I watched nervously as Jon slid into the driver's seat of the black Camaro. Tatum and Dylan had taken up positions in the back seat of the car which left the front passenger seat for me. I sat down in the car and before I even had my door closed, Jon was spinning the tires. He threw up gravel behind us as I felt my body being pushed back into the seat. I glanced over to see that we were already pushing sixty and I pulled on my seatbelt.
"Am I making you nervous?" Jon asked with a chuckle.
"Only a little," I replied with a shrug.
I was amazed at how well I could see everything around us even with how fast Jon pushed the car. I glanced over to see that we were doing over ninety on the narrow back road. I couldn't help but chuckle nervously.
"Maybe more than a little," I stated, and Jon laughed out loud. I leaned back in the seat and tried to let myself relax. Dylan and Tatum were talking quietly in the backseat with each other and everything seemed right with the world. I had my friends and my family with me. What else could I possibly need?
Dylan giggled from behind me and I chuckled.
"That's not fair, Dylan." I chided my new friend.
"You know I can't help it, Evan."
"Help what?" Jon asked nervously from beside me. I felt the car begin to slow down as he took his foot off the accelerator. "What's going on, boys?"
I froze as I realized that we were going to have to tell Jon Dylan's secret.
"He was going to find out sooner or later," Dylan stated offhandedly.
I nodded in agreement as Jon turned his attention to Tatum.
"Do you know anything about this, Tatum?" The werewolf demanded of my cousin.
"I swear that I have no idea what's going on, Agent Wells." Tatum said quickly.
Jon slammed on the brakes and pulled the car off to the side of the road.
"No more secrets between the four of us from this moment on," Jon demanded. "Now, out with it."
Dylan only hesitated for a minute before he finally answered the question with a slight frown upon his face.
"I can hear everybody's thoughts, Jon." He said in a voice like he was ashamed.
"Is that all?" Jon demanded in a no-nonsense tone of voice.
Dylan and I nodded, and I glanced back at Tatum to see him glancing around the interior of the car with his own frown.
"I have a secret, too." My cousin said in a soft voice.
Dylan, Jon, and I all looked at Tatum in disbelief.
"You've only been a vamp for two weeks, Tatum." Jon stated. "What secrets could you possibly have?"
Tatum looked at me for permission and I nodded my head once as I waited to hear what his secret was.
"I... I... I..." Tatum looked nervous as he struggled to tell us his secret. "I can see how things are going to play out."
"What do you mean?" I asked in confusion.
"I don't really know how to explain it, Evan." My cousin admitted with a shrug. "It's like I'm watching a million different possibilities happen for every choice somebody is going to make, but one always stands out more than the others."
"You've got your own fucking Seer, Evan!" Jon stated with a broad grin. Jon turned back around in his seat and put the car into drive.
"Is that a good thing?" I asked nervously.
"Considering that he's only the second one in existence, I would say that it is a very good thing, Evan."
We were all quiet as we tried to gather our thoughts on the recent revelations. I had already known that Dylan could read anybody's thoughts, so I had spent the duration of the ride considering the possibilities of Tatum's ability. My cousin could help me by showing me which choices would cause the least destruction. Tatum would be my Guide. I could hear Dylan squirming in his seat, so I reached up and flipped the radio on to a heavy metal station.
"Thank you!" Dylan said from the backseat.
"Does music help it somehow?" Jon asked.
"It helps drown it out," Dylan replied. "The louder the music, the better."
"How much of a range do you have?"
"I've never tried it out," Dylan replied again.
"Looks like we get to do a little bit of experimenting with your ability, Dylan." Jon said with a chuckle. "How many people know?"
"The four of us, and Leslie."
"Good," Jon acknowledged. "Keep it to as few people as possible. The less who know - the safer that you are."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked, suddenly feeling defensive of Dylan's well-being.
"Our kind doesn't take too well to mind readers, Evan." Jon stated in a serious tone. I felt a chill go down my spine from his words. "People will try to kill Dylan if they find out he can read their thoughts."
"I won't let them hurt him," I stated defiantly.
Jon chuckled at my expression.
"Remember whom he belongs to, Evan." The werewolf warned me playfully. "Leslie can be very possessive of her treasures. It's not very often that she decides to bestow the Dark Gift upon someone."
I glanced back at Dylan as he smiled at me.
"Actually, Jon." Dylan hesitated. "Leslie gave me free reign as long as I don't allow myself to be discovered by the humans."
