A hand was clamped over my mouth, holding my jaw shut tightly, and muffling any other sound from me as I woke up. My room was pitch black and the storm outside, with its short bursts of lightning, was the only form of light I had. After a longer flash of said lightning, I could count about four people in my room, including the one holding me from behind, but I couldn't be sure if there was more or not.
"Now, see here girl, I'm going to take my hand off your mouth and ask some questions. But you have to promise not to scream or anything in such a manner. Understand?" A smooth velvety voice had whispered this into my ear, so softly that I thought I had only imagined it, but I nodded anyway, and the hand gently moved off my mouth. I licked my lips and stretched my jaw a bit, taking a shaky breath.
"How old are you, girl?" came a different voice. This one was older, and kinder, with more sympathy in it.
"Seventeen." I said quietly, unable to keep my voice from trembling. I was scared.
"Still a child…" That same voice muttered softly.
"Enough Vil. Girl, tell me your name." The smooth voice of the first man was beginning to sound impatient.
"It's her boys. Get her ready and we'll head out."
"What?!" This news was quite alarming. "What's going on?!" I couldn't stop myself from blurting this out, and it earned me a sharp backhand across the face.
"Hush girl. You don't need to know just yet. Now put your hands behind your back and hold still. Don't try anything sneaky." He released me completely and took a step back. I knew I had no choice. I didn't want them doing anything rash, so I put my hands behind my back, and I felt ropes drape around my wrist and pulled tight. I winced but remained quiet as they rubbed over, and re-opened, recent wounds.
"Too tight?" the voice asked, almost sounding concerned.
"No…" I whispered softly, cringing as my voice broke. I couldn't be emotional. I wouldn't complain either. I refused to.
"Good…." He muttered. "Now close your eyes. I'm going to blindfold you." I did this too, and nodded when he asked if they were closed. I felt a soft cloth slide over my face, over my eyes, and felt it secured snuggly into place.
"You have such damn long hair…" He muttered, frustrated. "How do you live with it?" He untangled his hands from my hip length hair that was naturally a white-blond.
"I usually keep it back in a braid or something…" I answered softly.
"Oh." He said mumbled. "Alex! Go to the bathroom and pack some hair stuff, you know, shampoo and hair ties, as well as any makeup you find. She'll need them. Vil, go pack her some clothes. Enough to get her through a week or two. Just because we're doing this doesn't mean we have to act like barbarians." I was a little confused. Why was he starting to act nice all the sudden?
"I do wish you would tell me what's going on…." I whispered softly, but not whole-heartedly.
"You'll fine out soon enough Eli. Now, I know you've been cooperating really well, but as a precaution, I'm going to have to gag you. Okay? Open your mouth, please."
"Since you asked so nicely…" I muttered before doing as he said. He actually chuckled before effectively silencing me for the time being. Then, he grasped my arms firmly and pulled me up to my full height of a measly 5'2.
"We got her stuff, sir." The man…Vil, I think it was, said.
"Good. Lets get moving." The leader said before he gently pushed me towards the door, his hands still on my arms. He led me out of my room and to the staircase. Once we reached what I assumed was the top, I was picked up and carried down. Though, once we reached the bottom, I was not set down again, but carried through the rest of the house and outside. I knew we had stepped outside because a gust of wind and the instant feeling of rain pouring down on us made me shiver. I was soaked almost immediately, seeing as thin cotton pajamas don't protect well against the cold. At my shiver, the person carrying me seemed to hold me closer, as if in hopes to keep me warm. At least till we came to a vehicle of some sort, and I was set down on the carpeted floor. I was assuming we were in a van of some sort. As soon as every one had gotten in, and all the doors shut, I was picked up again and held in the same arms of the person that had carried me before. He had the same smell.
"Eli, you're best bet for now, would be to go to sleep. It's going to be a long drive." I shook my head, but it was ruined by a yawn that racked through my body, muffled only by the gag.
'Sleep' I heard in my mind, whether it was my own voice or another I couldn't tell, and felt myself drift off into blissful unconsciousness as the engine roared to life…..
