About the Story: Yes, it's another vampire story. Sort of. I've decided to use a few other demons in it besides vampires, and all of them are going to have very…interesting personalities. None as wimpy or as crazy as Raebon, though. He will always be the odd one in my mind. So, anyway. Summary! Sana knew that something was strange about her family. She knew that they were hiding something. But not until her father disappeared and her family started falling apart did she discover what it was. Or rather, it discovered her. When her father's mysterious servant arrives one night at her doorstep, she knows he isn't human. And the last thing she wants to do is find out why. Because whoever destroyed her family, wants to destroy her. And the only problem is, 'whoever' is never the same….

Chapter 01

My father was dead.

Well, actually they said that he was missing. But I knew better. I could hear the truth in their voices. Over the years I had gotten good at telling what people were not telling me. I could tell when they lie.

Maybe I was just paranoid, but ever since I turned ten I felt like I was being lied to more and more often. Now I had a vague idea why.

My father was dead because someone killed him. Something happened to him that wasn't supposed to, and it had something to do with his job.

They lied to me about that, too; my parents, my brother, and all the businessmen and women who came by the house to talk privately with my father. They said he was the CEO of a worldwide company. Funny how I never seemed to remember the name of this so-called company or what exactly it produced. Idiotic how they thought a seventeen-year-old couldn't figure out that something was wrong and strange about my father's prolonged absences. How I couldn't notice how my mother stayed up late during them, wringing her hands as she stared blankly out the window, unable to hear or see my brother and me. But my brother was in on it, too.

I was the only one who didn't know.

But didn't know what?

My mother had gone into her room after the men left and she hadn't come out, even though it was late in the evening and they had delivered the news in the early hours of the morning. Michael, my brother, said nothing as he went about his daily routine. I was left alone as I usually was. It was almost as if I had no family and the house was empty save for my two pet finches and myself. Even my cat was no where to be seen. But I was used to this. Yes, I had friends, but sometimes not even the companionship of friends can help you through things.

I heard Michael go into his bedroom next door, lock the door, and turn on his television. Something loud and violent, by the sound of it. Probably to drown out the same thoughts that plagued me. I stared at the blank screen of my own personal television, but I had never been much of a watcher. Vain celebrities and reality shows that showed nothing but the worst of society were not what I considered entertaining. Instead I sat by my window, staring out through the pouring rain; my finches huddled silently on their perches as if knowing that something had gone horribly wrong.

"What am I going to do?" I murmured softly, my voice barely louder than the rain pit-pattering on my window. Anxiously, I rubbed the strange, dull sea-green stone on the ring my father had given me on my fifth birthday. It was the only thing I knew that he had given directly to me with the only note he had ever written with my name as the sole recipient. "No one will tell me the truth. Not even now that my father is gone. What am I supposed to do?"

Almost in answer one of the sulking birds, Mike, ruffled his feathers and let out an excited shrill chirp. Ike took a moment to bite between her toes before joining in.

I looked up at them curiously. Sometimes, animals could be so…

Then I heard it, too. The doorbell. I had almost missed it over the noise coming from my brother's room.

Probably more people coming to give their condolences, I dreaded as I dragged myself through the silent house to the front door. Thunder rumbled violently from not too far away, emphasized by the sudden clap of lighting that lit the entire house like a spotlight. I hesitated, my hand grasping the cold doorknob. Who in their right mind would be out on a night like this?

The doorbell rang again, almost sounding urgent, if that was even possible.

I pulled back the locks and cracked the door open enough to see whom it was.

A man stood at the doorway, looking cold and miserable and in a bad mood. He glared at me in surprise. Obviously, I was not who he wanted to see.

"Who are you?" I asked mistrustfully.

He ignored my question. "Is Mr. Orion home? I need to speak with him. It's urgent."

I frowned; I couldn't recognize his accent. And I knew accents. I could tell you who was from Germany, Australia, England, or South Africa by just a few words and usually their appearance. For some reason beyond my comprehension, my father had made it a point that we knew. Whenever we had told him that someone was there to see him, he asked us what he or she was. He didn't seem to trust people into his private wing unless he was expecting someone of a certain nationality. People think that accents are easy to fake; but if you have the right ear, you can tell who's genuine and who isn't.

So it bothered me that I didn't know this man. He looked in his early twenties, but his soaked hair and haggard face made him look much older. For some reason I automatically didn't trust him.

He just didn't seem right.

"My father is missing," I said shortly. "Since last night. If you're from his work, surely you must have heard."

I didn't mean to sound so snobbish, but I guess I did very much, because he gave me a disdainful sneer that only lasted a few moments. Then his expression shifted to worry and an even worse temper.

"What do you mean he's missing? He can't be missing. I need to talk to him!"

"Look, he's gone, okay? And he's not coming back. So if that's all you want, then good night!" I snapped, making to slam the door. But I couldn't. He'd jammed his foot in the opening, preventing me from shutting him out.

"What are you doing?" I said, nearly yelling as I tried frantically to close the door. "Go away or I'll call the police!"

He pushed me aside with remarkable ease, his eyes coldly threatening. "The police can't help you," he said in a bitter tone. "Your family is beyond any help that mere normal humans can give."

"What the…get out of my house!" I shouted, making to slap him and run.

The man merely grabbed my wrist in mid swing and held me painfully tight, scanning the room for any signs of life. But my mother was in her room, lost again in her own world. And my brother was gone, hiding behind his television.

"Stop fighting. I'm not going to hurt you," he said flatly, squeezing my wrist once and then roughly releasing it.

