Midnight Wolf's fantasy/horror novel introduction

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Midnight Wolf's fantasy/horror novel introduction

Post  Midnight Wolf on Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:07 pm

(This is a fantasy/horror story I have been planning for about 3 years now. I only just started writing it out a few months ago. It is a vampire/werewolf thing, but I never like just jumping into that, so here I'm really setting the scenes and introducing the characters. My stories tend to be full novel length, so you'll notice that my chapters are not just a few pages. I am writing this at my own speed and not necessarily in the correct order, so if you comment "please write more", I'll just ignore it. Hopefully I will find the time to post the next parts when I get around to it, but it might not be for a while, if at all. I do, however, accept positive comments or praise and constructive thoughts, just none telling me to post the next part. I hope you enjoy it!)

Chapter 1

"Mr. Sanchez, I need those files on my desk in five minutes."

Morgan's eyes were cold and black and they glared down at Drake Sanchez as though wishing nothing but ill on the man. He then continued to walk briskly away, adjusting his tie as though he owned the place, and Drake was dirty scum that had marked the matte grey carpets. Morgan took one last look around the room as though wishing to catch one of his employees doing anything but work, before unnecessarily slamming his office door shut, making the frosted glass in its frame shiver as though it was made of fear, not sand.

Drake leant back on his chair, suspending it on hind legs as he placed both of his boots on the desk. He opened a drawer in his desk and flipped through a small handful of files, choosing a particular one, and sliding the drawer shut. To any man, this file would seem headache-worthy, with is complexity of figures and scripts that would make very little sense to the uneducated. But to Drake, this file was the epitome of excitement. $4,000,000 was saved with this file, and once the report was written, Drake was sure that a raise would be soaring his way. He glanced at the recently slammed door, and could see the sketchy silhouette of Morgan pacing his office. Perhaps a raise was too much to ask for, but a small bonus would at least be warranted.

"Coffee, sir?" A soft voice pierced his thoughts and Drake looked up, quickly removing his feet from the desk in fright.

"Thanks, Ash." He exhaled gratefully, his heart racing at sudden appearance of his assistant.

"And your wife left these." She placed a small pile of paper-clipped business cards beside his coffee mug. Ashley smiled and walked back to her own desk, and Drake picked up the cards. Ashley wasn't the beautiful bomb-shell of an assistant, but she was friendly and got the job done. In fact, she did more than her work. Ashley worked hard to set appointments for Drake's clients, as well as typed up various files, took his phone calls, and even took his suits to the dry-cleaners if a late night at the office was needed. It was surprising that this girl had the time to do so much, and Drake often wondered if she ever slept. Every once in a while, an emergency case would crop up, and Drake wasn't the most organized man in the world, so locating the correct files for the job wasn't easy. In cases like these, he would send Ashley a quick text, and almost immediately, he would receive a reply at no matter what ludicrous time of the night. Ashley would be seen drinking copious amounts of coffee, and supporting heavy bags under her eyes that no amount of make-up could cover. However, this was expected from someone in her position. It was near impossible to enter a career in the law firm, and expect to maintain your appearance. There was the odd day that Drake had failed to shave the morning before work, but he held such a rugged look anyway that it seemed to fit with his persona. Although smart dressing was mandatory at the office, Drake rarely wore a business suit. His suit jackets were more casual, and his tie was only fully tight around his neck in order to hide the fact that he almost never did up his top button.

The cards that his wife left all bore pictures of balloons, clowns, and birthday cakes. Drake frowned at them before quickly shuffling through the business names, then throwing them down on his desk. Why did they need caterers for a two year old? His son would probably appreciate a collection of miniature sausages and his own father contorting balloons into various animal shapes as he would a clown. And the chances that this memory would stick with him past a few months was laughable. Drake glared at the cards as though they had insulted him, and he dared not imagine the prices that these costly activities demanded from him. The clock read fifteen minutes to four, and Drake leant back on his chair once more and sighed. He wanted to go home to see his boy. He had promised to play with the train set that evening, and the look of sheer joy in his son's face made that coming evening more than excitable. There was only one week left until Cameron was an official two year old, and although this was a big day, a caterer was highly unnecessary.

"Sanchez!" Drake gave a startled jump in his chair and it almost tipped backwards. Morgan had stuck his head out of his office door and was glaring down upon Drake. Drake hastily grabbed the 4 million dollar file and sprinted towards Morgan, trying to appear as businesslike as was possible from a man who looked so scruffy next to his boss's pristinely pressed suit. Passing the papers to Morgan, Drake realized that he hadn't even started the report. He dreaded spending another late night trapped in this building, and he couldn't put off Cameron's train set plans. Not now. Not when he hadn't been home to see his boy before 9pm that week.

Morgan glanced down at the files, nodded curtly, then retreated back into his office, and once again, slamming the door shut so the name plate reading 'Joseph Morgan' was barely inches from Drake's nose. He swayed slightly, blinking at the force of the slam, then turned around and walked slowly back to his desk. As he passed Ashley, he stuck his hand in his pocket and leaned casually against the wall.

"Listen, I haven't finished the Smythe-Lawson divorce report, and I can't stay another night here." He ran his fingers through his ruffled hair, causing it to stand on end at the front. "That thing is going to take me hours. If I take it home tonight, can you write the concluding statement of the form for Morgan?"

"Of course, Sir!" Ashley said, a little too over enthusiastically. In her haste to grab a post-it and pen, she knocked her empty cup of coffee off the desk and it rolled towards the water-cooler. "Whoops!" She smiled and panted slightly as she scribbled down her message and slapped it against her desktop, wiping her brow with a lacy handkerchief.

Drake walked over to the cooler and retrieved the cup, tossing it into the bucket overflowing with styrofoam. "Are you OK?" he asked Ashley, placing his hand on her shoulder. She jumped at his touch.

"Yes, I'm fine." She said, and subtly tried to take deep, calming breaths. Her eyes were wide and they kept darting all around the room.

"If you're sure . . ." Drake walked back over to his desk, looking concerned as Ashley regained her composure and continued to type at a lightning pace. "Perhaps lay off the coffee slightly."

She smiled briefly, not looking away from her screen, and continued to type. Drake shrugged and sat back down at his desk. He picked up a pen, and the duplicate copy of the file he had previously handed over to Morgan, and twirled the pen absent-mindedly between his fingers. He chewed on its end before underlining various statements and numbers. A highlighter would be more efficient, and he thought for a moment about perhaps investing in one, before shaking his head slightly and forcing his thoughts to return to the task at hand.

The second hand of the clock on the wall ticked by slowly, and Drake strained to keep his concentration. He wanted more than anything to go home to be with his wife and son. To push those toy trains around a puzzle assembled track and see Cameron's shining face beam up at him. But alas, that time was further out of his grasp. Perhaps a little play-time could suffice, after all, he deserved a break, but the thought of his report, and Morgan's expectations weighed down on his shoulders as he bent over his paper. Typing up key words, Drake blinked sleep out of his eyes and the sun winked at him in the reflection of the screen. His back grew hot from facing the large window, and when he looked up at Ashley, he saw her sip a tiny, plastic cup of water and press her eyes shut in effort to stop them stinging from the extended time she had been staring, unblinking at her computer.

He sighed and continued typing. He longed to finish and depart from work, but he knew that more was waiting for him when he returned home. Deciding that he was no better off here than he was in his study, he leaned back in his chair and stretched, yawning like a large cat and gazing at the clock. It was well after six, and he could almost see his wife's greeting face in his minds eye. He could smell her home-cooked meal, and hear his son running up and hugging tightly to his legs.

"Alright." He stood up and slid the papers into his brief case and yanking the flash-drive from its port. "I'll see you tomorrow, Ash."

"Y-yes, Sir!" She stammered, and as she look up at him, he saw that her eyes were bloodshot, and her hands were trembling on her keyboard.

"Go home. Get some rest. Look at you!" He said, snapping his case shut, turning his computer off, and striding towards his assistant. She merely nodded at him and continued her work. "I'd better see you looking healthier tomorrow." He said, giving her a concerned look to which she barely noticed. Sighing for a final time, he crossed the room and exited.

"Sanchez!" The cold voice ripped through Drake's thoughts and he turned slowly on the spot to face Morgan. "Dispose of your coffee cup before you do. I don't want it cluttering up my workspace."

Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Drake walked back to his desk, picked up the cold cup, and tossed it towards Ashley's. Turning towards the door again, Drake strode out of the door, and along the hallway to the elevators.


♒☾♒


"Daddy!" The small boy collided rather painfully with Drake's shin and hugged him close to his chest. The poor child hadn't truly seen his father for more than a week, despite Drake coming home late and sneaking a kiss to his son's forehead as Cameron slept.

"Hey, little guy!" Drake bent down to hug his son properly, seeing the smile split across his face for the first time in days. "Up top!" He held his hand impossibly high for the child, yet Cameron leaped up and smacked his own tiny palm against his fathers, grinning and giggling, as though this simple action was the most joyous thing in the world.

"Daddy, plane!" And with that, he ran off down the hallway and into the nearby living room. Drake smiled at the place where Cameron had just disappeared, and shrugged his jacket off his shoulders and hanging it on the hook by the door. The house was small, and looked to be cleaned just that day. Family photographs hung on the walls in simple, silver frames, and in the corner of the hall was a blue teddy bear, propped up against the wall in a sitting position. As Drake walked into the kitchen, he saw his wife standing with her back to him, stirring something into a large pot on the stove. He approached her, and wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing the back of her neck.

She jumped. "Oh, darling! Try this!" And she spooned what looked like stew out of the pot. The stew was hot, but Drake smiled and tasted it. "It needs more salt, doesn't it?"

"No, no. It's lovely, dear!" He grinned at her. He had missed her so much that day, and such a simple feeling it was. Claire turned back to her cooking, smiling to herself. For a moment, Drake smiled too at the simplicity of life, then he remembered the lengthy report waiting for him in his briefcase. His heart sank, but that could wait until late. For now, he was home with his family, and he could miss sleep for one night.

"Daddy! Plane!" Drake turned around to see Cameron sliding into the kitchen on his tiny socked feet. A roughly folded piece of paper was clutched in his fist and he tossed it energetically at his father. The paper hit the ground almost immediately, and crumpled, but the boy laughed. Cameron's face was filled with such delight and pride at the flight of his paper 'plane'. Drake picked it up. To him, it looked nothing like a plane. It was barely a triangle shape, and it wasn't surprising that it couldn't fly well. He handed the paper back to Cameron and took his hand. He led his son back into the living room and found a pile of crumpled printer paper strewn over the carpet. He let go of Cameron's hand, and sat cross-legged on the rug. Cameron sprinted around the circumference of the room, shrieking at the top of his lungs, holding the paper high in the air and making "Vroom" noises. Drake picked up one of the lesser-bent papers, and expertly folded it into a paper airplane, tilting the nose and ripping a rudder out of the tail.

"Hey, Bud! Look at this!" He called out, and Cameron leaped into his father's lap and snuggled closely. Drake flicked the plane out of his hands and it glided the length of the room, landing softly on the far table. Almost immediately after landing, Cameron leaped up, accidentally placing his full weight on Drake's leg, forcing him to wince, and running off after the plane.

"Daddy! Daddy, plane!" He shrieked again and gripped the table, jumping up and down like a bucking horse. Drake got up from the floor and crossed the room in three strides. He picked up the plane and handed it to his son. Cameron put full force into the launch, and the plane flew directly at his feet. Drake prepared himself for the disappointed cry, but Cameron bent down, picked the plane up, and giggled loudly, running around the room shouting "Go! Go, plane!"

Drake located the crate beside the couch that contained the train set and dragged it towards the centre of the room. He sat down and began to lift the pieces of track out as Cameron burned off excess energy. One by one, the pieces of track connected together, and slowly a town grew. Stations and tracks wove between trees and houses, and at long last, Drake planted the train's wheels firmly onto the track. He felt like a child again, not much older than his son. Cameron came to sit in his father's lap, and together they played. The trains ran their errands, and the sun began to set slowly, casting orange and yellow lights to dance across the boy's blond head. All worries of work had been forgotten.



"Bed time!" Claire sang as she held Cameron's hand. He followed her sleepily up the stairs, rubbing his eyes and yawning. Drake picked up the family's dishes and placed them beside the sink. He, too, felt exhaustion wash over him, and he looked into the hall to see his briefcase waiting patiently for him, propped up against the wall as though mocking him. He sighed and slumped towards it, picking it up and heading towards his study. This night was about to stretch to great lengths, and his comfortable bed was only feet above his head in the master bedroom; the freshly laundered sheets had never seemed to inviting.

The laptop chimed to life and Drake inserted the flash drive. After locating the correct file, he began to type up the report. The room gradually began darker, and he reached over to flick the desk lamp on. His face shone ghostly in the darkness. His eyes were sunken and his skin was lined and unshaven from the stress. His eyelids drooped and squinted, trying to stay forcibly open. His fingers danced across the keyboard, and several times he had to shake them to prevent cramping. A couple of times, his vision faded and his head dropped, but he started, shook his head, and continued to work. It took all of his will power not to slap himself. The sound of howling wolves sang through the open window, dancing with the breeze. Drake had begun to lose all sense of rationality, for he took this into no heed. How could native wolves be howling in the city centre? Stars winked amiably at him and the text became blurred once more.

Drake Sanchez walked between the thick tree trunks, his steps crunching the dead leaves on the mossy ground, and the full moon slithered between the branches, lighting his path. His chest rose and fell rapidly as he gave rattling breaths that fogged in the mist in front of his face. He was being summoned. He had to find his master. The darkness was not enough, and he longed to witness the power of shadow. His breaths turned into growls and his skin itched terribly. He wanted to run faster and faster, but his muscles impeded him. There was a metallic taste in his mouth that ran down his chin. His teeth clenched together to stop his tongue lashing out with his panting. His tight chest fought to feel a releasing howl, but the silence of the night gripped at his throat and his eyes stung. Hot tears ran down his cheek as he ran, to where, he was uncertain. He stepped over tree roots and fallen branches, but they rose higher and higher above the earth, and his foot snatched at one and he tripped. He was falling. Falling into oblivion and a void was swallowing him whole. There was no light here. No darkness. Just the rush of gravity as his face bowed towards the depths and he knew nothing.

Drake awoke with a start. Cold sweat mingled with hot tears on his face and he dabbed at them with his hand. His report had ended with nonsense where his cheek had pressed against the keyboard in his sleep. Shivering, he took several deep breaths, gasping for fresh air. He felt rather asthmatic. He rushed over to the open window and inhaled. A cool breeze filled his lungs pleasantly, and he gripped the window-sill, his arms shaking violently. He felt nauseous. The full moon shone innocently at him. He turned away from the window and deleted his lengthy typing errors from the report. He slapped his laptop shut and dragged himself upstairs. A cool shower, then warm bed, curled up beside Claire in a dreamless sleep.

He gazed at the clock in the hallway. It was five minutes after six in the morning. Dread swept over Drake and his pulled himself upstairs and towards the bathroom. He would be returning to work, as promised, to hand the report into Morgan. Lawyers couldn't afford to take days off because of a silly nightmare. But what if he had a different job? His imagination carried him into the world of his best friend. What if Drake was a graphic designer? A graphic designer working for one of the top advertising companies in the province: Keyne's Advertising. Then he could take a day off. In fact, he wouldn't even need an excuse. He could just skip work that day, and drag his camera to the park and take photographs of all the scenes that the sun kissed. And that was exactly what Daniel Fletcher was planning to do with his day.
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Midnight Wolf
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Re: Midnight Wolf's fantasy/horror novel introduction

Post  Midnight Wolf on Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:08 pm

(I am yet to edit this part, to I apologize for any typos or mistakes it may contain)

Chapter 2

Danny danced along the cobblestone path, pirouetting as he went, not caring who or what saw him. His camera swung around his neck and his walkman blasted music that seemed to travel through his soul, rather than just his ears. Two women jogged easily passed him and he winked at them both, adding a cheeky grin for a flirtatious effect. To outsiders, this man didn't have a care in the world, and at the particular moment, he didn't. His feet strayed off the designated path and he found himself on dewy morning grass. Its scent filled his nostrils with each step, as though his weight was releasing the sweet smells as he trod.

A large oak tree stretched over the South end of the park casting a deep shadow, leaving the grass that lay beneath damp well into the day. Fallen oak leaves scattered its roots and seeds twirled as they fell like miniature helicopters. The young children would play at the base of this tree, pretending that each seed was a single fairy, dancing as the breeze carried it down.

Danny lay on his stomach on the wet grass, staining his sweatshirt and allowing the dew to seep through to his skin. It tickled him and he shuffled forward in an army crawl towards a particularly large root. Here lay a pair of leaves, each had Autumn's soft gradient edges on its surface. The green melted into orange and the veins seems to light up a strong path in each leaf. Danny positioned the lens against the root for balance, and his finger slowly added pressure to the button with great patience. The sound of the shutter seemed to shock him with a fresh wave of adrenaline.

He turned around to lie on his back, exposing the deep stain of moisture on his front from the grass, and he looked up at the tree through the lens. The sun peaked in-between the leaves casing definitive rays. The seeds twirled towards the camera, and again, the shutter clicked as it captured the moment. The music rang through Danny as he reviewed his photographs, still lying like a child on his back.

Suddenly, and as though out of nowhere, a tennis ball hit him squarely on the side of his head. Blinking stars from his eyes, Dany picked up the tennis ball and hauled himself to his feet. It was wet from the grass and slipped in his fingers. A small boy ran up to him, a slightly worried look on his face at the sight of Danny massaging his temple where the ball had connected.

"Sorry, mister!" The boy said. Danny smiled down at him and lightly tossed him the ball.

"No problem," he said, lowering his hand from his head. "No harm done. As long as I can still count to ten, I should be alright." The boy Smiled appreciatively up at him, then turned and ran across the park. Danny watched the boy with amusement for a while, and saw the ball being tossed from the child's grip. A Golden Retriever chased after it, fur, ears, and spittle flapping behind in the breeze. Its jaws sunk securely around the ball and was ready to bring it back to his master. This was when realization hit Danny almost as hard as the ball did.

"Urgh, yuck!" He leaped up, vigorously wiping the slime off his hand and onto his jeans. The two girls he had winked at before had returned for a second lap around the park and were laughing at him, giggling to themselves behind their hands. Danny frowned at his unfortunate situation and changed the track on his walkman. He walked around the parameter of the park, snapping pictures of sights that caught his interest, when his cell phone gave a little jolt as it vibrated in his jean pocket. The called ID told him that it was Drake, and he held the phone up to his ear.

"Hello!"

"Danny?"

"No, it's Brad Pitt."

"Danny," Drake's voice seemed dry and raspy. "Claire has asked you to stay for dinner tonight. I think she wants help planning Cam's party."

"Will do. Seven o'clock okay with you?"

"That's fine."

"Drake, are you OK?" Danny breathed into the phone, his voice dropping slightly. There was a silence. "Drake? You didn't sleep, did you?"

"I slept." Drake replied truthfully, yet his voice still sounded gravely and deep. "I'll see you at seven."

The line died abruptly and Danny frowned into the receiver. It wasn't like Drake to be so kurt with him. Yet, Danny pocketed his phone with a shrug and continued walking.

The morning was beautiful. The sounds of laughing children playing intensified and filled the crisp air. Joggers flew past, their music streaking past as doppler waves followed them like lost dogs. The sun blazed in the blue, water-colour sky, forcing its rays down in angry bursts, yet the mood had changed. Despite this breathtaking scene, Danny felt a dead weight on his heart. He was used to Drake not having a good night's sleep, and being a lawyer, he had a pretty decent excuse. Yet his voice was different; raspy and unlike him. Indeed, Drake was a strong man, in both physique and mind, but his voice had grown soft and full of life since the birth of his son. This scared Danny slightly, and thinking so deeply about his friend made his heart thud in his chest and his thoughts strayed away from the scenery.

A tiny, grey squirrel, most definitely the runt of the litter, sped up a nearby sweet birch. This momentous incident would have any man stare in wonder. However, it passed by completely unnoticed by Danny, who was so deep in thought at this moment that very little could interrupt his rolling imagination. As though understanding the lack of attention from the close stranger, the squirrel gave Danny a disappointed stare before scurrying up into the swaying branches, changing its focus to the seeds they held.

"Oh, I am so very sorry!" Danny's foot had collided with a closed flask. Not watching where he was walking, he had strolled right over a picnic blanket. The young girl setting up a plate of fresh sandwiches looked up at him, staring with large eyes as though not quite understanding the words that he heard. She didn't move. Danny picked up the flask and passed it to the girl, who continued to stare dreamily at him and accepted the drink. Feeling incredibly awkward, Danny stepped away from the scene, but the girl chose that moment to speak up.

"My name is Kate." She stated simply, still giving Danny a searching look. She was yet to smile. Danny was taken aback by this sudden sentence, but politely held his hand out to the strange girl and smiled, stating his own name in return. Still, she didn't smile. Neither did she take his hand. Danny's arm dropped to his side and he felt hot prickles in his face.

"Well, it's nice meeting you." He mumbled, and began to turn away again, desperate to retreat from Kate, but she spoke again, as though preventing him from leaving.

"He is not OK, you are right to be concerned." A lump in Danny's throat swelled and he tried with all his force to safely swallow. What a curious statement to give a stranger. Kate was pretty, and looked to be no older than himself, and she seemed like such a simple being, setting up for a picnic. Danny's first thought was Drake, and how he actually was concerned about the sound of his voice, his vocal chores straining like a taut bow scratching across the deeper strings of a violin. But how was this girl supposed to know about his phone call; about his emotions?

Danny walked, determined to get away from Kate, but this time, she did not speak. Once there was a fair distance away from the two, he turned back to look at her. She continued to set up her picnic for one as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Shaking his head, Danny came to the conclusion that this 'Kate' person was not in her right mind, and not to worry about what she had just told him. But this task was harder than he set it out to be. Her words followed him like the wind, leaving footprints in his mind, and although Drake's wellbeing was still a major concern to him, her quote was added to his constant thoughts.


♒☾♒


The sun cast deep, orange rays that dappled the city as it set below the horizon. The street lamps had begun to flicker into life and the steady flow of cars had lessened. Children were being summoned indoors and the savoury scent of meals drifted through kitchen windows.

Danny tapped his knuckles on the front door of the Sanchez residence, and waited. He could hear the sound of scurrying feet issuing from the other side of the door and he jingled his car keys in his right hand. The door swung open gently to reveal a slender woman, her eyes lighting up at his sight and her lips slit into a wide and welcoming smile.

"Daniel!" She stood on her tiptoes and wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace, leaning forward for him to return the arm movement around her waist.

"Claire!" As she released him and they exchanged pleasantries, Cameron rushed into the room, closely followed by his father. Danny bent down to his Godson's level and Cameron leaped into his arms, grinning broadly. Danny ruffled the blonde head and produced a miniature chocolate bar from inside the pocket of his coat. Cameron's eyes widened and a look of sheer awe and surprise shone from his face.

He reached out to take the chocolate and muttered, "Thank you!" holding the candy as though it was a precious treasure.

"You can eat that after dinner." Claire said sternly, but smiling with soft eyes down at Cameron. She took Danny's coat from him, and left to hang it in the nearby closet. Drake stepped forward. Danny looked into the face of his oldest friend to see sunken eyes and deep lines in his brow. Drake wrapped a single arm around Danny in a welcoming hug and smiled, making his eyes crease even more. Danny smiled back, but it was a forced smile, for he disliked seeing his friend in such a painful state.

