Chapter One: Black Book
By Ra’Chaun Rogers
Chapter One: Black Book
The sky was a dull blue, the tires of an old gray car screeched along a curving highway.
The wind blasted furiously through the trees, cutting a swath through them, like an angry army through a field of weeds.
“Damn, it’s windy.” said the driver of the vehicle, a man with dark skin and darker hair, an Afro that gave the impression he had played with light sockets to much as child.
At the moment, Jared was fiddling with the radio attempting to get weather updates, not that he thought it would do him any good, if only for the false sense of security that it would provide during his excursion.
The trip he embarked on was to be one of inspiration, which he hoped would help him write his novel. However coming from a line of teachers and civil servants could not afford his family a cabin upstate, or a hotel in the hills. So, he decided that he was going to find a small town in upstate New York rent a hotel room take notes on the town and then sit at his laptop until he was able to write something. A process he knew would yield him nothing but frustration, however he would give it a shot anyway, if only for the sake of trying.
“… And Wilt Warf, New York is going to see some heavy winds this weekend and a chance of showers…”
“Damn, I really don’t need to be stuck inside.”
Driving until he reached a tunnel, Jared stopped short of it realizing it was pitch black and longer than his eyes could follow. Hmm, that’s one eerie tunnel. The horn of a truck blared a few feet behind him. He instinctively put his foot on the accelerator and speed through, all the while realizing he saw no lights within the tunnel . When he was finally through the sun had almost completed its descent over the horizon, but the truck never followed him out. That’s odd, trucks don’t usually do that.
Raising his head caught sight of the sign reading “Welcome to Wilt Warf”
He drove into the town slowing his pace to watch the people walk against the wind, get they’re hats blown away, bundle up they’re children and make they’re way home. Hmm seems normal enough. He thought driving up to what seemed to be the only motel in town the Wilt Warf inn.
Parking his car in the small lot he braced himself for the gales that attempted to carry his bags away, like a thief. He made his way with determination and some amount of cursing through the wind and into the motel.
“Hello, I’d like a room.”
“Sure.” Said the person at the front desk, a bronze skinned, brown haired girl with a friendly smile and a nice body, she wore overalls, glasses and a name tag that read Jasmine. “ Credit card and Id.” He handed her his credit card and Id both bearing the name Jared Grayson.
She checked his ID swiped his card and returned them both to him with a smile and a wink, the later of the two he kept in mind as she slowly gave him the key.
“ Your room is 202, call if you need anything, and I’ll be up in a hurry.”
“He Thanks.” Jared cracked a smile
“Hope to see you later.” She accentuated the L, revealing a metal tongue ring.”
Jared decided to keep that in mind too. Think I just found inspirations for an erotica heh, heh. He climbed the stairs and stood face to door with room 202, plunging the key into the lock he twisted the knob and it opened.
As soon as Jared left an older taller man, wearing a once white lab coat and spectacles walked through the door. He looked like a younger version of Morgan Freeman and smiled at Jasmine who watched him as he approached. “Morning Jazzy.” He scratched his graying head of hair. “I was wondering if you could do me a favor and pick something up from the library for me?”
“I work for the hotel not you” she said defiantly
“C’mon give your dear old dad a break.” He said smiling wider.
“What is it?” she said impatiently
“Just some stuff about the EEG.” He said nonchalantly
“Oh come on, I thought you were done with that stuff once they kicked you out.” She yelled.
“Calm down, its just some extra research I’m working on.”
“Now excuse me I’ve gotta use the john.” He hurried off down a corridor that said restrooms
Jasmine was never on good terms with her father, he left when she was child, deciding to return out of guilt after her mother passed away from cancer. Also in light of the fact that he needed more help with the restaurant he owned outside of town. What bullshit ‘a scientist who liked to cook’. That’s what I am a scientist who enjoys cooking. She remembered him saying. To bad the damn place was so far from town.
Then she thought. Hmm the guy who just came here has a car, maybe he’d drive me if I acted interested? Worth a shot.
Upstairs Jared placed his bags near the door locked it and hit the bed. His eyes drooped slowly like the blinds of weary neighbors with a secret to hide. Drifting into to sleep his mind turned inward. With careful moves and fluid motion his subconscious floated down into a section of his brain, which was part memory and part imagination. A knock on the door pulled him back from the sea of unconsciousness.
“Just a second…” He muttered dragging himself from the bed.
Pulling open the door he was surprised to see Jasmine standing at his door wearing jeans and a sweater.”
