Tell Me Your Secrets
The last Lore Keeper of the Weres disappeared without a trace, now thirty years later his legacy returns in the form of a young man named Michael Williams.
~Big thanks to Enemyoffun for making this universe to play in, and to all my beta readers for helping me hammer out some of the details in this chapter.
Author's Note: I hope you all enjoy this chapter, as some more depth is added, along with mystery. A very big thanks to my editor for helping with the edits.
Please comment on this, I enjoy reading your comments and learning from them immensely.
10 October 2011
I had been working at the comic book shop for a few hours now. The familiar surroundings and rhythm had been helpful in shaking off the feeling that I had been closely watched for many nights in a row. Mr. Larson was unsure if I should be back at work so quickly, but I assured him that I needed the familiar scenery to help adjust to everything going on. He just nodded when I said that and also muttered something about me and the others.
I thought briefly about what he could have been talking about, but then I put it out of my mind as a bunch of middle school kids walked in talking about their day and the latest releases.
The day was like any other that I had worked in here before, although a lot more of the teenage boys were looking at me with mixed reactions. Some were just shocked that a good looking girl could know so much about comic books, while the rest of them were just staring at me because I was good looking, and probably were thinking crazy thoughts about me. I tried to push that thought out of my mind. That just gave me the creeps all over thinking about it.
Eventually, the day was starting to wind down, and I was looking forward to going home and diving back into the pages of the books that I had found in the archive. As I was helping Mr. Larson close down the store for the day, one last person entered the shop.
He started, “I’m sorry, but we’re—.”
“I’m not here for the merchandise . I’m here on business.”
“Right,” he answered, before calling out, “Mikaela, would you come here? Mrs. Williams from the university is here to see you.”
I emerged from the back of the store, carrying the broom that I was using to sweep the floor.
“Yes?” I replied.
“Ah, so you must be the new were my daughter has been telling me about,” Mrs. Williams replied.
She did look familiar to me. I probably saw her during orientation or something at the school. She worked in the administration, I don’t know where, though. The general consensus among the student body was that she could definitely push things through, if they had the need to. She also looked like she was Melissa’s mother, as I could see the family resemblance in her face.
“Yes,” I replied with hesitation. “I guess I’m the new were.”
I mumbled to myself, “Even though I don’t know what kind I am.”
I walked over by the counter, where the two of them were standing. Mrs. Williams was clutching a manila folder in her hands.
“Mr. Larson, if you don’t mind…,” she commented.
“Right,” he replied, and left the room. That left me alone with this Williams witch. I was just hoping she was as nice as the one that I already had met.
“Melissa has told me about your unique situation, so I was able to push through Admissions, Registrar’s, and the other offices a new student identity and the corresponding course work.”
She opened the manila envelope and spread out the contents on the countertop. I walked over to get a better look at everything there. I saw an updated course schedule, a new student ID card, and I even saw a California driver’s license in there.
“How did you pull that off?” I asked looking at the driver’s license. I pulled out my old one that I still had in my wallet. The two looked nearly identical, with the only difference being the name and gender changes.
She merely smirked and said, “I have a few connections out west.”
“Well, whoever they are, and to you, thank you very much.”
There was another slight difference that I almost noticed immediately, my last name. Williams was my stepfather's name, he had adopted me shortly after I was born. But, the name on the new cards all said Vance. That was my mother's maiden name.
Mrs. Williams saw my puzzled look. "It’s easier to distance yourself from your old life, given how much you have changed. I hope you don't mind."
I shook my head, no. I didn’t mind it too much. It actually made a lot of sense, considering that Michael was essentially no more. I was still astounded that a new identity was whipped up on short notice. Whoever these witches were, I now knew that you didn’t want to mess with them, since they could either help you or hurt you depending on what they wanted to do. “You are very welcome,” she said, placing her hand on my shoulder.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the amethyst ring on her finger. It looked familiar for some reason. I turned my attention back to the course schedule and saw that I was now listed as a double major in history and mathematics. That was nice, since I was an exploratory major interested in those two fields. Then, for some reason, my attention turned to the emerald on my charm bracelet.
For some reason, I thought the jewel was glowing. I looked at it more closely, and sure enough, it was faintly glowing.
“Uhh,” I muttered. “Does this mean something to you?”
Donna looked at the jewel in the bracelet, and then looked at the amethyst in her ring. Now, her jewel was faintly glowing. What was going on here? However, it seems that Donna’s reaction wasn’t surprise, but merely as if that was to be expected.
“Hmmm,” she commented. “I was wondering if it was going to react.”
