Dad’s Journal (Alex)

Solomon’s funeral was like nothing I’d ever been to. I knew there were a lot of Native American traditions that didn’t translate well, but this was something special. I can’t even begin to describe it. Kish was rightfully sad, so was I. He was an old man, but still it was sad to lose such a man. But it was a happy celebration.

Everyone was smiling. There was dancing and parties. But Solomon’s house was empty. His wife had passed years ago. I hadn’t been able to make it back for it. I regretted I wasn’t there for Kish them. She’d been there for me when I’d lost my mother. Though I had avoided her and everyone else for the better part of a year. It wasn’t until Kate that I came home. If this was what I called home anyway.

We’d never stayed in one place long. This was the one place we came back to over and over again. It was nice to have some place even if it wasn’t really home.

The fireplace had been cold for days despite the dismal cool mountain air. The firewood bin was near empty like all the wood had been moved for just this occasion. Knowing Solomon it probably was. He probably saw it in the smoke or something, that I’d need to get to the lose plank.

I had to use my pocket knife to pry the wooden plank up, it was been wedged in tight after all these years. I wasn’t sure that this was my father’s journal but when I picked it up I knew the man thought he was my father. And the journal was supposed to help me.

I sat down on the fireplace hearth and flipped the leather bound cover open. It read. “My Dearest Alex. I don’t know why I can’t be there with you, and I’m glad I don’t know. But I love you, and I hope that my journey through the dream world can help you in the long journey of life. Love, your father, Tom Kennedy.”

I ran my fingers down the etched in ink and wished that my ability worked with touch of objects. But I wasn’t that kind of path. I was unique among Kish’s clan – I had three abilities. Rare was not even the world they used to describe it. Telepathy had come early, the voices in my head had drawn me to dangerous heights, but my mom was always there to save me, to pull me back until I learned to control it all. And then I was seven when the dream walking kicked in. I’d always dream of the same boy. That first year was peaceful, we played and became friends while I learned about my ability, and then he started getting ripped away from me by the shadowed figure and I couldn’t find him. Kish helped me understand the dream world and he was my test subject. He never complained, he was always willing to let me experiment. It lead me to believe he wasn’t real. But Kish said that draw is there, you feel it so he must be real. But no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get him to reveal the truth to me.

And then as I grew into my dreams walking ability I could see the connections between people. See the cords that bound them to one another. I could sever them and repair them but I couldn’t see my own. And I hadn’t looked at Pretty Boy’s either. Not that I could find him even if I hadn’t wanted to see it.

If he was asleep I was always drawn to him.

The next page was dated in the mid 70s. My father’s hand writing was childish at best. It read. ‘Solomon told me to keep a journal of my dreams. Last night I dreamt of HER again. The blond ringlets and the blue eyes. She’s so pretty.’

There was entry after entry of ‘Her’ as he learned how to control his dream much like I had done.

When he was 13 he wrote: “Today I asked her her name – she told me to my surprise. Emily. Emily Hansen. I kissed her and told her I’d find her one day.”

My dad had dreamt of my mom. The similarities to my own life was strong.

As I sat and read the beginning of the whirlwind romance of my parents Kish walked into her grandfather’s room. She jumped when she saw me. “Alex, I didn’t know you were in here.”

I held up the journal. “Just retrieving my dad’s old journal.”

She lifted the book so she could see the cover. “I remember him writing in it. I tried to get you to do it, but…” She trailed off at the fond memories of me disobeying everything she ever taught me.

“Is it any good?” She asked. I knew it was to distract herself from her loss. So I read a few passages to her as we sat there in the fading light. We reminisced about Solomon, my dad and my mom. It was good to talk of the past, of the people who were no longer with us, but the thought that maybe there was more to the pretty boy in my dreams. plagued my thoughts as much as the memories.

The Pretty Boy (Alex)

There was always something that pulled me into the dreams. And it was always hard sensation to fight. I’d learned over the years that this tingling sensation I felt was pulling to the dream. To a specific dream – the little boy who was a monster. He built towers out of blocks and smashed them in a monster outfit.

Seeing him the first few times was fun. I was seven. The times after that I knew it was different. That was when I had told my mom about it. She’d taken me to see Kish. The shaman who told me all about dream walking.

