Ken opened the hell-house door, his heart pounding and anger boiling. The only logical explanation he could find was that Allen had betrayed his own group; his own people. The house was cold and empty. Water leaked from the walls where he had fought with Allen. The place looked abandoned from the inside as well as the outside. He sniffed the air and growled.
“Hunters,” he snarled. They had definitely been there, and their scent was strong enough for Ken to determine they’d left recently. He sighed as he walked Grams’ room and stared at her closed coffin. He reluctantly opened the coffin, only to discover the remains of her burned body. He gasped, jumping back in a stunned silence. She’d clearly been shocked by several guns, and her heart had been ripped out.
With great haste, he ran to Goslin’s room, only to find it in shambles, and the bright wallpaper was torn with claw markings. It was clear that she had put up a hell of a fight, but it was also clear that she didn’t win. His heart grew heavy at the thought. The two people he’d related to most were now dead.
He could still remember the day Rosa brought in Grams and Goslin, afraid and lost. He was around sixteen, and already a fully scarred and angry teen. Yet Goslin made him laugh, and Grams warmed his heart. As much as he wanted to distance himself from the vampires, they consistently showed him a different side to the race. When all he could see was evil and violence, they brought out a spark in his useless existence. He mentally prepared himself for Rosa’s room.
She was the person with whom he had the most complicated relationship. Her comfort was there when he needed it, but she still failed to slow Allen’s bombardment of brutal actions. Her inaction had turned him against her in the past, but seeing her now, he realized she was saving him in her own way. Knowing that he wouldn’t get the chance to apologize saddened him.
Rosa’s room was stark —nothing special about her coffin, and no other furniture in the room. Relieved, he realized he didn’t smell any of the electric guns in her room. Yet he opened her coffin to double-check. Confusion ran through his mind as he stared down at the emptiness below him.
Why take Rosa and not kill her? He thought. Then it hit him. He searched around in his coat pocket for the sheet of paper she had given him. Luckily, it was still tucked away inside. The note read: “Left side floorboard.” Ken began to look around the floor. Nothing seemed different about any of the boards below him.
He moved her coffin and heard a creak on the left side. With great caution, he knocked on the board, not knowing what to expect. He then lifted it, discovering a homemade cloth map of some kind. He removed it from its hiding place, confused—nothing was making sense right now. He folded it neatly and placed it in his pocket. He stared at Rosa’s coffin one last time, and finally, he walked away.
Ken slowly undressed, taking off his wet clothes. Teya’s eyes opened lazily.
“What took you so long?” she asked her throat raspy from vomiting.
“Allen set them up. Goslin, Grams, Rosa— they’re gone,” he said solemnly. Teya sat up fully as he handed her some medicine.
“How? What happened?” she asked. Ken sat down, legs bouncing up and down with anger and anxiety.
“Markees were very close to Allen today. Probably not face to face, but I can smell the scent of death everywhere. Allen was at the vampire hunters’ office. Rosa was right. He was planning something,” he explained. Teya grabbed his hand for comfort.
“I’m sorry. I liked Rosa. Goslin, too. She was so wise, but so young at the same time. I felt so bad for her,” she said. Ken nodded.
“She helped get me through several years at that house. Rosa brought them in from a car accident. They had almost died, but someone turned them in order to save their lives,” he said as he caressed her hand lovingly. “I’ll miss them.” He stood up and walked over to the balcony before continuing.
“Rosa is missing. I believe she was taken by the vampire hunters. She left me this clue,” he said, pulling out the map and holding it against the balcony door. It looked like it contained all sorts of landmarks, and right in the middle was a stone. Teya held her stomach as she took the medicine for her nausea.
“It looks like a trail,” she observed. “A big, open trail.” Ken stood back to get a better glimpse.
“You’re right. I think I remember seeing this somewhere,” he said, looking back at Teya as she twirled the medallion around her neck. He smiled as he attempted to randomly kiss her, but she backed away quickly.
