Hey, S. M. Boyce here again. This is a continuation of the first 6 chapters of the Fairhaven Chronicles, a magical series inspired by west coast wilderness. If you haven’t read them already, be sure to check out the preceeding chapters first to understand what’s going on here!
Chapter 1: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-1/
Chapter 2: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-2/
Chapter 3: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-3/
Glow: The Revelations of Oriceran, The Fairhaven Chronicles, Book 1
By S. M. Boyce & Martha Carr
For the first time since the fire, Victoria felt excited. She had to actively keep herself from pushing past the bank manager and finding the damn safe deposit box herself.
The manager’s high heels clacked on the tile floor, the clicks echoing in the quiet space. There wasn’t even bland, outdated music playing—only silence and the incessant tapping of the woman’s shoes.
She turned a corner, leading them toward the open vault. The vault door sat open, the three-foot-thick steel almost as intimidating as the second barred door separating the hallway from the interior. Victoria marveled at the depth of the vault’s walls as she entered—if the door shut on them, they would be screwed.
Inside, the vault was lined with safe deposit boxes about as wide as a hardcover book, all of them adorned with gold locks and gilded numbers.
“Ah, here we go,” the manager said, tapping one of the boxes.
Victoria studied the number:
The bank manager inserted Victoria’s key and her own and twisted them both in their respective locks. With a tiny creak, the squat door opened, and she slid out a thin box the size of a textbook. Victoria nearly protested—this is something she wanted to examine in private. Heels clacking once more over the vault floor, the manager led them into the hallway again and closed the metal gate behind them.
A little confused, Victoria followed with Audrey in tow as the woman led them to a tiny room across the hall. Aside from the pale wood of the round table and the two bland chairs, the room had only florescent light. Not even a window.
The manager set the box on the table and smiled. “We like to give our clients a bit of privacy while they deal with their things. When you’re done, just ring the bell here.” She pointed to a little buzzer in the wall, not unlike a doorbell. “Do you need anything else?”
“No, thank you,” Victoria said with a forced smile.
“I’ll leave you to it, then,” the woman said, handing over Victoria’s key. Her heels tapped on the floor as she returned to the hallway, and the door clicked shut.
Victoria caught Audrey’s eye as she readied herself to open the box. “Now or never.”
Audrey nodded. “I hope this has some answers.”
No kidding. “Me, too.”
The top of the box popped upward as if it were on a spring, and she lifted it the rest of the way to reveal the box’s contents.
“Shit,” she hissed. A pistol not unlike the ones she saw in action movies lay in the deposit box, a full clip of bullets next to it. She lowered the lid and looked around for a camera or something that might be recording them.
“A gun?” Audrey leaned in, her voice a whisper as she set a hand on the top of the box as well.
Fighting the panic and nerves fluttering in her chest, Victoria did her best to keep her voice low. “What the hell did my parents get into?”
Audrey gritted her teeth and shook her head, apparently as mystified as Victoria.
Tenderly, gingerly, Victoria peeked underneath the lid again. The gun hadn’t budged. It must have been heavy.
A gun. Jesus.
Beside the pistol was an emerald-green pouch with gold drawstrings. She slipped it out, half-expecting a grenade based on the box’s contents so far. Instead, though, she found tiny crystals—hundreds of them. They glittered in the artificial light, glowing faintly green. She smiled, grateful that something beautiful was beside something so deadly.
At the bottom of the box was a white spiral notebook with a single word scribbled on the front in black Sharpie:
“I feel like I’m in a Jason Bourne novel,” Audrey muttered under her breath. “Cryptic clues left in a safe deposit box. A gun. Next thing you know someone is going to burst in here, bullets flying.”
“Well, don’t jinx it,” Victoria said, rolling her eyes.
She picked up the spiral notebook, and a simple white envelope fell to the tiled floor. Her name had been written on the front in her father’s handwriting.
Her throat caught, and she brushed her thumb across the letters. She paused, savoring something familiar in a sea of strange.
Audrey patted her shoulder, squeezing lightly for comfort. They had known each other so long that Audrey didn’t even need to say anything.
It’s okay, the gesture said.
With a deep breath, Victoria ripped open the envelope to find a single piece of paper covered in blue ink. Her father’s familiar tight handwriting covered the page.
If you are reading this, I’m dead. I’m sorry I left you to face this alone.
The writer in me hates those words because they don’t do the truth any justice. I never thought I would have to write a letter to explain things to you once I had passed, except maybe a few times in Afghanistan when I was covering the war and wasn’t sure if I would make it home.
But this, Victoria, is worse than war.
There’s so much more to our world than I ever thought possible. Your mother and I have discovered only a small part of it, and we wanted to protect you from it. But as you’ve probably guessed by now, we didn’t have so much life insurance out of luck. We figured something would happen to us, and we knew in the long run we wouldn’t be able to stop the people coming after us from coming after you. We simply wanted to give you a proper childhood and a chance to live a normal life before you were inevitably ripped from it.
In the spiral book you’ll find our notes, everything we’ve learned so far about the truth hidden right beneath our noses. There are all sorts of creatures, Victoria, all sorts of, well, there’s nothing else to call it but magic.
A simple letter won’t do it justice, which is why we gave you the spiral notebook. Low tech, I know, but we didn’t want anyone to hack us. But know this: we love you. We love you completely, and we’re sorry for any way we have failed you. Part of me wanted to train you the moment your mother and I discovered this other world, this place called Oriceran, but you were so young. I was torn between keeping you safe and making you aware of the truth.
I hope I didn’t fail you.
I can tell you that if your mother and I are gone, you’re no longer safe here. As soon as you can, you need to go to Santa Barbara. I know that California is quite a drive, but there is a hidden city there called Fairhaven. Directions are in the notebook. Go there and find a man named Fyrn Folly. He can answer all your questions, and he’ll help you figure out what to do next. He will keep you safe.
With all my love,
Doing her best to fight back the lump in her throat, Victoria set the letter on the table and picked up the spiral notebook, fingers brushing the black Sharpie on the front.
She hovered over the strange word, not even sure how to pronounce it. But it was more than a word, wasn’t it? It was a whole world, the answer she had been looking for. She thumbed through the notebook, its pages alternating between her father’s and her mother’s handwriting. There were entries with words she didn’t understand and pictures that didn’t make sense.
She paused on one picture of her parents posing with a seven-foot tall creature. It had thick arms, not unlike tree trunks, and a body as round as a barrel. Its brown skin was covered in boils and warts, and it grinned with a crooked smile full of teeth that didn’t quite match up. One long tooth protruded over its lips, nearly touching its nose.
If Victoria hadn’t seen fire shoot from the elf’s hand, hadn’t experienced a shield appearing out of nowhere, she might’ve thought it was a wax figurine, albeit a really, really good one. But deep in her soul, she knew better. This was a real creature, something magical.
Something she needed to see for herself.
She stumbled across a page with the title “Fairhaven” and skimmed it for answers. There was a bridge in Santa Barbara she needed to go to with a symbol she needed to press, and stairs would appear.
Jesus, what next? A broom and an invitation to Hogwarts?
She dropped the spiral notebook on the table, rubbing her temples as she fought to process the information crashing over her. It was almost too much, but her parents had taught her enough about journalism and investigative reporting to make it through. She simply needed a break, a moment to breathe. She would pick up the book again later.
“Fuck,” Audrey said under her breath. She set the letter on the table, eyeing Victoria with a combination of concern and fear.
But Victoria wasn’t afraid. Overwhelmed? Sure. A little nervous? Absolutely. But afraid? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. This was exactly what she needed: answers, a direction, something to do.
She would learn everything there was to learn about this world, about its creatures, and about this monster named Luak. And when she had learned all there was to learn, she would use her new knowledge to make Luak pay for everything he had taken from her.
“Guess we’re going on a road trip,” Audrey said with a smirk.
For the first time since her parents died, Victoria grinned broadly. Her eyes narrowing, she savored the wicked glee deep in her chest. It wasn’t joy. It was vengeance.
“Yep,” she said. “We’re going to Santa Barbara.”
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Then read Chapter 5: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-5/