Prologue, First and Second Chapters of Princess of the Dark

 

Princess of the Dark

Copyright Taniquelle Tulipano 2016 ©

 

PROLOGUE

 

Once upon a time there lived a man who took his life for granted. He knew of the various dangers that had afflicted people he knew but never did he think anything would happen to him. One day, two monsters burst into his world and stole the life he had away from him. Soon the man discovered that he was no longer a man, but a monster. It was not long before he started to grieve over the life he had lost. No matter how hard he had tried, he could not get it back. Time got its hands on the monster and the years blurred into each other. Slowly the monster’s humanity ebbed away until there was all but none left. There was just enough to keep him from being completely heartless.

That man was me, that monster was me. My path changed when the most amazing woman burst into my existence and made me feel alive for the first time in over two hundred years. But happiness is not designed to last forever. Fate is not done with me yet. It took my life but it is not happy with just that. It is greedy, it wants more. It now has a new target in its sight and it will stop at nothing to get it. I must fight like I have never fought before or all will be truly lost.

CHAPTER ONE

 

Raphael

 

Until a short while ago my life was uncomplicated. Even though it was not much, I knew what my calling was. I drank blood, I toyed with whatever females I wanted, and I killed criminals for sport. Everything was fine until I came across a particular woman called Rosannah. What started off as a normal conquest turned into something quite bizarre.

I made up a story that I needed Rosannah to evaluate my home. Everything was fine and then Harry, a skivvy nobody of The Synod, turned up and skewed my judgement. One moment of idiocy, I allowed my anger to get the better of me, and Rosannah saw my true nature. I had wanted her to see my true nature, but much later. Under normal circumstances I would have brainwashed her to forget what she had seen and I could have carried on with my plan. But brainwashing did not work on her and as a result, I had to keep her hostage to keep the secret of our kind safe.

While I had Rosannah captive, a human called Alex had turned up to take her under the guise of trying to rescue her. After torturing him, it soon became apparent that he was being controlled by a vampire and had been brainwashed into not remembering anything about their plans, as well as who and what was controlling him. I had Lawrence keep an eye on him in the hopes that we might find out more information. The most we managed to learn about Alex’s situation was that two or more vampires were controlling him with voice distorters via telephone.

Rosannah’s captivity was short lived and I had to throw her out because of Nicholas and his moment of madness. I panicked and acted irrationally, but once it was done there wasn’t much I could do about it. In order to keep The Synod content I erased any evidence of Rosannah ever being at my house. I had Lawrence keep an eye on Alex once he came back from following Nicholas to Chile and getting Nicholas to admit himself to the Chile V Retreat, a vampire mental health clinic. Even though my heart was broken, the situation was going well, that was up until Lawrence revealed that Alex was back on the scene, pretending to take Rosannah on dates. I charged Evangeline with helping Lawrence keep an eye on Alex after Lawrence’s failure.

I had no choice but to enter Rosannah’s life once again. I knew it would have only been a matter of time before I did, but with Alex trying to do God knows what it gave me the perfect excuse to get involved sooner. Our reunion was bumpy to say the least, but everything was back on track until it was revealed that my dear brother, Nicholas, had left the clinic early, and had come back. Then brainwashed Rosannah’s best friend, Brianna, into a relationship with him and fooled Rosannah into thinking he was a human called Michael. Whilst Brianna was oblivious it was quite the shock to the rest of us, but especially hard on Rosannah. Lawrence had pulled me away from Rosannah to tell me that Alex was getting an instructional phone call.

We staked outside Alex’s home, but all that we heard was an odd jumbled sentence. Alex left his home and we followed. He was up to something and we hoped that he would lead us to those responsible. After a while it became apparent that he was not actually going anywhere in particular and it dawned on me that he was leading Lawrence and I on a wild goose chase. The purpose was clear: to leave Rosannah unattended. I let the thought of finally finding out who was controlling Alex blind me from seeing what was truly happening. My stupidity had put Rosannah in danger. I raced back to Rosannah’s flat with Lawrence in tow and that is where we are now.

Using the key I had cut, I let us in. My eyes dark to the crumpled up rug on the floor and an involuntary growl escapes my lips at the evidence of her abduction. Lawrence races off to check the rooms and Marmalade peeps her head out from behind the couch.

“I am sorry,” I whisper as I crouch down. She slowly comes out and makes her way over to me. I hold my hands out to her and she jumps into my arms and head butts my chest while purring. I stroke behind her ears as Lawrence reappears.

“She’s not here, let’s head back to yours to see if she’s there,” Lawrence says.

