Chapter One - Clarity

6000 Words
დ. Ellora .დ “Is this seat taken?” I looked up at the girl standing awkwardly across from me. I glanced around the coffee shop and frown. The place was busy but there were other empty tables. “I’m not much of a loner,” she explained sensing my hesitation, I quickly nod, before turning my attention back to the book I was reading. I heard her place down her cup of whatever and take a seat across from me. “I’m Riley,” she offers, and I shrug not wanting to have any kind of conversation with the intruder. I continue reading and at first, I didn’t notice she had taken one of my chocolate chip cookies until I heard the loud chomping sound. Looking up and seeing her enjoying my cookie made my blood boil. I was quite obsessed with anything chocolate, especially my chocolate. “Hey, I didn’t offer,” I snap, causing her to grin at me. “Sorry,” she apologized yet I didn’t quite feel that she meant it. “What’s your name?” she asked, pushing for a conversation again. I ignored her question and quickly took the last cookie before she did. “I’m new to town,” she informed me. “I stay over at Forest Hill,” irritated I close my book and sit back, looking at her. She reminded me of how an emo chick looked, with her midnight violet hair and he satin grey eyes. Her full lips and perky upturned nose complimented her heart-shaped face. Not that I cared about how she looked. “Ellora Stone,” I then decided to inform her. “Riley Sallow,” she held out her hand and I quickly shook it. Hopefully, she would leave me alone now. I picked up my book and continued to read. “Do you live around here?” she asked me. I sighed and put my book back down. “Not for long,” I told her, I nibbled on my cookie and took a sip of my hot chocolate. “Oh? How come?” “No specific reason, just moving on soon,” I answered. I wasn’t interested in giving her any details about my life or why I wasn’t planning on staying long. “Too bad, this place is actually quite nice,” she looked as though she was trying to convince me to stay and I wondered why. “Ellora, I’m going to be very honest with you,” I raised my eyebrows at this. “I have been following you for a few days now, I think you have been looking in the wrong place for answers,” “What?” I choked out, shocked. “Look, I know that this all sounds crazy, but I am being serious, I can help you,” “I don’t know what you are talking about,” I barked out as I stood up and started packing away my things into my backpack. “Ellora, please, just hear me out,” she begged me, I hesitated and looked at her again, turning on my power, I found that I couldn’t read her thoughts. Taken aback by this I sat down in awe. “I know you have a gift, a power, an ability and I know you’ve been searching for answers,” “What the hell are you playing at?” I joked, not wanting to admit to anything, not yet anyway. “I am like you, I have the ability to heal,” she was looking at me so seriously that just as I was about to laugh out loud, I stopped and frowned. “You are being serious?” “Deadly, come by this address and you’ll find the answers you are looking for,” she took out a card from her jacket pocket and handed it over to me. It wasn’t a business card, but an address was clearly visible. I looked back up at her and she was now walking out of the café. I sat there wondering what I should do and decided I would go back to the motel first. Think things through before making any decisions. I finished packing my bag and left. Five minutes away from the motel, my phone started ringing. “Hello?” I answered without checking the caller ID. “Hello Ellora,” I heard Aunt Lisa’s voice and I stopped. s**t. Now I wish I hadn’t answered. “How are you?” she asked me. “Um, I’m fine, how are you?” “I’m good, I wanted to find out if you would be coming back home for Christmas?” she questioned. “I don’t think so Aunt Lisa,” I answered sadly. It wasn’t easy for me and I was pretty sure it had been hard for her to even ask me. “I’m sorry, I’m just not ready,” I then quickly hung up and started back towards the motel. What a nightmare. I left home about a year ago and Christmas was just around the corner. Taking the key out of my pocket, I unlocked the door and went inside. The motel was alright, and the rooms weren’t too bad. დ.დ.