Brothers of the Blood Ch. 01-02bytotallyatease©
I once wrote a story called 'Just another damned vampire story' (maybe someone will remember it?)
I retitled it Keeping Sophie Safe and took it down from the site. I can't tell you what I did with it though because that is classed as advertising and my submission will get rejected :)
This story is complete, and if it is liked I shall post it on a regular basis.
Book 2 of The Revived
Brothers of the Blood
Sophie and her sisters did not breathe easily until they had reached their home once more, and locked out the world.
"This house is all well and good, and no other vampire can enter without your leave," Caine said thoughtfully as he and the sisters sat nursing hot mugs of cocoa. "But that does not stop humans under a vampires control from getting inside. And you can't stay her all of the time; you'll have to go out at some point. I think that we need to find somewhere more... isolated, somewhere we can have privacy to explore what is happening to all of us... somewhere we can be, where we can see any other vampires coming, long before they even get to us..."
"You think that they'll still come after us?" Sophie asked apprehensively.
Caine shrugged and the other two vampires just looked on expressionlessly. "We're like an open wound to them, something that cannot be ignored... something that must be dealt with."
"But your Elders issued that proclamation!" Sam protested.
"Yes," Christian agreed. "But what they do in private is not always what they proclaim to their subjects."
"So where will we go?" Sarah asked nervously, "where can we go, where we might feel even a little bit safe?"
"I have a place," Christian said suddenly. "I purchased it years ago, to use as a bolthole if ever the need was there; but I never got around to using it."
"Where is it?" Caine asked.
"A bolthole," Matt said at the same time. "That doesn't sound very big!"
Christian smiled a twisted sort of smile. "I've never cared for small cramped places. I call it a bolthole because that was its purpose, but it is a very sizable house... with extensive and deeply buried cellars."
They spent some considerable time, discussing their options and the best course of action, and finally it was decided that they would move to Christian's bolthole, and spend time together, and see what -- if anything could happen between them.
They seemed to have paired off, with Sophie always with Caine, and Christian and Sam seemed to have a bond that kept those two always together. And Sarah sat with Matt, with her hand on his arm, almost as though afraid he would try and run, if she broke the contact.
It was as he looked at his brother, that Caine's interest stirred once more. "What did happen, with the two of you?" he suddenly asked curiously. He had tried a couple of times to make a mind contact with his brother, but it seemed as though there was a barrier there now, blocking him.
Matt cast a quick look at Sarah and his quicksilver eyes darkened with remorse.
"I was weak!" he muttered hoarsely. "I couldn't hold back the beast -- I could not protect her..."
Her hand tightened around his arm momentarily and she smiled supportively at him.
"You did manage to fight it in the end though, you managed to save me!" she said consolingly.
He looked across at the others, seeing nothing but confusion and concern on the sister's faces, but a dark guarded suspicion on the vampires -- on his brother's face.
"What happened, Matt?" Caine demanded.
Matt gave a sigh. "I had drained her blood..." he began miserably. "I had drained almost all of her blood, and she was almost dead. I had to do something -- I had to replenish what I'd taken!"
Caine sat forward. "What did you do?" he demanded again.
"I gave her my blood... I fed her!"
Sophie and Sam looked vaguely sick at the thought of Sarah drinking his blood. But Christian and Caine both looked at Sarah.
"She's not... why is she not one of us now?" Christian asked as he clearly heard her heartbeat.
"She should be a vampire," Caine agreed. "The demon seed should have entered her with your blood, but nothing about these sisters is as it should be, that's what makes them so dangerous; that is why we must protect them."
"She is not a vampire," Matt said with a hint of relief. "But she is different now, she has drunk some of my blood, and I have drunk some of hers; and now we are both changed."
"You are linked?" Caine asked.
Matt nodded and his eyes glinted silver again, as they fixed on Sarah. "As soon as you swallowed the first drop of my blood, I felt the bond. I... I would have talked to you about it once you were stronger, I would have explained -- but we were attacked so suddenly and my gut reaction, was to conceal myself; to stay close to you, but free so that I could help to free you as well, at the first opportunity.
