This story is probably not that great. It was written like 3 years ago in 2008, when I was fourteen...or maybe I'd just turned fifteen. Anyway. It's an old story, but it's complete, and it kind of holds a special place in my heart as one of my more serious, completed works of that time period. During that time, I started like hundreds of stories (no joke) and only finished a rare few. This one made the cut. I still remember the first time I received feedback on this first chapter, and how happy it made me and how it inspired me to come back to this story (as I had left it before that) and continue writing it. Why is it now here? Because I like it, even though it needs to undergo a serious editing process. Back then my writing wasn't that great, and it probably still isn't, but yeah. It's the later chapters that I think I messed up on, because they haven't been revised in the slightest since I wrote them. However, the first few chapters (up until I think chapter 6?) have been revised and slightly edited back from when I completed the story. Anywho, thanks for reading my rant...
WARNING: This story does NOT contain slash, which I know is unusual for me, but still. In fact, there's not any romance. It's just mainly friendships and how people are thrown together. I will try to tie everything together better when I start to actually edit it, since it's been so many years O.o. I just really wanted to post it, so here it is.
This story switches between POVs. Also, I will have a summary posted on my profile if anyone wants to know the full summary. Thanks!
Now, let us begin...
When the Sun Goes Down
Book One of Wizards and Magic
By Muffy the Dough Slayer
Warnings: This story contains magic, murder, and a few slightly graphic scenes. No slash, and it is rated T for a few violent themes and language.
In the distance, there was a sound. What that sound was, sixteen-year-old Tyler Bradford wasn't sure, but it sounded wrong. A human cry? No, no that wasn't it. A dog, perhaps? A loud, screeching cat? No, that wasn't it either. He thought about it for a moment, frowning, but his mind continued to come up blank as the screeching continued, a voluminous wail that never seemed to end. Nothing he knew could make that sound, that horrible, screeching, ear-splitting scream-like sound. He just couldn't figure it out. What could it be? What could possibly make that noise? He knew he just had to find out...
...and that was his first mistake.
He took off running down the street, curious as to what that noise was, where it was coming from, and what kind of animal was making it. What would cause an animal, any animal really, to make a noise such as that? His heart pumping in anticipation, he darted around a corner and kept running as the animal gave another screech, the first one dying away.
Twenty-four-year-old Logan Gray looked up from his newspaper when he heard a screeching sound off in the distance. Thousands of possibilities raced through his mind of what the sound could be, even though in truth he knew in his heart exactly what it was, and it made his skin crawl. With a heavy, tired sigh, he rose to his feet and tossed his newspaper to the side as he continued on his way to the hallway by the front door and slid into his black jacket. It wasn't especially cold tonight, what with the light wind chill, but that didn't mean that it wasn't a tad bit nippy. It was cold enough for him to want a jacket, just incase things didn't go in his favor...
He shook those thoughts out of his head. He knew what he was going up against; he knew what to do to stop it - he would be just fine. But still...just incase. It couldn't hurt. Better to be safe than sorry, he knew. He had learned that the hard way, and boy was he sorry. Shrugging those thoughts aside, he thought of the words he would need to say.
He checked the pockets of his jacket and found what he needed: a small spray bottle that would surely end this evening quickly, or at least that was what he was hoping for. As he stepped out the door, he wasn't ready to see someone already bounding down the street in the direction of the noise. His eyes wide, a warning went off in his head. No, it can't...stupid kid, don't! he thought frantically.
"No, kid, don't!" he shouted, darting down the sidewalk, but he knew in his heart that he was already too late. No, no...please, a little more time and I can reach him... he thought desperately, but he could feel the danger...coming closer, and closer...coming for the boy. No!
A black mist surrounded the boy, and Logan squeezed his eyes shut as he heard the scream coming from the boy's lips. The scream, nothing but a terrified, pained shout really, rose into the air and made Logan's hair stand on end as he willed the sound away. That scream would be imprinted in his mind forever. A lump formed in his throat and he found it hard to swallow.
I can still save him, he thought with a touch of desperation as he bounded down the sidewalk once more, gripping the spray bottle tightly in his right hand. He forced himself to remember the incantation and to push back the feeling of dread. He would get there in time to save the child. He had to. He couldn't accept the alternative, that he was too late and the kid - the poor kid - was dead. He wouldn't. The kid was still screaming and that meant he was at least alive. In severe pain, maybe, but thankfully still alive.
A sudden flash of white caught his eye. Almost to the kid, he saw that the boy was glowing a bright color, the black mist momentarily pushed back, and the boy sucked in a rasping breath, as if he had been deprived of oxygen for far too long. As Logan stared at him with wide eyes, the mist attacked again, more ruthless now, and the boy cried out again in another blood-curdling scream. The light, whatever it was, disappeared. That's messed up, Logan thought, and then mentally shook himself. He had to take action.
Before he even made it to the mist and the boy who was writhing on the ground in agony and begging to God that it would end, he was shouting out the words to the ancient incantation and holding the bottle out in front of him to spray when he was ready. When he got closer and could smell that horrible scent of tar and grime that he was all-too-familiar with, he sprayed. The mist hesitated, it seemed, and then finally faded away. A screech sounded from somewhere in the distance. The threat was subdued, he knew, but not stopped. No, never stopped...only subdued, sent away for the time being.
He dropped down beside the still boy and gingerly felt for a pulse, pressing against the kid's pale neck. He damn near fainted with relief when he felt a slow but steady beat underneath his fingers. "You're okay, kid," he murmured, more to reassure himself than anything. "You're okay." He gently got the boy into a sitting position and put an arm behind his back and one under his knees, lifting him up bridal style. The kid's head lolled weightlessly against his chest, and he felt a flicker of concern, but brushed it aside as he stumbled down the sidewalk toward his house. "What were you thinking?" he chided the unconscious child. "Do you have a death wish?" He stared down at the still form, his anger abating.
He swallowed as a memory popped into his mind, a memory of fear and pain, a memory of helplesslness, of anger and hate, of darkness and tears...He pushed it back almost as a physical effort, and juggled the kid in his arms as he twisted the doorknob to his house and let himself in, kicking the door shut behind him after he was done. Murmuring something beneath his breath, the light in the hallway flickered on, and he kicked his shoes off before entering the living room. There, he placed the kid on the couch and took a look around.
"What a mess," he grumbled, and flicked his wrist, murmuring something as his eyes gave a brief twinkle. Books lifted from the floor and flew over to a shelf, sliding into place. His forgotten newspaper lifted into the air and folded neatly before flying over to him. He grabbed the paper and put it on the coffee table in front of the couch. "There. That's better." He nodded to himself, satisfied.
His head gave a sharp throb and he unconsciously brought a hand up to rub at the back of his neck, trying to relieve some of the pressure that had built up there. Damn kid, what the hell were you thinking? He shook his head and allowed his eyes to close for a brief moment as he took the time to breathe and to relax. He had gotten to the kid in time - he'd sent the mist away. That was what mattered.
So why did he feel as though he had failed? It wasn't your fault he got hurt, he told himself, scowling mentally. He was the one that went running at it-you tried to stop him. It wasn't your fault. Try as he might to believe that, he couldn't. He felt responsible. I should have sensed it sooner. I should have dealt with it before the kid ran at it.
Sighing, he turned back to the kid and gently slapped his cheek, muttering for him to wake up. The boy didn't, of course, and that made him give a low groan. Who knew what kind of damage had been inflicted into the child before he'd gotten there...the thought made him shiver. Guilt gnawed within him, chewing away at the inside of his stomach, and he took in a quick breath to push the queasy feeling down.
"Hey, kid? C'mon, wake up. You're okay, just open your eyes. C'mon, you can do it. That's it," he said soothingly when the boy's eyes fluttered briefly before sliding closed. "Wake up."