I hadn’t actually gone to see Kish. It was her grandfather I was taking instruction from but it was Kish who directed me. It was her learning how to teach. I was her guinea pig. She and I became good friends – learning the ins and outs of dreams.

The airport was busy and I still had time to wait so a quick nap wouldn’t hurt. If the pretty boy was going to be sleeping I might get a little fun in before I had to take a flight back to Colorado. Solomon had passed and I was going to help Kish out. And really the only reason I’d come to New York was because Poet had a job I couldn’t refuse. He always had a job that he wanted me to work. This one had been in the city and it hadn’t been long. He wanted information. And he needed me to get it.

Some mook in the Apex Unlimited building. He needed me to figure out who knew anything. Problem with the Apex Unlimited building – it’s all Venatori. You see the proud fucks walking around with that cross sword tattooed on their temples like no one saw them all. Though I have been told only us sensitive folks can see it. Magic or something. I don’t care.

Once Poet told me who I was going after I had to tell him no can do. Even if I wanted to get my ass near those fuckers. Kill on sight – was what Kish and Solomon said. That was their rule for Dreamwalkers. So no can do. And they had telepathy too. I was good but I’ve heard they are better. But they lock down tight. Nothing in, nothing out. I can’t do what I do even with a handshake so Poet’s on his own. I gave him the name of my hacker. The Wicked Truth knew his way around the impossible. And it beat giving the job to Reaper. He seemed hell bent on hijacking my jobs out from under me. Like it was some sort of game. Whatever…

I closed down all those thoughts and let the tingling take me to the pretty boy. He had hadn’t moved into smashing the blocks yet, which meant I still had time. Interrupting him was not always a good thing, 80% of the time he flipped out and he was snatched away by a black blur. Never saw it. Don’t know what it is. But he’s always gone and I can never find him.

Today though when I reminded him he was a grown ass man he changed into a man. I enjoyed most guises he took, but today the pretty boy was even hotter than usual. He ran his fingers through his hair, the orange changed to a blue. The display was more than sexy and he knew it from the look he gave me in the mirror.

There was a loud blaring call for boarding, the flight before mine from what I heard, but before I could refocus my attention on him, he was gone. Woken to some thing on his end and I didn’t even get a chance to fucking play.

I shifted to the ether outside the dream – more or less before it collapsed on me as his dream faded out. I stood in a nothingness looking out on the various bubbles of people dreaming. It was vast and the space was empty.

Inside there stood a man. He drew closer with a smile widening on his face. The closer he got the more I recognized the jacket. It was the jacket I was currently wearing in the outside world. But that had been my dad’s jacket, or so Mom had told me when she handed it over.

“Hey son.” He said. “You are Alex? You’re Mom said that was the only name she’d ever give her boy.”

“I know you think this is weird.” I nodded unable to speak. What the fuck was going on. “I thought so too when I saw the ultrasound image. I was drawn to sleep. A bubble of time, I’d watched glimpses of your life. And I knew right here right now, you’d be fustrated. He got away again.”

I growled, “He always does that.”

“But you keep coming back.” The man nodded. I wasn’t convinced he was my father. My father was dead. He looked like the picture Mom kept of him. But anyone could take that guise.

“There’s journal in Solomon’s place waiting for you. I hid it under a plank in the wood bin by the fireplace. I’m sorry to see him go. But Kish will guide you I’m sure, she was always such a good girl when I’d come on by.” He laughed and pointed at the clock that appeared above me. “That’s your call son. You best get going you don’t want to miss that flight.”

I stepped out of the dream and back into my body a little more confused than I had been, and still frustrated from seeing the pretty boy.

Mandatory Vacation

I stood in the hallway for much too long thinking. I only knew it was too long because Dorian found me standing there. He was smirking when I noticed him, “How long have you been standing there?”

“About five minutes, give or take a few seconds.” Dorian answered.

“I take it Reginald told you?” I asked.

“Last night in a meeting. It was Margo’s suggestion.”

“That was supposed to be a meeting about Drake, wasn’t it.”

“It was, and many other things too. You did the impossible, Nox.” Dorian said.

“What was that?”

“The Dragons came to us when Ye Pan died. Not the other way around. You are forgeing us alliances without trying. Reginald has never been allowed in this building, none of the dragon heads.”

