Friday October 1, 1999
Jared opened a portal that led into a cozy living room. I eventually found out that we’d traveled to a cabin in West Virginia that was owned by my aunt’s husband, Glenn Johnson. It was a beautiful place, surrounded by a lush forest that went on for miles.
Jared ushered me to the room where I would stay for the weekend and after I’d unpacked I rejoined him in the kitchen.
He was making dinner and it smelled wonderful. Unfortunately my stomach was knotted so badly in anticipation of the Seeking I was afraid to eat.
Jared looked up from the salad he was making and regarded me a moment. “Nervous?” he asked as he crossed to the refrigerator and pulled out a tomato.
“A little,” I confessed. “I don’t know what to expect and I want to do well. I know you can’t tell me anything about what will happen so I’m not asking, I just always get this way before tests.” Which was true. I was so nervous during finals week my freshman year in high school I had to dash to the bathroom during first period because I thought I was going to throw up.
“I understand how you feel. Before my first Seeking I tried everything to anticipate what would happen. I’ve never done so much introspection in my life.” We laughed and he covered my hand to squeeze it brotherly. “Don’t worry, Corrine. Just remember to keep your head and you’ll know what to do.”
We sat down to eat and I was relieved that I was able to keep a portion of it down. It soon grew dark and I went to my room to change into the white ceremonial robe that Jared had given me for the occasion.
We left the cabin and walked into the woods. After a few moments we came to a little clearing. The moonlight shone brightly in the space but torches had been set up around the perimeter of the roughly ten-foot area. In its center was a large stump that was about knee high. The stump was about three feet in diameter and appeared to have been used in many rituals before.
Jared indicated that I was to sit at the south end of the stump, facing north while he went to the opposite side. We sat Indian style and the soft pine needles that blanketed the ground were quite comfortable.
“Close your eyes,” Jared said and I complied. “I want you to clear your mind of all distractions. Nothing exists now but the sound of my voice.”
In my mind I pictured the yellow candle that had been Mac’s. Its wick was lit and the flame was constant and strong. The candle had been given to me by my birth mother, Eliza Gentry along with a book about seeking the power within. She and Mac had been lovers a long time ago and it was from him that I have inherited my powers. Eliza had only a few momentos of her time with Cormac Brennan but after the night at Mother Abigail’s when I’d first Awakened I guess she felt they would help me. I will be forever grateful to her.
After meditating for a few minutes Jared told me to open my eyes. As I glanced about the clearing I was surprised to see that my grandparents and aunt were sitting around the stump with Jared and myself. There was a space left empty next to Aunt Siofra and I wondered if it was meant for Mac.
“Grandmother, Grandfather, I am so glad you’re here. Jared didn’t tell me.” They both beamed beautiful smiles at me and their presence did ease my uneasiness. Siofra on the other hand left me feeling mean for lack of a better word. She blamed Eliza for Mac’s ‘death’ and had treated her badly when we were all in Ireland. I could understand her feelings to a certain degree but her rudeness was uncalled for.
“It is the way,” my grandfather said as I heard rustling behind me. Before I could turn to see what it was, a large gray wolf moved into my peripheral vision and around my left toward Siofra. When he came to the empty space next to her he hesitated and sniffed the air mournfully before continuing around toward Jared.
As my eyes followed the animal around to my mentor I was surprised to see Diana standing behind him. She’d visited me in my dreams so often lately that I knew it was her instantly. To her left was a small pure white wolf that wasn’t quite full-grown. The gray wolf nuzzled the white one who in turn licked the larger wolfs face.
My eyes locked with Diana’s and she smiled. “Hello, Corrine Mackenzie,” she said in my mind.
“H-hello,” I managed.
“You know what is expected of you, Corrine Mackenzie. No one is allowed to accompany you. Follow this path to your destiny.” With a wave of her hand she indicated an opening to the clearing I hadn’t seen before.
I stood and glanced at each of the others in turn and they all gave their best reassuring smiles. I took a deep breath and started toward the path. The little white wolf accompanied me.
The two of us trampled through the woods for about five minutes. I had to lift the folds of white robe so that it didn’t get torn by the brush. The path finally opened and I walked into the yard of Mother Abigail’s.