“No! Wait!” she yipped, covering her mouth. “I haven’t brushed my teeth yet!” Ken laughed.
“Ok, then,” he replied before kissing her forehead. He then continued on.
“I think that medallion you’re wearing is the key. It’s the map, and that diamond in the middle must be where we ’re supposed to go,” he deduced.
“We?” Teya teased, elbowing him playfully.
“Who else would I take?” Ken replied, using her words against her. She laughed.
“When will we go?” she asked.
“As soon as you get off work tomorrow. I should have a location by then,” he said. Teya nodded.
“I’ll go take a shower and brush my teeth. Wait for me,” she said. He caressed her chin.
“Always,” he replied. Teya ran to the bathroom in a hurry and brushed her teeth first. She couldn’t understand why she felt sick one minute and then felt better the next. She blamed it on the stress of the situation. As she undressed, she turned the shower on full blast. Allowing the hot water to open her pores, she finally began to relax.
“Mind if I join you?” a voice asked, breaking the silence. She jumped to the tile wall, shocked.
“Do you make any noise?” she asked. Ken laughed softly.
“I’m sorry. I just—” he started to say, but he found himself speechless for the first time. “I lost two important people today. People who I didn’t realize were important until it was too late. I just need to see you, to be next to you. I can’t lose you.” Teya stepped out of the shower, wrapping her arms around him.
“I’m sorry,” she said, holding him close to her. She kissed him slowly and passionately on the lips. She intimately undressed him, but never released him from their passionate kiss.
“I love you,” she moaned through the kiss. Ken couldn’t respond. He had to show her. Once out of his jeans and socks, he stood up completely, tall and strong. They entered the shower, allowing the water to pour over their bodies, and focused their gaze on each other. He lifted her chin so she could look him in the eyes.
“Are you up for this?” he asked. Teya grabbed his face and pulled him into another fiery kiss. He caressed her breast as she rested her back against the wall. She arched her back as she wrapped her legs around his waist. He brought his hips closer to hers, pressing her against the wall, leaving no space and eliciting a moan. He began kissing her collarbone all the way down to her stomach, and she brought her legs up to rest on his shoulders, keeping her held up against the wall.
He kissed her thighs, biting lightly as he did so, and drove her crazy. He inhaled her scent again and groaned. His penis was painfully hard, wanting to dive right into her, but he wanted to take his time and make love to her. She was his everything, and he wanted her to feel that, know that, and believe that. She moaned louder as he licked her clitoris, causing her legs to quiver. He continued until she was whimpering.
“Ken, make love to me,” she begged. Ken smiled at her request, kissing his way back up her body to her neck.
“I would love nothing more,” he said, positioning his penis directly in her center and pushing his hips forward. She was tight and hot, as always, and so perfect for him. He raised her hands to the shower rod to help her steady herself as he began to thrust his hips back and forth. Ken placed his hands on her head, cradling her close, and brushed the hair out of her face.
“You are so beautiful,” he said. He thrust harder, knowing she was close to her orgasm. Ken gripped her butt with his other hand and drew her closer. The pressure was building inside of him, as he moaned with her. They came together, their heart, mind and soul connected.
When Teya clocked into work the next morning, dread filled her heart upon seeing Daniela. The woman walked up and hugged her tightly.
“Thank God you’re OK! Why haven’t you texted me or something?” she asked. Teya bit her lip. She knew the questions Daniela would have, and she’d been preparing for the lies she ’d have to tell.
“I heard about the club. Ken and I left before it all started. I didn’t hear about it until later. I’m so sorry I didn’t call to check on you. A lot has happened these past few days,” she said. That part wasn’t a lie. Since that frat party almost four months ago, her whole life had changed. Being with Ken had changed her life in good ways and bad. The bad wasn’t his fault, or at least that’s what she was trying to convince herself.
“Don’t disappear again, please,” Daniela demanded, grabbing her shoulders. Teya nodded, trying to force a smile.
“I won’t,” she replied.
“So how’s school going?” Daniela asked. Teya sighed.
“I took this semester off. I can’t seem to focus,” she said. Daniela frowned.
“That man is changing you, Teya. I see it. You would’ve never gone out with us if he wasn’t there,” Daniela said. “Just don’t forget about your priorities in life and lose yourself.” Teya remained quiet. Deep down, she knew Daniela was right. She tried to do her work as usual, but the constant negative thoughts continued to ravage her head, making it harder to focus. Daniela tried to talk to her, but she was still distant. Could she accept the fact that one day she would have to leave her life to be with Ken? Would she choose him?
Teya looked down at her watch, and noticed it was just lunchtime. As she looked up, Ken walked through the door. Her sweet, dangerous man. She was the only one who knew him inside and out, and he knew her. How could she leave him when he needed her most?
“You should go to lunch, Teya. We can take over from here,” Daniela said. Teya clocked out and went to greet Ken.
“Hey, beautiful,” he said, kissing her in front of everyone. This time, Teya didn’t kiss back.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, concern filling his eyes.
“Can we talk somewhere else?” she asked him. Ken took her hand and they walked to the car.
“I already bought lunch. Is everything ok? You seem distant,” he said. Teya bit on her bottom lip.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the changes in my life, that’s all,” she said. Ken took her hand.
“You mean me?” he asked. She didn’t want to put it harshly.
“It’s just that everything has happened so fast, and now I’m in a world I don’t understand. All I have is you,” she explained. Ken sighed.
“Not to mention the multiple deaths that have happened around you,” he said, and he laid his head against the seat. “You are an angel, Teya. So innocent and pure. And I am your devil—dangerous, erratic, and damaged. You have saved me. No one can ever replace you. I promise you, after Allen’s gone from my life, I’ll do better. We can go out more and not have to look over our shoulders everywhere we go,” he said, but she still looked sad. Ken frowned before asking, “Do you want me to leave?”
Ken had feared that this day would come. His angel would one day get tired of the bullshit that came with him and leave. It would be for the better, he had admitted to himself, but he definitely didn’t like it now that it seemed to be happening. Teya shook her head.
“No. I know you need me. I can’t let you down,” she told him, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to forgive herself if she left.
“After we figure out what Rosa wanted me to know, you can decide whether you want this life or not. I come with baggage, Teya. If me being a half-vampire wasn’t enough for you, there’s the killer vampire who raised me. I understand your hesitation. I won’t take the medallion from you. No matter what happens, I will never stop loving you. Your safety is still my number one priority,” he promised her. Teya took a deep breath, feeling a little more relieved. “I’m sorry,” he said, tilting his head toward the ceiling. “It was my selfishness that caused this chaos.” Teya squeezed his hand.
“Thank you for the food,” she responded, wanting to change the subject. She opened the wrapper and started eating her chicken sandwich. “So what did you find out about the place? Have you located it yet?” Ken snapped back into reality, leaving his self-loathing for later.
“I think I did, but I need to see the medallion to confirm it. He pulled the map up on his phone and held it up to Teya’s chest.
“Any excuse to look at my boobs, I see,” she joked. Ken laughed softly.
“If I wanted your breasts, Teya, I wouldn’t need an excuse,” he said, studying the map. “This looks right. It’s about an hour away.”
He caressed her chin, lifting her head so he could look at her. Her brown eyes met his blue, and he was instantly lost in them. He longed to kiss her, but he could see in her eyes that she still needed time. He settled for kissing her forehead, at least for the time being.
“I’ll see you when you get off,” he said. Teya wanted to object, but she needed the time to clear her head she agreed.
“I love you,” she reminded him before getting out the car.
The ride to the location was quiet and awkward. Teya hadn’t decided on her plan of action yet, but she knew in her heart she couldn’t leave him. No, she wouldn’t leave him. Dealing with the stress of it all was now her only concern.
“I don’t blame you, Teya,” Ken finally said, almost reading her mind.
“I’m not thinking about leaving you,” she replied, offended. “I’m thinking about my life with you. The danger, the love, the good, and the bad. I’m just trying to sort everything out.” He glanced over at her.
“We will,” he promised her before stopping the car. “Anyway, we’re here.”
They walked out to the trail, following the medallion map. The diamond in the middle of the medallion marked the spot of a small cabin in the woods, so small that only two people could fit inside.
“It’s quaint,” Teya said as they cautiously walked inside.
“Rosa must own this cabin,” he said, looking over at the bed. He hesitated to touch the sheets, but the impulse to run his hands against the silk was strong. “My mother birthed me here. I can smell a familiar scent that I can’t quite place in my memory, but I feel it in my heart that my mother was here.” Teya examined the flowers around the tables.
“It’s a romantic setup. Maybe this is where they ran to be alone,” she suggested. Ken sighed.
“Yes, but what happened that changed everything? What did Rosa want me to see?” He looked around the small cabin for clues. Teya touched the window to wipe away dust when suddenly she gasped. The medallion began to brightly glow, sending a wave of power through her. Ken ran to her immediately.
“Teya, what’s happening?” he asked, grabbing her shoulders and feeling the power flow through him. The room was enveloped in blackness. “Ken? What happened?” Teya asked as she held onto him, afraid.
“I’m not sure,” he replied.
“Ken,” said a voice from behind them. They both turned around stunned Ken, ready to attack the intruder. He paused as he saw the ghostly figure of a woman holding a baby. “Oh, Ken, you silly boy. You dropped your pacifier.” She kissed the baby on the head. Teya looked up at Ken.
“Is that...” she started to ask, but as soon as she spoke the front door opened to the cabin.
“It’s time, Lana. We have to go,” a man’s voice said. The man loomed in the doorway like a quarterback, almost too big to fit the cabin. Ken’s eyes bulged open.
“I can’t leave him, Kenneth. I’m not ready. You know Allen hates me. He would do anything to get back at me,” Lana said. Kenneth wrapped his arms around her lovingly.
“Give my son the necklace. I’ll have Nia make you another before we leave. The hunters are coming now. We have to hurry,” he said, grabbing her hand and pulling her out the door.
Mesmerized by the scene playing out in front of her, Teya dropped her hands from the window. The room reverted to the present, bringing them back to reality.
“We have to follow them. How did you make them appear?” he asked, turning around to face Teya. She shrugged.
“I don’t know. I just touched the window,” she replied, placing her hand back on the window.
Instantly, the medallion lit up again and carried them back to the past. Lana and Kenneth ran out the door, the baby safely secured under Kenneth’s arm. The medallion dimmed again and they were brought back to the present. Ken frowned.
“We have to follow them” Ken declared, grabbing Teya’s hand and lead her outside. He searched around, looking for his next clue.
“Here,” he said as he found a tree right in the center of the woods, praying it would work. As he held Teya’s hand, they touched the tree at the same time, bringing the medallion back to its full power. The scene that began to play out was further away this time. Rosa had the baby now, watching the couple from a distance. They all watched the scene unfold as Kenneth and Lana became surrounded by hunters. A much younger Ross stood front and center, his menacing eyes haunting Lana as he gazed at her.
“Ross, don’t do this,” Lana pleaded. She tried to walk over to him, but Kenneth held her back.
“There’s no point in trying to reason with him, Lana. You know that,” Kenneth said, turning to Ross. “How did you find us?” As he asked this, Allen emerged out of the darkness. Kenneth snarled.
“I may have mentioned where you would or wouldn’t be,” Allen said, smirking.
“Allen, you son of a bitch!” Kenneth bellowed as he crouched to attack, but he was stopped almost immediately by a hunter’s special Taser. Kenneth fell to his knees.
“Allen, stop this! You’ve been driven mad by hate!” Lana screamed. Allen walked over to her and pulled her away from Kenneth. Kenneth fought to get up, but the hunters held him down. Allen stroked her chin with his long fingernail. “Somebody isn’t wearing her necklace,” he teased, rubbing his nose up and down her neck.
