Drake got to the city and drove up to the house.
The lights were all off as he rushed inside to find his wife. “Zoe? Zoe baby are you here?” he yelled rushing up and down the stairs.
There were stacks of old newspapers and letters piled up near the door. He picked up the most recent one and checked the date. “Four months?”
He ran into the kitchen and grabbed the house phone. “Come on Zoe, answer.” Thoughts of Zavier torturing and abusing his wife played on his mind as he listened to the phone ring. “Answer damn it.” The silence between each ring was excruciating. Vincent. He just knew his “friend” would be doing everything he could to bed his wife.
Four months? It had really been that long since he held her, since he looked into her eyes? And murdered by his best friend no less; but they made the mistake. They should have cut his fucking head off and burned his corpse to be sure and for that mistake, they would pay dearly. His hatred and anger settled in his stomach and gnawed at him; wrenching the muscles in his abdomen to an uncomfortable tension.
He hung up and redialed the number. Please baby pick up. He tried willing her to answer his call. “Where are you?!”
Vanessa was eating the horrible airplane food the Flight attendant had brought her…or rather making a mess and throwing it everywhere.
I laughed as the Attendant brought over rolls of paper towels to clean up the mess.
“I’m sorry about that. She’s a really finicky eater.” Vanessa grabbed the bowl and tossed it to the floor.
“It’s ok, it happens all the time.” She leaned over to Vanessa. “I wouldn’t eat it either!”
Ness grabbed at her hair and tried to pull her closer, smelling the blood pumping in her veins.
I stood and picked her up. “Again, I’m sorry.”
“Let’s get you cleaned up Ness.” I walked her to the ladies room to wash her face and give her a little blood.
When I got back to my seat, Vincent was standing; staring at my phone in his hand.
“What’s the matter?”
“I don’t know…the strangest thing.”
“Your phone has four missed calls from your old house number.”
“That is strange.” I placed Ness in her seat and looked at the phone. The signal strength was weak though I dialed the house number back and waited for an answer. After a few minutes I gave up. “Hmm…no one’s home.” I turned it off and handed it back to Vincent.
“Maybe the new home owner is trying to check the line?” I offered.
“Maybe. Did Ness feed?”
“Yes. She’s tons better as you can see. She is trying to eat everyone in sight!”
“Yeah, we’re going to have our hands full with her,” Vincent smiled.
Drake hopped out of the shower he was sure he’d heard the house phone and he rushed down to check the answering machine. Zero messages.
He caught a glimpse of himself in the hall mirror and stopped to stare. He questioned whether or not his wife would even recognize him.
He went upstairs and changed clothes. He had to find Zoe, to know she was safe. He opened the bedside table and found a spare cell phone. Low battery, but he now thanked himself silently for at least keeping an emergency line around.
He walked into the garage and started the car, frowning at the amount of gas in the tank. Fuck, that’s not going to get in the way; he’d drive on fumes if he had to, or push the car down the street.
He took off down the road, not really sure where he was going, but he knew the first stop had to be Vincent’s. He was prepared to go to war with him. Younger vampire or not, there was no way he’d let this injustice pass. He made a quick stop at the gas station and pumped in a few bucks before racing his convertible towards Vincent’s home.
Drake pulled up to the house and entered inside. “Zoe? Baby are you here?” he yelled through the empty corridors. The stillness of the night crept up in silence pounding in his skull along with the thoughts of a friendship gone wrong and the possible outcome of Zoe’s death at the hands of that monster. He shook off the notion, She’s alive, I can feel it.
He pulled out his cell and dialed Sarah’s number. She answered immediately.
…“Brad…?” she beamed mistaking the person on the other end. He normally calls her from disposable cell phones; every number is different with him.
“No Sarah, it’s Drake.”
“Sarah, I know this is a little weird, but I need to know, have you seen Zoe?”
…“No Drake…um…I haven’t. Not since a week or two ago. I can’t remember. Have you tried the house? She and Vincent live in the place up in the hills on Six Springs…”
“She what? They’re living together?”
…“Yes, they’ve been together for a while now...”
“Sarah are you ok? Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
Drake heard a door open on Sarah’s end. “Drake, I have to go. I’m glad you’re back though. It sucked that you and Zoe broke up. I hope you find her…” she hung up and Drake stared at his phone.
“Broke up? What the hell is she talking about? Did she not know I died?”
