Love is something everyone should experience if not from a partner than from your parents. I know my mom loved me, not that I remember. I know my father loves me. I thought my brother loved me. Obviously, when he tried to kill dad and me, he proved me wrong.

I thought love would be easy and not confusing. It turns out it's disorienting. I'm glad I still have the ability to do what needs to be done. Not everyone can say that. When push comes to shove, would you kill someone you love because it will save countless lives? I don't know if everyone has the resolve, but turning love into hate is what I do best.

I've hated my brother for years, but then love and hate aren't opposites—they are both so full of passion, and the lines between them often blur. Was it with love or hate that I killed... him? No, I don't want to think about it.

Regardless, I think that's as close to love, as I'll get. I won't allow it in my heart anymore. I won't let anyone else get close. When I think about his motives, I know it's better not to trust. He said he cared, but he didn't really. His motives came from desires I don't understand.

I say there is a difference between us, but we are both committed to our causes, so much so, in fact, we are willing to kill to accomplish them. I wish we were more different because even when we are different we are so eerily the same.

In the end, no one is ever honest about their motives so I know I don't need to change. I'm the Hunter. It's who I am so there's no reason for me to fall in love since love changes you.

The first thing Kara noticed as she woke up was the cold. A blanket lay over her face, but a harsh light shone through her closed eyes. Kara noticed she felt uncomfortable and the cold discomfort came from the same place: below. This is one hard mattress, she thought. And why am I so cold? She noticed the cold came not just from the bed; it came from the air too. It felt like an almost impermeable cold.

She woke up a little more and remembered a strange dream. Dennis betrayed her—killed her.

If it was a dream, why's my heart racing? Why am I scared?

Kara moved her hand across the mattress. It felt smooth and hard like metal. She moved her hand under the blanket toward her face. The blanket turned out to be thin like a sheet. I'm not dead, but this is strange. She sat up and pulled the sheet off. She panicked. She sat on a table—a stainless steel table—all shiny reflecting the harsh bright lights. Her eyes hurt at the brightness of them as if she had not seen light in days.

Kara looked around, other sheets lay on tables like hers with lumps underneath. I'm dead, she thought in reaction to the sights before her. But then how did she sit up looking around. In a tray next to her table, she saw something horrifying to her, a stake covered in blood and gore. In an instant, the entire dream came back to her. She shook her head in disbelief. Her chest hurt. She felt it: death, pain, and the stake. I should be dead. That stake was in... a scar on her chest, round, flat, white and a little sunken in, the same diameter as the stake, sat where the stake stuck through her. The sheet fell down and Kara saw she was naked. She pulled it up and looked around again.

God this is a morgue! Her breath came rapid in her chest; she neared hyperventilating. Afraid she would fall, she braced herself against the table, the reflective metal surface showed her another horror—her eyes, usually a lovely light brown, were glowing like a vampire's. It's not possible. But her teeth too, extra long canines, pointed and frightening to her, were visible. She rubbed her fingers along their jagged edges. She had died. It was impossible, yet somehow it was possible since she lived now. She never chose—drank blood—the vampire way of life, but the evidence said she turned. Maybe that wasn't true, maybe hunter's can be turned.

She felt sick. The revelation hit her too hard. She got off the table with the sheet wrapped around tight. Running to the far end of the room, she threw up bile in a small sink. She noticed she felt thirsty. She gripped the counter and rocked back and forth, sickened by what the thirst meant. God, no, I don't want to be a vampire. She drank handful after handful of water trying to satisfy the thirst. It did subside so she felt less sick.

She staggered back over to the table, not because she felt weak, but because her world and her understanding of it lay tattered.

She sat down and found her dress. It lay sealed in an evidence bag, she ripped it open and slid it on. I am not dead, she reasoned, they don't need evidence of my death. The dress needed a little adjustment since a big hole lay at her chest.

While she dressed, Kara thought her situation out and weighed the evidence. She did not feel like a vampire, yeah, she looked like one. The thought of blood made her feel sicker so that was one strike against being a vampire. Her mother lived as a human and not a vampire, and her father was not and never would have married one so she was not like Dayne and that was one strike for vampirism. She did not have enough evidence against, so she believed she was.

What to do about Dennis remained a whole different problem. He said he loved her, but he put the stake through her heart. She started to cry. Her chest ached at thoughts of the stake and Dennis. She rubbed the scar to alleviate the pain to no avail. Just like Simon, he betrayed her trust and her love. He would have to pay too. His death, she reasoned, will make me feel better.

But deep down Kara felt helpless, she still possessed an unfinished life. It just finished being unfinished sooner than she thought.

Maybe the vision of my death was not a vision at all. She tried to console herself. But she experienced others, and they came true.

Kara could not find any answers. It made no sense so she felt determined to do what she knew she could to fight the helplessness and the creeping hopelessness.

