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LEAVING SHADOWSCHILDREN OF THE OTHERS COLLECTIONTM BOOK - FOUR
By A. DRAGONBLOOD
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 A. Dragonblood
All right reserved.
Chapter OneUNDERCOVER TROUBLE
Vampires littered the roof tops and wolves lurked in the shadows of doorways and alleys as the three girls started home. They gripped each other's hands as tightly as their spandex tops embraced their young female bodies. They were scurrying home from the movie theatre after an evening showing of 'The Vampire's Spawn.' The night was eerily quiet when they crossed the theatre's empty parking lot. The movie hadn't been particularly good and they hadn't told their parents where they were going, so no one knew they were there. At least, that is what they thought.
It had all started with some hot guys from school that were giving out free tickets to some of the girls. Katelyn thought it would be a cool thing to go check out the movie, hoping that the guys would be there and she could maybe hook up with one of them. Smart enough to not go alone, she instructed Tori and Jenny to come along but tell their parents that they were staying at her house for the night.
None of the girls could actually see the vampires. They melted into the night sky where it draped the tops of the city's architecture with shadows. They could hear the rustling of clothes and high pitched whining. The girls' tanned arms were now speckled white with goose bumps from their innate sense of danger. They hurried down the street, a fast walk turning into a run as the noises became more distinct.
"Do you see what's up there?" Tori asked the others.
"I don't know what's up but I keep seeing something out of the corner of my eye in every store front," Jenny replied, shaking. "This way." Katelyn motioned with her free hand as she pointed to a one way street that was poorly lit by only one street light. "There are still three or four houses down there. We are better off on a residential street than a commercial road where everything is closed," she explained.
The other two girls were not as familiar as Katelyn was with the area, so they followed her lead. Exhausted from running six blocks in sandals, the young women slowed their pace. They tried to slow their heart rates too, so they could hear from where their pursuers were coming.
"Maybe we lost them," Jenny suggested, wishing she was right.
"You may be right, but we should still be careful and stay close," Tori stated.
The three let go of each other's hands, wiping off the buttery sweat that they had collected from nerves and popcorn.
"Did you feel that?" Katelyn asked her friends.
"Feel what?" Jenny asked Katelyn looking in her direction.
"I thought I felt something breeze by my face."
Tori turned and looked at Katelyn. "I think you must have run into something. There's blood on the side of your cheek."
"OMG!" Katelyn screamed as she dragged her hand over the seeping wound. "It's just like the vampires in the movie. They teased and played with their victims before they drained them!"
"Let's not get too dramatic, Katelyn," Jenny advised. "I mean, this is not a movie. That stuff is just fiction and urban legends anyway," she added.
"Well to be honest, every story has to have a beginning. I for one believe that there are real vampires. I mean like human vampires, not the movie superhero, super-lover ones. Of course, if they have super powers and are super lovers that would be a bonus!" Tori giggled nervously.
"Well, this blood seeping from my face is very real and I am really scared. We are still five blocks from home," Katelyn whimpered.
"Come on, let's see if someone can help us and get you cleaned up," Jenny suggested.
While the three frightened young women approached each house to look for help, the vampires and wolves were up to their own games. Free falling from the top of one house, one of the vampires landed softly on his feet and blended into the shadows. A large four- legged beast appeared abruptly beside him.
"They are ours tonight," the vampire declared.
"Jonathan, you know that it is first come, first serve when it comes to such tasty little treats as these three young humans," the wolf replied.
"Sebastian, we were the ones that planted the free tickets in the hands of this girl. Why should we do all the work and you feast?" Jonathan demanded.
Their stares stretched timelessly, broken only when Sebastian raised his heavy paw towards Jonathan's face. Jonathan had already detected the blood trail that Katelyn was leaving on the sidewalk. He was anxious to taste it, fresh from her vein. Knowing that it was Sebastian that had had the first taste made Jonathan's own blood boil. His jaw line dropped, his fangs extended from his gum line, and his hands buckled and cracked as talons pierced through his knuckles. He raised his head and his eyes had been replaced by black orbs of simmering anger.
"If it was a game you wanted tonight, you should have just said so," Jonathan growled to Sebastian. "Game On!"
Like cool breeze on a warm summer night, the rest of the vampires launched themselves from the roof tops, lunging at the wolf beasts. All of them were heading towards the three young women who were now at the last house on the street, hoping that someone was home to assist them.
"Hello, Hello is anyone there? Please, open the door; we need your help!" Jenny cried as she rang the door bell repeatedly.
There was a crash inside the house, sounding like someone had knocked over a table or broken some dishes. They pounded on the door again. Behind them they could hear growling. Almost too scared to look, the girls turned around. Two huge wolves sat at the bottom of the stairs growling at them. Racing across the street were two pretty good looking guys, with the exception of their fangs and hollowed out eyes.