“Uh hey what’s up, I didn’t send for room service?”
“That’s fine I’m off duty.” She smiled nervously. “I was kind of bored and was wondering if you wanted to catch a bite to eat with me?”
Girls up here are forward, nice “Yeah sure let me just wash my face and I’ll be right out. Jared walked into the bathroom and closed the door.
Looks like the story might be an erotica after all. The cold water hitting his face startled him but the thought of Jasmine and the blood rushing from his heart woke him up.
Jared dried his face and walked out ready for anything and hoping that Jasmine would be lying naked on his bed waiting for him. But she was only standing outside the room door.
“Ok let’s go.” Jared said closing and locking the door behind them.
As they walked down the stairs, the lanky man emerged from the bathroom. “Hi Jazzy and who is this?”
“Oh this is Jared, Jared this is Moses.”
“I’m her father. He grinned.
“Pleased to meet you” Jared shook his hand.
“So what brings you to ol’ Wilt Warf Jared?”
“Um, I’m looking for inspiration for a novel.”
“Well don’t look too hard you might find what you’re looking for, Know what I’m saying Hahah.” Moses slapped Jared on the back. “Well I’ve got to be going see you all.”
Moses hurried to the door, waived goodbye and walked out the door.
“Yeah.” Jasmine said in an annoyed tone.
They exited the motel and got in Jared’s car. “So where to?” he asked pulling out of the lot.
“Well there’s a nice restaurant called Witchdoctor a little ways outside of town. I try to go there when I can, but it’s long walk and I don’t own a car.”
“Yea, how’s the food?” I wonder what her bra size is.
They drove through the town, watching the locals move about in they’re daily routines. All the while Jasmine pointed out the places of interest in Wilt Warf.
“See there’s town hall.” She pointed to a large archaic building with odd tribal masked statues on the sides and strange markings.
“There’s the founders gate monument.” They slowed as she pointed to a large bronze statue of a group of run away slaves lead by a hooded figure with writing which Jared couldn’t make out engraved on it.
“What’s that writing on it?”
“Hell if I know, something from the towns past I guess.”
They drove past another large building again sporting the same statues.
“Stop here I have to get something.”
He parked the car and she stepped out. “I’ll only be a second. She walked up the large steps and into the building.
The cold, stale air made Jasmine’s throat dry reminding her why she didn’t like coming down to the library storage area, “The Vault’s” as they’re called. Today she was looking for notes in an item call EEG. The large storage draws resembled stone caskets, and were made of something that looked like baked clay. The inscriptions on the Vaults were of a language lost in the town’s heritage.
“You need anything in particular or just random things on the EEG?” came a voice from behind her.
Jasmine stood up and turned around to look at a sharply dressed albino man whose red eyes illuminated his face. He’s wearing a long gray coat and holding a large three ring binder; the front cover read Extra-dimensional Electronic Gate.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Jasmine snapped
“I’ve come to pick something up, but I’ve got it so I’ll be going.” The young man smiled, turned, and head toward the exit.
Jasmines finger nails grew “Don’t move Blake, I mean it.” She clenched her fingers and her claws glowed a fiery red in the dark. “Law Mirage, Lady of wind, and the motion protect us and seek vengeance on our foes.”
Vanderstopped in his tracks; turning slowly he met her with a smile. “You won’t hurt me, you can’t.” His smile widened.
Jasmine put her hands in front of her face in a defensive stance. “Don’t… do that.”
“Fine, kill me then, go on ahead.”
Vander spoke in something of whispers, causing Jasmine’s skin to crawl and her spine to tingle. Damn you Vander .
Vander’s eyes widened and images of he and Jasmine broke from the vault of her memories and assaulted her mind.
“Ugh” Jasmine closed her eyes but still kept her balance. She heard Vander moving but this time toward her. “Stay where you are.”
She opened her eyes to see Vander standing over her, smoke rising from his coat. He grabbed her by the throat pining her to the wall. “I told you, you wouldn’t do it.” His hand released her neck and caressed her cheek slowly causing her to shudder. Turning he vanished from the vault in a cloud of smoke.
“Damn.” Jasmine took in deep breaths. She began her accent up the stairs, all the while her bracelet pulsated violently.
Jared looked at his watch. “It’s already been ten minutes.” He got out of the car and ran up the large stairs. He stopped at the sight of the statues whose attention seemed to shift to him.