They were the true black cloud hanging over her all these years. These feelings were a symptom of the hopelessness she felt because she feared the vampires could never be defeated. In her dreams, Dayne hoped to stop the spell but did he understand 600 years later the same problem would happen again, or did he think vampires would be dead by this time. Maybe he held no concept or concern since he would not live to see it. The battle just continued as it always continued. She did not want to be hopeless; she wanted to believe vampires would end. But under the weight of her own transformation, she did not see a way out of hopelessness.

Her mission stayed unchanged since she felt human. She sighed, rubbed her face, and squared her shoulders. She needed to kill vampires. It did not matter if she could ever end their terror. It mattered if she tried.

Kara walked to the door. Several people held a heated conversation about how crazy the city remained. People were kidnapped out in open daylight, only to turn up with little blood. It terrified them. She heard the fear in their voices.

Kara did not need to listen anymore; she knew what needed to be done. She must find the master and the Book. From the dreams of Dayne, she knew what to do. Even if she never walked in sunlight again, she needed to stop the vampires.

She just did not know what to do after... go to Dimitri and have him kill her. Yeah. That would be best for everyone. Whether she felt different or not, she did not want to be a vampire.

Kara turned the handle, the door opened with a click, and she crept into a hallway. Just a short distance down the hallway she saw an open door but the exit lay ahead. Its bright red sign glared at her. She moved forward. The voices emanated from the open door.

The man behind the desk stopped short, shocked as a corpse walked by his door and waved. But in this day and age, Kara thought, anything's possible.

Kara also felt surprised; she saw them different than her normal shadow sight. The shadows were not so dark they contained features. Is this how vampires see? The difference was not so bad. After crossing the doorway, she ran to the exit and crashed through into an alley.

Kara walked the dark alley. She caught her reflection in a window. Her eyes still glowed. She stopped in the alley. She possessed no weapons, no idea where she was, and she needed to hide her eyes, but first, she needed to find where the vampires were. She sat down in the alley, amongst some cardboard boxes, and hunted for the vampires. She never doubted her ability to find them. She knew she would. She floated over the city searching. They were in several different locations. Damn, which one has the master? Kara came up with a plan. She kept it simple and typical for a hunter; Kill 'em all until I find 'im.

Kara left the alley and walked right out into the morning sunrise. The sun hurts when she stared, but this felt excruciating when she did not even look at it. She closed her eyes and turned away, tears rushing down her cheeks, but she still felt the burning on her retina.

She kept her back to the sun and walked to the corner. She entered a store after a couple blocks, grabbed a pair of sunglasses and asked to borrow the phone. She was too far away from the vampires to walk so she called Sam. She memorized his number, having stared at it in concern on several occasions. He arrived in ten minutes. She slid across the bench to sit in the middle.

"Where're ya headed?" He asked with a jovial smile. He saw her dress. His expression soured. "Are you okay?"

"Nope. I don't have a map today, you're just gonna have to turn when I tell you."

"Sure, but can I take you to the police first?"

"Nope. I have to do this myself."

"You gonna kill somebody?"

Kara smiled. She tried not to smile too broad. "I sure hope so," she muttered.

"Kara I'm serious, what's going on?"

"You don't wanna know, you wanna get paid, right?" she said with a slight threat. "Turn left here."

He nodded. "Just concerned when I see a girl in trouble."

"Luckily, I know how to get myself out."

"With everything that's going on though, it's crazy, ya know. I think it's best if you stay home today until this all blows over."

Kara did not like the look Sam gave her through the rear view. "Turn right up ahead." Without skipping a beat she continued, "Duly noted."

"They are talking about Marshall law, and getting the National Guard in here." He talked as he drove about the situation going on in the city and surrounding burbs. He would not drive if he did not have too, but he needed to.

Sam pulled up outside a strip mall, it contained several vacant shops, and the vampires were hiding out there. Kara forgot to get her weapons. She got too caught up listening to Sam. Kara opened the door before he could protest. "You gotta tire iron?"

"To help you break in?" After seeing Kara's hard face he thought less about her breaking in and more about her busting heads, starting with his. "Yeah in the back," he grumbled. He popped the trunk.

Kara found it with the tire. She hefted it out. It felt heavy. Perfect for bludgeoning a few heads until she got some weapons.

"You want me to wait?

"Yeah, but probably not here."

"Why?" He paused. "You in some kinda trouble?" he pleaded.

"Nope. Give me your lighter."

Sam gave Kara an incredulous look.

"You smoke. I want it." Kara's tone left room for no argument.

Sam huffed but handed it over.

Kara gave him a grim smile and walked toward the strip. She walked around to the back. She knew she should find loading docks or at the least a back door. As she walked, she took her sunglasses off and set them on the ground near the door.

Kara waited a moment outside the door as she drew a long breath before she kicked it in. "Did you miss me?" she said with her head cocked to one side.

No one reacted. She surprised them. Kara smacked the tire iron in her hand a moment, impatient to begin, and bludgeoned the nearest head. She smacked another in the jaw, sprawling him on the floor. A bat swung at Kara, she blocked it with the tire iron. She caught the vampire's other arm and knocked her into an incoming vampire with a knife. Kara smiled a wicked smile as she wrested the knife away and sunk it deep into three necks and severed them.

