Jack's running, running across a vast desert plain. Stumbling he falls down, looking back he sees the shadow gain on him. Scrambling to his feet he races forward heading nowhere but anywhere away from the shadow. His energy is fading, running, racing and clambering along the dunes and vast stretches of desert.
Jack pulls on every reserve in his body, ever strand of energy he can use and even some he wasn't aware he had. His legs ache, his chest hurt and his breath difficult to regulate.
Losing balance once again Jack tumbles down a dune flank, rolling over and over until he rocks to a halt. In a second the shadow overtakes him ...
Jacks wakes up screaming fighting the comforter wrapped around him. Instantly a weight lands on top of him forcing his eyes open coming face to face with Inu.
It was love at first sight.
Jack lay motionless on the floor this last blitz knocking him out that or his body just needed to shut down for a while. Sensory overload.
I shifted him to his new bed; being taller and broader than I it takes me a while.
The cabin is exactly how I'd left it, thank god! Checking every lock, bolt, charm and barrier was stable, intact and operating. Better safe than sorry mom always said.
The weight of my limbs drags me down shoulders first I actually crawl to the couch. Managing to grab a blanket on the way, I'm out of it the moment I lay down.
Inu! I suppress a giggle as Inu nibbles my ear. I hug him to me, his black fur soft against my face. The calming sound of his steady heartbeat is so soothing. I'm amazed he lets me cling to him without trying to wiggle his way out.
I release him and sit up. Inu rolls over presenting his belly to me, who's your love bug?
He's beautiful just like his little picture, surprisingly soft shaggy fur, square muzzle and caring soulful eyes. Not familiar with this breed... but I don't really care.
The room is spacious, a beautiful quilt on the wooden wall made of warm soft colours. Inu jumps off the bed urging me to follow him. Everything in the cabin is warm and inviting. Fans on the ceilings, rugs scattered along the wooden floor overflowing bookcases lining the walls and a fireplace encircled by big comfortable couches. Inu leads me to an efficient looking kitchen with gleaming black granite countertops and a large red oak island in the middle. Next is a large conservatory an incarnation of a medieval apothecary. Jars of herbs, slims and other mysterious elements fill the cabinets. Dried branches of all sorts hang from the ceiling and hundreds of plants are dotted all over the place. It was breathtakingly beautiful and light.
I tail Inu into all the different rooms in this ridiculously large log cabin. A mudroom, a laundry room, a music room, a study, a library, a large pantry, a few extra bedrooms and a large equipped bathroom.
"Wow what a place huh Inu." I say out loud, Inu doesn't reply just looks at me as I'm poking through every room satisfied I actually remember their uses. I know their purpose. I know clothes are to be washed, music can be played, that you can get dirty and clean again... This is fun!
"Where's Adi Inu?" I haven't seen him yet. I'm not alone am I? My heart picks up speed. Flashes of eternal white sands flash before me, never dark always the same pale light... my voice echoing along the plains...
Inu's wet nose bumping my fingers pulls me back. He trots happily back into the living room I follow as if bound by an invisible leash. I smell a soft vanilla essence in the room, the smell is strangely harmonious with the glow of the setting sun casting a bow of colour through the wall of windows to the west.
I finally spot the boy sleeping like the dead huddled in a blanket. I breathe a sigh of relief. I'm not alone.
I try to understand my emotions as I watch him. I can't seem to merge the memory the giggling two year old with the young man sleeping on the couch.
I sit down on the singles sofa staring at him, he is beautiful in his own right. His features matured... but is it still the same Adi? Inu does his best to wiggle himself onto my lap, which for a large dog isn't easy. I pull him up and he settles down, he's deluded himself into thinking he's a lapdog. I love it.
Adrian slowly wakes stretching lazily out on the couch. It's so warm and comfortable he doesn't really want to move. Not ever.
"So you're awake." Jacks voice snaps Adrian's eyes open bolting upright.
"Oh I'm sorry how long was I out?" Adrian croaks rubbing the sleep of his face. Jack frowns in confusion his eyes flicker to the nine clocks hung above the fireplace.
"I don't know. A while I guess." Said says staring at the clocks every one displaying a different time.
"You hungry?" Adrian asked pulling the blanket from him. Its probably breakfast time by now, or soon at least.
"How old are you?"
Adrian slowly turns his body facing Jack.
"Turned 25 just three days ago well..." Adrian's eyes glanced to the west window dark as night." Four days ago."
Jack frowns again looking out of the large windows into the darkness outside.
"You remember my birthday?"Adrian's voice pitches happily. This is good!
"I remember your birth."
Ah well yes....
"But there are so many blanks..."
