“Stop being so prissy about everything Max.” Alistair made a big show of rolling his eyes.
“I’m just saying-”
“Yeah, I know, you’re always just saying. You’re always so uptight around family.” Alistair practically growled.
“Look man, don’t take your anger out on me cause of what happened to your dad.”
“You think I’m angry because of that? Hell no, that old coot got what he deserved.”
“You shouldn’t talk about family like that.” I said with a sigh.
“You’ve never met my dad.” Alistair snapped. “No, Max, I’m pissed because you’re always a party pooper. Nikolas steals my stash and suddenly you think we should cut back, like we’re influencing Luke and Niko somehow. Or Emily and I are just chatting, and you’re all over here telling us to calm down.”
“We’re at a family gathering for your brother’s birthday. It’s not time for you to be flirting with Emily.” I grumbled through gritted teeth.
“You’re just jealous.” Alistair said with an annoying smirk.
“And you’re still a prick who probably got stoned before coming here.” I shot back.
“Well what can I say…you heard what happened to my dad right? I got an excuse.” He said with a shrug.
“Yeah, but no one else knows.” I’d only found out accidently, and then was told not to say a peep.
“Whatever, it’s not that big of a news.” Alistair shrugged, turning away searching for Emily probably.
Half the time I can bear to be around him. I usually blame the other half on his obvious problems.
“-your uncle’s amulet.” Nikolas and Catarina’s conversation reached my ears and I decided to listen a little more intently after I heard the word spirit.
Whether I want to or not, I have the ear for those kinds of words now. And Nikolas usually sticks his nose in interesting things.
Whatever they were talking about caught the attention of Xavier and Benjamin. Something about Benjamin’s dragon amulet and some long a little confusing explanation from Nikolas about some sort of power he had?
I leaned a little closer.
“I didn’t know about this.” Xavier noticed in a strangely calm tone.
“This happened way before we met you Xav.” Catarina said. But Nikolas knew it wasn’t what Xavier was referring to. You could almost see Niko trembling in his boots. “It happened when we were kids and I’d just stolen from dad.”
To that Nikolas gave Catarina the same look I wore. James? Guess it’s only his children who can get away with stuff.
“It didn’t say anything about me did it?” Benjamin asked.
“No. It was really just a lot of I don’t like you. It was standing beside you the whole time though.” Nikolas said with a shrug.
I’m still not sure what they’re talking about. Is there a ghost in the amulet? But I’m pretty sure I’d see it if that were the case.
Speaking of that amulet…isn’t it something special? Like some sort of magical artifact?
“The same thing happened to me when I dragon-dreamed it. It didn’t want a thing to do with me. It’s only when I started to talk about Jayjay here that it got interested. I don’t know what was better about him then-”
“I can think of a few things.”
“But I gave him the amulet and the teleporting works for him.” Catarina said.
“Well…heh. It used to.” Benjamin said with an awkward shrug. “Now that Sabina and I are moving in together and I’m getting promotions at work…it’s sort of stopped working. Not that I use it that often anymore, but when I do there’s a 1/10 chance it’ll work. Guess my life’s gotten too boring for it now that…” There was a small silence where he seemed to realize he was about to broach a subject Nikolas wasn’t aware about. So he turned to Catarina and Xavier and shrugged at them. “That all that drama got taken care of.”
Comprehensive and maybe slightly nostalgic nods. Nikolas looked frustrated at not knowing what they were referring too.
I had a small idea. I was young then, but…Benjamin and Catarina used to have a mom. With hair as bright as Cat’s.
“But hey, I really don’t need it anymore. Well not as much. It might serve you better. And since you can talk to it, you can figure out what it’s all about.” Benjamin said with a smile.
“Wait…you’re giving it to me?” Nikolas asked, looking over the top hopeful and happy.
“Yeah, why not?” Benjamin said with a shrug.
Xavier stepped in. “A lot of reasons why not.”
“You can’t just go handing something that powerful to my son.” Xavier said. “He already causes me enough trouble. I don’t need him teleporting all over the place.”
“Especially something this important. You can’t hand it over freely. The boy’s got to earn it.” Xavier said with a slight smirk. Nikolas pouted.
“Oops my bad.” Benjamin said with an apologetic smile.
“So Niko,” Benjamin picked up. “Do you have someone in your life?” He asked, with Catarina making a heart shape with her hand and Kristy’s baby hand.
Nikolas groaned and walked away while the adults chuckled.
“What was that about?” I asked as he walked past me. He gave me an unhappy look.
He really has such an ugly mean expression sometimes.
“You wouldn’t care for it. You’re too grown up for this sort of thing.” He said, just mixing his frustrations with that petty grudge he has against me.
“Stop being angry about the basement thing. Don’t you think your dad would know about it if there was something down there?” And since it’s the ghost of a murderer that led us there… if there is something it’s probably nothing good.
“I went down there you know, I got the door open. It wasn’t a wine cellar. Oh hell no, it was a fucking monster, but you were too caught up in your ‘mature adult’ bullcrap to realize the ghost really led us to something.” Nikolas muttered.
“Monster? Nikolas what are you talking about?”
“I…” Nikolas eyed me suspiciously and a little nervously. “Whatever you don’t care.”
“I do, tell me! What did you see down there?”
“It was a monster. That’s all, just…” Niko’s voice trailed off and he gulped, his eyes drifting to the floor.
“Show me.” I insisted.
“What? No! I haven’t been down there since – I can’t go back you have no idea-” I’ve never seen Niko this scared of something before. That’s really unlike him.
“Come on.” I said, grabbing onto his arm. If there really is a monster down there…
Even though he’d protested so strongly before, Nikolas let himself be led to the downstairs bathroom, where we both knew the secret entrance was.
