Many years ago a war waged upon earth. Thousands of lives were lost, but the prize that they were fighting over for was never acquired by either force. They searched for a book, one that would give ultimate power to anyone whom had it within their possession. It is known as the Book of Souls. In it were the names of every living being with a soul and when they were to die. It was how the Reapers knew where to go and when. Of course, things were subject to change. If one person was seen as a threat to society and to the world, their name was moved up the list and their soul taken. It was how the underworld kept peace. It was part of the treaty created once the world was created. The Reapers would take only the souls in the book when it was their time, and the Guardians would leave them be in peace. But soon, other dark forces heard about the book and soon everyone was fighting for it. The Reapers sought to protect it, but others wanted it for their own personal gain. Some planned to use it in order to rule over the human race. But once the war was over, the book was missing. Years have passed since the great war and no one knew where the book had gone off to. It is said that a Rogue Reaper stole the book and hid it, determined to use it for his own personal gain. Others say that when the Dark Queen was slain the book vanished with her damned soul, never to be seen again. No one knows for certain which is true, but the search still continues. The Reapers have rebuilt their city, and laid their queen to rest, hoping one day her soul as well as the book would return. The Guardians, keeping true to their word, still supply the Reapers with a list of names. The world moves still, not knowing about what hides in the shadows… but there is a new wind blowing and soon another war will break out. This time though, it will consume all of human kind with it.
Years later, March 2012
Lilliana stared out the window, a soft sigh passing her lips. She had been at the coffee shop for an hour now, waiting for her friend to show up. Glancing at her phone, she shook her head. “Every time.” She muttered, standing up from her chair. Lilly had just returned from seeing her family in Italy and wanted to see one of her best friends. The problem was, Claire had the habit of being a no show and apologizing days later. Cleaning up her table, she grabbed her bag and left. She had things to do and wasn’t about to wait any longer for someone that wouldn’t show up. Dialing her friend’s number, she put the phone to her ear and waited. It rang… but no one answered. She hung up and stopped walking. That was weird. Claire always answered her phone, even if she was a bit flaky. She called again but this time it went straight to voice mail. That was even weirder. “Hey Claire, it’s Lilly. I’m headed home, so if you have time tonight please stop by. I would love to see you. I hope everything is alright.” She left the voice mail and continued to walk. Maybe I should stop by Clarie’s and make sure she is alright. She thought, worried for her friend.
Arriving at the apartment, she noticed cops surrounding the area. Running up to the building, she snuck in and made her way to Claire’s apartment. As she made it to the door, she let out a soft gasp. The walls were coated in blood and on the floor lay Claire’s lifeless body. Lilly shook her head, staring at her best friend.
“Ms. You’re not supposed to be here.” She heard one of the officers say when he noticed her standing in the door way.
“She was my best friend.” Lilly whispered, dropping to her knees still in shock.
“Are you Lilliana D’archangelo?” The officer asked, helping her to her feet. “We found your name as the contact she was trying to call before this all happened.” He added, helping her into a chair in dining room.
“That’s me… but what happened? I talked to her last night and she was perfectly fine. We were supposed to meet for coffee today, but she never showed up. I called her twice and… What happened?” She asked looking up at the officer. She noticed that his name tag said Donovan on it. Why did that name seem so familiar to her?
“We aren’t sure yet. We got a phone call earlier today saying that there was a loud scream and then silence. When we showed up this is what we found.” He said, kneeling in front of her. “Do you know anyone who would want to hurt her?” He asked, pulling out a pen and paper.
She shook her head, running her fingers through her red and black hair. “No. There is no one that would want to hurt her, at least none that I’m aware of. She was a very sweet and loving girl.” She said, shaking her head. “I just got back from Italy. Every time I talked to her she seemed fine. Though there is a message she sent me…” She trailed off as she pulled her phone out of her purse. She showed the officer.
“It’s all numbers and gibberish.” She said, writing it all down.
“I know, but it has to mean something. Claire hated text talk and she wouldn’t have sent something like this unless it meant something important.”
“I’ll have my boys check it out and we’ll-“ He was cut off when of the officers walked out of the bedroom. “Boss, you might want to take a look at this.” The other officer said, pointing over his shoulder.
Lilly followed Officer Donovan into the bedroom, stopping dead in her tracks. On the bed were two more bodies completely drained of blood. But what was worse, is they had no skin, teeth or hands. There was no easy way to tell who these people were. On the walls were words, all of which were in Latin.
