Ravyn's Nights - Book 1

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Chapter 18


It was a cold night in mid-November when Claire sat alone on the couch in the cozy home she and Sean had shared for the last twelve years. She had her knees curled under her, and was wearing her warmest nightgown and robe while sitting in the heat of not only a comforting fire, but the several candles that lit the home as well. That night, she found herself staring blankly out of the small window at the front of the home and into the night.

It was only Sean’s second night away on one of the several trips he made to the towns that dotted the New England coast. Every few months he traveled to various towns hoping to create a prosperous living for them by selling one of the many beautiful dresses that Claire tailored, finding buyers for his own pieces of prose, or even finding some employment as a freelance minstrel, poet, or songwriter for any of the aristocratic families that may have taken an interest in his artistic talents and abilities, and chose to even pay him for them. It was true that they had managed to survive comfortably enough on the money Haven had left them, considering the value of the dollar at the time, but it had been twelve years, and the money was destined to run out sooner or later.

Though, it wasn’t financial woes that had Claire so tied up in knots that night. She tried hard to look back on the last few weeks before Sean’s recent departure, trying to figure out exactly how valid her current worries may be. It was about three weeks ago, if she recalled correctly, when she had run to the end of her latest store of the strange powdery contraceptive that her former friend, Chantarell, had given her on the day that her entire household vanished from she and Sean’s lives. The substance had worked for over a decade now to keep she and Sean’s still quite active sex life from adding to the number of their household. That fact alone had convinced her that the mixture worked quite efficiently, and as she had not one maternal bone in her body, she continued to use it religiously, so to speak.

But as she recalled, the day she had run short was a few weeks back now, and it did take her nearly three days to locate all the ingredients needed to make a new batch. She looked back on those three days, remembering that there actually had been one of those nights where, against her better judgment, she had let Sean make love to her again, hoping upon hope that there was still enough of the substance in her system to continue to keep their lovemaking from leading to conception. After all, never once, in twelve years, had she or Sean ever been able to say no to the other when one of the two were in the mood.

She bit her nail as she tried to also recall the last time she had gotten her period. The color drained from her face upon realizing that it hadn’t arrived at all since the night in question. Her heart raced that much faster as she thought on the fact that, that very morning, she had had to rush quite quickly from her bed and out to the snow-covered front yard when that morning’s nausea hit her hard, only cementing her current fears once and for all.

Sean sighed heavily as he left a pub which was nearly one hundred miles away from the home he and his wife shared. He pulled his coat more tightly around him, in the cloud of mist his breath produced on that icy Thanksgiving night. He should not have expected to find that many willing patrons of the arts hanging about a pub instead of being home, celebrating with their families, but he had to try.

Another sigh as he started around the corner of the pub and into the alley that was the most direct route to the inn that he was staying in for his last night before beginning his long trip back to Claire’s side, despite the fact that he hadn’t made much of a profit on that trip either. He wryly thought that there was at least one thing he was thankful for on that holiday, and that was that he still had enough left over from his ‘family’s’ generous birthday gift to him twelve years ago, to allow him to still continue to support the woman he loved, however modestly.

It was then that he moved further into the darkness of the alley, only to come across a scene that would lead to his life changing forever, if that was truly the correct word.

He heard a scuffle ahead of him in the darkness, only barely managing to make out the shadowy figure of a man and a woman several feet in front of him still. Sean squinted his eyes as he moved closer, only to move that much more quickly when he could more clearly see the man roughly pushing the hooded woman up against the wall and forcefully pinning her there with the big burly body, which was easily at least three times the size of her own. Upon the feel of her back colliding with the brick wall, the woman let out a scream of protest as he reached towards the hem of her long petticoats, his intention clear.

Sean somehow managed to logically realize that if he didn’t shout out to stop the attack, he would still have the advantage of not yet being seen by the attacker. This quickly formed plan did give Sean the chance to get in close enough to roughly grab the man and yank him off of the young woman. Though he was at least four inches taller than her attacker, Sean was quite gaunt, and barely one hundred and sixty pounds, when set against his height of 6’4”. Though her attacker was only about six feet tall, he however, tipped the scales at nearly three hundred pounds. It was obviously not going to be a fair fight, but Sean couldn’t simply stand by, letting the man continue to tear at the young woman’s clothes, as it was more than assured that his plans following that would be much, much worse.

“Mind your own fucking business!” the attacker growled as he drunkenly slurred the words and stumbled a bit at the shock of having Sean’s hands pull him away from his intended victim.

“Go home and sleep it off, you piece of shit.” Sean bit right back, upon noting the man’s drunken state, which gave him a little more confidence in regards to his chances against the attacker. Regardless of their size difference, Sean at least had all his wits about him.

But one advantage that Sean didn’t foresee the other man having, was made quickly clear to him, as the man glared back at Sean homicidally, and pulled a huge knife from under his coat. The sight of the blade in the moonlight did more than enough to keep Sean from even having the time to check on the girl’s well-being. Instead, he kept his eyes glued to the man and, more importantly, the blade. Sean swallowed hard as he took a step backwards, trying to force enough clear thought to devise a plan to get out of this one. But that plan came to him too slowly, as the man lunged straight for Sean’s throat, slitting it straight across, as Sean’s hands flew to his throat, gasping and gagging, he stumbled backwards, falling to the ground in a quickly growing pool of red.

“Bastard.” the woman shrieked from behind the murderous man, who didn’t even acknowledge her outburst, instead, simply looked down at Sean and watched as he lay there gasping for air and quickly losing every bit of blood in his rail thin body. Though the gruesome sight only caused the man’s sickeningly self-satisfied grin to widen, paying no heed to the little redhead, figuring he’d deal with her after he finally got to witness what it would really be like to watch the very life drain from another human being.

Though Sean’s current state did give the girl time to gain the upper hand over her attacker, and allow him to learn all about the advantage he didn’t know she had. It was then that she rushed the man from behind, reaching around him to force his own blade up under his substantial ribcage, straight into his black heart, with a strength that was indeed superhuman. Thanks to Haven’s blood, which still ran through her veins after all these years, the girl, who still didn’t look a day over sixteen, was able to impart her own vengeance for the death of her only sibling. But vengeance was not enough: She had to get Haven to save Sean, and quickly. It was the one thing that she still could do for both he, and Claire.

Sean was not sure how much time had really passed before he woke up in a darkened bedroom to the feel of a pain so great that he hadn’t any words in his extensive poet’s vocabulary that even came close to describing it. But most startling about the pain was that it was not pain from the deadly blade having slit through his throat. That, he somehow didn’t even feel any more. This pain was instead one of an unbearable, tearing, ripping, nearly paralyzing hunger. He sprung upwards in the bed, sure that he was breaking out in a cold sweat, though not a drop graced his pale skin.

“I know it hurts. Please, just try to force calm. I will help you. You just have to trust me.” stated a gentle, even male voice from the darkened corner of the room where he had waited at Sean’s bedside, while Sean’s body had died, and was now truly reborn….reborn, into this new, dark existence.

Sean’s head quickly turned toward the voice, where he then saw none other than the enigmatic Mr. Torrence whom he had known so long ago, and who he had not seen a trace of in twelve long years. Haven then moved to gently rap at the door of the bedroom, in some unspoken signal to whoever may have awaited outside.

But Sean’s hunger was so great, so intense that he couldn’t even process the meaning of what he was feeling or seeing, or even begin to try and decipher why Haven was now standing here in this room with him, at this moment, looking no older than the eighteen year old boy that he had met, over a decade ago.

