The bus pulled into Juliette at 12:45. Molly wiped her eyes and took a deep breath. Her palms were sweaty. Her hands shook. She had trouble breathing. Molly took deeper breaths and counted. Her anxiety medicine was wearing off. She did not pack any before she ran. Oh well, I will have to live without it. She pulled the address out of her pocket. “313 Stirling Ave.” She hoped it was not far. She used the last of her money on a bus ticket. She had to walk the rest of the way. She walked to the information desk and found out where to go.
Molly was exhausted. She walked across the town of Juliette. She was not impressed. From what she saw, the town was run down. A lot of store windows on Main Street were boarded up. The pavement was cracked and so were the sidewalks. Many of the houses were unkempt. The paint was peeled and the lawns were overgrown. She walked past a huge desolate factory. Most of the walls were crumpled. Half the building looked like it was burned down in a fire. All of the glass was broken. Kind of ironic, since the name of the company was “Juliette Glass Company” You could see gigantic industrial machines sitting in the building. It was obvious that the factory was closed down for many years. She noticed a lot of row houses across the street. Some looked shabby and old. On one side some of the houses were brand new. Across the square of the row houses, others were just beginning construction. The large sign said. “Welcome to the new beginning of Stirling Acres. Your future home”
The street she was on was Juliette Street. She wished she had a map. She had no idea how far Stirling Ave was. She noticed two young children riding their scooters. A boy and a girl. Both were African American. They looked about 10 years old. The boy looked at Molly”, you look lost.” She walked over to the boy. “Do you know where 313 Stirling Ave is?” The boy grinned. “I sure do. My brother Malcolm lives there. My name is Malique and my sister’s name is Malia” He pointed up the street.” You just go three streets over and go up a big hill. There will be two gigantic houses up there.” The little girl walked up to Molly. “Who are you and why are going up there?”
The boy elbowed his sister. “Shush. Not your business.”
The girl pushed her brother. “She could be wanting to hurt them!”
Molly put her hands on both kids. “I am going to see my family. My great-aunt and uncle live there.”
“What is your name?” the girl asked.
The girl stared at her. “You must be a ghost. You been dead for years, longer than I was born.”
Molly started to cry and ran away. She ran while wiping the snot from her nose and the tears from her eyes. She came to the street. She stopped. Finally, she thought. I am home. She sprinted up the hill. She hoped she would be welcome. Molly was sure she would die if she wasn’t. Then again, she made herself a promise that nothing or nobody will keep her from her family. Human or vampire.
Molly stood in front of a very large modern brick mansion. The one side was completely made of glass windows. Attached to the mansion was a beautiful stucco stone house. This home was quite a contrast to the run down homes she saw in the down town area of Juliette. The lawn was well kept and even had a lush, beautiful garden full of flowers. She wondered why her great aunt and uncle lived here. Did they work for the Stirling’s? She hoped they weren’t the house keeper or the butler. If that was the situation, she intended on changing it. No rich people (possible vampires) would lord over anyone in her family! Molly reached up and rang the doorbell. After a few moments, a dark haired man answered the door. Molly was shocked to see the man looked just like the person in the black and white photographs. He had the same wavy hair and broad shouldered build. She could see that he also had a slight hare lip. This man had to be the son or grandson of the man in the picture.
The man cleared his throat. “Young lady, what do want? Are you here to sell Girl Scout cookies? I hope so, I love the mint flavored ones.”
Molly burst out laughing. Of all the things she expected, this was not even close. She quit laughing. “Does Sean and Colleen Dillon still live here?” The man glared at her. His lip curled. He hissed and gnashed his teeth. “Who are you? What do you want with them?”
Molly backed away and blurted. “I’m Molly Dillon, their niece.”
The man slammed the door in her face. She heard the door get locked. Molly leaped at the door and pounded on it. She tried to kick it in. She noticed the windows near the door. She looked around for something to break them with. “I wish I still had that bat.” She thought. She noticed a boulder sitting near a garden. She dragged it over to the window and picked it up. Molly heart thudded in her chest. There was a ringing in her ears. All she could see was a haze of red. The only thing she could think about was, “Make them pay.” She threw the boulder through the window. There was a crash and then screaming. Molly jumped through the window.
Molly heard the man screaming, “Call the police. Tell them it is a hunter.”
The man turned and faced Molly. “Little girl you are a liar. Your kind is not welcome in my home.” He leaped on her, picked her up and threw her on the floor. Molly rolled over and hid behind a chair. She opened her back pack and pulled out the butcher knife. She did a forward roll and slashed at the man’s ankles. The man was taken by surprise and fell on the floor beside Molly. She tried to stab him in the heart, but he deflected the slash. The knife came down on his shoulder. The man screamed in pain. He grabbed Molly by the hair and threw her against a wall.
Molly saw another man come into the room. He was tall and had gray cut into a crew cut. “Malcolm, are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Malcolm held Molly against the wall. “Young lady, you need to tell the truth! Who are you and who sent your?”
“Stop that right now, no need to man-handle the poor girl. Shame on you!” Sean said.
The man spoke with a thick Irish accent. Molly knew this man was her great uncle Sean. She would know that voice anywhere. The family always teased her uncle about out how his Irish showed when he was angry. “Uncle Sean, It’s me, Molly.” She fainted after she said this.
Molly slowly became conscious. She noticed she lied on a couch. She heard voices arguing from the next room. “She can’t be Molly. You know she died 10e years ago.” Molly knew this was Malcolm talking. “How do you explain her knowing my name?” Sean asked.
“The Lafitte family could have hired a red haired girl and told her all your family history! This screams of their underhanded means. They sent that girl to destroy my family, and yours. They will use this fake Molly as an excuse to restart the blood feud!”
“Malcolm, we have not heard from the Lafitte family in years. There has been peace since the massacre.”
“Need I remind you that Molly Dillon was the cause for the massacre? The Jones family came to take her and raise her to be a hunter. Who knows, maybe they faked her death, raised her and sent her here to attack us.”
“Let’s just talk to the girl. If we calm down, we will get some answers.”
“Sean my friend, please do not be taken in by this girl. I think you know in your heart that Molly is dead.”
“I do not know that! I never saw the body! It was a closed casket funeral.”
“Sorry, I was not at that funeral. I was busy attending my own family burials.”
“Hey, both our families suffered. I think they have never healed, just buried the past down deep.” Sean said.
While all the yelling was going on, Molly cowered in the corner of the couch. She sat biting her nails. She kept looking pleadingly in the direction of her uncle. She hoped he would take her away from Malcolm “He looks very strange and evil. His hair is so dark and his eyes are almost black. He keeps making these nasty expressions. “I am scared of Malcolm. I knew he does not like me. He acted like he saw the devil when I told him who I was.” Molly thought.
Molly heard two women’s voices come into the living room. She was startled and stood up in a fighting position. She saw an elderly woman that has to be her aunt Collen. Behind her stood a tall dark haired woman. She held a cane, like the kind used by blind people. Molly stopped and hesitated. “I don’t want to hurt a blind woman.” She thought. She got up and held out her arms and walked toward her aunt. Molly was surprised when Malcolm caught her put his hand around her neck. His face broke into a snarl. His lip curled. It seemed like fangs were coming down from his gums. He gnashed his teeth. “You better not even think about hurting Claudette. Your family has done enough of that in the past.”
Sean tackles Malcolm. “You need to control yourself, or I will get my salt gun!” Malcolm drops Molly. Sean punches him repeatedly in the face. Malcolm’s nose is bleeding and his eye is black.
Claudette claps her hands and yells “Everybody, stop it now. This is no way to behave in front of a guest!” The elderly woman is behind Claudette. “She is right. Stop behaving like savages! “Molly stared at the woman. “Aunt Colleen? It’s me Molly.” Colleen walks over and looks at Molly.
Colleen ran over to Molly and embraced her. She cried and “Oh my god.” They stood in the middle of the living room hugging each other. Sean walked over and joined in. All three of them had tears in their eyes.
