'm a Monster," I whisper.
"To make an over-generalization – yes, you are a power of darkness," Bernadette nods.
"What are you? What are they?" I worry.
"I am a mortal and we dedicate our lives to either the Darkness or the Light, as have the women in my family for centuries," Bernadotte confesses. "The Twins were never like us mortals, their existences were dedicated to the Dark Forces of the Universe – no, it is not the Force out of Star Wars."
"Keep going," I prod her. She takes a deep sigh that sounds like she's about to jump off a steep cliff.
"There was a coven of witches that dates back to the 15th century in Scotland," she stares at me. I'm still not laughing so she continues. "Every coven needs thirteen members – no more and less means you are not a true coven."
"When the New World was discovered, that coven decided to leave the Homeland and come here to the area you know as New England, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Unfortunately, an English coven had the same plans and while the Scots were of the Light, the English were Dark. They both came over two or three at a time and soon were sniping at each other, but neither side had a complete coven on this side of the Atlantic to decide the manner," she seems happy that I'm being so attentive.
"The first coven was winning, countering the dark influence, and their librarian, the last member of that coven, was coming over when the English struck," Bernadotte seems more animated sort of the way I remember feeling when Father was telling me about my ancestors. "They killed one of the Scottish members – witches killing witches is normally forbidden – but in doing so revealed that they were rushing the last six members of their coven to end the struggle once and for all."
"The Scottish leader – my great-grandmother – came up with a desperate plan. She found a Sacred Woman of Passamaquoddy People. She saw the vile taint coming her people's way and agreed to remake the World to trap those six witches before they could lay foot on the Continent proper. The ritual tore their bodies apart and trapped them on this island. It was never meant to be a permanent solution though," she expresses some regret.
"But it was and they are pissed," I state the obvious. "Is there anything short of fatality that will end this feud?"
"The head of the Scottish coven was murdered four days ago," Bernadette trembles. "That was what they told me this morning and I know it to be true."
"Do you want me to make them tell you who did the deed so we can, once we get off the island, make them pay. I'll help as long as I can," I promise.
"That's the bizarre thing Richard; you should have succumbed to them by now. Being a Monster doesn't make your more resistant; it makes you more compliant," Bernadette explains.
"How does any of that make sense? I'm kicking their asses," I counter.
"Darkness creatures are hierarchal Richard," she states. Since I'm not getting it, she adds, "You are the stronger Monster. When they figure this out, they are going to be terrified because then the whole 'stronger creature dominates the weaker' is going to be working against them."
"Okay – downside: when do I lose it? When do you have to put me down, or do I have to put myself down," I convey to her.
"Please understand Richard, we shouldn't even be talking to one another," she looks totally flummoxed. "You shouldn't have come to my aid. Hell, you should have joined in on my rape and murder."
"I'm not like that, Bernadette," I shake my head. "My family never gives in."
"What do you mean – your family?" she becomes laser-intensive.
"Since the Revolutionary War, Vandemeyer men have been fighting and meeting grizzly ends," I inform her. "My Father was captured, tortured and killed by the Taliban."
"My Grandfather's Bradley APC hit a mine. He was last seen jumping back into his burning vehicle to get his driver out. He was burned alive. I had an ancestor killed at Antietam; his legs were blown off but he still was borne by his men to victory before he died. I can keep going down the list of my honored dead if you want."
"Richard, that sort of suffering should make you more evil, not less," Bernadette shakes her head. "My real name is Regina Ravenrook, by the way. I used a pseudonym to come here because I really am a student here as well . Being a witch these days doesn't pay all that much so it helps to have a career to fall back on," she jokes weakly.
"Ravenrook as Camilla Ravenrook's..." I guess.
"My grandmother," Bernadette, now Regina, tells me. "She founded this school to reinforce the positive, hopeful, youthful energies here thus decreasing the degradation of the ritual and hopefully finding a replacement for her dead 13th member."
"But they got out," I reexamine the obvious.
"I'm not – you Richard, you did it," she tries to study my soul. "You inadvertently tipped the balance; your Dark energies are what cracked the mystic wards the witches wiggled through and the rest is history."
"And it was simply convenient that I happened to be gone," and I'm not an idiot, "to London. You said they were English damn it." I had hoped I'd earned internship on my own merits.
"Covens of the same aspect support one another, with the added difficulty that Darkness does not trust Darkness," Regina states, "but they didn't know your name though or the Twins would know you."
"So a power of Light lured me away?" I imagine. "A power we haven't seen yet. A power like what all the students here are subjected to?"
"How so?" Regina questions me. "Most students are infected with the background of dark energy which makes them give into their darker impulses. A special few are actually infused with the Witches' energy, but they are still themselves. As far as I can tell, you and I are immune."
"Had I stayed and met the Witches without you being around Regina, I would be working for them now."
"Good guess, but 'no'," Regina corrects. "A white coven would have warned a White Coven where a Black coven would not necessarily inform either one. It could be third faction; some other kind of Darkness creature could be involved."
