Mother and Daughter
A profound silence enveloped the underground passageway after Amanda collapsed. Nearby, Winter stood transfixed at the sight of her mother motionless on the ground, but she was still under the control of an unseen force and although her mind was begging her body to move toward Amanda, it refused to obey.
Through Winter’s eyes the raven-haired woman watched the scene like an interested, but dispassionate, voyeur. She saw sweat form on Amanda’s brow and trickle slowly into her eyes, but having never perspired, let alone broken out into a sweat, the raven-haired woman merely wondered what the sting felt like to Amanda. She had no desire to feel Amanda’s pain, she was just curious. And indeed she was comforted by the fact that she was the cause of such pain.
Amanda’s fingers began to move and tentatively scratch at the earth. Winter held her breath and willed her mother to regain her strength and rise. Acting as if she was responding to Winter’s thoughts, Amanda’s hands began to move with more confidence and she began to push herself up from the ground. After several attempts that left her winded, she was kneeling and was conscious enough to know that if she didn’t get out of the tunnel quickly, she might not get out alive.
Standing on shaky legs, Amanda reached up to grab the stone torch holder for support and climbed the few stairs that led to the escape hatch. She gulped the cold air, but her mouth was so dry that each time she swallowed it felt as if a razor blade was lodged in her throat. Her right hand began to shake uncontrollably so she clutched the torch holder with both hands for more security and focused completely on pushing open the escape hatch until she felt herself reclaim control of her body. Amanda did not understand what was happening to her physically, but she knew the only way to survive was to remain as mentally alert as possible.
“Your mother is strong,” the raven-haired woman whispered to Winter. “She reminds me of myself.”
Winter couldn’t respond audibly, but wondered why her mother was being put through such agony and further, would she live through it.
“Your mother will survive,” said Winter’s controller. “Until, of course, she has completed my work.”
“Get your hands off me!”
Edwina’s blood-curdling scream ripped through the emergency room of Mercy Hospital startling the staff, the people in the waiting room, and causing one patient to rouse, albeit briefly, and perhaps only coincidentally, from a comatose state.
The second Mrs. Lassiter was being held tightly on either side by Anthony and Jonatha. She was trying to break free from their grip with such force that no one would have suspected less than an hour earlier, she was laying in a pool of her own blood with a broken spine and seconds from certain death. No one except Anthony who witnessed the miracle and Jonatha who performed it.
The trio was quickly greeted by a team of doctors and nurses who, accustomed to Edwina’s outbursts were nonetheless put off-center by these current hysterics. Anthony explained that Edwina had been in a car accident and lost a great deal of blood. Jonatha added that she was driving the car that Edwina crashed into, but neither she nor Anthony
offered any information about the aftermath of the crash.
Kicking and screaming like a B-movie actress in a breakthrough role, Edwina was led into the examining room where she was sedated more for the safety of the hospital staff than for her own.
“Don’t you people know who I am?!” Edwina screamed before being injected. “I am Mrs. Joseph Lassiter! I’ll have my husband arrest every one of you lower-middle-class butchers!”
Jonatha wandered over to a chair unable to comprehend the evening’s events and was grateful that Anthony put his arm around her shoulder, but remained silent. They both knew words could not explain what had occurred. With a jolt Anthony also realized he couldn’t explain Adam’s absence.
The Legend of Serenity Pond
The legend of Serenity Pond was the stuff of Nightfall folklore and every child born in this region knew the story of the two young lovers who were destroyed by a demonic force. Near the tranquil pond that now rested on Love property, not long after the Mayflower sailed into Plymouth Rock, a man and a woman fell in love on this land.
Amelia Lawrence was the daughter of the town’s physician and was a woman of remarkable beauty, both physical and spiritual. James Lowell was the most honored lawman and the man who single-handedly led armies to protect their borders. Their union was consecrated before the church elders and celebrated by all in the land, except one. An immortal woman, who was never seen by mortal eyes, but was feared more than the most ferocious untamed animals that lurked in the woods.
A year after their blessed marriage, Amelia and James were expecting their first child. The townspeople were in a state of extended bliss and prayed daily that the birth would be painless and the child, a worthy addition to the Lowell clan. Hidden from the elders, they even made sacrifices and offered presents to the higher forces to protect the child from the unseen woman. Fate, however, would not prove to be their friend.
One summer day, near the end of her pregnancy, Amelia walked alone along the banks of the pond that lay in the center of their land. She tickled the water with her bare feet and sat for hours contemplating her love for James and the child she would soon present to him as an emblem of that love. Suddenly the sun that had been shining so brightly grew dark and ominous looking clouds appeared in the sky. Not wanting to get caught in a summer rainstorm, Amelia turned from the pond to return home and came face to face with her destiny.
Amelia involuntarily clutched her swollen stomach and instantly grew fearful at the sight of this strange woman, whose ebony hair fell in lustrous waves over her shoulders and breasts almost to the length of her knees. She was clad only in a shimmering white robe that blew softly in the wind and Amelia saw that her feet, delicate and small, didn’t touch the earth.
From the moment Ondine Chauvelin burst into Dashiell and Llewellyn’s apartment pandemonium ruled. She embraced her son, Dashiell, with mink-clad arms, smothered him with air kisses, and dropping her voice an octave told him that he looked simply ravishing. Then she turned her sights onto Llewellyn, hugged him and lifted him a few feet off the ground before raising her voice an octave to tell him that she must have his moisturizer because his skin looked like porcelain. She then proceeded to tell both men that she was joining them on their journey to America.
“You can’t come!” protested Dashiell.
“I can, I am, and you cannot stop me,” Ondine replied. “Mon chér.”
“Mother you don’t understand,” Dashiell said, sounding very much like a perplexed toddler.
“I do understand,” Ondine said. “You want to find out if the young, and although you probably haven’t noticed, nubile, Jonatha Lassiter is aware of her power and if she will pose as a threat to me. I am touched, as only a mother can be touched, and I too am curious about this girl and her . . .abilities. But I am also angered.”
When Ondine paused, Dashiell and Llewellyn knew this was when her whole demeanor would change from endearing to venomous.
“How dare you conspire to go to Nightfall without me and in secret, and when I say “you” Llewellyn I am using the plural tense. You do not remain unscathed. Ms. Lassiter is a thorn in my life, and I will not allow two boys the freedom to dabble in my life so they can feel like men! Now get my bags, my jet is fueled, and it is ready to take us all to this little provincial town you are so eager to visit. I have already made reservations at what I’m sure will be an inadequate inn and once we arrive, I will contact an old friend, Perry Love, and arrange for us to have dinner with him and his family, which includes the mysterious Jonatha, on Friday evening. You see, children, Mother might be in a spot of trouble at the moment, but never underestimate her ability to overcome.”
Ondine turned on her heel, swaying her mink coat elaborately, and as she left the room commanded: “Come boys, America awaits.”
The Legend of Serenity Pond
Hours later when the sky returned to the color of summer blue and the clouds disappeared, James found his bride lying next to the pond. She was weeping uncontrollably and her torn gown was soaked with blood. James cradled Amelia in his arms and tried to soothe her, but she was inconsolable.
“She took him,” Amelia said between sobs. “She took our son.”
“Who?” asked James, fighting his own fear in order to understand the situation.
“The raven-haired woman.”
Instantly James understood whom Amelia spoke of.
“Where did she take him?” James begged. “Tell me so I can bring him home.”
Amelia pointed to the pond. She explained that after the raven-haired woman tore their son from within her, she raised the child to the heavens, and then plunged into the pond with their son. She told James that they were still in there somewhere.
Upon hearing that, James gently placed Amelia onto the ground and dove into the pond to rescue his son. He swam fitfully around the pond searching for his child and the woman with raven hair, peering into the small dirt caves and in between the underwater branches until he could no longer hold his breath. When he tried to swim back up to the surface his foot got caught on a patch of twine. He valiantly tried to wrench his foot free, but the twine held him prisoner and his lungs filled with water causing him to drown.
While her husband was dying, Amelia crawled to the edge of the pond to try to catch a glimpse of what was happening underneath the surface. Holding on to a nearby tree branch, she submerged her face only to see James fighting to free himself from the twine’s grasp. Without thinking, Amelia plunged into the pond to rescue James, but when she reached him she saw that he was already dead. Her heart broke as she held on to the only man she ever loved and feeling her own chest constrict she knew she had to rise to the surface alone. But before she could push with her legs, she saw the raven-haired woman holding her son.
The woman let go of Amelia’s son and he drifted into his mother’s arms. With one hand Amelia held the lifeless child to her heart and with the other she held her husband to her cheek as she allowed life to flee her body. The last image she saw before she took her final breath was of the raven-haired woman floating and laughing.
The three bodies were later found entangled together and were buried nearby in one grave. Legend has it that if you come to Serenity Pond and prayed hard enough and possessed a good soul, the spirit of Amelia would wash you with peace. The pond was
renamed Serenity Pond, and whenever the people of this region needed to overcome tragedy or frustration and wanted to bring tranquility back into their life, they made a visit. Unfortunately, Aimee Pomeroy, the Love’s maid, found no peace at Serenity Pond, only death, and David Anderson, Nightfall’s youngest policeman, who now stood over Aimee’s body, had no idea the same fate would befall him. Adam Savage, crouching in the darkness of the forest, would make sure of that.
Mother and Daughter
Amanda finally crawled through the escape hatch and made it to the beach. The air was considerably colder now and without a torch, she could see only as far as the moon allowed, which, tonight, was a distance of only a few feet. Her body felt very distant from her mind as if she were outside her body merely looking at it and saw herself laying face down on the beach, shivering. Then she saw the blood.
From atop the steps that lead from the tunnel to the beach, Winter could see her mother and she wasn’t sure if she was more horrified by the blood that was seeping from underneath her mother’s motionless body or the smile that was forming on the raven-haired woman’s lips. However, the next scene she witnessed proved to be even more frightful.
A sudden wind swept through Winter’s hair and the next moment she saw a winged creature hovering over Amanda. Slowly the jet black wings receded and the creature began to grow taller and its posture more erect. Wings became shoulders and claws became feet as the creature turned into what appeared to be a man.
Vincent Savage towered over Amanda and the vampire fought an almost uncontrollable desire to devour this woman and rob her of the sweet, silvery blood that flowed through her veins. The passion boiled within him and his fangs grew sharper and bared themselves over his lips as he knelt before the woman he had watched for so many years. Vincent burrowed his face into the sand and drank the blood that now poured from Amanda, it was intoxicating and Winter could hear him moan in unbearable ecstasy.
With inhuman restraint, Vincent scooped Amanda up in his arms not letting the scent of her blood overwhelm him. As he lifted his head, his eyes, now crimson, met Winter’s. He smiled wickedly at the young girl before he and Amanda vanished into the night.
Anthony and Jonatha listened as the doctors reassured them that Edwina would be fine. They were, in fact, amazed that she had been in any type of accident at all. She hadn’t broken any bones, lost any blood, and the only scratches she had were self-inflicted when her own sharp nails scraped her flesh as the hospital staff struggled to sedate her. They were thankful the doctors hadn’t found anything wrong with Edwina, but they were also frightened.
“Uncle Anthony,” Jonatha said softly. “What did I do?”
“I don’t honestly know,” Anthony replied. “But I believe it was a miracle.”
“You really believe in miracles?” she asked.
“Yes. And now I have proof that they exist. Thank you.”
“Don’t be. I know this is confusing, but you have some sort of gift.”
“I know. But is it a gift from God?”
Before Anthony could reassure his niece that her healing powers had grown from the purity of her soul, Perry and Madeline burst into the room.
“Anthony!” Madeline cried. “What’s going on? A nurse called and said Edwina was in an accident.”
“Mom, Dad,” Anthony said. “She’s absolutely fine.”
“Why didn’t you call us?” Perry asked.
“I was just about to,” Anthony stammered. “She really is fine.”
Anthony explained, in as little detail as possible, that there was a car accident.
“Was she drinking again?” Madeline asked, interrupting Anthony’s explanation.
“Maybe,” he answered.
“Jonatha, honey, are you okay?” Madeline inquired, hugging her granddaughter tightly.
“Yes, I’m fine. We were worried about Mother, but she came through without a scratch.”
“You know Edwina,” Anthony said. “She’s got nine lives.”
Madeline sensed her son’s forced joviality was an attempt to cover up something. She decided not to press matters any further at the moment, but made a mental note to question Anthony later.
“I want to see my daughter,” Perry declared. “And I want to see her now.”
A nurse responded to Perry in an exaggeratedly pleasant voice, which amused Madeline despite her growing concern that her family was in more danger than she was being led to believe. They were brought to Edwina, who was beginning to awake from her sedated state, and were relieved to find that she truly looked fine. They would soon find out that she sounded fine as well.
“Daddy, they’re trying to kill me!,” Edwina shrieked.
“No one is trying to kill you dear,” Perry said soothingly. “They want to help you.”
“They shoved needles in me and tried to restrain me,” Edwina whined. “Oh Daddy it was just horrible.”
“Well they can be misguided.”
“I want you to fire them! Close down this hospital,” she cried, then pulled Perry by the necktie so he was inches from her face and whispered: “We do own it don’t we?”
Perry kept trying to calm Edwina down as Madeline merely sighed at her daughter’s antics. They were all so consumed by Edwina’s tirade, that no one noticed Vincent enter the emergency room with an unconscious Amanda in his arms.
The makeshift bandage that covered Aimee’s neck was caught by an unexpected breeze and was sent twirling into the night. David Anderson peered closer to the two puncture wounds in the dead woman’s neck and wondered if all the ancient tales about vampires thriving in Nightfall were true. He unzipped his jacket and felt his throat to make sure the crucifix he always wore around his neck was still in place. It was and its presence calmed him slightly until he heard footsteps in the distance.
In one fluid move that would have made any officer proud, David wheeled around in a crouched position, aimed his flashlight, and pulled his gun to face the intruder.
“Slow down,” Joe Lassiter said. “It’s only me.”
“Sorry sir,” David said, putting his gun back in its holster. “It’s a little creepy out here.”
“Yes it is.”
Both men stood over Aimee’s pale white body and could not take their eyes away from the blood stained wounds on her neck.
“This is at least the second victim,” Joe said quietly. “I think we have a problem on our hands.”
“What did you do the last time this happened?”
David’s question startled Joe for although rumors of the unexplained deaths circulated the streets of Nightfall, few people actually mentioned the events out loud. The townspeople felt some history was better left unspoken.
“One day the killings just stopped.”
“I get the feeling you don’t think we’ll be so lucky this time.”
“I don’t,” Joe admitted. “But let’s keep that between the two of us.”
Just as Joe was about to call for an ambulance his cellphone rang. It was a nurse from Mercy Hospital informing him that Amanda was just rushed into the emergency room. Despite Joe’s remarriage to Edwina, the town still considered Joe and Amanda a couple.
“My wife’s been rushed to the hospital. You stay here and wait for the ambulance.”
“Is Edwina going to be alright?”
“No, it’s Amanda.”
Watching Joe run off into the darkness to be at Amanda’s side, David couldn’t help think how complicated the Chief of Police’s personal life was. He couldn’t understand why he stayed married to a woman he didn’t love. David smiled as he thought of his recent engagement to his long-time girlfriend, Noelle Parker. It was Noelle’s smile he was imagining when he looked up to see a grinning Adam Savage standing directly in front of him.
Ondine’s private jet was more like a hotel in the sky. She had a masseuse, a make-up artist, a personal assistant, and several other employees whose sole purpose in life was to make sure Ondine was content. It was, as they all would admit, a difficult, though well-paying, job.
Dashiell and Llewellyn hadn’t spoken to each other since Ondine burst into their apartment and took control. Once again they were relegated to the roles of children, and for Dashiell it was a position he detested. He couldn’t wait until he crossed over to the Golden Life so he could be free of his mother’s suffocating actions and be with Llewellyn. He glanced at his lover, who was gazing at the clouds through the plane’s window, with such a deep affection that he felt his heart swoon. He hoped that Llewellyn would forgive him for concealing his real reason for wanting to make contact with Jonatha Lassiter. He didn’t want Llewellyn to know that this girl was the only person who could help destroy his mother.
Lying naked on a table in her therapy room, Ondine succumbed to her masseuse’s expert fingers and felt the tension in her limbs be replaced by a peaceful calm. This blissful state made her mind wander and soon she was remembering the last time she was in Nightfall.
Christmas Eve – Forty Years Ago
Although the pearl necklace looked beautiful around Ondine’s long, slender neck, it was much too sophisticated a piece of jewelry to be worn with a nurse’s outfit. But she just had to wear Perry’s Christmas gift. She was in love with the exquisite strand of pearls almost as much as she was in love with Perry Love himself.
She looked at herself in the mirror and wondered how improbable it was that she had become a nurse at Mercy Hospital and was secretly dating the most promising intern on staff, an intern who just happened to be engaged to wed the wealthy socialite Madeline Wexler. Whenever Ondine heard or even thought of that woman she bristled. Madeline Wexler was the only person who stood in her way of becoming Mrs. Perry Love, and with Perry and Madeline’s wedding scheduled in only a few months, time was running out on Ondine if she was going to convince Perry that he should choose her and not Madeline. Or as Ondine liked to call her, the Ice Princess of Maine.
Everything would change tonight at the hospital’s Christmas Eve party. Madeline was home suffering from the flu and Perry, as an intern with high career aspirations, could not miss the best networking event of the year. Ondine would make the most out of Madeline’s absence and decided tonight was the night she would tell Perry the truth about herself.
Ever since she arrived in this small town six months earlier, she had allowed people to believe that she had lost her parents in a boating accident overseas and had come to America to start a new life. As expected, her tragic tale gained the town’s sympathy and soon she was being invited to social luncheons, inducted into the Daughters of Mercy, the
philanthropic arm of the hospital, and courted by the sons from the most prominent families in Nightfall. No one could have imagined her real history, for it was true what was said about fact, it was stranger and far more unbelievable than fiction.
Against all expectations, Ondine had become enchanted with Nightfall mostly due to her relationship with Perry Love. The moment they laid eyes on each other they both became entranced. Ondine loved Perry’s intelligence and self-confidence, and Perry was infatuated, not merely with Ondine’s obvious beauty, but with her grace and sophistication. They exchanged heated glances in the hospital corridors, made quick, passionate love in vacant hospital rooms and locked storage closets, and sometimes even had lunch. Since Ondine was still technically an outsider, and Perry was on the brink
of a successful future as a surgeon, they both had much to lose if their affair was discovered, so they became masters of deceit. No one knew that they were lovers, especially not Madeline. However, Madeline didn’t suspect Perry was involved with another woman, not because Perry and Ondine were careful and clever, but because Madeline didn’t care. She agreed to marry Perry Love because her true love, Clifford Spencer, had been killed in a skiing accident the previous year, and Perry was the least offensive of the cadre of suitors who, since Clifford’s death, clamored for her affection.
Lately, however, Ondine had grown restless. Her love for Perry was also becoming all-consuming. She was no longer satisfied with brief moments in the shadows and wanted to show everyone how deeply in love they were. In her entire life she never wanted to be paired off with just one person, nor did she ever think that one person could ever satisfy her many hungers, but Perry Love changed everything.
The Christmas Eve party began innocently enough with everyone drinking a bit too much egg nog and gossiping about certain candy stripers. Ondine kept her ears arched, but not once did she hear any comment linking her to Perry. She thought to herself that these people were either very naïve or very stupid. Either way, she was still looked upon as the poor orphan girl from Europe and that suited her just fine.
Soon after Perry was announced this year’s Snow King, and Madeline, in absentia, his Snow Queen, the party began to draw to its close. Some unlucky guests had to go back on shift or spend some time in the emergency room, but Perry was free to drive Ondine home. It was the moment she had waited for all night long and she was going to make the most of it.
Bound to the stretcher, Edwina watched in disbelief as everyone’s focus shifted away from her and toward her sister. She overlooked the fact that Amanda was being carried by an extremely tall, and handsome, stranger, and that she was bleeding, and preferred to concentrate on the fact that once again Amanda was upstaging her. If it weren’t for the damned armstraps, she would have made a dramatic exit.
Quickly, a doctor and two nurses put Amanda on her own stretcher and wheeled her into a trauma room, all the while bombarding Vincent with questions, mainly about how he came to find her.
“I was taking a walk on the beach, ” Vincent replied. “And I saw her lying there, not moving.”
The doctor realized it was more important to stop Amanda’s bleeding, than to try and get an explanation out of Vincent so they began to work vigorously on their patient. The Loves, however, wanted to know more.
“What the hell have you done to my daughter!?” Perry screamed at Vincent.
Anthony and Madeline interpreted Perry’s rage to be the misplaced anger of a frightened father, but Vincent knew better. The vampire looked directly into his enemy’s eyes and simply said, “Nothing.”
“Vincent,” Anthony said in an attempt to uncover a bit more information. “Was there an accident?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “It was such a clear evening I thought I would take a walk along the beach. After a mile or so I saw Amanda’s body and when I got closer, I realized she was unconscious.”
Since this was the first time Madeline was in Vincent Savage’s presence, she studied him and was intrigued by the sense of familiarity she felt when she looked into his eyes. She didn’t understand it, but she felt an immediate connection with this man. Then again, she thought, she might just be grateful that he had rescued her daughter.
“It’s quite a chilly evening to be taking a leisurely stroll on the beach, Mr. Savage,” Madeline said.
“Yes it is,” Vincent replied. “But I lived in Washington State for quite some time, so I’m used to chilly nights.”
“Is that where you’re from?” Madeline asked.
“It’s one of the places where I have lived, yes,” he replied.
“Thank you,” Jonatha said, looking directly at Vincent.
Vincent turned to face the young girl and he had to shut his eyes to shield them. The purity that emanated from Jonatha was, to a typical human being, comforting, but to a vampire it was terrifying. It was also awe-inspiring for although Vincent wasn’t sure exactly what type of power this young girl possessed, he knew it was immense, which meant she was a threat to him and to Adam.
“You’re welcome,” Vincent stammered after forcing himself to open his eyes.
With his preternatural senses he felt that Jonatha was about to extend her hand to him, so he quickly moved toward Perry, which was much safer ground. But it wasn’t only Jonatha whom Vincent needed to be wary of. Edwina, whose eyes never left the vampire once Amanda was taken out of her line of sight, saw something in Vincent that intrigued her. Several times while Vincent was speaking she saw him glance to the door beyond which Amanda lay on a stretcher and Edwina saw Vincent’s eyes become drenched with a powerful emotion that she knew very well. It was lust.
Christmas Eve – Forty Years Ago
The second after the door of Perry’s jet black Cadillac closed, Ondine began massaging his thigh. While he drove, she kissed his neck and nibbled on his ear, stroked his chest and the area well below, and whispered how incredibly sexy he looked to her. She undulated against the leather interior and told Perry that he should pull over on the side of the road. Perry protested, claiming the recent 10-inch snowfall hid most of the road’s shoulder and that they would have to wait until they got to her apartment. Ondine told him that she just wanted to talk, that she wanted to tell him the truth about her. But Perry wasn’t listening, he had something important that he wanted to say.
Whether it was woman’s intuition or just gut instinct, Ondine knew whatever Perry wanted to tell her was not something she wanted to hear. So she immediately began telling Perry that she loved him and wanted to offer him the kind of passion and compassion that Madeline could never give him. His body stiffened during her monologue and he actually shifted a few inches away from her. It was, needless to say, not the reaction she was hoping for.
“Ondine,” Perry began. “This has been a wonderful diversion for me, but I will marry Madeline, nothing will change that. So I think it’s best if we stopped seeing each other.”
Ondine stared at Perry who continued to drive as if he was discussing the weather with an acquaintance.
“A diversion?” Ondine asked quietly. “That’s what I am to you?”
“You know what I mean,” Perry replied without taking his eyes off the road.
“No Perry, actually I don’t!”
When Ondine didn’t get a response she added: “Perry I would appreciate it if you stopped this car and looked at me.”
Perry continued to drive without acknowledging Ondine’s request. He had said all he cared to on the matter and couldn’t comprehend why his passenger kept bothering him. Infuriated by his silence, Ondine grabbed the wheel and yanked it to the left causing the car to swerve on the slippery road. Instinctively, Perry pushed her into the passenger window and regained control of the car. Oblivious to the blood that ran from a cut over her right eye, Ondine continued questioning Perry.
“You told me you loved me,” Ondine said, more to herself than to the man whom she loved. “You said that I made you feel alive and that I was more of a woman than Madeline could ever be.”
“You do. You are. But that doesn’t change the fact that Madeline will be my wife.”
Ondine stared at Perry as if she was looking at roadkill. She was disgusted, horrified, but hooked.
“How dare you treat me this way.”
She then started to kick and hit Perry, who tried to keep the car from dipping into the snowy embankments.
“You have no idea who I am and how I can destroy you,” she screamed.
“I knew you would threaten me,” Perry shouted back. “You’re nothing more than a scheming alley cat.”
“I’ll do more than threaten you, I’ll destroy you.”
“Why, because I don’t want to marry you?”
“Because you lied to me Perry!,” Ondine seethed. “You’ve treated me like a fool and all I ever wanted was your love.”
Ondine was crying now and began to accentuate every sentence with a punch to Perry’s arm or face and it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to keep the car on the road.
“No woman who is so comfortable in a man’s bed like you are could ever know what love is.”
Ondine slapped Perry’s face so hard he slammed into the side window and was briefly knocked unconscious. When he came to moments later he saw his car careening towards a cliff and realized Ondine’s foot was pushing down on the gas pedal.
“You’re going to kill us both.”
“No,” Ondine replied calmly. “I’m just going to kill you.”
Ironically, they were both wrong. The Cadillac veered off the road at 80mph and, after being airborne for five seconds, crashed into a snowy ravine and flipped over twice before landing right side up. When Perry awoke he saw that Ondine was laying across him with blood teeming down her face. He felt for a pulse but couldn’t find one, and then, he panicked.
Working quickly, and with shaking hands, Perry dragged Ondine from his car and began making a clearing in the deep snow. He laid her on the ground and started covering her up in the snow until she was completely erased from the landscape. He got back in the car, which somehow was still running, and drove parallel to the road until he got to an area that was free of snow. He was about to get the blanket from his trunk and smooth out the tire tracks, when it suddenly began to snow very hard and he knew that all the evidence connecting him to this place would soon vanish. Perry drove home without ever looking back at Ondine’s makeshift grave. If he did, perhaps he would have seen her hand emerge from the snow.
When Ondine’s masseuse was finished she was completely relaxed and her body tingled with anticipation.
“Oh Perry,” Ondine mumbled to herself. “What a delightful revenge I have in store for you.”
David reached for his gun, but Adam grabbed it first and flung it into the pond. Next, David prepared to punch Adam in the gut, but Adam deflected it with his right hand and with his left he spun David around so that Adam was standing behind David with his right arm lodged underneath his neck. Before letting his fangs sear into David’s muscular neck, Adam hesitated allowing the smell of fear and musk tantalize him.
Taking advantage of Adam’s loosening grip, David reached for the knife in his belt. He grabbed it and stuck it into Adam’s cheek, dragging the knife downward to Adam’s throat. Adam yelled in pain and let go of David, but David was unable to run. He saw that although the wound on Adam’s face was a gaping hole, not one drop of blood poured from it like it should have. He then saw the gnarled flesh on Adam’s face heal itself and in seconds Adam’s skin was as smooth as it always was. Involuntarily, David’s eyes glanced at the two puncture wounds on Aimee’s neck then back to Adam who was now baring his fangs and growling. David was only able to recite the first line of the Lord’s Prayer before Adam attacked him violently.
Long after Adam had finished feeding, he kept his fangs deep within David’s neck, and held the policeman’s body close to him. He licked his lips and tasted the mixture of the salt from his tears and the sweetness of the young man’s blood. Try as he might Adam only enjoyed the kill when he was in the throes of hunger. He understood that he would need to come to terms with his feelings if he ever wanted to find happiness once he fully crossed over to the Golden Life. Unable to look at David’s still-opened and frightened eyes, Adam gently placed his body alongside Aimee’s and began to walk home.
On the way he realized he would have to come up with some explanation that would satisfy Anthony and Jonatha as to why he fled after the accident. But his thoughts were quickly interrupted by the sight of Winter Lassiter sitting on the beach. He stood over the young girl and saw that she was wearing her pajamas and shivering. When he scooped the girl in his arms to return her to the warmth of her home she was awakened. Their eyes met and with a smile she whispered, “Joey?” before giving in to unconsciousness once more.
The struggle between David and his unseen attacker was vibrant and real in Anthony’s mind and, unfortunately, so was the pain. In mid-sentence, Anthony felt the pain rush up from his gut and claim his entire body before collapsing to the ground.
The doctors who weren’t working to control Amanda’s bleeding, rushed to Anthony’s side but not before Jonatha knelt next to her uncle and cradled his head in her lap. When Jonatha touched Anthony’s forehead and clasped his hand, he became calmer. His body stopped convulsing and his breathing eased, though he did not wake. The doctors, Perry, and Edwina, who by this time was finally untied, thought they were seeing Anthony’s seizure end as quickly as it had come. Madeline and Vincent, however, understood that Jonatha was somehow controlling the event and it frightened them both, though for very different reasons.
While Anthony still lay on the floor in Jonatha’s arms envisioning David being murdered by a beast that he couldn’t identify, Joe burst through the emergency room doors.
“Where’s Amanda?” Joe cried.
“Oh I’m fine honey,” Edwina shouted back. “Thank you so much for asking.”
“Edwina,” Joe said. “Someone called me and said Amanda was rushed to the hospital.”
“I guess they neglected to tell you that your wife was rushed here too,” she said. “And I got here first!”
“Your wife needs you Joseph,” Perry said, deliberately gesturing toward Edwina.
“Yes, Joe, she does,” Madeline added. “Amanda will be fine.”
Joe noticed Anthony and Jonatha on the floor and correctly surmised that he had had another vision, which meant someone else had been murdered.
“What on earth is happening?” Joe whispered.
At Joe’s comment, Madeline felt her neck tingle, and a chill invade her body. She turned around and saw Vincent staring at her with what she thought were menacing eyes. Breathless, she forced herself to turn away and saw the curtains, which had been concealing Amanda, open. Her daughter was propped up in bed and, though her face was flushed, she looked like she was merely waking from a fitful night’s sleep.
“Mother!” Amanda cried. “Is that you?”
Madeline, Perry, and Joe rushed to Amanda’s side. Vincent lingered behind them and Edwina, truly more interested in Vincent’s reactions to her sister than her sister’s diagnosis, stood off to the side and watched. Jonatha remained with Anthony in the other room to ensure his safe recovery.
“Are you alright?” Madeline asked.
“Yes,” Amanda replied. “I collapsed on the beach. One minute I was fine and the next I had the most incredible pains in my stomach.”
“What were you doing on the beach in this weather?” Perry asked.
Forcing herself not to look at Joe, Amanda replied: “You know how much I love to walk on the beach and think.”
“Luckily so does Mr. Savage,” Madeline said.
But when she turned to introduce Amanda to her savior, she couldn’t find him.
“Mr. Savage?” cried Madeline.
“He must have snuck out,” Edwina offered, as surprised as Madeline was that Vincent had vanished. “I guess he didn’t want to interrupt the reunion.”
Ignoring his wife’s obvious unhappiness with his actions, Joe stayed next to Amanda.
“As long as you’re okay now,” Joe said fighting back tears.
“I am now that you’re here,” Amanda said looking right into Joe’s eyes, then quickly added. “All of you.”
“Amanda?” asked Dr. Jeffrey Saxon, her physician as well as a friend of the family. “Has the abdominal pain subsided?”
“Yes it’s completely gone.”
“That’s wonderful news,” he said. “For you and the baby.”
“What?” Amanda cried.
“Your baby,” he replied.
The doctor realized every person in the room was staring at him with a shocked expression and he suddenly became very embarrassed.
“I’m sorry I thought you all knew,” the doctor said quietly. “Amanda is four months pregnant.”