I gave him a curious look and he laughed and answered the question I didn’t have to ask. “Mark Green has always been afraid to let the dragons into the building out of fear they’d kill him. It’s Dragon law to kill strong Cesari. They know when you are born. Just as it’s their law to kill half dragons like Drake. But their laws are strict, and succession must progress. Everything in order. If you let one nether or cesari live the remainder life until he or she dies.”

“I know the law. But why do we have Cesari?”

Dorian smiled. “Why do you think Mark Green is leader?”

“He’s the strongest Cesari of his generation.”

“Nox, he was the strongest of all generations, until you were born. Did you ever wonder why your power was so much greater than that of Mark Greens?”

I shook my head. “I didn’t think about it. Figured it had to do with my ability to see the patterns so easily.”

Dorian shrugged, “That’s part of it, but your power is astronomically greater than a 5 Nox. You shouldn’t exist.”

I laughed, “Sounds very much like my life.”

Dorian grinned, “I know son. But because the Dragon controlled you, everyone believes you need to take a break. Wrap your head around it all. Think of it like paid leave of absence, or what the police officers get when they kill a person. Go take a vacation with Alex and your brothers. Find some down time.”

“I’m fine.”

“You are Nox. I see it. But you just had a lot of things drop on you. You just moved, you’ve a three year old coming, two sixteen year old boys to tend to, and a new boyfriend.” Dorian grinned, “A boyfriend!” He rolled his eyes, “I’d never thought I’d see that day. Two weeks – mandatory. I don’t want to see you in the AU building at all Nox. Not a foot inside.”

I sighed but nodded. “Alright, I guess I can manage that.”

Dorian took me by the shoulders and turned me around towards the stairs and pushed me, “Now go. I want to see a tan boy.”

I sighed as I walked. I wasn’t going to sit around and do nothing. I could lie in bed with Alex… I wanted to see him. But he hadn’t gotten back to me at all, but I sent him a text anyway. Maybe he’d answer this time.

N: I have two weeks off, maybe we can spend some of it together – Naked in a bed sounds pretty good to me. What do you think?

The Dragon Heads

I walked to the AU building and was still 35 minutes early. The big official conference room was in a more public area. I was wearing a pair of faded blue jeans, a plain t-shirt for once and my gray hoodie. My hair was still dyed the color of Alex’s eyes, and my nails were painted by my loving little brothers. They’d actually done a good job despite the multi colored phenomenon I had going on. They refused to try the different colors on themselves, no I was their guinea pig.

I sat outside the room waiting. I didn’t expect anyone to be here until much later, but I was oddly surprised when an elderly man sat beside me. His dragon shadow dwarfed anyone’s I’d ever seen. I was surprised no one could see his golden scales they were so bright.

He didn’t’ look at me as he set his hands on his knees, “You must be Nox Sétanta.”

“I am.”

He gave me a small smirk but continued to study the painting across from me.

“I’m Reginald Silverman. Head of the Golden Clan.”

“There isn’t a meeting is there?” I asked, but it was mostly rhetorical.

“No, there is. One that isn’t privy to others, but I asked your supervisor to let me speak with you. She informed me that any time you were given you’d be early, so it gives us plenty of time to talk.”

“The meeting I’m not attending.”

He shook his head, “No, son. This meeting has nothing to do with your actions against Ye Pan. The evidence was astounding, and from the papers that I’ve seen there has been a long history of Pan’s treachery. The meeting is a neutral location for us Dragons too meet and discuss the fate of the Last Phoenix. As I’m sure you are well aware, customs indicate the most powerful Dragon leads the clan.”

I continued. “And usually that show of strength is killing the current leader. Yeah that’s how all supernatural ranking works. You stay top dog as long as you can stay alive.”

“So you see our dilmeia?”

I nodded. “Yes, sir. A venatori hunter killed the leader.”

The man looked at me and smiled, “Not just any Venatori Hunter, son, you!”

I shrugged. “I’m nothing. Just a kid who no one likes.”

“From what I understand you are the most powerful Cesari in generations, you overcame the call of the dragon.” He laughed, and studied the picture across from us again. “But that’s not surprising. Ilsana has been watching you for years even though she should have completed her job long ago.”

“Ilsana?”

“I forget, you know her as Margo here. Ilsana, is my daughter, and your therapist, and once upon a long time ago she was your nanny, Lana, I believe you called her back then..”

I looked at him and frowned, “What?”

Reginald sighed, “I didn’t want to tell you this, Margo was insistent that I do. It was time she said.”