Nobody paid any attention to us, all too engrossed in their conversations and we slipped into the bathroom. Nikolas fiddled with the doorknob anxiously as I got the secret door to open. Hadn’t touched it in years, and maybe I should’ve. That way Nikolas wouldn’t be in the state he was now. I’d just thought back then that if I stopped being interested, then Nikolas would let the whole thing go.
I underestimated his curiosity.
Nikolas’ shoes clunked as he jumped off the ladder behind me. I stepped towards the door, before I felt a tug on my shirt. “Max I…”
I miss acting like Niko’s big brother or uncle, but as bad as it sounds I really needed to get away from all his enthusiasm when it came to me seeing ghosts. Seeing ghosts isn’t normal – even by supernatural standards and I needed to understand that. Still, right now, back in front of this mysterious door, hearing Nikolas sounding so frightened, I really felt bad.
“I just wanted to say I told you so before you died.” Nikolas said, letting go of my shirt. He can’t be that frightened if he can joke about it.
And then I heard it. The sound Nikolas always insisted he heard – that low rumbling – that growling. I was struck with a sudden fear of the unknown. What monster was hiding behind the door?
“You heard it didn’t you?” Nikolas whispered behind me. “Well aren’t you going to open it? It’s unlocked, I know it is.” Nikolas shoved me a little, making sure to keep me as shield.
Ah screw it. I gripped the knob and opened the door.
No one’s POV
As the curious males opened one door, someone else knocked on another. As the birthday party continued on inside, someone had decided to crash it. The lady had been invited, naturally, but had immediately declined.
The news had been too much for her at the time, she couldn’t bear to see Edmund’s face. She was scared of the expression he would give her.
But now she was here, knocking at his door, asking to be let in so she could share the dreadful news.
Xavier welcomed the source of his son’s eyes into his home, though he did it with hesitation. He’d never quite liked either of his husband’s parents, and her sudden appearance sent a warning to his sixth sense. He couldn’t quite decipher whether the reason for her visit was a good one.
Either way, she seemed to appreciate what she saw as the reason why her husband and son never got along as much as he appreciated her. She asked to see her son and said nothing else.
As for him, he only had one thing to reply. Edmund was in his study, bragging about his latest piece to a friend.
Lysiane Pallen made her way through the crowd of odd people with a rapidly beating heart. She’d always been cautious around supernaturals. They rubbed her the wrong way – and they did even more so with the growing hostilities towards them.
And now she was bumping shoulders in a room full of vampires, witches and eye supernaturals. It took all she had not to start grimacing. And her son wondered why she so rarely came to visit.
It wasn’t just supernaturals either. Lysiane cast a quick glance to Evan, the ex-sniper. Edmund was friends with all sorts of strange people.
Oh if only the proud woman knew exactly what lay under her feet. She might be privy to the same fate her husband was.
“Mother? What a surprise! What are you doing here?” Edmund exclaimed.
Lysiane forced a smile. “I fear it’s nothing to be happy about dear.”
Take the worst nightmare you’ve ever had, add some huge teeth on it, the intense smell of dead, and the heavy feeling of dread and mix it all up.
That’s what I was hit with when I opened that door. I couldn’t do anything but stand still and stare at it, half disbelieving half wanting to go back in and close the door. Nikolas was right. There was a monster down here and it’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before. My eyes are stuck on its immense crooked teeth, and the sound of its growling was beating on my ear drums.
Oh god why didn’t I tell anyone we were going down here?
One second he was behind me while I was freaking out and seriously considering just running back inside – actually asking myself why I hadn’t yet – and the next he was stepping ahead of me extending his hand towards it.
“Nikolas what are you doing?” I hissed grabbing onto his other arm.
Even though he was so close – even though he was the one who was supposed to be more scared of it – Nikolas actually smiled. And the monster did nothing. The rhythmic growling simply continued.
“It’s sleeping.” Niko said, eyes wide with awe.
“All along…the growling. Just listen to it. It’s sleeping.” Nikolas said. Before I could react he suddenly burst out into a fit of relieved laughter, continuously repeating it was sleeping, sleeping!.
“There’s no point in waking it up then!” I hissed, pulling at his arm. He yanked it away.
“What is it?” He asked staring at it intently. I did as well, finally seeing something other than the curled canines. “Kind of looks like the head of a cow on a plant. I’ve never read of something like this anywhere. Do you think it’s a robot or something?”
I shook my head slowly, noticing its lack of eyes. “Smells too bad for that.”
“Is it grown or born? It’s so weird looking. What could your ghost ever have wanted with something like this in his basement?”
Could those people he murdered been fed to this thing? The thought alone sent uncomfortable shivers down my spine.
“Looks like there’s more to this place than just the main attraction.” Nikolas said, noticing an area on the left and on the right. “Is the werewolf’s ghost doing anything?” He asked.
Nikolas and I both looked up at the sound. Seconds later, dozens of footsteps could be heard upstairs and a lot of gasps and worried chattering. Nikolas must’ve heard something I hadn’t, because without a second thought he ran for the ladder and climbed it.
No one’s POV
Lysiane stood at the study’s doorway. She tried to keep her composure, she tried not to put all the blame on herself, but the shock of seeing her son in such a state was too much.
Her body began to panic and the tears flowed down her cheeks.
She gripped onto the first person she saw.
“It wasn’t my fault! I didn’t know it would happen!” She exclaimed, sobbing into the person’s shoulder. “I just came to tell him the news. He needed to know! It’s his right to know his father died! But then he started clutching his chest and he was in such pain oh god my Edmund collapsed right in front of me! It wasn’t my fault…” The woman slid to the floor in a hiccupping mess.