Leave Me Here to Die
Raine Storm's world has completely turned upside-down and is nearly unrecognizable from what it had been only half a year before. Now eighteen years old, instead of graduating from high school and spending the careless summer with her friends, Raine is eight-months pregnant and hiding from the Vampires that think her dead and the Witches that would still see her to that end. If being pregnant and raising a child were not stressful enough, Raine and her friend's now have to deal with Humans discovering the Paranatural world, and an ancient breed of Vampires being awoken. Old friends are dying and new friends don't seem entirely trustworthy. What can Raine do while trying to raise her child in a world at hates and fears her, and an undead husband who has new responsibilities that far extends beyond diaper-duty?
"Some felt Vampires had no honor. That was not true. Their honor code was strong, just highly unbalanced."
Warnings and Ratings:
This book is rated M for "Mature"
This book contains: Crude and Strong language, Sexual situations/Sexual content, Detailed depictions of Violence and Murder, Drug references/Abuse, Suicide, Self-harming, Rape, Underage drinking and sex, "Occult", Homosexual references/Situations, Bigotry, and some Scary Moments.
This book is not meant to offend any of its readers. It's meant to be realistic, and in the "real world" there are men that treat woman badly, there is drug abuse, people are not always nice, and people don't say, "Oh darn" when they are shot in the foot.
Note: I have gotten some hate mail from "Wiccans" and "Pagans" due to some of the content of these books. What needs to be understood firstly is I myself an NOT Pagan, but Christian, so my knowledge of Pagan beliefs is not vast, but actually very limited. Any generalizations made are made from the limited amount of info I have to work with. Secondly you must be aware that there are "Wiccans" in my book, and then there are "Witches"…they are NOT the same thing. My Witches are mine. I made them up. The rules, the spells, the powers, the Tribes, and the customs I made up myself. They are not meant to be like anything you have read before, or real life Pagans.
THIS STORY, ITS PLOT, AND ALL ITS CHARACTERS ARE UNDER COPYRIGHT AND ANYONE FOUND WITH ILLEGAL COPIES OF THIS STORY OR IT'S CHARACTERS WILL BE PURSUED WITH LEGAL ACTIONS!
To my good friends, Thank you for being there with me, editing with me late at night, reading my chapters, looking them over for typos, and encouraging me to keep writing when I was ready to just give it up. You're too good to me. And thank you for supporting me and keeping my hopes high. I will be published my friends, and it will be because of you luv.
"Help me! Oh God!" the man screamed as he ran down a dark and lonely street late at night. The sky was starless and moonless, the clouds so thick and swollen with rain it looked as though they should fall from the sky and crush everything below.
The street was cracked and puddles thick with grime edged the tall buildings that lined the alley too narrow for cars.
"Get away! Help!" he screamed as he panted, running as fast as his panicked legs would carry him, faster than he had ever run before in his life for sure.
There was only one source of light in the dark alley and the man was running towards it like it was his salvation. At the far end, where the open street could be seen, a lamppost stood alone as though a beckon of hope and promised safety if the man could but reach it.
At his heals was what terrified him so, a dark figure running him down, gaining on him with ease, legs moving as though they did not need to even touch the ground to propel him forward. The figure was that of a man, face in an unnatural shadow while his eyes shone in the dark in a way no Human's could.
The man fleeing was breathing too hysterically from panic and too heavily from running to scream for help again. The only sound he managed when he was grabbed from behind and spun into the brick wall of a passing building's side by the back of his jacket was a surprised gasp.
Pressing his back flat against the brick he shut his eyes tight, like a child alone in his dark bedroom, afraid of the monsters that were indubitably there, relying on the idea that they could not harm him if his eyes were closed.
He could not see them so they could not see him. That was what all children believe for a time.
That was not the case this night with this monster.
"Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God," he panted under his breath, eyes clamped tight enough to crease his forehead.
The man chasing stepped up and placed his hands on the brick wall on either side of the whimpering man's head, leaning in as if to maybe kiss him, but stopping short and simply inhaling a deep scent of the man. Pulling back slightly while his hands still remained on the brick, he smiled with sharp teeth exposed.
The man would have screamed at the sight, if his eyes had not been clamped shut like it was all that would save him.
Something about the way the scared man smelled excited and pleased the other man.
It was the fear the man's aura exuded that was so intoxicating.
It was like a touchable, tasteable, smellable thing. A thing that could be captured in his hands and stroked, that could be eaten.
"Scream for me," he said softly, barely audible over the other man's panicked breaths and pleadings to someone unseen.
The man did not scream and so he was slapped across the face, a sudden squeak escaping him as he kept his face turned away, tears finally running down his sweaty face.
"Scream for me." The man demanded more fiercely but barely louder from before.
"Please, please, I want to go home, please," the first man begged and was smacked again, causing him to flinch.
"Scream!" the second shouted and the man did, maybe out of surprise of being suddenly yelled at, but he screamed once wordlessly, his hands curling up in the air around his face as though to block another hit he knew was coming.
"Good boy," the second said with a cruel smile.
"Please, I'll give you my money, my watch, anything you like, but please, don't kill me. Please, I won't say anything. I won't go to the cops. Please," he begged, not knowing his pleas were going on deaf and pitiless ears.
"Anything I like?" the man, somehow still in shadow with deep blue eyes glowing with a sort of internal iridescent light, said with a smile.
"Yes, anything!" The first man assured, panting and shaking and pressing himself into the wall as though hoping he would push through it to the other side and get away. The taller man had him trapped with nowhere to go, yet the street and surely safety was so close. The lamppost was only a stone's throw down the alley, its light stopping just before it reached their toes on the gleaming concrete, but so close it gave some reassurance. Surely someone would have heard him, surely someone was going to come and save him. Surely there was someone out at such a late hour.
The man leaned into the scared man and nearly pressed the left side of his face to the others so he could breathe lightly into his ear, causing the man to shiver and whimper. His whisper barely more than a breath he simply said "good" before tilting the man's chin and with his left hand, grabbing the man's hair, roughly jerking the man's head to the side and exposing a lean length of smooth neck.
The man screamed at the suddenness but his scream quickly became a shriek as he was bit down on and his skin sliced open, a gush of thick warm blood exploding into the other man's mouth.
The pain was instant and incredible and his screams were fast and panicked one right after another without a discernable breath between so that it sounded as though it was on continuous shriek.
Blood pumped from his neck and into the other man's mouth, aiding his killer in his death by his own beating heart.
His screams were high and piteous, but no one came to them, no one at all.
Before he stopped screaming, before he died, the man was released and he immediately crumpled to the ground, his legs weak while his right hand clamped around his throat, fingers over the bleeding wound, hardly enough to ebb the flow.
Lightning suddenly flashed, illuminating the dark alley in several fast flickers, revealing a third man, some feet away.
He sat atop a dented and grime-covered upturned garbage can, balanced as though he weighed nothing, though, he did not look like he weighed much more than nothing. His limbs were thin and long, his undernourished body hunched over itself with shoulders rolled forward in a very protective posture. His head was down and in shadow, but the lighting had granted enough light to see his bright blue eyes, dull with despair.
"Christian," the other said as distant thunder rolled, the wounded man on the ground gasping for air and sobbing at all the blood he could see in the next flash of lighting.
A second louder roll of thunder passed and the other man said nothing.
"Christian, come on, you have to feed. You will die if you do not." He said, turning to fully face his friend.
"I am sorry Augustus," was all the other man –Christian- said, still hunching, still perched, still not looking up from the wet pavement as rain started to fall; heavy drops at first, a sudden heavy shower within seconds. Only the man on the ground seemed to even notice the sudden change in weather and he curled up, as though protecting his wound from the rain.
"Christian, I brought you out here to feed, so feed." Augustus said, reaching down behind him and grabbing the sobbing man by the ankle and half dragging half tossing him around himself and towards Christian. The man screamed at being grabbed, grunted at being tossed, and moaned upon landing in a quickly deepening puddle.
Christian said nothing as he quickly became saturated by the spring rain, his messy black curls pulling long and dripping with water while hanging in his eyes. Lighting flashed and he closed his electric blue eyes.
"No Chris, not tonight. You will feed." Augustus said firmly, marching over to his friend and grabbing him by the upper arm firmly. Christian made to jerk away automatically at the touch, but Augustus did not let go. He yanked Christian down off the trashcan, sending it toppling over noisily into the rest as Christian stumbled towards him. His arm still in Augustus' firm grip was all that kept Christian from falling to the ground. "Do you want to die?" Augustus shouted into Christian's face as he shook his upper arm, much like a father would their son while resisting the urge to smack some sense into him in his rage.
Christian said nothing, but looked down and away, his sopping curls sticking to the side of his gaunt, once so striking face when he turned. He was still striking now, but for all the wrong reasons. He had never been weighty, or even considered a "healthy weight," but his appearance now was positively emaciated rather than just a little too thin. He had once not too long ago been one of the most attractive men. Not handsome so much as beautiful. His face had been delicate, even slightly effeminate, if not for his boyish grin and strong nose. But he had no boyish grins anymore, and his face had wasted away like the rest of him, to look pale and shallow.
If he had been Human he would have died.
Being dead, he could not get any deader, simply weaker and weaker. His body would eventually give up though and do what all dead bodies did, but he would be conscious when he rotted. It truly was a fait worse than death.
"Answer me!" Augusts said through his teeth, giving Christian a firm shake again, his anger only barely concealing his worry.
Christian said nothing as Augustus released him and thunder rolled, the man at their feet trying for one last attempt at screaming.
"Help! Help please! Someone?" he screamed, the very act clearly exhausting him as he began to pant, his words slow and forced. "Please," he shouted while sobbing. Augustus, without looking away from Christian, aimed a kick at the man that connected with a sickening thud. The man was made quiet instantly for good with that harsh crack.
"Christian," Augustus said, this time softly, rain soaking him too, flattening his equally black hair he had recently decided to grow out and fluff up with gel a little. He had been told he needed to lose the Caesar cut and opt for a more "modern" and "youthful" style. He was known to try something new every few years, but he always fell back into habit with his same old Roman haircut. It suited him best in his opinion and it had worked for the last few thousand years, so why change it?
All his careful styling and effort went down the tubes though as the rainwater washed it all away, leaving his hair just a little long and a little flat on his pale forehead.
"Chris, kiddo, we all know you are upset, but this is no way to grieve." He said and Christian made no move or gesture to acknowledge he even heard his friend's words. "Chris." He said more firmly.
"Just leave me alone." Christian said softly, hugging himself, taking a step back, and vanishing from that spot as though he had simply never been there. Rain fell where he had stood and Augustus sighed angrily. He knew Christian could not have taken himself far given how weak and starved he and his mind were, and even if he were healthy he would have only been able to use his ability to "skip" a few short miles at best, but still, he did not go and seek him out.
He would let Christian find his long way home in the rain.
Lighting flashed and there was a crack of thunder so loud it made Christian flinch slightly, a tree somewhere close undoubtedly struck.
He hated thunder.
Walking slowly, his skinny arms wrapped tightly around himself, Christian headed home. Augusts had purposefully taken him to hunting grounds far from their respective homes in Carthage because he had wanted to make it hard for him to get home on his own, make him want to feed so Augustus would take them both back.
He did not need Augustus' help. He may have been too weak to use his psychic abilities to skip him far, but he had taken himself nearly two blocks that time, and that was pretty damn good for him as of late.
Grieving Augustus had said; he was not grieving Christian argued with himself as he walked, drenched in warm rainwater. He had nothing to grieve over because she was not dead.
She: Raine, his lover, his girlfriend, his fiancé.
Funny a Vampire would even bother with such a formality like marriage, but he was a funny Vampire, he would be the first to admit that. He had proposed. It was a gesture of love, as it should always be but seemingly very seldom really was anymore.
Raine was not dead.
Yes she had been run through by a Witch from behind. Yes he had seen her fall to her knees with a scream after the blade was violently ripped from her back. Yes he has seen her stare down at her wound for a long moment as though her mind was unable to make sense of what she was seeing. Yes he had seen her fall to the ground. But she was not dead.
She was just missing.
No one had found her body -found her- after she fell.
She had fallen in plain sight, how could she have vanished?
Christian knew her to be alive. He was convinced of it.
Someone had done something with her undoubtedly, but she was not dead. She could not be dead. There was no way, just no way.
It was not grief of her death that made it so he could not feed. It was heartache and longing.
He was lonely.
He missed her. He needed her. It was not that she was dead, it was that she was gone that he was so depressing.
Augustus did not understand. He thought her dead, as did everyone else, but they did not know all that he knew. They did not know of what he had found after she had supposedly died.
Christian walked long and slow. He was miles from home and the rain was showing no sign of letting up. It saturated the ground quickly and began flooding the street he walked along. The streams in the gutters quickly became miniature raging rapids, becoming wider and faster, engulfing the street quickly. Lighting flashed and thunder followed almost instantly.
The lightning and thunder overlapped each other, flashing and crashing quickly as the storm lingered directly above.
It was a nasty rainstorm, one like they had been having every night for the last week.
He hated thunder, but he had a new appreciation for the storms.
That had been her name. It was an odd name for sure, but who was he to cast stones? Who had ever thought a Vampire would be named Christian? It seemed mockingly cruel, and it had meant to be so. Ironic too given that he had been a Russian Jew before death. He was sure his Master just had a mean-streak when it came to him. Her constant mocking would seem like a waste of time, but he supposed that after existing for more than five thousand years, all one has is time.
A car passed slowly and created rolling waves in the deep water of the street, splashing up and over the curb and onto the sidewalk. Their headlights cut through the night air harshly, illuminating the rain in front of it and making it dazzle.
Did he want to die?
No. He did not want to die, not again. He wanted to be around for when Rain returned -because he knew she would- but he just could not manage to feed. He could not go through the motions of hunting, he could not take the blood without gagging, he could not take the person's life without feeling a great emptiness consume him.
He had never been one to be overly sympathetic with his prey. He was never one to pity or dwell, but for some reason, after dating a Human (or someone he had believed to be Human for a while,) he could not retain that same cold compassionless demeanor towards the people he fed from as he used to. Raine had made him give her his word that he would not kill when he hunted so long as she lived with him. He had given that to her. He had not killed while they had co inhabited his apartment.
Just because she was gone –temporarily- did not mean he could go back to being a merciless killer.
What would she think when she showed up again?
He did not want to have their reunion spoiled by her disappointment in him.
It was not that she thought him a monster.
That was not the case.
She just had a respect for life…even though she herself had killed on more than one occasion.
Miles from home and soaking wet, Christian walked, his tears silent and invisible in the night's rain. Miles away still, a sleeping girl stirred, as if able to feel Christian's pain.
Raine moved and her delicately slanted eyes fluttered in her sleep, but she did not wake. She was in a small cramped room, barely enough room for a twin-sized bed and a medium sized dresser, but somehow she had also managed to fit a baby's crib in there with her. The closet was no longer accessible with its door pinned closed by the crib, but it was just the sacrifice she had had to make.
A distant roll of thunder, muted through the glass of her bedroom window, caused her to stir again and toss her head, long raven black hair -straight but tousled from sleep- spread out over her pale pillow. Her dreams were always nightmares, always visions of blood and fighting and pain since she had been brought to that house.
So many nights had passed since then, but she could still see the fighting every time she closed her eyes, hear the screaming and shouting every time a room grew quiet. Her physical wounds were long healed but Raine knew that something inside of her was broken, and she knew it would undoubtedly take a long time for it to right itself, to heal, if ever.
Wind gusted outside, causing the trees and the thick spring leaves to rustle.
Raine's eyes quivered then opened and she lay there for a moment as though not wanting to believe she was awake before blinking slowly and rolling on her side, reaching out to grab her clock perched on the tiny bedside table that was almost overwhelmed by its lamp and the crib baring down on it, to see the time.
The red glowing numbers read just a little after two AM.
Raine moaned while dropping the clock with a careless clunk on plastic on wood.
"Damn it," she said huskily, closing her pale-blue eyes again and placing her hand over them. She had hoped she could get at least one night of decent sleep, but it seemed that she was destined to be nocturnal for the rest of her life.
It was no fault of hers. She had always been a bit of a night owl, but dating a Vampire had certainly done nothing to break her of such habits, and now -due to some unexpected complications- she was acting more and more like a Vampire than she was comfortable with.
Rolling out of bed slowly -minding her toes as she nearly stubbed them on the dresser beside her bed- Raine heaved herself up with a heavy and long groan. Her swollen stomach was hard to work around, and among other things, made her back ache and hurt.
She was tired of being pregnant. She was tired of feeling how she did. She was tired off being cooped up inside all day –and night- long.
She was actually, just tired, and she could not sleep.
Raine squeezed past her dresser, around the end of her bed, and opened her door slowly, it creaking (what seemed loudly) in the quiet of the little house.
Walking down the hall quiet as she could past her roommates' door, she past the bathroom. She made a point of opening and closing the bathroom door, incase she had woken someone, they would assume she was simply using the bathroom, and go back to sleep.
Raine slipped down the stairs that ended in the dinning room, turned right, and walked into the kitchen where she raided the fridge for something she would find appetizing. But, unfortunate and typical for her, she found nothing that would satisfy her cravings.
Closing the door with more force than necessary, causing the stuff on the shelves in the door to jingle, and rubbing her large pregnant tummy and cursed. The idea that she would need to go out to get something that actually sounded appetizing was bothersome at first, but then exciting.
She was not allowed out of the house.
No one knew she was there, or that she was even alive, and it was apparently her roommates' intention to keep it that way.
Raine would have gone crazy if it had not been for the fact that she would sneak out late at night, while everyone slept, to take long slow walks, or trips out to get something to eat at the local mart.