At that moment, a sharply dressed man about his height bumped into him while hurrying out. “Hey buddy watch it.” Jared called.
The man turned back to regard him with crimson eyes. “Sorry” He smiled an eerie smile, turned, and continued down the stairs.
Weird. Jared shook his head and ran up the stairs into the large heavy doors that lead into the building.
The walls were lined with books. Ah a library huh? Jared walked forward admiring the various paintings of people whom he didn’t know and shelves of books he’d never seen.
“Are you looking for something?” a young woman with raven hair mahogany skin and 3 inches of height on Jared’s 5’9 came up behind him.
“Um I was just looking for someone.” Jared said coolly.
“There are a lot of someone’s in here.” She said crossing her arms.” Does this someone have a name?”
Jasmine came running up toward them. “Jared sorry I took so long.”
The young woman smiled. “Oh he’s with you Jazzy.”
“Yeah he is, um could we talk for a second.” Jasmine pulled the young woman whose name was Vanessa to the side. “This’ll take a second.”
“Ok” Jared said with a slight hint of Impatience.
Ten minutes later Jasmine walked up to him. “Ok let’s go.”
They walked out side, got into Jared’s car, and drove down the street through several green lights. “I’m sorry again I took so long.”
“Not a problem, what was it that you were getting?”
“Oh just a book I’ve been dying to read.”
“Did you find it?” Jared stopped at a red light in front of them.
“No someone walked off with it.” Jasmine sighed.
They continued to drive until they reached a gloomy building on the outskirts of town. It was rather plain from the outside gray with tinted windows allowing little sunlight in and no view of what went on inside.
“Here we are.” They parked the car in a lot nearby. Jasmine leapt from the car.
“It’s not what I expected, but if you say its ok.”
“Yeah it’s a great place trust me.”
Jasmine walked toward the entrance and knocked on the door. A tall lanky young man with a necklace made of animal teeth opened the door. They exchanged words that Jared couldn’t make out. She motioned Jared to follow her.
Probably some club for the eccentrics of the town, If anything it could be used as a location in my novel. Jared thought following her inside.
The air was chilled there was music playing, which seemed to be a mix between African polyrhythm’s and house music. He expected people to stare at him being an outsider, but they went about they’re business of eating, drinking making out and other things.
Jasmine sat down in a booth near the back of the restaurant, Jared followed noticing a woman performing on a man sitting directly across from them.
“This is a lively place, although I was expecting to get the common awkward stare.” Jared smiled.
“Sorry, but here all awkward is the same.” She stared at him intently. “But if it makes you feel any better I’ll stare at you.”
They both chuckled as a waitress wearing a dress and head wrap came up to them. “Hi Jazzy, what would you like?” She said moving her raven hair out of her face.
“Hi Marlene, I’ll have the usual.” She looked at Jared.
“And for you sir?”
“Hmm, well what do you have?” Jared looked up at her. “I don’t see a menu here.”
“Well I guess you’ll have to…” Marlene sassed.
“Marl he’ll have what I’m having.”
Marlene walked back into the kitchen. Jared stared at her wondering if all women in the town excluding his present company were this sassy.
“What did you order for me?” Jared turned his focus to Jasmine.
“Oh, it’s vegetable platter with couscous”
Jared felt cold air blow from the back room and could have sworn he heard the sounds of a voice riding it. After a while Marlene arrived with platters, and two ginger ales
“Enjoy.” She said hurrying off.
“Oh Marl could you tell Moses I want to speak to him?” Jasmine called after her.
“Ok.” She said walking into the kitchen.
Jared and Jasmine ate. All the while Jared swore heard faint cries coming from the back room. After finishing his couscous, he laid back.
“So Jared, what kind of novel are you writing?” Jasmine said picking at the remains of her vegetables.
“I don’t actually have genre specifics, but its fiction and about people, and well metaphor’s I suppose”
“Well I hope you find the inspiration you need.” She smiled.
“Yeah, but I could use a little more.”
Under the table, Jasmine rubbed against Jared’s leg with her own. They both smiled.
After a while “Is there a bathroom in here?” He asked.
“In the back, first door to the left.”
Jared got up from his seat and strolled through the plastic partition into the even colder air of the back room. He turned to see the sign men’s restroom to his left. He walked in and immediately noticed a man sitting down next to a stall with small shells, throwing them into a bowl laughing. Hmm must’ve been what I heard he thought walking to the graffiti covered urinal. Ugh, who has time to do this to a toilet? He quickly emptied his bladder and walked out of the bathroom. He began to head back toward the front when he heard the same cries he heard before. The cries then seemed to amplify in his ear. He turned around and began to walk towards the sound, it got louder the closer he got, and the air became much colder. He heard an echo down a set of stairs he hadn’t noticed coming in. Hmm wonder where those came from?
