She ran blindly, stumbling over every rock and branch in her path. Stunned by the spectacle that lay behind her. Smoke floating through the woods and a subtle red glow was the only thing that showed the horrific incident had ever happened. Her own mother, accused of being a witch? After all the good she had done, they thought her a witch! Juniper ran as fast as her legs could carry her. The last thing she needed was to get caught and put on trial as well! The brutal ignorant villagers had chased her terrified screaming mother home, only to return later that evening with pitchforks and torches. How could they do this to her family?! Poisoning cattle?! The evil eye! Nothing but blind accusations from people jealous of her mother's ability to help others, fearful of her power. Never mind how long they had lived there! Never mind the help her mother had offered! All they had was lost with the death of one of Farmer Jacques goat! So now here she was, sprinting through the forest in the middle of the night to save her life.
Blinking back tears she thought of her life. It was all HIS fault this happened. They had been tolerated until that goddamn priest had begun his ministrations. She remembered with a hateful coldness the day he had visited their house on the hill. The way he had tried blackmailing them while her father wasn't home. Then the sudden attack on her mother! It had been too much to bear, and she had clubbed him.
Running blindly through the woods, she stumbled into a clearing scanning the trees wildly for an escape. She knew what would happen if she let them catch her. She knew she would be given to the Priest, it was said that he was well know among tavern wenches for being rough, and infamous for being a violator of children. Suddenly she tripped and fell onto her chest, which knocked the wind from her. This was all the time they needed to catch up to her.
"Don't worry child, your mother was of the devil! We can help you! Come with us, prove your innocence!" The men from the village shouted as they suddenly surrounded her in the clearing. She started screaming as the crowd of men grabbed her and began to drag her in the direction of the fires. Then as she saw Father Pierre enter the clearing, they put a dark smelly hood over her head and tied her hands together. They threw her onto the cart and she blacked out on impact.
Juniper woke with a start as the cart she was riding in hit a bump in the forest, she could not remember where she was, and then the whole ordeal came back to her. She remembered her mother running into the house her clothes in tatters, and her father barring the door against the villagers screaming for blood. She remembered his words to them as they began breaking down the door to drag his wife away. He had called them treacherous charlatans, cursing them for their ignorance, and hatred. Recalling how her parents had thrown her out the back door and told her to flee. She had run as fast as she could but the night was her enemy, and she had tripped. With her twisted ankle she had managed to stumble to a clearing just as the men came upon her.
Juniper sat placidly in the wagon; she was stiff from the bumpy ride and sore where she had landed. She feared they would try her; after all she was a demon whelp in their eyes. She had seen the damage left from witch trials before, the hideous burns, the mental scars, and the horrid mutilations. They didn't care about innocence, only pain. Confessions that were forced out were taken as truth. They could force you to carry a hot iron for twenty paces without dropping it; or you would be burned alive. They could merely drop you in a lake to see if you floated, and if you did, they would simply burn you for lying about being a witch. Visions of lashings and horrid beatings passed her mind as they made their way slowly towards the judging house.
Finally the hood was ripped off, and she was graced with a vision of her mother wrapped in chains and rags. Bleeding from dozens of non-lethal wounds her mother sat looking poised, calm even. Juniper started screaming blasphemous obscenities at the crowd, until someone smacked her across the face hard enough for her to lose consciousness once again.
Juniper awoke to shouting, looking around wildly for the source; she realized they came from the crowd surrounding the courtroom. As she looked out the windows she noticed that it was sunset. Everything was growing dark as the trials were about to begin. The courtroom seemed high and dark, almost gothic in the manner it was built. It was meant to intimidate the criminals with its mighty appearance. In the corner of the room a collection of torture instruments lay. All of them painful looking, and most of them rusty and dripping with mold. If one survived them, the infections that followed were enough to kill or grotesquely maim. The white walls were stained in that corner; brown from the blood that was sprayed from the scourging. A wicked looking twelve-foot long whip with three ends rested coiled on the table. Scourging was the favorite way of whipping someone; the whip had bits of metal and stone woven well into the bull hide. It was meant to pull the victim's flesh off the body with a single crack.
At a raised wooden podium sat a stern man dressed in black with a bent twisted face resembling a gargoyle. A blacksmith stood in the corner near a stove. Wearing his leather for the forge, he was a barrel of a man, with huge powerful strong arms. He was a large kind man, with soft eyes. Eyes that held a depth unimaginable to her, he saw the evil in this action. To his sorrow, he had not arrived in time to save the mother; but he knew he could save the girl.
The judge began to address her mother in a stern self-righteous tone.
"Camilla Bellefontaine, you have been charged by your Godly neighbor's to have committed these crimes: vile acts of fornication with the devil, highly immoral behavior, and casting the evil eye upon us all. How do you plead?"
"Not guilty, they lie." Her mother said quietly.
"Hah!!" Shouted the judge. "These people are pure and of Catholic homes! Do you dare to think they would lie?! Perhaps the one who is lying is you! Shall we proceed with the first trial?!" Shouts from the crowd answered this question.
Two men, who had been treated by Camilla weeks earlier for boils, stepped forward and forced her mother's arm towards the blacksmith. With regret in his eyes and heart, he held forth a red-hot iron with his tongs and leather gloves. Slowly he pressed onto her palm searing it with its flame. Her mother cried out with pain. As they waited the twenty long paces the first trial lasted, her mother coiled and flinched in agony.
"Confess yourself a witch, and you hang tonight. Save yourself from the pain of fire!" Shouted the Judge, not only referring to the execution she would face, but also to the fires of hell. The crowd was moving with pity towards this woman's pain, if it continued as such, he would never be able to give her death. He was worried about his people's souls; she represented everything that needed to be cut out. She had a bad influence on her child, and on the people around her. Yes, he needed the Villagers to hate her, to protect them from her influence, and to justify what he was about to do.
Juniper watched as case after case of false evidence was brought forth as proof of her mother's guilt. She was full of rage at the brutal torture the villagers were inflicting upon her innocent mother. After the hot iron, it was the thumbscrews, which shattered her mother's graceful fingers. They then set about scourging her, the twelve-foot long whip created bloody stripes across her back, but her mother never confessed. Finally they asked her mother if she had anything to say.
"Yes." she said quietly. "I have done nothing to you, besides help you for ten years. Never once have I ever done anything against you or God. I maintain I am innocent even unto my death; you kill me in the name of ignorance and hatred. Your accusations of me will not change me; however, it will change your souls. Already you pollute yourself with my damnation, and I see God's wrath towards you." She paused for a moment. "Go ahead then, kill me, I repent my sins and hope the Lord will accept me into his arms. I foresee a future for you far more terrible then anything you could imagine. I only wish you would save yourselves and my daughter from it. I will pray for you." Her mother then fell silent.
Quietly during her mother's speech, a dark figure had walked into the room, and sat down in the back row. A sense of uneasiness filled the room as each of the villagers began to notice Father Pierre's presence, a man twisted to the core of his existence. Suddenly the mood began to shift as people began to sense a greater evil then the one on trial. Twisting uncomfortably at the presence of the tall man, Juniper began to shift in her chains.
Soon the trial would end, and no one had been called to speak for her mother's innocence. For the final statements, the Judge asked
"Is there anyone here willing to speak for this women? No?" The judge arose quickly and started to speak his verdict. "Camilla Bellefontaine, you are certainly one to speak of damnation. For your disrespect of this courtroom, and your blatant trysts with the devil, I sentence you to die by fire upon first light. I consider this matter settled." He banged the gavel in a sharp intonation upon the desk.
Juniper began to scream, "You lie! All of you, my mother never did any of the horrid things, and you know it! My mother is a devout follower of God! You consider yourselves Catholic, and swore by God to tell the truth! All of you lied!" These statements sent the crowds into an uproar, and everyone began talking at once.
Then Father Pierre stood and began to speak "She is possessed! You heard her mother say she wished she could save her daughter from us! We must act quickly to save her!!" Then with a sneer he ordered "Turn the girl over to me for the night, I will rid her of the demon left by the witch! Only I can save her soul!"
The fearful villagers gladly turned her over to the experienced priest. He was a tall foreboding man. His eyes shone with an underlying purpose of evil, and all were afraid to incur his wrath. He mouth twisted into a perverted smile, he grasped Juniper's chains and pulled her outside to his horse while her mother was dragged off to a dank cellar somewhere to await her death in the morning.
Juniper struggled pointlessly against her captor, the chains held fast, as she was dragged to his horse. He threw her over the back of the horse, not only casting a blind eye to her discomfort, but he seemed to relish in it. They traveled someway out of town to his house.
Upon arriving to the Priests home, she was yanked off the horse and thrown over Father Pierre's shoulder. He carried her kicking and screaming, all the way to a small dark room. He did not flinch, not even when she bit his hand, it was as though he enjoyed her attempts to harm him. He tossed her headfirst onto the floor of the small room. Then unlocked her chains.
"Go ahead, scream, no one can hear you, and you will never escape this room. It is your home now." Said Father Pierre with a sneer. He laughed at her futile attempts to get past him as he stood in the doorway, then left the room and shut the door behind him.
Confused Juniper explored her small room, looking for a way to escape. She rubbed her raw wrists; they had nearly been torn to ribbons on the back of that horse. There was no doubt she was bleeding. She could not, to the best of her efforts, find an escape. It didn't help that she was unusually tall compared to most men in the village, and her well-developed eighteen-year-old body didn't help either. After pacing through the room screaming a few times she threw herself upon the cot and choked as she sobbed in the dusty pillow. A few hours later she fell asleep trying to block out the memories of the toiling day.
In the secret passageway adjacent to the tiny room he had locked the small girl in. Father Pierre watched through a peephole in the wall. He always watched the many girls first escape attempt, he had learned how to seal off a room for such a purpose. As she threw herself on the bed and started sobbing wildly he slowly smiled. He would break this girl, and before the week was out, he would have her spitting on her mother's grave. Slowly he touched himself and began stoking his fire to the familiar high he had reached so often before.
The next morning Juniper had awoken in her room. She felt filthy and wanted to wash the grime from the bed out of her every pore. She noticed a small tray with a bowl of gruel, a glass of water, and a washbasin. She looked around to make sure it wasn't a hallucination, and leaped upon the gruel like a lioness taking down a kill. After she had swallowed every morsel, she plunged her entire head into the icy cold water of the washbasin. Feeling somewhat refreshed she looked around, realized where she was, and remembered the previous days events. Slowly and numbly, she pulled herself to her feet, and grabbed the bedpost for support. She couldn't believe it, her mother was to die today. She only prayed she didn't have to watch. She had no idea what time of day it was, but she imagined it was slightly before dawn. She hoped she had time to absorb the recent events before Father Pierre came back. She knew she didn't have long, she sensed he was always watching her, as if he got some perverse pleasure noting her helplessness. The thought made her want to vomit. She settled into her room for the night, and began to pray for her mother.
Sometime the next morning, the priest banged into the room and dragged her out the door. This was the moment she feared, her mother's execution. She had no idea how to face this upcoming terror with any sort of sanity. The priest bound her hands and feet then roughly tossed her onto the back of a wagon, where she remained until they pulled into the town square. As they pulled into town, she saw her mother being brought towards a stake that had been erected with some haste. This kind of thing had never happened before Father Pierre came to the village. Her mother was bound fast to the stout post surrounded by various dry grasses and kindling. The village truly did intend to burn her mother alive. Juniper let out a loud scream as some men approached her mother with a torch. The scream was quickly cut off with a glance from her mother. This one look held within it unconditional love and a great depth. Her mother's eyes burned into her own, and she was transfixed with the information that was passed onto her mind. Flashes of previous lives, collected knowledge, and great magic passed before her. She knew it all, and finally understood what it meant to come into the magic as her mother had often told her. She was lost within the look, and held her mother's hypnotic gaze until the smoke covered her. There was no scream, nor pleading, nor sobbing. Her mother had died bravely that day, and was mourned by many of the villagers.
Laughing the priest took her back to his house. Sneering at the girl the entire way, he made snide remarks about Camilla. Calling her a whore, a witch, and a demon. Trying to incite Juniper to aggressive behavior. Juniper sat still mesmerized from the look that had been on her mother's face. In those moments her mother had transferred to her all the innate knowledge a wise-women needed to know. The herbs for healing and harming, all of the chants, prayers, and rituals; and the location of a book to help her take vengeance, should she so choose. Everything had been transferred in a single glance, it was as though she had seen the face of God. She knew she could never go back, this was her life now. To carry and protect that knowledge. She had grown up in an instant, and was highly aware of her impending responsibility. She was more serious, and less childish. The ride to the priest's" home seemed to take forever, and yet it was not enough time to process the mass amounts of information that had been passed. She was carried to the room, unbound, and set on the floor to sort out her mind. A while later a panel on the door opened and an unnoticed plate of food was slid through accompanied by a pitcher of water.
She at first refused to eat, for fear it was poisoned. Delaying her natural reaction to food, she began to search the room for a possible escape. Greatly hindered by her voluptuous eighteen year old body, she abandoned her search and began to eat. She was glad it had no apparent taste of any drug, and after she had drunk enough, she washed herself with the last of the pitcher. Her thoughts drifted to her mother, although less intense then the night before. The knowledge had not been lost, and that is what truly counted. Then as she was about to fall asleep, the door suddenly banged open. There the priest stood tall, commanding, and twisted with a purpose. With a sneer he grabbed her arms and tied her wrists together. Not passing up the chance to caress her well-developed bosom, she cringed as his grubby hands crawled up and down her body.
He drew her through the house down to the basement, a small, heated, cramped cellar; instruments of torture hung from every nook and cranny. This place was designed to be soundproof, the walls were tightly corked, there were no windows, and the door was made of heavy iron. Anyone who happened to hear her screams would be much too afraid of the priest to do or say anything about it. Looking at the walls, she saw shapes of stained, twisted metal; contorted into various instruments of pain. She recognized many from her mother's trial, but there were many more vicious looking ones that were new to her eyes.
He strapped her to a post, ripped off his shirt and pulled from the wall one of the crueler looking whips. It was twelve feet long and woven within the leather were bits of sharp bone and lead sinkers. When he began to flog her she tried not to scream, but eventually the pain overtook her mind. Losing all understanding of her surroundings, she reacted verbally to the burning red of the whip.
Her screams resonated in the priest's ears. He gleefully gazed upon the bent contorted figure as he whipped her. Her cries only made him smile with purpose as he slowed his strokes to do more damage. She eventually passed out from the pain, and he stopped. Slithering up to her unconscious body, he claimed what her mother had refused him. When he had finished, he took her to her room and deposited her on the old mattress. He turned as he was leaving the room, and looked upon the helpless tortured girl. Leering evilly he moved back to the bed and leaned over her.
She awoke in the small bed; the scent of moldy mattress filled her nostrils. Losing all hope in her situation she began to cry, unsure of what she should do next. She slowly cried herself to sleep in the dark bedroom, as her wounds seeped blood slowly into the ribbons that had been her shirt. A deep pain that she had never felt before consumed her, and clutching her sides she crawled to a corner of the room and began to sob quietly.
Looking up she realized there was a plate of food that included fruit in front of the door. Slowly creeping across the floor she grabbed the plate and scrambled back to the corner where she devoured it hungrily. However this time the food was drugged, and she slowly slipped into a hazy darkness just as the door opened.
The blacksmith knew he had little time before the Priest eventually tortured the poor girl to death. He had plotted to rescue her before the night as out, but she had been in the priest's possession until dawn. He knew that it would be impossible to get her from the tiny attic room. The door to the basement was made of heavy iron, and he doubted he could save her in time if the priest decided to kill her because of his intrusion. So patiently he waited for his chance to get her and take her from this awful place. His keen hearing could hear muffled screams from the tortured girl; he knew anyone else would pass them off as a demon in the child.
The screams had quieted about an hour ago, and he was afraid to know what could have happened. Waiting patiently he watched through a window as the priest carried the limp girl to the stairs. His sharp eyes noted that though she was bleeding profusely, she was still alive. The opportunity to rescue her never arrived, the priest was still upstairs with the girl. He retched, and gasped for air at the thought of what the man had done. After another hour had rolled by, the priest finally emerged.
Quickly he rushed to the doors and gasped in horror as he saw through a small window the priest beating the girl.
Juniper awoke in a small chapel, bound prostrate before the cross of Jesus. Still hazy she had to shake her head to remember where she was. She could only imagine the horrific perverse acts that Father Pierre had done to her while she was in darkness, and frankly the thought made her sick. The taste of bile in her mouth suggested that she had already lost the contents of her stomach, but she retched at the idea of what that thing in priest's vestments had done to her. She noticed a shadow looming over her threateningly. It was the priest, with a sadistic gleam in his eye.
"Demon-child, I have brought you before the Cross to bear our loving God's wrath upon you. Look upon the Cross! Look to God for his divine mercy and love or bear the punishments of hell upon your soul!" He shouted this as he raised his eyes to the cross and spread his arms imitating the twisted figure upon the wood.
"Why are you doing this to me!" She cried. "I am innocent, as my Mother was! You're not a Priest; a true Priest would have stopped the violent butcher of my mother! You preach peace but act in the name of Beelzebub. How dare you call yourself a representative of Christ! You are the demon here, Holy Man!" As she spat those words at him, the sarcasm in her voice brought his temper to flare, and he backhanded her for her insolence. He began to ritualistically strike her with his hands, literally planning on beating her to death. The look of perverse glee returned to his features as he struck her again and again.
"Out Demon, I command you! Be gone from this child of God!" His eyes twisted with the look of a true madman. Juniper noticed this, and realized smart retorts would only get her killed. This man not only knew what he was doing, he intended it. Relaxing her muscles to help absorb the blows, she managed to calm her mind and buy herself some time.
Suddenly, the wooden doors that had been so carefully barred shut began to crack as something beat upon the doors. It was as though an army had taken siege of this small chapel and was finally breaking the inner sanctum. Another bang, the beams creaked with the pressure of the huge force behind it. No man alone could cause this, and Juniper wondered if the villagers had decided to rescue her at last. Though soon thoughts began to seek, for the pain grew increasingly intense. Then the doors burst in as though a wind of immense power had suddenly rushed upon the doors. There stood the blacksmith, a look of rage burned deep within his eyes as he advanced upon the priest. With a calculated rage he swiftly picked up the priest and threw him against the wall of the chapel, shaking the building to its very foundation. He then turned upon the evil man and cruelly twisted his neck with an agonizingly slow motion. Juniper heard the neck break in four resounding snaps before she blacked out.
She awoke in what appeared to be a tomb, unable to move. She could hardly feel her body at all, and she knew death was close. She felt that she had let her mother down, gaining the knowledge and then dying before she had a chance to pass it on. Their line would be lost forever after this. With this thought, tears trickled down her face, slowly increasing to a downpour. A small sound and a moving shadow was all it took to make her realize she wasn't alone. She stopped crying suddenly, and she grew very afraid.
Then she heard a voice mumbling gently in her ear. It was a soothing calm voice, like the one her father had used to tell stories to her before bed.
"Juniper?" The voice whispered as though it was trying to wake her. "I've checked your wounds and though I am no doctor, I know you are dying. It may take days, but it will happen." He spoke with a reserved sadness.
Tears appeared on her face, she did not want to die without passing on the knowledge. Now the weight of her impending failure pressed upon her shoulders as though she was already dead.
"I'm sorry." He said. I should have acted sooner. The priest had beaten you senseless and broken your back by the time I arrived. You have head injuries and several broken limbs. This should have killed you, almost any other girl would have died long before now."
Juniper gave a cynical smirk that dripped with sarcasm and irony. Though she had survived longer then anyone else, she would still die. If she died, the knowledge would be lost, and that could not happen.
"I only thank the heavens that you have survived long enough for me to give you a choice." Juniper's eyes opened with a curious stare.
"What choice?" she thought, now listening intently.
"If you would like to hear the story behind those words, I want you to blink twice." She paused momentarily to think, her thoughts flitting around her mind in wild abandonment. Slowly she quieted her mind and blinked twice. The man sighed in relief, he had hoped she would listen, but then how could he doubt she would? She was Camilla's daughter and was bound to have an insatiable curiosity. So he began.
"We are old, some of us like to pretend that we are older then life itself. This I personally disagree with. I think we were created by an original; an unknown master." He paused briefly to collect his thoughts. "Vampires, I heard us once called. Creatures so feared that mothers would smother their own children to keep them safe."
Juniper's eyes widened, she stiffened mentally but since she could not move, she continued to listen in rapt wonderment.
"Immortal, creatures of the night, stronger then man. This is what is said, but in truth none of us really know how powerful we are. There is one thing man lords over us, not running water, not crucifixes, and definitely not garlic. Man can walk in the eyes of God and live. The rays of the sun will kill us as surely as we kill man." He hung his head. "This is why I had to choose our surroundings, I almost was caught in the sun. I am slightly burnt, and it's healing quickly."
Juniper heard him stand and sit down a few feet away from her. Then he continued.
"I was about twenty-one when the took me. A secret cult wanted someone to forge for them powerful weapons. So they elected me to become their newest member. They took me deep into their catacombs and preformed blood rites on me. They tried to impose their insanity upon me, but I left them. They were foolish to make me powerful, powerful enough to kill them?" He trailed off.
Then he lit a lamp and Juniper recognized him instantly. The blacksmith from the trial, and her apparent rescuer, leaned over her. A look of despair clung to his eyes. This was a look that would not be banished; it would remain for many years on an unchanged face.
"I met your mother about 20 years ago, when she was a young women. She instantly saw something different about me. I fell in love with her instantly and asked her to become a vampire to spend her life with me. Though she loved me back she told me she had to refuse. I asked her why, and she told me 'I am to get married, and have a daughter; she will be a great stepping-stone for our kind. She must carry on the knowledge through the centuries. I had a vision that a force will rise and attempt to take dominance over her. I must stay here to give birth to her, and protect her with my life.' I begged her to reconsider, I begged her to come with me. In the end I knew she was right, and I said I would come back to help her protect her daughter. I wish I had never said I was a blacksmith! The judge threatened that if I didn't help with the trial, he would kill you. It seems he would have anyway." The man broke down in tears, and Juniper was shocked to see blood pouring from his eyes. " I truly wish there was another choice I could give you for life! I wish I had arrived in time to rescue both your mother and you! Alas, this blood of mine is all I can offer you now. I was never given that choice so I will never force it upon anyone. I would ask you to consider carefully your options. Blink twice for yes, if you would take this curse.."
Juniper's mind reeled at the possibility of living. She had no idea what to do, and she wished she didn't have to make this decision. Slowly the weight of her impending death was lifted off of her shoulders, and she realized that it was best for her to live no matter what form she lived in. Slowly and with purpose she blinked twice. The man then stood up and walked towards the door.
"I must feed to perform this task. I did not drink the Priest's blood; I thought he might take my soul to hell with him. The sun is setting as we speak, and I shall return well before the night is over. Adieu." Then to her astonishment, he disappeared.
Left alone in the semi-lit tomb she thought carefully about her options. This was the opportunity she needed to not only escape but also avenge her mother's death. With firm resolution she set about to live until the blacksmith returned. She would have vengeance on the corrupted village. Their fate would be terrible to behold.
The blacksmith hunted through the countryside, he wanted to find acceptable blood to give this girl. She would be the most powerful vampire ever made, maybe even more so then him. He hunted the great libraries for the greatest minds, and the villages for the most powerful wise-women. He killed innocents for the first time in order to be able to preserve some of the girl's innocence. Deep inside him, he knew this was the most important thing he would ever do; and though fate still had a plan for him, he was determined to make it his last. When he had gathered the blood he needed, he traveled swiftly to the tomb where he had left Juniper.
She felt a sense of panic as he moved towards her throat. First the initial pain, a sharp quick stab, then the draining ecstasy. When her life was almost drained away he placed his bloody wrist to her mouth so she could drink.
With every drop that passed her lips she felt her life rush to return. With startling crunch her neck began to realign and pull itself back in place. Her broken bones healed and her bruises were gone in an instant. She drank deeply as he struggled with speech.
"Now that your body has been healed, the more you receive before you die, the more your initial gifts will be. Many have to wait hundreds of years beyond their death in order to gain what you will have. Once this is done, we will go and feed, but I tell you to drink on, I am still strong."
Draught after draught the sweet nectar poured down her throat, pouring its magic to the very depths of her soul. It was as though her eyes were opened and she saw. She understood the knowledge, the magic her mother had passed to her in death. Everything was clearer, and she felt her mind expand as though to contain the universe. As the blood flowed through her, her mind grew. As a child she had learned the ways, but now she knew them. The powers that took her mother years to unlock were now at her fingertips, and she felt it. He finally motioned her to stop, and with a look of disappointment in her eyes, she did. She had seen so many things, she felt stronger then she ever had before, and she felt invincible.
Then there was pain, a burning deep within her, both hot and cold at the same time. It filled her with a fire so hot she fell to the floor twisting and turning, her mind screaming in pain. She could only imagine that this was how her mother had died, and she would burn with her. Then everything went cold and black, and she slept.
Juniper awoke with a start, sweating and panting in the night air. The nightmares were coming more frequently now, and she was unwilling to fight them off. She sat up and looked over to the electric glow of her nightstand clock. The time was 9:30 pm. With a stretch and a yawn she stood up and head towards her bathroom to take a shower.
"I wonder where Lilith is?" She thought to herself. Normally the small Middle Eastern beauty wouldn't have left her behind for any reason. She caught a quick glance of her reflection on the mirror, a five foot, eight inch frame accompanied with all the right curves. Juniper was far from a runway model, in her opinion they looked like little boys that flamboyant fashion designers hired to wear their clothing designs. She saw a voluptuous build, someone who moved with a fluid catlike grace. Juniper was strong, but it was a subtle unnoticed strength. Her thick dark brown hair tumbled down her back, she had been letting it grow for the past few years. One of her more noticeable features were her eyes. They were a deep forest green; often people got lost staring into them. It was because of her eyes that Juniper was seductive to most of the men and women she met, and with a mischievous smile she grabbed a book and headed towards the bathroom to take a shower.
Though her apartment had no windows, it was styled in a comfortable lived in look. The large apartments had set them back a pretty penny, but comparatively it was a small amount to what they had. The living room's most noticeable feature was the bookshelves lining the walls. Books were scattered around the couch, and many left open on the desk. Books from every age, era, and time. Literature in several different languages, including some forgotten ones. As well as many modern pieces of literature and fiction. Juniper loved to read; she couldn't get enough of it, especially all kinds of fantasy and horror. The way authors today portrayed vampires as invincible, untouchable, and chaste creatures made her laugh. It was amusing that so many books about vampires had them portrayed as sexless creatures. It WAS perfectly logical, after all, that every other part of their body and mind would be enhanced except for one small bundle of nerves. When in reality it couldn't be further from the truth, vampires were subject to passion, romance, and love like every other soul on the earth.
Juniper's office was located off the bedroom. It had originally intended to be used to store the books now located in the living room, but after they had filled the small room to the seams they decided that it was more reasonable to put them in the living room. After that, it just made sense to convert it into an office for Juniper.
Juniper stepped into the lavish bathroom, this was Lilith's doing. Lilith loved nothing better then a good soak in a warm tub of water, which, of course, demanded the best. A large black marble bath rose in the far corner of the large bathroom. There were about twenty or so bottles of various bath oils and soaps. The towels were large and quite thick. Everything from the walls to the showerhead was expertly fashioned and of the highest quality. She slid out of her baggy pajama pants and her tank top, then headed towards the bath to soak for a while few minutes before seeking out Lilith.
"Besides, Lilith is probably busy killing some poor bastard who hit on her at the local rave." She thought with a smile.
The water was warm, but not hot; she considered her options carefully before selecting her favorite oils. She pinned up her long hair and sank slowly into the orange and pomegranate scented water. As she opened her book, Juniper draped a leg sultrily over then edge of the tub as steam slowly swirled through the air. She leaned against the edge of the bathtub as she sank into her book. It was one of the better fantasy pieces out there, with well-developed characters and a capturing plot. She read at a languid pace, enjoying the peace. Little did she know that a pair of mischievous chocolate brown eyes watched her every move with evil intentions.
Lilith had come down from her studio moments after Juniper walked into the bathroom. The window of opportunity was too perfect to be passed up. Being as quiet as possible she snuck into the bedroom while the bath had been filling. She listened carefully and waited for the perfect moment to strike. As Juniper got settled into the bath and her book, Lilith pounced. Coming up quickly behind her, she clasped her hands over the innocent bather's eyes.
"Don't move or I will have to hurt you." She whispered in a gruff voice.
"Is that a promise?" Juniper asked in a hopeful voice accompanied by a smile at Lilith's sudden appearance.
"Oh great, you ruined it!!" she said as she sat on the edge of the tub with a melodramatic pout.
Juniper looked at the Arabic women who sat before her. She was slightly shorter then Juniper, about five foot four inches. Unlike Juniper she was lithe and lean, moving with a serpentine grace that made her stunning in any human era. However currently she was balancing precariously on the slick edge of the marble bath. In seconds Juniper's mind had formulated an evil plan.
Faster then the eye could see she threw the book across the room to keep it dry and dragged the fully clothed Lilith headfirst into the warm scented bath. Confused Lilith surfaced with a gasp, and to her surprise found she was sitting next to Juniper in the large marble tub.
Juniper looked at the now very wet smaller women, and Lilith caught her glance. Laughing wildly they managed to climb out of the tub. Juniper grabbed a towel while Lilith stripped her wet clothes and grabbed a robe. Still laughing they walked into their bedroom to get dressed.
Later the levity that had penetrated the stillness had drained away, it was replaced with an uneasy melancholy. As they started to get dressed Lilith finally turned to Juniper.
"Did you have another nightmare?" She asked quietly.
"Yea.." Came the quiet response.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Lilith asked in a gentle way. She could be very eloquent when she wasn't being a wise-ass.
"It was almost the same dream, except it continued longer then the previous ones. It's getting to memories I really don't want to remember." She said dryly. Before last night, she'd only had dreams of her early childhood or later years. Last night carried the first dreams of her life before she left the village.
"Have you given and thought to what I suggested?" Lilith asked hopefully but not expectantly.
"Yes and no, I love writing and would love to put everything behind me at last, but I don't think I am ready." Juniper responded.
"I know, don't worry. Wait until you are ready; but you know its going to happen whether you like it or not." Lilith said sadly, but matter-of-factly. She walked over to the taller women and gave her a hug.
"Thanks, I just wish there was another way." Juniper whispered.
They stayed there for a moment, reveling in each other's presence. It had only been recently that they had fixed their relationship to this point. Now every hug and every touch meant something special to them.
"Well, what do you say we go and have some fun!?" Lilith exclaimed as she pulled away.
"I though you hunted earlier?" Juniper asked somewhat flabbergasted.
"Nope, I was in my studio working on a painting! I plan on turning it into a sculpture." The darker women declared with pride, yet the slightly mischievous look on her face unnerved her.
"Oh, well I hope this time I get to see it before it sells." Juniper mentioned tentativly.
"A ah ah!" Lilith chided teasingly, "Not until its done!"
"Of course, how absolutely thoughtless of me!" she stated in mock guilt.
"Its true, you have absolutely no appreciation for my work!!" She exclaimed in false indignation.
"Forgive me?" She asked as she fell on her knees with a puppy dog look on her face.
"Fine, fine..? but just this once!" Lilith stated. "Well, should we get going? There's a full moon, plenty of food, and the night is still young.." She smiled with a hint of suggestion.
"Oh sweet mistress! Your wish is my command!!" Juniper exclaimed as she waved her arms emphatically.
"Yea right.." Lilith rolled her eyes and she pried open the heavy door.
They walked the streets of New York dressed like elaborate prostitutes, they held hands and were comforted simply by each other's presence. They felt had no desire to leave each other especially ever since Santiago died. Lilith couldn't blame Juniper for going after him, especially after she had heard Lilith had died. Lilith had changed much since those years in Paris, she was more accepting of Juniper's past actions and more forgiving towards the mistakes she had made.
Walking along in a comfortable silence, they acted their parts. They were well dressed to draw rich men. They despised the rich fools who wasted their money on prostitutes while their wife and child lay at home, neglected by the bastards they had become. These kinds of men were their favorite targets.
Juniper wore a pair of leather pants that clung to her curves in an incredibly sensuous way, with a black lace bra and a fishnet shirt. She walked with confidence while her long beautiful hair blew loose in the breeze. She enjoyed the feeling of wind through her hair, this was clearly shown on her face by a look of childlike innocence. A smile that lit her soul claimed her face as she almost floated down the sidewalk.
Lilith wore a tight spaghetti strap crimson dress that set off her dark skin's golden undertones magnificently. She walked down the street relishing in the glow of Juniper's contentment. She loved it when Juniper could let go of her worries, these moments had grown fewer and fewer over the years and it was always a pleasure when they arrived. These issues needed to be resolved soon, before they drove Juniper to do something rash.
As they walked down the street hand in hand they looked like an expensive but fun night. With any luck some rich old pervert would think so as well, and their blood thirst would be filled for the night. Though many cars slowed down at their appearance, no one stopped. Eventually a large maroon Lincoln town car pulled to a stop just next to them.
Inside the plush yet slightly worn interior sat three leering men. The driver was a skinny Caucasian male, almost six feet tall. He was grinning in a way that only someone who had been doing drugs for years grins.
In the back sat the leader and his second in command. The second in command was a short bulky male of unknown origin. He was one of those generic Americans. He could be Hispanic, Native American, or almost anything else. He was serious and calm, obviously preferring to observe.
The leader was an African American man, he was tall and built like a rock. Of the three men, he was the most intelligent and cunning. This by far made him the most dangerous of the three.
"You ladies looking for a job?" Said the apparent leader in a sleazy yet serious tone.
"Nah, we work independently," said Lilith with a smile, slipping into a well-practiced vapid tone. "Thanks for the offer though!"
"It wasn't exactly an offer." He said with threatening calm as he pulled out a gun. "Please get into the car."
"Sheesh, you didn't have to pull that out! You could'a just said you were looking for fun!" Exclaimed Lilith in her best vapid voice. "What do you think Juni?" She looked at Juniper for agreement. Juniper smiled at the affectionate nickname. Lilith had been teasing her with it ever since she mentioned that her mother called her that..
Ever since the car had pulled up Juniper had been using her extraordinarily senses to scan their bodies for disease. After centuries of practice, she had learned to sense disease to protect her body from tainted blood. These men were well protected, with a touch of alcohol and other illegal substances in their blood. They would be perfect. With a seductive smile and a nod, she and Lilith entered the car.
That was another unknown fact about vampires; they have almost as much trouble with diseases as humans. Drinking tainted blood passed on a mild form of the disease to them. Although they recover from it, things like HIV and various STD's could lead to serious trouble. Usually vampires recovered, but it took lots of time and blood. So it never hurt to be cautious.
The leader put his gun away and sat looking satisfied as the two women entered the car. They were perfect: sexy, willing, and with any luck dykes. He always enjoyed playing with life's little abominations. With a smile he introduced himself.
"My name is James, and these two are my brothers Jack and Noah." He indicated the man next to Lilith and the driver, who nodded respectively. "So shall we get down to it ladies? We offer the best in protection and choicest locations. In return we expect fifty percent of your intake and your unwavering loyalty. We also provide a safe house for you and the rest of our workers. However, we require a sampling of your talents before we place you on the streets."
Lilith looked at Juniper with delight. In her mind she heard Lilith speak.
"This could be an interesting evening, I can hardly wait.."
Juniper was wary, and replied.
"There is more to this then meets the eye.. Be cautious?" With a smile, she turned to the men.
"Do you lovely gentlemen have a quiet place we can go and get comfortable?" asked Juniper with a husky voice as she accented the last word in a teasing manner.
"We sure do baby, we sure do!" James said with a chuckle. His buddies gave him a knowing look as they gunned the engine through winding streets.
Juniper was confused when they entered the warehouse district. Empty streets are not the best location for whores, and this confirmed her suspicions that there was more to these men then met the eye. They drove through the darkened streets and came to a foreboding warehouse in pristine condition. The windows were neatly boarded off, and the doors were sealed shut with chains.
Pulling the car to a stop, Noah shut off the engine and got out of the car. Juniper and Lilith decided they would act helpless and vapid until the last possible moment, whereupon they would crush these men's egos into a bloody pulp before slowly killing them.
Though the walls were obviously soundproofed, Juniper's keen hearing picked up on the sounds of many feeble voices. Some crying, some yelling, others whimpering, but all came from within the warehouse. The startled grimace that flashed on Lilith's face indicated that she had heard it too.
"Well, what do you think Juniper? Long and painful or slow and painful?" She asked Juniper.
"Definitely long and painful.." She said back with a flash of rage in her deep green eyes.
They allowed themselves to be pulled helplessly into the warehouse. Once inside the "brothers" abandoned them and went to turn on the lights. With their supernatural eyesight, they saw the looming shapes of large cages. The door behind them slammed and locked shut. Obviously, the brothers had wired the door to do so, possibly to inspire fear in the mortal girls they dragged here. They heard a clank in the distance and waited for the fluorescent lights.
When the lights finally flickered on, the sight they saw disgusted and horrified them. In each of the ten cages there were two to three teenage girls. All of the girls were underage with no consistency to their race. Some of them looked devoid of hope, others looked at Lilith and Juniper with sympathy, and the rest were screaming with anger.
When they noticed the men coming back, they plastered a vacant frightened expression on there faces. Lilith spoke up first, demonstrating her role as the mouthy one.
"What the fuck is going on?!" She demanded impetuously.
This interested the men. They had assumed that Juniper would be the one they would have to break first. Now they had their sights set on Lilith.
"Come quietly with us, or die." Said James. Juniper mentally snorted.
"Yea, right? Kill us.." She thought. With the same vacant expression on their faces, they followed cautiously.
The three men smiled as they led the two women to a back room. The room's interior was a cross between an Italian bordello and a torture chamber. There were various implements of "pleasure" hanging from every nook and cranny. Lilith saw Juniper's memories spring to her eyes and knew better then to interfere, this was Juniper's kill now. To get involved would be foolish, even if it was a waste of fresh blood.
The girls outside had seen the two women brought in. They looked older then most of them and as though they had absolutely no clue as to what was going to happen. One face out of all of them held hope; she recognized the false vacant ness that seemed to float around the two newcomers. Jamie had used that tactic often enough to survive the streets, its what got her here alive. Since she was the only one in the cage, she figured they would be sent to her. She considered her options, hoping to figure out a way to escape, suddenly she heard a crack.
"No scream? James never pauses once he starts?" Jamie thought to herself in confusion.
The three brothers undressed and picked up long leather whips of various lengths. Then began to move slowly in on the two apparently helpless women. In their lust, they missed the look of rage and death in Juniper's eyes entirely. As they slowly approached Lilith, she waited for the exact moment to strike. When James cracked his long bullwhip at Lilith, Juniper moved incredibly fast and appeared in front of her in a flash. That one idiotic strike had been his undoing.
With red fury in her eyes at the thought of Lilith being stuck, she caught the whip's tip in her fist and yanked it from his hands. With a menacing smile, and the whip in her hand, she turned to face them. The anger consumed her as she began to strike the helpless men.
In the larger room, the girls had all fallen silent. Soon would come to usual begging for mercy and promising loyalty. Of course, the men would beat them both for being lesbians. This had been obvious the way they had grabbed each other in fright when the lights turned on.
Jamie was listening intently to the stony silence that had infused the entire warehouse. She sat in her cage, the only one who sat alone. They still had not broken her, and whenever they had added someone they attempted to escape. Therefore Jamie was let out to be beaten, raped, or rented out to rich perverts on a leash. No one had lasted as long as she had, and that made her proud. A moment of silence filled the room, and quiet seconds passed.
Suddenly, they heard the whip crack again. The blows landed faster and faster, until they began to resemble a machine gun. Slowly, the grunts turned to screams, but they weren't screams of a feminine nature. It was obvious after a while that the voices were male, and the screamers were three in number. The girls opened their eyes wide, and Jamie listened in awe at the sound.
As Juniper was in her berserk, Lilith watched in amazement. It never ceased to amaze her how strong Juniper really was. In most things, Juniper was gentle, peaceful, and generally calm.
"It's usually me that does this! Generally she doesn't even kill her victims!" She thought in awe.
Juniper struck her blows, blinded by a white fury that sought to consume her soul. It seemed as though the rage had returned from its long slumber. Deeply she fought it, trying hard to not let it regain its hold over her. Slowly she stopped, lowered the whip, and brought her temper under control. She turned to look upon the "humans" that lay pitifully on the floor.
James and his two "brothers" lay in quivering masses as Juniper towered over them. Each of them had at least twenty-five whip marks that had occurred in less then ten minutes. Noah had passed out, and his breathing was shallow. Being the junkie that he was, the skinny man would probably die on his own soon. James watched in horror as Juniper set down the now broken bullwhip, and walked towards Jack. He couldn't believe he was watching a seemingly harmless women kneel before his best friend, and bite his neck with a squish. It wasn't until she had drained the stocky man of every last drop of life that he lost control of his bladder. He watched as Jack convulsed and began breathing raggedly before he died. Juniper turned to James with one drop of blood covering her left fang. It glistened in the flickering light, and he shuddered. She smiled wickedly as she knelt in front of James.
He screamed, loud and long. The kind of desperate scream when you know you are going to die, there is nothing you can do about it, and you are scared shitless of what is going to come when you do. She slapped him hard and a crunch was heard. She had broken his nose. While she watched the blood drip slowly from his now swollen nose, she said.
"You my friend are a waste of meat. I can assure you that your torment in hell will be greater then the death you suffer here." She gripped his torn flesh and pulled him to his feet. "Don't worry my dear! I won't drink your blood. " She with soothing cynicism.. "I've already had my fill on your little friend! No, no? You would die much to quickly if I killed you." Lifting him off the ground she tossed him bodily to Lilith who looked as happy as a child on Christmas morning.
"Shhhhh.. Don't worry little one! You should feel blessed for this time we have together!" She began to claw at his neck, causing welts to break out across his dark skin. "Now you'll have time to pray for your soul through your pain?" Lilith crooned sweetly as she caressed his blistering neck. Using her hands like claws, she held him in a cradle of pain as she slowly and deliberately tore the flesh of his neck with her fangs. She drank his blood delicately, and squeezed her claws into his ribs slowly to increase the torment.
Through the hazy pain, James felt his life draining away and turn into a cold numbness. He began to pray as his mother had taught him before he had turn to the streets after she got addicted to drugs.
"God I am sorry, God please! Oh god she is killing me!! Mother of Christ someone save me!" He died then, as his soul slipped slowly into the inky blackness that awaited him. Dropping his lifeless body to the floor, Lilith smiled as the blood filled her warmly. She turned to the still fuming Juniper, and embraced her. After soothing her lover's high-strung emotions, they walked hand in hand out of the small torture chamber.
From her cage, Jamie watched the door anxiously, wondering who or what would come out of the deathly silent room. If James was still alive, he would probably want her next, she was the most spirited. Though, after those screams she wondered truly if the evil men were still alive. She watched with anticipation as the door opened.
Out of the room walked to two women. Hand in hand, they strolled out of the room covered in what could only be the men's blood. Lilith was smiling broadly while pulling gently on the melancholic Juniper. The walked slowly to the large cages as the girls stared in shock at their present state.
"Would you lovely young girls be in need of a slight rescue?" Asked Lilith merrily.
Working through their shock, the girls began to plead to be let free. Many of them rambled about bad luck, family feuds, kidnapping, and other such mischief. Only one remained silent in her lonely cage.
Jamie sat in the cage quietly and stared into space. Quietly she was remembering how she had gotten into this mess. The awful fuss her parents had made over her choice of a major. They had insisted that she should be a lawyer or a doctor, she had wanted to be an artist. After several weeks of avoiding the topic with her domineering father, the kettle had finally exploded. After an intense screaming match she had left in a hurry when her father had thrown her out. He had insisted he was doing what was best for her, though she couldn't imagine how. Weeks later, James and his crew had found her on the street and asked her to party with them. Agreeing as she was hoping to get some money off them after they passed out, she fell into a trap. They had slipped her a mild sedative, and took her into the warehouse.
Juniper noticed Jamie, and walked over to her cage. This girl held herself differently then the rest. She was no moron, and definitely not frightened of her.
"You seem awfully quiet for an innocent victim in a cage?" She said mockingly. "You also don't seem to be pleading for mercy. How did you come to be here?"
"I ran into these guys, got it on at a party, and ended up here. I am not an innocent victim, it's my own damn fault I ended up here." Jamie said slightly bitterly.
"That's wonderful to know Chèri, perhaps I should let you out?" Juniper asked with a raised eyebrow.
"You can do as you choose, my friend." The girl said in a less then friendly way.
Knowing she couldn't just leave the angry girl in there, Juniper ripped the iron door carefully off its hinges and tossed it aside. Jamie sat there in shock as the clatter sounded through the entire building. Lilith set about freeing the rest of the girls, and after a flurry of "thank you's" the young girls were off to be preyed upon again. All except for Jamie, who stood on the floor paler then the dead men in the other room.
"What are you?" Jamie asked in a low tone.
"Oh honey, you wouldn't believe us if we told you.." said Lilith kindly. "Its really best that you forget about us, this kind of revelation can do harm to a young impressionable mind. It would also be bad if there were rumors springing about the city." She shook her head as if to shake away a memory.
"I don't think I will ever forget, and don't worry I won't ever tell about this." Jamie said quietly as she headed for the door. She stopped and turned to face them. "Thanks, I guess I owe you one. My name is Jamie."
"Don't worry about it! People like those guys deserve death, and usually find it early in life." Said Lilith is an exuberant tone.
"No one deserved that?." Juniper whispered as she realized what she had just done. The room began to spin and Juniper's chest felt constricted. Faster then the human eye could track, she sprinted out of the warehouse and down the street.
"Shit!" Lilith swore before she sprinted off after her. She prayed that they could trust the girl to keep silent.
Juniper ran through the streets with guilt hanging heavily over her head and heart. She ran on and on, her feet pounding on the pavement loud enough for mortals to hear her, but not see her. Bloody tears were streaming from her cheeks as she stopped finally in Central Park. She wandered quietly until she found a quiet spot. She sat down and stared at the sky. The stars offered her no comfort, but she was able to get lost in them and that's all that mattered. She sat there silently for many minutes and screamed her questions to the sky. Her doubts, her fears, why she was still alive, and why she had suffered. Crying openly she heard familiar footsteps.
Lilith followed her closely, knowing not to get too close until the moment was right. When Juniper sat down and began to cry, she slowly walked up to her. Placing her arms around Juniper's shoulders protectively.
"I love you Juni." She stated simply. The shoulders beneath her eased a bit and Juniper drew in a shuddering breath.
"I'm in pain." Juniper said in a cracked voice. "I'm in pain and I can't stand it anymore."
"I know, Mon Chéri, I know." Lilith whispered to the crying women while rocking her.
"I don't know what to do! I have to face my past, but I'm terrified..."
"You know that I'll be there for you." Lilith said gently. "Ultimately it's up you though, what do you want to do?"
"I will write, I will write everything." Juniper said quietly, calming down quite a bit.
"When do you want to start?"
The Landlord of the large newly remodeled mansion had balked at their insistence to remove all of the windows from their wing. After they informed him they would be footing the bill and taking out a five-year lease, they not only had his permission, but they became his top priority.
They trusted him with much, because they knew behind his apparent greed there was a good man. They didn't trust him enough to explain why they had so many strange idiosyncrasies, but trusted enough.
When they arrived at the lavish apartments, Juniper walked into her office calling to Lilith over her shoulder.
"Don't wait up for me, I have a lot of work to do before dawn." Lilith gave her a worried smile. Lilith knew this was a journey Juniper had to do on her own, she head to her art studio in the second floor.
Walking into the large art studio was always a religious experience for Lilith. She basked in the silent grandeur of it before turning on the large stereo in the corner. As the alternative rock music filled the room loudly; Lilith changed into her favorite work clothes and pondered where to work.
The room itself was filled with many sights and sounds. In one corner of the room there was a large canvas, a vast painting space, and enough storage space for thousands of tubes of paint and hundreds of brushes. The five-foot high canvas held a half-done portrait of Juniper nude. This was the painting that Juniper secretly feared would be sold before she got to see and approve it. Lilith rarely showed any of her paintings to her before they were sold; she knew mischievously in her head that Juniper would defiantly not approve of this selected piece. Of course, this was only motivation to get it done and sold as soon as possible. She believed Juniper was beautiful, and in her opinion, the world needed more beautiful things.
A rich earthy scent floated over from the clay tables near the back of the room. A recently ignored potter's wheel was resting in a corner. Lilith looked to the wheel with desire, and decided to start a new project.
Striding over to the work area, Lilith gathered a bowl of water, a fresh lump of clay, and several pottery knives. She began to form the clay into a sphere as she walked to the wheel. Within minutes it was ready to throw. The clay landed with a smack in the middle of the wheel. Smoothing out the sides with fresh water, she began to work.
Clay had always been significant to Lilith. It was cool from the earth, but on the wheel it became warm and fluid to her designs. It twisted through her hands, forming against them. She slipped slowly into the rhythm of the clay, losing herself to it and the music. She would remain in a trance for hours, working on her various pieces. Juniper would likely do the same.
Downstairs, Juniper walked into her office. The cluttered room was comforting and Juniper relaxed noticeably when she entered. The room was large, but since it was filled to the seams with books it appears to be a cozy yet cluttered workspace. In a far corner rested a large desk covered in papers and a small laptop. The chair for the computer was very plush and structured for long working hours. On the wall opposite the desk hung a large bulletin board covered with various papers and sketches. In the nearest corner sat a large plush armchair.
Juniper entered walked to the bulletin board and stopped. The board held all the notes and sketched from her ongoing series. The somewhat organized storyboard seemed to scream her plot at her. As she looked at it longingly she wished she didn't have writer's block, then she could put this off longer. Walking over to the desk, Juniper switched on the small stereo on the top shelf. A modern classical piece began to softly play.
While Juniper was often a fan of much older classical, she loved the contemporary. One of her favorite kinds of music was Opera, which often went quite unappreciated by Lilith. With a fond smirk at the though of Lilith grimacing, she switched on her computer. Once it was finally booted, she opened a new word document.
She stared listlessly at the empty page before her, attempting one more time to put it out of her mind and came to the same conclusion as before. Without this, her past would never be gone. She paused briefly for the last time and placed her hands on the keyboard and began to type with a fury.
"It seems I've told this to someone before, even as I write this I recognize the words. Perhaps that's because I have imagined starting this a hundred or perhaps a thousand different ways.
Although I am unsure where to start, I must first describe my mother to you. She was an exotic woman in her time, it was rare for people in the south of France at that time to black hair and an olive complexion. She was about five feet tall and eight inches, with a fearless look in her liquid brown eyes. She was open and loving to all creatures on the earth, and held the knowledge of the world in her eyes.
My mother was a human. This may sound odd, but it's a very important fact. She was part of The Great Family. Which was an unknown sub-culture that existed from 903 C.E to 1526 C.E. This culture was formed when the wandering fey, witches, demi-humans, and pagans decided to flee the Christian invasion of their homes. Their descendents formed a gypsy-like clan that was infinitely more suspicious of strangers and dangerous to enemies. In 1526, they were at the height of their golden age. This was when the Great Hunts of Europe broke out, and slaughtered them. There were some who chose to stand and fight, and others who chose to flee.
My family was the hidden line, and in 1524 my grandmother was married to an Italian trader when it was discovered that she was pregnant with her lovers child. The Seers had had a mass vision, the largest one in their history, and saw the destruction of their culture. To preserve their knowledge they decided to consolidate their separate information into an extensive consciousness. After they had gathered it they implanted the consciousness into the child my mother carried. From that moment on, my grandmother held the key to their future in her womb.