Lawrence’s words slam into me and my mind goes into overload.

“We both know that she is not there. Vampires would only need minutes to take Rosannah and we spent more than enough time following Alex. They are long gone but I will not give up,” I say.

“It’s worth a try Raph,” Lawrence murmurs.

“I do not think it is. We must figure out who’s behind all of this. I know who could have her and they will not be at my house.” I whisper, not wanting to say his name out loud for fear of it being true.

“Who do you think has her?” Lawrence asks.

“Nicholas,” I admit.

“There’s no way Raph. You and I both know he’s not capable of orchestrating all of this. Nicholas controlling Alex? I don’t think so,” Lawrence says, his brow creasing.

“Is he really the brother we always thought he was? He has spent the last God knows how long brainwashing Brianna into a relationship, so he can what? Spy on Rosannah and God knows what else,” I say.

“I know Raph, but this isn’t Nicholas and deep down you know it.” He places a hand on my shoulder. “We all have our bad days, although it seems like Nicholas has had a whole bunch of them at once,” he confesses.

“I damn well hope for his sake he is not behind any of this, but with or without you, I am going to see him!”

“Why don’t you calm down first? Doesn’t Rosannah have neighbours? We could ask them if they saw anything,” Lawrence suggests. I am not keen on wasting time but he may be on to something. I don’t even know where Nicholas lives and if we only manage to his address, it would be worth it.

“We will ask Brianna’s mother, she lives immediately below Rosannah’s flat. We will ask her some questions and get Nicholas’s address.” Lawrence looks like he is about to argue, but I do not wait to find out. I dash off and he follows. I knock on the front door of the flat below and an older version of Brianna answers.

I watch as she takes the sight of Lawrence and I in. Slowly she looks us up and down, stopping momentarily on our crotches. Revulsion comes to mind. It is obvious that she finds us attractive. Her cheeks blush, her eyes dilate, and her lips curve into a small smile.

“How can I help you?” She coos.

“My name is Raphael and this is my brother Lawrence. We are looking for someone,” I reply.

“Well, I’d say you’ve found them,” she grins. I look to Lawrence who is smirking and mentally curse him.

“What’s your name?” I ask turning back to Brianna’s mother.

“Nora.”

“Nora, I am looking for my girlfriend,” a playful grin spreads across her face. “Before you absent-mindedly open your mouth, you will never be my girlfriend.” I say turning on my charm as I brainwash her. I look at Lawrence who is trying not to laugh. “Whatever it is you’re thinking, stop at once,” I say to him. Lawrence ignores me and looks to Nora.

“Do you know much of what goes on in this building?” He asks, brainwashing her himself.

“Oh, I know everything that goes on here,” she answers. This doesn’t surprise me. She looks like someone who would be happy to stuff her nose up…

“So you hear who comes and goes to Rosannah’s apartment?” Lawrence asks, breaking my train of thought.

“Oh yes, come being the operative word,” she laughs. It turns out it is still possible for a person’s personality to shine through when being brainwashed, unfortunately. “There’s a man who visits her regularly.” She continues. “I’ve never seen him but I hear what they get up to sometimes,” she says with a grin. Horror befalls me and I turn to Lawrence who looks like a kid in a sweet shop.

“Is that so?” He asks with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes. When Cody has been in bed and I’ve heard Rosannah at it I’ve had a really good masturbation session. It’s happened on a few occasions,” she admits. Lawrence bursts out laughing. I stare at him wide eyed while he laughs his head off for about ten minutes. Once he calms down he looks at me.

“That was hilarious!” he exclaims. Knowing that this woman has pleasured herself while I have made love to Rosannah makes my skin crawl.

“I can never unhear that.”

“Why would you want to?” Lawrence asks chuckling and he turns to Nora. “Now you can put a face to the guy you hear banging away above you,” he says pointing a thumb at me. “Anything else you want to get off of your chest?”

“Lawrence!” I warn him but it’s too late.

“You two will certainly star the next time I flick the bean. You are both drop dead gorgeous,” she admits while she’s still under the influence of Lawrence’s brainwashing.

“If only you knew the half of it,” Lawrence flirts. I punch Lawrence in the arm faster than Nora can register. “I think Raphael here would love to hear anything else you may have to say,” he says and sidesteps away from me.

“I hate you,” I whisper to him as Nora starts talking, until she is cut off by Lawrence’s reply.

“Such anger Raphael. I think you have a problem.”

“Yes, it’s called Lawrence,” I say through gritted teeth. “Have you seen anyone visit Rosannah today?” I ask Nora.

“Yes, it was really weird. My daughter’s boyfriend, Michael, visited her. You know, you really look like him. Are you sure you’re not him? It’s quite freaky just how similar you are,” she says pointing to Lawrence.

Lawrence and I look at each other.

“Please elaborate,” I order her.

“I don’t just hear things; I look out of my spy hole too.”

“That’s what she said,” jokes Lawrence.

“Oh, naughty,” she smiles at Lawrence and playfully slaps his shoulder.

“You don’t know the meaning of naughty until…”

“Lawrence! For god’s sake behave yourself. I really can’t take you anywhere,” I chastise him.

“Now how boring would that be?” He asks.

“Whenever I hear footsteps I look out,” Nora says pulling us back to her.

“You really need to get a life,” I mutter to myself as Nora continues, oblivious to my comment.

“About two hours ago Michael went to see Rosannah. I found it a little strange but I thought maybe he wanted to ask Brianna to marry him and wanted to discuss it with Rosannah. They are best friends after all.”

“Could you hear them at all?” Lawrence asks. Finally, something sensible comes out of his mouth!

“Michael went up there and they had a conversation that made no sense,” she says scrunching her face up.

“What the hell does that mean?” I yell.

“Well, Rosannah kept calling him Nicholas and they discussed him discharging himself from a clinic and about some plan he had been carrying out. I found it a little disturbing and I’ve been pondering whether to tell Brianna about it,” she admits.

“Where do Brianna and Michael live?” I ask her. My brother’s fake name feels like fire on my tongue.

“Hold on, I will get my address book. I don’t remember it off by heart,” she says and goes off. Now that is a surprise. After a few minutes she returns and hands me an open pink and purple flowery book. I memorize the address and hand the book back.

“Put the book away and return to me,” I order. She does as she’s told and comes back. “You will forget everything that has happened over the past three hours. Is anyone else here?”

“My son Cody is here but he’s been asleep all day. He’s been really ill with the flu,” she says. Satisfied that it is only Nora I need to give a new story to, I continue.

“For the past three hours you’ve watched telly but I visited you to ask if you knew where Rosannah was. You did not know but you said you would tell her that her boyfriend was looking for her,” I say and go to the door. I stop myself as something else comes to mind. “And please, for the love of God, stop masturbating to the sounds that come from Rosannah’s apartment. It is beyond disturbing,” I walk out and race off down the street.  Lawrence joins me with a smirk on his face.

“It may be disturbing to you but it’s funny as hell to me!” he laughs.

“Do not mention this to me ever again. It’s going to take god knows how long for my skin to stop crawling. I am going to see Nicholas. Because you are concerned Rosannah may turn up at mine you can head back to mine in case she turns up,” I tell him.

“Raphael, I would really like to see Nicholas too,” he says with a slight frown. I forget how attached brothers are to one another and I feel somewhat guilty that I have neglected to see how Lawrence may be holding up with all of this.

“I am very doubtful but what if she does actually turn up at mine?” I ask putting on a front.

Lawrence gets out his phone and dials. Within seconds a high-pitched whiny voice answers.

“What do you want?” Evangeline whinges down the line.

“Can you get over to Raphs?” he asks her.

“Raph sent me home. I’m not coming back now,” she whines.

“Rosannah is missing!” he yells.

“What do you mean missing?” she asks.

My patience is wearing incredibly thin. Rosannah is missing and wasting time with Brianna’s mother has used it all up. I grab the phone from Lawrence.

“Look, enough time has been wasted. Lawrence and I were led on a wild goose chase by Alex. In the meantime Rosannah has gone missing. Can you PLEASE get over to my house in case Rosannah turns up there?” I order.

“Wow, no need to shout. I’m on my way to yours,” she sulks and the line goes dead. I hand the phone back to Lawrence.

“You always have such a knack with her,” Lawrence says.

“It is all in the delivery of the words,” I say with a shrug.

With Lawrence by my side we head to Nicholas and Brianna’s apartment. I knock at the door and Brianna answers. “Go into your bedroom and stay there until I tell you to come back out,” I instruct her before she has the chance to say anything. She smiles and walks off happily. We enter to see Nicholas sat on the couch.

“Oh Lawrence, I came to see you but you weren’t in,” he says to him but as he claps eyes on me I see red. I storm over to him and hold him up by his throat.

“Where is she?!” I yell at him. I watch the confusion on his face slowly turn into realisation.

