Xeann steadily opened her eyes to see that she was submerged in shadows, shadows so thick that she was unable to see her own feet. She looked around in confusion before realising that her feet had just hit solid ground. Everything cleared for a moment and Xeann saw that she was in a bedroom with grey carpets, grey wallpaper and maroon curtains drawn over the only window. The door was grey too, Xeann saw grimly. Turning around she saw a king-sized bed with a small eight year old girl lying underneath the grey duvet. She looked pale, even for a vampire. Her hair was short, black and messy.
‘Bella?’ Xeann murmured in shock as she recognized the face.
‘Bella!’ Xeann gasped as a ten year old girl suddenly dropped from the ceiling and landed right in front of her. Bella opened her dark red eyes groggily, spotting the older girl immediately and she smiled.
‘Xeann…’ she croaked weakly and the adult Xeann placed a hand over her dead heart, tears welling up in her eyes.
‘Hush now, Bella, we need to be quiet!’ child Xeann hushed and Bella giggled softly while she ran up to the bedside and sat down.
‘What if you…’ Bella coughed harshly ‘What if you get what I’ve got…?’
‘Don’t worry, you silly worry-wart!’ child Xeann laughed and ruffled Bella’s hair ‘I’m invincible! I’m supposed to be because I’m the eldest.’
‘That’s not fair!’ Despite the nostalgic sadness in Xeann, the vampire smiled softly at Bella’s pout.
‘Uncle Felix taught me a new card game!’ child Xeann declared as she pulled out a pack of cards from her pocket ‘Come on, I’ll teach you!’
The scene faded as the girls began to laugh and Xeann soon found herself standing in her parent’s living room. She saw her younger twelve year old self sitting on the plush purple sofa, swinging her legs and pausing to admire her new buckle shoes that had a small heel on them.
‘Xeanna, dear…’ Adult Xeann turned around to see her parents coming in. Mr Ian Murphy, a rather skinny man with hollow cheeks and his skin a deathly grey colour. Xeann scrunched her nose in disgust at the indigo pinstripe suit he wore, it was ghastly! Mrs Janet Murphy, a very glamorous woman with blusher on her plump cheeks, bright red lipstick on her lips and pearls around her neck. Xeann grimaced at the way she saw her mother’s corset too tightly clenched around her bosom underneath her plum coloured dress. She was certain that those two breasts can’t be natural.
‘Mother, is Bella well enough to come out of quarantine yet?’ child Xeann asked as her parents approached her.
‘Certainly not!’ Janet barked sharply, making both Xeanns wince ‘It seems that she may stay like this for a very long time.’
‘But it’s not fair! She’s been bedridden for two years! She must go outside and enjoy some fresh air or she might never get better!’ child Xeann protested rather loudly, thumping her fists into the sofa.
‘Xeanna, you will grow up this instant!’ Child Xeann huffed grumpily, pouting childishly and hunching her shoulders.
‘But I miss her…’ Adult Xeann sniffed and wiped her eyes to brush away the oncoming tears. The scene faded out and soon Xeann was in Bella’s bedroom again, twelve years old and lying deathly still, sweat trailing down her face as she suffered whatever illness had taken hold of her.
‘How cruel,’ she whispered as Bella coughed harshly, coughing up the blood that had been given to her to keep her alive. Fourteen year old Xeann landed right next to her from the hole where a loose ceiling tile was and ran up to Bella.
‘Come on, we’re going out,’ she declared as Bella stared up at her feebly.
‘Really?’ she rasped and Xeann nodded while picking her younger sister up and placing her on her back.
‘Just hold on really tight,’ she said as she pulled out the rope and hook she usually brought with her to get out of the room and swung it up to the hole to get it hooked on one of the pipes.
‘But what if someone finds out?’
‘Trust me. I’m the eldest child, I’m invincible!’
‘That’s not fair…’ Adult Xeann found herself smiling again as the sisters disappeared up into the rafters. The scene faded and Xeann found herself remembering the time they spent together in the summer night air. Bella loved seeing the beautiful lights from the top of their home and tried roasted marshmallows for the first time. For the first time in years, she breathed in the fresh air and Xeann swore that she was getting better the more time they spent up on the roof. Xeann had to take her back to that grim dreary room to avoid getting the cane from her father.
‘Xeanna, we have some good news for you.’ Xeann looked up when she heard her mother’s voice on her sixteenth birthday. Xeann’s friends had all gone so it was just her, her mother, her father and the servants that cleared up the table and began tidying up the mess in the living room. With bright eager eyes, teenage Xeann clasped her hands together.
