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The Lost and Found of Souls by MarkReaper

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Author's Chapter Notes:
This isn't a conventional story, and it's not written just by one person. This is the first part of an interactive story written by MarkReaper and Laurie. I'll explain how we did it: I would post for my character and send it to the MarkReaper, who would respond for the other characters. It's as simple as that, and after a while, a story begins to be told. It's a lot of fun because you don't know how the character is going to react, and so unlike telling a story yourself, you don't know how it's going to end. And we don't know how this is going to end yet, either, we're just posting back and forth and seeing where it takes us. This is what we have so far:


My mother kicked me out of the house tonight for smoking dope, when my father was coming home and would smell it. She was so angry.. and part of me is indignant, especially because she was the one who gave me the dope in the first place. My mother the hippie wannabe... or just the plain stupid woman, clueless. I sigh and find a place to sit down on the sand, raking it with my fingers either side of me, my chin resting on my knee. Screw her.. screw them both. The waves are crashing tonight, not close enough to be any threat to me, but close enough for me to watch and get lost in the motion. Back and forth, up and down. I don't notice anyone approaching across the beach.


The waves are restless tonight, pounding the shore angrily as if to rent its frustrations out upon the water-swollen sand. The lights of the Boardwalk are quite a distance away, now just a faint glow, peaceful and unobtrusive, a funny contrast to the water.

I stride along the beach, my cloak swaying gently as I saunter without so much as a whisper of footsteps across the sand. Something's seized my attention, my senses are pricked up and thrumming as I catch the form of a young man, sitting by himself, absorbed in the waves. I can smell his anger as I approach within yards of him, silent and undetected. I sniff the air cautiously once more; the smell of his seething, indignant fury is coupled with the acrid, burnt smell of some drug. It radiates off his clothes in waves, mingling with the salt air, and as I watch his back rise in a sigh, I feel a smile sliding across my features.


Already feeling unsettled I rise carefully, tensing when I feel eyes on me. I always had that sense... the ability to know someone was about to call just before the phone rang, or to tell people who was at the front door before they even rang the bell. But being watched just irritates me further. Slowly I turn around to meet his gaze..

"What..?" It begins with a sarcastic tone, an implied challenge, but I forget how I meant to end the sentence and merely trail off... frowning. Something about the boy bothers me, though I couldn't say what. I can't even fool myself into attributing it to his dress sense, or his spiky hair.. that doesn't make him dangerous, I look just as fashionably unkempt. But something does make him dangerous. Something...

A few minutes pass before I realize that I'm just as guilty now of staring as he was to begin with. I look away uncomfortably.


The boy senses my eyes on him as I come within four feet of his seated form; with slight surprise I realize that he must possess some form of ESP. No one I have ever heard of has been able to sense a vampire's gaze, not even animals.

He rises, his eyes fixed on me with a strange look, yet it is not the fearful gaze I am used to. My smile fades. He seems almost unafraid, though he seems to be able to sense that I am not like the others who mill about the Boardwalk every day. He is puzzling me out.

His lips form the word what?, and his voice is soft and kissed with his youth. He looks away after a moment, almost ashamed for peering at me, and I feel my smile return.

"I am sorry if I frightened you," I say smoothly, but I find myself doubting even more that he really is frightened. My eyes, deep azure blue, stay fixed on his own, and as I blink I change their color to an emerald green, as of to tell him that his assumptions that I am not normal are quite correct. My smile is still present.


I watch from the corner of my eye and I see his eyes shift hues. My heart seems to slow and swell in my chest, the moment taking forever, I blink hard. "You didn't scare me dude..." But I'm breathing more quickly, my brow furrowed as I take up staring again. "Never saw contacts like that before..."

Reason it out.. anything to take away the need to think about it. Eyes don't change color like that.. must be the moonlight. "My cousin Richie.. he had contacts like that.. " I start rambling quietly, looking down at the sand and the patterns I had trawled across it with my fingers, now and again glancing back up at him. "Green ones. His dog ate them... "

I open my mouth to say something more, some other inane comment, but I'm cut short by a blinding flash of light and a loud boom. Thunder lights up the sky, electric blue and white, and then flashes for a moment as another rumble echoes. Moments later rain begins to pelt from nowhere and I blink again, getting soaked suddenly. I let out a soft laugh as my hair begins to stick to my face and my clothes become drenched.

Something tells me to blame it on him. He's already freaked me out.. he looks too perfect, sculpted, and his eyes did that thing.. and now this. It's like a portent of something bad to come.


I laugh quietly as the boy jumps at the storm, come seemingly from a clear sky. The laughter rumbles deeply from my chest, rolling out like the thunder, and I find myself intrigued by the way the water pelts him and he seems almost not to feel it. Then, the realization dawns upon me; he has come to realize that perhaps I am not a benevolent being.

"Contacts..." I say, and laugh again. "Tell me, can your cousin make the rain come as I have?"

I watch him watching me, his eyes traveling over my alabaster face, over my high cheekbones, and he sees that it is as if I am chiseled from ivory. I feel a deep pleasure and I see the mistrust darkening his sharp, handsome features. My eyes swirl to black and they narrow.