He peered down the stairwell hoping to see where the sounds emanated from but saw nothing, he decided to see what was up and slowly descended the stairs. At the bottom was a long dimly lit corridor with other conjoined hallways on both sides.
He slowly approached door at the end of the corridor where the sounds seemed to be coming from. It was large and wooden with a small window and bars at the top. Peering through them he noticed a lone stone casket in the center of the small room, leaning to get a better look the door swung open and he stumbled inside, falling on top of the object.
“Ouch, Damn.” He got up and rubbed his elbow.
The sounds he had heard came from the coffin. “What the hell is this?” Jared nudged it with his foot. His logic told him that this was trouble and that he should just return to Jasmine upstairs. The writer in him however told him that this could be the basis for the greatest story ever written. He kicked it open and the inside was a black stone the size of a mango. The cries were now in stereo and Jared picked up the stone.
“What the hell is this?” he turned it in his hand.
Inside he could see what appeared to be movement and with a start, the makings of a face not quite human leapt out at him causing him to drop the stone smashing it to pieces.
Jasmine got up and walked into the back. Where is this guy?
A tall, lanky man with thinning hair approaches her in his once white lab coat. “Marl said you wanted to see me.”
“Well did you get it.”
“Blake…” she paused and clenched her fists tightly. “He was in the Vault”
Moses gave a startled look “Come down stairs and we can talk about this.”
She followed him down the dank stairwell. “So what’s this about Vanderbeing in the Vault’s?”
“When I was there collecting the info on the EEG that you asked me for, I saw him.”
“What happened?” Moses cocked an eyebrow causing the lines of aging on his forehead to smooth out.
“I tried to stop him… he got away.” They neared the bottom.
Sigh “I won’t even tell you how this will effect us, you have to go out and retrieve it if the outside world were to find out about this well, It won’t be pretty.”
“I know, I know…”
A loud thud echoed through the hall way
“What the hell?” Jasmine began running down the hall with Moses in tow.
They came to the open door and noticed blood was coursing out of it. They flung open the door to see Jared convulsing on the floor.
“Oh my god Jared”
“How the hell did he get in here?” Moses mumbled. “Lets get him into the office.” Moses hoisted him up putting his shoulder under Jared’s arm, Jasmine did the same. Blood trickled from his head They walked him into a room and laid him on an operating table, the atmosphere was cold and sterile. Moses shuffled through a cabinet of vials until he came to one filled with purple liquid. He pulled a syringe out from the drawer in front of him. “This should help.”
“What was in that box?”
“What was it!?”
“It’s what happens when you fuck around with Alchemy.”
“Was that one of your things?”
“I guess you could say that, it was a fluke really.”
“Well what now?” Jasmine crossed her arms.
“I don’t know, I never thought it would be disturbed.”
“Sounds like you all over.” She turned to look at Jared shivering on the table. “You didn’t know what would happen to me and didn’t know what would happen after mom died, you never think things through.”
“Look I’ve fucked up in life I know, but I’m certain that this won’t kill him.” He sighed deep and heavy. “It has a host body, but he may take on its characteristics.”
Moses paused for a moment took out a book full of hand written notes and handed it to her.
“There is a way to seal him, see that thing was made from Circuit Alchemy, fusion of energies and some light equations.”
She looked at the book and breathed deeply. “ So this will happen?”
“It may not if you keep it sealed inside him.”
Raising his hands in an “I don’t know” gesture he said. “Nothing’s 100% certain.” And then. “Hey at least you’ll have someone to accompany you on your little retrieval mission.
“What do I have to do?”
Jared awoke in a bed wearing only his boxers. “What, where am I?”
“You’re in the Wilt Warf inn.” Jasmine came walking in from the bathroom wearing a bathrobe.
“What happened to the Concord” ?
“You got a bad bit off food poisoning I think, but you’re fine now.”
“What am I doing in my boxers and why are you half naked.”
“Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to, silly boy.” The word’s Jasmine’s father spoke were bouncing around in her head You have to get close enough to draw a circuit.
She sat on the bed lie next to him and leaned between his arms.