The boy opened his eyes and peered at him dubiously. "Who..." he rasped, and Logan knew his throat was probably terribly dry. "Who are you?" The boy sounded suspicious and yet oddly unconcerned at the same time. Logan wondered how that was possible.
"Uh, Logan," he murmured, already looking around the room. If the boy's throat was sore, damage had already been done... And what had that strange white light been? Had that been caused by the creature, perhaps? Or was it the boy? He narrowed his eyes."You feeling okay, kid?"
"Tyler," the boy corrected automatically.
Logan sighed. "Tyler. Whatever. You feeling okay? Your throat sore, your back or chest hurt? How about your head?"
Tyler looking at him for a long moment from where he lay on his back on the couch. "...Throat's dry...not sore," he rasped. Logan rolled his eyes. "Chest...sore...back aches...head is..." He closed his eyes. "Hurts."
Logan sighed in sympathy. "I think I know what will help. Can you sit up for a few minutes?" He stood up slowly. Damn it. I should have gotten there sooner, he thought. Still...it wasn't my fault he ran at it. What the hell was he thinking? Damn kid.
The boy, Tyler, nodded. "Sure..." He slowly sat up, with a bit of difficulty. Logan nodded in satisfaction and left the room. Tyler looked around while he was gone, and frowned. He didn't know where he was...who was Logan? Why was he here? Last thing he could remember was...a scream...his? Maybe...
Logan came back into the room a few minutes later with a glass of what looked like tea in it. He handed it to him and said, "Here, this should help."
Tyler looked at the tea as he gripped the glass and peered at Logan suspiciously before drinking it down in one gulp. "Gross," he commented, taking deep breaths to help rid himself of the taste.
Logan nearly smirked. "Yeah. I know. It sucks." He sat down on the couch next to Tyler and looked him over slowly. "Better?" he asked after a moment. Tyler paused.
Logan shrugged and said, "What did you think you were doing? Running down the sidewalk like that." He tried to keep the aggitation from his voice, but couldn't help but notice that his voice sounded a bit harsh.
Tyler stiffened, his eyes widening somewhat. "I...I heard a noise. I didn't know...didn't know what it was. I was...curious," he stammered.
Logan sighed. "Curious. Right. Okay. Do you know what happened?" he asked, looking over at the kid. He narrowed his eyes when he saw Tyler looking at him, and the kid immediately looked away.
"...I don't know. I felt pain and everything was dark, and it was so cold...then I was here. What happened?" He peered at Logan with piercing green eyes that wanted answers.
Logan sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with his index finger and thumb. Damn, but his head was really starting to hurt. He made a mental note to take some aspirin before he went to bed. He figured that would be sooner rather than later, as the sun was already mostly gone, the streetlights the only thing guiding those who were out on the roads at this time. As he peered out of his window, he watched as a few cars sped down the road at a speed that was obviously against the law. Probably some punk kids, he thought, out racing. When will they ever learn?
A voice inside of him chortled, Oh, like you never raced.
He scowled to himself and then took notice that Tyler was watching him closely, a slight frown on his lips. He blinked at the boy and then let out a heavy sigh.
"I don't know what it was," he said to the kid, feigning innocence. He hoped that the boy believed him, because if he didn't, that would raise too many questions. "Some...mist? Yeah, that's what it was. I tried to get to you in time, but...I think I was a little late. Sorry about that."
Tyler watched him for a long while, his eyes calculating. Logan decided that he was probably trying to decide whether or not he was being honest with him. He waited. The kid finally nodded and looked away. "Thanks...for saving me, I mean." His voice was quiet and cautious.
"Any time," Logan said as he rose to his feet. "Do you need to use my phone to call your parents?"
Tyler paled and went rigid suddenly, furiously shaking his head head. "No," he said, if not a bit too quickly. "No, I don't need to call anyone."
Logan narrowed his eyes. "How old are you?"
