Haven is a Dayling, but in less than three weeks she will ‘Cross Over’ into a world of danger and everlasting darkness.
The door to my cell closed, leaving nothing except the intoxicating smell of blood. My newly formed fangs ached as the aroma suffocated the room. The thirst pulsated in my head, drowning out every rational thought, becoming the only thing that existed to me.
I could hear him talking, pleading with me in his familiar tone. But all I could concentrate on was my hunger. My throat hurt, my insides burned, my skin felt tight and awkward. I needed to feed, to consume every drop of the strawberry-scented blood flooding my imprisonment.
And then, all of a sudden I found myself free from the chains.
Thick. Red. Filled with living cells and disease fighting substances. Also, absolutely disgusting.
I pushed the glass of blood towards my cousin Angela, as we lay on top of my family’s mansion located in the middle of the lavish neighborhood of Summerbrooke. We’ve lived in Tallahassee for a little over two years now, but I very rarely left the mansion, choosing to spend my time alone, like I’ve done for the last seventeen years of my life.
Angela moved away from the blood with a frown on her beautiful face. “Eww, gross. Is that, um, human blood?”
I couldn’t help my normal sarcasm from sneaking out, “yep, I found some drunken college kid stumbling around and thought, hey, why not kill him and pour his blood in a glass for my cousin.”
For a second, she looked at me with horror, until finally Angela remembered who she was talking to, and lay back down after putting her shades back over her eyes.
The heat over Tallahassee could literally cook an egg. Angela had talked me into following her to the top of the mansion for some sunbathing. She lay on the roof, in her two-piece-bikini, showing off her smooth perfectly toned body. I, on the other hand, lay beside her in a white t-shirt and shorts.
Two weeks and counting, I thought. Two more weeks before I wouldn’t be able to do something like this ever again. Not like I did it a lot before.
I looked over to Angela as she rolled over on her stomach to work on her back. Angela had decided to attend Lexington High School for her junior year, instead of being home schooled like me. I’m a year older than her, and I had no intentions of spending my senior year trapped inside of an old grungy desk, surrounded by strangers. So I’d declined my father’s offer to matriculate at Lexington with Angela. She would be on her own with that adventure.
My mind began to question Angela’s sanity. With everything we knew about high school, why on Earth would anyone choose to go to one? I had enough drama with the people living in the mansion with us, than to add more drama with high school kids.
My body relaxed a little as the sun slowly caressed me. I had put on a whole bottle of sunscreen, protecting myself from sunburn as I enjoyed the last rays shinning down on us. Night was slowly coming, and I could almost feel it as time ticked away. Soon, very soon, night would be all my body craved; night and the disgusting blood that was starting to smell beside us.
Angela frowned again as she raised her head and pushed the blood away. She lay back down with a slight smile on her face, enjoying her victory over the smell.
The thought of my upcoming birth day wouldn’t leave my mind. I placed my arms behind my head as I closed my eyes and focused on pleasant memories. Most of them were of me alone with a good book, but a few were of being around family and friends. None had to do with being around people outside of my world. Being on my families estate, only dealing with the people closest to me, would be all I needed after my eighteenth birthday.
I must have dozed off for a moment, because she was standing over me when I opened my eyes, and the moon reflected behind her. Angela still lay beside me on her back, obviously asleep. But she didn’t seem to care about her kid sister at the moment; instead she stared directly at me, “time to wake up pequeña princesa. You need to get ready for a party.”
Slowly I sat up on my elbows. “I know you’re insane Sophia, but are you also delusional?”
She kneeled down beside me. “Since my little sister is starting real school soon, Nigel and I are going to take her to this party we heard about. Give her and opportunity to check out the locals at play.” Sophia leaned in closer to me, causing my entire body to uncontrollably shiver as she whispered. “You don’t have a choice in this chica.” She reached over and shook Angela awake while continually staring at me. I hated Sophia thinking she scared me, even though she did scare the crap out of me, but it was a major blow to my pride how much she knew she scared me. Angela looked over to her sister. Finally, Sophia turned to face Angela. “Time to go party with your soon to be class mates. Get up, take a quick shower, get dressed in something slutty, and let’s go introduce the students of Lexington High School to their future queen.” She smiled at both of us, before she stood up and walked away.
Angela groggily looked over to me. “What?”
The fear finally left my body. A frown covered my face as I looked in the direction Sophia had walked away in. “Hell! She is dragging us to hell!” Angela gave me a confused look. “We’re going to a high school party.” Why couldn’t I have simply died from a heat stroke while I slept? Because I’m Haven Vigano, and my luck doesn’t work like that.
A few hours later we were making our way up a long driveway towards the party, and I was thinking about making a run for it. I was fast enough, not to mention the only real light source came from a half moon looming above us in a starless night sky. On top of that, Sophia wore her favorite high heels; the ones that formed a thin spike at the end, and made it seem as if she walked on her tiptoes. I felt that those god-forsaken shoes gave me a good chance of getting away before she caught me, and I would have taken that chance, if my other cousin Nigel, hadn’t kept glancing back at me every time I thought about dashing towards our estate.
We stopped at the front door of Eliot Little’s two-days-until-back-to-school-party. I could hear music pulsating out of the den, a type of techno hip-hop blend. Glimpses of blue and red lights flashed out of a window. My body tensed. Every cell inside of me screamed for an escape route. I couldn’t believe the jock had disco lights for his house party.
Sophia knocked on the door, a moment later the door opened with a short, muscular guy standing in the entrance.
The jock stumbled a little as he tried to gather himself. His eyes were barely open, and he reeked of alcohol. His short, black hair hung disheveled over his forehead. He held a beer can in one hand, while using the other to gain balance on the side of the doorframe.
“Yo, haven’t seen you around here before.” He slurred out as he gazed at Sophia. Her black eyes gleamed as she stared at the inebriated jock. A playful half smile slowly crept across her smooth, innocent-looking face. I’d seen that look before. It had gotten us into as much trouble as it had gotten us out of. But, it never failed in achieving whatever task Sophia conjured it up for.
“We’ve lived up the block for a little over two years. Never made the time to make the rounds. Making the time now.” Sophia moved her long black hair behind her ears. She allowed her seductive gaze to fully light up her beautiful Spanish face. “You’re Eliot right? The man of the house?” She spoke with a slow rhythm.
Eliot almost fell over with excitement. His eyes became glazed with longing. His entire body stiffened. He had no idea the game being played on him. Nigel knew, which is why he quietly laughed at the enthralled football jock. Personally, I just wanted to get this over with so I could go home.
Stumbling again, Eliot quickly re-gathered himself. “Yeah I’m the man of the house. And you and your friends are invited to my party.” He moved out of the way for us to enter; never once taking his eyes from Sophia’s as he closed the door behind us.
Teenage kids grinding against each other filled the first floor of the house. I’d never gone to a teenage party before. I’d only read about them and seen them on TV or in movies. I thought Hollywood exaggerated what went on at these events, I had no idea how tamed the Hollywood versions were compared to the real thing.
A few kids were scattered around making out. I saw an area where belly shots were taking place. And of course, no party would be complete without the triple-kiss being performed in front of a crowd of cheering onlookers. I’d learned about the triple-kiss from Angela, who swore she’d never participated in one, but saw them on MTV Spring Break.
“Okay, I’m ready to leave now. I came, I saw,” I quickly shook my body, “I danced. See you guys back home.”
Sophia stepped in front of me. The flashing lights bounced off her face, giving her skin a slightly unnatural porcelain glow. She locked her shimmering black eyes onto mine. Unlike Eliot, she wasn’t trying to seduce me. Instead she tried to intimidate me. And as much as I hated to admit it, it worked. “You’re going to stay here with us, mingle, and have some fun. In a few weeks Haven you’ll be like me. But for now, you’re more like them. So enjoy it while you can chica”
I stared back into Sophia’s eyes, trying not to show the fear building inside me. “I’m nothing like them. And I’m never going to be like you Sophia.”
“Three weeks until your eighteenth b-day. Looks like someone has already started Crossing Over. Are we getting a little feisty there Haven?” Nigel said with a lopsided smile.
I turned from Sophia to face him. His skin also had a slightly porcelain glow to it. His frosty blond hair sat perfectly on top of his head. His light blue eyes gleamed with playfulness. He seemed as relaxed as always. I gave him a frown before I turned back to Sophia.
“Why am I here anyway? I thought this was supposed to be about Angela?”
She placed her left arm around her kid sister’s shoulder, pulling her in closer to her body. If I hadn’t known any better, the embrace would have seemed comforting, almost loving. However, the malice in Sophia’s eyes always gave her true nature away. “It is about me mamacita. And she wants you to stay. Isn’t that right Angela?”
I looked at Angela hoping for her to say the words to excuse me from this torment. Instead, I got the top of her head as she stared at the floor; her telltale sign when she’s about to say something you don’t want to hear.
“It’s true. I’d feel better if you were here with me Haven.” Angela mumbled. Sophia kissed Angela on the jaw before she released her.
Sophia stalked up to me, only stopping inches from my face. I could feel her slightly cool breath, and taste her unnatural scent as a chill gradually entered my body, leaving me frozen in place. “While Nigel and I check out this place for some after party fun, I want you to take Angela around for some introductions.” As she spoke, Sophia slowly leaned towards me, bearing her perfect white teeth while gazing longingly at my exposed neck. I tried to move. The fear flooding inside of me left me petrified in place. Sophia giggled before kissing me on the jaw, and then disappearing into the swarm of dancing teenagers with Nigel.
I released a long deep breath before turning around to face Angela, who continued to look at the floor. “Thanks a lot.” I turned from her heading through the crowd. Angela hurried behind me.
It felt strange, the scent coming from the kids dancing around me. The swaying of their bodies triggered a sensation that had nothing to do with hormones. A craving I didn’t know I had. I could feel it, slowly building beneath my skin as I walked. They all looked so... appealing. And again, not in a ‘bow chicka wow wow’ way, but in a way I couldn’t comprehend. I only knew I had to get the hell out of there.
When I made it to the backdoor, I could hear Angela calling after me. “Haven. Wait up Haven.”
I placed my hand on the doorknob, before sighing and quickly turning around to face my cousin. “What?”
Angela stopped in front of me. She looked around the room with panic in her dark eyes. The flashing lights illuminated the nervousness encompassing her face. “You can’t just leave me here. Please Haven, stay for a little while.” She lowered her voice. “And Sophia isn’t going to like it if you leave.”
“I don’t care what Sophia likes or doesn’t like. What is she going to do, video tape me singing ‘Private Dancer’ in my underwear and post it online?” I paused. “Which, now that I think about it, would be a fate worse than death.” I took my hand off the doorknob and gently placed it on the side of Angela’s shoulder. She tried to defuse my escape plan with her large sad puppy dog brown eyes, but I’d grown immune to their affects after years of practice. “You don’t need me here anyway Angela. This isn’t my scene. This is where you want to be. Not me. I’ll see you back home.”
I turned from Angela, opened the backdoor, and made my way out of the jock’s house before she could respond. The heat radiating in the air suffocated the night. I had been so nervous on the way over I didn’t pay attention to the weather. I took off my wool sweater and tied it around my waist. It felt as if Hades had made his way through the city with a gang of his minions tagging along. Even demons from the deepest pits in hell would make their way back to their fiery home to escape the heat infecting the night’s air.
Yet I could also feel a slight shiver taking hold of my body as I made my way through the nauseating heat. I’d told Angela I wasn’t afraid of Sophia, but deep inside, I’ve always feared her. And leaving the party after she told me not to would seem like a challenge to her queen bee status. I didn’t want to be queen bee. I just wanted to be left alone. But knowing Sophia, she would find a way to put me in my place in front of the others.
I decided to stop thinking about Sophia as I made my way out of the back gate of the jock’s yard, finding myself in a long dark alley. Trashcans and a few scattered streetlights were located on each side of the dirt road. Each house had massive gates to create the narrow alley.
After taking a few steps, the muffled sound of someone trying to speak came from ahead of me. A part of me was ready to turn around and head the opposite way. That was the smart part of me, the part I rarely listened to.
I made my way to the sound, my heart rate and breath quickening as I went. The sound became louder with each step I took, as I tried to ready myself for anything.
A flickering streetlight stood over to the right of me. Beneath it stood five guys who all looked about my age. I figured they must have been at Eliot’s party before heading to the alley to handle whatever disagreement they were having. When I say disagreement, I mean by four of them beating the crap out of the fifth.
The guy being beaten had his head hung down. I could see, as well as smell, the blood and sweat dripping from his face to his red letterman jacket. His clothes were completely soiled with bodily fluids, and his legs wobbled perilously as the two guys standing beside him held him upright. The guy giving the beating laughed each time he punched his victim in the stomach.
The lookout hadn’t seen me yet. I had time to leave. My heart continued to pound as I watched the beat down. My muscles tightened, and my flight or fight instinct was working overtime.
Everything inside of me screamed for me to walk away. And that’s exactly what I should’ve done, but that would mean listening to the smart part of my brain. Seeing as I never did before, no need to start at the expense of the guy getting the hell kicked out of him.
I walked towards Mr. Lookout. A few more steps and the idiot would have to see me. And then, there would be no turning back.
As soon as Mr. Lookout eyes focused on me, he slowly backed away towards the guy giving the beating. I could make out the smirk on his face. The sight of a seventeen-year-old girl walking through a dark alley obviously didn’t frighten him. He actually looked pleased, as if my presence would cause a new game for him and his friends to play.
I stepped to the edge of the flickering light as everyone turned towards me. The guy administering the beating smirked at me. He had long, blond hair and he looked to be about 6’3 with the frame of a basketball player. The blue letterman’s jacket sporting a large W insignia seemed to support that idea.
The other three guys involved with the beating were as tall as Mr. Blonde. They all wore the same type of letterman jacket, and the same smirk.
My eyes focused on the guy getting the beating for a moment. He had spiky, dark hair, exotic black eyes and a beautiful, slightly feminine, face – even though it had become a little swollen and covered with blood, I couldn’t stop thinking how beautiful this guy looked. I hadn’t known what my plan was when I first decided to walk towards the guy getting his ass kicked, but after seeing him, I knew the guys doing the ass kicking had to pay. No one should be able to get away with disfiguring such a gorgeous creature.
“Keep moving if you know what’s good for you.” Mr. Blonde said with a frown at me.
I took a step into the flickering light; my long, curly hair hung all the way down my back – more a byproduct of my Italian father than my London-born mother. To be truthful, I take more after my Italian ancestors than my English, except of course for my emerald-green eyes.
My eyes still focused on the beautiful – slightly swollen – face of the guy who had taken the beating. I could still feel my heart pounding as I stared at him; could feel my blood boiling furiously through my veins. My flight or fight needle pointed completely towards fight.
“Don’t you understand English bitch? We said keep moving.” Mr. Lookout said as he took a step toward me.
I fixed my gaze upon Mr. Lookout. “I don’t know when that word became okay to use, but I’m from the old school; where bitch normally came before a fist. Either by the person saying it or the person it was said to.” I said, taking a step closer. “So the next time you call me a bitch, be ready to swing.”
The four guys started to laugh. My beautifully swollen spiky-haired prince – yeah, that’s what he became in my mind... a prince – tried to say something, but couldn’t force the words out.
Mr. Lookout took another step towards me. He stretched his arms out to the side in a taunting manner. “Okay then, I’m ready to swing... bitch.”
Without warning, I lunged at Mr. Lookout, knocking him clean across the temple, causing him to hit the ground like a sack of bricks. The other three guys were stunned by what I’d done. That gave me the opening I needed to finish this quickly.
I wasn’t much of a fighter. I could hold my own when necessary, but I never found myself in situations where I needed to. Getting into fights with four guys in dark alleys wasn’t normally my thing. Then again, neither was going to house parties, so I guess there was a first time for everything.
I made it to Mr. Blonde next; his eyes were still wide from what I did to Mr. Lookout. I used the adrenaline rushing through my body to place my fist as hard as I could into his chest. I felt his ribs caving in as I landed my punch, and I heard his breath leaving his body as he went airborne. He flew a good twenty feet before he came crashing down behind my spiky-haired prince and the two jocks holding him up.
I turned on the two guys just as they released my prince. He dropped to his knees still unable to talk. His dark eyes never left my face.
A type of energy ran through me. I felt supercharged from the fighting. I couldn’t believe it, but I enjoyed the damage I caused. I’d heard the closer you get to Crossing Over, the wilder you become. I was three weeks away from the change, but I could feel the monster growing inside of me. It craved destruction.
My heart had actually slowed a little as I ducked the punch of one of the guys that held my prince. I came up with blinding speed to catch him square across the jaw, and heard it shatter as my fist smashed home. The guy dropped to the ground with blood spilling out of his mouth. This new scent of the blood and fear fueled the monster inside of me.
The last guy paused for a half a second; all the time I needed to grab him by his shirt and toss him to the other side of the alley. I heard a few of his bones snapping as he came crashing down.
Without knowing it, I let out a low, menacing growl which echoed through the alley. I glanced down at the whimpering fools rolling around on the ground in pain. I loved it, the beast inside wanted more to come out of the shadows for me to punish.
The sound of my spiky-haired prince moaning in pain on the ground pulled me out of my battle mode. Everything calmed down. My heart completely slowed to a steady pace. The rage left my body, and was quickly replaced by concern.
I leaned beside him; gently helping him to his feet. He felt light to me, but his body felt hard as a rock.
“Are you okay,” I whispered to him as I held him up.
His mesmerizing, dark eyes gazed into mine. “What... the... hell... are... you?” He mumbled before he passed out in my arms.