Waking seemed impossible to resist. No matter how hard I tried, my eyes longed to open, to swallow light and take in this beautiful house and its occupants; I urged them to stay closed, just for a bit longer. I didn't know if I could handle it, handle knowing this was all real; know that I'd really left John home, really know I'd done it all for a guy I hated. John. My heart ached at the thought of him alone in that house, walking past my room, knowing it was empty and fretting over the fact that I may never come back. I could leave, right? To see him, I wasn't a prisoner. Or was I? I realized I had opened my eyes and was staring at the white ceiling, the room was lit up by a fire across the room and the gentle purring of an animal filled the room along side the crackle of the fire. I sat up, expecting to see a small cat only to yelp at the sight of a large black panther. It rose its dark head and stared at me with blue eyes
"Don't fear me." A voice of a women sounded from the panther making me shuffle back on the bed, trying to get away from the frightful animal. It rose to its feet and stretched, then, slinking away from the fire it jumped onto the bed and approached me
"I'm Sarina. Doom's Seol" she spOKe the word as soul, possibly something Doom lacked
"How can you speak!" my voice shoOK and rose involuntarily; the door opened gently and the cat -Sarina- jumped from the bed and walked to the emerging figure. Doom leaned down to gently pet her on the head, she responded with a loud purr
"Didn't I tell you not to scare the guests" he chuckled gently, Salina just turned and stalked back toward me, jumping back on the bed, curled up and settled near my feet; as freaky as it was, I found some sort of comfort with this creature. Compelled to reach out and strOKe her silk black fur, to know if it was as soft as it loOKed; I curled my hands into fists to stop the urge. Doom crossed the room, loOKing at me
"I'm sorry about her. She has a mind of her own" he said it teasingly, loOKing between me and Sarina who hissed playfully, I had a question that was off topic
"Where are we?" I demanded, the walls had gone from being a pale mahogany to build up grey stone like one of a castle in the Middle Ages.
"We are many miles from the manor. In the middle of the river just east of Germany" he explained
"Why?" I demanded harshly, Salina jolted slightly, then she crawled closer to me, pressing her back against my legs which I'd crossed under the blankets, her body was warm.
"We had too. There was attack whilst you were asleep, werewolves" he hissed the name as if it were the vilest thing in the world "I had to bring you here, to protect you" no! I wouldn't be able to get to John, to tell him I'm OK. Tears welled up in my eyes, Salina raised her head and loOKed at me
"No, no." I shoOK my head violently "why! What do you want with me! I don't even know you!" then I blurted out a question that would have killed me if it weren't for my anger. "Did you kill Greg!?" Doom just stared at me, his eyes slowly becoming hard as stone
"Don't ask a question you don't want the answer to" he said in a hard voice; some how, I managed to untangle myself from the blanket and lunge at Doom; I screamed as I threw myself at him, he caught me, spun and pushed my against the door. His hand wrapped around my throat. His lips curled back to reveal his sharp teeth, a low growl came from his chest that had my chest constricted in fear; would he kill me? Like he killed Greg. Tears fell from my eyes freely, from pain and sadness that I couldn't begin to explain only that I wished I could no longer feel. I wished he would kill me.
"You did. You kil-" my voice was cut off as he pressed harder on my throat
"I did it to protect you!" he shouted, I couldn't speak. "You have no idea, how dangerous he was. Just like every other time! I had to kill him, I lost you once to him! I'll never let that happen again!" what was he talking about! Greg would never hurt me, he loved me, like I loved him. His grip loosened
"NO! He would. Halo, he's a demon"
"So are you!" I shouted without thinking, his lips relaxed and covered his teeth
"I accept what I am. He...that thing was something that belongs dead; every life time you've ever had, he's been there."
"Doom!" Annie's voice suddenly cut her off as she walked through the second door that led to the balcony "you know as well as I do. She can't know! You've told her way too much" Doom moved aside as Annie came forward, something silver in her hand, as I loOKed closer, I realized it was a syringe
"Sorry about this Halo, it's for your own good" she whispered as she toOK a hold of my neck, pulled it sideways and stabbed the needle into my neck. I yelped at the sudden pain but I didn't feel anything go in but she was taking something out of me; she stepped back, the syringe was no longer silver but it was filled with blue gas
"What?" I stumbled on both words and stance. I used the door as a support only to sink to the ground with weakness
"It's your essence" Doom said, he would have said more but Annie spun around and threw her fist to his stomach, it didn't loOK like a hard hit but it sent him toppling over in pain, she spun back around holding the syringe and breaking off the needle. She discarded it in the fire then toOK something from her jacket pocket that loOKed like a vile where she placed the syringe over, pressing down on the plunger, the gas-like substance seeped into the vile then, very quickly, she threw the syringe away and placed a wooden cork in the vile to stop it from leaking out.
"Why?" I whispered weakly, Annie sent a dark glare in Doom's direction as if to stop him from saying anything, he'd risen to his feet and now stood a bit away, strOKing Sarina's fur. Annie turned to me with a gentle expression
"We can't tell you much. It's a sort of mistakes deals, you have to learn from your mistakes and past. You have to learn from your past" she left with that, the vile in hand and closed the door behind her. Doom loOKed down for a moment before loOKing at Sarina as I got to my feet, using the door to support me.
"Protect her. Tell her anything you need to, just protect her" he ordered, she nodded and jumped from the bed to my side as Doom walked to me, his eyes were sad as he reached out. I allowed him to run his fingers across my cheek and slowly edge forward and kiss my forehead
"I'm sorry. Please, forgive me" he begged softly, I closed my eyes and allowed the longing buzz of his touch run through me. Someone so unexplainable and so sinister, I never would have thought could have a touch that sent my heart racing, my blood boiling and my mind confused with every cell it possessed.
"I-I forgive you." I whispered
"Derek." he whispered leaning back, his hand on the back of my neck, I ignored the coldness and focused on the gentleness and silkiness of his touch "my real name. It's Derek" I stared deep into his gorgeous and intoxicating eyes
"Sarina will tell you. I have to go, Annie will come and get you when you can join us" he said leaning forward and kissing my forehead again "I do love you. I know it makes no sense but, I love you very much" then he was gone. Sarina brushed her head against my leg, purring; I knelt down and touched her fur, it was soft and velvet-like, a beautiful creature with such elegance, it would be a graceful sight to see her attack something.
"Why do they..." I couldn't seem to finish but she knew my question
"They call him Doom because, a few centuries ago, he was travelling somewhere near Texas, you know, when Indians ruled the lands. He was living amongst them calling him Pale One, but when a young child was being attacked by a warring tribe, Doom attacked them, accidently killing two of them and draining them. From then on, they called him Doom, because that's all he brought" we'd walked across the room and settled back on the bed, Sarina laid down in front of me lazily as I pulled my legs underneath me
"So, he stuck with Doom?" I asked
"Well, when about four other vampires, the brothers Jaxon and Jacobi as well as their cousins Carmen and Melissa, found him, they heard about his nickname and just stayed with it" she said indifferently. We sat talking about other topics for the next hour and a half until there was a faint knock at the door
"Ms Harper?" a males voice asked behind the door
"That's Jacobi" Sarina whispered
"Come in Jacobi" I said loudly, the door edged open and the blond from my vision stepped in, loOKing nervous.
"I've come to get you. You're wanted at the meeting" he said quietly, I strained to hear him; Sarina jumped from the bed and I followed, feeling confident that I had her by my side
"Hello Jacobi" she greeted, he nodded and turned and led the way into a large hallway I had to practically jog just to keep up with his quick stride. We walked in complete silence, his feet made no sound in the hall, I, on the other hand, was getting embarrassed that my feet were making loud noises on the cold stone
"In here" Jacobi directed as he abruptly stopped and gestured to a large wooden door; I hadn't noticed the shadow that hid near the door until it emerged to open the door. Doom stood waiting for me to walk in, a small smile on his lips; I walked through the door, Doom whispering something to Jacobi that made him turn and walk off and then Doom turned to me, his hand on my back as he guided me through the thickening darkness of the tunnel.
With each stride, my heart beat quickened. I didn't know what to expect, but, to my surprise, that wasn't what I was scared of. It was the hand at the small of my back; though barely touching, there seemed to be something powerful about this creature, this beautiful, strong and intoxicating creature. Everything about him drew you in. His voice, so deep and sexy, his scent, everything thing wonderful rolled into one, his movements of a graceful tiger and most of all. His eyes. Burning like embers at the bottom of a fire, there was nothing quite like them, they were unique, beautiful just like him. He was terrifying, but maybe that came with being as beautiful as he was. Something so majestic and powerful had to be terrifying, I'd be an idiot if I didn't admit it.
"You'll be fine" he purred in my ear, sending my heart into a frenzy
"I'm fine" I lied, Doom chuckled
"I can hear your heart beat. Vampires hearing is heightened as well as smell, sight, strength and speed" he said proudly
"Wow, sound, smell, sight, strength and speed...any more s word?" I asked sarcastically
"Soundless. We are also very quite" he added jOKingly, but it was true. I could only hear my footsteps in the darkness that enclosed us; up a head there was a small shimmer of light that indicated the end of this terrifying place. I found my feet quickening as I edged closer to the light, getting larger and brighter with each step
"Slow down." Doom warned "Annie will think I scared you"
"You do." I hissed before he finished "the less time I spend around you, the better I'll feel." I wished I could have seen his expression to see if the comment had hurt him but I didn't want to turn around or think about him. I quickened my pace and emerged into another stone-walled room with some sense of pleasure. Annie was waiting, she loOKed impatient but edgy as if she'd expected me to come out screaming...maybe I should have.
"Are you OK?" she asked, I nodded
"Why couldn't you have gotten me?" I asked her, her face lit up with a smile, she seemed pleased that I preferred her over Doom, almost smugly pleased
"You heard that?" she asked as Doom appeared from the darkness. Why did he take so long? He was only a few feet from me
"I heard" his voice had an edge of sadness that seemed to eliminate all smugness on Annie's face, I waited for her to say something so I could know what his tone was about, but she didn't say anything. She toOK hold of my wrist and pulled me forward and through a thin wooden door that swept into a grand party hall. A crystal chandelier hung high on the golden ceiling painted in a familiar design; Annie noticed my staring
"Leonardo Da Vinci created it for us. A gift for saving his life" she whispered, I stopped and loOKed at it in awe, the delicate design made me want to cry "come on" I followed behind her quickly, loOKing around the room. It seemed to have a golden glaze over everything, even Annie's skin. Eight beautiful and pale men and women stood waiting, each with a different animal beside them or perched on their shoulders
"Halo, these are your guardians and their Seol's" Annie whispered as the first two stepped forward, Jacobi and his twin Jaxon, a large vulture sat at Jacobi's feet and a python coiled around Jaxon's hand.
"You know the brothers. Jaxon and Jacobi" Annie said as they stepped back as another two boys stepped forward. They were slightly older loOKing, one had short platinum blond hair that spiked like a halo around his head, his eyes blindingly bright blue, his Seol was a rat that perched on his shoulder; the other had long brown hair, held back at the nape of his neck with a leather band, his Seol was a masked-owl that he held on his hand.
"Blake and Damien" Annie said, the blond was Damien and the brunette was Blake; then two tall men, both with buzz-cuts and grey eyes stepped forward, it toOK me a moment to locate their Seol's, one was a chameleon that was hidden under his collar and the others was just sitting on his shoulder; I toOK a step away when I saw it was a scorpion, though its claws were large, I still didn't like it. Doom stepped in between me and the scorpion man
"Thor. Hide Poison, he's scaring her" his voice was hard and demanding, the man named Thor swiftly scooped the scorpion from his shoulder -ignoring the sudden lash that its tail gave, latching onto his pale index finger- and placed the thing into his large jacket pocket.
"My apologize. He tends to wonder" a bright smile flashed across Thor's face, a seemingly harmless gesture if it weren't for the razor shape canines that peered out from his lips; instinctively I gripped Doom's arm only to regret it because he reached up and toOK my hand in his gently, hiding the gesture by placing our hands behind his thick wool coat I hadn't noticed he'd been wearing. As much as I hated the touch -mainly because his hands were like two freshly frozen ice-packs- I couldn't find myself to snatch my hand back.
"The other is Brody" Annie whispered, I stared at Brody, the chameleon flicked its tongue out so quickly it was back in its mouth before I'd even flinched; Brody reached up and strOKed the reptiles head
"She likes you" he smiled, I just nodded and noticed his left eye was more bluey-green than grey
"And this is Melissa and Carmen" Annie said moving onto the two women beside Brody; the right had long rippling silver hair that was pulled into delicate plaits, she held a wild-cat in her arms as if it were her baby; her eyes were just like her hair, a shimmering silver that seemed to dance and taunt in the lights. I felt drawn to her, like I'd go to the end of the world just to be in arms reach of her.
She was the perfect predator.
Beside her was another girl with the same eyes but her hair was a bright red that made her loOK evil and majestic at the same time, a caramel weasel curled around her neck; the silver haired predator stepped forward, smiling beautiful but not showing her teeth
"I'm Carmen" she stared deep into my eyes and made me feel as if my knees would melt on the spot -I gripped Doom's hand tightly, I quickly loosened thinking I'd hurt him only to feel my hand throb- if it hadn't been for her loOKing away at Melissa who smiled at her. Doom -still having a firm hold of my hand- turned to Thor
"You are to accompany Halo to the town." he ordered severely, a deadly glare was passed from him and I saw Thor tense up slightly, as if he'd just been stung, then I remembered the scorpion in his pocket and shuttered inwardly
"I'll guard her with my life" Thor vowed. Seemingly reluctant, Doom released my hand, turned and placed a cold hand on my shoulder
"I have to go, there is a meeting that you can't be in the castle for. Thor will take you to the town where you can sight-see and shop for clothing; Carmen will go as well. You will be safe" he promised leaning forward and kissing my forehead; I nodded and watched him leave with the others following behind. Thor and Carmen stayed behind, Carmen placed her Seol on the floor, it stayed where it was placed
"Come. The boat will be leaving" Carmen said taking my hand in hers, her touch silky and frozen.