Authors: Evette Davis
Tags: #fiction, #romance, #vampires, #occult, #politics, #france, #san francisco, #witches, #demons, #witchcraft, #french, #shapeshifters, #vampire romance, #paris, #eastern europe, #serbia, #word war ii, #golden gate park, #scifi action adventure, #sci fantasy
“Olivia,” she said, smiling, “you’ve returned
to this world. How do you feel?”
“I feel great,” I said. “My back is a little
sore from sleeping on a rock, but other than that, I feel fine.” As
I stood looking at Elsa, I began to see some of the same colors I
had from the night before. Elsa was gently giving off waves of
yellow and orange as she stood before me.
“You’re giving off colors again,” I said.
As soon as the words left my mouth, I felt a
rush of warmth invade my body. It was the feeling of pleasure, but
the feeling was not my own. It belonged to Elsa. “I can feel your
pleasure, too,” I said, shaking my head. “Is that what you hoped
would happen?” Again, a rush of warmth ran through me. “You’re
pleased. I can tell.”
“I am pleased,” she responded, rising from
the bench to stretch. “How much more you can do with your gift
remains to be seen. We’re going to work on it a bit, and then I am
going to introduce you to a group of people who are very interested
in meeting you. They’d like you to come and work for them.”
We walked back to the house in silence, my
mind too preoccupied with the show unfurling before me. As I walked
past people on the street I could clearly see the outline of their
auras and feel their emotions. Unfiltered, it was disorienting, and
by the time we got to the front door, my stomach was churning with
all of the morning angst I’d picked up as my neighbors headed off
to work. I placed my hand against the door jam and closed my eyes
for a moment, remembering Elsa’s advice from the night before.
After a few moments of deep breathing, I regained control of my
senses. I nearly had been overwhelmed by other people’s emotions,
but with some measure of confidence, I realized that I could calm
my mind when necessary.
I was about to reach for my hide-a-key, when
the front door flew open. Lily was standing in the doorway half
awake, wearing one of my bathrobes. Evidently, she’d had the good
sense to come home and sleep in a bed.
I watched velvety green light coming off of
my best friend and felt her happiness at my safe return deep inside
my heart. It was lovely to feel that kind of friendship from
“Thank you,” I said. “I am very glad to see
you too. What an adventure we had last night. Did you know that
your light is as green as that island we swam to?”
Lily giggled. “It worked. You can see my
aura. I am green and sometimes a little blue comes through. Most
fairies are. If you ever see a red color coming off a fairy, you
should run and get away as fast as you can. It means something
horrible is about to happen.”
I nodded, distracted by my stomach, which
began to grumble.
“I’m starving. Let’s have some food and we
can talk some more.”
“I can’t stay,” Lily said. “I have to go to
work. You know the library is open seven days a week.”
“Suit yourself,” I said. “I am making
After I had eaten and taken a shower, I came
downstairs to find Elsa sitting on the floor in the living room,
meditating. Legs folded, eyes closed, she was chanting softly. I
could see very strong orange and yellow pulses coming from her body
as she took in breaths of air. I wondered what colors my body gave
off, but when I tried to look after my shower, nothing appeared in
“Yellow, orange and a twinge of red,” Elsa
said. “I can hear your thoughts now, Olivia. Your mind is very
powerful. We need to be careful so that you don’t telegraph what
you are thinking to those who would use the information against
I flopped down in a chair and sighed. “You
can hear my thoughts. I can feel your emotions. How is this
supposed to be better for me? I feel more vulnerable than
“You are more vulnerable… for the moment,”
Elsa said. “It will pass and you will come to learn how powerful a
woman is when she uses her sixth sense.”
I sat for a moment contemplating my future.
It certainly couldn’t get any worse, I reasoned. I now had the
power to read people and know their emotions. If I could figure our
how to protect myself, maybe I could get back to work and retrieve
my clients from Stoner Halbert.
“What about the demon?” I asked. “Will it go
“Soon you will be able to keep him out of
your head and then he will have to move on to someone more
Thinking about being vulnerable reminded me
of the horrible light and pain from the night before. “What was
that light last night? Why did it hurt my head?”
Elsa paused a long while and then said, “It
was someone trying to read your thoughts.” That didn’t sound good
at all. “Read my thoughts. Why? Who was it?”
Elsa frowned. “He’s the head of an
organization that’s very interested in humans who have extra skills
“Really, how odd,” I said. “He sounds like a
freak. How does he know about me?”
Again, Elsa didn’t answer immediately.
“I am a member of the Council, it was my
responsibility to tell them that I was leaving my post temporarily
to help a human,” she explained. “When I told the director about
your gifts, he became very interested.”
“The Council,” I said aloud. “It sounds like
a John Grisham novel.”
“I don’t know who John Grisham is,” Elsa
said, her stern voice returning. “But I assure you, the Council is
very real. Gabriel Laurent is the current director. He’s the one
who tried to contact you last night.”
“Does he always try to blind people to say
“I told him it was too early to try such a
thing,” she acknowledged. “I asked him to wait a few days and
promised that I would bring you to meet him.”
“Is that where you went, when you left? To
see him?” I asked. “You touched the fountain and disappeared.”
Elsa nodded. “I used the portal to jump to
the top of the museum, where the Council keeps its
“How did you do that? I mean how do you make
sure you get where you want to go?”
“I use my mind. It will guide me to where I
want to go.”
“And what does
“It’s nothing, really; he wants to speak to
you about a job.”
I knew right away that Elsa was lying.
From the moment she began speaking, I knew
that Elsa was holding something back. I could feel her hesitation.
By now, I also knew her well enough to know I should back off and
wait to ask her again later. So I let the matter pass, and dressed
and readied myself for my first day of learning how to use my
We were headed to the Mission District. Elsa
insisted we use the subway to travel downtown. Riding the public
trains, she said, would be a good place to practice. As soon as we
got on the N-Judah streetcar, Elsa leaned in and whispered my
“Focus on one person, and try to block out
the rest. Find one person and tell me what you see and feel.”
I scanned the train looking for my target. A
few seats away, I locked on to a well-dressed woman who looked to
be about 25. She was tall with long blond hair, held in place by a
tortoise shell headband. Her hair, which had been brushed until it
shined, cascaded down her back. She looked successful and
content—an easy first assignment, I told myself.
When I examined her more closely, though, I
began to see a different story. She was encased in a solid red line
of fear. She was worried. I could feel it. Her heart also held
another emotion: longing. I sat down on a nearby train seat and
“She’s worried,” I said to Elsa under my
breath. “She’s trying to reassure herself about something, maybe
not reassure, but I think I can feel her trying to soothe
Elsa pulled me up and walked us to the second
car of the train. “Try again.”
I was feeling more confident, so I decided to
try something more challenging. This time I locked on to a slightly
disheveled homeless man, his belongings piled high on the seat next
to him. I focused in on his coloring and saw something odd. He gave
off a grayish color that looked like smog hovering over the hills.
As soon as I tried to read his emotions, he turned around to face
me. He knew I was trying to read him. Although he smiled at me, his
behavior was anything but friendly. He began to press back, sending
some very dark emotions my way. I felt a rush of sadness, and
realized that he was trying to drive me to despair. He was
persistent, trying to drive negative feelings into my head. Elsa
appeared at my side.
“That’s a demon, Olivia. Can you feel him
trying to drive a wedge through your soul? Block him out.”
Once again, I practiced using my breath to
lower a blind over my mind’s eye and closed off my nervous system.
Soon, I began to feel like myself again. The demon turned away from
us and looked out the window.
“He gave up very easily,” I said.
“He probably knew he had no chance with you,”
was Elsa’s reply. “Demons, in general, are a lazy lot and do not
like to work hard. I think he knew better than to test your
“Are they always grey?” I asked as we made
our way out of the train station.
“Always. You must have a soul, or some
connection to humanity, to give off an aura. Remember that. Grey is
the absence of color. As servants of the devil, they have no
humanity left inside them, and therefore give off no color.”
“Wow. That is scary. What would have happened
if he’d succeeded?”
“You would have left the train feeling like
your life was not worth living,” Elsa said ruefully. “Demons are
responsible for a lot of the suicides you read about that happen in
public—the stories about people who jump into the path of a moving
train, or leap from the Golden Gate Bridge. Their deaths are often
incomprehensible to the people who know them. Now you know the
reason for their actions.”
I shuddered slightly as we rode the escalator
up from the bowels of the subterranean train station, trying to
shake off the gloom of the demon and Elsa’s story. Would that have
been my fate, too, had Elsa not appeared? Would I have been doomed
to toss myself over a bridge when Stoner was done with me? I didn’t
want to know.
We exited the station at 16th and Mission.
From there, we moved west, walking through the crowds on Valencia
Street. There were dozens upon dozens of bodies moving through the
neighborhood. I held still, allowing myself to feel the energy of
the people passing by.
“Don’t lock on to it or try to absorb it, let
it move past you as if you were browsing titles in a book store,”
If I had been in a bookstore, the floor would
have been a mess. It felt as if I was bumping into everyone who
passed. A jolt here, a jolt there, I was being brushed by anger,
anxiety, sexual longing, happiness and true love. Each time someone
passed, they tickled my senses. I began to regulate it, as if
searching a radio by turning a dial. I concentrated, focusing my
mind to pull in from one person but not the next. A rainbow of
colors passed behind my eyes, and I was enjoying my newfound skills
until something began pressing on my skull again.
I looked up, trying to find the source of the
pain and found myself staring into the dark green eyes of a man
with long hair and a nose ring, whose piercing gaze seemed to be
picking at my head. It was a very specific kind of pressure, but it
came with not a trace of emotion.
“Elsa that man over there is trying to force
his way into my head.”
“Vampire,” was all she said.
“Vampire,” I replied. “In the Mission?”
“Especially in the Mission,” she said.
“He is picking at my skull like a
“Make him stop.”
I closed my eyes and forcefully shut him out.
He smiled, saluting me with two fingers as he passed.
“He doesn’t give off any emotion,” I said as
he passed. “Only that pecking sensation.”
Elsa laughed. “Vampires don’t feel emotions
the way humans do. It has something to do with the absence of a
beating heart. If you ever get to know a vampire well, you will
learn to read their feelings more closely.”
“Wow, a vampire and a demon, all in the last
hour in San Francisco,” I said, shaking my head. “I never imagined
it was possible.”
“And now?” Elsa asked.
“I’m not sure,” I said honestly. “But I do
know that everything I thought I knew has changed.”
“That is a good beginning,” Elsa said,
putting her hand on my arm. “Let’s go find a place to meet Lily for
We settled on Bar Tartine, a quaint bistro on
Valencia Street. Lily arrived at about 5:30 looking exhausted.
Seeing her made me realize how tired I was, too.
“I don’t think this will be a late evening,”
I said. “We both look like we could use a good night’s sleep.”
A waiter took our order for three glasses of
wine, and a sampling of house-made meats and cheeses. I added on a
bowl of warm olives, and Lily asked for some bread. Once our drinks
and small plates arrived, I quizzed my magical friends on what
really was going on around me.
“You’re very lucky to live in San Francisco,”
Lily said, licking a drop of olive oil off her fingertip. “This
city is the most magical of any in the world.”
“You don’t mean picturesque, do you?”
Lily smiled. “Nope. I mean magical, with a
capital M. After a while you will feel it. The land itself is part
of it. Very early civilizations knew it, too, the Ohlone Indians,
Lily’s comments reminded me of something from
my adventure the night before.
“I think I saw them,” I burst out,
interrupting Lily’s sentence. “I saw them at Ocean Beach last
night. I ran there after leaving the park. There were hundreds of
people chanting, and I saw a woman—their shaman. I thought I was