Index was once a small and close-knit community, but the town located on the western side of Washington state has grown in recent years beyond anyone's expectations. It is the ideal place for those who work in Seattle but can't afford the city's high real estate prices, and for others the natural beauty attracts them to the town. And Index truly is a beautiful place - surrounded by thick evergreen trees, tall mountains and glistening rivers and lakes. While weather is typically rainy with overcast skies even this does nothing to take away from the beauty of the town, and it is only highlighted further when the heavy snow graces the town and caps the mountains in winter. To many, Index would seem like a paradise. And yet lurking beneath this visual beauty there is more to this town than anyone might ever imagine...

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 [Private] The Wolf and the Raven - Page 2

[Private] The Wolf and the Raven

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Re: [Private] The Wolf and the Raven

Vincent Sawyer Byrne | Wolf; Pack Master/Alpha

Posted on Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:05 pm

I stared into her eyes, and she stared into mine.

I didn't know why she looked at me the way she did. Maybe she finally saw the man for the monster inside. But I knew why I stared back so intently. I refused to tear my eyes away at first, but eventually, I realized I couldn't tear my eyes away from hers. Desperation refused to let me give up, because I was searching for something in her. Something that was there before, but wasn't anymore. I could feel the muscles above my tense eyebrows quivering as I tried to look deeper into those eyes of hers, a focus and determination so intense I could feel my eyes begin to glow white. But there was only so much determination left in me, what little supply I had left had been reserved for vengeance. It didn't matter... Determination wasn't going to bring back what was already gone.

Her presence didn't fix me anymore.

Had the part of me Raven had touched died when I did? Or had that gift of hers been taken away before now... Back when I did what I did to her... I didn't know when she lost the ability to make me feel free. All I knew was that it no longer existed. Maybe we were both to blame for that, or maybe I just died too many times, and some parts of me died with my body. Parts I could never get back. Either way, I blamed her. I blamed her for giving me a drug that she couldn't keep supplying. I blamed her for pulling me out of that water, and as a result, damning the world. I was an immortal man, cursed to take lives and destroy others. How was that for irony? And I blamed Raven. She should have left me, she should have fucking left me to rot.

I didn't know where I had found the strength to stand. But I did, and that staring contest we'd been playing was no longer empty. I glared at her. I hated her for what she'd said. Death was home. It fucking stuck with me, I couldn't shake it. Did she think I didn't know that? Did she think I didn't understand exactly what she was saying when she'd told me that? Was she just fucking taunting me? God she was fragile, and how fucking envious was I? Did she even know how lucky she was to be so fucking fragile? Did she have any idea how sharp that dagger was, telling me about her dance with death, when all I wanted was to possess the simplest freedom, the freedom she had but never fully fucking claimed? The freedom to die.

I reached for her hand, holding it in my own, my grip slowly tightening. I could feel her bones snapping, and when I yanked my hand away, her ring was left in my palm. It's your turn, Raven. I smiled, thinking of the gift I was about to give her as I grabbed her by the hair and pulled her towards the water. Why tell you when I can show you? No amount of squirming could break her free. The water splashed around violently as I marched into it, and I planted my legs on either side of her and knelt down. It only became more violent as I shoved her head under the surface. My hand spread out over her face as I used the other to pin her arms down with my knees. She still fought, she fought so fucking hard, but I just pushed her head in deeper. And there it was... The hiccup. Even after she took in that water, I held her face under. You're welcome... I whispered before pulling myself up. I stared at her body, breathing heavily as I wiped the water from my face. I even stumbled backwards as the water rushing towards my ankles shoved me back. I couldn't explain how I'd teleported back to my location on shore, sitting in my previous spot, staring at her lifeless body in the water... I couldn't even explain how she'd done it again... How the sight of her made me feel free once more.

I blinked, and when I looked up, Raven was standing with her back to me. The hallucination didn't even arouse a reaction from me... I guess anyone could become immune to poison if they ingested small amounts over time. Even as I stared up at her, hearing what she was saying, knowing she was trying to be respectful, I glared at her. A glare that was directed to her, and to the being that was now standing beside her. A being without a face, just a blank canvas of skin. It had layers to it, I could see them. The most constant layer sat with it's arm propped up on Michelle's shoulder, while it's other transparent layers twitched and vibrated, like a hologram with a shitty signal. Even without a spoken word or a face, I knew who it was. Why do you save me? I asked, knowing the answer wasn't one I wanted. I mean... I don't need... What had Raven said? I don't need you to... Another vague half sentence. I knew I was responding to Michelle, but the first question that I'd directed towards Lilith threw everything off. I didn't even know which of them I was talking to anymore. I didn't even know if they were different enough for it to matter.

