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The Illusion of Reality - Part 1

A fast-paced thriller with a hint of romance.

By KA Stefana Published 2 months ago 7 min read
2

"Mom! Mom!" Paige yelled as she bounded around the corner into the kitchen.

Her mind was racing, and she looked disheveled, from her wrinkled PJs to her unruly jet-black hair sticking up everywhere. Her eyes were wide open with a frenzied, frantic look.

She continued to call her mom until. Finally, she looked up from cutting the vegetables on the cutting board. Paige's mom had seen so much through the years that things didn't faze her, as she calmly answered, "Yes, Paige."

"Mom! Did you see the headline news?"

"Not today, dear. I just stopped work for a bit to cook dinner. Are you just getting up now?" Her mom glared at her with her silver eyes that bore into her very soul.

"Yes, but that's not important. The headline, that's important!" Paige shook her cell phone in front of her mother's face as she continued to cut the carrots calmly.

"Paige, honestly. What's so important in the world to warrant your immature behavior?"

Paige ignored that comment, as she was too excited, and blurted out the news. "You know the band that I went to see last night, AliceAnna?" Paige asked pleadingly.

Her mother finally put the knife down and placed her hands on her hips, staring at her daughter, and slowly spoke, "Yes." She raised her eyebrows several times to Paige, indicating her annoyance at her behavior.

"The lead singer, Miranda, well, she went missing after the concert. The police are perplexed, and I think this has all of the earmarks of a Schatten crime or a last-minute mating."

Paige waited as her mother processed her words. Her insides were cringing as she could almost guarantee what her mother was about to say.

With pierced lips and a disapproving glare, her mother said, "Now Paige, you have not made it into the Schatten security forces yet, and still, somehow, you turn everything into a mystery for you to follow. There is a crime on every corner or a conspiracy at the core of every situation. Why should this time be any different?"

Paige felt dejected again by her mom. As she approached the age of maturity, their relationship was growing strained by the hour. She would be 25 in less than a month, old enough to find a mate, old enough to move out and see the world without her parents dictating how to live her life.

She faded into her shadow form and traveled up to her room, but as she appeared, she slammed the door to ensure that her mom knew she was pissed at her. Then she sat on her bed, grabbed her pillow, and cried for a good twenty minutes until she gave herself red eyes and a banging headache.

By now, her appearance was even worse than before, and she was mortified as Martin faded into her room in his tight skinny jeans and concert t-shirt from last night. His hair was perfectly combed, and his golden eyes showed compassion for her as he took her in his arms while sitting next to her on her bed.

Martin was her best friend and a Feuer Schatten. He came from one of the most powerful Schatten families in the land, where they controlled most of the power among the Schatten because of the strength of their magic. His dad was part of the Foundation council, the ruling class.

They grew up together, and she was crazy in love with him, but if, on her 25th birthday, they were not mated, she would never be able to be with him. One single kiss could turn her into a Feuer Schatten, and they would be unequally mated, which was also illegal and could get them banished.

They both knew they could be in for a major heartbreak next month. So, in the interim, they settled for holding hands and cuddling.

Now, in his arms, she said, "Did you hear?"

Martin replied, "I came as soon as I heard. Why don't you hop in the shower, and then we will go sleuthing?" Running his hand through her messy hair, he kissed the top of her head and laid back in her bed while he watched her gather her clothes and head into her shower.

When she came out, with her long hair dripping all over, she still looked frazzled, as she asked, "Where did my brother go after the concert? He was acting strange as soon as Miranda came on stage."

"You think that he suspected something last night?" he half questioned, then gave her a suspicious look.

She shrugged her shoulders before replying, "But I think Tommy knew who was or what was going on."

"Do you think someone turned her without her permission?"

Paige answered, "I don't know, but we need to investigate this before this explodes on the human news."

"It already has, at least locally. Let's start at the concert hall and see where that leads us." He took her hand, and they faded outside. They traveled to the Morgan Music Hall, appeared once inside, and verified that they were alone.

She stole a look at him, and her stomach lurched. Fear overwhelmed her: ' What if she wasn't his mate?' He was so perfect, at least in her eyes, with his short black hair and golden eyes, and he was so good-looking with his chiseled features and pale skin. His lips. Oh, his lips were so perfect that she wanted to kiss him. She ached for him, but her mind wandered off.

She needed to get those thoughts out of her head in order to search for clues. This time, she looked at him and said, "Let's go backstage and see if there are any clues. Do you recall if the news said, from where or the time she disappeared?"

Martin replied, "She disappeared from here but not after the concert. The band went to a party, and she came back with the band to get her car around two in the morning."

"All right. Let's check this out and then follow up on other threads as we go."

He smiled at her and followed her to the back of the stage, but there was a sadness in him lately. He feared that she wasn't his mate because as she got closer to turning 25, he was growing apart from her. His desire to kiss her and hold her was disappearing, and he didn't know how to tell her.

They walked backstage and saw that there were three small dressing rooms and one large one that was about double the size. They decided to start there because they figured the lead signer would have used the main room.

They were right, but the room was rather bare, and it was difficult to find any clues, but they searched anyway. The mirror had some fingerprints on it, from where someone touched the side and left the makeup residue on it with their fingers. The fingerprint probably belonged to Miranda, as it was petite.

Paige thought about Miranda's look last night with her short blond hair and pink highlights. She had worn a short leather skirt and a very sheer white shirt. Her shoes were silver boots laced up to her thighs, and she wore black leather bracelets. Then she remembered something unusual.

"Martin, do you remember Miranda wearing anything out of the ordinary last night?"

Martin stared into the distance and thought for a moment before saying, "Her outfit was black and white, with the exception of her boots, but you're right; she was wearing a Schatten charm. Why didn't we notice it last night?"

"I think that my brother noticed. That's why he must have been so agitated," she replied.

"Who the hell gave her that, or did she come across it accidentally and find herself on the wrong side of our people?" queried Martin.

They looked around the room, which was essentially bare except for the table, two folding chairs, and an empty cardboard box. Martin picked the box up and looked at Paige when he saw the broken necklace curled up in the corner.

Paige took pictures of the necklace in situ and said, "Put the box back, and let's get pictures of the room before we take the necklace."

He placed the box down, and they both photographed the room before picking up the broken necklace. Upon examining it, it was obvious from the broken links that the chain was snatched from Miranda's neck.

Martin put the necklace in his back jeans pocket, saying, "We don't need the police to find her. With the Schatten charm around her neck, this is now a Schatten crime. A few more clues, and then we will be required to call in the Foundation security team."

Paige rolled her eyes and said, "You work for the Foundation, so doesn't this count? I am in training."

"You wish, little detective of mine." He smiled as they walked down the hall to inspect the next dressing room when they heard glass breaking around the corner from where they were standing.

Looking at each other, he projected to Paige, 'Fade now and head up to the rafters until we know who's here'.

As the shadowed figure turned the corner, the hallway where they were just standing appeared empty.

Author's notes

Thank you for reading my story! It means a lot. If you really loved this story, please check out my other STORIES, leave a comment, or share with other readers.

Finally, if you have a story that you think I might like, feel free to leave a link in my comments, and I will check it out. I really love fantasy stories, if you can tell. Oh, and good food, too!

ThrillerRomancePart 1FictionFantasy
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About the Creator

KA Stefana

I started writing as a hobby during quarantine. From a hobby, a passion bloomed. Author of Dark Fantasy with a twist of romance. Available on KU - The Origins of Darkness, The Daughters of Darkness and The Forgotten.

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