December 8, 2012 by saharaj
So, I had a dream some months back, that was basically the VERY beginning of this. There were so many unanswered questions when I woke up, that I started this book to try and answer them. I hope you like it.
Raevn was anything but what people expected from hearing her name. At fifteen, Raevn was tall and had long dirty blonde hair and steel blue eyes. She had full, red lips and a firm, determined jaw, matching her strength and interest in a myriad of sports. She wasn’t particularly interested in being overly intelligent, but her photographic memory made sure of it. Though Raevn wasn’t exactly known for following rules, she wasn’t reckless either, and although she was still a few months from a license, she was currently driving away from her home as fast as possible.
Her knuckles were white from gripping the wheel. She watched the road in front of her, illuminated by her headlights. The tree’s shadows messed with her mind, dancing on the black road. Her heart pounded. She had just passed the gates – officially off her property – and kept glancing at the road behind her, searching for headlights. She was positive Xei would come after her.
She didn’t see the car until she was near collision. The breaks screeched in protest as she slammed down on them. The car came to a jerking stop only a few feet away from the other car. She took a moment to be frightened, letting go of the wheel and falling back into her chair, breathing heavily. Wiping the sweat off her brow Raevn undid her seat belt and then hopped out of the car, slamming the door loudly behind her as she made her way over to the other car. Apologies were already pouring from her lips. Raevn was surprised to find the driver was a boy not much older than herself. He had tousled dark brown hair and unusual pale blue eyes, wide with shock. He turned to face her and rolled down the window.
“I’m sorry,” Raevn repeated for the millionth time. The boy said nothing. “Are you okay?” Her forehead creased, worried. She, at least, knew she would be fine, but the boy’s condition was another matter.
“I’m fine,” he stuttered.
Raevn let out a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry,” she whispered again, all she was able to come up with.
“Don’t be . . . I mean, do be . . . but . . . I mean, no one got hurt . . . so . . .” The boy took a deep breath, trying to form the sentence the way it came together in his mind.
Raevn gave a nervous laugh and then froze as she heard a loud thunk from behind her. Turning slightly she found Luka – not Xei, then – sitting on the roof of the truck. She hadn’t even noticed she had taken the truck as opposed to her Mini Cooper. Luka swung his legs over and jumped down, leaning against the truck door, watching Raevn with an amused expression.
“Hey,” he said, giving a little wave. “Managed to kill anyone yet?”
“Hey,” she returned sarcastically, gritting her teeth. “Managed to remember to put a shirt on before you go out of the house yet?”
Luka looked down and seemed to notice he was wearing only jeans for the first time. He shrugged, “Apparently not. Now get in the car.” Luka smiled grimly at her and opened the door, getting in the front seat. He rolled down the window and looked pointedly at her. “Now.”
Turning to the boy one last time Raevn smiled and bit her lip. “Again, I am really, really sorry. But,” she glanced back to Luka, busy finding the right channel. He found Apologize and turned the volume up, singing along, painfully out of tune. “I have to go,” she finished.
Raevn took her time to get in the passenger seat and shut the door. Soon they were driving back to the house, Luka still jamming out to music. Feeling especially miserable, Raevn didn’t buckle and leaned back against the seat, folding her arms. She glared at Luka.
At seventeen, Luka was younger than Xei, her eldest brother, and just under two years older than her. He was gangly, with the same height that ran in the family. But his clumsiness could be overlooked by his extreme strength, matching Xei’s already. He had reddish brown hair that fell in dark, indigo blue eyes. He had long features, Raevn had also told herself; unlike her and Xei’s square faces his was longer and slimmer and he had a long, straight nose. Despite what had just happened there was an unusual look of ease on his face. Luka was usually quieter and less in control of his emotions.
They pulled up to the house. It wasn’t really a house. Fliyte Manor was three stories high and stretched out, looming up above them. The old red brick was overgrown with ivy. There numerous cars were parked around the circle drive. Luka parked and Raevn got out quickly.
The only aspect of the house Raevn hadn’t grown accustomed to were the doors. There towered two stories, tapering to a point. A myriad of carvings had been carved centuries ago into the wood. One door was open and Xei was leaning against it. Xei was one of the few people – barely including Luka – who were taller than her. His arms were folded, but he had the same sense of ease.
Raevn still glared at him. “At least you had the decency to put on a shirt,” she grumbled, bumping past him into the house.
From behind her she could hear him laugh and move to follow her. She knew he could run faster than her but he was smart and kept his distance, following her through the mess hall, up the grand stairs, and through the corridors to her rooms. As soon as Raevn got inside her room she shut the door, storming over to sit on the windowsill, pulling her legs up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them, resting her head on her knees and staring out the window.
There was a knock and the door and without waiting for Raevn to tell him he couldn’t come in, Xei opened the door and walked up behind his sister. She refused to look him in the face, but he was alright with that. She had every reason to be angry with him.
“Emma and Anna are coming over,” he said after a minute.
Raevn grunted. “Going to have fun with your girlfriends or are you dumping them on me?”
Now she wasn’t exactly being fair. Emma Bella and Anna Bella were identical twins who seemed to be constantly around. They had curly brown hair and light, melted caramel eyes. They had the same mystery of being tall (though they were only a few inches taller than Raevn and yet three years older) and strong and disappearing. Anna and Xei, Raevn knew though no one would admit to anything, were in love. Yet the twins were Raevn’s best and only friends and the only people who could cheer her up when her brothers left.
After taking a deep breath, Xei answered calmly, “Actually, they’re coming over so we can watch a movie down in the cinema.”
“Sure they are,” she replied, fighting the twitches of a smile. “Sure we are. You and Luka going somewhere else, or is this trying to make up for somewhere your about to mysteriously disappear to?”
Xei frowned, sighing. Raevn was smart and he hated not being allowed to tell her anything. He hoped it happened soon.
“You can pick the movie.”
Turning to face him a mischievous smile lit up her face. “What if I think we should watch Titanic?”
“What if I think you’re a torturous little devil?” Xei grinned, and Raevn laughed. “Luka and I might have to figure out a way to persuade you to let us watch something else.”
“Wait until Emma and Anna show up so I stand some sort of chance,” Raevn saw the headlights coming up the drive and hopped off the sill. Xei had won again. How was he always so nice? “But I don’t see how you can refuse Titanic when Leo plays Jack.”
“Uh huh,” Xei rolled his eyes. “We’ll see what the twins have to say about that.”
“Sure,” Raevn grinned. “I’ll go ask. They’re coming up now.”
His eyes narrowed. “How do you know?”
Passing him, Raevn ran to take the steps two at a time. “I saw their car, dummy! When you figure out you can make telepathic connections, let me know.”
“Yeah, sure,” Xei mumbled, following her down to where Luka was greeting the twins.
“Raevn!” Emma grinned when she saw her. She knew it was Emma because she had the one pink streak in her hair. “It has been absolutely too long since we all last saw each other. What, a full month? Well, it’s sort of late. What are we going to do today?”
Xei stepped in before Raevn could say anything with, “Raevn is under the impression we are watching Titanic.”
Luka groaned. “You guys can watch Titanic. I think I’ll opt out.”
Anna glanced over at Raevn and then, grinning, said with her eyes all wide and innocent, “Why wouldn’t you want to watch Titanic? Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jack Dawson. I mean, come on!” While Xei stared at her, Raevn snorted to hide her shock. That had been exactly what she had been thinking.
Finally Luka said, “Why don’t we watch a kids movie and throw socks at the characters we don’t like?”
“Says the seventeen year old,” Raevn grinned. “Nah. Let’s watch a kid’s movie that actually has some good parts. And yes, Luka, such a thing is possible. Let’s watch Aladdin.”
“Abooboo,” Emma said sternly to which Anna corrected, “Ababwa,” and the girls broke into giggles.
