Monday, 7 December 2009

The Gothics

School had begun for another semester and the sticky Australian heat was still around from Christmas. However, as usual, there was always going to be some new kids around. So, most of the time, as Candice wondered around the place, she often saw kids looking lost and remembered that she was one of them not so long ago. There were also new groups popping up all over the place to replace the ones from previous years.

One was a group of aloof guys who had nearly all the girls in all the grades swooning after them. Personally, she didn’t get it; they were just the bad boys of the school who smoked, never attended class (but incredibly got fantastic grades) and they pretty much just watched the day go by at lunchtime.

One day, almost halfway through the first term, Shelly was telling her and rest of regulars about the biggest appointment of her life at lunchtime, which was a date with a jock from the track and field team from the night before. She was halfway through her trademark detailed descriptions when she looked beyond Candice’s shoulder and groaned.

“What?” she asked and turned to be greeted with the quiet stare of one of the bad boy group members. They stood a few meters away and just watched them silently; putting most of her friends off eating their lunch, “Guys, they’re just doing that to get to you. Ignore them.”

Shelly rolled her eyes, “All they do is stare at everyone, Candice.”

She packed her bag and grabbed her phone, “Well, jeez, why dontcha just be a complete drama queen!”

“Well, shit, what got into her?” the blonde muttered as the brunette walked past the bad boys’ group.

At her locker, Candice took out her English textbook and folder and put in her Maths textbook and folder. She wished for a laptop every time she was at her locker so that this exchange was easier; then she’d have no folders to juggle with and only textbooks to worry about. Yep, that’d be the life. Slamming the door, Candice dropped her bag and kicked it hard. What Shelly had said about those new guys had pissed her off. She wished it hadn’t but it did.

“Life sucks doesn’t it.” His voice said at her shoulder, making her start.

“Jesus, dude.” she stepped back from him, “You scared the crap out of me.”

He smiled and perfect white teeth greeted her along with brown eyes. She hadn’t noticed this before, but this guy appeared to have a perfect face in every way. Because she had only seen him side on or give a sideways glance; and checking him out, she found him good-looking.

“I’m David.” He put out his hand and the brunette shook it hesitantly, “I’m not going to bite you.”

“Right.” she picked up her bag and shouldered it, “And you’re never seen in class yet you get brilliant grades because you’re a savant?”

Grinning again, he shook his finger at her, “Touché.”

“Well, I gotta go. Late for class.” she turned and walked away.

“I didn’t get your name.”

Candice turned and look at him from the doors of the hall, “No, you didn’t.” and then she kept walking. No way in hell was she getting mixed up with them; those guys were too weird. Besides, she was sure she hadn’t heard that one walk up next to her and that locker area had the loudest echo around, you couldn’t drop a pin without anyone hearing it there. She kept walking until she had reached her next class; knowing he was watching her from the doors of the building, but not following.

Months passed; as did the holidays that marked the passing of their school semester. By the time the RNA came around, the third term was looming and rain settled in making things feel as though all their classes were moving at a snail’s pace. Candice’s friends still weren’t talking to her and so this gave her the time and the opportunity to get in and do some serious study; and for the first time in a long time, she didn’t cram for her first tests at the end of the term.

But as the holidays neared, she wondered what she was going to get up to; besides getting into the pile of books she had collected over the previous Christmas and during the year at her volunteer work at the local thrift shop (where Candice got a lot of her wardrobe from). Without her friends at school, the two weeks holidays felt empty and meaningless. So, she called Shelly a few days before breakup.

“Oh, it’s you.” She muttered, “Thought you called me a drama queen.”

“I did.”

“Yeah, well…” she trailed off without anything to say.

“What? You’re going to hold that against me, all because some group of guys was staring at us at lunch seven months ago?” she rolled her eyes as she pushed her feet out in the hall and leaned against the wall, “You’re still mad at me about that?”

She chewed her gum noisily over the phone, “Well, yeah. You hurt my feelings.”

Candice wondered why she was on the other end of this conversation at this point, “Shelly. You’ve got a unique personality, but how you treat people really needs work.”

“What are you saying?”

“You’re a spoilt brat.” She hung up on her before she heard her shrieking reply and looked at the cordless phone, not believing that she had just dumped one of her friends, “This is bad.” Getting up she walked downstairs to the kitchen where the charger was and slotted the phone into it, hearing the gentle beep as it made contact.

“Hey, what’s wrong, hon?” her Mum asked as she put the last of the dishes into the dishwasher, poured in the powder and switched it on.

“I just dumped Shelly all because she was being a drama queen about a group of guys staring at us six months ago.” she said, “And I just called her a spoilt brat.”

Mum looked at the counter for a moment, pursed her lips and sighed, “Come on, I’ll make you a cuppa and we can talk.” She smiled flicking the switch of the kettle on and grabbing their two favourite mugs down from the shelves.

“Why is Shelly so… dramatic?”

Her Mum dropped the teabags into the mugs as the kettle boiled and she poured the water, “Because she’s an only child and can’t handle being the way she is.”

“There’s plenty of only kids at school and they’ve turned out fine.” Candice took the mug from her Mum carefully and sat at the breakfast counter, “Why is she so different?”

“Because of how her folks brought her up.” her Mum sighed, “It’s hard to explain, but you may have done the right thing.”

“Tomorrow is going to be pure hell.” she took a sip of the mug and settled onto her elbows, “Shelly will make sure I don’t have a friend in the world to turn to.”

“Take it as it comes. But this will pass and you’ll make new friends and you’ll find that high school will be interesting to look back on as you get older.” Her Mum patted her hand, “Don’t worry, just take it day by day and it’ll all settle down.”

The next day was horrendous. Shelly made her life hell. She firstly wrecked the lock on Candice’s locker and was there early enough to vandalise it. However, as she looked at it and took photos with her phone, she looked to her right to see David standing not too far away.

“Well, Shelly really is a drama queen.” He smiled, “Want me to help clean this up?”

“Yeah… I’d like that.” Candice nodded as tears threatened to start up.

He touched her shoulder, “Hey, what happened for this to occur?”

“I tried to make up to her last night and she still hates me for calling her a drama queen seven months ago… so I told her why I said it and she … jeez, why did I do that?” she couldn’t stop the tears this time as she dropped her bag and sat on the floor.

David knelt next to her, “I’ll be your friend.”

Sniffing, she looked at him, “Why? By now, nobody likes me because of Drama Queen Shelly.”

He looked to her right and smiled, “But I’m not the only one who wants to be your friend. My buddies want you to be in our group.”

She looked over and found the rest of his group standing there and immediately she got the nervous giggles, “Oh, jeez, you’re kidding right? I’d be the only chick. The whole school would be talking.”

“Not necessarily.” David said as he settled next to her and lowered his voice, “You see, Candice, it’s you I’m interested in. The guys have no interest in a relationship.”

“You like me?” she shook her head, “Mate, pull the other one because I’m through with jokes.” She went to get up when he touched her shoulder, “I wanted you and so had to hang about a bit longer than needed to get you thrown out.”

She grabbed her bag and stood, “Look, I have to get to the office and report Shelly on her vandalism before she cleans up her act and plays innocent.”

David nodded, “Right, I’ll come with you. I saw what it did to you. The boys saw her doing it at 7am this morning.”

She spun, “What? And you didn’t stop her and her little idiots?”

One of them cleared his throat as he flicked a dark fringe out of his eyes, “Um… it was only her, none of her friends were here.”

“Oh… I see.” she nodded, “Okay, let’s go then.”

Principal Todd looked at the photos on her phone and groaned as he ran his hand over his balding head, “I can’t believe this is still happening around here.”

“Sir, my mates saw it happen this morning. And Shelly worked on her own; so, please, don’t pull in her friends, just her.” David said.

The Principal looked at her, “Well, why did she do this?”

“Because Mr. Todd, I called her a drama queen seven months ago and David’s group were hanging around and she didn’t like them doing that. So, I called her a drama queen. I thought she’d be over it by now.” Candice sighed.

The Principal gently bit his lower lip as he looked at the pictures again, “Well, she wanted to take revenge on you; however I think this isn’t the last we’ll hear of her.” He handed the phone back after he uploaded them onto a new file on his computer, “So, I’ll suspend her for the next few days and until three weeks after the holidays and we’ll see what she does then.”

“Thank you, Sir.” A smile tugged at the corners of the brunette’s mouth, but didn’t stay. She wondered what was going to happen during the holidays that Mr. Todd wouldn’t have control over; but then, she thought that her new friends will help her with that too.

The holidays came up and David invited Candice to hang out at a break-up party. Why there was one for a two-week break was beyond her, but she went to get out of the house and away from her room and study.

Loud music could be heard from the corner as she approached on foot as Candice had to park the car two streets away. This was going to be some party if she couldn’t find a park closer. She approached the house to find it was Shelly’s place.

“Hey, aren’t you going in?” David’s voice called from across the street.

She turned and looked at him incredulously, “Are you kidding? Shelly wouldn’t want me there.”

He crossed the road and smiled as a cool breeze started up, “Of course she wouldn’t.”

“I’m not going to make this into a territorial war of whose friends she and I are getting.” Candice turned to walk away when David’s hand stopped her, turned her around and she found he had lost his humour. He smiled, “Okay, where’s your car?”

The ocean pounded the beach as whitecaps lit up in the moonlight. It had taken around an hour to drive here, but it was worth it. Candice and David got out after turning off the engine and sat up on the bonnet of the old, beat-up mustang to keep warm. But she still felt cold and shivered.