დ I woke up as the soft rays of the sun peeked through the badly closed curtain. I groaned out as I rolled over, turning away from the silent alarm. It wasn’t as if I had to be anywhere. I picked up the card from the bedside table and wondered if I should take a chance and pay this place a visit. After all, I was looking for answers and if Riley wasn’t some crazy b***h then maybe I would finally get the answers I had been searching for. I lazily got up, stretched and shuffled to the bathroom. I turned on the water of the shower and waited for it to heat up while I did my morning business. Once done, I showered and got dressed. I made sure to clean up the room and pack everything in my bag and backpack. I wasn’t planning on coming back. Whatever happened at that address didn’t matter, right? It was time to move on. I looked over the room one last time to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind and then headed over to the reception area. “Hi, checking out,” I told the lady behind the desk, placing the room key on the counter. She took it and went over to the safe and took out my deposit money. “Is anything broken?” she asked me, and I shook my head. She filled in the receipt and handed it to me with the money. I took it and left without saying anything. She had dirty thoughts and a horrible mind. I called for a cab and waited on the side road. “Ellora?” the cab driver asked as he stopped next to me. “Yeah, thanks,” I opened the car door and threw my bags in first and then got in. “Can you take me to this address?” I handed him the card and he nodded. I sat back and relaxed. I did notice he gave me an odd look in the review mirror, but I brushed it off. About twenty minutes later, he turned, and I spotted a ‘Welcome to Forest Hill’ sign. It sounded familiar and I remembered Riley saying she lived there. Looking around, I couldn’t help but notice that we had entered a rich neighborhood. The elegant houses were big and impressive. “Here we are,” he announced as he pulled up alongside a beautiful white stoned mansion. I paid for the fare and climbed out, dragging my bags with me. “What a place,” I said to myself as I stared up at the three-story building. The cab driver drove away, and I walked over to the large gate. Pushing the intercom, I waited. “Yes?” came a gruff sounding voice. I shrugged and pressed the button again. “I’m here to see Riley, my name is Ellora,” I waited for the voice to say something but suddenly the gate started to open. I stepped passed it and looked around. The grounds were quite nice. The grass green and the flowers gave off the right amount of color without it looking overcrowded. I noticed a small fountain and a few statues but hurried up the driveway to the front door. Being an architect’s daughter, made me appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the building and its design. As I was about to knock on the door, it opened, and Riley stood there looking quite chuffed with herself. “You came!” she squealed out. I didn’t want to roll my eyes at her, but I couldn’t help it. “Yeah, I came!” I squealed back in a fake excited voice. She gave me a look, not impressed but I shrugged it off. “You’ll find all your answers here as you are special Ellora,” “Oh, I am?” I asked her carefully, wondering how she could know that I was in any way special. “Yes, you have a gift. An ability, it has many names but that doesn’t matter right now,” she took a step back and spread out her arms. “This place is a place for people like you and me, you see Ellora, we aren’t normal and soon you’ll understand just what you are,” Riley was excited as she tried her best to explain herself to me. I just stood there looking at her as if she was some kind of a weirdo and I wondered how this place would give me the answers that I was looking for. “Ok,” I said, hesitatingly as I entered the entrance hallway. It was pretty and if my mother had still been around, she would’ve loved the interior design. “I don’t want you to think I’m crazy because I’m not. This place is a safe-haven for people like us. We don’t just allow normies to come here,” “Normies?” I questioned, interrupting her. “Yes, normies as in normal people,” “Oh, and what is this place?” I asked her, I know she had said it was a safe-haven for people like us, but I felt as though I needed more information than that. “Let me introduce you to the founder of this place and he will explain everything to you, by the way, may I ask what your ability is?” She looked at me curiously and I wondered if I could truly trust her. I felt that I could, so I tried my best to explain it to her. “I can read people’s thoughts, emotions, memories, desires and so on,” “Oh woah,” “Yeah and I can also manipulate them into seeing things or doing things or whatever,” “Dangerous,” she said with a smile. “Can you read my mind? Or manipulate me?” I had tried to read her mind yesterday at the café, but I hadn’t been able too and I wasn’t sure I could manipulate her if I couldn’t read her mind. “I don’t think so,” she looked disappointed at my answer, but I just shrugged as I dropped my bags. “Come on, let me take you to his office,” she