Raine knew she would look a little odd walking into town dressed as she was: her hair now in a messy ponytail low on her neck, a pair of old black sweatpants (the elastic cut from the ankles so that they hung loose rather than clinging,) and a t-shirt that read "Cheer" across the front in faded glittery lettering, but she did not care. She actually dared someone to comment on it, so she would have an excuse to yell at him or her and use up some of her pent-up hostility.
She was grumpy, she was moody, and she was sleep deprived.
She did not feel it was entirely fair for her to take her irritability out on the people who were helping her, caring for her, but she had no qualms about chewing out some poor unfortunate Human that crossed her path and dared give her any kind of look.
Once upon a time she never would have described anyone as a "Human," just as a "person." But not anymore. Vampires were "people," but they certainly were not Human. She was a person, but she was not a Human either. That little fact had surprised her to learn, but she had had time to grow more accustomed and comfortable with the idea. Life certainly had become quite complicated in the year since she had learned of the Paranatural world. Witches, Vampires, and other creatures that were far from Human, they were all "real." It had taken her a while to get used to the idea herself.
Struggling, Raine sat down on the couch in the living room, and wiggled her feet into her shoes, rolling her ankles and pushing against the floor, no longer able to reach down and pull them on with her hands. She had replaced her usual boots, sneakers, and high-heels, with maternity shoes that slipped on and off and had better support for her arches. It was not because she found the clunky and rounded little flats terribly stylish, but they were damn comfortable and she would take any comfort she could get to ease her frustration as her once perfect figure swelled and she became unable to even touch her toes.
She had been a dancer once upon a time; toned, lean, and limber. Now she was rounded, slow, and achy. She had once not too long ago been a pretty teenager, a cheerleader at her school, with long shinning black hair (down to her butt), full lips, ice-coloured slanted eyes, a rounded face thanks to her Asian father, full cleavage thanks to her European mother, and though she was not considered "tall" by any means; she had had lengthy attractive legs. Her only shortcoming (if she did not count being half Chinese as a shortcoming like so many around her seemed to,) had been the white scar that bisected her left eyebrow and extended over her eyelid to stop just above her cheekbone. It was not a terribly unsightly scar like it could have been but impossible not to notice despite being neat and thin.
Now Raine looked back on those days and wanted to slap her past-self silly for having worried so much over the one little (okay, rather large) scar. Given her very pregnant state, she would have given just about anything to have her only aesthetic flaw be the pale scar at that point.
She had not intended on ending up like this. She had not planned on getting pregnant. But then, what unmarried seventeen -almost eighteen- year old did?
She had thought though that she had the best birth control possible.
No she had not been on the pill, and no, she had not ever really used a condom, but her boyfriend had been dead. Surely a dead boy would find it difficult to knock up his young girlfriend, but Christian had managed.
Vampires were not supposed to be able to have children, how was he to have thought to use protection with her, take any kind of precautions with her? Vampires were infertile, but Christian had managed. After more than four centuries he was going to be a daddy.
He just did not know it yet.
There was a loud abrupt snore from upstairs, followed by another soft roll of thunder and Raine paused, waiting while watching the stairs, unmoving; not sure if someone had just woken or not.
After a few moments, with no sound of a door opening from above her, Raine wagered it was safe enough to venture out. Safe as it ever got for her to go out.
It was May, and warm. Raine was unsure if it was raining out, so pulled on a light windbreaker jacket, incase the weather turned for the worse. Given the wind she could hear she was unsure as to how "worse" it could get, but she was not about to let a little wind or rain keep her cooped up inside when she had an opportunity to get out for a moment or more.
The jacket was blue, with white stripes down the arms, and a Nike swoosh on the left breast side. It was not hers, but it was the only coat that fit her at that point, all her own coats being far too fitted to her once slender body to fit over her pregnant tummy now.
She had at least two more months to go and she was unsure how much bigger she could get. Surely she would rupture if she got any bigger. Surely her body could not expand anymore. Right?
It was barely sprinkling out when Raine stepped out of the house and locked the door behind her. She put her keys in the front pouch pocket of her borrowed jacket and stuffed her hands in after them so that as she was walking it looked almost like she was carrying something large and round under her coat in her hands.
The street was quiet; the only traffic was a singular car rushing by on the wet road, on its way back towards the direction Raine had come. The gentle roll of thunder in the distance was the only sound that met her ears, save for the soft chiming of the wind chimes on the front porches of a few passing houses.
Raine walked slowly, letting her feet guide her in their familiar track towards the 24-hour mini-mart that was only a little more than a mile down the road.
The wind was occasionally harsh, but other than that and the heaviness of the air that promised rain, it was actually a lovely night in her opinion.
"But nobody's home.That's where she lies, broken inside, with no place to go," the young woman sang over the radio in the mart as Raine walked in. Raine knew the song, liked the song, could have sung along with the song, but refrained. She did not need to draw extra attention to herself, and honestly, the song was just far too depressing.
She had been in a band once upon a time too. Her, her best friend Kevin, and her best friend Lissa had been all it consisted of yet they had been good, but more importantly they had had fun and loved every moment of their time playing together in small local gigs and talent shows.
Lissa was dead now.
The thought was depressing but it was a definite fact Raine was dealing with.
Kevin; she had not seen since that night, that night everything had happened, the night that left her with bloody nightmares and haunted screams echoing in her mind. He had nearly gotten himself killed trying to save her life. Raine wanted to let him know what he had done for her, her child, but she couldn't.
She missed them both, Lissa and Kevin. Lissa she would never get to laugh with again, but Kevin, she remained hopeful that she would get to see his smiling pierced face again, half hidden by his bright blue bangs.
"Evening," the manager greeted, nodding towards Raine as he wrote something down in a small notebook in the palm of his hand. Raine smiled and nodded kindly but said nothing. She knew better than to talk to anyone while out on one of her little excursions. She knew she would be given hell if anyone found out she had gone out, not to even mention what would happen if someone that could recognize her, saw her, but Raine pushed such thoughts out of her head. She could not let her own guilt about sneaking out eat away at her and chase her back home. She was in the middle of nowhere, no one knew her, and she was presumed dead by all that did, so, she was confident that she was safe. But, she could not ease the tightness between her shoulder blades as she walked into the store further.
Paranoia had become her constant companion since she had "died" at the hands of the Witches.
Not to mention her run-ins with the Human police.
She admitted now that she had handled the whole situation badly, but honestly, she was not guilty of anything. Well, she did assault a few people, flee from the police, cause a few car accidents, get in a near-fatal confrontation that included two Vampires a Werewolf and a drawn weapon in the middle of her school's cafeteria, and nearly burned her workplace down around her while murdering a Witch (in self defense!) but really, she did not feel she should he hunted down and arrested over any of it. The mess at her school was a Paranatural mess that the Witch and Vampire Councils would have to sort out, and the Witch had been trying to kill her and Christian and no one else had been hurt but for maybe the club-owner's pocketbook due to all the damages, but the rest were all problems that had stemmed from there, so really, the Human police had no business coming after her.
That did not stop them from coming after her though.
They did not know or believe her dead, so she was still wanted.
Her case would be a hard one to explain if she were ever caught.
It was just another reason why she was not allowed out of the house.
"You're beautiful it's true. I saw her face, in a crowded place, and I don't know what to do, because I'll never be with you." The man on the radio played. Raine closed her eyes and wondered if there was a depressing-song-marathon or something that night on the radio. She was already in a downer mood after reading the book Hanging on to Max earlier that day, and the music was not helping.
Raine ducked into the mart's bathroom and stopped in front of the mirror, eyes shocked for just a second. Her reflection, though there, was faint. It had been there, strong and solid only some months before, but since the start of her third trimester a month before, it had steadily vanished.
Raine looked away and quickly stepped out of view of the mirror, glad that the bathroom was empty at that raw morning hour. She did not want to have to try and explain to a Human just what was growing inside her, explain to them that it was the Vampire in her womb that caused her reflection's faintness.
"I don't want to put on my make-up, like all those gurls in the magazines. That's not who I am when I wake up. That's not who I wanna be." The new song started, the young woman singing as Raine shook out her hands while stepping out of the bathroom. She was glad there was a less depressing song on now, and proceeded to sing along with it, leisurely walking down the aisles, looking for whatever elusive food her body was craving for so badly.
"'Cause we are who we are who we are. It doesn't really matter what car you drive, it's good to be alive, 'cause you are who you are, who you are, who you are, who you are." Raine sang to herself quietly, examining the shelf of pork rinds and beef jerky. Her food cravings where what dominated her life, now that she was past the stages where she had morning sickness and every smell got to her. It drove everyone around her crazy, her asking them to go out at all hours to get her the most obscure things, but she just pointed out that she can't exactly go out and get them herself and how much it sucked being the one that had such cravings and they, for the most part, would shut up.
"Will you need any help tonight Ma'm?" the manager that had greeted her before asked, suddenly appearing beside her. Raine stopped singing and looked over at him with a gasp, taking a step back as though he had threatened her in some violent way. She had been distracted and had not sensed him come up behind her. Despite the fact that he was a Human and basically harmless, she did not want him –or anyone- sneaking up on her. It made her feel careless and sloppy. Her heart was pounding up in her throat, her breath frozen in her chest.
"Whoa, I'm sorry. I did not mean to startle you. I was just wondering if you would need any help, you know, reaching or lifting something. Or maybe finding something?" he asked, his thick matted hair cut short to his head, his chocolate skin smooth and youthful. His dress shirt, tie, and glasses made him look older, but his smooth face looked like it had never seen a razor before.
"No, I'm alright, thank you." Raine said, remembering how to breathe again, easing down a little and turning back towards the shelf, but keeping her eyes on the stranger.
She was not paranoid.
There really were dozens of people out in the world that really were out to kill her if given the chance. Not many people could honestly say that and not be locked up and medicated for delusion.
"Alright. Well, I will be at the front if you need anything alright?" he asked with a perfect smile. Raine eyed him suspiciously, but then smiled as kindly as she could and thanked him again.
She did not want to be cynical, but she had not met anyone in a long time that was that willing to help her out of the sheer goodness of their hearts…without something to gain…and though the man had probably been genuinely trying to be helpful to a pregnant woman out alone late at night, she had come too close to dying too many times at the hands of perfectly pleasant looking people to let her guard down that that point when she was not even supposed to be out of the house in the first place.
It had been five months since the last time someone had tried to kill her, but their last attempt had been too close to successful for her comfort.
People did not think her dead simply because she was nowhere to be seen.
The last anyone had seen of her she had been run-through with her own blade by a Witch from behind.
She felt guilt everyday that passed and she did not contact her friends, contact her fiancé, to tell them she was all right, to tell him she was having his child.
She had begged to contact them, Christian more than any other, but she was assured it was far too dangerous. The Witches may have though her dead, but they were not fools. They were keeping an eye on all that knew her to make sure that none could be hiding her since there had been no body to identify, a great fire destroying much of the evidence and many, many bodies. Christian, Kevin, Malachi; all were still under moderate surveillance, much to Raine's frustration.
It was ironic then that, despite all the Witches efforts, that really was what was happening. She was being hidden away.
Raine had asked many times how it was possible the Witches did not know about this, but she had yet to get a straight of definite answer. She supposed she could not complain that the Witches did not know she was alive and in hiding, but that did not stop her from worrying herself sick over it.
Despite strict counsel not to, she had contacted Christian, many months before. She had left him a note, a note that to anyone else would have meant nothing, but assured him alone that she was okay, that she was there for him.
She could only hope that Christian was managing without her, getting along okay until it was determined safe enough for her to see him again.
Wondering, Raine eventually found herself in an aisle that was filled with baby diapers, wipeies, bottles, pacifiers, and baby food in many, many colourful jars, lining the shelves. Raine paused in her search for something tasty and looked over the bibs and footies with a flutter in her chest.
