*Magnify*
SPONSORED LINKS
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/action/view/entry_id/971573
Rated: E · Book · Young Adult · #2208036
A mythical world. An ancient prophecy. And an evil that never sleeps. What's a girl to do?
<<< Previous · Entry List · Next >>>
#971573 added December 16, 2019 at 7:34pm
Restrictions: None
Chapter One
Book One

CHAPTER ONE



Being a teenager was never easy. Being a seventeen-year-old social pariah in a small town because you can see the future? Well, for Sawyer Aspen, that just kept life interesting. Gathering her paints, she arranged them by color in their plastic tote before placing the container in the canvas bag. Just as she began collecting her brushes, her phone went off. Glancing down at the screen, Sawyer read the message with a smile.

QUINN’S MAKING ME REARRANGE HER LIBRARY.
I MEAN ROOM. SAVE ME!


Jake Michaels, though he pretended to be stoic, always had a way of making her laugh. His step-sister, Quinn, on the other hand, was forever getting Sawyer in trouble. It was bad enough Quinn had no fear to begin with, but once the girls discovered they could both see the magical world, the trouble quotient increased. Still, Quinn’s knack for disregarding consequences and her love for life were only two of the reasons she was Sawyer’s best friend.

CAN’T, Sawyer text back. I HAVE A DATE WITH THE SUNSET AND A CANVAS. DON’T DIE.


TRAITOR.


Shaking her head, Sawyer grabbed the last of the supplies she needed and placed them in her bag with the rest. Her phone beeped again.

IF I LIVE THROUGH THIS, Jake’s message read, YOU OWE ME.


NOTED. Sending the message, she slid her phone into her back pocket and made for the door. “Dang.” With a sigh, Sawyer dashed back into her room and grabbed the jade pendant from her dresser. It wasn’t much, just a smooth green stone in a bronze setting, but it was the only thing she had left of her father, the only thing that allowed her to see him again. Clasping the chain around her neck, Sawyer finally left the house and headed for the park.

The town of Brighton Oaks was a quaint one, sitting at the edge of a small lake in the Pacific Northwest. It was a little ways off the interstate, so it didn’t get a lot of tourist traffic, but they did well enough. The park Sawyer was heading for was on the other side of the town square. Her favorite bench was actually two together, one of which overlooked the water on one side, the other overlooked the town.

Setting her bag next to the bench, Sawyer pulled out her supplies and set up her sketch pad. She was determined to capture the different shades of the sunset in black and white. Something about the contrast of pencil to color intrigued her. Minutes passed as her pencil ran over the paper until suddenly, a wave of nausea overwhelmed her. Sometimes the visions hit her out of nowhere. One minute, she was sitting there in the park, minding her own business, and the next she was lost in the dreamworld, standing in front of a wrought-iron garden gate in the middle of the night.

And someone was watching her.

Turning slowly, she rubbed her arms against the chill and looked down. She was standing in a field dotted with tiny white flowers, and the sky was filled with heavy, dark clouds. Beyond the gate was a garden full of briars. There may have been flowers among them, but it was too dark to tell. And it was freezing. The thin, lavender dress she now wore did nothing to protect her from the cold.

Where was she? It may have looked like an ordinary field, but there was magic in the air, she could feel it. But there was something else too, something dangerous. Squinting, she peered into the dark, wishing the moon were fuller so she could see. There was something at the edge of the woods, like a green mist hovering just above the grass, and it was getting closer.

Whatever it was, she didn’t want to wait around for it to reach her.

“Sawyer.”

Gasping, she spun around, eyes wide, looking for the source.

“Sawyer,” the voice called again, barely more than a whisper. Sawyer stared at the trees. No. It couldn’t be him, she thought, her fingers playing at the jade pendant resting at the base of her neck. “Dad?” she called again.

