Rylan stood between the two men and her brother. Her green eyes blazed fury even though her mind was screaming for her to run. They couldn’t have him, she wouldn’t let them. Wind whipped around her, messing up her short blonde hair as she stared them down. These men wanted her brother Zander for their experiments, to turn him into a weapon they could use as they pleased. Zander possessed psychic and telekinetic abilities, abilities that would be dangerous in their hands. “Come now girl, just give him up. He’s not worth it.” One of the men said.
“You will not touch him.” She spat back. They rushed her, one man gripping her throat as the other moved past her for her brother. “Run Zander.” She chocked out as she kicked at the monster of a man who was strangling the life out of her. She heard her brother scream which gripped her heart in fear as tears of sorrow ran down her cheeks. She had tried with all her strength to keep him safe but had failed him anyway. Her vision began to blur and her struggle became weak. She sent out a silent apology, hoping her baby brother would forgive her. The man was suddenly jerked away and she fell in a heap to the ground, her head slamming against the pavement. She heard screaming, a terrified sound. Something splashed on the ground and then silence. The last thing she remembered before darkness overcame her was being lifted up.
She woke to see her brother talking to a tall, white haired man. Her little brother noticed right away she was up and ran to her to give her a tight hug. “We’re alive and safe thanks to this man. He beat the crap out of those assholes, especially the one that choked you out. I was so worried about you. I’m glad you’re finally awake.”
“How long was I out?”
“a few hours. I’ve been telling Declan about everything we’ve been through with those people” Rylan didn’t trust this man even though he had helped. She walked over to him and asked in a serious tone “who are you and why did you help us?” He smiled, far too charmingly for her to fully keep the serious look on her face. “I thought I’d get a thank you. I’m Declan, I saw a damsel and a young boy in distress and had to help.” Despite knowing they wouldn’t have been fine she said “We would’ve been fine without you but thanks anyway. Lets go Zander”
“Don’t be like that! He’s really awesome”
“Well we don’t know him. It was amazing timing he so happened to be right there I mean what if he’s luring us into a trap.”
“I’m not luring you guys into anything calm down.” Declan interjected. “We’ve heard it all before.” She sat up, the couch beneath her making a whispering sound. She rubbed her throat and took a good look at their savior. He was the same height as her brother, a good six feet. He had long white hair that hung to his waist. Chocolate brown eyes stared down at her, irritated. He was handsome, deceptively so. She knew behind that face lurked something dark. She could see it dancing there, a flicker of malice. “How did you know we were in trouble?” Declan narrowed his eyes at her. “I was on patrol.” He couldn’t believe how ungrateful she was. The boy was very appreciative, had willing come with him when he had seen what had been done to the two men. The boy had not even batted an eyelash when Declan told him he was a Steg, a vampire of the Rose Family commissioned with protecting humans and preternatural creatures alike. “I am a Steg, this city is under my protection.”
Rylan froze. She knew that word. It was Norwegian for Rose. She remembered hearing a story when she was a child about how the Steg were heroes of old, Norwegian warriors who killed evil kings and corrupt officials. They were ruthless, dark, and immortal. She shook her head and felt immediately dizzy. “It can’t be true, you’re lying.” She whispered.
“He’s not lying sister,” Zander said softly, “I have heard the echoes of his battles.”
“The boy must be a psychic. It’s been centuries since I’ve seen one.”
“And a telekinetic.”
“May I ask why those men were after you?”
Rylan and Zander glanced at each other. She could feel her brother moving in her mind, asking her opinion. She wasn’t sure what to do. If he was a Steg then he could help them, but what if he wasn’t and he killed her then carried her brother away. Zander, no matter how strong his powers were, could not face down a vampire. Well my brother says he sees you are who you say and I trust my brother so I’ll listen to him. We aren’t sure who exactly but there have been men after my brother because of his power. They keep attacking us and trying to take him away for experiments. Glad she was finally off the defensive he gave a genuine smile. “I’d be happy to help, consider me at your service. First I want a real thank you for helping. Not a back handed one like you gave me earlier.” She cut her eyes at him then sighed saying “I’m sorry I guess that was rude. I don’t know who to trust. Thank you so much for your help” She wanted to curtsy to be sarcastic but she decided not to.
“Good, now that we’re done with introductions, welcome to my home. There are four rooms upstairs feel free to make one your own. I sleep in the basement and don’t worry it’s not some horrifying coffin filled void of evil. I have a bed down there, it’s beautifully decorated, but I do prefer candle light to artificial light. I have sensitive eyes. If you find yourself in need during daylight hours and need me to come up please make sure the curtains are closed. I won’t dramatically burst into flames, but the sun can seriously tear me up. If I am exposed for too long the shock from the trauma could kill me.” He explained.
“Why tell us all this?”
“Because I want you to trust me. If you know my weaknesses then you have no reason to doubt my integrity.” She mulled it over. “True, okay we’ll stay.”
“You will be safe here. Do not venture out without me when it’s dark. A panther patrols the grounds and since she doesnt know you yet she’ll attack.” A shocked expression covered Rylans face which Declan thought was adorable. It caused him to smile again, that ridiculously handsome smile.
“Now, I must go and clean up the mess I made and report the activity to the head of my family. Your brother may not be the only gifted young human being stalked.”
They went upstairs and looked at the rooms. Zander picked one right away and jumped on the bed yelling “This is mine!”. Rylan giggled, amazed yet again how he could be ever happy no matter what they faced. No amount of danger seemed to dampen him. “I’ll just take the room next to you so I’ll hear if anybody tries to creep in” He sat down on the bed saying “You’re the best sister in the world. Thanks for always being there for me. Are you in any pain from being attacked?”