The boys agreed reluctantly and making their way in through the mess hall to the basement where the cinema was set up, Raevn started bobbing her head and sang, “Prince Ali, magical he, Ali Ababwa!”
“Shut up!” Luka groaned, grabbing a pillow from the large couch and tossing it at her. “I can’t take it any longer!” She caught it easily and just laughed, going to find the movie from the large bookshelf and putting it in the projector.
Then Raevn went over and plopped down on the couch between Emma and Xei. Anna, predictably, was on the corner next to Xei, and while Raevn and Emma were happy to snuggle up under a blanket, Luka was somewhat by himself on the other edge.
“Turn off the lights, will you?” Raevn asked Luka, and he leaned over to while she picked up the remote and set it to play, burrowing into the couch and Xei as the movie started.
Xei knew her well, she thought. She loved the cinema. It was a large enough room so that the projector had a large wall to project onto, but the rest of the room had curved walls. If you turned the lights off the room was entirely dark, and it was cold down here, giving reason to snuggle. Plus, for her birthday last year, Luka had gotten her a popcorn maker and soda machine because she was always calling for him to bring her stuff while she watched something.
She went to put some popcorn into a bag now. Yes, she thought. Xei sure knows how to get on my good side. Settled down again, Raevn had to fight to keep her popcorn to herself, but Xei kept sneaking bites and she didn’t actually mind giving some to Emma.
Right on queue, Anna said, “He’s got a sword!” and then Emma answered, “You idiot! We’ve all got swords!” While the girls laughed, Luka sunk further into his seat, only making Raevn laugh harder.
When they got to the part when Aladdin rubbed the lamp and Raevn, grinning, said this was her favorite part, Luka groaned. “How did I let myself watch this movie? It’s Aladdin, for Pete’s sake.”
“Aladdin is pretty good as kids movies go,” Emma argued.
A few seconds later, Anna added, “Who is Pete? Why should you care about his sake?” Everyone laughed.
When Aladdin entered the castle, Raevn started singing along. “Actually,” she amended, “This might be my favorite part. Prince Ali, wonderful he, Ali Ababwa,” she warbled.
“I’m not even sure that’s what they’re singing,” Luka commented.
“Like you ever sing the right words or in tune,” Raevn retorted, and he shut up.
When Raevn woke up she was sprawled across the couch and Emma was wrapped in various blankets on the floor beside her, leaning against the wall; she was on her iPad. She felt her hands form fists, her nails biting into her skin. Then slowly she peeled her fingers away and flexed them. Lately she was growing more and more volatile. She remembered Luka becoming like this.
She took several deep breaths. “They left.”
“Uh huh,” Emma nodded. “Anna went with Xei and Luka left pretty soon after. And no, I have no clue when they’ll be back.” Then she cursed and frowned at her screen, obviously working on a game.
Sighing, Raevn leaned back against the couch. They had ended up watching three different action movies to the boys request – not that any of the girls minded. They were movies they loved too – and the result had been crashing in the cinema at some unearthly hour. Strangely, Raevn felt like she had energy she had to get rid of.
“And they left you to make sure I behave?” It annoyed her that her brothers thought they could leave as they wished but she always had to be careful.
“Nah. I wanted to stay. You shouldn’t be alone here all the time,” Emma shrugged. “Go jump off a cliff. Go bungee diving. Do what you want.”
Raevn grinned. “And my brothers wonder why I love the Bella’s so much,” she muttered as she got up off the couch, and Emma smiled. “I’ll tone down for now and just go walk around the woods.”
She went up to her rooms and changed into her red jeans and a white tee shirt. Then she pulled on her black high tops and put her hair into a messy high bun. Raevn didn’t bother with make-up, and she rarely did anyway. Then she slid down the rail of the stairs, hopping off dexterously at the bottom. Stepping outside, she found there was a cool bite to the morning air, and grabbed one of Xei’s sweatshirts from the closet. It was the one he bought in Canada – all red and white – that was soft and a tad small for him so he never really wore it. Raevn loved it.
