(03/06/05) Sorry it took so long to update. ;o;

Author's Notes

1 – Don't confuse this chapter's character with another, more popular one. He's completely original. I swear. :3

Chapter 8

Wolf had dragged himself after Tor, Ash, John, and Spencer had they had found them. They had tried to question him but Wolf suddenly felt exhausted; all these dead people were getting to him.

The group walked on a small path through the towering oak trees that blocked any moon light from showing through. Wolf noticed that to either side of them and in front and back there was fog. Not very dense fog but Wolf guessed it was from the girl's presence tonight. Creepy.

Wolf cringed when he saw the lake when they finally emerged out of the trees; as always, it was beautiful and yet it held some terrible horror in its depths. How could something so right be so wrong?

The sight of the cabin lightened Wolf's mood. Inside was his bed where he could finally rest and end this night. He silently prayed for good dreams, none of which consisted of the girl.

As soon as the door was open and the boys were inside Wolf plopped down on his bed and sighed loudly. "Watch me grow some gray hairs. Just watch." He muttered to the others before closing his eyes for good.

He did not have any dreams that night and it was the best sleep he had had in two weeks. None of the others questioned him on what happened last night until after breakfast and they were outside in the sunlight. It was a nice sunny day, a few clouds rolled by and it was somewhat windy; Wolf liked the weather, it eased him of his cold and shivers. The group had gathered around their campfire pit on the old, sturdy logs that formed a circle around the pit. John had been carrying on a relatively normal conversation with Wolf to try and cheer him and up and he had succeeding somewhat until Spencer, still upset over the lost game last night, spoke up.

"What happened last night?"

"I don't really feel like saying," Wolf said as he looked straight at Spencer with a look that was just asking Spencer to push him so Wolf could have the opportunity to punch someone to relieve his stress from last night.

Spencer was being persistent. He asked two more times and both times Wolf growled at him and said he didn't feel like talking. Spencer was finally silenced when Ash cut in.

"Shut up Spencer," Said Ash with his arms crossed. Wolf looked up at him and tried to read his expression but there was nothing, partly because of Ash's sunglasses. Silence accompanied Ash's stoic mood until he finally pushed up the rims of his glasses and cleared his throat. "I'm guessing that last night – because of your new moon form – the girl reacted … strongly."

"Yeah," Wolf answered.

"I'm also guessing that that head-splitting howl was just out of panic when you turned back to your half-wolf form, yes?"

"Are you reading my mind?" Wolf asked crossly.

"No," Ash then gave a smirk, the one that said 'I'm better than you and you know it.' "They're just educated guesses."

Tor rolled his eyes at that comment and John laughed but then hid it with a cough. Spencer just looked annoyed.

"Anyway," Tor cut in suddenly. "What were you doing in that forest clearing last night?"

"You wouldn't believe me," Wolf said as he yawned displaying his long and sharp canines.

"Try us," Said John from beside Wolf.

"Okay, well … it was strange and I was so worked up last night that it all seemed like a blur but … I supposedly met her 'brother,'" Wolf sighed. Surprise met this; John's eyes bulged, as did Spencer's. Tor raised his eyebrows and even Ash gave a flicker of emotion but it was gone in a flash.

"Zombie or ghost?" Tor asked. Obviously he made the guess on the knowledge that the brother was dead, as it was so in the story.

"Ghost … but …" Wolf sighed again as he tried to gather his thoughts together. "I … I don't think that it was the real brother … I mean … I think it might have just been some … ploy or something set up by the girl …"

"And why's that?" Ash asked quietly.

"Well … I don't know … I guess I just believe that …" Wolf then gave a short laugh. "I guess I don't want to believe that it was real."

"Does this change your opinion on anything?" Ash asked. After a moment he added, "Her objective? What she wants with her brother?"

"Well … maybe she isn't out to kill him … but … if it really was her brother … it could be possible. He had said, 'This is all my fault' and 'she must hate me.' It sounds like she may have had an attitude problem and her brother might have been afraid of her," Wolf was also going to mention how the girl had hugged him but the very thought sent him into a series of shivers that made John give him a concerned look.

"He could have just been feeling guilty," Tor suggested, not noticing Wolf's shivers. "I mean … causing a sibling's death probably weighs pretty heavily on someone's consciousness."

"I guess … but I just don't really know what to believe," Said Wolf.

