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A World So Cold



 
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Caleb Guillory

September 2, 2020 - New Orleans

He could hear her screams through the smoke filled room. She called his name out over and over again. Each time he tried to get to his sister he was forced to pull back. The smoke was thick and filled his lungs causing him to choke.Neither of them were going to die this way.

“I’m coming Neva!"

Fighting his way through the smoke-filled room he followed her cries. When he finally reached her he couldn’t speak. His throat and lungs felt so raw that it hurt to breath. He scooped her up and managed to drag both of them outside.

“Who?”

Geneva managed to utter that word before she blacked out. He knew what she was asking. He stopped to look back once they were a safe distance away. He shook with anger, someone had tried to kill them all and the plan was nearly a success. Amara, Ambrose, Celine and the rest of their pack were inside. It was likely they were all dead. There was no way he could save them.

“Damn it!”

In the distance the sounds of sirens began to wail and gradually got closer. There would be many questions that neither he nor Geneva could answer. His sister didn’t need to worry about this, he would take care of it. He knew that right now it was better if the two of them were gone before the authorities arrived.

A week later Geneva was recovered and the two of them were on the prowl. He knew there were a few pack members unaccounted for, they hadn’t been there the night of the fire. They had to find them. All of the remaining members would be targets now.



February 2021 - Los Angeles

Five months later he arrived in LA. Celine hadn’t been there the night of the attack, he’d found her in London two months ago. He used his contacts to help her get set up in New York with a new alias. Geneva was safely hidden in London. None of them could return to New Orleans now. Sadly Ambrose and Amara had perished in the fire along with most of their pack.

He had heard of a few others who escaped, but had little luck in locating them. When people were scattered and in hiding it made them harder to find. That’s what brought him to Los Angeles. Celine had heard once from a couple pack members who’d fled there, a father and daughter. There hadn’t been any word since initial contact was made, so he had little to go on.

He wasn’t sure where to start looking, he knew that they were smart enough to be laying low. The coven who’d attacked would have known there would be survivors and would be hunting them down one by one. Total destruction of the pack was end game.

He started with a local haunt known to be wolf friendly. He approached the bar, keeping a check on his six at every point. Being alert and careful was second nature but he took greater care to do so now. When he reached the bar he slipped his hand and pulled out a twenty placing it on the counter. A few minutes later the bartender noticed him and came over.

“What’ll it be?”

The drawl in her voice told him she wasn’t a local. He knew that voice. He turned towards her a grin crossing over his lips as his eyes met hers. Kelly, she was an old friend from New Orleans, not a werewolf but someone they could trust.

“Hello Kelly. Good to see you again. I need some help. I’m looking for two of - my kind of people - who might be around. A young woman, you might have seen her with an older man. They probably keep to themselves a lot. “

He paused, he wished Celine had given him something more to go on. She probably didn’t know the either of their names. He flipped through the messages on his phone for a moment.

“The girl has brown hair, brown eyes. Possibly with an older guy. Seen anyone like that?

For a few minutes he and Kelly spoke in hushed tones. After a few minutes he pulled back and nodded, satisfied he slid the twenty towards her. He at least had something to go on now. This might be something completely different than he thought but he just had one way to find out. He retreated from the bar and set off towards the place Kelly had told him he might find who he was looking for.
February 08, 2021 12:49 pm

Aurora Dawn


Ramanda Hotel-Los Angeles

 

It had taken over an hour sitting in the old truck waiting for a room. The girl at the reception desk had made so many apologies. Rooms were being cleaned so she would have to wait. It didn't matter, she had gone this long without a proper bed and hot shower. Important thing was Rory had made this attempt. The box she had picked up sat in the passenger side. It had to be important or it wouldn't have been dropped off. Checking the time on the old radio it had been an hour. With a sigh she leaned over and took a white envelope from the glovebox. "Rainy day money..." It was indeed time for it. Grabbing it and a bag she hopped out of the truck, locking it up tight walked back inside the hotel. 

 

The blonde standing behind the reception counter wore a tag. "Stephanie."  It was a nice name easy to remember. Walking up to the counter she was remembered and a key was placed on the surface. It took a few minutes to sign and after a payment she went to her room. The box and her bag tucked close at her side. Walking down the narrow halls bleach and random cleaners filled the air. Almost causing Rory to sneeze. It had been way to long since she had encountered most of this. The scent was a bit strong. Stopping at room 104 she put the key in and turned the metal knob and walked inside. The heavy wooden door closed quickly behind her at the sound it made her jump. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, already a feel of clustaphobia was trying to kick in. Turning around she made sure the door was locked up and walked further into the room. 

