Set Us Free

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The dark faded away and the soft glow of the lamplights in the hotel suite illuminated his path. Raven found himself in the bedroom with the birthday box. Connor had come too soon.

Cy should be at the coffeehouse and if he'd timed it correctly, it was the night Lucah's temper got the better of him and the Humans at the bar would live.

The spell Lucah cast tied the two places together, but Raven had the strong suspicion the bar sat where Wynter House had been. Juniper's Folly was across the road, but not the bar. He needed a map of MiddleVeil.

The spell to get home should take the Elders to the places they lived in The Veil. That was the piece he'd missed the first time, and the clues were obvious if he'd paid attention.

The Elders had been interred at Home, where ever that had been.

Lucah burned Juniper's Folly in the fight but Drake said it didn't exist. Crow said it was across the field.

Shirl knew Raven. Remembered him. Said he'd eaten in that diner when her Aunt was alive. She also said there were five-thousand residents. Shirl had never been to the hotel and never heard of Grounds.

The night before, Connor arrived at eight, and Raven checked the box for his cellphone. He had an hour to get there.

He packed his backpack and hurried down to the lobby and out of the front, bypassing the statue that time. When he could, that thing had to go. Who needed a stupid statue of themselves?

Drake's MKZ was parked right out front as it had been on Raven's birthday, but Drake wasn't in the vehicle. Raven tracked the man's scent to the doorway of Grounds. Oh, Raven wished he could get coffee, find Cy and spend the night with him, but that would have to wait.

Another driver was more than willing to take him to the old part of Hours for the right price. Raven paid the man cash wondering why it cost so much but didn't ask. They headed out of town in the same direction Drake had taken but the scenery was different.

"How long will it take to get there?" Raven asked.

"Two hours. You sure you still want to go?" the man asked.

"I am, yeah," Raven answered and found his cellphone again. He pulled up the map and discovered that the hotel was located in Middle End. Hours sat in the middle of The Veil and the year had changed.

Raven frowned as he thought about it. Crow said the bar had been there for fifteen years. It was October thirty-first, two-thousand seventeen. There was something else Syra needed him to do.

He pulled the first roll of parchment from his backpack and broke the seal.

'To My Little Man,

Mommy loves you!

I am so sorry that I cannot see you on your eighteenth birthday. I hope my gift to you is perfect. I'll keep your father occupied and you have the best week at the beach with your girlfriend.



Hmm. The letter had come a whole month earlier than the first time he received it. 'Girlfriend' referred to Sonny, and he had spent a week at the beach with her. Mead was conceived this week at the beach on Theta. So was Gracie. Lou had been conceived as well, but Scot had taken Chloe to bed.

A year! Hell!

Raven checked the map again and started to search for Juniper's Folly which didn't exist. Wynter House, however, did.

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