“What?” I replied, surprised.
“The thing with the Lorekeeper jewelry is that they acknowledge the others. They do so by faintly glowing with each other. Although, I have no clue where the vampire lorekeeper is.”
“How many lorekeepers are there?” I asked, wondering how many there actually were.
“There are three. Vampire, witch, and were. For some reason, the vampire lorekeeper’s identity is a closely guarded secret by the vampires. You would think that they don’t trust us. But, you can’t really blame them for the bind some of them are in.”
My mind was having difficulty trying to wrap around some of that. “Wait a sec. What?”
“Don’t worry about it. What’s important is that the Coven recognizes you for what you are: the new Were lorekeeper for Ravencrest.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
She laughed. “You never know when our help will come in handy.”
“Okay, I will be sure to keep that in mind,” I replied, trying to think up a time when I would need to ask the Coven for some help.
“Well, I have to be going. I have to talk with Melissa about some things. Apparently, there are a few more incidents that are going on around here that need some sorting out. If you ever need some help, let us know.”
I nodded and shook her hand. “Thank you for everything.”
“Don’t worry about it. Just learn what you need to.”
And with that, she left the shop. I looked at the files and paperwork that constituted my new identity as Mikaela. Everything was there that would make Mikaela exist in the eyes of any number of government bureaucrats. Why was she being so helpful to me? What had I done to warrant this kind of attention? Before I could ponder these questions, Mr. Larson came back out from the back room.
“She left?” he asked.
I replied, “Yeah, she’s gone.”
“Good. You can get back to cleaning the floor now.”
I groaned. Figures that he would put me back to work after getting one aspect of my life sorted out again.
After I finished my closing time chores at the shop, I was walking home to my apartment. I put my new identity into my backpack that I carried to me to the shop. In it, I had the book that I was reading last night. I was tempted to read it during some of the down time in the store, but wasn’t sure since that book hasn’t seen the light of day in a long time. For some reason, I felt the need to keep the book out of the public eye for as long as I could, but at the same time I felt the urge to read that book backwards and forwards.
I was walking down the street towards my apartment when I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I whirled around to see what it was, only to see a few of the college students laughing and walking along the opposite side of the street. I thought that I must be getting jumpy for some reason, and it probably had to do with everything going on around me.
The sun had set only a few minutes ago, and the streetlights overhead were lit. There were a couple of lights that were flickering in the distance. Probably the town hadn’t gotten around to fixing them yet.
As I headed down the street, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched right now. I was trying to account for the healthy paranoia that I had recently acquired, but for some reason this was feeling more real than that. I looked around again, as I was within a couple of blocks of my apartment, and thankfully, didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. That was, until I turned around.
I gasped in surprised as a burly figure was standing right in front of me. As quick as lightning, from what it seemed like to me, he quickly muffled my mouth and dragged me into a nearby alley. Once in the alley, which had a few garbage dumpsters and a couple of fire escape ladders and which were sadly up, he threw me against a pile of trash bags.
Grunting, I turned around to find three thugs that were now steadily walking closer to me. I felt a warm sensation moving down the arm that hit the garbage bag first, and saw that my arm had pierced some kind of sharp object in the bag. I still felt a weight against my shoulder, meaning that I still had my backpack with me.
“What do you want?” I shouted at them, trying to get back to my feet.
“You have something that we want,” a voice said, from the shadows.
“What?” I replied confused. “What is you want?”
“The mark of the varlore. Hand it over, and we’ll let you live.”
“I have no clue what you’re talking about! Leave me alone, you jerks!”
I don’t know why I was feeling particularly brave at the moment, it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. The three thugs started laughing menacingly, and they made a show that they were going to enjoy beating me up, by punching one of their hands with their fist. I gulped, unsure of what to do. They had backed me into a corner and I had nowhere to run. If I had my were form, I might have been able to do something. But, now, all I could think of was that the end was near.
The three goons were laughing menacingly, while their boss just stood in the shadows, watching. I couldn’t get a good look at him, though. He was careful to make sure that if I got out of this somehow, that I wouldn’t be able to readily identify him.
I was about to try to run at them, or try to run past them, when I saw one of the goons suddenly stop and gasp. He made a rasping noise as he looked down at his chest. My gaze followed where he was looking, and I saw protruding from his chest a silver arrowhead, fixed to an arrow shaft. He soon fell to the ground as the life left his body.
The other two goons turned around to try to face anyone who may have been behind them. They were quickly met with two more arrows. Each one fell to the ground shortly afterwards. I didn’t see anyone behind them with a bow and arrow. In fact, there was no one there.