“She should be at home,” he says as he hangs there. My grip on his throat is tight, it would crush a human and kill them, but not Nicholas. I can feel his muscles move with ease beneath my palm as he talks.

“Try again!”

“Can you put me down so I can talk to you on ground level please?” he asks. Lawrence puts his hand on my arm and my anger abates a little. I place Nicholas back down and he straightens himself out.

“I left her safe and sound in her flat,” he says, confirming Nora’s recollection of seeing him earlier.

“If you have hurt her so help me!” I threaten.

“You’ll what? There’s isn’t much you can do!” he yells. “Plus, no matter what you think I didn’t hurt her at all. I went to see her so we could talk. We had a heart to heart and put things to rest. It’s the truth.”

“You better pray that you have told me the truth,” I tell him.

“I don’t know what this is even all about. Yeah, I’d brainwashed Rosannah’s best friend into a relationship so I could get closer to her. Not only have I realised how stupid my plan was but I also realised I wasn’t in love with Rosannah. I just thought I was. Brianna is really growing on me to be honest. I thought it was a good idea to clear the air, seeing as I haven’t actually done anything to Rosannah.”

“Well, courtesy of Alex’s vampire puppet master, Rosannah is now missing. Alex led us on a wild goose chase and when we finally realised that we raced over to Rosannah’s apartment to find her gone,” I say.

“So you thought it was me?” he asks.

“Can you blame me?” I reply.

“No, I don’t. What can I do to help?” Nicholas asks, sounding genuinely concerned.

“You want to help? Find her Nicholas,” I say. Lawrence steps in front of me facing Nicholas.

“Look, if you want to help why don’t you come with me and…”

“I will head out to Mathias to tell him what’s happened.” I interrupt and dash off. We are at a dead end and I hope that maybe Mathias has learned something new.

I am there in minutes and Mathias opens the door as I arrive.

“What do I owe the pleasure of your visit dear boy?” he asks as he follows me into his kitchen.

“The bastards have taken Rosannah,” I say and turn to face him.

CHAPTER TWO

 

Rosannah

 

“You,” I whisper. The word is painful to get out and is barely audible, but I know the vampire I’m looking up at can hear me.

“Oh poor little Rosannah. Are you really that surprised?” Reggie sneers at me.

“Maybe it’s ridiculous to be surprised that you’d do something like this, but him?” I say as I point at a freshly turned Harry. “I’m utterly shocked. I never saw that coming.”

“It will come as no surprise that I have wanted to screw Raphael over for years, but Harry here was particularly eager to be involved. Why turn down help when it’s so willing to do anything you want?” Reggie smiles pleasantly at me. I feel sick to my stomach.

“I can see he’s been rewarded for his efforts,” I say in disgust. Harry’s light grey eyes flash darker in recognition.

“How could you do this Reggie?” I sob. It’s a stupid question, but the pain inside forces me to ask.

“The question isn’t how, although it’s pretty obvious, I’m a VAMPIRE. So, the question is why.” He moves in closer to me. He waits for my question.

“Why?” I ask simply, backing away from him slightly, but he backs up and turns away from me.

“We both know that I don’t like you very much. That’s being too kind, I don’t like you at all and add to that the fact you can’t be brainwashed you are the single biggest threat and liability to the entire vampire population. Not even taking my personal feelings towards you into account, you should have been terminated as soon as your aversion to my kind was discovered, but Raphael was having none of it. You see, that’s what happens when one thinks with their dick instead of their head. I suppose for those who are unintelligent it’s easy to confuse which head is for what.” He says thoughtfully before turning back to me. “I don’t even understand why Raphael is so attached to you. To be quite honest it appals me. You’re a human and a very unattractive one at that. You’re meant to be fed on, not lusted after and fucked.”

Harry stifles a laugh but Reggie ignores him and carries on. “A human who cannot be brainwashed is a very worrisome thing. The Synod isn’t too bothered by it when they should be, and for some godforsaken reason, Mathias always panders to Raphael. That, I have never understood. It’s like Mathias left his balls behind with his humanity. Either that, or he has a penchant for your dear boyfriend.” He spits. “I want you to know that I am not the only one who wants shot of you. There are numerous people who want you gone. So far they have been all mouth and no trousers and someone had to step up to the plate, but you see this isn’t just about some silly flesh bag who can blab to the world about our existence. It’s a part of it yes, but there are issues that go back years. Hundreds of years.” He says. What the hell is he talking about? I asked for an explanation and now I’m very confused. Reggie must have picked up on it because he flashes me a gloating smile.

“How can this, whatever it is, go back that far?” I ask.