Katelyn kept repeating, "This isn't real, this isn't real, this isn't real."
The door to the house flew open and the girls hurled themselves into the front hallway, slamming the door behind them. They didn't hear anything, thinking maybe they were safe. But who opened the door and whose house were they in?
"Are they gone? Is anybody there?" Jenny whispered in the dim lit room.
"Quiet, I heard something in there." Tori pointed to the back sitting room. "Follow me and stay close."
Jenny grabbed Tori's hand and reached to where Katelyn was a few moments ago to take her hand. She wasn't there.
"Tori, where is Katelyn?" Jenny screamed hysterically.
"Calm down, it's pretty dark in here. Maybe she walked that way," Tori replied reassuringly.
The two girls opened the curtained doors to the sitting room. They stepped cautiously into the room. Suddenly, the door slammed behind them and the room lit up with candles. There was a fine mist engulfing the room like an early morning fog.
"Welcome to my home, ladies," a voice announced. The fine mist slowly began to dissipate.
The girls gasped as they saw half a dozen men and women, all dressed in black with hollowed out eyes, circling them. The circle parted and a tall, slender man, not much older than a teen ager himself, entered the circle with Katelyn limp in his arms. Her eyes were clouded over, her face withdrawn and pale.
"Katelyn! Who are you and what have you down to our friend?" Tori demanded.
One of the vampire women grabbed Tori by the arm and pulled her away from the man.
"Let her go, my darling. She won't harm me. I am Jonathan the Vampire Prince," the man announced, while his minions lowered their heads to him.
"Mmmmmm, I do apologize for all the drama this evening," he continued in a melodic voice. "Sometimes the wolves like to play their petty games with us. I suppose it adds another dimension of thrill to the kill." Jonathan chuckled and cradled Katelyn to his chest.
"So, here we are. This one is exactly where I wanted her, when I gave her tickets to the movie. You two are a little extra bonus that I wasn't counting on, so I decided to invite a few friends over to enjoy an early evening snack with me!" The other vampires joined the siren call of his laughter and the circle started to shrink.
Gathering her strength, Tori smiled back at Jonathan and began to clap her hands, lightly at first and then with a more pounding rhythm.
"This is why I thought that vampire movie was lame, and why I feel that many of the vampire books and stories are so dumb," Tori announced.
Silence fell on the crowd of vampires. Jenny clung more tightly to Tori's hand.
"Here you are - big, bad vampire guy preying on silly teen age girls that couldn't fight back against you if they tried. You are no better or different than the bullies that we go to school with or the child molesters, rapists or killers in mainstream society," Tori blurted, still looking around the room for any possible way out.
Jonathan laid Katelyn in a nearby chair. He cracked his knuckles and straightened his shirt by tucking the tail back into his pants. Then he released his fangs. "Shut up the stinking wolves," he ordered one of the other vampires. "They are still causing a commotion out on the porch. And make sure the lock is on the door, too," he reminded his less-than-ambitious assistant.
"So then my dear little girl," he continued smoothly, "I suppose it would be safe to say that you probably didn't believe in vampires or werewolves until tonight either." Jonathan walked slowly around the group of vampires in attendance.
"WELL DID YOU OR DIDN'T YOU? ANSWER ME!" Jonathan snarled, upset and losing patience with the situation.
"Ah, um excuse me vampire prince sir," Jenny interrupted. "Tori was the only one who did believe that vampires were real. She just didn't think you were like this. She thought that you were smart and magical - like demigods that were here to keep order and ensure that stories were kept and people were protected from their foolishness. She thought that vampires were pretty hot, too."
Tori smiled at her friend and started backing towards the door ever so slightly. Meanwhile Jonathan and the other vampires had begun to chatter among themselves about what Jenny had said.
"Well, I must say that may have been true a hundred to three thousand years ago," Jonathan replied. "But people are living longer, and Wikipedia, Google and everyone's personal website record histories, so we have had to evolve to survive," Jonathan explained.
"I am sorry that you have fallen into the myths of this world, truly I am. But you can't go around scaring and killing people just because you can't find your place in this new world. I think you have become quite short sighted," Tori replied.
Jonathan turned and looked at their friend lying on the chair. He got down on one knee and placed her hand on his face.
"She wanted me, whether I was a vampire or not. So I do not think that any changes are needed." He turned back around to see his followers nodding their agreement, but the girls were not there.
"There they are, at the door, stop them!" he bellowed as Tori flung the door open and hid behind it just as the wolves pounced through the door.
The shrieks from inside the house were so loud that both girls had to cover their ears to muffle the sounds of terror.