"This is getting nuts – how much is out there?" I groan.
"It took the entire summer of my 12th year to get a broad view," Regina gives a sympathetic grin. "But usually the organized monotheistic religions are opposed to us, both Light and Dark. Truly, they are opposed to the Darkness but over time the Dark had painted White with the same brush in order to hurt the White."
"Basically, a White Witch will help a village from behind the scenes while a Dark Witch will poison wells and cause diseases. It is safer for the humans to simply hunt down all witches."
"Monsters are easier to understand," I exhale in frustration. "Hell, I'm a psycho. I hurt people. It is easy to see why I would be exiled or hunted...but I only seem to be psycho here."
"No, you are a controlled psycho all the time," Regina presses me. "People don't do what your family does; jumping into a burning tank (she means APC), charge enemy entrenchments with your legs blown off, or attack your enemy with the stump of your fingers."
"I still don't – Twilight and Midnight coming," I warn Regina. I stand up and put my body in a position to guard Regina. They can see one another but the Witches will have to get passed me.
"We would like to talk with you, Richard Vandemeyer," the two sing-song their message. There was a long pause as I waiting for them to start talking. "Please; alone – away from 'Bernadotte'."
"She has told me her real name and her relationship to you – her version," I say. I notice a bruise on Twilight's cheek were I back-handed her last night in Ms. Harper's room. I feel a tiny bit bad – she is still guilty of conspiracy to rape Regina – about it. She flinches when I stroke the wound with the back of my hand and shudders when I will part of my courage to her.
"Sorry," I say. I'm a Vandemeyer after all. The damage fades until it vanishes. Twilight reaches up and traces a finger along the non-existent wound.
"You healed the wound," the Twins and Regina all whisper at once. I start to think that I've learned a few things in London even if I wasn't the top pick of candidates; today, beyond all expectations or imaginings the lessons are interconnectivity and sympathetic reaction .
"You are awake because you siphoned off some of my energy when I was here my freshmen and sophomore years," I blindly toss out there. "My dark energies are inside each of you. You are in my domain, so be warned. I'm not expecting obedience and servitude, but you had better stay out of my way because that same tie that has prevented you from hurting me allows me to end you; you have been warned."
They say nothing for a full minute and Regina says nothing to me so I hear just the babble of normal conversation, the clatter of plates and silverware and the movement of bodies all around us.
"What do you want for Regina s and Shelby Ravenrook's lives?" the Twins request of me. I'm wondering if they buy, then strangle puppies. Shelby? Who the fuck is Shelby?
"Well, you had your chance," I shrug. "Regina, can you hold off those other four for twenty or so minutes?"
"Yes, I think so. Besides, I have both the note you gave me from Midnight and your book bag so I can get a rapid warning to you, if necessary ," she replies. "The book bag is personal to you and the note is an enchantment of hers. Will you be safe?"
"We are about to find out," I take a deep breath. "Come on you two," I say as I grab the two raven-haired beauties by the upper arms, spin them around and head for the exit. Bradley and six of the biggest guys in school intercept us.
"Vander-chump," Bradley mumbles through a busted lip, missing teeth and a swollen jaw, "you are going to get yours now. Spread out," his directs his cohorts. I gently put 'my' twins to one side.
"Bradley, I meant to catch up with you earlier but this will do – whoa!" I interrupt the rush to beat down on me. My blood is starting to boil but I feel obliged to make a futile gesture. They give me just enough time to get these words out, "Bradley, get your belongings and walk your ass down to the ferry because if I catch you here after nightfall, I am going to beat you until you cannot stand – okay, let's go."
I'm lucky to get the first two blows off. I punch the guy coming in on my left as hard as I can and my blood boils over. My body enters a state that isn't what I thought it would feel like; it is the removal of any sensation of from my body, the editing of superfluous sights and sounds, and an absolute clarity of the things that matter; namely the seven guys I am fighting, the Witches and Regina, though they are dozens of yards apart in different directions.
I kick one of the guys in front and he is gone; then I am born to the ground. It takes everything the guys holding my arms can bring to bear to hold me down. It doesn't really help. I scissor-kick one guy – hitting his ankle from one side and knee on the other – his Fibula and Tibia snap like dry twigs and the Tibia actually pokes through the skin and his pants.
His howling screams disrupt the survivors. One man gets a kick in to my hip, Bradley pushes the screaming guy aside and the last one takes my shoe to his knee, snapping it back to a reverse angle. He yowls and flies away. When Bradley tries to kick me in the crotch, I catch the tip of his shoe on the soul of my foot while I suddenly find the strength to hurl the man on my right arm off – way away from the fight.
I take another hit to the hip and it is dawning on me that I register the hit but not the damage. I know my hip is in pain from a clinical point of view but I am still totally functional. I push off from Bradley, sending him sprawling away before whipping the man on my left arm into the guy kicking my hip, splaying them both on the ground. Bradley and I regain our feet at the same time.