(I was initially going to do this as a post in Locale, but it grew in length to the point that I decided to post it on its own. I don't actually expect anybody to fully read it, this is mostly for my own reference lol)
From childhood, Violet Davenport had always been a generally well-behaved child. She was noted among the Davenport clan for having a particularly astute sense of mischievous humor, while simultaneously being widely regarded as unfailingly compassionate and genuinely sweet.
Her sweetness was a legacy that had followed her into adulthood, with that sense of mischievous humor and taste for hijinks not far behind. However, no matter her taste for spicing things up, she had not once overstepped the bounds of her naturally compassionate nature.
That is, not until now.
For once in her life, Vi took a leap of faith. She had slipped from her family’s estate in the dark of the night, with nothing but the barest of plans.
She had begun to feel as if she were suffocating. Her family adored her, and never could she fault them for that, but it had become a shackle around her ankle. Her sweetness, her dependable nature, her natural talent for mediating between her sisters…it had become a burden. So she had taken everybody by surprise – herself most of all – and slipped away in the cover of darkness, with nothing but the barest of essentials, her beat-up truck, and her most-favored companion.
Diverting her eyes from the road just for a moment, Vi quickly fiddled with the radio, tuning to a station that wasn’t receiving as much static as she continued driving through the darkness of night. The starts shone overhead, and the nearly full moon illuminated the empty route she was driving.
She had nothing but her own thoughts for company and she was more than content with that. Or at least she was until her thoughts began to thunder in her head. Maybe this wasn’t the smartest idea. Maybe she wasn’t cut out for being truly rebellious beyond her beloved pranks. Maybe she should turn back, especially knowing that there was some form of errant dark magic in the air. She could almost taste it.
But turning back would be giving up, and she wasn’t ready to admit to anybody else, let alone herself, that she was incapable of doing this. Violet had never been raised as a quitter and now seemed like the most inopportune time to start that particularly useless habit.
She took one hand off the wheel and reached to the radio, again adjusting the radio until she finally came across a station playing something with a suitable beat. Her sister may be a fan of country, and while Violet was by no means opposed, she’d been driving all night and needed something with a sustained and rhythmic beat to keep her energized.
Losing herself in the freedom of the moment, it took longer than it should have to feel a slight disturbance in the air. Part of Violet’s legacy of magic was the ability to sense when nature was out of tune with itself, when there were ominous forces at work. Tonight, there was something insidious in the air, something that caused the hairs on the back of her neck and along her arms to stand on edge.
She shuddered slightly, pulling the leather jacket that she had liberated from one of her closest friends tighter around herself. She adjusted the heat in the truck, and still nothing could erase that chill that sunk straight down into her bones, into what seemed to be the very essence of her being.
Mile sign after mile sign passed, marking the steady continuation of her travels. The cold eeriness had done nothing to dissipate, but Violet had managed to shove it to the back of her mind, against all her better instincts. Everything she had experienced and been taught had instilled in her the knowledge that her instincts were her first line of defense, but she was jumped up on adrenaline and anticipation, and her instincts were taking a back seat.
Her eyelids began drooping and she knew that soon it was going to be time to call it a night, or find some source of caffeine. She was no stranger to hopping herself up on Red Bull in order to make it through the night.
She prepared to take the next exit ramp off of the rural route and find some hole in the corner convenience store to replenish gas and refuel her energy when something caught her eye.
Neatly pulling onto the shoulder, Violet slid the keys from the ignition, slipped them into the pocket of her jeans, and slowly exited her vehicle. The beams of her headlights had flashed across something, and at that same moment, her instincts had gone into overdrive.
She heard a soft yipping, and the sound shot straight to her heart. There was only one thing in the world that made a noise like that, and it was an animal in pain or some form of distress.
She crouched down at the side of the road, moving aside branches from a bush with soft tenderness, aware that an animal’s instincts may cause it to lash out at unfamiliar scents, especially if it was injured.