“My head hurts a little that’s all. Don’t worry about me” The room next to her brothers was beautiful. It was painted dark purple and filled with the most gorgeous furniture. She laid down looking at the ceiling, thinking how grateful she was they finally had help. Fighting all the time was really taking it out of her. It seemed barely a day went by she wasn’t fighting for her brother. Declan collected the remains of the two imbeciles he had swiftly dispatched of and threw them in burlap sacks. He took to the sky, heading for Lake Berryessa. As Declan flew over the moon glinted of the lake, reminding him of a large snowball and how it sparkled if you truly looked at it.
He collected a bunch of heavy stones, tossed them in the bags and secured the tops. He floated over the center of the lake and dropped both bags, watching them sink. He headed home, exhausted but still needing to alert the matron of his family. His thoughts drifted to the woman. She had been so beautiful even unconscious. Her skin was sun bronzed and what he had touched while checking her pulse had been soft. He realized he had not asked her her name. How strange that that should bother him so. She was a stranger, a human who needed his protection. He lived by the oath he had taken and would protect her with his life for as long as she needed him.
By the time he made it to where the matron was he could barely force himself to go on. He wanted to hurry and get back home. It was an odd feeling since he wasn’t used to wanting to go home. The matron was tall for a woman, almost as tall as Declan in fact. She was gorgeous with long flowing black hair and red eyes. He explained to her the events and she said “I trust you to handle this. Tomorrow I want you to start looking into the people who are after the boy. You should start by having them go out so they can be confronted again. Before you pulverize the attackers get information from them so you know where to start on this investigation. If you need further guidance let me know” Declan bowed respectively then hurried off for home. He hoped the beautiful young woman and Zander were awake so he could talk to them.
He needed to know the girls name. He knew Zander had said his sisters name but he was so busy just taking in how pretty she was and being baffled at her lack of gratitude he missed the times he said it. He felt a little bad for taking it so badly. She had ever right to not be trusting of others. Rylan tossed and turned, unable to sleep. She was tired, but was too scared to let her guard down. She sat up, rubbing her eyes. She needed some water so she left her room, walking quietly down the hall so she wouldn’t wake anybody.
Rylan envied the fact Zander could sleep despite them being hounded. Almost every time he was asleep the second his head hit the pillow. Rylan admired the architecture as she walked. It had a very old world gothic feel to it. Once down stairs she quickly found the kitchen. Equally as beautiful as the rest of the house Rylan searched the kitchen until she found where he kept the glasses. She walked it over to the sink and filled it with water before gulping down the cold liquid.
As Rylan went to set the glass down and turn to leave the kitchen she saw a figure in the doorway. The glass slipped from her hand but Declan was right in front of her and caught it in the blink of an eye. “Jesus you scared me! What’re you doing just standing there?” He sat the glass down and said “I’m really sorry I didn’t mean to. I can see with a lot less light than you so I have to get used to you not being able to notice me in such darkness. I promise to carry a candle or give you some sort of warning for now on. What are you doing up?”
“I worry too much about Zander. Our parents died so young I feel like more of his mother than sister I guess. I’ve been taking care of him for four years.”
“I’m sorry, you’ve obviously done a good job at taking care of him though.”
“Not today, without you we really would’ve been in trouble I would’ve lost him for sure. It hurt my pride which is why I acted so harshly towards you.” He was happy she was softening up a bit. “I’m glad I was there to help.” he said with a smile. “I haven’t had much rest since all this started four years ago. He was only nine and I was eighteen. We’ve moved from place to place and were finally cornered her in San Francisco. Zander has had no time to be a kid. If staying here means he gets that chance then so be it.” Her eyes were so sad, the green orbs shimmering with tears.
“We’re in the Pacheco State Park. It’s not in the city. It’s harder to get cornered here.”
“How did you get permission to build a house here?”
“Money talks and I have a lot of it.”
A smile tugged at her lips. He said it like it was nothing. She was sure the permit had cost him a pretty penny. She liked him, his attitude, his sincerity. A few days here would do them some good. Zander had always loved nature, so much so that it had rubbed off on her.
“I can’t remember if I asked you your name.” Declan said as he ran his fingers through his messy hair. “I think your brother may have said it.”
“It’s Rylan and I already know it’s different so don’t even start.”
“I think it suits you. Beautiful and tough.”
She blushed, going bright red. “I…uh…thank you. I should go back to bed, you know with all this exhaustion.” She reached for her glass of water, missing it twice before glaring at the thing and getting it the third time. He held back his laughter with all he had. That being far too adorable to him. As he went down to his room and she up to hers he felt glad she was here, even looking forward to tomorrow. She laid down again thinking about how long it had been since someone said she was beautiful. It was especially nice coming from such a handsome man. To top it off he was a vampire so he had seen countless women in his lifetime to compare her to.
She quickly stopped herself from thinking about it. Boys was not on her agenda. All she needed to concentrate on was her brother and his safety.
In the morning Zander ran into her room and jumped on top of his sister. “WAKE UP!!!! I’M HUNGRY!!! I’m going to starve I know it Rylan!”
“You aren’t going to starve. Please just give me a minute”
“Ok Rylan I’ll meet you downstairs! I love you!” With her face still stuffed in a pillow she said “Love you too” A few minutes later a very sleepy Rylan came down to find somthing for her brother. There wasn’t really anything there.
“Wait here Zander, I’m going go ask Declan about food.””I’m starving, oh god Rylan help me.” Zander said dramatically and she rolled her eyes.
He laughed as she walked out if the kitchen and found the door to the basement tucked behind the stairs. She walked down the steps coming to another door at the bottom of the steps. She knocked and waited. There was no answer. She knocked again, still nothing. She sighed turning the knob and pushing the door open. Candle light dimly lit the spacious room. A drafting table and bookshelf sat on the left. On the right were a chest of drawers with a mirror over the top. There was another door and she guessed it led to a bathroom. Against the far wall was his bed, a beautiful four poster.
She walked quietly across the room on bare feet, moving around the left side of the bed. A piece of paper on the drafting table caught her eye. The image staring back at her shocked her. It was her, beautiful and sad. In her surprised state she bumped into the table, knocking a cup of pens off.
Declan’s eyes flew open, someone was in his room. He was off the bed and on Rylan in an instant. His fingers wrapped around her delicate throat. Rylan struggled, hands pushing against his bare chest. He blinked, taking in the terrified face. Declan only now realized it was Rylan. She blinked up at him, unable to make a sound. He was surprised, angry, and nude. She blushed, trying to form words and failing.
He let go and she stated kind of rambling “I was just coming to ask you a question….you didn’t answer…I came in” she rambled on until he stopped her and asked her to turn around while he got dressed. “I’m sorry for attacking you like that. I’m used to being here alone and only enemies entering. I hope you’ll forgive me but please don’t enter my room again uninvited”
Rylan stood there embarrassed after seeing him naked. He was even more attractive than she thought and she was also a bit rattled by the strength he had. It had been terrifying when his hands were around her neck. Rylan nervously followed him from the basement into the kitchen where he found them somthing to eat. After breakfast Declan suggested “after breakfast you two should go into town to buy more food. I’ll be giving you the money of course but I wont be by your side. I’ll be watching for your attackers. if they see me right beside you they may not try again and I need them to to get some answers from them.”
“ok we’ll go ahead and go” Rylan wanted any excuse to be away from him for a bit so she could get over what happend earlier. He wouldn’t truly be away from her but atleast she wouldn’t have to be looking at him and imagining the sculpted body underneath. He was embarrassed aswell about the morning events and worried she may have seen that he drew her last night. There was just no resisting it when he had been alone. She was far too beautiful not to draw. Rylan stood on the front porch with her brother, waiting patiently for Declan. When he finally came out he was wearing a dark long sleeve turtle neck, a pair of Levi’s and a baseball cap. His hair was pulled back in a braid and he smelled like coconut because he was wearing sunscreen.
“You finally ready?” She asked impatiently.
“Sorry it’s the only way I can go out.” He stepped off the porch and they followed. He wrapped an arm around both of them and smiled down at Rylan. “Hang on.”
“Hang on?” He took to the sky and she yelped in fear as the ground got farther away. “You ass hole. You really could have said you were going to do that! I thought we were supposed to walk on our own?” He smirked “well it’s a long ways so I want to atleast get you two near town. I didn’t want any wild animals to hurt you.” At first Rylan had been pissed but now she began to look around and actually enjoyed the view. Zander was enjoying it a lot and that finished melting her. It was so rare to see him truly happy. It wasn’t until they reached the ground that she realized how tight she was holding on to him. She didn’t apologize though. She was still embarrassed and upset about this morning and her reaction to being flown up into the sky.
As they walked to the nearby store Zander asked “Why do you hate him so much”
“I don’t hate him I just don’t like him”
Zander looked confused but didn’t bother his sister about it any more.
They walked through the super market, grabbing meat and vegetables. She grabbed a couple gallons of milk and some eggs and bacon. She sent Zander to grab some cereal and he came running back eyes wide with panic. “They’re here.” He whispered.
“Come on sweetie.” She grabbed his hand, leaving the cart and heading for the exit. Declan sat on the roof of the store, legs dangling over the edge. He watched as Rylan and Zander rushed out of the store. Five minutes later two men followed them. He stood, running along the roof and jumping to the next building. Rylan ran, pulling Zander along. She said something to him and a garbage can shot out in front of the men, tripping one up. One of the men reached into his coat, pulling out a dart gun. He fired, missing as Rylan tugged her brother down an alley. It dead ended and the men entered, walking toward them.
Declans heart slammed against his chest. He tasted fear and that was something he was not used to. He faced danger all the time and had saved numerous people in his life time but he was honestly and deeply afraid of somthing happening to Rylan. Zander clung to his sister while she herself showed not a single drop of fear on her face. She was afraid but wouldn’t allow these horrible men to see it.
When the men were just about in arms distance of Rylan, Declan jumped down and shoved them back angrily. A small hiss came out of his lungs as he moved. Faster than Rylans eyes could register one of the men was on the ground and the other was being held against a wall by Declan. It seemed so easy to him like he wasn’t really having to put effort into it atall. She was actually impressed and Zander was just holding her hand now instead of clinging to her.
Declan said “Rylan & Zander go back in the store and finish I’ll meet you there” She wasn’t normally willing to take orders but she didn’t feel like she should bicker with him. They both went back and were done fairly quickly but so was Declan. He was waiting for them and greeted them with a smile like nothing had happened atall. To Rylan that was almost as odd as how fast he could move. Declan took them into his arms again, holding Rylan much tighter than he had before. It seemed as if under that smile he was worried about her and it actually made a light blush tint her cheeks.
Declan took them up again “wow Declan, us and the groceries”
“I havent seen anything yet I couldn’t pick up. One of the perks of being a vampire.” When they arrived back at Declans Zander spoke out “Somthing happened between you two this morning and before we talk about what happened at the store I want you two to work it out. Give eachother a hug and say you’re sorry or whatever else you need to do.”
Rylan looked at her brother and Declan looked at the floor. “Come on you two”
“Fine” Ryaln answered then held out her arms to mock her brother. To Rylans surprise he had her in his arms in a second. “I’m really sorry, I hope I didn’t hurt you when you came into my room. It’s been on my mind all morning.” She sighed “It’s ok I’m sorry too” Zander smiled. “That’s better, now lets talk about what happened”
“What I got from one of the men pursuing you is that they work for an organization called Haze. They have been experimenting on people, developing a drug that can awaken psychic abilities.” “Why does that sound familiar?” Zander asked.
“Dad worked there.” Rylan answered, her heart beat picking up. “Did he experiment on Zander?”
“Dad would never do that.”
“The boy is right. Your father left after he found out his employers were giving your brother the drug. It worked and now they want to use it to their advantage.”
“I will talk to the Matron again tonight about what I know to see what she thinks I should do next.” Declan said as they all sat down in the living room. “Oh good, no more excitement for the day sounds perfect” He gave his sister a mischievous look and said “Besides I think my sisters been terrified enough for one day with you taking us in the air like that” Rylan glared and then blushed “I wasn’t scared it just shocked me”
“Liar!” They all laughed
“I really loved it though. Must be nice to be able to do that huh Declan?”
“I guess so. I’ve always liked the view from up there”
“I hope you stay friends with us after all this. That’s why I wanted the two of you to get past whatever it was that happend this morning. It was also bugging me to constantly be feeling how upset Rylan was. I hate when she’s upset” Zander added. “I’m sorry baby boy, I some times forget you can feel everything when we’re this close.” She tussled his sandy blonde hair.
“I’m not a baby anymore. I’m already taller than you short stuff.”
Declan laughed and Rylan glared at him which made it even funnier. He had never seen siblings tease like these two. He himself had never had a brother or sister. His parents had never wanted children to begin with, but the need for someone to carry on their blood line overrode the fact that they were crap parents. “I need to go wash this sunscreen off, you two should eat something. You look particularly famished Zander.” He said with a smile.
“I am so hungry, Rylan come one make me something good.” He said dramatically and winked at Declan.
“I swear you two are just alike.” Rylan threw her hands up in the air in mock irritation.
Declan headed into the basement. His skin was hot and sweaty. He tugged off his clothes and switched on the shower. The back of his neck was a little red where he had missed a spot with his sunscreen. Declan unbraided his hair and stepped under the warm spray. It felt good on his skin after being covered in so much clothing. He scrubbed the sunscreen off his face and hands and neck, his mind drifting Rylan. She was so sad, loving and beautiful. He could see how much a normal life would mean to her. She was tired of running and fearing for her brother. He wanted to kiss away her pain, hold her and tell her that everything was going to be okay. He decided the first big step he had to take was teaching them to defend themselves.
His mind never leaving Rylan he finished his shower and decided to lay down for a minute. Even covered up it was hard to be in the sun. Not to mention how hot it is to wear all that and fight in it. Meanwhile up stairs she had made her brother his favorite, macaroni and cheese with some chicken nuggets.
“I’m surprised your taste hasn’t passed this yet at 13. You’ll be an adult before you know it Zander.”
“There’s no outgrowing this stuff” He said stuffing his face like a chipmunk. Rylan laughed at him but that was the point of Zander doing that. He was trying to get her in a light and happy mood. He missed just enjoying his time with his sister. They had so much fun together before this all started. He actually had snuck a book in he found at the store in hopes his sister would read to him tonight. His fondest memories were of her sitting on his bed reading to him as he fell asleep.
Rylan had noticed the book and had assumed he wanted as much and brought it up while they were just sitting there. “So I see you got a book? Is there some little kid around here that needs reading to” She said jokingly and with a smile. Zander said “yep right here! So you’ll read it to me tonight like you used to?”
“Sure why not, I guess that’s what big sisters are for”
They finished eating and she cleaned up the dishes along with the little mess she made while cooking. When she was done it didn’t even look like they ever did a thing in there. She was a perfectionist when it came to cleaning things up. She swiped her hands across eachother and said “ok so what would you like to do now Zander?”
“We should go outside. I want to explore the woods.” He said excitedly. “Didn’t Declan say something about a panther earlier? Maybe we should stay inside.” She replied with a half smile. “He said not to go out at night, come on it’s been forever since I’ve just relaxed under a tree or went swimming or anything. Please, please, please.”
She couldn’t say no when he was looking at her with puppy dog eyes. She sighed in exasperation and he very nearly jumped with joy. He knew when he had won. “Alright, but as soon as it starts to get dark we get back inside. I don’t want to be something’s lunch.” He nodded and rushed for the front door, Rylan following him out into the sun. Rylan enjoyed the fresh air and bird song while Zander ran around, his eyes studying everything. Before they had gone on the run he had dreamed of becoming a biologist. As soon as this was over she was getting him back in school. He was incredibly intelligent and a quick learner. Despite putting him in constant danger, his psychic abilities were his biggest advantage.
Rylan suddenly had an odd feeling slice through her. Her eyes jumped to the sky and she was surprised to find the sun was far past its midpoint. “Zander, back to the house.” She ordered. She knew it would be dark before they got back and prayed nothing would happen. Things were finally looking up, they couldn’t end out here because they chose to ignore Declans warning.
She was so angry at herself for not keeping better track of time. She was just so happy and relaxed it escaped her. Zander tripped over somthing with a loud thud. She stopped and helped him up telling him to hurry. As they ran Zander said “I’m sure we’ll be fine. It shouldn’t be too far past sundown when we get back”
Honestly, she had no idea how far they went. She had been so careless just enjoying everything. The sun was nearly down and they still couldn’t see the house.
Declan woke up, surprised he had slept so long. He got dressed and went upstairs to see what Rylan and Zander were up to. When he didn’t see them immediately he thought “Well they can’t be in bed already” so he walked up the stairs to check and they were not there. He then realized in terror they weren’t in the house and the sun was barely visable. He rushed out of his home and flew up in the air to find them.
“Hurry, we have to hurry.” Rylan said, trying not to panic. It was almost pitch black. They raced through the woods, hopping over large branches and weaving around thick brush. Something black jumped down in front of them. It gave a loud scream, yellow eyes stared at them. The panther circled to their right. Rylan put herself between the large cat and her brother, never allowing it to have their backs. She stared it in the eyes. She knew it was a stupid thing to do, but it was the only thing she could see in the dark. It moved slowly toward them and she braced herself.
Declan flew overhead, his eyes seeing into the dark as of it was day. He spotted movement, saw Rylan staring angrily at the panther. The cat moved toward them, its large paws making no sound. He was fast, but he wasn’t sure he would make it in time. He hoped the cat wouldn’t jump. He didn’t know what he would do if it killed Rylan or her brother.
The panther was so close, about a foot away. Rylan didn’t know what to do. The cat’s tail twitched and it just looked up at her. Zander forced his way around her and held out his hand, palm down. The cat sniffed his fingers then pushed its large head into his hand. She couldn’t believe it. This dangerous animal was purring like a kitten. Zander ran his hand around to scratch its chin and the cat’s eyes closed, happy with his touch. “Touch him Rylan.” Zander said.
When his sister didn’t do as he asked Zander continued she’s really just lonely. I was talking with her in her head. I told her we’d be her friends. Rylans little brother never quit amazing her. “You are incredible you know that kid?” He smiled at his sister as Declan landed amazed at the site of Zander petting it. “How…How did you manage that?” I can understand animals when I’m in their heads. It’s hard to really explain what goes on because we don’t really speak, I can just feel what they are saying and they can feel my words.
Rylan & Declan let out a big sigh of relief almost at the same time. “You two just scared me so bad. I wish you wouldn’t be out here at night. There’s more out here than just the panther and I doubt you can talk them all into submission” Zander retorted “You were more worried about Rylan than me. He stuck out his tounge and winked at Declan who turned red “That’s not true”
“Be careful liar before your pants catch on fire and burn these woods down. It’s fine. I know you were worried about me too.” Still embarrassed Declan said “come here you two, I’ll take you back to my home” They both went to him, Declan unable to get Rylan in his arms fast enough to suit him. He ended up jerking her and making her body slam into his. Zander gave a small laugh which had both of them blushing. Upon arring back at his house
Declan let them down gently on the front porch. “I have to go talk to the Matron about what is going on here. She is not going to like children being exploited in such ways.” He said, still floating in the air. “You two stay close to the house, I’m sure Sacha will have followed us out. Keep the cat close.”
“Understood.” Rylan said and as an after thought. “Please be careful. I know you’re a big tough blood sucker, but please come back to us. You’re all we have right now.”
He was truly humbled by her words. “I promise.”
Rylan watched him fly away and suddenly felt like crying. What was wrong with her? She hardly knew this man. She took a deep breath. “You like him and don’t lie sis.” Zander said as he placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Yeah, I do. It’s very confusing.”
“Mom and dad always said love was supposed to be confusing.”
Rylan sat there in thought until the panther came trotting out of the woods. The big beast ran straight up to Zander, rubbing against him and very nearly knocking him down. He slid his hand over the shiny black pelt, and whispered in her head to calm down. They took the big cat inside with them. Rylan needed to make dinner and then get to bed.
When Rylan went to the kitchen Zander started yelling “Tacos! Lets eat tacos! Currently I’m taco deficient and I’ll die if I don’t get one to nourish my body!” Rylan shook her head and started making them. When they were ready Zander sat at the table. The panther was close behind and sat right next to him with her head in his lap.
Rylan ate fairly quickly, starving from all the running. Zander finished soon after her so she quickly cleaned up again and started going upstairs. “Are you coming too Zander? Who knows what we’ll have to do tomorrow.”
“I’ve just made a friend Rylan! I can’t go to bed!” She giggled “Fine, just stay safe and yell for me if you need me ok? Remember this isn’t our home so if any body comes to the door do not open it.”OK! I promise Rylan!” She walked up the stairs and took off her pants laying down in her tshirt and underwear. She snuggled under the covers and had almost drifted off when Zander came knocking at the door.
“She’s thirsty what should I put her water in?” She grunted and jumped up to get her pants on. “Just a minute Zander I’m coming” She found a Tupperware bowl that would do for now and said “Now can I sleep?” He laughed “Yes I’m sorry. I just don’t know where anything is around here.” She retorted “It’s called using your eyeballs.”
They both laughed “Goodnight Zander I love you. Please go to bed soon”
‘but I want to wait for Declan.” she looked confused “why?”
“Oh just man stuff you wouldn’t understand since you’re a girl”
“fine then” She walked upstairs and was soon fast asleep.
The Matron had been less than pleased with his report. She had ordered Declan to not let the woman and boy out of his sight. She promised to contact more warriors and have them begin looking for children with psychic abilities being stalked by the Haze organization. With his orders Declan began his way back home. He had never been so stressed in his life. Every moment he was gone he wanted to be back home with Rylan and Zander to make sure they were unharmed. He also just like being with them which was somthing he was still getting used to.
They filled it with such life and love, it glowed like the sun when he was in their presence. He landed quietly on his porch and pushed through the front door. A large black body slammed into him, almost knocking him to the floor. A sand paper tongue slid over his cheek and large paws rested on his shoulders.
“Down girl.” Zander ordered softly and the panther dropped back on all fours. “Get back on the couch, go on.” The panther huffed, but walked away. “I need to talk to you.”
“About what? Did something happen?” Declan asked, all at once worried. “Cupid’s arrow happened. Believe it or not my stubborn, courageous sister likes you a lot. Maybe more than likes. Why are you just standing around acting like nothing’s going on between you two. You’re just as bad as she is. Don’t you dare try and lie either, I can get in your head pretty easy despite the fact you’ve tried blocking me out.”
“I don’t think you get it. I am very happy to be in her company, very happy that both of you are here, but I can’t let my feelings get in my way. She will grow old and die and I will not.”
“You idiot, what’s the point in wanting something if you’re not going to pursue it. For all you know she’d like to go all Dracula. She’s weird, I mean what girl isn’t.”
Declan couldn’t help turn laugh at the boy. He was sharp for a child. “How did you get so smart?” He asked.
“Books, our parents. You don’t have to ask her to be a vampire, but at least tell her how you feel. It’s like pulling teeth watching you two. I saw that little drawing of her swimming around in her head. That’s the way I see her too, but she doesn’t see herself that way. Now march, I missed out on her reading me The Hobbit waiting here to give you what for.”
“but she’s sleeping right now I’m sure”
“I wake her up all the time. She’s been asleep a long time now so it may be hard but I’m sure you can manage to get her up. I want this to happen now” Declan laughed and said “I’ll try and get her up” He walked up the stairs and knocked on her door. Silence came from the other side causing Zander to sigh “that wasn’t near loud enough. You aren’t really trying to wake her because you’re still being a nervous baby. I cant believe I’ve got more nerve than a vampire” Zander came running up the stairs and banged on the door as loud as he could over and over. He stuck out his tongue and ran away. Declan stood there embarrassed, knowing she’d think that was him.
She opened the door with her hair all messy and her pants not even buttoned from trying to put them on half asleep. Her eyes barely open atall she said “What Zander? What can’t wait until it’s morning”
She then noticed who it really was “Oh what is it Declan” He was even more embarrassed looking at her like that. t wasn’t fair how ridiculously cute and beautiful she was in this moment. “Um..may I come in and talk to you” She opened the door then sleepily walked to her bed where she sat. “What is it?” He was having trouble making anything come out of his mouth. Absolutely nothing made since. She laughed “I can’t understand what you’re saying atall Declan.”
He had never had so much trouble saying what was on his mind before. He sat down beside her and she laid her head on his shoulder. “Hurry and spit it out before I fall back asleep” Her doing that made him even more nervous. He suddenly blurted out “I really care about you, much more than I should a woman I’ve just met and wanted to know how you felt about me” Rylan sat up in stunned silence so he continued “I can’t get you out of my head. I never stop wanting to hold and kiss you. I’ve been thinking about you all the time since we met. You make me happy about coming home. I used to not like my home atall but lately I’m always in a hurry to get back here so I just had to know how you feel about me.”
She kissed him right there, interrupting his steady rambling. When she pulled back she said “I thought you might explode so I had to calm you down”
“Explode? Wouldn’t want to make a mess I suppose.” She laughed and it sent a thrill through him. He liked that sound.
“Are all men so afraid to make the first move? I take it my brother made you come up here. That boy is very open minded and open mouthed. He has no filter.” She smiled, flopping back on the bed with a sigh.
“I’m not afraid of anything thank you very much.”
“Oh please, you should have seen how red you got when you realized I hadn’t been wearing pants. Don’t worry I’m sure my face was the color of a tomato. You should have seen me when I spotted that little drawing. It was very beautiful by the way.”
“I was going to give it to you after all this was over and done with. You inspired me to draw again. I’ve been living in a sort of fog, just going through the motions. Then you and that boy fall into my life and I don’t want to let it go. Sacha loves you two, she’s never been affectionate.” Rylan grabbed his shirt and tugged him down next to her. She snuggled close and he instantly responded with putting his arms around her. She loved the feeling that caused to rush over her. Rylan smiled and slid one of her hands through his long, white hair. She had never known a man to grow their hair out like this. Rylan suddenly felt self conscious about her own. It was a short, pixie cut. It was safer having short hair, no one could grab it.
“I love your hair. I wish I could keep mine long. I’ve been keeping it short since somone used it to pull me down while defending Zander” He smiled again “Well as long as youre here with me you can keep it however long you like. I wouldn’t let anybody get that close to you. Your hair is just fine the way it is though. Youre extremely beautiful.”
“I bet you use that one on all the ladies” he laughed. “Honestly I’ve never gotten close to another girl before. I may have been foolish enough to say nothing to you if your brother hadn’t been demanding I come up here right now. It must be hard with him always knowing how you feel and what you think.”
“It can be but he loves me and only butts his head in when he thinks I need it. I’m glad he did in this instance.” She smiled and it drove him crazy. He pulled her closer, she was now all the way up against his chest. She had her arms between them but then wrapped hers around his body too. “I really want a little more sleep. You can stay if you want Declan”
“I would like that very much.” He raised up, hooking one arm under her knees and the other behind her back. He moved her to the top of the bed. He lay her down gently. He kicked off his shoes and pulled his t-shirt over his head, tossing it on the floor.
“Hold on just a second.” She said when he started to crawl in. She tugged her jeans off and tossed them on the floor. “I hate sleeping in my pants. I’ve had to every night since this all started. It’s horrible.”He slid in next to her, covering them both up and pulling her close so her back was pressed against his chest. He kissed the back of her neck and she laced her fingers through his. She loved being this close to another person, savored the contact. “Sweet dreams.” She whispered softly. “Sweet dreams.” He replied.
It was the smell of smoke that woke Declan. He shook Rylan and she opened her eyes confused. They widened in terror when the smell of burning wood reached her nose. They both jumped out of bed, running from the room and down the hall. Zander’s door was closed and there was a loud screaming sound coming from the other side. Declan kicked it open and Sacha leaped out, shaking. Zander was gone. Smoke rolled up the stairs and down the hall.
“Zander!” Rylan screamed, her eyes stinging and tears running down her cheeks. She coughed as she followed Declan and the panther down the stairs. Sunlight filtered in through one of the windows. She heard him scream her name from, outside. She burst through the front door, her eyes meeting the terrified eyes of her brother as two tossed him into the back of a van. She rushed them, ready to kill them. A loud popping sounded echoed in her ears and fire tore through her abdomen. She froze, looking down in shock. Blood, a lot of blood. “Zander!” She cried and fell to her knees. She collapsed onto her stomach, her vision darkened.
It was bright out but Declan didn’t care, he just needed to help her. The second he was out in the sun it began to burn him so he scooped Rylan up as quickly as possible and ran her inside. His mind was racing with what to dow ith her. It took him so long to get ready and she would bleed to death by the time he arrived at a hospital. If he just tried to take her he’d die before making it and she’d still die. He hated not being able to ask her if it was ok but he decided his only choice was to make her a vampire. He also hoped his Matron wouldn’t scold him for it. They were supposed to get her permission before doing such a thing.
He couldn’t just let her die. He hoped since she did care for him too she wouldn’t hate him. Declan performed the ceremony of mixing their blood. When it was over he was relived she would live but was still deeply concerned she would hate him for what he had just done. It was going to take a long time for Rylan to wake so he kissed her cheek, tucked her in then began the long process of getting ready to leave the house.
Outside he took in the air to catch Zanders scent. He caught it and flew off as fast as he could possibly go. He wasn’t going to let Rylans little brother be hurt by these men.
The smoke had been nothing but a distraction. The men had put wood in the sink and set it on fire. He had put it out before coming outside so Rylan was in no danger. He streaked through the air, following the van. Even though he wanted to rip the roof open and save the boy he had to follow it to its source. If he didn’t find out the mastermind behind Haze they would only continue to try and kill Rylan and experiment on Zander. The van drove to the beach, rolling to a stop in front of a set of docks. The men carried an unconscious Zander to a speed boat. They were taking him out to sea.
Rylan floated in an ocean of darkness and pain. Fire burned in her belly and at her neck. Her muscles gave a painful spasm. Her eyes flew open and she screamed in agony. She curled up in the fetal position, grabbing her stomach. She tried breathing through the pain. Her muscles relaxed then clenched again. She tangled her fingers in the comforter beneath her, her heart hammering loudly in her chest. The pain was so excruciating it pushed her back into unconsciousness.
As Declan flew he felt bad for Rylan at home. He knew she was awake by now and in horrible pain, pain she had to face all by herself. He hoped she knew he would have stayed to comfort her if Zanders well being wasn’t on the line. Another thought hit him as he followed the men with Zander. She’d now have to watch her little brother grow old and die without her.
His heart ached with torment over if what he had done was right. He couldn’t trust his own judgment because he wanted to be with her forever. That hit him like stones the second he thought it He really wanted to be with her forever and then guilt because then his choice had made him happy. As a vampire she would always be with him. He wouldn’t have to lose the person who finally made him happy in his miserable life. Up until the two of them his life was lonely, sad and boring.
His parents were selfish and didn’t care about him. He’d finally have somone to love him. Then he wondered if she would love him one day. Her caring about him was a good start down that path.
She woke, exhausted. She managed to get to her feet, stumbling out of Declan’s room and upstairs. Her brother was gone. Her stomach ached and she remembered being shot. She should be dead. She lifted up her shirt, nothing but smooth skin and dry blood. Every smell seemed sharper, every sound clearer. She could even pinpoint Sacha’s location in the house. It dawned her what had happened. Declan had changed her.
She stood just inside the house, looking out into the sun. She walked out onto the porch then down the steps. She closed her eyes when the warmth of the sun touched her skin. She waited for pain, but nothing happened. She opened her eyes, she wasn’t burning. It confused her since she knew the sun hurt Declan and other vampires. She rushed back inside, not wanting to contemplate it right then. She had to find Declan and Zander. She rushed into the basement, grabbing one of Declan’s shirts and a pair of his sweats with a drawstring at the waist. She dressed quickly. She almost tripped over Sacha when she reached the front door. “Show me where they went.” She said and the panther took off at a sprint. Rylan didn’t know how to fly yet so she raced after the panther, surprised at how easily she kept up.
They finally stopped at this island. A man carrying Zander who was still out cold. There was a huge building and Declan knew that had to be where they were taking him. Now he just needed to wait until they lead him right in and he would end all this. He needed to get what was going on with Rylan out of his head so he wouldn’t be distracted in battle.
Rylan dashed with Sacha until they arrived at the water. She yelled out in frustration since she could’t fly yet. Rylan looked over at sacha, begging for an answer she didn’t think the panther could give. The panther looked up as if to tell her to fly. Rylan really wasn’t sure how though. She didn’t understand how Declan did it and he wasn’t around to explain. She was also worried it may take practice to fly long distance. What if she got above the water and fell in far from land. Declan perched on top of the building, he watched as they entered and crawled down the side of the building like a spider. He slipped inside, crawling up to the ceiling. He pushed open on of the panels and waited in the ceiling. The panels had small holes in them so he could easily follow the man carrying Zander.
He followed them to a door that the man punched a code in for. He kept going until he came to a hall with cells on either side. In each cell was a child, ranging in age from six to eighteen. The man opened an empty cell and tossed Zander inside before leaving. Declan dropped out of the ceiling, running to Zander’s cell, blocking out the frightened sounds of the other children. He would get them all out when he could but right now their sadness was too much to listen to.
Rylan stared at the ocean, knowing she had no choice. She hopped, nothing happened. She tried stretching her arms above her head and realized she probably looked like Superman. She imagined knew she had to be lighter than air, that she had drift upward against gravity. She felt her feet leave the ground and she clapped in triumph. She wrapped her arms around Sacha, lifting her easily off the ground and flying over the ocean at break neck speed. She would make it there, she had to.
She loved this feeling and then thought “Declan must keep his hair so long so he can feel it blowing in all this wind” She assumed Declan had done this to Sacha before because she didn’t seem afraid atall. In fact she looked enamored with the ocean below her and the wind blowing on her. Soon she came up to an island and felt her brother was there. She could smell him and Declan. She hoped her little brother was ok and that Declan had gotten to him in time. While landing she suddenly felt sharp pains again. She quickly descended clutching the ground and yelling.
“Damn it Sacha.” She hissed. The cat had panicked, sensing that Rylan wasn’t as confident in her ability to land. She had twisted completely around and dug her front and back claws into her flesh. She held her stomach, her abdomen once again on fire. There wasn’t very much blood and it seemed the wounds were closing quickly. “As much as I love you, if you ever do that again I will drop you.” The cat rubbed against her, apologetic. “Alright let’s go then.” The building was large and made of stone. A guard stood out front, his mind obviously elsewhere. She rushed in lightening quick, catching him with a right hook so he toppled to the ground unconscious. She was shocked at how strong she was.
“Zander wake up.” Declan whispered and the boy jerked, raising his head.
“Declan?” He stood and stumbled to the front of his cell. “Where’s my sister, is she alright?”
“She’s been injured, but she’s okay. Listen I am going to get you all out of here I promise. Step back.”
Zander moved away and Declan gripped the iron bars, wrenching them open. Zander squeezed out and they moved from cell to cell, releasing the captives. Zander lifted the youngest child in his arms, sending her calming words.
“Everyone stay close. I will get you to the exit and then you must all take the boat back to the mainland. Do not look back, do not be a hero.” Declan froze when Rylans scent hit his nose. He thought to himself “She couldn’t be here. She should be too weak to move. She especially couldn’t be flying yet.” He decided it just must be how much he missed her and his nose was playing tricks on him. She could smell Declan too and was pounding her way through men as effortlessly as she saw him do. She just kept following the scent of her brother and Declan. All this excitement was getting to her though. She was feeling very tired, almost like she was going to pass out from over doing herself.
Declan rounded a corner crashing head long into Rylan. She sat on the ground rubbing her head. “How in the hell did you get here?” He asked as he helped her to her feet. “I flew and then crash landed.” She smiled and embraced him for just a moment. He couldn’t believe it. She was here, real and alive and not burning. How was that possible? “We have to get out of here.” He said, all his questions could be answered later.
They ran through the halls, racing for the door. They burst through, into the sunlight and a group of men were pointing guns at them. Rylan and Declan stood between the children and these men. She wouldn’t let them have these innocent children.
“I applaud you Rylan.” A voice said from behind the men. They parted, allowing a woman of about forty-five to make her way to the head of the group.
“Who are you?” Rylan asked.
“Dr. Charolette O’ Brian.”
“She was dad’s boss.” Zander said.
“You’re the one who started all this?”
The woman’s smile didn’t quite reach her eyes. Declan didn’t trust her. He positioned himself partially in front of Rylan. “Get out of our way.” He ordered icily. “I’m afraid I can’t do that, these children belong to me and if you don’t hand them over we will be forced to take drastic measures.” She snapped her fingers and two men dragged a net over to her with an unconscious Sacha inside. She took a gun from one of the men and pointed it at the panther. Rylan heard Zander’s cries in her head.
The gun was torn from the woman’s hand, flying across the yard to land at their feet. The woman looked shocked. The ground began to vibrate then shake violently. “You will not hurt her.” Zander said angrily. “You stay away from her.” A wave of energy shot forward, knocking the gun wielding goons and the doctor down.
Rylan looked at Zander shocked. The women started slowly getting up. Rylan quickly jumped up and destroyed the ropes holding Sacha. Zander looked so happy and was amazed by what he saw his sister do. Then he connected with her and he saw her getting shot and what Declan did to save her. He looked up at Declan and said “Thanks for not letting her die”
The women was on her feet “We created that power you have Zander. It’s only right you stay here with us. It’s to better the world you selfish brats!” The rest of the children were terrified. the smaller ones just cried for their parents. Zander was losing himself in rage. He had gone through too much for too long and he wasn’t going to let his sister or anybody else suffer any more.
The doctor pointed her gun in Rylan’s face and squeezed the trigger. Rylan closed her eyes, bracing for impact but it never came. She opened her eyes and the bullet floated before her eyes. It turned around, shooting back at the shocked woman and hitting her in the forehead. Rylan looked between the dead woman and her brother. He started to fall with the little girl in his arms, but Declan caught him. The oldest boy took the little girl in his arms, whispering soothing words to her.
“If anyone else wants to die tonight please step forward.” Declan yelled. The men who had been brave enough to point guns at them before didn’t even get up off the ground. They lay their scared out of their minds. “Good. Lets get out of here Rylan.”
Once back on the mainland, Rylan and Declan took the children to his home. He left to inform his Matron that the leader of Haze had been eliminated. He gave her the doctor’s name and the Matron promised to close down everything the woman owned, wipe her business off the face of the earth. He flew quickly home, needing to be close to Rylan. When he entered he could hear her voice upstairs. He walked quickly up the stairs, following her voice to Zander’s room. She was sitting on the floor, surrounded by children, reading The Hobbit. He leaned against the doorframe, just listening.
“Alright kids, time for bed.” Rylan said when she noticed Declan. “Tomorrow we find your parents.”
“What if we don’t have parents? Me and Vanessa have no family.” The eighteen year old asked sadly.
“Then you can stay with us.”
The kids rushed off to bed and Rylan kissed Zander goodnight. She exited his room, closing the door behind her. She jumped into Declan’s arms, burying her face in his hair. “I’m so glad it’s finally over.” She said and kissed his cheek. “It’s so overwhelming.”
“I just have two questions. Why didn’t you burn in the sun?”
“I don’t know,” she shrugged, “probably my blood. We can test that theory in a few minutes. What was the second question?”
“Will you stay with me forever?”
“For all eternity.”
They smiled lovingly at each other, feeling that fate had dealt them a good hand. No matter what had been thrown in their way, they had both come out stronger in the end. Lucky to have one another.
~ The End ~