Ash suddenly cleared his throat again and pushed back his glasses once again. He then said, "Well Wolf, if you truly want to find out the girl's goal or what's motivating her then I suggest you wait another five days until we can go back to the town to ask this Locke fellow. Either that or we sneak out on our own."

"We can do that?" Asked Wolf with some surprise.

The entire group excluding Wolf laughed at that point. Ash had only let out a short "heh" and so answered his question first, "This place is so cheap that they don't have enough counselors to make a dozen."

Wolf thought about it and realized that he was right. He always knew there would be one or two camp counselors in the main cabin, another two in the wreck room as it was open all day, and maybe even a few in the cafeteria during breakfast, lunch, and dinner but now that he thought about it sometimes there wasn't even a counselor to make sure they were doing their activities; most of them had certain jobs and positions such as crafts coordinator and life guard and they couldn't afford to leave their station.

Wolf thought about it for a little while longer and then smiled. "So when do we leave?"

"Tomorrow," Said Tor.

"Why?" Asked Wolf and John simultaneously.

"Because it might take a while to find this guy. The old guy said he was out of town two days ago so he might not be in town anyway," Tor replied with a little shrug.

"Oh … yeah," Wolf replied.

"You can survive just one more night, can't you?" Spencer asked. He obviously doubted Wolf's stability.

"Spencer …" Wolf asked with an annoyed look. "Would you like me to break your jaw?"

"Yes," Answered Tor quickly. Spencer glared but before he could give a good retort Tor grinned and then disappeared into the shadows.

"I hate it when he does that." Spencer said as he looked at the shadows in the small campfire area. For a moment, Spencer saw him - a shadow that darted from under the log to another log across the ground in broad daylight but when a cumulus cloud passed over them and blocked out the sun Spencer lost track of him.

"He's going to stab me or something … I know it," Spencer muttered.

"He'd be doing us a favor," Wolf said with a cruel grin. Yet again, Spencer glared but didn't say anything and instead went climbed up trail up to the wreck/lunch building and didn't come back out for the rest of the day.

That night, there was nothing.

Nothing, whatsoever, happened.

It was bliss. It was relief. And Wolf slept for thirteen whole hours.

At noon that morning, Wolf awoke with a large yawn and he then commenced into stretching his limbs to the fullest. When he opened his eyes he saw that there was no one in the room. He also felt some surprise that he hadn't been woken up last night by his personal room service, the dead girl.

"Have a good sleep, Sleeping Beauty?" Said Tor's voice from some unknown place in the cabin. Wolf looked around on the ground for Tor, whom Wolf guessed was in shadow form or whatever.

"Why yes. Yes I did. And better yet, there was no prince to kiss me and wake me up," Wolf said as he involuntarily yawned and then stretched.

A laugh that seemed to echo through the room answered Wolf's comment. Wolf felt a small shiver beginning to run down his back but he suppressed it; it was just Tor after all.

"Okay, enough of this. Get out of your little shadow place already," Wolf said with some annoyance.

Wolf looked down at the floor and noticed that his shadow was beginning to expand. It then grew completely black and what looked to be black flames began to rise up from the shadow. The flames began to swirl and become a tall, whirling tower that almost hit the ceiling. Finally, they calmed down and went back to their source to form a shape that was man-like; it was Tor and as he emerged, the shadows still licking his face, he said with a grin, "I don't get to have any fun, do I?"

"Not with entrances like that," Wolf retorted. Tor laughed a little but then composed himself and said, "Ash and John are waiting outside for you. The girls too, I think."

"What? Spencer isn't coming?" Wolf asked as he got out of bed.

"Nope," Tor answered with a small grin. "He's still offended from earlier and he's all caught up in a science experiment or something."

Wolf vaguely remembered Eva once complaining about Spencer's science experiments so it sounded like a logical excuse.

Wolf and Tor left the cabin soon after and found that Ash, John, Eva, and Alesha were waiting by the fire pit.

"So how do we go about doing this?" Asked Wolf as he sat down.

"Easy," replied Eva. "We pretend to go on a hike and just go down the main road. It's only a twenty minute walk from there."

"That easy, huh?" Wolf asked.

"Yep," Answered John. "We've done it plenty of times."

"Okay! Let's go then!"

Eva had been completely right about the time it took. In fact, it was a really easy walk since it was mostly level despite all the hills and mountains.

