Continued from Blind Revelations, a continuing Vampire story,
A Family History
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
Before I could ask Veronica what she meant by more out of control, Lucas came out the door, followed by thin looking vampire with a weasly looking face. I recalled seeing him the night before but couldn’t recall his name. He was dark skinned with close cut hair, a sharp contrast to Lucas, whose long hair was pulled back in a ponytail this evening. His clothing was ripped and blood stained his shirt and jeans. He appeared to be injured. James was visibly relieved to see Veronica back, rushing to her side and embracing her briefly before releasing her.
“We were just getting ready to go look for you,” he said, ignoring me and looking her over with his eyes, making sure she was in one piece.
“What happened,” Veronica asked, her eyes widening when she saw the other vampires appearance.
“Marcus was scouting the outer borders when he was attacked by a lycan.” The other vampire, Marcus, confirmed this with a nod and I caught flashes of the attack from his mind; a huge hairy beast, his claws slashing at the thin vampire, ripping his shoulder open, exposing bone.
“I barely escaped with my life,” Marcus growled, rotating his shoulder, as though trying to loosen a muscle. I saw that the wound had already begun to heal.
Veronica frowned, “I caught a scent of a lycan earlier but he kept his distance from us. I wonder what provoked him. it’s unusual for one of the Cullen’s to come so close to the manor, at least alone.”
“It wasn’t one of the Cullen mutts,” Marcus said.
“Not one of the Cullen’s? Do we have a rogue in town?” Veronica appeared alarmed by that idea.
“It would appear so,” Marcus grumbled. “The younger Cullen boys are careless, especially that one called Simon. I am sure one of them is responsible.”
“He will need to be dealt with swiftly,” Lucas said, his tone indicating he would not be argued with as he fixed his eyes on Veronica, challenging her to argue with him.
“I agree,” Veronica said. “A rogue werewolf is a danger to our existence, as well as the Cullen’s. I’ll stop by and talk with Lazarus in the morning.”
“Lazarus, so you are on first name basis with the lycan leader?” Lucas didn’t sound amused.
“Lucas, I live in town and work for the mayor, I’m on a first name basis with everyone.”
“You live here,” Lucas said, something in his tone sounding resentful.
“I sleep here, because you insist on it. I have a home that I maintain and am seen leaving from every day and could sleep there too, if you would let me. A bed would be more comfortable than a coffin.”
“And more susceptible to attack,” Lucas said. “Those dogs you are on first name basis with wouldn’t hesitate to attack you as you slept.”
“It is you; they have a problem with, not me.” Veronica’s tongue was dripping with acid and I found myself feeling a little sorry for Lucas. It was clear that he had feelings for her, yet she continued to rebuff him. I remembered Linda’s analogy of the sun and the moon.
“Vampires and lycans’ have been enemies since the dawn of time,” Lucas snarled, “They are civil to you because you are a daywalker and could harm them at their weakest. If they were to find you alone at night they wouldn’t hesitate to tear you limb from limb.”
Veronica turned her eyes heavenward for a moment as though begging God for patience, then sighing she said, “As always, you are right.” Somehow I didn’t think she meant it and I doubt Lucas did either, judging from the frown on his face. “Regardless,” Veronica continued in her no nonsense voice, “I won’t be resting tonight. Is the woman cleaned and in bed?”
“She is,” Lucas confirmed, “and waiting on you.”
“Wonderful. This may take some time, depending on how much damage you did to her mind.” She gave Lucas an angry glare when she said this. “Since she’s only been here a week, I wouldn’t have thought much, but she looked pretty bad.”
“You haven’t tasted her blood,” Marcus said and behind him I heard a sigh. Looking past him I observed Linda, her eyes glazed over. She licked her lips and in my mind I briefly saw an image of Linda bent over the woman and a sweet, coppery taste filled my mouth.
“Do we really have to send her back?” Linda asked, taking hold of Lucas’s arm and looking up at him. She batted her eyes hopefully and I was dismayed to see her hand stroke his arm in a familiar way, as though touching him was a frequent occurrence.
“Unfortunately we do if we don’t want questions from the mayor,” Lucas said, squeezing her with his free arm.
“So what,” Linda said, giggling as though she were drunk, “He can’t hurt us.”
Rolling her eyes, Veronica stepped past them and headed into the mansion.
“Me thinks your young mistress has consumed too much blood,” Marcus laughed, giving Linda a knowing wink. “Always a difficult time controlling yourself at this stage…well, usually,” Marcus added, shooting me a disapproving look.
“I suppose I should be grateful that the woman is still alive,” Veronica said, the sarcasm dripping from her voice. Shutting the door behind her I found myself alone with vampires who were doing a poor job of hiding their hostility towards me. After a few moments of awkward silence, Lucas and Marcus took off, discussing plans to increase security around the manor until the rogue was caught,
“Well,” Linda said, smiling at me, “That was fun. I don’t think they like you.”
“Pretty obvious from the way you shamelessly hung on Lucas why he likes you,” I said. Then, leaving my daughter alone, I went into the Manor to wait for Veronica.
“James,” Veronica said, coming out of the ‘patient’s’ room an hour later. I caught a glimpse of a young woman, red hair framing her thin face, before the door closed behind her. “Have you been waiting for me?”
“You seem to be the only friendly face around here,” I said. Do you know they killed the boy? The one that tried to sneak into town.”
“Bradley,” Veronica said, nodding. “His fate was decided when they caught him. Linda ripped his throat out as we were leaving. He cried out for me with his mind.”
I fought back my repulsion at hearing it was my own daughter that had killed the boy. “That’s why you paused outside the manor.”
“That and catching the lycan’s scent. You know, you aren’t going to be popular, I can promise you that. You may want to reconsider staying.”
“Reconsider? I wasn’t under the impression I have a choice.”
“You always have a choice,” Veronica laughed. “Granted, leaving wouldn’t give you many options. You would have to go to another town. Lucas doesn’t share Fairview with other covens. And of course none of the other vampires would welcome you. Vampires that don’t partake in human consumption are for the most part considered strange. Even dangerous. You would be on your own. But they would more than likely leave you alone.”
“You don’t,” I said, “why don’t they mind you?”
“Because they need me and because I don’t criticize their choice. I like humans, but they are just human. There is a pecking order.”
“And you don’t believe we have a soul,” I said.
“If we ever did have one, it was lost when we became what we are.”
“I see,” I said. We had been walking and I’d paid little attention to where we were going. I stopped, looking around, surprised to find myself back in the catacombs. It was empty, except for the humans that were chained there and my heart ached to see their malnourished bodies. The rot was overwhelming and I fought back bile as I followed Veronica further into the tunnels. Reaching the sleep chamber, Veronica turned to me and smiled.
“It is almost morning,” she said, pulling back the lid to her coffin, “I really need to get some rest before I talk to Lazarus in the morning.”
“Why does Lucas insist we sleep in coffins,” I asked, reluctant to part company.
“Because he can,” Veronica laughed, “He has always been very controlling. I should have kept moving the first time I lay eyes on him…but he was fascinating.”
“When was that,” I asked, curious. “Did you know him before you left Fairview? But that’s not possible,” I said.
Veronica studied me, a twinkle in her eye. “I would have thought you’d figure it out.”
“Figure what out,” I asked, feeling confused and knowing I was about to find something else out that would turn my world upside down yet again.
“I said Roman was Lucas’s father, but vampires don’t have children, let alone multiple children.” She waited a moment but when my face remained blank she continued, “We are dead. So nothing can grow within. There are rumors that some vampire males have impregnated human women, but that has never ended well, at least not to my knowledge.”
“Lucas’s mother,” I mused, trying to follow the line of reasoning.
“Died hundreds of years ago, long after her son, Minerva was nothing more than a prop to give Roman credibility. The poor woman thought she was marrying the richest man in town. Imagine her horror when she discovered her husband was also deceased. She adjusted well though. Being a wife to a vampire gave her certain benefits. And I think he did love her. He brought her over half way, but he never fully changed her.”
“Maybe I’m a bit slow,” I said, but I’m confused. Minerva Blackstone wasn’t Lucas’s mother?”
“No, she was his wife.” Veronica laughed at my expression, then continued, “Tiberius Crane became one of the undead several hundred years ago. When it came time for Tiberius to die, because the town’s people would notice if their founder never died, his sister’s son, Roman Blackstone came for a visit. Soon after, Tiberius passed away in his sleep leaving everything to his nephew. No one had seen Tiberius for years, so the body that was laid out at the funeral was easily accepted as the town’s founder. When Lucas came for a visit everyone was amazed at the likeness to Tiberius…just as people that new my grandmother were amazed by how much I resembled her. And just as Roman resembled Tiberius, Lucas bears a striking resemblance to his father...”
“You’re saying Lucas is Roman…and Tiberius,” I asked. “But how? They lived in town simultaneously.”
“They appeared to live in town simultaneously,” Veronica said. “They were never seen together and ‘Lucas’ was sent away to school when he became old enough.”
“But when he was younger…”
“A ghost. No one saw him. He was spoken of often, but nannies took care of him, just as they did his brothers.”
“Until Minerva ‘killed’ all of them except for Lucas.”
“But there had to have been bodies.”
“There were. They were all members of the coven. That’s why I came back. In setting himself up to move on as Lucas, Roman had killed all the members of his coven and I want to know why…and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
continued in Lycan Attack
continued in Lycan Attack
copyright © 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved.