Dawn of the Vampires
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Harley Lawrence is a young vampire hunter who comes from a long line of hunters. Every night she patrols the city, ridding it of the evil that stalks the innocent. Without her mother, the past two years have been tough and now she can't help but wish for something more than a life of hunting. Mason James is a five hundred year old vampire who runs with the biggest clan in New York City and yet is still bound by his humanity. The leader of the clan, Demitri Van Santen, has plans that touch upon a whole new level of evil, and Mason doesn't like them. So he finds Harley and warns her of what is to come.
Unsheathing her sword from her back, Harley spun around just in time as another one of the evil abominations tried to launch an attack and swung her sword, slicing the vampire directly across its chest. It let out an ear piercing shriek as black blood spilled out through its open wound. Dodging another attempted attack, she swung her sword again, this time aiming for its throat. The vampire fell to its knees, giving her an advantage. Sheathing her sword, and retrieving the stake that she had dropped earlier in the fight, she slowly walked over to it. Looking into its stone cold eyes, she brought her knee up and struck it in the face, causing it to fall flat on its back. She knelt down beside him and swiftly jammed the stake in its chest. With one final shriek, the vampire wriggled before bursting into nothing but ashes.
Adrenaline pumping through her body after the kill, she took off in the direction that she was headed in when the vampire had appeared. A long night of hunting had finally come to an end and she could now return home. The city tonight was frozen. Thousands laid up in their homes to hide away from winter's harsh bite, giving her the perfect opportunity to strike when needed. Of course, at this hour there were still some people around but most were drunks that were intoxicated to the point where hallucinations were possible. There was no need to be discreet for now.
It was almost sunrise by the time she reached home and she had to sneak inside the apartment as quietly as possible. Her father, grandfather, step-sister and step-mother were still asleep. Her father Zander, in particular, had not long returned from the hunt he'd been on in his section of the city. She could tell this by the fresh smell of strong coffee and cigars, which was his routine after he returned from every hunt, before he went to sleep.
Tiptoeing through the front door, she closed it behind her with a gentle click before continuing to her room. Once she made it successfully inside without making too much sound, she breathed a sigh of relief before collapsing onto her bed and falling asleep instantly.
It was midafternoon when Harley awoke from her deep slumber, by which time the rest of her family were up and already after eating lunch. As she sat up and rubbed her eyes free of the dust that had settled in them, she could hear the sound of their voices talking. Throwing back the covers, she got up and exited her bedroom, eager to greet her family.
The first out of the four to notice her was her step-sister, Kiara. Although they had different mother's, the two of them were pretty close. Two years younger than her, Zander had made Harley promise that she would not introduce her to the life of hunting until the time was right. Though she sometimes got lonely on her hunts, she had decided that it would be best to let their father introduce Kiara when he was ready to.
"Seriously… Afternoon again. What do you do, stay up all night watching cheesy TV romances?" Kiara teased playfully.
Harley rolled her eyes with a groan and sat down at the dining table, her head propped up by the palm of her hand. By now, she was so used to the routine of sleeping in the morning and waking up in the afternoon that she couldn't change it even if she wanted to.
"Rough night?" Her father questioned, lowering his newspaper so that he could see her face.
"No, no… Just the usual." She assured him.
Before the conversation could continue, her step-mother, Lydia, placed a mug of coffee in front of her on the table. Nodding a thank you, she clasped the handle with her left hand and brought the mug to her lips, taking a sip. Feeling the burning hot liquid slide down her throat, she felt more awake after a few more sips. Placing the mug back on the coaster she brushed a loose strand of her ebony locks behind her ears and looked up to meet her father's eyes.
"Harley, go get dressed. I need to talk to you about something. We will take a walk to the park once you are ready." Zander requested.
"Sure thing Dad."
Rising from her seat, she trailed off into her room once more and threw on the first set of fresh clothes she could find; A pair of black leggings along with a black, one shoulder top, accompanied by her black leather jacket and up the leg boots. Dragging a brush through her hair before grabbing her phone from the nightstand and slipping it inside her jacket pocket, she rejoined her family in the open plan room.
"Ready?" Her father questioned.
Exiting through the door he had opened for her, she already knew the conversation that was going to be had between them. He wasn't really taking her to the park that much she knew already, instead they were going down to the ground floor of the apartment block and then down further still into the basement.
"Report on last night's hunt?" Zander prompted.
"Uh… Yeah. Pretty much the same old. The usual trickery. Number of kills; 19." She summarised.
"Good. That's my girl." He praised her.
"What about your early evening hunt?"
"Forty kills. All scattered around the city. The normal ones that stalk and target clubbers and drunks."
"Noted." She concluded.
"Great! Let's go join grandpa and the rest of the bunch."
"You go ahead, I'm actually gonna go for a walk."
"Oh- Okay… Everything okay?" Zander questioned, concerned.
"Yeah, everything's fine, I just kinda want a little space."
"Look, I know things have kind of been rough recently, but I promise that things will settle eventually." He reassured her.
"I know dad, and it's okay, believe me. I'll catch up with you later before my hunting shift."
"Alright, well be careful out there."
"Don't worry, I will be."
With nothing left to say, she gave her father a small hug before climbing the stairs to the basement and heading out into the hall towards the main entrance. Outside it was cold enough to snow. It was the beginning of November and frost was already beginning to glaze the grass and the trees. Folding her arms over her chest to keep warm, Harley kept walking until the apartment blocks disappeared from her line of vision. She already knew where her feet were taking her before she'd even had the chance to think about it.
It was a short walk to the old cemetery, which had been almost completely forgotten since the new one had been developed only three years ago, and as soon as she walked through the little archway that had been decorated with artificial roses, she headed straight for the third headstone on the second row of the left side. Kneeling down in front, she ignored the bitter chill that assaulted her body as her knees touched the ground. She reached out with two fingers and wiped the frost away from the inscription that was written in gold against the blackish grey stone.
Marie Anne Lawrence.
1980 - 2020
Beloved wife, mother and sister.
Seeing her mother's name etched on one of these gravestones was one of the worst fears that Harley had whilst growing and now that she was older, and it was a reality, it caused great pain rather than fear. She was just eighteen years old when her mother died. Two years ago, everything had been perfect. Their lives couldn't have been better… Until one night when her parents were out on a hunt and a vampire from a particularly powerful clan had attacked her mother while her father was already in a fight of his own. That night, when Zander had come home with his clothes bloodstained and his eyes red raw, she knew straight away that something was wrong. He just couldn't save her.
A few months after that, she had learned of his secret family that he had been hiding all these years. Two years after Harley was born, her parents had hit a rough patch and during one argument, he had stormed out. It turned out that he'd gone to one of the sleazy downtown bars and hooked up with a woman he'd met. She came to him a few weeks later with the news of her pregnancy. Her father had agreed to visit and support in any way he could on the one condition that her mother never found out. It wasn't until after her death that he had come clean to Harley and moved her step-sister in after starting a real relationship with the girl's mother. After that it was as though the memory of her own mother had faded.
But she would never forget the woman who made her who she was. It was impossible, and the entire reason she began hunting like her father was to prevent another young girl from losing a parent. Revenge sounded sweet, but Harley knew that it would be stupid of her to even try to seek the vampire clan that hid her mother's killer. Preventing the deaths of others was the next best thing. Though it didn't take away her pain, it lessened it just slightly.
"Oh mum… Are things ever going to change? I need something more than hunting in my life. Don't get me wrong, I love fulfilling my duty but I can't help but want more in life. Friends… A real job… Love… But I know that is damn near impossible."
Pouring her heart out despite not knowing if her mother could hear her was the only outlet that she knew of these days. After she spoke, she closed her eyes and leaned into the silence trying to pick up on a sign that she was heard. But there were none. Disappointed with the outcome of her visit, she rose to her feet and slowly began to walk away.
She wasn't all that hungry but she knew that she should eat at least a little something before her hunting shift. Keeping her eyes glued to the ground as she walked back down the street, her pace was slower than usual as she didn't really want to head home. Without her mother there, the apartment didn't feel very homely. During her walk she passed by many different people; shady business men, homeless folk and young women with their little girls.
Seeing them ignited her own memories of her mother in her mind. All the neon lights of the city blurred into one as she teared up upon remembering the woman that had given her life; all the bedtime stories finished with a kiss goodnight on her forehead, the music recitals that she'd gone to after secretly enrolling her into classes unbeknownst to her father, and the advice that had been given as struggled to adjust after hitting her teens. Those were the times that she missed the most. It wasn't just that she was grown up now, but also that she would never have the chance to share another memory with her. She would never watch her advance as a hunter, never get to see her get married - if Harley should find true love, and would never get to meet her grandchildren - if she were to have any.
Reaching the block, she opened the door and headed up two flights of stairs to the third storey and into the apartment. Her step-mother and Kiara appeared to be absent, meaning that it was just her father and grandfather sitting around the TV, focusing on the screen like mindless zombies to the point where they hadn't noticed her come through the door. Neither of them looked in her direction until she coughed as the warm indoor air hit her after being out in the cold for so long.
Zander sighed unhappily, grabbed the remote and switched the TV off before throwing it back down on the couch. He stood up, straightened out his shirt and turned his attention to his first born daughter, a hard expression written on his face.
"What is it?" She asked, confused by his sudden and obvious anger towards her.
"My father and I were just watching the evening news." He informed her.
"Yeah, so…?" She questioned, wishing that he would just get straight to the point.
"Three were killed last night. Of course, police have ruled that the cause of death was a drug deal gone bad… But bite marks on their necks, bodies completely drained of blood and scratch marks across their arms from force." He told her.
"Vampires." She confirmed, although she knew that her father didn't need any confirmation to decide that.
"And on your shift too! You've got to do better than this Harley. I didn't train you all these years to be weak and clueless! You're supposed to track and catch them all, not miss one or two." Zander scolded her.
"Seriously? You're going to put the blame of that on me. I did my job properly last night, I slayed half a dozen vampires and covered my tracks. Before I came home last night, I made sure that none of those who were roaming the streets lived to see another night." She argued, raising her voice.
"Clearly you didn't, otherwise there would be no fatalities. You made a mistake and that cost three people their lives! Now I ought to strip you of your weapons and your duties… But because I still have hope for you, I'm not going to do that. Instead I'm going to extend your shift hours. Stay out until the sun has risen fully." He demanded, not willing to make any sort of compromise.
"Okay, dad. I'll do it." She agreed.
"Wrong answer! What do you say?" He reprimanded her.
"Sorry. Yes Sir, I'll do it." She corrected herself.
"That's better. Now go get ready, you've got a long night ahead of you." He stated.
As soon as her father sat back down on the couch, she stalked away to her bedroom and changed into her hunting gear; A fully black suit with silver chest, shoulder and knee plates, a belt around the waist that held stakes, guns and different types of daggers, and a sheath that held her own personal rhinestone studded dagger. Finishing off by pulling her ebony hair into a high ponytail, she forced herself back into the open plan lounge/kitchen, and grabbed a bacon roll which was left over from dinner, to fill her up ready for the night shift. She ate rather quickly tonight in particular as she was desperate to get away from Zander as soon as she could - even if she did have to stay out until sunrise tomorrow. Better than being stuck with Zander any longer.
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