‘Has Bella gotten better yet?’ she asked enthusiastically ‘Will she be able to come out of quarantine yet?’
‘No, even better,’ Janet smiled and teenage Xeann’s face fell slightly, her gaze falling to the ground as she muttered that there would be nothing better than Bella finally getting better from her illness ‘You have gotten a place at Acerius’s Private Boarding School for Girls!’ Teenage Xeann’s expression went from disappointed to horrified.
‘Boarding school?!’ she shouted, horror turning into rage ‘I’ve told you that I don’t want to go to a boarding school!’
‘Don’t you dare argue with your mother!’ Ian snapped as he took the pipe out of his mouth.
‘I won’t go!’ teenage Xeann declared loudly and began throwing a tantrum by screaming and flipping the whole dining table over ‘I refuse to go to a boarding school, I will not leave!’
‘Xeanna, this is for your education!’
‘Screw my education, I will not go to this stupid boarding school!’
‘Now you’re just being ridiculous,’ Janet scoffed as she turned her back on her daughter ‘You know I don’t like the way those boys at the other schools look at you.’
‘You told me that I’m going to be this lifetime’s Vampire Mother so I might as well start bearing children now!’ teenage Xeann leered at her parents, her fangs growing with her rage.
‘You will do no such thing!’ both parents snapped at her.
‘And what about Bella?’ teenage Xeann stupidly burst out ‘What will she think of this?!’
‘Your sister hasn’t seen you since she caught her illness,’ Janet laughed at her eldest daughter.
‘Why won’t you let me see her?!’ teenage Xeann screamed as she began pulling at her hair ‘She’s MY sister, not yours!’
‘She’s OUR daughter,’ Ian stated calmly ‘Not yours.’ Teenage Xeann sniffed and began crying, running up to her bedroom, slamming a fist into every servant that got in her way. Adult Xeann gave a last glower to her parents before the scene faded out.
‘They found out,’ she whispered with a snarl ‘They found out that I was visiting Bella and they wanted to separate us even further.’
‘Bella!’ Xeann’s pupils dilated as she recognized the horror in that call and turned when she found herself once again in Bella’s bedroom. She froze as her sixteen year old self landed in Bella’s bedroom and saw Nightmare and Horror on either side of Bella. The two demons spotted Xeann and grinned.
‘Look what we have here, Horror,’ Nightmare purred as he cupped Bella’s cheeks and squeezed them painfully ‘Our little petal’s sister has decided to say one last goodbye.’
‘Who are you?!’ Adult Xeann whispered the words that teenage Xeann shouted.
‘Oh, we’re friends,’ Horror shrugged as he sat on the bed and lay across it over Bella’s legs.
‘Get away from her…’ the Xeanns said as teenage Xeann reached underneath her skirt to pull out her blade ‘Stay away from my sister!’
‘Wait!’ Xeann shouted as teenage Xeann charged towards the demons, her blades lifted to cut through them. Nightmare smirked as he swung his arm and Xeann winced as it made contact with teenage Xeann’s stomach. The poor teenager was thrown across the room, going through adult Xeann who rubbed her stomach thoughtfully.
‘Aw, she’s too easy,’ Horror pouted as teenage Xeann struggled onto her feet, her legs shaking at the sheer force Nightmare had put into that one swing. Adult Xeann turned and watched at the first time she had ever used her limit power. Shadows crawled out from under Bella’s bed and engulfed the young teenager, leaving when they had replaced her clothes with black armour. Nightmare and Horror gasped in mock wonder at the transformation.
‘How old are you?’ Nightmare asked curiously as he stepped forward to look the teenager up and down. Teenage Xeann didn’t answer as she took up her swords, not really knowing what to do with them and charged forward to attack Nightmare. Nightmare smirked and dodged, hooking an ankle around Xeann’s and tripping her up. Xeann landed face first into the white carpet and the armour melted away. Seeing the defenceless girl with gleeful eyes, Nightmare slammed a foot on her back.
‘Aw, the little birdie has failed in her mission,’ Horror cooed as he grabbed Bella by the hair.
‘No, wait!’ the Xeanns said as they looked at Horror ‘Don’t take her away! That’s what you’re here for isn’t it?! Please don’t take away Bella! She’s only fourteen! Please, she’s my only sister!’ Her pleas fell to deaf ears as Horror picked Bella up, swung her over his shoulder and disappeared in a flurry of flames. She gasped as Nightmare grabbed her by the hair and hauled her up to her feet, letting her fall onto the bed. He went on top of her, running his fingers through her hair and traced her jaw line thoughtfully.
