To most people, it appears as if Derek James is a typical college freshman. Yes, he is on a football scholarship at one of the most prestigious universities in the country, but other than that, he appears quite ordinary. But there is an extraordinary secret that Derek is harboring: he is a warlock! When he runs into fellow freshmen Matthias, Omar, and Tre’Vell, he is surprised to learn that they are also warlocks! Shortly after they all meet, however, the freshmen start getting attacked by terrifying monsters. Now, the four fast friends must overcome doubts and disagreements in order to discover the source of the attacks. But it may go deeper than any of them realize.
It was hot. This had to be the hottest day of the summer. Even though Move-In Day for the rest of the students was still two weeks away, Derek James was moving into his dorm early, as was the case with the rest of the football team.
He was excited to be starting his first year of college at Word University, especially because he was finally getting out from under his mother’s overprotective eye.
“Mom, I really didn’t need you to help me move in. I got it,” Derek said. “Boy, if I let you move in by yourself, who knows what your room’s gonna look like? Besides, I want to meet your roommate,” his mother, Valerie James, responded.
“Dad trusted me. I asked him not to come, and he didn’t.”
“Well, I’m not your dad,” Valerie said. “And I gotta make sure that my baby is all right.”
“Mom, I’m eighteen. Can you not call me ‘baby’?” Derek sighed.
“I’m your mother. You will always be my baby, no matter how old you get.” “That don’t mean you gotta call me that,” Derek grumbled.
“Whatever. Don’t back talk. Now, are we gonna put these things in your room or are we gonna stand here at the car talking all day?”
Derek’s room was on the fifth f loor, the highest f loor in the dorm. Derek looked up at the stately building, with the sun glistening off the windows, and thought that maybe he could use the help. “Okay, I’ll carry the minifridge up. You can take that trunk of clothes. I’ll meet you up there. Remember, it’s room 510B,” Derek decided. As he watched his mom carry the trunk into the building, he wiped the sweat from his brow. Man, he just couldn’t believe how hot it was!
Just as he was about to pick up the fridge, he noticed a couple of girls watching him, probably cheerleaders, also moving in that day. He took his shirt off, which by now was drenched, and revealed his impressive athlete’s physique. He heard the girls start to giggle. Satisfied, he smirked, tossed the shirt into the car, picked up the minifridge, and made his way up the steps to meet his mom at his room.
As he made his way up to the top of the stairs, Derek could see his mom standing at the door of what he could only presume was his room. As he walked down the hallway, he saw his mom give him a look that made him feel this big. When he got to his room, Derek dropped the fridge with a thud! and glanced up at his mom.
“Derek, what are you doing with your shirt off?” Valerie admonished. “Man, it’s burning up outside! My shirt felt like I just took it out the washing machine!” Derek said.
“It ain’t that hot outside. You know I ain’t raise you like that. You ain’t the only person out here!”
“Mom, it’s like one hundred degrees outside and I ain’t want my shirt to be sticking to me. It’s not that big a deal,” Derek pleaded.
She sighed. “Just open the door,” Valerie said as she shook her head in disapproval.
Derek took the key from his pocket and opened the door to his dorm. Inside the room were two wooden desks, two dressers, and two closets. The walls were stark white. It was plain, but Derek had to admit that it was bigger than he had expected. It was bigger than his room at home. He had to keep in mind, though, that unlike at home, he had to share this with another person.
“How much more stuff do you have to bring up?” Valerie asked.
“Well, I got my TV, book bag, the rest of my clothes, and the book,” answered Derek.
“Oh my god! I don’t feel like going back up and down those steps,” exclaimed Valerie.
“Look, you the one that wanted to help me move in. Besides, I could be up and back by myself real quick,” suggested Derek.
“But since I been up here, I can do it. It’s not that far and—” Derek started. “No, Derek! What if somebody saw you? Don’t risk it. It’s just one more trip.
I’m just getting old, is all. Don’t mind my complaining,” Valerie said. “Come on.” After bringing up the rest of Derek’s stuff, it was time for Valerie to go. “Okay, are you sure you got everything?” “Yes, Mom.”
“Laptop? Toothpaste? Deodorant?” “Yes, Mom.”
“What? Come on, Mom!”
“Well, like you said, you’re eighteen. I went to college. I know what’s up,” Valerie said.
“I’m gonna act like we ain’t really talking about this,” said Derek, desperately wishing his mom would change the subject.
“Okay, I can take a hint. And you’re sure you have the book? And anything else you would need?” Valerie inquired.
“I still can’t believe your dad let you take it with you,” Valerie said.
“I guess he figured that I’m old enough for the responsibility,” said Derek. “Guess so,” Valerie said as her eyes began to well up with tears.
“Aw come on, Mom, don’t start crying.”
“I can’t help it. My baby is all grown up and leaving me.”
“Mom, it’s not that far away. And you know I can always pop in whenever I want. It’s close enough for me to make the trip.”
“I know. Okay, give me a hug before I go.” Derek gave his mom a big warm hug. She got into her car and Derek waved as her car slowly faded into the distance.
Derek turned to go back up to his room. As he began to make his way up the steps leading to the front entrance, a black Nissan Altima rolled past a couple of cars filled with other students in the process of moving in and pulled up in the fire lane in front of the building. What was intriguing to Derek about this car was that the driver had Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” blasting from the speakers. Derek could appreciate this guy’s taste in music! He walked up to the car as the driver, a stocky-looking guy, got out.
“Ay yo, you ride with Kendrick Lamar?” Derek asked, impressed. “Of course, my brotha. You a fan?” the driver asked.
“Man, I got Good Kid, M.A.A.D City in heavy rotation on my iPod,” Derek responded.
“Oh a’ight. I been a fan of Kendrick since Section.80,” the guy said. “I assume you’re on the football team.”
“Yeah, wide receiver. You?” “Running back.”
“Cool, cool. I’m Derek, by the way,” Derek said as he introduced himself. “I think my roommate’s name is Derek. My name is Bruce. Bruce Graves.” “Yup, I’m definitely your roommate. Well, I just got done putting my stuff up in the room. If you want, I can help you carry some stuff up,” Derek offered. “Okay, good looking out,” Bruce said, relieved he had some help.
After Derek and Bruce were finished unloading Bruce’s car, they decided to arrange the room to their liking. Bruce said, “Let’s put my bed on that wall and yours on the opposite one. That way, we could put the desks right near the windows and the TV can go on the refrigerator in the corner.”
“Okay, I’m good with that. I’ll put my dresser by my bed. I kind of figured that these walls were gonna be bare so I brought us some posters to liven up the place,” Derek said. He threw up some posters of scantily clad chocolate-skinned models and celebrity females.
“Definitely better,” Bruce said approvingly. Derek laughed. “I thought you’d approve.”
As the two started to unpack their belongings, Bruce noticed a strange- looking book that fell out of Derek’s backpack. “What type of classes are you taking?” Bruce asked. “You already got some of your books?”
“Why?” Derek turned and asked.
Bruce pointed to Derek’s backpack. “Did you get to register early? What class takes that book? That jawn looks cool,” Bruce said. The book was large and looked about four inches thick. It was a hardback, yet bound in black leather. On the cover was a picture of a majestic roaring golden lion, with a clawed paw raised toward the sky. Bruce thought the book looked old.
Derek quickly moved to pick up the book and put it back in the backpack. “Nah, this book is mine. My dad gave it to me. It’s kind of a family heirloom,” Derek nervously said.
“Heirloom?” Bruce asked perplexingly.
“Yeah,” Derek responded. “It’s been passed down in my family since we was brought over from Africa. It means a lot.”
“Yo, that’s cool. Can I see?” Bruce asked.
“Um,” Derek hesitated. “It’s just my dad has this thing about nobody else handling it. Like I said, it’s real old and real important.”
Bruce looked slightly disappointed. “Oh. No problem. I understand.” An uncomfortable and awkward silence settled between the two.
“So where you from?” Derek asked, trying to lighten the mood.
“I was born in Pittsburg,” Bruce answered. “I’ve lived in Philly for the past twelve years though. You?”
“Oh, I’m from right here, Pottington. I actually live, like, a couple miles from here.”
“Oh, so you know your way around this city. Know all the places to go where all the honeys at, am I right?” Bruce joked.
“Of course. This is my city. I got you covered,” Derek said. “But I got a feeling that you won’t have to go far to find a lot of bad chicks, if you know what I’m saying,” Derek suggestively offered.
“You think the girls at this school got it like that?” Bruce asked.
“Look, dawg. Not only do they look good, but you gotta remember that Word U is the best HBCU in the nation. These chicks got their heads on straight and the looks to match,” said Derek.
“Shit, well, if that’s the case, I think I’m gonna have a very fun year,” Bruce said.
Bruce’s stomach began to growl. “I’m about to go get something to eat,” he said.
“Okay, I already ate. I’ll holla at you later,” Derek said.
As soon as Bruce left the room, Derek booted up his laptop. Once he was logged on, he opened a Skype chat; and soon enough, a man appeared on the screen on the other end of the call. In the background were a few portraits and a TV. It appeared to be a living room. The chocolate-skinned man, the same complexion as Derek himself, was wearing a white undershirt and looked to be in his mid-forties. He had sprinkles of gray in his hair and a neatly trimmed goatee. A thin pair of reading glasses covered a pair of eyes that would lead someone to believe that this man had seen a lot in life.
The man smiled. “I was wondering when you would finally get around to calling me,” he said.
Derek laughed. “What’s up, Dad?”
Terrence, born to Shawn and Clarence Potter in 1990, lived in Wilmington, Delaware, until the age of seven, when he moved to New Castle. He graduated from Howard High School before moving on the University of Delaware, graduating in 2012. He decided to begin his writing career a year after that. He chose to create fantasy stories featuring characters from under-represented and minority populations. His first book in the Black Diamond series, The Black Diamond and the Witch’s Curse, was published in 2016. The second, The Black Diamond and the Magic box, was published in 2019.