From Dusk To Dawn
I walked down the sidewalk of downtown New York, the heels of my black boots quietly clicking against the rough gravel sidewalk. As I reached my destination, Venet Design Company, I slid my keycard into a small slot near the door, gave a brief nod to the security guard, and stepped on inside. I turned around and looked at myself in the mirror of a conveniently placed vanity near the entrance. My jet-black hair was cleanly cut and parted, just barely grazing my shoulders, and my never-disappearing glare stared back at me. Satisfied with my appearance, I gathered my black bag and my never-ending pile of paperwork off the vanity and walked to the elevator. I mashed the “up” button multiple times, and when I saw that the elevator was on the 14th floor, I let out a small scream and pushed the button with such force that I thought it would break off. After waiting for a tantalizingly long time, I stepped into the clean, modern cabin. I smacked the “23” button with my long, sleek, and shiny black jeweled nails a couple more times for good measure and leaned against the wall to wait. I could almost feel myself rushing upwards, and in no time, the feeling of upward motion had stopped, and I was stepping onto the smooth, wooden floor of my penthouse office. The air had a refreshing lavender scent to it, and as I plopped down my bag on my desk, and sat down on my sofa, my assistant came in.
“Hello Mrs. Thompston, here’s your morning coffee. Extra cream, no sugar, vanilla creamer,” she said as she set down a small cup of my virtual lifeblood on the desk, “Anything else I can do for you?”
“No,” I muttered, but then remembering that I was a professional, I looked her in the eyes, and for the first time in a while, I smiled at her and said, “Thanks for the offer, Sharon, but no thanks.”
“Great,” she said as she smiled back, “I won’t disturb you any longer.”
A few hours later, when I was just sitting on my phone, thinking about what I would like to order for lunch, I heard an urgent knock at my office door, and then I heard a voice calling my name.
“I’d better answer this,” I thought, “Only Sharon comes in here, and she doesn’t have to knock.”
When I opened the door to my office, the receptionist ran in, looking a little startled. Her beautiful hairdo that was hair sprayed in place this morning, was now disheveled and pens and pencils were sticking out of it from every angle. Instead of being classically confident in her bright red heels, she looked as if she would fall over. In her shaking hands, she held a tablet with the local news up on it.
“You need to see this,” she managed to say before falling onto my couch.
The moment I saw the headline, I was undoubtedly shocked, but after seeing the picture I almost passed out myself. It read, “Woman of 63 murdered in the family dining room.”
The picture made me sicker to my stomach than seeing rotting innards ever could. The photo showed my mother lying on the ground with a glowing white knife stuck through her chest, and a deep hole ripped through her leg, through which dark red blood seeped through onto the floorboards. Her eyes were closed, her usually rosy skin pale and lifeless. A name was carved into her arm. Dawn. I gasped in shock and decisively stood.
“Sharon, call Savanah Enterprises and tell them that their service will be postponed. William, notify the entire team of guards and tell them that everyone is dismissed,” I ordered. I called for an Uber straight away and walked outside. This could not be happening.
As I arrived at my mother’s house, a quaint little cottage painted with cheerful yellow paint and covered in flowers my sister and I had painted when we were little, I saw my sister Emily already there.
“Why are you so late? Why didn’t you come over to her house like you should have? Why didn’t you show up to play the board game with us! I step aside for ONE MOMENT and she gets murdered in cold blood you demon!” she yelled, her fists balled up tightly, and her face squashed up into a grimace to hold back her tears.
“Do you think I knew?” I fired back. I was sick of being the evil in her and my mother’s mind.
“Oh, I certainly do! I saw you sharing your location on Maps, and you were only a few blocks away, and you never showed up. I thought you were on your way!” she screamed and charged at me, “You are an unworthy demon who deserves nothing but jail!”
I neatly stepped aside, “I told you I wouldn’t be there. I texted you that I had plans,” I answered with a hateful glare, “You’re just like her. A basic stereotypical angel, while I, of course, I’m a demon. How should I know that YOU didn’t do it? You were the only one in the house.”
Then she shuddered and shook. Soon she was hovering above the ground with an unearthly look to her and I realized what was about to happen. She was going to use her powers. On me. I wasn’t about to flare because she did, oh no. I was saving it for the element of shock. She looked me dead in the eyes as her entire figure became enveloped in smoke. When the mist cleared, she was covered in a featherlight gown with golden accents, a necklace made of gold, and a golden fiery ring around her back.
“You were saying?” she smirked, “I’m not a stereotypical angel, I am an angel, so don’t step out of line, little demon.”
“I’m done with your little mind games,” I muttered as I rushed inside. Even though the door was blocked off by police tape, I peered inside and wished I hadn’t. The same image I’d seen in the newspaper was unfolding in front of me, but it wasn’t just a picture, it was the real thing.
“Miss, can you please step away for a moment,” coaxed a regular police officer, “When more details are released, I’ll let you know.”
In a huff, I walked past my sister, the collection of police officers, and the now appeared deluge of passerby nosily walking around. My Uber, thankfully, was still there, so I yanked open the car door, sat down, and slammed it with all the might I had.
“Take me to Oakwood Park. Take the shortest route possible, and take the toll bridge,” I said as I handed him a 100 dollar bill that I had furiously jammed in my pocket to have some extra cash on hand.
When I arrived, I walked the short distance to my house, unlocked the door and threw off my boots. I WOULD show her that I could be an angel if I wanted to be. I vigorously searched through my bag for my car keys, and after finding them, I hopped into my own car with a mission in my mind.
I drove the 7 blocks to Gemma’s beauty supply, my go-to stop for hair and makeup products and walked in.
“Hello Jessica! The usual? A black hair dye, the midnight dusk palette and the jet-black eyeliner and mascara set?” asked the clerk Annie, who at this point could be considered my best friend. While I was tempted to accept the offer, I had to do what I came here to do.
“No thanks Annie, I’m just going to browse around this time,” I answered, spotting the hair dye rack and deciding to start there. I stood in front of the rack, desperately wanting to choose a color like midnight ruby or raven black, but then willed my hand to pick out the gentle blonde dye and a package of bleach. Then I marched over to the makeup aisle, picked up the Angelic Glow palette and the lightest mascara and eyeliner they had.
Looking through my basket, I felt an unexplainable pain in my heart, like part of myself was being ripped out, but I had to do it. Proving her wrong mattered more than my dignity. I set down the basket on the counter with a huff.
“Is this a gift?” asked Annie, as she was (for good reason) confused for why I was buying this set of products.
“No Annie, please don’t ask,” I answered.
“Ok, that will be 40.86. Do you want to pay cash or card?” she asked in a more professional tone.
“Card,” I said as I slid the sleek and shiny black card into the dirty and old card reader.
“Great,” she said, and in a more somber tone, “Sorry about your mother.”
“Thanks,” I answered, “This is for her, you know.”
“Well, if you ever need my help, you know where to find me,” she called out as I opened the door and stepped out of the store.
When I got home, I decided to get straight to work. I took a quick shower and dried my sleek black hair. Then I started to furiously bleach it. The bleach was a light purple color and had a strong odor that singed my nose hair and gave me a slight headache, but I kept going. I lathered my hair with layer upon layer of this foul substance. The more I put it on, the more it burned and weighed me down, until finally, I was able to rinse it out with hot water and cover it in shampoo to remove the foul substance from my scalp. Then, it was time for round two. After mixing the developer with the dye, I flinched, seeing that instead of being a tar-black, it was a golden brown. I lathered this substance through my already gentle and dried-out hair. Thankfully, the dye didn’t burn as much, but it did supply a satisfying tingle for the first ten minutes. After rinsing my hair for approximately the fourth time that day, I finally willed myself to look in the mirror. Instead of my sleek and shiny black hair, I now saw a light blonde shade covering my scalp. The tips of my roots had a brownish tint to them. When I felt my hair, it felt scratchy, split, and rough to the touch. After lathering my entire head with conditioner, depleting my entire stash of hair masks, adding a moisturizing lotion to it, and finally brushing through it, my hair was finally smooth. I wasn’t done yet though. I grabbed a curling iron I had gotten for my birthday a while back, and gave my blonde hair a collection of bouncy, light, and fluffy beach waves.
The entire transformation was so exhausting, I went to bed at 8:00 PM sharp instead of my usual 11:30.
When I woke up and saw a collection of blonde hairs lying on my pillow, I was genuinely confused, but then the events of last night came flooding back to me.
With my morning cup of coffee in hand, I stepped outside, the scorching heat and brightness of the sun almost blinding me. I picked up the newspaper and quickly shuffled inside again. As I read the headline, a look of pure disgust crossed my face. The headline read: “Accusation of Daughter in Latest Murder Scandal is the Town’s Theory”
“She’s trying to cover up her tracks. She’s trying to make herself look strong. Oh, she will be an angel all right when I next see her,” I enunciated with a smirk on my face.
I climbed into my car and drove to Venet Design company. Looking in the same vanity mirror that I look in every morning, I decided that my makeup looked too much like the dark and evil side of me and took out my new makeup palette. As I added a shiny silver and blue ombre to my upper eyelid, someone called out to me.
“Hello, are you here for an appointment?” asked the receptionist, who was obviously feeling much better.
“No, I work here, don’t you remember me? I’m Jessica Thompston, CEO,” I said, showing her my badge.
“Ma’am, I need to see another form of ID to match,” she answered in a more serious tone.
“Here it is. I can give you all the evidence you need,” I answered, handing her my driver’s license.
“Fine. I believe you,” she answered slapping the license down on the desk, “What coffee would you like Sharon to bring up?”
“Extra cream, no sugar, vanilla creamer, part Colombian dark roast, part white chocolate mocha,” I fired off as I walked away.
As I walked into my office, I saw an unfamiliar woman waiting outside my door.
“Come in, welcome,” I said, assuming she was a high-end client, “Would you like some coffee, tea, soda, a water, perhaps,” I politely asked.
“I’ll just have a water, thanks,” she answered, and I quickly phoned Sharon to bring us a glass of water.
“Ok ma’am, what can I help you with?” I asked her.
“It’s about your mother,” she starts, “I know Emily killed her, but I need your help to publicize the evidence,” she said, looking me dead in the eyes.
Then she reached out her hand with a phone in it, “On the night that she was murdered, I was highly suspicious of the person in the house, due to there being no evidence of a break-in. If you do not know me, I am Sara, an agent at SecureHome. We just happened to have set up a camera in the neighbor’s house, and it caught the view through the window of the living room. I saw a silhouette of a girl in all white and a shimmering golden circle around it summoning doves to encircle an old woman. The silhouette and the golden circle matched the picture of Dawn, your sister.
Can you publish this video?” she inquired.
Still in partial shock and disbelief, I answered, “Yes. Yes. Yes, certainly, we certainly can solve the mystery of Dawn.”
As I stood up my phone vibrated in my pocket and let out the sound of a small chime ringing in the distance. I grabbed it out of my pocket, thinking it was the video I needed, but it wasn’t. It was from an unknown number, and the message read: Go to the house of the murdered, go to the room of the murdered. Wait there. I will come. My heart started racing and jumping around in my chest. This was the murderer, it was Dawn.
My rage tunneled itself into one small part of my mind, which was trembling and shaking with every beating of my hart, every thought that ran through my mind was making my legs walk faster, my arms swing faster, my face get more squelched up in anger, and soon I was sprinting to my car and jamming the keys into the ignition. I slammed the gas pedal so fast that the car’s earsplitting squeal reverberated through the entire parking garage, terrifying a nearby pedestrian. I didn’t care though. The moment I finished paying the parking fee, I got on the highway, and, probably going way over the speed limit, traveled to my mother’s house. I almost broke the door slamming in the key, and when I finally opened the door, I could see a collection of sinister-looking footprints in the dust.
“Hello?” I yelled, but the dull ceilings and floors didn’t echo my voice like on TV. I slowly crossed the kitchen to search in the room next to it, the room where mother was murdered. I walked into the living room, which was as empty as it had ever been. My boots stirred dust up from the floor, which rose into an ashy cloud in front of my face, only visible through the small and partially cracked window in the corner of the room. I stood in the corner of the room for a second or two, admiring the antique tea sets that mother had collected over the years. Then I heard the sinister squeal of the door behind me, and soon footsteps were only a few meters away from me. I turned around to see Emily locking the door behind herself.
She purposefully stood on the blood stain on the floor, as if taunting me, challenging me.
“It was you. You did this,” I said in a dangerously quiet tone.
“Maybe. Maybe not,” she smirked, “I wonder how you knew. Well, either way, we can’t have anyone knowing I killed dear mother, now, can we?” she went on, coming at me with a shiny silver blade.
“Oh, everyone should know, and everyone will know,” I retorted in a more dangerous but less silky tone.
She shuddered, hovering above the ground and soon she wasn’t Emily anymore, she was Dawn. Dawn, with her perfect blonde hair and her feathery dress and the golden ring that was her only downfall in her schemes. I remembered that I could flare too. I was not just Jessica, I was Dusk, queen of the dark ravens. I summoned all the shades of black and gray and silver into my heart, and soon my own body was shuddering and exploding in dark black smoke. I felt my angelic outfit disappear, and it was replaced by a short, black dress with a corset style top and a lace up back. My skirt was bedazzled with shiny black pieces of obsidian, and from each obsidian, hung a soft black feather. My back felt heavier, and I saw that I had wings coming out of my two shoulder blades. A beautiful crown made of pure obsidian and covered in dark silver accents was barely visible to me through my reflection in the window.
I smirked, “Two can play that game.”
Her smile slowly morphed into a shocked expression, her jaw sinking so low that I thought that it would break and fall to the floor any minute.
“Since when?” she managed to make out. “I thought your love for ravens didn’t go deeper than your dark insanity.”
“Well, then you don’t know me,” I said as I looked away to see a lone raven carrying my staff. I gently picked it up out of his grasp and, remembering who Emily was, used every ounce of courage that I had to push down on the shiny piece of obsidian to summon my raven flock.
Soon, I heard glass dramatically breaking, and about 100 ravens surrounded me in a defensive circle.
“Go,” I said to the main raven, and he led the pack around Dawn, surrounding her.
“Who are you?” she asked. “Tell me the truth!”
“I am Dusk, queen of the dark ravens of the Sycamore Isle,” I answered.
She let out a scream as my ravens started beating their wings and pecking at her, “Spare me Jessica, I’ll do anything!”
“You’ve done enough,” I said with a snarl as I watched Dawn being engulfed in a flapping and cawing mass. Soon they retreated and I saw her eyes closed, a large, gaping wound on her neck through which seeped out flesh-like substance itself, from which maroon-colored blood was coating her skin and giving her a demonic appearance. The gentle rosy blush of her skin was now a cloud of powdery white dust, and her wings chopped off, leaking another puddle of dark red blood from a deep gash in her back. She was dead.
Dawn was dead. My mother’s murderer was dead. I should have felt joy, but I just felt extreme sadness.
At the same time my phone buzzed. It was a message from Sara. It read:
You have caught the murderess. Now your powers are caught in a web. You are the queen of nothing now.
-The queen of the flare
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