Authors: S.J. West
The Watcher Chronicles
©2013 S.J. West. All Rights Reserved
I watch as Rafe glides his hands down the torn tissue of Chandler’s ravaged back. The blue light of his healing power illuminates the ragged edges of my friend’s tortured skin and muscles, but his ministrations only seems to be healing the wounds enough to stop the bleeding.
“Is there nothing you can do?” I ask my dad who is standing at my side with one of his arms around my shoulders, trying to comfort me in my time of grief.
“Like I said when I came to you, I can only heal
wounds, Jessi.” I hear the regret in my dad’s voice and know he would heal Chandler if he could.
Mason phases back from the graveyard with my sword and baldric. He hands it to me while he continues to hold his phone to his ear and starts to pace an agitated path between the entrances to my private bathroom and the hallway.
“I don’t care if you have to steal it, Aiden, just get the damn thing now!” Mason says, his tone as sharp as the blade of my sword. “We’ll deal with the political fallout later. If I have to, I’ll get the President to make a formal apology for us. After you get it, call Malcolm and have him bring you to Jess’s house.” Mason pauses and tilts his head down to the floor as he listens to the person on the other end of the call. “Just do it. That’s an order!”
He ends the call and looks up at me, the heat of the conversation still in his eyes.
“What was that all about?” I ask, not completely sure I want to know.
“I’m trying to get Rafe’s talisman,” Mason says, his mouth tense. He stuffs his hands in his front pant pockets and I can tell he’s still frustrated by the call. “Hopefully, it’ll be all he needs to heal Chandler’s wounds.”
“Why didn’t God just do it for us?” Rafe asks. His tone tells me he’s becoming increasingly frustrated with his inability to close the wounds on Chandler’s back.
“He normally doesn’t intervene unless he absolutely has to,” Mason answers. “He must think we can handle this on our own.”
“What do you think Rafe’s talisman is?” I ask Mason.
“Moses’ staff. It’s the only relic with healing properties that I could think of. At the moment it’s being kept at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. When we found Rafe, I had the Watcher in charge of Turkey contact the museum to negotiate a deal for us to obtain it. They’re reluctant to give it up, of course, considering it’s a main tourist attraction there.”
“Is that who you were talking to? The Watcher in charge of the negotiations?”
“Is he going there now to steal it for us?” I ask, seeing no problem with a little theft if it will save Chandler’s life.
“That’s what I told him to do,” Mason says, not sounding completely sure this Aiden will do as he was ordered in a timely fashion.
For Aiden’s sake, I hope he does. Mason does not look like he’s in the mood to be defied.
“Mason!” We hear Malcolm yell from the direction of the living room.
Mason phases and is back beside Rafe almost instantly with a staff in his hands.
For some reason, the staff I pictured in my mind was a lot more elaborate than what it actually looks like. It’s a six foot tall, slim reddish tree limb polished by use and time with a five inch knobby branch jutting out the side near the top. To be honest, it doesn’t look very impressive.
Mason hands the staff to Rafe who takes it immediately.
As soon as Rafe wraps his fingers around the holy relic, I feel a wave of warm heat permeate the air in the room. Instantly, the staff begins to glow the same light blue as Rafe’s hands. Rafe stands up and holds the staff horizontally over Chandler’s prone body. Slowly, he passes it from Chandler’s shoulders down to the small of his back. As the staff travels over the wounds, the torn flesh seals together, closing the deep gashes and making the skin look as new as a baby’s.
“Help me roll him over,” Rafe tells Mason.
Once they have Chandler lying on his back, I walk over just to reassure myself that he’s still alive. I see the gentle rise and fall of his chest and sigh in relief at this simple sign of his steady breathing.
“Why isn’t he waking up?” I ask, becoming worried something else might be wrong, something we can’t see.
“I healed the physical wounds,” Rafe tells me, a look of worry on his face, “but I’m sure his mind suffered a lot of trauma from the torture. I think he just needs some rest.”
I feel my dad come up behind me and place a comforting hand on my shoulder. I drag my eyes away from Chandler’s ashen face and turn to look at him.
“I think you need some rest too, Jessi,” he tells me, a deep set worry for me in his eyes. “Why don’t you and Mason go to one of his homes for the rest of the night? I’ll take care of Chandler and let you know if he wakes up before you make it back in the morning.”
I nod and hug my dad. “Thank you.”
“I’ll stay too, if you don’t mind,” Rafe says.
“Can you be spared from your clinic for the night?” I ask, turning to face him.
Rafe grins. “There aren’t very many patients in the clinic at the moment,” he tells me, holding up his right hand and wiggling his fingers. “One touch and I can heal almost anything it seems.”
“Be careful how often you use your gift,” Mason warns. “We don’t need anyone getting suspicious of you.”
Rafe nods. “Yes, I know. I only use it to heal the worst cases, maladies which can’t be helped by modern medicine. It’s hard but I’m trying not to over use it.”
Mason takes one of my hands into his.
