Caleb sat upon the bluff, staring at the ocean crashing beneath her against the rock face. The salty breeze whipped her fiery hair wildly around her head. Her sad green eyes watched the sunset, slowly sinking beneath the ocean line, with tears in her eyes gleaming like diamonds.
Caleb’s father had always been a kind man. He took in strangers out of kindness, giving them hot food and a clean, dry place to sleep. He lived in the outskirts of Santa Carla, in a house not far from the ocean. Everything was great that day, for it was Caleb’s 18th birthday. While they were at her birthday dinner, a knock came at the door. Her father answered it immediately; thinking it was another drifter in need of food and shelter. Indeed it was not, for as soon as he opened the door...he was snatched away into the night. Caleb was left staring at the empty doorway where her father had once stood.
Mr. Nelson disappeared, never to be seen again. That was four days ago. Caleb had left the emptiness of her house, the nerve-wracking questions of the police, and the watchful eyes of the child protection agency. She wandered around town, meeting a few runaways here and there, but not meeting any real people. She didn’t know how she ended up at the bluff, but she wasn’t complaining for it was peaceful up here. Caleb now sat and watched the sunset, casting roseate light across the faint last traces of the day sky. She sat there with depression filling her heart and soul, but her father’s disappearance filling her thoughts.
Marko exited from the cramped space of the cave. The rocks strewn about the path posed no problem to the vampire. Not after years of coming and going was he going to trip and lose his balance, falling flat on his face. He began the walk up the rotting wooden footbridge that crossed the ocean. His curly blonde hair flowed down his back and danced in the ocean breeze. Marko’s leather chaps over his jeans made his muscles look strong and tight. His jacket was covered with colorful patches and tassels dangled from his left shoulder. His hazel eyes scanned the terrain ahead of him. A familiar smell lingered in the air. He stopped in the middle of the wooden stairs.
He recognized the smell after a few instances. It was sadness mixed with...fear? Marko looked around from where the emotion was emanating from. He saw the faint silhouette of a girl sitting at the top of the bluff. He could feel his fangs lengthening at the thought. Good, he didn’t have to go out and risk hunting again. He didn’t let David know it, but he didn’t enjoy hunting. He preferred his meals delivered right to his door. Marko turned and began stalking quietly up the bluff rock face to the faint silhouette against the sky.
Caleb let the tears fall, not knowing how she would get her father back. She could feel the salty teardrops soaking through her wrap skirt. Caleb pulled the leather jacket around her tighter. Her father had given the skirt and jacket to Caleb as a gift for her birthday. Now Caleb cursed her birthday...and herself. She didn’t know why, but she couldn’t help take the blame for her father’s disappearance.
With a groan, Caleb stood and gazed down over the edge of the bluff. The white capped ocean waves rumbled and crashed against the rock face. She had made up her mind...join her father wherever he might be, even if it meant dying she would do it. Caleb stretched out her arms and closed her green eyes. She tilted her head back and counted silently to three. On two and a half she started to lean forward. In mid fall, she felt strong arms catch her and pull her back. Caleb’s green eyes flashed open in annoyance as she was pulled back onto the bluff. She crashed to the ground, still in the arms of her unseen rescuer. She whirled to face the surprisingly not-out-of-breath and super strong person.
“What, no thanks,” asked Marko, standing in front of her. His hazel eyes fixed on hers, annoyed with the girl’s stupid decision of trying to kill herself. He crossed his arms in front of him. “Are you all right?”
“No thanks to you, I will be,” Caleb muttered, glaring at the other with her green eyes full of fire.
“What were you doing anyway,” Marko said, more softly this time.
“As if you didn’t know, I was trying to commit suicide! Life without my father is so unbearable;” Caleb sobbed, sinking to the ground. Her hands slammed against the soft dirt, stopping her from sinking any further.
“What’s your name, love,” Marko asked, starting toward the distressed female. He layed a gloved hand soothingly on her trembling shoulder. He patiently awaited her reply.
“Caleb,” she muttered, through a curtain of red hair.
“I’m Marko,” Marko explained, running his hand through Caleb’s long hair.
“Mark,” Caleb asked puzzled, wiping her tears on the back of her hands and brushing her hair away. She looked up into his pale, baby face.
“No,” Marko corrected, shaking his head. “Mark-O, with an O.”
Marko pulled Caleb gracefully to her feet. She wobbled at first, but quickly caught her balance when Marko reached out for her. Caleb’s green eyes fixed on Marko’s own hazel ones. He noticed now all her features for the first time. Caleb’s hair was the color of blood in the moonlight. The faint blue trails of veins underneath her transparent skin sparked why Marko had come up here in the first place...to feed. Marko didn’t even think of falling in...he pushed the thought to the very back of his mind.
“Do you need help down,” Marko asked, deliberately trying to take his mind off his thoughts. He lent a pale hand to the trembling Caleb. He looked into her depressed green eyes.
“I have nowhere else to go, so I might as well stay here,” Caleb admitted, a sigh escaping her full, red lips. Her long eyelashes framed her emerald eyes.
“C’mon, lets get you out of this nippy weather,” Marko offered, pulling Caleb down behind him on the bluff.
Marko analyzed this situation. Caleb’s dad was missing...possibly dead, she was alone with no one to care for her...a drifter, and she had nowhere else to go...a nomad and a lost girl. Marko had become lonely in the last week. Ever since Max was killed things had been dull in the lives of the Pack. Michael’s brother Sam and the Frogg brothers, Edgar and Alan, killed Star and Michael. All three of the so-called vampire hunters then fled Santa Carla, afraid of what the vampires would do to them. To their advantage, the Pack had no interest in harming them...yet.
David, Paul, Marko, and Dwayne worried about finding someone new to head Max’s video store in his place. Someone to watch their bikes while they were out hunting and roaming the Boardwalk. The remaining Pack members sought out a replacement for Max. Marko didn’t know if they had found one or not. He didn’t care at the time, for he was too busy leading and worrying about Caleb to care.
Marko allowed Caleb to enter the cave in front of him. She stopped in her tracks, in awe of the surroundings. The cave resembled an old posh hotel lobby. It was littered with worn, red velvet couches, books, and many other trinkets. In the middle lay a fountain and check in/check out desk. It was all covered in dust, but the rest was well lived in. Caleb gently fingered the lip of the fountain, collecting a faint amount of gray dust on her index finger. The candles that littered the lip sent off a warm and cozy glow.
“Wow,” Caleb whispered, not taking her eyes off the amazing sight. From the outside it looked like nothing, with it’s DANGER: KEEP OUT, WARNING, NO TRESPASSING, and CONDEMNED STRUCTURE signs warning off any curious teenagers that wanted a peek at what was inside.
“Yeah, it used to be a hotel at the turn of the century. Too bad they built it on the fault. In 1906, when the big one hit San Francisco, this place took a header and slammed into the ground. So, we own it now,” Marko explained, enjoying the history of this place he was telling.
“We,” Caleb asked, turning to Marko. A confused frown crossed her brow.
“Yes, we,” said a powerful voice.
Caleb spun and faced a half-hidden man in the shadows. From what she could see, his earring and spiky blonde hair only added to his gruff appearance. His cerulean eyes had a look that seemed to penetrate through anything, even steel! Caleb turned her eyes away from his, afraid he would penetrate her protective walls.
Out of the darkness melted two other figures. One was tall with a mass of dark hair. He wore no shirt, but a denim jacket with a tooth of some kind around his neck. The other one was wild looking, like the guy from Twisted Sister. His hair was blonde and his tight neutral pants hugged his firm muscles. He stared at Caleb with glassy eyes that danced around.
“Uh, guys...this is Caleb. I found her at the top of the bluff,” Marko explained, startled that the Pack had been there the whole time.
“Did you now,” David asked, his cerulean eyes not leaving Caleb’s trembling form. She was trying to hide it, but David’s vampire gaze caught that.
“A-and I was just...leaving,” Caleb started, edging faster and faster toward the entrance to the cave for her escape.
“Now hold on just one minute,” David ordered, grabbing Caleb’s arm in his gloved hand. He stared into her green eyes with interest.
Caleb’s whole body tightened with fear. She didn’t know who this guy was, but he emanated evil or something not good. Maybe it was because he looked like some mad serial killer. Caleb didn’t take the chance. She wrenched out of his grip and rubbed the red spot on her arm where his vice-like grip was.
“Caleb, meet David...our leader,” Marko explained. He turned to the other two. “The tall, dark one is Dwayne...David’s lieutenant. The wild blonde one is Paul.”
Caleb nodded with half interest. She got the same reaction from the other two. Tension filled the air and Marko could feel, as well as smell it. Marko had a thought strike him. It had been a while since they had FIRST brought a girl into the Pack. The last time it was disastrous. Star, who was the first female brought into the group, turned against them and broke the first rule. ‘Harm not your own’ ruled as Pack law. She allowed Michael, Sam, and the Frogg brothers to try and kill the Pack, and she even helped them! They succeeded as staking Marko, but in the wrong place. It was a huge mistake, for in the process she was killed...and Michael as well.
“David, what can I do with her? She has no other place to go. Caleb is a drifter, a nobody without a purpose, a lost girl! Can she now join us and make our family bigger,” Marko asked, mentally sending the thought to David.
“Marko, you know the Pack law! She has to be willing to come in. A female has to be willing to join our family, but it doesn’t necessarily mean she has to know what we TRULY are at first. We can trap her yes, but it would be too soon to do it now. Wait my brother and see how things turn out,” David replied, sending the message mentally as well. His cerulean eyes fixed on his friend.
Marko nodded in understanding to what his leader was explaining. If Caleb was brought in to early, like Star, the same effect could come out. Marko decided to wait...for it would be best to do so. He was really starting to like Caleb and wanted her to stay for good if she did decide to join.