He put the phone in his pocket and drove up to Six Springs. Again he found the house empty and dark. He didn’t bother knocking nor entering, he knew she’d been here, he could smell her soft vanilla scent. “Where are you Zoe?”
The plane landed and we were greeted by Zavier. His impatience to have his way prompted his arrival to the airport. “I hope you enjoyed your little time away, because we have a lot of work to do,” he said grabbing my arm and ushering me towards his car.
“Get your hands off of her,” Vincent said pushing him away. “Don’t touch her again. You can get what you want without getting physical.”
Zavier laughed. He sent a sharp left into Vincent’s gut and watched him keel over from the blow. “You are really wearing thin on my nerves. Don’t ever step out of place again, Vincent.”
He drove us over to his chamber. Inside was another victim for Zavier’s contraptions. He explained this one was a warlock; evil invoker of dark arts that he was dying to tap into.
“I want you to setup for the extraction. This one is going to be huge!” The sadistic grin on his face grew wider as he saw the fear on my face. “Zoe, you’re not having doubts about what we’re doing here are you?”
“No Zavier. I trust this is for the best. I’m just not feeling well.”
He looked me over. I kept my mind blank; afraid of revealing the information Vincent had given me about him. I was alone in this house of terrors as Vincent looked after Vanessa just outside the walls.
He grabbed my arm and pulled me closer. Jasmine’s necklace dangled in his free hand. “It’ll get better soon. I just need you to open up the source again. I can take it from there.”
Hearing those words sent a chill down my spine. What he was planning was beyond my contemplation but I didn’t want to allow him the means in which to do so. He kept staring into my eyes, I was becoming mesmerized.
“How are you doing that?”
“Zoe! I’m the first vampire ever created! You shouldn’t ask me such silly questions. Now don’t make me use it, I’d much rather you do this without compulsion. We’ll both enjoy it more.”
I nodded and began preparing the spell but the moment I was about to begin casting, I felt dizzy and collapsed.
Zavier charged out the door to Vincent. “What exactly did you do to her? Are you trying to sabotage me?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Vincent yelled back.
Zavier pointed just in the door to my prone body.
“Zo!” Vincent rushed over to retrieve me.
“What did you do, Vincent?”
“You did this Zavier. The amount of magic you made her pull from weakened her to the point of illness. I’m taking her home, whatever you wanted is going to wait until she’s better. Threaten me if you’d like but there is no chance in hell she’s staying and trying to cast more magic for you!”
“Five days,” Zavier scowled. “That’ll give me enough time to set up for the next part. But you’d better stuff every orifice with blood if you have to and have her back here by then!”
Vincent pulled up to the house. “I’ll get the bags in the morning, go on inside, I’ll grab Ness,” he said opening my car door.
Drake watched from a distance as Vincent grabbed Vanessa from the car and headed inside with his wife. I knew it.
He waited until the lights downstairs had gone off before approaching the house. He hopped a level onto the balcony and watched from the window.
Vincent was making his wife undress and helping her to bed. Drake choked down the urge to charge him; smack him around and drive a stake through his heart. He was still weakened and needed to regain his energy to be back in true form.
He turned and exited the house. Drake hurried downtown to one of his favorite haunts. He watched the patrons move in and out and waited until there were few around before charging in. Seeing Vincent’s hands on his wife, watching her kiss him back, he was seething. And the patrons of this bar were about to relieve that aggression. He fed on the remaining three people in the bar, leaving their cold dead bodies sprawled on the floor.
His hunger was still not fulfilled; his organs were churning and he felt a sting at the pit of his stomach. He drove off to the hospital for an endless supply of food. Once he gets his strength back, he’ll go after the fuckers that did this. Lily, Zavier, Vincent. Feel safe, your undoing is approaching. He vowed to watch them twist and writhe in agony and there was only one way to do that. But first he needed his wife back and he was determined to get her back one way or another.
The next morning I walked out to the front yard to grab the morning paper. The sun was beaming down and I felt as though I was melting for only being outside for a few moments.
“Zoe!” a man called approaching me.
“Hi,” I smiled broadly, greeting him.
“‘Hi’? Zoe is that really all you can say?”
“How are you?” I offered.
“What the hell is going on with you? You’re acting as though…”
“…I don’t remember you? That’s because I don’t. I have had a bit of memory loss. If we’ve met before I’m sorry. Your eyes are familiar, though I can’t say I know you.”
“You don’t know who I am?”
“No, and again I’m sorry. Are we friends? Ex Co-workers? Relatives? Do I owe you money?” I smiled.
“Something like that. How long have you been like this?”
“I think it’s going on four months. You’re asking me to remember something after I said I had memory loss,” I laughed.
He smiled. “Sorry. I was just curious. So you don’t remember anything that happened before four months ago?”
“Well actually, I just don’t remember certain people, places or events. I remember everything else. It’s weird I know, but my life is weird. If you know me, I hope you understand what I mean.”
He nodded. “Witchcraft would you say?”
“YES! Exactly.” I looked him over again. “So we are friends? You know about my other side?”
“I know a lot about you. I know pretty much everything about you.”
“Zo?” Vincent called from the porch. “I have breakfast on the table for you.”
“I’ll be there in a minute,” I said turning my gaze back to the hairy stranger. “Did you want to come in? I’d really like to test my recollection with you.”
“No. No I have something I need to take care of. Will you be around later?”
“Well I’d actually planned on taking my boyfriend’s kid to the park. She seems to really enjoy being outside.”
“That’s perfect. I’ll meet you there, we can talk then.”
“Great! I’ll be there around 1,” I smiled. I turned to head back to the house. “Wait, what’s your name?”
“Uh…call me Emmanuel.”
“Ok, I look forward to more, Emmanuel.”
He smiled at me. His eyes sparkled and I felt a sense of comfort in them. “Your eyes…”
“I’ll see you at 1,” he turned and walked to a car up the street. I watched as he pulled away from the curb and disappeared.
“Memory loss…that son of a bitch, that’s how he did it? Keep adding to the fucking fire Vincent, soon you’ll burn.” Drake hurried home. He fought himself from just kidnapping her and making her remember him.
He paced the length of the living room going over everything that had happened the night he was killed. Lily tricked me. She made me see things that weren’t there. She turned me against Zoe. I should have trusted her; I should have believed in her… Suddenly the words 46, Zoe’s future self, spoke to him became as vivid in his mind as the day she’d said them.
He cussed under his breath. We were warned and yet I let this happen! A choice of love and hate, life and death and I sided against Zoe. I sent her into Vincent’s arms.
“How are you feeling?” Vincent asked as I took a seat near Vanessa.
“Tired. The sun is really making its presence known.”
“Well, maybe you should stay in today, Vanessa will understand.”
“No, I don’t want to disappoint her. Besides, being cooped up inside isn’t good for me either. I’d much rather get out and do something.”
Drake looked up at the clock. He’d been so consumed in his thoughts he hadn’t realized it was close to noon. He looked at himself again in the hall mirror and decided against shaving or cutting his hair for now. It’s a nice little disguise, he thought as he made his way to the car.
I dropped a basket of toys on the ground and released Vanessa into the wildflowers in the nearby field. She again chased butterflies and enjoyed the world around her; discovery was her favorite thing.
“Hey,” Emmanuel said behind me.
“Hi, I thought you forgot,” I turned to face him.
“Of course not, I made you a promise.” His eyes twinkled at me again and made me blush.
“Is that the boyfriend’s kid?” he asked watching Nessa behind me.
“She’s grown…I mean she looks like she’s growing well.”
“Yeah, she is. She had been sick recently. We discovered there was a drug in her system, a hypnotic. She’s cleansed now, but Vincent, her Dad, is determined to kill her Mom Sarah because he believes she did it on purpose. He’s made me promise to stay away from her and keep Vanessa just as far. And I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this.”
He laughed. “I have a trusting face, I guess. It’s fine though, you can confide in me, Zoe.”
He came and stood closer. “So when was the last time you talked to her?”
“Who Sarah? Close to 2 weeks ago. She came by to see Vanessa, she too looked sick. She said she hadn’t been sleeping well.”
Drake made a mental note to drop in on Sarah, if he could find her. “So memory loss huh? That can’t be easy.”
“Yeah, it sucks. But again, it’s just certain things. Like you for example; how do we know each other?”
“Family connections; your family and mine have a sort of history together.” He hadn’t told himself how he would approach her questions but there was no way he was going to lie; though in order to maintain his element of surprise, he couldn’t be too forthcoming either.
“I really wish I could remember. You said you knew pretty much everything about me right?”
“Yes, you could say we were the best of friends.”
We walked Vanessa to the nearby playground and watched her play in the sandbox. I took a seat on the bench and resumed my conversation with Emmanuel.
“Can you tell me about past relationships? There’s this guy I see sometimes in my dreams. Vincent said his name was Drake, but everything about him to me is fuzzy.”
“Drake…,” he smiled to himself. “Yeah I could tell you a lot about Drake. What do you want to know?”
Emmanuel and I talked for hours about Drake, witchcraft, my family and vampires. I tried my best to keep up with his wealth of knowledge about everything and everyone in my life. We must have been really great friends as he said. I found myself staring quite often into his eyes. They seemed so familiar to me; large blue oceans that I was swimming in.
“Is there something on my face?” he asked catching my longing stares at his visage.
“I’m sorry. I’m just trying to place you. I know I know you I just don’t remember.”
He stood and walked towards Vanessa and I followed him.
“Has Vincent really been trying to help recover your memories?”
I nodded. “He tries to explain what I see and he took me to an old friend of his in France hoping she could negate the magic blocking me from what’s missing; nothing seems to work though.”
Emmanuel brushed a strand of hair from my face. His fingers slid gently across my cheek and sent a tingle down my spine. He smiled watching me react to his touch.
I held his hand against my face and caught that sparkle again. His eyes were kind; soothing and I knew I could trust him to take care of me.
Drake gazed into his wife’s eyes and quickly removed his hand. She was as beautiful as last he saw her if not more and it took every ounce of his willpower to resist taking her in the sand. Thoughts of their last moments of intimacy flooded his head making him hard. He needed to have her in his arms again but he knew making any type of advances at this stage would frighten her.
He wanted her to trust him first. He needed to win back her loyalty and respect before he could again be with her. She didn’t know him; she didn’t know how much they loved each other. The decks were stacked against him and he’d have his hands full trying to convince her but he’d have her back soon.
“It’s getting late,” I said noticing the sun beginning to set. “I should get Vanessa home and fed her Daddy worries.”
Emmanuel nodded. “I understand.”
I called her over and waited for her balancing act to make its way to me.
“Can we see each other again?” I asked. “I think all of your information will help me get my memories back.” That was a lie. I was hopeful at least, but my true intentions were to see him again. He intrigued me; something about him called to me and I was determined to find out what.
“Of course, Zoe, I’d love that! Is there any way you can meet me alone next time?”
“Yes, I can arrange that.”
“Come by here tomorrow around 10am. That way we’ll have the entire day to jog your memory,” he smiled again before turning to leave.
“Thank you Emmanuel!” I shouted after him.
I got home and fed Vanessa before putting her down for bed.
“Did you two have fun?” Vincent asked watching me sing Ness to sleep.
“Yes. It was great.”
“Good. Next time I’ll join you.”
“Well tomorrow I was hoping to get a little time to myself.”
“Alone time? Have I done something?” he asked wrapping his arms around my waist.
“No, Vinny, you haven’t. I just need a little space. I haven’t been myself lately and I don’t know, with everything happening I’ve only been able to take care of Vanessa, I’d like a little personal time, you know?”
“I understand. Just be careful ok? I don’t want anything to happen to you.” He kissed my cheek.
I nodded. I felt guilty about not telling him about Emmanuel. But something about him felt warm and memorable and I didn’t want to incite his jealousy. I just wanted the opportunity to explore the sense of safety and reminiscence he gave me.
Drake lay on top of the covers staring warmly at the side he shared with his wife. The pillow was still dented from where she rested her head. He smiled thinking about the way he’d seduced her. She was putty in his hands; he knew what she liked and how to get certain reactions from her.
Her skin was as soft as he remembered and soon he’d have her and revenge on those that separated them. He walked over and gazed at their wedding photo. She looked incredibly happy and soon he’d see her smile at him that way again.
He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Teresa’s number.
…“Hello…? She answered.
“Teresa? Teresa it’s Drake. I know it’s going to seem strange but…”
…“Wait, we can’t talk here. I’ll message you when I get someplace secured…”
He paced his bedroom for an hour before his phone finally rang.
…“Drake? It’s so good to hear your voice, welcome back…”
“So you’re aware of what happened to me?”
…“Yes, I saw it but I wasn’t able to make contact, Zavier ensured that. What he didn’t count on was the help of outside covens. Thank goodness for Laurie’s insight for the Eve…”
“What did he do to Zoe?”
