Chapter 1: Troubled Soul
"Why is one night of rest…so much to ask for?" Autumn wondered as she lay under the covers, wincing from pain. Every so often, a sharp, stabbing pain surged through her entire body. It would start in her left side and flare out. It seemed to only get worse at night, not allowing her to get a decent night's rest for a while. Since the throbbing pain pushed away any comfort she desperately wanted to feel, the last few days had been nothing but sheer torture for her. "Damn him," the brunette growled under her breath. Only a few days ago, Autumn had gotten into a nasty confrontation with a vampire hunter. The attack had left her bedridden. Despite the pain she was feeling, Autumn opened her sapphire eyes and stared at the ceiling. She couldn't help but scold herself. "I let my guard down too easily. I've never been that careless before. Why did I assume that just because I told him I wasn't a vampire that he'd believe me?"
She was referring to the moment when she was on her way home from visiting one of her friends the previous week. The sun had already set, so Autumn thought she would take a shortcut through the cemetery home. "Maybe this shortcut wasn't such a good idea," she said as she quickened her pace. She followed the path until she came to an open field with some trees scattered about, a light mist in the air. Under one of the bare trees stood a man Autumn had never seen before.
The man was just standing there, facing her direction. It was as if he had been waiting for her to arrive. His chocolate-colored hair framed his face. His light emerald eyes were narrowed at Autumn. An evil grin spread across his face as he tightened his grip around the dark sapphire hilt of his blade.
"So," he began in a low tone with satisfaction. "I didn't think you'd be that careless and come out in public. You may have been fortunate to escape your execution twice, but you won't be so lucky this time. You know what they say...Third time's a charm." Autumn took a step back when she heard him smirk.
"What?" a confused Autumn wanted to know. "What execution? What are you talking about?"
"My family has been hunting you and your kind for many generations. You have massacred many people and tormented countless others," he said, "but your reign of terror ends here...Tonight!" Autumn was at a loss of words. She remained motionless while watching the mysterious man raise his sword. Without saying a word, he lunged at the woman he thought was a vampire. Fortunately, just as Autumn's attacker neared her, she jumped to the side right as the blade came down beside her. Autumn tried to regain her balance, but her attacker quickly spun around and struck her.
The blade easily tore Autumn's shirt and pierced through her skin. The wound wasn't deep, but a six-inch long gash had been produced in her left side from the attack. When Autumn grabbed her side, she felt blood seep through her fingers. She fell to the ground as her body grew numb from pain.
"That was too easy," he said with smugness in his voice. He stood over Autumn with his blade pointed at her, ready to strike again. "I thought you would've put up a better fight, vamp," the man said, sounding rather disappointed. "I guess I was wrong."
"I'm not…a…vamp," Autumn struggled to say. She struggled to take a few deep breaths before as her body grew limp and her head fell hard on the ground.
"That's what they all say," the man laughed. As he stood over her, one thought stuck out in his mind as he watched Autumn's poor attempt to regain herself. "Not that I believe her, but…What if she isn't a vamp? But why does she look so much like…?" The man shook his head as he took a step away from Autumn. His blade was now resting at his side, the silver stained red as Autumn's blood dripped from the tip onto the wet grass. Not wasting anymore time, the man turned and left. His abrupt departure meant that Autumn was forced to fend for herself. "Vamp or not, there's something strange about that woman," he said to himself. "I will find out what it is…No matter what sacrifices have to be made."
After remembering that incident, Autumn opened her eyes. "I didn't realize how bad I was injured until Zane cleaned away the blood and saw the laceration on my side," she thought as she carefully sat up. "It's just a good thing that he arrived in time to protect me from winding up dead." Autumn then ripped her hairtie from her hair, letting the long brunette strands fall over hair shoulders and pushed the covers aside. "Did he attack me because my boyfriend is a vampire and he thought that I might be one too?" the brunette asked herself as she stared at her legs. They were a bit more pale than usual. Autumn wound up answering her own question after she buttoned up her black nightshirt halfway. "No, it's because of that lie she spread about me. I did nothing to Maura to deserve the way I've been treated since then." When Autumn glanced over toward the window, she mumbled, "Some friend she was."
