**Author's Note: And it begins again. This story is like a sequel to Vials of Blood, my other story on fictionpress, but it doesn't deal with the same characters. Though those who have read my last one know a bit about Noah Thornton. I hope you all like this story and if you do, then you should review and tell me. If not, you can flame, but the same rule applies as last time. Flames are welcomed at 25 words or more. Besides that I have nothing more to say except for enjoy!**

Blood Red Roses

It was Christmas Eve. Children had gone to sleep hoping morning would come sooner while others waited in hiding to catch Santa Claus in the act. Their parents had settled down having cups of wine or eggnog while other families went to mass to spend Christmas with God.

It was going to be a white Christmas. It had been snowing since the afternoon and hadn't shown signs of stopping. The normally proud moon cowered behind clouds while gunshots rang in the air. Without the moonlight or the city lights, it was damned hard to find the right target.

Sierra Wickham had her back against a tree with a wide trunk. Bullets whipped into the snow and chipped away the trunk of her tree and other's nearby. She calculated there had to be at least three gunmen. They were drawing closer which terrified Sierra because she had nowhere to go. With precious little bullets left, she grabbed her cellphone and pressed speed dial. "I need backup now!" she screamed into the phone.

They could hear the bullets zooming by on the other side of the phone. "Sierra, they've blocked the way. You have to hold on for another five minutes. Just hold on!"

Sierra swore viciously. For an instant, she thought about how her mother would faint if she ever heard those words coming from Sierra's mouth. "I'll be dead in five minutes," she said, impassively into the phone. "When you find my bullet riddled body, remember that I want to be cremated."

Before they could tell her to think positive, she hung up. Her options were to think of a plan or die. She had to concentrate. The owner of this land, Owen Lamport had known the danger of his past catching up with him. One didn't go into a drug smuggling ring and then walk right back out of it, especially if he sold out secrets to the FBI. So he had known these men were coming and had to have a place to hide from them.

Sierra recalled he had been taking pretty long walks through this forest in the last few days before he had disappeared. She hadn't thought much of it then, but now she realized why. His hiding place was in the woods. If Sierra could find where and she might manage to get out of this alive. She scanned the area with an eye trained to pick up on the unusual and there it was. Broken branches, a lot of them, poked out of the snow. Sierra would bet her life that there was a bunker under that. In fact, that was exactly what she was going to do.

The gunfire came to a halt. "Hah! I think we killed that ol' bitch." It came out as bee-ach. That was gunman number one. He was an impressive seven feet tall and two-hundred and fifty pounds of muscle. What he made up for in size, he lacked in brains. She would say that he was dumber than a trained imp, but the trained imps everywhere would be insulted.

"Don't be an idiot. Boss ain't going to be happy if we don't check," gunman number two said. He was a bit smaller and a bit smarter than the first guy, but then that wasn't saying much.

"You are both idiots," the last gunmen snapped. This one was the one Sierra was worried about. He had brains. She could fool the other two bozos anytime, anywhere, but it was this guy who made her wary. "You lost the guy, attacked an FBI agent and didn't follow the fool-proof plan I set out for you. You better pray she is dead."

There was a moment where all Sierra heard was a single pair of boots crunching in the snow coming towards her. She got ready to bolt, but then paused when she heard gunman number one say, "Who are you calling an idiot? I'll have you know I have had more than twenty years of schooling!"

The smart guy turned and walked back. Sierra knew because she risked a peek. They were up in each other's faces. Sierra could already smell the testosterone. "Oh yeah," he challenged. "How?"

"Simple, I took grade ten twice. Ten plus ten is twenty and then there are all those other grades," the idiot replied happily.

This was the time to make her move. She jumped up and made a dash for it. She heard their slow-witted response to it and calculated the right moment to turn around and start shooting in their direction. She didn't expect to hit them, but hoped to make them dive for cover and buy herself more time.

She felt burning pain in her side and shoulder before she stumbled a bit. She had almost made it to the bunker when the branches moved and sure enough a door was opened. Owen Lamport grabbed her by the waist and tossed her into the bunker before closing the door. He glared at her. "How did you know?"