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Re: [Private] The Wolf and the Raven

Michelle Hawke | Human; Citizen

Posted on Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:30 pm

There was too much to process to think clearly. Too much anger, confusion, loss of something that I couldn’t put my finger on. Too much for me to accept the possibility he wasn’t actually angry with me. Even if I could have, I think I’d know the answer - he was. He was furious with me. It hurt, it burned and I couldn’t understand and I kept thinking of reasons and I could imagine anger but not… this. Was it because he knew I had associated with Gayle? The fact that I had “used” him couldn’t have inspired that much anger, could it? It became the reason I didn’t think I could turn around. It was my temptation to leave, but something kept me there - the realization that I wasn’t finished rescuing him. He could hate me, but I didn’t hate him. I felt my joints lock up and my stomach tense when I heard him move, and even more when I heard him speak, but the words brought a new brand of fury and confusion. Like I’d forgotten the dagger of a stare. I spun around in the dirt, my narrow eyes inspecting his expression, trying to read anything untold beyond what he’d said.

Do you really hate yourself that much? What the fuck? Was that the reason he just looked so disgusted with me? I had it in the back of my mind that how he acted, what he said, should all be taken with a grain of salt. I’d reminded myself he wouldn’t be the same person and there was no fucking way I should expect him to be, especially now, but something dark and selfish in me was rising to my lips. I hadn’t done this for recognition or to try to make up for what I’d done in my weakness. It had been automatic. There wasn’t a debate in my head about it, I didn’t think about any of the risks and if I had, they wouldn’t have mattered. But that selfish thing in me wanted some form of thanks even if it wasn’t insincere. Even if it was a total lie, I wanted some form of acknowledgment that -

And then it hit me and my eyes widened but all I could do was smile. A nervous smile, and my head bent down and the knuckle of my thumb pulled across my forehead then was replaced by my entire fist as I looked down at the ground. I kept smiling, but I couldn’t laugh. I’d been tiptoeing around him, but this realization was like I’d stepped on an egg, tripped over a rock, and fell onto a glass table.

This, this is perfect. I began to pace and I still couldn’t look at him. I mean, it’s okay. It’s okay. This is, this is good, actually. I was going to get it, wasn’t I? I was going to get what I supposedly wanted. Of course I didn’t, but maybe it was better if no one knew and this way I’d just get it over with. It was clear I didn’t have the balls to do it myself. The tears that began to escape betrayed my smile but I kept it plastered on my face. I wiped them away with my dirty hand and finally looked up at him. She’ll take care of it. She’ll take care of me. I turned away again and my fists clenched and I was honestly terrified but I couldn’t let it show. He could hate me and I wouldn’t be missed and I wouldn’t be anyone’s problem anymore. That’s how I had to look at it, because when an ancient fucking vampire wanted you dead, they were guaranteed to get their wish.

Something felt right, and something felt wrong. What was that bullshit people said? There was no bravery without fear? It was bullshit. I wasn’t brave. I felt like I was going home, but home wasn’t a happy place. There was no way I could just stand here with him and think about this without losing my shit. I needed a task, I needed… I needed him to forget everything I said because it was selfish and shitty timing and I realized if there was any part of him that still cared about me, this would just be more shit on his plate. I.. I’m fucking crazy. Fuck it. I’ll be back.

The first attempt had prickly feathers pushing through the skin of my left arm and I winced. What the fuck!? I roared, but I immediately tried again and with the realization of success I bolted, looking for a house, a road out, something where I could get clothes because whether he wanted it or not I wasn’t looking at his naked sack for another minute.

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Re: [Private] The Wolf and the Raven

Vincent Sawyer Byrne | Wolf; Pack Master/Alpha

Posted on Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:51 pm

I blinked, and she was gone. I didn't feel anything, not even fear, and I guess that is what should have made me fearful. Her presence was with me always, and her hallucinations always terrified me. But not now, and I couldn't understand why. I guess it didn't matter. Fear was built into us as a defense mechanism, and my defense had been destroyed for years. I guess I didn't need it anymore. What was left to fear when death was removed from your list of options anyway? Pain? Loss? I had both in spades, both were my version of normal, it was hard to fear what was normal.

