I closed my book with a tired sigh, and pulled myself off my bed. I stretched and heard my spine pop with relief. My butt was numb from sitting for so long. The warm afternoon sun had long since retreated from my now-dark room. I checked my watch; 12 am. I had lost track of time. My stomach rumbled. I groaned as I made my way to the kitchen and pulled at the fridge door. The crisp air washed over my legs and gave me goosebumps. I sighed; closed the fridge and turned to face the kitchen. I looked around for my prey. Ah, that’ll have to do. I swiped an apple from the table and went to get changed.
I sank my teeth into the sweet flesh and held the apple there as I got my PJ’s out my cupboard and started unbuttoning my top. A sudden feeling of being watched made me pause. I turned quickly to find whatever or whoever was there, but found only dark trees and a darker sky outside my window. I frowned and shook my head slightly. I put my apple down. Why was I so jumpy all of a sudden? All the same, I wanted to close my curtains. I gingerly walked over; reached for them and froze.
In the center of the garden stood a tall, still figure. The breeze pulled at tousled, dark hair and an eerie coat. I felt my body tensing to bolt; but the clouds parted and silver moonlight flooded his face. The tension intensified, but I stayed stock-still. He was beautiful. He was strange. The black shadows where his eyes should have been, seemed to draw me to himself. I could almost imagine his sweet scent. He called to me. I wanted to answer. He was luring me; I wanted to go to him…my head began to feel thick and dizzy. Who was he? I don’t know this guy! He’s in my yard! I pulled myself away from the window with a mental shout of defiance and yanked the curtains closed. I leaned against the wall. Something released me. Then I realised something; I took a deep breath. My heart started beating again. What the hell had just happened to me? My breathing went from ragged , slowly back to normal. Something was wrong with that guy. I opened my eyes. How long had I been standing here?
“I have her.” I thought with approval. This wouldn’t take long. The girl in the window stared at me with that transfixed, stoic gaze that all our prey apparently did under our spell. She was so beautiful. She must have been about 18 years old. Long, dark glossy tresses fell gracefully over her shoulders; her full lips were parted in fascination; her wide, dark eyes were fixed intently on me as I held her spellbound. I had wanted to take a criminal, or at least a lowly beggar that wouldn’t be missed; but the Circle had chosen her. This lovely, pure, innocent creature. Black damn! Through my nagging disgust, I couldn’t help but feel triumphant over my success. I had her exactly where I wanted her. She would soon open her front door and come to me; automatic; unafraid, to her death. That sick feeling crawled up my spine again as I thought of her not as someONE, but as someTHING. Something to eat. My throat burned with that enescapable thirst. She would feel nothing of course. She would throw herself at me in desperate passion. Anything to be mine. I wanted to gag at the thought. But I had to do this. My first human victim. Wildlife just wasn’t enough to give me the strength I needed to defend myself. This successful feeding would grant me access into the Night Guild: the only safety for my kind in the country. I had to be quick; quiet and clean. Without the Guild; I was completely alone and without protection from those who Hunted us. I turned my attention back to her. As I kept my spellbound gaze fixed on her lovely face, I felt something strange. I felt curiosity; defiance; intrigue; strength; beauty…desire. I then noticed a change in her eyes. I frowned as I saw a stricken look flash across her face. “NO!” She shouted.
Suddenly, she was gone. With eye contact broken, the spell was shattered around me. The ubruptness of it staggered me; and I buckled to my knees. I gasped for the breath I didn’t need. Old habit. It felt as though half my mind had been ripped from my head. Except, her mouth hadn’t moved at all. She had shouted at my mind. If my heart had still been functioning; I could imagine it would be thrashing against my ribcage. I tried to calm myself before climbing to my feet. I pitched to one side and grabbed for the support of a nearby tree trunk. What the hell…? I stilled myself. This was ridiculous.
I felt relief, and then fear. What would the Circle do with me now that I had failed? I was useless to them. An expense rather than an asset. I looked up at the window again, only to find the curtains firmly shut. There was no hope of salvaging the situation now. My kind was not permitted to enter, or even so much as touch the living space of a mortal human without their verbal invitation. Worse, this girl now knew that there was something amiss. She had seen me. I inwardly cursed the movement of the clouds in the night sky. The full moon had clearly revealed my features. Surely she would go out now and tell someone of the strange, dark figure in her yard tonight? Very humanly, I passed a cold hand over my face and sighed. I was as good as dead. Well; properly this time anyway.
I cursed whoever did this to me. My memory of that night was still blurry and incomplete. All I could remember was blood and not being able to move; a dark figure over me and then darkness. I refocused my thoughts and considered. Ceasing to exist would be better than having to survive like this for the rest of eternity until I either clumsily walked into sunlight; got staked by Hunters; or decided to commit suicide. Despite my traditional ‘stony attitude’; I winced. But that girl. I recalled the emotions that linked us somehow. I wanted to know more. She was different, this one. Powerful. Yes; I would use that to convince the Circle to keep me alive somehow. If they knew of a human that could resist us, then I would be giving them valuable information that would prove me useful after all. With one last glance at her still-lit window; I turned to embrace the darkness and ran.
After I managed to calm down enough; I forced myself to check if the guy was still out there. If he was still there, I would call the police. I took a breath to steady myself, and pulled at the curtain’s edge to reveal just a sliver of view. Nothing. I opened the gap a little wider and looked around the yard. Nothing. My heart hammered against my chest as I stepped away from the window and breathed. That was super creepy. Super weird. I went into the bathroom and splashed my face with warm water. I looked up at my reflection in the mirror; I was ghostly pale. There would be no sleeping tonight. I dug out my ipod and earphones; got into bed and tried to let the music calm me. It didn’t work. All I could think of was a pale, beautiful face that stalked me from the darkness. I could remember feeling a whole lot of emotions running through my head that couldn’t possibly have been my own. Anticipation; satisfaction; interest; confusion; desperatoin; desire; fear. What was that about? I flipped the questions over and over in my head; until I couldn’t hear anything except my own heartbeat. Would I ever be able to sleep again? At 6am, I eventually dropped into exhaustion with one, clear conclusion: I was going to get to the bottom of this.
I watched quietly as the blazing sun begain to climb into the morning sky. All night I had thought of that girl; of my plan. And all night doubt had slowly won me over. I couldn’t tell the Circle about her. What would they do to her if they knew she could somehow resist? Torture her until she revealed her secrets? I couldn’t bear that. I could just see her beautiful mouth wide in a silent scream as they did terrible things to her. No. What if she doesn’t have any secrets? What if she’s just mentally stronger than most humans? Either way, I wanted to know. I wanted to know her. I had to see her again. Tonight. No! She would still be scared of what had happened. She’d probably already alerted the police too. How could I act normal around her? I couldn’t just lurk around in the dark all the time; she would get suspicious. Then I remembered. The Circle had told me about an old man that could help with that little problem. I checked my watch and groaned. Nightfall was my release from the dingy cave that was now my home.
Finally, the sun fell below the horizon and I left to seek out Glynn; the watch-maker. He apparently lived in a secluded little house outside of town. Thick forest surrounded his small garden and just a thin pathway cut through the underbrush toward the road. No cars could get there. Clearly this man liked his privacy. I got to the front door, hesitated and then knocked twice. I heard his careful approach toward the door from inside. “ Who be you? Day or night?” He sounded like an old man, but his voice was gruff and held no timidity or confusion. He was asking for a password of some sort. I thought for a moment before chosing my answer. “ Shadow.” Silence. I heard multiple locks being undone before the door opened a fraction and a beady, bespectacled eye regarded me from within. The man looked me up and down with a practiced air, and then huffed. “Never heard that one before. At least you’re not as dim-witted as all the others that come here and beg for my help. Now who are you and what do you want? I’m a busy man.” I smiled a little at that. “I’m Sirren. Newly turned, Sir.” He sighed and nodded. “Yet another one eh? The Circle’s been busy.