They began to kiss and remove what little clothing they had on. In an instant Jasmine was on her back and Jared was inside of her pushing slowly in and out, causing a gasp to escape her lips. She dug her fingernails into his back, enticing him to move faster. She scratched him like a cat, all the while, something inside Jared surged with animal lust, causing him to push deeper into Jasmine. They both finally reached climax. Lying limp on the bed a pile of spent lust and sweat. Jared closed his eyes to the sound of Jasmine breathing next to him and fell asleep.
The sun peered through the window like an anxious child on Christmas as Jared moved lightly as not to wake Jasmine who was lying beside him. He walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower. While washing he noticed the scratches on his back were not only deep but formed a pattern.
He walked out of the shower. “Jasmine what did you do to my back?”
“I drew a circuit, sealing the thing that now inhabits you.” She said sternly.
“Yes, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you Jared but I need your help with something. “
“Wait what?” Jared said half furious half confused
“Look that coffin that you opened contained homunculi which needed a human host it found you.”
“Am I gonna die?”
“No, now please come back to bed and go to sleep.”
Jared looked at her with narrowed eyes and heavy breath. He walked toward the bed and lie next to her. “What’s going to happen to me?”
“I don’t know really.” She sighed “Sleep ok”
Jared found he was unable to keep his eyes open and passed into dreams.
Ever since she had hit puberty, Jasmine had been hearing the sentence “Come on baby and I love you.” Usually in that order and from some guy who didn’t mean it the exception to the rule was now in possession of an item, which she must forcefully retrieve. And it seemed to be fitting do to the fact that most of her boyfriends were bad and occasionally abusive. Her poor choosing of suitors ultimately stemmed from her sordid relationship with her estranged father. All of these experiences allowed her to develop a cynical view of the dimwitted, animalistic species she knows as men. The one she was currently traveling with seemed a bit more subdued than the rest and she took comfort in the fact that she could easily deal with him given the right circumstances. The car jumped over a bulge in the road, waking her passenger.
“Wha?” Jared stirred and slowly got up, his mouth tasted of ash or at least what he though ash would taste like. “Where am I, whose driving?”
“You can lay back down sweetie; we’ve got a mile or so till we reach the nearest motel.” Jasmine leaned back in her seat.
“What the hell happened?” Jared turned toward her. “How the hell did you get my keys?”
“Don’t sweat the details.” Jasmine said sounding as causal as she could. Truthfully, she didn’t want to do this, even if she had to get the book back having this guy tag along would just slow her down.
“No I think I better sweat the details, how did you get my keys, how long have I been out and where are we going?”
“Those are all apart of the same story, a story which I’d be happy to tell once we got off of the road.” Jasmine smiled in the rearview mirror.
“Fuck that stop the car.” Jared put his hand on her shoulder.
Jasmine glanced at him, restrained the urge to strike him and stepped on the break, Jared rocketed forward landing face first in the front seat. Jasmine smirked as he pushed himself up.
“You crazy bitch, are you trying to kill me?” Jared fumed.
“Next time you’ll think before touching me.” Jasmine got out of the car.
Jared followed and walked to the driver’s side. “Oh so, now I can’t touch you, does that mean the inside is off limits too or was that only for one night?” Jared’s voice was full of spite.
Jasmine’s eyes went wide with anger as she lunged at him with clawed finger nails. A strange reflex allowed Jared to grab her wrists right before she was at his throat, his eyes opened wide with bewilderment. He looked at her finger nails gleaming in the afternoon sun and then he looked at his hands and felt how easy it was to restrain her. When did I get so strong?
“You son of a bitch, How dare you.” She thrashed at him. “I’ll kick your ass.”
“Not from where I’m standing.” Jared’s smirk turned into a grimace as he felt a sharp pain between his legs, he let her go and stopped himself from doubling over. “Damn it”
“Asshole, now get in the car, we’re losing daylight.” Jasmine had regained some of her composure. She began to smile emasculating someone always brightened her day.
Jared slowly stood up; his mouth twisted more in anger than pain. “You’re gonna tell me what the hell is going on.”
Jasmine got into the passengers seat. “When we get to the next motel, now drive.” Agitation hung from her words.
Jared spat on the floor and got into the car, he didn’t know why he felt the urge to obey her, but he hoped it went beyond that for her sake, because at that moment he felt the unyielding urge to throttle her, but didn’t. “How far is it?”
“Another mile or so, the faster we get there the faster I tell you.” She pointed ahead. The car lurched forward and began to make its way down the vacant highway.