If you knew what was good for you, you would too. It was my own way of answering her question with a yes, without actually having to say it. I wasn't looking for a pity party. I didn't want her to feel pity for me. I didn't want anyone to, and that was one of the reasons why no one knew about Lilith. That was why I carried it on my own all this time. It was my problem, no one elses. It was my burden. And had I escaped my chains and surfaced on my own, not a soul would have known about that either. My curse had touched the lives of so many already, there was no point in helping it infect people. And I guess maybe that was part of why I was angry with her now. Because she knew something about me. She'd been fed tablespoon of darkness that she had no business being a part of. Not when she had her own black box she was trying to escape. I didn't need her in mine too. I didn't want her there, I wouldn't and couldn't welcome her in.

Sense was coming back to me, a game of tug of war in my head. One side wanted me to feel everything, the other side... I felt nothing. I could feel myself slipping in and out of each version. Both were dangerous, especially for Michelle. If the side that felt everything won, I would surely kill her. Not because I wanted her dead, but because I didn't know how else to cope with the pain. Rage, fear, pain, despair, it all lead to violent outbursts. She wasn't safe. The other side... The empty side... It was unpredictable... I couldn't even fathom what I'd be capable of if that side won. There was no middle ground either. One was going to win eventually... I just didn't know which one. One of those sides I craved, one of those sides I was tempted to help win, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to stop myself from nudging it across the finish line.

My eyes narrowed on her, and I watched her pace. What was coming out of her mouth wasn't foreign to me. Many had met me with similar reactions. What was foreign was the tone coming from her in particular. It really was dead, wasn't it? The lie of a friendship we had formed. How can a friendship truly form when you know nothing about the other person? We didn't share, we drank, we played games, we talked about random shit, and while that's what made the friendship important to me, it didn't make it real. I'd learned a long time ago, no one could befriend or love the real me, what I hadn't learned until recently, is there was no way of keeping it secret. Temporary and false friendships were my shining beacons, and that's how it'd always be, wouldn't it? Maybe I preferred it that way.

I guess in one way she still provided me with Novocaine. The more I focused on her, the less I remembered. Maybe the effects weren't the same anymore, but they were both equally precious to me. Distractions were more valuable than gold. And she was a pretty big fucking distraction. Her unfamiliar behavior made that even more true. Yes, keep talking, hate me, hate me, please fucking hate me. She's not going to do anything to you, Michelle. You're too valuable to her. I muttered, hoping to fucking God that it was true.

How did she even know what had happened, how did she even know where to find me? I wanted to ask, but I couldn't. I didn't even have time to ask her where she was going before she disappeared, and I guess on some level I didn't care. On some level, I hoped she wouldn't come back, because the second she was gone, I gasped for air. Like I'd been holding in a world of pain that refused to come out until I was alone. Everything went silent as I held that air in my lungs and stared out over the water with widened eyes. As I exhaled it came out in a series of loud growls and grunts. I pulled myself to my feet, stumbling, my muscles burning as my eyes went white. My fists balled up and I breathed in and out rapidly, loudly but I didn't know what to do. There was nothing to break, there was no one to hurt, there was nothing but water and I didn't know how to get rid of the tension.

I plopped back to the ground, knees up, arms crossed over them, and forehead resting on my wrists. My eyes closed tight, my grip on my arms even tighter, and I just sat there. Breathing. Screaming. I didn't even know how long I stayed like that, but I knew everything eventually quieted down. My grip loosened, my eyes opened, and I just sat there. I stayed like that, my mind empty for what felt like a minute, but it had to have been longer because the sun was at a different point in the sky when I finally looked up, Michelle's scent in the wind.

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Re: [Private] The Wolf and the Raven

Michelle Hawke | Human; Citizen

Posted on Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:00 pm

I stopped in my tracks and shook my head, a part of my previous glare returning for him. You have no idea what’s good for me. It sounded cliche, but it was true, or at least until my long term logic kicked in. He was a lovely bandaid until I pushed him over the edge. He wasn’t safe even if we kept our clothes on, I could feel it. I felt a tingle when I thought about whether or not his anger toward me was real and it only heightened when it seemed real and oh, it seemed real now. But with the revelation of what damage I could do, I knew I had to tighten my own restraints. Now was not the time for him to be showered in my bullshit, which was why once I got him home, I’d leave him alone.

That’s bullshit, I said and my hand reactively went to the ring. I’d almost accepted this fate. It was perfect because I was too weak to do it myself, but it didn’t have to be someone else’s fault, at least not someone I cared about. Even if I was useful, I could easily change that. I could take the ring off right now and throw it in the lake and I would just be a Michelle smoothie.

