When you meet a dark angel don’t you ever for one minute believe they are bad because they have faced the worst demons and lived to guide you through yours
Weeping Willow Cemetery Glimmerbrook
Snorting dismissively while shaking his head and grimacing, Caelan spoke.
“You go right ahead, little one. I am not interested in getting sappy over decomposing flesh beneath our feet, nor watch you do so. Going for a stroll while you do your thing here. Be ready to head back in an hour. We are leaving here at 7 sharp. Do not wander off and do not be late.”
“Sir, yes Sir!” Vivien saluted, earning her a crooked grin and narrowed eyes.
“You are really playing with fire here. Most people wouldn’t live to …”
“Yeah yeah, CaeCae, I know, you kill them all. Piles and piles of dead mortals lining the path you walk on. Daily and twice on Sundays.”
“Luckily, walking is optional to me, smartass!” he growled, hiding his grin about her calling his bluff, nudging his niece, before she stuck her tongue out at him.
During a visit Vivien had begged Caelan to take her to the Weeping Willow cemetery for her to visit lost loved ones, the cemetery was local and she lived far. As usual, normally ice-cold Caelan had not been able to resist his niece’s request for long and teleported here with her.
He stood and watched her walk to a fresh grave where she knelt down, wiping her eyes as she pulled some dead flowers off the fading bouquets left from Bristol’s funeral some weeks ago now. Frowning, he turned on his heels and walked off towards the cemetery gates, down to the cobblestone street. There were few things that fazed him, seeing his niece cry was one that always got him and he knew she would. Best to not be there for that.
He beelined straight to Allie’s home, peeking into every window but found it empty. Cursing under his breath he punched a wall, then looked around. He wasn’t supposed to be here, he knew it, and he knew if detected, it would have dire consequences for him.
But Caelan had always danced to the beat of his own drum. To him the feeling of rejected love, scorned by the only woman he had ever allowed into his tight inner circle, burned deeply, and he couldn’t help but obsess about it. So he kept returning here, to watch Allie, making himself into a stalker par excellence. Unfortunately, most recently he got caught, confronted by several of the Spellcasters, to add insult to injury, their leader none other than the other man, Allie’s lover, Witcher Dorian, father of her older son, and the man she kept picking over him. Caelan hated Dorian without actually ever having met him and now he found himself at his mercy. All of Glimmerbrook except the cemetery was covered by a spell restricting vampire powers, so Caelan had been unable to teleport out of the confrontation, instead he chose to run, was chased to the outskirts of town by the Witcher and some of his cronies, the hunter becoming the hunted, barely managing to escape, but that fiery haired bitch, whom Caelan had met a few times before during truce meetings with his father and Riordan, and whom he knew only as Minerva, the head of the Spellcasters or Mages or whatever they called themselves, had notified his father Caleb almost immediately of his transgression, his father’s wrath unleashed on him as soon as he returned to the castle. Caelan had tested his father’s patience many times over the years, but he couldn’t recall seeing him this upset with him ever before. Caleb was so very angry that Riordan had to hold him back several times. It was rare for Caleb to lose his cool, but if he did, watch out. Many had suffered the dire consequences of mistaking Caleb Vatore’s kind composure for weakness. Caleb was one of the most powerful vampires in existence, hence not someone to take lightly. Not even if you were his own son.
If Caleb or Riordan even guessed he was here yet again, once more breaking the law by entering restricted territory, Spellcaster grounds, it would not go well for him. The rules were unmistakably clear and non-negotiable. There was only one location vampires were allowed inside Glimmerbrook lines, which was the cemetery, every inch beyond that was off limits to all vampires, a truce agreed upon a long time ago, sealed by a pact between the two species that otherwise didn’t mix well. Spellcasters hated vampires, many a vampire hunter in history had been a Witcher, which obviously didn’t make them popular with vampires. Spellcasters were mortals with special powers and hence viewed as inferior by the vampires, but a preferable prey as their special powers made the vampire consuming their life elixir more powerful as well, the higher ranking the Spellcaster, the higher the power gain to the vampire feeding on them, more really was more in this case, which along with the witch hunts by the mortals throughout history had lead to Spellcasters being nearly extinct by now, just like vampires.
In other words, the truce between them had been built on sandy grounds to begin with, it wouldn’t take much to tip the scale and unhinge the peace.
To Caleb, the cemetery was insanely important and sacred grounds, as he continuously formed friendships with mortals, who sadly always eventually found their final rest here. Caleb would not want to lose that access, nor want to risk a war with the Spellcasters, especially not through foolishness of his own son. He was not amused by Caelan’s antics in the slightest.
Shaking off the memory of that terrible fight with his father and Riordan, Caelan turned to walk away from Allie’s home, careful to keep in the shadows and out of the direct sunlight, to evade detection and while he was so strong that even some sunlight didn’t kill him, it drained him and never felt good, best to be avoided. Many a newer and weaker vampires had perished from exposure, not something any Vatore family member needed to concern themselves with, but that still didn’t mean they should bask in it.
Into his angry mental ramblings he heard something, a sound that didn’t belong. Stopping in his tracks, focused on the origin, following the direction, leading him through heavy underbrush and eventually to a meadow with a small pond, in which he found a woman bathing, singing, her coppery red hair and golden skin glistening in the sunrays, like a vision.
Quickly stepping back into the shadows between some shrubs, he remained, listening to the pleasant and clear voice, as she twisted and turned, dancing to her song in the water, Caelan’s eyes remained plastered on the bare body, following every delicious curve of the firm feminine form of a young woman, the corners of his mouth curling up, nearly in a reflex he licked his lips. Whoever she was, she would be his little treat, once he was done enjoying the show.
They remained like this for a while until her song ended and she decided to leave the water, the full frontal view surprising Caelan as she sparkled and glistened in the sun. His crotch area felt uncomfortably tight, he shifted – and a piece of wood cracked loudly beneath him.
Instantly it got her attention, she stiffened, her eyes focused in his direction as if she could see him, which was impossible, but her eyes seemed to look straight into Caelan’s soul.
“Who is there?! Make your presence known!?” she called, reminiscent of an old way to speak, reminding Caelan of his father, who was born centuries ago and while Caleb and his sister Lilith both did what nearly all vampires did, adjust to modernity, some always remained, giving him away if he let his guard down.
“I know you’re there! Show yourself, coward!” she called.
Caelan was neither a coward, nor feared he women, quite the contrary. She may still end up a tasty afternoon delight in more ways than one, so he too straightened up and stepped out of his hiding spot.
By her reaction he could tell that she didn’t expect it, yet, she didn’t seem overly concerned either, more surprised than scared, as she still did not even tried to cover up.
“Who are you?!” she asked, Caelan couldn’t help finding her voice pleasant.
“Just a stranger passing through. Who are you? I have never seen you here before.” he said.
“I am always here. Here, there, everywhere. Just like Mother Nature.”
“Right.” Caelan rolled his eyes. What a hippie. Well, still pretty and probably delicious.
“Aren’t you hot, stranger?” she wondered, glancing over him.
“No. Aren’t you cold?” he asked, with a purposely condescending grin while demonstratively looking up and down her person, thinking she may have forgotten she was naked.
“No. Mother sun warms me. Plus, the water was quite tepid. Do you ever bathe in nature?” she asked now, her voice soft, with an undertone of appreciation, making Caelan wonder if she escaped an asylum.
“Are you like crazy or something? You sound like a Hippie on crack. And do you always speak the strange men without your clothes on?”
“Does it bother you? Oh, I see it does. How funny.” she giggled, as she looked him over, resting her eyes around his midsection, when Caelan looked down on himself he was shocked to realize a very noticeable bulge in his crotch region, instantly he changed his stance to hide his body’s reaction to her nakedness, feeling exposed and humiliated. By a woman! He was the one who teased and toyed with them, making them nervous and insecure normally, not the other way around. What the hell!
Still giggling she set in motion, Caelan assumed to cover up, but instead she came closer. Frozen he could only watch her stretch out her arm, slowly, hesitantly, until she eventually touched his cheek, running the back of her hand across it, so gently, it sent hot and cold flashes through his entire body.
“You’re ice-cold on a warm summer day. You are one of THEM. A creature of the night. Are you dangerous? Are you going to hurt me now?”
Caelan was shocked, too much so to answer, working on trying to comprehend the meaning of her words. How did she know about what he was? Nobody knew about vampires. He pondered it until he watched her slip on the fabric that lay wadded up on the ground, and it turned out to be equally as odd and outdated by mortal standards as the attire customarily worn by his own kind, yet still very different, and a realization dawned on him.
“You are one of those! The potion stirring heretics! A fucking witch!” he blurted out, wide-eyed.
Behind enemy lines he stumbled upon the enemy, not surprising, but he had been chatting with her like a friend. He felt like the fly caught in the spider’s web now. Oh, this would not end well for him. Not at all.
“I am. So it’s true. You are vampyre. How are you out now without burning?”
“Not all of us do. Some are strong, light doesn’t hurt us.”
“Tell me your name, strong creature of darkness.”
Caelan just stared at her. If she didn’t know who he was, if he swore Viv to secrecy, maybe he could go undetected. Maybe if she reported him to that old fire haired bitch Minerva, it could have been any vampire, other than him since everyone knew officially he was in Del Sol Valley, all the Camerons could attest to that. Vivien would never sell him out, Scarlett and Blaine were busy and didn’t even know he had taken Vivien to the cemetery. Perfect alibi.
“Forgot your words? Fine, I will go first. I am Seraphina of the Latimers, daughter to Minerva. Your turn. Will you please share your name with me, handsome stranger?”
Her words went down like oil, making his skin tingle. Did she like him? But she was a witch, they were known to be deceptive. And did she just say she was that awful Minerva’s daughter? Oh Lord. He couldn’t trust her. He shouldn’t trust her … and still …
“Caelan Vatore of Forgotten Hollow, son of Caleb.” he heard himself say.
“Caelan …” she repeated his name slowly, enunciating each syllable, sending more pleasant feelings through him. Was she casting spells on him or … yeah, that had to be it.
“Handsome Caelan, what are you doing here, in the woods, so far from home?”
“Just passing through, as I told you.”
“Are you here looking for prey?”
“No. We hunt in the darkness. That is actually common knowledge, I thought. Every child knows that and it only makes sense.”
“Maybe. I know that there is always more to every story than meets the eye. I can sense your discomfort, though it was the light, but now I think it is me. Am I making you uncomfortable, handsome Caelan?”
“No.” his reply was simple, prompt and definite.
“I think I am.”
“I think you are using magic on me. At least trying to.”
“Then you would be wrong. I am not. I don’t cast spells, at least not like that. I am an Earth Wiccan. I can only control nature, for I am one with it, but by definition, that would exclude you, would it not, since you are not really natural. You shouldn’t exist, yet here you stand before me, proving my point that nothing is ever definite. I create and preserve life, you take life, we are polar opposites, light and darkness, giver of life and harbinger of death. How curious.” she evaluated, and with a gentle, fluid motion of her hand, colorful flowers grew instantly from the ground to which she pointed. After a moment of severe shock, Caelan found his composure – and cynicism.
“How heart-warming and whimsy, bet that comes in handy at weddings and for gardening competitions. Oh, and thanks for the evaluation of my person, I’ll be sure to update my social media profiles with all that. So, what else do you do other than randomly line the grounds with flora? Talk to animals? Hope they at least have some good jokes.”
“Don’t let your cynicism poison your soul. Kindness is a fertilizer of the canvas of an open mind, on which love grows. So what can YOU do, handsome Caelan, other than be where you should not be and be cruel?”
“How do you know I am cruel?”
“You take things that are not meant to be yours, in many ways, do you not? You must rethink your ways, handsome Caelan, or you will never find the validation you long for.” while speaking she had approached closer, until her face was next to his, she whispered the last few words near his ear, then suddenly she was gone, only a light, airy giggle remained, fading into an ethereal distance as hundreds of flower petals fluttered to the ground on which she had stood until seconds ago.
“Man, that was weird, even by my standards.” he said, then turned and rushed straight towards the cemetery to take Vivien home. He had enough of this place. At least for now … How did Seraphina put it ‘nothing is ever definite’?