Biting back tears, I held my throbbing arm to my chest and watched as he stalked off down the hallway. Towards my father's east wing. In fact, he went right up to the door and went inside without hesitating, as if he had done it many times before.

"Hey!" I gasped, stumbling after him. "You can't go in there!"

I myself had only been in my father's study four times as far as I could remember. It had been a forbidden area. Whenever my father was in it, we talked through the intercom to tell him about dinner or about a visitor. Otherwise, when he went into it we were shut off from him. The wing had its own phone line, internet, and dish network. It was a separate home and a separate world.

It was the reason why my family was falling apart.

The stranger was standing by a large oak desk, carelessly pulling out drawer after drawer and dumping the contents onto the floor. When he didn't find what he wanted, he moved on to the next one, and then on to the bookshelves, causing book after precious book to tumble unceremoniously to the littered ground.

"What are you doing?" I asked again, my voice shrill and demanding.

Unexpectedly, he turned on me, waving a book around the study. "Your father, did he tell you anything about a ring? It was a thick band, sort of black silver, with a stone the color…the color of my eyes. Do you know where it is? Do you know what he did with it?"

I looked at him blankly. "A ring? What--?"

"Where is it?" he demanded almost frantically. "Where did he put it?"

Not knowing what to say, I looked up in his eyes. They were sea green. The same color of the ring I wore on the chain around my neck.

I suddenly felt in control again. My panic at having a stranger ruining my father's things and running freely around in my house was fading.

"Why do you want it?"

"I need it!" he said desperately, throwing the book he was holding at the window. It hit the glass with a sharp pang and then fell to the floor with a thud. "I need to make sure it's safe!"

"Why is it so important?'

He glowered at me. Then picked up a book and looked at it, and then up at me. I had a strange feeling that he was going to throw it at me. But he tossed the book aside in frustration and looked around the room, running his fingers distressingly through his hair as I had seen my father do when he had been stressed.

"It just is," he sneered. "What's it to you?"

"I might know where it is," I said nastily. "Why, do you want to know?"

Immediately, his attitude seemed to change. He stared at me silently for a few moments, the anger and coldness in his eyes fading. "You know where it is? Where?" he asked eagerly, stepping towards me.

"First tell me why it's so important to you," I demanded. "You can't just come storming into my house and wreck all of my father's things without giving an explanation."

He looked as if he was going to argue. But then he shook his head and sent a shower of books to the floor with a aggravated sweep of his arm. "That ring is very important to me. I need to know what happened to it. I need to know whether or not I'm…" his voice wavered uncertainly, "whether or not I'm free."

"Free? What does that mean?"

"Look, just tell me where the ring is and I'll leave you alone, okay?"

I liked the sound of that. If he left then I could return to the silence of my room. Alone with Mike and Ike, who were certainly better than having no one.

But the note. What my father had written in the note…

"My father said I shouldn't give it to anyone," I said. "He told me that no matter what happened to him, I had to keep it and that I shouldn't give it up. No matter what."

The man groaned and fell against the bookshelf, his hands covering his face. "He gave it to you? He gave the ring to you?"

"Why do you want it so badly?" I pressed. "And how do you know my father?"

He didn't seem to want to answer me. Instead, he prowled restlessly around the room, peering through the door into the adjoining rooms: a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom, and another study room. I stood in the main doorframe, my arms folded and my expression hard as I watched him relentlessly. He would answer; I would make him answer, one way or another. Besides, he didn't seem able to leave. Or else he would have left the house rather than pace back and forth trying to avoid me.

"Your father—" he started, then stopped abruptly to give me an exasperated look. "How much do you know about your father?"

"I asked you first," I retorted harshly.

"So you did," he snorted. "But I need to know what you know about him and my—our world. Or else nothing I say will make any sense to you."

I frowned. "'Our world?' What do you mean by that?"

His eyes narrowed and locked onto mine, and for some reason I couldn't look away. "How much do you know about your father?"

I didn't want to answer him, but I felt that I had no choice. If I was going to figure out the truth of what was going on—and I was starting to realize that I probably didn't want to—then I had to start somewhere. And this man seemed to be the best place to start getting answers.

"I know absolutely nothing."

The stranger nodded in smug satisfaction, as if expecting my answer. I scowled.

"Then I guess we'd better start from the beginning," he said, a nasty smile creeping on his face. "Do you know what I am?"

I shook my head uncertainly, my brow furrowed. "Do I want to know?"

"No," he said tersely. "You don't. But you're going to find out anyway."

He searched the disordered floor for several moments before snatching up a rather worn old book and flipping through the crinkled pages. When he found the one he wanted, he smiled sardonically. He shoved the book at me, and hesitantly, I took it.

I didn't want to read what was on that page. Never in my entire life had I ever felt such a feeling of foreboding and dread as I willingly and yet unwillingly took that book from his all too eager hands. Questioningly, I looked up at him, the open book held loosely in my hands where I resolutely resisted looking down at it. If I did—when I did—then I knew there was no going back.

"What do you want me to do with it?" I asked dumbly, stalling for time.

"Read it, obviously," he said, his tone making it clear that he thought I was the stupidest person on the planet.

I had the very distinct desire to throw the book at him, but instead I slowly looked down. The first word I saw told me all I needed to know.

Vampires

My eyes snapped up to look at him. "What is this? A joke?"

"No," he said flatly, and I knew immediately that he wasn't lying. After all, I could tell if he was. Right? "It isn't a joke. Do you really want to know who your father is?"

I wanted to say no, but my head was nodding yes.

"Your father was a demon Hunter. And I, my dear," he said with a wicked grin, "am a demon."

"A vampire?"

"Yes, a vampire."

Now I knew why I didn't want to know.