“Dammit Addison, don’t screw around. You need to finish it. Now.”
I turned and grinned at my mom. Maybe I shouldn’t have. It took my attention away from the demon circling me. It decided to take its chances and leaped at me as I faced away from it. It almost got me, too. If my mother hadn’t whipped out one of her throwing knives and caught it between the eyes, I would have been shredded. I stopped laughing and turned to look down on the dead creature before it disintegrated. Its red eyes were fading. It was small, with long, knife-like fingers, and all of its teeth were long and sharp. I shuddered. If those teeth had gotten into me... But they hadn’t so I wasn’t quite as worried.
I turned and looked at my mother again. She was glaring at me with her hands on her hips. I just smiled at her. “Thanks, Mom.”
Her expression softened. “C’mon. We need to go. You have school tomorrow.”
We were in a small clearing in the center of a huge forest. It was a great place to practice. I joined my mom and we started hiking out of the trees and back to her truck. I hated it- her truck, that is. It was just so... boring.
When we reached the truck, we began the long drive home. I stared out the window and thought about my screwed up life. All the women in my family are huntresses. We hunt the things that go bump in the night. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. There are more of us out there, too. Not just my family. Every family has a region to call their own. In the United States, it is each state. Mine, my mom’s, and my sister, Shaylee’s is Michigan. My Aunt Amy, and my cousin, Kynlee, are in charge of California. The headquarters of our organization reside in, ironically, Washington D.C.
The truck hit a bump, and my mom’s cursing brought me back to reality. I smiled to myself. We were home. I jumped out of the truck and ran into the house. My sister was sitting at the kitchen island, drinking a steaming cup of coffee. My sister and I looked a lot alike. We are both tall, and we have natural tans. Some of our ancestors were Native American, and we inherited their high cheekbones and straight, proud noses. The only differences are our hair and our eyes. Shaylee's eyes are a deep, chocolatey brown that I love, and mine are dark blue with weird purple rings around the outsides of the irises. She has long, wavy, dark brown hair that has natural red highlights. Mine is thick and blonde.
She turned to say something and stopped, her mouth hanging open. “What happened to you?”
I looked down at my torn and muddy clothes. “Mom sicced a demon on me.”
The high, bell tones of her laugh rang out. I used the distraction to my advantage, sweeping past her and up the stairs, snagging her coffee cup on the way. I made my way to my room and flopped down onto one of the beanbags lying around on the floor, and turned on my Wii. I never bothered to play games. I was more than a little obsessed with Netflix, though. I was in the middle of season five of Supernatural.
I love watching the show. Well... I love watching Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins. For older men, they are incredibly sexy. Most of the things on the show are spot-on, and sometimes I wonder if Eric Kripke had access to a huntress when he created the show. The only thing that didn’t match was their constant need to impersonate law enforcement. In reality, the higher-ups in law enforcement know all about us. So does the head of medical staff in every hospital in the country. It’s kind of a must, actually. We have little passes that tell people that whatever is ‘need-to-know’ we need to know.
Sipping the coffee, which was still scalding, I sat back and began to enjoy the show. I was interrupted, though when my mother rushed into my room.
“Come on. We’re leaving.”
I jump up. “Where?”
She looked at me, harried. Her hair was everywhere and she had her phone plastered to her ear. She held up a finger and returned to her conversation with whoever was on the other line. “Yeah. Really? How many? Alright. We’ll be there. Yeah. Bye.” She closed her phone and looked at me again. “Why aren’t you packed yet?”
I rolled my eyes and walked over and picked up a bag from beside my television. I held it up to show my mom. “I’m always packed. Now will you tell me where we’re going?”
She walked out of my room and down the stairs with me following. “Your aunt called. There’s something killing children out there.”
“Yeah,” she sighed. “There’s been four deaths in the past two weeks. All of them have been torn to pieces.”
I was shocked. I couldn’t believe anything would want to kill children... but with demons and stuff you never know. “Is Shay coming?”
“No. We need someone to stay here and hold down the fort.”
I rolled my eyes again and stuck my tongue out at the back of her head. Yes, I know. Childish. I followed her anyways, and we went out to the garage. Shaylee was already there, standing by the truck. I stopped in the doorway.
“I am not riding in that thing all the way to California.”
My mom looked at me as if I were completely nuts. “And why not?”
I frowned at her. “Because the seat digs into my back and my butt goes numb. How many more reasons do you need?”
She put her hands on her hips. Our mom liked to pretend she was tough, but she really wasn’t. I smiled sweetly at her then stuck out my bottom lip. “Can’t we pretty please take mine?”
She looked at me then at my car, which is a black Grand Prix. It’s no ‘67 Impala, but... She seemed to think about it for a second then sighed heavily. “Fine, but I’m driving.”
I laughed, threw my bag in the backseat, grabbed my keys off of a hook on the wall, then jumped in the driver’s seat, locking the door behind me. “I don’t think so.”
She slid in the passenger’s side. “What’s wrong with my driving?”
Shaylee leaned in through Mom’s window. “Do you really have to ask?”
Mom apparently chose to ignore that comment. She kissed Shaylee’s cheek and told me to step on it. I waved goodbye to my sister and followed orders- except I’m not my mom. I didn’t just peel out and speed away. I actually followed the speed limit... kinda. My mom screeched a little, as we went around a corner.
“What are you doing?!” she screamed.
I smirked evilly at her. “Giving you a taste of your own medicine.”
We reached California a few days later. After staying in sleazy hotels and eating fast food for days, I couldn’t wait to reach my aunt’s house. Plus, I couldn’t wait to see Kynlee and her step-brother, Nico. He’s my best friend. Whenever I visit, we have a lot of fun. When I pulled into their driveway, my cousin ran out and pulled my door open. She leaped into my lap with her arms wrapped tightly around me.
“Oh! It’s so great to see you!” Kynlee shouted in my ear. I winced.
“Chica, I love you to death, but I also love being able to hear,” I laughed as I shoved her out of my car, then followed. We both went sprawling in the grass. I lay looking up at the sky for a moment. The spring sun was warm on my cheeks until a shadow fell across my face.
There was a chuckle. “Laziness. As soon as you get here, you lay down.”
I struggled to my feet then socked Nico in the shoulder. He staggered a little, holding a hand over his heart dramatically. A lock of his straight blonde hair fell into one green eye. He brushed it away impatiently with his other hand.
“I’m hurt,” he whimpered comically.
I winked at him and turned away. I held out a hand to Kynlee, who was still lying on the ground. After dragging her to her feet, I grabbed my bag and we headed toward her house. We had almost reached the front door when I got tackled from behind. Kynlee jumped out of the way, leaving me to fend for myself. Nico and I went down in a tangle of limbs. A chunk of my hair choked me and I spat it out. I was lying on the ground again, on my back. Nico towered above me, blocking the sunlight. He grinned down at me.
I jerked sideways, rolling until he was the one on the ground and I was sitting on his chest. His face was a mask of shock and disbelief.
“Where’d you learn to do that?”
I pushed my hair out of my eyes. “Training.”
“Training for what?”
“To kill demons,” I answered, rolling off of him and to my feet.
He laughed, not knowing I was serious, and took my offered hand. I hauled him to his feet, then brushed the dirt off of his back. He did the same for me.
“Are you getting shorter?” I asked curiously.
He stopped swiping at my back and narrowed his eyes. “Why?”
I shrugged. “I dunno. You just seem shorter.” He did. The last time we had seen each other was two years ago. He had been about six inches taller than me, but now he was only about three inches taller.
He thew his arm over my shoulders. “Nope. You’re just taller.” We walked inside their house.
I love their house it’s a two-story. it’s kinda Greek style, with white columns out font. When you walk in the front door, the first thing you see is this beautiful statue of a woman. she’s holding a bow in one hand and a cup in the other. Her clothing is old-fashioned; a Greek toga that flows to her sandaled feet. The guys think it’s just a random statue, but the women know that she’s Lisbeth, the original huntress. Her bow shoots silver-tipped arrows and her cup is filled with holy water. We have a statue of our own at home. Every huntress does. She’s not just for decoration. Her toga is emblazoned with protective runes. Nothing supernatural can enter the house.
The entryway is brightly lit and a huge, ornate rug covers the floor. I kicked off my Airwalk sneakers on a mat behind the door, and head toward the back of the house.
“Addison, wait.” Nico grabbed my arm. “You have to share Kynlee’s room.”
“Why? I always get the downstairs guestroom. Shaylee usually shares Kynlee’s room.” Although we were the same age and she gets along with me better than she does with Shaylee, Kynlee and I are almost complete opposites and I can’t stand being around her for prolonged periods. I always made sure I got the guestroom downstairs because my mom took the one upstairs. Kynlee knew and agreed, saying she couldn’t stand my ‘negativity’.
“Well... You see...”
I shoved past him and stomped my way down the hall, stopping a foot inside the doorway. I could feel my face frozen in shock. It looked like a tornado had blasted its way through the room. There were clothes and papers everywhere.
“What happened to my room?!” I shrieked.
“Actually,” I heard from behind me. “This is my room.”
I turned, preparing to unleash the fury of my temper, but the tirade died on my lips before I could breathe a word. He was tall and muscular, but not freakily so. He had about six inches of height on me. His hair was wet and stuck up in shiny black clumps, and his cobalt eyes were narrowed.
I recovered the use of my tongue and asked, “Who the hell are you?”
He raised one eyebrow at me.
Nico stepped between us. “Um, Addison, this is Blaec. Blaec, this is my cousin Addison.”
Blaec nodded. “The crazy one.”
My jaw dropped. I turned to glare at Nico. “Crazy?”
He began backing away. “Good crazy.” He bumped into Blaec, who smirked at him. “Dude,” Nico complained. “You’re gonna get me killed.”
Blaec pushed past Nico and walked to the dresser on the other side of the room. While rummaging in the bottom door, he laughed. “She’s not that scary,” he said.
“Yeah, Nico.” I smirked at him. “I’m not that scary.”
He held up his hands in an ‘I’m surrendering’ gesture. “Of course you’re not.” He tiptoed past me and clapped Blaec on the shoulder before pointing at me. “You watch that chick. She has like five black belts.
I rolled my eyes. “I only have one.”
“Addison, you have to go unpack. Mom says dinner is almost done,” Kynlee bubbled from behind me. I turned. Her hair was a lot like mine- blonde and thick- but it was curly and bounced with every step she took.
She froze in the doorway and blushed, then tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and looked at the floor shyly. I looked from her to Nico in shock, then to Blaec. He looked uncomfortable. Realization dawned on me. Kynlee had a crush on Blaec! I smirked.
“All right.” I pushed past her. When I got behind her I pointed at Blaec. “I’m not finished with you.”
I knelt next to my bag then picked it up and rose swiftly to my feet and glanced behind me. They were all staring at me. Nico looked amused, Blaec looked thoughtful, and Kynlee looked slightly worried.
“Are you okay?”
“Peachy,” I answered in a bright voice, which probably worried her more. “He owes me.”
“I owe you?” he asked incredulously.
“Yup.” I walked back down the hall to the entryway, ignoring their mumbled conversation. He was not going to get away with stealing my room. He could have stayed in Nico’s room.
The stairs were across from the front door. I ran up them, taking them two at a time. At the top of the steps was yet another long hallway. Kynlee’s step-dad, Bruce, was loaded- and it showed. The walls were covered in beautiful paintings and the floor was covered in a wine red carpet. When you were barefoot, it felt like you were walking on clouds.
Kynlee’s room was down the hall, the third on the left. When I opened her door I thought, not for the first time, that it was like a crate full of pepto bismol had been put in the center of her room then blown up. Everything was pink. Her walls were pink. The blankets on her bed were pink and so was the canopy surrounding her bed. The carpet was hot pink.
I groaned and closed my eyes, wishing away all of the pink. When I opened them, though, I was disappointed. I tossed my bag on the floor and walked to a little shelf inside of her huge walk-in closet. There was a stack of blankets which were, you guessed it, pink. A sharp knock on the door startled me. I dropped the blankets on the floor where I would be sleeping then opened the door. Nico was leaning on the door frame. He grinned at me.
“Thanks.” I walked past him, down the hall, then the stairs, and into the dining room.
I stopped for a moment, taking in the room. Like the rest of the house, it was beautiful. The carpet was cerulean and the walls were golden. A beautiful chandelier hung from the ceiling, illuminating the room. A long, mahogany table took up most of the space. It was covered in food. As if on cue, my stomach growled. Kynlee and Blaec were already seated. They both raised an eyebrow at me. Aunt Amy and my mom entered, carrying glasses of wine and laughing. Aunt Amy froze when she saw me.
“Oh my. You’ve grown. You’re as pretty as a picture.”
“Yeah,” Nico muttered behind me. “I’d love to hang her.”
I laughed and shrugged. “Take a number.” I sauntered to the empty seat beside Blaec and Nico sat on my other side. Kynlee was across from, with my mother beside her. Her mom sat at one end of the table.
She rubbed her hands together. “Dig in, guys.”
“So...” I turned to Nico and asked quietly, “Where’s your dad?”
“In a bar somewhere.”
He turned laughing eyes on me. “It’s okay, Ad. Nothing to worry about. He’s not an alcoholic. He’s not arguing with Amy, either. He’s just at a meeting.”
“Oh.” I avoided his eyes and tore into a piece of chicken. Truth is, my dad was a recovering alcoholic. He said my mother’s secrets and lies literally drove him to drink. Now, he is remarried and has custody of my little brother, Tyler.
“How long are you staying?” Nico smartly changed the subject.
I shrugged, waiting until I swallowed before I answered. “Dunno.”
Blaec raised an eyebrow. “Don’t you have school?”
“Don’t you?” I retorted. “Where are you from anyways?”
“Really?” I stopped with my fork an inch from my mouth. “How’d you end up in L.A.?”
He shrugged. “Does it matter?”
“Fine.” A wave of annoyance washed over me. “Whatever.” I focused on my plate.
A few minutes later, I glanced around the table. Kynlee was poking at her salad, looking glum, our mothers were talking in whispers, and Blaec and Nico were talking in front of and behind me. Just then, the front door slammed. We all looked toward the archway that led into the dining area.
A burly man stumbled into the room. His eyes were bright and his words slurred. “Hey, everybody!” When he saw me, he lurched toward the table.
“Addison! So good to see you!”
A buzzing sounded in my ears. I pushed away from the table and backed away from him. “You’re drunk.”
He stopped and cocked his head at me. “No I’m not.”
“Yeah, you are.” Images of my dad, drunk and angry, flashed through my mind. “Stay away from me.”
“I just wanted to say hi.”
“Well say it when you’re sober.” The buzzing increased and a sharp pain jabbed me behind my eyes. Everybody was staring at me in shock and confusion except for my mother. She was glaring at me, a disapproving light in her eyes. “Excuse me,” I muttered and stomped out of the room.
My mother caught up with me in the gardens behind the house. I had slid to the ground among the moon flowers that competed in beauty with their namesake, which was huge, full, and brilliant. She stood in front of me with her hands on her hips.
“What was that?” Her voice was low and deadly calm.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, you freaking out in there.”
“I’m sorry.” My eyes burned and I pressed fingers into them, trying to make it stop. “I just kept thinking of...”
“Your father. Listen to me. We are here on a job. I do not need you distracted. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” I said through gritted teeth. I knew there was no point in arguing with her. All it would lead to is screaming and headaches.
“Good. Rest tonight. Tomorrow, we begin.” With that, she stomped back the way she had come.
I stared after her, willing the tears not to fall. There were just too many days like this one- too many arguments. After Dad had left, things had gotten hard. Mom had nothing to distract herself from her work, so she immersed herself in it, dragging us under with her. With shaking hands, I pulled my cell phone from the back pocket of my jeans. I scrolled through the contacts, finding the one I had nearly called hundreds of times.
I stared at my dad’s name. I wanted to call him so badly, but I knew he would never answer. If he did, he would just hang up as soon as he heard my voice. He blamed Shay and me for his drinking problem, too, saying that we had covered for Mom, backing her lies. Which we had- to protect him. Things changed when he left. Mom became obsessed with her job, Shaylee became depressed, and I’ve been told that I developed an extreme attitude problem. I started wearing black, torn clothes and became snappish and bitter. I hadn’t seen my father or my brother in two years.
My throat closed as I thought about my brother. He used to be the only light in my life, well, before my dad took him away. he’s the only reason I’m still hunting. I can’t stand to think of one of the demented creatures we kill hurting him. Tears filled my eyes, burning and threatening to spill over. Finally, I couldn’t fight it and let them fall. Every one that dropped seemed like one less worry. I knew that in the morning, I would be all the stronger for it, so I let the sobs wrack my body, not trying to stop them, praying for morning.
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