The voice hissed and called out to me, “This isn’t over. Don’t think you’re safe, not even for a moment.”
He threw down a smoke grenade to mask his departure. I thought that was a bit theatrical of him. But then again, he just saw three of his men taken down in short order by something or someone.
I cautiously walked over to the men, where I could see their blood begin to pool around their bodies. I was careful enough not to step into the blood, and as soon as I got free of the alleyway, I ran the rest of the way to my apartment. I was desperate not to become victim number four from whoever killed those goons.
I was breathing hard after I got in and locked the door to my apartment. Clearly, the guys who were after me when I was still Michael knew that I was Mikaela. But, there weren’t that many people who knew that I had changed. Was one of the people that were helping me in my current situation out to get me? If so, they had plenty of opportunities when I was alone with them to do whatever it is they wanted. Or was it someone else, like one of those cloaked figures that had been following me around everywhere. It was definitely something to think about.
I dropped my bag next to the couch, while I flopped my body onto it. I winced from the pain of the wound that I had sustained in the fight. I looked at it, and it saw that my sleeve was bloody from the wound. I went into the bathroom and rolled up my sleeve. It didn’t look to be too bad a wound, just a bad cut. I didn’t want to get any kind of infection, so, I used some hydrogen peroxide to clean it and plastered a bandage over it.
After performing my first aid, I wanted to just try to relax and unwind from those events. I don’t know how, but tears started and just kept pouring out as soon as I crashed out on the couch again. I tried to make them stop, but they just wouldn’t.
I thought I had cried myself to sleep when I heard a knock on the door. I sniffled some, and rubbed my eyes, to try to get rid of the tears. I probably looked like a wreck, but I didn’t care at the moment. I went over to the door and opened it, hoping that it wasn’t someone important. Although, my luck as it has been, it was someone important.
“Wow, you look a lot prettier in person than you do over the internet,” my mom, Diana Vance, commented, as she stood in my doorway with a few of her bags.
I smirked and then replied, “Gee, thanks Mom.”
I leaped into her arms and just gave her the biggest hug that I possibly could. My mom was quick to return the hug. It just felt right to be hugged by my mother right then and there. I don’t know how to describe it, but it was definitely better than hugging her when I was Michael.
My mother looks like an older version of me, with the exception of a few traits. I didn’t have her eyes, which were brown; my guess was that I got them from my father, although I don’t remember him having green eyes, either. My mother had a large chest as well; I remember being teased about having a hot mom in high school. But, generally, I looked like a younger version of her. After what seemed like a really long hug, the two of us entered my apartment and sat on the couch. Mom was the one who ended up breaking the silence.
“So, you want to tell me what got you crying?” she commented.
“You can tell?” I replied, surprised.
“Sweetie, I used to be in a similar position, and my mom knew exactly when I had been crying over practically anything. So, c’mon, tell me what’s eating you.”
I looked up at her and told everything that had happened since last we spoke. I also included what had happened to me earlier today. My mother gasped and worried when I got to the alley part. I told her that I didn’t know who saved my ass out there, but I definitely was grateful to whoever it was.
“Well, after being through all that, there are a few things that you definitely need,” my mother explained.
“First, you need a bubble bath.”
“A what?” I replied, shocked.
“Bubble bath. Trust me, it’s worth it. Second, you and I are going out to get some dinner. I’m too tired to cook, and you are in no mood to cook. Plus, I heard about this really good steakhouse in town, and I want to try it.”
“Down Under’s?” I suggested.
“That’s it!” she cheered. “So, go take a bubble bath, right now. I’m so hungry that I could eat a deer.”
“You really wouldn’t…?” I questioned.
She just shrugged before tossing me a bottle of bubble bath mix.
“I thought you might need that. Now, go. Be out of there in about half an hour.”
I turned and headed for the bathroom to take my bubble bath. I hadn’t had one of those in years, not since I was six or seven years old, I think.
I hesitantly took a step into the warm bubbly water once it was drawn. The warm water felt good, and for some reason I started to relax. As I slipped nearly under the water, my whole state of mind just relaxed all the way. I did wince when the warm water rushed over the bandage of my wounded arm, but it dulled away and actually felt a little better now. I had never realized that a bubble bath would feel this good.
The time just seemed to slip away, as I was wrapped up in the warm, bubbly water, and the feelings and sensations that went along with it. Eventually, I heard a knock on my door.
“Mikaela, time to get out. I’m starving, and I’m betting that you are as well.”
