Warning: Bit of a horror story at the beginning
Warningx2: Also a quick reminder that every single one of Nikolas’ chapters is assumed to contain PG foul language
83 Midsummer road, Ridgevalley
Home to a nefarious group of criminals who like to eat people’s livers as a 3 o’clock snack-
Nah I’m kidding haha, it’s just my family’s house. Home of probably, no most definitely, no doubt about it, the most powerful witch alive, aka my dad.
But before my fathers moved in, it was home to a hermit. I’ve never heard the story from my parents, but I’ve heard it from my friends at school and from the research I felt compelled to do.
His name was Ernest Cantbury and he was a werewolf. An old werewolf too, one that probably remembered a time when supernaturals were higher in numbers and power. They say he used to have a family, a wife, and a very respectable job as a scientist. They say he even worked alongside one of the famous scientists from the Hans family, the family name you see at least once for any scientific award.
It’s when his wife left him that he came to be known as the Hermit. He quit his job and isolated himself at home, living off some lucky gambling money.
Everyone let him be, thinking he was simply grieving and also secretly not wanting to have to even come in contact with Ernest. The man had always been quiet and had always kept to himself, even when he was married. People at his old job used to joke about him being a Mad Scientist. He had an odd glint in his eyes that unsettled people, and the mismatch between his fresh shirt and his always dirty pants didn’t help either.
But after a few weeks he started to act strangely. It started with him standing inside his house, staring outside at the people who passed by – for hours.
A lot of witnesses swear they never saw him blink once. Some people waved, but they never got an answer back. He’d be as still as a statue.
And then days later, if he caught someone’s attention from his window, he’d take out a camera and take a picture of them.
And then weeks later, a young woman who often jogged in front of his house, disappeared. Ernest also happened to disappear from his window for a few days.
Then he came back, as still as before, his camera ready. When the second person disappeared, a man who had no choice, but to walk that road every day to get to his bus stop, the neighborhood decided to blacklist his house. And so, no one dared to walk in front of it again.
A week later, Ernest ordered a pizza. It was a very simple order, and everyone was absolutely mortified. There was no proof that Ernest was the cause of the disappearances, but everyone had their suspicions. Yet, the pizza delivery guy decided to go anyway. He wasn’t much for superstitions, and to everyone’s surprise except his own, the young fairy came back.
That’s when someone made the connection. The first two victims had been naturals. To prove his point, some of the supernatural members of the neighborhood continued their old routine of passing in front of Ernest’s house and nothing happened.
Three weeks passed without any incident. Ernest had stopped waiting at his window. Actually no one had seen him at all for weeks. They started to think he’d killed himself. And then Halloween strolled by, and with it a group of kids wanting to test out this Forbidden House. They knocked on the window, on the door, walked around the house, but caught no sign of life. A little spooked out, but also a little disappointed the group decided to move on. Just as they were leaving, one of the kids noticed something glowing in the window, watching them, like a pair of eyes.
Then the eyes disappeared and the group of five realized there’d been only four of them. At some point, going around the house, they’d lost one of their members, a young natural girl.
Scared shitless, the four of them ran home. The single mother of the lost girl heard what happened and immediately called the police. But when she was refused, claiming there wasn’t enough evidence and that her daughter had most likely run off somewhere, she decided to confront Ernest on her own. She brought a baseball bat.
No one saw or heard from her since.
The police were starting to suspect something was wrong about that part of town. But the speed at which they were investigating was unsatisfying for the brother and uncle of the two last victims. He took a shotgun and headed for the house. He knocked twice before kicking the door down.
He didn’t hesitate at all and shot at the first thing he saw – which happened to be Ernest. The werewolf fell dead instantly.
The bodies of the four victims were never found, and so Ernest’s crimes were never proven.
He was rumored to have a basement, and a lot of theories circled that the bodies were being kept there, but the police said they’d never found anything.
But I think that’s only because they never managed to open the door.
“-try to make the edges of your magic rougher. They’re too soft right now.” Dad said. Rougher? How am I supposed to do that!?
I tried it anyway and the spell failed again.
“I can’t do it dad, it just won’t work.” I grumbled. I was already started to feel tired from today’s training.
“Try it again Niko. Look at how my magic moves when I cast it.” Dad said, preparing to cast that famous oh so simple searching spell.
“No dad! I can’t do it! We’ve been at it since before I even went to summer camp!” I insisted impatiently.
“Nikolas stop giving up so easily. You’re lack of interest in practicing your magic is disappointing. It’s important that-”
“Dad! Don’t you get it!? I just don’t have the juice okay!?” I shouted. Dad’s face turned even more sour.
“Nikolas, careful…” He warned, but I was just so done with practicing a spell I knew I didn’t have the power to cast.
“Just because you’re this all-powerful witch doesn’t mean I inherited any of that! Niki’s the one with the magic hands! I barely have enough magic in me to cast an aiming spell! This training is absolutely useless!” I shouted. I irritatingly jumped onto the deck to head inside before dad could ground me right on the spot.
“Is that a hole in your shoe?”
“My shoes are fine dad!” I snapped, not daring to look at him. I locked the patio door shut once I’d escaped inside.
Aahhh I’m dead meat.
I better call someone before dad decides he’s let me cool off long enough. Yeah I know, I’m just prolonging my suffering.
I haven’t had the time to call my friends yet. I just got back yesterday and dad is already on my case about magic.
I dialed Elvis’ number and waited as the phone rang. The guy owed me some money. He made a bet that I wouldn’t be able to find that treasure.
I waited and waited, but he never picked up.
Running away from the bet? I decided to call my ‘cousin’ Lucas instead.
“Hey Luke it’s Niko!”
“Oh you’re back already?”
“What’s with the surprise? Don’t you have the date circled on your calendar?” I teased.
“Ah man, it’s just been really busy here okay. You know the party that’s happening over at your house?” Luke asked. This weekend was my papa’s birthday, so we were having a big get together to celebrate it, and to celebrate my aunt Catarina giving birth to her baby a few days ago as well.
“Obviously, we’re hosting it.”
“Yeah well, my parents have got this big news they want to reveal this weekend.”
“What is it?”
“Didn’t you hear me Niko? I’m supposed to keep this a secret.”
“Come on man.”
“Look, let’s just say I think they’re a little old for this, but whatever.” Lucas sighed.
“Ok ok I won’t push. Hey do you know where Elvis is? Tried calling but he wouldn’t pick up.”
“Oh.” A few seconds of silence. “I haven’t actually heard from him in a few days.”
“Wow, bucket of help you are. Bye.”
“Maybe you could ask Sal.”
“She was with me at summer camp.” I replied in exasperation.
“Ah geez, I’m so out of the loop.” I shook my head and hung up. I’ll ask him what’s really up this weekend.
“Nikolas.” The front door opened, and my name rang threateningly through the house.
Too bad papa brought Niki to the hospital or else I could’ve maybe gotten her to help me get out of being grounded. But nope, me and my big mouth are doomed.
At the hospital…
No one’s POV
“It’s great news! You’re doing so well.”
“Yup! I had no doubt.”
“Nikita!?” Salandra suddenly exclaimed, barging in and surprising the two people in the room. “Did something happen?”
“What? Oh no no, I’m just here for a check up on my knees. Nothing happened.” Nikita exclaimed with a small laugh.
“I’ll be back.” Edmund said from his corner, as he got up.
“Oh good!” Salandra said. “I thought you’d gotten into an accident again!”
“Nope! Never again, that I can assure you.” Nikita said pointedly. “Come here.” She said, patting the bed. “Tell me how summer camp went! Apart from Jace I haven’t talked to anyone who’s not family in a while.”
Salandra shyly sat down on the rigid bed. “Actually um…”
“What? You know already?” Salandra asked.
“Go on.” Nikita shook her head and motioned for her to continue.
“…ok well, I tried con-”
Salandra slowly slid off the bed. “I made a fool of myself.”
“What did Niko do?” Nikita said with a menacing tone. Oh her brother was going to have it if-
“Nothing. I don’t think he even realized it. It’s like nothing even happened now.” Salandra said with a shrug.
“Yeah…” Salandra bit the inside of her cheek before turning to her friend. “I need your help again Niki. I don’t know what to do.”
Nikita watched her friend’s pleading face, and she felt a pang of guilt. “Give up.”
“I don’t understand. You were the one who told me I should go for it.” Salandra said.
“Yeah, and now it’s my fault it won’t ever work.”
“I don’t…” Salandra frowned, trying to her best to understand.
