This is a new project for me, a story based on my favourite book in Lisa Jane Smith’s “Night World” series. The story follows on two and a half years after the end of “Daughter’s of Darkness”. For anyone who knows the stories, the Millennium battle has been fought and won by Circle Daybreak (the goodies) and the remaining Redfern vampires who were on the wrong side are still bitter at their defeat and determined to get revenge.
Part the first:
The scent of burning rubber filled her nostrils as she ran to the station wagon; she could feel the heat on her cheeks as she dropped to her knees, desperate to catch her breath. The smoke clung to her hair, her clothes, she could feel the slightly damp grass through her jeans as she crawled to the car, determined to get to the only thing that she knew would protect her from Jeremy’s insanity. She reached under the seat and pulled out the silver fruit knife, blinking back tears when the overheated pattern of the handle seared into the skin of her palm.
The only thing going through her mind as she clasped the knife and turned towards the thing attacking her was that she was only using it as protection. What happened next had her screaming.
“Jeremy…” She sat up, feeling sick, sweat and tears mingling on her face as she fought back the memories. Looking at the clock on her nightstand she could see that it had only been a few hours since she had switched the light off, but with the memory of Jeremy Lovett’s death imprinted on her mind she knew that she would find it impossible to get back to sleep.
Glancing over at Jessie, who had been her room mate for the last few months, Mary-Lynnette was relieved to see that she was still sleeping peacefully, her chest rising and falling with each slow, even breath, the sound loud in the quiet of the pre-dawn. Taking a deep breath, she tentatively put one foot, then the other on the cold wooden floor of her dorm room and stood up.
Pulling her long winter coat from the back of the dorm room door, Mary-Lynnette felt the hair on the back of her neck prickle, but pushed the feeling back down, determined not to let the memory of her dream make her into a nervous wreck.
Walking around late at night always had a calming effect on Mary-Lynnette. The desire to be an astronomer had only grown stronger with every year. The sight of stars bursting thousands of light years away sent shivers down her spine, and brought back memories of cloudless skies, and iridescent eyes.
Sitting down on the wall outside the house she had been living in for the last few months, Mary-Lynnette leaned back and stared up at the sky. More than anything she wished that she had brought her telescope with her, but it hadn’t fit in the tiny Jetta she had bought after the station wagon had been destroyed.
“It’s rare that a meal comes to me these days,” the low growl reverberated down her spine as hands closed around her throat and her head was tilted to the side. A cold nose butted against the skin behind her ear and another growl erupted from the man’s throat. Mary-Lynnette forced herself to remain still even though her survival instincts were screaming at her to struggle. “You smell sweet, and I have a penchant for desserts.” Mary-Lynnette felt the cool wetness of a tongue stroking along the length of her throat and shuddered.
Closing her eyes, Mary-Lynnette brought back memories of all the things Ash had told her that long ago summer, and she reached into the pocket of her coat for the pencil she always kept there, just in case. Lowering her head until her chin rested on her breastbone, she brought her head back quickly, catching her assailant on the nose. “You bitch!” he roared in pain as his nose started to bleed, the drips of bright red liquid on the dark grey concrete fascinating his bloodlust for a few moments. “You fucking bitch…”
Mary-Lynnette didn’t waste any time, she ran. Pushing open the door to the main building quickly and rushing through the corridors to her bedroom, barricading the door with a dresser and a waist-high stack of reference books. Taking a few gasping breaths, she rested against the wall and waited, in silence.
At seven thirty, Mary-Lynnette woke with a crick in her neck and a door handle pressed into the small of her back. She blinked as sunlight pushed its way through the slits of the blind and Jessie clambered out of bed, flicking on the overhead light on her way to the bathroom. “You look like a wreck,” Jessie mumbled as she pushed open the bathroom door, blinking tiredly. “Did you stay up all night stargazing?”
Groaning at the pain in her neck, and her own stupidity, Mary-Lynnette reached into the closet for her jeans and a long baggy t-shirt and patiently waited as Jessie finished her extra-quick shower and cleaned her teeth.
Standing under the hot pulsing water, Mary-Lynnette thought over the previous night. Was that what Ash was? She hadn’t seen him for two years, had only heard about him infrequently from Rowan or Kestrel and she missed him. All she had to remember him by were the two pinprick scars on her neck, nothing more. Brushing her fingers over the scars she ignored the fact they were throbbing, it was probably nothing at all, just an awakening remembrance.
Feeling only a little better than when she had gone into the bathroom, Mary-Lynnette took her time tugging a brush through her hair, drying it slowly with a low-wattage hairdryer before braiding it away from her face, anything to keep it out of her eyes. With a heavy heart, she picked up her over-loaded book bag and headed towards the observatory for her first class of the day.
Classes went slowly as Mary-Lynnette forced her eyes open and tried desperately to focus on what she was being taught. She was relieved that she had already done the prerequisite reading and actually understood what Professor Amory was talking about. She could only hope that he wasn’t going to ask her any questions. Just a moment, I’ll rest my eyes for just a moment… No sooner had she dropped her head down onto her arms on the desk than the bell was ringing, startling her into wakefulness. She packed up her single book, tucked her pencil back into the deep pocket of her coat and stood up.
“Miss Carter, if you could stay behind for just a moment.” A few of the students who had been walking past her patted her on the shoulder consolingly, Professor Amory rarely kept a student behind, but when he did it was for no other reason than to highlight something that had been done incorrectly.
Standing at the front of the class, tapping his pointer against the podium, Professor Stephen Amory watched as his favourite student walked slowly towards him, her head lowered, her bag clutched desperately in her fingers. “Is there something wrong, Professor Amory?” she spoke so quietly that Stephen had to strain to hear her, he could tell he intimidated her.
“Did you not get enough sleep last night, Miss Carter? Or did you feel that you knew enough about my class to sleep through the entire two hours?” he didn’t raise his voice, but somehow the deep resonance was even more intimidating, and Mary-Lynnette couldn’t help feeling guilty.
“I am sorry, Professor,” she didn’t really know what else to say. Somehow she didn’t think that I spent much of the night awake making sure a vampire didn’t break into my dorm room didn’t sound so believable when she said the words over in her head.
“Are you ill?” he tried to hide the concern he felt, but she looked exhausted, her clear blue eyes were bloodshot and she had dark blue-grey bags under them.
“I’m fine. I promise that it won’t happen again, sir.” For some reason she felt a bit uncomfortable with the way that he was looking at her, and more than anything she wished that Ash had given her a ring so that she could prove she belonged to someone, even if he didn’t want her anymore. She couldn’t help but wonder if Professor Amory had another reason for asking her to stay behind after class. If he had wanted to talk to her about flunking surely he would have done it in front of the class as he had done to other students on so many occasions.
“Just see that it doesn’t. I wouldn’t want to flunk you out of this class Mary-Lynnette,” something about the way he said her name caused her to shiver. “I will though, if you miss another class because you are sleeping. Just because you are present in the room does not mean that you are actually counted as attending.” He reached down and clasped her hands in his for a brief moment.
Licking her lips nervously, she looked up at him through dark lashes and studied his features, there was something so familiar about him, but that didn’t mean that she felt comfortable being alone with him. She tugged, trying to get her hands free, almost sighing in relief when he released them from his firm grip. It was when he pulled his hand away from her that she noticed the unusual, yet somehow familiar, pattern on the face of his diving watch.
“That’s an interesting watch…” she waited for him to offer to show it to her, but when the offer wasn’t forthcoming she realised that she would have to try again curiosity killed the cat, M’Lynn, the cautious voice in her head started to yell. He might be dangerous, another voice that Mary-Lynnette recognised as belong to Mark told her. “Did you get it somewhere locally?” She reached for the watch and was surprised when he didn’t tug his hand away, just let her hold his hand and look at the intricate design.
A Black Dahlia! She recognised the flower well from the ring that Ash wore on his right hand, a plain silver ring with a black dahlia in onyx. Professor Amory was a vampire! Mary-Lynnette sucked in a shocked breath, which she then let out on a cough, to hide her distress. She was sure he already knew that she knew, her heart beat had sped up, her skin was clammy and she hadn’t been able to suppress the shiver that had slithered up her spine only moments before. “Is there something wrong?” he spoke in a much deeper voice now, animalistic, full of something that she couldn’t recognise.
“I really should go,” she clutched her book bag tightly to her chest and spun on her heel, suddenly very eager to escape the intimacy of the closed, lecture theatre. “I have to be in another class in ten minutes,” she spoke the words quickly, already half-running to the exit. “I’ll see you in Thursday’s class, Professor Amory.” She pushed the door open so violently in her hurry to leave that it swung five times before closing fully.
Watching Mary-Lynnette as she rushed across the campus, calming only when she had reached the English building across the green, Stephen pulled his cellphone from his pocket and punched in a number. “She knows…”
Well, even if you haven’t read the books, what did you think?