24 year old Evangeline Moon is an investigator of all things supernatural with her closest friend, James Wilks. Together, they have gone from investigating strange occurrences and mysterious artifacts to hunting vampires and werewolves. When they stumble across a strange medallion- the Asonja- creatures of the night begin stalking the pair, demanding they hand it over. When Evie's twin sister, Everly, gets abducted, her work immediately changes from curiosity to necessity.
"Turn back, turn back, thou pretty bride,
Within this house thou must not abide.
For here do evil things betide."
-The Brothers Grimm
The wind howled a dark tune as I watched the tall figure stalk along the perimeter of Sarah Marshall's house. When he reached the back door, he slammed his elbow into the glass pane, the splintering crack echoing in time with the wind's song. His arm slipped through the biting hole and the door swung open. He disappeared into the sleeping house.
I cursed as I stepped back from my window and grabbed the phone from its cradle. My fingers raced across the well-worn buttons.
"Evie?" James answered, on the first ring.
"You were right. Someone is breaking into Sarah's house and I need you to get here as soon as you can. I couldn't get a clear shot. I shouldn't have sent you out this late. I'm so sorry."
"I'm already heading your way. Don't do anything stupid, Eves. We agreed to do this together. Damnit, pretty girl. I had a feeling he'd come tonight." Smack. I heard him slam his hands onto the steering wheel.
"I need you to stay in the house and lock yourself in your room. I'll be there soon," he finished.
James Wilks, my best friend and co-owner of our business, Eternal Moon Investigations, had more experience with confrontation than I did. I was more brains, while James was more muscle.
After the line went dead, I crept back over to the open window and slowly peeked through the curtains. I aimed my .45, just in case. At first, Sarah's yard looked peaceful, her perfectly manicured lawn lit by the dim glow of the moon. Ruining the image, I recognized the form of the intruder through her window. No one is home, asshole. I aimed my gun for his chest, my finger itching to pull the trigger.
A crash exploded from somewhere inside my own house. I sucked in a breath. Without hesitation, I rushed toward my bookshelf. I placed my thumb on the hidden fingerprint scanner, waiting 3 seconds. The entire shelf soundlessly cracked open. I wasted no time slipping inside the secret room while pulling the shelf closed behind me. The lock clicked into place. I let out a relieved sigh and leaned my forehead on the cold steel door.
After I bolted and secured three more manual locks, I flipped the tiny silver safety and holstered the handgun on my hip. I grabbed my cellphone from the large oak desk and dialed James, again.
"Don't come back to the house! Someone is in here," I whispered.
"Where are you? Are you armed? Please tell me you are in that room Evie!" James whisper-yelled back, as if he was the one who needed to be quiet.
"Of course I'm in the room. I have my gun on me." I glanced around the small room, my gaze landing on the weapon rack to my left. Finding nothing better than my gun, I turned and began turning on the six wall mounted surveillance monitors above the desk.
"Can you see anything?"
"I'm turning on the monitors now. I need to focus. Just don't come back until I tell you to."
The monitors flicked on. I sat down and studied each room on the surveillance cameras. The living room was clear but in the middle of the kitchen was my backdoor. It was completely ripped from the hinges. The hallway and two guest bedrooms were empty.
My gaze landed on my own bedroom last. A man stood still next to my unmade bed with his back to the camera. He was dressed head to toe in black, his tall muscular form evident through his clothes. He had my pillow pressed against his face. Gross.
He slowly started making his way around the room, frequently sniffing the air. When he reached the bookshelf, he stopped. His fingers grazed lazily over the book spines as he tilted his head in thought. How does he know I'm in here? Good luck getting through three inches of steel, buddy. The only key in this house was permanently attached to my finger. He wasn't getting in.
His slow caress of my bookshelf ceased as he dropped his arm by his side. He stood motionless, his head cocked and his back to me. I noticed he wore no mask or gloves. He wasn't afraid to get caught. I leaned my face closer to the screen studying his short, jet black hair, turtleneck sweater and what looked to be black jeans and boots. Porcelain white skin peeked from the sleeves of his sweater.
I suppressed a gasp as he suddenly jerked his face toward the hidden camera, resting his eyes directly on the lens. A chill traveled up my spine as a calculating smile curved his thin crimson stained lips.
"Hello, Evangeline Moon." His voice was deep and musical.
