Trust (Part 42)

Candle, Meditation, Hand, Keep, Heat, Confidence, Rest

Fern didn’t remember how she got back up all those stairs and into the bed that had been given to her. Dimly, she was aware of Raphael stating how tried she must be and how she should rest. Putting her head on the pillow, her heavy eyes shut and she listened to the blood pumping through her.

The sweet taste of it still clung to her lips. She sucked absent-mindedly, feeling like a contented baby. Red colours spiralled before her and she thought she could fall forever downwards through them. Something at the back of her mind was tugging at her. A small voice telling her to stay awake and through everything, she thought she heard other voices.

The sleep was too heavy to fight off and she let go, disappearing into a maze of red. She was traveling, flying freely it felt like, over brown and green land. She passed dots of places and long snake roads. Then there was nothing but yellow and blue underneath her, the colours washed together like accidently mixed clothes. She thought she recognized the place spreading out below her. She drifted downwards and landed on a pier with the sea roaring around it.

Fern looked around and tried to remember where this memory had come from. The pier was empty, just a stretch of old wooden boards trying to survive the waves. She could see the beach, running like a ribbon on either side and above that a low rocky wall. Beyond that there seemed to be nothing.

She walked back along the pier, noticing how empty everything seemed and that the only sound was the ocean. The water was sloshing against the pier legs and rasping over the beach so loudly, that she convinced herself it was blocking all other sounds out. Fern got to the end and stopped at the wooden steps lending down and away.

She looked over the railing to her left and saw a shape coming out of the sand. She paused and watched the black figure coming towards her. Strangely, she knew there was no reason to be scared. She knew that person. Stepping off the pier, she went to meet him on the beach, feeling pulled like a kite on a string.

Fern came to a stop and took Dacian in. He looked just like the last time she’d seen him; tall, dark haired, worry etched onto his face. She ran to him and threw her arms around him. He held her as she broke down into tears. She felt him touch her cheeks and kiss her head. He smelt like the sea and the beach or maybe that just was the salty air?

I should tell him, Fern thought, but no words would come out of her mouth. She was left looking into his confused face and feeling the lingering touch of his fingers. Then the beach was tumbling away, a sandstorm whipping up around them and blowing them apart. Fern felt herself flung into the air, colours crazily flashing by.

Her eyes snapped open and her new room came sharply into focus. Sitting up slowly, she put a hand to the side of her head and looked around. She was alone, but in the distance where whispering voices and the sounds of the storm outside. Fern pulled the blanket away and slipped out of the bed. She crossed the bare floor and went to the door. Turning the handle, it opened.

She peered out then sidestepped to Ollie’s door and knocked gently on it. She listened to a soft growling sound and a book being set aside, before footsteps sounded. The door opened slightly then wider and Ollie stared at her.

‘I just had this weird dream,’ Fern whispered.

Ollie poked his head out and looked down the hallway to the stairs. He grabbed her hand and tugged her inside. Shutting the door again, he led her to his bed and they both sat down.

‘Keep your voice down,’ Ollie uttered, ‘everyone has good hearing here.’

Fern nodded.

‘I told you not to drink the blood. Having dreams and seeing things is a side effect of it.’

‘I couldn’t help it,’ Fern hissed back.

‘There’s something in it which is addictive. You mustn’t have any more or else…’

‘They’ll take over my mind?’

‘Or worse.’

Fern frowned and looked at him. They were still holding hands.

‘When I first arrived there was another new vampire here. I thought…well, I don’t know, that he was crazy and his lust of blood was just part of that. He was wild, like some kind of caged beast,’ Ollie explained, ‘a few months later, he just vanished. I asked and asked, but no one would tell me anything.’

‘What do you think happened?’ Fern questioned.

‘They killed him. They couldn’t tame the vampire within him and the controlling blood was making him worse.’

‘We won’t end up like that,’ Fern put in.

‘Who knows what we’ll end up like! We have to get out of here. It’s just bad to the core,’ Ollie snapped, ‘on the surface they try to play happy families, but underneath they fight for control and to impress the Princess. They’re all corrupt and this whole idea of being perfect vampires is just implausible.’

‘How do we get out then?’ Fern asked gently.

‘We’ll have to plan it just right, but leave that to me. Hush.’

Ollie squeezed her hand and they both listened to footsteps and voices going past the attic stairs. A door opened and closed, cutting off a rushed giggle.

‘Go back to your room,’ Ollie breathed into her ear, ‘we’ll take again soon enough.’

Trust (Part 41)

Candle, Meditation, Hand, Keep, Heat, Confidence, Rest

Fern stared into the large crystal goblet that Raphael had just handed her. The dark ruby liquid was speckled with tiny flicks of dark green. She sniffed gently and smelt warm blood mingled something herby. She weighted the goblet in her hand, noticing how heavy and thick it was. Feeling Raphael’s sharp eyes resting on her, she raised the drink and wet her lips with it.

‘You should find it very refreshing,’ Raphael purred.

Fern lowered the goblet and pressed her lips together. On the tip of her tongue she could taste the blood and something grew inside of her, beckoning for more. She looked at Raphael, who’s lips were twisted up in the corners in a strange smile as if he was hiding a secret. He was holding a small golden goblet loosely and seemed transfixed on watching her.

Then Fern’s eyes glanced at Ollie. He was standing still, a matching crystal goblet clutched in his hand, staring at her. His face was calm, but underneath, Fern could tell he was pleading with her. Finally, he glanced down and took a sip of the liquid. He swallowed and looked around the library.

‘What do you think?’ Raphael asked.

‘It’s nice,’ Fern replied carefully.

‘Beside we should sit down? Most of the others should be returning shortly and I’d like you to meet them.’

Fern glanced at the arrangement of furniture then walked over to a large deep sofa close by. She peached on the edge and took another pretend sip of her drink. Her lips and tongue tingled at the touch of silky warmth whilst her stomach let out a little growl. She avoided looking down into the swirling liquid and willed herself to be strong.

Perhaps, Ollie is wrong? the vampire voice whispered in the back of her mind.

She peeked at him as he came over and joined her, sitting on the opposite side of the sofa and leaving an empty space between them. He stole a look at her, before turning his head away and allowing his hair to fall over his face. He balanced his goblet on the arm of the sofa and fell silent.

Why would he lie to me though? Fern questioned, we’ve only just met, what’s he got to gain or lose?

Who knows. Drink the blood, the voice hissed back at her.

The sound of Raphael sitting down in an old Victorian broad leather arm chair opposite them drew her attention. Fern looked at him and watched him take a few sips from the golden goblet. She could smell it was different to what she and Ollie had in their glasses.

‘Why are you not drinking the same as us?’ she asked.

Raphael smiled over at her, ‘because every vampire has their favourite blood. You shall see in time.’

‘What’s in this?’

‘Hasn’t she got such an inquisitive mind?’ Raphael cried, looking at Ollie, who gave him a hard stare back. ‘It’s nothing to worry about. Just some dried herbs and honey. It makes the blood richer and helps to relax you.’

‘I thought we couldn’t…we can only have blood…’ Fern trailed off.

‘There are ways to do things and we are lucky to have a scientist in the family. He has perfected throughout the years combinations of ingredients that have been found to benefit us greatly. You shall get to meet him later, no doubt.’

‘Sounds interesting,’ Fern responded and took a sip of the blood.

Raphael nodded then turned to Ollie, ‘what are you brooding about?’

Ollie shook his head and took a drink, remaining silent.

‘You are no longer the baby now. You should be grateful,’ Raphael continued.

Fern looked up at Ollie shyly, biting back the words that were dancing on her tongue. She wrapped her fingers around her goblet and felt the tension rising in the room.

‘I am grateful,’ Ollie snapped as he stood up swiftly, ‘I don’t have time for this.’

He swept in-between them, crossing the library in a few steps and flinging open the door. Fern listened to his footfalls outside in the corridor then as they raced up two flights of stairs. A female voice seemed to call out his name in the distance before being sharply cut off by the slamming of a door.

‘And here’s me thinking you would get on…’ Raphael uttered.

‘Beside, he just needs sometime? It must be difficult having someone new show up,’ Fern spoke into her goblet.

Her eyes had fallen on the ruby blood and she couldn’t seem to focus on anything else. The scent was so over powering and she felt…so hungry.

‘Perhaps,’ Raphael whispered, ‘drink up.’

Fern nodded and brought the goblet to her lips. Opening her mouth she drank deeply.

To Be Continued…

Trust (Part 40)

Candle, Meditation, Hand, Keep, Heat, Confidence, Rest

Brook wiped blood from his lips and looked out at the rolling storm coming over the countryside. He nursed the green bottle in his hands and pressed the side of his face against his bedroom window. He shut his eyes, focusing on the sound of the rain and somewhere far in the distance the dimming signal of his blood mixed with Fern’s.

He concentrated and followed the red line that bonded them together. In his mind’s eye he flew over patchworks of farmland, stark trees, houses and other buildings. He realised, he was following the road back the way the taxi had first brought them. Then miles away, he spotted a half-hidden turn off and jutting out from the tops of the trees were roof tiles.

His eyes snapped open, his head banging gently against the window. She was there. Wherever that house was, she was there and with other vampires. Brook looked down at the bottle and took another sip from the dusty mouth. He winced, but swallowed anyway because he had no other choice then to drink the old blood.

He put the bottle between his legs and looked out again. He had pulled a chair to the window and only the flicking light of the black liquorice scented candled filled the room. He opened the window, latching it and allowing the wind to drive the rain inside. He smelt the air, but couldn’t catch any more of Fern’s scent. Instead came the smell of farm animals, wet earth and turning autumn trees.

‘I’m not going after her,’ he muttered to the wind, ‘she made her choice.’

Brook trailed his fingers up and down the neck of the bottle. The wind howled in response and splatted some rain on his clean jeans. He shook his head and took a mouthful of cold blood. It was her choice, he repeated.

Swallowing, he shut the window and the curtains. Getting up, he put the CD player on and looked through the stacked CDs. Nothing interested him, so he choice an old Iron Maiden album and stuck that on. As the soft notes cascaded upwards, he grabbed his cigs. Juggling the bottle and his lighter he lit up and sank into his bed.

Blowing the first mouthful of smoke out, he looked up at the ceiling. Once he remembered there’s been posters and photos up there. He shut his eyes and thought about the eighties rock bands he liked. Then the faces of family and friends, joining those bands and staring back at him.

He swirled the bottle and thought about all those nights when as a lonely teenage he’d get drunk. How many times had his parents and the staff caught him stealing or throwing up? He took a drink then other, talking himself into believing it was wine or whisky. He dragged on the cig and shut his eyes. He let himself drifted back and for a few moments he could hear the distant voices of his parents.

What where they saying? Was it about his behaviour again? About his going off with Rose the cleaner’s daughter? The rumour of this ‘lurking’ male friend of his?

He shook his head, toasted the dead and finished the bottle off. Blood gathered at the corners of his mouth and dripped down. He didn’t bother to wipe it away this time. He placed the bottle on the bedside table, feeling the sway of the blood and the music in his veins. He flicked ash and took two long breaths to finish the cig off.

‘Fuck you, Fern,’ he hissed.

He stubbed the cig out and flung himself across his bed.

‘I knew I couldn’t trust you. That Daican probably got you…yeah, he had eyes for you the second he saw you….why did I even bother?’ he muttered.

Rolling over, he looked at the blank wall next to his bed. Something had been scratched into the wall and he reached over and traced it with his finger. Seconds later, he completed the heart shape and moved to touch the two letters that had once been at the centre.

To Be Continued…

Trust (Part 39)

Candle, Meditation, Hand, Keep, Heat, Confidence, Rest

Fern tried not to hold her breath as she watched Raphael staring at her.

‘Where’s the red dress?’ he asked slowly.

‘It didn’t fit. Sorry,’ Fern replied in a soft voice.

‘Really?’ Raphael uttered.

Fern opened her mouth then recalled Ollie’s words and even though she felt herself wanting to resist, she went along with it.  She smiled and said, ‘I thought this looks better.’

Raphael nodded, but didn’t move out of the doorframe. His eyes roamed the room then came back to her, his face blank and unreadable.

‘It doesn’t matter anyway,’ he said, ‘the Princess is not coming back tonight.’

‘Oh?’ Fern cut in, ‘why not?’

‘She’s been delayed. I don’t know the details. I thought I’d show the house anyway.’

Fern nodded as she wrestled her mouth closed.

Raphael turned and walked out the door, waving at her to follow him.

Fern hurried out, closing the door behind her out of habit. They were in a narrow corridor with no windows and the bare wood of the attic showing. She walked past Ollie’s door and looked at the rough, unpainted surface. She counted two more doors then there was a flight of steps.

Raphael’s shoes and clothes made soft rustling sounds as they went down. Fern watched the back of his head and wondered what questions she could ask. Many had come to her mind, but she wasn’t sure the time was right to voice them. She stole a last look up the stairs and corridor as they reached the bottom.

‘You cannot really get lost in this house,’ Raphael stated as if he had noticed her lingering, ‘It has a square design. Every floor, beside from the attic makes a square within a square.’

Fern joined him by the railing and looked down. She counted three floors including the one they were now on and the ground floor. She saw what he meant straight away, as the staircase formed the inner square which led off to each floor. She felt the smooth banister under her fingers and looked around. There were maybe ten doors leading off the third floor square.

‘I get it,’ Fern said.

‘You are not allowed to enter any rooms on this floor or the next. They are private. On the ground floor are the common areas; the living room, kitchen, dining room, parlour, library and the conservatory. You can go into any of those any time you like,’ Raphael explained.

‘So, what’s in these rooms and the ones below then?’

‘Bedrooms, studies, bathrooms. Which reminds me. This is your bathroom.’

Raphael opened a door right next to the staircase and Fern peered in. There was a large white iron bathtub, a matching sink, a toilet, a towel rack and some cupboards.

‘You’ll be sharing it with Ollie. He has the room next to yours.’

Fern nodded.

‘I shall introduce you later. Now, downstairs.’

He began walking away, but Fern did not follow him. Her eyes were looking around at the other doors.

‘You will get use to it and you will like it. And in a few months, I can see that you get moved to one of those rooms, but only if you behave. I think you are going to be quite a challenge, Fur.’

Fern turned, mouth opening, ready to spit out words. She caught the soft hint of a smile on Raphael’s lips and changed her mind. She fisted her hands, grounding her anger into them.

Raphael hummed and turning back started to walk down the stairs again. Fern had no choice but to follow him. They crossed the first floor and went down to the ground. She listened as they walked, but heard nothing as if they were the only ones in the house.

The staircase led to a large open hallway with a glass double front door standing before them. Fern moved before it and looked at the rain tapping against the glass. Outside lights give some illumination and she could make out a driveway stretching away from them. Small trees stood either side of the door and more could be made out lining the road. Fern couldn’t see anything further and she wondered how far away she was from Brook.

‘You are not allowed outside without me. In time, I might give you permission to go with someone else, but for now you will have limited access. It’s for your own safety,’ Raphael tagged on.

‘And if I try to leave?’ Fern asked.

‘You’ll be punished, however I see fit or the Princess. That all depends on what you do and how you do it. I’m sure you do not want to go down that road, though. We have to make it fair for everyone,’ Raphael added.

Sweeping his hand first to the left of the door then the right, he pointed out the two rooms,

‘this is the parlour and the living room. Down here…’ he continued, walking along the hallway with the staircase to his left, ‘is the dining room, which we use for meetings,’ he indicated the next door on the right.

Fern looked around the halfway opened door and saw a long table laid out with twelve chairs around it. There was a large vase of dried flowers in the middle, a long cupboard against the back wall above which hung a painting of a young woman in a crushed purple silk seventeen hundreds style dress. The beautifully modelled white face framed by a waterfall of golden curls. Haunting blue eyes stared down at them and the lips though flicking in a smile, seemed to be mocking.

‘Who’s that?’ Fern asked.

Raphael looked at the painting, giving her a few moments to take in the painting fully, before replying, ‘the Princess.’

Fern swallowed and searched for the right words, though nothing seemed to be coming out.

‘She is quite something in person too. Here is the kitchen, though we do not use it for much. Then…’ Raphael trailed off and stepped over to the glass doors at the end that mirrored the front door.

Fern remembered the conservatory well enough and turned to look at the other door which was opposite the kitchen one.

He followed her eyes and instead, opened that door, ‘the library. There are many different books. Some you can take to your room, others you cannot.’

He stood aside and let her in. Fern stepped slowly in and looked at the floor to ceiling bookshelves. All four walls were covered by the heavy dark cases. Some had glass panels or wire mess locking the books of the top shelves away. A number of sofas, arm chairs, tables and chairs were gathered in the centre and lamps both small and tall were also dotted around. The carpet underneath was a deep plush red and the room smelt of old leather, inky pages, vanished wood and adventure.

Fern went to nearest bookcase and looked down. Someone had handwritten little labels indicating what books and authors were on the shelf. She pulled out a book at random and saw it was an old world atlas. The book was heavy in her hands. She slipped it back in and looked further down the line.

‘The Princess likes her books. I have no time for them. Though, you might need them, if you care for them.’

‘Why?’ Fern asked looking up.

 

‘No modern technology is allowed here. We have some music players and a few old radios. But there are no phones, TVs or computers.’

Fern’s fingers pressed down on the spine of a book she had been about to lift out.

Raphael give a gently shrug before answering the question on her face, ‘the Princess thinks it’s for the best.’

‘But how can you survive without knowing what’s happening in the world?’ Fern forced out.

‘Humans are nothing but food to us. We don’t care about their short useless lives,’ Raphael snarled.

Fern looked away, his fierce gaze burning into her. She took her fingers off the book, the top of the spine digging in too painfully for her to hold on. Footsteps on the stairs then the corridor drew her attention and she looked over at Raphael in the doorway as a young man came into view.

He was short and had soft waves of chestnut hair tied back. His face was too round and soft, his eyes large, steady and watchful. He was wearing a black shirt and old jeans with grey trainers. He shot Fern a smile then turned to address Raphael, who beat him to speaking by announcing him, ‘this is Ollie. Fern.’

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.

‘I’m going to get drinks. Why don’t you get to know each other? You shall be working together soon enough,’ Raphael added then walked away.

‘Don’t say anything,’ Ollie hissed.

Fern pursed her lips and swayed slightly, unsure if to get closer to him or more away.

‘Don’t drink anything they give you from a glass or bottle,’ Ollie continued, ‘they put something in the blood. Herbs or something that affect your mind and body. Just pretend to drink it.’

‘How do you know?’ Fern muttered.

‘I found out. I overheard Zara and Ike talking about it.’

Fern eyed him and pulled a face, ‘how can I trust you?’

‘Because we are each other’s tickets to getting out of here,’ Ollie stated.

 

To Be Continued…

Trust (Part 38)

Candle, Meditation, Hand, Keep, Heat, Confidence, Rest

Fern ran her hands down the dark red velvet dress and decided she really didn’t like it. The heavy material dropped straight from her shoulders to the floor, giving no hint at the shape of her body underneath. She pulled back the sleeves, which sloped into an open triangle shape, covering her hands. They fell back straight away.

Glancing down, she had to pick the dress up to see the floor and the tips of the flat red shoes. They felt too small and were already pinching her toes. She took them off, balancing on one leg then the other. Dropping them to the bare white wood floor, she looked around for anything else she could wear.

The tiny room held a single bed fitted against the far wall with a black curtained window overlooking it. A large wardrobe was within an arm’s reach to her right. The door was behind her, closed and locked. Above her, hung a single candle bulb in a white shade, casting a dim light on the room. Fern made out a running network of old beams and slate tiles in the ceiling.

She went to the window and peered around the curtains. A single panel of glass, flashed the reflection of herself and the room, before showing her the empty land outside. She pressed her hand to the glass, feeling the damp coldness under her fingers.

Is my mind really mine again or is Raphael still controlling me? She thought.

Letting her hand slip from the glass and the thick curtain fall back, she went to the wardrobe and stared inside. A number of different coloured dresses, tops, skirts, pants hung together. On the top shelf the tips of many shoes poked out and in the two fitted draws in the bottom lay underwear, nightwear and a few other items. Reaching inside, she shuffled through the clothes then looked down at the dress. She had no memory of putting it on.

Taking it off and letting it fall to the floor. Fern choose some black cotton trousers and a blue silk blouse. She put them on, finding that they fitted better than the dress and that she looked more like she was going for an interview then to a vintage tea party. Searching through the shoes, she found some black ankle boots which were one size too big for her.

Shoving the dress and shoes back in, she grabbed another pair of socks then paused. Her ears twitched at the creaking of the attic stairs. Quietly, she got up, swung the wardrobe doors shut and went to the bed. Sitting just on the edge, she put the socks and boots on. The footsteps carried on, but stopped before they reached her door.

She listened as the room next to her’s was opened and someone walked in. A bed, probably just like the one she was sat on, she thought, let out a loud groan as someone lay on it. Voices drifted and she snatched a few meaningless words out before they faded again.

Fern breathed deeply and got up. She went to the door and tried turning the round handle. She tugged, but it didn’t open. She tried the other way, but felt the same resistance.

She wandered around the room, it only taking a few steps before she was back by the bed again. She picked up her wet clothes, folded them then stood on the bed. Looking up at the rafters above, she wondered if she could hide her clothes up there.

Why would I even need to do that? She thought, looking down at the clothes.

Getting off the bed, she took them and her shoes over to the wardrobe. Opening the bottom drawer, she put her stuff inside and looked at the other items. There were two black swimming costumes and a white bikini. Followed by; a neon green scarf, a long pair of black silk gloves, two pairs of winter woollen gloves, tights and stockings still in the packets. Fern pulled a suspend belt out then shoved it back in.

Closing the drawer then the doors, she stood up again and looked at the empty wall space on either side of the wardrobe. To the left of her, were the window was, the wall didn’t look as if it perfectly fitted and there was a slight gap between where the two walls meet. She went over and inspected the walls. She ran her fingers along the white cracked paint.

There was a soft knocking on the wall.

Fern froze.

‘Who’s there?’ a male voice whispered though the crack.

‘Who are you?’ Fern hissed back.

‘I’m Ollie. Hey, are you the newbie Raphael rescued?’

‘He didn’t rescue me,’ Fern scoffed, ‘he kidnapped me.’

She heard a soft sighing.

‘Did they take you too?’

‘They found me,’ Ollie said back, ‘Ike and Zara. They said my maker had left me for dead in a hotel room. But I know that’s not what happened. They killed her. I remember. Though, they keep trying to erase it from my mind.’

Fern pressed her hand to the wall, feeling flecks of paint under her nails.

‘You still there?’ Ollie asked.

‘Yes.’

‘What’s your name?’

‘Fern,’ she uttered.

‘You can’t let them into your head or they’ll take you over. Just pretend their mind control is working and do what they want you to do. It’s the best way to survive,’ Ollie explained.

‘And don’t trust any of them,’ Fern said under her breath.

The sound of footsteps on the stairs turned her head again.

‘We’ll try and talk more later. Remember what I said,’ Ollie’s disembodied voice came through the wall.

‘I will,’ Fern answered back.

She stepped away and into the centre of the room. A few moments later, she heard the lock opening in her door. Taking a deep breath and making her head blank, she watched the door slow open and Raphael appear in the frame.

To Be Continued….

Trust (Part 37)

Candle, Meditation, Hand, Keep, Heat, Confidence, Rest

Brook eyed the wall and growled under his breath. A voice pipped up at the back of his mind that he shouldn’t have let Fern out of his sight. He whacked the wall with his palms and felt stinging spiralling along his skin. Scrapping his nails down the bricks, he stood up tall and with one easy jump, landed on top of the wall.

Looking out over the countryside, he sniffed the air and caught Fern’s scent on the breeze. Jumping down the side, he landed in a patch of over grown grass that looked like it had already been flattened once that night. Tugging the collar of his jacket up, he walked along the edge of the road. His boots sink into the soft soil and a rain shower dripped down above him.

Brook grumped to himself and picked up the pace. There was no way she could have wandered off so far, but she had been gone two or three hours now. He jogged towards the neighbouring farm, feeling wetter every minute. He paused and sniffed the air as the rain was fast distributing Fern’s scent.

‘Fern!’ he called, ‘come back!’

He listened to the wind carry off his voice and retuning without her’s upon it. Shaking the water from his hair, he walked on, scanning the hedgerows and the empty grassy fields. The smell of wet soil and plants filled his nose. He tried to breathe through them and keep Fern’s scent in his lungs.

Picking up his pace, he went into a jog then into a run. The road slammed against his boots as he followed the twist and turns that divided the farmland. A feeling of dread sank into his stomach, but he fought it away. What could happen to her out here? There was no one and nothing around.