"Are you fucking serious, Dylan?" Jon asked in disbelief. "Yes, Jon." Dylan replied. "I'm serious. My Mother gave me free reign because of what I have to do in the coming days."
"Is this something new, Jon?" I asked curiously.
"It's not something that happens very often, Evan." Jon finally replied with a brief glance in the rearview mirror at Dylan. "It must be serious if Leslie gave her newborn free reign."
Jon remained silent for several minutes before he spoke again.
"There's a war coming, Evan." The man finally stated in his gruff voice. "One that will involve your entire family."
"Ethan?" I growled in surprise.
"Especially, Ethan." Jon stated. I glanced back towards the road as Jon passed a car like it was standing still. He finally continued in the same serious tone of voice once he sensed that I was too busy dealing with my inner emotions at that moment. "I know that it's a difficult thing to imagine, Evan, but at some point you are going to be faced with a choice."
"More choices," I said with a sneer. I continued to stare out the windshield. The yellow line was zipping beneath in a blur, but I could easily pick out each individual shape with my vision. What does any of this have to do with my little brother? Jon had said that my entire family would be involved in the coming war. I remembered the vision I had of the Angel giving Arella the gift of eternal life before she passed it on to her own son. There was only a moment of hesitation on her part, but she made the choice to save Orthis from dying. Arella gave up her own normal existence for her son.
"This one will be a choice that changes the lives for millions of people, Evan." Jon hesitated. "Your little brother is the catalyst that sets everything in motion."
"Bull shit!" I exclaimed in disbelief. "Ethan is only fifteen. How could he be a catalyst for anything?"
"It all depends on the choices you make in the future, Evan." Jon told me patiently.
"What choice will I be making this time, Jon?"
"You're going to have to choose whether or not to save your brother's life..."
His words stunned me into silence, and I glared at the werewolf in shock and dismay. I would never bring this curse upon my brother! I had already sworn against the idea. I felt the anger begin to build within my mind as I struggled against the concept.
"I will never bite Ethan!" I hissed.
"You may have a different opinion when the time comes, Evan."
I closed my eyes and leaned back in the seat and tried to clear my head. All I could think about was Ethan, though. I pictured his jet-black hair spiked up with the over-priced hair gel he used. I could see his smile as if I was standing directly in front of him. His deep blue eyes would reflect every emotion that he was feeling. If you knew how to read Ethan like I did - you could tell his current emotional state just by looking into those blue eyes of his. Then, my imagination decided to play tricks on me, and I saw my little brother blink. When he reopened his eyes, they were no longer blue. They were blood red.
I opened my eyes and sat up so quickly in the seat that I scared Jon and the car swerved. I glanced over at the werewolf to see Jon was staring at me in confusion.
"What the fuck was that, Evan?"
I turned my attention back to the road.
"I'm not certain," I stated quietly as I tried to force my muscles to relax. I glanced back at Dylan to see that he was just staring at me as if I were a complete stranger to him. His gaze sent a chill up my spine and I turned away quickly with a silent warning to not say anything. "It was just... weird."
Jon scowled for a minute before he finally returned his attention to the road in front of us. I sighed with relief as I tried to force my body to relax again. Jon wasn't done asking questions yet, and I knew it. I could tell by the side glances that he kept shooting in my direction as the car barreled down the highway. Jon would wait until Dylan was asleep for the day before he started in questioning me.
I frowned and tried not to think about the fact that Jon had just told me that my brother was going to become a vampire in the future. He didn't have a time frame to give me, nor did he even offer any kind of support for the choice I was going to have to make. I was on my own when it came to Ethan. It was my choice, and for the time being - I refused to decide upon anything.
The safe house wasn't anything that I expected it to be when we pulled up outside of a rundown barn. Jon hit the horn twice and the door to the barn slid open and two men stood there with their arms crossed against their chests. The yard flooded with a yellow light as we sat there and waited for some unspoken signal to be passed between the men and Agent Wells. Finally, Jon nodded once at them and they stepped aside to let the car through. Once the car was safely inside the barn, the two men pulled the doors shut behind us and we all got out. The barn smelled musty like old hay, and there were small holes in the ceiling above us that showed the barn's age. Near the back of the decrepit structure there was a set of double doors hidden neatly between some racks of tools with little light illuminating their presence. Jon led us over to the doors and pulled one open. Inside, I gasped at the bright white light illuminating the small box shaped room. The walls were solid steel and the floor was covered in a gray tile that seemed to dim the brilliance of the light shining down on them.
"What is this?" I asked nervously as Jon motioned me to go inside.
"It's the elevator, Evan." Jon stated with a chuckle. "Come on. It's almost sunrise."
We all got on the elevator and Jon touched the wall next to the door and a display panel popped out from a hidden nook in the elevator wall. The werewolf entered a code on the keypad and the doors locked shut with a loud metallic click. I felt a slight wave a nausea as the elevator suddenly dropped down into the ground. Tatum hissed slightly at the sensation and Dylan giggled pleasantly.
"First time in an elevator?" Dylan asked my cousin with the same giggle in his voice. Tatum just rolled his eyes and giggled to himself in embarrassment.
"It made me light-headed," Tatum said with a smile.
I put my hand against the wall as the elevator stopped and the doors slid open. I felt the same wave of nausea sweep over me again and it took me a moment to readjust my balance.
"What the fuck was that all about?" Jon asked me curiously.
"It was a first for me as well, Jon." I told him before I stepped back onto solid ground. "I think I'll pass on using elevators from here on out."
"That's fine, because we're walking the rest of the way tomorrow night." Jon informed us with a smug grin. "I've got a backdoor out of here. When we leave, I'll give the three of you your own keycodes to get in the back entrance. Consider this your new 'Home Away from Home'."
I glanced around at the room that we were standing in and noticed how similar it was to the lobby of a hotel. There was a small desk directly across from the elevator with a painting of a sunrise over a lake that hung on the wall behind the tan desk. The top part of the walls was painted in an off-white color, while the bottom halves of the walls were decorated with wood paneling. I glanced up at the corners of the room to see that there were tiny cameras in them. There was a wooden door to the left of the desk that opened mere seconds after the elevator doors closed and a small black woman stepped out. She smiled patiently as she sat her slender frame down into the office chair that had been positioned behind the desk. The woman had short white hair that barely went beyond her ears and stood out against her dark skin tone. She wore a blue dress that reached just below her knees and a white blouse. The woman's heartbeat was light like it struggled to continue giving her life, but her brown eyes carried a sense of wisdom within them as she gazed at each of us. I shifted nervously under her penetrating stare until she finally relaxed and smiled.
"Good morning, Loraine." Jon greeted the woman with a brief smile. "How are you feeling this morning?"
"With my hands as usual, Agent wells." Loraine replied without skipping a beat. I couldn't help but smile at her comment before she continued. "I see that you have guests?"
"It's my new inner circle, Loraine." Jon replied with a shrug before he introduced the three of us. Loraine immediately seemed to loosen up her scrutiny of us once Jon declared that we were in his inner circle. "Could you give each of them codes to the back gate?"
"Absolutely, Mr. Wells." Loraine said with another smile. She seemed pleasant for an older woman. "I'll have them ready for you by sunset."
"I knew that you were the perfect person for this task, Loraine." Jon stated with a brief wink to the woman. I saw her cheeks darken for a moment as she blushed before she hit a button on the desk, and a section of the wall to our right slid open to reveal a dimly lit hallway. Jon chuckled and pushed me towards the door. "Let's go newborns! We don't need Dylan passing out here in the lobby."
There were three doors on the right side of the hallway and three doors on the left with a set of double doors at the far end. The walls were tan in color and there were beige tiles covering the floor. Each of the doors on either side of the hallway stood open and I happened to glance inside one to see that it had been set up like a mini apartment inside. Jon led us to the double doors and pushed them open.
The room inside was larger than the rooms I had peaked into and it had a large flat screen television on the wall to the left with a black leather wrap around sofa in front of it. To the right was a small kitchenette with a small dining nook. There was a small table with three chairs around it and a small sculpture of the full moon sitting in the center of the table with white lilies sticking out of the top of it. There were different pieces of artwork throughout the room and I found myself scanning the different items quickly before I moved on to the next.
"What is this place?" Tatum asked as he moved towards the small table to the right of the door we had just entered through.
"This is my home, Tatum." Jon replied smugly.
"Your home?" Dylan asked.
"Why is it so hard to believe that I don't have my own home, Dylan?" Jon asked with a light chuckle as he went over and sat down at the table across from Tatum. "I do need somewhere to store the things I've acquired over the centuries. Oh, and please, do not touch any of the collections. They're priceless."
I could hear the hidden threat behind his smile, and I nodded.
"We won't, Jon." Tatum stated with a nod.
"Make yourselves at home, boys." Jon said as he visibly relaxed.
Dylan crossed over to the sofa and sat down and I joined him. Jon grabbed himself a bottle of water out of the refrigerator before he returned to the table. Dylan grabbed one of the remote controls that was sitting on the coffee table and proceeded to try to figure out how to get the television to turn on for him. I heard Jon chuckle lightly.
"It's the remote on the left, Dylan." The werewolf said with a smug grin. "If you touch the wall beneath the television you'll find my PlayStation and the controllers."
"Sweet!" Dylan exclaimed.
"I want to play too," Tatum called out happily as he moved over to the sofa and plopped himself down while Dylan dug out the controllers and powered on the PS4. They played some racing game while I went over to talk to Jon.
"So. How long have you had this place?" I asked as I glanced around the underground hideout.
"About seventeen years now, I think." Jon replied with a shrug.
"It's nice," I complimented him.
"Thank you, Evan." Jon replied with a brief nod. "Now, let's discuss this ability of Dylan's."
"What do you want to know, Agent Wells?" Dylan asked from the sofa.
"Can you turn it off at all?"
"No," Dylan stated with a scowl. "I really wish I could, though."
"What's it like?" I asked curiously.
"It's like hearing everybody talk over each other while also trying to focus on the conversation they are actually having with you," Dylan answered. "I actually got a headache the other day while we were at Section-9."
Jon shook his head in disbelief.
"Poor kid," the werewolf said.
"It's not always that bad, Jon." Dylan added with a shrug. "You should hear Marcel's thoughts. There's something about them that doesn't quite seem..." The blonde-haired vampire paused as he searched for the right word to use. "Genuine..."
"What do you mean?"
"It's like they're coming from someplace else."
Jon looked thoughtful for a moment before he pulled out his cellphone and dialed a number. He set the phone down on the table as it started to ring.
"Yes, Jon?" I recognized Leslie's voice immediately.
"Watch out for Marcel, Leslie." Jon said in a hushed whisper. "He's being fed information by Sonya. I think she may still have a hold on him."
"Oh, of course, Jon." Leslie replied pleasantly. Someone was clearly listening to her. "We're almost there, now. I'll make sure that Arella knows that you and the boys are going to take an extra day. I'm certain Dylan could benefit from a hunting trip before getting to the motel."
"That's an excellent idea, Leslie." Jon stated. "Be safe." Jon touched the screen of his phone to end the call before he looked at me. "There's many things going on right now, Evan. When you meet Felix for the first time, I want you to focus on learning your ability."
"Do you really think that I have an ability?" I asked in disbelief.
"How else would you have witnessed Arella's memories like that?" Jon countered with a smug grin. "I'm certain that if you tried hard enough, you could become powerful enough to control someone's mind."
"Bull shit," I said.
Jon just chuckled before he turned his attention to Dylan.
"Come on, Dylan." He motioned for the vampire to follow him. "I'll show you to your room. It's almost sunrise..."
Dylan followed Jon back through the double doors and Tatum turned off the game and found some anime show to watch. I joined him on the sofa while I waited for Jon to return. Tatum ignored me after he glanced at me for a brief second. His red eyes appeared wary in that moment until he realized that it was me and not a threat. I chuckled and rubbed his back lightly.
"You'll get used to it, Tatum." I assured him. "Eventually..."
Tatum giggled and leaned into my side as we watched the show together. My mind drifted back to the moment I had saw one of Tatum's memories. I saw it like I was there...
"Is it weird that I sort of feel normal?" Tatum asked me quietly - drawing me away from my own internal dilemma.
"Not at all, Tatum." I pulled him into the side of my body and hugged my cousin tightly. "Are you happy, at least?"
"Yes," Tatum replied without hesitating. "I do miss real food though."
I laughed along with my cousin for a moment.
"Me too, Tatum." I chuckled. "Me too."
Jon returned twenty minutes later and sat down in the recliner that was to the left of the sofa. He had a smile on his face and a strange musky scent about him. I suppressed my own grin as I realized why it had taken him so long to show Dylan to his room.
"Feel better?" I couldn't resist poking fun at the man.
Jon just shrugged and grinned smugly.
Tatum slid his arms around my waist and snuggled in closer to me. I relaxed and enjoyed the moment with my new family.