Author: Jorda PM
After the death of her brother, Jessica begins to search for the cause. The result is far from reasonable and leads her to believe vampires might have something to do with it.Rated: Fiction M - English - Supernatural/Romance - Words: 4,700 - Published: 06-02-05 - id: 1928804
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By: Jorda K. Terre
Chapter One: Reunions and Revelations
The gray gravestone stuck out vividly as the rain poured down. Hazel eyes stared at the object through the passenger seat window. She had been sitting there for several minutes now and she never blinked, nor looked away. Under that stone tablet lay the only person she had left in the world. And now, he was gone and she was all alone. Jessica unwillingly tore her watch from it and looked at her lap.
"You think she's going to be okay...?" Some feet from the car stood a young man in a brown trench coat. A black umbrella protected his concerned face and charcoal hair from the drops of water.
"Don't worry... I'll take care of her." Next to him was another, slightly taller with dark brown hair. He wore a jacket, but didn't shield himself from the precipitation.
"Well, if you need anything, you know how to reach me."
The taller man nodded and headed for the vehicle. Upon entering the driver's side, he took his seat and pulled on his seatbelt. The girl didn't seem to notice him, it was as if she were in a trance. A hand rested on her shoulder, catching the teen's attention.
Jessica lifted her head to lock gazes with him. Her expression showed hidden grief. To the rest of the world, she would appear emotionless, like her brother's death changed nothing. It changed everything however, and that, she couldn't deny forever. Her brother was truly all she had left in life and without him, she was nothing. That fact was what brought him to come take care of her.
"I'm really sorry for your loss..."
"You speak of him like some stranger. He was practically family to you and you act as if you never knew his name!" Her voice had raised to a yell by the time she was finished speaking.
The man was absolutely amazed. Not by her words, but by the fact that she spoke to him. Ever since she found out about Matthew's death, she was under a mute spell. That being almost a week ago made everyone doubtful that she would ever speak again. "I apologize... I haven't been on the best terms with Matthew for some years."
"That still doesn't give you some excuse to be so distant. We needed you after our father had died. Matthew may have not admitted it, but I knew he felt the same as I did... And now..." She was beginning to choke on her words, clearly trying to fight back some tears.
He quickly escaped his safety belt and hugged the girl. "I'm sorry Jess. I didn't mean to hurt you." She stayed clinging to him for a few minutes. When she released him, he gave her a soft smile. "Let's go home, okay?" Jessica simply nodded.
Maxwell was Jessica and Matthew's godfather, although he didn't play the part well. Prior to the passing away of the father, he and Matthew had got in a rather heated argument. Maxwell was no longer allowed to step foot in the house without permission from Jessica's brother. So, he packed his things and left. A month or so later, while Matthew was out of town, he came by to pay his respects and to see Jessica for what he believed to be the last time. Though she was in such a rough situation, she had kept the smile on her face... But now things were different.
Maxwell watched Jessica unpack her belongings in the guest room. Could her sibling's murder have caused such a drop in her attitude? Or maybe there was something more. After putting away most of the contents of her first suitcase, the teen collapsed onto the bed. She had claimed to be very exhausted in the car; almost enough to just slip into a coma. She must have been losing sleep. The man moved deeper into the room to get a better view of her.
Jessica's hair used to be longer than anyone could stand. Now, it went down to her hips and was frequently tied up. The color was a natural golden blonde that shimmered in the sun. Her outfits were plain, but nothing too tomboyish. A pair of jeans and some kind of T-shirt or top that wasn't too tight. Her body was flawless just as her mother's. The downside to it was that Jessica had never really dated anyone. Some said she was too picky and others just said none were good enough for her. The truth was Jessica only wanted one thing, and that was to be able to love and be loved in returned.
Her eyes were darting at him in a quizzical manner. "Max... what did you and Matthew fight about?"
It was only a matter of time before she had asked him that. He exhaled quietly and seated himself at the end of the bed. "Well.. at first what he wanted to tell me what was supposedly good news. He told me he had found a way to save your father. The catch was... he wouldn't exactly be alive still. Matthew had met someone... some mysterious being who claimed to have lived for at least a century. And they could help your father become his 'normal' self again."
I didn't approve of this idea. Nothing good could have come from it whether this person was the real deal or a fraud. I tried to convince Matthew to change his mind. It was then that he and I began to argue. And a ways into it, he built up the courage to banish me from living or visiting there. I was furious and too proud to apologize, so I left. It wasn't until after that I had seen my mistake. I couldn't come back, at least not when Matthew was around. So, I waited until he was gone to come see you for one last time."
The last sentence brought Jessica to pull herself up to be closely leveled with him. "Last time...? Would you really have stayed away for the rest of your life? You know Matthew forgave you the moment he woke up the next day. He was just too stubborn to say it."
"I apologize again Jess. It seems a lot of the pain you've endured have been on account of me."
She shook her head violently. "No.. you've made things easier. If you hadn't returned and taken me in, I probably wouldn't be alive right now. I was convinced that I had no more reasons to live the other night. I was so sure that no one else cared for me. It wasn't until you came that I realized my life still had meaning."
He stared speechlessly at her. She managed to muster a small smile. "Thank you."
Every once and while, he passed by an open door. Some were empty and the rest carried on the usual events. Torture, make-out sessions, or just the resting of his kind. Near the end of the passageway were three doors. One led into the dining hall, which lead into a deeper part of their underground home. This place went on for miles and almost spanned as much area as the town above. There were only so many entrances though, the one in the sewer was the only unguarded one.
To his left was just another room. Nothing in his interest would be found there tonight. The door to his right was the one he had been searching for. This was Lilith's public room, the place where she resided most of the day. Ethan turned the doorknob and let himself in, making sure to close the door behind him. The slamming of the door had caused a figure on the bed to stir.
"Honestly, you'd think they'd learn how to knock after a decade or two." The one with the name of Lilith got out of the bed and kept a blanket on to cover to body.
"May I suggest a 'do not disturb' or 'knock first' sign?"
Turning on a heel, her emerald eyes lit up at sight of Ethan. "Ethan darling, what a pleasant surprise! It's been far too long..."
"Not long enough for me..."
"Make yourself at home." She offered as she fished through a nearby closet for something to wear.
Ethan remained standing, but removed his trench coat and threw it on a chair. He waited patiently for the woman to pick out her clothing and kept his gaze on the floor and ceiling. As much as she would have loved him to be watching her, it wasn't what he had come for. Soon enough, Lilith was in front of him wearing a rather revealing black dress.
"Ah, looking lovely as usual Lilith." Ethan let a small comment slip out.
"I try to keep my 'to die for' appearance for you dear." She pulled him close to whisper into his ear, slightly purring playfully.
He sighed at the pun and stepped back, a serious expression once again on his face. "Have you seen Xander?"
The question hit Lilith like a punch. She folded her arms over her chest and showed an annoyed grimace. "No, why would I know where he is?"
"You two are the leaders of this place. Knowing each other's whereabouts is something kind of expected of you."
The glare never wavered as she basically repeated herself. "I don't know where he is Ethan. Why do you want to know anyway?"
"It's about one of the humans he murdered. I know it's not my place to interfere with the choices and feedings of fellow vampires, but this is different. I really believe the one he killed this time wasn't acceptable."
"Murder? Dear boy, you're starting to sound like them." The voice called out from across the room. Both Ethan and Lilith faced the new arrival. "And which of these humans did you find unnecessary to murder?"
Xander never grew bored of mocking Ethan's way of life.. or rather 'afterlife'. The older vampire was aware he could do it without getting in trouble, so he did. This behavior toward Ethan often caused fights between the two. All of which were stopped by Lilith alone. No matter how much she scolded or threatened Xander, he'd never listen. Ethan, on the other hand, tried his best to not start some conflict. A task harder than any he had been faced with in both lives.
"His name was Matthew, he had made some deal with you about a year ago concerning his father."
Xander grinned at the mention. "I remember young Matthew. He was very keen on saving the life of that old geezer."
"That old geezer was one of the only people he had left."
"So, why should I regret taking the boy's life?"
Ethan's hand formed a tight fist, just about tight enough to puncture his own skin. "Because he had a sister and a godfather. Not only that, but when they found that his body was drained completely, some police and detectives began to investigate thoroughly. I can only keep so many from finding out at a time. If a whole riot was to formulate, then I won't be able to stop them and they'll find out we exist."
"And then what Ethan? Do you really think those humans are enough to destroy us? For every one of us that they slaughter, we could take down ten to fifteen of them." Xander stepped out of the shadows, tossing his long, black hair behind him. "What's the worst they can do?"
"Wage war on us. By the end of the month, half of the country could be here with stakes and pitchforks. And then what Xander?"
"Then I'd have to say you're a terrible peacekeeper." The male leader moved over to the others, circling them while observing them closely like a vulture. "What so you think about all of this Lilith? You've said nothing and you're usually full of remarks.
The red-head twirled a piece of her short hair in her fingers as she showed a thoughtful look. She had almost completely blocked out the two long ago. Her mind quickly recalled all of the important details and she opened her mouth to answer. "I agree with Ethan. Starting a war with the living isn't the best idea."
"So what do you propose we do?"
"Cover up the death. I'm sure they'll believe some excuse. That should keep the police away. As for his family, keep a close eye on them for a month or so. If nothing changes and they continue doing their normal routines, leave them alone. If they start meddling in things they don't understand, we'll worry about that when the time comes."
"Of all the people this could have happened to, why Matthew?" She leaned back against the chair and closed her eyes. "What did he do to deserve this?"
Letting out a tired yawn, she brought her eyes onto the nearest clock. Midnight had come and passed and it was now several minutes after one. She couldn't recall what had woke her up in the first place. She just knew it was enough to keep her up and brought her to figure out what had killed Matthew. Now she could barely stay alert. A few moments of rest wouldn't hurt, right?
She finally gave into the want and let herself slip into unconsciousness. All became quiet, she wasn't even aware of the ticking of the clocks. There was nothing other than the neverending darkness. Then... she heard a voice. No, more than a single voice.. it was a series of whispers she couldn't decipher. They continued on, getting louder, yet not any clearer. Mere seconds later, a shadow was approaching from straight ahead. In the blink of an eye, the shadow was right in front of her.
Jessica could feel the stranger bringing her into their embrace. The person leaned their head down, their cold breath on Jessica's neck. "Don't be afraid" The warning was audible enough for her to hear. By the time her mind processed the words, a stinging pain stabbed at her throat.
Jessica's head shot up from it's resting place and she gasped for air. Ever since the dreams had started, she hadn't gone a day without having a single nightmarish vision. They were the reason she could not sleep peacefully at night. And it was because of them that she was always so exhausted. She could only hope for one of two things. Either the visions would cease or that she would no longer need sleep. Only one of the options seemed reachable to her.
Her view came onto the screen after realizing she had passed out on the keyboard. Shock was an understatement to what she felt. A single website was showing with a black background and a large title in blood red letters. "... Vampires..?"
"You're probably the only one I can trust to help me with this. Now, my job is a very busy one and it involves me following people around everywhere. There's just one big problem here. I can't watch both the godfather and the sister."
"So, you're going to dump one of them onto me? Don't you think I have better things to do than stalk some human I can't drink from or kill?"
"Lilith..." He halted suddenly and turned around. "If I left this job in the hands of Xander or one of the flunkies, they wouldn't be able to restrain themselves. They would change her, or worse.... rape the girl."
Lilith was close by, balancing on one foot as she listened to him. She flashed a mischievous grin toward Ethan. "You do know that women can rape other women, don't you?"
"That's too low for you Lilith. Seduce the girl, but never rape her."
"So... what do I get if I do this little job right?"
"Haven't decided yet... now come on, we're almost there." With that, he started back down the alley.
"She can't know you exist in the real world. What you do to her in her dreams is entirely up to you." He explained as he led Lilith around to the back of the house. "There's some things I think you should know. Jessica wasn't very social to begin with. Matthew's murder only made her 'condition' worse. So, she probably won't leave the house much. And a few sources tell me that she doesn't get a lot of sleep at night. Be very careful and make sure she is slumbering before you go and try to enter her dreams."
"One last thing. Just like you said, she can't dig too deep into what happened to her brother. If she does, I trust you will handle it." Lilith nodded at the statement. Ethan pointed to a very cheap and small balcony on the second floor. "That's her room."
"Alright..." Lilith took a step forward and launched herself up and onto the railing. She hopped down on the balcony and went over to the clear sliding doors.
Inside the room was Jessica laying on her bed. The girl was actually asleep this time, but had a pained facial expression. Lilith was unable to avert her gaze. Jessica was, without a doubt, more beautiful than any girl Lilith had met before. An odd feeling came from inside the vampire. She felt as if she could just faint, yet she didn't feel lightheaded or ill. She was in a trance, not blinking even once. A hand on her arm scared her almost enough to make her jump. Ethan was at her side, also peering in on the target.
"That's her... that's Jessica."
"Jessica..." The voice called out to her from an unknown location.
Weight was added to the bed behind her. Jessica was unable to move, afraid of what would happen if she did. A hand cupped her chin and pulled her head to the side. Before she could catch a glimpse of the stranger, soft lips pushed onto hers. Her body went limp as she allowed the visitor to continue. Arms embraced her and she suddenly felt safe and content.
Hazel orbs met emerald and Jessica was unable to speak. She had been kissed by a woman. Sure, it was a very attractive woman, but a woman nonetheless. She tried to form some type of sentence, failing when she began to stutter on the first word.
The red-headed woman leaned over to whisper in the teen's ear. "Don't worry Jessica. You can wake up now..."
Jessica snapped back into reality, eagerly glancing around as if she had forgotten where she was. "... I'd rather stay here, if that's okay."
He nodded and returned to eating. Jessica frowned, he was really trying hard to make everything seem fine. And she couldn't even go to a store with him. It's not like they'd engage in doing something family-like. They probably would barely talk during the whole trip. Still, she couldn't say 'yes' to him. Some part of her mind just blocked her from doing it.
"Max?" She waited until they were eye-to-eye with each other. "Do you believe in vampires?"
"Vampires.. You know, creatures that look like humans and go around sucking peoples' blood? I think I liked them when I was younger, then I just forgot about them. Never thought about'em until last night."
"But.. what brings this up so suddenly?"
"Well.. I think that's what killed Matthew. At first I didn't believe it, 'cause it's ridiculous. It explains everything though: how his body was sucked dry, no wounds except for the two puncture marks on his neck. That's like the universal trademark of vampires..."
"Wait.. back up some Jess." Maxwell was quiet for some moment and then gave her a weird look. "Puncture marks on his neck?"
"In the picture they took of him. I know you've seen them too!" By now, the girl had got out of her seat and was literally leaning over the table.
"Jess.. the detective called me last night. He said it was poison and..."
"Don't you see they're trying to cover it up?! They don't want us to find out they exist. And they probably have some undercover spy for them to make sure we don't."
Maxwell shook his head, not sure what to say. "Can we talk about this later...? Okay, how about this? I'm going to go to the store and I will think about what you've said. I can't guarantee that I'll believe this, it's crazy."
Jessica fell back into her seat with head hung low as she listened to him walk out of the room.
Still, all the evidence pointed to vampires, whether he wanted to admit it or not. If that was the case, the police would prove useless. An easy way to get committed is to run around saying the undead dwell on the earth. And if the vampires were trying to hide themselves and the fact they do live amongst the humans, stating it would only put him and Jessica in danger. Maybe that was why they had 'taken care of' Matthew.
Maxwell halted, a sign reading aisle seven above and hand-basket in his hold. "He had found a way to save their father... Could they really be... real?"
"Maxwell!" Ethan yelled from down the aisle and ran over to his friend. "How are things?"
The man hesitated to answer. Was it a smart idea to say anything about what had happened to Matthew? This was Ethan, he barely knew Maxwell and Jessica and still he was so nice and helpful to them. "I think Jessica's taking it well. She's kind of blaming her brother's death on vampires, but she'll get over that. I guess this is some kind of phase..."
He had never noticed the terror in Ethan's eyes. The young man let out a breathless scoff at Maxwell's words. "Yeah.. most likely some phase... Uh, well.. I have somewhere I need to be. I'll stop by sometime later today and try to talk some sense into her." He was heading back in the direction he had come from, his hand waving as he walked hastily. "See you later Max!"
The man simply stared with a confused expression. "Is it just me, or is everyone acting a bit funny today?"
"We have a serious problem Lilith... she knows."
Her hand fell atop several notes at once, making a horrible noise. Ethan was never one to bring bad news, mainly due to the fact that he didn't enjoy doing so. Presently, he couldn't help it. This was the first time they had encountered such a bothersome problem. A rather attractive, yet bothersome problem by the name of Jessica.
"I guess we underestimated her..."
"What do we do now?"
Xander was on the second floor, leaning on the railing to get a better view of the two. "Simple. We scare her out of digging deeper."
"And if that doesn't work?" Lilith brought her head up to glare at the other leader.
"The only reasonable thing to do if it gets to that.... kidnap her."