“I have to keep my promise to Niko. He made me promise not to meddle in his affairs again.” Nikita explained. Before the accident she was still set on not keeping her promise, but now she was having trouble seeing the meaning of it all – of the pointless interference and drama. “Oh Sallie, truth is I don’t think he deserves you. Maybe you two aren’t a perfect match after all. He’s a stubborn late bloomer by my fault. It’s because I pushed so much for him to find a partner that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with that. Guess all my on and off relationships probably didn’t incite him to want to get into that either. It’s my fault and I’m sorry. Don’t stick on my brother, find someone else. What about Elvis? He needs a girlfriend to calm him down.”
“Nooooo….I really don’t see him that way.” Salandra said with an enthusiastic shake of her head. The blue haired girl played with the edges of the blanket. “Zac said Nikolas was probably asexual.”
“Zac? Oh you mean that red headed ass? Don’t talk to him Sal. Stay away from him.” Nikita said with an icy tone.
Salandra sighed. “I don’t like being told I don’t have a chance.”
“I’m sorry. But Niko’s kind of jerk to you anyway….” Nikita said.
And per usual, Salandra had nothing to say to that.
Salandra left once Nikita’s father came back, and it’s only once she was already out the door that Nikita remembered she’d forgotten to ask Salandra something.
“Hello old friend, it’s been a couple of weeks.” Nikolas said, grinning down at the shiny violin. “Might as well play some violin to accompany my getting grounded till the weekend.”
Not that it changes much for him. Elvis is apparently giving everyone the cold shoulder, and Lucas has that secret at home going on. And it’s not like Niko wants to hang out with the twins, Joel and Veronica, by himself. That would get weird fast.
He should take the opportunity to do some research on that jellybean! On curses too since Kaan was so tight lipped about it.
Oh and…the thing downstairs too.
Just the thought of it made it seem like he could feel it growl under his feet. He suppressed a shiver. Really need to do something about that.
With a clang and toc and an awkward click the door opened.
“This door was a lot more complicated than it should’ve been.” Nikita grumbled, stumbling in with her crutch. “You’re playing like you haven’t played for weeks.”
“That’s funny, that’s exactly what happened.” Nikolas said, setting his violin back down.
“Hey, I saw Sal today at the-”
“That’s right!” Nikolas suddenly snapped, making Niki blink in surprise. “I’d almost forgotten, but you broke your word. Again!”
“No I’ve really had it with you butting in, and I thought I’d made that abundantly clear.”
“You did! And I haven’t done anything since.”
“…really?” Nikolas said warily.
“Yes I swear.” Nikita added, and she looked sincere enough that Nikolas decided to think it was for real this time. “I do have a question though. And I swear, whatever you answer I will, you know, take it into account.”
“Go on. Ask it then.” He said, crossing his arms.
“How do you feel about Salandra?” She asked, observing his reaction to make her own conclusion.
Nikolas eyed her suspiciously.
“I’m not scheming; I just want to know the truth, considering I never did ask you.”
“I…” Nikolas began with determination, but then his shoulders relaxed as he seemed to reconsider his answer. “She’s a friend. Sure she doesn’t bring about the most enlightening of conversations, but I don’t mind her company that much. And she’s got surprises up her sleeve sometimes. You should’ve seen how she bested me at the archery challenge!”
“Yeah just a friend. Even if you keep trying to set us up.”
“I promise I’ll stop.”
“Good. Because I actually…uh…if you didn’t really didn’t do anything since you gave me your word, I have a question.” Nikolas began nervously, spiking Nikita’s curiosity. “Does Salandra really have a crush on me?” Nikolas locked eyes with his sister and then his mouth went on a nervous rant. “I mean, I used to think she was being manipulated by you and that it was all your doing in the end-”
“Wow way to make me out as the bad guy.”
“But if you say you really didn’t push her to do anything during summer camp then…I’m not so sure anymore.” Nikolas admitted. Nikita was surprised by how worried he seemed. “But I’d really rather that not be the case. I’d really prefer it wasn’t.”
Nikolas anxiously awaited the answer as Nikita wore a small smile.
“Probably not.” She eventually said, with a quick shrug.
Nikolas didn’t need much more than that. He released the breath he’d been holding and a smile came back on his face. “I knew that.”
Yeah well, I wanted two crutches, but the left hand one refused to show up for teens so Niki only got one crutch.