…I woke up groggily, lord knows how much later, only to find myself lying in a bed. Not my own either. I had hoped all of what had happened was dream, but when I tried to sit up, I found I was still tied up, hand and ankle now, but the blindfold and gag had been removed. Though, the room was pitch black anyway.
"What in the world is going on here…?" I whispered softly to myself. A few minutes after, the door opened, and the lights were turned on. I squinted my eyes against the sudden change and heard a voice.
"Eli?" it was the voice of the kind sounding Vil. "Are you awake?"
"Yes." I muttered softly.
"Great! You've been out for almost 4 days now. Let's get you up…" He hurried over and helped me to sit up. I finally got a good look at him. He looked to be in his mid thirties, maybe older. And he reminded me of a father like figure. He had a kind face, kind eyes, and crow's feet around his eyes, and laugh lines around his mouth. "How are you feeling Eli?"
"Slightly confused, mostly sore. And please don't call me Eli. I like to be called Elixa."
"Alright Elixa. As you wish. I'm sure you're pretty confused. Now, if I untie you, will you promise to stay calm and behave?" I nodded softly. What other choice did I have, honestly? I sat still and he untied my ankles, then my wrists. I couldn't help but cry out softly as he pulled the ropes away, re-opening tender cuts that rested there.
"Ouch…"I muttered softly with an inward wince.
"Elixa… Your bleeding!… The ropes are covered with your blood too…I knew he tied these too tight."
"No. The wounds were there before. They just got re-opened is all." He raised an eyebrow, but didn't ask any questions.
"You stay right here, okay? I'll be right back." He ran out of the room, locking the door behind him and I simply sat on the edge of the bed, looking at my wrists. The deep grooves that encircled each of them bled openly, and were bruised around the edges. A couple minutes later, he came running back in, holding towels, bandages and such. He kneeled in front of me and gently took my right hand and cleaned off the blood, then cleaned the cut before bandaging it, and doing the same to the other.
"Better?" He asked softly after checking my ankles. I simply nodded and gave him a tiny smile.
"Yeah, thanks." He grinned and shook his head.
"No problem. I assure you... Now, I'm going to step out and let you get dressed. Your clothes are in the bag on the floor next to the bed." Vil walked out of the room and I quickly pulled some clothes out of the bag, getting into a pair of jeans and a black tank top. I also found a hairbrush and hair tie and pulled my hair back into a braid after untangling it. Just as I had finished, there was a knock on the door.
"Come in." I said softly, and Vil peeked his head in and smiled.
"Great. Now, follow me." He opened the door further and let me out of the room. I looked around and realized something. I had not seen a single window in this house. It was an upscale house, almost seeming like a castle, that usually has giant, elegant windows, but there had been none in my room, and none in this hall way. I didn't say anything on it though, and I followed Vil. We came finally to a large grand staircase and went down it. He turned straight to a pair of double doors on the left and stopped just next to them. I caught up to him and he stopped me.
"I'm sorry, but I have to blindfold you again…I know this must be frustrating."
"Why do I have to be kept blindfolded? I've already seen your face." I asked as he pulled out a black silk cloth.
"He doesn't care if you've seen my face." He said with a note of finality before going behind me and slipping the smooth cloth over my eyes and tying it in place softly, but snuggly. Then he took me by the shoulders and led me through the double doors.
"Eli. You're finally up. How do you feel?" it was the smooth voice, of the man who was leading everything.
"I am….fine considering the circumstances. And please…don't call me Eli." There was a short silence before Vil spoke up, still standing next to me.
"She prefers Elixa, sir." He said quietly.
"Very well. Have a seat Elixa. I imagine you have some questions, and I know I have some explaining to do. Vil, help her." He put his hands on my shoulders and gently led me into a chair, helping me to find the armrests and sit.
"You are wondering where you are, why you are here, who we are, and why I keep you blindfolded. Am I correct?" I nodded softly. Those were, in fact, my exact questions. "I'll answer the last of these first then. I'll keep you blindfolded till I know I can trust you. Trust is something we will not take for granted, and until we know we can trust you, you must not see my face. Now, for your second question.
"You are currently in France. Champagne, France. A small town where the people do not bother us, and we do not bother them for the most part. They do not acknowledge what we are, and they need not in any way try to. They just know no to bother us, and we like it that way."
"And what…exactly might you be that such people would not want to acknowledge you."
"You would not believe me if I told you."
"Try me." There was silence, a thick one that you could cut with a knife, and I heard finally footsteps towards me. They stopped suddenly and a hand reached down and grasped my arm, and tugged gently, pulling me up to my feet.
"We go by many names. The walkers of the night, the undead, nosferatu, children of darkness, the damned, most familiar to you…"
"Vampires." I finished for him. "I have read. I have seen movies. But you expect me to believe this?"
"No. I do not." I sighed softly and remained quiet for a moment.
"Give me proof, and I'll believe you."
"Is it truly that simple for you?" He asked softly, a hint of surprise in his voice.
"It is. If you are serious of this… Then proof should be enough for me." After another stifling moment of silence, I felt a gloved hand take my own bare one, and it rose, until it rested on skin. The coldest skin I had ever felt, without an ounce of life in the veins beneath it. I gently stroked the skin with my thumb, realizing it was a face. The face of this man claiming to be the living dead. With skin as cold as ice, and just as smooth, the mere touch pulled my heart to believe him. Still, I did not pull my hand back, and his rested atop mine, softly. "So cold…." I whispered.
"So warm…" He responded. "Do you believe me, as you said you would?" I stood still for a minute before giving a small nod.
"I do." I said with a note of finality, and truth be told, I did believe him. Then, I felt the tie that held the blindfold in place fall loose and he drew the cloth away, allowing me to see. At first I kept my eyes closed, but slowly, I opened them and looked up to his face. The first feature I saw was his eyes. Those eyes that felt like they would pierce my soul. In all their clarity, they were so hard and cold. They were an eerie ice blue, so crystalline they nearly seemed as clear as water, surrounded by a ring of darker blue, and a hole of pitch black in each icy orb. And even though they seemed hardened and without emotion, I saw a flicker of something. I don't know what. But it was there. Once more I brushed my thumb over his skin and he pulled away. He walked toward the dim fireplace and leaned against the mantle, looking to me. He was clothed in all black, his body, which was long, slim, and menacing, was burdened under a long black coat, the hem stopping only at his calves, but the black stream flowed on by his black pants. His long black hair framed the pale skin of his face, a golden halo reflected on the top by the dancing flames in the large fireplace. He was the essence of all I knew to be danger, beauty, and elegance though at the same time, no older than nineteen.
"For your last question. Why you are here. I am sure you have heard all the vampire legends. Let me ask you this. You have read Bram Stokers Dracula, have you not?" I nodded softly.
"Well, perhaps you will know much of what I speak then. I am Vladimir Tepes the third." I raised my eyebrows.
"The grandson of Dracula?" I kept any skepticism out of my voice. This was no matter for such things.
"Yes. That is correct. Let me ask you this then…" He began to pace around the room and I took a seat once more, crossing my leg over the other. "What do you know of your own heritage?"
"Nothing. I was adopted 5 months after birth. I know nothing."
"Well, I must admit that doesn't surprise me... If you had been living with your true family… Well let's just say things would be different." I could only blink at him, confused.
"So you know who my family is? Well, then why not tell me?"
"Because you're not ready to know yet. I will tell you eventually but right now… It would be far too much for you." I gave a soft sigh, but nodded, because I knew he was right.
"And now you wonder why I have brought you here, right? Well, you are the key. Well part of it. Part of the key to our way to humanity."
"Humanity?" I asked softly, not quite understanding.
"We are not cold blooded killers, and our… Condition, as one of my friends so lovingly puts it, causes us to do what we do to live. We are tired of killing, tired of not feeling, tired of all the blood that we are forced to make others shed for our survival. We need you, to help us become mortal once again."
"And how, might I ask, can I do that? And how did you know to find me?"
"We knew to find you, because it is said, 'look for the gold eyes, and you will find peace of soul, and humanity in total.' As for what you can do, we haven't deciphered that yet." I stood up and stretched, getting tired, and looked around. I just then released we'd had an audience.
"Ummm….Hi…" I said softly to all of the people standing around. There were about 6 people besides Vladimir and me. A few of them nodded, others just stood there, staring. All of them were men. I guess you could say I was slightly intimidated.
