Lillian briefed Charlotte and Kat on Alex and that they needed to recover her body. There was visible regret and anger on Charlotte's face. If only she had insisted on taking her back with them when they left that night. She only wanted Alex to take responsibility for her actions, not this… never this. Kat wasn't unfazed by this either. She doesn't flinch when she's sent to get vampire remains, but now, knowing the face on the body had her stomach in knots. No matter which way she viewed this, this wasn't going to be like any other job; this was Alex, lifeless on a cold slab.
The feeling of unease hung heavily in Lillian's office during their meeting and even followed them out when they left to figure out a strategy for the unsettling, but necessary job later. Lillian waited for them to exit her office before pressing the intercom button to her secretary again. "I'm sorry, Miss Lewis. I called her several times. The last was 2 minutes ago, but she's not picking up. Should I try again now?"
"No, thank you Vanessa. I'll take it from here…", Lillian answered. She picked up the phone and punched in a different number than the one she let Vanessa dial. The phone was picked up immediately after the first ring.
"I got all of the other calls too, so you know! It's not a vacation if you're gonna calling me"
"Cut it short, Angelica! I need you here"
"Charlotte and Kat can handle it just fine, Lillian"
"One of ours was killed yesterday!"
"Kat or Charlotte?"
"No, but what does it matter? The treaty is void… What is going to happen is big and I need all three of you here. You can take a vacation afterwards for all I care, but right now, you're needed here"
There was a silence on the other line before Angelica sighed. "Fine, I'll be there tomorrow night"
Tomorrow night? That had to mean she was closer than Lillian had originally thought. "Wait, where are you now?"
"Belladonna Cove. I was going to be here for a week or so"
Belladonna Cove- That's where one of the witches lived. "Angelica, I need you to do something before you leave. There's a witch, her name is Rinka DiGorgio; we need her as well. Your job is to persuade her to join our cause. Use any means necessary… the vampires will try to get to her too, we need to be faster."
"Persuade? I don't persuade"
"There's a first time for everything"
"And what if she isn't persuaded by any of the means necessary?"
Lillian sighed, but didn't answer. They needed that witch and whatever power she has. If she couldn't get her, Calum wouldn't either. Angelica had been around Lillian long enough to be able to read her silence if it was work related.
"Got it", she answered, "I'll call you when I have an update"
"When will this rain stop? It's depressing!"
"Oh, come on Jase. It's not so bad", the girl next to him answered, "See… now I can wrap my arms around you all the time"
Jase smiled and opened his arms a bit more so she fit perfectly. "I guess it does have some advantages. But I still don't get why you wanted to go to the park. Now. In this weather"
"Oh, It didn't have to be the park. I just wanted to go out with you. I actually got tired of sitting at home waiting for the rain to pass"
"You see, you find it just as depressing", Jase stated.
"Not depressing, just 'in the way'! It was keeping me from you and I thought I'd show it who's boss", she smiled sweetly.
"Right, come on. I'm taking you home"
"Jase!", she pouted.
"MY home, Kayla", he answered looking away from her cute pout, "You said it was so you could be with me, that way you still are, only drier"
Her pout turned into a huge grin and she followed him as they turned back around.
The two of them walked back towards the entrance to the park when Kayla suddenly halted. Jase followed her gaze and noticed someone walking towards them. Kayla's grip on his arm grew tighter the closer it got and then she buried her face in his shoulder.
"Who's there?", Jase yelled.
The man didn't answer, but kept coming closer and closer. He was walking in the pouring rain with no umbrella and… no clothes.
"Who are you?", Jase yelled again, pushing Kayla behind him. He looked towards the park's entrance once more, but something about the man in front of them made him wonder if he could at least get Kayla to make a run for it.
The man stopped in exactly three paces in front of them, blocking their path, and looked up.
"What do you want? Money?", Jase asked, but the man just looked at him, still not answering, and then shifted his gaze towards the few strands of hair just visible over Jase's shoulder. Kayla… he wanted Kayla. Jase tightened his grip on Kayla and took half a step back, pressing her into his back some more. Kayla shivered behind him, but was somewhat curious as to why her boyfriend held her tighter and braved a quick look over his shoulder at the man in front.
Their eyes met; brown and fiery-red… and time stopped. Kayla was mesmerized. The rain was forgotten and so was her boyfriend-shield. All she could think about was that she wanted to see those eyes up close. The man elegantly lifting his arm and beckoned her to him; his eyes never leaving hers. Kayla's feet moved on their own as she side-stepped from behind her boyfriend and slowly started walking.
Jase watched with open mouth as his girlfriend moved towards the stranger. It wasn't until he saw her glossed-over eyes that he realized the man was hypnotizing her. Jase pulled her by her arm, but for some reason she was stronger than him and didn't even budge. He let go and watched her settle into the stranger's arms. There was a smile on both their faces as the man caressed Kayla's face; pulling her hair to the back exposing her beautiful neck. He ran his fingers up and down from her ear to her shoulder and Kayla sighed at the sensation.
Jase's fear gave way to anger knowing the man was controlling her and he remembered the pocket knife he had stashed in the rolls of his pants. He took it out and lunged at the stranger who's attention was still entirely on Kayla. Jase buried the knife in the man's stomach, pulled back and then stabbed again. Blood oozed out, but the man seemed unfazed. Horror grew on Jase's face as he watched his inflicted stab wounds close in front of his eyes. This man was a monster. He looked back up and dropped the knife. The fiery-red eyes had left Kayla and were now fixed on him. This was actually the first time he had noticed that they were really RED. An arm closed around his neck and lifted him off the ground as if he weight nothing.
