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Authors: Thomas Grave

Dark Destiny (4 page)

BOOK: Dark Destiny
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“And you and Sara share the exact same interests! I mean, she reads comics, watches Kung Fu movies. What chick does that? It’s unnatural.”

Jared stood up, dipped his brush in more pink paint, and continued with the upper portion of the backdrop.

Sebastian’s smile widened. Jared really didn’t get worked up very often. Even if it was about Sebastian’s girlfriend, he got a kick out of listening to Jared’s rant. “Yeah, I know, right?

Sebastian was about to pick up his roller again but another text came.



No. We need to talk.



That definitely gave him pause. Short and to the point. Normally, she would type long, lengthy paragraphs. He frowned down at his phone and began thumbing back a reply.



What’s wrong? Maybe I can help.



“Everything all right?” asked Jared.

“I don’t know yet. Something is definitely off.”

His phone vibrated. Sara’s picture, one worthy of a professional magazine cover, lit up the screen.

“Jared, I got to take this.” He moved to the edge of the stage, farther away from his friend.

“Whatever,” Jared muttered, and he seemed to slap the paint on with less precision, almost like he was angry. Anyway, Sebastian couldn’t focus on Jared. Something was going on with Sara and he needed to find out what. Jared would be fine.



Saturday, 8:01 pm


Jared saw Hope’s bedroom door was slightly ajar, the glow from her ceiling lamp splitting the darkness of the hallway. Silent as a ninja, he gently inched his way to her room. He was ready to prank her, scare her enough to make her jump. This was one of his many joys in life, coming in just after making bullies eat dirt with Sebastian and getting into a good fist fight. He knew that all brothers, everywhere, were permitted to taunt their sisters. He was sure it was an unwritten law somewhere as a requirement for manhood. He felt sorry for people like Sebastian, with no siblings to persecute.

Like a lion stalking its prey, he peered through the crack to see if he could catch her.

She was lying on the bed. Her face was propped on her hand, elbow burrowing into the mattress. She scribbled something in a school notebook that lay open in front of her. Modern pop music lightly played in the background.

As he was about to spring his trap, Hope said, “I can see you.”

With a plastered fake smile, he pushed the door fully open and asked. “How?”

“Recently redecorated the room.” She waved her pencil airily while still paying attention to the notebook. “Now I can see my door in the mirror. See?” Hope said, pointing at his reflection.

He followed her gaze to the mirror. “Wow. Cute kid, don’t you think?”

“No,” Hope replied with extra emphasis on the “o”.

“What are you talking about?” Jared pointed to his mirror image, “That guy could be a model.”

She rolled her eyes. “A before model. Definitely not after.”

“Har har har,” he told her, plopping himself on her bed. “I had a weird dream last night.”

“About?” she asked, still paying him no mind, continuing to write in the notebook.

Jared raised an eyebrow, it was like he wasn’t even in the room. Totally unacceptable. “Sebastian dancing in the men’s locker room, butt-naked in the shower, doing the splits.”

“Huh,” she responded. “Sounds fun.”

Jared sighed. He thought that comment would have gotten a better reaction than that. “Whatcha working on?” he asked, peering over her shoulder.

“Your homework,” she answered.

“My homework?” Jared said, leaning down for closer inspection. “But, I did it already.”

“I know. Out of twenty answered, you got eleven right.”

“That’s like a C, right?”

“D-,” said Hope, sitting up.

She skimmed over her notes one last time, making sure all were corrected. Pleased with the results, she closed the book, stood up from her bed and thrust the notebook into his chest. “Congratulations, now you have seventeen correct. You got a B+”

“Sweet! Um, why not an A?”

She gave him a steady, unfaltering look. “Because you’re you, Jared. Then, Mr. Thompson would know I did your homework. Trust me, B+,” she said, patting him on the shoulder. “I know things.”

“Niiiice,” said Jared completely satisfied. He stood up and moved directly under the light of her ceiling fan. Opening the notebook, he skimmed over what she had done. “Whoa, you even have my handwriting down pat.”