A few minutes later the signpost for the For Sale notice came up and he stood beside it. Looking around, he roamed the area for a few minutes but didn’t spot her. Sniffing around like a hunting dog gave him only a whiff of a scent. The rain was fast destroying the trail. He reached out and tried to pick up the scent of his blood with her. That got a better result and he stepped into a patch of hedgerow off to the side.

She had been here. He sniffed some of the spiky leaves then pushed his way through. Stepping against a wooden and wire fence, he looked over a ploughed up field. It didn’t look like Fern had gone that way. Back tracking, Brook thought she might have turned back around, heading home again. He paused and crouched down, she hadn’t been alone.

Growling, he scratched his fingers over the tarmac road the brought them to his nose. Breathing in, he smelt the fading scent of a male vampire. The image of Dacian flicked into his head, but as he took another sniff, Brook knew it didn’t belong him. No, this vampire was older. He rubbed his fingers together feeling dampness and grit against his skin.

Standing up, he began tracking again, but half way home, Fern’s and the mystery vampire’s scent seemed to disappear. He turned about and about again, desperately trying to pick up anything. The rain came down harder, bouncing off the road and splashing up. A trickle of water trailed down one side, escaping the boggy rise.

Brook swept his hair back, cast his eyes around for a last look then rushed home. Vanishing through both gates, he went to the front door and slipped inside. Taking off and abandoning all his wet clothes and shoes, he walked through the darkened house. Going into each room he turned on and off the lights, smelt the air and looked carefully around. Nothing was out of place, no one else had been here and Fern was still missing.

 

***********

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Trust (Part 36)

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Fern opened her eyes and looked up at glass ceiling above her. Through the rain drops crowding the glass, she could see the dark cloud covered sky. Moving slowly, she sat up on the red plush sofa and looked around. She was in a conservatory, on one of four two seater sofas which were gathered around a long black table. Large green tropic plants were in the four corners.

Fern got up and went to what looked like a folding door. She peered outside and saw a lawn stretching before her and some potted plants. She tried the door handle and found it locked. Turning, she looked at the opposite door and walked over. The room beyond was dark and the door also locked. She pressed her ear against the glass and thought she heard laughter.

Going back to the sofa, she studied the room, but couldn’t see anything else or of use. She sat down and watched the rain falling outside. She thought about Brook and Dacian. What were they doing right now? Did they even know she was in trouble? Fern sighed and curled up on the sofa. She turned her thoughts and tried to plan how to escape.

The turning of a key and the door opening, had Fern snapping open her eyes. She sat up and saw Raphael walking in. He was wearing the same clothes from before and had a grin on his face.

‘What do you want?’ Fern demanded as she stood up.

‘Is that any way to talk to your rescuer?’ Raphael responded, walking towards her.

‘You didn’t rescue me!’

‘Come now, we both knew it’s the truth.’

Raphael smiled and sat down on the sofa opposite her’s. He folded his long arms and legs over and glanced at the rain.

‘It’s not,’ Fern hissed, ‘he locked me up for my own safety.’

Raphael shook his head and tutted, ‘let’s not talk any more about it.’

‘I want to leave. You can’t keep me here or…you’ll be just like my maker,’ Fern declared.

‘Sit down.’

‘No.’

‘Fine,’ Raphael muttered, ‘you can’t leave. You owe me for saving you,’ he said loudly.

‘But you didn’t save me!’ Fern shouted.

She threw her arms up and began walking around the room. Even though she was no longer looking at Raphael she could still see him. The image of him sat so smugly burned before her. Fern stopped at the sofa furthest away from him and lent over the back of it.

‘It’s really not so bad here,’ Raphael broke the silence, ‘you must have felt lonely sometimes or like there was no one else to speak to but him. You don’t have to worry about that here, there are lots of others to talk to.’

‘How many?’ Fern put in.

‘There’s ten of us, you make eleven.’

‘Are you the leader?’

‘No. She’s not here at the moment,’ Raphael explained, ‘but you’ll meet her soon enough. I already asked for her permission to rescue and bring you here. You are to become my fledging.’

‘What? No, I belong to Brook,’ Fern snapped, ‘just go and find someone and turn them.’

‘We can’t.’

Fern paused at the sadness in his tone and noted his downcast face.

‘We have strict rules here and you’ll learn them, quickly,’ Raphael continued, ‘one of the rules states we can’t turn humans unless the Princess says so and then she must decide who we pass our blood too.’

‘So, you steal other vampires’ fledglings to make up for it?’ Fern growled.

Raphael didn’t reply, but pulled a small face and began plucking at the arm of the sofa.

‘That’s really wrong,’ she added.

‘We give them a better life,’ Raphael came back, ‘we teach them how to use their abilities, how to hunt correctly, we look after them. Their makers don’t care.’

‘Well, mine does and I’d like to go back to him, so…’

Fern went to the door and turned the handle. It was locked. She turned to Raphael, who had his eyes fixed on the table. Her hands balled into fists and she felt a little shaky.

‘Did you hear me?’

‘Yes, but I can’t let you go. She won’t like it,’ Raphael pointed out.

‘I don’t care! Give me the key!’ Fern shouted.

Raphael snapped his head up and stared hard at her. Fern felt her legs began to shake harder and tiredness sinking into her limbs. She tried to fight it off, but the effort was too much.

‘You will stay here. Sit,’ Raphael commanded.

Fern obeyed. She sat down opposite him, hands on her knees and looking him straight in the eyes.

‘Now, repeat after me. You have no maker. I am your now guardian now.’

‘I have no maker,’ Fern said quietly, ‘you are my guardian now.’

‘Very good. Now, we must get you prepared to meet the Princess, come with me.’

Raphael stood and Fern followed him as he went to the door.

 

Trust will be back in the New Year, thanks for reading.

Trust (Part 35)

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Fern wasn’t sure how much time she had left, but as she jogged away her mind began picking holes in the plan. The second Brook knew she was gone, he’d start tracking her and being in the middle of countryside, there was nowhere to hide. Her thoughts fell to another question, why was she running away?

I’m not, she stated to herself, I just want a bit of freedom. I’ve been stuck with Brook for days now and I just want some time alone.

She reflected and a part of her didn’t buy that line of thought. Shaking her head, she stopped thinking and just enjoyed the fresh air hitting her face. She ran on, not mapping the area in her head and not knowing where she was going. Empty fields stretched around her, lone trees stood stark against the night time sky and sometimes the glint of a light flashed by.

Fern’s feet hit a road, but she didn’t stop, she carried on heading away from Brook’s house. Her shoes slapped loudly on the tarmac and the rustle of her clothes sounded like bugs against her ears. The wind snatched her breath and pushed against her chest, but it also seemed to be screaming her name.

She risked stopping and turned to look behind. The twisting road and surrounding fields were empty and yet, she could hear Brook’s voice. Her heart and breathing pounded and she had to quieten them both in order to hear.

‘Fern!’ his distant voice shouted.

She ignored it and got back to running.

Where are you going? Brook’s voice broke into her thoughts.

Nowhere, she answered back before she could stop herself.

It’s not safe for you out there. You’re going to get lost again, Brook pointed out.

I’ll be fine.

Another voice inside of her head piped up that maybe she wouldn’t be. Fern ran on, expecting Brook’s voice to call out to her again. She spotted something in the distance and ran to it. A for sale sign stuck out onto the road. She paused and read that a farmhouse was for sale.

She wondered how far away she was and called out Brook’s name in her mind. When she didn’t get a reply she called it aloud, but only the wind answered her.

‘I should go back,’ she muttered.

Looking around, she saw nothing that marked the way, just the road leading backwards. Fern waited a few minutes, calling Brook every now and then. Surely, he was following her by now? Smiling, she pictured him appearing around the bend in the road and jogging up to her. He would tell her off and they’d head home.

Too much time was passing and she began to get edgy. Pulling a face, she started walking down the road, hoping to meet him. She trailed her fingers over the rough evergreen leaves of a hedge row and sniffed at the country air. A sense of liberation wrapped around her and the vampire voice questioned why she was going back so soon, wasn’t the night still new? And wasn’t she getting hungry again?

‘Perhaps, I am…but I should find Brook first,’ she muttered aloud.

Why? We can handle it now.

Fern paused at the voice and looked around, even though she knew it was inside of her head.

‘Because it’s the right thing to do…I’ve already killed two people and this time there’s no Dacian around to save me….Dacian,’ she whispered.

Hugging herself as she thought about him and wondered what he was up to right now. It’s not fair I had to leave without saying goodbye! Would the blood link let him track me this far?

She tore a leave off a bush and crushed it between her fingers.

But there could be others, the vampire voice whispered.

‘Others? All the way out here? Away from the towns and cities?’

Sure, why not? Maybe we could find someone else to talk to? Isn’t Brook boring you? And he didn’t give us what we wanted last night, the voice sounded sulky.

Fern shook head and carried on walking back. She heard the soft growls and more words coming from the voice that had taken up residence in her head as well as her own, but she fought it away. She turned her thoughts to Dacian, now that he had popped back into her mind and focused on them as she walked.

A good five minutes later, she came to a stop and looked around, in the distance she could make out the shape of a barn across a field to her left. Ahead the road carried on cutting its’ way through fields which was all she could see to her right. She listened and heard the calling of an owl and the movement of sheep.

Brook? she shouted in her head.

No reply.

‘I couldn’t have taken a wrong turn…could I?’ Fern whispered.

She sniffed the air and thought she smelt a hint of the ocean. She set off again only for the sounds of running footsteps coming towards her to halt her legs. Her heart leapt and she smiled, it had to be Brook. A dark shadow took form in front of her and she waited. The footsteps slowed and a caped figure walked down the road towards her.

Fern frowned, Brook didn’t have a cape? Did he? And he’d never seemed that tall before….too late she realised it wasn’t him. Fern darted off the road and used the shadows surrounding the hedge row to mask herself.

‘I won’t hurt you,’ a soft male voice with a twinge of an Italian accent spoke, ‘we heard you calling out last night.’

Fern clamped her mouth shut and tried not to let the words dancing on her tongue and in her head out. She focused on staying hidden and wrapped more shadows around herself.

‘We had debating coming to save you, but it seems there was no need,’ the voice added.

Fern looked up and saw him standing before her, watching her. She gasped and couldn’t help but take in his tanned skin and dark brown eyes. His black hair was short and thick, styled to give the impression of being longer. He was clean shaven and his sculpted face was just a little too handsome. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, but it was clearer he was alot older then that.

‘There’s no point hiding. I can see you. What’s your name?’

Fern dropped the shadows, but stayed where she was. Her eyes fell to look at the cape wrapped around him; the wind was moving the edges that hung just above the floor.

‘Don’t be shy,’ he said gently.

She looked up at him and opened her mouth, ‘fur,’ tumbled out.

‘Fur?’ he repeated, his face breaking into a laugh and soft breathy chuckle following.

‘What’s your name and what are doing here?’ Fern snapped.

‘I’m Raphael and my brood doesn’t live far from here.’

‘Brood?’

‘A family of vampires. We try to live together,’ Raphael laughed.

Fern bit her lip and stayed quiet.

‘Am I the first vampire beside your maker who you’ve met, Fur?’

‘No,’ she growled, ‘and it’s Fern.’

He grinned and offered his right hand. She looked at his open palm and saw a brown beaded bracelet with a small metal charm dangling from his wrist.

‘I won’t hurt you. I promise,’ Raphael purred.

Fern took his hand and felt it oddly warm around her’s. She let him pull her out of the small ditch and back onto the road. She looked around expecting at any second to see Brook rushing over to them.

‘I don’t think he’s coming,’ Raphael’s voice brushed her ear.

‘What? who?’

‘Whoever you’re looking for. Your maker, maybe?’

Fern looked at him and slid her hand out of his.

‘You’ve not been around long have you?’ Raphael asked.

‘We only got here last night,’ Fern shot back.

‘That’s not what I meant…’

‘Look, I’ve to go. It was nice meeting you.’

‘Are you going to go back and let him lock you up again?’

‘That wasn’t what it seemed and anyway it’s none of your business!’ Fern shouted and tried to shove past him.

Raphael grabbed her and spun them both around. He held her arm tightly, his cape flying out to show off the pure white shirt, black trousers and posh leather shoes he wore. Fern paused, her eyes caught on his bare throat and chest nicely framed by the line of open buttons. She swallowed and looked up at him again.

‘Are you sure you don’t want to come with me?’ Raphael asked sweetly, ‘we’d take care of you, teach you how to be a real vampire. Wouldn’t you like that?’

‘I’m fine, honest,’ Fern stated and tried to get her arm back.

‘No, I really don’t think you are,’ Raphael spoke smoothly, with a flash of his fangs.

Fern stopped her struggle and looked at the white sharp points poking out from behind his wide smile. Her eyes flickered up to his and she felt a wave of tiredness. Her eyelids fluttered closed before she could stop them and she felt her body sinking down.

 

To Be Continued…

Trust (Part 34)

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Fern awoke on the cold hard floor of the garage. She lay still, staring at the light grey concrete around her. She could hear the vampire’s voice hissing in her head and sense the ebbs of the taxi driver’s blood still mingling with her own. Fern eased herself up, wiping her face and casting a look around. Strangely the garage was empty, expect for the collection of crosses hanging all around her. Though there was enough room for two cars and storage.

She stood up and went to the door, upon which someone had carved and painted the largest cross in the room. She went to touch it, but her fingers recoiled. She listened and heard footsteps coming towards her. Fern moved away from the door, drifting back to the centre of the garage. She looked at the metal garage door as the sounds of the other door being unlocked brushed passed her.

‘Fern?’

She turned at Brook’s voice and stared at him. His long hair was loose about his shoulders and his violet eyes were holding her’s. He was wearing dark blue jeans and a black t-shirt she hadn’t seen before. Fern looked down at her own clothes and the strands of hair she could see. In comparison, she looked a mess and she tried to fix things.

‘How are you feeling?’ Brook asked after a few moments.

‘Fine, a lot better. Are you going to let me out?’

Brook looked her over carefully then nodded.

A small smile flicked on Fern’s lips and she walked quickly over to him.

‘I left all you stuff. You should get changed,’ Brook spoke when she reached him.

‘Why are we going somewhere?’

‘I thought you’d want some fresh air…’

Fern stared at him trying to read his mind and not letting him into her’s at the same time.

I had to do it for your own good, Brook said in his head.

Locking me away like some kind of animal? She questioned back.

You were an animal. I didn’t want you hurting yourself or me.

Did you put all the crosses up? How come they hurt us anyway?

I didn’t put them up, Brook send back, something to do with religion and the devil. I don’t know. Come on let’s go.  

Fern watched him turn and walk out. She followed him through the house and back to the parlour. Her things were still stacked on the sofa and the room smelt heavily of blood. She took a deep breath as she entered the room, aware that the same blood was inside her. The coffee table was covered in a collection of things she didn’t recognise, yet from the smell she knew where they had come from. Feeling Brook watching her, she turned and began to search through her things.

‘I’ll wait for you outside,’ he said and left the room.

Fern paused, listening as he opened the front door and went out. She heard him lighting up a cig and a whiff of smoke trailed back to her. She refocused on looking for clothes and at last settled on a pair of old jeans, a white t-shirt shirt with long dropping sleeves and a purple jacket.

She found Brook leaning against the wall just to the side of the door. He was looking up at the early night sky and blowing smoke upwards. Fern felt herself twitching a little and wrestled the vampire back down.

Soon, soon soon, she thought.

‘Soon what?’ Brook cut in.

‘Oh, nothing. I’m just excited. As much as I love the beach and sea, I do prefer the countryside,’ Fern rushed.

‘You told me it was your escape.’

‘When?’

Brook flicked the butt away and stood up straight, ‘I asked you why you were in the Lake District that night. You told me it was because the countryside had been your escape from the care home as a child and throughout your illness.’

Fern nodded though she had no memory of the conversation.

‘We’re not going far. Just around the fields,’ Brook put in, ‘if you feel up to it?’

‘I’m fine,’ Fern stated and strolled off down the driveway.

She headed towards the gate, keeping her eyes fixed on it as she listened to Brook coming to her side. Small stones crunched under her soft shoes and she thought about asking what had happened to the taxi.

Brook moved passed, reached the gate before her and slipped through.

She paused, wondered how he had done that. She turned the metal bars and found them solid.

‘Have a go,’ Brook called, ‘it’s easy, just push yourself through.’

Fern slipped her arm though the bars then tried to get her shoulder to pass through. She felt the metal scrapping against her and holding her in place. She looked at Brook, removed her arm and let a little bit of the vampire raise within her. She shut her eyes and stepped through the metal bars with no problems.

‘You did it,’ Brook’s voice whispered in her ear.

Fern opened her eyes and found him standing next to her, his arm gently wrapping around her stomach. She smiled and kissed him, even though she could feel the vampire tugging for more control at the back of her head.

Brook took her hand and began leading her off the driveway and over a patch of well cared for grassy land. She looked back at the front gate, which she could clearly see off to the right of them and wondered how to give Brook the slip. As the carried on walking, Fern’s mind raced with possible things.

‘I was thinking that we should put yesterday behind us. We were both tried and it’d been a long night,’ Brook spoke out.

‘What did you do with him and the taxi?’ Fern asked carefully.

‘What I had to do; got rid of them. It looked like he was in trouble anyway, so they’ll probably say it was suicide.’

Fern paused, her hand loosening in Brook’s palm and she looked across the coming up fields and wired fences. She could smell farm animals- horses and sheep, hay and the faint smell of wood burning.

‘And if they don’t?’ Fern asked.

‘Then whatever it takes to keep us out of it, if it comes to that,’ Brook explained and tugged on her hand.

‘I…’ Fern looked up at him through her eyelashes, ‘can I be alone for a bit?’

Brook squeezed her hand, ‘once we get back inside sure.’

‘I’d prefer to be out here,’ she pressed.

Brook glanced around.

‘Where can I go?’ Fern voiced his thoughts.

‘I’d rather have you close, that’s all. The blood is still strong in you though you’re doing good at staying in control.’

‘You don’t trust me?’

‘I do,’ Brook said, ‘I just think that for now, its best.’

Fern pulled her hand away and stepped backwards, ‘Please. I’m not asking for anything else. I just want a few minutes!’

‘Alright,’ Brook sighed, ‘but if you’re not back at the gate soon, I’ll come and get you.’

‘Thanks,’ Fern cried and hugged him tightly.

Brook hugged her back then let her go. He kissed her nose and walked off.

Fern remind still and listened to his footsteps, before walking off towards the brick wall that ran to her right. When she reached it, she stopped and looked back. Brook was nowhere in sight. She looked up at the wall, which rose about five feet above her head. She frowned and pondered how she was going to get over it.

She thought about going to the front gate, even running, by the time she got there and through, Brook wouldn’t be too far away. She looked at the wall again and thought about climbing it. Letting more of the vampire seep through, she pressed herself against the seemingly smooth wall and started to climb up.

When she reached the top, she sat down and looked back. She could just see a trail of smoke coming from beside the second gate. Smiling, she jumped over the side.

To Be Continued…

Trust (Part 33)

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Fern’s laugh was still ringing in his ears, so he found a rock station on the radio and turned it up loud. He sped down to the locked gates, the tires crunched to a stop and he swung open the door and got out. Going to open the lock, he looked back at the dark house and questioned what he was going to do about Fern.

With the lock and gates open he drove the taxi through then stopped and got out to re-lock them. Getting back in, he rushed down to the first set, the car bumping along. Stopping again, he got out and this time couldn’t make out much of the house. He opened the lock and gates, drove through, got out, relocked them and drove on.

‘It really wasn’t meant to be like this,’ Brook said through clenched teeth.

He turned on the headlights and pushed the car up to the speed limit on the empty, dark countryside road. He drove from an hour, just following the road and not really thinking where he could dump the body. A for sale sign flashed up and Brook hit the brakes hard. The car slammed to a halt, flinging Brook over the steering wheel and the body against his seat.

Groaning, Brook sat up and looked at the sign in the rear view mirror.

He reversed back and read the notice fully; farm for sale. Four bed roomed house and fifty acres of land. View by appointment only. Brook tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and gave it some deep thought. Glancing in the mirror at the slumped body, Brook shook his head and drove off.

‘It’s too close,’ he muttered, ‘what else is around here? The old cemetery? The abandon plastics factory? The river?’

Book hummed and as a crossroads came up, marking the farm for sale to his left and a village to his right, he drove straight on towards a campsite. Passed that, he kept his eyes out for the direction signs to the forest. The radio fuzzed out and after a few seconds of trying to find another station, he give up and hit the CD button. The Eagles came on. Brook shrugged and slowed to take a blind bend.

The sign for a humped bridge flashed up and he slowed even more. As soon as he crossed over it, a soft rain began falling. He glanced around the wheel, put the indicator on and off then put the windscreen wipes on. They squeaked loudly, till he had turned them down. Easing back into the seat he drove on and half an hour later spotted the first sign for the forest. A small smile crept onto his lips. At the mini roundabout he took the first exist and carried on following the signs.

Forty minutes later, Brook parked the taxi in an empty car park and turned off the engine. Shadows of tree branches swept about above him and the rain came down heavier. He rested back and shut his eyes for a few minutes. He listened to the rain on the roof and thought about his next steps.

Getting out, he closed the door quietly and opened the passenger door. He grabbed an arm and pulled the body out with a severe tug. It only half shifted. Putting more weight into it and getting his other arm in, Brook pulled the body completely out and down onto the ground. He closed the door gently then locking the taxi, locked his arms around the chest of the dead man and dragged him into the forest.

Wet leafy branches brushed against Brook’s back and he struggled to get through. His mind tumbled with an incomplete map of the forest and river as he tried to figure out the best place to head for. Finally, he decided on the largest of the waterfalls and headed in that direction. He didn’t stop once, but carried on walking backwards for almost an hour dragging the body undergrowth. Around him owls and other night birds were still calling, their daytime relatives still asleep. A fox called for a few moments before being answered by another in the distance. The rain patted on the leaves and ground, adding to the rush of water somewhere in front of them.

Brook sank down at the river’s edge, dropping the dead weight. He wiped rain from his face and shook it from his hair. He looked at the sky and guessed that daylight was a few hours away, which meant he was becoming pressed for time. He turned to the body, now mud covered and with a collection of fallen leaves and branches. The idea of burying him re-entered Brook’s mind, but he had nothing other than his hands and nature’s tools to carry out that task. Instead, he was going to have to risk the water level being high enough to carry the body away.

Taking an arm and a leg, Brook put the taxi man into the river and watched the current swept him away. He saw a flash of colour going over the waterfall and walked as close to the edge as possible. Looking down he could see nothing but the foamy churned up water. Slipping his hands into his pockets, he turned and started walking back the way he had come.

He got into the car and closing the door, listened to the rain and wind once more. He checked the taxi over again and finding nothing else, debated what to do. He thought he could almost hear Fern calling his name. She probably was. A few seconds went by, he put the keys in the ignition and got out, closing the door. He shoved his hands in his pockets and walked away.

The rain grew heavier, soaking through his clothes as he left the carpark. Brook glanced back at the taxi then shook his head. You’d only have to get rid of if later, he thought. He picked up his pace and breaking into a run sped through the night. He followed the roads he had driven and halfway home felt the first sense of dawn. He didn’t pause, but race onwards, making a note to try harder at materialisation soon.

Brook slipped through the first gate and the second one, having no need to unlock and open them now he was alone. He ran to the door, vanished and reappeared on the other side. Fern’s voice rapidly hit him from the garage and shouted in his ears.

‘Brook? Let me out!’

Ignoring her, he climbed the stairs and went to his room. Fern’s voice trailed after him, pleading with him and yet whispering things that sound forbidden underneath. He shook his head and closed the bedroom door. It only quietened the words a little. He pulled off his boots and jacket, dumping them as he went over to a large desk. He switched on the CD player letting the first song on whatever album was still in there blast out.

He undressed, throwing the clothes alongside the boots and jacket. Flinging himself on the double bed, he looked up at the all too familiar ceiling. The dappled pale blue coating of paint still bore the slight marks of sticky tape and blue tack. Beck tried to recall what had once stared down at him on his childhood and teenage ceiling, but he couldn’t recall.

He shut his eyes, listening to the rock music rumbling around him and the taxi driver’s blood humming through him. Below, he could just hear Fern’s cries for release and her fists bounding the wooden door. He sensed the dawn breaking and recalled how the sun lit up the sky. He pulled a sheet over his naked body and wondered how long it would take for Fern to settle down.

To Be Continued…