"How are you doing?" He asked, looking concerned.

"I'm fine. Bit of a blip at work, but everything is okay."

"It's not Claire is it? Or Cam?"

"Oh! No, not at all." Drake stated, pure shock lined his face at the mere suggestion of an imperfect family, and his eyes grew wide with surprise and honesty, that Danny felt his cheeks grow hot at the idea and discarded it, trusting Drake's response.

They walked into the living room together and waited for Claire to finish her work before joining them. They sat on adjacent couches and were silent for a few moments, before a question formed in Danny's mind.

"Do you know anyone named Kate?"

"Of course I do," Drake responded, and Danny sat up, his heart thumping with excitement. "Your sister."

Danny's expression fell. "Anyone else?"

"I don't believe so. Why?"

"No reason," It was obvious that Drake was hiding something, so Danny felt it only fair to hold this secret to himself, also. He scratched the back of his head and stared out of the window, knowing that Drake was staring at him.

Drake pondered Danny's actions and questions for a while. He was worried. The dreams he had experienced had been just that. A dream. And it was silly to state that it felt real, for dreams often do, yet it still concerned him. The look on Danny's face told him that 'Kate' was not Danny's most recent affliction, but he had given his honest answer, and knew not of any others by that name.

The men sat in silence, both filled with deep emotions of concern and curiosity. The sun continued to dip beneath the horizon, and almost all the street lamps were shining their strong beacons onto the asphalt road. The tension in the room was painful, and this room had not witnessed such a cold feeling before this night, and the two friends knew not what to make of the situation. Both held secrets, and both knew that the other longed for the opposing man to break ranks and talk. Neither spoke a word.

The clock on the mantle ticked, its tiny heartbeat never failing, yet it seemed to grin evilly at the friends, forcing time to slow to an unbearable speed. Danny's hands twitched in his lap and cold sweat ran down from Drake's brow. Never had the atmosphere been so awkward between them, yet here they were. At long last, Claire entered the room. She seemed to bring warmth with her, and all tension snapped at her presence.

"There we are," on a nearby coffee table she placed a tray supporting teacups, a small pot, and an assorted collection of biscuits, each glistening with crystallized sugar. "I thought we could have a light snack before we go into the kitchen."

Danny looked down onto the tea with awe as Claire tipped the pot against the cups. "Where's Cam?" he asked.

"In his room. He was playing with his planes earlier."

"He's a good boy." Drake grinned proudly.

The trio chatted for a while longer, sharing stories of their days, and the two men almost forgot about their concerns. Occasionally, Cameron would rush into the room in his socked feet carrying jets and gliders, and all conversation of the future party was hushed at once. At long last, the adults migrated into the kitchen to enjoy a home-cooked meal of risotto. The men loved each others company so much, time seemed to have reached the other radical and past at lightning speeds. Only until Cameron fell asleep in his ice-cream did Danny jump up from the table, reaching out for dishes and cutlery.

"You've worked hard to prepare this meal, and I don't want to see you lifting a finger. I'll help with the cleaning." Danny winked at Claire and she smiled, getting up from her chair and allowing Drake to collect the plate from in front of her. Claire lifted Cam up from his seat and carried the sleeping child out of the room while Danny and Drake worked on clearing the table.

"Thanks for coming." Drake said once the chores were complete.

"Thanks for the invite, Mate." A one-armed hug was exchanged and Danny left the home. The returning drive was short, but dark. A misty haze had settled itself on the roads and the car's lights flickered in the fog casting wavering shadows on the houses they past. Twice, Danny's reactions attempted to clam the breaks as he saw glimpses of stray animals prowling the sidelines. This urban town rarely hosted the wild, yet the calls of wolves rang through the night air sending shivers up Danny's spine. And owl screeched from a nearby tree, casting a bat-like shadow as it took off into the night air. Danny felt uneasy at this surprise encounter, but soon arrived in the dingy basement of the underground parking lots. He longed for his apartment bed and could almost feel the warm sheets wrapped around him. His eyes grew tired and he blinked rapidly. Shutting off his car in his dedicated stall, he got out and stretched before walking away. He had almost reached the stairs when a clatter rang out from behind him like dropped metal. He whipped his head around to stare into the apparently deserted basement. The startling sound still rang in his ears, as was this thudding heart. Slowly, he faced the stairs once more, and the clatter rang out again, causing him to turn in surprise.

A face appeared in front of him, her nose inches from his own, her beady eyes stared unblinking at his. Her expression was blank, but Danny saw his own frightened facade reflected in her eyes.

"Kate?" He asked, his voice echoing and bouncing of the concrete walls. She said nothing. Danny stepped back. "Kate?" he repeated, his heart rate doubling and he could feel the blood pausing in his ears. Again, Kate was silent, but her eyes followed him as he moved. The dim light above their heads flickered and died, but the room wasn't black. The two were cast into shadow, but Danny could still see Kate's face by the light of the remaining lamps. Like in the park, her skin was soft and her hair flowed gracefully down her back. She was pretty, so Danny observed, and this set his mind at ease slightly.

Very slowly, her eyes still glued to Danny's, Kate tilted her head to the side and her lips parted. Danny looked down at her mouth, not to see her closing the gap between themselves, but simply standing there, her mouth gaping. She inhaled slowly, her breath rattled in the air and goosebumps prickled on Danny's flesh. He was uncertain as to whether her yes we in focus or not, for this whole time she was yet to blink, and her eyes remained staring into his own.

"Kate." he whispered, barely opening his own mouth. Again, she did not respond, but her beautiful face stayed tilted and her soft lips slightly parted. If she wasn't still standing upright, her eyes following Danny's every move, he would have suspected a stroke, but his fear had returned and he couldn't think what to do. That's when she moved.

Her eyes rolled into the back of her head becoming milky white orbs. Her skin became pale and stretched over her face revealing the thin structure of her skull. Her muscles seemed to thicken as she grew taller, looming over Danny who had become too scared to run. Her hair shifted into a damp grey and became greasy and wiry, plastering to her skeletal face. Her lips pursed and became thinner and paler, her mouth gaping open, her head still tilted, resting on her shoulder. Yellowing canines grew from her jaws so long the tips could reach the end of her chin. Her empty eyes widened, their lids retreating into her skull and her rattling breath grew louder. Danny tried to move, he tried to call out, but whether fear had enveloped him or some power had taken control, he was rooted to the spot. Kate's grotesque face and large figure was closer to Danny now, and she bared down on him. She reached out with pale, scabbed hands, her grey nails chipped and rotten. Her long fingers wrapped themselves around his face and he felt her cold flesh covering his mouth. She lowered her face to his, still sucking in the surrounding air. Pain pierced his neck and his vision blurred. He tried again to call out, but the tendon in his throat was too painful to move, although his mouth gasped in a silent scream. He was shaking violently as cold sweat trickled from his brow. He closed his eyes from the pain and nausea, and felt the icy grip release him.

Opening his eyes, his vision still foggy, he saw that Kate, or whatever that creature was, had disappeared. He slid to the floor, his back scraping the wall and his hand reached up to his neck. His touch burned his skin, and removing his hand to inspect the thick, red mess, saw blood slipping between his fingers. A dark stain had appeared on his jacket, the tarred floor splattered with crimson. Danny was sitting in a pool of his own blood, knowing that his life was about to draw to a sudden close. That face had burned an image into his retinas that he saw with each lazy blink. Dark colours enclosed his vision and his skin began as cold as his sweat. He sat against the wall, panting heavily and watching his blood pour over the ground. Death was taking its time to come, and although his neck burned like fire, Danny felt no particular pain from his wound. Stronger than the image of the pale face was the memory of Drake. Claire and Cameron flitted though his thoughts and if he could, he would have smiled at seeing his best friend's face once more. Danny closed his eyes, his hand dropped to his lap, and he moved no more.
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Midnight Wolf
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Age : 25

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