“Come here.” He opened his black trench coat and she slid over to his warm body, “I didn’t realize you’d left your coat at home.”

“I didn’t know I was coming here tonight.”

“This is where I come when I want to think.” He said.

“Why did you bring me to this part of the beach?” she looked around and found there wasn’t another car for another few kilometers and the closest house had to be around ten minutes’ drive away.

David wanted to tell her many things about himself; his age for example and what he was. But so many things were conflicting with this, “If I told you how much I liked you at that party, kids would have picked on us like it was something important. Which it is; but how I feel for you is private and how I show it isn’t anyone’s business.”

She looked at him as her hair was blown around by the strong wind and salt spray. Candice had never heard anything like this before from a guy at school. For a high school guy to be this forward about his feelings was weird but interesting. And for the first time in her life, she felt as though she was being treat like an adult and not like a piece of meat; and it felt good, “I’ve never heard a guy from high school speak his emotions so openly.”

“It’s because a lot of us don’t get taught to.” He replied, “But I’ve had practice. I’ve insulted a few girls by accident and have learnt not to do that.” He gently touched her cheek with the back of his fingers as he leaned in close and kissed her; knowing she wouldn’t object tonight. But, next time, he’d take it a step further maybe. The kiss was soft and gentle and sweet; something that Candice had hoped for her first kiss from somebody she liked would be. The crazy thing was that David did only that; he only kissed her. He didn’t grope her, try to undress her or expect sex. This hot, bad-boy-looking guy was turning out to be a gentleman.

A couple of days past and she was working late at the thrift shop when David and his friends walked in. The older lady who worked with her didn’t like the look of them, but when David walked straight up to the counter and asked very politely about where the second-hand jackets were, the woman changed her tune in a minute.

“Well, what a nice young man.” Dory said when she came back from the men’s section, “He talks everything about you.”

“Yeah? Well, we’ve just begun seeing each other. He goes to my school.” Candice smiled, “David is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.”

“Well,” Dory sighed, “he sounds like a keeper.”

After a little while, David came up to the counter and purchased some clothes and a jacket; Dory let her take the order as she excused herself to the ladies.

On the following day, David and Candice went to the drive-ins. The place wasn’t overly packed, but they both wanted to see the most recent vampire film – and besides, it was close enough to Halloween that it was cause for everyone to dress up; the theatre encouraged it. In the advert, Candice remembered reading out the front of the place that they could get in for five dollars off if they showed up in costume. And so, she grabbed her favourite French Maid costume and David picked her up for the movies.

“Well,” he looked her up and down, “Don’t you look the part?”

“Oui, oui, monsieur.” She grinned, then changed to English, “Let’s go.”

He took her hand gently, kissed it and led her to the car, “Oh, mon cher.” He walked her out to her mustang and took the keys from her gently, “I’ll drive.”


“Because you’re good, but in that outfit, you probably can’t… I have no excuse. I like driving cars.” He grinned.

“Okay.” She opened the door and climbed in as her parents waved them off.

They arrived at the drive-in and there were people in costumes everywhere. All kinds showed up and it was fun and enjoyable for all involved. The new vampire flick was bloodthirsty and violent; just the way everyone liked it and David and Candice pulled the top down of the mustang and turned up the radio. However, there was one thing that made her wonder; what was he dressed as on this date? He had shown up in his new clothes from the thrift shop and he looked hot – as usual – but there was no theme to his costume. They were just new clothes.

“David, what is your costume?” she asked.

He looked at her, “My costume for tonight?” she nodded. He smiled at her as he turned down the radio and leaned in close to her ear, “My costume is what I am.”

“Which is?” she whispered back.

“A vampire.”

She tried to pull back to look at him, but he had pulled her close. Candice didn’t want this joke to go much further, “David, honestly, this isn’t a joke?”

“No.” his breath was cool against her ear, “But I don’t wish to kill you, I wish for you to be my wife.”

“I’m a little young don’t you think to get married?”

He pulled back this time and looked at her. However, what she saw wasn’t the guy she had fallen for; it was the demon lying in wait beneath the surface, “You’re just right. I was your age when I was sired.”

“Oh, Jesus.”

“Don’t be scared, it’ll only hurt for a little while.” A grin played on his face, “Then, you’ll feel wonderful.”

“I’m only seventeen.”

He took a deep breath, eyes fluttering at the fear and young blood that was waiting for him, “Candice, you are beautiful and will never age if you let me do this. We’ll be together forever.”

“Oh, hell, Dory was wrong about you.” She pushed to get him away from her but he held strong, “Let me out.”

David let her go as she scrambled away from him and got out of the car. She had to go for a walk; to think about what she had just seen sitting next to her in her mustang. She walked to the empty set of swings and sat the picnic setting to think. When another guy from school joined her; he was in tears dressed as Jekyll and Hyde, but all his make-up was smudged.

“You get dumped too?” he asked.

“No.” she said, “I just found out something about my guy I’m not sure about.”

“He’s got another chick?”

“No; something more… obscure.”

He sniffed, “He’s a werewolf?”

Candice snorted, “Kinda. But not exactly.”

“Fuck. I found out Shelly was going out with that jock on the track’n’field team.”

She looked at him, “Gerald? Is that you?”

He nodded, “Yeah.”

“I thought it was only one date.”

“No, she’s been seeing him since Christmas.”

She sat there feeling as though her whole schooling life was an absolute lie. The only person who had never lied to her was David. Looking up, she saw him walking to her. He had changed back to being human. Gerald got up and wandered off into the darkness muttering about going home.

He sat next to her, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“My life is a lie.” She said, “But you’ve been truthful to me.”

He touched her face, “I’d never lie to you.”

“Why I didn’t notice your habits sooner, I don’t know.” She shook her head.


“Avoiding sunlight. Only coming to school on wet days. You have never had a smoker’s cough and yet, you smoke like no tomorrow. I see you only at night on dates or late afternoons.” She smiled, “I should have known. Also, I’ve never seen you eat anything looking like food.”

He nodded, “Aaah… yes, you’ve been observing us.”

“And I do like you a lot.” She smiled.

“But not in the same way I like you?”

“Actually, in the same way; I’m terrified of what’s going to happen that’s all.”

He held both her hands and looked her straight in the eyes, “I’ll be your Sire, I’ll take care of you, teach you, train you, show you how it all works.”

“What about my family and friends?”

David looked to the ground, “That’s the sacrifice you’ll have to make.”

“How did you…”

He kissed her hand and ran his thumb over the place he kissed, “I was at a party in the year 1899. It was New Year’s Eve, Paris, but I didn’t speak much French.” He looked around at the car park, “It was a masquerade party with flowing gowns, and masks with feathers on them and loud music. I was having a grand old time.”

Paris… wow.”

He smiled looking at her, “Yeah, vampires travel a lot because we have to keep moving around.” He paused, “Anyway, I was going home, parties were still going around the place. Fireworks and drunks all along the Sien … fantastic… when I was approached by a beautiful woman who looked like she had been mugged. I would not have been a gentleman had I not helped her. So, I took her back to my place for safety and allowed her to sleep in my guest room.”

“You must have had some money to have a guest room.”

He nodded, “I did. I was very rich; still am. I woke and the following sunset with her standing over me. I had taken home a vampire. She sired me, trained me, then left me. I don’t know where she is now.”

“But you didn’t love her.”

“No. I just want my life back.”

“Why sire me?”

“Because I like you very much and don’t wish to lose you.”

“Is there a way to get your life back; I mean your human life?”

He looked to her hands in his, “No.”

“So, you’ve been on your own for over a century and you’d like a wife.”

“I’ve had two human wives and they died. I don’t think I could go through that again; that pain.” He looked at her, “A human lifetime for a vampire goes by in the blink of an eye. It’s nothing.”


He reach over and touched her hair gently, “It only hurts for a little while, I swear. But you must let me train you.”

“What happens if I don’t?”

He winced at the distant memory of his dear close friend in Romania whose sire had left him immediately. His madness and murdering rampage had never left David’s memory, “You will become uncontrollable and must be destroyed. You are my responsibility and you must be cared for properly.”

“How long until I…” she looked over his shoulder to see Shelly approaching them. She straddled the seat and moved closer to him, “You know how feel about you, right?”

“Yes, of course.”

“How long will it take for me to turn?”

“A few hours.” He smiled, but it didn’t stay as he glanced around, “We can’t do it here though. It’s too public.”

She touched his face as her former friend came closer, “Okay. Your place.”

Gently he held Candice close, grateful she had agreed to becoming his wife, “You will not regret this, Candice.” He pulled away and looked into her eyes, “And if, for any reason, you wish to leave me and go on your own path, you can. However, you will always find your way back to me if you need to as we’ll always be linked through this.”

“Linked through what?” Shelly’s voice interrupted the conversation as she stood by them, “What stupid deal are you making now, Candice? You’ve got me suspended for a month for destroying your locker.”

“And you did it. So, what are you whingeing about now, Shelly?” the brunette looked up at her.

“Well, I was looking for Gerald.”

“He’s gone home.” David said, “From what I hear, you were cheating on him.”

“But it’s just a little sex and a few dates.” She retorted, “So what?”

Candice and David both climbed off the seat, but it was Candice who stopped next to her, “You know, you really are very selfish. First you think you can control people’s opinions of me by destroying my locker at school. Then, you throw a massive party where I’m not invited – as if that would really affect me – then you cheat on your boyfriend who would do absolutely anything for you with a jock who’s a two bit loser.” She shook her head, “Shelly, it’s you who is the loser here, not me or anyone else. And I wasn’t making any deals I was talking to my boyfriend; which by the way, isn’t your business.” She took David’s hand and walked with him toward the car park.

He opened the car door and let her in, then jumped into the driver’s seat, started it and drove out of the drive-ins. The movie’s credits were rolling up the screen and most of the cars had left the place by this time. Candice wasn’t expected home until later on, or the next morning because it was the holidays. So, David took her to his place.

The large Queenslander home was located on the outskirts of Logan City down the end of a long driveway and nestled amongst sprawling Jacaranda Trees and beautiful Ghost Gums. The lights on the wide wrap-around verandah were left on for David as he pulled the car into a garage and pressed the button for the roof. Once it was clipped down and the windows were wound up, he smiled at Candice and they both got out of the car. They walked out of the garage as the door began to close and he handed her the keys.

“You really do love to drive the cars, don’t you?” she smiled, “But why do you live in such a big house?”

“Well, this was my house about seventy-five years ago when the council was offering up land out this way. So, I decided to stay; just didn’t let anyone know too much about me.” He grinned as they approached the sweeping stairs to the front of the house.

“We don’t see many of these around Brisbane anymore.”

“Nope. Come inside.” He offered his hand and she took it, “And we’ve got the place to ourselves. The boys are out partying.”

She smiled as the door opened and they walked inside. David closed it gently and the deadlock sounded home as he looked at her, “I bet you love doing that.”

“Beats having a key.” He muttered as he walked to her side and took her small jacket off her and kissed her shoulder, “I’ll take you around the place before we talk more.” David showed Candice the whole place and she was amazed at the renovations they had gotten done over the years. Then, he took her upstairs to the bedrooms; one for each of them. By then, she was under his spell; but he wanted her to be more social and not just another sire of his; or another meal. So, he waited until he had gotten her into his room, sat her on the bed and gently shook her by the shoulder, “Candice.”

“Hmm? Oh, we’re here.” She smiled, “I feel like I’ve been sleeping.”

He blushed, “I put you under my spell, but I don’t wish for you to be unconscious for this.”

“Okay.” She nodded, “Why?”

“Because I love you and we should be doing this with a clear mind. You’re very important to me.” He touched her hair and she smiled as he kissed her softly on the mouth.

Candice could smell his hunger for her as he leaned forward and moved her further onto the bed; pulling at her costume’s zipper. She struggled out of it and held him close as he ran his cold hands down her body, making her shiver with excitement; as well as the chill. She couldn’t believe a person could be so physically cold. David didn’t stop there. His clothes seemed to melt off him into puddles on the floor; and she didn’t even hear his shoes drop as he kicked them off. Very suddenly, everything stopped as they both faced each other. She was naked on the bed; however, he had his boxers on. Her beautiful body was ready for him; his ageless one hovering over her… and in his face, the reason why he was ageless. His opened his mouth wider as his canines slid down, showing them.

This time, Candice wasn’t as scared of them as she was at the drive-ins. It might have been the movie showing or the light; she wasn’t sure. But, they looked almost sexy on him as she reached up and touched one of the razor sharp teeth, then his face as he leaned closer so she could have a better look at him.

“Do you eat anything at all? Besides blood?” she whispered.

“No.” he replied in as low a voice as hers.

“You smell good.”

His brown eyes regarded her as he inhaled her scent, “You’re ready.” David touched her gently as his teeth vanished behind his lips and he kissed her cheek, “I’ll be as gentle as I can. The first ten seconds will hurt like hell.”

He turned her chin to his right and saw a perfect vein throbbing in her neck; the jugular. He looked at her beautiful features as he touched her hair again, smelt it and straddled her and wrapped his arms up and around her back. David hadn’t inhaled virgin blood so pure in a long time; it was almost overpowering as he bit into her white neck and felt her buck in pain as her voice caught in her throat and she fought back as a knee-jerk reaction. The blood gushed to the back of his throat and he drank quickly; but kept an eye on her pulse as she slowed down and he forced himself away, “Candice.” He panted licking the blood from his lips, “Honey, it’s time to drink.” He sliced his arm with one of his nails and supported her head, allowing the blood to drip into her mouth. As suddenly as she had stopped fighting him, Candice’s eyes snapped open and she grabbed his arm, guzzling the blood from the fresh wound. David winced in pain as she drank hungrily from it and had push her off before it was too late; before she took too much, “Jesus Christ.” He doubled up as the familiar pain wracked his body of siring a person and watched her as she dropped to the bed and writhed as the changes of the turning began. He waited for his arm to heal and then went to her side for the rest of the night.

