The Shayd Chronicles #1
All Things in the Shadows
by B.D. Messick
The shadows hide many secrets...
Seventeen-year-old Eve’s world is about to come crashing down.
When the mysterious Kateri enters her life, Eve is introduced to the hidden realm of the Shayds; an army of warriors who protect the world of light from the forces of evil.
With Kateri’s help, Eve will discover how much of a difference one person can make, and that there are more things in the shadows than we know, but this knowledge will come at a terrible price.
BUY THE BOOK
“Mom?” I call out, but there's no answer, which is fine because I don't really feel like talking about my day anyway.
I drop my backpack just inside the door before heading into the kitchen. I know Mom hates when I leave my stuff in the hall, but right now, I don't really care. I open the fridge and look for something to drink. Pushing aside the orange juice, milk, and bottled water, I spot three cans of beer in the back. I've drunk a few of them, without my mother's knowledge of course, but I didn't really enjoy it. I don't understand how getting drunk can make you feel better. All it did was give me a headache the next day.
I grab a small bottle of orange juice and head to my bedroom. As soon as I turn the corner in the hallway, I immediately notice that my door is open. I never leave my bedroom door open, ever. I frown slightly as I walk inside and for a moment I don't see anything odd or out of place, except my laptop screen is up and powered on, but then, out of the corner of my eye I spot a dark shape by my desk. I turn my head, expecting it to vanish like they always do, but instead my breath catches in my throat as the figure of a girl becomes more distinct, less hazy like my normal sightings. She's sitting at my desk, using my computer.
“Who the hell are you?” I ask, angrily.
She whips her head around, staring straight at me, a slightly stunned look on her face. She's about my age, long dark hair framing a face with delicate Asian features. She's pretty, with high cheekbones, bright blue eyes that almost look like they're glowing, mainly because her pupils aren't black, they're white. She's dressed in blue jeans, a red button-down shirt with a black leather vest over the top, and black boots that have seen better days. You might not even notice her on the street, but the knife tucked into her belt and the sword hanging at her side certainly makes her stand out.
She doesn't get up from the chair as she studies me.
“So, Father was right,” she says, apparently to herself.
“Who are you and what the hell are you doing in my room?” I ask, my heart racing a little faster.
“I'm using your computer,” she answers, matter-of-factly.
For a second, I don't know what to say. I have a crazy person in my room armed with a knife and sword like she's on the way to the renaissance fair, but something tells me those weapons aren't props. Then again, maybe all this is in my head.
“Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you,” she says, as if we're having a normal conversation.
“That's what every bad guy says before they hurt you.”
“You watch too many movies.”
I honestly have no idea why I'm still talking with this strange girl, instead of running outside, or calling the police, or something.
“How do I know you're not some crazy girl who climbed in through my window?” I ask before planting my feet firmly, just in case she flies off the handle.
She looks at me and smiles.
“Maybe you sneak in here and go through my stuff while I'm at school,” I add before making a mental note to wash all my clothes.
“I've never gone through your stuff,” she says, sounding a little offended at my inference.
“So, you've been in here before,” I say with a smirk.
She pauses for a few moments before answering. “Yes.”
“Maybe I should just call the cops, have you arrested.”
She smiles at me again and shakes her head, a small chuckle escapes her lips.
“You can give it a try. Don't be surprised if they lock you up instead.”
“Why would they do that?” I ask, a trickle of doubt seeping into my voice.
“Been hearing voices lately?” She locks eyes with me.
That stuns me into silence for a few seconds.
“What are you talking about?”
“Nothing.” She tilts her head to the side as she looks at me, before spinning around in the chair again.
“How do you know about the voices? Is this some kind of joke, or something?”
“If it is, it's not that funny.”
“I'm calling.” I pull out my phone.
Meanwhile, she does nothing to stop me, which makes me pause.
“What's the matter? It's only three digits, did you forget them?”
“No,” I shoot back.
Even a crazy person would be concerned the police might haul them off to jail, but not her.
I slip my phone back into my pocket. She sighs and shakes her head.
“Well, at least we're done with that. He told me you'd probably react like this. I suppose I should have listened.”
“Who told you? What are you talking about?”
“I want to show you something,” she says as she stands and walks to the window, completely ignoring my questions.
I watch as she opens it and steps out onto the rusty, old fire escape, and then something odd strikes me. Even though the window made noise as she opened it, groaning quietly as the old paint rubbed inside the tracks, when she stepped onto the metal grate, her boots didn't make a sound. My mind is reeling when she bends down and looks back at me through the open window.