"Oh, I guess a few introductions are in order. You know me, and I'm pretty sure you're familiar with Vil." He said as he nodded to him. "To your left is Christophe Romaine, a native to this town. Next to him, Alex Morgenson. He's from New York. There's James Wilson. He'll prefer you to call him Jimmy though. In that corner over there is Saied. He's the eldest of our group, from Egypt. And last, and most certainly least, Kevin Lawrence, from, as he likes to put it, Great Mother Britannia. Just means he's a brit." The youngest looking one of the group, looking to be around 14, jumped up, looking mad.
"See here Vlad! I am not a brit! I am one of the few proud British and I will not-"
"Stuff it Kevin." The one named Alex said, walking passed Kevin and giving him a slight shove as he walked over to me. "Don't mind that runt. He's just annoying. Welcome to hell." Alex said, seeming really angry. He walked out of the main room and somewhere to do lord knows what.
Kevin got up and brushed himself, having fallen over when Alex pushed him. I walked over to him and pulled a piece of paper off his back that had some how stuck, and handed it to him.
"Sorry about that. He seems….bitter." Kevin gave a small smile. He had grey eyes and short dark brown, almost reddish hair. He was kind of scrawny, but taller than me.
"He is. He is very bitter. Never really wanted to be in this situation, but he got himself into it I'm afraid. Thanks." Kevin took the paper from me and put it on a table and nodded to Vlad then me before walking out of the room too, followed closely by Vil. Christophe came up to me, and took my hand, kissing the back of it softly. I could tell he must have been a bit older than he seemed, looking to be about 20. He had shorter blond hair, and light blue eyes, and fair looking skin. He was well built, but slim and lanky too.
"Bonjour 'Lixa. " He said softly, his French accent clear and thick. I smiled softly and bowed my head to him slightly. I knew I would have an interesting time trying to talk with him.
"Bonjour Christophe. Ça va?" His eyes seemed to lighten up at the fact I could speak French. Though not very well.
"Ça va très bien. Et toi, mademoiselle?"
"Comme çi comme ça." I replied.
"Il super tu parler français!" he exclaimed and I laughed lightly.
"Not really. I can't speak very well. I'm only in my first year of lessons." Christophe laughed lightly as well.
"Well, you are already excellent at 'ze accent. You will be very good once you learn more. Perhaps I will 'elp you one of 'zese days." I nodded and bowed my head once more to him.
"It would be much appreciated." I replied and he bowed slightly before leaving as well, dragging the one called Jimmy with him. I grinned at Vlad softly and he smiled back. Though the one in the corner, Saied, caught my eye. He looked amused by all of this. He walked over and stood in front of me, tall and menacing. He stood at a good height of probably 6'5, clothed in a pair of dark blue jeans and a black muscle shirt, his hair was black as well, and fell just to his shoulders, framing his flawless, strong, golden tan face. He was well muscled as well, and scared me a bit.
"You're not nearly as scared as I had expected you to be child. You are but a mere baby, in the hands of death, you do not realize the danger you are going to be in, the danger you are in. If you did, you would not be so relaxed, as you are." His voice was deep, and held a slight lilt of an accent, but nothing too noticeable. I simply stared up at him.
"If I had any reason to be scared, it would be to be scared of you. Do not try and intimidate me. I may be your hostage, prisoner, whatever, but I'm still a person. I can do what I want, and I won't let you frighten me, mister." I said firmly. This Saied threw his head back and laughed before looking to Vlad.
"You got a feisty one. I like her. We might just need to keep her around for a while." He looked back to me, giving me a warm smile. "Your not half bad, girl. Keep that attitude." He walked out of the room and I just watched after him, completely lost.
"Don't mind Saied. He's always like that. He always has to find that fighting attitude that he likes. He can't stand anyone he thinks is weak. You don't need to worry about him. Pretty soon he'll just be like an annoying big brother, I promise you." Vlad said, walking over to me. "Now, what do you say we go get some food? I don't know about you but I'm starving."
I looked at Vlad with big eyes and my hands automatically went to my neck. Vlad laughed heartily.