Amy walked down the street, wondering what was going to happen to her. Her parents had been fighting and in the heat of the moment, her mother killed her father. Amy had been asked to keep this a secret, but she couldn’t let her mother get away with it.
Amy called the police and her mother was taken away.
The police station, behind Amy in the shadows, was out of sight now. Tears flowed down her Native American skin. Amy hugged the deerskin tunic tighter against her body. Her long raven hair blew carelessly around her head. Amy fixed her chocolate brown eyes on the gray pavement beneath her feet. It suddenly gave way to a dirt-covered road.
Amy saw she had wandered to the outskirts of Santa Carla. Here not many houses lined the streets. Here and there houses were littered along the deserted road, at least a quarter of a mile apart. She didn’t care, and Amy didn’t know where she was going.
At the end of the street, a house loomed up in front of her. It stuck out because it looked newer than the rest and didn’t have that old rickety look to it, but had a cozy look. It was a tall Victorian house with white paint and blue shutters. The lights were off and it looked deserted. Then, the drizzle started. It soon became heavy sheets of rain, bearing down on Amy’s raven head. She ducked onto the large wrap-around porch.
Amy slowly approached the door. Once there, she hesitated a moment before knocking. She could hear the knock echoing hallow through the house. On the black mailbox read NELSON in big gold letters. Amy wondered where the Nelson family could be. She didn’t wait, for she opened the door and stepped into the dark house. Amy disappeared into the darkness.
Caleb sat on the worn velvet couch, curled up into a ball. It had started to rain outside for Caleb could hear it echoing through the cave. Her thoughts drifted to her missing father. Tears welled up in Caleb’s green eyes. She started to sob softly when Marko came in. Caleb tried to quiet herself, but it was too late. Marko had already heard her soft sobs, not to mention smelled and felt her sadness. He approached the cowering female.
“What is it Caleb? What is the matter,” Marko demanded softly, stroking her fiery hair.
“Oh, it’s just my father was taken away from me. I miss him so much Marko! He was the only family I had ever known, for my mother died giving birth to me,” Caleb explained, wet spots developing on the velvet from where her tears dropped onto the fabric.
Marko cocked his head and stared down at the depressed female. She was really saddened by her father’s disappearance. He wondered what he could do to help. He decided to find a way.
“Caleb, could you tell me what happened,” Marko asked softly, putting his half gloved fingers under her chin and tilting her head up toward his.
“Yeah, I suppose so. It was my 18th birthday and we had just sat down to my favorite dinner. Father never cooks, but on this special occasion he made meatloaf, green beans, and mashed potatoes with turkey gravy. He was just about to take a bite when there came a knock at the door. Being a kind man, my father immediately answered the door. I didn’t see his face, but I distinctly heard a voice. It had a certain familiar...arrogance ringing in it,” Caleb began, her eyes staring blankly into the fire. She didn’t see Marko tense up. “Well, my father was snatched away and taken into the night. I leapt up from my seat and tried to get to the door, but I slipped on this skirt. I crashed to the floor and looked up. My father was gone, along with the person who took him.”
Marko sat and digested her story. No wonder she had so much sorrow. Her father was the only family she had ever known and he was taken away in a flash, while Caleb watched helplessly. He pressed on further to find out if his hunch was right, and if it was...he knew where to find her father.
“When and where did this take place,” Marko asked, his breathing becoming shallow and rapid.
“On my 18th birthday...about four days ago, in white Victorian house with blue shutters, on the dirt road in the outskirts of Santa Carla,” Caleb explained.
These words fell upon Marko like a ton of bricks. He was so caught up in what she was saying that he didn’t realize who she was talking about. In a frenzy, he leapt up and headed toward the shaft that was carved in the high point of the wall above. He started the climb, leaving Caleb there to herself. If Marko was right, then he would be in for some trouble...which he hoped wasn’t true.
Amy let the front door shut behind her with a slam that echoed through the house. The faint patter of rain could be heard in the dark and silent house. She made her way around the house, hands skimming the walls for a light switch. When she found one, she flipped it on. Amy realized she was in the dinning room. There was still uneaten food left on the table. From what it looked like, it had been left for a couple of days.
Amy crinkled her nose at the sight in disgust and turned away. She made her way slowly to the kitchen, hoping to find something to put into her stomach. Fortunately, the cabinets were full of food and Amy was able to make herself something to eat. Amy carried the plate of potato chips and a sandwich into the living room. She looked around at the elegant room. It was furnished with a rather large television, a china cabinet in the corner, a leather couch and love seat, two matching leather recliner’s, a carved African-looking coffee table with matching end tables, and sheer curtains that matched the cream wall paper. It was the prettiest room Amy had seen so far.
She sat down on the soft, leather couch and groped for the remote. Amy picked it up and clicked on the television. On the USA channel, a movie was playing about a guy who was changed into a freak by some crazy circus guy. He helped the other freaks in the show by freeing them. It was really good and it made Amy laugh. Soon she fell asleep, leaving the television on to cast shadows and lights across the dark living room.