"I'm FBI," she managed weakly. "We just know." She fainted.

"Sierra, Sierra, where are you?" a familiar voice called.

Sierra looked around there was no place to hide. She would have to stand and fight. She stood up and turned toward the voice. She was shaking from head to toe from fright. She took a deep breath and replied. "I'm right here, Mummy."

Her mother turned around and her eyes widened. "Sierra! What did you do to your new dress? I thought you were watching the neighbors fly their kite."

Tears welled up in Sierra's eyes. "Mummy, I was and then they had to go in because their mummy had called them in and they said I could play with their kite and I got it stuck in a tree and I felt so bad because they don't have money like we do, Mummy. They couldn't buy another kite and so I climbed the tree to get it and I did, but then I fell down and ripped the dress and their kite. Now you and Sam and Lisa will hate me."

Anna Wickham knelt down and gathered her sobbing daughter. "Oh Sierra, no one will hate you, especially not me. You'll wear your other pink dress tonight. We'll buy the Sam and Lisa a new kite. We don't want your first American friends to hate you either."

Sierra nodded and wiped her face with the back of her hands. "Mummy, when are we going back home?"

"I told you, love, this is our new home."

"But I don't like Connecticut. I like rainy old London better. I used to splash in puddles every day. I have to wait forever for it to rain here. And what about Gramma and Grampa? They're still in London," Sierra complained.

Anna scooped up her five year old daughter and headed back to the house. "We'll visit them and they'll visit us. They are going to come here for Christmas, but tell you what; we'll go back to London for a whole month for your birthday!"

Sierra brightened. "Okay! Mummy, why are you carrying me when I can walk?"

"Because I want to, love," she replied.

When they were back at their new house, Sierra saw her older sister run upstairs hiding a rose behind her back. "Mummy?"

"Yes, love?"

"I think Rebecca's new boyfriend is running out of money," she whispered.

Anna laughed. "Why is that, Sierra?"

"Well, when he started giving her flowers, he gave her a full bouquet of them. Everyday more roses come, but the number of them is getting smaller and smaller. Today, he only gave her one flower. Does that mean he will be out of money and won't be able to buy more tomorrow? Who is he anyway?" she wondered.

"We don't know, love," Anna answered as she sat her daughter down and started looking at her cuts. "He's going to show himself tomorrow. See, he isn't running out of money. He's counting down the days until he will reveal his identity. It's terribly romantic. Rebecca is praying that it's James William, the blond boy in her class."

Sierra looked at her scraped elbow that was bleeding. "Hey, Mummy, my blood is the same color as Rebecca's flower."

"Right you are, love, their blood red roses," Anna replied as she started cleaning the scrape, gently.

The next day, Sierra watched her sister get ready to meet her secret admirer. She was putting on makeup, jewelry and her special dress. She made her hair look really pretty. "Rebecca, can I come too?" Sierra asked, she toyed with the little black brush her sister had used on her eyelashes.

"No, Sierra, you can't come but if he's lucky you might meet him soon. Oh, I can't wait to see James. I bet he'll kiss me," she said dreamily.

"Yuck," Sierra replied scrunching up her face as she tried using the little brush on herself. "Why would you want to kiss him? You might get his germs."

"Don't play with the makeup. Oh, alright, come here and I'll put it on you," Rebecca said and Sierra was all but jumping with joy. Rebecca applied the eye shadow, mascara, blush and lip gloss. When she was done she gave Sierra a mirror.

Sierra looked up and smiled admiringly. "I almost look as pretty as you."

"No," Rebecca said smiling and shook her head. "You look prettier. Well I have to go meet James. Take care, brat."

Sierra impulsively hugged Rebecca who was a bit surprised but hugged back. Sierra grinned and turned back into her impish self. "I'm going to show Mummy!"

She ran off happily unaware that her sister was going to die that night and that was last time Sierra would ever see her.

** Well.... there we have it folks, a prologue. I may not be able to update every day like I tried with my other story, but my conscience doesn't really let me go on without updating after a day or two, so updates will be coming soon. Please review and continue reading. Flawless Storm.**