Book 1 : The Black Heart Murder
Chapter 1 ~ Letter from a friend
Hey, old friend. Its been a while. I bet you're surprised to hear from me after all these years.
Listen, I have something I need you to do for me. See, I work a job in a place called Midnight Meadow. A simple, quiet little place.
Well, something came up. I have to leave for a while, but I kinda worry about my companions. Someone has to keep an eye on them for me. I only trust you for that.
No, I'm not asking you to babysit. I just would appreciate it if you would stay close to them while I'm gone. They tend to get themselves into trouble and I'm the one who always gets them out. I need you to watch them for me. Ok?
Well, I don't know if you'll do it or not, but I'm really hoping you will. I even bought you a train ticket. Hopefully its still with this letter. If you're still where I think you are, it should be about a three hour ride by train. Once you get there, look for the address on the card I left you.
I'm sure you'll do fine. The job will be easy for you. I remember you liked that kind of thing.
If you do this for me, thanks.
I sighed as I looked from the letter to the small violet card. Red ribbons formed the words Midnight Meadow Detectives. I sighed, walking through the little town in a big, open grassland, Leave it to Donyx to get me in with detectives.
I looked at the shops along the cobblestone street. Little restaurants had tables sitting out in front, where couples were eating under the moonlight. The street was lit by shop windows, light pouring out on those who passed by.
I reached the end of the shops to see a single little two-story cottage with a sign written in the same ribbon words as the card. It was cute, which made me curious about who I was meeting. Just how did someone like Donyx end up in a place like this?
I opened the door, which rung a small bell. I walked into a small front office. A single door led into the rest of that floor while a staircase climbed the right wall just past the front desk. Five chairs sat along the wall next to the door. Very simple, very quiet. I decided that moment to make sure I asked Donyx what he was doing in a place like that when I saw him.
I closed the door behind me and walked up to the desk. I noticed the little gold bell and tapped it. The little "ding" rung fairly loud.
Then the door at the back was opened. A petite girl with black hair and dark skin walked out. Her brown eyes looked at me from behind a pair of red-rimmed glasses, "Yes? Can I help you?"
I cleared my throat, "Hi. I'm Fahkir. I'm old friends with Donyx. He works here."
The girl looked me over. She spoke softly, "Never seen him before."
I felt a little confused, "Are you sure?"
She looked at me, a little surprised, but shook it off, "Sorry, I wasn't talking to you."
I was confused, until I noticed something next to her. I could feel a presence there. I focused my mind and something hidden to the human eye appeared.
It was a boy. He wore a long black coat over black clothes. His jet-black hair hung in his eyes, which were bright red. Black gloves hid his hands, silver chains hung from his coat and sleeves, and he wore thick, black boots. The hood of his coat covered his head, almost shadowing his face. He had to be in maybe his early twenties, though I could assume that he, like myself, was much older than he looked. Looks meant nothing in this world.
I knew he had to be a Phantom. How I knew this? Obvious. Being a Vampire myself, only my kind could see them. It took some focus to see through the veil that separated the world of the living and the world of the dead, but once you did, you could always see and hear them.
I spoke, "He a friend of yours?"
She looked me over again before answering, "So you are a Vampire." She started looking through a drawer in the desk, "Yes, I can see him." She closed the drawer and looked at me, "And no, I am not a Vampire. I'm more Human-Based."
Human-Based. That would be Humans with a little something in their blood. What that something is exactly, from Vampire blood to something else's, is rarely known. Though, whatever it is, it's never enough to fully turn them, explaining why no one can be sure what's in their blood exactly. Personally, I'd never met a Human-Based person before. This one clearly had Vampire in her blood, or else she wouldn't have been able to see the Phantom.
The Phantom spoke, his voice echoing softly, "He mentioned Donyx. Perhaps he knows where he is."
I found that a little surprising. They didn't know where Donyx was? Didn't he let them know he was leaving?
She sighed, "Well, I guess if you're friends with Donyx, I can't just kick you out. Come on in." She headed to the back room. I followed her, slinging my bag over my shoulder.
I walked into the room and was surprised. It was very... girly. Hot pink curtains, matching rugs with black tiger stripes, black and pink beanbag chairs along with tiger-stripped mauve couches and chairs. Sure as heck not Donyx's style. Again, how'd he end up in that place?
A tall, lean guy was already there. I groaned as I looked him over. The stylish clothes, the posture he had across the couch, the immense amount of pink in his fashion. Drat. He was one of those guys.
He wore a long dark pink vest over a white shirt, long hot pink slacks, and a red fedora over his long white hair. Several rings decorated his fingers and what looked like gloss was on his lips.
He saw me and smiled, "Well, what a handsome young man!" I stopped in my tracks. What kind of messed-up lifestyle was Donyx living?!
He noticed my look and laughed like some prince charming, "He's almost as cute as Donyx! Even the same first impression!"
The girl sighed, "This is Fahkir. He says he's friends with Donyx."
The guy grinned, "Oh, perhaps he knows something of our missing compadre!"
I stayed where I was, "Actually, no, I don't. I just got a letter from him about an opening here. He figured I'd be some help." I decided it was better to keep the real reason Donyx wanted me to come to myself.
The girl looked me over, "He didn't tell you where he went or why?"
I shook my head, "Afraid not."
She sighed, looking a little disappointed, even a little worried, "Oh."
The guy on the couch stood up and strode over to her, laying his hands on her shoulders from behind, "There there, sweet Avery, fear not. I'm certain our princely Donyx will be just fine. He's not only a handsome devil, but he's also got a good head on his shoulders."
I found myself inching away from him with every word he said to decribe Donyx. He noticed and grinned. To my discomfort, he walked over. He gave a bow, "Greetings, young Fahkir. Welcome to our humble abode!"
I cleared my throat, staying back, "Uh, hey."
He smiled, "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Estmund and our beloved leader is the beautiful Miss Avery."
So her name was Avery. Not the most relaxed type of girl I'd ever met. Even at that moment, she was watching me carefully. The phantom with her was thoughtful and silent, floating at her side.
I cleared my throat, "Well, is there still an opening?"
Avery looked me over, "I suppose. Only because we could use an assistant."
I was surprised, "Assistant? As in, cooking and cleaning?"
She shrugged, "More along the lines of running errands. You could cook and clean if you wanted to, but we already hire someone for that."
I'll admit I was ready to leave at that very moment. I didn't agree to do the job just to be some errand boy. Just who did Donyx think I was?
Then I thought about Donyx's letter. He clearly needed me to watch his companions. Of all the people he knew, he trusted me most to do the job. I just couldn't ignore that.
I sighed, "Fine. I'll take it."
Avery adjusted her glasses, "Good, you start..." Then the phone rang. She walked over to the phone next to the sofa, "Good evening, this is Avery of the Midnight Meadow Detectives. How may I help you?"
Estmund smiled at me as Avery listened to the person on the phone, "Here, I'll show you where you'll be staying. You can stay in Donyx's room for now."
I followed him out of the room.
I hoped, wherever Donyx was, he would be back soon. I had a ton of questions. Though, the first one would be where he went and why. From the looks of things, I could see I wasn't the only one who would want the answer to that.
Just where was Donyx?