Adric notched his
key into the lock, surprised when the light force pushed the door
inward. He stared at the widening gap in confusion. It wasn’t like
his parents to leave without latching the front door. He stepped
over the threshold, his step faltering when the scent of blood hit
Normally it would
be appealing, maybe even triggering a hint of hunger, but this blood
was wrong. It was strong enough that he should have picked it up from
the sidewalk. It smelled of family and magic. He gasped, his keys
clattering to the wood floor as he clutched at his chest.
He’d been uneasy
since second hour, his usually docile powers sloppy and on edge. So
much so that he’d decided to skip cuisine club after school rather
than risk something going wrong. His safety-conscious parents were
staunch supporters of initiatives promoting a peaceful image of their
people; messing that up would be unacceptable. He’d hoped his dad
could help him trouble-shoot the problem.
He closed his eyes
and grasped for the magical bond they shared, the enchantment that
ensured he had complete control over his power and his nature despite
the volatility of youth. He lurched against the wall when he found
nothing of the familiar magic. He knew what waited in the other room
and was vaguely aware of his fingertips sinking into the gypsum wall
as he gathered strength for what had to be done.
Shaking and queasy,
he pushed himself away from the dented wall and took slow steps down
the hall to the living room entrance. His breath stuttered as he took
in the scene. Papa’s newspaper had fallen to the floor, open to
whatever page he’d been reading. Mama’s teacup lay on its side, its
contents spilled over the table and mixed with her blood. There was
so much blood, seeping into the couch, congealed on the floor,
spattered across his parents’ waxen skin.
The next moment,
there was a buzzing in his ear. He was crouched just inside the
living room, half behind a chair, with no memory of having moved. He
shook his head, trying to clear it.
He stared at his
cellphone wondering when he’d pulled it out and who he’d called. “Uh…
is registered to an Adric Herzmeister. Are you Adric?” the woman
asked. Her voice was unfamiliar, but calming.
“Yes. Yes, I’m
Adric.” His head felt cobwebby, like waking from a long sleep.
“This is 911
emergency, Adric,” she explained. “Is there a reason you
called? Are you all right?”
realizing they needed complete information so they came prepared for
everything they were going to have to deal with. But he wasn’t sure
he could say it out loud. “It’s my parents,” he forced out.
He took a steadying breath and realized there was garlic in the room,
probably stuffed in his parents’ mouths. His suddenly shaking hands
gripped the phone to avoid dropping it.
something wrong with your parents?” she prompted.
He squeezed his eyes shut. “They’re dead. Uhm. Permanently
dead.” He gasped and let himself slide fully to the floor,
curled on his side around his phone.
Adric, are your parents a human subspecies?”
he mumbled, drawing his long limbs in tighter. “Vampire, western
she said. “Can you tell me if you’re bound to anyone other than
he whispered, his throat tight. “You need to send someone who
can control me if…”
Adric,” she interrupted, businesslike. “You’re not going to
“I’m sure this
is scary. But I’m going to send a team out to help you,” she
said, her voice optimistic yet firm. “Can you tell me where you
are?” When he didn’t respond right away, she prompted again.
“Adric, are you at home?”
whimpered. “I’m in the living room.”
parents, where are they?”
couch.” He was barely audible. “Mostly.”
“Can you tell
if there’s anyone else in the house?” she asked. “I want to
make sure you’re safe.”
He shook his head,
his canine teeth digging in to his bottom lip. “No one’s here.”
He hesitated. “It… it smells like it happened hours ago. And
my powers got touchy this morning when I was at school, so… it was
probably… then.” He felt hot, and wet tears were drizzling
across his face.
“It’s okay, Adric,” the 911 operator murmured. “The team is on their way, and they have a warlock to help you. I’m going to stay on the phone with you until they get there. Just try to focus on my voice and remember we’re here to help you.”
Check out part 2.