Malcolm snorted and stared at them. “Oh how sweet and wonderful, the Dillon family is together again. D-do y-you realize how l-lucky you are? I will never get to reunite with my s-sisters. They are gone forever.”
That is interesting, Malcolm stutters. I guess I must have upset him very badly. I wonder if he stuttered when he was younger. I knew a boy in 7th grade who stuttered a lot. Everybody made fun of him. Maybe people made fun of Malcolm. That would explain why he is so mean. Stuttering or not, he had no right to mock me and my aunt and uncle. Molly stopped hugging her aunt and uncle. “Shut-up! I did nothing to you! You can’t blame me for your family’s deaths.”
Malcolm laughed and began to pace back and forth. Molly noticed he limped heavily on his right leg. He brushed the hair away from his face. Molly was horrified to see burn scars on his neck and ear. The flesh looked melted and squashed together. Malcolm muttered to himself, “She said she had nothing to do with what happened. That may be. She is too blame for making me remember all the pain and torture I suffered at the hands of her family.” He glances Molly. “Speaking of family, what if the Jones or Lafitte family sent her to trick us?” Malcolm said.
“Neither the Jones family or the Lafitte’s sent me. I did not find out about this until I met a girl named Nicole. She is the one who found me and brought me here.” Molly said. “Call her if you don’t believe me. She says she knows you.”
Malcolm laughed. “Unfortunately, I do know her. I am not surprised that girl would be in the thick of this. She never believed you were dead.” Malcolm shook his head. “Trouble always finds her”
“She was with me the day of the massacre. We ran away from the gun shots. She was with me when my mother died.” Molly whispered.
“You mean the one where half my family was slaughtered? The one you and your mother caused!” Malcolm shouted.
Sean walked to Malcolm so they were face to face. He jabbed his finger at Malcolm's chest. “Dam you! You have no right to pin that on my daughter and niece. That was the Jones and Lafitte family.”
“Molly is half Jones, so I can blame her.”
“If you want to lay blame, point the finger at you and Claudette. You’re the reason the Lafitte’s started a blood feud. The feud my family got dragged into!”
“Stop it, both of you,” Claudette said. “Drudging up the past and bickering about it will not solve anything.”
“I think this has been a long time coming,” Sean said. “For the past eight these years I felt an undercurrent of blame from your family. The way your father, Alister, came less and less to my family gatherings. How he could never look me in the eye, I say we should argue and let our feelings be known.”
Malcolm smiled serenely, “Fine.” He sighed theoretically. “If your niece, Kathleen, was not such a stupid little slut and got herself knocked up at only 15 years of age. By a vicious killer; had a little brat instead of having an abortion like she wanted too, which her you and her parents talked her out of, the massacre would have never occurred.”
That vamp bastard called my mom a slut? Oh shit, I sound just like my father. Wait, my mom wanted an abortion? That can’t be true! I would believe that of my father. Malcolm has no right talking about my mother! Molly growled and kicked Malcolm. She grabbed his shirt and pulled his head down. She pummeled and clawed the back of his neck. “Don’t you ever talk about my mother, you vamp bastard! My father was right about your kind!”
Everyone in the room gasped. Malcolm put his hands on hips and inclined his head toward Molly as if to say “See I told you so”
Colleen slapped Molly in the face. “Don’t ever let me hear you say that. Shame on you. I want you to apologize, right now!”
Molly glared at her aunt Colleen. “No. He deserved. He had no right to talk about my mother like that! My mom was not a slut and she never wanted an abortion. Malcolm should apologize to me.”
Colleen looked at Malcolm. “Well, what you said was very harsh. I think you both should apologize.”
Malcolm crossed his arms and shook his head. “I do not believe in apologizing if I do not mean it. Nobody should be forced to apologize before they are ready.” He held his hands out palms up. “In my opinion, saying “I’m sorry” does nothing to fix a situation. They are just empty words people automatically say.”
Molly snorted, “Whatever. All I know is if you ever talk about my mother again, I will hurt you. Even worse than my father did.” I don’t really know what my dad did. I will do whatever it takes to make him sorry he said nasty things about my mom. Maybe I will cut out his tongue. She hit herself in the head. Stop thinking like that. I am scaring myself. Maybe I am evil like my dad. Malcolm does have a right to hate me. I need to punish myself later.