Autumn sat on the edge of her bed for a moment before trying to stand up. Her feet were resting upon the cool beige carpet. Just as Autumn was about to get out of bed, there was a light knock on the door. She turned back as the door opened. It was unclear to Autumn who it was until her visitor took a step forward.
"I understand that these last few days have been difficult for you, Autumn," he began, "but you have to try to clear your mind of that ordeal or you'll never get the rest you need to heal properly." It was her boyfriend, Zane. Autumn felt a sense of relief when she laid her eyes on him. From where he was standing, the bit of moonlight that shone through the partly opened curtains made his deep violet eyes glisten in a way that was quite beautiful. He was wearing a black work shirt with the top three buttons undone and regular dark blue jeans. Zane's jet-black bangs covered his right eye slightly. The rest of his short hair was brushed rather neatly. Then he sat down on the edge of Autumn's bed next to her. "Drink this," Zane told his girlfriend as he handed her a white mug.
"What is it?" Autumn wondered as she took the warm mug.
"It's a special herbal tea that should help you regain your strength," Zane explained. "My grandmother used to make this for me all the time. She gave me the recipe and I thought I would make some for you to try." Autumn stared at the black tea, letting the steam warm her face. Not knowing what Autumn was doing, Zane raised one eyebrow in confusion and told her, "It's okay. It's safe for humans to drink."
"I know," Autumn replied softly, not looking up at Zane. "I was just...smelling it." As Autumn went to take a sip, there was a light aroma of mint that she was able to pick up. After taking a few sips, Autumn handed the mug back to her boyfriend, who then placed it on the nightstand. Although Zane told Autumn numerous times not to touch her wound, she still did anyway. She ended up flinching when the coolness from her hand made contact with her bruise, and she wound up shoving her knee into Zane without realizing it.
"How many times have I told you not to touch your side?" Zane told her with sternness in his voice. Autumn quickly pulled her shirt down and glanced back up at her boyfriend. He now shook his head and smiled. "Let me see your side," he said. "I want to see how well your wound is healing." Autumn was hesitant at first, but she finally gave in and lifted her shirt up again far enough to reveal the wound on her left side just below her rib cage. "How bad is it bothering you?" Zane asked as he lightly smoothed his fingertips over Autumn's wound. Just by the way Zane touched her, it hurt and tickled at the same time until he stopped.
"I wish it would heal already," Autumn mumbled under her breath. Autumn sighed as she put her shirt back down and placed her hands on her lap. Without saying anything else to Autumn, Zane placed his hand on top of hers. As strong as Zane was, he held Autumn's hand with such gentleness. "Thank you for helping me," Autumn mentioned softly. Zane responded with a smile. When Autumn turned her head away, the vampire's smile faded.
"I know a lot has happened, Autumn," the vampire began, "but just know that you're not alone."
Autumn smiled weakly and said, "I know. Thanks, Zane." Then the brunette fixed her eyes on Zane's. The longer she stared into his shining orbs, the more Autumn felt weak. Just then, Zane wrapped his arms around Autumn. Right after he did, he pressed his lips against Autumn's in a passionate kiss. "Despite all the troubles I have, being with Zane just makes them all evanesce," Autumn thought as their kiss slowly came to an end. The couple sat there for a moment until Zane finally spoke.
"Try to get some rest now," Zane told his girlfriend. Autumn gave a weak nod in response. Autumn received another kiss from Zane right before he rose from the bed. Autumn kept her eyes on him the whole time as he made his way to the door. He flashed another smile at Autumn before he exited her room. Then Autumn was left alone in her room again.