She could not help but smile at the little lions and elephants on the tiny hats, or the pictures of the babies on all the packaging. She absentmindedly rubbed her tummy, thinking about her own baby. She had cribs, bibs, bottles, nuckies, blankets, soaps, and diapers already, but she had not yet bought much in the way of clothing. She did not know what her baby was going to be, a boy or a girl. She did not want to get her heart set on little pink frilly dresses and bonnets to have a boy, or get the mindset for little pants and sporty t-shirts and have a little girl. She had a few sort of neutral baby garments at home, all folded up at the bottom of the crib that was cramped up in her bedroom, but she wanted so bad to buy more.
Looking she saw a bib, snap-up singlet, and hat set with little yellow duckies on it and stopped, her smile frozen in place for a moment before it started to wilt around the edges. The little smiling duckies in rain boots and umbrellas playing in puddles made her think of Christian, and that made her heart sink down to be somewhere beside her baby in her stomach.
Funny that yellow duckies made her think of her Vampire lover, but he had liked rubber duckies. It had been a well-guarded secret of his for years, until she had come to live with him that is. It was an endearing and completely unexpected fascination from such an old Vampire.
She missed him so much.
She missed him more than she had missed anyone before.
She had lost her mother and her best friend that past fall, and yet, somehow, she missed Christian -who was still alive in a sense- more than even them.
He was the only one that had made her feel safe, even when the whole world was –and still is- out to get her.
Pulling the ducky set off the peg on the shelf-wall, Raine smiled down at it with tearful eyes. She was going to get it. Girl or Boy, the white outfit, with yellow duckies would work, and she knew Christian would love it.
"Your favorite fruit is chocolate covered cherries, seedless watermelon, nothing from the ground is good enough." The man sung in the background as Raine held the baby clothing close to her chest, walking on in her never ending quest for something to eat that would quench her burning hunger. It was a hunger she had never felt before. She figured that was simply because she, at eighteen years old, had never been pregnant before, but, something about the hunger unsettled her slightly.
She had gained weight being pregnant, but she worked hard to keep in shape. She did not consider herself vain. She just considered it her staying in "optimum shape for her furthered self-preservation."
"Oh, cherry, I'm singing out loud, to guide me, give me your strength." he sang as Raine smiled. Her baby turned over within her, as if trying to find a more comfortable position in its cramped accommodations. Whenever Raine felt her room was too small, she thought of what it must have felt like for her baby, and was able to smile and shrug it off. Her baby kicked out once, as if trying to stretch out and give itself more space. Her baby was always more active at night. She could feel when it slept, when it hiccupped, and when it was awake and restless. It was restless at the moment, kind of like her.
The tiny Vampire within her was nocturnal, just like its daddy, and it was the main reason Raine could not sleep at night. It was hard to sleep when there was something wiggling around within her, and punching her in the kidneys.
There was always some kind of unexpected surprises to be had when a woman is pregnant for the first time. Sometimes they are called "complications," but Raine's "complications" were in a league all their own. She had taken on several Vampiric traits since she had become pregnant. Her reflection becoming faint was one and probably the least bothersome, but her insomnia and sensitivity to the sun was an unexpected side effect to carrying a Vampire around inside of her that was far more irksome.
Finally, in the frozen food section, Raine found something that sounded appetizing enough. Breaded shrimp. She could go home, fry some up, and no one would be the wiser that she had left, it only being about three AM at that point.
Walking towards the front of the mart, all the lanes were closed but for the self-checkout where the young manager stood, waiting for her, the only customer, to arrive and pay for what she needed. As she approached the young man smiled kindly. Raine returned the gesture until she turned her back on him, where she dropped it quickly.
"Cash," she said to the machine -or to herself- as she pressed the option on the screen. She scanned her baby clothing, the shrimp, the chocolate milk, the gummies, the garlic bread, and the tabloid magazine she had nabbed at the end of the row along with a Twix candy bar. The man watched her as she scanned her purchases and fed the machine her twenty-dollar bill a few times before it finally took it.
"Thank you," the machine said in its bland, automated, female sounding voice as Raine tore off her recite and gathered her change from the slot's cup where it had collected.
"You have a safe drive home Ma'm." the young man said, smiling at her. Raine felt dizzy, and did not smile back at him, not mentioning to him that she had not driven there either.
She did not trust him as far as she could throw him, regardless of her superhuman strength.
Her head hurt far too much to bother even being polite at that point anyways.
Tao paced back and forth quickly in her living room. To her reclining chair, to the glass china cabinet full of China-dolls, and back again. Havoc sat on the couch, watching as Tao paced with his mismatched –one blue, one green- eyes, his dark bare feet up on her glass coffee table, taking advantage of the fact that Tao was far too distressed and distracted to yell at him for it.
They were both in their pajamas, both having just gotten out of bed.
"Where do you think she went? I mean, I do not sense any residual feelings of a struggle, and none of our alarms were tripped, so she couldn't have been kidnapped could she?" she asked for the hundredth time.
"Unless they were able to get into her mind and convinced her to leave the house of her own free will. Otherwise anything else would have set off our trip-alarms." Havoc said flatly. Tao froze to look at him with horrified eyes and parted mouth. "But," he continued, clearly having misjudged Tao's reaction to what he had just said, "She is a Psychic Witch herself, so really, I doubt that is even possible, especially with that, you know, Vampire in her." He assured, Tao relaxing slightly. Havoc understood Tao's nervousness, her being Raine's cousin and primary caregiver for the past few months as far as the pregnancy was concerned, but wished she would relax. He cared about Raine too, but nothing was going to be accomplished by her panicking.
"She knows better than to go out alone, especially late at night. Who knows who or what could be out there…" Tao said, chewing her nail and mumbling to herself in Chinese, clearly frustrated.
"She has no where to go but back here, and all those looking for her think she is dead, so really, she is probably safe."
"How can you say that?" Tao said outraged. "You have heard what the Council has said. You know they are investigating her death -along with all other Witches- of last winter. Their body count is off by several, enough to get them suspicious, and they believe Raine could have lived! I mean, sure, a lot of the missing Witches bodies were likely just destroyed by the fire, but of all those that "died" why are they suspicious of Raine? I mean,"
"Tao, relax, relax baby," he said, standing from the couch and walking over to her, wrapping his long strong arms around her slender shoulders, holding the little Asian woman tightly, his long beaded hair falling around her like a curtain as his tall body leaned over her short one from behind. "Shh." He soothed. "They may think she could have been one of the missing bodies, but they cannot prove, or disprove her death. She is a Pyro; her body would have burned away into nothingness like a Vampire's. It is easily enough written off, just give them time to snoop about so they can feel like they have accomplished something." He comforted.