She knew it was impossible. He’d died when she was little; she didn’t even remember him, but every once in a while, she’d see him in her dreams. She’d get flashes of his smile, hear his voice calling her name, just like he was now. But it wasn’t real. None of it was. He couldn’t be there, not even in visions. Even when she’d seen him before, it was just an illusion. And yet…

“Dad!” One of the tendrils wrapped around her ankle, stinging where it touched her skin. She started to move, but the mist thickened, holding her in place. The tendril climbed up her side and slithered around her waist before it clamped down hard.

Sawyer screamed as the barbs dug into her skin, ripping through her flesh and drawing blood. A cold, cruel laugh filled the night with mirth, building in volume until the green filled her vision and everything went black.

Sawyer opened her eyes to sunset light, her vision going in and out of focus. Tears ran down her cheeks and she gasped for breath, clutching her stomach as she tried her best not to pass out again.

That was always the toll for her abilities. Quinn called it a gift, but Sawyer called it a curse. Every time she came back from her visions, her body rebelled, almost like it was trying to adjust to reality and wasn’t happy about it.

“Coming back is the worst, isn’t it?”

With a start and a not so ladylike squeak, Sawyer turned sharply and gaped at the boy sitting on the bench next to her. He was unlike any man she’d ever seen, both young and ancient all at once. Everything about him was dark. His eyes, his clothes, his hair, his skin. In fact, in the dusky light she would swear his skin kept changing from brown to a gorgeous shade of blue, almost as if the air would ripple and she could see his true colors. But humans didn’t have blue skin.

He was one of the Fey.

“I’ve known other visionaries,” he said. “It was hard on them, too. But you…” Reaching down, he gingerly lifted her wrist, a frown creasing his brow. “You, Sawyer Aspen, should be exceptionally cautious.”

Sawyer gaped at the deep, red bruises marring her skin. A million thoughts chased each other inside her mind, but she just shook her head. “How do you know my name?” she managed, her voice catching in her throat.

The boy merely smiled. “Oh, I know plenty of things about you, Sawyer Aspen. I know you’re an only child and your mom spends way too much time working to make ends meet. I know she wants to keep you safe.”

“How do you know my mom?”

“I know you’re a talented artist,” he continued as if she hadn’t spoken, “which given who you are, isn’t surprising. I know you have an incredible and difficult destiny ahead of you, I know you can see the future. And,” he leaned forward so I could see straight into his almond-shaped eyes. They were three different shades of blue. “I know you’re letting that pretty little red head get under your skin.”

Across the street, three girls emerged from the diner in a cloud of gossip and noise, Morgan Harris among them, her bright red hair flowing down her back. Once upon a time, Sawyer and Morgan had been the best of friends. That is, until Sawyer had spoken a truth Morgan hadn’t wanted to hear. Now they barely spoke, except when Morgan spread vicious rumors about Sawyer at school. Things usually got interesting then.

Morgan hadn’t gone far when she spotted Sawyer and the two girls locked eyes. Heather and Jessica, Morgan’s trusty sidekicks, stopped as well, but they didn’t seem interested.

“Can they see you?” Sawyer wondered.

“Not unless I want them to,” he replied. “Mortals are blind to magical beings.”

Sawyer shook her head. “I’m not so sure about that.” Morgan was staring him down like he was a puzzle she couldn’t solve. “I’m thinking she can see you.”

“The red head? Don’t worry about her.” He leaned back again, arms crossed behind his head, his long, black denim-clad legs stretched out in front of him. “She’ll have her part to play. We all do. But for now, forget about her and the mundane parts of your human life. I would focus instead on the Celts.”

“The Celts?” she repeated, thoroughly confused.

“Fascinating people. Stories upon stories about magic and destiny. Most of them are even true. The ones about the Sidhe are my favorite.” He winked at her.

Despite herself, she wanted to laugh. He was amusing, even if he was bat s*** crazy. “Who are you?”

“Ah. The fundamental question of all existential thought. Who am I? Well, for all intents and purposes, you can call me Shane. Who I am to you, well, that’s a conversation for another time.”

Sawyer wrinkled her nose. “Your name is Shane?”

“Sure, why not?”

“It just sounds so…normal.”

Shane shrugged. “I have another name, of course, but to give you that would be to give you power over me and that is not something I’m prepared to do.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I would be impressed if you did.” With a flick of his wrist, he slipped a hand into his pocket and produced what looked like a brass acorn. Its cap was decorated with an intricate pattern she couldn’t make out in the fading light. Shane dropped the trinket into her hand. “Here, he said. “If you ever need me, take this outside, turn it three times, then set it on fire. I’ll find you.”

Sawyer stared at the acorn, then raised a brow. “You’ll find me?” He nodded. “At what price?”

“What?”

“Last I checked, the gentry didn’t give out favors for free. There’s always a catch.”

“You’ve done your homework,” he said, grinning when she smirked. “What you said is true. And I cannot tell a lie. So, let’s just say I’m paying back a debt.”

“A debt.” Sawyer frowned. “To whom?”

“Rowan.”

Surprise washed over her face and her head snapped back as if she’d been slapped. “You knew my father?”

But as quickly as he’d appeared, Shane was gone. She was alone, with only an acorn for company in the encroaching dark.

* * *


“Weird things happen in that park,” Sawyer declared when she got to the Michaels’s house. Both Jake and Quinn glanced up at her from where they sat in Quinn’s room. Jake was studiously at her desk, pouring over his English homework, while Quinn lounged across her bed, book in hand. Both of them watched her expectantly. “How do the Fey always know how to find us?”

“Yeah, Jake said, “you’re going to have to elaborate on that one.”

With a sigh, Sawyer plopped down in the oversize armchair against the far wall. And she told them; about her vision, about her dad, about Shane. When she was finished, the silence was filled with questions.

“How did he know your dad?” Jake asked.

Sawyer shook her head. “I’m not sure. He said he owed a debt, and apparently, faeries always pay back their debts. At least the Sidhe do.”

“The Sidhe?”

“No idea.” Sawyer shrugged. “Must be his type of Fey? He looked different than the ones we usually deal with. More…human.”

“Weird.” Turning to his laptop, Jake started tapping away at the keyboard.

“What does Morgan have to do with this?” Quinn wanted to know. “She doesn’t have an ability, she can’t commune with the Fey. She ostracized you because of your visions. What part could she possibly have to play? And more importantly, part in what?”

Sawyer only shrugged. “He just said she has one. As far as I know, there’s nothing special about her, but I do think she could see him.”

“Why do you say that?”

“The way she was looking at me. Her friends ignored me—what else is new?—but she was watching Shane like she was trying to figure out who he was. Somehow, I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”

Jake smirked. “With you two, it never is.” For that he was rewarded with a pillow to the face.

“Does he know why you can get visions?” Quinn wondered. The fervent curiosity was evident on her face. “Why I can read minds?”

“If he did, he wasn’t sharing,” Sawyer replied. “But he did say something about the Tuatha de Danann? I’ve never heard of them, but I think they’re Celtic. He told me to focus on the Celts.”

“What the heck are the Tuatha de Danann? And why do the Fey always speak in riddles?” Quinn exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air.

Jake cleared his throat. “According to the internet,” he said, holding his phone, “they’re a supernatural race in Irish mythology, thought to be the people of the goddess Danu. It doesn’t say much more by way of specifics, just a lot of talk about wars and ancient races. This one mentions the Sidhe, though. Might be worth looking into as an actual lead.”

“Want to stay and do research tonight?” Quinn asked. She loved research the way some people loved sports. “Our parents are out, so it’s a pizza night.”

Sawyer shook her head. “Can’t. I promised my mom I’d be home for dinner. Tomorrow though? We can meet at the library before the carnival meeting.”

“Deal.” Without another word, Quinn disappeared behind her book again.

Jake set his phone down and offered her a grin. “I’ll keep looking, see what I can dig up.”

Sawyer beamed at him. “Thanks. Noon?” Still not looking at her, Quinn nodded. “See you guys then.”