"How am I supposed to rest when I have so much going on," Autumn said to herself as she slid her feet into her comfy black slippers. Then she staggered out of bed. Being that she had been bedridden for a lengthy period of time, her legs were weak and felt like jelly as she staggered out of bed and made her way over to her window, which was several feet away from her bed. "I guess it wouldn't hurt if I stepped outside for a while to get some fresh air," she said she pulled back the curtains. The bright moonlight illuminated the room, eliminating most of the darkness instantly.
Autumn rubbed her neck as she stepped out on the cool roof of the large Victorian-style home. It had belonged to her boyfriend's family for many generations. She sat there with her legs stretched out in front of her and her hands behind her. Autumn tilted her head back and filled her lungs with the fresh air. She stared into the dark midnight sky. Thousands of stars were shining brightly. There were no clouds in sight.
"It definitely feels like spring is coming," she said with a smile pulling at her lips. Sitting there, she watched as a few bare trees swayed in the light, cool breeze. The breeze then picked up some, causing Autumn's hair to flow freely about her. When she sat back up, a few dead leaves and flower petals fluttered past her face. Her eyes followed the brown petals until they were out of sight. Just as she tilted her head back up to stare at the stars, she felt a few drops of water on her leg. After wiping the water droplets away, Autumn stood up and decided to go back inside.
Once she was back in her room, she shut the window and locked it. "Maybe I'll leave the curtains open some," Autumn said to herself. "I'm starting to grow tired of being in the dark all the time." Allowing the curtains to remain partially open, Autumn went back to her bed and sat on the edge. She slid off her slippers and then laid back down. She wrapped her thick blanket around herself and tried to get some rest, as her boyfriend suggested. However, there was something on her mind that wouldn't allow that to happen.
"How am I just supposed to forget about that day?" Autumn whispered as she stared at her bedroom door. "All because of Maura, my life has been nothing but a living hell." Then she rubbed her eyes before saying, "I haven't been able to trust many people. However, I have been fortune enough to have friends who have felt the pain I've been through. The only difference is...they are vampires...I am only a human." Autumn took a deep breath and glanced at the clock. It was almost midnight. "Ever since that day, I've had to watch my back and not place my full trust in anyone…Even today." One of her horrible memories was about to replay itself in her head. "I can't believe I made that exact mistake some time ago…Even after my brother had warned me."
When Autumn was only a child, she grew up in a small neighborhood in Berks County. "There were many children in my neighborhood that were around my age, but they wanted nothing to do with me. I just thought that they were nervous to talk to me," she thought as she turned over on her left side, now facing the window. "But by all of the evil glances and stares I was given, it was obvious that they were more than nervous." Remembering that alone was enough to make Autumn grow upset. She grabbed her left side as it began to throb. "I remember when I overheard someone tell her friend that I wasn't normal. Word spread like fire and after that…everyone avoided me. The other children would stare at me…and some even went as far as to try to attack me. My brother was the only one that would protect me from them. He was more than my brother…He was my best friend." That's when Autumn grabbed an extra pillow and held it tightly. She remembered the days that led up to the night when her life took a turn for the worst as she drifted off to sleep.
One evening, Autumn, who was only fourteen years old, entered her quiet home. She shut the door tightly and locked it. Then Autumn leaned against the door, trying to catch her breath. "I hate this," she groaned. "Why is everyone being mean to me? This isn't fair." Although she had been tormented and teased before, this was the first time that anyone has actually tried to assault her. "I would be able to defend myself if only I was strong enough," Autumn mumbled under her breath. After she had finally managed to pull herself together, Autumn went to her room to change and clean up.
While she was in her room, Autumn stood in front of her full-length mirror and stared at her reflection. There was a small hole in the knee of her jeans from when she had lost her balance while running down the street. Autumn tried not to cry as she began to brush away some dirt from her black shirt. Since she was unable to remove most of it, she had no choice but to change. She went through her dresser and found a pair of khaki shorts and a simple midnight blue shirt. Autumn took her old clothes and buried them in the bottom of her basket, only so her brother wouldn't notice them right away.
Autumn then took her hair out of her ponytail and brushed it. She felt that her hair appeared fine being down and didn't bother to pull it back up again. "I wonder what time it is," Autumn thought out loud as she placed her brush back on her dresser. Glancing at her wall clock, the hour hand on the eight, she said, "He should be home soon. Maybe I'll go downstairs and wait for him." After the young girl gave a heavy sigh, she made her way downstairs to wait for him to return.
When Autumn made it to the bottom of the stairs, she heard him say, "There you are, Autumn." Autumn picked up her head and saw her brother, Chris, standing in front of her as he put his keys back in his pocket. Chris was Autumn's brother, who was nine years older than she was. Chris's deep blood-red hair went down to the middle of his back. It was almost always kept in a braid. As Chris stood there, he kept his chocolate-colored eyes on his younger sister. "What's bothering you, Autumn?" Chris wanted to know. "Why do you look so upset?"
"I'm fine," she replied in a sad tone.
"No, you're not," Chris said as he walked over to Autumn while lighting a cigarette. "Something's troubling you. I can see it in your eyes." Feeling nervous, Autumn raked her fingers through her hair and remained silent. "Don't lie to me, Autumn," Chris said as he stood in front of her. Chris then took his cigarette out of his mouth. Autumn's hands remained at her side, now trembling. Even though the young girl had her head tilted down slightly, Chris noticed that Autumn's eyes began to swell with tears.
"Autumn?" Making sure that her eyes didn't meet Chris's, Autumn went over to the sofa and sat down. Chris placed his cigarette in the glass ashtray on the coffee table and joined his sister. His eyes came across the scrape on her knee as he knelt down in front of Autumn. Chris rested his hand upon Autumn's and tried to get the truth from her. "Autumn, how long has this been going on?" Autumn was surprised when her brother had asked her that. The young brunette tried not to let it show, but Chris was able to read her clearly. "Did you think I didn't hear all of the whispering that was happening today?" he asked with a touch of sternness in his voice. Autumn kept silent as she sat there and tried to shield her eyes. She didn't know how to respond.
"Oh no," Autumn thought. "What am I supposed to tell him? How do I tell him? I'm afraid he'll be angry with me for not telling him sooner." Autumn took her left hand and wiped her eyes. When she picked her head up, she saw the expression on Chris's face. It was not one of anger, but one of concern. Autumn finally gathered herself and tried to inform her older brother of what has been happening to her once realizing that Chris wasn't angry with her. "I don't know how to put this," she began in a sad tone, "but…everyone has been spreading rumors about me. This is the first time anyone has tried to physically hurt me. But...it's been going on for longer than a few days."
Chris was at a loss of words before he repeated himself. "Answer me, Autumn. I want to know how long this has been going on." Autumn turned her head away and only shrugged her shoulders. "Why didn't you inform me of this sooner, Autumn?" Chris wanted to know. Again, Autumn didn't know how to respond. Chris didn't know what else to say to his younger sister, so he sat next to Autumn and put his arm around her. "I'll do whatever I can to find out how this started and make it stop, Autumn," he said as he kissed her on the forehead. "I'm not angry with you. I just wish you had come to me sooner. That's all." Autumn closed her eyes and rested her head against Chris's shoulder. "But tell me, what exactly has everyone been saying about you?" Autumn took a deep breath as she opened her eyes and glanced back up at her brother.
"They said that I look like…some vampire from a long time ago," Autumn replied, finally answering her brother's question. "I think they mentioned her name, but I don't remember what they said."
"A…vampire?" Chris thought. "How in the hell…did they come up with something like that? Why?" Just as Chris opened his mouth to ask Autumn if she knew who had started the rumor, she stood up and walked to the door.
"I'm going outside to get some air," Autumn told her brother as she slipped on her shoes. "I'll try not to stay out too late." That was all Autumn said before she was out the door.
Autumn walked down the quiet street with tears in her eyes once again. She was heading to the park. "It's getting dark out," she thought as she wiped her eyes. "I hope nobody is at the park now. I just really hope no one found my secret hiding place." Once Autumn had made it to the park, she carefully scanned her eyes around the entire area. "Good," Autumn said under her breath as she walked over to the stream. "No one else is here. Now I don't have to worry about being bothered."
When she sat down, another thought crossed her mind. "I guess at night is the only time when I'll be allowed to be outside alone." Not wanting to think about getting attacked anymore, Autumn just stared at her reflection in the clear water. With the bright light from the full moon, she was able to see her features more clearly. "Why are they saying that I resemble a vampire? Is it my eyes? My hair? The fact that I stay to myself? What?" Frustrated, Autumn took her hand and splashed the water, distorting her reflection. She then took a deep breath in hopes of calming herself and rose to her feet. All of the sudden, Autumn heard the snapping and crunching of branches behind her. Autumn was surprised at who she saw when she turned around.
Only a few yards behind Autumn was another girl who appeared to be a few years older than she was. What stood out the most to Autumn was the girl's attire. The girl's long, dark brunette hair was flowing in the warm, gentle breeze. Then she brushed her bangs away from her sapphire eyes. The two girls stood there and stared at each other in silence for a moment before Autumn's visitor finally broke the silence.
"Why are you all alone?" the girl asked as she walked over to Autumn. "Don't you have any friends?" Autumn just sighed and shook her head. Judging by the confused expression on the girl's face, Autumn could tell that she didn't understand. "What do you mean?" she wanted to know.
"Just…what I said. I don't have any…friends," Autumn replied softly.
"I…don't want to talk about it." That's all Autumn said as she turned back around and sat down. She just sat there with her back to the blue-eyed girl. "Who is she?" Autumn wondered. "I've never seen her before. She doesn't seem like she's from around here." As Autumn sat there, she began to realize something. "She must not be from this area if she's still standing there behind me," she thought when she heard her visitor walk closer to her. Getting rather annoyed, Autumn rolled her eyes. "Why can't I just be alone right now?" Bringing her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms around her legs, Autumn thought, "Maybe she'll get a hint and realize that I don't feel like talking right now and go home." However, she thought wrong. "What does she want from me?" Autumn asked herself as she narrowed her eyes.
"I'll be your friend," she said with politeness in her voice. Surprised, Autumn's eyes shot wide open. Autumn slowly turned around and glared at her. Not knowing if Autumn heard her, the girl repeated herself. There was a smile on her face as she said, "I will be your friend." Autumn's eyes were fixed on her as she walked closer to the stream. "My name is Maura," she said as she sat down next to Autumn. "I may have only been here for a few days," Maura began, "but I've seen the way you've been treated by some of the other kids." Maura knew that she had just brought up a sore topic when Autumn turned her head away. Maura quickly thought of something to say. "You need someone that can protect you. If you want to be my friend, I can watch out for you."
"I can watch out for you whenever I'm here," Maura said with a smile spreading across her face. "What do you think?" Autumn didn't know what to say in response, so she just replied with a slight nod. "By the way," began Maura in hopes to change the subject, "I told you my name, but you haven't told me yours yet."
"My name is Autumn," she said as she stood up and brushed herself off. That was when Maura stood up next to Autumn and put her hand on Autumn's shoulder.
"I'm sure we'll be great friends," Maura started to say. "Despite what anyone says."
"I understand that she's trying to be nice, but…for some reason, I have a…bad feeling…about this," the fourteen-year old Autumn thought. Before the situation grew more awkward, Autumn said, "I have to go home now. I told my brother that I wouldn't stay out too late. I don't want him to worry."
"I understand," Maura said as she stretched her arms out in front of her. "Let's meet back here tomorrow night, so we can talk more. Do you think your brother will allow you to?" A faint smile appeared on Autumn's face as she nodded. "Okay. Well, I guess you had better get home. I don't want you to get in trouble." After Maura told Autumn that, the fourteen-year old girl headed for home. "Hey, Autumn!" Maura called out before Autumn was too far ahead. Autumn stopped and faced Maura. "I'll see you tomorrow!" Autumn waved and hurried home. When Autumn had disappeared from sight, Maura's sapphire eyes narrowed, but her smiled remained. "What a na´ve girl," Maura laughed under her breath.
"If only I had known then what I know now."
The next night, Maura stood at the stream by herself. "I wonder if she'll show up," she said to herself. "Maybe she doesn't trust me…If that's the case, I'll have to try harder." That's when Maura began to laugh. When another thought crossed her mind, she ceased laughing almost as quickly as she had started. "But wait…She said she has a brother. What if he doesn't let her come out tonight?" Maura's thoughts were then interrupted when she heard someone calling for her.
"Maura!" Maura turned around and saw Autumn walking toward her. "Sorry I'm late," Autumn apologized.
"That's all right," Maura mentioned as the two girls sat down. "I must admit, I didn't think you were going to come."
"I just had to help my brother with a few extra chores," Autumn told her new friend. Then she sighed and combed her fingers through her hair. The young girl was about to dip her hand in the water when he noticed something strange. "Why is the…reflection red?" Autumn thought. Confused, Autumn glanced up into the sky. What she saw surprised her. The moon had turned a deep shade of crimson. "Why is…the moon red?" Autumn asked aloud, not realizing that the question had slipped from her lips. However, her words were spoken softly enough that Maura didn't hear her. "I've never seen it like that before. Oh well," she mentioned quietly as she dipped her hand into the warm water. "I'm sure it isn't such a big deal." After a minute of nothing being said, Autumn took her hand out of the water and focused her eyes on Maura. "Are you from around here?" Autumn wanted to know. Maura shook her head.
"No, I'm not," replied Maura. "I'm from Maryland. I came here to visit my cousin for a few days, but I have to leave tomorrow." Autumn nodded her head once to show that she understood. "You don't talk very much, do you?" Autumn just shrugged her shoulders and remained silent. As Autumn turned her head away, Maura kept her sapphire eyes on her. "Why is she so quiet?" Maura wondered. "How is she able to control herself on a night of the full moon? She's too young to have learned how to control those urges. What is she hiding? I thought the Midnight Angel always came out on nights like this. If this girl isn't the Midnight Angel…Is she somehow related to her? I have to find a way to prove it!" Just the thought alone was enough to irritate Maura. "Damn it," she groaned under her breath. Autumn heard Maura curse and slowly picked her head up, focusing her eyes on her. "I'm sorry," Maura apologized as she rose to her feet rather hurridly "I-I have to get home. My cousin will worry if I don't return on time." After saying that, Maura ran off. "I'll see you around!" she called back. Then Autumn watched Maura until she was out of sight.
Two years passed since Autumn last spoke to Maura. She hadn't even seen her either. "I wonder where Maura has been," Autumn thought as she walked through the park one night. "I hope I didn't do anything to annoy her…She was the only friend I had." As Autumn made her way to the stream where she first met Maura, several thoughts crossed her mind. "Maybe she's just been too busy. Oh well. She must have more important things to do." Autumn stood by the stream with her eyes closed. The light breeze made her hair flow freely about her. Then she took a deep breath. "I don't know why I continue to come here," she thought. Just as Autumn was about to head back home, a familiar voice stopped her.
"Where are you going, Autumn?" Autumn turned around and glanced behind her. The voice had been that of Maura. "Sorry I haven't been around for a while," Maura as she brushed her bangs away from her sapphire eyes. "School has been keeping me extremely busy. I was transferred to a school up in New England."
"I understand," Autumn said quietly. However, the expression on her face said she didn't quite believe what Maura had just told her. "Why do you have a bow and arrow with you?" a curious Autumn wanted to know, noticing the item in Maura's possession.
"My cousin has been giving me archery lessons. That's all," Maura lied through her teeth. Although Autumn wasn't completely satisfied with Maura's answer, she accepted the response anyway. "It's really none of her business," Maura angrily thought to herself as she grasped the arrow in her hand tightly. Then she smiled. "Now why am I getting upset over such a trivial matter? Even if I do tell her my real objective, it's not like there is anything she could possibly do. I'd kill her before giving her the chance to convince me otherwise." When Maura focused her attention back on Autumn, she saw that she was now sitting down. Her eyes were partially closed. "You seem as if you're tired," Maura said as she held the arrow behind her. "Maybe you should go home and get some rest. It is getting kind of late." Autumn said nothing as she slowly rose to her feet. She smiled faintly and waved at Maura before she made her way home. "You might want to try to enjoy this last week with your brother…For it will be your last."
The following week had passed with no problems for Autumn. No one had tried to attack Autumn whenever they noticed her outside. During that week, Maura never made her presence known to Autumn. For the last few days, everything seemed to be at an eerie calm. However, that was all about to change.
"Good night, Autumn," Chris said to his younger sister as he kissed her on the forehead. As Chris stood up, he thought that Aiko would've lain down. However, she remained sitting. The expression on her face was blank. "What's wrong, Autumn?"
"Have you ever had the feeling that something bad might happen?" Autumn asked without even giving it a second thought while staring at Chris now. A baffled Chris didn't know how to respond to the question. "Uh…Never mind," Autumn mentioned as she shook her head. "It's nothing. Good night, Chris." Autumn laid down and closed her eyes. Chris kissed Aiko again before leaving. Once Chris had left, Autumn fell fast asleep.
Several hours had gone by before Autumn was disturbed from her deep slumber. A strange commotion outside forced her to open her tired eyes and sit up. Just as Autumn was about to get out of bed and glance out the window, Chris burst into her room. He hurried over to her and grasped her hand tightly, pulling his sister out of bed.
"Chris, what's going on?" a startled Autumn wanted to know as she and Chris ran down the hallway. Chris didn't respond to his sister's question. Autumn's heart was now racing in her chest. "Chris, answer me! What's happening?" Chris's lips remained sealed. With Autumn's hand still in his tight grasp, Chris led her downstairs and down to the end of a hallway. He opened the door to the basement and pushed Autumn in. She quickly spun around and grabbed Chris's shirt, now stricken with fear. As she opened her mouth to speak, her brother cut her off.
"Stay here and don't make a sound!" whispered Chris, trying to remain quiet. After it sunk in that they were in a serious situation, Autumn slowly, but finally, let go of her brother's shirt. Chris kissed Autumn on the forehead one more time before saying, "Don't worry. Everything will be just fine." Then Chris stepped back and shut the door tightly. Autumn heard her brother run back down the hall. Within a minute, everything grew silent. Autumn stood against the door with her ear pressed on it, trying to see if she was able to hear anything more. Nothing.
"I want out," Autumn complained, her voice now wavering. "It's too dark. I can't see anything." Autumn was normally excellent in finding her way around in the dark. However, Autumn found it difficult to focus in her state of panic. She tried to feel her way around, but to no avail. When Autumn took a step back away from the door, her foot slid off the top step and she wound up tumbling down the stairs. Autumn landed with a thud at the bottom. Groaning, she turned over on her back. Both of her arms were at her side and sore. Her left knee had twisted and was bruised. It felt like an eternity before Autumn was able to fully regain herself after having the breath knocked out of her. When Autumn managed to sit up, she heard shouting and yelling.
"The Midnight Angel must die!" Autumn heard a woman shout. Autumn's tear-swollen eyes shot wide open. Before Autumn tried to stand up, she heard the same woman again shout, "We have to protect ourselves from the Midnight Angel! We must not allow her to ruin anymore lives!"
"Why does that…voice…sound familiar?" Autumn thought. "No…It…can't be." Not wanting to believe it was Maura, Autumn forced the thought from her mind. However, with how strong it was, it pushed its way back in. She couldn't take it anymore. Despite the pain flowing through her body, Autumn got to her trembling hands and knees and crawled up the stairs. Once she had made it to the top, everything had become dead silent. Autumn had no idea if anyone remained in her home. Autumn then slowly pushed open the door and glanced around as she limped down the dark hallway. "Something…smells." The aroma of blood was heavy in the air. That's when she saw it. There was a small pool of blood on the floor of the living room, but no one was there. Next to it was a dagger whose blade was half covered with blood. Inches away from the dagger was the silver ring that Chris always wore. Autumn made it to the middle of the room before she fell to her knees and burst into tears.
When Autumn ceased crying, she wiped her eyes and glanced around. The sight was too much for her to bear. She could no longer stand being in the house. Autumn took the dagger and ring and wrapped a cloth around them before placing the items in her back pocket. She then wiped her eyes as she rose to her feet. Autumn then ran from the place that was her home and never looked back.
"Why would she?" Autumn screamed in her head. "How could she? I trusted her!" Anger began to consume Autumn as she ran through the park. Her vision had become blurred once again. As she entered the very spot where she had met Maura, Autumn's foot slid under the root from a tree that had uprooted from the ground and tripped, spraining her left ankle. Autumn sat up and rubbed her sore ankle. When she picked her head up, Autumn noticed that the river was only a few yards ahead of her. She carefully stood up and limped over to the river. Upon making it to the riverbank, she fell backwards and just sat there. Despite the terrible event that Autumn had just gone through, she listened to the sound of the flowing water of the river while gazing up at the thousands of twinkling stars in the night sky. "What did I do to deserve this?" asked Autumn under her breath. "Where am I supposed to go now? I can't go back home. Not with what just happened." Then Autumn sighed. She closed her eyes and tried to relax. Autumn then felt another presence not too far from where she was sitting. She opened her eyes and was surprised at who she saw.
Standing several yards away from Autumn was Maura. By the way she stood there, Maura acted like nothing had happened. What made Autumn's eyes open wide was when she noticed what appeared to be an expression of satisfaction on her face, no matter how hard she tried to hide it. Maura cleared her throat before focusing her attention on Autumn. That's when she finally spoke.
"I just heard about what happened, Autumn. I am so sorry," Maura said, trying to sound apologetic. Autumn couldn't believe what she had just heard. Her eyes flashed both hurt and anger as she glared at the girl who she thought was her friend. Only then had it become obvious to Autumn that Maura was trying not to laugh. "I didn't want to tell them," Maura said as she grabbed her left arm. "It was only a matter of time before everyone found out the secret that your family has been hiding for many generations."
"Shut up!" Autumn screamed at her as she jumped to her feet. "I don't want to hear your shit, Maura!" Tears had begun to swell in her eyes. "Why did you believe those rumors? How could you believe them? I thought you were my friend!" Autumn's fists were clenched and started to tremble. She could no longer bear to look at Maura . "I can't believe you did this to me. My brother might be dead because of you." Autumn picked her head up and stared angrily at Maura. Tears streamed down her face as she screamed, "He was the only family I had left!"
"I never meant for anything like that to happen," Maura tried to explain.
"You're lying!" Autumn snapped at Maura.
"I have no reason to lie," said Maura calmly. "You should've known by now how people react when your kind tries to blend in with the human race. For people like me, it's our duty to rid the world of you. Your kind has taken the lives of many people for hundreds of years…Some of those belonging to my family."
"Enough!" shouted Maura as she held her hand up, stopping Autumn from saying anymore. "I've heard enough from you! Your words cannot sway me from my true feelings!" Then Maura sighed, her expresion solemn. "I have nothing left to say to a vamp." Upon uttering those words, Maura slowly lowered her hand and grinned. Suddenly, everything went black.