He frowned. "I think you need to call your parents."
"I...I will, just...not right now. They...think I'm at my friend's house," Tyler said, stumbling over his words which led Logan to believe he was lying.
"Well...then call your friend's house," he suggested, folding his arms across his chest slowly.
"Why not? I have a phone right over there."
Tyler shifted uncomfortably. "I just...I can't, okay? Leave it alone." A slight pause. "Please."
Logan wasn't sure what made him give in, but the way the kid said 'please' just took all the wind from his sails and he dropped his arms to his sides. He sighed heavily. "Do you have anywhere to stay?" He knew he should probably call the kid's parents anyway, but if Tyler didn't want to talk to them, what business did he have in getting involved? It was obvious the kid really didn't want to talk to them, or anyone that would talk to them for him. Whatever that really meant, Logan wasn't all that sure.
The boy was silent for a long moment, before he finally gave a small shake of his head.
Logan sighed heavily. "Look, I'm probably going to regret this, but...you can stay here for a few days, if you want. I have a guest room that I'm not using. You can stay there." He wasn't sure what made him speak those words, but it was too late to take them back now. Besides, the kid would be safe enough here. The mist and the screeching thing attached to it were still out there, and Logan wanted to keep an eye on Tyler for the time being to make sure there wasn't any serious, long-term damage. Sometimes those things could be rather tricky, as he knew from experience.
"Really?" Tyler looked at him, his eyes suddenly a little brighter. Was that hope shining in them? Logan frowned inwardly.
"Yeah," he said. "I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it - otherwise it's just a waste of breath." Then he paused. "I mean, if you want to. It's kind of creepy, staying with an old guy you just met, but the offer is there all the same."
Tyler suddenly smiled. "Thank you."
Logan shifted, uncomfortable at the show of gratitude and the sincerity of the kid's words. "Yeah. Whatever. It's upstairs to the right. My room is just down the hall, if you need anything, because I'll probably be up there in a few."
Tyler nodded. "Thanks...again."
"Uh, yeah. No problem," he said. "Go on up to your room, then."
The boy nodded again and rose to his feet slowly, as though he were stiff. He looked as though he wanted to say more, and then thought better of it, apparently, as he shook his head and made his way toward the stairs. Logan sighed and leaned forward on the couch, rubbing at his temples. What a day it had been so far...
Yeah, and it ain't over yet, he thought gloomily, closing his eyes. He got up after a few minutes and went to the kitchen to take some aspirin.
Logan was awoken hours later to the sound of screaming. Instantly bolting awake, he fled his room and darted down the hallway, already knowing where the screaming was coming from. He quickly entered the guest room and stopped dead in his tracks. Books, papers, and pencils were flying around the room, and he just barely managed to duck in time as a book flew at his head. Something slammed into his back, hard, and he went down. Something then slammed into his head, knocking it to the ground, and everything went black for a minute, before he managed to clear his vision and dart to his feet.
What the hell is going on? Damn it, that light...why didn't I put it together earlier? he mentally scolded himself. The books and other flying objects were beginning to come at him again.
He dove toward the bed and grabbed Tyler's shoulder. "Tyler, Tyler wake up," he shouted as the books flew at his head again. "Wake. Up!" He shook him harshly as a book collided with his head. His grip on Tyler left and he slid to the floor, staring up at the ceiling as the other books and papers and pencils darted toward him. Oh shit, he thought. The kid thinks I'm a threat. "Wake up!" The books dropped. Darkness consumed his vision, and his mind went blank.
Tyler's eyes snapped open at the sound of someone's voice, and he quickly shot into a sitting position, his heart racing as he thought back to his dream, his terrible nightmare. He felt cold all over and his head was killing him, but he could have sworn he heard Logan calling his name...Wait...Logan? Who was Logan, again? And where was he? For one horrible moment he thought he was back home, but then realized that this wasn't his room, and his memories came rushing back to him. Logan was a guy who had saved him and had allowed him refuge in his house. Logan was kind. He was safe - for now. But speaking of Logan... "Logan?" he murmured, looking around. He moved to get out of bed, but his feet hit something solid...and warm. Gasping, he looked down and- "Logan!" He jumped out of bed and dropped down next to the motionless figure, books all around them. Why? He wasn't sure.
