Chapter 1


That day started like any other day for Ravie Ravenwood. She met up with her boyfriend, the amazing mysterious Nick Telford. She couldn't believe he'd finally noticed her. About three years ago, he moved to Huntington, West Virginia. They were both in the eighth grade at Enslow Middle School, home of the Bulldogs.

When she first saw him, her immediate thought was, Wow, if only I were taller and better looking. Then Maybe, just Maybe, I'd have a chance. But, as you can see, he did notice her. When they were freshmen in highschool, they had identical schedules so they ended up walking to every class together. So they eventually started talking on their way to class, then talked in class, then through text messaging. Then, naturally, there was hand holding, then hugs that eventually led to kisses.

But today, they're both juniors and have been together just over two and half years. Just now, they're on their way to the ever popular Mocha Mike's, where all the local bands play -including Nick's. Ravie doesn't really like most of the band members, but she tolerates them for Nick's sake.

A few minutes after they received their coffee, Ravie bounced up on her tiptoes to kiss Nick good luck as they had just heard his bands name called over the loudspeaker, "Now let us introduce, once again, Carpe Noctem!" -which means "seize the night" in Latin, yet another class they shared.

Ravie would love to just sit and listen to Nick's voice, he was the lead Singer and guitarist of the band. Most of the time she didn't even pay attention to the words so much as his voice. So, needless to say, she didn't know the words to many of his songs.

Just then, she looked up into Nick's eyes, just to find him looking at her in such a loving way, she thought she might faint as she felt heat rise to her cheeks and neck. Which he seemed to somehow see as he grinned down at her. She grinned back, mouthed "Be right back," and turned to head outside to cool off; but as she turned to go, she dumped her coffee all over a person standing way too close to her. She looked up to apologize -when she saw his face. It was all she could do to to not scream. His face was covered in black, slimy scales and all of his teeth were sharpened to points. But when he grabbed her arm and started to pull her away, that's when her reflexes kicked in.

She took her right arm and miraculously jerked from his grasp, then used the heel of her hand to ram his nose up into his brain. All of this happened in a matter of seconds, and she turned to see Nick staring at her with an expression that was a mix of concern and shock. She nodded to show that she was fine, but that he needed to hurry and finish the song so they could talk. She turned to see why no one was freaking out over the dead guy lying in the floor to find he had turned into a piled of black dust dissolving into the floor.

The song ended and she watched as Nick bought her another coffee, black with two sugars, the way she liked. They leaned against the tailgate of his blue Chevy S10 in silence for a few minutes. He was going to let her start whenever she felt like it, but she was just looking at him, taking in his beautiful features. His deep almost-too-blue eyes, with dark lashes that any girl would kill for. His lips. She would kiss him all day if she could. All framed by an adorable mane of jet black hair -which he was shaking out of his with impatience, so she told him everything.

"So, you've never taken any kind of self defense classes?" He asked after checking to make sure that was, indeed, fine and nothing was broken.

"No," she said, exasperated, "I've never, in my life, been in any kind of any defense classes."

He put his arms around her and pulled her close to him. When she laid her head on his chest and, quite unexpectedly, began to cry, he whispered soothing words in her as he rubbed her back gently.

"You're fine, Rae. I'm not gonna let anything happen to you. I promise." He just kept whispering to her until she calmed down about ten minutes later.

She had long quit crying, but stayed the way she was, listening to Nick's breath come and go. She felt embarrassed and self conscious. She was sure she looked a mess and pulled away to wipe away any remaining tears.

When she heard the squeal of tires, she turned around to find an old fashioned looking, blue, four door pickup truck, which, of course, looked hugely out of place surrounded by all these modern day cars, trucks and motorcycles. The truck was filled to the maximum capacity in the cab, and more in the bed, tough looking teenagers, both boys and girls, all wearing banged up armor over blue t-shirts and sword belts strapped around their waists. The kids in the bed of the truck quickly jumped out before the truck was fully stopped, and started chasing more of those black-scaled creatures that she hadn't even noticed until then.

Ravie was clinging to Nick's arm as they watched these kids go to work on the demon guys. They were slashing, hacking and whacking away and they made it look easy. Then one of the girls, a girl with hair such a dark black, it almost looked purple, whipped around and stalked toward them, eyeing them with distaste. Ravie was gripping Nick's hand with force enough to make her fingers ache, but he didn't so much as flinch.

As the dark haired girl got closer, about twenty feet away, one of the boys came up to her, armor clanking away, and whispered something in her ear, but she just kept walking as though he'd never said anything. Nick moved to stand in front of Ravie, but the girl just looked at him as though he were an idiot.

"My name is Leslie, and I need to ask the two of you a few questions," she said like it was the last thing she wanted to two.

"What about?" Nick's voice rang out confidant and strong, but not necessarily rude either.

Leslie just looked at them "About the demons," she pronounced each syllable as though they were a bit slow.

"My girlfriend here killed one inside a little bit ago after it tried to snatch her. Right, Rae?" Nick said in a matter-of-fact tone. Ravie was about to answer, but was interrupted by Leslie.

"There is no way in hell that some random, little bitch killed a Djinn with absolutely no training, whatsoever."

Ravie, who had Nick's arm around her waist, felt him go rigid with rage at the insults aimed at her. She tightened her arm around his waist in warning, saying that he better not do anything stupid. She saw a muscle tick in his cheek a couple times, but he said nothing else.

"Well we thought I killed it, but I may have just been imagining the fact that I knocked some cartilage up into its brain and then watched it disappear in a spray of dust," Ravie said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Is that exactly what happened?" Leslie asked.

"Yeah, pretty much. Well, after I dumped my coffee all over it."

"Well, it's not dead for good. Somebody keeps bringing them back from their pit, and they get stronger every time they come back. And with the fact that you both saw them, and us for that matter, you both are going to have to come with us back to the house," Leslie said, as though she expected them to follow her orders without any question.

But Nick stood his ground when Leslie started toward the drivers side of the truck, which wasn't at all surprising to Ravie, but it apparently was to her.

"Nope. I don't think so, bitch," Nick said going to stand in front of the door, blocking her way. "If you are planning on riding with us, then you can either ride shotgun or hop in the bed," he finished with a glare.

"I'll ride in the back, with two others," she told him, beckoning to the guy who'd whispered to her earlier and another boy who was looking at Ravie in a way that made her very uncomfortable and she buried her face in Nick's chest. Nick, taking the little squeeze to be out of fear, hugged her and whispered in her ear, "It'll be alright, Rae. I won't let anything happen to you. I promise," and pressed his lips to her forehead then opened her door for her, and slammed it behind her after she'd scrambled in, clutching her purple hoodie tighter around her.

She scooted into the middle of the bench seat so she could be closer to Nick just as he was climbing in himself. He turned to look at her apologetically.

"I'm sorry, Ravie, but I just couldn't take on all these people at once. I know that they'd be able to take me to the ground and back a half dozen times. And the gods only know what they could do to you and I wouldn't be able to do a damn thing about it. I couldn't stand to watch you get hurt because of me." He took her hand and laced his fingers through hers.

"I know. You know that they could hardly get past our mad ninja skills, or this awesome truck," she said in a weak attempt to cheer him up. He just brought her hand to his face and brushed his lips across her knuckles once before using the back of his own hand to wipe a stray tear from her cheek. He kissed her once more, then they set off after the mysterious blue truck to this base they're talking about.