It was good timing that I left, or I would have spilled more than I wanted. The less he talked, the more I would, it’s how I was. And I didn’t want to talk about myself. I flew an almost zig-zag path until I saw a break in the trees, and a gray dilapidated roof. I swooped in, landing on a branch across from the structure, eyeing it for some time, looking for signs of occupation and listening for people, cars, anything. It was a dirt road lined by trees, which was a good thing because I’d hear anything coming. I doubted I had anything to worry about for now, because in the middle of the tire lines of the road the weeds grew tall. The house itself looked like it might have been a brighter blue at one time but now was a desaturated shade closer to gray. The windows lined with cracking, peeling white and the house was surrounded by landscaping overgrown by weeds. One of the shrubs covered an entire window and then some in height.

I fluttered to the ground, finally, landing on the dirt driveway and bracing myself forgetting how weak and tired I was. This should be easy, right? At least there wouldn’t be any ghouls like in Fallout, but also I wasn’t sure I was inclined to raid the kitchen either. I wasn’t so desperate for food I was ready to eat year old ham from the fridge. I tried the door, and it was locked, so I picked up one of the decently sized rocks from the driveway and began hammering at the window closest to the front door. It didn’t even break on the first hit, but I kept going until I could shift again and fly through without clipping a wing on jagged grass.

The place was mostly empty. A couch and a love seat both covered in sheets, a few book cases with old books that at least looked thirty years old. Some camping gear lining the edge of the staircase. I moved over a few paces from the window to solid wall and slid down, my face falling into my hands and tears broke out that I didn’t know I had. I tried to push my brain from feeling sorry for myself, for him, but I couldn’t shove away the idea that I’d already lost him and the memories flooded in. It pissed me off, like at Maggie’s funeral where they played songs that just seemed to really rub salt in the wound of her death. Did I love him? There were times when I caught his eye and I thought I might want more but I’d always fought it, and I couldn’t help but to be flooded with the memories where it was the hardest.

”I'm convinced you're a genius. And I don't mean your mom, I don't mean her brain, I mean yours.”

It was a small thing to say, nothing meant by it I know, but the idea that someone got it, someone knew and believed. Like, he knew, he believed, and understood it without having to try to pick it apart. He was just there. Which was exactly why I did everything I could to keep things where they were - until I didn’t. I pushed myself up and marched toward an end table and grabbed the dusty lamp resting on it and threw it across the room. Exactly as it crashed against the wall I screamed. I gritted my teeth, breathing heavily and trying to push down anything I had left in me because I’d said it myself, I didn’t want to leave him alone. For all I knew they were watching and they’d push him right back in - and apparently the moronic motherfucker would stay there out of some twisted self hatred. I shook my head and marched up the steps, looking for a bedroom.

First door I walked in was to an empty room, except for a few folded blankets and some incredibly dusty lawn chairs. I took one of the blankets, even though it smelled stale, and headed for the next door which was hopefully jackpot. The bed looked like a total grandma bed, white iron and a pink quilt but inviting as hell to my aching muscles. I moved on to the dresser, pulling drawers open until I found t-shirts and I couldn’t help but to laugh when I began pulling them out and looking for one I could even stomach seeing him war. Jesus saves on one, Mayweather family reunion 2009 on the next. The last one was white, cheap, airbrushed with a fish and a fishing pole and the back said My daughter loves me. I wondered if this was a gift the guy “lost”. Keeping as a keepsake but never wearing. I scrunched my face, closed my eyes and picked one and moved on to the next drawer and lucked out when I saw the sweat pants. I pulled out a navy blue pair and moved down the steps. Perhaps the kitchen wasn’t a bad idea, and I could tuck this shit in the backpack I’d seen braced against the staircase. I threw the clothes and blanket on the couch and found the kitchen through an archway.

Wait - could I have showered? I turned on the faucet but it only sputtered and came to a sudden stop. Fuck. But I raided the cabinets and found a few protein bars, and there was a case of bottled water next to the door to the mud room. I grabbed the box of bars and three of the waters, which was all I could carry. After packing everything except the blanket into the backpack, I headed out with both in tow.

I hadn’t even paid attention to where I was in relation our place on the shore, but I lucked out and found a path. Would have been stupid, right? To have a place this close to the lake without a path to it. But I didn’t even get far before I had to stop. The backpack felt like it weighed fifty pounds, and the quilt at least thirty. I wasn’t even sure why I needed it if I had clothes for him but I had a feeling it could be useful. Yeah, you’re gonna have a fucking picnic. I stopped and sat down, moving the pack to the side and resting my back against a tree, and instead of the more distant past, I started to finally let the immediate sink in, almost backwards. At least it started with the hilarious thought that I might have won myself a ban from Home Depot.

