Chapter 1 Dark Secrets
The hour is late. Thalia Moore is walking home in the dark street, the flickering orange light of a dying lamppost the only light making anything discernible in the gloom. The rain had been heavy earlier, the remaining water making her footsteps splash, the sound almost deafening in the pressing silence of the deserted street. The buildings and abandoned warehouses loom over her forebodingly, the blank windows glinting in the flickering lamppost's light, they look like eyes. She shivers and wraps her black hooded jacket more tightly around her in the damp cold. Her breath mists before her eyes, matching the mist that surrounds her. She pulls her hood up, trying to keep warm, her blonde hair escaping the confines of her hood and tickling her face. After a few minutes of this, she sighs and puts her hood down again.
She has to keep her green eyes on the ground, as the uneven cobblestones keep tripping her up and catching at her heeled boots. Finally, she trips and flies to the ground, crying out as she does. Cursing, she stands, rubbing her hands on her black combat trousers and examines them to find them scraped and raw. She starts to walk again, keeping her hands in the pockets of her jacket. She is so distracted by her situation, she doesn't see the figure beneath the lamppost until it goes out. She looks up, surprised, and freezes at the sight of the woman about her age casually leaning against the cold metal. She takes an involuntary step back as she sees the woman's eyes.
Blood red and stony, they glow like hot coals, sinister and threatening, her skin is so pale, the moon would have envied her. Her dark hair hangs to about waist length, and she is smiling, showing pearly white teeth, the canines oddly long.
“Ex..Excuse me please.” Thalia stutters, trying to get past the woman into the next street. The woman laughs quietly.
“Manners. Finally, a teenager with manners!” The strange woman chuckles, “Most young people are quite rude these days, wouldn't you agree?” her voice is velvety and dangerous, the sort a panther would be expected to have.
Thalia is beyond speech, she is too afraid. “M... May I get by?” She whispers.
The woman thinks for a moment. “But child, you have seen me.” She says in that velvety voice.
“Child?” Thalia is stunned, this woman is her own age! “You don't look older than me!”
“Ah, the ignorance of the young.” The stranger smiles bitterly, and takes a step towards the terrified teenager. “You have no idea do you?” Thalia stumbles backwards, trying to get away from the crazy woman.
“G-Get away from me!” Thalia squeaks, “I-I'm warning you!” The stranger just chuckles and is suddenly behind her.
“What is your name child?” She murmurs.
“T...Thalia... Thalia Moore...” She whispers, almost fainting with terror.
The woman laughs softly. “Goodnight Thalia Moore.”
Thalia's screams linger in the air long after they cease to be made. Her body slumps to the ground as the hunter smiles, wipes her lips, and walks away, disappearing into the night.
Evelyn Brooks. A name to last a decade or two. I hate having to change my name every few years, but how else am I meant to stay hidden? I smile and lean against the wall of an old warehouse, the girl's blood warming me from the inside, her memories flooding me. I almost feel sorry for her. But I'm sure she, like all my other victims, would be happy to know she had given her life to keep mine going.
I glance at the sky and flinch, the sky I slowly starting to turn pink. I take it I will not get to my destination tonight. I turn and look at the warehouse wall I was leaning on and see a small window about three metres up. Easy.
I leap into the air and grab the windowpane, swinging myself up and digging my long nails into the wood. I shove at the window and the glass flies out of its pane and smashes on the concrete floor inside. I spring from my perch and into the warehouse to find an old blanket or something to sleep under. After a few minutes of searching, I find an old sheet, the type used by painters, and lay down on the cold, hard concrete and fall asleep, the girl's blood keeping me warm, knowing my thirst should be sated for at least two days, more than enough time to get to where I need to go. My dreams are filled with many jumbled memories, of rivers of blood and row upon row of victims standing staring at me, nought but ghosts now, their eyes sad and empty, staring at me, so I roll my eyes and blow gently in my dream, their forms sway then drift, nothing but dust in the wind now, yet in death more real than anything. Shame for them that I have no intention to join them in the world of the dead.
I wake as the sun is setting. Perfect timing.
I'll be able to get very far tonight, at least three quarters of the way to my destination. Tomorrow night I'll be there, and the deed will be done.
I take to the rooftops, knowing I will be less likely to be spotted as I make my way across the city. I leap between buildings, barely paying attention to where I land, as long as it doesn't collapse underneath me. This happens twice, and each time I am able to spring away before any harm befalls me. Thalia's blood keeps me going for a long time, and actually speeding me up. The girl must have been an athletic one, or her blood would keep me how I am normally.
I hear a shout beneath me as I leap, and I push myself faster, knowing I will get away with ease. I hear a gunshot and whirl, hissing. This human is too gutsy for my liking. He won't survive the night.
Jack Rowley was the one who saw the strange woman jumping between the warehouses. He has been watching her for a few minutes, thinking she was just a rebellious teenager free-running, but closer inspection has shown her to be a dangerous looking young woman, and focused on something important. She jumps an impossible distance of an entire road and he's had it. She's trouble, and he has to stop her before she hurt herself or others.
He's a police officer, and a good one at that, and being promoted at the end of the week to chief of police. He's on the Thalia Moore case, but he doesn't know he is looking at her murderer, or he would be more careful.
He shouts for the woman to stop and she speeds up, as if that is possible, which it seems to be. She will not be getting away. He climbs onto the nearest roof and fires a shot into the air, hoping it will scare her down, but she whirls and makes a strange, feral hissing noise, baring her teeth, which is scarily strange enough, but then he catches sight of her eyes. Red, glowing and sinister, oh so sinister, and suddenly he knows this is no ordinary woman. She tilts her head and walks forward slowly, casually, smirking. He takes an involuntary step back and tries to look brave in front of the murderous female.
“Y-You are under arrest for trespassing on the roofs of multiple warehouses, dangerous behaviour and failing to comply with my orders to stop and get off of the roof.” He takes out a pair of hand cuffs and steps forward. His hands shake a little, she notices and laughs lightly, her laugh is like a stream running over pebbles, pure and full of energy – but with the power and threat of an entire river. Her skin is luminescent like the moon, or maybe like a pearl.
“Don't forget murder.” She purrs, grinning. Her voice is silky and sly, velvety and full of malice.
“I beg your pardon miss?” He is shocked, she can't be serious!
“You are the inspector for the Thalia Moore case,” She says slyly, “I can read it in your thoughts. Case solved. Now there's about to be another case for another murder.” She laughs quietly and bares her teeth, showing huge canines.
“Please,” He chokes, stumbling back until he is at the edge of the roof.
“What is your name Inspector? I like to know my victim's names.” She is very close to him now, and he has nowhere to run. He is so scared, he can't think straight, his mind is scrambled and he would do anything she asked right now.
“Inspector Jack Rowley.” He whispers, tears filling his eyes. The cuffs clatter to the roof and over the edge to the tarmac below. They break and the pieces scatter all over the street. He glances down and realises it's too high to jump. He looks back at her to see her strange eyes glowing in anticipation. He whimpers as she smiles.
“Goodnight Jack Rowley.” She murmurs, her eyes closing, her head tilting before shooting at his throat. He yelps and then screams as her teeth rip into his neck. He can feel the life being drained from him, the agony is almost too much to bear. His last breath is ragged and shallow, and the woman
A nearby civilian hears his cries and runs into the street just as she finishes and Jack slumps, falling off the roof, his body making a sickening thud as it hits the ground. The civilian watches the woman disappear into the night, in shock, before screaming and grabbing her phone to call the police.
Finally, the old fort. Once a place of grandeur and splendour, a symbol of strength and defence, now an old, decaying ruin, rubble and rust are its new mercenaries, weeds its new captives, ghosts of the past the only thing left in a long forgotten place. I stand in the old courtyard and wait. It will be tonight, I know it. I hear a rush of air and grin, turning slowly to see the others.
“Lenette, Harry, Arianna, James. Discreet as ever.” I smirk and they smile thinly.
Lenette chuckles. “Discretion is not exactly your skill Kali. We've all seen the newspapers.” Kali is my true name, and I, like them, must change my name every now and then.
“Up to date as ever then.” I laugh.
“Laugh if you will, we know which age we live in.” James says in a grave voice.
I hiss and Arianna speaks before I lunge at him. “It matters not what we do or how we act, as long as we can continue to exist. After all, are we not immortals?” She speaks with wisdom and I lower my head slightly. Lenette grimaces as Arianna looks around our small group.
Lenette is a red-haired woman of slight build, with a high pitched voice and a sarcastic nature, Harry is a grey-haired man, quiet and thoughtful but wily as a fox. Arianna is blonde and tall, trustworthy but not one to cross, James is a serious man with light brown hair and an attitude worthy of a morgue. I appear to be the youngest, Lenette and Harry look to be in their forties, Arianna and James about their thirties, in reality so much older. I appear to be a late teen, early twenties woman. I am the only one with dark hair and am easily the fiercest. My fiery attitude has always been a credit to me, helped me live all these years. My luminescent skin is white like the moon and is smooth and cool as polished marble.
We meet at this fort every few years, no matter where from, when we are summoned, we always show up. We are the last of our kind, a dying race, but we hold our heads high and do what we must to keep going. Lenette and Harry travel together, as do Arianna and James, but I am a lone nomad, always have been, always will be. Just five of us left, the rest hunted down and killed. The largest and last killing made of our kind was a huge battle with colossal numbers of casualties and fatalities both sides, a battle the humans have forgotten, the reason our race is so diminished, the reason I am so cold hearted. I lost my lover, Adrian, in that battle, he was shot through the heart with an arrow and took three days and nights to die, in agony the whole time waiting for me to be with him when he died. And that I was.
That battle was three hundred years ago, and even though the humans remember the ancient Egyptians, the Aztecs, the middle ages, they do not remember the biggest war in the history of eternity.
I do not have such a fragile memory. I remember every detail, the exact number of the dead, fifteen hundred and eight thousand, four hundred and sixty seven (1508,467), including the deaths of my lover, my best friend and my creator. The numbness that had ensued after Adrian’s death has subsided into cold heartedness and pleasure in murdering the descendants of those that had participated in the slaughter, which is the entire human race.
You'd think that we would have just made more of our kind to replace the dead, but we do not believe in replacements. No-one can replace the dead, nor do they deserve to try. As much as I miss the travels and adventures Adrian and I had, I do not wish to share eternity with anyone else.
Harry interrupts my thoughts by clearing his throat. I snap my gaze at him to find them all staring at me with sympathy. My expression hardens as I realize they were reading my thoughts.
“I do not need your sympathy.” I say flatly, “The dead are dead, and that's how they stay.”
They avoid my stony glare and sit on what appears to be an old gunning point. They begin to chat about their travels, sharing stories, anecdotes, showing each other mementoes and describing kills and new disposal methods.
I myself lie on the coarse grass and look up at the stars. Silent and cold they shine like miniature diamonds in the dark velvety sky. I spot one that is on its own, away from the rest, ungrouped and surrounded by a circle of darkness. The star is like me, I think, alone and strong. It shines bright enough to be seen, but does not attempt to overpower or group up.
All night I watch those stars, see the planets dance across the sky until eventually the horizon is tinged with pink and slowly brightening. We hide in in an old underground chamber in the ruins, mostly untouched by time, apart from the fact that it's empty and half of the ceiling has caved in. We stabilised the rest of it years ago, and now we use it as a hiding spot from the poisonous rays of the sun, concealing the entrance with parasitic plants and rubble.
I lay down on the rocky ground a small distance from the others and close my eyes. Sleep comes willingly and within minutes, I am unconscious. If a human were to walk in, they wouldn't see sleeping people, they would think we are dead. We do not breathe, we do not stir, we sleep lifelessly, only night can bring us back from our deep slumber. If the sun were always up, and we went to sleep, we would never wake again. As the mist of sleep takes me, I wonder what my dreams will bring...
I am in the cave. The dreaded cave I never thought I'd return to, never wanted to be brought back to. The sound of screaming, clashing swords and twanging of bowstrings is drowned out as I look for him. I try not to see, try to tell myself this isn't happening and can't. There he is, drenched in blood, his breathing laboured and harsh, beautiful voice rasping as he calls my name. Nineteen years old and new to this life, I am so terrified as I look at how vulnerable he is, lying on the rocks with an arrow in him. Tears fall from my bright red eyes as I scramble over to him. He can't be dying, he can't!
“Kali...” He chokes. “Stay.. with me... promise...”
“I'm here, I promise, don't leave me Adrian, please no!” I sob, clutching his hand. They had told me he had been shot two days ago, and was only alive because of me. If he hadn't have been waiting for me, he'd be dead and gone already.
“Kali...” He coughs, blood spraying from his lips. “Promise..”
“I promise, I'm not going anywhere-”
“No...” He is slipping away from me, and I clutch his hand tighter. “I...” His beautiful ruby eyes drift closed.
“Adrian please no! Stay with me! Please! Oh god no!” I sob and his lips move weakly, his breath shallow as he tries to say something.
“I... need you... to...”
“What Adrian?! Please don't go! Please!”
“Don't... forget...” his eyes open weakly, they are dull and I swear I can see Death's door in them. “that... I love... you...” His eyes close again, and his last breath is shaky and sounds like he's really trying to say something more, but his breath leaves his body with finality, and the hand I'm clutching goes limp.
“Adrian? Oh god no! Please no! Adrian!” Another man comes over to comfort me, to lead me away, but I scream and clutch Adrian's body and fight the hands that grab me, shrieking at Adrian to get up, to tell them to let go of me, but he is silent, still. “Adrian! Get off me! No! NO!! He can't be gone! He's not gone! Adrian!”
They carry me off and I reach desperately over their shoulders, kicking and screaming, begging and pleading, I can't leave him!
“Adrian!” I yell, sitting bolt upright in the underground chamber, the sky outside dark... and four pairs of ruby red eyes staring at me.