Chapter One

WELCOME TO MY LIFE

 

Five minutes had passed since sunset. I could feel it in my bones.

I shot up in my bed, still tired. Dead tired. The entire week I woke up this way and I had no idea why.

I heard the crickets in the front yard chirping away. That was the second signal, and yet I still didn’t open my eyes. I just wanted five more minutes. Just five more minutes.

Personally, I didn’t need to rush. This night would be like all the other nights in my long and supernatural life. Wake up, go downstairs, make sure Nathan was feeling better, stare out the window at the scenery for a few minutes, and wait for the hunger to set in.

Oh my God, the hunger. There’s nothing like a rumbling stomach as a reminder to eat; an unbearable pain that refuses to go away. For Deamhan, like myself, it meant that I had to hunt. I had to eat. It’s hard to keep that kind of mentality, but I’ve been working on it. I refuse to be some kind of ravenous animal, like other Deamhan I know. We Deamhan have vampire attributes, but we aren’t vampires. We don’t t live off blood but rather the psychic energy of our victims. In my case, I had no need for fangs like Anastasia, another Deamhan I lived with. She was a Ramanga and they live off the psychic energy of their victims’ blood. There’s also Remy, a Lamia Deamhan who sucks the energy from his victims’ mouths, and Enlai, a Lugat Deamhan who uses his hands like leeches to feed. He’s a bottom feeder.

However, I had to do something to curb my hunger. I hated waking up tired and exhausted.

My dreams were also a huge part of the problem. They started out differently, but they all ended the same. This one had me at Blind Bluff Manor, my home away from home. The sanctuary looked a little different from what I remembered. Instead of dull wallpaper, blood covered the interior walls. There was no furniture and I was alone, or so I thought.

I saw the outline of a medium tall looking female in the corner of the study. She began to barrage me with questions starting with my name, if I was from Minneapolis, if I had a family, and if I knew the Deamhan who sired me. Yes, I was from Minneapolis. Yes, I had a family, but I had no idea who turned me into a Metusba Deamhan. This shadow person didn’t believe me.

That’s when my dream took a turn for the worse. She rushed at me and grabbed me by my shoulders. “Why are you protecting a murderer? Your sire doesn’t care about you! Do you know how many stupid teenagers he’s done this to?” She screamed at me, making me feel insignificant. Still, I couldn’t see her face. It was just dark.

I wanted to get as far away as I could. I used my newfound strength to break free of her grip and ran for the front door. Before leaving, my eyes locked onto the sky. It was bright red with dark clouds which resembled demon faces. It was the last thing I remembered seeing before I felt a hand burst through my chest and yank out my heart.

Even though I knew it was a dream, it still felt all too real. With everything going on in the city, I assumed that my mind went off the edge, trying to make sense of all of it. We didn’t live in Blind Bluff Manor anymore since the Dorvo vampires attacked it. Nathan’s trusted vampire friend, Lambert, allowed us to live at his home in the middle of nowhere until things calmed down and we were safe.

Safe or not, I just wanted to go home.

After laying down for a few minutes, I heard footsteps approaching my door. Then a knock.

“Haaaaalllieee.”

“Leave me alone.” I turned on my stomach and buried my face in the pillow. “Remy, go away.” I heard the door open.

“Why are you still in your bed? It’s, like, 11:30. Can’t sleep the night away.”

“I know.”

He stood over my bed and tugged at my sheets. “Get up. It’s your turn to watch our guest of honor.” He also snatched my pillow from underneath my head.

I glanced at him. He was shirtless and wore black jeans. He always walked around the place, shirtless. “Would you please put a shirt on?”

He rubbed his fingers through his shoulder length brown hair and smiled. “Why?”

“When are you going to stop doing that?”

“Doing what?”

“Piercing your nips.” I honestly believed that he loved showing off his nipple rings which looked disgusting to me. “They heal every night. Makes no sense.”

“The women love it.”