"All they would have to do is pull one of us up before them, and ask us about it and they would know if we were lying or not," She pressed, her voice quivering, so close to tears. "You know that will be one of the first things they do if investigating this with any real interest." she said, finally sobbing.
"I don't know Tao, but as far as them asking us, that is why we are hiding ourselves is it not? We have protected Raine and each other as best as we can. She will come home, safe. You'll see." He said and as if on queue, the front door opened and Raine stepped in. She froze when she saw Tao and Havoc standing in the living room.
"Raine," Tao said, pulling away from Havocs strong dark arms and clearing her throat of sobs and sounding angrier.
"Tao, Havoc, um…" Raine said, pointing over her shoulder, lifting her grocery bag, shifting her feet uncomfortably, at a total loss for words.
"Now I know who has been wearing my jacket," Havoc said, more to himself than anyone in the room and Raine looked a little embarrassed.
"Raine, we were so worried about you! What on earth were you thinking going out alone in the middle of the night, and without telling us! We were so worried!" Tao said, her soft voice was hard to make sound harsh, but she always seemed to mange. Her strong accent made her words choppy, but Raine did not miss a word she said until Tao started ranting in Chinese again and Havoc had to put his hand on her shoulder to calm her, or remind her that neither Raine nor him could speak Chinese or understand her.
"I…" Raine said.
"Raine, Tao and I have given up a lot, and sacrificed more, too keep you safe. This is a really poor way to repay us," Havoc said, not letting his words sound too harsh, the point he was making being harsh enough.
"I'm, I'm sorry," Raine said, closing the door behind her, her hair damp from the light rain outside. "I, I just can't sleep at night, and I was so hungry. I didn't think it would hurt to go out and,"
"Raine, have you forgotten that the Witch Council suspects you, even if just passingly, of being alive, and that if they found you they would kill you on the spot?"
"I have not forgotten that Tao," Raine said, snapping at her. "You remind me of it everyday!" she said, dropping her bag in the reclining chair and unzipping her -or Havoc's- jacket and laying it across its back.
"Raine, you feel like a Vampire to us. The Witches would know without having to be told that the child you carry is a Vampire, and they will kill you because of that alone. You may have been able to sneak about a few months ago, but not now. Now, so close to your due date, you cannot go out, not even with us there to protect you. Times are getting dangerous." Havoc warned.
"Easy for you two to say! You can walk about, talk to whom you like, while I'm stuck inside, in a room smaller than a port-o-potty! And my due date? Damn it Havoc, I'm due in July! It's frickin' May! I have been cooped up since my birthday and I don't think I could handle another two months of this." She said, placing her hand on her tummy. She had turned eighteen on the first of January.
"Raine, Havoc and I got married, for you! We have risked our lives lying to the Council, finding excuses to be away, to move out here, to lose contact with them but not so much so that they were to get suspicious!" Tao said, tears forming in her eyes again. Raine crossed her arms in a stubborn "humph" but looked down, not wanting to see her cousin, a woman that loved her, her only real family, cry because of something she had done.
"Raine, what did you need that was so important that you would risk, not only your own life, but your child's and ours as well for?" Havoc asked in his soft South African accent, sitting back down on the couch, Tao sniffing and wiping her eyes dry.
"Shrimp." Raine said quietly, felling thoroughly ashamed at that point.
Christian walked down Main Street of the Vampire city of Carthage in silence, his hands in his pockets. The rain had lightened but he was soaked to the bone, his hair plastered to his face and neck, his white dress shirt clinging to his skin, becoming slightly sheer where it clung, but he paid it no mind.
There were not a lot of Vampires out of the street despite the late hour. Even they found excuses to not have to go out in the rain and bad weather.
Cars passed him, splashing in the cobbled streets, a few people, Vampire or otherwise hurried past under newspapers and umbrellas into buildings, few seemingly enjoying the rain.
Christian let his feet lead him, not caring where he was going. He was a Master now. There were few that would dare challenge him even given his obvious weakened state.
He did not like having both Augustus and Krystal living within his city to start with, but with Christian now a Master Vampire too, Marcus was feeling more than just a little insecure. Too many Masters of a single line, not of his, in his city for comfort Christian supposed. Maybe Marcus feared some kind of underhanded takeover; but whatever the case, he was making life gratuitously difficult for all of Christian's great line. Augustus did not seemed overly bothered by it, but Krystal certainly blamed Christian for the added aggravation she had to endure and took her frustrations out of him whenever she could.
Marcus had yet to do much of anything in regards to Christian at that point like he had marked his words he would, but Christian somehow doubted that it would be that night that Marcus suddenly leapt into action. Christian had showed he was no threat over the past few months he had mopped about and was confident that Marcus would not care that he was out that night.
Marcus may have been a paranoid son-of-a-bitch but he hated bad weather more than he did Christian apparently.
Kevin was leaning against a light-pole his hair wet, the rest of him kept dry by a long black trench coat. His ankles were crossed, as were his arms while he leaned there under the yellow bubble of light.
Christian sensed the Werewolf watching him and stopped in the middle of the street, a few cars moving by him, splashing him with their tires and him not caring.
"Spahkoynih noche," Christian said softly in Russian.
"Good evening to you too Chris," Kevin said, not moving from his pole. He had a drawling British accent nearly hidden but for a few words spoken that gave him up as not being from America originally. He had left England some ten years earlier and lost some of his crispness.
"What are you doing out here Kevin? I thought you visited your mother on Sundays," he said, still looking down at his feet, not yet having looked up at his friend, not needing to see him to recognize and identify him.
