Kevyn walked out of another house, the fourth one that Bethel had taken her to. This one was too new, too full of human, just like the others. It needed to be older and full of other memories, not the ones of the happy family that used to live in it. Kevyn shuddered involuntarily. She had to find a house here. That was the first step.
“Well, I’m sorry that this one isn’t what you want,” Bethel said as she looked up at the white wraparound porch and the pale brick house. “Anyone else would die for this house.”
“I’m sorry,” Kevyn said automatically, Bethel’s heartbeat loud in her ears, slightly uneven from being out of shape. “Are there any others here for sale?”
Bethel turned away from the manicured lawn and sighed. “Yeah, there’s just one more. But you won’t like that one. It’s the oldest house in the whole town, and no one wants to live there after what happened in that house. It’s just so empty now, but it used to be so full of life.”
“What happened there?” Kevyn asked, hope prickling beneath her skin.
“Ain’t no harm in telling you seeing as how you probably won’t want it,” Bethel said. “But it used to belong to the Jefferson family, about fifty years ago. No one’s completely sure about what happened that night, but the best story is that on the last night, the phone would ring every hour on the hour, and footsteps would walk around the house, and shadows would creep around. Then, at midnight, everyone in the house woke up to someone screaming. Well, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson ran around the house to see what it was, but it stopped as soon as they got to Tracey’s, their youngest daughter, room. Mr. Jefferson pushed open the door and looked in, and this shadow was bent over Tracey, and sucking something out of her. Mrs. Jefferson fainted dead away, thinking the thing was sucking her blood. But it wasn’t, because blood is red and don’t get sucked out of a body from the mouth. And the thing’s mouth was a few inches above Tracey’s, sucking out something pale icy blue-white and glowing. Suddenly, the thing stopped sucking and Tracey fell back on her bed, dead as a doornail. Then it turned and done the same thing to the rest of the family. Don’t nobody know what it was, but that’s how it happened. And nobody likes to talk about it anyhow. We’re just a small town, and we don’t like strange things happening in here,” Bethel said, shivering at the gruesome tale.
Kevyn nodded. She’d seen the story play out in Bethel’s mind, the vivid pictures giving her chills. Kevyn remembered that night. She hadn’t done it, but she knew who had. The night that she had survived, a male named Asher had come back bragging of how he’d only taken the soul, not the blood, from a family. Taking only the soul took control and strength that not many had, he’d bragged loudly over the rest of the starving coven. The current coven “leader,” Dakota, had been furious with him. Kevyn remembered watching Dakota yell at Asher, seeing her beat Asher and threaten to do the same to him. We can’t kill whole families at a time, Dakota had yelled. That’s how we get discovered. It’s one life at a time, and only those who won’t be missed. For now, Dakota promised.
Kevyn had been among those who’d scoffed that night. Dakota was constantly promising things that would never happen because Dakota didn’t know how to live properly. Dakota was recently turned, a mistake. Her creator, the old leader, Henry, had been killed by another human while feeding on her and Dakota was changed instead of killed. Dakota still hung onto her humanity, no matter what. Kevyn licked her lips, remembering how she and Asher had teamed up to kill Dakota that night. Dakota’s soul had been sweet with terror, and her blood hot and thick. Then the thunder had begun, and the sky rained fire.
“So do you want to go see the Jefferson house or just put up in a motel for a few days?” Bethel repeated, jerking Kevyn back to today.
“No, I’ll find it myself, thank you. How much is it?” Kevyn asked, her voice thick with the memory of that night, her pupils beginning to dilate with sudden hunger.
“You want to buy the house without seeing it and knowing what happened there?” Bethel asked incredulously. “You got some nerve, Kevyn.”
Kevyn nodded. “The Jefferson house is the house I want, I’m sure. Like I said at the café, price doesn’t matter to me.”
Bethel nodded. “Well, we can work out a payment plan later, but total, the house is two hundred thousand dollars.”
Kevyn reached into the black satchel hung over her shoulder and pulled out a wad of bills, knowing it was right without looking. “Don’t worry about the payment plan, this is all of it.”
Bethel’s jaw dropped. “You must come from a good family if you got that much money on you,” she said, in shock. “Well, if that’s all, then I’ll just be…”
“You can leave,” Kevyn said quickly, dismissing her. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, and if you need anything else…” Bethel began.
“I won’t,” Kevyn called over her shoulder as she began quickly walking down the street. The memory of that night and the faint sweet smell, like roses, guiding her to the Jefferson house.
Bethel stood there in the street, staring at the money in her hand. “If I’d have known that she had that much cash on her, I would’ve charged more for the house!”