Violet Midnight - BK 1 - Enchanters, page 1
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, incidents are a product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, events, or organizations is coincidental.
Copyright © 2010 by Allie Burke
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced without permission.
For my Husband, who supports my obsessions of books with grace. I love you, even more than I love Edward Cullen.
“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”
~Vincent Van Gogh
The Enchanters: Book One
He ran through the tall evergreens, cradling her in his arms, not in the least phased by the dark of the night. They had walked this trail together so many times before; navigating was not of consequence. She existed. That’s all there was.
Her body was so cold. She had always felt cool to him, soothing like an evening breeze, but her temperature was that of ice now, chilling him to his core.
He continued through the forest, ignoring the screams of death behind him. The atmosphere threatened the small mountain town with the worst storms imaginable. Thunder roared around him, trees fell in his path, large chunks of ice fell from the sky. He leaped, dodged, and ran faster. A massive earthquake loomed below him, ready to strike. Still he ignored it. The entire world around him could perish in an hour, but he wouldn’t care less. His only responsibility lied in his arms.
He reached a cliff, its overhang marking the end of the trail. There was a vast lake below it, beckoning to him. He ran at the edge, hopping down from the end of the cliff to the soft dirt, and he went around to the small space of shore between the cliff and the trees, hastily racing into the water. He stopped when the water level reached his waist and rested her on the surface. He withdrew his arms from under her, his heart hollowing as she floated away from him.
“Jasmyn, please help her,” he said to no one. “I can’t live without her. Please.”
He swam to the side of the lake where large boulders peeked out of the crystal blue surface. He propped himself onto one of them, using his monstrous upper body strength against gravity. He sat, and he waited.
Jane woke with her hand between her legs. She had had that dream again. That beautiful man, his strong hands melting every inch of her skin, her dreamy moans so loud that they sometimes woke her up. A tempestuous blaze began burning in her chest. It slowly spread into her breasts, smoldering her with its fire. She grunted quietly to herself, closed her eyes until the sensation passed.
It was seven thirty in the evening. Jane hated the daylight. At night, the stars winked sparkles at her, and the crescent moon reflected a joyous smile. That form of beauty didn’t exist during the day.
She removed the purple plush blanket from around her, and sat up from where she lied on the couch, shivering as her body heat dispersed into the air. Jane owned a bed, but never slept in it. Not since Annabelle Clarke died. She rubbed her eyes, and beamed up at Van Gogh’s Starry Night, crookedly hanging on the wall above her fireplace. She sighed, her grief for Annabelle excruciating.
Jane went to the kitchen, gathering all the necessary ingredients to prepare her birthday cheesecake. It was tradition. At least, it was, for a too-short time. Jane closed her eyes and inhaled a deep breath, freeing the depressed thoughts from her mind. She never allowed herself to enter such negativity. It was bad for her energy.
Jane began preparing her treat, even smiling a little as she mixed the ingredients into a creamy concoction. She didn’t use a recipe. Each step was locked away deep in her heart. She finished stirring, and dipped her finger into the mixture for a taste. When the delectable cream met her taste buds, a single tear ran all the way down her face, silently leaping from her chin to the bowl of cream. She ignored it, scooping the mixture into the graham cracker crust, and put it in the oven and set it.
She made a cup of sweet orange tea, the luscious aroma relaxing her mind and spirit, like yoga, but without the uncomfortable positions or the exercising part. After her evening tea, she changed into a white cotton dress and slipped her feet into a pair of flat, brown woven sandals. She walked out the front door, not bothering to engage the lock. She turned left out the white picket fence, and began walking through the lush green forest that surrounded her home. She was walking with her head tilted back, eyes facing the night sky. She often got distracted looking up at the trunks of the tall evergreen trees, admiring how the leaves at the tops of them seemed to kiss the stars.
Jane lived in a secluded area in already secluded Jasmyn Lake. This town populated less than twenty people. Her nearest neighbors were out of quick reach, which was just the way she liked it. Hidden. Remote. Personal.
She turned right, around an assortment of some hundred year old trees, and went through a small path lined with azalea bushes. The bright pink flowers exhaled a sweet aroma. Jane thought of Annabelle again, of home. She continued through the forest until she reached an opening. She paused, taking a moment to revel at the natural beauty before her. Just beyond the tiny opening was a small cliff, a pine tree on each side. Below the cliff was a vast, blue lake, so clear that the little brown stones on the lake floor shown through the top from below. Snow tipped mountains lined the opposite side of the lake, making a reflection of themselves on the surface. On Jane’s side, big white rocks popped out of the water just to the side of the cliff. Near the edge, the water was more teal colored, as if Jasmyn was inviting her in. She removed her sandals and stepped on the tip of the largest rock she could find, balancing on the tippy toes of her feet. Then, as if to accept Jasmyn’s summons, she dove in.
~ * ~
Jane was sitting on the couch, reading, her normal middle of the night activity, when there was a knock on the door. Jane thought it strange. Her home was so secluded that she never had any accidental visitors.
She put the book down and walked quietly to the door. She didn’t have a peep hole, she never needed one. Until now.
“Who is it?” she asked from behind the closed door.
“Open the door, Janie, please,” an unfamiliar voice said from the other side.
Janie? She silently questioned the nickname. She had never heard anyone call her that before, but the tone of the voice coming from outside suggested that the owner of it had known Jane all her life.
She decided to open the door. She felt obligated to, for a reason that was not known to her. Standing on her doorstep was an old woman—she must have been about seventy years old. Her dark brown hair was tied behind her head in a loose bun. Slight wrinkles accented the eyes that were as dark as her hair. She was wearing a long cotton black dress that went down to her ankles, and brown sandals. Her outfit was alarmingly similar to every piece of clothing in Jane’s wardrobe.
“May I help you?” Jane asked the woman.
“Oh, Janie, I knew you would be beautiful, but I never imagined—” The woman suddenly paused mid-sentence, inhaling and exhaling a quick breath. “My name is Annabelle Clarke. May I come in?”
Jane floated on her back on the top of the lake. Any other time Jane felt cold, forced to layer with clothes and blankets to keep warm. But not in the water. It always felt warm to her, no matter the temperature. The natural water soothed her.
In a cloud around Jane’s body was a violet aura that slightly shimmered, the color of it gleaming like an iris flower lightly kissed by the morning dew. The aura protected her, providing a comf
She opened her eyes and stared up at the night sky. She silently pointed out all the constellations, smiling at the sparkling beauties. She averted her gaze across the sky. She was not surprised that the smiling moon’s light magically brightened when she found it.
Jane flipped over, dipped her entire body into the water, and swam towards the middle of the lake. Sparkly violet flakes trailed her. She relaxed her muscles, and let her body drift to the bottom. She moved her arms through the water in a squiggly motion, forming little underwater waves around her. Small species of green and brown fish arrived, circling her. She brought her closed fists to her face and concentrated, releasing any negative energy from her mind. The energy forced itself through her arms, down to her hands. She opened her palms and pushed her hands forward, discharging the negative force into the open water, encouraging it to swim away into the night. She closed her eyes and imagined a green hummingbird, fluttering from tree to tree, its sparkly pink neck shining in the afternoon sun as it roamed free. She opened her eyes as her violet aura broke up into little pieces of shimmering glitter and floated to the surface. The fish swam after the sparkles, chasing them, and as they reached the surface, they leaped from the water like dolphins. As the fish reentered the lake, they came back to her. Jane’s giggle made air bubbles, amused at the color of the fishes’ scales, now a deep, glimmering purple. They looked like they had been swimming in a pool of purple eye shadow.
Jane closed her eyes, dug her toes into the lake floor, and swirled in circles. Her imagination shifted to a parakeet, caged, perched on a wooden log, chirping with hopes of getting out into the world. She stopped spinning, and slowly the purple color broke up into tiny sparkles again, returning to Jane from each fish. When she opened her eyes, she found her fishy friends watching her, back to their normal green and brown colors. They quickly swam away, each with a snobby look in their eyes, like they had much better things to do than to amuse her.
Jane used the bottom of her foot to propel herself to the surface, inhaling a deep breath when she emerged from the water. She swam back to the rocks and climbed up. Sandals back on her feet, she made her way back home.
~ * ~
Jane let the old woman inside and politely asked her to sit down, offering the couch to her. Without asking, Jane handed her a cup of sweet orange tea.
“Thank you,” she said. “I love what you’ve done with the house.” She paused, but it was a short silent moment before she spoke again. “I would like to help you, Janie.”
“Help me with what, exactly?”
“I am well aware that you are very different, very special. I am very experienced. I would like to stay with you for a while, if that’s okay, offer any assistance I can provide. I know what you’re capable of, Jane. I know that you are the most unique of all of us. With the right guidance, you could be the most powerful.”
Jane nodded at all the right places, but she wasn’t really listening. As Annabelle spoke, Jane concentrated on her little nose, the way she bit her lip when she was nervous, how she drank her tea without sipping it first to check the temperature. Jane covered her eyes with her hand to hide the abandonment that she felt. She breathed, righting herself, and stared right into Annabelle’s too-familiar eyes.
“What took you so long?” Jane said.
Annabelle twitched involuntarily. “You were too young, Janie.”
Her response did nothing to relax the tension in Jane’s eyes. That wasn’t an excuse. Seventeen is hardly too young, especially since she was already on her own at that age.
“Try to give me a chance. I promise you, I’m not like them.”
Jane didn’t bother arguing, though her emotions were pulling her every which way, tempting her to cry. Family was family. It wasn’t just a love for family—in their world, it was more than that. If they didn’t have family, they didn’t have a thing.
Jane gave a single nod. “I won’t call you Grandma.”
“You never called me Grandma, even when you were two.”
Annabelle closed her eyes, as if her memory was so far away that she couldn’t grasp it with her eyes open. “Anna,” she smiled.
A sweet rosy aroma greeted Jane as she reached her property. She stopped, assessing her home. It was a small cottage, painted blue—the color of peace, the door silver—representing security. The front yard was covered in tall grass that was way overdue for a mow. There was a pathway leading to the house, filled with little rocks and cobblestone stepping stones. Two square planters stood on each side of the walkway, attached to the porch, occupying rose bushes of all different colors.
Jane stood completely still at the edge of her walkway, and she closed her eyes. She concentrated, and felt a warming sensation enter her body, a lot like a morphine injection, the pain medication slowly dripping, almost numbing the senses. She opened her eyes, and saw an invisible mist lurking around her house, a mist that was invisible to everyone except her.
Satisfied, Jane walked down her walkway. She was ready to go inside when something caught her eye. It was a white piece of paper, taped to the door, folded over once, its edges lightly flapping with the evening breeze. His elegant scripture decorated the front of it. Jane lifted it from the door and sniffed it, bathing in his otherworldly wild scent. She unfolded the note and read the two words on the page.
It was signed by the single letter C, but that miniscule signature created a gulp in her throat and a massive quickening of her heartbeat. Jane held the note against her chest and forcefully widened her eyes, refusing to allow any tears to pass through.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered to the night sky, and outstretched her fingers, commanding the wind to steal the piece of paper from her hand, propelling it far, far away.
She walked inside and turned off the oven, leaving the cheesecake inside. She made her way to the bathroom, undressing as she went. She showered, the water scorching hot, her body releasing little clouds of steam as the moisture came in contact with her skin. Before going to the bedroom to dress, she stopped at the hazy, moisture covered mirror, and waved her hand in front of it. The moisture disappeared, as if she had wiped it away with the palm of her hand. Except, her skin never came in contact with the glass.
She stole a quick look at her reflection. Jane was thin, with a round face and tiny features. Her skin was pale white, her eyes a bright emerald green. Her wavy red hair did what it wanted, so she never tried to tame it.
She turned from the mirror to go into the bedroom. She removed her black jeans from the closet, the knees of them ripped and the bottoms shredded, and she put them on. She found a black t-shirt halfway hanging off the bed, pulled it over her head, and tied her hair back. She went out to the backyard and flipped the outside switch. Blue string lights hung above, illuminating the yard with an ocean blue glow. To the left was a large garden, its small flowers and herbs spurting out from the ground. The garden was very random; there was no order to it. There were just plants everywhere. The rear of the yard inhabited a greenhouse that populated more plants, of all shapes, sizes, and colors. There was no walkway out here, just dirt, plants, and flowers, bursting with essence.
Jane found her garden shears buried halfway in the dirt below her feet, and collected handfuls of rosemary, lavender, and lilies. She went back inside and arranged the bouquets around the house. The scent of lavender released anxiety, the rosemary calmed her brain, her thinking patterns, and helped her concentrate; while the lilies symbolized beauty. The combination of the three was invigorating.
Jane started down the hallway to change again, and suddenly an odd feeling overwhelmed her. She felt light-headed, as if she was seconds from fainting. She stopped, stood in the middle of the hallway, and grasped the walls on each side to hold herself up. Her arms started shaking, and dark spots appeared in front of her eyes. She concentrated on the scent of the rosemary, focusing on clear consciou
She reflexively looked down. She stood on a polished wood floor. The bright light from above made the polish glimmer, like a clear glass window on top of the wood. She looked around. All around the large room, people stood in small, quiet groups. They were dressed up: silk gowns, suits, jackets, all black. She peered past them. Art. Contemporary—colorful, deep portrayals of everyday items and people that were not what they seemed, or seemed what they were not. The different colored walls caved into themselves, making doorways to enter rooms with no windows or ceiling, just art. There was a long wall to the left, a doorway leading to more art on each side, with a big sign on it. Meet the Artist, it said. A private party.
Jane refocused on the people that filled the gallery. They weren’t just dressed nicely, the women’s’ hair was professionally done, perfect makeup, no wrinkles in the men’s’ suits. Jane felt very out of place in her torn jeans and t-shirt. Not that anyone was really looking at her, no one even glanced her way. Like no one saw her. Impossible, though. There had to be one person that would notice she was barefoot at a function like this. Maybe they couldn’t see her.
Jane started to sing. Not on impulse, she did it on purpose—it was the only thing she could think to do to prove to herself that she was invisible. She hooked herself with her own tune, some Doobie Brothers song, and she started dancing. No one paid any attention to her. Her verification of invisibility grasped, she continued to dance, having a little fun. Sliding, twirling—pausing. She had to stop halfway through her spin as she saw him, standing in the corner. Someone was talking to him, but he wasn’t listening. He was staring at Jane. This man, this beautiful, gorgeous, sexy man, the man she had been dreaming about for months, was thoughtfully staring at her, the invisible girl.