edit: i added more to this chapter to make it longer!
I awoke feeling disgruntled and disoriented. The room was completely dark except for the blinking red numbers from the clock on the bedside table that told me it was almost noon. I felt around blindly until my hand met the lamp, and I clicked it on. I hadn’t noticed before, but there were no windows in the room, and I wondered why such an extravagant mansion wouldn’t have such a commonplace thing. I sat up and stretched, running my fingers through my hair and trying to remember everything that had happened the day before. I still wasn’t entirely convinced that it hadn’t been a dream. It had all been so crazy, so unbelievable, so out of the ordinary in my usual mundane life.
I finally forced myself out of bed and stretched again. I really didn’t feel like facing the reality of what was happening. Not that I ever really did, even on normal days, but at least now I had an excuse for not wanting to deal with things. I found a pair of pajama pants in the dresser and put them on, then walked into the hallway. I quickly realized that the rest of the house didn’t have windows either, was just illuminated with lamps and lights. Weird.
I walked around a little awkwardly, not knowing what to do in the unfamiliar house. I didn’t know if Brendon was awake or even here. Was I just supposed to hang out? Could I leave? I didn’t even know where I was, really, so I guess that was probably out of the question. After a little wandering I finally found the kitchen. I guessed that a good starting point was coffee. I walked in, and on the table was a box of donuts next to a note written in that same calligraphy. It read:
Good morning, and I hope you slept well. I hope you like donuts. If anything they will help you gain the weight you seem to be missing. I also visited your friend Spencer and his lady friend last night. While they were sleeping I suggested to them that they take an extended vacation to somewhere far away. By the time you wake up they will likely be on their way. There is no need to worry about them now. In any event, when I wake up we can discuss the next course of action. If you need me before then, feel free to call on me. My room is off the library, as I said before.
[/PS- The coffee is in the cupboard next to the smaller fridge.
Coffee was a wonderful place to start. I went to the cupboard and got out the grounds, using the French press on the counter to make my coffee. While the water heated, I went back over and got a doughnut from the box. I’d eaten the night before, but the stress and shock was making me ravenous. Trying to distract myself from eating the entire box, I wandered across the hall into the den, which housed expensive looking couches and a large fireplace. Pictures lined the walls of the large, yet cozy room, and I found myself walking slowly around the perimeter to look at them all. Most of them were paintings. The largest, hung above the fireplace, was a huge oil painting of maybe 20 people. It seemed to be a family portrait, and I was confused when I couldn’t find Brendon in it, until I realized he was one of two children sitting cross legged in front of the rest of them. The more I looked at the painting the sadder I felt. Everyone was so stern looking, so somber-faced in their period clothing. The younger Brendon’s face already had a cruelty to it that I didn’t recognize in his face now. Other oil paintings lined the wall next to it, all portraits of people I didn’t recognize but looked vaguely like Brendon. I could only assume they were of his family. Then, a smaller portrait of Brendon in a military uniform. An acrylic painting of a large mansion.
There were more on the far wall, the largest being a regal royalty-type painting. On the right, Brendon stood, stony-faced, dressed in regal robes with a gold crown on his head. To the left, a beautiful young woman sat, white-blonde hair piled into an elaborately designed bun on top of her head, framed with a diadem. She wore a grand burgundy dress and was gorgeous, with a perfect complexion, but even the painting gave away her cruel eyes. That must have been the wife Brendon had spoken about in disdain.
At the end of the one couch, there was a small end table with a frame on it. I picked it up to see a faded black and white photograph. Brendon sat to the left in a sharp, but old fashioned suit, smiling with closed lips and sparkling eyes. To his right stood a very young girl. Though he was sitting and she stood, she was barely the same height as him. She had a very strange, eerie beauty to her, smiling wide, with bright eyes. Her long, white blonde hair cascaded down past her shoulders to her waist, right above where her dress came away from her body. She stood with one hand on Brendon’s shoulder, leaning towards him, and I knew that this must have been his daughter. I smiled, remembering how he’d spoken of her earlier.
I set the frame back in its place and returned to the kitchen, pouring my finished coffee from the French press into a mug. I sipped it, and went to the French doors that looked out on the backyard. It was honestly a beautiful backyard, with a huge patio and a fountain and sprawling gardens. I idly wondered where Brendon could possibly have gotten the money for this place, but then realized I probably didn’t want to know, really, and opened the doors. I stepped out into the cool air and took a deep breath. It smelled a little like rain, something that rarely happened back in Las Vegas. I wandered idly around the patio for a while before deciding to walk up the path into the gardens. The stone path was lined with all sorts of flowers. Rosebushes grew huge red and white and yellow buds, and I wondered if Brendon did this himself or hired a gardener.
Up a small hill was a white gazebo covered in thick ivy. I turned up towards it, thinking it would be nice to sit and drink my coffee there for a while. I saw something move, suddenly, out the corner of my eye, and I stopped, turning my head to look. It had been something dark, something big, and I looked around suspiciously a moment before deciding it was just my imagination. I was stressed and shocked and paranoid, and mostly asleep too, since my coffee cup was still full. I dismissed it and started back up the path. No sooner had I started walking than I saw it again, this time a dash of black right in front of me, and there was no doubt that something was out here. I dropped the mug, which shattered on the stone. I whirled around, trying to find the thing again, my eyes desperately darting back and forth to try and find the thing eluding my sight. Shaking, I started walking swiftly back to the house, cursing that I’d wanted to go all the way up to the gazebo. I didn’t get far though, because after two steps I felt something grab my wrist hard, and I whirled around, staring into the red eyes of a vampire. I yelled, tried to scream out Brendon’s name, but only got out a loud “Bren-“ before I felt something very sharp and very cold pierce into my stomach, and everything faded into black.
It took me a long time to get my bearings when consciousness finally started to come back to me. My eyes were too heavy to open, and a deep sense of vertigo kept me spinning. I thought I was sitting. Maybe. When the spinning finally started to calm, I was vaguely aware of hushed voices around me. I couldn’t understand anything anyone was saying, only knew that there were people in the room. It was cold. And as I became aware of that, I was also hit with a white-hot pain in my stomach. I couldn’t suppress a groan, which only made things worse. Pain coursed through my body, pounding through my head. I finally got my eyes to creak open and found that I was sitting in a chair, hands bound behind me. Trying hard to regulate my breathing, I looked down and saw a knife buried to the hilt in my stomach. God, oh god. I was going to die. Panic started to course through me. I coughed, and felt blood stain my lips. Looking around, I saw no one, and I set about trying to free my hands, fighting through the searing pain that was beginning to consume me. It was useless. I was so tired, so dizzy, so heavy. A pool of blood had formed around me. I was done for, fuck. I leaned my head back and pressed my eyes closed. I couldn’t understand what I had done to deserve any of this. I hadn’t a clue what was going on, didn’t fucking choose for this to happen.
Suddenly, someone grabbed the handle of the knife and twisted it hard before pulling it out. Excruciating pain pulsed through my body, and my eyes flew open with a pained cry. My chest heaved, blood dripping down over my lips. In front of me stood a pale, well-dressed man. His jet black hair was set perfectly in place, crimson eyes staring, unfaltering, at me. I watched as he raised the knife to his lips, as he licked the blood off both sides.
“You know,” he said, weighing the knife in his hand, “you’ve become a very large problem for us, Ryan Ross. What shall we do about that?”
“Please,” I said shakily. I had no intention of begging with this monster, whoever he might be, but apparently my survival instinct had other plans. “I h-have no idea what’s going on, who you are, wh-why I’m even here, please.”
“Come now, Ryan. I know you know something about why you’re here.”
“B-barely,” I choked out. “Brendon said something about a-a stupid prophecy or something, I-I don’t care, I just want to go home.”
“But of course you know I can’t let you do that. If I let you go, we all know you will just find a way to cause more trouble.” He reached forward with the knife, tracing the tip along my jaw and down the side of my neck. I didn’t dare breathe, trying not to shake. “Which begs the question again,” he said with a sigh. “What am I going to do with you.”
“D-don’t kill me,” I heard myself whisper. He only laughed.
“Oh, I’m going to kill you,” he said amusedly. “I just can’t decide if it would be more pertinent to end your life as a mortal, or as part of my family. There may be some use in you yet.”
It dawned on me what he meant, and I looked at him, shaking my head as much as I could. “N-no, no no no, no, n-no no no, no, anything but that, no, please, I’d rather die.”
“You will die, eventually, no need to worry about that.”
He walked away from me to the other side of the room. I watched him, and for the first time noticed the woman standing there. She had a regal, timeless beauty to her though she was dressed in modern clothing, her long blonde hair tied into a loose bun on top of her head. There was something familiar about her. I placed it right as the man began to speak.
“Juliette, will you bring the children in, please?”
“J-juliette?” My eyes widened, and she looked at me. “Y-you, you’re Brendon’s daughter.”
“Nothing gets past you,” she responded sharply before turning and leaving the room. The man walked back over and used the knife to cut the ropes that tied my hands.
“Sh-she’s alive? Brendon thinks she’s dead.”
“I had hoped you wouldn’t recognize her. In the future I’ll have to ask you to not mention him.”
I laughed breathily, letting my eyes close as I leaned my head back. “I don’t think there’s gonna be a future.” Already, I felt my mind fogging up, my chest getting heavy. As a child I used to imagine how I would die. Peacefully, in my sleep maybe. As I got older I realized alcoholism would be more plausible. But this was never on my list of maybes.
He didn’t respond, and I tilted my head to the side, peeking my eyes open to see him walking back to the door. In the doorway stood a group of seemingly very young children. And I heard him say to them, “Dinner.” My vision failed me, then, and the only thing I was aware of for the next eternity until my consciousness left me again was a thousand searing stabs all over my body.