"Alright then.. erm... Ok. I'll tell you what I know first" Adrian nods folding his nice legs under him on the couch. Taking a deep breath nervously looking down into his lap he starts speaking. "My mother's name was Jane Richardson."
"Yes." Adrian nods encouragingly smiling into Jacks eyes. "She was married to Marcus Gray and Jamie was of course my uncle." He shifts his body to sit facing me. "Jamie and my mom come from an old line of "He pauses dramatically for a second. "... sorcerers."
"Sorcerer?" Jack stares face deadpan.
"Really? Sorcerers?" Jack wasn't to argue this ridiculous notion until he fingers a small itch on his chest. Remembering the amulet melted into his skin.
"Yes really or wizard or mage or witch or shaman whatever you want to call it. The term doesn't matter the definition is the same, with us not every generation has magical ability although every one of us has some sort of inclination. Jamie was quite the charmer I heard and mom had like heightened senses. It's a family secret so you never knew about it. Mom and Jamie had very low-key abilities so it wasn't a problem either until my first birthday. You and my mom were very close at the time. My dad said you dotted on me more than Uncle Jamie did." Adrian smiled to himself looking down to his lap again. "The first birthday of a sorceress child some significance. It's a tradition that whole family is invited to the event even our most distant relatives." Adrian took a deep breath here it comes... "It was at the party one of our more distant cousins took an interest in you."
Jacks face paled. "Cordon."
"Cordon. That is where it began really. He wouldn't take no for an answer. Then -"
"The stalking." Jack sagged into the sofa.
"Cordon." Just saying the name curdled my blood. Eyes filled with power, dark seething reckless power. He frightened me; I remember wanting to get little Adi as far away from him as I could that day.
"Yes Cordon Hemans. That is where it began really. He wouldn't take no for an answer. Then -"
"The stalking." It all came back to me in a split second. The incessant phone calls, the letters, the slashed tires... embarrassing gifts at the school... The eyes... Always everywhere i turned in ever mirror and every room always those eyes.
"Yeah." Adrian's voice sounded small and guilty. Why guilty?
I was eventually let go when the school couldn't take the lurking, phone calls, gifts and decimating rumors any more. In the end they had to protect their students.
"It didn't matter where I was, how many times I changed my number. Or how many bolts I had on the door..." I mumble, it didn't matter those eyes where always everywhere.
"He'd always find you." Adrian filled in. "His ability is off the charts. A regular stalker is hard to get rid off, but one with great power impossible to stop. Ordinary locks are meaningless when he's around."
The eyes... always and everywhere.
"Even my dreams." The big black shadow chasing me across the dunes. Gaining, gaining, gaining ... untill...
"Yes... one night you disappeared..." Adrian whispered almost frightened to admit what I now remembered. I should have a thousands thoughts racing through my mind right now and a million emotions to compete with them. But my minds a blank. We sit there in our respective couches both staring off into the void of thoughtlessness. What is there really to say?
Time ticks by until Adrian speaks again.
"When I try really hard, I think I can remember you." He smiled staring down at his lap again.
There is this innate shyness about him... not the brazen little boy I remember but then again maybe all 2-year olds are fearless little monsters. A lot can happen in 23 years.... 23 years... had it really been 23 year...?
"When I pulled you out today I swear I remembered your smell." He giggles more to himself that to anyone else. He looks back up to me smile vanishing from sight as he continues. "Nine years ago my mom died in car accident. Drunk driver of all things." He scoffed. "After the funeral I found a bunch of my baby photo's."
I take the photograph from my breast pocket and hold it up to him he nods in return.
"You where a mystery to me. Eventually my dad told me everything. That was the first time I heard you name; Jack Smythe. I did everything I could to find you. But at 16 my ability was as yet undeveloped so I thought why not learn from the worst." He shrugged "I begged Cordon to teach me since my mother couldn't anymore. She'd always said I had great power but I'm crap at sorcery really. It is a very precise and exact practice. One wrong word or one wrong move and you run the chance the charm implodes on itself. I couldn't preform a spell to save my live, the little magical intuition I had he refuted. Kicked me out two months later" The boy looked up smiling. "It didn't matter I'd found out where he hid you. I just had to get you out.... I'm sorry it took me so long."
I remained silent I really didn't know what to say. What do you say in a situation like this? Am I to be composed? Outraged? Sympathetic? Do I know how to feel these emotions at all? Or have they been lost to me like the 23 years I've lost already?
"How did you find out?" Seemed like a reasonable on topic question.
"He would visit you. Maybe once a year usually the 1st of November."
The shadow, the black dark shadow chasing me across the sands. My breathing hitched becoming shallow and hesitant as the flashback riled my mind. Fleeing as hard as I could, chased to the brink of my ability to be hunted. The log cabin disappeared my fingers touched the white sands beneath me. I opened my mouth to cream, yet no matter how I squeeze my lunges no sound comes out.