Slipping outside, Raevn made her way through the woods, loving to listen to all the sounds. The only chance she had to escape the mysterious of the manor and the frustrations of her brothers disappearances without any explanation was to come to the woods that surrounded the manor. They owned every bit of the woods and they were entirely untouched. Most days she when she came out to the woods she would go to the creek, but today she just made her way down the property to the gate, remembering driving through yesterday.
It was closed now and she figured Xei must have done that when he left this morning. There was a piece of paper that had been stuck onto one of the poles, the pole in the paper. Raevn took it out and saw Xei’s familiar, messy scrawl.
“Don’t get any ideas,” she read and snorted.
She nearly jumped as a boy slunk from behind a tree, head bent. “I know. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come back.” It was the boy she had almost run over the previous night. He looked like she had caught him, and she realized from what she had read, it certainly sounded like it.
“What are you doing here?” She hissed. “You have to leave! My brothers will murder you!”
“Yeah, I figured, I’m sorry. I’ll go.” He started walking away.
Raevn watched him walk away. As he got into the car she ran up. “Wait!” She called. He looked up at her. “I . . . I’m sorry. About last night, and about now, I guess. I’m Raevn.”
“Talon,” he replied. “Really, it’s my fault. I was stopped staring up at the drive. You can see the peaks of something – is it your house? You really live here?”
She sighed. “Yeah, it’s a nightmare.”
“I don’t see how,” Talon muttered.
“Uh huh,” Raevn muttered. “You don’t have two freaking older brothers like mine.”
“I have one,” Talon offered, shrugging. “Anyway, I’m sorry I bothered you.” He got in the car and shut the door, doing his seatbelt and putting the car into drive. Raevn was planning to step back to avoid being run over, but instead stepped forward. There was something about this boy that was different.
The boy rolled up the window and raised his eyebrows questioningly. “Hey, um, you live around here?” He nodded. “You know the public library that just opened, like, a few days ago? Yeah? Why don’t we meet tomorrow at noon? I don’t mean to shove you away and I owe you something for almost running you over. I just don’t want Xei finding me with you or you on our property or whatnot.”
She held her breath. “Uh, yeah. Sounds good,” he answered after a moment. Then Raevn stepped back and watched him drive away. Watching, she absentmindedly began scratching her back. It had been itching lately, and she made a mental note that she would check it out later.
“Raevn?” She turned to find Anna coming up behind her. “Xei’s been looking for you. He’s worried.”
She crumpled the paper in her fist. “So worried he constantly leaves without explanation? So worried he lets you come to find me instead of coming himself?”
Calmly, like Anna always was, she asked, “Would you rather he had come to get you?”
“Get me?” Raevn shrieked. “Yes . . . no . . . I don’t know. I just wish he would do something wrong. He’s always so perfect and so infuriating and . . .” She stopped to breath and attempt to scratch her back. It was just between her shoulder blades where it itched and she couldn’t quite reach it. “I just want an explanation. I’m sorry I leapt out at you, Anna. It isn’t your fault.”
She trudged back to the manor, but Anna didn’t move, watching her closely.
Anna walked along the edge, arms out as if she were afraid to fall from the top of the EmpireStateBuilding. As if. She glanced over to where Xei was leaning against the pole and hopped off, coming toward him.
“Penny for your thoughts?” She asked.
He looked up and made an attempt at a smile. “You don’t need me to tell you, Anna. Feel free.” It was true, she knew. He was thinking about Raevn.
“You’re right, Xei. She’ll kill you when she wakes up and finds you gone again.”
But Luka stayed this time, he was trying to argue. Anna just stared at him. Then she leaned against the pole next to him. She shivered and he put his arm around her so that she would warm up. She had long ago decided against anyone seeing them up here. It was night, after all.
“Her temper’s changing,” Anna said. “Raevn, I mean. She’s not stable.”
“Maybe Luka’s rubbing off on her,” Xei made an attempt at a joke, but Anna didn’t laugh. He didn’t either. This was more serious than that.
