Part 1

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Walking In The Day - Dark Ridge

Sarah Covington held her best friend, Miranda Ambroise's hand. The labor had been going on for hours and Miranda was weakening.

"Promise me, you'll take care of her," pleaded Miranda.

" 'Rand," said Sarah calmly. "You are going to be fine."

It was an assurance that Sarah wasn't sure she meant. The blood loss had been tremendous, and the position of the baby wouldn't allow for a C-Section. Sarah's warm eyes flickered to meet the attending doctors and the look gave Sarah pause.

As a medical student, Sarah had seen a lot, but never something this grave. Her best friend, whose husband had left Miranda on their wedding night with no explanation, the woman who'd been Sarah's rock throughout school, was here on this table, maybe dying. Miranda later learned that she was pregnant with his child and now it was Sarah's turn to be a rock for Miranda.

"He wasn't right," broke down Miranda.

Sarah grimaced, sure that the drugs and the pain was getting to Miranda finally. A wave of contractions washed over Miranda.

"Miranda, we need to make a decision," began the doctor who was perched between Miranda's legs.

"No! Save her, save, Kameron. Sarah swear to me that you won't let them hurt her, she's mine, my baby and I'd rather die than not allow her to live," cried Miranda. The distraught mother to be, her straw colored hair and hazel eyes were serious, pulled Sarah closer. "Sarah, he wasn't my husband, he was something different."

Sarah stood, brushing Sarah's hair away from her sweaty face. "You have no clue what you are saying. There are no such things as what you said he was."

"Sarah," begged Miranda. "I know what he was, I saw, I saw the...teeth and he had no soul, Sarah."

Sarah was about to argue, again, that Miranda had been seeing things, or had been too drunk, but before she could utter another word, Miranda flat lined.

WiTD

The wind blew the leaves around her feet as she stood in the middle of the shadowy clearing a few miles behind her home. Nestled in the thick forest on the outskirts a town aptly named Dark Ridge, the small virtually bloodless creatures around her muttered their morning song. The sun, which began to crest the mountains, warmed the cool earth and a soft grey mist emanated from the ground. The smell of the forest drifted to her nostrils, but it wasn't the smell she neither longed nor sought. Face turned up, she smelled the air again, ignoring the scent of tress and earth, nostrils flaring, silken golden hair cascading over her shoulders. Tall, almost regal looking, an air of royalty haloed her, and something even more primal - danger. 

A feral look crossed her face as the scent she was looking for found her over the cooling winds of the late summer. She let the smell wash over her, listening to the faint thumping sound of a heart about a quarter of a mile away. Yes, there thump, thump, thump, a peaceful beat rouse her into an adrenaline-filled heat. Cotton candy colored lips parted - teeth a brilliant, almost inhuman, dazzling whiten, revealing the subtle fangs that had graced her since birth. It was predawn - the world stood still. She was a dazzling creature who preferred dusk to dawn, yet here she was in the waning hours of the night - hunting.

"Blood."

The word fell dead on the pine needles that carpeted the floor of the forest. She turned, one fluid - almost inhuman - movement, her right hand grazing the ground as she dashed off after her prey. Her feet didn't pound the earth as they should, instead they almost floated over it, the movements so fast that the leaves barely moved as her legs drove forward.

Leaping up, she grabbed a tree branch to vault the ruined rubble of an old abandoned car, swinging with acrobatic ease and landed on the car. She perched on it her usually clear blue eyes had bled free of their color and now they were white as the driven snow that would cover the ground in two months time.

Her prey knew something was hunting it, so Kameron crouched statue like on the rusted car hood. She forced her heart to slow, matching the rhythm of her preys. Then the prey moved and Kameron exploded forward - it was time to feed.

WitD

"I hate you," said Peyton with a venom that rang true to her father's ears. It wasn't a yell, per say, but it was a hard biting tone. This had been the status quo for weeks now, ever since Peyton had come home. Then home, the location, had changed. Then the repertoire had become even more deadly sounding, curse words now usually peppered the tirade. It was mild this morning, thought Jonathan.

The house was smaller, the town was smaller, but the hate, that was bigger, at least from his daughter's end. His choice of town had a lot to do with his wife, but Peyton didn't know that. His wife had come here once, to Dark Ridge on an assignment for her job. She'd always said that the air was crisp and the people were nice and that the town had a magical pull to it. Then, after her death, he'd decided that getting away from the world was just the right thing for the both of them.

"You don't hate me," stated Jonathan. His daughter didn't really hate him, she hated where he had brought her, away from the city, away from the drugs and away from the place her mother had died. For some reason, attachment more than likely, Peyton felt a pull to the house where her mother had died.

"I do hate you. I'm not going to school! These people are all dumb and stupid and I won't go!" she yelled at the top of her lungs.

"Then I'll send you to reform school," he repeated, for what seemed like the millionth time in a quiet voice. "These are the choices you have. School here or reform school in Seattle, it is one or the other. You are in charge of that part of your destiny."

"You're an ass," proclaimed Peyton her dark as night eyes flashed with hatred.

"I have one of those, as do you," he said taking a bite of his toast. He was calm - he was always calm - perhaps that was part of the problem. "Get dressed, or you'll be late for school. Don't forget you have to meet with your parole officer after school."

"Go to hell," she spat.

Peyton sashayed away, and Jonathan took a long deep breath. "I'm already there."

Almost a year ago, Peyton's mother, his wife had killed herself. Peyton mistakenly thought it was her fault because a few weeks before, she'd confessed to her mother and to himself that she was rather sure she was gay.

For years, Amanda had struggled with alcohol and drug dependency, and had been slipping back into the clutches of alcohol again. She'd once worked for a rather unique organization, and over time, the uniqueness of it had driven her mad. Then, Peyton had come along, but time, and memories, finally drove her to the brink.

After her death, Peyton had shut down and taken the same path as her mother, drinking, drugs, sex, and lashing out. Insisting that the reason her mother had taken her life was because she was gay. Amanda had been a devoted Catholic, and her devotion had tripled when she had been sober. Her faith had helped Amanda through the rough spots in her life. Therefore, when Peyton had announced, in true Peyton manner, over Thanksgiving dinner, that she was gay, Amanda's first reaction had been horror. Then, as the weeks had drug on, Amanda had blamed herself for Peyton's transgression. For not being a good enough mother, for not being a good role model, but Amanda had put all the blame on her own shoulders. Or what she thought was a transgression, but it wasn't, Peyton was just who she was, there was no blame to lay on anyone.

Jonathan got up from his perch and walked to his bedroom; his strides were long and ate the short distance quickly.

It was a different bed.

A different house.

A different man walked in his shoes.

He missed his wife with a passion he just couldn't describe. He ached, he yearned, and was in pain, not only for the loss of his wife. But for his daughter also, because even though he knew she was clean, he had lost his daughter in more ways than he could count.

The distance that Peyton had wedged between them was astronomical, a wide expanse that he wasn't sure even time could heal.

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