Prologue from RRA – The Estrangement

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The Estrangement….

 

It wasn’t always supposed to be a secret that the world is filled with people that can manipulate the elements. We weren’t always called witches and wizards like it was a bad thing. I mean, angels can manipulate the elements and not get burned at the stake right? But, some people infused with angelic blood remain and were called witches. Some people without angelic blood can wield powers and are called dangerous and unnatural.

So, places like Red Rail Academy faded out of the public view. Regular people don’t know that in these modern times a very different education exists for people born into our world. Though it has its dangers. About three centuries ago, one woman gave her greatest gift to the world by conquering an evil that rose out of the depths and became insatiable for human flesh. The creature lured her to the cliffs overlooking the sea on the French shores of Normandy. She disappeared for three days and returned in a trance that lasted for three weeks. We still do not know how she got rid of the creature, but the disappearances stopped and in her trance she could not tell anyone anything.

The school I went to, Red Rail Academy, was built in her honor to teach everyone with powers how to defeat whatever evils come up and threaten our way of life. And wouldn’t you know, vampires decided to try and wipe us out. A hundred years of war and they too faded into the shadows. We thought a dividing line had been drawn to keep them in their crypts, but they were only watching and waiting to strike. Today is that day.

My name is Maggie, I graduated from school, got a great job working with the Intelligence Ward, and met an amazing man who was part angel. We got married, bought a house and are expecting our first child. Then he just… disappeared three weeks ago. No trace spells, no note, no leads, no more help from the Magistrate Police to find him. They think he got too overwhelmed and ran out on me.

I know he would never do such a thing. Ben is different.

I spend long hours looking through my old schoolbooks trying to find a hint, a detail I missed, some clue on how to find my husband. At least, that’s what I was doing before I found myself standing here in a daze. I’m in a council room of some sort, surrounded by people that look a little too perfect, too young to be so sure of themselves, and it just feels… creepy. There is a dark, bald, yet stunningly beautiful man sitting on a throne. Encircling the room are other equally beautiful people inordinate chairs. I feel like a table is the only thing missing, and that I am somehow on the menu.

They have such an eerie feel to them. I feel a brewing danger of being eaten, but it doesn’t make any sense because they are not demented goblins, or trolls, or any of the things I learned about in school. I felt for my wand and the man on the throne laughed at me.

“Wands don’t work here. They only work on the living.” he said in a smooth voice.

“What do you mean? It’s not like you’re dead. I mean you’re sitting right there breathing.” I countered.

“What I mean to say is, wands don’t work on vampires… and they don’t work well on those of us with angelic blood coursing through our veins either. You see, magic is a human concoction and while there are those of you with abilities there are those of us who have acquired powers from elsewhere.” he explained.

“Who are you?” I asked, suddenly feeling mesmerized by his hazel eyes as he held my gaze.

“My name is Primus and I am the firstborn of the House of Venice. You Maggie are strangely in love with a young man by the name of Benjamin whom I have taken the liberty of borrowing for the last few weeks or so. We have had some very interesting discussions.” Primus continued.

“You leave him alone. He’s a good man.” I all but shouted at him despite myself as relief overtook me. I knew Ben hadn’t abandoned me.

“Is that the beginning of a deal? Hmm?” Primus asked suggestively.

“What do you want?” I asked him.

“That.” He stated flatly and pointed to my belly.

“What? NO. My baby?” I gasped sharply at the atrocity that he is demanding of me.

“How much do you love this man?” he asked me.

He made me feel like I have to choose. Ben or our baby. What would Ben do?

“I bet you’re wondering what he thinks about all of this huh? Bring him in.” Primus directed as secret doors that seamlessly merged into the wall opened.

Ben sat tied to a chair being dragged in noisily by a man with snakelike fangs wearing a long blue cloak. Bound and gagged, Ben looked horrified that I’d been brought to this place.

I walked slowly towards him and removed the gag. Hugging him and breathing raggedly I felt a life slipping away from me. I wondered if Primus would let me take Ben’s place so that I could stay with our child.

“Can I stay with him? If you let Ben go and I agree to let our child live here, can I stay?” I asked tearfully.

“No.” Primus said as though I had asked the stupidest question he had ever heard. “And if you do leave him, you must never speak of this to anybody.”

“Ben. I don’t know what to do. How will I ever tell our baby that I left you here to be killed when I could have saved you?” I asked with tears streaming down my face.

“Don’t. Don’t tell him anything.” Ben said weakly.

“How do I know you won’t kill my baby?” I asked as a strange haze overtook me. I felt like I had been drugged and was having a very out of body experience. Am I really considering this? How can I even think of leaving my baby here?

“I will personally raise your son. He will stand to inherit an empire. But, I need it to be Ben’s child.” Primus continued.

“Why?” I asked shocked. What is so important about Ben? “Is he an Omipottur?”

“No. He is not a descendant of the Red Rail Witch that defeated the Necropoli. He’s even better. He has angelic blood in his veins. THAT is why Ben has powers and attended your precious school. I need his son to prepare the way for many others like him.” Primus said as I nearly slipped into unconsciousness.

I heard myself say the words. I heard my voice say, “Ok.” When in my head I was screaming NO!

The haze wore off feeling like a deep sleep falling away from me. I stretched and found that I am sitting next to Ben on a park bench overlooking the ocean. There is a sign that says something about Laguna with rolling foamy waves crashing on the beach on a bright and sunny day.

“What happened?” I asked groggily as I wiped the sand out of my eyes and felt for my stomach.

I nearly stopped breathing. It is empty. I know it is. My belly, my baby… gone. I looked at Ben for confirmation of what I already knew to be true. He held my hand and squeezed it as I sobbed.

I truly do not know what had come over me.

“I wasn’t in the room. They used a shape shifter named Alistor who nearly drank me to death so that he could assume my identity. They needed you let your guard down so that Primus could hypnotize you and somehow get our baby. They preformed a c-section and made me watch them walk away with our son.” he said tearfully.

I felt so ashamed. I did this to him, to us, to our innocent child.

“Ben we have to go back!” I said frantic.

“They’ll kill him if we do Mags.” he warned me.

“I didn’t mean to say yes Ben I swear! I never wanted to give him up!” I shouted and cried.

“I know. He put you in a trance to make you obedient. That’s what vampires do. We just have to hope that one day we will see him again. One day.” Ben said and did his best to comfort me as I cried.

A few weeks later we had a small memorial and told our friends and family that I miscarried. I think I’m permanently terrified of having anymore kids. But, I want at least one. So, we waited for five years to have another child… just in case Primus is still watching us. I never stopped looking over my shoulder, but Primus never did come looking for our next child. Zach filled my heart and eased the pain I felt daily for giving up my firstborn. Not a day went by that I did not wish he would one day know his brother.

Ben developed a way for the both of us to use his angelic powers instead of just magic to ensure that I could protect Zach if he got taken again, since magic doesn’t work on vampires (according to Primus). I slowly but surely learned how to wield those angelic flurries and locked my wand away determined to ensure that my remaining son would never know about the world of magic and would never be used as a pawn or be targeted in any way. If Primus couldn’t find him, then he could never come for him right? We can’t afford for Zach to stand out in any way.

Even when Red Rail Academy of Metaphysical and Wizardry Arts began to send letters inviting Zach to enroll after he turned eleven, I always hid the letters away. On the one hand, I was quite proud that my son met the criteria to be selected for admission to my old school. I desperately want him to have the delightful childhood that I so dearly missed. But, a much larger part of me wants to ensure his safety.

Benjamin taught our son everything that he knows. Sadly, once again when I least expected it… after 16 years of marriage and a beautiful 11 year old son… Ben disappeared again.

I took Zach and ran to the only place I could think of. Home. So, we left our quiet little lives at the beach and returned to a rainy homestead in Bath, England where I had to figure out how to give my son a chance at normalcy.

But, he’s older now and thinks that he can save the world so why can’t we save his dad? I haven’t given up on Ben you see. I know what he is capable of and that he will fight with every breath to return to us. But, I have to do my part and protect our son long before I can go looking for him. I’m almost entertaining the idea of letting him go to Red Rail Academy… in a few years.

I can’t exactly leave a headstrong feisty younger version of my husband in a rainy new land with no options other than to sit tight while I go looking for his father. I’ve enlisted the help of a few friends, but let’s face it. They looked at me like living on the beach fried my brain somehow when I mentioned vampires.

 

To be continued….

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