“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”― James Baldwin
Somewhere in the sticks, far from most civilization
A pungent stench of stale alcohol, sweat and something else, undefinable, lingered in the air of the dim, run down bar so dismal it would make most harbor dives seem upscale in comparison.
Against this dull background, the stunning beauty with the brightest red hair stood out against the other patrons, most of them male, donning black outfits, matching their dark hair, contrasting their pale faces. The typical look of your common vampire, allowing for stealth and for being seen only if they wished to be. Black hair also seemed to be the most common denominator among the species, even though there were exceptions.
Not surprisingly, the redhead was approached just after she sat down at a table with the hard liquor she just ordered.
“What is a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this one? Never seen you here before, doll.” a man appeared, then uninvited sat down across from her.
“Not interested, not my type AT ALL, so bye bye.” was her response as she took a hearty sip of her drink, making her grimace and cough.
“Kitty’s got claws, huh? Retract, just making conversation.”
“Who comes to bars like this dive for a conversation?”
“Valid point. But you didn’t come here for the watered-down booze either, mortal. So, are you a fang-girl?”
Ever since the controversial public coming-out of the vampires – colloquially referred to as ‘fangs’ which was ironically also the name of the dive bar – making their existence public knowledge, one of the many developments was a growing fanbase of people who were enamored by the immortals, ranking from some romantic notions about them being just like the misunderstood fanged heroes of teen novels to downright vile fantasies about hot bedroom encounters with bloodsucking beasts in human form. On the vampire side this was met by either appalled disgust or equal interest in the less conventional approach of interspecial relations. Bars like this one started to shoot up like mushrooms everywhere to make connections between the species easier taking the guesswork out of the equation. Those who came here wanted to experience the other species. The only thing left to work out was the terms of what that encounter was supposed to look like.
“Hardly.” Leeora said nonchalantly, without batting an eyelash.
“Hmm, I think you are. And if not, you will be after I am done with you …” he leaned forward, then sharply whispered the words.
“You’re wasting both our time. It won’t work.” she said simply, while downing the entire remaining contents of her glass in one gulp, only frowning briefly.
“Are you so sure, pussycat?” he smirked victoriously as he leaned in again, his face so close to hers now that Leeora could feel the icy coldness radiate off the vampire’s skin as she could feel him trying to enter her mind.
Instead, she motioned the barkeeper for a refill, then turned to the vampire.
“I am half-vampire, means you cannot read or control my mind, hypnosis doesn’t take. And that is just the beginning. In other words, you can’t handle me, buddy, and you are not my type, so piss off!”
“What the …” the vampire began his protest but was interrupted by a deep dark voice rumbling dangerously next to them, as another vampire came into view.
“Leave while you still can!”
“Oh crap, the executioner!” were his last words before disappearing into a black cloud.
With a brief, unamused chuckle, Caelan grabbed the vampire’s drink and downed it as he sat down, waving at the barkeeper for a refill.
“Quite the entrance, dad.”
“What are you doing in a place like this?! Have you forgotten who and what you are?!”
“Relax dad, I never lead with ‘oh, by the way, I am witch!’. Not among regular humans and definitely not among vamps. And can’t you tell? It’s my happy merry fucking 18th birthday party, attendance: one. I am an adult now, doing adult things. By myself, as usual, as none of my family could be bothered to make time. Also per usual.”
“I am here now, aren’t I? You knew I would find you eventually. So, why are you not home with your mother, where you should be?!”
“Because that place is as little a home, as she has been a mother, at least to me. Plus, the twins got a booboo, so she and my stepdaddy dearest are busy with more important things than my landmark birthday. I came to see you at the castle, but guess what? You were not there. As usual.”
“I am sure someone told you that I was on an assignment, wrecking my ass to complete it as quickly as I can to get back in time for your birthday. Successfully so, as you can see. I have been looking for you for hours. Lucky for both of us, finding people who do not want to be found is what I do. However, I shouldn’t have to look for my teenage daughter in places like this one, 18 or not! Care to explain?”
“Well, I am an adult now, officially, and a grown woman has needs. You know I have a weakness for vamps. Figured where better to find some light, no-strings entertainment to ring in the new passage of my life in style than a dump like this one.”
“I believe that’s called oversharing. And I most certainly hope this is your idea of a bad joke or punishment for whatever you think I did to you, and not how you spend your time normally.”
“You want me to be the eternal virgin? Too late for that anyway …”
“I want to NOT have this conversation with my daughter!”
“You’re just like mother.”
“I am NOTHING like your mother!”
“Well, truth be told, you’re not wrong there. But you both aren’t usually there when I need you.”
“HMM. So, where do you want to go? To celebrate.” With a dismissive snort, Caelan decided to ignore his daughter’s insolence.
“Take a guess. If you guessed a certain castle, you won. So, let’s make it a permanent stay. Happy birthday to me. Finally.”
“Why not? Just don’t tell anyone I am your hush-hush daughter. Say I am a hostage. Or your lover. Or your son’s future betrothed. Or grandpa’s lover. Anything but Glimmerbrook!”
“That is disgusting! And it would still not change the fact that you are a witch. The daughter part has never been the problem, but you being a witch has and still is. Besides, I thought you liked Glimmerbrook. I mean, it is … scenic, and filled with all that crap you witchfolk need for your potions and elixirs and what not.”
“It is dull as a cow’s asshole, and you know it! The only reason I know as much about magic as I do is because I have no other choice, since I cannot be a vampire and last thing I want is to be a boring regular mortal! Witches can’t port like vampires, so I am stuck there for the most part since your former lover and sperm receptacle won’t buy me a car. I wish I were like you.”
“Makes two of us. It would have changed everything if you were a vampire, but you are not and that’s that. You got quite the mouth on you, young lady. I hoped your mother raised you better than that. It’s appalling. Think of Seraphina what you will, but she is still your mother and cares deeply about you. And don’t ever let your grandfather hear you say such things or I promise you, you’d be tasting soap bars for days. He is old school.”
“Mother had no time to raise me and that mouth is from the only person who ever gave a shit, you daddy. So, what terrible vampire trespassers have you been hunting this time?”
“You know I cannot talk about that.”
“Right. More vampire-only secrets. Not like we’re related or something.”
“Leeora, stop. You know full and well that ever since you were born I wished nothing more than to have you with me, always, but fate had other plans. You were born a witch, witches cannot be turned, witches are not allowed to have permanent residence in Forgotten Hollow and that’s that! We both just have to deal with it. If you hate your mother’s home so much, I will buy you a house elsewhere.”
“All right. What’s available in Forgotten Hollow?”
“You are wearing my patience thin. You know that can’t happen. No witches in Forgotten Hollow. Starting to feel like an eager parrot here!”
“Unless I marry a vampire. Anything interesting around these days? I like the tall dark handsomes, but willing to check out other options if he’s worth it.”
“That rule applies to mortals, not witches. You marrying one of us still doesn’t change that witches are not allowed to live in Forgotten Hollow, otherwise, being the granddaughter of the King of the Vampires would have already granted you that dubious luxury. And do I look like cupid?! How am I to know what eligible bachelors there are and who would please your fancy? Whatever happened between you and Riordan’s boy anyway? I thought you two were going out. I like that kid.”
“We were, but broke up almost two years ago now. Colton is just too tame for my taste. He’s almost like a mortal, and him hanging around Chase all the damn time isn’t helping. Had I not seen both of them feed with my own eyes before, I wouldn’t even believe they are actual vamps. I need a man like you, a REAL vampire, who embraces what that really means, not a fanged lapdog of mortals. Someone interesting, with a lot more … bite. Pun intended. Exactly like you.”
“Hm. Sounds like daddy issues to me. Not sure how that happened. Or how to fix it.”
“I can tell you how to fix it. Turn me.”
Caelan stretched out and reached across the bar, producing a decanter, from which he refilled his and Leeora’s glasses, when he had enough of waiting for the bartender to do it, who, like most vampires, avoided him, for good reason. Vampires didn’t die of natural causes, but there were plenty ways to kill them if you knew how, had the right tools or were strong enough, like Caelan. He also famously had a terrible temper when caught in a bad mood, so nobody would put it past him to off someone if it damn well pleased him, and while murder was usually severely punished, who would punish the punisher, who also happened to be the Crown Prince of Darkness himself?
“Not THAT again! Kid, you are really trying my patience. Lucky for you it’s your birthday, so I will let it slide. Otherwise, you’d find yourself across my lap feeling my parenting on your behind by now!”
“Right, as if. But dad, it is told that there have been a few rare cases where witches were successfully turned, under the right circumstances, if the witch was powerful and strong and the vampire was ancient and or powerful enough. They lose their magic, but I wouldn’t give a rat’s behind about that! You are plenty powerful; I have complete faith in you. Or if not, get grandfather to do it. He is ancient, knows EVERYTHING about anything to do with vampires. If you talk to him, he will …”
“I SAID NO! Too dangerous, no matter who what when and where! You are mortal and you will remain mortal! If you do not like this witch business, then abandon it all, do something else with your life, live among the mortals and do whatever they fill their days with!” his voice was loud, and echoed off the walls of the tavern, halting every movement and conversation in it.
Frowning, Caelan downed the rest of his drink, then tossed money on the table, before pulling Leeora with him outside.
TO BE CONTINUED