Christian's accent was strong despite how long her had lived in America himself. It had not faded like Kevin's had, though granted, Kevin tried to hide his where Christian did not care. Being Russian he rolled his Rs like Italians, made all Gs hard and replaced all Ws with Vs like Germans, and pronounced all "th"s as Zs like the French. His thick accent seemed to excuse his sometimes-choppy English.
"She is out of town this week, remember?" Kevin said while uncrossing his arms as Christian joined him by the poll.
"Oh, yes, I have forgotten." Christian said, his voice soft and depressed, as it had remained since Christmas.
"Augustus was here a while ago. Said I should keep an eye open for you since you were expected to come wondering back at some point before dawn." He said.
"Have you been out in rain waiting for me all this time?" Christian asked, knowing it had taken him several long hours to find his way back home from where he had basically stranded himself after rejecting Augustus' help. Augustus would have gotten back long before him.
"Chris, you're looking ill, and you're going to catch a death of cold out here," Kevin said, joking slightly while being very serious and ignoring Christian's inquiry at the same time. His ability to be sincere and teasing at the same time was what made him so unique, and comforting.
"We would not want that," Christian said, smiling -even if just weakly- for the first time that long night. Augusts worried, but somehow Kevin showing so much concern meant so much more. Maybe it was because Kevin had been so close to Raine that he related better to how he was feeling.
"Lets get you back before the sun comes up."
"It is overcast today," Christian pointed out. Kevin sighed, having used the sun as his excuse the get Christian home quickly, not wanting to get on the testy subject of Christian's needing to feed having known that had not gotten Augustus anywhere that evening already.
"Wynter will be missing you," Kevin said, referring to the ever growing tiger cub that was steadily taking over the apartment while grasping Christian's arm tightly, showing in a subtle way that he was being serious again while cracking his joke and leading Christian back towards his apartment building where Kevin was shacking up with Christian as a semi-permanent roommate.
He was still avoiding having to tell his mother about his "condition."
Raine brushed her teeth as part of her bedtime routine. It was nine AM but she was exhausted and feeling nauseous.
Tao and Havoc were mad at her, but were more relieved that she was home safe than anything else.
Raine spit in the sink, and saw pink. She blinked and rinsed the sink, spending an extra bit of time on the mouthwash than usual. She was sure "pink in the sink" was bad, but it was also a new development. It never being a problem she had had before, she wrote it off as another pregnancy thing and turned into bed, her back aching something fierce while she snuggled up close to her stuffed unicorn.
Tao and Havoc were in the living room, finishing their breakfast, listening to the news. They normally would have kept it low, as just noise in the background, but that morning, they saw something that was showing great promise to be a Vampire attack.
"Security cameras caught none of it, and authorities are still investigating, but the cause of death has been announced as massive blood loss due to the neck wound. Mitch Daniels apparently tripped while working in the early morning hours and somehow impaled himself on a pocket razor he carried on his keys for cutting and opening boxes at his work. At the scene his bloody handprints were found, as were those of an unknown second party. Authorities at this time are unsure who's they are, if they were an attacker, or someone trying to help, but, the county sheriff did say this:" the man on the television announced, the screen cutting away to news footage from earlier that morning of the local sheriff talking into a few microphones. "We have a strong feeling that the handprints do not belong to an attacker but someone who had tried to help Mr. Daniels, and we are urging them to come forward, assuring them that they did no wrong, and that we simply wish to wrap this up as soon as possible and have some kind of closure for this young man's family." The screen cut back to the first newscaster. "This being the unfortunate scene earlier this morning." He said. Havoc lifted his arm and muted the television as Tao sighed, putting down her glass of nearly finished orange juice.
"I thought we had picked a Vampire free area," Havoc said, looking over to Tao.
"We did," she said.
"This murder reeks of Vampire Tao. I mean, the Humans will of course write it up as anything but, but we both know what this means. There is at least one Vampire in the area, they are sloppy, and Raine may no longer be safe here." He said and Tao sighed again.
"We don't know that man died because of a Vampire." She said stubbornly, but sounding unsure still and the same.
"We will know once you examine the body," Havoc said, and Tao grimaced.
"Please Havoc, don't make me-"
"You are the only one out of the two of us that would be able to tell for sure, and we need to know." Havoc said and Tao looked reluctant. "Do it for Raine," he said and Tao looked at him, still not looking all that swayed. "Do it for the baby," he said and Tao closed her eyes.
"So not fair Havoc," she muttered, standing and walking towards the stairs to dress while Havoc gathered up their plates and took them to the kitchen.
Alright everyone. Hello. Remember me? Yeah, this is Raine and I am still writing. Slowly but surely I'm working on this whole "sequel" deal. As you can see, I fucking SUCK at reintroducing characters and such, so forgive me. I drag my feet in the first 13 chapters so if you get bored, sit tight, shit will happen, it's kind'a like my first book. how many chapters of Raine going to school did you have to read before interesting shit started? I'll answer that, 25. This chapter, along with the following 13 I have currently written up, are rough. The plot is poorly established, the characters I think are overly explained and emphasized to the point of being superfluous, and I know posting them like this will only lead to confusion and misunderstanding later when I have to go back and change things, but what can I do? You are all "dying" to know what happens. I can't have all my readers die on me, then who will stroke my ego for me?
So, yeah, I expect a LOT of reviews on this chapter. Not just a whole bunch of "thank you"s and "about time"s because those will only make me drag my feet more. Don't doubt me, I have done it before. I'm a bitchy writer when it comes to reviews. Make guesses as to what you think will happen, tell me what you WANT to see/have happen (and maybe it will!) and tell me what you DON'T like. Trust me, my feelings can take it. This book -more than my first- will have my reader's influence. Based on your feedback obviously. I won't write the story how you want it, (I already have the whole plot already worked out, sorry.) but if I can work little things into the story without plot-holing myself I may just do it. If you like a character and want to see more of him/her, tell me and maybe I can find an excuse to have them drop by.
I can't tell you how often I will be updating since I have so few chapters written at this point anyways, but, well, here's hoping you will all add pressure and force me into writing more. Caution, nagging only causes me to slack off to piss people off. :)