Her heart jerked as she gasped, finally revealing the source of the heartwrenching noise. “Oh no,” she murmured, reaching out to gently run her hands over the body of what appeared to be a Siberian Husky puppy. The remnants of a soft tattered box, soggy from the previous night’s rain, lay underneath the prone animal, and all signs indicated that it had been abandoned by the side of the road. There were no obvious physical defects, but Violet couldn’t risk potentially further injuring her.
Laying palms against the puppy’s side, Violet closed her eyes and tuned into her natural gifts. The ability to heal was one that she was born with, and hand in hand with that gift was the ability to sense injury, sickness, and other defects. Her scan turned up no abnormalities, which just further confused her.
“Come on, little lady,” she whispered as she scooped the puppy up into her arms and placed her on the passenger seat of the truck. Violet slipped the leather jacket off and piled it into a little nest for her new companion.
The cell phone she had shoved into her pocket began to vibrate as she shoved the keys back into the ignition, her other head softly stroking between the ears of the puppy in a manner that was calming to both of them.
She took a deep breath before swiping her finger across the screen to unlock it, her eyes slowly scanning the surrounding area out of instinct. “Shouldn't you be asleep?" It was a question that she had asked Finn, the caller on the other side, numerous times. Seven years older than her, he was the longtime on-again off-again boyfriend of her eldest sister, and a friend of the family since childhood. Finn and Violet had developed a special camaraderie over their lives, mainly rooted in their mutual penchant for mischief.
"You know, I would be, but I generally find it hard to sleep when particular items of mine are missing," he admonished.
Violet cast a look down to the now sleeping puppy curled up on the jacket that she had 'liberated' from Finn. "Yeah about that," she drifted off, swearing that she could hear him shaking his head on the other side of the phone.
"Were you planning on telling anybody?" He asked, switching straight from joking to big-brother in seconds flat.
"Does this count as telling?" For the first time in a while, the coldness began to abate, and warmth began creeping back in. As if he could sense the stress, Finn jumped on it.
"What's wrong, Vi? Why are you up and disappearing in the middle of the night? Was it Trevor, do I need to go handle a -- "
Before he could finish she jumped in. "It wasn't Trevor, Finn. You know better than that. That situation was my own doing, the end my own choice, and I hope you'd think better than me than to think that I'd just turn tail and run after something like that. This was a decision for me. I needed to break away from the Davenports for a little bit, from being surrounded by that legacy. From being just that legacy. My sisters will understand, they have numerous ways to contact me if they need to. But I need to go off and be Violet for a little while, not Violet Davenport." She had never intended to spill her heart, but Finn had always had the most surprising ability to inspire such truth from her.
"Aw, but Vi, you're the sweet one. What am I supposed to do with your sisters without you here to buffer?"
She breathed a sigh of relief as she felt gratitude wash over her. She loved her sisters with all her heart, and the three of them had an unimpeachable relationship, but there were aspects of herself that Finn had always been able to so easily understand. The fact that he didn't pursue his line of questioning meant more to her in this moment than anything else could have.
"You need to bribe them with cookies. I left the recipe for the secret sugar cookies in the top drawer hidden underneath the silverware tray. Follow it to the letter, and you'll be beloved for days." The puppy let out an inelegant little snore and Violet's lips spread in a wide, genuine grin. "Tell them that I'm safe and I love them and I'll be home eventually."
"Just don't do anything stupid or rash, okay? Stay safe, and we'll see you soon."
"Love you, Finn."
"You, too, munchkin," he said before hanging up.
Violet wrinkled her nose, staring at the phone. He would leave off with the one nickname that he knew got under her skin.
She tossed the phone onto the holder in the console and leaned over to the puppy, running hands over her once again to quell her nervousness about the animal's condition. They'd be at their destination soon enough, and her first order of business would be feeding her and bringing her into the vet.
"Looks like it's just you and me now," she sighed, placing a kiss on the top of the dog's head, knowing that sooner rather than later she'd need to find a name for her.