“You see; I was one of the vampires who killed Raphael’s family.” I gasp, which cuts him off. “Oh come now, don’t look so shocked. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. I had some help you know.”

“From who?”

“Ah, now wouldn’t it be nice and easy if I answered all of your questions? Well guess what? I’m not going to just give you the answers you want. Think of it like you and sweet Raphael, when you two met. You were a good girl. Oh, you certainly wanted to be a naughty girl but you didn’t let Raphael get his meat hooks into you straight away did you? You made him wait, teased him. Then sent him over the edge. I’m very much the same. You can have a little peak but no viewing my tartars until I’m ready.” He says, his voice full of sarcasm. I have no idea why I’m so shocked by his words and demeanour. He’s nasty, creepy and doesn’t care at all, but it still hits hard. Even though this hurts I want to know more about Raphael and Reggie and fortunately my mouth continues to work.

“Why did you murder Raphael’s family?” I ask. If I get out of this alive, I want to tell Raphael as much as I can.

“It was just fun and games. I went along with it for the laugh. There is more to this story but spoilers are like candy. Too many will make you sick,” He sneers and something flashes behind his eyes.

“Did you change Raphael?” I ask. I might be able to at least give Raphael closure on that.

“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, but you don’t need to worry your little head about that. All you need to know is that it was agreed he would be changed but all along I had planned to go against my word. I was going to see to it that he would be killed and betray the trust that had been bestowed upon me, but I changed my mind. Why did I change my mind yet again? Let’s say I had a change of heart.” He says. I sit open mouthed. Seven words hammer against my brain. It was agreed he would be changed. Don’t tell me Raphael wanted to be a vampire, arranged to be a vampire. He doesn’t think that he was murdered. It would make sense if he was behind his transition.

“It was agreed he would be changed? You mean Raphael agreed?” I ask, my voice going up in pitch. I don’t want to know the answer but I have to know.

“Oh good Heavens no, don’t be so stupid! At the time it was the worst thing that could have happened to him, from his perspective anyway. Look at him now though, flourishing like the pathetic moron he is.”

“Don’t you feel any kind of remorse?!” I yell at him. He raises an eyebrow and leans towards Harry.

“I don’t think she understands that I do not care about other people, human or vampire,” he says to him. Harry grins like a Cheshire cat as Reggie comes over and crouches down in front of me. I back up until I hit the wall, but Reggie edges closer until he’s only a few inches away from me. “My dear, I used to be an incredibly compassionate human being. I was a holy man and spent my every waking hour helping as many people in as many ways as I possibly could. I was on my way to an early death with the lack of sleep and all of the stress that I so willingly asked people to place on my shoulders. That was over two thousand years ago. Now tell me, smart ass, what do you think time has done to that compassion?” He asks.

“A holy man? You were a holy man?”

“It’s typical that you would only hone in on that,” He says as he stands up and walks away from me. “Harry, will you go and shut that noise up please! That incessant whinging is pressing on me.” Incessant noise? If I exclude Harry and Reggie, the only other noise around here is me talking! I panic, but Harry races out of the door, leaving it open. I eye it, but I know that I won’t be able to even move before Reggie would stop me. Harry returns, closing the door behind him.

“It’s done,” he says. What or who did Harry shut up? A shiver travels down my spine. Reggie appears lost in thought and while he’s distracted, I take in my surroundings.

We are in a rounded bricked room that narrows the further up it goes. The ceiling is beyond what I can see and the floor is concrete, cold and harsh like the vampire’s in here with me. A single light bulb hangs from suspended wires and broken tables and chairs lay discarded and scattered around. I can’t think of a tower, like this, that is anywhere near where I live. This must be far from home.

“Yes, Yes!” Reggie yells, pulling me out of my thoughts. He suddenly stops and turns to face me. “I used to be a holy man. My time was the God’s, my life was the God’s, and my soul was the God’s. I lived and breathed to do the God’s work. The fact that I was a servant to the God’s may be quite a surprise to you. All you see before you is a creature who is devoid of compassion, but once I was human and a VERY decent one at that. This is a pill that is hard for you to swallow because your human brain cannot truly comprehend being on this Earth for over two thousand years, nor can it fully understand what long periods of time can do to the wants and desires of the mind.” Reggie has a point. How can I even begin to imagine what it would be like to exist for thousands of years?  I have no idea what it I will be like in sixty years, if I make it that long. A sinking feeling settles in my stomach. Reggie maybe talking philosophically to me now, but I remind myself that he’s brought me here for a purpose. What is that purpose?