Blood Shadow: Book of Gabriel, страница 1
Book of Gabriel
Copyright 2012 Phil Wohl
It was quiet in the town of Beach Haven the morning after Ariel Justice swam ashore and neutralized vengeful Claire Vinson, who was being guided by the vengeful strokes of her fallen vampire father. The power of Alexander Lowery was strongest between the time of his 100th death and his return to mortality. The vampire’s protector, Abraham Ellison, separated his head from his body just prior to his awakening as a mortal. Claire was the secret love child of Lowery and her mother, Linda Vinson, a witch that had been on the run since the days after giving birth to Claire and then handing her over to her mother Brenda for veiled protection.
Thomas Hartwell was relieved that the bothersome influence of his sire was finally a thing of the past.
“I hadn’t thought of that guy for so many years that I barely knew he existed,” Hartwell said to his wife Maggie as she rested on his chest while they hovered over the bed.
She smiled, “Well, he was obviously thinking about you.” She then shifted gears to a more curious path, “Where do you guys know that witch from? What was that woman’s name again?” she asked, fully knowing many of the basic details she was about to hear.
The mood of the day would largely be determined by the phrasing of Hartwell’s reply, so he took a moment to structure history in such a way to diminish a potential counter-attack.
“Brenda was our gateway from the mortal world to the vampirical world.”
“Our?” she countered.
“Initially, it was me and Garrison. We were – well, it was mostly me – confused after Thaddeus initially came after me. I had spent 18 years without even the hint of adversity after I left San Francisco.”
Hartwell realized that if he mentioned his reluctant exit from their home in 1902, following the tragic death of her and her son Nathanial – now Daniel – from the Black Plague, it would win him some points. Hartwell was so distraught back then that he was only moments away from taking his own life. That was, until, vampire Lowery offered him an opportunity to see his wife and child again in a future life by presenting a life eternal as a vampire.
While Maggie knew there was more to the story of how they all knew Brenda Vinson, she was willing to shelve that discussion for another day. There had been enough discord surrounding the family and she felt it was time for everyone in the house to simply heal and live.
After a full night of sleep, the Winters’ family was alerting the family of their plans while a continuous stream of food was served during breakfast.
“We are going to head back to Portland later this morning,” Joe Winters said to Hartwell and company as he spoke looked at his wife and growing twins, Bryce and Cheryl.
Catherine Winters looked at her daughter and wondered if she and her husband would be joining them?
Valerie was ready to answer her mother’s unspoken query, but she looked around for her daughter Ariel before making such an important decision.
“Have you seen Ariel this morning?” she whispered to her husband, Brandon Justice, although all of the supernatural beings in the room could her just about anything said within a reasonable distance.
Brandon looked around but couldn’t fix on a visual of his daughter, although he did pick up her scent moments later and said, “Here she comes.”
Ariel had been out all night with Samuel, who was trying to put together the pieces of his first failed relationship.
“You can’t keep blaming yourself for the trouble with the family. She had you under the influence the whole time,” Ariel said trying to give super-vamp Samuel a break. “Besides, I would hardly call it a relationship when only one person is on the dance floor.”
Samuel laughed, “And I don’t think she was even in control of her faculties.”
He might have looked all the part of 18 years old by his demeanor and muscular body tone, but Samuel’s actual life experience totaled days, not years, due to the accelerated nature of his being after spawned from the super gene sequence of Kayla and Maxwell. Ariel had also experience a rapid transformation, and the two of them had been inseparable since she showed up in Beach Haven and helped restore order.
They glided through the front door and were happy to see everyone sitting in the main room eating together. It was the first time that either one could remember seeing their entire families in one room.
“Wow!” Samuel said as he greeted generations of Hartwell warriors.
“Where have you guys been?” momma Kayla asked her daughter, even though they were less than a year apart in age.
The chatter quieted as everyone waited for a response. It had been the pattern of this supercharged family to complete the fertile chain of boy meets forbidden girl and then they have a child a few months later, so it was understandable that the room was a bit apprehensive.
“We were taking,” Ariel replied to Kayla as she turned to her husband Maxwell and said, “We did a lot of talking when we first met, too.”
The room erupted in joy and laughter as another of their young charges were obviously keeping it in the family and fortifying the circle of life strong amidst the Hartwell tribe.
Valerie Justice – formerly Winters – looked at the glow around her daughter and her new beau and was no ready to answer her mother’s unspoken question. She held her husband Brandon’s hand and then said, “I think we’re gonna’ stay for a little while.” And then she turned to Hartwell and asked, “If that’s okay with you and everyone else.”
Hartwell raised his glass, which in his world was a few pints of the finest Beach Haven blood extracted without a neck puncture, and exclaimed, “The more the merrier!”
Glasses were being clanked around the room as these special beings had survived crisis after crisis and now could see a little clear sky at the end of the rainbow.
Thaddeus and Garrison, the elder statesman of the hunter and protector clans, were standing behind the center island observing the pure joy around them.
“Is there any chance that we could get a little peace and quiet around here?” Gary asked.
Thad stroked the three-day growth on his face, “Under normal conditions – and I’m not really sure that anything going on here would qualify as normal – I would be inclined to say that it certainly looks that way. However, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about this group as of late, anything is possible.”
Thad extended his arm and made a fist as Gary bumped him with his fist and replied, “I hear you, brother.”
Catherine and Joe Winters decided to pick up and take the twins back to Portland after breakfast. While it was hard for Catherine to leave her daughter and granddaughter, she had done her job by nurturing both girls until they were ready to leave the nest. Of course, the process was much more expedient with Ariel, who shot up from birth to 18 years old in a matter of months. Besides, Maxwell had developed a technology where you could make a phone call and then sit with the person you were calling in same virtual room.
“We’ll call you when we get home,” Catherine Winters said to her daughter.
And before Valerie could step up and hug her mother, a blur named Ariel flashed in front of her and was squeezing her grandma’ tight. Catherine was a hybrid being of great abilities but even she had no reply for the bear hug being administered by her granddaughter. The mood was light until she started turning different shades of blue from her oxygen supply being cut off.
“Ariel. Ariel, honey! Your squeezing grandma’ to death!” a concerned Valerie said to her daughter as she tapped on her shoulder.
“I’ll be home soon, mom,” a usually-strong Valerie said as she almost shed a tear.
“Stay strong, Val. I got the feeling that these people are going to need your strength again real soon,” Catherine Winters replied as she was able to hug back.
Feelings of leisure and freedom enveloped the group as the prospect of not having to fight for their lives was sinking in. This was a welcomed sight for some people while others were grappling with all of the free time.
“You want to go a few rounds at the boxing gym this afternoon?” Cal Brewster asked Hartwell as they crossed paths in the hallway.
Hartwell didn’t feel any aching bones at the moment because all of his