"Ethan, Ethan, ETHAN!" Helen pulled back the covers shrouding Ethan and the book he was reading in bed.
"I don't know what it is that you are reading, but give it here, now!" Ethan's mother was not happy at all. "The Vampire Prince," she said, reading the cover of the book.
She shook her head. "Where did you get this trash?" she demanded.
Ethan regularly read under the covers, since he was never tired when he had to go to bed. His mom had never come barging into his room and pulled the covers off before, though. He realized he must have been broadcasting strong emotions. He had become agitated at the way the vampire prince was handling things. The poor girls were probably going to die.
"Sorry Mom," Ethan answered guiltily. "I was just curious about a book that a lot of kids in school were reading about vampires. I wanted to read it to see how real it was." He added, "I am not enjoying it very much."
"What is going on in here?" Ethan's father asked as he walked in the room.
Helen handed Atticus the book.
"The Vampire Prince - is it a biography or fiction?" Atticus asked Ethan.
Looking a little stumped, Ethan replied "I hope it is fiction, Father; these vampires are really mean to the humans and the wolves and each other."
Smiling at Ethan, his father said, "You know that we can all be mean to one another. Perhaps you have that figured out already. I can see that your energy must have alarmed your mother, causing her to come in here quite upset." Atticus placed a hand on his wife's shoulder.
"I was getting angry with the vampires in the story; I guess that is what Mom felt. I am sorry Mom, I won't do it again." Ethan leaned over and hugged her tightly.
"I am sure that there will be other times that you will get your mother worried. We haven't even hit the teen years yet. But I am pleased that you understand that this is not an appropriate book for you," Ethan's father observed.
"Now I think you need to get some sleep, whether you are tired or not. Good night, son." Atticus gave him a kiss on the forehead.
"I will be going to bed shortly myself, but first I want a few words with Ethan," Helen told her husband as he left. Atticus nodded and returned to his study.
"I am really sorry Mom. I know that it is a teen book and I am not supposed to be reading it, but I was curious. How am I supposed to discuss it with others if I don't know what they are talking about?" Ethan hoped his explanation would keep him out of trouble for not telling her in the first place.
Helen recognized his negotiating and did understand his reasoning. But what he had experienced while reading worried her.
"This is definitely one of those times when you were better off asking forgiveness than permission," she admitted. "I could feel your anger and frustration, Ethan. You were disturbed and upset. I am proud of you for knowing the difference between what is necessary and what is wrong, but I thought you were being tormented in your sleep."
As Helen got up, Ethan asked, "Can I finish the book? I only have two chapters left. Please?"
"No, you don't need to read this nonsense," she replied firmly.
"How am I going to know what happened in the end of the book?" Ethan pleaded.
Helen turned out his light and with the dim hall light behind her she said, "The wolves and vampires fight, no one really wins but the girls sneak out from behind the door. Jenny runs out the door while Tori heads back into the room to survey the damages. She sees her friend dead on the chair, while the vampire prince struggles to stay alive. Tori makes him look into her eyes and says 'you give us all a bad name, and for that you don't deserve to live.'
"She reaches down, pulls his head up to her and plunges her razor sharp fangs into his throat, draining him of any life that remains. She drops him on the floor, picks up the lone candle on the entrance table and throws it into the nest of bodies and debris and walks out of the house. The house explodes and the bodies of her friend, the vampires and wolves burn in a horrific fire, a house party that went terribly wrong. The end."
"Seriously Mom, is that how it ends?" Ethan asks after a minute.
"Maybe it did, or maybe that is the way it should have ended, with dumb girls and bad vampires. I guess you will never know. I also know that it was Gabriel who loaned you this book. I will keep it until I see him again. Good night!"
Chapter TwoTOO EARLY FOR SOME
It was early on a Saturday morning in late April; too early after the events of the night before. Ethan was still not sure if his mother told him the true ending to the book. He wasn't bringing it up, though; better to leave it alone.
Ethan watched the night become day as his mother drove him into town. He was heading to Jeremy's house to spend the weekend.
"Mom, did you see them?" Ethan asked. He had noticed a large cluster of shadowy people swarm on the side of the road.
"I didn't see them, but I felt them. They are probably trying to get home before the sun comes up, in which case they better hurry," she replied.
His mother had to work all weekend at her lab. She was not comfortable leaving Ethan alone, even with the protection they had around their house. She joked with Ethan that it wasn't him she was worried about, but what he would do to someone who did try anything. Teasing aside, she was honestly scared at what he was capable of doing. His new preteen hormones presented an extra challenge in matters of control.
Excerpted from LEAVING SHADOWS by A. DRAGONBLOOD Copyright © 2012 by A. Dragonblood. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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