They called it The Purging. It had happened at least a century before my birth. The women of our clan had been named unclean by the men. I suspected it was because they questioned the authority of the men. A bloody battle ensued. The deciding factor, I’d gathered, was the slayer. A ritual he performed when we were weakened was the only thing that could kill us. And so, at my fathers order, he performed that ritual on all of the females of the clan, save one. My mother was a child at the time, and so was spared. Even now, with the men grossly outnumbering the women, and one of those now lost to the sleep of time, my father still couldn’t see that he’d been overzealous in his rage.

I was the only what they called ‘breeder’ left, which was why I got so many of these lessons. I was their one last chance for a biddable female. The thought chilled me, as ever. I would bleed my woman’s blood in one more season, maybe two if I was lucky, and then be at the mercy of these depraved, demented monsters, as my sister had been before me. And he was showing me her fate yet again. As if I needed to be reminded. At least they hadn’t had the slayer kill her. She and my mother had been spared true death, and given the sleep of time. Even in their insanity, the men could see that they couldn’t afford to kill more of the women of our kind. Their need to avoid extinction apparently outweighed their need to be obeyed. It was a close thing, though.

He continued to force me to look at the pathetic creature in the cell. He was beating a dead horse at this point, since I knew explicitly what had been done to her before my father had beaten her with a barbed whip until she ended up here, unconscious to the world, for more than a fortnight now. Frankly, what had been done before the whipping seemed worse to me. In my young mind, a beating made sense, was common place, whereas the other things, they were confusing and horrifying. Not the least of which was marrying her to my uncle. And what my uncle Villi had done to her had not even been a punishment, but merely what he called his rights.

What she had done in return for him taking those rights almost made me smile now, in spite of the dire circumstances that had followed. My hideous uncle Villi, the one they called Villi the Bestial, was in far worse shape than my sister, who at least still had a head. Her brave rebellion had incited my own, though I would have preferred more time to put it into effect. There was still so much I didn’t know about my powers, things I couldn’t learn from anyone but my demented elders, as much as I may despise them.

Is she healing? I wondered to myself. If she was, I couldn’t see it yet, and that worried me more than any of my father’s threats. If she couldn’t walk, then she couldn’t run. And we needed to run from this place and never look back.

I awoke, gasping, my body damp with sweat. I hadn’t had that nightmare in years. It was a memory from my childhood, that, for some strange reason, my subconscious liked to recall in vivid detail when I was troubled.

It took me a long time to fall back to sleep, and when I did, it was to more nightmares.

I was back in Dom’s bedroom, my back to the wall. The sight on the bed made me sick. Dom pleasured the vacant-eyed blond endlessly. Every touch, every kiss, was a stab of betrayal through my heart. Finally, I approached the writhing couple.

I gripped a hand in the blond woman’s hair, dragging her roughly from his bed. He didn’t stop me, merely sat up, giving me a wicked smile. She struggled, but it took no effort at all to throw her bodily from his room. I kicked her once, twice, before slamming the door on her crumpled figure. I turned back to the man on the bed.

He just smiled, a cheshire cat smile, and watched me, leaning back on his elbows. His arousal was hard, and still slick with that other woman’s body. I straddled him, mounting his thick length without a second thought. I rode him hard, but he never touched me. He just watched, gazing at me with gimlet-eyed disinterest. I brought myself to completion regardless, falling against him when I finished. I kissed him, but he was unresponsive under my lips. Only his c**k responded, hard as ever.

I sat back up, and that was when my hair trailed down onto his chest. It was all wrong. It was flame red, instead of blond, and I hated it with a passion. I recalled something I’d heard. I glared at him. His expression never changed. “Siobhan?” I asked him, feeling ripped apart inside. “You bastard,” I sobbed, falling off of him.

He was a statue. No response to my hurt was shown in either his regard or his actions.

I stumbled into the bathroom, desperate to see my reflection, to make sure it wasn’t wrong. Green eyes looked back at me in the mirror. My face was ravishingly beautiful, and one that I bitterly despised. I screamed my rage.

I awoke still screaming, and engulfed in flames. Everything was on fire. The couch I lay on, the walls, the ceiling, the house. I lay there for the longest time, thinking that I had stumbled into yet another nightmare. But I felt the heat licking my skin. My bare skin. My clothing had burned off.

When my mind finally started to operate again, I shot up, running quickly through the inferno. I couldn’t burn. Fire lived inside of me. It certainly couldn’t harm my person. But we had a lot of worldly possessions that it could harm. Things I didn’t want to lose.

I went for the weapons first, filling my arms before rushing outside. I spilled them on the lawn before running back inside. It was some consolation when I realized that many of our weapons and valuables had already been moved, most likely to one of Christian’s safe houses. Lynn had begun to move our things, obviously in preparation for a permanent move. Gods bless her. Still, I grabbed what I could of what was left, finding some of our horde of treasure, and even an armful of clothes that hadn’t yet been touched.

When I dumped my precious items on the lawn that time, I wasn’t alone. Fucking Druids, I thought, as suit clad men surrounded me in the harsh dawn light. One was on his cel phone.

“Yes, Arch, she seems fine. She’s naked, but unharmed.”

I grabbed the phone out of his hand. “I’m flame-retardant. Please go back to f**king whats-her-name. Nothing exciting here.”

The bastard laughed. “Jealous?”

I handed the phone back to one of the druids. I wasn’t even sure it was the one I had grabbed it from. I didn’t care. I headed resolutely back into the engulfed building, intending to salvage what I could. I heard the druids shouting in panic behind me, but I knew they wouldn’t follow me in. Druids occasionally sprouted fur in their beastskin. It seemed to be a rule that things with fur hated fire. And they had absolutely no immunity to it. It wouldn’t kill them, but it would hurt like all hell. Not one of them would go through that kind of pain to save a woman that was infamous for breaking the heart of their beloved leader.

Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires