Thunderbirds & Warlocks - Draca Deity Series - Edition 1Willow Fae von Wicken / Young Adult / Fantasy
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
YA Fantasy Novel
Written and Illustrated by
WILLOW FAE VON WICKEN
Narrated and Illustrated by Wulfang von Wicken
Copyright © 2011 Dymond Publishing
To My Son Wulfang.
My inspiration, my guide, and the rule maker of this novel.
Since the night a bolt from the blue struck 13-year-old Lachlan Wulf, strange things happened. His body was changing, the mark on his arm began to glow, and when faced with bullies he suddenly became unbeatable.
Then he heard a voice inside his head, it warned him.. ‘He draws near.” Lachy didn’t believe in the Thunderbird, but soon discovered differently when he was caught in the midst of a battle between Thunderbirds and Warlocks. It was terrifying, and yet, he admired their awesome power.
Lachy’s father, Horace Wulf had a secret, he was a sworn enemy of Thunderbirds, and hunted them, for more than just sport. Lachy’s love of his father, and loyalty that was growing toward the Thunderbird was frightening and confusing. Lachy must either see the extinction of the majestic Thunderbird Dragons, or risk the consequences of choosing the side opposing of his father, forever changing his life, his home, and everything he ever knew.
Thunderbirds are considered an urban legend, even though the sightings have been sparsely recorded for seven hundred years, by humanity.
There was a snap, in the woods by the road. Lachlan Wulf was trembling and sped up his bike with all his strength as he felt the tiny hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
There it went again.
His heart was beating wildly, beads of sweat were gliding down the sides of his cheeks, and he shook his head, trying to get a grip on things. It wasn’t an unusually startling noise, nor was it loud, and it didn’t even sound threatening, but it gave him a creepy feeling. He rode that way for a good ten minutes, straining his ears to listen, the sound was steady at first, and gradually faded, until he could hear no more. With his breathing still ragged, a sense of security warmed over him, little by little, as he leisurely peddled along, allowing the bike to coast on its own. He was near the Amish Farm Community, a farm among many in Honeybrook PA, it gave him a peaceful safe feeling, because it meant that he was nearly home. A shutter of bitter cool air blew in his face, off in the distance an echoing rumble of thunder interrupted his thoughts, that struck Lachy as strange, considering the day had been clear skies, and good weather. Never can tell when a storm is going to strike, he figured as his eyes lifted, the clouds began to darken overhead, and he supposed that was a good clue. Lachy swallowed hard, he never did like the sound of thunder, much.
His ears perked. Another branch cracked, and leaves crunched. He normally didn’t pay attention to the woods, and he looked about, with his pulse racing madly. He gulped, recalling his dad telling him to watch out for wild animals, and considered how he hadn’t seen one in all the days he rode home on his bike. He held in a breath, everything felt still, even the birds had gone quiet, and he looked down as goose bumps chilled up his arms. He paid close attention and was sure the noises came from the woods, opposite the Amish Farm. The forest was wild and stretched on for miles, and there wasn’t a house in sight. Lachy looked toward the trees but all he could see were thick shadows, and he gripped the handlebars tighter. Even though he couldn’t see anything, he was sure there was something in there, moving along with him as he rode. His stressful breath released when he heard commotion coming from the direction of the Amish farm.
He tilted his head curiously toward Mr. Abraham Schmidt, and lifted his hand up with a wave. He liked Mulish Schmidt, a nickname from Mr. Schmidt’s brothers, because they say he had the stubborn temperament of a mule. Lachy thought it was a funny nickname, he didn’t have a brother, and supposed if he did, it might be fun to give him a nickname, too. Mulish and his brothers were high up on ladders, painting a blood red star with a circle around it, and Lachy wondered what the weird marking meant. He looked closer and had an eerie feeling, the other barns in Mulish Schmidt’s field had the same strange stars.
The first slam Lachy heard was so loud that it made him blink. He shifted his view to the houses, and saw Mrs. Salome Schmidt, who everyone called Mulish’s Lomey, slamming the storm shutters closed on the farmhouse. He supposed they were getting ready for the sudden storm, and he stepped hard and fast on the peddles again. The muscles in his legs tightened as another spine-chilling feeling came over him, the Schmidts had lowered their paint brushes to their sides, and turned their heads one by one, glaring in his direction. Lachy’s posture stiffened when he saw their ghostly expressions on bearded chins, it wasn’t like the Amish not to be friendly.
He changed his view to dead ahead. He still felt their eyes on him, but he wasn’t about to look back. He supposed the strange behavior of his neighbors wasn’t really that peculiar, he remembered his father telling him that the Amish were the plain people, they shunned outsiders, and lived life as people did about a thousand years ago, or more, Lachy supposed, as he wasn’t really sure. What he did know, was they didn’t have electricity and rode around in black wagons pulled by horses. The Amish boys wore black pants and suspenders, they weren’t allowed to go to Lachy’s school, or play sports, but he liked them just the same. They always waved hello, and Mulish’s Lomey was a good baker, he loved tasting her sweet trays, especially her Heirloom Fruitcake at the Lititz Market in Lancaster.
Lachy soon forgot about the Schmidts as he had his favorite sport, basketball, on his mind. He couldn’t wait to tell his dad about the three-pointer he scored in the second half, it was his best game ever. Even his best friend Jake Cade played great, too, scoring in the last quarter with a one-point win, of 23 to 22. The thunder rumbled. His pulse fired up again, and as he came closer to his house, he sped the tires with a wild strenuous effort. With his shoulders hunched forward, he didn’t dare look up, the boom of the thunder was directly overhead, it was so fierce that the handlebars vibrated beneath his fingers, his arms and legs were shaking frantically.
“Hurry it up Lachy, looks like rain,” his dad said, as Lachy pulled into the yard. He was standing by the mailbox watching for him, blocking his arm against the big gust of wind that picked up. Lachy’s dark jade eyes squinted as he braced for a fall, he tried to steady himself on the seat of his bike as a thick squall of wind made his tires wobble.
Lachy jumped with a fright. A crack of lightening streaked above them, and he gazed up with awe as it was followed by another rumble of thunder. Lachy shivered as he took in anxious breaths, it didn’t sound right to say aloud, but he had a strange feeling that the thunder followed him, and so did something else, the cracks and crunches in the woods had been constant since he left the courts at the beginning of Orchard Avenue. Lachy parked his bike and reached out his hand, testing for raindrops, and there was not a drop to catch. His head shot up as a lightening bolt came from the blue. His dad was the target.
“Watch out!” Lachy screamed with terror, raising his arms high. Before he had time to think, the lightening bolt jerked to the side and he was blinded by a flash.
After a long moment passed, Lachy lay breathless, flat out on his back and puffs of smoke feathered around him. He wasn’t in pain, but the look on his father’s face made his heart sink. His father was screaming his name, as he ran to him and Lachy felt hot breaths of air on his forehead as his father fanned the smoke away with his hand. He was so shut in, that he was bearly aware of what happened, as his father’s strong arms picked him up, and carried him, racing toward the truck. Lachy glanced back, and his eyes lit with surprise, the sight he saw reminded him of a tv crime scene, an outline of chalky ash had out printed his profile, in the place where he fell. At any other time Lachy would have thought it was wicked, he’d even want a picture, but he was too frosted with fear to care one way or the other. While his father drove down Orchard Avenue and onto route 101 toward Lancaster Emergency Center, Lachy watched the skies, waiting for the rain to pour down. It didn’t. The thunder had stopped.
The doors to the Lancaster Emergency Center opened with a bang. Lachy was stretched out, limp in his father’s arms, and was immediately rushed into a room with bright white walls. A man in a lime outfit and cloth slippers that matched, came in behind them, and placed a kind hand on his dad’s shoulder. “Horace, I’m going to have to ask you to wait outside.” Lachy heard him say and he blinked helplessly as his dad nodded his head, and quietly left the room. Lachy kept his eyes on the door, and didn’t breathe again until he caught a glimpse of his father through the big glass window that made up most of the wall to the room. He waved to his dad, who was lifting a cell phone to his ear, and then turned his head as the Doc pulled up a chair beside the gurney.
