“Grandma, get up, we need to leave. They are going door to door,” I whisper, slipping my holey boots on my feet and quickly doing the laces. I pull my hair into a ponytail, so it doesn’t get in my face. Slipping my contacts in, I hear more screams coming from outside and people fighting.
“Come on, grandma get up,” I tell her, pulling on her arm. She shakes her head before pulling a small knife from the coffee table drawer into her lap. She looks up at me with a sad look on her face.
“Run, Elora. I won’t allow them to know. I will only slow you down. You need to leave without me,” she whispers. I looked at her, panicked. What is she talking about?
“No grandma, come on. We need to leave now,” I tell her, trying to get her to her feet. She shakes me off and shakes her head.
“I promised to keep you safe. I can’t if you don’t go now.”
“What are you talking about, grandma? Promised who?”
“Remember the stories, Elora. You need to remember the stories. Now run.”
“No, I am not leaving without you.” I tell her, feeling tears running down my face. Before someone bangs on the door so hard, I thought it was going to smash off its hinges.
“Please grandma, we have to go.”
“I love you, Elora,” my grandma whispers before raising the knife and slashing her own throat. I scream and clutch at her neck, trying to stem the bleeding.
“Run,” she gurgles out. Just as they kicked the door in, my hands coated in her blood. Adrenaline kicks in, and I take off out the back door, through the criss-crossed streets of the city. I start jumping fences and running up alleyways. My body screams at me as I throw myself over another fence to land in another alleyway.
I can hear the panicked screeches of people in the neighbouring streets. Running behind a dumpster, I quickly squat low, listening intently. I can hear a soft sobbing only to realize it was coming from me as hot tears run down my cheeks at what my grandmother just did. The images forever burnt into my memory.
I clamp my hand over my mouth, trying to stop the noises I am making, my breathing erratic. My heart is pounding so hard I can hear it. Looking over the dumpster, I duck back down behind the dumpster when I hear a man call out, pointing in my direction.
“You there! Stop!” I don’t listen; instead, I take off running. I run to the end of the alleyway to find it is blocked off by a building and a brick wall making it dead-end. I see a dumpster and climb up on it, trying to reach the fire escape ladder, my fingertips gripping the bottom run and I pull it towards me. Hearing someone crying behind the dumpster, I look down only to notice a little girl dressed in rags. I pull the ladder down and reach my hand down to her.
“Where is your mother?” I ask, peering down at her tear-stained face.
“They took her,” she sobs.
Without hesitating, I hoist her up so she can climb, and together we race upwards toward the roof. But not fast enough for the vampire chasing us. A strong hand grips my ankle, ripping me back down to the ground. I fall painfully on top of a man, my head smacking the ground with a loud thud as I bite into my tongue. Another man retrieves the girl, and I hear her scream before a loud SMACK comes from him slapping her on the face.
Her dirty matted blonde hair is all I see as her head whips to the side, blood trickling from her lip and the sound of flesh on flesh echoing down the alleyway.
“Leave her, she is just a child!” I scream. The little human girl, who appears to be maybe nine years old, escapes the man and runs behind me, hiding against my back. I hold her there, shielding her from their hostile eyes as more men come down the alleyway. A tall man with black armour walks over his hair down to shoulders and a huge scar across his face, his crimson eyes reflecting oddly as he stares at us. A Vampire.
“Hurry up, bring them to the castle with the rest of them,” he yells to the other men. The man who caught me grabs my hair, the roots painfully tearing from my skull as my head is yanked back.
“Move,” he screams in my face. I obey, following the Vampire man dressed in black armour. The little girl hangs onto the back of my shirt. I can feel her hands trembling when I notice she has no shoes on.
Bending down, I grab her under the arms and pick her up. Her feet like ice as her legs wrap around my waist. I try to use my body warmth to warm her freezing body. When we get to the main street, I find a huge line of women being herded to the castle. They shove us in the line behind more women, all sobbing as they had been ripped out of their beds in the middle of the night and torn away from their families. I think of my grandmother and how she killed herself in front of me. I desperately try to make sense of why she did it. I gulp. It seems pointless now that I had been caught, soon to be dead along with her. What would she say if she knew?
I can’t imagine my life without her; she has always been by my side. I can’t help but echo the sadness of the women around me as I feel my tears streaming down my cheeks. We all stand in the cold for what feels like hours, until my entire body goes numb. When we finally walk through the high castle gates, I find the group of women all separated into rows. A man I recognize to be a Dragon standing at the front, watching everyone be dragged in and lined up. I am in one of the middle rows.
When I see his eyes dart over the crowd, I quickly duck my head down, hoping he didn’t notice me staring. Another man walks along the first line looking at each person and grips their faces looking at their eyes. He then dismisses them, and another man marches them back out the iron gates once they have been cleared and declared not to be whomever they were looking for.
My feet are numb from the snow sinking into my shoes. The process is long as he eventually dismisses all the rows before ours. I place the little girl on the ground, shoving her behind me, trying to shield her from their watchful eyes. I make sure to keep my head down to avoid making eye contact.
The entire castle ground is dark and eerie. The only light that can be seen is from the moon and the glow of the malevolent predator eyes that surround us. I resisted the urge to shiver when I noticed how many dark creatures were watching us, their eyes searching the crowd, looking for their next victim.
The little girl sobs. The man who brought us in screams at her to shut up, making her sob harder. I try to calm her, but nothing I do reassures her. Becoming fed up with her sobs, the vampire stalks over, his red eyes burn brightly with his anger, his pale skin almost grey looking under the moon’s light. He grabs her by her dirty dress and pulls her out the front in front of everyone.
I see him raise a whip, intending to strike her with it. I hear the whip swish through the air before I throw myself over her, screaming as I feel the whip bite into the flesh of my back. My shirt splits open before I feel my skin being torn away, the snow underneath my feet sprayed with my blood. I drop over the top of her, trying to protect her when I hear the man scream angrily for me to move.
Another voice echoes through the night. “Enough,” bellows the dragon lord who stood watching over the crowd of women, but he yelled the word too late. I flinch when I hear the swish of the whip before its crack, bracing myself for the impact. Only it doesn’t come. I hear the whip cutting through flesh, yet it isn’t mine. I take a chance and look up when I hear a collective gasp from the crowd. Lifting my eyes slightly, I find the dragon lord standing beside me and can see his muscular arm outstretched beside me. The whip is wrapped tightly around his arm. He wraps his hand around the whip, yanking the man holding it towards him. The man stumbles, falling at his feet, his terrified eyes peering up at us. “I’m sorry, my lord. I didn’t hear you,” he sputters out. I hear a predator’s growl rumbling deep within the dragon lord's chest before I see his foot come down on the vampire's head. Blood sprays out as his head is crushed into the ground. I fight the urge to throw up, seeing his b
“I said strip,” he repeats, raising an eyebrow at me, daring me to disobey. I struggle to remove my shirt, trying to cover my bare chest by turning away from him. The girl beside me starts to remove her clothes as well. “Not you, child. I don’t want to see you naked; you’re only here to make sure she obeys orders,” he says, making me relieved as she pulls her dress strap back up. I remove my pants, leaving me only in my panties. Using my hands, I cover my breasts before turning around to face them. The Lycan man steps forward, he licks his lips approvingly making me flinch. “Remove them,” he says looking down at my panties. “Please,” I beg, not wanting to remove them. “Remove them or I kill the child,” he says tauntingly. I look at the little girl who darted behind me at his words. I feel my cheeks burn with embarrassment. This was so degrading and humiliating. I pull my panties down before placing one hand over my breasts and the other trying to cover my lady parts. Both men
Dropping my gaze to the floor. My long black hair falling to my sides creating a veil. I see his boots come into my line of vision. He then kneels in front of me and grips my chin, bringing my gaze to meet his own. “Why aren’t you sleeping on the bed?” he asks curiously. I look at Lilith, who is still asleep, and I don’t know when we fell asleep, but we were both warm in front of the fire and the rug was comfier than any makeshift bed I had slept on. “We fell asleep,” I tell him. I watch as he cocked his head to the side examining my face carefully before he lets go of my chin. I see Dragus walk in behind him carrying a tray with what smells like chicken soup. He sets the tray on the desk. “Get on the bed,” Dragus says, making me glance at him. I feel sick suddenly, my blood running cold at his words. He seems to notice what he said before putting his hands up in mock surrender. “Not in that way, take the girl with you,” he says, looking down at Lilith laying on the floor. I pl
