The Children of Arnborg: the Prophecy
by Rene Barry
part 1 of 2
Boston District Attorney Stuart Morrow has enjoyed an unholy alliance with a group of vampires for years, but when his prosecution of a high-profile defendant goes awry, he begins to understand that it will take more than the legal system to put things right.
One night on a Boston highway, the company of a seductive vampire named Emma will plunge him deeper into the dangers of their world than he could have ever imagined and into a battle for his own survival.
Matthew Raines turned up the volume on the television set. He had not showered. He still had not shaved. The night bugs chirped and the trees shivered in the cool wind outside. He plucked down on the soft bed sheets, beer in hand, lapping up the media frenzy over Woolsey’s mistrial. Like it or not, he was the defense counsel of the hour.
“I would not get too comfortable if I were you!” A voice shot through the room. The beer bottle broke on the floor.
“What the fuh-” On instinct Raines grabbed the .38 caliber gun in the bedside drawer and flung himself over the side of the bed, peering into the darkened bedroom doorway. The stranger had turned off the light in the corridor.
“Karen?” he gasped, gauging the familiar, well-built silhouette of his intruder.
“Very good, counsel. You will need your every instinct, every wile you can afford to survive what’s coming your way.”
“Karen? How did you get in here? What the hell are you doing breaking into my house?”
“Focus, counsel. That’s not important. What is important is that I get you to safety. I can fight them. You can’t.”
Raines eased up from the side of the bed, measuring his client. “You okay, Karen?” he asked cautiously. “Everything all right?” He took stock of the 9-mm in her hand. “What you gonna do with that?”
“I don’t have time to explain, but you’ve got to come with me. I can protect you.”
“Karen, what are you talking about? Protect me from what?”
“The Coven. They’ll be coming after you. It’s only a matter of time.”
“W-wait a minute, The Coven? You mean the same crap Stuart’s been carrying on about!”
“Yeah. That same crap.”
“Karen listen to me...” He fumbled, futilely searching for words. He sighed heavily. “Don’t tell me he’s gotten to you. Don’t tell me—”
“For your information, counselor, the only reason I kept my mouth shut this whole time was to protect you or anyone else from getting hurt. You did your job, Raines. Sorry it had to cost you your friend. Now it’s time for me to do mine.”
“Karen, is this some kind of a joke?” Raines asked nervously. “Listen, let me call you some help,” he offered, easing toward his cell phone lying on the bedside table. “Believe me, I’ve seen this before. It’s not easy for anyone being locked up, but just put the gun down and we can—”
“You know what? Let me make this a whole lot easier.” She fired a warning shot into the mattress making Raines dodge behind the bed. She pulled out a syringe, lurched forward and jabbed the needle into Raines’ neck. The attorney slumped onto the floor, his head dangling from Woolsey’s arms.
* * *
Joshua quietly turned the broken lock and eased half his body into the narrow crack of the doorway. Immediately, Rebecca saw his anticipation turn to suspicion.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” she whispered from behind him.
“They’re not here. I can sense it. This house is empty.” Joshua’s eyes scoped the silent suburban neighborhood, catching the scent of the mortals locked away behind its walls. He eyed an approaching car suspiciously, his blank eyes shining in the glare of the headlights.
As a passenger got out of the back seat, laughing, he took Rebecca and half-hid among the nearby shrubbery, watching and waiting as the passenger took time to engage in a little last minute chatter and, after a few minutes, walked, keys jingling in hand, to a door and disappeared behind the wooden panel. He watched the car swerve away.
“So you were right?” Rebecca whispered. “Woolsey got to him, first,” she lamented.
Joshua turned to Rebecca. “Learn something, my dear,” he said tersely. “You are immortal now. There is no room for acceptance or defeat. No one, and I mean no one, and no part of this earth is out of our reach. We will find them. Come!”
Joshua took Rebecca upstairs and began trashing through Counselor Raines’ belongings.
“What’re you looking for?” she questioned, standing perplexed in the middle of the bedroom.
Joshua ignored her. He was busy rummaging through random pieces of clothing and carelessly flipping through the pages of books and folders, but then pulled up an item and, several seconds later, tossed the book at Rebecca with a smile.
