Chapter Two

187K 5.1K 906

I made sure I walked Riley home after the party ended. She was swaying from the vodka, her dyed-red hair falling out of its ponytail. I'd stopped drinking as soon as thoughts of my parents entered my head, almost as if they were standing behind me, scolding me. Riley had said my parents were super-strict but she didn't know the half of it. 

A pang of envy shot through me when I dropped Riley off at her house and she let herself in with the key. Since her parents divorced, her mum was desperate not to make her only child feel smothered. And if that meant letting her go drinking and partying so be it. 

I wished I had an ounce of that freedom. 

Dalwick was a stone's throw from Petersfield but the surrounding countryside made it seem isolated from the rest of the world. My family lived just off Gilmont Avenue - roughly a ten minute walk from the party - in a four-bedroom detached house with a grey slate roof, double-glazed windows, and a concrete garage tacked onto the side. The curtains were always drawn, keeping any neighbours from peeking in. We'd only been here four months so I didn't think of it as home. I'd never thought of anywhere as home - we never stayed in one place long enough.  

I pushed open the front door and stepped into the brown-carpeted, floral wall-papered hallway. The previous owners didn't have much taste when it came to interior design, but Noah refused to let us waste money trying to change anything. 

The living room door on my right side was ajar and a grating sound came from inside. I poked my head around the door. 

Clara sat cross-legged on the floor. A gleaming selection of knives was spread out on the plywood coffee-table in front of her; another knife in her hands that she was methodically sharpening with a whetstone. The discordant scrape of metal on stone made my ears hurt.  

"You're late," she said. It was a statement rather than an accusation. She knew how strict my parents were. but her opinions on the subject were something I'd never know. Clara wasn't exactly the sharing type.  

I shrugged and tried to look innocent.  

"Noah and Ava aren't here." Still she didn't look up from what she was doing. "There was a vamp sighting a few miles away so they've gone hunting with Marc." 

"Oh." My heart sank. If my parents were hunting they probably wouldn't be back until tomorrow. I'd have to wait until then to tell them what I'd discovered. 

"I think Noah wanted you to go with them but you weren't here." Clara finally laid down her knife and looked at me.  

"I was out with Riley." My voice sounded small.  

Clara had been a lone vampire hunter before she'd joined the team and though she'd been living with us for more than a year, she still unnerved me. It wasn't that she kept to herself and refused to talk about her past. It wasn't the grim necklace of vampire fangs she wore, or the jar of vampire teeth she kept in her bedroom. It was the cold, dead look in her eyes. That never changed. Something had happened to her, in her past, that had scoured all the emotion out of her and it showed. In all the time I'd known her, I'd never seen her smile.  

Clara nodded curtly and turned her attention back to her knives. I took the opportunity to back out of the room and head for the stairs. My bedroom was at the far end of the landing. I pushed open the door and tiptoed inside. My room was furnished simply; two beds, a small chest of drawers, and a chipped mirror in the corner. Since we moved around a lot Noah never let us get weighed down with too many possessions. A good vampire hunter always travelled lightly.  

Sophie was already asleep, her jumble of blonde curls poking out from under a plain grey duvet. Obviously Marc and my parents didn't think their hunt was going to be a dangerous one or Sophie, as the team nurse, would be standing by to deal with potential injuries when they returned.  

When Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls Book 1)Where stories live. Discover now