Title: C'est la Vie

Summary: I was only six years old when my father had been ripped from my life right before my innocent eyes. I had been only twelve when I made the drastic decision to leave my grandfather's safety for the big city. I could no longer bear to stare at my brother, a man who reminded far too much of our late père. Now, at the age of seventeen, I have been able to live my life relatively peacefully as a simple lycèe student. I attend school every day and finish every assignment. No one knows of my parent's deaths nor that I currently rent my own flat. But everything quickly changes as soon as that strange man made his way into my life. He called himself Alban. And with his help I will finally be able to unlock the mysterious box left behind by my deceased father. A box that held the strange name of 'Talehot' etched into it.

Chapter: Prologue

The setting sun in the distance cast a mixture of deep purples and soft pinks throughout the sky. If one were to simply see that beautiful view, they would never know of the horrendous scene that had just unfolded.

A silver Volkswagen lay on it's side with brightly burning flames erupting from the hood. The windshield had been shattered from the force of a fully grown man and small child being thrown through it.

Said child was currently shaking her father as forcefully as she could.

"Père!" Her shaking voice cried out, "Père!"

The tears fell from her emerald eyes finally as her fear began to set in anew.

"Answer me!" She desperately tried again, "Why won't you answer me?!"

Her wails became louder and louder, her anguish growing even as a group of men came running towards where the accident had taken place.

"Hey!" One man called out. His gruff voice fell upon the deaf ears of the child.
"There's a survivor here!" He yelled once more, this time directed towards the men that had followed him, "It's a young girl!"

The middle aged man quickened his pace until he was kneeling beside the child and carefully gave her a once over for any obvious injuries, "Don't worry!"

As if only just noticing the man for the briefest of seconds, the girl shifted her eyes to look into his deep brown pair before launching her small body over her father's.

"You'll be fine," the stranger tried to once more approach the frightened youth. "We came to save you!"

The sudden movement to his right caught the attention of the savior.
Huh? He thought, Who's that?

"Are you a survivor as well?" He voiced, his graying eyebrows furrowed in a mixture of confusion and concern.

Standing just on the other side of the ruined vehicle was a little boy. He was no older than the child currently cradling her fallen father. His dull hazel eyes bore into the older man's as if seeing through his very soul.

"Y-You!" The sudden accusatory tone caught the small girl's attention. Her emerald pearls searched for the other child but could only just barely see the top of his raven locks.

The adult beside her suddenly jumped to his feet and moved in front of her to act as a shield from the supposedly dangerous boy. His tanned and wrinkled finger pointed discriminately towards the younger, "You
must be that boy!"

His knees began to shake nervously under the boy's uninterested gaze.
"Were you the one who did this?" He tried again.

There was a long pregnant silence throughout the clearing before the child spoke up. His monotone voice cut through the thick atmosphere like that of a steak knife through softened butter, "This is the end."

"After this..." Everyone at the scene felt their bodies stiffen in anticipation of what would surely happen next. The child paused once more as he took a step backwards, closer to the quickly flowing currant behind him.

"After this," He tried again with a sadistic smirk growing on his face. The grin easily showed off his sharpened canines, "it'll all be over..."

With those ominous words having left his lips, the child spread his hands out to either side of his body and took a graceful leap backwards before landing somewhere in the river with a painful splash.

My name is Colette. Colette Leclair.

I cannot even remember anymore just how many times I have woke up from that ever strange dream. I only know that it is somehow connected to my childhood memories - the very memories that I now have a difficult time even recalling.

Every day I go about my life as though nothing bad had ever occurred.

I have found a way to peacefully live my life as another average lycèe student. I am fortunate enough that no one here is aware of my father's passing. They know not that he is deceased nor that I live on my own. I have never told another soul the true reason for my moving to this city from the small town I previously resided in.

I could not find it in myself to share that I simply ran to avoid seeing the clear resemblance my elder brother shared with our father. Every time I witnessed one of his overly friendly smiles or heard his deep, baritone voice I would find myself bombarded with the various haunting memories.

Lately, however, it seemed as though those strange dreams were returning. They always did have a certain way of haunting me, no matter the passage of time.

But even with such nightmares I forget, at times, how things once were.

"Colette?" A deep voice behind me interrupted my thoughts. "You are Colette, are you not?"

My eyes remained trained to the cement as I slowly turned my body to face the stranger. I instantly noticed his black leather shoes. As I trailed up his body I noticed the strange uniform he was wearing. The corner of a badge was sticking out of his chest pocket. How strange, I thought as my eyes narrowed a bit to further examine the pocket. Stitched into it was a raven.

"Ahem," He cleared his throat.

My gaze finally landed on the narrow and pale face of a man. He could not have been much older than I was. While his features were mostly matured, they still held a childlike resemblance. The main thing that I noticed, however, were his eyes - such a strikingly beautiful amber.

"You must be her," He spoke once more. His equally pale hand reached up to uncomfortably run the slender fingers through his raven locks. How odd, I briefly thought once more.

When he suddenly took a step closer to me, my body tensed up on impulse. "Who are you?" I grunted.

The hand previously laced through hair was now pressed again his chest as he bowed to me in respect, "My name is Alban. I am a student at the Duval Institute."

"You must have heard of that name before," Seeing as I was not saying anything, he continued on, "It is a rather well known academy in this area-"

"Yes," I cut in, "it is famous. In a bad way." My arms folded over my chest as my weight shifted to balance on my left leg, my eyes glancing up to meet his with very little interest in the current conversation. "Unsolved murder cases, mysterious disappearances, supposed alien and UFO sightings? And that is only naming a few."

"You are correct... Those rumors are not too far off from the truth either."

Once again I felt my body tensing up. His confession had my thoughts beginning to reel with many questions. Why was he asking for me? How did he know my name to begin with? What could he possibly need from somebody such as myself?

My trail of thoughts was one again interrupted by his deep voice, "Earlier this month our school's dean was murdered. Shortly after, the head of the medicinal studies department mysteriously disappeared."

"What does this have to do with-"

"I require your services to investigate the matter further."

I stood in silence, too shocked to say anything at first. When I was finally able to find my words, I turned my head to stare at the passing cars beside us rather than making eye contact.

"I am just a normal lycèe student," I chewed on my lower lip nervously for a moment. "Should you not discuss this with the police or a private investigator or something?"

"You are not just a simple student," he dodged my question, "I know of your... special... abilities which you seem to try so hard to hide." My head snapped back to stare at the man in surprise. "I need you to use them."

"How did you-"

"You will soon learn that I have my ways."

"Dèsolè," my emerald eyes narrowed dangerously towards him, my posture straightening up instantly as I responded, "but I neither have the obligations nor do I contain the desire to help you."

A faint smirk spread across his lips, "But you do." He took another step towards me, leaning down until our noses were practically touching before he shifted to whisper in my ear, "Talehot."

I instinctively took a step away from him, my hands shaking without my consent. A gasp left my lips as the dream from earlier once again returned to the forefront of my mind.

"That is the name of a certain special folder left behind by your father, was it not?" Stepping around my still frame, Alban only paused briefly in his strides. His head turned slightly as he spoke one last line with his bangs acting as a curtain to his eyes, "Come to the Duval Institute if you truly wish to unlock that mysterious record."

French vocabulary used

Père - father

Lycèe - secondary schooling

Dèsolè - sorry

Name meanings

Colette Leclair - bright victory of the people

Alban - white

Duval - from the valley

Talehot - bloodhound