The knife dulled quick, cutting through bone, and she went back to the tire iron.

The vampires did not disperse like usual. They felt confident she would be killed. A few wondered how she lived, but it passed, fleeting. They could now walk in the sun. No Hunter possessed enough strength to defeat them, or so they believed.

Kara got ahold of another knife. This one lasted a little longer, five heads.

Now with almost half the group dead, the vampires started to panic, or at least the ones who were not fighters, and Kara got a sword. Then everyone tried to escape.

Kara let them go if they were smart enough to run they might be dumb enough to stay out in the sun until she stopped the spell.

Kara burned the ten bodies she had. She felt ill-prepared since she did not even have her UV flashlight. And how would she hide her new sword?

She went back to her old habit of rifling through their possessions. She found a jacket about her size in a pile of clothes thrown into a corner and put it on. She also found several wads of cash, easily ten grand. She wrapped the sword in a shirt and placed it in a bag also pilfered from the corner. She threw the rings and cash into the same bag. She pulled the curtains down so the sun would clean up the blood when it moved into position.

Kara walked back out to where Sam parked across the street.

"Saw some characters run outta the strip mall," he said as he accepted his lighter back. He lit a cigarette and sat on the hood of his car. "You wanna tell me what's going on?"

"Not particularly."

"I thought you'd say that."

Kara heard sirens in the distance. Sam shuffled uncomfortable with the conversation.

"You called 'em?" Kara crossed her arms perturbed.

"I did."

"You'll have a lot of explaining to do."

"Yeah?" His incredulous tone said he thought it was the other way around.

"Yeah." Kara reached into her bag and threw down a wad of cash.

"What's this for?"

"Your taxi." Kara grabbed his keys, hopped in and drove off. She drove a couple miles and ditched the car. She was not far from the next lair.

Kara hunted all day. She remained energetic. She told herself she slept long enough anyway. Besides, I'll sleep when I'm dead. She also did not feel hungry, but she drank water all the time, to stave off the thirst she felt. She hoped to finish this work before she fed. Even a mere inkling of that thought made her sick to her stomach. Her day dragged, and she just wanted it to end as she went to the extremes of sickness and fighting.

Kara made it to a large warehouse on the river. No less than 100 vampires milled around inside the building. She killed as many already. Kara possessed no idea how she killed so many, but they were thick as fleas, without a care in the world.

A room in the front of the building held about twenty; she made for that room first. She walked in sword drawn. "Now I know you aren't planning a party, you didn't invite me."

Like all the hideouts she raided today, they stood still; disbelieving what their own eyes told them stood right in front of them. They recovered fast and started to come at her. She moved out of the way, as a vampire with an axe came at her like an out of control locomotive and sliced him as he ran past her. His look of surprise, turned painful as the sword cut down his side, blood spraying all over Kara's sword, hand, and body.

She came down hard on his neck. This sword did not cut necks clean like her katana, but she used it since nothing else remained as sharp or available. More came at Kara, she hit, punched, kicked, cut and sliced.

Kara understood she felt stronger but vampires were supposed to be stronger too. The growth of her strength felt disproportionate to theirs. Kara did not know what caused this change, but she enjoyed it. The vampires fell like before, but it felt almost too easy.

They moved slower too. She saw them coming towards her. It felt like she moved on fast forward while they were in slow motion. The punches they landed were because she did not find the need to move before she killed them. Their punches barely registered either. She used a katana because they were designed to cut through limbs with ease; it remained messy with any other weapon. Sometimes it took four strikes with some weapons, and she knew where to strike to go between bones. Her new strength allowed her to cut their heads without the katana.

She noticed another difference too, without her armor she saw her injuries. Where the armor took the blows for her and protected her, now she saw them, but she watched with amazement as they healed as fast as the vampires. She felt thirsty again, and in the midst of battle, it persisted, but she could handle it. The heat of battle helped her forget.

Leila heard someone attacked the family room. She did not actually confirm but instead sought out Hagen. He walked with a few of Nigel's guards toward the disturbance. All were well armed.

"What's going on Hagen? Is it true somebody's attacking?"

Hagen stopped and looked as if he did not need the distraction. "I'm checking it out. Go on back to your room."

Leila smacked her lips and crossed her arms. He treated her like a child. This was not Leila's first disappointment. She also did not like her room here. She wanted to share with Hagen.

When would they rule? Why did it feel like they still hid? It did because they still did! Leila felt impatient since she never held very much patience. Sure they had a little fun in the sun, caused a little chaos, but nothing like they promised.

She followed Hagen anyway down the long dark hallway to the large party room. Beer flowed. Televisions were watched. Games were played. People were eaten. Paradise.

As they neared the room, Leila saw Hagen run off faster. Leila stopped a moment and heard fighting. Who's stupid enough to come here?

Leila ran to catch up; just in the doorway, she stopped, looking for the intruder. She could not fight and did not plan to risk her life. It would not be a problem. They were so powerful now even she felt it. It intoxicated every nerve.