My name echoes over the dunes, I scramble up to run. He's here. I run from the sound as fast as I can.... Running, running, running... Something caresses my cheek and I skid to halt. The touch is soft and... wet? I feel... fur?
The white sands vanish beneath me and the living room of the cabin surrounds me once again.
"Jack, Jack!" Adrian's kneeling beside me worry dripping off his face. Inu licking me cheek and nuzzling me back to consciousness. I grasp the black dog and hold him to me. He leans against my chest as I rock him eyes tightly screwed shut.
I'm not alone. I'm not alone. I'm not alone....
Adrian was at a loss. All he wanted to do was hug Jack to him. Sooth him, stroke his hair, his his head, help him fight his fears. It didn't matter how strongly he wanted to do this, he shouldn't. His touch would be Cordin's touch right now. It would be Cordin's touch for a long time. That is where Inu comes in, Inu can do what Adrian can't but wants to so badly.
A knock at a door distracts Adrian he glanced up at the clocks, Nr 5 lights up. Gill's early this week.
"I'll be in the conservatory if you need me alright?" Leaving Jack and Inu hugging each other in the living room Adrian makes his way to workplace.
The conservatory has five glass doors opening to the garden, the middle of which beautiful stain glass French windows. The glass of the far right door rattled with a knock though there was no one on other side.
Adrian quickly slipped on his green overall before opening the door.
"Gill. You're early I still have to wrap up your order."
"No hurry mundunugu." A giant of man stood domineering the doorway, his figure casting a shadow across Adrian's face. The man was big, burly and pulsing with muscle. His skin as white as snow almost translucent with hair as dark as night and lips like red roses... "You can make me wait any day. I'm still waiting in fact." He eases himself into the conservatory watching Adrian gather his order.
"What for?" Adrian asks checking the number of potions he placed on the table.
"For you to say yes to me, mundunugu." Gill licks his lips eying the tight little ass in front him he wanted to claim so badly. Movement in the cabin doorway catches his attention. "Well little mundunugu I've never known you to have visitors before."
Adrian snapped his head to where Jack stood uneasily in the doorway watching them.
"Everything all right Jack?" The alarm in his voice has Gill cocking his eyebrow. This was new. The man named Jack simply nods easing himself onto a stool in the corner with Inu taking up residency at his feet.
Adrian continued gathering Gills order while Gill openly ogles the fresh meat on display.
"Aren't you going to introduce us little mundunugu?"
With a heavy sigh Adrian straightens up waving his hand between the two men. "Jack this is Chieftain Gill of the Mallimile. Gill this is my friend Jack."
"Very pleased to meet you Jack." Gill nodded his head respectfully while his eyes roamed Jacks body lustily.
"Gill!" Adrian barked yanking Gills gaze away from Jack. "Don't you have enough husbands? Aren't your satisfied with two?"
"Oh little mundunugu." He said waving his left hand in front of Adrian's face. "Three wed-rings now. Merdy finally said yes, wed me just yesterday."
"Merdy? He just turned 18 Gill!"
"Eager little thing too." Gill grinned wiggling his eyebrows it was a weird sight on this odd looking man. Exasperated Adrian marched over to a small chilled cabinet retrieving an ointment jar. "Here this is Merdy it will help him recover. Make him apply it as soon as you get home." Adrian spoke sternly wrapping Gills entire order in brown paper.
"His manhood is fine little mundunugu, I'm the one recovering." Gill winched clenching his butt cheeks.
"Really?" Adrian smiled wildly amused by this tidbit. "You must really like this one."
Gills face instantly turned serious. "I love all my husbands mundunugu. I'd die for every one of them; they're the light of my live. You know we believe is the sanctity of marriage." Gill huffed slightly offended but mostly just playing.
"I know Gill. I know. Which is exactly why I could never say yes to you. I'm not into sharing." Adrian winked handing him his wrapped order.
Gill slide closer to Adrian leering at him alluringly, cheeky bastard.
"I got two more ring fingers left little mundunugu. I'll be waiting if you change your mind." He said reaching around Adrian's to squeeze his ass. Before Adrian could grip the offending wrist in a vice as he'd done so many times before. Jack flew across the room pushing Gill away.
"Don't touch him! He said NO!" Jack screamed standing protectively between them. Shocked at the force of Jacks outburst Gill froze.
"It's alright Jack. Gill meant nothing by it. He wasn't going to hurt me." Adrian whispered placing his hand on Jacks shoulder gently steering him back to his stool in the corner.
"No harm done Gill, now pay up." He said holding out is palm.
Grinning Gill hands Adrian a heavy pouch. "Why you want payment in worthless clots of gold is beyond me mundunugu."