“Hello young man, I’m Doc Chapelstone. Let’s take a look, shall we?” The Doc said, pulling out a tray and fiddled around with instruments of cold hard steel, some of the tools were scary looking, syringes, jagged and pointy knives. Lachy’s eyes widened with uncertainty, he had an unpleasant feeling lurch inside his stomach, he couldn’t imagine what they were used for, and hoped he didn’t have to find out the hard way. Lachy’s forehead broke into a sweat, the Doc was taking way too long to pick one, and there wasn’t anything on the tray that he’d like to see the Doc pick. He looked up to where his father had been standing, and sadness rained over him, his dad wasn’t there, no doubt he took his phone call to the outside parking lot. He returned his attention to the Doc, and his shoulders relaxed, as the Doc chose a stethoscope. That’s harmless and much better than a needle, Lachy was thinking, it wasn’t as though he was afraid of needles, he simply wasn’t fond of them, either. The Doc slipped the stethoscope around his neck and took a listen to Lachy’s heart. “Your dad tells me that you were struck by lightening.”
“Yes sir.” Lachy replied, looking down at his torn shirt and for the first time since it happened he noticed there were burn marks, and new rips on his jeans. He was quick to pat a few of the spots that were still smoking, expecting it to hurt, realizing he must be badly burned.
“We are going to run a few tests on you. Promise it won’t hurt.” The Doc said with a sympathetic smile, and got to his feet. He returned the tray to the desk, and took something out of the cupboard, and quick as a snap he called, “Catch.” Then with a thoughtful smile, he left Lachy to his business.
Lachy caught the t-shirt with one hand, and as the Doc left, he considered how to put it on. His nose wrinkled up as he thought it looked like a granny nightgown, except there was no back. He was at first wary of looking at the spots where his jeans smouldered smoke as he heard of people being stuck by lightening, and not one of the stories he heard ended well. He always felt sad when he heard those stories, as it sounded like a horrible way to die. He realized how lucky he was to be still standing and braved a peek. He brushed his fingers over the soot markings on his legs, and took a double take. There was nothing there. He smoothed the soot off with the corner of the bed sheet and couldn’t believe his eyes. No burns, no cuts, nothing but the odd smudge made of soot. He was mulling it over, speculating if it was a good sign, as the heavy weight he’d felt in his chest lifted.
“No harm will come to you.”
“Who said that?” Lachy said, alerted to any sound of footsteps. There wasn’t any.
“I will come again.”
“Is that you Doc Chapelstone?” Lachy asked, waiting for someone to appear in the window, for the door handle to move, for a sign of anyone who might walk in. There was nothing. Lachy stood for several moments, fighting the fears that threatened to return, the fears that were crawling up his arms and down the back of his neck when he was riding his bike. When something followed him, from the woods.
The thumping of footsteps alerted him, and this time he knew the Doc was coming back. He shook his head pulling himself out of the trance he’d be in, and hurried to finish dressing, reluctantly slipping the granny nightie over his head. Before the Doc opened the door, he managed to hop up on the bed, and was fast to hide his legs under the sheet.
The Doc came in, and chuckled under his breath. “The designer of those hospital gowns must have been born in a barn?”
Lachy didn’t get the joke, but he smiled, anyway. He sat back and watched curiously, enduring flashlight blasts in his eyes during the Doctor's examination. Then he was sent off to another room where he was grilled with more tests, this time with machines. Lachy endured all the testing, and couldn’t stop thinking about the mysterious person who was talking to him, the one he couldn’t see. He hadn’t heard it again, and listened carefully to the people around him, trying to pick up on the familiarity of a voice. Not one of them came close, no one had that deep raspy tone, that thundered when spoken.
After the run of an hour had passed, Lachy was back in his room, sitting up and studying Doc Chapelstone’s expression. The Doc didn’t say much, he simply went to the door and with a large wave of his hand he called out. “Horace, you can come in now.” Lachy sighed with relief when he saw his father return, and came to stand by his side. “He’s one lucky boy, not a scratch. I’m going to let him go home.” The Doc said, shaking his head in disbelief. “I’m writing in my report that the lightening bolt missed him by an inch of his life. Of course you can bring him back in if you see any signs of fatigue.”
“You all right, son?” His dad asked, eyeing Lachy with a serious look.
Lachy was bouncing up and down. “Better than ever.” He was eager for them to go, so he could change, all the while thinking that his holey jeans didn’t look so bad, not compared to a granny nighty.
The drive home seemed a lot longer than the ride to the hospital, he suspected, now that the panic was over, his dad didn’t see a need for speed. Lachy was staring out the window at the sky, the storm clouds had passed, and the moon was shining, at its fullest, it was large and round and had a brilliant orange glow. He guessed storms can be like that, show up one minute and gone the next. His dad had two hands planted on the steering wheel, and he seemed deep in thought.