My arms prickled, the hair standing straight up. He stalked closer to the camera until all I could see was his pale white face. His eyes bore into the lens, his irises solid black. Vampire. Thank God I got in here in time.
"Such a pretty little thing. Wouldn't you like to come out and play?" The words wafted through the speakers, his thick accent adding to the melodic cadence of his voice. Italian, maybe? When had he seen me?
"I think I'll pass. I'd actually prefer that you remove yourself from my home. Oh, and I'd appreciate you fixing the backdoor on your way out," I answered, releasing the intercom button.
Wrinkles appeared on his forehead as his eyebrows raised higher. I flinched as a shocking and loud burst of laughter blared through the speaker. Why did I pick this profession, again?
"Do you not know with whom you speak, or are you suicidal? No matter, really, your days are numbered." His voice sang, while smiling cruelly at the camera.
"As are yours. I'd end them now but unfortunately, I'm fresh out of stakes." I glanced at the weapon rack a second time, the prongs that usually held wooden stakes were still empty.
"How unfortunate indeed," he smirked with a careless shrug. "I thought you only assassinated the worst of my kind. What makes you certain I'm your enemy?"
"I'm not stupid, Vampire. Besides ruining my backdoor, I'm positive you hope to avenge the female we dealt with earlier. I'm surprised you're here already. She's only been dead, what? Two, three hours? Brave of you to come so close to sunrise," I taunted.
He made a hissing noise as a surprising shade of red colored his face, and fangs extended from his incisors. He shot toward the bookshelf at an inhuman speed. Books and boards began whirling around the room until my bookshelf was reduced to a pile of rubble. He then began punching dents, small but impressive nonetheless, into the solid steel door. In less than a minute he stopped and composed himself. He straightened his back and adjusted his clothes as if he hadn't just gone bat shit crazy on an impenetrable door.
"You will die," he growled, clenching his fists at his sides. With a deep bow, he continued, "Until next time."
Before I could say anything, he was gone. As far as I knew, it was impossible for a vampire to get in this room, but being caught without at least one stake had rattled me. I hadn't expected the vampires to retaliate so quickly, if at all. Some of the clan members were decent- as decent as a bloodsucker could be, anyway.
Fumbling to pick up my phone, I called James.
"Thank God! What happened?"
"It was a vamp. He just left. They've never retaliated that fast. I didn't have a stake in here," I sighed as I massaged my temples.
"Damnit. He'll probably be tracking you every night until we kill him. The woman was either his mate or she was important to the clan, somehow." He took a deep breath, his exhale muffling in my ear.
"I know. We missed out on the werewolf in Sarah's house, so we need to think of a way to lure him back. He's too unpredictable, that one. We've got to get them both tomorrow night. Kenny Marshall already paid in full and was expecting this to be finished days ago."
"No kidding. I knew I shouldn't have gone to Eternal Moon till sunrise," he grumbled. "We risked your life for a notebook."
"C'mon, that's not fair. That book is so much more than a notebook. It's a journal of everything we've learned over the past year. There's no use dwelling on it now- what's done is done," I said, yawning into the phone. "Is the sun rising yet? I need to rehang my back door."
"Yeah, you're good to come out. I'm going to stop by my apartment, grab a few things and take a quick shower. Then I'll be right there."
"Okay. My bookshelf is destroyed too. I hate the idea of that vamp knowing about it and living to tell the others. I need to cover it with something else this time. Do you think you can help?"
"Of course, Evie. You were purposely pissing him off weren't you?" His usual light tone had returned now that the immediate threat was gone.
"J, he nearly snuck up on me unarmed. You know I get snarky when I'm scared. If he hadn't made so much noise getting in," I paused. "I don't know if I could've fought him." I could be dead right now... I shivered.
"You weren't unarmed, only stake-less. You would've figured something out, Eves. Regardless, I'm never leaving your side after sundown again. I should've been there."
"I'll see you soon okay?" My speech sounded slow as another yawn mixed with my words.
I didn't hang around to look at the bookshelf- I knew it was demolished. Instead, I picked my way through the wreckage toward the kitchen to look at the back door
The rising sun was streaming through the gaping door shaped hole in my kitchen as dead leaves danced their way inside. Even more startling was the familiar girl standing just outside the doorway, blankly staring right at me- a blood covered knife hanging loosely in her right hand.