"So it was you who kept on whispering inside my mind?" Sarah said with a shaky little smile. "You, who kept telling me what to do and telling me that everything, would be okay."
She reached out and hugged him tight. "I was so afraid Matt!" she whispered. "But you kept me safe."
Christian gave a little grunt and Caine looked at him to see such a look of longing.
"I do wish you women would stop doing things like that!" he growled in frustration.
"What?" Caine asked blankly.
Christian looked at him in surprise, and his eyes glinted like molten steel. "You can't feel that? It's like a warm embrace, a... a..." he trailed off as he seemed to become lost in some thought.
Caine watched almost jealously as the look of euphoria crossed Christian's face.
He was linked to Sophie now. She had revived him and healed him, she had killed the beast that had inhabited him, and he was closed now, to everything but her.
As Caine looked across at his brother he saw an almost identical look on his face as well.
It appeared that Sarah was projecting her feelings of gratitude to Matt -- and Christian was picking up on it too.
Once again Caine felt a jolt inside, at his inability to feel what seemed to be something pretty special.
He was not the only one who was feeling jealous though, as Sam suddenly grabbed Christian's leg and leaned against him to hiss. "Hey you, get off my sister's radar!"
Her blue eyes glowed and Christian grunted, and the look of pleasure slowly faded to one of rueful embarrassment.
"Just remember that you belong to me now?" she whispered almost consolingly.
He looked at her hopefully, "Would you like to take that particular discussion, somewhere more private?"
Sophie sat forward and her eyes glinted too.
Caine could feel her all too well!
"Neither of you two vampires will spend any time alone with my sisters, until you can guarantee their safety!" she declared protectively.
"Their safety?" Christian laughed in outrage. "What about our safety?"
Once the decision was made to move to Christian's 'bolthole', Caine and Christian began to make plans, on the best way to get there.
The two of them were sat in Sophie's kitchen as the moon climbed higher into the sky.
Sophie and Sam had both retired and Sarah was holed up somewhere with Matt -- again. The two of them had been almost inseparable since being back in the house, but they also kept sloping off together, to spend time alone. Caine wondered if it was some sort of romantic thing, or something else that made the two of them want to avoid the company of everyone else.
He'd seen the slight look of worry on Sophie's face every time that she looked at sister. But so far she did not seem to want to voice her concerns.
"Day travel will probably be our best bet," Caine said thoughtfully.
"Best for whom exactly?" Christian snapped irritably.
"Safer then," Caine amended evenly.
Christian sighed as he realised the truth of it. "When?" His hunger for blood was beginning to stir and his battle with his beast was starting to grow.
Caine had advised him to go out and seek nourishment on more than one occasion, but Christian would just shrug.
"I can handle the beast," he would say. "It weakens its hold on me, if I make it starve for a while..."
He was looking across at Caine now, and Caine could almost see a hint of the man that Christian once was... almost.
"You know that they'll track us down fairly quickly, so the sooner we leave then the better chance we've got..." he trailed off as a sort of blank look crossed over Christian's features.
His eyes focused back on Caine, after a moment, and a ghost of a smile curled his lips, and he was once more the ruthless vampire.
"There are three vampires close by," he said calmly. "One just across the road, and one each end of the road, beyond that I would need to concentrate harder."
Caine shrugged his shoulders. "It's enough for now just to know that they are out there."
"So we do nothing, for now?"
"No, let them be happy that they are keeping tabs on us -- for the moment... but we'll have to do something before we leave here, we can't have them dogging our trail every step of the way."
"Travelling by day will be safer for the women," Christian said thoughtfully, "but Matt and I will struggle, and it will be draining for us."
Caine nodded in understanding. "I'll get Sophie to find a vehicle that will offer you some sort of protection."
"You too, I think," Christian said. "I know that your tolerance has increased, but we still don't know how much effect, those changes have had on you... so why risk it?"
"Concern, Christian?" Caine mocked, "Next thing, you'll be wanting to call me brother!"
Christian shrugged indifferently. "I've always thought of us as brothers of the blood," he reminded him. "And in recent days, what with our exile from the vampire society, well..."
Matt's sudden entrance cut off further conversation between them, as Caine looked at his brother, and frowned.
"You are looking a bit pale?"
Matt shrugged, "It's been a while since I've fed..." no one chose to mention who he'd last fed on, "I will need to replenish, and soon."
"We're being watched," Caine said in a low voice, "so you will need to be careful."
"They won't even see me leave," Matt smiled.
"Be discrete then, and don't take needless risks."
Matt nodded and seemed to stand a little taller as he focused his mind.
Christian sat and watched in fascination as one moment he was there, and the next he was gone.
"How is it, that I could see you when you did this illusion, but even knowing about it and watching him do it, I still cannot see him?" Christian wondered aloud.
Caine shrugged carelessly. "Matt was always very good at it, it was after all his talent."
Christian suddenly seemed to be batting at invisible flies.
"Cut that out, Stevens!" he snarled angrily.
Caine chuckled, but he looked just past Christian's shoulder to address his invisible brother. "The night is wearing on," he said pointedly.
They left the house for the last time -- a few days later.
It was an hour before dawn, and Matt and Caine had used their cloaks of indifference/ invisibility to get close enough to those vampire watchers -- to dispose of them.
Christian had located every single vampire within a five mile radius, and Matt and Caine had closed in on them and dealt with them, before those vampires had even realised that they were in danger.
"I must say," Matt murmured as the brothers joined up and made their way back to Sophie's house. "Manford was dead on accurate with his directions, and he managed to locate them all, even those that were further out."
"Christian was created to be his master's hunting dog, so tracking was a key part of that... and I think that it was mostly vampires that his master wanted him to -- deal with!"
"I heard those rumours too," Matt said thoughtfully. "But I never put much credence to them. Vampires can be the worst panic mongers on the planet!"
Caine chuckled but did not agree nor dispute the observation.
"Sophie's brought the van over," he observed with a note of approval and affection.
Matt looked at his brother enviously. "You really care for her -- don't you?"
Caine shrugged his shoulders. "She gave me a heartbeat again, she gave me a pulse and she silenced the beast inside me... she gave me back my life."
The journey went smoothly, with Sarah and Sophie sharing the driving.
Still Sophie was feeling very tired by the time she pulled off the motorway, and thankfully turned into the entrance to a long narrow dirt road. She could see the top of a roof just beyond the trees, but not much else from that angle.
She gave a little sigh as she drove carefully for the last few hundred yards.
The house that Christian had referred to as a 'bolthole', was in actual fact a fairly large estate, with the central house having what looked like four floors -- plus attics, not to mention those 'extensive underground cellars', which Christian had referred to.
"It's not exactly discreet," Caine murmured as they pulled into the driveway just as the sun was about to set.
The red van had been purchased by Sophie, using the cash that Caine had given to her, and she had chosen it because it had several seats, but no rear windows.
Even so, Matt and Christian were huddled as far back inside the van as they could get, as they felt the power of the sun, trying to get through the metal walls and eat them up.
"I told you," Christian said a little weakly. "I never did care for cramped spaces."
"It looks... lived in," Sophie observed, as she noticed the lights in various rooms.
"Yes... my man has been living here for decades, he has a standing in the nearby community and a reputation for solitude and privacy." He gave a pained smile. "He'll make sure that no one comes snooping... and should any strangers arrive -- then he'll hear about it very quickly."
"But what makes you so sure that you can trust your man?"
Christian hesitated as he felt the last rays of the sun -- just as it set behind the nearby hill.
As darkness descended outside, more lights became visible inside the house.
Christian let out a sigh of relief and his hunched shoulders straightened out again.
"As a man, I was always devoted to my family, always protected them -- even when my master turned me into the beast that he needed... there was a part of me that knew that my living family could be the path to my salvation... I spirited away my last living relative -- my brother, and after many years of keeping my distance, I sought him out... he was an old man by then, with only a grandchild to keep him company. I set them up on this estate, and again I kept my distance, let them live out their lives in obscurity."
His voice had a detached note to it and the others in the van found themselves reliving his pain with him... the pain of losing the family that he'd loved so much.
He'd had everything ripped away from him by the elder, including his humanity... but even in the depths of his madness and his rage, Christian had held on to a spark, a seed from which he could maybe one day come back.
"The man who lives here now, is my brother's great, great grandson -- I think... my last descendant."
The front door opened suddenly and a man stepped out onto the porch, to peer across at the van.
As Sophie climbed out, the man walked across.
"Can I help you in some way?" the young man asked in a familiar voice.
Sophie looked at the living incarnation of Christian, and felt a small shiver down her back, as she looked up into this man's face.
Instead of Christian's steel grey vampire eyes, this man's were a warm and gentle brown.
His lips curved into a polite smile, which was so familiar, but so very different. Christian's cold mocking vampire smile, matched the line and curve -- but this man was kind and warm and all the things that Christian the man must have been.
Sophie found herself wondering why the elder had chosen a man like Christian to be his animal... unless it was the ironic cruelty that had guided him... to take the kindest of men and twist them into something -- cruel and evil.
"Good evening," she began hesitantly. "I'm so sorry to trespass but..."
The others were climbing out of the van, and the man's eyes left hers to look at the others.
She saw the moment when they rested on Christian.
Saw the way his eye brows lifted in shocked recognition, saw the stiffness come to his shoulders.
"Who are you?" he demanded in a shaken whisper.
Christian strolled over with a lazy smile, and a stiff guarded expression.
"It's good to meet you at last... nephew, but tell me -- do you have a name?"
It was Christian's usual mocking tone, but Sophie clearly heard the pain and anguish there, as he realised that he'd lost another relative in his absence. That this was not the older man who he'd been expecting to greet.
And it appeared that she wasn't the only one, as Sam stepped up beside him and rested her hand on his arm in a gesture of support.
Christian looked away from his nephew to smile down at Sam, but Sophie's eyes remained fixed on the human.
Christian's -- nephew, also looked at Sam, and Sophie saw the brief look of desire in his unguarded gaze, just before his lids came down and his expression suddenly matched Christian's, for coldness, as it became cynical and closed.
"I'm called Chris," he said slowly, "Christian Edward Manford the sixth."
Christian's eyes widened in surprise and a whole host of emotion flickered in them.
"I... I never knew," he whispered huskily.
"You are the one, aren't you," Chris said quietly. "The reason why we live in this house, but will never really own it, why we all carry the same name... the one that we were always told to remember..."
"Who told you to remember? I never asked that of you!"
Chris shrugged his shoulders. "My grandfather's grandfather -- I think... he started it with the name business, 'so that we would never forget'," he quoted almost bitterly. "Never forget our benefactor, the sole reason for our position in this community, for our comfort and wealth!"
Christian's eyes glinted as he picked up on the resentment this man obviously felt.
"Any position that you have in this community -- is solely of your own making, it is because of the man that you are that the people here may -- or may not, respect you."
His mocking drawl, was his defence, Sophie realised.
"The evening is cooling down fast," she cut in as she rubbed at her arms pointedly.
Chris looked at her quickly and again something flashed briefly in his eyes.
"My home is yours," he said stiffly. "If you would all like to come inside, I will arrange for some... rooms to be made up for you."
They all trooped wearily into the house and Chris stepped towards a woman who was entering the hallway.
"Martha, please can you have some rooms prepared -- I've the pleasure of some unexpected guests," he said lightly to the woman.
"Yes of course, Mr Manford, I'll have it done immediately... how many rooms sir?"
Chris looked at Christian questioningly and the vampire waved a careless hand. "How many guests do you have?" he demanded a little impatiently.
Chris hesitated. "I wasn't sure if some of you would be... sharing?"
"A room each is not too much to ask for, in a house this size -- I think?"
Chris flushed uncomfortably at Christian mocking tone.
"See to it please, Martha," he instructed a little curtly, and sounding, and looking at that moment, much more like Christian -- than their initial superficial similarities had made him seem.
He turned to look at Sophie and his smile and his eyes warmed. "Can I get any of you any nourishment?" he asked hospitably.
She smiled back gratefully. "We've not eaten in hours," she declared.