Prologue
New York City 1913

Night fell quickly in the large cities. Human buildings kept the sight of the setting sun out of the streets. Not that anyone was complaining. Even humans sometimes hated their strongest ally. It's sharp rays were unpleasant when met with raw skin. The sun drowned out as it slowly set, giving way to the unforgiving darkness. The manmade lights in the buildings brightened, illuminating the city in the night. Trash floated down the dark streets. Smoke from the factories poured out of funnels into the night air. The streets were busy with the humans who fed off of the night; the thugs, the prostitutes, all of mankind's rejects. They earned the name 'Night- crawlers' from the Dontia and it was not in the least a complement. Little girls and even boys stood on the pavements, careful to avoided the police who made sporadic but very few visits to this area.

A young 16 year old girl brushed passed the walls of the restaurant, heading towards the black bridge over the river. Her breath came out in gasps as she ran as fast as she could. Her raw, uncovered feet barely touched the snow covered ground. Ash and dirt created a thick layer over her ragged dress. The girl bounded off the pavement into the street. The screaming cry of a horse caused her to stop just in time, narrowly missing the carriage coming down the street. The driver yelled some obscenity, but the girl failed to catch it. She crossed over the bridge, barely stopping to take in a breath. The cold river was nearly frozen over from the cold. Her skin was white from the cold but the rushing blood from her skin warmed her.a little. The Night-crawlers had disappeared from this part of town decades ago like the rest of the human population. Without realizing it, she had crossed into the part of the city which even the most hardened of criminals choose to avoid. It was an old section that hardly ever changed, which was rarity in this city or any city for that matter. The windows on the edifices were dark and uninviting, speckled with black and gray smoke from the outside world. Many were blackened out with paint all together. Cracks in the doors and windows allowed for a small viewing into the rooms if anyone was insane or stupid enough to get that close. The girl was running so fast that her left foot got caught up with her right, sending her down to the ground. Her chin hit the pavement with a sickening crack. She felt blood rush up her throat into her mouth and she coughed slightly. She gave the pain little notice and scrambled to her feet, looking quickly over her shoulder. The girl tried to scream, but it only came out as a squeak. She ran faster, feeling the heart beat rising in her throat. Her lungs burned and her muscles ached, begging her to slow down. She quickly ducked into a dim, dirty alley hoping she would find somewhere to hide before she collapsed. She was so busy looking back over her shoulder again that she didn't see a shadowy figure appear out of a small doorway. She crashed head on with the tall man and fell to the floor. She coughed and wiped the blood from her chin, slowly standing up. She brushed the snow from her dress and raised her eyelids. The man had barely flinched from their collision. He stood over her and just as the clouds disappeared from the sight of the moon, the girl got a good look at him

He couldn't have been older than 25 or 26. His face was as white as the moon itself. Wisps of brown hair stuck randomly out all over his long oval shaped head. The state of his hair was worse than even the most down and out people she knew. It was greasy and looked as though a rat had infested in there.and then moved out from the mess. It wasn't long, not like the wealthy from decades ago who kept it neat and prim. A small goatee was growing through the rough stumble on his face. His dark brown eyes shone like steel as he gave the girl a once over, running his tongue along his thin lips. A distant but intense spark flashed in his eyes that made the girl's legs go numb from fear. She had heard about the raping and murder of young women in England many years ago. It happened over two decades ago but the girls she knew still talked about it. It was the story mothers would tell their children before they went out every day. They always managed to leave out most of the gruesome details.most. The girl's shook her head slightly trying to focus her mind on what was happening now, that would keep her alive.longer. He was wearing a white shirt torn off at the sleeves covered by a thick black trench coat with several missing buttons and studs in the collar. Gapping holes in his baggy black pants were hidden by patches of cloth which barely matched the rest of the clothing. He grinned and the moonlight glinted a silver plated tooth.

"Where you off to little lass?" he asked, not seeming to care what the answer was.

"Excuse me.sir. I have to go," she stuttered, feeling uneasy under his cold eyes.

He stepped into her path as she tried to leave, "Why so fast?"

She looked behind her quickly, "There's some..thing following me. I..it's.it's not human."

The man grinned, touched her hair, "No, it never is, is it?"

She pulled back from him, feeling her heart skip a beat, something was wrong about this man. His hand fell down to her chest where he lifted a small cheap cross.

"Christian, are we? My parents were Christian," he replied softly, with a far off look in his eyes. She didn't like the way he say 'were' at all.

"Please, sir, I must be going," as she tried to dodge passed him.

"Right, right, the non-human thing," he smiled, grabbing her arm in a grip as steely as his stare, "So what is it anyway? An alligator? A half rabid dog running wild through the streets?" His voice was filled with fierce mockery, as though he was paid a great deal of money to do this.

"I.I.I must go!"

"Wait a second. I'm not done.yet," he laughed harshly pulling her towards him.

Before she could say or do anything in retaliation, the door next to the man swung open and slammed against the wall.

"Asher, what the fuck are you doing out here? If you're cheatin' I swear to In-rea I'll break both your fuckin' arms," a voice yelled.

A huge man came barreling out of the building. He made this man named Asher look tiny. It wasn't that he was fat, just wide and prone to muscle. He stood 6'2 over the two. His thick arms were covered by a similar trench coat to Asher, ripped in several places with what looked like claw makes to the girl's horror. His hair was styled into a Mohawk while the rest was shaved, exposing a maze of strange black tattoos on his skull. His right eyebrow was pierced with a ring. His face, like the rest of his body, was strong, one a person could never forget. The man's eyes were huge and sharp, evenly shaped by a pair of thick eyebrows. His large nose was finished off with a Roman style bump on the bridge. His ears however were incredibly small compared to the rest of his face. They probably would have been overlooked if he didn't have more metal on than a Model T. He was wearing a black buttoned shirt, creased all over. His black pants were in a better condition than Asher's but not exactly award winning material. They were so big that the ends were torn and gray from the years of being worn down under his feet. His hands were clenched and protected by thick brass knuckles. He strutted over to Asher, causing the girl to shrink down in fear.

"You took a break from poker to talk to her? Fuck, I've seen better duck meat," he laughed. His voice was dripping in the cockney accent of East End London.

"With your luck with women, duck meat is all you're ever going to have," Asher snorted.

"You don't need luck when it comes to humans," the man grinned.

"Yeah well just let me finish and then I'll join you inside," Asher said.

"I'm winning," the man replied.

"Bullshit you are," Asher growled, only half jokingly.

"Whatever. Just hurry up and get it over with, I'm hungry."

"Who said you were getting any?"

"My fist," he said in a monotone voice with a glare that would have caused even Al Capone himself to wet his pants.

"Fine," Asher shrugged. If he was nervous, he didn't show it, "No problem for me."

He swiftly turned back to the girl. She gasped in pure terror. His eyes had turned a dark yellow color and were flashing white in the center. His skin was rippling as though thousands of worms were squirming around across his body. The jaw bone made a snapping sound as it dislocated itself to make room for the giant fangs growing in. His ears became long and pointed, moving to the top of his head while his forehead pushed into his wolf-like snout. A sharp pain ripped into her arm, causing the girl to revert her eyes down away from his distorted face. Black claws were forming out of his shortening fingers. His arms bulged as thick muscle covered his body. His back arched up as his knees snapped and bent the opposite way. She looked back up at his face, watching the rough fur sprout out of the back of his neck to form a Mohawk like mane. She opened and closed her mouth making a squeaking noise. A small voice in the back of her head screamed for her to run but it was drowned out by an intense fear which took all feeling out of her body. The man was now a giant wolf like thing with narrow yellow eyes. It grinned an ugly smile and grabbed her around the throat with it's paw. It threw her across the alley into the brick wall. Her head cracked from the impact and she crashed heavily to the ground. As her vision wavered dramatically, she suddenly found her voice. Her own high pitched scream was the last thing she heard as the wolf attacked.

He grabbed her around the throat shaking his head back and forth, slamming her head into the walls and trash cans. Spatters of head erupted out of the gapping hole in the back of her head. Shards of bone and flesh entangled themselves in her hair. The wolf gave the girl one more shake before he tossed her limp body against the alley dumpster. He made for the stomach, ripping it open with one quick slash, spilling intestines and half digested food across the pavement. The wolf the shoved her snout up through her rip cage like a fox chasing a small mouse down it's home, dragging whatever organs he found out. He gave the muscles or the lack thereof a disgusted look and wolfed the organs down like fried chicken. When he was done, the other man, still in human form, snorted.

"What a waste of time! She didn't even put up a fight. Come on, I'm bored of poker. Let's go play some Russian roulette." Blood gurgled out of the corpse's mouth and she slumped over to the ground