He didn't really care, either, not at the moment. What's going on? he thought. What happened?
He lightly slapped Logan's cheek, unsure as to what else to do. "Wake up," he murmured with a touch of fear. Why was Logan in here? Why was he unconscious? Why was his forehead bleeding like that? Why were books all over the room, and pencils and paper? He chewed on his lower lip for a long moment before he grabbed Logan's shoulder and shook him."Wake up," he said again, louder this time. "Wake up, Logan. Please. This isn't funny. What's going on? Wake up."
It wasn't working. Logan never moved, never made a sound. Why wasn't he waking up? What the hell had happened? Tyler didn't know, and that was scaring him. He didn't know what to do or how to make it better, how to fix it. He felt helpless just as he had his entire life.
"Wake up!" he shouted, shaking him harshly. "Wake up, wake up, wake up! Please wake up! ...This isn't funny...wake up!"
Logan's eyes fluttered open and he let out a groan as he rolled over onto his side and held his head. "What hit me?" he grumbled, prying his eyes open after they slid shut. "Oh yeah. A whole friggin' bookcase."
"Are you okay? What happened?" Tyler asked, concerned.
Logan's gaze fluttered to him. "You. How dare you make books fly at me," he growled, but his voice was teasing.
Tyler was confused. Did Logan have a concussion? "What do you mean? You think I...no, I wouldn't!" he said, shaking his head. He wouldn't hurt Logan. He wouldn't hurt anyone.
Logan sighed. "I know, I know. I'll explain later, okay, once the room stops spinning and I don't have dark spots in my vision and my head isn't freakin' fit to burst." He closed his eyes.
He was quiet for so long that Tyler began to worry. "Logan?" he whispered. There was no answer. Fear spiked within the teen, and he gripped Logan's shoulder tightly. "Logan?" his voice was louder this time.
Logan's eyes slid open. " 'm okay," he murmured. "Headache. I'll be fine." He forced himself to sit up, though Tyler could see it was a struggle for him.
"...You okay?" Worry gnawed at him.
"Sure," Logan said non-too reassuringly. "Perfectly fine."
Tyler wasn't convinced, but let it slide. For now.
"What happened?" he asked.
Logan looked at him. "...Kid..." he began, shaking his head with a heavy sigh. "I...I kinda lied to you before..."
Tyler narrowed his eyes, confused. "How so?"
"That mist...I know what it is. I was...hunting it, I guess you could say. I knew it was in the area, I just didn't know where," Logan said, arm over his eyes.
"What are you talking about?"
Logan let out a heavy breath but didn't move his arm as he continued to talk. "That mist. It's the mist from a creature. It lures it's victims in by screeching. Certain animals will respond to it, and...well, then it uses the mist to attack them, because they never see it coming, they're so concerned about the noise. Then it has dinner."
"It?" Tyler asked with a raised brow, not really believing a word this man was saying. What in the world is he going on about? he thought. Was he crazy?
"Yeah. It's not human, kid. It's...It's like a cross between a human and a cat, I guess you could say, but different. It eats the things that come for the sound. Sometimes humans get curious, like you did."
"Okay, I think maybe you hit your head a little hard there. Maybe I should call a doctor," Tyler suggested slowly, cautiously. "You probably have a concussion. You're confused." He started to leave the room to search for a phone.
Logan waved him back down. "I'm not concussed," he declared. "It's a Larth. That's what they're called. How else do you explain what you heard?"
"You're concussed...I mean, look at that mark on your head! I'll call a doctor and he can help you."
"For the love of - I'm not concussed!"
"Then you're crazy," Tyler said. "Which is it?" He peered down at him from where he stood.