A damp cloth was the first thing she felt. Candice opened her eyes and saw David dabbing her forehead with it. She sweated profusely as one of the other guys sat on the bed and slotted another bag of blood onto the IV. He watched her carefully as he binned the empty one, glanced at David and then walked out of the room without a word.

After the door closed, he sighed, “That’s your fourth bag.”

“Is that unusual?” she asked.

“No.” he smiled, “But you were a virgin. I didn’t know that.”

“I taste different if I am?”

He nodded, “It’s more pure; untainted.”

Candice sat up a little and took a deep breath in, realising she was wearing a shirt, “This is yours?”

“I had to put something on you for the guys to help me with your turning.”

“What day is it?”

He smiled, “It’s only been one day since I sired you.”

“Oh. That’s all?” she smiled back, “And I’m still hungry.”

“Bagged blood doesn’t have the same feel as off-the-hoof.” He shook his head, “I know. But you’ll be ready for your first kill soon.”

She laid back onto the pillows, “When?”

“Sooner than you think.” A voice came from the door.

David looked over as a figure approached the bed. As the person came into view, Candice realised this person was Principal Todd, “You picked an eager one, David. Very good.”

“I’ll teach her all she needs to know.” He said.

“Good. You’re a good teacher and she’s a quick study.” The balding man gestured for him to accompany him to the door. David left the towel on her forehead as he did.

“Be right back, honey.” He kissed her cheek.


At the door, Principal Todd looked at David and lowered his voice, “You sired a virgin; way to go.”

“Thanks.” He blushed.

“Hey, that’s an accomplishment. There’s not many of them in high school, you know.” He patted his shoulder, “You take care of her. I know how you’d feel if something bad was to happen to her.”

“Yes, I know.”

The Principal embraced David briefly, “I’m proud of you.” Then he left the room.

David returned to her side and changed the cloth over, “You’ll perform you first kill tonight.”

Candice nodded, “Okay.”

“I’ll show you how.” He leaned on the bed a little, “But it’s not as easy as you think. Your human mind will interfere; and you must let the demon out when I tell you to.”

She touched his arm gently, making him look at her. “I will follow your direction.”

Sighing, he took the cloth off her head and looked up at the bag where it was showing empty, “You’re feeling better? You’ve drained another bag already.”

She looked where he did and smiled, “Yes.”

“Good.” He dropped the cloth in the bowl by the bedside table and took out the IV gently, “It’s time for you get dressed. I have got a variety of clothes for you while you slept from your place so you don’t need to walk around in that costume.” He smiled, “And I took the make-up off your face too.”

“Thank you. You’ve thought of everything.” Candice touched his face softly as she leaned in and kissed him, “But I don’t want to leave yet.”

“Thought you were starving.”

“I am… but not for blood; not yet.” She grinned.

Raising his eyebrows, David mirrored her grin, “Really?”

“Yes.” She took his face in her hands and kissed him as he moved her on the bed, “Please David, we could have last night, but…”

“Shh, let’s pretend we’re still there.” His cool breath brushed her ear, “And there’s nobody at the door.”

“I’m yours.”

The night air was pleasant and cool as they stepped outside; and this time, they didn’t need the front lights on. Candice thought it was still daytime; however, as she looked around and to the road, she found the street lights had switched on automatically. Her senses were also switched on to ultra-sensitive; as though she could hear and smell absolutely everything within a couple of kilometers and she tried not to freak out about it. This time, David and herself took his car from the garage: a 1967 Holden Monaro.

“Wow.” She gaped at its fiery orange-red colour and how it gleamed in the moonlight, “She’s gorgeous.”

David grinned: “I’m glad you like it.” He opened the door of it and let her in, then suddenly was in it next to her, “Let’s get something to eat.”

The gangs in the Redland Bay area were a menace to all who lived there; and so David and his boys were working on getting rid of them. After parking the car near a popular restaurant, he and Candice locked it up, put on the alarm and took a walk.

“They are usually a round the parks where people hang out for fish’n’chips at this time of night.” He said as he wrapped his arm around her waist, “We don’t go for the innocent humans who are law-abiding, we hit the criminals who beat them.”

She watched on as a family of six settled down on a large picnic table with a huge paper and cardboard lot of food to share amongst them. From what looked like darkness to the average human being came the gang of eight humans. They moved quickly upon them, acting all innocent and overly polite as they began to flick the youngest kid’s ear and lean over the Mother as they peered down her top.

“Now is the time we act like another couple walking past.” She muttered, “They won’t suspect a thing.”

He looked down at her with a smile pulling up his face, “You catch on quickly. Come on. The boys will be with us soon.”

They moved quickly into the sight of the gang who didn’t move toward them; as David expected, these boys wanted to play with families and make the kids watch.

Then one turned as Candice craned her neck and became really curious. He took a few steps towards them, “What? Can’t you see we’re eating dinner with the family?”