“And her back is starting to itch,” Anna persisted. What sounded like something a stalker would say interested Xei, but he didn’t say anything. He didn’t want Raevn to have to go through everything just yet. “Xei, I just want you to know that Emma and I are always -”
“What?” Xei turned on her. “You think I can’t take care of my little sister?”
Saying nothing, Anna just watched him sadly. Surely he knew that was what everyone thought.
“Raevn?” She looked up from the book she had grabbed to see Talon standing above her. She set the book down on the table and smiled.
“Wasn’t sure you would come.”
He smiled and shrugged, “Wasn’t sure I’d come either.”
They stared at each other for several seconds, Raevn fingering the cover of the books while Talon put his hands in his pocket. Neither of them quite knew why they had come here.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t let you come to the house,” Raevn apologized finally. “I know you said you were interested in it. You’d be crazy not to be – large manor half obscured by the woods and three kids who live there and never come down. There’ve got to be rumors.”
“Well yeah. Especially about your parents. People say . . . well, they say you killed them, but it’s just superstition that no one really believes.”
“Its fine,” Raevn assured him, watching him with interest. “It doesn’t offend me at all. I want to know what people say about us. It’s interesting.”
“I . . . I guess,” Talon scratched his head and pulled out a chair from the table to sit down. “Your house makes for an easy target, I supposed. It’s easy to create stories about the house off an unused road that is surrounded by woods, has been there for centuries, and is rumored to be the home of two demon children or whatever.”
“Two?” This interested her. “Which one of us doesn’t exist, out of my brothers and me?”
“Well people talk about your brothers. Not the one who came for you yesterday – the other one – he comes into town some times. The girls think he’s hot and that he’s a vampire like Edward Cullen from Twilight.” Raevn grinned. She would tease him about that. “Most of the guys think he’s a creep and that he thinks he’s too good for us after what happened with DJ. Your other brother – the one who did come yesterday – no one really knows what to think of, except people are pretty positive the two are brothers.”
Raevn tried to resist the urge to ask all her questions. Why did Xei come into town? What had happened with DJ? How did everyone know their parents were gone, even if that wasn’t entirely true?
“So I’ve been pushed out of the picture, huh?” She folded her arms and leaned against the chair. She could use this to her advantage, not being known in town.
“Not exactly,” Talon hesitated. “I think I know what role you’ve been given. I think . . . I’m not sure you’re going to like this. Before I make a total fool of myself – do you ever wear, like, old Victorian dresses?”
She wanted to laugh. The Bellas had found a whole room full of dresses some years back, going across all the ages, and Raevn loved trying them on. If the Bellas were over they would go on photo shoots in the woods. “Comes with the house,” she grinned at Talon.
“Okay, well, people think you’re like this girl who they’ve taken or someone. Or like, you’re with one of the brothers. But they’re you’re brothers, so that seems just like, wrong to even suggest it to you.”
Her grin was growing. Wait until they learned this. She would tease them for eternity. Plus, Talon was growing increasingly red. “Can’t they see I’m only fifteen?” She asked instead.
The response wasn’t what she needed. Talon stared. “You’re only fifteen?”
“Okay, apparently not. How did that rumor start? About me, I mean. I don’t know about lover, but my brothers are very, ah, protective.”
“Well, people go to your house on dares, trying to sneak into the woods, and one bunch came back this one time screaming bloody murder there was a ghost in the woods.”
“Wait,” Raevn stopped him. “Don’t tell me they came back and I flirted with them before showing them I had a knife and chased them out? That was so, freaking fun. There were more people after that. The Bellas and I got creative until Xei scared them all away.”
“The Bellas?” Talon frowned and then shook his head and just stopped. “Yeah, that is what happened. The first time, like I said, they thought you were a ghost. The second time you were some suicidal ghost or something. Then you started waiting for them in the trees asking them to help you.”
“One boy wet his pants,” Raevn grinned. “And Emma had to help me get tangled up while Anna went off to lead them over. Do you think I should be an actress?”