grabbed my hand and pulled me along the corridor until we got to large double doors, she pushed them open and ushered me inside. I looked around the room and noticed a man sitting behind a desk. I turned to ask Riley who that was, but she had left me alone. “She just left me,” I muttered to myself as I took a shaky step towards the man sitting behind the desk. He didn’t seem to notice me and so I took that opportunity to look around. The walls had been painted a soft white and the wooden floors seemed to shine quite brightly. The room was simply an office but one of luxury and elegance. He sat behind a large dark oak wooden desk and was busy on his laptop. I cleared my throat, hoping to gain his attention, which it did, and he looked up at me and I tried my best to smile as my nerves were killing me. Suddenly I could hear his thoughts and I knew I had no problem reading his mind. “Who is this beauty standing before me?” I quickly shut it off as I didn’t want to hear such things. “Hi, um, I am Ellora Stone and Riley brought me here,” I explained to him. He seemed to be thinking it over and then smiled. “Take a seat, Ms. Stone,” he pointed at the brown leather wingback chair to my right and I quickly sat down. “So, Riley brought you here?” I frowned at his question, is that not what I just told him? I nodded in response to his question anyway. “Ellora Stone, what is your ability?” he asked me as he closed his laptop and leaned forward, placing his hands on the desk. I wasn’t sure if he could be trusted and I was considering turning my power back on to read his mind, but he seemed to understand my hesitation. “Look, Ms. Stone, I can’t fully accept you here, if I don’t know what ability you have. I also can’t reveal all our secrets if you are just a normie. Do you understand?” “Perfectly, it’s just that when I used to tell people, they would look at me as if I am crazy, so I stopped telling people, stopped trusting people,” I shrugged, brushing it off. Although it honestly had bugged me a lot that people were so judgmental. “That is a wise thing to do, keeping your ability a secret is very important. However, as I said, I can’t do much if you won’t trust me,” he gave me a soft smile and I was tempted to roll my eyes, but I didn’t. “I can read people’s thoughts, emotions, memories, desires and I can also manipulate them into seeing things or doing things and stuff like that,” “Mind controller, interesting. Care to demonstrate?” he sat back in his chair and I turned on my power. Well, that’s what I called it. Turning on my power. “Adam Richards, age twenty-eight,” I started as I sifted through his memories. “Your ability is invisibility, which was brought on by the death of your grandmother, whom you were exceptionally close with. You’ve never allowed anyone to get too close to you because of your ability. You founded this place because you never felt as though you fitted in with the world and thought it would be a safe place for others like you,” I was going to continue but stopped when he put up his hand. I decided to continue showing him my ability by manipulating his mind into thinking he was blind. “Ellora! That is horrible, please!” he shouted out and I quickly gave him his eyesight back. “You are quite a creature, aren’t you? I am suitably impressed, and I now know you aren’t a normie, tell me Ellora, how was your ability activated?” he asked me curiously and once again I wondered just how much I could trust him. I had been in his mind and hadn’t seen anything other than a desire to help and protect others who were like him and me. “I assume you mean when my parent’s where killed in a shootout at their work Christmas party last year?” it hurt to say those words and he gave me a sympathetic look. “I am sorry for your loss,” he gently said to me. “I am sorry too about your grandmother,” I offered softly. “Thank you Ellora,” he smiled at me and I felt my knees weaken. I should mention that Adam Richards is one sexy man. Very muscular with thick black curly hair that framed his hard features. His bright blue eyes were certainly captivating. He was sexy, in an older man kind of way. I looked down and played with my fingers, suddenly feeling shy. “Welcome to Seomara Draiochta or Cosanta, which is the Chamber of Magic or Protection,” he said smiling. He translated it for me, but I had already understood it. How? I wondered. “It’s Gaelic or simple Irish, I’m sure that you already knew that though,” “Thank you,” I said to him as I stood up. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. The sudden rumbling of my hungry tummy made me blush and he chuckled. “Alright, you can go back to Riley, she can give you a tour and something to eat. In time you will learn everything you need to know. Although, I must say that you seem to have mastered your ability quite well,” he raised his left eyebrow at me, and a smirk tugged on his lips. On his kissable lips, I might add. “I guess, well, thank you again, see you soon,” I turned to leave his office when I realized I wouldn’t know where to find Riley. I turned back to him, wanting to ask about Riley when he spoke. “I’ll call her to come to get you,” I nodded and left his office, not wanting to overstay my welcome. დ. Adam .დ I watched as she left my office and quickly sent Riley a text to come and get her. What a beautiful girl. I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around how stunning she looked. Not just her looks though, her shy yet feisty attitude had my head spinning. When she had read my mind or shifted through my memories her ocean blue eyes had sparkled. She had caught and held my full attention. I smiled to myself as I remembered her soft sensual, angelic voice, the words coming out of her full delicious lips was enough for me to forget myself and my position and to just r****h her lips and make her mine. I shook my head, I shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts, so I opened up my laptop and continued working on the case, Manny had sent me yesterday morning. It was a difficult one, that’s for sure. I did some research on the area but wasn’t getting much information. Sure, some people had posted comments about hauntings, but nothing seemed legit. “Adam?” I looked up to see Amelia standing at the door. I nodded for her to come in and she lazily threw herself down on the brown leather wingback sofa. “How can I help you, Amelia?” I asked roughly and then I sighed as she gave me a hurt look. I hadn’t meant to sound so rude, but she was one of those girls that just got on my nerves with her whining. “Who’s that new girl?” she asked me, and I knew Amelia would use any excuse to come and bother me. “Ellora Stone,” I answered as I turned my attention back to the website. “Oh, what is her ability?” I looked up at her curiously. “Why?” “Just curious, who is she anyway?” “I just told you who she is, as, for her ability, you will find out soon enough, now if there is nothing else?” “You are busy then?” she questioned as she got up from the sofa and slowly made her way towards me. I already knew what was coming. “Yes, very busy,” I responded coldly. “Oh, come on Adam, let me relieve some of that stress you seem to be carrying on your shoulders,” as she spoke, she made her way behind me and started to massage my shoulders and neck. Honestly, it felt good and it did indeed relax me. “You see, I knew you would enjoy it,” she whispered in my ear, reminding me that she was up to no good. “Thank you, Amelia, but that’s enough for today, I am busy,” “Anything I can help you with?” she asked as she continued using her magic hands. “Not yet, still doing research,” “Boring, are you sure I can’t get you to relax?” she was using that teasing seductive tone of hers and I had to forcibly stop her by standing up and walking away from her. “Amelia, stop,” “But why?” “Because I’m not interested,” she pouted and although she looked like a s*x goddess, I couldn’t find myself attracted to her. Not anymore at least. “You didn’t say that before,” she said, referring to that crazy drunken night when we had s*x. I regretted that night and ever since then, she had it in her head that I belonged to her. “Amelia, that was great, but I am not interested,” I saw that flash of hurt in her eyes again before she gave me a blank look. “Ok,” she said as she quickly left my office. I sighed in frustration. I didn’t want to hurt her, but I also wasn’t interested in having any kind of relationship with her. She was technically living under my roof so therefore I was viewed as her guardian, caretaker or whatever. I sat back down and tried to concentrate once again on the work in front of me. However, Ellora kept creeping into my thoughts and distracting me. დ. Ellora .დ It didn’t take long for Riley to find me. “How’d it go?” she asked when she joined me. “Good, I guess,” “Mmm, ok, well let me take you to the kitchen so you can get something to eat and then I’ll show you around and introduce you to some of the others,” she took my hand and led me to the kitchen. It was a very normal looking kitchen. That’s a lie. This kitchen looked as though kings and queens meals were prepared here. Big and shiny. Stainless steel cabinets with white marble tops. Bright white tiles and an island in the middle with cherry red barstools. I stood at the door as she took some things out of the double door fridge. My hunger won out and I joined her at the island, sitting on one of the