This chapter was fun to write and still fun to read even now. For me, it is easy to write the strong bad ass characters than the weak ones. My favorite to write are the evil characters because they can do anything, they're evil. Making it sound like what the evil characters are doing is right is even better. Writing Cosima, the main character, isn't as fun because she needs to be weak, at first anyway.
Because chapter two is kind of a boring get to know the main character before the crap goes down chapter, I have considered moving this chapter to chapter two and make chapter 2 the third chapter, switching them. That way the reader gets two chapters up front that have a little more meat to them so hopefully they are willing to read through that get to know you chapter because they know good stuff is coming. All these events are happening at the same time, so I can move them around. I think that I will do that.
This novel is part of a trilogy I have outlined and there is a very small element in this chapter that means nothing in this first book but is very important in books 2 and 3. I'm debating if I should discuss it or not. Books two and three are not written. only outlined, and may never be written even though I do love the idea behind it. But then there is that tiny hope people will enjoy this series and want me to write the rest and if I over discuss it now, maybe they won't. What do you think?
Chapter 3 (maybe chapter 2)
Vadoma stared into the blinding blue light emanating from the stone door carved in the mountain. She had walked through the door a hundred times before and walked through it again now against her will. Each time led to the same strange, dark forest.
She opened her eyes and saw thin, branchless tree trunks surrounding her like a cage as she walked through the dead forest. She saw darkness and fog ahead of her and the same path she had traveled down since she could remember. A cold breeze pricked her naked, damp skin like corpse fingers. The musty, wet smell of decaying vegetation clung to everything around her. She knew this place was a dream. The same dream she’d had her entire life, but the forest still terrified her because the path always ended in the demon’s arms. She shivered as she walked the familiar narrow path leading through the dark and prayed someone would wake her before she reached the end.
The circular clearing of dead ground appeared ahead of her out of the fog. Her muscles tightened and her heart ran like a rabbit pursued by a wolf. She wanted to stop right here and wait for someone to wake her, but knew, one way or another, she would end up in the clearing. And there she was, instantly transported against her will standing naked and alone under a dark, storm covered sky even though she hadn’t moved. The great stone demon stood in front of her in the center of the clearing. His will always won. If he wanted her with him then that’s where she ended up. Many times in the past she had tried to run but she was powerless. His massive bat-like body towered over her like an ancient oak as his enormous dragon wings closed around her. His hunger seeped into every pore of her body consuming her life.
“No!” she screamed, “Leave me alone! I don’t want to die!”
The wings enveloped her in the demon’s cold embrace blocking out the feeble light from the dismal gray sky.
Her voice cracked as she yelled, “Stop bringing me here! What do you want? Somebody, Please, wake me up!” Her heart pounded against her chest and she tried to move away from the creature but the distance between them never changed. She bashed herself against the stone cage of his wings scraping her skin, but the effort was futile. Her life belonged to him.
The black, empty eyes of the demon revealed themselves and burned into her mind, large and almond-shaped. Vadoma saw those eyes even when she was awake. She smashed her eyelids closed covering them with her hands and still she saw them, burning.
“Wake up!” she screamed, as the wings closed around her tighter forcing her against his cold, ruff chest.
A voice, deep, demonic, penetrated her mind. “Remember me.”
“Wake up, gypsy, we’re here.” A hand shook Vadoma’s body. She sat up in the back seat of a car sticky with sweat. She tried to pull her arms apart as her eyes darted around taking in the car and the people surrounding her. Vadoma remembered, she was still a prisoner, her hands tied together. The back of her head hurt where she let them whack her with a gun. The bastards had laid her head on Federico’s legs. Great, no telling what perverted thoughts the Italian asshole had about her; a tied up woman unconscious in his lap. Martino sat in the other seat beside her. She focused her attention on the Car’s Driver and saw that Brandon was behind the wheel. Vadoma couldn’t see anyone in the front passenger seat so she assumed it was Chapman.
Night still surrounded the car as she glanced out at an unfamiliar mountainous terrain. The car stopped and she saw the outline of a house in the dark nestled into the side of the mountain. The dark hid most of the house’s features but she could tell it was pretty modest and run down.
Chapman’s voice floated back from the front passenger seat. “Yes, gypsy. I can’t believe you slept through all those bumps coming up the mountain. You screamed, must’ve had some dream.”
Vadoma scowled; like Chapman really cared. Chapman continued to call her gypsy even though she was fully aware Vadoma hated that term. The ropes tied around her hands irritated her wrists. She tried to rub them against the bindings to scratch her skin but the effort didn’t work out the way she hoped. The black sedan’s doors opened and a gust of cold air rushed in filling the void where everyone once sat. Federico grabbed her with his beefy arms and pulled her out, briefly smiling at her. His black eyes stared at a small amount of cleavage poking out of her ruffled shirt. Pervert!
Martino, his smaller, stupider brother, stayed close by. Guess the two Italians thought she’d try to fight again. Vadoma fought them and hurt them good earlier to send them the message she only remained their captive because they held her father prisoner somewhere. She could easily get away if she wanted, but she needed to know where he was first. Plus, she enjoyed kicking Federico in the balls.
Brandon fiddled with house keys at the door and Chapman stood behind him, waiting and tapping her foot on the wooden deck. She looked like someone had taken a hammer and beaten her down into a midget. The woman only stood five foot tall and was pretty chunky.
Once Brandon managed to open the door, Federico tugged Vadoma’s arm clutching her tight and dragged her across the porch inside the house. Martino followed close behind like an obedient dog. Martino couldn’t think without his big brother thinking for him.
“Tie her down at the table and start unloading the car,” Chapman said. “Brandon, I want you to go back into town and get the rest of the supplies.”
Federico forced Vadoma down in a chair and Chapman sat down across from her. The witch’s head barely made it above the table. “Hey Federico, maybe you should get Chapman a booster seat so I can actually talk to her face to face.” The two Italian brothers rushed at her and held back their hands ready to smack her any moment. Chapman waved them off and the two beefy men hustled outside again while Brandon stared at her from the sink. His cold eyes, blue like ice, chilled her. He hardly ever spoke but for some reason she sensed Brandon was the most dangerous of the four.
Chapman’s face had no expression as her brown eyes fixed on her. Vadoma imagined grabbing her chubby neck and squeezing until the light went out of her eyes.
“I know you’re hiding something from us, Vadoma.” Chapman said, leaning in closer. The hag placed her sausage arms up on the table. The floor creaked as Brandon shifted in his expensive Valentino suit.
She was hiding something from them, but not what they thought she was hiding. Another vampire, a very old and powerful one and not the one they hunted, had followed them since they left the state park back in New York. The aura she sensed from the immortal was so massive the power made her shiver. She had no idea why it followed them but this vampire could easily kill all of them if it chose to. The old one waited close by outside in the woods and Vadoma had no idea why.
“Yes, if you’re trying to prevent us from catching the vampire, I strongly suggest you don’t. We can always kill your father in John’s place and throw you in, too. You are a half-breed after all,” Chapman said.
How these morons ever caught her father was beyond her. They couldn’t even track John without her help, a fledgling who fed on animal blood. Her father was much stronger and more powerful than the vampire they chased after. John was a baby in comparison. These four pitiful excuses for vampire hunters had to have some other help and she wanted to know who. “My father has nothing to do with the death of your husband and neither does the vampire you’re after. He’s too young, barely stronger than a human. The color of his aura indicates he doesn’t feed on humans. Why are you after him?”
“This isn’t about my husband. This is about ridding the world of evil for humanity's sake. Now, tell me, what are you hiding from us?” Chapman’s eyes narrowed to fatty slits.
What a load of crap. All of this was about her dead husband. Before he died, the two of them loved studying the fake wannabe vampires that came crawling to their institution for help. Neither of them suspected the real thing was out there. Maybe, Mr. Chapman finally met the real thing. Vadoma doubted it. He was probably murdered by a human wannabe. No true vampire would reveal themselves to humans, especially not to these two practical jokes. But Chapman was convinced a vampire had killed her husband, and through her determination, she had found a real one; her father. And for reasons Vadoma still didn’t understand, her father had told these jerks about her abilities to find other vampires. “As I told you already, I’m not hiding anything.”
Chapman stared for a moment, and then pulled something from her pocket. “Yes, in case you don’t think we’re serious, here’s a reminder.” She held out her chubby hand and let a thin gold chain drop from her fingers. Hanging from the end of the chain was her mother’s wedding ring.
They must have forced the ring from her father somehow. He would die before giving it up. The ring was all he had left of mom. How did these fools ever catch him? They must have more hunters in New York, smarter hunters. “You can keep flashing that ring at me all you want. It’s not going to change my answer. I’m not hiding anything. I said I would help you track the vampire, and I am. You better hold your end of the bargain and let my father go.”
“We’ll let him go.” Chapman smiled. Her pudgy nose flattened out like a pig nostril. Good thing she didn’t smile often. “But I think you need a reminder of what will happen if we don’t catch John.” She lifted her heavy body from the table and walked over to Vadoma. So short. So easy to kick in the face, but she controlled herself or the brothers might bind her legs, too. Chapman placed the chain over her head and the wedding ring flopped down cold against her neck and chest. She lifted the ring with her tied hands and read the inside inscription.
One lifetime is all I need
The ring had the same bent prong. Her mother used to worry the diamond would fall out and always took it off when she worked in the orchards. Vadoma once asked why she didn’t get the prong fixed. Her mother said the story behind the bent prong was a special one, and one day when she was older she would tell it to her. Her mother never got the chance. She died when Vadoma was young, sixteen. Vadoma’s eyes threatened to glass over. No weakness. She let the ring drop to her chest again. At least she had it back now. She wouldn’t need to beat Chapman with one of her wooden stakes to get the ring even though she planned to anyway.
“How did you even catch my father?” Vadoma asked, her voice laced with more venom than she intended. Her family luck must have run out. That’s the only way these unskilled assholes could have caught a real vampire. The four of them only caught her because she let them. When they broke into her New York apartment, she pretended to be asleep. The best way to find her missing father was to let his kidnappers take her to him. Unfortunately, the hunters drug her to some god forsaken place in West Virginia instead of her father’s location.
Chapman smirked as she returned to her seat. A dirty smile crossed Brandon’s face as well. “You have your secrets, and we have ours. Perhaps your silly fortune-telling will give you the answer.” Chapman said. Brandon held back a laugh. “Brandon, take her to the back room and tie her up. She’s not going to give us any answers tonight. I’m tired of looking at the half-breed.”
“You don’t need to tie me up. I’m not going anywhere.” Vadoma threw Chapman a look she hoped would quake her in her jelly rolls.
“I know.” Chapman said, unaffected, “Brandon, now.” Brandon pushed off the kitchen counter and walked over to Vadoma. As he passed Chapman, he glanced at her, and for a moment he looked uncertain. He washed the expression away as he grabbed Vadoma’s arm and led her down the hall.