The Fangscherry Chronicles
Harris walked through the halls of the old high school in the area. Long ago abandoned, the quiet building often served as a hideout for more shady creatures. No such luck on that night, though, as the halls appeared innocently vacant.
It had been two nights, and James McGenihy was still gone. On top of that, Daniel still refused to budge on the matter of Azalea Wilemont's wanted possessions.
Jumping slightly, Harris could distinctly hear a chair scraping the floor. He followed noiselessly. He entered the dusty cafeteria and spotted an open door leading to the courtyard outside. Harris knew it was suspicious, and most likely a trap. However, he needed answers, and no uneasy feeling would stop him.
The courtyard was as dark as the rest of the night, and dead leaves were abundantly coating the concrete surface. Yet, in the middle of the courtyard was a fountain, and laying on the ledge handing over the black water, as still as death, was a young woman.
Harris approached cautiously, noting that the figure felt human to him. THe skin was pale and clear, but the eyes were tightly closed, like those of a nightmare's victim. Dark brown hair flowed carelessly, framing her face and not stirring with the light wind. She obviously wasn't breathing, and Harris sighed in frustration, preparing to bend down to further inspect the body. Suddenly, the young woman's eyes snapped open, causing Harris to jump back and stumble slightly.
Her eyes frightened Harris more than most things he'd seen in his lifetime. She had dark blue eyes that appeared almost black in the moonlight, but behind the physical attributes of her eyes, there was an inhuman power. Emotions more complicated than even what the human animal was capable of raced in the depth of her eyes. He knew with one look that she was dangerous, and that her mind was miles away from sanity.
"I thought you were dead," Harris murmured, moving forward again, only to have the young woman stand gracefully and move away from him. Despite his previous scare, he still believed this girl was human. "We need to get you out of here," Harris told her in what he hoped was a calming voice. "If you stay here much longer, you could get hurt."
"Little Hunters doubt me again," the young woman said with a harsh, although melodic, laugh. "They always do."
"You seem human," Harris said, his body tensing for a fight.
"Perhaps I am, but what good is it to be so fragile?" She slid closer to Harris and hissed, "Keep searching for Mr. J.M., and you won't find him..."
"J.M....? James! Do you know where he is?"
"Of course. I took him there," she replied carelessly, swaying as though the breeze suddenly caught her.
"So, you're working for a heartless, murdering vampire?" Harris asked, preparing to tackled the newest lunatic.
"Who else would take a lost little girl? A killer is the most beautiful of creatures, after all. Even the victim believes it."
"What the hell do you mean?"
"The bond between a killer and its victim is more powerful that of a mother and child, and far more intimate than that of a lovers'. The murderer knows, from that simple act, the dreams and aspirations of the victim, the strengths and weaknesses, the friends and enemies. Many can bring life into this world, but few know their strength to take it. When they look into the dead eyes of the one they just killed, they know all of the secrets. They hold the keys to the world. Don't tell me you haven't felt it after a Hunt.
"That is why they fascinate everyone, because they are power. Everyone wants power," she finished.
"You're an awfully coherent nutter. Why'd you go to Azalea Wilemont?"
"She found me. I could see her, and I knew that she held Almeah's secret. I could hear Almeah's child crying."
"Who is Almeah?" Harris asked eagerly, knowing that anything could be a clue.
Suddenly, and quiet unexpectedly, Harris was tackled from the side. He soon found himself on his back with a livid Azalea Wilemont perched on his stomach with a consticting hand to Harris's throat.
"You don't need to know, boy," she hissed. Harris threw the offensive vampiress off, and got to his feet.
"Why does this matter so much to you? What do you want?" he shouted.
"Aurelia," Azalea said softly, addressing the young woman behind her, "go home and check on James."
"Don't kill him," Aurelia said. Both Azalea and Harris turned to look at the strange creature. "He's needed," Aurelia addes, a wicked grin adorning her features. With that, she left.
"You let your guard down, boy. That's how I was able to catch you as I did," Azalea said. "I must admit, I expected better from Daniel's pupil."
"Expect all you want, you'll still go out by my hand," Harris said. He gestured towards the door that Aurelia passed through seconds ago. "So, who is she, and why does she work for you?"
Azalea looked at the moon momentarily, as though she needed to gather her thoughts. "She's been on this earth longer than I have, you know. She was a poor girl in some isolated village in England- long before I was born, and even before my parents. One day, the head of her church had been performing some wicked deed of the occult. He conjured something, a demon, and that demon chose the first body that entered the church to inhabit- Aurelia's. One of your Hunters banished the demon within, but she was ruined. Dark, like me- but completely insane. The demon made her lose her mind. Part of it lingers, and so does she.
"Virginia and I found her. You Hunters left her- a crazed young woman out on the streets. She was used and abused over time. So, my sister and I took her in. She travelled with us, though she would come and go as she pleased. She always came back to us, though."
"Insane, yet loyal," Harris said. "What purpose does she serve you?"
"Though part of the demon still affects her, she's mostly human. That could be useful if I ever needed to break into a heavily guarded school and kidnap someone important."
"Well, isn't that just your luck?" Harris sneered, advancing on her in a fighting stance.
"Ah, ah, ah!" Azalea said. "Remember, I can't kill you. She's never been wrong, you know." She ducked under his punch and kicked out at him. "Well, I suppose I could still rough you up a bit."
Harris once again picked himself up from the ground and rushed the infuriating woman. He was functioning on pure adrenaline, and managed, as a result, to punch her so forcefully that she fell to the ground in a heap. She remained motionless as Harrisadvanced on her, seeing her pale features in the moonlight. He watched a moment too long and felt the vice-like grip on the back of his knee pulling him down. The two wrestled for a moment, with Harris ending up on top with a dagger to Azalea Wilemont's throat.
"She didn't say- that I can't kill-you," Harris panted.
"But you won't."
"Why wouldn't I?"
"Because you're fascinated by someone who can win. YOu were always under the illusion that the good guy always wings, and you hate me too much to finish me. My wellbeing is also very closely tied to James's."
Releasing a burdened sigh, Harris threw himself off of Azalea, moving as far away from her as possible, without turning his back to her. He scratched his head lightly with the dagger still in hand, watching as she elegantly stood and brushed offending leaf litter from her body.
"Times like this, I miss the incredibly dumb vampires," Harris mumbled. This earned a slight laugh from his opponent.
"No, you don't," she said, the humor still evident in her tone. "Admit it- you love fighting me."
"So, I do," Harris confessed. "But, I have a job to do, and a superior to save. You could at least give me a hint."
"I think you've had enough hints tonight," Azalea whispered, just loud enough for him to hear. "You need to learn respect for the gods before they teach you in their own way."
"What?" Harris asked sharply.
"I have no doubt that you won't heed my warning. Your lot knows no boundaries. You must learn them, though. It could mean the difference in lives."
"I need all available researched to find everything they can about Almeah, or 'Almeah's child'," Harris told the expectant group huddled in the library. "Use every resource you can, because I think this is really important to her."
The sound of chairs scraping as literally dozens of researchers swept through the extensive library filled the air. Harris stood near the double doors, watching with satisfaction as possibly helpful books were gathered from the shelves and the catalogues were being thoroughly searched.
"I can't believe you just let her go," Daniel said, heaving a sigh and flipping through one of his personal books.
"She made a good point, Daniel," Harris said emphatically. "If anyone working for her found out, James would be dead in seconds, and so would most of this school."
"So now we're just waiting for her to pick us all off one by one."
"We have no other choice," Harris said, preparing to leave the library.
"Find something else to concentrate on, Harris," Daniel said. "It's happened everytime, and I fear it will happen to you. Do not let yourself get so wrapped up in Azalea Wilemont. It could be the death of you."
"Did it happen to you?" Harris quietly asked his mentor.
"No, but it happened to James. Years of his life were just...gone. He could have damaged his career, but luckily it never went that far."
"Sir," one of the researchers called, beckoning Daniel and Harris, "I think I've found something. I KNOW I've found something."
"Well?" Daniel asked impatiently.
"'Almeah, possibly the darkest sorcerer of all time, once harnessed the power of all nonhuman creatures, and those men of weak minds. It is said that Almeah once practiced magic for good, but circumstances nudged him towards darkness. Almeah had one daughter, and this daughter was Reborn as a vampire on her seventeenth birthday. Almeah tried all means to control his daughter, and even to make her human again. Eventually, a primitive Hunter killed her. Almeah sank into grief, and further into darkness.'"
"That lunatic Aurelia said something about Almeah's child crying," Harris said. "What could that possibly mean?"
"I don't know, but I think this is out of our hands," Daniel said.
"What can we do?" Harris asked. "We can't possibly sit back and let them win. This is our territory, and we're protecting it no matter what. You say we can't give her what she wants? We just have to find out what the hell Aurelia is talking about, get James, and then finish them all off for good."
"We need to call our superiors and perhaps have them send help. We cannot not do this alone- not this time," Daniel said.
"What is so huge with these things she wants? Why is this so serious?" one of the younger students asked. "We need our leader, and we don't really want her to kill all of us off. Why do we need to call someone?"
"If you had even the faintest hint of the powers she could harness, you wouldn't be able to sleep at night," Daniel hissed. "We aren't talking about typical objects. It's not like she's asking for a childhood diary the Hunters confiscated. We are talking about magic in its darkest form."
The whole room remained silent throughout Daniel's small speech, and no one uttered a word as he finished. All of the students were unaware of the danger that had presented itself. They waited for Daniel to say something else, but his resolve slipped.
"We cannot let her in again," Daniel murmured. "She must not come near this building, or we could lose everything."
"So, we need to tighten security," Harris said. "Perhaps we could put more guards both on the grounds and in the building. Was anyone watching the security cameras when this happened? Either way, we need to make sure someone is on top of them at all hours. Perhaps we could also work in shifts helping the guards, because I don't think we have too many guards left to spread out."
"Absolutely right," Daniel mumbled distractedly, running his hands through his hair and making his way through the door of the library. "I have some phone calls to make."
"Well," Heather said, "I think he's lost it."
"Do we have someone watching the security cameras right now? No? Alright, I need two volunteers," Harris said. Two of the students scurried past Harris and followed Daniel out of the library. "I want someone to get the guard's roster and also the roster of fully trained Hunters. We need to organize shifts."