So, what do you believe I can do for you Sirren? Make you undetectable? Teach you a Glamour that makes you human for a couple hours? Perhaps a ring that allows you to walk in the light, hmm?” My expression gave me away at that. He nodded again “Ah, so that’s it hmm? A ring. Now, give me one damn good reason why I should make you one. I don’t just go around handing out Light rings to any blood-sucker out there you know. So…impress me.” He fixed his penetrating gaze on me, unafraid as he waited for his answer. I stood a moment and searched for the right words. Glynn showed no signs of impatience. Finally, I told him. “ Last night was supposed to have been my first human feed, arranged by The Circle. Although my whole body craved it, I didn’t want it. But there is no other way to survive without it. As newly turned, I need their protection. She’s beautiful; like nothing else I’ve ever seen. I had her, but then…I didn’t. She somehow severed the spell. But in that moment; we connected. I felt her and she felt me. We shared something. But she broke my compulsion and I…I just…I want to know her. I feel I have to.” I met his gaze with uncertainty and hope mingled. Glynn said nothing for a long moment while he seemed to see right through me. Did he believe me? Did it sound like one big lie to him? But he surprised me with a question. “She broke the compulsion? Are you sure?” He seemed perfectly serious. I nodded once, “Yes.” Glynn nodded without breaking eye-contact. “ I believe you. Sirren, I hearby invite you into my home. Come in, quickly.” Relief and excitement flooded through me. But I held back, “You’re inviting me in? Are you sure? You just met me.” Glynn turned back to me with perfect confidence. “Sirren, boy; to be honest with you…I’ve never met another like you. There’s something about you. Something good. Something pure. I would know. Believe me.” I hesitated, and then stepped over the threshold. “ Thank you.” I said quietly. He gave a sharp laugh, “Don’t thank me yet boy. We’re just beginning.” As I followed him through his house; I noticed that there were no photo frames. There was nothing to tell of where Glynn came from, about his family or friends. All an outsider would know is that he was an inventor of strange gadgets and objects. I turned to find him watching me. “ The more your enemy knows about you; the more he can use against you. This way.” I followed him into his workshop.
Gadgets, scrap metal, trinkets and springs filled the shop to bursting. Shelves lined every wall and books were piled in corners. Glynn was rummaging through one shelf, muttering to himself. “Ah, here we are. Quicksilver ore; the only metal that can harness magic permanently.” I frowned, “Magic? Like, spells and enchantments magic?” Glynn glanced at me quizzically, “Of course! What other magic would I be talking about boy? Now, we melt it down; pour it into a mold; cool it; crack it and spell it!” He giggled gleefully. He melted down the metal; found a suitable mold and poured the quicksilver in. The hot metal hissed as it was submerged in ice water. It came out steaming. Glynn tapped the mold expertly as the shaped ring dropped out onto the table. He picked it up and studied his handywork. “ Yes. This will do. Now, watch this.” He placed the ring on his left palm, held it out in front of him and went very still. I felt something in the air. Something unleashed and mischievious; but then it was gone. The ring began to glow with a bright light. I flinched back instinctively. Then the light receded and there was just a pale ring left again. Glynn opened his eyes and looked at me, “ You cannot tell anyone what happened here, Sirren. No one. Swear to me.” The look in his eyes was serious; dangerous. “ I swear, Glynn. On my last life.” He cracked a smile. “ Good enough. Here, put it on.” I took the ring from him and held it up to the light. I was surprised. It was no longer just a pale band, but enscribed with curling runes and patterns. The inner band was enscribed with a sentence: “The shadow has chosen to love the light” I smiled. “ Fitting. I can’t thank you enough Glynn. I am in your debt.” I slipped it onto my wedding- finger, knowing the fit would be too large. But as the ring touched my skin, it shrank to the correct size. I watched in wonder as the ring seemed to reach out into my body, recognizing it’s master. I looked up at Glynn, who was watching my reaction. “ How do you feel?” I stretched my arms and settled myself. “ Like the magic is reaching out into me somehow.” Glynn nodded. “Then it worked! The magic is one that serves only one master. Its getting to know you that’s all. It’ll feel like that for the rest of the night as it connects to every sense of who you are.” I shook my head with disbelief. Being undead? Magic rings? It was going to be a long night. “ So, Sirren. Tell me your story.” We sat down in Glynn’s small lounge and talked long into the night.
The sound of my name being called woke me from a dead, exhausted sleep. “Ray? Why aren’t you up? It’s 8.30! You’re going to be late for college!” My mom’s voice grated in my head as I sat up slowly. I ran a hand through my tangled hair and grimaced at the horrible taste in my mouth. “Ray?” I looked at my mom standing in the doorway; palms open, confused. “Sorr, nt fehlng so guhd.” A fleeting vision of a dark figure slid across my mind, and I shivered involuntarily. I felt weird. My mom came over; suddenly worried. “You look terrible. I think you’re getting sick or something. I’m going to call the college and tell them you’re not coming in today. One day won’t hurt, hm?” She felt my head, nodded and turned for the door. “No, moh I stay can’t home. Come exams are soon. I be must theh…” I frowned sluggishly. What was wrong with me? I felt as if I had a hangover or something, but I had never been drunk…had I? What happened last night again? When I tried to think of what I did that night, my head started pounding and I felt sick. “What was that? You were completely incoherent Ray.” Suddenly; I felt my stomach heave. I threw my covers off and half ran, half fell into the bathroom. I heaved over the toilet, but nothing came. I tried to calm myself by taking deep breaths. Eventually I could sit back and my stomach settled into an uncomfortable nausea. My mom was a statue in the doorway. She looked as if she had seen all the dead in the graveyard crawl up through the ground and start chatting to eachother. I cleared my throat, and gathered my words. That made my head hurt more. “Mom? Are you okay? You look worse than I feel.” I leaned against the cool tiles of the wall and closed my eyes. My mom came and knelt beside me. “Ray; does your head hurt?” I nodded. “The slightest thought hurts. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Maybe it was just the late night.” Again, that dark figure came to mind. But this time, I saw him smile from the pitch black of his face. I saw two elongated canine teeth glinting in the moonlight. My eyes flew open and I jumped.
Everthing came back to me in a rush; and I threw myself over the toilet again. Again, nothing came. I heaved painfully until it eased off. My mom had her cool hands on my forehead, holding my hair out of the way. I felt her fingers on my neck, feeling the skin on both sides. She sighed behind me. “Raven; what happened last night? Do you remember?” Her voice went soft. I sat back again and breathed deeply. “Yes. I remember; but you won’t believe me, mom. I think I’ve gone nuts.” She shook her head. “Try me.” I looked at her eyes; still, calm and patient. But also strangely alert and piercing. “Okay. I was reading my book, but I lost track of time. It was very late when I checked. I grabbed something to eat from the kitchen, then went to get changed. I can remember feeling as though I was being watched. I went over to the window to look outside; and there…there was someone standing in the garden. I couldn’t really see his face; but he had dark ruffled hair and really nice features. He was tall as well. He seemed to just be…staring at me. I felt weird, like he was calling me or something. And the strangest thing, was that I wanted to go to him! I felt emotions that weren’t mine, it felt like he was in my head! I got freaked out, and yanked the curtains closed. I felt…like something snapped in my head. Then I was fine. Still freaked out, but fine. I don’t know how long I stood there; but when I checked outside again…he was gone.” I looked up at my mom. Her mouth was in a tight line, and she was staring at the floor. “Mom?” I touched her hand. She flinched, but then took my hand in hers. She studied my face for a moment. “You’ll be okay, Ray. Why don’t you take a shower and I’ll make some toast, okay? You’ll be alright.” She leaned down to kiss my head, and then got up and walked down the hallway into the kitchen. I frowned, confused by her reaction. What was the matter with her? But I was desperate to drench myself in soap. I felt dirty; violated somehow. I stood up slowly, and turned on the hot tap. I threw off my clothes and let the water soothe me. My mom wasn’t one for keeping secrets. She always told me how she felt, and she never kept anything from me. So; why was she so obviously hiding something now?
Finally; morning came. I was excited to try out my ring. I felt a little silly for that. I can swear not all of my humanity was sucked from me that night. I still got scared, I still got frights, I still did human things like scratch, fiddle and breathe. I still felt. I even still sprayed on deoderant every morning for goodness sake! I didn’t need any of those things. But here I was; excited to try out my new toy. I looked at the delicate thing on my right ring finger; looked outside at the glorious sun and got up. I stood on the threshold of my cave; on the border between light and dark. I clenched my hands, closed my eyes and stepped into the golden rays. I could sense the warmth trying to pentrate my skin; I could almost feel it. Almost, but not completely. Although it wasn’t what I felt as a human; it was still wonderful to be able to touch the sun again without my skin boiling and smoking away. I threw my head back in wonder and let out a little laugh. I stretched my arms out and even stuck out my tongue to feel more. I opened my eyes and smiled. “This will do nicely.” I laughed again as I walked out toward the town. As I drew closer to the people-filled town; I became wary as I remembered what Glynn had told me the previous night. There were a few people left there who were descendants of the Silverbacks. The Silverbacks were the direct enemies of the vampires. They were shape-shifters; they were deadly; they were werewolves. There are five of them that exist today; call themselves the Hunters. They are the oldest Silverbacks that began the existence of the werewolves.