David kissed her temple, “Very good. Now, it’s time for us to have some fun.” He turned letting go of Candice and gently pushing her toward the table and he walked purposefully toward the first who had spoken, “I don’t like you.”

Candice walked over calmly with a smile on her face as she touched the Mother on the shoulder and whispered, “Get your family out of here now. Leave the food, that’s what they want.” Straight away both parents shuffled the family away from the table and left the food. The moment she knew they were out of danger, she turned and was face to face with her first meal. Grabbing him, she found his right arm stuck around his back and heard the mechanical sound of a knife flicking open. There was no time to be polite; she kneed him hard then – as he collapsed, but didn’t let go of his weapon – she felt the demon within her scream for the much-needed blood. Ignoring the human side telling her this was wrong and it was murder, she grabbed a handful of hair and dug her teeth in. The warm blood fill her mouth, surged down her throat and tasted..oh,so good! She kept drinking until suddenly the guy was ripped off her by David.

“Enough! Not past the time of the heart stopping.” He said, “You must remember that. The moment it stops, you let go.”

She panted, “That’s right. Dead blood means it can kill me.”

He nodded, “Right.”

Candice looked at her Sire, “More.”

He looked around, “Not tonight. We scared the shit out of the rest of them. We must leave now.” He picked up the drained bodies and ran off into the darkness where Candice heard two loud splashes. When he came back, she had picked up the weapons left behind and pocketed them, “Good, there’ll be no trace of them for a few days.”

“Where are the boys?” she asked.

“I wish to God I knew.” He muttered, “We could have taken on the whole gang with them, but I’m wondering what’s happened.” By this time, they were back at the car where the boys were standing around it. David was livid as he stormed up to them, “Why didn’t you lot help us?”

All four of them looked the ground as they mumbled apologies, then Principal Todd walked from across the street smiling, “Hello, David.”

He frowned, “So, you’ve got them doing your deeds of sitting on their hands?”

“Well, it was a public place.” He said, “And…”

“Screw that! Those guys are famous for wrecking people’s lives. They’re bullies, perverts and were quite used to keeping curious onlookers away.” David pointed out to the now empty table, “Until we came along tonight, they thought they owned this place. Now, they don’t.”

“Candice is learning off you.” The man squeezed his shoulder, “Don’t make me take all you’ve worked for away from you.”

He pushed the man’s hand off him, “You can’t do that. The house, the money, the cars… they’re all mine.”

“I’m your Sire.”

“No you’re not.” He shook his head.

Candice stepped forward, “Why don’t we do this somewhere else?”

Principal Todd turned on her. His face looked like stone as his eyes pierced her; he was trying to hypnotise her – and not succeeding, “Why don’t you piss off.”

“Make me.” She growled, “This is not the place to talk about Siring, blood-letting and who owns what. Families live here and you have forgotten that part of you.”

He stepped back, took a deep breath and walked off without another word.

David and his boys were shocked as he whispered, “Well, I’ve never seen him back down from a newbie like that before.”

Richard shook his head, “This is not good.”

Candice muttered, “If he’s normally the decision-maker and he’s backed off quickly like that, I’m not looking forward to him in the next few days.”

“That normally means to watch your back… or your head.” Richard mumbled.

David looked around at the rest of them, “Well, there’s not much else we can do here but leave.” He dug the keys for his car out of his pocket, “We’ll meet you back at the house guys.”

Soon we were back on the road in silence. He seemed to be brooding over something; and Candice felt as though it was her fault.

He glanced over at her and gestured for her to move across the seat to him; smiling, she did. His arm around her made her feel safe as he sighed; but his thoughts were muddled and churning.

“What’s wrong?” she asked as they slowed to a set of lights, “You’re thinking something over but I can’t keep track.”

David rubbed his face with an open palm, “I’m scared the Principal is going to go after you.” He stroked her cheek gently, “After I’ve been alone for so long, I don’t wish to lose you.”

“You’re not going to.” She smiled, “He’ll lose his head because he’s gotten cocky.”

As they arrived back at the house, he noticed something was badly wrong. The fire brigade was there draining the dam. David put both hands on the wheel as Candice sat up straighter and looked straight ahead with shock on her face. He pulled off the driveway and parked under a nearby Jacaranda tree to keep his car out of the way and both of them got out. Tears stung her eyes as the smoke billowed from the old Queenslander and an explosion pounded the air. The fire crews fought the blaze with the water they had available, but knew they needed a water truck. And not long after David had arrived, two showed up. He raced toward the house but some of the firemen grabbed him as he screamed at his only home and Candice leaned against his car crying.

“Would you like to talk to news crews?” a voice asked in her ear.

She turned and looked beyond the fire chief’s shoulder, “No. Nobody talks to us; especially David. He’s too angry.”