The trader, Il signor Botticelli was more then happy to marry the beautiful daughter of his best client and good friend. He was a good and gentle man, and would care for his wife and his step-daughter well throughout their life. Though my mother, Camilla, was not his daughter he treated her with much love and tenderness. He even saw to her education, she learned much more then most males of this era.
However, at this time my grandmother, Geneva, was unwilling to leave her family. Thankfully Jonathon, her lover, convinced her to follow her fathers wishes and leave. I remember my grandmothers tear soaked cheeks when she described how it felt to have the man she thought she loved tell her she was being a selfish child, and that she needed to leave to preserve their knowledge and go.
My grandmother did not share his sentiments at the time and felt as though she was being passed around like a bolt of cloth. She decided at the beginning that she would make her husbands life a living hell. She told me the torturous stunts she pulled all through their first of marriage. She constantly taunted him with cruel images about his marriage to a whore, her illegitimate child, and how much she hated him.
However I think she loved him even then, though it was spiteful. The love she felt for her lover had been raw, un-tested, and naïve. The love she felt for her husband was true. She came to calling him 'my Lucio'. He had loved my mother like his own child, and he reassured her often that he would be there always for her.
After the death of my grandfather, my grandmother fell into a deep depression. Soon following him into death, she was lost without her Lucio.
My father had been a middle class merchant when my mother had the vision of her future. She met her future husband, André Bellefontaine, on his last day in Paris. She knew within moments that they were meant to be together and returned with him to his village, south of Paris.
After the wedding they set home in his ancestral home outside of town. The village was less then happy about my mother, after all she had taken the last unmarried and well off young man in their town. Because of this, she was envied by many girls, and hated by more mothers. My father completely accepted my mother's heritage, the knowledge she had helped him prosper much more then he had ever hoped and he got the love of his life as well. Long before I was born, the people held her is suspicion. They swore that she was an ugly foreigner, and had bewitched my father.
After she had lived with the village for a few years, she apprenticed herself to the healer. He was a kindly old gentleman; with a crooked face and a long white beard. I believe he was the only one to truly accept us in his heart. He knew my mother had much more healing experience, and encouraged the villagers to go to her for extreme cases. After he died people stopped coming to us for a while, then eventually they came. First only in the evening, and always with a proper motive, then a couple of people started coming during the day. It wasn't until the local dairy farmer, Monsieur L'aque, had his cows stricken by a mysterious disease and came to my mother begging for help that the people overall acknowledged her as the healer of our town.
The village had impossibly good luck; of course people thought nothing strange of it until the plague completely bypassed us. That was when the rumors of witchcraft toned down. My mother had been suspected, but it didn't matter then, nothing bad had happened. As long as the village luck held; my mother was safe. It wasn't until she gave birth to me completely unaided that the people began to fear her.
It makes me angry to even think of the way they treated her. The injustice, the hatred, and the pain. She stood proud through it all, and I loved her very much.
Juniper smacked her keyboard with a bang, the rage of injustice roared through her, suddenly the spacious cozy room felt suffocating. With a loud crash she banged the door open and fled.
Startled by a noise Lilith rushed downstairs to find the front door open. Terrified at the thought of the impending dawn, she ran through to find Juniper. Running through the halls, she used her limited psychic abilities to follow the familiar emotional trail that Juniper left. Finally the trail ended at the door to the roof, knowing dawn was only about thirty minutes away she quickly rushed outside.
Juniper was stood rigidly on the ledge of the rooftop. With a deep scowl Juniper stood more imposing then the gargoyles, she teetered on the edge of her sanity as Lilith approached.
"Juni? Its almost dawn, and we have to go inside.." Lilith said hesitantly.
"I sometimes wonder if its worth it to hide from the deadly sun.." Juniper said in a cracked voice. "I can't continue this way Lil, it makes me too angry, like a burning deep within me that won't go out.."
"Sometimes, you have to get things out before they get better." Lilith spoke soothingly.
"I just wish?"
"Wishing like that is only a foundation for self-pity, the truth is it all happened. There isn't anything you can do to change the past, no matter how painful it is?" Lilith spoke comfortingly, if not bluntly. She watched as the angry demeanor of her lover changed. Juniper often switched like this, first angry and hot, then childlike and sad. "Now, I think its time for us to go to bed. What do you think?" Lilith asked gently.
"Okay.." Juniper said quietly, she allowed Lilith to lead her back to the safety of the windowless apartment just as the sun began to rise.
When they have retreated beyond the deadly rays of day, they set about going to bed. Juniper was numb, she followed Lilith complacently to the bedroom, allowing herself to be undressed and redressed in her pajamas.
Being as gentle with her unstable lover as possible, she tucked her in and put on one of Juniper's favorite Operas. As Madame Butterfly played softly in the room, Juniper relaxed and drifted lightly off to sleep.
Tears welled in the corners of both women's eyes and Lilith padded quietly to her studio. Grateful for the soundproofing on the room, Lilith sank to the floor and sobbed. She cried for her lover's pain, and for her own. It was one of those long heartbreaking cries; the kind humans have once or twice in a lifetime. It was crying of the soul.
After what seemed like hours, she finally stood up. Though her eyes were swollen and her nose was clogged she felt a kind of release. Almost floating on the sensation she quietly crept downstairs to take a bath before bed. While passing through the bedroom, she was surprised to find she had only been upstairs for about forty-five minutes. She went into the bathroom, and casually slipped out of her soiled work clothes. She languidly filled the tub with steaming water and her favorite bath essence. It was a musky earthy smell; it had always reminded her of a wet forest at night. Soothed by the smell, she relaxed quickly into the warm water.
Taking a deep breath, she suddenly sank beneath the surface. Screaming silently under the water, Lilith cleared her mind and sinuses of any excess emotional baggage or mucus. Repeating the process several times she felt her worries wash away with every breath she took. Her tears a thing of the past and feeling quite refreshed, she lay gently in the water.
Sensing a presence in the room, Lilith looked up to see Juniper standing timidly in the doorway.
"What's wrong?" She asked gently.
"When I woke up, you were gone. I couldn't sleep, thought I'd wait for you to come to bed?" Juniper replied softly.
"I just needed a few moments, love.." Lilith said.
"Do you mind if I come in? She asked hesitantly.
"Of course not! Get in here!" Lilith said reassuringly.
Juniper crept into the room, and sat near the bathtub. With doubt and insecurity in her eyes she turned to Lilith.
"I'm so sorry Lily, you don't deserve to put up with this?"
"Nonsense! Its not a matter of deserving to 'put up' with it! I love you! Sometimes it's all a bit overwhelming to both of us, but that doesn't change that! I chose to be with you, for better or worse. There is no other choice to me!" Lilith reached out carefully for Juniper as she spoke softly to her.
Juniper melted into her embrace, thanking whatever powers or gods in charge that she was this lucky. Juniper was balancing precariously on the edge of the tub when Lilith mischievously shifted her weight just enough to yank her into the water.
Laughing hysterically, the previously crying women stood and tried in vain to dry herself off.
"That's for this morning! Paybacks are a bitch!" Lilith laughed.
"Aw.. This is my only clean tank top! What am I going to sleep in now?" said Juniper accusingly..
Lilith raised an eyebrow suggestively..
"Well?." she began.
Juniper smiled, stripped, dried off, and headed to bed; leaving a very open mouthed Lilith in her wake. Turning back halfway into the room, she smirked at the shocked expression on Lilith's face.
"Well? Are you coming or not?" She asked with an evil glint in her eye.
"Wha? Oh! Yea.. Um, just a minute!" Lilith stammered, getting her mouth to work on sheer willpower alone. She dried off in record time, and ran after Juniper into the bedroom.