Leila caught sight of the intruder. She did not believe it at first, but she was dumb enough to come. How is the Hunter alive? I saw her die. I watched the blood drain out of her... we all did! Leila stood confounded. But the fact the Hunter fought so well, despite the boost in strength, made their situation even more confusing.

Hagen and the others fought, and at first, they did fine, but they hit the Hunter, and she did not fall, and they hit her again, and she did not fall and yet again... Leila moved, ready to run. The others beat her to it. They dropped their weapons and ran.

Leila watched them run. She did not see Hagen fall, but she saw the Hunter hold her sword high.

No! Leila ran. Not away, which was more prudent, but toward the Hunter, toward Hagen.

She threw herself on top of Hagen. "Please don't kill 'im."

The Hunter's face contorted in confusion. "Why?"

"I love him, please. Everybody else ran, he can't stop you alone."

"Those're dumb reasons."

"Haven't you ever loved someone?"

Kara huffed. "Yeah, and I got a stake in my heart for my trouble—love is meaningless." The sword didn't fall.

Leila saw this as her chance to escape. She grabbed Hagen and assisted him away. She looked back and saw the Hunter move deeper into the lair.

"Wait. We have to go back," Hagen said as he struggled to pull his breath.

"No." Lelia's firm face showed her determination to stay outside and run. "You saw her. She's a monster. If you go back, she'll kill you."

"I can't leave Nigel," Hagen's voice came strained.

Leila winced at the desperation she saw on his face. "Al'ight, let's get a car and go get him."

Kara walked a corridor. They built walls and rooms by stringing sheets or constructing walls from rusted sheet metal. The first rooms were sheet and clothesline, but the further in she got they became more like actual rooms with metal and actual sheetrock walls. No one stayed here. Her fight must have called or scared away all the rest. She saw a few shapes towards the end of the building; she headed there.

She came on one of the vampires. He did not know she stood there. She saw he grabbed a few things and put them in a bag. She had the element of surprise, but when she saw his face, she fell back, surprised. Her sword clattered to the floor.

He called to her; she did not answer since he was a vampire. "Kara, it's you." Dennis came out of the shadows and embraced her before she could react. "You're alive... I don't understand!" His face filled with wonder.

"Why?" she managed to say. Kara froze in place. She tried to move but her limbs just were not listening. "I'm here in front of you aren't I?"

"How's it possible?" He smiled. "How are you a vampire?" He stroked her hair, he kissed her; she kissed him back.

Tears fell from her eyes. She knew for sure, she loved him. The haze of her death caused her to forget, but his betrayal poisoned her more because she loved him. He earned her trust, but he never deserved it. Her heart ached. She knew how to make her heart better—the same she planned for Simon. Kara pushed him away. Her eyes grew cold.

"What's wrong Kara?"

"You killed me, remember?"

"I do, but now you have to understand."

"What's to understand?"

"We can be together, just like I wanted—like you want." He grabbed her again, stroking her hair. "You're not still mad about the ceremony? What matters is you're alive, and we can be together... forever."

Kara did not react—could not react. She lay against his body, even though she held resolve. His body emitted warmth. His arms held her tight. He still smelled the same too. Deep down Kara remembered. "You do not understand. There's no forever for vampires and especially for you."

"What?" His confusion turned suspicious.

Kara could move again. She mentally sighed with relief. Her resolve remained difficult to hold on to, but at least she could move again.

She reached for her sword. Dennis moved back to a safer distance.

"You have the eyes!" Dennis backed away shocked at her behavior. She's a vampire. He saw the murder in her eyes. He wanted so much to be together, but she acted like a monster.

Dennis moped around the last two days, disappointed in himself and confused at Kara. He just never thought of the right words to say. She did not understand what he wanted to accomplish. If he worked harder at convincing her, showed her his conviction, maybe he could have broken through, but it was too late, now this miracle—his miracle girl—stood before him, with a heart filled with hate and malice, and her desire for revenge. He gained a second chance, so few get one, and it went askew. She built a wall of anger around her heart, and he did not think he could bust through it in time.

Then he remembered. "After the accident, if I hadn't known any better then, I'd have thought you were a vampire."

Kara stepped back, her face softened into a bewildered expression. It did not last long. "I'm gonna enjoy this."

Dennis was almost convinced. He saw hints of fear and concern in her eyes, even sadness. If only I could say something. I still love you. I need you. There has to be some way we can be together.

Kara hit him before the words came out.

Kara laid on the floor, outside the window she threw Dennis' body out of; he lay on the ground, knife in his chest, just waiting for the sun to take him. She could not find the strength to finish him off. The sun would do it for her when the spell lifted.

Kara lay in a heap. As she pulled herself up, her lip still shivered, and she fought back tears. She lay under the window for what felt like hours, but the sun only moved a little when she pulled herself up again. Killing him was easy and hard. Once she felt determined to kill him, it was easy, but now with him dead and the pain made her determination falter.

Dennis still laid on the ground, the knife protruding from his chest as she looked out the window. Kara did not want to look, but her eyes were drawn to him like iron to a magnet. She needed to go, but she stood frozen. She needed to move, needed to find Nigel, but she stayed, still stuck—still in love—part of her wanted to rip the knife out and work it out. The other part of her wanted to watch his body burn, but she did not think she would sleep for a month. No, she had no choice. He needed to die, both for himself and his future victims. Love only went so far and could only take them so far. She knew... knew it remained impossible.

She turned away. She would never let this happen again. Love. Ha! I don't need it. I have no time for it. She realized his love distracted her. She did not let herself remember how happy he became seeing her still alive. Thoughts like he may have actually loved her, were a distraction at best, painful at worst. The scar over her heart would serve as a constant reminder for as long as she stayed on this earth to forget love and not let it rule her life again.

She walked into the room with vampires still inside. Nigel sat behind a screen, while others sat around on the floor.

Kara wasted no time in dispatching the vampires who sat on the floor. They were engrossed in storytelling. Like the rest, they were too surprised. She saw him, the master, come from behind the screen. He still made her heart race, but she felt on equal footing since she was not tied up anymore. She smiled satisfied and drove forward. Saskia got in the way.

"It's not po..." Nigel sputtered. In all his life, all his nightmares, all his wildest fantasies since he became master, he never believed he would see another like Dayne. He never allowed himself to say the name, let alone think it, but as he did, he knew it was right. Dayne reincarnated in front of him. He wrought chaos everywhere. He persisted as destruction incarnate.

This Hunter died, but here she stood before him. She fought and moved and... killed.

Nigel stood frozen in his fear. Again, it's happening again! How is this possible? It can't be possible.

But it remained possible, he saw this all before, and as another of his family fell, he knew it continued to be real. He just did not want to believe. Who would when faced with the impossible twice in his lifetime?

She's not human. She's a monster.

The monster of his nightmares stood again before him, and he could not move, even as Saskia stood to fight her.

They shared the same frightening stare in their eyes: hateful, vengeful, and murderous.

He remembered those eyes now. He remembered the past.

Nigel fought well against both the vampire and his Hunter pet, but the look the Hunter gave him brought weakness to him. This was not the Hunter he heard of in campfire tales; this living monster stood before him, pure and simple.

Fear and self-preservation pressed hard on Nigel. He turned and ran. He needed to get away, run away, and leave. It stayed too dangerous. He ran across the courtyard. At first, he thought he heard pursuit, but as he slowed down he remembered their focus rested on his master. His steps petered out, and he threw himself to the ground. He felt he betrayed his master, the only one to show him kindness, besides Hagen, and the girl walking toward him. He saw her as he threw his head back trying to gain his breath.

Her demeanor shocked Nigel. Octavia walked purposefully, gracefully and without a hint of fear, even as her steps hurried to him.

"Are you hurt?" her sweet voice came laced with concern.

"No, no, I don't think so."

She helped him up, with a smile. "Good. I was so worried. Everyone's fleeing."

She's so brave to stay here. Braver than me. The Hunter remained a monster, but Cornelius continued to be family. No one else protected his master. Hagen would die to protect their master. But, Nigel conceded, Hagen wouldn't die since he's a better swordsman.

So this stood as a test. What made Nigel a man? Was it the way he looked, or how he acted? Was he even a man? "I have to go back." He turned back towards the battle, his face grave.

Octavia started to speak but stopped. She kissed him passionately. "Be careful."

Nigel stood wide-eyed by her kiss. No one ever kissed him like that. "Yes," he managed to say. "Stay here."

He left her and ran back across the courtyard. He ran hard, as hard as he did to get away. He saw his master and the Hunter locked in a fierce struggle. The vampire took on a few more stray guards who appeared. They were no match for the Hunter-vampire pair. They were unstoppable; Nigel wondered what he did. Throwing my life away. He meant it, and he felt happy.

Coming up from behind, he stabbed the vampire. He crumpled to the ground. Nigel did not slow; he kept on for the Hunter. His master and the Hunter were having a tremendous battle, but before he reached them, his master fell, a horrible wound in his chest.

The Hunter held the Book; he did something Nigel could not see. He did hear yelling. Words in Greek resonated through the courtyard.

Thunder clapped in the distance and then again, right overhead. Nigel ground to a halt at the sound. He looked up; no storm clouds, just sun.

Nigel started to run again. He ran passed his master toward the Hunter, but his master called him back. The Hunter's vampire ran to the Hunter while Nigel went to his master. They exchanged hateful glares as they passed.

"Master," Nigel called.

"Shh boy," Cornelius said. "Get us to cover. My room is best." Cornelius' voice strained from the gaping wound in his chest.

Nigel did not understand, but he did not argue. Picking up his master, he ran with him to cover.

Nigel noticed something odd. It started when he looked up at the sun; his eyes hurt. His eyes now watered, and his skin tingled. They got under cover just as all the bodies in the courtyard burst into flames. Putting down his master, Nigel jumped back frightened. "What's happened?"

"The spell," Cornelius' voice came stronger now. He sat up. His eyes haunted. "The spell has been reversed." He shook his head. "I didn't think it could be."

"But... but that means?"

"Yes, our time in the light has ended. He's a frightening one."

"If we fight him, together can't we win?" Nigel said it but he did not believe it to be true. The thought of fighting the Hunter without the added strength of the Book was suicide. He understood the truth of it but wanted to appear hopeful.

"He's beyond our strength now... I'm sure." Fear lay behind Cornelius' eyes.

"Then what do we do?" Nigel felt near panic.

"We?" Cornelius asked almost sarcastic. "We do nothing. It's what you do that matters." Nigel shook his head confused. Cornelius looked out at the courtyard. "I don't want to live in a world without the power of the Book again. It's a hard and cruel world. A world that belongs to humans." He spat. "Damn humans and damn the Hunters! I won't live in it again." His eyes softened as he looked at Nigel again.

Nigel felt even more confused, but he thought he started to understand.

Cornelius smiled sad. "I want you to take my blood and become the next master."

"What?" Nigel exclaimed. "You're not serious?"

"I am."

"But you're the master."

"Anyone can be master, but you stayed by my side, even now I feel the others fleeing for their lives, but not Nigel, despite it all, you stayed by my side. You are the most worthy to follow me. You will carry on my legacy too, and one day when all the stars align, find the Book again."

Nigel turned away from his master. How can he say such things, when I don't want to be without him?

Cornelius moved closer to Nigel, wrapping his arm around him. "Please grant me this."

I never wanted this. "But I will serve you forever."

"I know you would." His eyes showed gentleness. "I only need you to serve one last time."

Nigel gazed deep into his master's eyes; he saw the fear reflected in his own eyes but none of the hesitation.

"Octavia still lives, drink my blood, take her away from here, and make her yours... with whatever face you wish."

Now that tempted Nigel but not enough to sway him. His emotions for his master were too strong. He neared tears.

"Fine. I will throw myself into the sun, faithless servant, who can't even perform my last request."

Nigel grabbed his arm and held him back. "Please master, don't you know how much I love you, being without you... I...I." Nigel blubbered and started to cry.

Cornelius put his arms on Nigel's shoulders. "I know. Master Shindo saw this in his vision, my defeat, passing my mantle to you. You have the strength. It is ordained by our Father and Mother."

Nigel still hesitated. He pulled his master into an embrace. Cornelius patted him warmly. "I love you too like a son. I am glad to have known you little rat."

No one called Nigel that name in many years. He smiled despite its negative connotation since his master smiled so bright. Nigel could not find words anymore.

"I will throw myself into the sun." He looked toward the sun, grave in his determination.

I have no choice my master dies regardless. Nigel still hesitated though.

Cornelius pulled away again. He headed to the sun. Nigel grabbed him again.

"I'm done being nice about it!" Cornelius pushed Nigel down and kicked his stomach. He turned back to the light.

Nigel still reached for his master's foot. Only booted toes stood in sunlight. Cornelius would've kicked him again, but he saw a change in Nigel. He still cried, but he would honor his beloved master's last request.

"I'll do what you ask; please don't go into the sun!"

Kara fought the little Saskia. Or so Saskia thought, Kara just toyed with her. A feint here, a dodge there, making her go where she wanted her. Kara made slices across her wrists and ankles. Kara laughed as she grabbed a hold of Saskia and to finish her little game; she would slit Saskia's throat and stab her heart—all the wounds Kara received.

Kara never got to finish. Nigel pulled Saskia free. He stabbed at Kara as he flung his love across the room and away from the deadly Hunter.

Kara made a few jabs, but Nigel predicted her movements and stayed just out of reach. Kara became frustrated. They were equally matched. She made a wrong move or so Nigel thought. With Kara off-balance, he chopped down on Kara's hand. Her grip loosened. Nigel grabbed the sword and took it from Kara. Flipping it faster than lightning; he pushed it into her stomach.

"It's not my blood that needs to be spilled," Kara said soft with a painful smile.

Nigel took a step back. The confidence in her voice staggered him. She sounded so sure, this already ended, and she knew how to do it as well. He knew just by her look and tone.

In a flash, Kara took out a knife she stashed in her pocket, with her other hand she grabbed his arm. She slit it. His blood flowed onto the knife. Of course, Kara wanted to kill him, but she needed to stop the spell. She freed herself from the sword, hobbled passed Nigel; she saw the book. It glowed bright. With as much speed and care as she could muster, while her wound healed, Kara made her way to the book. She opened the page and smeared the blood from her knife. As the letters rearranged into English, she was not surprised. She read the words.

Nigel wasted no time he grabbed Saskia. Her eyes pleaded with him to continue the fight; he knew better, this Hunter acted like Dayne. Nightmares do come true in the form of a Hunter.

He hated admitting defeat, but he'd memorized the other information needed so it was not a total loss.

He felt relieved to see Hagen pull up in a tinted car after they walked out the door, his escape guaranteed.