I instantly made a connection that almost enraged me. Lilah had offered to turn me more than once. How she thought of it as a favor was beyond me. The life sounded miserable. I’d lose anyone I cared about, I’d lose my humanity. I’d rather be actually dead. And I had offered that to her in exchange for him. The idea that I would have done that and he didn’t.. I mean fuck I knew he couldn’t be right especially right after but for fucks’ sake, what if I had done that? But still, the moment I’d heard what Gayle said, there was no question. I would have done anything that had to be done. And with that my memory skipped back further.

Vincent Byrne, along with Lilith-

Who the fuck was Lilith? Was there someone else -

Before I could ponder the question, my eyes closed and the exhaustion took over. The back of my head landing against the tree only briefly paused the inevitable crash. I only woke when I heard the trampling of something - a deer? And I shot right up, almost forgetting to grab the shit that was the whole point of this fucking hiking trip. I turned around and grabbed the goods and continued on the trail, only stopping when there was too much brush and I had to fight to get through. Eventually I found myself on the shore, but not the right spot, so even then, I had to look and try to find landmarks I remembered and where our landing spot had been compared to where I was. I crossed my fingers hoping I was right and started walking to the left. Eventually things looked more familiar and yet that thought made me slow down. I breathed in through my nose and pushed myself to put one foot in front of the other until I could see him between two trees.

He looked like a stone. Unmoving like some twisted sculpture someone had carved in an effigy to the torment she’d unleashed on him. Hoping to break whatever tension there was, I threw the blanket to the ground and slung the backpack around, pulling out the three shirts and throwing them at him, along with the pants.

It’s a shit time to ask, but who is Lilith? Is there someone else down there I’m supposed to go after?

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Re: [Private] The Wolf and the Raven

Vincent Sawyer Byrne | Wolf; Pack Master/Alpha

Posted on Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:45 pm

What would Odin say? The thought sounded like my own, but I knew it wasn't. It was a fucked, yet valid question to ask. What would Odin say? He was a treacherous piece of shit, but there was wisdom somewhere in there... Once. While his advice likely would have been for me to stand the fuck up and keep going, if I did it, I would be doing it in spite of him. Taking advice from people only counted if they were the right people. If Odin was here right now and told me not to eat rat poison, I'd do it anyway. How fucked was it that I actually believed that would be the right thing to do? It was the only thing to do.

You have no idea whats good for me. Her voice echoed long after she'd gone, and how fitting it was. I guess I wasn't one of the ''right people'' either. And I guess I already knew that, but having it confirmed was brutal in a way I couldn't even begin to describe. I'd rather have not known at all. The fucked part of everything was the fact that I knew exactly what the problem was. The problems with Michelle, the problem with the Ancient, the problems with the pack and Luxx and even the problems with my mom. Caring. Feeling was the source of everything. There was no pain, there was nothing to lose if you didn't feel anything. But without feeling, what would I be? Even Lilith felt. I knew because I could feel it. From dawn to dusk, every single day I felt her rage and pain. I carried it on my back just like I carried Luxx's pain. It weighed me down so much, some days I wondered how my feet hadn't sunk into the earth.

My arms were hit with clothes. I just stared at them for a moment, not even wondering where they came from. I guess I was disappointed in her for even coming back. That thought alone stuck out more than the rest, until she spoke... My eyes slowly turned up to look at her, and they stayed there for a period of time that felt more like an eternity before I looked back down to the clothes and started getting dressed. Not a word came out of me, not until I was completely covered... In a fucked shirt that made me question more than I wanted to admit. Did that make Michelle Jesus? Did that make... Lilith Jesus? There were so many ways in which that was true. I couldn't stomach it.

I guess I had my answer. There was only a handful of people that knew where I'd been sent. Gayle and Lilah... I remembered... It felt like so long ago... Was there someone else there? I couldn't remember. Michelle must have found out from one of them, it was the only explanation. Unless Gayle had caused more damage while I'd been gone. It wouldn't have surprised me...

When I looked at her again, my stomach twisted. Hearing her name come out of Michelle's mouth was a cold reminder that the poison in me continued to spread to everyone I cared about. Even as I tried to stop it, even as I kept my mouth shut, people were still infected with it. There was no stopping it, was there? Isolation. Fuck that word. Fuck Lilith for making it my only option, fuck her for wanting it, too.

I took a step towards her, looking at her in silence before taking another step. You already saved her. I didn't look angry anymore, and though my tone sounded cold, the look on my face was a look of regret. You saved her when you saved me. My eyes broke away for that one, because I was fucking ashamed to admit it. And you shouldn't have. She will kill everyone, and everything, just like she has me. Immortal, but dead. I guess I really was no different than them.

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