Lachy’s eyes were on the sky and he sat up alarmed as the breath in his lungs, was suddenly trapped. He felt his mouth shaping into a circle, as he saw something extraordinary. There was a large dark shadow right in front of the moon. It looked like a small plane that glided without lights, and was flying so low it seemed as though it would crash into the tress. He looked over at his dad, curious if he noticed and when he saw his father’s sombre expression he resolved not to ask. Lachy leaned against the truck window and waited for the shadow to reappear, watching for it the whole way home. By the time they passed the Amish Farms he finally gave up looking, what ever it was, it was now gone, and didn’t seem to be coming back.
He heaved a sigh as they pulled into their yard and thought to tell his dad about the Amish farms, and the weird markings they painted on the shutters of the upper barn windows. He decided against bringing it up, as his dad seemed to be in one of his moods. His father looked grim, his mouth was stretched into a thin firm line, and his eyes were lowered. He didn’t make any attempt at conversation, only the odd long drawn out sigh, and Lachy knew he had something on his mind, and it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the accident. There were times, days, sometimes weeks when he and his father didn’t exchange more than a few words between them and he came to accept that some days his dad needed space. His father wasn’t angry with him, they hardly ever argued, it was just something Lachy had come to pick up on. It had been like that ever since his mother went away to heaven, his dad would take to moods like these and now seemed like one of those times, and he avoided striking up a conversation. He stepped out of the truck and a hushed calm fell over him as he looked toward the spot where the thunderbolt had hit him, the ash out print was impressed on the ground, it was bright, and glittery. He wrapped his arms around his waist, shivering as a cold feeling crawled over him, and quietly went inside.
“I’m beat, see you in the morning,” he said to his dad, as he started for the stairs. His dad was gazing out the window into the yard where the thunderbolt had struck, and his cheeks had paled. Lachy waited for a long moment for his dad to answer and when he didn’t, he headed to his room, and prepared for bed.
Lachy sat up with sweat running down his cheeks, and he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. He had been tossing and turning most of the night, and leaned his back against the headboard of his bed staring into the bleak darkness of his room. He had awoken with a dream about a beast in the sky, oddly enough it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for him, it was another nightmare, and he always woke up in a cold sweat when he had those dreams. What was strange to him, and different about this time, was the mark on his arm, it had been irritating him all night long, and he was positive it was the culprit that woke him up. It wasn’t itchy, it just nagged at him enough to remind him it was there, and he couldn’t remember it ever bugging him before, not since he woke up with it three years ago after he went with his father on a research trip to the Andes. His dad was a renowned cryptozoologist, it meant the study of extinct birds, and it may sound exciting, but going on research trips, in reality, was boring work, so Lachy thought. Camping with flies and creepy crawlers, picking at rocks in the sweltering heat, tramping for hours through wilderness and rough bush, collecting rocks that looked like fossils, gathering samples for his dad to take back to the lab. It was nice camping though, the fire at night, cooking in the open air was the best part, yes, Lachy was happy about that, the rest, however, was nothing too exciting.
He rolled up his sleeve to look at his scar, and gasped as he turned his arm enough to see it. It was in a strange sort of shape, like a coiled snake whose stomach tapered into a curved tail. It was a bluish white color, and was so thin that Lachy hardly noticed it anymore. For the first time ever, the snake shaped mark had a bluish glow. He caught a glimmer flash by his eyes, and as he looked closer he saw that it reflected off the ceiling. He twisted his arm from side to side, and gazed at the ceiling in astonishment, the little dot of light, was moving in unison with his arm. He looked around the room, searching hard with his eyes to see any glimpse of where the light would have come from, thinking maybe something was reflecting onto his arm. After several attempts he finally gave up, and was left with little choice but to accept it. The only object in the room that emitted the slightest hint of light, was his scar.
He lost his train of thought to it, as something wasn’t right, his mind and senses were revisiting those worrisome feelings he had when he rode past the Amish farm. In the corner of his eye he detected movement, it was a dark shadow that streaked across the moonlit curtain of his bedroom window, and he sat to attention.
“Come to me.”
Lachy put a hand over his mouth and held in a screech. He heard the words, he was sure of it, and it sounded gruff, raspy, like the person from the hospital. He instantly shook off that thought, it sounded ridiculous to believe. It couldn’t possibly be. He held his breath gaping toward the window, for the life of him he couldn’t figure out who said it, or how they managed to say it inside his head. He slowly slid off the side of his bed, and wandered over to the window. He stopped at what felt like a safe distance, still standing close enough to see through the lace curtain, and looked out with fear knocking on the backdoor of his mind. He detected movement, there was something hiding behind his treehouse, it moved so swiftly that at first he thought he imagined it, until he heard it again.
“Young Draculoc, you must come.”
Lachy’s tremble became a tremor and he jumped back and bit onto the knuckle of his thumb. The last thing he wanted to do was scream and wake his father. His father was already in a sour mood and a night of silly innuendos would surely land Lachy with a weeks worth of grounding. Lachy had no intentions on tempting fate with that one, his finals for a basketball tournament was tomorrow night, and being grounded was something he strictly tried to avoid. To top off his growing fear he saw the shadow shifting at the same time as he heard the voice and he tilted his head, warily gazing out into the night. Cautiously he clicked on the lamp that was positioned on the bedroom stand next to his bed, a soft glow came from the lampshade causing a sense of safety to settle over him, and he took a daring breath. He crept across his bedroom and opened the door a crack and took a peek, listening very carefully. In an instant he breathed a sigh of relief, as he heard his father snoring across the hall. Lachy looked back toward the window for a final glimpse, lost and confused, he closed the bedroom door behind him, and headed down the stairs.
His gut was tightening in knots. No doubt trying to tell him, to go back to bed and pretend he didn’t hear, or see anything. Everything inside Lachy was rooting for him to continue, he had to know what was out there. With every step forward he took, he tried to convince himself that it was ok to be curious, he tried to justify it by reasoning with his conscious, assuring himself, that he wouldn’t be able to sleep, anyway. He crept across the dinning room, and pressed his face against the glass patio doors and his eyes locked on the treehouse. The backyard was flat and square and stretched out into a field that outlined the forest that stretched on for miles. He braved a deep breath and slid the glass door open.
He crept with cautious steps toward the treehouse, keeping his eyes on the shadows. After three long strides, he stopped, the little hairs on the back of his neck were spiking. ‘I shouldn’t be here,’ he thought to himself, and glanced back. The light glowing from his bedroom window was a sudden reminder of the safety he just left behind. He took a fleeting look around him, everything looked different in the dark, every shadow seemed threatening, scary, and menacing. His heart pounded a drum solo in his ears, and he pressed two hands over his cheeks. It was unbelievable. Lachy stood there in utter shock. Without warning, two red glowing eyes turned on him from behind the old oak tree. They were large, and round and slowly but steadily blinked. That clearly told Lachy, they weren’t a reflection, or some kind of mysterious shadow, they were real. Whatever it was, it faced him, from only a hundred feet away.
“Do not fear me.” The voice came from inside his head.
Lachy’s legs wanted to bolt. They wanted to flee inside the house. Nothing moved. Helplessly, he was a figurine planted on the grass. Lachy suddenly realized, he’d forgotten to breathe, and took in a gulp, forcing himself to stay calm. After a long gruelling moment of struggling with his mind to force his body into movement, his legs seemed to come to life, they were working again and he steadily backed up, straining his eyes. “Who said that?” Lachy asked, regretting that he could only see shadows. Shadows and large pools of red glowing eyes. Eyes that were fixed directly on him, and larger than his whole head. It was incredibly frightening.
“I am known as Ferus Atra, a Thunderbird of Amphithere Serpent Deity.”
Shock and denial collided inside Lachy’s mind. The voice was clear and loud and sent a vibration right through him, as it spoke. He thought quickly, there was only one explanation that made any sense, he must be dreaming. He pinched his arm and looked toward the shadow, with alarm ringing in his ears. He clearly felt the pinch. In a quick reaction he let out a shriek, as dread coiled inside his stomach. He knew, he wasn’t dreaming. He steadily took a few more steps back feeling his blood drain to his feet, not daring to blink or look away from the stare that followed his every move.
“He is coming.” The voice inside his head echoed.
“Go away!” Lachy yelped, placing his hands over his ears. He turned to run back toward the patio doors, and the sharp edge of a rock scraped against his ankle. There was a rush of frigid air against his face as he stumbled to the ground. The last thing he remembered was the moist coolness of the grass against his face, his eyes flickered, and it all went dark.