I grumbled a little bit, but then I felt that my stomach was telling me the same thing. I wrapped a towel around me and drained the water. When I got to my bedroom, I saw that my mother had laid out one of the dresses that I had been forced to pick up.
“Wear it, missie! I want to see how beautiful my new daughter looks,” she shouted back from the living room.
I grumbled some more. I had forgotten how insistent parents could be. Living on my own was a wealth of freedom. And the ability to do whatever you wanted when you wanted to. I guess that I was going to have to put up with this until my mom headed back to California.
She had laid out for me the simple blue dress with matching lingerie.
‘Well, at least my mom likes me matching all over,’ I thought.
It took me a few minutes to get dressed and a few minutes more to put on some makeup and deal with my lengthy hair. I was still not very good at it, but I at least tried my best and kept it simple. I walked out into the living room and my mom just had a euphoric episode. She said how cute and beautiful I looked, and made a few comments about my hair and makeup skills. Then, she finally got to business and said that it was time to get something to eat. Finally! I was feeling beginning to feel very famished.
We got to Down Under’s about twenty minutes later. Parking wasn’t too bad for the airport rental car that my mom had picked up from JFK International. Down Under’s was a very good steakhouse that I had heard about from other people in classes. They were themed in a very Australian motif, and it did great for their business.
We were seated at a booth in the back, which was nice, since we had a lot of talking to do. The waitress came by and gave us our menus. Mom ordered some decaf coffee to drink, while I settled on some water. The waitress nodded and said that she would be back soon with the free unlimited sourdough bread that they gave everyone.
I thought that was nice touch. Mom and I looked around for a bit, and admired the Australian décor as well. There were a few televisions on as well, showcasing various sporting events that were going on, most notably around the full-stocked bar.
The waitress soon returned with our drinks and we were both ready to order. Mom ordered the steak dinner, with a baked potato and a salad. She ordered the steak rare, that was a surprise to me since she normally ordered it medium rare. I pretty much had the same thing, and my mom nudged me into trying the steak that way, instead of the usual medium well that I normally ordered. I decided to try it, since my mom was going to have it that way.
After she left, I turned my attention to my mother. It was time that I got some answers. “So, why did you keep being a were a secret?”
My mom stared at her drink, and suddenly looked very ashamed of herself for keeping that secret.
“I wanted to tell you so much, sweetie. I just didn’t know how to. I had sixteen years to try to figure it out, but every time I tried to come up with something it just kept getting pushed to the side.
“When it was around your sixteenth birthday, you didn’t show any signs that you were a Were or not. I kept it in the back of my mind for a while, thinking that you were some kind of late bloomer Were. But, nothing ever happened until I found out what happened to you here in New York.”
“Then why didn’t you even tell me about the possibility that I was one?”
“I couldn’t gauge your reaction well enough. And we generally don’t tell our offspring that they are one until it happens.”
She held up her hand and said, “I know, I know. That’s a stupid reason, but it is a tradition that most of the clans have.”
I looked at her with an understanding glance. I was beginning to see why she had to keep that secret from me. Our meals had arrived a short time later, and we were digging into the meat without much restraint.
After a while, I looked up and said, “So, how much of the family knows?”
My mother replied, “About you? Or being a were?”
“Both,” I said, taking a stab at my baked potato, after very much enjoying the rare steak.
She thought for a moment and then replied, “Everyone on my side of the family belongs to the Vance Clan. We’re all wolves. When I had you, we thought that there was another wolf in the pack. But, when you didn’t come of age, everything thought that it had something to do with my second husband.”
“He was a norm, and not a were. Everyone thought that you were his child, when in fact, you were not. He just adopted you after we were married.”
“Okay…,” I replied, trying to piece this all together. “What about my real father then? Why did he leave?”
“I don’t know why he left me. He said that there was something important that he had to do somewhere else in the country, and that he didn’t know how long that he would be away. He didn’t want to be an absentee husband or father, even though he still loved the two of us, so that was when he filed for divorce. Even though the two of us didn’t really want it to come to that.”
She sipped some of her coffee before continuing. “Your father,” she paused, “well…, he was a bit of a mystery.”
“A mystery? How?”
“He rarely spoke about his family or his past. Almost like it was some deep dark secret that he kept under tight control. Like how Spock tries to keep his emotions in check.”
I nodded, and she carried on.
“He let me know that he was a were, but never said what kind. I asked him where his family was, but all he said was that they were around the country somewhere.”
“What was his name?”
“Hawkins. Leon Hawkins.”
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