‘Such beautiful features,’ he commented as teenage Xeann couldn’t gather enough strength to push him off ‘You’re going to be a Vampire Mother soon too, aren’t you? You’ll be a perfect host for an experiment.’
‘Don’t you dare!’ Adult Xeann shouted and fell to her knees, hands clenched tightly on either side of her head ‘She’s only sixteen, leave her alone!’ She sobbed pathetically as Nightmare stole teenage Xeann’s first kiss and everything faded away. Xeann rocked back and forth, taking deep breaths and lay on her side, tears running down her face. ‘I didn’t have my first child when I was twenty,’ she murmured in realisation ‘I was sixteen when I was first pregnant.’ Colours came back and Xeann recognized the house that she moved into and where she still lived now.
‘Come on,’ a light voice said from behind her ‘Come and look, this is our new home now.’ Xeann turned to see herself when she was twenty, pregnant with the second child, and a young boy with dark blue hair and mismatched eyes. The right eye was blood red while the other eye was bright blue. Xeann asked herself why she had forgotten those eyes, the eyes of her first child.
‘Mummy, it’s so big…’ the four year old child murmured as he hugged Xeann’s leg warily. Xeann stared at the child a while longer before remembering his name.
‘Yes, I named you…’ she started.
‘Cedric, let’s go and get your stuff,’ her past self interrupted her as she waddled over to the back of the carriage and picked up one of the suitcases.
‘Careful, milady,’ one of the servants said as he took it off her ‘You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your new addition.’ Xeann tittered lightly and rubbed her baby bump thoughtfully.
‘I suppose I should,’ she nodded and took Cedric’s hand ‘Come on, Cedric.’ Cedric hid his face from the servant and half-dragged Xeann into the mansion. Xeann watched them as the scene faded.
‘I remember, I gave birth to him at the boarding school,’ she whispered ‘I hid him from the teachers, from my friends and had help from the matrons to raise him. Mother and Father never knew about him.’ The colours faded back slowly to form another picture and she was outside Cedric’s room. The grandfather clock struck eight and Xeann saw herself, twenty six years old now but no difference in appearance, pregnant with her ninth child.
‘Cedric?’ she said as she knocked on his door ‘Cedric, are you awake?’ She opened the door and froze with a horrified gasp. Xeann looked over her shoulder and grimaced when there was nothing but an empty room, as if Cedric never existed. Her past self walked into the room and looked around, calling for her eldest son. A piece of paper fluttered from the ceiling and Xeann snatched it to take a look at it. She screamed and began pounding her fists into the wall near her, sobbing and cursing Nightmare loudly. As everything faded away, Xeann clenched her fists.
‘He took him away,’ she growled lowly ‘He took my precious baby away! He took my Cedric away, how dare he! He had not right to suddenly take him away like that!’ Her sobs echoed in the emptiness as she broke down, her emotions becoming too much for her to bear.
Xeann stirred herself awake and blinked in confusion as she lay on cold wet metal, stark naked and a thick cloak covering her nudity. Keeping it in place to keep her warm, Xeann sat up and stared at the sun with a puzzled frown. She then looked around and saw that there were no signs of ice or snow or any sign of the Narwhine. Memories of what had happened before slowly crept into her mind and she widened her eyes.
‘How long have I been asleep?’ she asked herself. She paused as she saw a note stuck to her body and took it off, reading it.
Xeann glared at the note when she recognized Nightmare’s handwriting and the way he addressed her as ‘dearie’.
‘I’m just writing to be polite and say what a blast we had! Things did seem to go downhill when you poured your holy water all over poor Horror but I quickly took care of him. He’ll be fine, don’t worry!’
‘Damn it,’ Xeann scrunched her fist and slammed it on the metal roof of the tower in frustration.
‘Also, I appreciate the way you have not changed, apart from your bosom growing dramatically, you certainly know how to keep a man, or a demon, happy.’
‘The pervert!’ Xeann scowled as she brought the cloak closer to her body for comfort.
P.S. you look so sexy with my cloak over you.’
Xeann stared at the cloak in horror, before shrugging and snuggling into it.
‘‘Tis a warm and snugly cloak,’ she argued to her mental outburst of ‘Why the hell are you not throwing it away?!’ and spotted her clothes nearby. She began to get dressed and looked up in the direction of the Hyacin Mountains. After lacing her corset tight around her bust on top of the bra, pulled her bodice over it, laced that tightly, pulling her leather trousers up, strapping her utility belt on, pulling her high heel boots on and putting her cloak on, Xeann threw Nightmare’s cloak off the side of the tower and began descending the tower to head back to the girls. She could only hope that she would make it in time before anything horrible happens.