 

Putting the box down on the small table she let herself get familier with the room. A black tv mounted to the wall, a cable box underneath. The bed was covered with a floral bed sheet that was a little cute. A phone, lamp and clock. Not even bothering with anything she just sat on the bed and stared at the box. Making full plans on getting up to open it but just didn't have the energy. Her eyes were heavy and they closed.

 

Dreams once again plagued her:

 

"Rory! Wake up girl..you must get up!" the yelling came from James. Flames were higher and higher..she couldn't get out. Pushing through the flames she went to to check others..so many screams. Children..friends.. The smoke so thick she had ran into a tent trying to get them out..burns to her back as something ignited and some kind explosion rang out in her ears. She stumbled out in pain...last thing she knew for weeks.

 

Opening her eyes James had been sitting with her, eyes heavy and head in his hands. Hearing her stir he turned his head and gave a sigh of relief. "Don't move..your not healing like you should.." 

 

Clock going off:

 

Rory hadn't needed an annoying clock to go off to wake her from something she had no want to stay. A hand reached out shut it off and she realized a pillow was tucked into her arms. Sitting up she went to grab the box it was time. Ripping into it she looked inside and the only thing in it was a picture. A man and a couple others..

 

"What the hell? A picture..nothing else?" What was Rory supposed to do with it. A clue maybe to more survivors or hunters..somehow though they looked familier to her. But she had no clue of the names or even where to start looking.  It was going to mean she was stuck in town maybe someone would know. Walking over to the window she pulled back the curtain just a little, enough to tell it was close to getting dark outside. Thankfully it wasn't close to a full moon or she would have to wait for a little while. It was time to hunt, time to remember what she had always been good at. One didn't become a head tracker without some sort of skill. Even if that skill had been put on the back burner for a long time. The picture she slid into a back pocket and grabbed money. Taking only the hotel key she left the rest in the room. Shower could wait.
February 08, 2021 05:55 pm

Caleb Guillory

He would follow one dead end after another, with each new lead he was getting no results. It was starting to tick him off. Celine had to give him something else to go on, this was like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. That night he picked up the phone to call her, she answered on the second ring.

“Hello? Caleb?”

Celine’s voice sounded confused and far away. He realized that though it was 9:00 PM where he was, it was midnight in New York, she’d been asleep. He loved the sound of her voice, it reminded him of home. He found it so soothing he almost forgot why he’d called.

“Celine I can’t find them, everything leads to nothing. Tell me you have something else.”

He knew he sounded desperate, he was failing. He had never taken doing so well. Across the line came a giggle. Was she really laughing at a time like this? What was left of them was scattered to the wind and he was struggling to bring it back together. This was how Celine responded, he could feel anger bubbling inside. She must have sensed the shift in his mood.

“Dang. Slow down and relax. If you had called me three days ago like you promised I could have given you the name of the girl you’re looking for.”

He breathed a sigh of relief. Through the phone he could feel her roll her eyes at his reaction.

“So, cool your jets. I believe the girl’s name is Aurora, brown hair and eyes. I don’t have a name on the man yet. Sorry, I can’t give you more than that but that’s all I’ve got. If you’re tired of looking for them I believe there’s another one in London. I was gonna call Neva but…”

Celine’s voice drifted off, she knew just how to push his buttons to get him fired up. She knew him as well as Geneva. Hell, she was practically his sister too.

“You’ve made your point. I’ll keep looking for the girl. Don’t send Neva out on a wild goose chase, if there’s someone else out there I’ll find him when I’m done here.”

He hung up the phone feeling much better than he had before. Still he had no plan on how to find Aurora. The city was huge and this was proving harder than he had anticipated. That was going to have to wait though because his phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number on the screen but it was local.

“Hello?”

The voice on the other end was almost as soothing as Celine’s he recognized it. Kelly! It was strange for her to call him. He could always count on Kelly to come through when he needed information. Typically she would wait for him to stop back in if she had information for him. This must be important.

“Hey, sorry it’s so late but I thought you would want to know this. That girl you’re looking for, I think she left here about ten minutes ago. I think she’s looking for you too.”

If the woman left Kelly’s just now that meant she was downtown. She might not have gone too far if she was on foot. He grabbed his keys, stuffed his phone in his pocket and got in the car.

Twenty minutes later he was feeding coins into the meter in front of Kelly’s. There was a man leaned up against the red bricked building, he recalled seeing him there the other night. He pulled out a fist full of cash and approached him.

“Did you see a brunette woman leave here about twenty or thirty minutes ago?”

The man nodded and gestured in the direction that she’d gone. He gave a nod of thanks and shoved the wad of cash into his hand before dashing off in that direction. A couple blocks away he ran into a small street market. There were people everywhere. ‘Fuck!’ He thought. He would never find her in this mess. She might not even be here but he had to try. He took the plunge and dove into the crowd.

He discovered quickly there were a lot of women with brown hair. There could have been any number of women with dark hair that had left the bar in the last half an hour. Still this was his best and only lead. He dodged past a woman with a stroller as she barrelled towards him. He caught himself on one of the vendor’s tables just to get tripped on some guy’s foot.

“Damn, can’t anyone watch where they’re going?”

He shoved his hands into his pockets and continued to mumble under his breath as he walked away. He didn’t have much room to talk. No sooner than he’d gone a few steps he slammed into someone else. Reach out he steadied himself and the woman. The woman with brown hair and brown eyes. He took a step back and opened his mouth to apologize but stopped short. Looking at her he realized an important detail: she matched the description of who he was looking for perfectly. Of all the dumb luck.
February 09, 2021 12:18 pm

Aurora Dawn

Leaving the hotel it had made more sense to just walk. It wouldn't hurt especially with all the stops she estimated to make. Having stopped at the vending machine to buy a pair of black earbuds so she could listen to music. Scrolling through her playlist she found the one used for running. Always deep powerful music, no yelling but peaceful.

On the way towards the bars she asked random people on the streets and down the alley ways she took. Only to be given the same answer. Not exactly the one she had hoped to be given. Then again she was dumb for thinking it would be that easy.

Bars would be a much better place to start she figured. Depending in what shops she went by those could be good also.

So many and time had just slipped away. Leaving one bar she had to stop for a minute. She was tired a little frustrated. Not like it would go her way the first day. That would be to easy.

Stores after stores, people after people. She wasn't used to talking to so many people. It was making her nervous. Maybe a drink would help calm her nerves.

Just one more bar and she would head back to the hotel. Ask one more person and go back to solitude if only for a few hours.

Pushing the door open she walked straight to the bar counter and sat down. The lady came over and smiled. Rory didn't want to ask yet. Pulling out some money she smiled back.

"Straight shot of whiskey please." It was a favorite of hers. So many nights of sitting around the bonfire...

When the girl came back with her shot Rory was quick to down it. Handing over the picture and asked if she knew the male in the picture.

She was told to stop back in and keep checking. Never know who will pop up here.

Leaving there after one more shot Rory headed back towards the hotel. Deciding to take a different way than the one she had.

"It wouldn't hurt to check out some of the vendors..." It had been so long since she had let herself have a little fun.

Passing the vendors she did take time to look. Clothing, so much of them. Food as well it had surprised her just how much.

An ear bud slipped out and she had stopped to fix it. Out of no where someone slammed into her and she stumbled. His quick hand made sure she didn't fall.

"Im sorry it was my fault for just stopping..." She stopped with her explanation. Biting at her lip she looked up at him.

Stepping back she felt nervous. It was him the guy she had spent time looking for. Her eyes widened and wanted to bolt. Though his scent was oddly familiar.

Rory caught the way he studied her.. "I have been looking.."

Takes the picture from her back pocket. "You are him.."
February 10, 2021 01:01 pm

Caleb Guillory

“I’m sorry, it was my fault for just stopping…”

She seemed to stumble back a few steps, the look on her face told him Aurora was shocked to come across him here. Kelly was correct, she was looking for him. But why?

There was something vaguely familiar about her but that wasn’t a surprise. Celine had said she had been a part of their pack. He watched her a moment, a smirk playing at the corners of his mouth. He wasn’t used to coming across someone who was so disheveled at the mere sight of him. She was nervous he reminded himself, it wouldn’t do him any good to make her more so.

“Calm down.”

Whether he was speaking to her or himself was unclear. Though it was probably safe to assume it was her because he was cool as a cucumber. Aurora was composed enough to continue speaking. That was good, at least he wouldn’t have to chase her down through the streets of LA.

“I have been looking for…”

“For me.”

He finished her sentence as her voice trailed off. Again that lopsided grin spread across his face for no reason at all. This was no chance meeting. Who was she exactly and where was the man he was told she’d be with? It was curious that the both of them had ended up in LA now. He let his eyes drift to the picture Aurora held. He held his hand out and waited for him to hand the photograph to him. When she finally did he stared at it hard for a moment. That grin melted away into aggravation and possibly disdain.

He remembered the time the picture was taken well. It had aged well for as old as it was. In the photo Geneva, Kayla and himself stared back at him smiling. He resisted the urge to crumple it. That was the first night Kayla had come to New Orleans. He grimaced a bith, those were hard times to remember. He had worked hard to help Kayla and what she’d done in return was unforgivable.

He held the photo back out to Aurora as though he couldn’t wait to be rid of it. Those times were gone and he needed to worry about things in the present. He gave her a solemn nod in response.

“That is me. Where did you find that at?”

He was hesitant to reveal too much to her so fast. He needed to learn more about her first. Though it would be wonderful for him to give her a name to go with the face.

“I’m Caleb. Celine sent me to find you.”
He watched her face to see if she showed any sign of recognition at the mention of Celine’s name. He realized in that moment that they were still in the market, that was probably not the best idea. He gestured towards an alley not too far off. He didn’t advocate for young women going with strange men down alleys but he hoped she’d trust him enough to follow and headed in that direction. They should really talk somewhere else.
February 11, 2021 12:46 pm

Aurora Dawn

The apology coming from him brought on a smile. "It was actually my fault but alright."

Absently she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, tugging at her bottom lip with her teeth. Feeling still a bit unsure why his picture would have been sent to her.

Handing over the photo she watched as his goofy smile went away. At first thinking it was something she did, but then figured it was memories. Not all memories were happy.

When he gave her back the photo she held on to it. A smile came back to her lips and she looked at him. It had been so long since she had smelt anything familier.

"I got it in a box, came in for supplies and it had been left." It was a simple answer the only one she had for him.

"Caleb..." a name to a face she had shown around town for hours. Her smile got a little bigger especially feeling accomplished.

It was to busy where they were and she looked around. People had began to stare or maybe it was her. The woman he had mentioned Celine, Rory tried to remember the name. Hoping it would come to her but eyes shown a slight recognition.

Watching him walk away she indeed followed. Probably not the smartest to go with a stranger, but was he really? Not when he had that scent to him.

Getting into the alley it was then she remembered. "Celine must have known Dad...James."

"Does she know where he is?" Rory asked him. "And I'm Aurora." If anyone could tell her where he was she would be in debt.
February 11, 2021 04:45 pm

Caleb Guillory

He stares at her pondering the truthfulness of his words. This was a strange situation, one he wasn’t in control of and he didn’t like that. It made no sense that she’d been looking for him in LA, he’d spent most of his time in the last several years exclusively in New Orleans. That was until the fire, since they 'd bounced between London and New York. Celine’s wild goose chases were the one reason he was even in Los Angeles at all. He was absent from the conversation for the moment.

“Yeah, okay.” He mumbled as he led her further into the alley.

He stepped behind the dumpster so that from the street the two of them would be out of sight. He managed to at last pull himself out of his wretched memories to focus on Aurora. “

That must be it.”

He peered over the top towards the street. There were more questions, things he didn’t want to ask her here. It was possible he was paranoid but it wasn’t a surprise after the last few months he’d had. She posed a good question herself. Did Celine know where James was? He didn’t think so since she’d told him that he’d find Aurora and James together. Damn their luck.

“I don’t know. We will have to call her and ask her.”


Looking over the top of the dumpster again he shook his head. This was not the way for the two of them to talk and begin to figure things out. He turned brown eyes back to her. He tried to think of a way to say what he was thinking without seeming too brash. Screw it, he was an asshole anyways and if she was around him for more than five seconds she’d find that out.

“Look, I don’t think we should talk here. Do you have some place we can go, where there isn’t a crowd?”

No, that didn’t sound like he was planning to murder her at all. People always send pictures of random guys to unsuspecting girls and those guys always ask those girls to go back to their places. Perfectly normal.
February 15, 2021 12:34 pm

Aurora Dawn


One minute they were talking just inside the already disgusting alley, the next standing behind a stinky dumpster. The tin can looked like it hadn't been cleaned in years. Thinking about she couldn't help but start laughing, even though this was supposed to be a little serious.

 

"Sorry, I know we are trying to have a conversation here. I understand what you are saying about needing to get out of here." Taking a breath she continued, wiping away the tears collecting from laughing so hard. "You do realize exactly where we ended up? I'm pretty sure they dumped fish in here days ago!" It was all to much for Aurora at this point. Looking at Caleb she shook her head and worked on getting it together. Most likely he thought she was crazy. But for a person that hadn't been around anyone for to long this was much needed. "I'm sorry, again just realized exactly what we are doing."

 

When was the last time she had just laughed? Let it all go? 

 

He had said something about them needing to find a place and she had the perfect room for them. "I have a place we can go, its a not to far. It isn't very fancy but it was all I could afford." The room should be enough for them at least and get them off the street.

 

"Come on, we shouldn't be out to much longer anyways. It is getting late and I think it is supposed to rain." Not that she minded the rain, to many times when younger she would go and dance in it. "We can keep dry and have some coffee."

 

Walking with him down the streed she almost got them lost. Stopping a few times to get her landmarks. "I promise we aren't lost I just..." Trailing off she spoted one of the resturant signs and grinned. "It is this way."

 

Ten minutes later they were stopped at a corner and waited for the walk sign. Crossing the street they walked through the full parking lot and she spotted the truck. It looked still in one piece no one had messed with it.

 

Questions, swarmed her mind but she waited a little longer. Taking the keys out of her pocket she walked up to the room, knowing he was behind her. Swiping the key the door opened and she walked inside, turning the light on.

 

When door clicked shut that was when she let the questions run free.

 

"Caleb, Why was it so important that you were sent to look for me?"

 

It was the first question that had come to mind. "Why now, why after five years?"

 

Taking off her shoes and coat she leaned against the wall, arms crossed and she waited for the answers. 

 

"I'm not even that important, I have been in a tent, coming here for supplies. No people skills, not anymore. I can't even go back to tracking...nothing is the same." Then of course there was the next one she hadn't asked. 

 

"And why was I sent your picture?"
February 19, 2021 03:18 am

Caleb Guillory

He followed. Inadvisable but he was a finder of people, dark alleys and following tiny women into strange places was in the job description. It was not an occupation for the faint of heart. He’d seen things he couldn’t unsee and done things that he couldn’t let himself regret. This time he hoped was different but he could never be sure.

“Coffee will be fine.”

They arrived at the room and he felt the very nature of her change. She went from coy to demanding in a matter of seconds. The truth was revealed.

Women were infuriating, this one included. He didn’t know her and already she was grinding his nerves. Just like Geneva. Truth was she reminded her a lot of Neva in some ways. That was probably why he didn’t lose his shit on her when she barraged him with questions as soon as they entered the motel room. He’d followed her in at his own peril and now he was trapped.

She shot out questions one after another, he didn’t have time to answer one before the next one came. This was going to get old fast. Still he waited. At some point during all this she fell silent. He waited a few minutes just to be sure that she was done, he didn’t want to be interrupted as he was speaking. He was never going to be able to answer anything that way.

“It’s just been five months since the pack home burned, Celine is gathering survivors. I find them for her. Though I haven’t the slightest damn clue why you were sent a picture of me. Are you sure it wasn’t just attached to something you took when you fled?”

Shit he didn’t want to ask this girl questions. He wanted to do what he came here to do, get her ass back to Celine. He couldn’t understand why she was being so difficult. He looked around the room and it was apparent that she was here alone in a strange city. She did not seem equipped to handle herself in a lot of situations she might handle but especially not if she crossed paths with those who sought her - all of them.

“Every pack member is important. You must not have spent much time with Ambrose or Amara.”

He realized now that she could have been one of those strange traveling bands, really not a part of the pack but visited home once or twice a year. He could be wrong in this because there had been plenty in the pack that he’d never known beyond sight. Still, he didn’t know her at all.

He looked around them and shook his head.

“Those conditions sound terrible. I can get you to London and to Celine, then you don’t have to worry about this anymore.”

It was a generous offer and one he hoped that she would consider. His time here now was slowing him down considerably and there were still others to find. He had to get her on the plane and to Celine tonight. He was about to say something else but fell silent when there was a loud knock on the door.

He froze starting at Aurora. If she was expecting someone why hadn’t she mentioned it? He was sure that she wasn’t. He glanced at her in an attempt to get a clue of what their next move was.
February 19, 2021 09:26 pm
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