“Twins, remember?”

“Oh, trust me, I want to forget,” he said with a smile. “I didn’t ask you to do this, you know?”

“I know. But if I didn’t you’d probably flunk out,” Hope said, then added, “And I would be alone.”

“Aw, on the off chance that I did fail? You’d still have Sebastian.”

“No, I wouldn’t. It’s not like when we were kids. He seems . . . distant.”

“Or are you the one who’s distant,” said Jared, fixing her with a penetrating stare. “Now that Sara’s in the picture?”

Hope pursed her lips and sat down on the edge of her bed. “Shut up.”

Jared sat on the bed and put his arm around her for a half hug. “I love you, sister,” he said. “I know that it’s basically just us. I would never ignore you for some chick, no matter how blue her eyes might be. Or how beautiful she is. Or how juicy her a

“I got it, thank you,” she interrupted, smiling, but soon noticed his knuckles. They were covered with bandages and small red blood spots were bleeding through. “What happened to your hands?”

Pulling them away, he replied, “Nothing.”

Hope exhaled impatiently. “You’re fighting, again.”

There was a short silence. Then he replied, “No.”

“I’m serious, Jared,” Hope scolded.

Jared shrugged. “I ain’t never told no lie.”

“Would Mom approve?” she asked carefully.

He was about to reply with one of his snarky remarks when a huge boom came from outside, rattling Hope’s bedroom window.

“What was that?” she asked, wrenching around towards the window, wondering if someone was blasting rock somewhere close by.

Jared jumped off the bed and moved the curtain aside, hoping to see an enormous explosion across the street. “I don’t know, but I want to find out.”

Lightning lit up the dark, heavy clouds with flashes of blue and white. Thunder, loud enough to rattle windows, boomed once more. Off in the distance, a large funnel of wind and clouds circled, quickly gathering speed.

With wide eyes and lifted eyebrows, she asked, “Why do the clouds look like that?”

“I don’t know. Weird. It’s not close to us. It looks like it came from Sara’s neighborhood,” Jared said, unlocking the window and sliding it up.

“You’re going out there? You can’t be serious! What if dad

“Hope, what if it’s Sara,” said Jared, cutting her off and making eye contact.

She understood completely. “I’m sure she’s fine.”

“No, something is wrong.” He swung his legs up onto the windowsill. “I don’t know how, but I can feel it.”

“Jared,” Hope sighed. “Sebastian is going to find out one day, you know.”

Before completely climbing out the window, he paused. “I know.”

She gave him a soft smile. “Be careful.”





Saturday, 8:19 pm


Sara’s house was a small, one-story home located on a cul-de-sac. Normally the few parked cars around the circle were from the house owners. On this night, however, police cars were parked on almost every section of the street, the emergency lights bathing the pavement, houses, and nosy onlookers with alternating shades of red and blue.

A light sprinkling rain fell from the cloudy sky, making the street slick with water and dirty oil. Black and yellow caution tape was attached to the trees in front of the house and held the pedestrians at bay.

A policewoman was taking pictures of footprints on the wet grass. A middle-aged overweight man with oily brown hair, now stringy from the rain, and bloodshot brown eyes, scribbled notes on a pad of paper. His rumpled, olive green suit was faded from too many times in the wash.

“Ma’am, can you tell me what exactly happened?” he asked the woman in front of him in a neutral tone. His double chin jiggled slightly as he spoke.

Sara’s mother bore a striking resemblance to her daughter: the same dark, almost midnight blue eyes, the same dark, thick brown hair cut to just below shoulder length. She stood on her small concrete porch a couple of feet from the open front door in a faded pink nightgown that fell to her ankles, the hem frayed slightly. Her mascara had run as her tears fell, creating black streaks starting from her red and puffy eyes down to her cheeks. She gazed at her hands as she spoke in a quiet, cracked voice. “I don’t know. I heard a loud banging sound, and when I went to check on her, I found

She was cut off by a uniformed officer who came out of Sara’s house.

