CHAPTER ONE - TOBIAS
The sun was almost down and although it wouldn’t kill me to be out in the daylight, it wasn’t exactly a picnic in the park either. In almost three hundred years I’ve only been in the sun about a dozen times and even that was too many times for my liking. I was hungry. I haven’t been hunting in over a week. It wasn’t my fault; my idiot brother has a nasty habit of making my life hell for about a week every month.
Sometimes I wonder who got the easier curse. Sure, Tristan could enjoy the sun and wasn’t driven by the hunger, but he would lose complete control of himself for about a week every month. I don’t know how I would be able to handle that. Not being in control was just not an option for me. I’ve adapted to my life as it is, and given up on the hope for a cure. Curses can’t be cured; only broken, and thanks to a cryptic bitch of a siren, mine can only be broken by a stupid crying tree with flowing branches that dance in the wind. For three hundred years I’ve tried to figure out how a willow tree could help me break the curse, yet I’m still here driven by my hunger.
Finally. The sun had completely disappeared from the sky and I was more than ready to get the hell out of here and enjoy the freedom of the shadows.
“Try not to kill anyone tonight.”
Tristan came into the room holding a bottle of beer in his hand. He was pale and it was easy to see that he was exhausted. Three days of no sleep would do that to just about anyone. His hair was a mess; his body was bruised, and the scruff on his face made him look a lot older than he really was, or at least older than he was when he stopped aging.
“You look like shit brother.”
“Well thanks you don’t look so hot yourself.”
“And I’m tired.”
That was an understatement. My brother’s part of the curse left him as a shifter, or what people like to call a werewolf. He can shift at any given time; if he wanted, but come the full moon he lost all control. Like an idiot he fights the shift, which makes it a lot more painful than it has to be, so when it’s all over he’s left beaten, broken, and completely worn out.
“Sleep brother. I have some hunting to do.”
“I meant what I said Tobias. Try not to kill anyone tonight.”
Easier said than done. Humans are weak, they always have been. A life can be taken so easily and sometimes I just can’t help myself. I left the room without another word and made my way down the stairs and out the front door. It was nice out. The wind was cool but not cold and the air smelled like pine.
One of the perks of living in a house in the middle of nowhere was the forest that surrounded us. I’ve always loved nature and over time I’ve grown to appreciate the night and all it had to offer.
Like the rest of my brothers I was fast. Really fast. What should have taken almost two hours to get to the nearest town took me only fifteen minutes. Speed and strength were just a few of the perks we got from our curse. Another perk that came in handy was the fact that we could not die.
We were immortal, all of us. I have four brothers in all, each of us was affected by the curse differently, but all of our lives were changed.
Most people stayed inside at night with their doors locked, as if that could keep the darkness out. No one knew about my brothers and me, but the town has the highest death count and disappearances within five hundred miles. I’ll admit most of them were my fault, but my brothers have racked up quite a few themselves. For the past hundred and fifty years I’ve had to chain up Tristan during the full moon.
As the population grew it became too much of a risk to let him run free when he had no control. As for my other brothers, they come back to town every so often, but each of them has their own issues to deal with and somehow they think that going off on their own will help them.
There is a bar on the edge of town called The Village Pub. Not much to it besides a few pool tables, a shitty dance floor, and some booths and tables to sit at. The place needed a makeover. Most of the people who came here were scum anyways. The place was full of creeps looking to get laid or young punks taking their girls on a cheap date.
I knew the owner quite well. He was an old friend of mine. We’ve been friends for forty years and, even though I haven’t aged a day, he hasn’t asked questions. There have been so few people I let myself get close to since the curse, but he was one of them and it was really going to suck when the old man died.
“Was wondering’ when ya’d show up again.” Speak of the devil.
“Don’t you evenin’ Micky me son. Where the hell ya been boy.”
Every once in a while I’d stick around the pub to help Micky out. He had two sons but both joined the military about ten years ago and died in an explosion six months back. He took it pretty hard, so I’ve been trying to help him out as much as I can lately.
“Dealing with my brother.”
He replied with a grunt and threw an apron at me. I caught it with one hand before tying it around my waist. I was hoping to grab something to eat before he put me to work.
I can already feel the need growing inside of me. It was almost painful. I growled under my breath and took a moment to compose myself before heading through the back entrance into the bar.
On the plus side, when things got out of hand Micky would let me deal with it, which meant an easy meal. He didn’t even bother with security since I was here almost every night.
Things have been slow lately though; probably because whoever got into a fight at Micky’s pub was usually never heard from. Again, my fault.
“Well, if it isn’t the asshole”
I turn to stand face to face with the same idiot who tried to start a fight with me a week ago. If only he knew exactly who – and what – he was dealing with. I could tell he was just itching to lash out at me.
By the way his hand was curled into a fist; my guess was he would love nothing more than to punch me in the face right now. The fact that he had enough self-control to not act on that impulse showed he may in fact not be as stupid as he looks.
“Why Mick keeps you around I’ll never know.”
“I really don’t give a shit. Now if you’ll excuse me”
I pushed past the guy before I did something stupid, like rip his jugular out with my teeth. I’m hungry which means I have no patience. I could hear the guy running his mouth as I walked away and it took everything I had to not turn around and sink my teeth into him.
I needed to distract myself. Micky was behind the bar serving drinks. If I was lucky I could get away with sneaking into the back and hiding out there. Even over the music, I could hear the pulsing of heartbeats, so I disappeared into the back room to restock shelves.
Three hours have passed and I’m going insane. I can already feel the hunger taking over. If I don’t get out of here soon I’ll tare through Micky’s bar leaving a blood bath in my wake. I’m already having a hard time focusing, the room is spinning and my fangs are trying to force their way out.
I needed to leave. Thankfully the hall was empty enough for me to escape without being noticed. It was about midnight and soon I’d lose my chance of finding someone to feed on.
Shit. I raked my fingers through my hair and pulled on it in frustration when then the sound of a scream caught my attention. What the hell? I took off in the direction of the noise. Perhaps my night was looking up and I’d find someone to eat after all. I sprint across the gravel parking lot and into the dark alley way.
I skid to a halt and the pounding of my heart beat was so loud inside my head drowning out the noise around me. There was a girl leaning against the wall barely holding on to her consciousness.
From what I could see her shirt was ripped open and her white bra was stained with drops of blood. From the looks of it the blood could belong to her or the man. My vision was fading and all I could focus on was the smell of blood. Someone was going to die tonight.
Without a second thought I speared the man against the wall. His scream rang out into the night as my teeth tore into his flesh. The taste of iron against my tongue was welcomed but only made me want more.
It had been too long since I last fed. The warmth of blood washed over me as it spread through my body. I drained the life from him and the feeling of power and control consumed me as I let his body drop. It wasn’t enough; the hunger wasn’t sated.
The girl lay slumped over on the ground. I could hear her pulse from here, and I wanted nothing more than to sink my teeth into her neck. She would be perfect for desert.
I knelt down beside her and wrapped my hand in her hair to pull her head to the side, but I sobered from my blood lust at the sight of her tattoo.
Branches of a willow tree sat on her shoulder blade. I don’t know why, but all of a sudden the hunger was gone. I was completely myself again. I’m not sure what this means but it’s the most control I’ve been able to feel since the day I was cursed.
I picked the girl up and cradled her in my arms. What the hell am I supposed to do with her now? I can’t leave her in an ally way with the dead guy and, until I figure out why I’m so drawn to her, I’m not letting her out of my sight.
The girl was beautiful. Her skin was fair and her hair was dark. It wasn’t until we passed under a street light that I noticed the blue. It was unique and suited her well. I turned the corner and headed into the darkness.
After about an hour’s walk through the thick trees I reached the cabin. Well, the term cabin is an understatement. It was more like a log Mansion in the middle of nowhere.
I took the girl upstairs and down the hallway to the right and placed her in a bed in one of the empty rooms. Since her clothes were torn and bloody, I disappeared into my own room and returned with my shirt.
“Amelia! Get your ass in here!”
What the hell is taking that bitch so long? Pacing the room back and forth I debated inwardly about stripping the girl down myself and getting her dressed, but I didn’t want to be put in the position of being accused of sexual assault if she woke up in the middle of it.
“Shut up I heard you the first time.”
“Then move your ass.”
Amelia was once beautiful to me, but now I’m barely able to stomach seeing her. Even now, as she stands in the doorway hardly dressed in just a see through bra and lace panties, I can’t bring myself to look at her with anything but disgust.
“I’m your wife Tobias. Not your slave.”
“Whatever.” I roll my eyes and toss my clean shirt at her.
“I’m not wearing this.”
“It’s not for you. It’s for her. Now get her dressed.”
Amelia stalked across the room to the side of the bed.
“Who is she and since when did I start dressing your whores for you? Just drain the bitch and toss her out with the rest of the trash.”
Amelia looked the girl over with a pure disgust visible on her face. In that moment I saw red and wanted nothing more than Amelia’s blood spread across the floor. I grabbed her by the throat and threw her up against the wall.
“I haven’t killed you yet today, but the night is still young. Don’t push me Amelia or I’ll find a way for you to stay dead.”
I spun on my heels fleeing the room. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me. I needed some air. This was going to be a long night.