"You fear me," I growl, and my smile fades. I run my tongue along my long canines, sheathed by my lips. I will not show him...yet.


"What's to fear?" I retort after a pause, my frown deepening even further. "You didn't make the rain come.. that's impossi-" I cut myself short, my eyes narrowing. He may be hiding whatever it is I saw flash in his mouth now, but I saw. I caught a glimpse of something white and sharp.

I push my sopping wet hair back from my face slowly, droplets slowly falling down my cheeks, one balancing at the end of my nose. His hair isn't spiky now.. it's flat. He looks like an angel, which is uncanny since I'm thinking he may be exactly the opposite.

I should turn around and go home.. forget about it. But this is one of those crossroads... I can feel it. I either run like a frightened infant and kid myself that it was the thunder and the full moon making me crazy... or I stay and find out for sure.

The thought of my mother nagging at me all night decides for me. And besides.. I want her to worry, she might just feel a pang or two of guilt when she realizes she kicked me out into a storm. I've heard stories about Santa Carla... crazy stories that made me doubt the intelligence of its inhabitants when I heard. Vampire, they whispered. And I laughed, rolled my eyes and ignored them.

And now I'm standing here on a deserted beach at night, thunder illuminating the sky above and a beautiful, dangerous looking boy watching me. Looking at me with a much too thoughtful expression. Shit. This is no time to start believing ghost stories.


"What's to fear indeed," I say, teasing him softly. "But the rain; it is at my command. Everything is at my command. Nothing is impossible in Santa Carla."

I step slightly closer to him, but I leave no prints on the freshly wet sand. There is nothing but smooth sand where I stood, and I see his eyes travel down to look, but not before lingering on my face again. Scrutinizing me. I raise my hand in an old-fashioned, elegant gesture, my long cloak, for which I have abandoned my old trench coat, flowing about me in inky grace. A raindrop is trundling slowly down my cheek, but it goes unnoticed, flowing unhindered like a tear. I lower my head but my eyes are raised to fix upon his, and I notice their keen intelligence, though he is blinking away the water.

"Something is troubling you," I say, and it is not a question. But my voice is playful; I am toying with his thoughts. "But don't ask me how I know this. Because I know everything."

I look down to see the rents in the sand, where his fingers had raked it angrily as he had sat upon the sand earlier, unknowing of my approach. They are like scars upon the ground, dark and violent, turgid with the salty residue of seawater, whipped by the breeze. They are filled with muddy rain water; the salt an iridescent, oily sheen on the surface, and they are melting slowly. I look up to see the boy getting quite wet; the water coming off his drenched clothes in rivulets. I tilt my head, almost imperceptibly, and the droplets cease. I had not noticed how much the water had come down. A fierce pride swells in my chest and I look up at the boy again.

"I know everything, and I see everything," I say slowly. "Everything, Jael."


Minutes pass and I stand in a stunned silence, my thoughts turbulent.

And then..

"Fuck you, you cryptic motherfucker!" I hiss it, but the fear in my voice is evident. I'm staring at him angrily as though he were the devil himself, and if somebody were to inform me it was so, this second, I might not disbelieve them.

"You think that just because it rains I should be scared? You don't know anything. What do you know? If you know so much, you tell me.. huh? What do you know?" I seem to gather more and more courage as I persist with my demands, finally feeling so confident that I step right up to him, eyes blazing.

I deliberately think of my mother, sitting in her favorite armchair and flicking through her favorite magazine - tattoo monthly. If he knows so much he'll be able to tell me that my mother is a hard hearted weirdo. He'll be able to tell me that my father is a wife beating psychopathic idiot, and that my favorite color is purple.

And if he tells me these things now, I think I might just experience my first real taste of fear since the day my father came at me with his Smith and Wesson.


The boy's anger and fear has ignited a wave of excitement deep inside. I've still got it, I think with harsh glee, and I face the boy again. I can almost feel the power radiating from my skin like a vapor.

"Do not be afraid of me," I say, "But do not step wrong around me, either. If I had wanted you dead it would have been so before you even knew it." I replay those last words in my head, noticing how arrogant they sounded, and I almost sigh aloud. "You ask what I know?" There is a pause, neither of us speaking, and I signal the thunder again. The sea is angry still, hurling itself at the rocks, battering them. My eyes close for a moment, then I slowly open them again.

"I know," I growl deeply, "That your mother likes Tattoo Monthly."

I laugh for a moment, seeing the shock on his face, which is almost as comical to me as my cruel little joke. I shake my head and then I grow serious again, and I lean forward so that our faces are only inches apart. The thunder rumbles again in the background; I've always liked this effect.

"But in all seriousness, I see your past and possibly your future as well. You mother; I know that she means well, but she is a confused woman; she has never raised a child before and she does not know what to do. Her temper is slippery; oftentimes she cannot keep hold of it. And I know that if you face your father again one of you will be killed. He is nearly as evil as I am, Jael. I see it all, I see his angry eyes, I see the fury on your face as you shield your mother with your own body, as much as you try to hate her, and I see you, looking down the barrel of a gun..."


"Don't.." I hold up my hand, the both of us so close now that it almost touches his face, hovering there in the air dramatically. I breathe slowly and deeply, expressionless apart from the emotion held in my eyes, an unquenchable sadness, and slight fear of him. Most of my wariness has taken flight, leaving behind just a dull fascination.

I don't want to hear about my mother.. nor my father, nor my life. But I want to know how he knew these things..

"Tell me how you did that... tell me how you knew?" It's a soft plea, and immediately I feel stupid for asking. He already looms over me, not in size, but in presence. And now I'm begging him for scraps of knowledge. Somehow I feel as though he was expecting that, and it makes me slightly ashamed of myself.

"Tell me.. just one thing. Tell me you're not going to try and hurt me.. you won't will you? I know..."

I sigh and clear my throat, going on in a low, careful tone "I know what you are.."

My eyes linger on his face, the carefully sculpted features and the flawless skin, too perfect to be real... like those made up corpses that the morticians put on show. Underneath is simply dead flesh, made over with their magic touch. That's what he is... under all that perfection and illusion.. dead flesh. I try to ignore the shiver that creeps along my spine.


The boy's emotion touches me in a way I did not expect; as I feel a shooting pang of rare sympathy skewer through me I catch his hand as he lowers it. I feel my lips draw back in a grimace of pain but I cannot tell if my fangs are visible, and indeed I do not care. I hope he does not notice my expression but I cannot be sure.

"I have told you that you needn't fear me," I say softly, and almost with regret I add, "You are special to know already what I am. You do not see like the others, Jael; you're not blind and ignorant like them. Perhaps it is what drew me to you, perhaps this sadness that I sense within you is what brought us together."

I pause for a moment, another pang shooting trough me. Vampire emotions sometimes hurt physically, but I had not felt these emotions for so long that I had forgotten. My eyes are narrowed again, but not out of malice.

"Jael, when I began to speak to you it was as if you were a plaything for my cruel whims; they way I can fool with your mind and read your thoughts has always been the way I play. I was going to fool with your mind, and then kill you, but now I have no desire to do that. And I know why now; the fates have brought us together for a reason, and I believe I know what that reason is.

"Jael, I think that perhaps you need a protector."


"Is that what you are? A protector?" I can't stop staring at him, and the words are so faraway.. none of this seems real. Not now that I'm certain of his nature.

"No.. you have to tell me some things..." I swallow thickly, finally breaking off my gaze and looking away, frowning thoughtfully. "You can't be... vulgar and thoughtless like the rest of them. You can't because you're a part of something else.. something different. I know you appreciate that.. I know you're not stupid, or ignorant to it. How did you get to be like that?"

I'm asking questions that he won't want to answer.. I feel helpless, and as though the chance for something, some answers , finally, might slip through my fingers with just a wrong word. I could die tonight, but that doesn't occur to me. Rarely do I take someone on their word, but for some reason I acknowledge his.

"Are there more of you?" I look around nervously.


"You have many questions," I said, feeling a smile of a different sort cut across the grimace on my face. I realize that I am still clutching his hand and I let it go ashamedly. I hope I did not make him uneasy in touching him...I continue speaking, banishing the thought from my mind.

"I'm not a protector, or at least I never have been. But I have come to know so much by my own life; you see, a few years ago a tragedy destroyed my clan. There were four of us, originally, but they are dead now. Gone forever, but I don't want to tell you how. All I will say is that my power has grown because my losses were so great that with my sadness and anger I opened up something deep inside of me that I had never known about. And maybe it should have never been opened.

"However, I believe strongly in fate, which is why I made the assumptions that I did just now. But you ask if there are more of me....And I will not lie to you. There are more, many more, who are under my control. I am their master. We live very near here, and the others are harsh, cruel things, with hearts as black as coal, exactly as their master's. They kill and find glee in it, and I was once like them, before I lost my friends."

I reached up and pushed the locks of hair that had fallen irritatingly on my forehead; they stayed n place for a moment but as I lowered my hand they fell again. But I do not notice as I reach up and touch Jael's cheek gently, and whisper, "But the others won't harm you. I'll see to that. They'll never touch you."


"I'm not afraid of you" I admit quietly, my head tilting to one side so that I can study him better. The fact that he's touching me doesn't seem to bother me at all, rather it's natural.. and it's like a blessing. Always I would wonder.. and I would look up to the skies, that vast empty space, and I'd simply refuse to believe that there wasn't something more to life. Now I know that there is something more. It lives, breathes, and talks. And it's talking to me.

I want to scream and dance triumphantly, but that's just.. elation. I'm feeling too many things to pin it down to just one emotion. Too many things.

"Am I.. special then?" I venture, biting my lip without realizing it, taking on the look of a nervous girl. No one ever told me I was special before, in any way.. not ever. But I'm still lost in his gaze, his fingers cold against my cheek. Colder than my father's gun. And his face flashes in my mind and I flinch. I want to kill him, my father.

He took her girlhood, and her womanhood, and he's slowly taking away her life.
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