"I like shiny things." Adrian leaned in as he opened the glass door. "Apply before and after." Gill nodded and disappeared through door. Disappeared being a very accurate description cause Jack couldn't see the burly man through the glass door anywhere.
Jack watching Adrian about to speak as another knock rattled the glass of another door. Jack followed Adrian's as the glanced up to the wall above the entrance door. Nine clocks adorned the space, each showing a different time Nr. 7 had illuminated this time. Adrian sighed mumbling under his breathe as he opened the door on the far left of conservatory. When no one could be soon through the glass a woman appeared in the doorway as soon as it opened.
"Isangoma!" It was a squeal, a genuine squeal. A short lithe female skipped inside with wild chestnut hair floating in the air as if in water, she must have on hell of a hairspray. Her figure was beautiful and her smile transcendent. She immediately engulfed Adrian in an enormous hug, almost climbing onto his chest. Jack tensed about to jump up again until he saw Adrian's hand held up holding him back.
"Good morning Lyceah."
"Isangoma! We have the empty barrels with us. The boys are loading them into the distillery as I speak. Don't worry we know the new wine isn't ready yet." The girl spoke at the speed of a racing cheeta. "Those incantation amulets you made last week are working like a charm. Pun intended! Arta's leg is healing really well that bone sealant of yours is a miracle worker. Daddy says we need more three more of those metal woven cloaks and mommy -" The girls stops noticing Jack sitting in the corner. Her bright smile sours instantly. "Who is that?" She demands her tone ice cold.
Adrian pries himself lose of her grip. "Lyceah this is my friend Jack. Jack this is Lyceah."
Lyceah stomps over to Jack her face set in thunder.
"Friend? You don't have friends Isangoma. You have me!"
What a little brat.
"Lyceah!" Adrian growled. "I am anyones but my own. If you can't behave in front of my guests leave now."
"Isangooomaaaaa." The little brat whines flittering back to him. "You have to be mine! I could make you like girls. I could fix you! He's going to take you away from me Isangoma. Kick him out NOW."
"Lyceah." Adrian growled again, his lips tightening in anger.
Lyceah's glared stamping her feet like a little 5 year old. "Daddy could make you marry me you know! He could make him go away!"
The room darkened as Adrian's golden curls blazed fiery red. When he spoke it weren't just Adrian's voice but a multitude of Adrian's voices basing each word.
"LYCEAH, DON'T YOU DARE THREATEN ME OR MY JACK."
Lyceah shrank back bumping into the table behind her. Jack sat wide-eyed on his little stool in the corner Inu pressing against his legs. The dog remained calm and relaxed so however threatening Adrian might appear sparking like a smoldering piece of charcoal; there was nothing to be afraid of.
"But I-Isango-o-oma..." Lyceah stuttered quietly. Adrian's golden colour slowly returned and room brightened once more.
"No buts Lyceah! You've disrespected me more than enough today. Leave my payment in the distillery and Arta can come pick up your order in two weeks." His tone was stone cold, no smile or soft eyes anymore. "Now leave."
""Isangooomaaaaa." She whines regaining some of her battiness.
"NOW." Adrian growled forcing his voice to stay calm this time. In a huff she stomped off out of the door slamming it shut.
Adrian had his back turned to Jack squeezing his eyes shut in embarrassment. Shit Jack wasn't supposed to see him lost it like that.
"I'm sorry you saw that." He whispered, Jack must he frightened. How could this be any different than Cordin's outbursts? Adrian slowly turned enough to peek over his shoulder. Jack sat still in his corner watching Adrian; there was no fear on his face. His body sat relax instead of the tensed as Adrian had expected.
"Why are they all trying to get in your pants?" It was a smile, a small mischievous smile one Adrian almost missed. He chuckled as he breathed relief.
"I have no idea." Adrian smiled looking down at the table shifting his hand through his hair. "You hungry?" he asked unbuckling his green overall.
"I guess." Jack shrugged.
"Good. Can you cook cause I'm crap at cooking." Adrian stepped out of this overall hanging it on its hook beside Jack.
"Like how your crap at sorcery?" Jack asked cocking his eyebrow.
"Come on. I still have lots to explain." Adrian walked out of the conservatory down the hall towards the kitchen.
****** (to be continued)
A hinge chapter this one. Nothing too exciting so thanks for sticking with it!
Cordin is to awaken soon, will all hell break loose?
I'd LOVE feedback! Let me know what you think if you have comments, suggestions and/or constructive criticism, comment below or email me. It makes writing here worth while.
This is a piece of fiction. My piece of fiction which may not be borrowed, altered, taken or copied without my explicit permission. These stories are registered under my name.
PART Three coming soon(ish)!