“A diary? This is going to tell us where he is?” she inquired sardonically. “Look, I know I’m new to this whole ‘creature of the night’ thing, but I don’t think people take time to write down where they’re going when they’re practically running from death!”
Joshua smiled. “It’s not the diary, my love,” he said softly. “It’s what’s in it.” He waved a photo of Raines and a woman who bore a striking resemblance to the attorney.
“Is that his mom?” Rebecca peered at the photo, speaking more to herself that to Joshua. “But why—?”
“This must mean a lot to him,” Joshua explained. “Not something he wanted to advertise on the mantle downstairs.” He tore the woman out of the photo in one crude sweep saving only Raines’ piece. “This was for him and him alone, and that’s why we’re going to call him... using this.”
“Call him?” Rebecca sighed, looking exasperated with her companion.
“Yes, my love. Trap his soul and bring that son of a bitch to us.”
* * *
Stuart had been thoroughly immersed in Emma’s story. However, he was beginning to notice that the route Emma had taken was not nearing the Bowdoin Street intersection and had not been so for at least the last half-hour. Nevertheless, he contented himself with the thought that Emma was, after all, a vampire and was perhaps prone to covert operations for the most mundane things of human life, such as nearing the correct turn-off point on the freeway.
“Hours later I woke up,” Emma cut into Stuart’s thoughts. “The arrow was out of my head, my wound had healed and Hrodrich sat beside me. I looked around and realized that we were under the church in some sort of sanctuary. Above us, I could hear a commotion of garbled shouting and screams.
‘Do not worry,’ Hrodrich whispered. ‘They cannot get in. They are seeing to the priests’ bodies.’
I looked across me and saw that the doors were locked and barred. ‘Wolgast?’ I moaned.
‘Dead,’ Hrodrich whispered.
‘How?’ I asked, feeling the weakness in my limbs.
‘Our little one...’ he replied, softly.
‘Frouuina!’ I sprang up. ‘Where is she?’
Hrodrich would not answer. His eyes filled with tears.
‘Where is Frouuina!’ I screamed.
‘She fought him to the last, to the very last. She killed him... fed on him... and what strength she had, she gave to us...’ he told me.
‘What? What?’ I cried. ‘Where is our little one? Hrodrich, where is our little one?’ I cried over and over.
‘Albruga, you drank in your sleep, and I drank in mine,’ he answered. ‘She gave every drop of blood she had and, having fully avenged her family’s death, she went into the sun.
‘She is nothing but ash now, but as I awoke, her blood still on my lips, her breath barely able to sustain her, she confessed one last thing and asked one more of us and prophesied yet another. She said she had tried to call Wolgast to us with her magicks, his spirit, so she could kill the last great hunter who despised and persecuted her kind and ours.
‘I do not know if this is what brought him to us, but she died believing as much. She asked us always to protect the remnants of her family’s descendants. I promised her this, Albruga, and you and I are bound by that promise. There is no going back now.’
I nodded at this through my tears. ‘And the prophecy?’ my lips trembled. ‘What of that?’
‘She told me that a day would come when a hunter would rise up against us and a descendant of the Kuhnle’s would rise up to guard us,’ he said. ‘She said her descendants and our children whom we would create, and our children’s children, were bound together by destiny throughout all eternity. This was the pact made with the Gods and the Goddesses when Gersuinda cut her abdomen and took the blood from our wrist...’ Hrodrich’s lips quivered with something unspoken.
I pressed his arm. ‘Dear brother, what is it? What troubles you?’
‘She said we would run afoul of this hunter,’ he said, ‘and this would all happen at a time when a descendant of Wolgast was the only means to defeat our enemy.’
‘A descendant of Wolgast?’ I asked. ‘How could this be? He’s dead!’
‘He had a bastard son,’ Hrodrich explained. ‘Frouuina knew this, but the only one he loved was Fridurih, the one born to the woman he truly loved...’ Hrodrich’s lips still quivered.
‘What is it, Hrodrich!’ I said sternly, growing impatient. ‘Tell me what she told you!’
‘Albruga,’ he whispered, his voice breaking, ‘the hunter... the hunter whom we must defeat before he kills us all, us and our fledglings... will be one of the last living descendants... of Arnborg...’
* * *
Copyright © 2011 by Rene Barry