My friend Kim and I decided to work collaboratively on a fictional piece I had already started called Tranquility High. Although, not certain that’s going to be the final name but for now…it works. I’m super excited to see how it turns out. Each week, a new section will be up. Neither one of us will know how it’s going to go from week to week. It’s sort of cool. I had no clue what direction she was headed until she sent me hers to post. And…here it is. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!
Tranquility was recently named as one of the Top 100 towns in the country by Tranquil Magazine. (I think they had to add them to the list if only for their name, but that’s just my opinion.) The town was known for its beautiful and eclectic buildings, painstakingly renovated so they wouldn’t fall to the ground but otherwise unchanged since the early 1900s. To me, this picturesque town looked like almost every other small town television deemed fit to show. Also, it was eerily similar to all the other small, picturesque American towns I had lived in throughout my life. It wasn’t surprising Tranquil Magazine didn’t mention Tranquility was also a missing persons epicenter. Odd, seemingly unexplainable things happened around here, yet the people in town kept it on the down-low.
As members of SFA (Safety from Monsters), we Derringers come from a long line of monster hunters. We preferred to be known as a private sector of justice seekers. We’ve hunted those of this world and the ones that regular humans don’t have any true clue about. We live by a simple motto, “If they do no harm, we do no harm.” It’s as simple as that.
Times have changed. It used to be all “Burn the witch!” and “Back to Hell with you, Demon!” (Now they’re terms people used for the family pet who stole dinner from the table.) All vampires were staked, heads chopped off and cloves of garlic shoved in their mouths. Ghosts were exorcised, which I’ve heard is an excruciatingly painful experience for them.
My parents have dragged me along as we traveled the country following rumors of the unexplainable. Some stories turned out to be true, like the ghost that haunted the barn in Texas. To her credit, she was upset when the new owners painted it bright pink. She spooked the cows a little by manifesting enough to throw some of the tools around so the scaredy cows gave sour milk. Once we explained to the owners, the barn was returned to the original color and they hadn’t had a problem since. Other rumors were nothing more than campfire tales. Bigfoot was actually an unshaven hermit in the forest of Oregon who called himself Green Leaf. He smelled pretty good for being Bigfoot and was a nice guy to boot. He enjoyed having company if even for a short while. We still keep in touch with him.
Every place we’ve moved had been different. Witches here, vampires there, suspected were-folk, demon circles, and random ghosts. A great majority of the beings located were nonviolent. The weres generally went after animals while shaggy and hungry. Of course there were some that went old school and went after people. Witches, like everything else, ranged from white to black and all shades in between. Those on the darker end of the scale were the reason behind the demon circles. It was very difficult for the demons to come to this realm on their own. Those ugly buggers were a pain to send back. If they didn’t go back peacefully, sometimes they ended up going the hard way–with their heads chopped off. My parents told me stories of fairies when I was younger, but said fairies liked to stick to Europe. A millennia of hoarding would’ve kept me where I was, too. And aliens? I didn’t doubt their existence, but haven’t seen any actual proof yet. They probably had more important things to deal with on their own planets than to harass us.
So why Tranquility? For some unknown reason, my parents haven’t told me yet and that was unlike them. Did some ghost get bored watching the people in their house and decide to bash their heads in with overdue library books? Were mermaids in the river drawing men to their deaths thinking they were going to get some mermaid tail? Was there an Edward-esque situation here with the vamps deciding they were no longer interested in venison? They moved us yet again, but told me to go to school and get good grades. Please. Like they didn’t know I could do that blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back. Something’s up. I wasn’t sure why they weren’t telling me what, though.
Though we’d been here a week already, this was my first time at the school. My musings were interrupted when I saw the cute turtle stuck at the base of the stairs and I knew I couldn’t leave her like that. No one else was doing anything other than pointing and laughing. Oh wait, several have cell phones out and are taking pictures. Evil hags. I’m not surprised.
Since the phones stayed out, I strode to where she had fallen. It felt as if I walked through water when I got closer. As I reached to help her up, I could feel energy radiate off her in waves. The view would have been comical if I hadn’t been so confused. How could someone so powerful appear so meek with her arms and legs waving? Her pretty eyes looked terrified. My schedule wasn’t going to get itself, so after helping Vi up, I took off up the stairs. Moments ago I was trying to figure out why the hell we were here, but that was before I met the turtle, Vi.
Fate stuck us in the same homeroom for a reason. Fine, I may have helped fate a little, after all…to be good at what we do, not to mention survive as long as we have, it was only fair we had a few tricks up our sleeves. One of mine came in the form of low level mind control. So, I used it on the school secretary. I needed a way to keep Viola close. I couldn’t rig all of our classes because it would have seemed a little suspicious, but one was all I needed. Listening to her introduction proved to me she didn’t belong here. I doubt she knew anything about this school or this town…or herself, for that matter. Not that I knew any details either, but it felt… off.
While Mr. Riley talked, people pretended to listen, played on their phones or drew, while they watched her out of the corner of their eyes. Even Mr. Riley seemed to be paying Vi extra attention while he droned on. They can feel it, too. This is not good. The sooner I find out what her deal is, the better.
I knew I should have done anything without talking to my parents first, but they held out important information on me. We were a team and they sent me in blind. Unsure of what they’d want me to do in this situation, I wrote the note. What could I tell her that wouldn’t make me sound crazy? I didn’t know, but the need to have her close was strong. Something was very off here and I felt the need to protect her from whatever it was. It didn’t hurt that she was cute and spending time with her wouldn’t be a hardship.
The rest of my day went by in a blur and the same “Hello, my name is Blade Derringer. My family moves around a lot. Yes, I like it here. Can I sit down now?” was uttered all day. I’m sure the same thing went down for Vi.
After arriving in town, I’d wandered to get acquainted with the unfamiliar area. I almost ended up in the river on that trip, due to a curiosity about mermaids. People didn’t realize those smart ladies were able travel certain ocean-fed rivers. They were women in modern times. They’d found they enjoyed shopping, the internet, restaurants, and peeing in actual toilets. I didn’t see any of them in the river, but I did manage to find a weak rail on the bridge. It was a close call, but I survived and found Lost in Time, as well.
Like most antique shops, it was a hangout for a bevy of old people, locals and tourists alike. The younger people quickly found out antique stores were not like thrift stores. Items sold here were way out of their budget. They were out of mine, too, but not my parents’. Most people saw only what they were expected to see. My parents brought me up to see everything differently. They taught me early on about what treasures could be found in a true antique shop. And wow, were there some massive treasures.
We’ve found daggers made of solid silver, which could be used to kill most of the others, being sold as antique cake knives. There were enchanted mirrors, which the store owners thought were just misty with age. We even found a vampire’s fang dangling from a necklace. Of course the fang’s owner, George, heard about the find and came to us to get it back. He was thrilled about it, since he couldn’t remember where he’d lost it. He paid us back for it and went on his merry way.
Lost in Time had several pieces that interested me. I’d have to tell my parents about them, but I was still pissed. They wanted to keep secrets? Two could play at this game. Or three, in this case.
I, Blade Derringer, have a thing for antique shops. Sue me. Though it wasn’t normally a place I’d meet someone, like Vi herself, something about the store called to me.