I stared in amazement at the house for a second or two while the little wolf trotted on without me. She stopped and glanced back over her shoulder. I knew she was waiting for me and I swallowed compulsively and continued forward.
The house was fully lit but I couldn’t see into any of the windows even as I drew closer to the structure. The wolf and I mounted the porch and I looked down at her. “What now?” I asked and without hesitation she lifted a front paw and scratched at the door. When I tried the knob it turned with ease.
The door swung open but all I saw was blackness. The wolf was staring up at me expectantly. I shrugged my shoulders and walked in…
I was back against the wall in the dining room and the tall black man was holding me there. I could see his fangs and the hate in his eyes. I no longer wore the white robe but the clothes I’d had on that night. I had my hands pressed against his chest and was pushing as hard as I could but he wouldn’t move.
I felt desperate. There were other people in the room but I didn’t think anyone would be helping me. Part of my Seeking had to be finding my own strength. “You can’t hurt me,” I said through clenched teeth as I made an attempt to wedge my feet up between us.
The vampire was trying to get to my neck but I was holding him back, barely. I was able to get my feet in his stomach and I pushed him away with all my might. “Noooo,” I screamed as he flew back landed on his back.
I dropped to the floor as the little wolf pounced on the vampire’s chest and went for his throat. I was able to see more of the room now. Another vampire had a girl pressed down on the dining room table. His mouth was red with her blood and as I stood he bit into his wrist and moved it to her mouth.
The desire was strong to go to the man who’d tried to hurt me and kill him but I realized that the other girl was in real trouble and there was no one to help her but me. I was on my feet now and moving toward them. The wolf was still attacking the other vampire so I hoped he wouldn’t have a chance to get to his feet again.
I saw a wooden chair and I picked it up and slammed it against the floor. It made a loud noise as it broke but no one noticed. I picked up a broken piece continued toward the table. I wasn’t sure what would happen but Eliza had taught me some basics in self-defense so I came up behind the guy and plunged the improvised stake in his back where his heart should be.
The vampire fell lifeless on the girl. She was barely awake but I pulled the body off her and hauled her to a standing position. “Are you able to walk?” I asked her and she nodded her head weakly.
“Get out,” I said and pushed her toward the doorway. She was beginning to realize what had just about happened to her and panic picked up her step.
I turned back to find the little wolf’s muzzle was covered with the blood of the other vampire and his arms were flailing in an attempt to get her off. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t grab her, his hands just never got near her white coat.
I grabbed another piece of the chair and went to where they were. Just as I was about to thrust the stake into his chest he melted away into the floor. I stared in disbelief at the wolf whose nuzzle was still covered in blood and found that she was looking at me in approval.
“Is that it?” I asked the animal and her tail began to wag in excitement.
When I didn’t receive an audible response and nothing else happened I decided that the Seeking most be over and that it was time to return to the clearing. The wolf and I made our way through the house and as soon as we exited the front door the large structure faded out of sight. I glanced down and saw that I once again wore the ceremonial robe I’d donned before leaving the cabin.
I was exhilarated. Jared had said that if the Seeking had went badly that there was a chance I could go insane. My mind felt intact so I guessed I’d done all right. In addition, the thought that this time I’d been able to stop the vampire did a lot to improve my feelings that I could take care of myself now.
The wolf and I were once again on the path and she seemed to frolic beside me so I reached down to scratch her ears. When we entered the clearing the others stood and my grandparents hugged me enthusiastically.
“Well done,” Jared said with a broad grin when I turned to him. I realized just then how much his approval meant to me. Jared had taken me on as his pupil for no apparent reason that I knew and I wanted to do well by him. He had a history with Eliza and Mac that I knew he would rather forget so having me around probably dug up bad memories. I was indebted to him and would be eternally grateful for his guidance.
I linked arms with my grandfather and the group went back to the cabin. Glenn and Bobby were there making snacks for everyone. I was really hungry by then, my nervousness completely gone now, and I ate my fill.
I was anxious to talk to Eliza to let her know how the night had gone so I excused myself to go in search of my cell phone upstairs. The night had indeed went well and it only sparked my interest to continue my studies. I had the feeling that with my new found knowledge I could help alter the fate of those around me and I looked at that as an incredible way to live my life.
After all, tomorrow is another day…