“Well, are you coming, or what?”
I don't know why, but I don't even hesitate to follow her. By the time I get myself through the window, she's already down on the ground. Two floors, really? It takes me more than a minute to walk down the stairs, and then climb down the ladder, dropping the last five feet into the alley. She's waiting for me, leaning against the wall with a wicked little smile on her face.
“Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular. I just want to show you something.”
She turns on her heel and heads toward the end of the alley where it joins the sidewalk that runs in front of our house. For a minute I stand there watching her walk away and then I dash after her, catching up just as she moves out onto the busy pavement. It's probably around four o'clock and there are people everywhere, but this odd girl with a sword dangling at her side slips into the flow of people going about their daily lives. The first thing I notice is that no one, and I mean, no one, is looking at her. Besides the fact that she's armed to the teeth, she's also much prettier than I first realized, with tight jeans, a snug fitting shirt that shows off her assets, and a dazzling smile. I speed up a little, so I can catch her.
“So, what did you want to show me?” I ask.
She looks at me. “Do you notice anything?”
“No one is looking at me, the girl with the sword.”
She's absolutely right. The few people paying any attention at all, are looking at me, instead of her.
“You aren’t saying you’re invisible, are you?”
“You tell me.”
We continue weaving through the crowd of people. Some of them move out of my way, but I quickly notice she's the one who gets out of their way; dodging, turning, and slipping by them. Her movements are graceful, quick, and completely silent. I watch as a young kid with a baseball cap turned to the side, approaches her. She reaches out and grabs his hat, holding it in the air for a second before tossing it straight up. He doesn't look at her. He watches the hat, as if she's not even there. I see her laugh, I can hear her laugh, but no one else seems to.
In the blink of an eye, she pulls out her sword, and in a move that would rival even the best world class dancers, she sweeps the sword down and to the left while deftly avoiding a passing cyclist, cleanly cutting a branch off one of the small trees planted along the sidewalk. A woman screams, and for a moment I think she may have seen her, but then I realize it's because the falling limb nearly hit her. A few other pedestrians stop, some of them with annoyed expressions on their faces. Strangely though, none of them look at the girl with the sword, instead they focus on the tree and severed branch.
“Must be carpenter ants,” I hear one of them say, even though the ‘break’ is perfectly clean and smooth.
She slides the sword back into its scabbard and makes her way through the crowd, carefully avoiding any contact with the dozens of pedestrians. I dash after her, even though I have no idea where she's leading me. While she's graceful and quick through the mass of people, I'm like a bull in a china shop, bumping and battling my way along the sidewalk. It's hard to keep track of her, as she bobs and weaves, and for a second, I lose sight of her. I don't know why, but I start to panic that I've lost her. I should be grateful she's gone and turn around and head straight back home, locking the doors and windows, but something deep inside me needs to know who she is and why she's so interested in me.
I move past a particularly large man eating a slice of pizza, and I catch a glimpse of her slipping into an alleyway just up ahead. Muscling my way past a few more indignant pedestrians, I dart off the sidewalk into the narrow alley. For a moment, I don't see her anywhere, but then she seems to appear as if she materialized out of the shadows.
“Hey,” she says, grinning at me, her strange blue eyes sparkling.
“So, you saw everything right?”
“I saw something.” Part of me is still not willing to believe my eyes.
“You saw me grab that kid's hat and cut that branch, and no one looked at me. You saw me walking down the sidewalk with a knife on my hip, and a sword in my hand and not a single damn person gave me a second look, let alone a first.”
I don't even know what to say in response. I saw all of that, I guess.
“So, what do you think now?” She leans up against the grimy brick wall, waiting for my response.
I shake my head. “I don't know what to think. I don't know if this is really happening, or I'm just going crazy.”
She smiles at me and laughs. “Listen sister,” she says as she takes two small steps back into a shadow cast by the building to our right and she vanishes. I spin around, my eyes searching for her, darting left and the right when I hear her voice again coming from above. I look skyward and she's leaning over the edge of the building, four stories up. There's no fire escape, no ladder, no way she could have gotten up there.
“If you think you're crazy now, you've got no idea what's coming,” she yells down, laughing harder than before. “See you soon!”
“Wait!” I shout, just as she moves away from the edge. A second later, she reappears, peering down at me. “What's your name?”
And then, she's gone.