The next morning, I was awakened by someone opening the door. A woman stands in the doorway. She looks to be around my age, but her skin is chafed like she spent a lot of time outdoors in the cold. Her blue eyes look at mine with curiosity before turning away. “I’m Abigail, follow me please,” she says, looking at me before noticing Lilith who is also awake and alert to the newcomer. We quickly sit up and walk to the door. Peering out the door I notice Abigail was waiting at the end of the hall. She waves us to follow, which we do obligingly. She walks us to a large kitchen area where people are busy preparing food and cleaning dishes. One thing I noticed was all their slaves are human or at least appear to be. The room is huge and modern looking, different from the rest of the castle’s traditional look. It has stainless steel appliances and black marble bench tops, a huge island bench sat in the middle with three women standing around it chopping different fruit and vegetables. T
I take the basket back to the cleaning closet and walk fast to the kitchen, only to notice Lilith is no longer there. Walking over to the woman with red hair and freckles I ask her. “The little girl that was with me. Where did she go?” “The guards came and took her; her mother has been looking for her,” she tells me. I nod, feeling a little sad, but relieved knowing she is safer out there than in here with these monsters. I exit the kitchen and head to the small room where I slept last night. Walking in, I see a small, dark object sitting atop the bed. It is the book I was looking at earlier in the library. Matitus’s deep voice behind me makes me jump. “If you want to read that you should also read this,” he says, holding another book out toward me as he steps in the room. I take the book from him and look at it. It’s a book on Dragons and mates. I look up at him. “Read them. I know Fae have their own stories of the past, but what if they aren’t correct? What if your ancestors lie
I walk closer but don’t take his hand. Instead, I follow, crossing my arms over my chest. Matitus sighs before walking off. Together, we walk to a part of the castle I hadn’t seen before. A huge wooden table sits in the middle of the room, Matitus sat down while Dragus pulled a chair out telling me to sit. I hesitate before finally walking over and sitting down. Dragus took a seat beside me and turned his chair so he was half facing me. A few minutes later, Abigail emerges and places three plates in front of us. I stared at the plate wishing I could be anywhere else. I would have preferred to sit in the room alone and eat instead of finding myself stuck between two intimidating men. Dragus touches my knee beneath the table. I just stare at the plate, feeling uncomfortable. Dragus runs his hand up my leg, making me jump before I move his hand off me only for him to place it back on my thigh. Ignoring his hand, I look over at Matitus. “Eat” he orders, but I suddenly don’t feel like ea
I wait for Abigail to drop the clothes off before having a shower. Using the wooden chair, I brace it under the door handle. I definitely don’t want a repeat of yesterday with them invading my personal space. Showering quickly, I dress in the sweater dress Abigail gave me. It was black and warm, but I didn’t like that it showed off so much of my legs. Opening the door, I find Matitus waiting in the corridor. “Block the door again, I will make you shower with me understood?” he says, not even trying to hide his anger. But why would he? He was one of the feared Dragon Kings and used to getting his way. Not wanting to anger him further, I nod before looking away. Matitus grips my chin, forcing me to look up into his snake-like eyes. “I said understood?” I nod my head feverishly. “Words Elora.” “Yes, understood,” I whisper, fighting the urge to roll my eyes at him and his tone of voice. I felt like I was being scolded by a teacher, not that I went to school. My grandmother schooled
When I am fairly sure the coast is clear, I pop my head up and look around the clearing. I can hear men shouting in the distance and I remain hidden amongst the long grass, too scared to move. Too scared to even breathe as I hear them get nearer to the clearing. Their voices grow louder, lucky for me though they ran that fast and the snow and grass masked my scent. Sitting upright, I scan my surroundings once again before running in the direction they came from, hoping they wouldn’t backtrack. Once hidden by the high trees, I keep running straight, looking for any sign of the barbed wire fence that surrounds the entire city. With the trees up above, the dark got darker to the point, even with my heightened senses and eyesight I struggle to see. As I run, I can only just make out the trees before I run into them. I keep running. What I fail to notice is that there is a pond. When it’s far too late, my feet hit air suddenly before I drop into the icy cold water, breaking through the th