Authors: Morris Fenris,Jasmine Bowen
Arianne’s phone, and pulled out the battery, waiting a few seconds before putting it back in. The phone lit up and restarted without an issue.
Yay,” Arianne cheered. She was adorable, small with a pixie cut, and an alternative style that emphasized her tiny features. Actually 20 years old but small enough to pass for high school age, at the time of her death, she had joined the Hever clan almost 50 years before with her husband, an 18
century teenager with an adorable southern accent. Tony Hever was Annalise’s best friend out of the bunch.
was known throughout the vampire world as one of the strongest and most fierce vampires once, a hybrid creation of vampirism and dark magic. But with that strength came a price, a depression so strong that he wandered the earth in despair after leaving the army he helped create to be slaughtered.
had saved him from himself, although the strong depression drugs Dr. Hever had him on, mixed into blood bags - the only way to get anything into a vampire’s system - helped too. Tony needed the most work, fought the most against his instinct to slaughter the entire high school, and was the most protective of Annalise. He hadn’t wanted a culture teacher, her official title - wanted nothing to do with that world. But somehow Annalise changed his mind, and now, he did nothing without referring to her first. “Are we going home? Or should we go out? Let’s go shopping!”
shook her head. “It’s Tuesday. I’m supposed to be on official hours on that day, remember? Dr. Hever probably has the PowerPoint all set up.”
“What are we learning today?”
Arianne asked, as they headed to the car, their normal meeting place.
Annalise replied. “I’ve got a whole lesson on it.”
cyber bullying?” Zachary said with a grin on his face as he approached, the youngest and yet largest of the clan. Zachary had been an athlete in his human life, and fit right into the huge jocks at school. Despite his size, he was a teddy bear, always up for a hug or a game. He fit the stereotype with his wife, Rachel, a beautiful blond cheerleader who picked right up on the fashion lessons Annalise had. Rachel used to be a noblewoman, and still behaved as such, nose in the air and only bringing it down to be her adoptive father’s princess. Even now as she joined them, her purse swinging, she looked like she’d rather be somewhere else. Only Zachary’s arms around her wiped the annoyed look off her face.
“That’s why we are learning,”
Annalise replied, smiling as Tony finally sauntered up.
Arianne screamed, and there was a lot of shoving and laughter as they got into the car to leave school. For Annalise, it felt like old times when she and her girlfriends would shove into the back seat, giggling at every little thing. Life was different now, but that was alright. Sometimes, different was good.
The ride to the
Hever house, just outside of town, was uneventful and Annalise was prepared for a routine lesson of explaining why people got so upset over comments left on their Facebook page. However, when they entered the house, something was entirely different. There was a stranger standing in the hallway, well dressed and handsome, although slightly weather beaten. Dr. Hever and Mrs. Hever were deep in conversation, and turned when the kids entered.
heard a strangled gasp come out of Zachary, and was confused when all of a sudden, she was in the center of four kneeling vampires. She looked to Tony, who met her eyes before casting his glance downwards again.
“Here she is,” Dr.
Hever said, kindly. But under his voice, Annalise could hear a tremor. Something wasn’t right.
“You may rise,” the stranger said, his voice lilted with an accent that she couldn’t place. She had heard it before, a strange mix of accents that came in older vampire’s voice
s, an indication of living for centuries in many different places. The other four rose and Tony reached out to pull Annalise back.
“My Lord, to what do we owe this hono
r?” he asked formally, although Annalise could hear the disagreement in his voice. Because Tony was part witchcraft, he was often a rebel among vampires, not respecting authority as much as he should. In school, he was known as a troublesome student, and she knew that he only tolerated the façade of a normal life because of Arianne. He was the one gone all night to keggers and parties. He was the one who experimented with drugs, and stumbled in the door at 7 am, drunk off some poor teenager’s intoxicated blood. Annalise found it all terribly exciting and yet, sad. She missed her old life the most when Tony left the house for yet another party.
“I haven’t seen you in quite some time,
Tony,” the stranger said. “How have you been?”
Tony replied, his grip on Annalise’s wrist tightening. “What can we do for you?”
Tony,” Dr. Hever scolded him. “Gregory is here to ask a favor of us.”
The others seemed to be staring in awe, and
Annalise cocked her head in confusion.
“Sorry, I’m lost. I’m
Annalise,” she said with a smile on her face. Gregory shook it.
“Yes, I’ve heard great things about you my dear. That you’ve gotten this family into such
good shape, blending in perfectly with the human world.”
“I uh, sure…” she said. “Sorry, who are you?”
“My apologies, I haven’t properly introduced myself. My name is Gregory Bugresson. I am the oldest of the Initials.”
gasped. She hadn’t placed the name until now, but she finally understood. This was the vampire king, standing in their hallway. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out, and so Gregory continued.
Hever is right. I have come to ask a favor of you. You are the best in the business, so the word is. My family and I require your services.”
“I’m sorry?” she replied, confused.
Gregory cleared his throat, looking around.
“I suppose I should tell you, as it will get out soon enough. Most of you know my brother
Brock was recently awakened from Torpor. Two days ago, my brother Arthur awoke as well.”
Arthur?” Tony said, startled. “I didn’t even know he still existed.”
Arthur exists, and is very much alive these days. However, he is very outdated. And so that’s why we need to borrow Annalise for awhile.”
Tony was quick to snap.
Tony!” His adoptive father gave him a harsh look.
Tony wasn’t daunted by the discipline. “Are you crazy? These are the Initials, Father. Their reputation precedes them as dangerous. And Annalise is in treatment here, you can’t just …”
Gregory cleared his throat, his voice remaining calm. “I appreciate your concern, Tony, but we are in need of your culture teacher, and no more shall be said on the matter. Annalise will be well provided for, monetarily and medically.”
looked up to Dr. Hever, taking a step further back to Tony’s arms. The vampire king wanted her to go with him, to teach his brother who hadn’t even opened his eyes in a thousand years? As well, she knew the stories of the Initials, and Tony was right, they only stood for danger and destruction. A thousand years ago, it was commonplace to kill without blinking, and she didn’t think they had updated their opinions on that. What if she did it wrong? What if she wasn’t that good at it? Would they just dispose of her?
---“ A stutter came into her voice. “Thank you for your offer, but I think I’ll just stay here. Tony’s right. I’m in treatment here, and really, I’m not that good. I mean, I’ve worked with a few others, but nothing like your brother, and I don’t think …”
Annalise,” Dr. Hever’s voice was soft, but firm. His eyes were sad. “Gregory is the King of the Vampires and our sire, our bloodline. We cannot disobey him.”
mouth hung open.
… you mean I can’t …”
“He means it isn’t a choice,”
Tony growled, the old warrior coming into his voice. “We have no choice but to let him take you.”
spun back to Gregory, tears filling her eyes. The vampire king seemed unaffected by this.
“I’ll give you an hour to pack my dear, and make your excuses. But we really do need to hurry.
Arthur is in desperate need.”
… see my family again?” she asked, and Gregory smiled.
“A great man once said there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
If all goes well, hopefully you’ll be back in time for Christmas. It depends on how fast you work. “
But looking at him,
Annalise felt there was a lot more to fear than that.
held her bag tight against her body, as if that would shield her from whatever she was about to approach. She wasn’t afraid of vampires, as a rule, of course. She had so many of them come in and out of her life that the actual fear of them had long since disappeared. But one glance from the Initials still struck fear into her heart, even after the long plane ride sitting next to Gregory, and the drive from the airport courtesy of Knox.
As kind as they were, offering to stop in for food and pick up anything she needed that wasn’t crammed
into her purple suitcase, it still didn’t change the fact that she was a prisoner. They were the kindest jailers that she had ever met, and her expense account was unlimited. But she hadn’t wanted to leave Tony, or the Hevers at all, and she had no choice in the matter. Like it or not, she was going to help Arthur Bugresson.
She had begun to hate him before they even landed, her stomach turning in anticipation of entering the
Bugresson house, the door slamming behind her. What if this was all a trap and they just wanted to get her alone to kill her? She knew the Hever’s weren’t well liked in some circles, and this could easily be a creative revenge.
She was tired, the trip already exhausting her, and she wanted nothing more than to be curled up in her bed, safe and warm, with
Tony’s watchful gaze over her. But instead, she was freezing to death, first on the plane and then in the car, the vampires not picking up that the air conditioner was on full blast.
Arthur Bugresson was, it was his fault for falling into self-imposed Torpor for a thousand years. What did he expect, to wake up and feel the world was just the same? Things moved so fast that the phone that came out yesterday was now outdated; so how could he think that nothing would change?
the time she stepped through the door, she had made up her mind to hate him, do her job as quickly as possible, and then hopefully leave before she was killed.
“Full house now,” said a boy about her age as they entered. He was sitting in the kitchen, munching on what appeared to be the world’s biggest sandwich. She didn’t
immediately pick up on the fact that he was a vampire until they were introduced. Vampires could eat, drink, walk in the sunlight, mimic breathing and even make their heart beat, if they chose. Legends were full of telltale signs, but many of them just didn’t exist.
Annalise, this is my youngest brother, Brock,” Gregory said, as they shut the door behind them. “Brock is recently awake from Torpor after 100 years, so he’ll be joining you for some of your later lessons.”
It was a comment, not a question, that she would be
acquiring this extra student with the mischievous grin. She nodded, holding out her hand.
“Hi,” she said, although it wasn’t very friendly.
Brock, to her surprise, took it and kissed it.
She’s a pretty one, Gregory.”
“Perhaps you can get to your lesson on
etiquette sooner rather than later,” Gregory said to Annalise, but glared at Brock.
… sure,” she said, following Gregory as they stepped past Brock. From the door on the left, raised voices came in a language that Annalise didn’t understand. Gregory immediately pushed the door open.
Inside, there was a girl
a little older than Annalise, with jet black hair and almond eyes, her hands flying in explanation and annoyance. Annalise had taught the Hevers sarcasm and tone long enough to understand, even if the language was foreign to her. She appeared to be yelling at the missing link between the three brothers. Arthur was tall, and broad shouldered. Although only a year younger than Gregory, he looked more aged, with longer hair and a thinner frame. His eyes were wide as he responded in the same language, his limbs rigid with fear.
Arthur!” Gregory said, trying to get his attention, and they both turned, looking at the visitors for the first time. Arthur’s head swiveled to Annalise and his nose twitched. She knew he was smelling her infected blood, the taste of non-tempting human, a strange sensation. He took a tiny step back, and in that moment, her heart almost broke.