Many of the followers either died in battle or decided to leave the Hunters in search of normal lives and families when it seemed as though vampires were no longer a danger. No one knows where the Hunters have made their home. They travel constantly; hunting down any vampires that aren’t careful enough. They can only attack on a full moon of course; otherwise they are in hiding, sniffing around for any information about the whereabouts of vampires. I broke out of my reverie in time to see the small town being lit up by the rising sun. People were beginning to fill the streets and shops. I smelled everything all at once. Freshly-baked bread; coffee; frying bacon; perfumes; car fumes…but most strongly and dominantly…blood. I felt the burning in my throat intensify, and turned back to the forest. I sighed as I gave in to what I had to do. I didn't like it. I listened. There! The fluttering little heart of a rabbit nearby. I allowed my body to take over, and went into hunting mode. My eyes turned an opaque, glassy black as I crouched, slowed my breathing and became just a shadow between the trees. The little thing never saw me coming. I pounced onto the rabbit with my bare hands, broke its tiny neck and sank my teeth into it’s soft fur. I drank deeply until there was nothing left. As my thirst wore off slightly; so did the bloodlust. I felt myself coming back slowly. This was always a strange feeling for me. I lost myself completely in the hunt. I became an animal, a deadly predator. Then when my body was satisfied, the predator would be suppressed and I; Sirren; would return. I hated it, but loved it. I found a small stream to clean up, and walked back to the treeline. Just to test it, I opened my senses to the town again. Although I could still smell all the blood; it wasn’t as overwhelming as before. I nodded to myself and made for the pavement. I needed new clothes. I had some cash left on me. I felt somewhat tense as I walked amongst the people. I kept my hands balled into fists as I looked for a clothing store. A little girl holding her mom’s hand, brushed my arm on the way past. I clenched my teeth as her smell wafted over me. I forced calm as I kept walking. Finally, I darted into a store. “Good morning young man! How can I help you?” The attendant smiled hugely at me as he looked me up and down. I cleared my throat before speaking. I forced myself to look at his eyes instead of his throat. “I uh, I need some new clothes. I’m a medium and a 34.” He nodded enthusiastically. “Very good! Any particular colours you prefer?” I shrugged. “Nothing too bright I guess.” He nodded again and glided efficiently through the store, plucking items from racks as he went. His scent wafted around the store strongly as he moved, and I had to force myself to hold my unneeded breath. My lungs did not immediately start fighting against me; in fact, I didn’t feel at all uncomfortable. He came back with two outfits for me. I nodded at the choices, “That’s fine, I’ll take them.” I breathed out quickly, and held it there. He frowned for an instant, but it vanished after two seconds to be replaced with the toothy smile again. “Very well.” I paid for the clothes; walked out and couldn’t help but take in an uneeded breath. Old habit. I found a bathroom to change in. I studied myself in the mirror, and smirked at what I saw. I looked pretty good! I wore a dark blue collared shirt that I left slightly open, some slightly distressed-looking jeans and a good pair of leather boots. I nodded my approval. I at least looked like a normal human-being now.
After dumping my old clothes in the nearest trash can, I headed back out and made my way to the girl’s house. She lived just outside town; at the edge of the forest. I paused on a corner and leant against an old lightpost to watch for any movement. I opened up my senses and sent them toward the house. It wasn’t very big. It actually looked rather old. The roofing tiles were crusty and grey; the walls were a creamy white and the surrounding trees were thick and tall. I picked up the faint sounds of movement inside. Clanking dishes and sloshing water. I tuned in deeper, and heard humming in the background. I smiled briefly, it was a sweet sound. It must be her. I felt a curious tug at my thoughts as I felt her presence so close by. A pleasant tingle ran through my body and I marveled at the feel of it. I then began to notice that it had gone very quiet. I glanced around, and sensed no animal life. The birds had stopped singing, and the animals in the brush were moving away. I frowned. That annoyed me. Occupational downfall. Animals had a keener sense of approaching predators.
When I turned back to the house, I also noticed that it had gone very quiet there too. I listened harder. The mother had gone very still. The girl still hummed quietly, but the surrounding silence was eerie even to me. I stood up straight, beginning to feel uncomfortable. Me? Uncomfortable? Suddenly, the front door of the house swung open on silent hinges, and a woman stared straight at me. Only, I wasn’t completely sure if she was entirely human. Her eyes shifted from human brown, to pitch black as soon as she saw me. I felt tension and an unbelievable power rolling off her body as she quivered on the threshold. The woman began to make a quiet, gutteral sound that only I could seem to hear. Growling? Was she growling? In a flash, I remembered the spoken warning from Glynn. Silverbacks. And I knew terror. Before I knew it, I found myself sprinting through the forest and back to my cave.
I stopped humming. What was that? I was sure I had heard a growling? Frowning, I got out of bed and made my way to the kitchen. “Mom, did you hear that noise-“ I was talking to myself. “Mom?” I called gently. “Out here honey. Just give me a sec.” I heard her call from outside. After a moment, she came through the front door before shutting it firmly behind her. She looked a bit tense and tight around the eyes. “Mom, is everything okay? I heard a weird noise just now. Like growling. Was there a dog or something outside?” I asked with a frown. She glanced at me before going back to the dishes. “Um, no I didn’t hear anything, sweet. Growling you say?” She was forcing an innocent tone, but I didn’t push her. Perhaps she was just worried about me. “Oh, okay. That weird pressure in my head happened again just now. It’s fading though. Weird.” I grabbed two glasses from the cupboard and poured some ice water for us. I held the glass out to her. She hadn’t made a sound. “Mom?” I said softly. She noticed the glass and took it somewhat shakily from my hand. “Oh, thanks Ray.” She took a slow sip and gulped. I had had enough. I took her arm, and led her to the table. “Sit down, mom.” I said it firmly but gently. She noticed, and sat down with a sigh. “I’m sorry, Ray. Perhaps I didn’t sleep very well last night, or maybe it’s just-“
“Mom. You’re hiding something, and I want to know what it is. Come on; you’re a terrible liar and we both know it. Spill.” I settled myself squarely opposite her, and pinned her down with a steady gaze that meant business. After fidgeting for a few seconds, she stilled and looked at me properly. “Ray…I think it’s time I told you a story. A very old and extremely important story. It’s…it’s about our family. It’s about your grandmother, it’s about your father and me…and it’s about to become about you, too.”
My eyebrows knitted together in a puzzling frown. “Okay…”. My mom looked down at the glass in her hands uncertainly, watching an idle water droplet slide down the side. She sighed again, this time in surrender. “Okay. This may take a while though. Are you up for another late night?” I nodded my head straight away, “Yes. This seems really important, mom. I’ll be fine.” She watched my face carefully before beginning her story; well, our story.
Ondine stalked silently up to the cave mouth, pausing just inside the treeline; watching, scenting and waiting. They were here, alright. She sniffed the heady night air, tasting the scent. There were three of them, and one other. A human. Ondine’s hackles raised along her back. They had taken someone. A low grunt behind her pulled her attention back to the present. It was her brother, Jack. The questioning grunt sounded again. Ondine gave an imperceptible growl back. Three. Plus one human. Jack’s hackles raised in response. Ondine had the best nose between the two of them; but Jack had the brute strength. They were a team, and they never went anywhere without each other.
They both felt the same about vampires hunting humans. It was discgusting. Wrong. They had caught the scent of vampire and followed it into the foothills surrounding the small town. Jack grunted again. Let’s go. Ondine gave a slight nod, and Jack slunk into the mouth of the cave first. She padded after him, muscles tensed for action. Jack paused in front of her. Voices travelled down the rocky passage, “You two talk too much. Just get it over with already!” A grunt of pain. “We’ll do whatever we want, whenever we want, human! If we want to take our sweet time with you…then we will. Now shut up.” An immature, cocky voice spitted. So; youngsters then. Probably one who went looking for vampirism for immortality and power.
Ondine mentally snorted. Fools. Jack brushed her with his tail. Get ready. She crouched low, and waited for his command. “It was so easy to catch you, man! Did you really think you could RUN from a vampire? HAHA!” Another “Aaah!”. Heavy breathing. The smell of blood wafted around the corner. Jack barked, and they sprung into the inner cave, teeth flashing. Ondine jumped onto one of the vampires, crushing his jugular while he let out a gurgled scream. Jack had the other vampire pinned down, and was finishing him off with a snap of the neck. Suddenly, Ondine remembered the third vampire. Where was he? She spun around with a warning bark to Jack, who jumped up and searched the chamber as well. “Above you!” They heard a shout, and raised their heads just in time to see a black shadow descend on them.
All of a sudden, there was blinding chaos. Ondine struggled to regain her senses as she pulled herself onto her feet. Her feet? She looked down; she was human again. She was badly cut, and naked. How did thishappen? She spun to look for her enemy, only to come face to face with him. She gasped. He was beautiful; horribly beautiful. His face looked as though carved from marble. His skin was flawless, his eyes deep, piercing and cruel. The colour was that of fresh blood. She couldn’t move. His full lips parted in a single word, “Ondine.” She blinked. He stepped even closer, and wrapped his slender hand around her throat. “I’ve been waiting for you, Ondine. You are the one I want.” What? I felt myself frowning, confused. He gave a soft chuckle, “You look confused. I was too, when I realized I was in love with you.” He didn’t smile. His eyes grew darker, and he watched her carefully. His hand tightened around her throat for a moment, before he finally let her go. She dropped to the floor, coughing. Who was this bastard? When Ondine looked up, she saw that he had grabbed Jack, and was twisting his head around to expose his throat. Ondine’s eyes widened, “No.”
He looked up at her. “This is your fault, Ondine. This one is too close to you. He has too much of your love. Now, he must die.” He said it so matter-of-factly, so indifferent. She climbed back to her feet, and took a step toward him; fully intending to morph into her wolf-form and rip his throat out…but nothing happened. She paused, and looked up at him helplessly. “Who are you?” She asked. He smiled this time. It was a heart-breaking smile, but it twisted into something dark and dangerous. “I? I am the one who will have you, Silverback or not.” With that, he bit down into Jack’s neck and gorged himself on the heavy flow of blood that oozed out.
Jack screamed and struggled weakly against the iron arms that held him. Ondine stood; shaking and silent, as she watched her brother die. His lifeless body slid to the floor at her feet; his eyes still wide with terror. Ondine squeezd her eyes shut; the sight burnt into her mind forever. A cold hand lifted her chin, and she gazed, in shock, into the eyes of her brother’s murderer. “Still no tears? How…unfeeling of you. I’m impressed. Let this be a lesson, my Ondine. No one shall have you, whilst I am alive. No one. I’m feeling somewhat magnanimous this evening, so I will leave the other one alive. Think of it as a message to this town, and the world. That I am the vampire lord, and I will have my way. Always.”
He bent his head, and his long dark hair brushed against Ondine’s face. He pressed a firm kiss to her lips; wet with her brother’s fresh blood, and then left in a cold gust of wind. Ondine stood paralysed in the center of the cave. Unmoving. Emotions raged through her, yet she couldn’t find a place for her mind to settle in the storm. Suddenly, a hand took hers; and she was lead out of the cave, and away from the thing that she had been staring at, in a pool of blood in the dirt.
Ondine woke to the sound of water gurgling nearby, and a breeze on her face. She felt exhausted. Her limbs protested as she attempted to sit up and look around. Her head was pounding, and her eyes felt cracked and scratchy. As her vision cleared, Ondine noticed a man crouching by the stream. She was settled on a feather bedroll, and was wearing an overlarge white cotton shirt. She was free of blood and dirt, and her cuts had been cleaned out and bandaged. She looked over at the man again; trying not to remember what had happened that night but slowly piecing it together anyway. Before the pain could take over, she pushed the memory away and heard her stomach growl.
The man walked slowly up to her. “Morning. I’m glad you’re awake. Are you in any pain?” The word pricked at her memory again, but she shook her head and replied, “I’m fine.” He gave a brief nod, before handing her a cup of fresh water. “You must be hungry. Here.” He passed her a chunk of bread smeared with thick butter. Her senses opened up to the scent, and she scoffed it down hungrily. She felt slightly better. All the while, the man had been watching her carefully. Suddenly she felt slightly self-conscious, and fiddled with the shirt she wore. “How long have I been sleeping?” She asked tentatively. He looked concerned, “2 days.” He didn’t elaborate. She was grateful. “Thank you.” She met his eyes. They were bright blue. His hair fell in straw-coloured clocks around his lean face, and he had a friendly, open feel about him. Now though, there were shadows beneath his brow and he looked tired.
He looked away and shook his head. “You’re thanking me? After everything you’ve done for ME? You saved my life…and lost another because of it. I should be thanking you. And apologizing for –“
“Don’t. Please.” Ondine squeezed her eyes shut tight. He looked apologietic, and as though he wanted to continue; but he held his tongue and simply nodded. Ondine looked at him again. “My name is Ondine.” He reached out a hand, “Thomas.”
I gasped, “Grandma Onie and Grandpa Tom!” My eyes were wide with disbelief. My mother simply nodded before meeting my eyes. “That’s how we came to be what we are. What you are, Ray.” She looked uncertain now more than ever. I looked down at my water. The glass was still full. The day had darkened to night outside, and the shadows had lengthened around us. As the realisation began to set in, my mother began to fidget awkwardly in her seat. “Ray? Say something. Please?” Her eyes were clouded in worry. I swallowed hard, and took a sip of water. After a pause, I spoke up.
“So; I’m actually a wolf? A Silverback? A Hunter?” She nodded slowly. “The transformation will only begin to happen on your 21st birthday.” She explained quietly. “I know, I should have told you a long time ago, Ray. I’m sorry. I was just trying to give you as normal a life as possible, for as long as possible.” She reached out to cover my hand with hers. “It’ll be alright. I promise, Ray.” I nodded slowly, trying to take it all in. “So, wait…that means that the guy outside my window the other night was –“
“A guy outside your window? So there was someone there…” She muttered. I frowned at her, “You knew? He was a vampire wasn’t he?” Fear began to crawl it’s way into me, and a cold shiver trickled down my neck. “That’s why you felt my neck in the bathroom. You were checking to see if I had been bitten.” I looked up at her. She nodded, “I think he’s following you. That noise you heard earlier today? I sensed him standing outside across the street. When I opened the door, I think I scared him and he ran off. He was standing in the sunlight, Ray. How is that possible…?” My mother had stood up and was now gazing out the window into the darkness; lost in thought.
Life had suddenly become very, very complicated. Oh, and another thing:
“Mom…my birthday is in 5 days.”
I hadn’t left my cave in 2 days. Even now, the fresh memory of that woman’s glittering black eyes haunted me. I shivered involuntarily. It wasn’t from the wet weather this morning. I shouldn’t be able to feel anything! I remembered the powerful aura that had emanated from that woman’s body; the gutteral snarl that had ripped from her throat; the pure, barely controlled hatred that had stabbed into me as she stared at me. I hadn’t been able to stop pacing. My instincts were screaming at me to run. To run as fast and as far as I could. Every minute I felt as though she would find me, and tear me apart for daring to step foot onto her territory. And what was holding me back? I had nothing to keep me here…did I? An image of the girl surfaced; her long dark hair, pale skin and deep brown eyes. Her lips caught me, and I imagined the feel of them against mine.
Then I felt her against me. I was holding her in my arms. I felt her hair brush against my face, and her warmth seeped into me. I felt the savage hunger building inside me as I fought it down. No; not her! The burning intensified in my throat, and I swallowed hard. My hands balled into fists in her hair behind her back. She had wrapped her arms around my neck, and was pressing gentle kisses along my jaw. Finally, she reached my lips. As our mouths met; she opened her eyes and looked into me. I felt a rising power inside her, and a slight fear crept into me. She knew what would happen. She knew, and yet she didn’t pull away; didn’t recoil in disgust. She tilted her head to the side, and exposed her pale throat to me. I immediately wanted to pull away; but she wouldn’t let go. She held me fast, and guided my head to her neck. It was too much. I groaned, and sank my teeth into her flesh. She sighed as I drank from her. I took my first swallow, and pain erupted through me.
I jolted back to the present. I felt dizzy and nauseous. I was lying on my back, on the floor. What the hell had just happened? I sat up stiffly and waited for my vision to clear. How long had I been out? Night had fallen outside. A whole day had passed already? I know I didn’t fall asleep; vampires don’t sleep! Confusion set in, and I felt dizzy again. I needed blood. Now. I got up and set out slowly to find something to hunt. I crept up on a small deer, and killed it before it sensed my presence. Lost in my hunting state, I only came back into myself after the animal had been drunk dry. I sat back and felt the hunger subside. I needed to know what just happened to me. After washing up in a nearby stream; I headed for Glynn’s house.