Awakenings

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Awakenings

The Wrath Saga

One vampire's obsession may spell the undoing of them all.

New Orleans is a place full of culture, history, and a literary atmosphere, which draws people from around the world. Cynthia O'Connor is one of these people.

A student by day and a vampire movie buff by night, she never suspected that in the dark of the theater among the dusty curtains was the very thing she salivated over, that as she dreamed of vampires, a vampire dreamed of her.

Ripped from the protective covers of her bed, Cynthia is awakened in another world, a world where the monsters are real, and a threat waits around every corner. For a blood feud, long thought ended is about to begin again, and the clan Wrath is all that stands between the dangers of the night and a war that could rip the fabric of human reality asunder.


Awakenings: The Wrath Saga

Van Stone Jr/Hayes 2013 Excerpt


CLUTCHING TO THE FRONT OF HER LEATHER DUSTER Cynthia O’Connor hoped that the crisp pre-dawn air would revive her drunken senses. Her heels sloshed against the wet cement sidewalk as she awkwardly paused, trying to find a lighter in her plethora of pockets. She had learned long ago in her travels that a pocketbook screamed I wanna be a victim so she never carried anything that did not fit in her pocket, which of course meant her clothing always had more than a few.

Having found the lighter, she brushed a long red curl from her face, looked around and realized she was only a fence jump away from her home in the French Quarter.

“If I take the alley I’ll be home in minutes.” She peered into the darkness from the street. “It’s certainly safe enough, at least during the day…”

In the brighter hours, she had found this shortcut useful whenever she needed to head off the bus that would take her to Tulane University where she was in her second year of the Architecture Program. She came to New Orleans, like many other just out of college kids, with money to burn and one too many novels under her belt. The plan was to stay a month but the people, the culture and the history captured her heart and soul. So it was good-bye New England, and Hello Bourbon Street, literally, as her apartment was not far from the famed street. A small, key secured tenement over a bakery that often filled the apartments with the most heavenly smells and on Sundays always reminded her of home.

With her cigarette lit Cynthia turned down the quietly deserted back alley that housed the dumpsters of a few stores that would not be open for hours. Then the yowling of a white cat caused her to jump as it ran past, knocking some crates and cans over in the process.

“One too many shots, Cyn, get a grip.” She laughed, pushing aside her unfounded fears as the sound of another’s footsteps echoed her own, sending an ominous chill creeping down her spine. Stopping, she turned back seeing nothing but the empty street.

“Probably just another fucking cat.” She shook her head and quickened her pace. “Should’ve left the overactive imagination at home where it belongs.” She laughed as a rise of smoke ebbed from her lips.

The footsteps returned, this time joined by a whisper released into the oddly chilled June breeze.

“Cynthia…”

Spinning around, she screamed. “Where are you?” Her fists were balled, ready for a fight as a shadow stirred from beneath the dim lights of the windows above.

“Right here with you.” A deep and gentle voice rose up and enveloped her ears as her breath caught in her throat.

“What… do you wa… want?” Her voice trembled, the words a breathless gasp as she stepped back trying desperately to put space between herself and the assumed rapist. “Please God, let him go away.”

“Not tonight. No, tonight is for you…” He stepped under the lights as she backed farther away. She wanted to run but she found herself transfixed, lulled by his words, his voice. Locked suddenly by eyes, which shone like amber as the light reflected off of them, she felt her will begin to fade.

“Come to me.” He raised his alabaster hand and like a statue made suddenly animate beckoned to her. “I’ll not harm you.” His voice filled her senses, almost overwhelming her. “Please... Cynthia.”

Hearing her name again come from his pale pink lips shocked her, tearing her away from the trance. Turing on her heels, she ran, kicking them off her feet to go faster still. She dared not turn back as she hoped her long legs would carry her safely home. She stopped only briefly before the chain-link fence to shoot a sideways glance behind her before scaling it.

With no sign of the strange man, she breathed a sigh of relief.

“Too fast for ya! Ha!” She yelled as she hit the well-lit street, though she never stopped running towards her apartment building. She caught the door nearly knocking over an old woman with a small yapping dog as they came out.

“Oh, sorry,” Cynthia apologized. She slowed her pace only as the door closed behind her and sealed her safely away from the dangers of the night.

She stepped into the brightly lit hallway with a sigh though her paranoia stayed with her and kept her cautious as she headed for the stairs to finish her walk to her third floor apartment.

“Just in case,” she whispered, pulling her keys from her coat pocket as she came upon her door. She gripped them tightly between her fingers so they stuck out, ready to strike anyone who may be lurking. She stopped for a moment, collecting herself and dropped her head only to notice her welcome mat turned upside down. “Roger?” She smiled.

The mat was their code; his way to tell her he was waiting for her inside. While his having keys was convenient she sometimes missed finding him sleeping in front of her door, but the neighbors seemed to miss the humor she found in his doting. He was a Film and Photography Major and even after a year of seeing each other she had to remind him to put the cameras away. Annoyingly charming, but charming nonetheless.

“Good, I could use a massage.” She unlocked the door and crept inside, quietly closing the door behind her. She locked the three dead bolts and chain before even thinking of removing her coat.

The apartment was dark and gravely silent as though no one was there. “He’s probably fast asleep by now, dreaming of all the things he wanted me to do to him.”

She looked down at the vase of calla lilies on the small table beside her and smiled. “Good boy, you remembered.” She brushed her fingers against them before creeping into the bedroom; seeing the familiar silhouette curled up on her side of the bed made her smile. She undressed, crawled into bed beside him, wrapped a long arm around his waist, and pressed her bare chest against his back.

“Hey lover, I’m glad to feel you,” She whispered suggestively in his ear as she felt an icy hand clasp her own. He turned and stared at her with eyes that flashed amber in a crackling of lightning.

“So am I.”

Cynthia screamed as that voice pulled her down into darkness.