“Ma’am is that blood on your face?”

She turned and ran into the semi-darkness choking back sobs as he tried to grab her. It wasn’t the prospect of having a blood smear on her cheek that had caused her to run; but it was a smell. In amongst the choking smoke and flames that stained the night sky, Candice could smell the Principal around the place. He was still there; watching his handiwork. The boys had seen her run and followed her; along with David, who had shoved the fire crew off him and found something else to be worried about. He followed his group around the side of the burning building and found him standing there with a crazed expression on his face; which turned to doubt when Candice bolted toward him out to kill him.

She jumped on him screaming, fists ready and the Principal fell over backwards, holding onto her as they rolled down a slight incline into darkness. She held onto his shoulders as they rolled over and over and finally came to a stop against a fallen bloodwood trunk where the real fight started up.

“Oh shit, he’s gonna kill her.” Richard muttered as they all followed them.

“No he’s not. She’ll kill him.” David said.

The fight was fast and full of rage as she let the demon out to fight the man who had destroyed everything David had worked so hard for. This man was too cocky, too stupid and had gotten on her nerves just once too much tonight – well twice, but that was too much – and she wanted to take it out on him instead of anyone else around her. Candice belt into the other vamp without restraint and it felt good to work over another and know he may not die from his injuries. But the demon inside her begged for her to kill him; even though he was of her own kind. However, when he was all bruised and curled up against the trunk, she forced herself to stop, took a few steps back and sat down hard.

David walked to her and watched the Principal as he slowly pulled himself onto the bloodwood trunk. He knew the older vamp had let her win the fight; knew that with age came power, speed and wisdom, as well as callousness and cruelty. However, why the Principal had let her beat him up was puzzling; and Candice looked up at David with a thoughtful look on her face, quickly stood and walked to the balding man, “Boys, stand guard.” Richard and the rest of them turned and watched the top of the hill as David watched her, “You let me win.”

He nodded, “Yes.”


The Principal gave her a knowing expression, “Think. You haven’t had a single sms or phone call from anyone in your family tonight or yesterday.”

David walked to Candice’s side as he realised what she was about to do, “I’ll help you.” He muttered.

“Hold him.”

“You can’t kill me. I’m his Sire.”

“No you’re not.” She smiled, “A woman in Paris is. And he’s mine.” From her pocket, she pulled one of the knives she had picked up from the gangs at the Bay, “And looka here. All I need to do is cut off your head.” She pressed the button on the side and the Bowie Hunting Knife flicked out sharp, shining and ready for use. Without warning, Candice jumped on him.

When she opened the front door of her parent’s house, she could tell they were dead. David and the boys had come with her in case it was too much for her to deal with.

Covering her nose, she balked, “Oh, god, that’s a fresh kill.”

David nodded, “Two days old at least.” He sniffed the air, “And he…” he looked over at her lowering his voice, “enjoyed himself.”

She turned and invited the rest of them into the house as a police car pulled into the driveway, “You guys don’t have any bagged blood on you, do you?”

Richard nodded, “I do.”

“In the fridge downstairs; break the padlock.”

He smiled, “She’s cool.”

“You’ll find another padlock on the bench.” She called as a Sergeant walked up the front steps and showed his badge, “Can we help you?”

“Are you Candice Mitchell?”


“Do you know your family has been murdered?”

She looked down, closing her eyes as she fought the tears and anger, “Yes.”

“We are looking for their killer. Do you know of any enemies they may have had?”

“My parents were law abiding citizens. They paid their taxes and haven’t been to prison. They had the best dressed house for Halloween and lots of friends. There weren’t any enemies as far as I know.” She muttered, “I haven’t been around here for the last few days and just found out they were killed.”

“Do you need a counsellor for your grief?”

She shook her head, “I’ve got my boyfriend to help me. And my mates.”

The sergeant pulled out a card and Candice opened the screen slightly and accepted it, “Just in case you need to talk.”

She looked at it briefly and handed it to David, “Thank you.”

He nodded, “You’re welcome.”

On closing the door, she leaned against it and found relief as David held her close. She didn’t want to have anyone of authority on her case like that again; talking to her like that again.

He looked at her, “Do you want to know some thing about that cop?”

“You know him?” she asked.

He nodded as he pulled her from the door, “Kinda. Come away from the door.” David kissed her and hugged her, “He’s a vampire; and very good at finding out what happens around the place.”

She looked at him with wide eyes, “Why didn’t I smell it on him?”

“Because he eats raw meat.” He smiled, “And I’ve seen him around feeding off crims.”

“Is it time to move again?” she asked.

David looked at the boys as they settled into the house for the evening, “No. Not yet. It’ll look suspicious. Let’s finish school and head off to college.” He stroked her cheek, “You need to meet the vamps there… life gets better from now on.”