"I'm not crazy," Logan said. "Well, okay, maybe a little, but in a good way! Never mind, I know what I'm talking about. You saw what happened, Tyler. The noise, the pain...how else do you explain it? I knew what to do to get rid of it. I saved your life."
Tyler bit down on his lower lip. "I...I know you did, but...this is impossible!"
"No, not impossible-just not really believeable, right? I get it, I do. You think I'm nuts, and hell, I probably am, but I know what I'm talking about. You know I'm telling you the truth."
"Yes. You felt it, Tyler. You heard it. What else could do that, huh? You give me a good answer and I'll check myself into the crazy house, okay?"
"I..." he trailed off. Logan's words were impossible, but...what if they were true? He had heard that strange sound...a sound that no animal had any right making, and then the pain... He winced just thinking about it. Logan had saved him and had given him a place to stay...maybe he deserved a chance. "Wait - how did you know what how to stop it?"
"I've dealt with them before," Logan sighed, his arm back over his eyes. "I'm trained to deal with them. I used a spell and a potion."
"Whoa, hold up - spell? That's it, I'm calling a doctor." He took to leaving the room.
Logan called him back. "I'm fine, I swear to God if you call a doctor, you're back on the streets and Larth food," he swore, a small growl in his tone.
"Spells aren't real. Just like Larths aren't, either," Tyler told him, using a voice one would use on a four-year-old who swore they just saw a dragon. "It's impossible."
"Unlikely, yes. Impossible, no. Would you hear me out? How else do you exlpain it? Answer me that. And spells...I can prove it. I'm a wizard."
"Wizard," Tyler spat. "Right, yeah, sure. You need help."
"Look, I'm really not in the mood to fight right now." He pointed his finger randomly, and a book flew from the floor and hit the far wall with a loud thud, before it slammed onto the floor. Tyler stared at the book, mouth gaping open, before he looked back to Logan who was looking at him. "See? I'm not crazy. I'm a wizard."
"How...why...Wizards aren't real!"
"They are," Logan said. "You're looking at one. Just because you didn't know about us doesn't mean we're not real. Just like Larths and spells are real, too."
"But...this is insane!" he said, trying to wrap his head around everything.
"Maybe a little," Logan admitted with a small shrug. "Damn it..." He closed his eyes.
"...What?" Tyler asked, seeing how Logan's brows knitted together.
"Headache," Logan muttered.
"From the books?"
"Yeah...do you believe me now?"
"I guess so," Tyler murmured. "I mean, I don't really have a choice, do I? It makes sense, I guess...I mean, the screeching and then the pain...You're right. I can't explain anything else for it, so..." He shrugged slowly. "I guess I have to believe you."
"Good, good," Logan sighed. "And these books, Tyler...I didn't hit myself with them, I can assure you."
"Then...what happened?" Tyler asked, frowning. "You said I did it...but how? I was sleeping! I didn't do anything."
"What?" He knelt down next to Logan again, wondering if maybe he had missed something. Logan's voice had faded when he had said his name.
"I think...you're a wizard."
Tyler stared. "What?" he gasped, staring at him with wide eyes. Larths and wizards and spells were one thing...but to call him a wizard as well? That was just insane! He looked into Logan's eyes to see if he was lying, but found only a sad honesty within them. Stunned, he rolled back onto his heels, staring blankly ahead.
A wizard, he shouted through his mind. I'm a freaking wizard! As if my life wasn't screwed up enough as it was!
Heh yeah, so there's the first chapter. I did a bit of typo cleanup - or at least tried to - but mostly everything is how it was three years ago. I hope it sounds okay! This story is complete and I will posting it all here, but I might try to do a little revising to at least make it more...readable. heh. Thanks for reading. I'm sorry if Tyler sounds shifty, it's just being a confused teen is...complicated, hehe. Teens are naturally shifty - or at least I think so... Anywho, please review!
~Muffy the Dough Slayer~