Sean then had no more time for his own confusion as he wrapped his arms around his waist, where he had now been stripped of the bloodstained coat and shirt, and nearly let out a howl of agony as another horrible hunger pang ripped through him, causing him to immediately center a nearly animalistic gaze on Haven, who looked as though he could feel the pain his childe was now experiencing, as well. Sean didn’t know why or how, but he did somehow know, or rather he could feel, that what he wanted, what he needed, the only thing that would ever stop this pain, was nothing in the world, other than one simple thing… and he needed that thing, now.

Sean quickly rose from the bed, obviously having no clear thought in his head other than the need to find that sustenance. He lunged without thought toward Haven, who luckily had even more superior strength and speed than that which Sean was now blessed with. Haven expected, as well as sensed the attack, and managed to move quickly enough to hold Sean off from sinking his newly formed fangs into his own sire’s throat.

“Calm, Sean, force it. You are strong enough, you have enough will to fight the beast. You know you can. You have to.” Haven told him in that even, deliberate tone that he had used on him all those years ago, when Sean had first come back to the house he had been born in. Haven still forcefully held Sean physically at bay despite the snarl that his new childe roared at him through fangs which were identical to those that Haven had possessed for over a century and a half already. Haven then added the one statement that he knew would force Sean to remember his own humanity, “You’re stronger than the beast. You have to be, for her: For Claire.”

Sean’s eyes snapped back up at the sound of Haven’s words, a new pain finally finding its way through the unbearable ones he was already feeling. Though this pain was not physical, but emotional, as he remembered that his soul, his heart, still waited at home for him to return to her side once more. But would she even want him to, now that he was this new being, this new thing, this new creature, this new creation?

“I need her. I need her to be with me.” Sean whispered, the physical as well as emotional pain clear in his voice.

“Which is why you have to control this before you do see her again. Understand now?” Haven stated, though still spoke gently.

Sean could do nothing more than nod, but had no further time to say more anyway, as two girls from the nearby brothel were then shown through the bedroom door which quickly closed and locked behind them. Both young girls were giggling in amusement at their night’s assignment, nowhere near aware of how deadly their night may easily become upon having entered that room.

The sound of their hearts pumping that warm, sweet blood through their voluptuous bodies was almost deafening to Sean as the hunger pangs intensified, causing him to center that same animal gaze on new, much weaker and unsuspecting prey than his sire ever would have been.

“Calm Sean, remember. You have to fight it, for her.” he repeated again, still holding Sean in place tightly as the two obviously drunk ladies of the evening looked pleasantly surprised by what they believed was being asked of them; to provide their ‘services’ to not one, but two strikingly beautiful men. So surprised were they, or so drunk were they, that they didn’t even sense the predatory look in Sean’s pale blue eyes, or even pay much heed to the strange conversation between the two men. Haven firmly continued, “I will help you, but you have help yourself as well. You have to fight it too.”

“Why are you doing this to me? Why are you tormenting me with them?” Sean growled loudly.

“I am not tormenting you, I am teaching you. Teaching you to feed, without killing. It’s a lesson you must learn, if you ever want to see Claire again. Remember that.” only a brief pause as he watched Sean attempt to try again to force back the beast, as Haven had called it. Haven then continued in the same firm and gentle tone, “Now, will you be a pupil who will learn his lessons and survive the night, or will you be an animal that has to be put down, forcing me to make your beautiful love into a widow, for real?” Haven told him even more firmly, still holding him in his deadly strong grip.

“Did he say feed?” one girl asked the other, only to receive a shrug from her companion, and no verbal response from the two men.

Sean moaned as another pain tore through him, causing the whores to look at the two men suspiciously though still said nothing more. Once the latest agony passed, however temporarily, Sean finally looked back up at Haven, speaking in a raspy tone, “I can’t lose her. Help me.” he pleaded through breaking voice.

“I will childe. I will.” Haven whispered as he placed a gentle kiss upon Sean’s forehead, and began with the first and most important lesson that Sean would have to learn, if he did truly want to survive the endless nights that awaited him now, and return to Claire’s side once more, ever again.

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