"Not that type of starving. I mean regular food. Come with me." He put a hand on my shoulder and led me out of the room and down a hall, and through a door at the very end. I don't know what I had expected, but it certainly wasn't this. Through the door was a kitchen. Not just a kitchen, but a pretty nice looking kitchen. The walls were painted a light green, and the floors were a dark cherry oak finished hard wood. It surprised me.
"Help yourself to whatever you want. This is going to be your home for a while, so get used to it." I nodded and went to the fridge and opened it up. Inside, was something that nearly made me faint. But in a good way. I actually squealed and grabbed a can of my favorite soda. I could hear Vlad laughing, but I didn't care. I was just happy to have a can of soda. Lord knows I needed the caffeine. I grabbed that and an apple, Granny Smith of course, and sat down at a small table next to Vlad, who was eating, of all things, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I almost broke down right there, but I resorted to simply giggling. After a moment, Vlad looked up at me with a raised eyebrow.
"What?" He asked after swallowing.
"The grandson of Dracula sitting in a kitchen having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…" I said, laughing harder. I actually fell out of the chair laughing, hearing it in words made it so much funnier. I could hear Vlad laughing too as I pulled myself up.
"That is pretty funny, but I assure you, just because my grand pappy is a famous bloodsucker doesn't mean I can't be a regular teen. I actually am only 19."
"Well, that ruins the menacing grandson of Dracula look you had going on. Now I'm not sure I can take you serious." I said softly. Taking a bite of my apple softly, I studied his face once again. At this casual setting, he seemed almost normal. I was about to take a drink of my soda when something, or someone jumped on my back, holding me around the neck. My drink flew out of my hand and I struggled with the tight grip of the arm. I was actually lifted up out of my seat, which fell over with a clatter, as I was dragged back. Vlad simply sat there, an amused look on his face. I looked at him and gasped out a few curse words.
"A… Little help would… Be nice..." I finally said and Vlad nodded to whoever had me and I was dropped roughly to the ground, coughing hard. The person who had grabbed me pulled the chair that had fallen over up and sat in it. It was another guy, but different this time. This one looked to be in his early twenties, and had bright red hair, that was cut short, and spiked up slightly. He wore a dark green muscle shirt and black pants that were covered in zippers and chains. I stood up and growled softly before putting a hand on the guy's shoulder and pushing him roughly, obviously catching him off guard because I was actually able to push him out of the chair. I had no idea what I thought I was doing, but I grabbed the chair off the ground and ran with it, diving into a storage room nearby and closing the door behind me, holding it closed as best I could.
"GET THIS DOOR OPEN YOU WENCH!" the man roared as he pulled at the door. I could hear Vlad speaking in the background trying to calm him down a bit.
"C'mon now Daniel….calm down now. Just cool it..."
"I'm warning you Vlad!" He said loudly before yanking on the door again. I almost couldn't keep it shut this time, but I just managed.
"OPEN THE DOOR!" He screamed one more time. "I'M COUNTING TO THREE…. ONE…TWO…THREE…" with one swift pull, the door swung open, bringing me flying with it. I sprawled out across the floor and found myself with my arms pinned over my head, looking this Daniel in the face. I could tell he was staring at my eyes. See, I didn't have natural looking eyes. My left one was a dark gray, where as my right eye was a light golden brown. I stared up into his dark green angry eyes. I could see Vlad out of the corner of my eye trying to get Daniel to let up. As I stared up at him, his eyes visibly softened, his anger subsiding slightly.
"So you're the girl. The one we're looking for. You look different than I expected." I nodded softly.
"My name's Elixa Silver. Thanks kindly for pointing out my little imperfections." I said quietly, knowing I sounded bitter.
"I'm going to call you Silver, it fits you. And by the way. I find those eyes of yours pretty interesting. If more people had eyes like them…" his voice broke off for a minute before he sighed softly. "I just like them." He got up, and grabbed my wrist, yanking me up sharply. I couldn't help but yelp at the rough treatment of my already sore body. He seemed taken aback though, when I yelped and immediately let go. I leaned back against the wall, holding my wrist. The bandages were starting to seep red and Vlad rushed over, taking my hand and ripping the bandage off, examining the wound.
"What happened Elixa? Did my ropes do this to you?" He asked quietly, grabbing a towel and carefully cleaning up the blood that was still seeping out of the cuts steadily.
"No. They were there before." Was all I said. Daniel came over and looked at my wrist, scratching his head.
"Sorry bout that….if I'da known…." I nodded in understanding and gave him a grin. He grinned back and nodded as well, knowing I knew what he meant. I was snapped out of this though, by Vlad hollering.
"SAIED! GET YOUR BIG BUTT DOWN HE-" a hand clamped over Vlad's mouth, and Saied was standing right behind him, the hand apparently belonging to him.
"I'm right here Vlad. And my butt isn't big. Now what do you need?" He let Vlad go and stepped back, looking at the situation in half amusement.
"Elixa here happens to be injured and would mighty appreciate your help." Saied sighed and pushed Vlad aside.
"Complaining already are we Elixa darling?" I just remained quiet, looking down. I hated all of this. First it was just Vil who had known, but everyone was getting involved now.
"Actually Saied…she hasn't said anything. We found out cause Daniel got a little rough with her and reopened the wound." The Egyptian mans eyebrows raised.
"You continue to surprise me dear. Now let me see your wrist. Is your other wrist like this too?" I nodded and held both of my wrists up to him. He unwrapped the other one and examined them. He grabbed the chair out of the supply closet and made me sit, while he got a clean towel and wet it down and began cleaning up my bleeding wrist.
"Elixa…I can tell you don't want to talk about this…but we need to know we can trust you, and you can show that to us by telling me how you got these wounds. There definitely made by bindings. And if Vlad's ropes didn't do this, then what did?" I looked down, knowing I was sheet white. I got this way, anytime I had to talk about this.
"It was my dad…" I muttered softly. Saied's eyebrows rose, interested.
"You mean the old man that was passed out in the living room of your house?" Vlad asked quietly while the other man rubbed a weird gel over my wrists, since the bleeding had finally stopped. I nodded. "What did he do to you Elixa? You can tell us." I sighed softly.
"You'd best sit. It's a bit of a difficult story." I shook my head slightly to clear it as the guys pulled up some chairs and sat around me, Saied remained closest so he could finish working on my wounds.
"Okay. We're here, we're listening. Spill." Daniel said and I took a deep breath to gather myself.
"I'm adopted. As most all of you should know. And…this really nice couple adopted me. Laura and Jonathan Silver. But Laura… Mom, she had cancer. So, she died when I was 14. almost immediately after…John was taken over by alcohol, drugs, and dime bag whores he picked up at bars. Till he got too old and too fat. So, he settled for me. The cuts on my wrists were from handcuffs…that he used to hold me in the basement…when he wanted some amusement."
Saied had an angry expression on his face as he finished off re-wrapping my wrists. "How far did he go when… When he did this stuff to you?" He asked softly. I looked away slightly, not wanting to meet his eyes for my own shame.
"He held back in no way." I muttered, hoping desperately he would understand. He didn't say anything and I was about to open my mouth to explain but I found myself crushed against his chest, as he held me tightly in what I soon realized was a hug.
After a moment, the shock had subsided and I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face into his shirt, not able to stop the tears that began rolling down my face. Though I didn't make a sound, I shook terribly and he just held me for a long time, rubbing my back softly with firm hands.
"You should never ever be forced upon like you were, especially by your own father Elixa. And your just a child…lord knows how long this has been going on….it is a good thing we got you out of that home. You'll be safe from that man now. He won't touch you again."
Saied whispered to me softly and pulled back finally, holding my face in his hand. He gently brushed my cheeks with his thumbs, wiping the tears away. I nodded half-heartedly and he raised my head to look at him again. "I mean it. You'll never be hurt that way again if we can help it" I finally looked him in the eye, and couldn't help but believe him.
"Okay. I believe you." I said softly. After a moment, he let his hands drop and I sat down again.
"Here…I want to double check those bandages." He said, taking off the subject finally. I gave him my wrists and let him do what he wanted to do with them while I looked around. Everyone was in the kitchen by now, and I was pretty sure all of them had seen most of the affair. All of them avoided my eyes at the moment, but it didn't matter, because Saied finished quickly. Vlad walked over and helped me to my feet.
"C'mon. I'll show you around the house."