Upon arriving at the town, the group discussed how they would find Locke. They finally decided to go to the diner shop and ask the old guy. However, after convincing him that none of them were "Ed," he told them that Locke, had in fact came back to the town yesterday.

"Well, where can we find him?" Asked Eva.

"Oh. I don't know. Might want to look around for him in some of the other shops … after getting a burger here," The old man's hand began to reach for his rifle under the counter.

They all agreed that a burger would be nice after the old man had begun to pull out something from under the counter. John didn't eat anything but fries but the six enjoyed a nice lunch nonetheless. Afterward, the girls and guys split up to look for Locke.

"How will we know who Locke is?" Wolf asked.

"I'll know," replied Ash.

"Oh right … the mind reading thing."

Ash simply smirked.

After an hour of entering and then immediately leaving stores, the guys had become somewhat discouraged. They had checked most of the shopping stores and even a couple of restaurants but they had taken extra care to avoid the coffee shop that Eithene worked in. However, when they passed it, there was a different person at the counter and Ash said that Eithene wasn't in the building at all.

The group finally rested at a restaurant that served breakfast all day. They ordered some donuts and sat down to think about the places that they hadn't been to yet.

"Hmm … what about that place on Main Street?" Tor asked.

"We've been to all the stores and restaurants on Main Street." Answered Ash who was reading a newspaper.

"What about West?" Wolf asked. He then turned to John, "Hey John. Do you know if … hey … JOHN!"

John snapped out of the daze he had been in. He had been watching some guy who was dunking his donut into his coffee and then eating it. John found it disgusting.

"What are you looking at?" Wolf asked while trying to follow John's gaze.

"Well," John replied. "There's a guy over there dipping his donut in his coffee and it's gross."

Ash, who was sitting across from Wolf and John, lifted his head slightly at the conversation.

"Really? Where?" Asked Wolf.

John pointed at someone across the room a couple of booths away. Wolf strained his eyes a little but finally found who John was pointing at. It was a man who looked to be about twenty five or so. He was tan and had black hair and when he turned his head slightly, Wolf saw that he had grey eyes. Basically, any college girl probably would have melted if he granted her a look.

Wolf looked back at John whose face was contorted in a comical fashion from disgust. Wolf looked back and saw that the guy did indeed have a donut and had dipped it in his coffee and then brought it up to his mouth to bite it …

"I mean just look at that. It's disgusting!" John exclaimed.

The guy looked up at John, the donut still suspended in air.

Under the table, John felt someone, Ash most likely, kicking his shin.

"OW! WHAT WAS THAT FOR?" John exclaimed.

"Be quiet!" Ash hissed. Tor looked up at this point and then turned around and looked at the guy who was still staring at them.

"Hmm …" Said Tor. "A dark elf."

"Precisely," Said Ash immediately. "Don't insult him or he might use you as a sacrifice for some spell." Dark elves used dark magic, Wolf recalled, and they normally had to use a blood sacrifice to use magic. However, some of the stronger ones didn't need blood. However, those were rare but they were deadly and almost impossible to defeat.

"Gross, gross, gross, gross …" John kept muttering despite Ash's warning. Finally, as though in spite, the guy took a large bite of the donut and John cringed.

"What bothers you so much about that anyway John?" Asked Wolf, who really didn't find it disgusting.

"Brother … but … yeah …" John muttered. He then looked down at his water and said, almost as if in a daze, "But he didn't use regular sweetener in his coffee."

"Thank you on briefing me on dark unicorn eating habits John," said Ash almost angrily. "I'll try not to lose my lunch now."

John apologized feebly and meanwhile the guy with the donut finished and then asked a waitress for a check.

"That'll be $3.76 Mr. Locke," the waitress replied while handing a small slip of paper to him.

All four of the guys' heads popped up and turned in which ever direction to look at "Mr. Locke" who was standing up and walking towards the exit.

"I'll follow him," Tor said before anybody could say anything. Suddenly, he disappeared and Wolf thought he saw a black shape go into Locke's shadow just as Locke was walking out the door.

Thirty seconds after Tor had disappeared, John spoke up.

"What do we do now?"

"We wait," replied Ash as he went back to reading his newspaper.

Tor didn't return until a half-hour later. He appeared suddenly in his chair and no one around them seemed to notice him until he actually spoke up. Wolf guessed that being a shadow walker gave him the characteristics of a shadow; never being noticed.

"He lives close to the lake, about a five minute walk," Tor said.

"Then why did it take you so long?" Asked John.

"The guy had some chores to do," Said Tor with a slight roll of the eyes.

"Like what?" Asked Wolf.

"He was picking up some …" Tor pondered for a moment and then answered with a slightly confused look, "raccoon traps?"

"Freeeeeeaky," John muttered.

After paying the bill, the group set out to find the girls and then go to Locke's house. The girls were at the fountain in the middle of the small park in the center of the town. Alesha was leaning over the edge of the fountain looking at the coy fish with a look of bliss.

"Alesha. Down," commanded Ash as the group walked up to them.

Alesha looked up in a very swift, quick movement to give Ash a pout and whimper; her bottom lip was even trembling.

"You can get fish later," stated Ash. "You don't need to steal them from a fountain."

Alesha pouted again and went with Eva to join the guys. Tor explained what happened and then they set off towards Locke's house. It was a ten minute walk from the park and half-way through the buildings started giving way to oak trees that were in full bloom. But as they began to approach their destination the trees began to become more densely packed and their canopies blocked out the sunlight. The buildings went out of sight too; only small, abandoned shacks and stone buildings could be seen out in the wood.

Finally, they arrived at a long, tall, gray stone wall that spanned about two acres. In the middle of the wall there was a gate made of some sort of metal; it wasn't iron but it was black and had pointed spires. Behind the gate there were more trees but the ground was completely covered in dead leaves that moved across the yard from the breeze. However, there was a stone path with wild, over-growing plants on either side of it; the driveway. It went straight up the middle of the yard and ended in a curve right before the house. The house was about two acres away from the gate. It was four stories tall and huge with at least three towers. The sides were made of a dark gray-brown brick that was surrounded horizontally and vertically by black metal wrought in intricate and gothic designs. The entrance of the house jutted out from the rest of the house and was made up of two large doors that were painted black.

The group stood in silence for a couple of moments taking in the grand yet ominous building. Finally, Tor took a step towards the gate while taking what looked to be a key out of his pocket. He took the key and put it in the lock that kept the gates closed. There was a low click and the gate slowly opened with a horrible squeaking sound.

"How cliché of a dark elf's house is this?" Ash muttered with some sarcasm in his voice.

"Very," answered Tor as he looked up at the house.

"Oh my – it looks … it looks," John sputtered, "It looks like my family's house!" John was shaking with fear.

"Well … the sooner we get in, the sooner we don't have to look at it anymore?" Suggested Alesha with a smile.

The others nodded and they began walking up the driveway to the house. They passed a very nice, black sports car on the way which Wolf goggled at for a moment. They had to climb up six steps to get to the entrance at which they looked around for a door bell. Tor located it after brushing some dust off a large metal square on the right of the doors. He pushed it without hesitance.

A haunting chiming sounded from inside that lasted for about fifteen seconds. There was silence for another thirty seconds until Wolf began to pick up the sound of footsteps from inside.

"He's coming," Wolf said quietly.

Most of them tensed up as the footsteps got louder; they were expecting the worst, considering it was a dark elf they were about to meet.

Finally, after what seemed like hours of waiting, there were many clicks from inside and the doorknob on the outside turned and door swung open slowly only to reveal darkness.

However, a voice accompanied it.

"I swear, if you're solicitors I'll take your credit cards and shove it up your –" but the voice stopped when whoever had said it saw the group waiting outside.

"Oh … um …" a face emerged, it was Locke and he was carrying what looked to be a saucepan. He looked at the group for a moment longer and then leaned against the unopened door and asked in a curious manner, "Now … what would a bunch of teenage immortals want with me?"

No one spoke.

"I'm guessing you're from the camp at the lake?"

No one spoke.

"I'll take that as a yes," He looked at them for another moment and then sighed and said, "What do you want?"

"Information," answered Wolf.

"On her?" Locke asked. "Well … I probably can't tell you much more than you already know but … well, I guess just come on in," Locke then opened the other door and turned away from them to walk back into the darkness of the house. "I'll … enlighten you … or something."

Is that a cliffhanger? I certainly hope so. XD

Sorry that I'm not finishing this chapter completely. I went a little overboard with details and I have homework to do. But, you'll be pleased (?) to find a profile page right after this chapter.

Sorry for not updating for so long. School's been hectic.