Author: jnl94 PM
Welcome to Shadowland, the place nightmares are made of. So enter at your own risk, because I'm not going to hold your hand. A purpose, a girl and a boy, a love, and things that go bump in the night. Nothing is ever quite what it seems.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Romance - Chapters: 23 - Words: 50,905 - Reviews: 101 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 04-10-13 - Published: 12-31-12 - id: 3087705
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"You're a liar," Mia said, materializing by Annie's side.
Annie jumped guiltily and glanced at Mia. "Sorry, I got…caught up in something," she said slowly.
"Something or someone?" Mia asked, eyeing Annie closely.
Annie gave a nervous laugh and glanced around, almost expecting to see Waco following them. "It depends on how you look at it, I guess," she answered absently.
"A shadow?" Mia wondered.
Annie nodded and forced herself to stop looking for Waco. "Yeah."
"Okay," Mia shrugged, letting it drop. "You missed a pop quiz," she added.
Annie groaned. "Great," she muttered.
"You get to make it up tomorrow after class." Mia giggled.
"Detention?" Annie asked in wonder.
"Detention," Mia nodded.
The girls stopped in front of Annie's house. Mia looked up at it and grinned. "What?" Annie asked, glancing at her.
"Your house is so creepy," Mia said as if it were the highest compliment.
Annie rolled her eyes. "Gee, thanks."
"It's probably the creepiest house on this block on Halloween. You don't even have to decorate," she murmured, still singing her "praises." "Halloween is such a cool holiday. I don't get why you don't celebrate it," she added, turning her eyes on Annie.
"We do celebrate it. Just not the same way as Mortals. It's the most sacred night of the year, and the most dangerous," Annie informed her friend.
"What do you mean by dangerous?" Mia questioned, cocking her head to the side. She was pretty sure Annie wasn't talking about the creeps roaming the streets having the perfect opportunity to abduct little kids and not be considered creeps because they could hide behind masks just like everyone else.
"My grandmother says it's the night when the veil between this world and Shadowland is the thinnest. It's a night of power. And it's my birthday. Mom seems to think that's why I can see shadows."
"Shadowland? Is that like the afterlife?" Mia wondered, looking around as if she would see some ghoul strolling down the street.
"Sort of. It's the realm of spirits," Annie sighed, hoping her friend didn't ask too many questions about it considering she didn't know much about it herself.
"So Halloween really is all about spirits and ghosts," Mia giggled.
Annie rolled her eyes. "We remember the Casters who were burned for using their gifts."
"The Salem Witch Trials," Mia blurted.
Annie nodded solemnly. "One of the worst times for Casters. So many of us were burned for what we can do, and so many Mortal were burned as well."
"That pisses me off. Everyone was just jealous." Mia snapped, standing hands on hips.
"No," Annie shook her head. "They were afraid," she corrected.
"Whatever. So what was it you were saying about Halloween being your birthday?" Mia wondered.
Annie blew out a sigh and sat on her porch steps. "No Caster has ever been born on Halloween," she mumbled.
"Why not?" Mia asked, sitting next to her.
Annie shrugged. "I don't know. It's just how it is. Anyway, so it's the night when the veil between the Mortal world and Shadowland is thinnest. The most "ghost" sightings take place on All Hallows Eve for that very reason. Mom thinks that somehow that is why I can see the dead, because I was born on Halloween."
"That could be," Mia nodded as if she knew anything at all about Casters.
Annie sighed. "It sucks. If I had been born just one day earlier, I might not be worrying about dying on my eighteenth birthday," she snapped.
"I think you're overreacting," Mia sad harmlessly.
"Really? Because the fact that no Shadow Speaker has ever survived their Unbinding shouldn't freak me out? Face it Mia, I am going to die," Annie said through gritted teeth.
"Yeah, eventually." Mia shrugged.
"Whatever," Annie sighed angrily, standing. "I have homework," she lied, slamming the door closed before me could even answer.
"You did what!?" Naspeth shouted, balling his hands into fists. He could have strangled Waco at that very moment.
"You're missing the point entirely," Waco said calmly.
"You Traveled with a Mortal!" Naspeth growled. "I think the point is staring me straight in the face! How stupid could you be?"
"She's not just a Mortal, she's a Caster," Waco corrected. It was the wrong thing to do and he knew it the second the words left his mouth.
"I don't care if she's an Angel! You should not have Traveled with her. Do you know what could have happened, Waco? You could have killed her. It could have ripped her apart. Or it could have drained your energy and you could have been seriously hurt. Mortals—even Casters—do not belong that close to Shadowland," Naspeth said, making an effort to calm himself.
Wynter rolled her eyes. "He was only trying to help," she said.
"Well I don't need any help. Stop trying to find the Shadow Queen for me," Naspeth said through gritted teeth.
"But she told me that—"
"I don't care what she told you. Forget her," Naspeth ordered.
"You don't understand. She said that she knows when she's—"
"Waco Anthony Stone, if you do not stop talking about that girl, I will kill you," Naspeth said darkly.
Wynter sucked in a sharp breath, pressing her hand over her mouth. Waco went slack jawed for a moment. "You mean beat the hell out of me, right?" he asked in a small voice.
"No Waco, I mean if you do not forget about that girl, I will kill you and make you into a Forgotten or a Shade. You will be stripped of your title on my Court and you will essentially cease to exist. Do I make myself perfectly clear?" Naspeth asked, going deadly calm.
Waco snapped his lips together and nodded his head. "She's forgotten," he murmured, lowering his eyes to the floor, feeling very much like a spanked puppy.
"Good. This will not happen again," Naspeth said, rubbing his temples.