“What the hell does this all mean?” Officer Donovan asked, taking pictures of the wall.
“One soul is ours, more to go. Catch us if you can.” Lilly translated, pointing to the words above the bed. “The words on this wall says ‘All hail the Dark Prince.’ And the ones on the ceiling say ‘Prepare to die in this great battle that will consume the world.”
“You speak Latin?” He asked, writing everything down word for word.
“It was something my parents taught me growing up. They said It would help me when I get older.” She made her way towards the attached bathroom and stared at the mirror. “In here it says ‘The Book of Souls will be ours.’ What is the book of souls?” She asked looking back at the cops.
They both shrugged and walked out of the room. Lilly looked around and sighed. “Claire, what have you done?” She asked, making her way back out to the kitchen.
“Ms… uhh can I call you Lilliana? Do you know what this tattoo means?” Officer Donovan asked, pointing to the tattoo on Claire’s hip.
Lilly crouched down and examined the tattoo. “I have no idea. It looks familiar but… This is a fresh tattoo.” Taking a closer look, she quickly brought her gaze back up to Claire’s lifeless face. “This is a brand of some sort. Some… Cult of something has branded her as theirs.”
The symbol on her hip looked like the symbol for Saturn, the god of harvest and time. Staring at the tattoo, she couldn’t help but shrug. “I don’t know what this means, but this is the symbol for Saturn, and the alchemical symbol for lead. Why it’s used as a brand is beyond me though.” She said as she stood up, wiping some stray tears away.
Office Donovan stood up, running his fingers through his dark hair. “How about I give you a ride home.” He said softly, giving her a sympathetic smile.
She nodded and followed him out of the apartment, taking one last look back at her best friend. “When will her body be released?” She asked, looking up at the officer next to her. Now that she was out of the apartment she had a chance to look him over. He was tall, maybe 6 feet tall. He had broad shoulders, obvious that he had played sports when he was in school. By the look of his facial features, he had to be in his late 20’s. He had a strong jawline as well as the most vibrant blue eyes she had ever seen. He radiated safety, and all fear seemed to fade away.
“Once we figure out what happened to her. We’ll have the coroner look over her body, run some tests and see what we can do. I promise we’ll take good care of her.” He said softly, making sure to reassure her. He opened the passenger side door of his squad car and let her get in before shutting the door behind her.
She waited until he was in the car before looking over at him. “You’ll release the body in enough time for us to have a proper funeral for her right?” She asked, waiting for his answer. She wanted to make sure she could have an open casket funeral for her best friend, allowing family and friends to say goodbye before they burried her. She let out a sigh, knowing she would have a long night of phone calls to make to tell everyone the bad news.
“Don’t worry Lilliana, we’ll get everything done as soon as we can so you can have her funeral the way she deserves.” He said as he started the car. Lilly gave him her address and leaned back in her seat. “May I ask why you chose to be an officer?” She asked without thinking, looking out the window.
“It runs in the family. I wanted nothing more than to be a doctor but my father wouldn’t let that happen. After my mother was shot one night on her way home, my dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps. Make sure that the streets were safe. I still want to be a healer but this was a good second choice.” He said, smiling over at her. “May I ask what you do for a living?”
She glanced over at him and shrugged. “I’m a librarian. It helps pay the bills why I work on getting my novels out to the world.” She said and looked out the window again.
“You’re a writer? That’s awesome. What kinds of books do you write?”
“Mostly fiction. My novels deal with the gothic culture, as well as the darker side of history.” She said, looking over at him. “I don’t know how many people would really be interested in that though which seems to be the problem on why I can’t get published.”
Officer Donovan looked over at her once he stopped at a red light and smiled. “I’m interested. Believe it or not, I happen to be part of the goth culture.” He said as he gave her a wink before he pushed the gas peddle again. Stopping in front of her house, he quickly got out and helped her out of the car. He walked her to her door and smiled. “Here’s my card.” He said as he handed her a tiny rectangular piece of paper. “If you need anything at all, give me a call. Be safe Ms. Lilly.” He said before turning and walking back to his squad car.
She watched him leave before walking into her house. Looking at the name on the card, her brows furrowed together. “Ezekeal Donovan. Why does that name sound so familiar?” She mumbled to herself, pulling her boots off. Shaking her head, she tossed everything on the couch. Brushing off the sense of familiarity, she pulled out her address book and cell phone, beginning the long night of phone calls with the bad news about Claire.