“Sir, we found something. You better come and see this.”

The olive-suited detective nodded before he spoke. “Ma’am, I want you to wait right here. I’ll be back in a few minutes, okay?”

She nodded, clutching her gown tighter to her body.

An older model blue sedan rolled slowly down the street, navigating around the various police vehicles and caution tape to find a small bit of space three houses down. The car barely came to a stop before Sebastian, sitting in the passenger seat, unbuckled his seatbelt and hurled the door open, sprinting toward the house.


He was immediately stopped at the police tape by one of the patrol officers guarding the perimeter.

“Whoa, son. I’m sorry but this area is off limits. How about we start with who you are,” the young, bald patrol officer said sternly. His arm was solid; there was no way Sebastian could push past him.

Sebastian’s mom caught up to her son’s longer stride within seconds and now stood beside him. Though she was slightly shorter than Sebastian, and more in shape and toned from her daily running, they had the same brown eyes. Her straight auburn hair, tapered in length so the back was cut short against her neck, swung to just below her chin as she moved.

The first thing the patrol officer noticed was the bulge in her sports jacket, and with a glimpse he spotted the shoulder holster and the Beretta within. He rested his hand on his own holster and stared at the woman even as Sebastian tried to explain.

“My name is Sebastian,” he started, his voice breathless. “My girlfriend lives here, and while we were talking on the phone I heard her scream and suddenly the line was cut off. She said

His mom’s hand landed on his shoulder, which seventeen years of experience told him was the sign for “I’ll handle this.”

She removed her wallet from the back pocket of her jeans and showed the officer her badge.

“I’m Lieutenant Caroline Scott. You must be new to the force, Officer Marks,” she said, glancing at his name tag. “Addison is probably your reporting officer. He’s my backup.”

“Today is indeed my first day, Lieutenant Scott,” he said with a proud grin.

“I have a personal connection to this family. Do you mind filling me in on what happened here?” Sebastian’s mom asked.

“Of course. We received a call approximately ten minutes ago about a possible

Officer Marks was cut off when the roof of the house exploded. The shock wave threw him, along with Sebastian, his mom and several of the bystanders, to the ground. Fiery debris fell. Someone shouted, “Get back! Get these people back!”

People around him were starting to get up, including Sebastian’s mom. Sebastian tried to stand, but he could barely get to his knees. It was as though the blast had been more powerful for him than for the rest.

“Sebastian, you okay?” his mom’s voice faded in as she helped him up.

His mind was reeling, his legs made of jelly. The only response he could muster was a half-hearted nod. She opened her mouth to speak again, only to be cut off by a howling black and purple vortex of flames erupting from the roof of the house like dragon fire breath. Everyone in the crowd stood speechless, eyes transfixed on a multitude of barely discernible shapes flitting about like burning shadows within the inferno. The shapes cried out to the heavens like a pride of roaring lions. Bolts of crimson and indigo lightning crackled at its epicenter as the swirling fiery tower shot straight through the clouds.

Miles above the ground, the plumes of darkness slammed into an imperceptible, yet no less real, barrier. The sonic boom from the impact knocked many stunned observers off their feet. Wave after wave of fire crashed and rolled against the invisible wall until at last the head of the vortex cratered and the flames faded from view. A halo of sparkling energy spread out into the night sky in the wake of the ephemeral storm.

“What the hell was that?” Officer Marks demanded of no one in particular.

Whispers began to spread among those gathered in the cul-de-sac as they finally emerged from their collective stupor, but Sebastian was trapped in silence as he swayed on his feet. He wanted to scream for the anguish he felt at the possible death of his girlfriend, but he couldn’t so much as whimper. Deep within, something was fighting him for control of his body, as if the dark funnel that rose into the night sky from Sara’s house had commanded something deep within him to stir.

BOOK: Dark Destiny
4.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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