Kara sat for a while after she finished, unsure what to do. She wanted to just walk out into the sun and let it kill her, but she felt informing her family stayed the better option. Let them kill her although Dennis put doubt in her mind. If I walk out there, nothing may happen. I might still be human. She did not feel like committing suicide either although going to her family was just that so she waited until sunset.

The book factored heavily as well. She needed to get it into trusted hands. Her family, again, remained the best choice.

Looking down at her ripped and ruined dress and pilfered bloody jacket, she pulled herself up. She had an odd feeling, she had a hole in her stomach, the blood on her hand proved it, but it closed. She rummaged through clothes strewn on the floor for some that fit her. She found a pair of jeans and a long dark green tee. She continued to wear her heels.

Kara stepped out just minutes after sunset and started walking, book under her arm. She wondered if going to the hospital was the best idea. Dad's probably still in a coma. But she wanted to see him one last time. It was a long walk. Few people were on the streets; they waited for the next wave of vampire attacks, luckily this city had Kara. On the way, police with sirens blaring blasted passed. They were headed elsewhere. She still ducked her head; she previously stole a taxi, or at least that's how it looked.

Arriving at the hospital, she took the familiar elevator and hallways to her father's room. Too many memories of Dennis returned as she walked the hallway.

Her father was not in his room. Kara panicked. A friendly nurse pointed Kara in the right direction, the sunroom.

The sky was dark when Kara entered the sunroom. Shapes and shadows of plants scattered around the room. Kara sat in this room several times with her father while he got stronger. It was his favorite. She saw him sitting in a wheelchair at the window; a nurse knelt in front of Nathaniel trying to convince him to go back to his room.

"It's different," he said, "I feel it... back to normal."

"Dad," Kara said as she moved across the room.

He turned surprised. "But," he started, but he did not finish.

She hugged him tight.

"I'll leave you here for a little bit," the nurse said as she left the room. She flicked on the light as she left.

"I thought you were dead," he began. "He said you were dead. I didn't want to believe him, but I couldn't get a hold of you," his voice sounded breathless and strained.



"Oh," Kara said not betraying any emotion.

"He's a vampire. I think he killed Jenny that cute dietitian, but I'm not sure. He said you were dead," Nathaniel ran through the words fast, they stumbled out. He looked to her hoping she would deny the facts.

Kara stopped his ramble with her hand on his. She took off her sunglasses, showing him her eyes. Nathaniel did not look surprised. Kara sighed. "You knew about this, so I'm not a vampire," she said relieved.

"No, no you aren't."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Kara accused him while getting angry.

"I didn't know how. How could I tell you-you are part vampire?"

"You're part vampire, what's the big deal?" She shook her head. "How did this happen? You don't heal this fast. I didn't know I healed this fast. I know you aren't a vampire and mom's not... so how?"

"No, you're right. Your mother wasn't a vampire."

Kara waited. She thought their conversation sputtered out. She waited longer, tapping her toes on the floor waiting for some explanation. She got suspicious at the silence. "Mom wasn't a vampire right?"

"No, she wasn't. Your grandmother was," he said as if he talked about the weather.

"My grandmother!"

"Your mother was half," he said as if he continued to talk about the weather.

Kara sat back speechless.

Her father continued on to fill the silence. "I opposed our relationship on those grounds. I thought she was a vampire when I first met her. It took a long time for me to overcome my fear and worry about what my children would be like if I married her. I love her still...

"Simon was my fault. If I never married her, he might have been different."

We wouldn't have been born, she thought full of sarcasm

Nathaniel sulked for a while again. "I guess I should tell you all of it then." He took a deep breath steeling his nerves. "Your dreams... they're probably visions. From what I gleaned from your mother, your grandmother was the master with the power of visions. The master after your mother has always been Jeffery, he's trying to complete his power; it's shared with him and all her descendants. It's not meant to be shared... so it's thin... or something. I don't understand it. But he probably still chases her," he ended silent.

It all made sense now. She was not a vampire but her grandmother was. He even explained her visions. His words soothed her. They even explained Simon. Her father still blamed himself. Kara realized he always would, just like she would always seek revenge.

"Wait you said still?"

He shook his head. "Your mother isn't dead, she left us when she became a vampire." His shoulders slumped. "I tried to get to her to come back, but it was too late when I found her." Nathaniel sighed long and sad. "Being part vampire affects each person differently, but it helps that you're a lot like me. You have hunter in you, your brother didn't. He was weak. He sympathized with them... I think. I'm only going off of what your mom said though. It might have been different for him.

Kara felt shocked at the realization of her mother being alive. All these years she lived without a mother!

"So what happened?" he asked tentative and slow. "Dennis said you were dead."

Nathaniel's question pulled Kara out of her thoughts. "I was. I think. They used me as a sacrifice for their book." Kara showed her father.

"This is it." Nathaniel ran his fingers along the book. His awed expression turned to disgust.

Kara nodded. "I died on the full moon."

"Two days ago!" he said in awe.

Kara nodded. "I woke up in a morgue this morning. I thought I was a vampire until I had a run-in with Dennis." Kara saw the question in his eyes. "I killed him."

"And you stopped the spell?"