“Molly dear, stop that.” Colleen pointed at Malcolm. “See how much you upset the poor girl. You need to leave; I don’t want you upsetting her anymore!”
Malcolm looked at Molly with intense scrutiny. “Do you often hit yourself like that?”
Molly glared at him. “That is none of your business. Why do your care?”
“Pardon me for trying to be nice!” Malcolm yelled.
Molly was shocked and jumped up. She put her hands over her ears. I have never heard a man yell as loud as Malcolm. Not even my father was that loud. I can’t be around him. He scares me. I am surprised my aunt and uncle can stand to live with him. I am surprised Claudette can be with him. She is so nice, and he is so evil.
“Don’t worry dear, Malcolm’s bark is worse than his bite. He is just shocked to see you here. We all are. You have been dead for the past eight years. No one is sure where you have been and what you were doing.” Molly was shocked. It was as if Claudette read her mind.
Malcolm suddenly grabs his chest and takes short, rapid breaths. Sweat pours down his face. Claudette looked at him and asked, “Are you alright?”
Malcolm continues to gasp for breath. He puts a hand on his chest. He tries to talk but the words are stuck. “S s s –she n- n- needs to go away. I- I- don’t want her here!”
“Malcolm, you are having a panic attack, go get a paper bag and breathe into it,” Claudette said.
“See what that girl does to me? I h-h-have not st- st- stuttered this bad in over 30 years. Already that girl is causing me problems.” Malcolm said.
Molly looked at the floor. Her aunt put an arm around her. “Really, blaming her for stuttering?”
Claudette grabbed Malcolm’s hand. “Come on outside. Fresh air will calm you down.”
“I got something better to calm me down” he walks out of the room and returns with a full bottle of Scotch. He takes the cap off and gulps from it.
Claudette sniffs the air. “Really, Scotch?”
“This is the best way to calm my nerves. And stop my stutter”
“Please don’t start that again?” Claudette said in a pleading tone.
Claudette sighed. “Using alcohol to mask your true feelings. Please put that bottle down. You have been doing so well. Five years’ sobriety.”
Malcolm huffed. “I think I deserve a drink after -painful memories long buried resurface. Would anybody like to know the cause of my pain?” He points at Molly.
“Now wait a dam minute! You have no right to blame my niece on your problems.” Sean said. “Plus using her as an excuse to fall off the wagon? That is rich.”
Malcolm laughed. “Oh, you believe she is innocent?” He sighs and shakes his head. “That is what your naïve niece said about Eddie Jones. Your brother and Seamus took her word and they both ended paying dearly”
“Now you listen, do not compare Molly to her father. Just because they share the same blood does not mean they share evil.”
“Pfft, Evil is in the blood. The blood is the life.” Malcolm said. “Isn’t that the Delacroix family motto? “En La Sang Est La Vie?”
Claudette nodded her head. “Oui c'est vrai. Je vous serais reconnaissant si vous avez quitté ma famille de cette. Les Delacroix n’ont rien à voir avec la querelle. Les Lafittes sont la famille que vous avez besoin de parler du mal de. (Yes that is true. I would appreciate if you left my family out of this. The Delacroixs have nothing to do with the feud. The Lafittes are the family you need to speak ill of.)
Malcolm cleared his throat. «Femme, je voulait pas de mal à votre famille. Je tentais de faire un point. (Woman, I meant no harm towards your family. I was trying to make a point.)
"Could we please speak English ?" Sean asked.
During the exchange, Molly sat with her face in her hands. She had little memory of her father Eddie Jones and his family, and none of it was good. She only lived with him until she was two. She remembered him as a vicious drunk. He was also crazy mean when he was on meth. Molly saw him hit her mother a lot. Her mother would be covered in bruises. One day his anger turned toward her. Her father did not like something she said and he slapped her until her mouth and cheek bled. Her mother could not put up with Molly being hit, so she left and moved in with her parents, Seamus and Aileen Dillon. One time her father and his family tried to take Molly away from her Mother. She recalled her grandfather and her uncles (Patrick and Clancy) would get their shotguns. The police came before anything got out of hand. Molly had nightmares about her father. He was the one that killed her mother and grandparents in the massacre. She hated that evil son of a bitch.
“I hate that son of a bitch, he killed my mother!” Molly blurted. “I am nothing like him. I would rather die than be like him.” She jumped up, threw her head back and continued to scream “I am nothing like him”
Malcolm froze and gazed at Molly. He put a hand over his mouth.
Colleen raced to Molly’s side. She put her arms around her and held her very tightly.
“Look what you did, you made her hysterical,” Colleen yelled at Malcolm. “Are you satisfied? Does it make you feel in control to harass a little girl?”
Malcolm picked up the bottle and took another long drink.
“Exactly the response I expected,” Colleen said
Claudette stood up and said. “Everybody needs to stop shouting. We need to quit bickering and talk things out. How about we have lunch and then get down to serious talking?”
“That is a wonderful idea. I am starving.” Sean said.
The kitchen looked brand new and modern. It was an open design and you could see into the dining and living room. Brand new chrome appliances were in the kitchen. The stove had two large burners and a grill. The floor was hard wood that was polished to a shine. There was a modern range oven with a microwave on above it. In contrast across the room was a wood burning stove. Old fashioned cast iron pots sat on top of it. The dining room table they sat at was made of dark heavy wood. It looked very old.
Claudette and Colleen passed out food to everyone. “Sorry, that dinner was a hastily thrown together. I usually cook large meals. My brother Claude and I love to cook.” They had soup, salad, and cold sandwiches. Molly had calmed down and ate soup. Malcolm sat as far away from Molly as possible. Sean and Colleen on either side of Molly. It had been six hours since Molly had left Philadelphia. She was surprised that the police had not caught up to her and arrested her. She wondered if Andrew and Allen were going to find her. She hoped she did not hurt them too badly. It scared her when she blacked out like that. She was mean and violent. Just like her father.
During the meal, Malcolm kept glaring at Molly. He cleared his throat. “Speaking of Claude, when is he and my brother Bruce getting back from vacation? I can’t wait for them meet our guest. . . Considering her father’s family killed both their wives.” Malcolm said.
“I told you to stop saying things like that. You have no right- “
“Can we please finish eating before your shameless bickering starts up?” Claudette said.
Both Sean and Malcolm kept quiet for the rest of the meal.
When dinner was finished, everyone went into the living room. Sean went to the fireplace and threw some logs in it. In a few minutes, the fire burned very bright. Night was beginning to fall. The room they were had a glass wall from floor to ceiling. You could see the sun setting. Claudette and Colleen poured everyone coffee and cookies for desert.
“Alright everybody has been fed. We are relaxed in front of a fire, so now we should be able to talk rationally.” Claudette said. She spoke in a very soft voice. Even though it was soft, you could still hear her. She was tall, striking woman. Her eyes were violet. They were the strangest and most beautiful eyes Molly had even seen.
“Your eyes are very unusual.” Molly said.
Malcolm grunted. “Her eyes are the very reason I despise your family”
“What do you mean?”
“Now stop it Malcolm. That kind of talk will get us nowhere.” Sean said.
Malcolm held up his hands in a placating manner. Then her put his hand to his lips and made a zipper motion. Molly laughed. Malcolm winked at her. “A sense of humor, maybe there is hope for you.”
“I have a glass eye and only partial sight in my right eye,” Claudette said.
Molly eyes widened. She gasped. “Why?”
“I was attacked and had them gouged out.”
“Who would do that?”
“You are a little s-s-slow.” Malcolm interrupted. “Y y y -your father’s evil family did th- th that to her. They did it because Claudette is a “vamp whore”
“Molly a man named Ezekiel Jones gouged out my eyes. He was your great-grandfather.”
Molly put her hands in her head and sobbed. She was not surprised a member of her family did something so horrible. Her mother always said her father came from a long line of evil.
Everything was quiet. Until a knock on the door.