Continued from A Family History
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
A week went by. The woman’s husband came and took her away, back home and more than likely another mental hospital. Veronica did a good job with the woman’s mind. Even if she did manage to recall all that had happened to her, no one would take her story seriously. Her husband was devastated at the deterioration of his wife’s mind. I felt like a voyeur, hearing his thoughts, even from my secluded area in the coffin. I couldn’t sleep. I wondered if the other vampires had the same problem.
I asked Veronica about it. She was my only friend in this house of horrors and probably the only reason I was still there. Without her influence I am sure Lucas would have sent me away, or worse, considering what Veronica had revealed to me about his former coven.
Veronica reassured me that sleep would eventually come, but that it wasn’t necessary. Vampires don’t need the same sleep requirements as humans.
Marcus, in charge of security, set a rotation for patrolling the grounds perimeter. Everyone was on full alert, watching out for the rogue lycan. Veronica said that even the Cullen’s were concerned. One of the boys, I’m not sure which one, there are so many, had ran into him the same night Marcus had his altercation with the creature. He’d come out of the confrontation alive, but barely. He’d lost an arm in the process.
I had the shift between midnight and 3 a.m. I couldn’t read Lucas’s mind but I had a feeling he wouldn’t mind if the lycan killed me.
I used my time patrolling to catch up on what was happening in the town at the bottom of the hill. I was beginning to get used to the idea of being able to hear what people were thinking. Most human’s minds were unguarded and easy to hear, even all the way up here. I was beginning to understand how difficult it had been for Linda to stay away. My grief at her death would have been screaming inside her head. I still couldn’t forgive her for what she had done to me, or for her betrayal of my trust, but I could understand it a bit more. That Lucas had seduced her infuriated me, that I had sent my daughter into the devil’s lair enraged me more so.
One of the voices I heard the most was that of my neighbor, Martha Stevenson. She had been my wife’s best friend and had helped me with Linda over the years. When her husband passed away, we’d grown closer, but I hadn’t realized until now that she’d fallen in love with me. Hearing her tears nearly drove me mad that first week. I tried reaching out with my mind to comfort her, only to make things worse. She heard me whisper to her and in her grief tried to latch on to my spirit. She began sitting up at night, waiting for my ghost to come visit her. I tried to stay away, but inevitably I would find myself reaching for her with my mind, seeking some kind of solace in the familiarity of my old life. How could I hate my daughter for coming to me in my sorrow when I couldn’t avoid Martha in hers? And yet whenever I saw Linda I despised her for making me into a monster. I didn’t know at the time, but the wedge I was driving between her and myself was pushing her further and further into Lucas’s arms.
I’d been walking the grounds for a week, alternately killing and feeding off any animals that crossed my path and reaching out to Martha with my mind without a single lycan sighting, when I caught a scent in the air. It was rotten, smelling of mold and decay. It was close and I cursed myself for allowing my mind to drift off.
“Something is close by,” I called out with my mind, but I could feel Lucas and Marcus already on their way.
“What did you do, fall asleep.” Marcus snapped, startling me as he came up behind.
“He’s only been with us a week,” Veronica said, coming up alongside me, “Cut him some slack. This is a lot to grasp.”
“Defending him again?” Lucas wasn’t as adept at hiding his jealousy as he was his thoughts and it gave me great pleasure knowing this.
We were quickly joined by Charles, William and Raul, the only other vampires in the coven. Since the discovery of a rogue lycan in Fairview, everyone was forbidden to leave the premises. Protecting the coven was the prime objective.
“Where’s Linda,” I asked, worried that she wasn’t here.
“I’m here,” she said from behind me. I jumped, surprised I hadn’t heard her. She was getting better at shielding her mind, something I still had a problem with.
“The lycan is close,” Raul said, sniffing the air disapprovingly.
“Visiting Mrs. Stevenson again,” Linda asked. I shifted uncomfortably at the questioning look from Veronica.
The attack came at that moment. The lycan came out of the woods and slammed into Charles, who was closest. The creature moved fast, his speed a match for our own. His advantage was that we couldn’t hear his thoughts, so the attack, while expected, wasn’t easy to predict. Even his scent, was deceptive, for while we had known he was close, we didn’t realize how close.
Charles was knocked backwards, slamming into the ground so hard his body created a depression in the earth. Charles stood back up, cracking his neck and snarling at the lycan.
Lucas dove at the rogue, tearing at its neck, trying to rip its throat open with his teeth, but the werewolf brushed him aside as though he were nothing more than a bug.
Raul, Charles and Marcus surrounded the lycan, trying to trap him. Marcus had a weapon in his hands I had never seen before, two huge sticks tied together by a rope, and he swung them in a circular motion, threatening to bash the werewolf with them if he got too close. Raul moved in from behind, a silver knife in his hands; ready to slice the creature open. The lycan turned in a circle, looking at the three of them, then charged Charles, who was the only one of the three without a weapon.
In the week I had been there I had come to realize that Charles, while a valued member of the coven, wasn’t the sharpest, vampire in the coffin. He also wasn’t the quickest. He bared his fangs at the lycan and reached his arms out to grab him and keep the creature from escaping. He continued standing a few seconds after the lycan ripped his head off, his face frozen in its feral snarl as the lycan turned and threw the head at Raul.
Marcus swung his weapon at the creature, who easily sidestepped the attack. Grabbing Marcus’s arm, he ripped it from his shoulder and then still holding the arm; he rushed past Charles’s fallen body and back into the woods. Right before he disappeared, I saw him take a bite out of the flesh, ripping off a huge piece of meat.
Lucas, Raul and William followed him into the woods, while Veronica and Linda tried to help Marcus. I stood over Charles’s body, shocked by what had happened. I felt Veronica’s thoughts reaching into my mind.
“Go with them. If you don’t help pursue the lycan I can guarantee they will not tolerate your presence here any longer. Not after losing a life to this attack.”
I didn’t need further warning. Diving into the woods, I rushed to catch up with the other three.
Continued in Punishment
Continued in Punishment
copyright© 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved.