He stared at her with piercing wolf gray eyes. Her heart beat faster, pounding heavily in her chest. She clenched her jaw in as he slowly stepped closer to her. He stood so close, she was sure she could feel his body heat emanating from him. The air suddenly felt thick and heavy with static.
She took a deep breath and held it as he reached and touched the pendant that hung around her neck, falling just below her collar bone. It was a round, silver pendant about the size of a nickel. Etched into the metal, was a Celtic knot crescent moon design. A small rope-like design was etched into the outer edge of the pendant surrounding the moon. Inscribed into the back of the shiny silver pendant was a symbol, an ancient rune of some sort.
Her head started to throb with pain and a chill raced down her spine. It started to feel as though something was crawling around in her head. The sensation was unbearable. She winced as her eyes brimmed with tears. He pulled his hand away and hot tears fell from her hazel eyes, falling slowly down her cheeks. She wanted to run, but something kept her frozen there standing before him.
Her head ached as he continued to hold her gaze with his cold gray eyes. He reached into his long black trench coat and pulled out a dagger. The handle was carved with an intricate arabesque design. It was encrusted with multiple glistening rubies as red as blood. The blade flashed dangerously in the dim light given off by the waning moon. Thin, ominous dark clouds drifted over the moon hiding its soft milky glow. He brought the cold, sharp blade to her neck and traced a single smooth cut down her neck, down to her pendant. Warm blood trickled down slowly. He grinned mercilessly as she cringed in pain and closed her eyes. He thrust the blade into her chest.
Jaela Hawkins quickly sat up in her bed, covered in a cold sweat. She rubbed her eyes and tried to catch her breath. She gasped for air and clutched her chest as she tried to relax. She looked over at the alarm clock sitting on her night stand. The blue illuminated numbers read 3:16 AM. Shakily, she climbed out of bed, the wood floor felt cool beneath her bare feet. She slowly crept down the hallway to the bathroom, careful not to disturb her mother who was sleeping in the bedroom at the end of the hall. Jaela stepped into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. It let out a low creak before clicking shut. She fumbled for the light switch in the dark. The light flickered on and filled the bathroom with its soft yellow glow.
She turned on the water at the sink and leaned over the counter. She cupped her hands under the cool running water and brought it up to her face. She patted her face dry with a pink towel and looked up, studying her reflection in the mirror. She tilted her head slightly and brushed her thick curly black hair back away from her neck. She touched her neck gently. There was no cut or scar. Her dream was so vivid, she was positive it had to have been real.
Confused, she left the bathroom and began to head back to her bedroom when a voice whispered her name.
She slowly turned around. A man in a hooded cloak stood there. He slowly removed his hood; a malicious grin was plastered across his face. The air shifted, just like it had done in her dream. She took two quick steps backwards as he walked towards her. Tears filled her eyes, as fear found its way to her mind. After not seeing this man for so many years, other than in dreams, she thought he had gone away. She was wrong.
He walked up to her and entered her bedroom and shut the door behind him. Jaela pressed her body against the wall. Her heart rate quickened with fear. She opened her mouth, ready to yell for her mom.
“Scream, and she dies,” he crooned. He gently brushed a stray curl away from her face. “My, look how you have grown, dear child. Oh, and you have your father’s eyes and your mother’s beauty.”
Jaela pushed his hand away. “Don’t touch me. And don’t talk about my father. What are you doing here?”
He snickered. “You must miss your father dearly. I, however, do not. Precisely the reason I am not the least bit remorseful for ending his pathetic life.”
Seven years ago, this man killed her father right in front of her. It was the night of her ninth birthday and despite it being so long ago, she could still recall every detail as if it had happened just yesterday.
She and her family had just finished eating birthday cake and ice cream. Jaela was sitting on the couch in the living room watching cartoons while her mother, Vanessa, and her father, Caleb, were busy cleaning up. Suddenly, there was a loud crash. Shattering glass echoed throughout their small apartment in Manhattan. Vanessa ran into the living room and hugged Jaela tightly. What happened next would remain in her memory forever.