"I did. I had dreams since I came here about a hunter named Dayne. He stopped the spell before, and I learned how to stop it from him."

Nathaniel nodded. "Probably visions."

Kara nodded. "When you took me to the vampire bar that man—vampire..." She sucked on her lip, nervous. "Ben—he said there was a truce between him and hunters, and he was helping Dayne stop the master."

"Is there a question there?"

"Do you know anything about it?"

"I've always disapproved of that cult." He sighed. "I never told you about it—the Sixth son cult."

"The wha!"

"Some vampires believe their Father and Mother had six children, instead of five and some claim to follow him."

"So this Ben or Jason is one of these cultists?"

"It would seem," he said cryptically.

"What else do you know?" she accused.

"Your mother's in it. And they may help from time to time, but I don't trust them. They always speak the same damn line about a truce. Always makes me sick," he said disgusted.

"You've had a lot of dealings with 'em?"

"Enough. They think 'cause they don't kill people they deserve special treatment."

"But you don't."

He shrugged. "It's not for me to influence your thoughts about them, you have to make up your own mind. Every hunter has to decide for his or herself whether they will trust them."

"I don't know," she said at last.

"You don't have to know now," he gave her a smile. "I wish... I wish I was always so lucid so I could've warned you about the book and Dennis."

"You knew?"

"I'm dying, I'm not stupid, and he tried to do something to me," he said simply. "I knew about the book, your mother warned me years ago not to give up its location. She said she saw it in a vision. You'd have a chance if I didn't give them it. I knew he was working with them since he tried me the drugs and asked the question." He smiled wicked. "Confirmed my suspicion, shame I got sick again and couldn't warn you."

"It's alright dad." She smiled at him. "I better go. It's getting late. You need to rest."

Nathaniel's smile faded.

"I'll see you in the morning."

He gave her a big hug. "Yes." He gave her a sad smile.

Kara stood and pushed his wheelchair back to his room. He gave her another hug and Kara left.

Kara got back to her hotel room and sighed with relief as she slid off her shoes. She avoided looking at the bed, where Dennis laid with her, watched movies and just talked.

She needed to see if vampires were still around. She sat on the floor, she relaxed letting her mind go. She hunted them... none were in the vicinity. She went out further, this took more time, but no, they all left town. They were on the run and she would catch them... in another day or so.

She came out of the search fast, avoided looking at the bed again, and just lay down. She said she would sleep when she died, but she thought she would die for being a vampire, and since she was not and this was such a long day, she felt tired. She lay in the middle of the bed, spreading her arms and legs, claiming it all. Her mixed emotions about Dennis swirled. She did not feel better. Killing made her feel better but not this time.

Kara did not want to sleep—she feared the dreams she would have—but sleep took her. She slept with no visions just ordinary sleep.

She woke refreshed, but her eyes still glowed. She knocked her hand on her skull a few times trying to make it stop, to no avail. She ate on the run as she went to the hospital. She wanted to see her dad. She forgot to tell him about the letters.

Arriving in the morning, Kara went to her father's room. He was not there so Kara made her way to the sunroom. He was not there either, she headed back to his room when she walked past the nurses' station a friend caught Kara.

"Kara, let's sit down." She took Kara around the shoulders and sat her in the waiting room. "I'm sorry Kara. Your father died last night."

Kara went numb. She knew she should be sad, but she did not feel anything. From the top of her head to the tips of toes, she felt lifeless. How did this happen? He was fine last night. She thought of that after she sat for an hour. The nurses checked on her every few minutes, but she did not move.

Half the day passed before Kara moved. She moved like a husk to her father's room, all his things were bagged up and sitting outside. She picked up his things and left.

Evening came before she went through his things and discovered the book was gone. She double and triple-checked, dumping the bag's contents onto her bed. It was not there. She called the hospital; they did not have anything else for her father.

"Damn it! The book's gone."

Kara stayed upset, angry and confused, but she knew if vampires walked in the light again she would be ready for them.

Kara attended the funeral of her father. She buried him in Sacramento. The clouds piled up on the foothills outside the county, the winter rains would come soon.

Through her tears, she greeted the few family and hospital staff attending. One woman stood out from the rest. Kara saw a blurry image through her tears of the woman with a black hat and veil.

"Your father was a good man," she said.

"You knew my father?" Kara grabbed her hands like a drowning man grabbed a lifeline.

"He saved my life once," she answered simply.

"Dad saved a lot of lives." She fought back her tears. "I'm glad you came." Kara smiled.

"So am I." She squeezed Kara's hands before letting go.

Kara packed up and left the city that day. She had nothing left in Sacramento and the vampires moved on, so she did too.

Leaving was easier. No questions from family—although—Larisa pestered—nor explanations or expectations. She was the hunter after all, and if she could not push through her pain, what kind of hunter would she be.

She wanted to be the best.

Well that's it. Sorry this is late, between surgery, my brother's wedding tomorrow and just life, I'm only just posting. I hoped you enjoyed. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Kara will be back in Vampire World, when I get that written.

Love to all,