"…you will be next…", the man finally spoke with a voice so raw and rough as if he hadn't spoken for quite some time. There was a partial growl in his voice and Jase noticed his canines were longer than normal. Fangs! On the edge of falling unconscious Jase watched as the stranger leaned over Kayla and buried his fangs into her neck. The sounds of greedily feeding sounded in his ear and Jase lost consciousness. The last sound he heard was a small moan coming from Kayla…
The two adolescents were enough to keep his hunger in check and he continued on his path that ended in an unknown alley. It was the smell of his own that led him there, so he walked towards the door.
"Hold it right there freak"
The clothes the guy wore practically blended into the wall. Clever disguise, but he had noticed him the minute he entered the alley. Vampire; approximately 1 year old; nothing special about him, so he continued walking towards the door when the young vampire blocked his path.
"I said hold it! You think you can just waltz right in here? This isn't a strip club buster, go back the way you came!"
"You are a brave one are you not", the rough voice sounded once more. It was getting better each time he spoke. The young one looked at the man and frowned. It was then that he took a closer look. This was no ordinary man; he was a vampire just like him, but there was a different aura to him. It felt older and kind of similar to the other vampire; that elite that once came here… is he one of his crew?
"Look man, I don't know who you are, but you've-"
"…and that is your mistake…"
The young vampire didn't even have the time to ponder on those words when he found himself jerking violently through the air. His eyes flew back to the naked man… he was doing nothing, just staring at him. Those fiery red eyes were piercing and ripping at his skin and he knew he made a mistake. This was definitely not a normal vampire; this was one of the Elite! He had just offended one of the 3 remaining Elite vampires.
His hovering body crashed into the neighboring wall, where it stayed. He groaned at the intense pain and blood streamed out of his mouth. Then… his body withdrew from the wall and slammed into it again… and again… and again. It grated against the brick wall as it made its way down, landing amidst the trash. He opened his bloodshot eyes and tried to move his head to where the Elite stood, but he couldn’t move his body.
"…yes… you are still alive. Mistake me again and that will change…"
He was in excruciating pain, but still managed to mutter a weak apology that no human ears would be able to hear. The Elite vampire had already forgotten all about the 'trash' and had his attention on the door in front of him. He twisted the handle and found it locked. Instantly following that action, a small window in the door opened up and another vampire came into view.
"Who are you?"
The Elite vampire smiled at the déjà vu he was about to create…
"Okay, so hold up! Let me see if I got all of it. You want me to pack my bags and come with you, because you have a bad feeling about Raven for reasons you can't explain or won't explain. Julie! You met him just 3 days ago", Marina said leaning against the doorpost.
"I know I just met him, but I don't know I have a bad feeling okay", Julie answered, quickly looking at Jane.
"Well, a bad feeling doesn't work for me. What brought this on? You were practically fawning over him at gram's party"
"I checked up on him and the things I found weren't exactly-"
"You found something about him?", Marina cut her off.
"Uh, yes… why do you say it like that?"
"Because Binny has been searching for weeks and she found nothing"
'It didn't really come out of nowhere either', Jane said, having been updated on the way over, 'Julie had a-a… dream about a house-number and checked it out. Turned out it was linked to him'
'A 'dream' huh?' Or a 'vision' ?'
Julie dropped Marina's shirt on the floor at those words and Jane sat equally perplexed. 'What are you-'
'Don't insult me. I've known for a while now. Remember when Shadow* threw me a few months ago? Lubinnia healed me. She thought I was unconscious, but I wasn't. I pushed her into a corner until she told me- everything. About her healing powers, about you guys, visions - everything. Now what did you see about Raven?', Marina took a deep breath after she got it all out.
Julie looked at Jane and then shrugged. 'Alright, since you feel you know everything. Raven is a vampire and I don't think he has amnesia. I believe he will lose control at some point and attack you; which is why we're here now, to get you away from him so that doesn't happen'
Marina looked skeptically at Julie, then at Jane. 'Really? You can accept that we're witches who have visions of the past and future, but you don't believe he's a vampire?'
'Well of course not! Vampires don't exist', Marina sat down on the bed next to Jane.
'But they do exist hon! Grams was attacked by one not so long ago. She is fine, don't worry!', Jane ran a comforting hand down Marina's shoulder at her shocked expression.
'Okay, so you say vampires are real…', she scoffed, making Jane frown. She had never seen her cousin like this. Marina seemed a bit toothy in her reaction. '…so, how does Raven fit in there? Last time I checked they don't help people with vegetable gardens or take horses for a trot in the DAYTIME!'.
'I know. We haven't been able to figure out how he does that either, but he is a vampire, Marina. I had a vision of him back in the Victorian age and it was bloody; a massacre. I couldn't see his face, so I searched for other things in the vision. That's when I noticed the house number. I checked up on that and it took me to the bloodshed that happened in that time. There was also something about the O' Connor family that had me wondering. They were mentioned a few times in newspaper articles of back then. There was a picture-', Julie searched around in her bag, 'Shit, I think I left it in my room. There was a picture of the family; an obituary and he was on it… Raven was part of that family in the Victorian era'
'What? And you think that Raven kil-…', Marina choked on the word. This was a lot to take in if any of this was even true. Surely Julie wouldn't lie about something like this AND come up with such a supportive back-story; but still… Raven, her Raven? She didn't recognize him in any of what Julie said.
'I don't know if he is the one they were talking about. They said the massacre was the work of a mad man. The Beast of New Orleans they called him.'
And there it was- all that Julie found out about the vision. Even Jane appeared overwhelmed by hearing it out loud again. Julie had not told her about the Beast of New Orleans or the picture, so that was news to her ears too. The three of them sat there in silence letting it all sink in before Julie jumped up at the sound of a chuckle behind her and Raven who entered the room after.
'-The Beast of New Orleans- It's been a while since I last heard that one...'
To be Continued…
*Shadow: One of the horses Marina has.