Two men in hooded black cloaks and worn black boots stomped into the living room. They grabbed hold of Vanessa and pulled her away from Jaela. Vanessa struggled to break free, but her attempts were futile. The men had a vice-like grip on her. She sobbed loudly and writhed in pain. Their leader stood face to face with Caleb. Jaela nervously peered from around the couch.
“Malchior,” Caleb said angrily. “Why are you here? What do you want?”
Malchior laughed. He nodded towards Jaela who was shaking in fear, her eyes teary.
“You know exactly why I am here.”
Malchior pushed past Caleb and slowly approached Jaela. Caleb started to run after Malchior. Malchior glanced over his should and with a flick of his wrist, he sent Caleb flying across the room and he slammed into the wall. He landed on the floor with a thud.
“Caleb!” Vanessa screamed. She turned towards Malchior. “Please! Stop this! Take me instead! Don’t hurt Jaela!”
Malchior grinned and nodded at one of his followers. The man smiled evilly and produced a small vial of red liquid from his pocket.
“This should shut you up,” he said in a deep raspy voice as he forced her to drink the liquid. Both men let go of her as she began to sway before falling to the floor. Remnants of the liquid dripped from her lips as she lie there motionless.
Malchior grabbed Jaela by her wrist and dragged her right in front of Caleb. He pulled out a ruby encrusted dagger. Jaela fought desperately to break free. Numb from pain, Caleb tried to reach out to his daughter. Tears blurred her vision. Malchior tightened his grip and forced Jaela to her knees. Caleb could see the fear in his daughter’s eyes. Malchior brought the blade to her neck.
“In seven years, on the Night of the Blood Moon, Jaela will turn sixteen years old, at which point, her powers will fully manifest. She is bound by blood; your blood, Caleb, to assume her duties as a Guardian. It is her destiny. The Blood Moon will only amplify my power, while your pathetic daughter will be weak and powerless on the darkest of nights. She will learn of my cause and try to stop my rebellion. I am here to prevent that from ever taking place.”
Malchior tilted Jaela’s chin with his blade. He looked at her, no remorse in his eyes.
Caleb slowly stood, grasping his side in pain. His hazel eyes shone with anger. “You can’t! Malchior, let her go! You know just as well as I know, you need her alive in order to finish what you tried to start.”
Malchior glared at him. “Yes, the demons that you sealed away. I need the blood of the guardian to gain control of them. I can take the blood that I need, there is no need for her or you to live.”
Calvin struggled to stand. “You can’t kill her, not my daughter. You need her alive. You need more than just her blood to break that seal. And you will not have her! You will never have her!”
Malchior snickered. “Did you think that you could come here to this wretched city and I would not find you? You betrayed me, Calvin, and now I will take what is mine, regardless of whose blood I must spill.”
“You rebelled against the crown, Malchior,” Caleb exclaimed. “That’s high treason. I had to stop you! This dream of yours, to create a world where fear and darkness is supreme leader is crazy! You’ll never get away with it. The Guardians will stop you…just as they stopped you before.”
Malchior laughed. “I am glad you are so well educated in my cause. Need I remind you that your Guardians are nothing but mere children? This circle of Guardians will not stand a chance against me and my Rebels. This is a new age and I am far stronger than ever before. As for your daughter, I may spare her pathetic life, at least until she is of age for me to take what is mine. But tonight, I will take what I should have taken years ago. Your life.”
Just then, Jaela pulled away from Malchior and Caleb jumped up and tackled him to the floor. Malchior quickly grabbed Caleb by his neck and began to squeeze as he pushed him against the wall. Malchior thrust the dagger deep into Caleb’s chest.
“Only death can pay for your betrayal. She will suffer without you. I will make sure of it,” Malchior whispered into Caleb’s ear as he slowly fell to the floor, grasping his chest. Malchior and his men vanished into the shadows.
“Goodbye, Jaela,” Caleb whispered. Crimson red blood pooled onto the floor from his wound around his now lifeless body.