“Time for what?”

“To grow up, Nox.” Margo stepped out of the shadows. “Dad, don’t beat around the bush with him. He’ll hate you for it.”

“Tell me, now!” I demanded of my therapist.

“You know dragons are shape changers. I was sent to kill you and your sister. I couldn’t do it.” She looked at her father. “I couldn’t do it.” She signed and never took her eyes off her father. “I struck a deal with an ally. He was going to kill them for me. I don’t know what he did, but the girl, she vanished, gone. I got there just as your protective energies shout around you. Whatever he was couldn’t touch you. Your sister wasn’t so lucky. He left you there after taking your mother’s memory from her of your sister, and it removed her empathy for you. She didn’t want to care for you which is why she had a nanny. And why she gave you up, she couldn’t stand to look at you even then Nox.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “You fucking messed with my family?” I stood up. I looked at the golden dragon, “And you knew?”

“I knew you were supposed to be dead, but were not. I didn’t know of the twin, nor of the deal.” He looked at Margo with disappointment.”I knew Margo failed in her job, and started a whole chain of events that only pile on to now including the life of the young Drake Pierce. Who, Nox, is yours. A new clan, however small, but a new one has been established. Much like the Rogue Wolves here in New York. I will send you more Dragons who do not want to partake of the clan hierarchy, if that’s suitable for you?”

“Me?”

He smiled. “You have two full Dragon’s already, and in two weeks you’ll have the young nether. Naomi swore the oaths this morning before her execution. I’m taking Drake today after the meeting for lessons. And Ms. Virginia McMillian, she will be moving her allegiances to you as well. While she believes The Dragon dead, she believes you are will take better care of her.”

“I’m not a dragon.”

He stood and clasped me on the shoulder. “Just keep doing what you are doing, young one. It will all work out. I am going to head to your cafeteria and see what despicable food I can find.”

I smirked, “I’d offer to cook for you, but sadly my kitchen is no longer here.”

“Young man, that would be delightful one day, maybe when I return the young nether to you, then.”

“Sounds like a date.” I grinned.

He nodded at me and took his daughter by her elbow. Margo, or Ilsana, or was it Lana, protested. I glared at her. She fucking was sent to kill me, I had a sister. What the fuck!

All Done?

The Last Phoenix is all written, all scheduled out, and There are some PoVs for Alex from The First Hunt in the queue. Should be labeled Alex lest you forget that it’s not me talking. Hopefully you see a difference in voice and personality, if you don’t please speak up.

Anyway, Darwynn’s Law is plotted and planned and AJ has begun writing it, but you’ll get Alex’s version of the Last Phoenix so we can build up a buffer.

AND so AJ can enter a writing contest, if you are interested in seeing her entry then make a comment with your email, or shoot me on at nox.durante@gmail.com and I’ll send you over the information you need.

It’s Due Sept 17th so feedback is welcome.

It’s of course about me!!! So you’ll eventually see it here.

The Family I Want

By the time I finished the paperwork for Naomi, Emerson and the Dragon, conveniently leaving out Trix, Val and the baby vamp who were all colluding with Ye Pan. I couldn’t forget that Matthew Haskins was there with The Dragon, or the the viking looking fellow who had the strange magic. I made a note to remind me when I walked into my new apartment that I needed to sketch the face of the man who I didn’t know. Maybe Sage could find out who he was. There were players in this game higher than the Dragon I was sure of it, and he was part of it. But who was he?

When I got home my brothers were goofing off with video games and snacking on a pizza that looked like it had seen better days. “That’s dinner?”

“Yep.” Rider said as he jerked his shoulder into his brothers arm knocking him off course. It was almost as violent sitting on the couch as it was in their crash em up game on the TV screen.

I went to my fridge and saw chicken plated with vegetables of varying colors and beer sitting next to it. Laker called out, “We made you dinner, and the beer is from the girl down stairs, said you should join her.”

Rider giggled. “She didn’t believe us when we told her you were gay.”

I laughed, “I’m not exactly gay.”

Laker snickered, “We know, but we like telling people that cause it makes them go. Oh my god, really? Does he know so and so from wherever? Like you and every other gay man knows each other.”

Rider laughed, “Or they don’t believe you and try to convince us we don’t know our own brother. ‘Nah, he’s straight, I’ve seen him with a girl’ And when they describe her she’s Mia or Dee, or even Dae’lin. Really people don’t pay any attention to what gets your motor running.”

I sighed as I took my cold food from the fridge and made my way to the couch with my brothers sitting on it. I sat between them, they moved only enough for me to sit. I could barely move to eat but that was alright. Both of them pressed in against my shoulder in that sort of ‘it’s alright bro’ type hug they were fond of showing me. I wondered what it’d be like if the boys stayed here all the time. I was going to miss them.

Rider smacked the palm of his hand to his forehead, “I almost forgot.” He looked at me, “There is some paperwork on the table Dorian sent over, stating that pending the meeting tomorrow in two weeks Drake can come live with you.”

Fuck! I hadn’t forgotten, but I wasn’t sure that two weeks was gonna work. I was still a fucking mess with the new place. And I was certain that the world was going to get a whole lot more dismal after tomorrow. I killed the head of The Last Phoenix. They called me a murderer. Fuck!

My brothers pressed their shoulders against me again. “We’ll be here still to help with Drake. You got this.” Laker said. Rider nodding right along with his brother, like they could read each other’s mind.

After dinner and one rousing round of playing their silly game with them I started working on that sketch in my room. I kept glancing at my phone waiting, hoping, praying to whatever gods might be listening that Alex might call me. I was getting worried.

I shot him a quick message.

N: Hey, Alex. I got the big bad. Though I think he’s got others working with him. Case solved, I’m free for a little while, if you want to get together and talk. Anytime.

I sighed as I looked at it. When it went through I waited. I don’t know how long before I set my phone on my chest and closed my eyes. I used to dream of him. He told me I did. I remembered some of them. I wanted to dream of him again. To see his blue eyes, to run my thumb over his lower lip. Fuck I just wanted to see him, to hear his voice.

I did something stupid and I called him. I knew he wasn’t going to pick up I just wanted to listen to his voice. I didn’t leave a message but I called back three more times before I tossed my phone across the bed and got up to take a shower.

Where the fuck was he?

I dreamt of Alex. I woke up to deep gashes across my back, and apparently Fee was upset with me as she glared at me when I sat up. “Fuck!” I said as I crawled out of bed and wrapped the lingering blood on the bed up in earth and air and cleaned the bed before sending it off into the trash.

Rider poked his head in rubbing his eyes, “You alright?”

I nodded. “Nightmare.”

“You’ve never screamed before.”

I sighed. “It wasn’t hurting me. Just my dream guy.”

Rider came in and wrapped his arms around my shoulder tentatively and when he didn’t feel anything sticky he dropped his arms to my body and pulled me close. “I’m sorry. Can I help?”

I shook my head. “No. I’m gonna do some yoga, grab a shower, make breakfast and then walk to the AU building to my meeting in the big conference room which you should wear a suit and tie in.”

Rider giggled, “You aren’t wearing a suit are you?”

I shook my head, “No fucking way.”

Rider let me go and grinned, “I’ll make breakfast. Dorian grabbed your list from your cupboard back at the old place and I stuck it above the coffee machine, so we knew what you’d want. That okay?”

“It’s perfect.” I pressed a kiss to my brother’s cheek, “You know I’m gonna miss you when you are gone.”

“I know. Laker too, maybe we can all move out here. I know Dad would love to have you around more.”

“I doubt that. But thanks for that thought.” I said.

Rider shrugged as he headed out the door to leave me to my own devices.

I did everything I said and I even had time to play a quick round of their favorite car racing game. Laker laughed at me, “Dude, you suck!”

“My life wasn’t spent playing video games, wanna run an obstacle course with me, or go around in the boxing ring?”

Laker looked at me and smirked, “I could take you if you didn’t cheat.”

“Do you wanna prove that?” I asked.

Rider started laughing and nearlry choked on his eggs. Lake stood up and offered me his hand, “You name the place and I’ll be there.”

“I’m not going to forget.”

Laker smiled, “Good.” We shook hands and he pulled me up off the couch. “You better get going, you’ll be late for your very important data.”

“I’m never late.” I grinned at him and glanced down at my watch. “I wasn’t even close to being late.”

Laker giggled. “I figured you wanted to be 30 minutes early so you are running late.”

I hugged my brother as I walked past. “Thanks man, don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“You’d probably die of anxiety attacks.” Laker laughed as he sat back down to play another few games with his brother.