Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 3 – Part 5

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

Loren stayed quiet for the rest of the procedure, and even turned his back obediently so she could put her shirt back on. He turned around, a joke in his eyes, when Jorick went stiff.

Katelina’s ears strained, but she heard nothing. “What is it?”

Jorick motioned her to be silent, and sniffed the air. A dark, angry look took over his features and he glanced back at Loren. “Take her to the basement.”

“But, why?”

“Just do it!” Jorick snapped as he moved towards the door.

Loren shrugged and motioned for Katelina to come with him. She stood, but didn’t even make it to the dining room before the front door banged open. She stared in horror as two men, clad in long black coats, strode into the house as if they had every right to be there. One was tall and thin, with a ponytail of long golden hair, while the other was shorter and broader, his skin pale against a dark shock of shaggy black hair that stood at odd angles.

Before they could explain themselves, Jorick was in front of them, his fangs exposed in a dangerous snarl. “What do you want?”

The blonde closed the door and then turned green eyes to his challenger. “Hello, Jorick. It’s been awhile.”

“What do you want, Beldren?” Jorick snapped.

“We have business with you.” The blonde glanced over Jorick’s shoulder, to where Katelina and Loren were standing in the doorway. As if by instinct, the teen vampire moved to block her from his sight.

Beldren smiled, flashing fangs. “You don’t need to worry. We knew in advance that she’d be here, but that isn’t why we’ve come.”

“Then why have you come? I have no business with The Guild,” Jorick stated flatly.

The Guild? What did they have to do with it, unless….

Beldren’s eyes stayed on Jorick, even as he snapped his fingers and held his hand open expectantly. “Zuri, the message.”

The shorter vampire produced a piece of folded paper from his pocket, and handed it to his partner. As he did, his coat opened to reveal a silver medallion that hung around his neck. A twisted, silver medallion that looked just like –

“Executioners,” Katelina whispered hoarsely. That word conjured strong, terrible images; pictures of fire and blood set to a soundtrack of screams. She well remembered the night when The Executioners had come and burned everything that Oren owned, including his wife and children.

“Yes,” Beldren replied. “That’s one of our titles.” He snapped the paper open and read loudly, “J, I must speak to you. Meet me where the roses grow. Signed, O.” He handed it to Jorick and waited while he scanned it. “Would you care to explain the meaning of this?”

Jorick shrugged and handed it back. “It means nothing to me. However, you’re intruding upon my den. I suggest you leave immediately or I’ll be forced to make you.”

Beldren ignored the threat. “It means nothing at all? Come, we all know you were with Oren a little over a week ago.”

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 3 – Part 4

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

He resurfaced later in the night, and they had a strange, uncomfortable conversation. More than once she wanted to ask what the hell his deal was, but she was still afraid of the answer, so she stayed silent. After all, there was always tomorrow.

And tomorrow.

And tomorrow.

And soon a week had passed. Jorick disappeared into his locked room more than once, and never bothered to offer any explanation about what was inside it. Katelina spent a good portion of the week bored and lonely. She had only Jorick and Loren for company and felt that if she didn’t talk to someone else she’d go insane. To their credit, they offered to take her to town when they went for more groceries, but she refused. She supposed she’d been childishly hoping Jorick would insist on taking her. However, he just brushed a kiss across her forehead and promised to return.

Yippy-ki-yay.

On the bright side, Katelina’s wounds were healing, so she could actually look in the bathroom mirror again. Her black eye was just a yellow smudge, and the other scrapes and bruises were nothing more than pink spots. Her forearm was tender and she was pretty sure that the stitches in her shoulder were ready to come out. Except that she had no intention of going to the hospital again.

When Jorick and Loren came in the door, faces flushed and fresh from feeding, Katelina casually mentioned the problem.

Loren threw himself across the couch. “Just do it yourself,” he suggested. “It’s really easy. I had stitches once, when I was a kid, and that’s what Mom did. She just snipped them and tugged the puppies right out with a pair of tweezers.”

Loren’s miniature story brought up an interesting question: Where were his parents? He was a fairly recent vampire, if she was any judge at all, so they ought to be around somewhere. Unless… But she didn’t like to think that the teen would drink his own family dry. Not really.

“Then find whatever we need,” Jorick ordered uncertainly.

“Loren do this. Loren do that. Fetch and carry, Loren.” But even as he muttered he got to his feet. “Where am I supposed to get it from?”

“The first aid kit’s in the bathroom. I assume it will be in there.”

Loren trudged away obediently and returned with a tiny pair of medical scissors, tweezers and the miniature bottle of peroxide. The first aid kit and various tubes and bottles were Jorick’s idea. He’d bought them on the last grocery run because he thought they should have some of “that sort of thing” around.

Katelina’s neckline was too small to stretch, so she had to peel her shirt off. Loren turned around, after Jorick glared at him, but he refused to actually leave the room. When the shirt was off she managed to use it to cover herself, but her cheeks still burned at the too near proximity to nakedness.

Jorick was quite deft with the tiny scissors. He snipped the stitches in no time flat, however they were harder to pull out than they were to cut.

Loren hunched over the proceedings with a keen interest. “You’ve left them too long,” he commented. “They grew in.”

Jorick grunted and gave an extra hard tug. The thread came free and, as Jorick discarded it, Loren smirked and asked, “You don’t mind if I lick those do you?”

“Yes!” Katelina cried, horrified. “That’s just sick!”

Jorick’s voice was rumbling thunder, warning of an impending storm, “Loren.”

He took a step back, his hands held up. “Aw, come on man, I was only joking. I swear. Really. I thought it was funny.”

“Well it wasn’t,” Jorick muttered as he turned back to his task. “Now be quiet, or go away.”

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 3 – Part 3

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

Ten minutes later Jorick was dressed in the twin to the coat she wore, though his fit better, and they were out the door. Katelina walked beside him, her hands buried in her coat pockets and her head down against a chilly breeze. The sky above them was overcast, with only a hint of diffused moonlight to remind them that there was something above the clouds.

They walked across the yard to the stand of trees and then through it. Katelina was more aware of every small noise than she used to be and the only thing that kept her from turning back for the house was the man beside her. No matter how confusing their “status” might be, she knew Jorick wouldn’t let anything hurt her if he could stop it.

They made it out the other side of the trees without incident, and Katelina found herself in a strange place. Ahead, the sloping grassland suddenly disappeared into sand. It was like standing on the edge of the world.

Jorick smiled at some unspoken thought, then wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer. “You’ve never seen the beach?”

“No,” she admitted, her eyes on the horizon. In the dark she could hear the ocean waves, but couldn’t see anything. “I’ve never been this far east before.”

He fell silent for a moment, and when he spoke again his tone was somber. “I’m sure it’s far more spectacular in the sunlight.”

“Probably,” she agreed absently. “It’s louder than I imagined it would be. And it doesn’t smell very ocean-y.”

His amusement returned. “Ocean-y? What is that supposed to mean?”

“You know, like an ocean. It just smells like any old river; all fishy and river-y. I thought it was supposed to have a salty tang or something?”

Jorick laughed loudly and Katelina finally tore her attention away to glare at him. “What?”

His eyes twinkled and he squeezed her against him for a moment. “Nothing, little one. Nothing at all. Come, we’ll get closer.”

Jorick guided her through the tangle of tall grass to the sand. Her feet sunk in with every step and she groaned when she thought about the brand new shoes. Of all colors, why had he picked white? But then, he’d admitted before he had a fetish for white, hadn’t he?

As they drew closer she could see the subtle light on the waves and, when they stopped just out of reach of the tide, she stood mesmerized. There was something about it; something so vast that she couldn’t explain it. In the dark it was as though it just faded away into the sky; like liquid night slapping at the sandy beach.