…“He erased her memories of you; he tried to do that to everyone else as well, me, Maggie, Sam, Sarah. I was able to protect them from that, but it left me weakened as well as a few others. He’s playing with really strong magics and we won’t be able to do much against him without Zoe on our side. We need to figure out how to reverse the spell on her…”
“I’m working on it. She realizes that something is different with her thoughts, but she hasn’t been able to figure out just what it is. I’m seeing her tomorrow, I’m going to try and help her recover missing information about me.”
…“Be careful with that Drake. This is a very delicate situation. I’ll try and figure out more about the witches under Zavier’s grasp and I’ll let you know what I find out. We’ll talk more later…”
The next morning I rushed to the bathroom and got myself ready for the meeting with Emmanuel. I was humming to myself and I didn’t know why. I gave myself a once over and headed for the car.
I drove quickly to the park and looked around for him. I frowned not immediately finding him.
“That look doesn’t suit you,” he said behind me. “Smiles are much more fetching.”
I grinned as I turned to greet him. “You have a funny way of appearing out of nowhere.”
“It’s one of my many new talents.” A crow came and landed on his shoulder and began cawing.
“Is bird calling another?”
He smiled as the bird nestled on his shoulder as though it were accustomed to sitting there. It flapped its wings and sent the air through Emmanuel’s hair and as if he couldn’t appear any more handsome than before, the wind gave him an almost ethereal appearance.
The crow disappeared just as quickly as it had flown in. “That was strange,” I said.
“They’ve been following me actually. I think it’s the hair. It resembles a nest I suppose.”
I laughed. “If you feel that way why don’t you cut it? I’m sure there’s an even more handsome stranger lodged in there somewhere.”
“Handsome am I?”
I blushed realizing my slipped tongue. “Um, so where do we begin?”
He took my hand and walked me to a quiet section of the park. We sat at the table and he started talking; mostly questioning me about my latest magics and spells. He focused on my information about Zavier and the conversation took a scarier tone.
“What types of things does he make you do?”
“Well recently he’s had me extract magics from a few witches and warlocks he’s captured. Once the spell is complete he kills them.”
“Witches? You’ve killed your own kind? Your kindred? How many?”
“Close to 7 or 8 I think. Zavier said they posed threats to my family. I was only doing what’s right. He’s also made me use my source once on a few innocent people, I haven’t felt right since.”
He stood from the table and paced anxiety present on his face as he started talking again.
“Listen to me, Zoe, Zavier is not your friend. You shouldn’t be killing witches or stealing their magics. They are all linked to you, through the source that your mother created through the Witches Eve. This might explain why you are weakened, why Teresa…you’re basically killing yourself!”
“Zavier knows this; he knows what he’s doing. Better than anyone he knows the consequences of killing your own. He’s linked to every vampire ever created. The more that die the weaker he becomes, the more sired…”
“…the more power he gains,” I finished his sentence. I sat absorbing this information. “And with access to my power source …”
“…he has all he needs to control everyone and everything. When are you seeing him again?”
“A few days; he wants me rested so I can perform an extraction on a warlock.”
“Ok, that gives me little time. I’ll figure something out Zoe; I’m not letting you go through with this extraction.” He turned his back as he thought of a plan.
I stood and approached him. “Who are you? How do you know so much about me? How do you know Teresa?”
He knew he had to play it smart. He also knew that he was pressed for time. Zavier was lurking, waiting to take her and use her for his own sick gains. He didn’t want to scare her, but he had to convince her of the true nature of the facts.
“I’ll come by in the morning and everything will be explained. Until then, do not cast any magic for Zavier Kayne, ok?”
I looked at him, fear knotting in the pit of my stomach. I felt nauseous; anxiety ripped through my muscles and I rubbed at my neck to release a little of the tension.
“Zoe?” Hearing him say my name shocked me back to the conversation. “Zoe, do you trust me?”
“Strangely, yes. You are really scaring me though. How do you know so much?”
“I’ll explain everything tomorrow. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Drake got back to the house. He entered into the room he’d set up for magic and quickly jotted a note to Laurie: Zoe is spellbound and in need of a cure, and waited for a response.
He paced the room toying with the keys in his pocket and noticed a returned message from Laurie. I’ve been watching. I’ve not been able to help; sadly we must receive contact before it can be made with our loved ones. Zoe is in more danger than you realize. That vampire with her, Vincent, has stolen a key to the coven’s magic and given it to Zavier. With it he controls her when she uses source magic. Contact Maggie. She’s the last remaining link to the magics in the family. Help her with a summoning spell for me and I’ll be able to provide better assistance.