Wynter wrapped her arm around Waco's waist and squeezed. "Come on, brother, let's go for a walk and leave our Lord to brood in peace." She shot Naspeth a dark look and led Waco from the room.
"I can't belied he threatened me," Waco said softly, lacking his usual flare.
"Well, you have to admit it was pretty stupid of you to do what you did," Wynter said softly.
"I had good reason," Waco grumbled.
"Just forget about it, okay? I'm sure Naspeth was just worried about you and the effects Traveling with a Mortal could have on you," Wynter pointed out.
"I feel fine. She was fine. There was nothing wrong with either of us!" Waco snapped.
"Don't get snippy with me," Wynter growled, pulling away from him. "I'm just trying to help."
"I know and I'm sorry. But I had something important to tell Naspeth," Waco said glumly.
Wynter heaved a sigh and pushed her blond hair off her face. "Alright, fine. Tell me and then leave it alone," she said.
Waco didn't even hesitate. "She can see shadows, first of all. Obviously, since I talked to her. And she told me that she knows when she's going to die! She can see shadows, she's going to die soon, she didn't completely fall apart after Traveling—in fact she didn't seem fazed at all. Wynter, she could actually be the Shadow Queen! I mean, I told her I wanted her to be the Shadow Queen, but I think she could actually be her!" Waco exclaimed, gaining exuberance with each word that passed his lips.
Wynter sighed, her eyes darkening slightly. "It doesn't matter. You heard Naspeth; you have to stop searching for the Shadow Queen. He's not going to want to hear any more about that girl," she said gently.
Waco blew out a sigh. "Mais sa c'est fou."
"I know it's crazy, but that's what he wants. I think he's afraid to find her, but he's afraid that she doesn't exist too," Wynter said.
"He needs a Shadow Queen. He's getting worse with each passing day. He's been more moody lately, sulking and brooding often. And the palace is always dark and morbid, I mean, how many sexy little black dresses do you have?" Waco sighed.
"I have as many as I need, you idiot," Wynter laughed. As she spoke her current little black dress faded into a cute black sundress.
Waco grinned. "You know what I mean. He needs a woman," he said.
Wynter nodded, looking down. "I know he does. It scares me to see him so lonely. And the worst part of it is he's in denial! He doesn't think he's lonely or that he needs a strong woman to stand by his side," she murmured.
"You know, the funny thing is, you would actually make a good Shadow Queen," Waco blurted.
Wynter snapped her blue eyes to his. "What?" she asked, a blush creeping into her cheeks.
"You would, but I don't think you're the Shadow Queen and you know what Naspeth says. He's not just going to make any shadow girl the Shadow Queen. She has to be the Shadow Queen," Waco sighed dramatically.
"I would look good in a throne," Wynter said with a dreamy sigh.
"I think I would look better," Waco teased.
Wynter bumped him with her hip. "Look," she said, motioning to the left. "There's Sharyo."
Waco grinned and waggled his eyebrows at Wynter. "Time to go work my magic," he purred.
"Is that what you call it?" Wynter called after him as he swaggered over to where Sharyo was sitting. "I would make a damn good Shadow Queen," she added quietly to herself, turning and heading back toward the palace.
Waco sat next to Sharyo and took her hand in his. She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "What?" she asked, trying to pull her hand free, ignoring the electric jolt that ran through her body at his touch.
"Hello bébé," Waco crooned. He had a plan forming in his mind.
"How many times do I have to tell you no before you take a hint?" Sharyo asked, flipping her mocha-colored hair over her shoulder with her free hand. The truth was, she kept telling him no because he seemed shallow to her and Sharyo would never be happy with a shallow man, no matter how attracted she was to him.
"For once, my sweet, I am not here to flirt shamelessly with you," Waco said, patting her hand gently. "I have to talk to you about someone I met today. An Antoinette—"
"Annie?" Sharyo interrupted, cocking her head to the side. "Now why would she talk to you?" she teased.
"It must have something to do with my charm and good looks," Waco grinned. "Anyway, she told me you two were friends."
Sharyo pulled her hand away from him. "We are," she nodded, narrowing her brown eyes at him in suspicion.
"Good, good. I need you to find out if she's the Shadow Queen," Waco said bluntly.
Sharyo laughed, pushing her brown hair away from her face. "Annie?" she asked. "Annie DuVille?"
"Yes, if that's her name," Waco nodded.
"You think she could be?" Sharyo asked, pursing her lips in thought.
Waco stared at her lips for a moment and resisted the urge to lean over and kiss her. "I think it's worth looking into," he nodded, glancing away quickly before the urge proved too tempting to resist.
"But it won't matter. Naspeth doesn't want us looking for the Shadow Queen. The only way he'll accept it's her—if Annie is the Shadow Queen—is if she walks into Shadowland and can prove that she's the Shadow Queen," Sharyo pointed out.
A wicked gleam came into his eye. "And that's where you come in my darling," he said with a wink.
Sharyo took in a deep breath. "I'll do what I can. What do you need me to do?" she asked.
roseskyangel- I don't know. I can't remember, lol. It's been a while since I've written this and a few weeks since I edited it.
AlysonSerenaStone- You just can't not like Waco at least a little. He's just too precious. :)
bookppl93- Well, alright then.
Nyx'sReincarnation- Yes, it was in the Mortal world. I think Annie briefly mentioned in passing that she knew of the place, but I could be wrong. I don't know. Anyway...
AddictedTime- That was one of my favorite scenes to write because I didn't know how Annie would react to Waco until I was writing her reactions to him. Yeah, you haven't met most of those people yet. Sorry.