She laid her head on Jorick’s shoulder and sighed. While magnificent, the view made her feel small and lonely. She was just a very tiny part of a big world, and that big world was one that rarely made any sense.

Jorick turned his face to her, so that his lips were pressed against her forehead. His hand crept up to the back of her neck and tangled in her hair. He inhaled deeply and let the breath out slowly, as though he were trying to hold some memory in his lungs. When he spoke his voice had an odd edge to it, “In the scheme of the world we are all small things.”

She looked up sharply at his too perfect perception, but then realized that feeling small must be a common sensation when faced with such a view. She smiled at him, and he returned it, but somehow it didn’t look right.

He turned away, but she continued to gaze at him. The cold breeze blew his dark hair around his pale face and his eyes stared at something far away, perhaps something too far for her to see. His lips pressed together delicately and she imagined kissing them, but she wasn’t brave enough. Still, he was too beautiful to ignore, so she settled for tracing a finger across his too smooth cheek.

He caught her hand in his and held it to his lips. Her heart pounded and she swallowed hard as so many feelings washed over her. Feelings she’d been missing only moments ago.

Slowly, he kissed his way over her knuckles to her fingers. His lips were soft and warm and just moist enough to make her think of other things; other places he could kiss. Goose bumps raced up and down her spine and her eyes drifted closed. She bit her lip in anticipation; although it had only been a week since the nightmare at Claudius’s, it felt like an eternity. She really needed this more than she’d realized. She needed to feel wanted and attractive and-

“Ow!”

She jerked involuntarily as he nipped her finger. The surprise on his face showed it was an accident, and she was willing to overlook it, but he wasn’t. He dropped her hand as though it burned him, and took a step back.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“It’s okay,” she soothed and closed the gap between them. “It’s not a big deal.” She lifted her hands to his face, but he caught them and lowered them again.

“You’re cold,” he said flatly. “We should head back.”

“I’m not that cold,” she argued. However the grim look on his face told her it was futile. Whatever might have happened had disappeared into the hazy world of could-a-been.

Katelina walked back to the house, her shoulders drooped and her demeanor one of defeat. If Jorick noticed, he didn’t comment, and once they were inside he muttered a half hearted excuse and disappeared. She heard him unlock the white door and then shut it loudly. She didn’t know if he’d locked it again or not, but she felt too dejected to go check.

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 3 – Part 2

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

“So what was that?”

“What was what?” Jorick asked innocently. “Loren has some things to do, that’s all.”

Ah. It wasn’t hard to figure out what he meant. “You’ve got him running errands?”

His surprise seemed genuine. “What?”

She blinked, confused. “Then what’s the rush to get rid of him?”

“No rush,” Jorick commented casually. “You’ve eaten?”

“Yes.” She pointed to the empty carton in her lap. “But if you’re going to get microwaveable food you really need a microwave. They cook up funny in the oven.”

“Do they?” he asked with no real interest.

It was a conversation bound for nowhere, so she just nodded her head and watched him curiously as he started searching the front room. It was too weird, so she asked, “What are you doing?”

He didn’t reply, but instead wandered off in the direction of the dining room and disappeared through the doorway.

“Thanks for answering me,” she called after him but, if he heard, he made no comment back.

With a dark look at nothing in particular, she snuggled down into the couch to sulk. Loren’s question popped to the surface of her consciousness and she puzzled over the answer. What were they, really? It seemed to be a relationship that defied a label. Boyfriend seemed a too trendy, too simple word, but lover was far too deep and passionate. They weren’t “partners” They were just… just what?

She had no answer. She wasn’t even sure how she felt about him, let alone how he felt about her. He’d invited her to stay, but he’d never said he wanted it. Maybe he was being polite, or obligated? She knew he felt responsible for dragging her into the mess with the vampires, but how far did his obligation extend?

She sighed heavily and closed her eyes. He might not say he wanted her, or even cared about her, but he did say she was beautiful. Still, that was only so many words, wasn’t it? It wasn’t as though he’d made any moves on her since… since…

She couldn’t finish the sentence. The word refused to slot itself into her thoughts, and she didn’t want it to. It had been since Claudius, hadn’t it? Since he’d hurt her. Jorick had as much as said it didn’t matter, hadn’t he? But maybe it really did. Maybe that was more of his obligatory politeness.

“I’ll ask him point blank,” she thought. But, she knew she wouldn’t because she was too afraid of the answer. And what good would it do anyway? Even if he was interested, would she be? She’d seen movies where woman went crazy after things like that; where they spazzed out suddenly and tried to claw their husband’s face off because of a mental throwback. Did people really do that? Would she do that?

The sound of Jorick’s footsteps brought her back to the living room, and she looked up to see him come through the door with an armload of black cloth. He shook it out into a long coat and gave her a smile. “It might be a little big, but I think it will do.”

Katelina stood uncertainly and took the coat.  The familiar smell of Jorick wafted out of it as she slipped it on. Her first thought was that he was right; it was too big. The sleeves more than covered her hands and what was meant to be calf length fluttered around her ankles.

Jorick smiled at the effect. “It will do nicely. Go get your shoes.”

She crossed her arms over her chest, but in the too big coat the gesture was more comical than stubborn. “Why? Are we going somewhere?”

“I thought we’d go for a walk, unless you don’t want to,” he added. “If you prefer to stay here?”

“No, no,” she said quickly. “A walk sounds good.”

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 3 – Part 1

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

Jorick came back in time to bundle Katelina up and head down to bed. She was too tired to demand answers, as she’d planned, so she made a mental note to press him later. He could only avoid her questions for so long. Though, she sometimes wondered if he was evasive naturally, or had come to be that way after so many years. But how many years was it, exactly?

That was something she didn’t like to think about, so she didn’t. She curled up next to him in the ridiculous carved bed, and went to sleep. When she woke up the next evening he was already gone, so she got dressed and padded upstairs on her own.

The house was eerily quiet and dark except for a snapping fire in the front room grate. Katelina wrapped her arms around herself and shivered in the thick atmosphere. Some houses felt happy, or peaceful, but this one felt sad; very, very sad. It was like the wood and plaster oozed some old heartbreak.

She shook off her depressing fantasies and made herself breakfast. She’d just finished eating when Jorick and Loren walked through the front door.

“- I will, I will,” Loren was saying in an exasperated voice. “You don’t need to nag!”

Jorick looked beautifully offended. “I’m not nagging you. I simply want to see you do what you said you would.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Loren dropped into one of the wing backed chairs. His dark eyes sought Katelina’s and he asked with a smirk, “Does he boss you around this much?”

“More.”

Though Katelina couldn’t keep from laughing, Jorick didn’t seem to find it very amusing. “I don’t ‘boss’ anyone around. I merely make suggestions that you’d otherwise not think of on your own.”

Loren gave him an incredulous eye roll. “If you say so.” He turned back to Katelina. “So, what’s the deal with you two?”

A small, choking noise escaped Katelina’s throat. She looked to Jorick for help, but his face was a mask she couldn’t read. What was she supposed to say? That they were… What were they? Even she didn’t know what “the deal” was.

“So what’s the deal with you and Jorick?” the teen repeated. “Are you like going out or what?”

“Going out?” she echoed weakly. “I think I’m a little old for that.”

“Ah, you can’t be that old.” He leaned forward, his eyes narrowed as he scrutinized her. “Well, on second thought.”

Katelina looked suitably insulted and Loren laughed. His mirth was short lived because Jorick smacked him in the back of the head.

“Hey!”

“Enough. Don’t you have somewhere to be?”

Loren rubbed his scalp and scowled. “No, not really.” Jorick gave him a hard look and Loren relented. “Okay, yeah, I guess I do. Something super important must have come up somewhere.”

Katelina looked from one to the other, but neither seemed ready to explain. Loren just got up and glared at Jorick. He was barely through the door before Jorick shut it firmly and snapped the lock into place.

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 2 – Part 7 (final)

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

“So, um, what about this war on The Guild?”

Jorick dismissed the subject with a wave of his hand. “It doesn’t concern us.  We owe them no allegiance. Malick can’t force me to fight with them.” He leveled his gaze with the younger vampire. “And you owe them nothing.”

Loren’s brow furrowed. “I didn’t mean on The Guild’s side, I meant Oren’s.” Jorick didn’t respond, and slowly a scowl settled on Loren’s face. “Let me guess, I’ll stay here as usual?”

Jorick studied him in silence and then said quietly. “You’re young still, Loren. Why do you want to fight vampires whose blood is older than yours and whose strength is a hundred times greater? Do you value your life so little?”

“No!” The young vampire’s spine snapped straight. “Of course not! I just get bored staying here all the time. If you’da let me go and help with Arowenia-”

Jorick cut him off. “If I’d let you go, you’d be dead by now. How many people do you think I can take care of at once?”

Loren stomped his foot on the floor. “I don’t need to be taken care of Jorick! Come on! I could have stopped Kateesha from taking her!” He jerked his head towards Katelina, who listened to the two with wide eyes.

“No, you couldn’t!”Jorick snapped back. He repented suddenly and ran a hand through his long hair. When he spoke again his voice was lighter. “Kateesha would have eaten your heart and I’d have returned to a house that was even dustier.”

“Man, I’m not just a housekeeper!” Loren objected, hurt. “Seriously! I could have done something.”

Jorick sighed. “Sometimes inaction is the best course, young one. You should learn this lesson now, lest you find yourself in the same position as your brother one day.”

Loren glared angrily into the distance and Jorick disappeared into his own world. His dark eyes reflected unspoken specters from the past. Katelina listened to the fire crackle and finished her nails, her mind full of questions that were too rude to ask with Loren present. Luckily, by the time her nails were dry, the teenager was on his feet and headed for the door.

“I’ll be back, later.”

“I hope you aren’t planning to do anything rash?” Jorick asked without bothering to stop him.

Loren’s jaw tightened. “No, I’m not.”

Jorick nodded and the boy left, slamming the door behind him. Once he was gone, Katelina took his vacated spot on the sofa and leaned back. She watched Jorick for a moment and then asked conversationally, “So, who killed Loren’s brother?”

“We can discuss it later,” he answered shortly. He stood and stretched like a cat after a nap. “I’ll return.” He brushed a kiss across her forehead, and then followed Loren out the door, undoubtedly to make sure he stayed out of trouble.

“At least they started a fire before they left,” she muttered to herself and eyed the books. “Looks like it’s just you and me now, huh?”

The books didn’t answer.

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 2 – Part 6

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

The moon was high when Jorick and Loren returned. They deposited several plastic shopping bags on the couch and unpacked them without fanfare. Jorick presented her with a large stack of what appeared to be jeans and sweat shirts and a pair of white tennis shoes. Meanwhile, Loren took the food to the kitchen and Katelina tried not to look disappointed by the small cartons of microwave macaroni and cheese.

“They didn’t have most of the food on your list,” Jorick commented when he noticed her forlorn expression. “So I had to improvise.” He handed her another bag that held socks, underwear and a bottle of shiny pink nail polish. He waited until she’d rifled through it to ask, “It meets with your approval?”

“Yes,” she agreed enthusiastically, the frozen food forgotten in the face of the small pink bottle.  It was something so tiny, that she’d had plenty of at home, and yet now it seemed like a precious commodity. It was something sane amidst the chaos of irrationality.

She made herself a frozen pizza and then took a long, hot shower. When she was dry, she dressed happily in jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Warm and clean, she brushed her hair and made her way back to the front room.

She walked through the doorway to find fresh wood stacked in the basket by the hearth, and a cheerful fire crackling in the fireplace. Loren was flopped on the couch with one foot resting on the coffee table and his dark locks shading his eyes. His hand lay on his leg and he drummed his fingers to some private rhythm no one else could hear.

Jorick sat in the high backed chair closest to the door, his legs crossed and a serious expression on his face. His dark eyes flicked to Katelina as she entered, and he nodded to acknowledge her presence before he looked back at Loren and continued the conversation they’d been having. “- And then we came here, of course.”

Katelina dropped down on the rug before the fireplace and retrieved the bottle of nail polish from the bag. She had no desire to hear her last two weeks recapped. They’d been bad enough in the first person.

“You still could have called,” Loren muttered, hurt. “The last time I heard from you was in June!”

“I know. I’m sorry. Perhaps I should have let you know.”

“Perhaps?” Loren scowled and then shrugged it off. “Ah, I guess it’s a’right. You were busy.” His eyes slid sideways to Katelina and then snapped back when he realized she’d seen him. “So, uh, this Kateesha. She’s the one everyone hates, right?”

“Yes,” Jorick said quietly, his voice and face giving away no emotion. “The one that Malick made.”

Loren bobbed his head, and Katelina cut into the conversation, “Why does everyone hate her? Besides the fact she’s an evil bitch?”

Loren covered his mouth and choked on a laugh while Jorick frowned at them both. “Kateesha’s too ambitious,” he explained. “She’s stepped on a lot of toes.”

The conversation from the car came to mind, so Katelina decided to see just how chatty Jorick was feeling. “Why does Torina hate her? She said she owed her a debt.”

Jorick tilted his head as if considering how many of the old, dirty secrets to divulge. “Kateesha killed her first lover. Armus, I believe his name was. He interfered with one of her acquirements, a new vampire named Shawnine.” Both the faces that stared back at him were blank, so he sighed impatiently and explained, “Armus took Shawnine as a lover, though, to this day Torina refuses to believe he was unfaithful to her. He must have been, though, or Kateesha wouldn’t have killed him like she did.” He held up a hand as Loren’s mouth opened. “Before you ask, he was burned alive.” His face twitched almost painfully. “That was a popular method, once upon a time.”

They both cringed and then Loren perked up. “But if he was with Torina, why did Kateesha care?”

Jorick all but rolled his eyes. “Shawnine was Kateesha’s lover. Her appetite does not extend to men alone.”

“Oh!” A smirk settled on Loren’s lips and he all but sniggered.

“It’s far more common than you’d think,” Jorick commented. “Society only frowns on it in cycles. I believe it’s fashionable now, again, isn’t it?” He looked to Katelina who only blinked back uncertainly.

Loren grinned at some imagined idea and Jorick glared at him. The smile slipped off his face and he stared guiltily at the floor.

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 2 – Part 5

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

Given his mood, she was certain the conversation would be unpleasant. However, a question remained. “So, who is he, anyway?”

“Loren? He lives about a mile down the beach and keeps an eye on things while I’m gone.  As you’ve no doubt noticed, he’s not the smartest, but he’s useful now and again.” A deep scowl settled over his features. “However, he’s more than failed me this time.  As if this little mess wasn’t enough, he didn’t bother to take care of the house. The yard especially. I should have known better. He’s afraid of lawnmowers, but he did promise he could handle it.”

That struck her as an odd statement on many levels.  “Why’s he afraid of lawnmowers?”

Some of Jorick’s anger seemed to evaporate. “That’s how his brother was killed. They tied him down and ran a lawnmower over him.”

She shuddered involuntarily, a look of horror on her face. “Who’s ‘they’?”

But, before Jorick could reply, the front door opened and Loren reappeared.

“Car’s waiting.”

“Good,” Jorick barked. “We’ll take them-” he paused uncertainly, then charged on ahead. “-Somewhere, and then we can stop at the store.” He looked at Katelina and his voice softened. “I’ll get you some food and some warmer clothes. This house is a bit drafty.”

“That’s an understatement,” she mumbled. “And how about some milk?”

“Right,” Jorick answered. “Milk. Loren, go find some paper and a pen so Katelina can make a list.”

Loren looked like he wanted to argue, but thought better of it, and ducked into the dining room. He reappeared with a yellow tablet and an ink pen and, while the males hefted the sleeping girls onto their shoulders, Katelina dashed out a shopping list. When she finished, she traded it to Jorick for a quick kiss and watched as they headed outside to the waiting car. They unceremoniously deposited the girls in the backseat. Then, with a wave, the vampires climbed in and the car disappeared down the driveway.

Katelina shut the door and leaned against it, still dazed. Of all the mornings she’d imagined, this wasn’t one of them.

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter Two – Part 4

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

Without another word to the youth, she headed to the living room. Two teenage girls were seated on the couch, their eyes wide, while Jorick stood in front of them, talking in low tones.

“-There’s no such thing as vampires,” he said firmly. “Loren’s just a jerk who made up a story to get rid of you and, now that you know that, you’re both very mad. You never want to see him again. And you most certainly don’t want to be turned into vampires.” He laid a hand on each of the girls’ heads. “Now sleep, and when you wake up you’ll be over him and ready to move on with your lives.”

Katelina shivered as the girls’ eyes slid closed and their bodies went slack. My god, if he could do that to them, then what could he do to her if he chose?

Jorick turned towards the dining room doorway, his face a storm cloud, and shouted, “Loren! Go get your car! You can take me to town and we’ll get rid of these girls!”

The young vampire strolled into the room. He glanced nervously at the couch, muttered something unintelligible and then disappeared out the front door.

“Idiot,” Jorick muttered. “He fails to comprehend how much trouble he could get into for something like this.”

Katelina’s smile was strange and forced. “Luckily you were here to save him.”

One of the girls started to slip sideways, but Jorick caught her quickly and heaped her on her friend. Then he stepped back, hands on his hips, and surveyed them with an annoyed satisfaction.

Katelina shivered again. How did he do that? How could he make them sleep or decide to hate Loren? She was suddenly reminded of a conversation they’d had in the hospital. “I thought you said your influence didn’t last?”

Jorick looked up at her with surprise. “It won’t. The sleep will last until they wake up on their own, but I can only make them dislike Loren while I’m with them or, at most, half an hour after I’ve left them.”

She didn’t understand how that was going to help. “But won’t they come back again?”

“Maybe,” Jorick agreed. “But I doubt it. I gave them the suggestion to be angry at him and I gave them the reason. At that point they can chose to embrace it or shake it off once my influence is gone. As emotionally volatile as his ‘friend’ already is, I believe she’ll welcome the suggestion. The young love their over dramatized pity-me-because-I’ve-been-wronged approach to life.”

Katelina couldn’t deny that, but something still didn’t make sense. “So you’re saying you can give them the suggestion, even make them feel things as long as you’re with them, but as soon as you’re apart they can just ‘shake it off’? Like the doctor and the policeman that you convinced to let me out of the hospital?”

Jorick nodded. “No doubt ten minutes after we left, they were trying to figure out why they’d released you. The idea of letting you go went against what their conscious mind, and probably subconscious minds, wanted or thought was right. Because of that, they wouldn’t welcome such an idea willingly.  But these girls,” he waved his hand at them. “They’re all drama and intrigue. That’s what they want, and so they’re more likely to take it.”

“So you can’t, you know, control people from a distance?”

Jorick gave an amused chuckle. “Are you concerned about that?” She didn’t answer, so he went on. “No, I can’t really control anyone to begin with, only influence. The amount of influence depends on how strong their mind and will is.”

She blinked disbelieving at his choice of words. “But you said the doctor didn’t want to release me? That’s a helluva a lot of influence!”

“Maybe,” Jorick agreed casually. His eyes skipped back to the girls on the couch and his face grew dark. “Loren and I are going to have a long, unpleasant conversation.”

Legacy of Ghosts – Chapter 2 – Part 3

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.

If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.

WARNING!!!

This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
*****************

Footsteps sounded through the house; slow and steady as they went from room to room, coming ever closer. “Jorick!” she pleaded silently, begging him to come back and save them from “her” before it was too late. But, there was nothing, so she tried to form a plan. She jerked her head to indicate that they should barricade themselves in the basement, but Loren didn’t seem very receptive. “Basement,” she whispered, desperately. “We should-”

It was too late. Whoever was after them was there. “What in the hell?” a deep voice demanded.

Deep?

And then Katelina realized who it was. “Jorick!”

It took Loren a moment longer to realize that his certain doom wasn’t standing in the hallway behind them. When he did, he released Katelina and sagged back against the wall. “Thank God! It’s you!”

“Yes,” Jorick replied with annoyance. “It’s me. Now, do you mind telling me exactly what you’re doing and why there are two teenage girls in my living room?”

Loren leapt to his feet, his eyes wide with horror. “In the living room? You let them in? Oh God! You didn’t! Tell me you didn’t!”

Katelina stood up and rubbed absently at her abdomen, uncertain what to make of Loren’s distress. Surely that whole production wasn’t really over a couple of teenage girls?

Jorick ignored him and sought Katelina’s eyes. “What are you doing, Katelina?”

“Hiding. Apparently,” she added with a scowl at Loren. “I was under the impression we were about to die, but now I don’t really know.”

“I thought she was with them,” Loren muttered miserably. “I thought she snuck in and I was trying to keep her out of the basement. But then she said she knew you.”

“Yes,” Jorick agreed with a suggestive smirk. “She most certainly knows me.” He quickly turned serious again. “What I’d like to know is how those girls in the living room know you?”

Loren’s shoulders sagged and he seemed to shrink. “It’s not really my fault,” he murmured. “I mean, not, well, okay, sort of.” He looked at Jorick as if expecting reprieve, but his face was hard and unyielding. “Well I got bored! I mean it was six months. You said it would only be a few days.” He crossed his arms over his chest defensively. “What the hell took you so long, anyway?”

Jorick waved his hand dismissively. “That’s a story for another time. Right now I’m more concerned with the unconscious girls in my living room!”

Loren brightened. “Unconscious? Why didn’t you say so? Don’t worry, you just need to do your mind thing and I’ll take them back to town and drop them off.”

“And why do I need to do that?” Jorick tapped his foot impatiently.

“Like I said, I got bored.” Loren jammed his hands in his pockets. “Look, it was an accident. I mean, the one girl’s pretty hot, you know? And I didn’t think anything would come of it, but she got all attached and shit. Then when I tried to get rid of her I kind of, accidentally, said something about vampires and that just got her all excited.” He paused hopefully, but when Jorick only glared he continued. “Well, I kinda ended up promising her I’d make her one too. I didn’t know she’d be all into it. I thought she’d scream and run away like a normal person. But I can’t get rid of her now, and she’s got her friend helping her. They’re stalking me! Seriously! I haven’t been able to go home for days because I’m afraid they’ll follow me and do something horrible while I’m asleep! I’ve been hiding in all kinds of places! Then I saw your light on tonight and I thought you could, you know, help me out,” he finished lamely.

“Of all the stupid, asinine things!” Jorick growled. “It’s idiots like you…” he broke off and jabbed a finger at the boy. “You don’t understand the implications of what could happen here, do you?”

“Um… No?”

Jorick growled again. “I’ll handle this – this one time – because if I don’t, they’ll end up dead, but if I ever have to do this again I swear, Loren, that you’ll be more than sorry!”

Jorick turned on his heel and strode back to the front room, while Loren slumped against the wall with a heavy sigh of relief.

“Mind thing?” Katelina asked. “What mind thing does he need to do?”

Loren shrugged. “You know, where he, like, tells someone to do something and they do it?”

She nodded vaguely. She’d seen something like that at the hospital when the doctor and police hadn’t wanted to release her. Almost magically they’d suddenly changed their minds and let her go, even though she was reported missing. The ability made her nervous at the time, and it did so again.

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