barstools. “Dig in,” she told me. “I’ll make some coffee, or would you prefer to have tea?” “Any hot chocolate?” I asked. “Yes, we do have, I’ll make us some,” she got busy doing that while I looked at the plastic Tupperware laid out on the counter. I picked up the spoon she had taken out and dished up some of the macaroni and cheese, chicken strips and mixed veggies. I just started eating when she placed the steaming cup of chocolate next to me. “Don’t burn,” she teased as she sat down. “Thank you, Riley,” “So, you will share a room with me, if that’s ok?” she asked me as I chewed on some chicken, so I nodded as I continued eating. “I hope you will enjoy it here; I was quite nervous when I first came here but now it feels like home,” she was rambling and we both knew it. It didn’t stop her of course. “I haven’t made many close friends here yet, I am a bit of a loudmouth and some don’t appreciate freedom of speech,” I burst out laughing at that. “What? It’s true, some people here are quite snobbish,” she added. Riley continued chatting to me while I finished off the plate of food. When I was done and finished with my drink, she took me upstairs. “This floor is where all the guys stay,” she informed me as we went up another flight of stairs. “This floor is for us girls,” I just nodded as I followed her. She stopped and opened up a door and ushered me inside. I went in and smiled. The walls were painted in a soft purple or violet and the carpet was black and thick. I couldn’t wait to curl my toes up on the luxury carpet. On the left side of the room was Riley’s side. Her three-quarter sleigh bed was unmade and quite messy. Her bedding was a deep purple with black trimmings. In front of her bed was a small desk and chair. She had one poster on the wall of some band that I didn’t recognize, and her laptop was open on her bed. On the other side of the room were a bed, desk, and chair. The bedding was soft blue. I liked it a lot. “This is awesome,” “This is your closet,” she showed me the medium-sized closet on the right. I then assumed that the closet on the left was hers. “This door leads to the bathroom and this is our mini-fridge and groceries cupboard,” this was just outside the bathroom door. I loved it and was quite happy to be rooming with Riley. The room felt inviting, warm and cozy. It reminded me of a college dorm room. “How did you know I was like you?” “I heard about a girl asking questions around town and stalked you a bit, sorry but not sorry,” Riley started to ramble on, yet again. “There aren’t a lot of rules here, I mean the obvious one is to be safe, don’t use your abilities in public, don’t bring normies to the house and curfew is at eleven. Depending on your status is in which group you will be classified,” she was telling me as she closed her laptop and placed in on her desk. “Wait, what do you mean? Status? Group?” I asked curiously as I sat down on my bed. “Did Adam not classify you?” she asked me as she sat down on her bed and I shook my head, no. “Well there are four groups, blue, white, red and green,” she stated simply, almost as if I should know this information. “Ok, no offense Riley but all you’ve done is told me a list of colors,” I rolled my eyes at her. Telling me a list of colors wasn’t exactly what I would say informed me of the groups and their meanings. “Ahuh, yeah, so, each color group represents the group's abilities, blue represents those that can control the elements, you do know what the elements are right?” “Yup,” “Ok, white represents healers,” “Meaning just you? Or are there others that do what you do?” “Well, of course, I am not the only one that can heal, it’s just different types of healers,” I frowned and realized I had much to learn. “For example, I am a healer, but I can’t heal self-inflicted wounds, I can’t heal infections or disease. I can’t heal demons or monsters. Others can only heal disease, some can only heal animals and so on, understand?” she explained as she gave me a look, one that questioned my knowledge. “Riley, please keep in mind that I have no idea about this stuff, so please go easy on me,” “Yeah, I get it, you’re new to all of this, so let me go into further detail,” “That be great, thanks,” “Red represents those that have the ability for attacks and green represents those that can defend,” she explained. I nodded my head, finally getting it, although she didn’t go into much detail as she said she would. “Makes sense,” “In each group, you are trained to use your ability to the max, how to control it and so on. We do mix it up, each group has a team and the team consists of members from each group. You could call it like an army group,” “An army group?” I asked. “Yeah, actually we are more like hunters and each team is on certain levels, level one is the highest, the strongest and level four are those that are still in training, the highest team goes out into the world and fight evil or whatever,” Riley was smiling as she tried to explain it to me. I guess in her mind, she was doing an excellent job of explaining it to me. I gave a small smile and noticed my bags on the floor next to the closet. “Yeah, we grabbed those for you,” she stated. “Come on, let’s go downstairs to the sitting room so I can introduce you to some of the others,” I nodded and followed her out of the room. Back down two flights of stairs and into the sitting room. The sitting room was very big. A large u-shaped dark grey sectional sofa with blush pink scatter cushions. Matching the cushions was a plush area rug and a large square glass coffee table. I gasped as I saw the massive 85-inch tv that had been mounted against the wall. At the moment the group of people had paused the movie they had been watching and were staring at me. “Who’s that?” one girl asked. I quickly shut off my power before I was hit with all of their thoughts and emotions. “This is Ellora Stone,” Riley announced. “She just arrived today,” The group nodded and un-paused the movie to continue watching. I was shocked by their reaction. They didn’t seem to care about me or anything. I was shy but I was silently fuming that I hadn’t gotten more attention than that. However, two guys that had been playing chess in the corner approached us. I noticed Riley had gotten nervous as she started to fidget next to me. I looked back at the two guys and blushed. Two very sexy guys. “Hey Riley,” guy number one said as he eyed me up and down. Riley blushed and I figured that she must like him. “Hi Kael, hi Jareth,” she greeted them both. “This is Ellora Stone,” she introduced me. “Hi Ellora, such a pretty name, I am Kael Morgen,” I smiled at his kind greeting. “Yeah, I’m Jareth Yates,” Jareth barely looked at me as he spoke. I wanted to swoon at his gorgeous looks. “So, what you guys been up too?” Riley asked them or asked Kael since Jareth looked uncomfortable as hell. “Chess,” Kael answered as he pointed over at the chess table. She nodded and things just got a lot more awkward. At that point, I felt like running away. “What’s your story?” Kael asked me and this got the attention of Jareth. I shrugged as if it was no big deal and probably because I couldn’t find my voice. I wasn’t used to being in the presence of two very sexy guys. “She’s a mind controller,” Riley offered excitedly, and this caused me to look away, embarrassed. Since no one ever believed I had some weird supernatural power, it was weird having someone think it was cool. Kael let out a low whistle and Jareth looked bored. I badly wanted to turn my power on to read his thoughts, but I panicked and just blurted out something random. “I like your shoes,” I blushed and turned to leave, how stupid could I be? What must he think of me now? Riley grabbed my wrist, stopping me from leaving. She gave me that look, and I rolled my eyes despite my shameful move. “So Ellora, can you read my mind?” Kael asked curiously. I wasn’t even sure if I could and so I turned on my power and zoned in on him. “Yeah,” “What am I thinking right now?” he was excited, I could tell. Jareth’s interest was once again on our conversation and I smiled wickedly. “Are you sure you want me to say it out loud?” I asked him. He looked a bit confused but then nodded. “You think that I’m hot but not as hot as Riley and you’re wondering what it would feel like to push her up against the wall and-” “Woah, ok,” Kael quickly interrupted, his pale skin turning a soft shade of red. I giggled as I looked over at Riley, who’s mouth was hanging open. I gently punched her arm and she snapped out of it. Jareth seemed amused by this and finally, we made eye contact. Oh my, he is one sexy beast. His honey-brown eyes seemed to bore into mine. I broke the intense staring contest by gazing down at his full lips. Kissable lips. That where currently smirking at me. He ran his fingers through his dark blonde hair and as I was checking him out, with his strong nose and steeply arched eyebrows, I was unaware that Kael and Riley had left me and Jareth alone. I blushed a dark shade of red as I realized this. He didn’t seem to mind as he was checking me out too and that made me nervous. I wanted to know what he thought. “Don’t try your luck,” he suddenly warned. “Ex-excuse me?” I stuttered. “Don’t try to read my mind,” he informed me with a smirk still tugging on his lips. It was at that moment that I knew I would fall for Mr sexy Jareth gorgeous Yates.
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