“I want to introduce you to Aiden before we leave,” he tells me. “You’ll need to get to know him.”
We walk into the living room and see Malcolm and Aiden sitting on opposite ends of my couch.
Aiden looks to be close to my age. His bronzed features remind me of an actor I saw in a movie once playing the part of the handsome Arabian prince who completely stole the heart of the heroine. His eyes are such a pale blue-green they seem to have an iridescent quality even in the dim light of my living room. His dark, glossy black hair matches his slanted brows lending him a predatory quality as he looks at me. His shoulders are broad and his upper body is well defined with toned muscles. I know this because he isn’t wearing a shirt, or shoes for that matter, only a faded pair of tight fitting blue jeans.
When we approach them, both Aiden and Malcolm stand up, but only Aiden falls to one knee and bows his head. It’s the same thing I saw Isaiah do the first night I met Mason. We haven’t been around many other Watchers in private, and Aiden’s action is a gentle reminder to me that Mason is their leader.
“How is the boy?” Malcolm asks Mason.
“He’ll make it,” Mason replies, letting go of my hand and walking up to Aiden.
He places one of his hands on Aiden’s head. “Rise, Aiden. You did well.”
Aiden stands and looks at Mason.
“They’ll be mad,” Aiden says with dread in his voice and a shake of his head. “They saw me phase in and take it.”
“And you couldn’t have put a shirt on before you committed grand larceny?” Malcolm asks derisively.
“You’re one to talk,” I tell Malcolm looking pointedly at his bright blue button down shirt which is open at the front showing the contours of his well defined chest down to the waistband of his black slacks.
Malcolm smiles at me. “And here I thought you were completely immune to my …charms, Jess.”
“Kind of hard not to notice your
,” I tell him, “considering how much of them you have on display all the time.”
Malcolm’s smile grows wider, but he looks over at Aiden expectantly waiting for an answer to his previous question.
Aiden clears his throat. “I was indisposed at the time of Mason’s call.”
“Oh?” Malcolm asks with a quizzical eyebrow raised. “And what was Ms. Indispose’s name if I might ask?”
“Jacqueline,” Aiden says, a small smile playing across his lips, “and Amber.”
This time it’s me who feels my eyebrows rise in surprise. I guess I know how Aiden likes his bread buttered, on both sides apparently.
“Thank you for doing as I ordered so quickly,” Mason says, choosing to ignore the implications of Aiden’s answer to Malcolm’s question. “I have one other thing I need you to do.”
“Anything,” Aiden says, folding his hands behind his back with his feet firmly planted apart, almost like he’s a soldier awaiting his next orders.
“I need you to become the Watcher for this section of the United States. I’ll give Turkey to someone else. I seriously doubt they’re going to want you back there now anyway.”
Aiden cocks his head to the side slightly, looking like he’s sure he misheard Mason.
“I thought Isaiah was in charge of this area,” Aiden says.
I look between him and Malcolm and see they both don’t understand why Mason is making such a request.
“Isaiah died saving me and Chandler,” I tell them, feeling a fresh onslaught of tears threaten to reveal the guilt my heart still holds over my friend’s sacrifice.
“How?” Malcolm demands. There’s a simmering anger underneath his question, but I know it isn’t directed towards me.
“Baal and Levi kidnapped Chandler…” Mason begins, but I put a hand on his chest to stop him.
I know he wants to take on the responsibility of telling the story to take the burden off of me, but it’s my story to tell. I need to take responsibility for what happened.
I tell Malcolm and Aiden everything that happened between the time I learned Chandler was missing to Lucifer’s last words to me. I end up breaking down in tears by the end of my tale and Mason takes me into his arms attempting to shoulder some of my grief.
“If the two of you will excuse us,” Mason tells them, “Jess and I need some time alone.”
Mason phases us to the bedroom in his beach house, and I continue to cling to him like my life depends on his closeness. And maybe it does. All I know is that I lost two friends in one night for polar opposite reasons. I lost Isaiah because of his nobility, and I lost Lucifer because of his cowardice.
“I should have trusted Isaiah with the truth,” I tell Mason. “I should have just told him what was going on instead of trying to protect him and keep him out of it.”
“You gave him a noble death,” Mason tells me, holding me tightly to him. “It’s what he’s always wanted, to die for a cause worth dying for. And he isn’t really dead, Jess. He’s in Heaven where he belongs. It’s a place we all yearn to go back to one day.”
I feel the flow of my tears slow as Mason’s words sink in.
“I didn’t think about it like that,” I say, sniffing, loosening my hold around his waist and pulling back slightly to look at him.
“Death is never the end,” Mason tells me, using his fingers to smooth my long strands of hair away from my tear stained face. “For some, it’s just the beginning. So, no more tears for Isaiah. Only his journey here on Earth is over. I’m sure our father has plenty for him to do now that he’s back in Heaven.” Mason sighs heavily. “But Jess, you should have told someone what was going on. Promise me you won’t do that again. You drive me insane with your need to protect everyone. Sometimes you need to be protected too. Let us.”