Prologue

I'm writing this for all of us, not just me or for the readers. I'm writing this, because of the sacrifices made, for the future we all fought for and the unsung heroes.

It took years to write this story; years of memory magic and bribing to get the truth. It also took a lot of imagination to piece it all together, trying to keep to the truth as much as possible.

It could kill us all, but I still had to write it.

This first part is about how our journey began; the first step in the mission, the first tomb.

And it starts with a nightmare.


Chapter One: Nightmare

I took a deep breath of warm summer air, enjoying the lack of city scents. Jesse bounded down her stairs and flung a duffel bag into the back of my crappy car. "Enjoying the country?" she asked smugly.

I narrowed my eyes at her. I would never admit it out loud that I missed the country. "No, hurry up. We're going to be late," I added, climbing in. She laughed and switched my radio to a country station. I winced and reached out to change it, only to draw my hand back, stinging.

"No switching, deal with it," she said, as I rubbed my hand. "So, are you springing me, or did you sweet talk my parents?" she asked.

"I spoke to them. I convinced them that one weekend out with me would not ruin your punishment. After all, an entire summer without a phone and computer would be bad enough." I started speeding down the dirt road, wearing my own smug expression. I was a natural diplomat.

Jesse laughed and started singing, not well, with Carrie Underwood. I rolled my eyes at her; she wouldn't stop singing even if I said something. But I had missed her and her country bumpkin style when I had moved to the city and settled in for the hour long drive.

Drew was waiting for us by the movie theater at the Northtown Mall, buzzing with excitement. He really wanted to see this movie, and I wasn't sure why. "Hey," I said as greeting.

"The jail break go fine?" he asked both of us.

"Yep," Jesse said, buzzing with freedom. I wanted to roll my eyes at their excitement. I loved them both, but they could be just so happy sometimes.

I had to admit that the movie was better than I thought it would have been, but kept that fact to myself because Drew seemed to have enjoyed it a little too much. "I vote for going to my house now. We can get more movies in." Drew wasn't allowed to stay the night, even if the parents were home and loved him.

Jesse gave me the big, brown, puppy-dog eyes that would make the polar ice caps melt. "B&N first. Please." I glanced at Drew, but he was giving me the blue eyed puppy look. They were ganging up on me, it wasn't fair and I had to give in.

"All right," I muttered, secretly pleased. I loved Barnes and Noble as much as they did. Drew was trying to hide his laughter with a cough and not doing a good job of it. I hit him, and stalked off after Jesse.

We managed to get to my house sooner than I thought we would. When the three of us were in a book store (despite our different tastes) it can take literally hours to get us out. I considered reading instead of watching Star Wars for umpteenth time, but this was our last summer together. We would all be seniors when school started and Drew would murder me if I didn't pay attention.

Around eight my dad dropped by to say hi before leaving to pick up mom from B&N (she worked there) for their anniversary dinner. "Be careful kids," he called as he left. I wanted to ignore him, but my infallible instincts said to listen. Something was going to happen tonight.

Drew left around nine, his mom came in to say hi before they left. I loved Ms Pary; she was kind and had a mysterious air about her, just like her son but better at hiding it. Jesse and I sighed with relief when Drew left; it meant we didn't have to watch anymore Star Wars. I threw Van Helsing in and double checked our supply of popcorn. I knew mom and dad wouldn't be back before eleven and we were running low. "After this, we should get popcorn." Jesse agreed and flopped down onto the now vacated couch. I threw a popcorn at her until she moved.

"Where is Kate?" she asked, as we piled into my crappy car.

"At a slumber party, she gets home tomorrow," I answered, turning towards the nearest store with good popcorn.

I knew something was wrong when I stepped out of the store and unlocked my decrepit junk pile of a vehicle. I glanced around, not sure what to make of this feeling. When I got a bad feeling it had nothing to do with George Lucas, it had to do with real world danger nearby. I climbed in and tossed the grocery bag in the back. Jesse turned the radio back to country, oblivious to my bad feeling.

"Damn car," I muttered, fifteen minutes later, pulling over to the side. Jesse raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. I only cussed when it was appropriate, and now was a very appropriate time. Whatever had triggered my "I've got a bad feeling about this" button was nearby.

I popped the hood, got out and nearly froze. Whatever was wrong just got worse, we were in serious trouble. Jesse followed me with a flashlight in hand, oblivious. "If it overheated again, I am going to happily burn it," I muttered, to distract myself. We both knew that this wasn't what had happened. I poked around the semi-rebuilt engine with Jesse (she was as mechanically inclined as I was), when she found it.

"I thinkā€¦" but Jesse was cut off.

"Hey pretties," someone called from across the street, "having car trouble?" I heard laughter and straightened up, instincts screaming for me to run. The reason for my bad feeling was that voice and whatever was with it.

I reached back to Jesse, grabbing the flashlight and pushing her back. We had to get out of here. There was no time to run to neighbor's house, it was nearing midnight and the traffic was minimal in this area of Spokane and I could see my house from here. My parents were probably home by now, worrying. But Jesse had had her phone taken away for running up the bill and I had washed mine, again. I wanted safety, my home and parents, I needed them. I could feel the panic building.

The full moon shed enough light that I could see them. There were two of them, both tall with brown hair, muscular. One had a smile that belonged on a wolf, the other was leering, his walk almost to smooth to be human. I looked back at Jesse; her dark eyes were wide with fear and her tanned brown skin had lost its color. I turned back, my heart starting to pound as adrenaline flooded my system. They stepped onto the street, I panicked. There was no time to think.

I grabbed Jesse's arm and spun (yanking her out of her state of fear), then ran. Her palm was sweaty and slick, she seemed to lag behind me as I tried to pull her with me to safety. My instincts said to let go, that both of us couldn't make it; but she was my friend, I didn't leave friends behind. She would die if I let go.

A wave of nausea hit me without warning, mid-step. The world spun, the air was infused with the scent of earth, rock, sweat, city and fear. The colors blurred into a shapeless mass of spinning colors and faces. Then there was an animalistic roaring in my ears, it was too real to just be my blood pounding through my body. I reeled, disorientated, confused, dazed, unable to move the right way. Bile rose, my stomach churning. Then, the attack was over in time for me to hear the howl.

A scream, so loud and alien that it couldn't be human, shattered the air around me. Jesse's hand was torn from mine, the scream suddenly ending. I froze, a scream on my own lips, trying to find her, when something hit me. I was slammed into one of the walls of the alley that Jesse had disappeared into.

Another wave of nausea hit me, but I barely started reeling, my stomach just starting to heave, before it was gone. I blinked, disorientated, and looked into the alley and was almost overcome by a normal bought of nausea.

I screamed Jesses name as I saw her body lying on the ground, but she didn't move. I struggled against what had hit me, trying to get to her as a sudden shaft of moonlight found its way into the alley. The world seemed to stop as I took it all in.

The creature standing over my best friend was a huge wolf. It had black fur and its mouth was open, blood mixing with saliva and dripping from stained teeth. It dripped slowly down from a muzzle stained a darker black than the body. Blood, its muzzle was stained with blood. My stomach churned, I could see the dark pool spreading out from under Jesse. This couldn't be happening; I could feel my mind trying to shut down. The wounds on her back had laid her open. I felt bile rise, burning its way up my throat.

"That's enough Brutus," a voice said; a voice that sounded like the man who had spoken to us earlier. It was then that I noticed he was holding me against the wall and the cold bar that was pressing into my collarbones. But I couldn't tear my eyes away from Jesse to look at him and whatever it was that he was using to hold me there. The wolf stopped sniffing my friend to turn to us.

The wolf started to blur, a crunching noise set my teeth on edge, and the second man stood where the wolf had been. "Kill joy," he muttered. I slowly turned to face the man that was holding me, an idea forming slowly in my adrenaline filled mind that froze the world once again.

The first man had changed. His eyes had taken on a blood red color, his features had become more defined and his skin was to pale for a human. He smiled at me, showing his teeth.

They were glistening and looked to sharp to be human. The cold bar that was holding me was his arm. He was literally as cold as death. I shivered.

My instincts were screaming for me to run, to fight and get out of there, to do something other than be the helpless prey. Another wave of adrenaline started to pump through my veins, driving away the cold. The idea started to become more concrete the longer I looked at the pair.

"Hello pretty," he said. I shrank against the wall, and I knew that they could smell my fear. I was trapped. "What should we do with her? Such a pretty thing," He studied my face as his friend spoke, one finger followed my cheek bone. I shuddered under the touch.

"Maybe you should turn her, if you like her so much." Brutus glanced at my friend again, and nudged her leg with his foot.

"Don't touch her!" I yelled, finding my voice, surprising everyone. Inside I was still battling my fight-or-flight response. I just couldn't let him touch her again.

"Feisty and strong. I think I will turn her, after I've had my fill." The first guy leaned toward me, like he was going to kiss me, and I realized two things simultaneously. One, this man was a vampire and his friend a werewolf. Two, I would not get out of this alive, or human. Clouds drew around the moon, blocking it from sight, turning the alley into a pitch black hole. My instincts stopped screaming, something benign was coming.

That something dropped from the opposite building's roof and landed behind the vampire whose mouth was now pressed against my neck, lips drawing back for the bite. I felt like I was going to faint, waiting for the pain. The something grabbed hold of the vampire's hair and yanked, jerking the head back hard.

I watched, like the werewolf did, as the vampire went flying into the opposite wall, hitting it with a sickening smack. Another something dropped from the roof as the moon broke through the cloud cover. One of the something's was another vampire, with black hair; his eyes glowing blue instead of blood-red. The other was female, her long hair blood-red, but with burning brown eyes. I couldn't quite catch their faces as they moved with near impossible speed, their movements blurring.

Then the blood-red female hit the werewolf in the chest, her hand sticking out of his back. Blood went everywhere, splattering everything with a sticky red paste, including me.