* * *


The walk home wasn’t a long one. Sawyer only lived a few short blocks from Jake and Quinn, yet somehow, the night didn’t seem as peaceful as it had before. How had Shane found her? What did he know about her dad? And what was with that horrible green mist from her vision? The meadow didn’t bother her; she’d been outside that gate before. Sometimes she even saw her father. But never, never had she felt as unsafe in that clearing as she did tonight. When she’d been there before, she got the feeling she wasn’t alone, but whatever had been with her tonight shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

A shiver ran down her spine that had nothing to do with the cold and Sawyer brushed her arms against the chill. Was it just her imagination, or did the shadows take on an ominous glow? Was there someone watching her? Not for the first time, she wished she had Quinn’s ability to read minds so she could probe the night and find out.

Either way, she’d never been so happy to make it home before. Her house was tucked into the corner of a col-de-sac on the outskirts of town, nestled in with three other houses, one of which belonged to Morgan Harris, making Sawyer’s high-school alienation all the more prevalent. Luckily, her little red car wasn’t in the driveway, so she wasn’t home yet to make even Sawyer’s quiet moments miserable. The house right next to Sawyer’s, however, belonged to her childhood friend, Spencer, though it didn’t look like he was home either. Once, the three of them had been inseparable, but as the years went on, high school cliques and mystical revelations had driven them apart. Now, Spencer and Sawyer had become friends with the Michaels and neither of them saw Morgan anymore. Sometimes, Sawyer wondered if she was lonely in that house all alone. Her parents were gone so much of the time—not that Sawyer could say much. Her mom was gone just as often.

The windows in her own house were dark as well, and Sawyer couldn’t help but be disappointed. She made her way up the walk and dug into her bag for her keys just as a lanky black cat meowed at her and wound its way between her legs. Sawyer bent down and scratched the feline behind the ears. “Hey there, Ollie,” she cooed running her fingers down her back. Ollie had shown up when she was nine, presumably a stray, right before Spencer moved in next door. She and Morgan name him Oliver Twist, and vowed to look after their orphan cat.

Digging out her keys, Sawyer scooped Ollie into her arms and tucked him up against her chest. “Looks like it’s just you and me tonight, buddy,” she told him. Ollie purred into her shoulder in response. Turning the key with an audible click, she opened the door and stepped inside. The heat was welcome after the chill of the autumn night.

Sawyer set the cat down and he immediately dashed across the room before curling himself into his favorite spot on the burgundy sofa. The gratified look he gave her made her chuckle. Sometimes, she would swear he was more human than feline. Dumping her bag of art supplies on next to the dining room table, she made her way into the kitchen and unpinned the note hooked to the refrigerator.

Got called into work.
Dinner’s in the fridge.
Sorry. –Mom


With a sigh, Sawyer tried to suppress her disappointment. She knew her mom did the best she could, especially raising her alone, but sometimes she wished she were around more, that she would tell her more. Tell her anything.

DINNER SOLO TONIGHT, she text Jake. AGAIN.


Heating up her food, she waited for him to message her back. She was just changing into sweats and settling on the bed, Ollie beside her, when her phone beeped.

BUMMER, Jake replied. WANT TO WATCH A MOVIE?


She considered his offer for about half a second, then decided she’d rather be alone. After sending Jake a quick message and telling him goodnight, she leaned back into her pillows with another sigh, mulling over the events of the evening.

Who was Shane? Was she one of the Tuatha de Danann or was that just another dead end? She and Quinn had been searching for an explanation as to why they were the way they were since they met, and suddenly this mysterious fey shows up and gives her the answers? Well no, not really. More like he pointed her in the direction of the answers so she could find them herself. If that wasn’t just like the Fey, she didn’t know what was. Maybe tomorrow she would find out if she could believe him.

Closing her eyes, Sawyer drifted off to sleep, her breathing only shifting in the dead of night when the green mist shrouded her dreams and the sound of laughter filled her mind.



** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
© Copyright 2019 C.N. Greer (UN: chelsea.greer at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
C.N. Greer has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.
<<< Previous · Entry List · Next >>>
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/action/view/entry_id/971573