On a rainy night like this one would think most people would remain indoors where it's dry and warm. This night, however, was different from its wet predecessors. Though the rain came down hard, making noise as it hit the concrete street, a large group of people stood with umbrellas and raincoats around the perimeter of an alleyway cut off with yellow crime scene tape. The police, who were dressed in smocks themselves, repeatedly ushered the onlookers back away from the tape. Few people obeyed as they watched the decapitated body of a young man being loaded into a black van. After the doors were shut, the van manuevered its way around the obstacles in the blocked streets until it was free to continue to the hospital. Even then, few members of the throng dispersed.

"You'd think these humans would be sane enough to go inside when it's raining like this," said a girl who appeared to be in her teens. She was positioned in the middle of the crowd next to another female who looked slightly older than she. "Dumb humans," the girl muttered again, pulling the hood of her coat farther down over her pale face.

"They're just curious," came the soft voice of the taller woman. Her hazel eyes peered through the crowd to the alley where investigators scurried around in an attempt to collect as much evidence as possible before Mother Nature stole it away. "Granted, this is not a matter they should be curious about."

"Sis, can we go home now," the younger girl asked, her own eyes, green as emeralds, staring up at her sister. When her older sister did not answer right away, she nudged the woman's arm. "Harper, please!"

"Alright, Emily," Harper said, pushing her long, golden brown hair out of her face. Unlike Emily, Harper did not have a hood to her coat, so the rain fell freely against her hair and face, which was just as pale as her sister's. "Let's go home."

"Thank you," Emily said with a bit more drama then needed.

With one last glance to the alley, Harper followed Emily to the parking lot across the street after pushing through the crowd of people. Emily quickly got into the passenger's side of the silver porsche, immediately flipping open the small mirror on the visor. "I don't see how you can stand getting your hair wet like that," she commented as Harper climbed gracefully into the driver's seat. "It'll do terrible things to your beautiful hair." She was combing through her own blonde curls with her fingers as she spoke.

Harper turned the key over in the ignition, the engine purring to life in response. "It's going to get wet when I take a shower tonight anyway," she pointed out. Unlike her sister, she could care less what she looked like at the moment. Her concerns were aimed more at the murder that counted as the seventh one in the past month. All of the killings had closely related causes of death; dangerous loss of blood and post-mordem decapitation. What was puzzling to the police was the lack of blood at the crime scenes. They assume because there isn't any blood that the places the bodies are found are merely the dump sites. Few, like Harper and Emily, knew the truth.

"Maxwell isn't going to like this," said Emily, sick of the silence that had washed over the two of them. "He's been ticked off all this month because of Richard's clan making a mess in the city. I wonder when he's going to boil over."

Harper had no come back or explanation for that one. She was well aware of the trouble these murders were causing their leader, Maxwell. If they continued, it would only be a matter of time before the existence of ther kind was uncovered. Hell would break loose if that were the happen.

"Maxwell is trying his best to talk some sense into Richard," Harper said after a minute of silence. "It's hard for both of them. Each of our clans are fairly large, and our different diets make it hard for cooperation."

Emily stared long and hard at her older sister. In the back of her mind she knew Harper had a point, but Emily really hated getting involved in the technical matters of everything. Instead, she would do what she thought better, which normally consisted of ignoring it until it personally affected her.

"Whatever," she muttered before switching the radio on. After fideling with the stations for a moment, she found one she liked playing modern hits in all genres of music.

The drive back to their home was short, mostly because Harper ignored the speed limit of the area. When the porsche pulled into the garage behind the large, Victorian style house, Emily was the first one out. She waited for Harper to shut her door and then she practically raced to the house. Harper didn't bother to rush after her, so the front door was wide open when she reached it. After shutting the door behind her, Harper turned to see Emily now perched on the armrest of the couch, upon which two males sat watching the big, flat-screen television mounted to the wall. Maxwell and his wife Elizabeth sat next to each other on the love seat.

Harper recognized the crime scene she and Emily had just come from as it flashed across the screen. They were watching the ten o'clock news as it went over the story on the latest murder. Maxwell was the first tear his eyes from the television and look at Harper.

"Could you see any of them?" he asked, irritation evident in his voice.

With a slight nod, Harper said, "Yes, two of them. I believe it was Alyssa and Lucas who were amongst the crowd. It easily could have been one or both of them returning to view the impact of their kill."

"The whole lot of them are doing nothing but putting us in danger," said the taller male on the couch. He shook his head as he spoke, unkempt brown hair moving along. Despite the messy look, the man still looked strikingly handsome like all the rest of the people gathered in the living room. "Max, we're going to be forced to take action before long. Seven humans in one month spells disaster for us and them. Doesn't Richard know that?"

Maxwell dropped his dark eyes to the floor as an exasperated sigh escaped his lips. "I'm certain he knows, Conner, but there is little we can do right now. An outright war would only cause more unwanted deaths for both humans and vampires. I can't risk any of you being hurt. I've talked to Richard once already and I will talk to him again. Until then, we must keep out of the paths of the others. The last thing we need is a confrontation."

Everyone went silent as Maxwell's words sank in. They all knew the graveness of what could happen. A war would only bring more death and destruction than what already exists. Harper stood close by the front door for a few minutes longer before turning to go upstairs. No one said anything to her as she left to retreat to her bedroom.

Harper was unsure how long she lay on her bed staring at the cieling. She didn't bother to check the clock on the bedside table or glance at her cell phone resting beside the alarm clock. All she knew for sure was that it was still night and the rain continued to pound down against the earth. She should be out enjoying the time she was free for as soon as the sun rose she was confined to indoors. However, nothing appealed to Harper right now. The usual things she enjoyed, such as running, going to clubs, and hunting, held no excitement tonight. The reality of what was going on around her and her family was sinking in and truly making an impact on the woman.

Eventually the door opened and then closed as Emily entered. She skipped over to Harper's bed and sat down at the end. "Are you okay, sis?" she asked sweetly, as if the shadow of war amongst vampires wasn't hanging over their heads.

Harper was grateful for her sister's cheery disposition. It never failed to bring a smile to her cold lips. "I'm fine, Emily," she said sitting up.

"Good because I need a shopping partner." Emily showed her sister a huge grin as if it would help persuade the other girl's answer.

"Which store has the all-night sale this time?" Harper asked, already putting her shoes on and grabbing her coat.

Emily continued to beam as she jumped off the bed and did a little twirl, causing her curls to bounce around her shoulders. "That's for me to know and you to find out," she said as she grabbed the car keys from Harper's hand. "Let's go!"

The End

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