“No! Allen, don’t! It’s me you hate; leave her out of this!” Kenneth shouted. Allen tsked.
“I hate everyone. I could care less about your little girlfriend. Ross approached me about her. Told me you stole her away from him. Or something or other, I dozed off at that part,” he explained, throwing Lana to Ross. Ross grabbed her forcefully.
“Why did you leave me, Lana? And for a vampire, of all things? I love you. Why would you hurt me this way?” Ross shouted, slapping her across the face and knocking her to the ground beside Kenneth. She cried.
“Kenneth, I’m sorry,” she wept. She tried to reach for his hand, but she was pulled away by Allen. Kenneth screamed loudly to the heavens, gaining a newfound strength. He lunged at Allen, punching and kicking. Allen flipped backward to dodge the attack, but he wasn’t fast enough. Kenneth grabbed his leg and forced him to the ground. Hunters ran to the fighting men, trying to subdue Kenneth’s rage. He turned quickly and thrust the palm of his hand into a hunter’s chest.
The sheer force threw the hunter backward, sending him flying into the other hunters. Allen attempted to kick Kenneth in the chest. Strategically, he jumped back, swatting Allen’s foot away with his hand. Allen continued his combination of attacks, trying his best to hit Kenneth. Kenneth laughed.
“I taught you everything you know, Allen. How dare the student try to surpass the teacher,” Kenneth taunted. Allen growled low, with and tried to deliver a powerful kick to the chest. Kenneth blocked the attack, but the force still knocked him to the ground, sliding backwards. As he tried to get to his feet, another group of hunters jumped on Kenneth’s back, trying to slow him down with their stun guns. He grunted and fell to his knees, but he didn’t falter this time. He stood up, instilling fear in the hunters as he swung around with blinding speed and sent them flying into the woods.
“Kenneth!” Lana yelled as Ross grabbed her and held a gun to her head.
“It didn’t have to be this way, Lana.” He kissed her forehead. “If you hadn’t fallen for this demon’s tricks, you would’ve been spared from all of this.”
Kenneth ran to stop Ross, but he was halted by a hand thrust through his stomach. He looked down at his wound and turned his head to see a gloating Allen behind him.
“NO!” Lana screamed. Kenneth tried to attack, but Allen kicked him squarely in the chest and sent him flying. Then the gun went off, and everything was quiet.
The sound of the baby crying eventually broke the silence. Rosa tried to calm him down before anyone heard. Ross’s head snapped up as he heard the sound in the distance. He grabbed Allen’s collar.
“I want the baby,” he demanded. Allen broke free and grabbed him by the throat.
“I don’t work for you. You work for me,” he snarled, pushing Ross away. “Don’t forget that.” Allen walked away, stopping only briefly to give one last instruction.
“Clean this all up. And handle Kenneth as you please.”
Ken clenched his fists, unable to control his burning rage.
“The bastard,” he shouted, punching the tree in front of him and breaking the connection. Teya jumped back, tears falling from her face.
“Ken, you broke the connection. Don’t you want to see what happened to your father?” she asked. Ken shook his head, gritting his teeth.
“I can’t. I can’t watch anymore,” he replied. He was furious. Not only did Ross kill his mother, but Allen was in the middle of everything, working with the vampire hunters all along. How could he not see it? He walked back toward the cabin. Once he was safely inside, he screamed and slammed his fist on the small table, breaking it in half.
“That fucker! He betrayed everyone! I never thought I could hate someone so much, but Allen proves me wrong every time!”
He looked over at Teya. He could see the frightened look in her eyes, and the sadness behind that fear.
“I have to go, Teya. I have to leave now,” he said. He kissed her on her forehead as she protested.
“Ken, wait. Please!” she cried.
“Just stay here. I’ll come back for you,” he promised. He sped off into the evening, leaving Teya alone in the cabin. She knew his anger was justified, but running into anything this angry was dangerous. He couldn’t think clearly when he was this impulsive. She sat on the bed, praying he would come back to her safely.