The Butterfly's Storm
There are plenty of ways to die, but only love can kill and keep you alive to feel it.
Aether’s Coven, New Orleans
The shadows are already dissolving into the evening dusk when I hear a footfall close behind me. In this forest, there is only one person who could get so close to me without detection and I know she wants me dead.
It wasn’t my fault that I was born the protector, the guardian of the earth; and I’ll fight till the bitter end for my realm, I’ll fight until Isis herself releases me from my servitude.
Six pairs of hands tried to seize me. Nora shot out; with a little hiss, she leaped out like a panther and almost landed on my back, but I teleported away.
Before hitting the ground abruptly, Nora executed a somersault, landing on her feet. Even her agile movements are far too slow. Sookie, Naomi, and Luna scrambled to see where I’d vanished too.
“If I were Absalom you’d all be in serious trouble,” Nora shouted at me from across the field. She’d kept her eyes on me the whole time.
“If you were Absalom, we’d need some nose plugs and air- fresheners, that bitch stank.”
The girls burst into a chorus of laughter while Nora huffed in frustration.
“You are all dismissed, we shall resume training at 6 AM tomorrow.” The laughter simultaneously halted and was abruptly replaced with huffs and long sighs as the Coven/combat- training -team made their way back to the house.
As I’ve watched my children grow, I’ve done the same for my coven over the past three years. Nora and Naomi bestowed the honorable title of High Priestess to Sookie and Luna. They earned the title, both women proved themselves worthy of a series of supernatural test.
“Come on Nor, don’t be so hard on them.”
“Are you kidding me!” She waved her hands, agitated by my nonchalant attitude, “after what you said happened at your house and Fangtaisa?!”
“I know...it’s just- well... we’ve all trained so much and so often these past few years.”
“Tara, we’ve done nothing but learn a few more protection spells and play fight with our vampires and wolves. Absalom and her minions could have an army now, for all we know.”
My mouth ran dry and my stomach turned in an unfriendly way. I felt as if my brain were full of static, either firing off a million unhelpful thoughts at once or offering nothing at all.
“Well, when you put it like that...”
“I don’t mean to worry you Sire, but the reprieve is over. It is time to put on the big-girl pants and get on with it.”
“You’re right,” I replied and instantly her eyes lit up, and I could tell that a million new ideas were streaming through her brain. She had seen something new, something amazing like I knew she would.
“Here’s the plan, tomorrow, the entire coven will begin an intense regimen of training. No holds barred. I’m going to put these ladies to the test. I’ll leave you in charge of the itinerary. ”
“I already have one, I’ve just been waiting for you to request implementing it.” Now she’s as eager as ever.
“I’ll see you in the morning then.” I gave her a playful wink, Nora is always so serious, I wish she would just chill sometimes.
“Bright and early.” She replied with her warm and wise smile.
Nora truly is the best Progeny a Supreme could ask for, loyal, intelligent, persistent, and brave. She does it all. Last year she brought Alcide back from Jackson Mississippi; by offering him lots of money and property, she was able to relocate his entire pack. His only trepidation was the issue of turf between the residing NOLA pack, but eventually, the two packs all came to an agreement, lines were drawn, and territories were divided equally. Nora’s primary reasoning for bringing Alcide back was for protection. Franklin’s been the Coven’s personal private detective and he has a strong suspicion that most, if not all of the NOLA pack are devout Absalom followers and addicted to V. It is common knowledge that any wolf addicted to V is a ticking time-bomb. So, keeping wolves on guard is a must and Alcide’s pack is clean and trustworthy; they are truly the best at what they do.
Because of that Godric’s 100-acre plot is a blessing, we share it with the wolves. Eric had a huge den built for them and the land fortified just like our home.
I was already a few feet down the pathway when Nora called out to me. Instead of shouting, she spoke to my mind.
Are you ready for vampire Lafayette?
I continued my way as I replied.
I am but is the rest of the world?
St. Louis Cemetery, Shreveport
As dusk approached, Ruby and I walked side by side with Eric trailing close behind us; rows of eerie tombstones stood erect in silence to the left and right, in front and behind, like a sea of the dead. Some were crumbled with the weathering of centuries, some were smooth marble with new black writing and laid with floral tributes. Mold covered the engravings dedicated to the dead, trees leaning towards the stones, branches reaching out to each other. Spiked, black fences surrounded the graveyard almost like it was a prison. The smell of old stone filled the dry air, weeds covering the graves of the dead, loved ones long since stopped visiting. Gravel paths weave through the maze of graves, allowing passers-by to pay their respects to the people lined up in the earth’s embrace. The disembodied voices of souls that once walked the earth seemed to be carried through the fog that was rising through the cracks in the porous path. It sounded like the wind was whistling through the trees, but...there was no wind and not even the tiniest breeze. Although I was not afraid, the graveyard was still spooky as hell to me.
Suddenly Eric cut in front of us and I knew we had reached our destination.
Aunt Ruby cast her eyes to the freshly dug soil. She sank to her knees at the grave, not caring for the damp mud that dirtied her black Carolina Herrera dress. The grief surged with every expelled breath, always reaching higher peaks, never sufficiently soothed by her long intakes of the damp spring air. Tears began to spill from her helpless eyes onto the newly growing grass. Her gaze fell from bloom to bloom. In that moment the sure knowledge that life would go on without the man she knew; time would only go on for her, the thought undid her completely and she wept aloud.
Ruby Jean was solely responsible for making Aether’s Coven the only coven. Because of my aunt, every single witch from around the world resides here. Nora taught me how to locate every single one of my progenies using only my mind. This is necessary for our survival; because of Ruby, we are united, like-minded and safe.
Without warning, the quite was destroyed instantly in an enormous explosion. The earth had erupted a rainfall of dirt, showered down; a shrill and deafening- roar invaded my ears.
“I’m hungry as fuck.” Was Lafayette’s first words. He swooshed around a few seconds and then settled at the foot of his grave. He gazed into the night sky as if viewing it for the very first time.
Pam subtlety rolled out of her dirt bed and casually brushed the dirt and rubble from her shoulders.
“Then let’s get you cleaned up...” She said as the dirt fell from her hair, she brushed it from her shoulders and cleavage, ” the first lesson, never let the blood-bags see you out of style.”
I became slightly agitated, Eric, Ruby and I are standing only a few feet away and their both acting as if we aren’t even here.
“Pamela, Lafayette’s first lesson should be restraint when feeding, ” Eric corrected, “Also, I believe Tara and Ruby would like a word with him.”
“Well, since you didn’t bring us a snack to practice with, we must be going.” Pamela drawled, brushing more dirt out of her hair.
“Lafayette, is any part of my son still there?” Ruby asked realizing that their bond is broken, shattered into fragments more numerous than the stars. She’d been replaced.
“Yes, Ruby, I’m still here, but you heard Pam, we gotta bounce.”
I could tell by the way he was darting his eyes, that his senses where going haywire, he can smell, see and feel so much more now. And in those words, Ruby became more distraught, she knew that face. It is the one he wears when his ears are closed, and his mind has put up barriers to all new information. So, no matter what she said it will only push him further away.
“Will I see you tomorrow night?” Ruby did her best to wish him well with the voice that sounds like her, but it isn’t.
“That depends, I ain’t makin no promises.” She took a step towards him and he took a step back. “I gotta adjust to being vampire now-mamma.”
She doesn’t understand, her scent is making him hungry and he did not want to hurt her. His words caused a transition in her, the bitterness is rising like bile in her mouth and in that moment, she became the person she never wanted to be.
“Consider yourself lucky, most humans never see their loved ones again after they become vampire.” Pam voiced coolly, her hands placed firmly on her hips.
Ruby turned on Pam like an enraged panther. “Lucky!?- Fuck you-you skinny ole pasty bitch!”
“Mamma!” Lafayette sneered.
The blue-eyed vampire shrugged and smirked, she’d been called much worse many times before.
A stony glare carved into the old woman’s dark eyes. Fury blurred her sight, she tightened her jaw and glared at her son.
“I wish yawl vampires would have let him die.” The words flew from her mouth that she never thought she’d even think, let alone say out loud. She knew instantly from the look in his eyes that they’d hit their mark. In that instant, their relationship shattered into glassy shards.
“I am dead- Pam... can we go now.” His expression was stoic as the former Medium turned his back to her.
Ruby wanted to beg, plead, get down on her knees and tell him that she was sorry, but her pride wouldn’t allow it.
So, the first-time Sire and her newborn-vampire sped away into the darkness and nothing would ever be the same again.