Chapter 1: The Mission
A useless life is an early death. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Why did I always have the dangerous missions? Oh, yeah; because I live for the thrill. That's it. I just love the feel of shooting a vampire in the head with wooden bullets and staking them in the heart. It's what I live for. (If you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic) My name's Antoinette Drake, Toni to my friends…I mean, allies. Anyway, I always got the hard missions. Why? I really don't know. Vampire hunters are fearless, killing machines, kind of like the beasts they destroy. That's my occupation: vampire hunting. Hey, I didn't choose to be a vampire hunter. Trust me, there's not a "How to Be a Vampire Hunter 101" class you can take in college. No career course, whatsoever. I was pulled into this job after my parents died by the hands of a vampire. My sister, Elizabeth, and I were wounded while we watched our parents die. In the end, I remembered more than anyone else. Liz doesn't even remember what the vampire who killed them looked like. I do. And I would never forget that face. Yeah, this whole job was sparked by revengeful thinking. Go figure. So, here I am today, bearing multiple scars from the past and slowly trudging toward my next mission, the Blood Diamond Nightclub. Spiffy name, huh? I despise it. The owner, Henri Sinclair, is one of the richest vampires in New York City. Yeah, that's right, a vampire. I just gave you a heads up in case you ever go there. Rule #1: Don't look any vampires in the eye. Rule #2: Wear holy objects (from crosses to holy water) at all times while at the club (I am). And rule #3 is very, very important: Use some common sense and don't go to a vampire nightclub in the first place! Just take my word for it…or don't, but don't come crying to me when you're bleeding to death on the dance floor. Okay, enough stalling. I should probably start moving faster to get into the club before midnight (Why does everything happen at midnight?). Then, I'll be too late. The bushes rustled on my right and I looked down. A boy about my age with a brown mop of hair popped his head out of the bush and I almost jumped out of my skin. Damn nerves. Damn Ethan Frazer.
"Ethan, what are you doing? You almost gave me a heart attack!" I whispered harshly. Ethan smiled slightly and emerged slowly out of the bush. How in the world had he fit in there without me noticing? Ethan smiled again, his blue eyes icy in the moonlight. I had to sigh. Ethan was my best friend, a fellow hunter, but he wasn't prepared for my current mission. He had absolutely no experience in dangerous (my level of dangerous) missions, where I'd had plenty to share.
"So, what exactly are you doing tonight?" Ethan asked, his face and features somewhat childish and innocent in the light.
"I'm…" I had to think of something, anything to prevent him from joining me. A lie. Yes, I know. I had to lie to my best ally and friend.
"Ethan, I'm…uh, checking out a…um, an alley. Yeah, an alley." It sounded so stupid, and I knew from his expression that he could see right through me.
"Toni, come on. What are you really doing?" I shook my head, "I can't tell you. I'm sorry; it's classified."
"Is it dangerous?"
"Can I come with you?"
"Will you endanger me if I go?"
"I said 'no,' Ethan, and I meant it." I repressed rolling my eyes and turned my back to him, looking at the pulsing-with-light nightclub. Something must've clicked.
"You're going to the Blood Diamond Nightclub, aren't you?!" His voice cracked with what I guessed was fear. I sighed heavily and turned to face him. Men are such babies.
"Yes. Your point?" Ethan looked about ready to combust, and that's never a good thing.
"H-how…Are you nuts?! Do you want to die? Do you understand that some of the…" he gasped for air, "most powerful, not to mention dangerous, vampires in the city hang out there?!" I shrugged and muttered a simple, "yeah" before turning again. Without a glance at Ethan, I made my way to the club. The bouncer at the Blood Diamond will only let people who are members or vampires (neither of which I am) into the club. However, Cornelia Hall is. Or will be. Hmm. Let me explain. About a week ago, I was ordered to stake out (ha, ha) the infamous vamp nightclub. The Order, the group of hunters who run the Agency I work for (to rid the world of vampires), provised a plan that I would infiltrate the club, disguised as a new member, and expose Henri and his clan. Since no one in our contacts had any members to use, we made up one: Cornelia Amanda Hall. Age 19 (should also read: newest vampire junkie) This was "her" first night and "she" wanted to look good. At the moment, I had on a mint green halter top, black skinny jeans, and black knee-length boots. A leather jacket completed the disguise. I wore a blonde wig to cover my identity. Oh, I almost forgot. I was also wearing a crossbow, silver bullets, a blessed silver cross necklace (not on my neck at the moment; that'd be too conspicuous), and sunglasses that let me see in utter darkness. Oh, and a stake. Gotta be prepared in a club run and swarming with bloodsuckers and their sired victims. Anyway, I was all set and ready to kill some vampires. Or at least survive, should I be so lucky. When I reached the entrance, the line to the club had already died down. So, either they were inside or it was too late for them to wait in the cold. The bouncer, a big, stereotypical man, put out his hand to stop me, but ended up grabbing my shoulder, jerking me away from the doorway.
"Where do you think you're going, little girl?" He growled, pulling his sunglasses down to reveal…scarlet eyes. Damn figures. This was a vampire. A newly made one. He apparently didn't care if teenagers saw his eyes. Older and more experienced vampires like pretending to be more human. Very dangerous. It can catch you off guard, trust me. The bouncer growled again and squeezed my shoulder to the point of immense pain, "Answer me, girl."
"I…I'm a new member," I barely whispered. My fear was getting the better of me. So much for a brave, fearless vampire hunter. It seemed to satisfy the man. He smiled, showing sharp canine chompers. Jeesh, look at those things. If I wasn't a vampire hunter, I'd be scared shitless. Actually, I still am scared shitless.
"You got a name?" In my time of a little fear (I'm not stupid), I had forgotten my alias. What was it again?
"Cornelia Hall." The male voice didn't come from the vampire bouncer (Of course it didn't come from me). It came from the club's entrance. A figure brushed past the man. His features, half in shadow, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It was Henri Sinclair, the owner of the Blood Diamond Nightclub. I was so dead.