“It’s always about the women.” I remembered the first time I saw him. He walked into the manor with such swag in his footsteps. He was attractive at first glance but a little too old for my taste. He viewed me like I was some science experiment, saying that he’d never seen a Deamhan as young as me and that I was, and I quote, ‘interesting.’ He enjoyed spending time flirting with human females at Lambert’s vampire club, Dark Sepulcher. He went every night until the city became unsafe for our kind. Since then he never left me alone. He treated me like I was some kid who’d always fall flat on their face unless he was there to catch me. He always knew better and he made me know that.

He sat on the edge of my bed. “Get up my littlest Deamhan.”

“I’m not watching Kenneth.” I turned onto my back. “Why don’t you watch him?”

“Because I get bored.”

“Getting tired of torturing him, I see?”

“Exactly.” His lips pulled back into a wide smile that showed off his gleaming white teeth.

“Nope. Not doing it.”

“I can make you do it.”

“Still not doing it.”

He reached into his jacket pocket. “Here. I picked this up off some hobo last night. He tasted awful by the way. It’s yours if you just get up, go downstairs, and keep an eye on him.” He placed a pack of cigarettes on the bed. “You know you want to.” He tried to seduce me by slowly batting his eyes and softening his voice. “It helps with your hunger.”

He knew me too well. I snatched it from his grasp.

“Don’t smoke them all in one night.”

I packed them, opened it, and pulled one out.

“You know what also helps with the hunger?” he said. “Food.”

He wasn’t kidding.  Smoking helped to hold off the pains, but it didn’t necessarily satisfy the hunger.

“Where’s your boy toy? Doesn’t he go out and hunt the wee little rabbits and squirrels for you?”

Referring to Enlai in that way usually annoyed me. Now, I was just too tired to go into it with Remy. To me, Enlai was the one. I don’t know how to explain it. I felt it in my empty gut…or was that just my hunger? Anyway, he came to Blind Bluff Manor after Anastasia visited his own sanctuary, looking for Deamhan help. I will admit that seeing another Deamhan besides Anastasia and Remy scared the shit out of me. I knew enough not to trust our own kind. It didn’t take long to find myself enthralled with Enlai. I felt comfortable telling him everything there was to know about me. Soon he knew how I wanted to go out to the city and I didn’t want to kill innocent people every time my stomach knotted and twisted with hunger. That was when he went out and hunted for me. He brought back rabbits, squirrels; anything that could satisfy my cravings. Of course, Remy didn’t like nor trust him.

“I don’t know.” I sat up and took one look around my room before my hunger pains returned. This time I felt as if someone had taken the sharp end of the boot and dug into my bellybutton. I bent over slightly and soon my sense of smell took a drastic turn upward. Every scent, including Remy’s, rammed into my nose and overwhelmed me.

“You can’t hold off on your hunger forever.”

“I can hold off as long as I can.” I shrugged as if it made no difference to me.

“I’ve been around Deamhan for a long time, Hallie. Eventually, the hunger becomes too much and you snap. It’s better to quench that thirst before it rages out of control. You should go out there and satisfy it.”

“No. I’m good.” I stood up slowly. My entire body felt sore.

“Why are you…like this?” Remy asked. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Bad dream.” I dragged my feet as I walked toward the bathroom.

“No, this is more than a bad dream.” He walked over to me. “Let me see.” He placed his hands on my face and began to give me a thorough exam with his eyes.

“I’m fine.” I tried to pull away, but he wouldn’t let go.

“You’re energy is low.” He sniffed my neck. “And you smell like you’re rotting.” His nostrils shriveled. “You need to eat something more than just squirrels. It isn’t helping you.”

“Rotting?”

He stepped back. “Yes. You do know that what you consume as a Metusba is what keeps the dark energy inside you strong and that energy keeps your body from rotting since, you know, Deamhan are technically dead. You’re not satisfying it. You can’t go on this way.”

“I’ve been doing this since I was sired.”

“And that’s the problem. I’ve told you, Hallie, we eat humans and vampires. Now, if you don’t want to kill a human then go out and find a vampire. There are plenty of them in the city.”

 

 

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