Disclaimer: Vampire High does not belong to me. It belongs to La Fete, YTV, and Corus Entertainment.
Author's Note:I blame YTV for showing reruns when I'm being plagued by insomnia. I also blame Jeff Roop for somehow making an obsessive stalker seem sexy, and the show's producers for leaving so many loose ends.
It's been twenty years after the end of Vampire High, and the war between the Convocation Elders and the Fury still rages. The members of the original Experiment have gone their separate ways: Drew and Karl lead a small band of vampires against enemy forces and the Biomorphic Predatory Disease Agency, Essie is deeply mired in the politics of the Noble Families, while Marty and Merrill help Dr. Murdoch with the school. New classes of young vampires come to Mansbridge to learn to control their instincts, and the cardinal rule still applies: no mixing with the day school. But when a new day student arrives, the very first vampire students must come together once again to discover why Amelia looks almost exactly like the long-dead Sherry Woods. Is she a pawn of the Fury? An undercover agent sent by the BPDA? The reincarnation Drew's lost love? Or is she just another teenager?
Chapter One: Ghost Stories
TAKEN FROM TRUEGHOSTSTORIES DOT ORG
The Devoted Lover
Some say that True Love lasts forever, and if it does, then the Devoted Lover seems proof positive of everlasting devotion. For almost twenty years, there have been sightings of this ghostly figure in the Everwood Ceremony, haunting the grave of Sherry Woods, a local girl who died when she was only seventeen. Legend has it that whenever he visits the grave, he leaves behind a single rose.
The first sighting …
"Congratulations Drew. You're an urban legend."
Drew French didn't bother looking up from his sketch as Karl Todman sat opposite Drew in the crowded café. It was open late, and provided live poetry readings, musical performances, as well as served triple-espresso to artists, poets, actors, and pseudo-intellectuals dressed in black. Karl and Drew fit in perfectly. "What are you talking about?"
"Something I found on the internet while I was looking for possible vampire attacks. Do you want to hear what it says?" Not bothering to wait for a response, Karl began to read. "The first sighting of the Devoted Lover – that's you, buddy – happened almost twenty years ago when two teenage girls, on a dare, spent the night in a local cemetery. According to the story, they were almost asleep when one saw the figure of a handsome young man – their words, not mine – standing in front of a grave. The girls watched as the man silently placed a single rose on the tombstone and disappeared before their eyes.
"Since then, many others have seen the Devoted Lover; from thrill-seeking high school students, to cemetery landscapers. The sightings were all the same: a mysterious figure appears at the cemetery, leaves a single rose on Sherry's tombstone, and then disappears. While the dates of most of the sightings vary, the Devoted Lover has consistently appeared on March 22nd, the anniversary of Sherry's death. In the years since the first sighting, it has become local tradition for young couples to leave roses at Sherry's tombstone for luck, and as a sign of their devotion to each other. Theories abound as to the identity of The Devoted Lover, but all lack any physical or historical evidence …"
Karl looked up from the paper. "So, Drew, did they leave anything out?"
"I leave sunflowers at her birthday. Just before dawn." Swift, broad strokes outlined the purple mohawk of a man on the stage, reciting a poem.
Karl sighed, leaned back in his chair and glared at his friend. "You have to start being more careful, man. If the Fury find out -"
"They won't. And if they do, they'll see it only as a ghost story posted by some kid on the internet."
"And the BPDA? You know they had a file on Sherry. This will probably raise some red flags."
Drew's pencil stopped. "That file's twenty years old. It's obsolete."
Karl shook his head. "That doesn't mean that they wouldn't look into it."
"I won't get caught. So drop it." The sketching continued, careful strokes created the figure of a young woman sipping coffee.
"Fine." Karl put the computer printout back into his bag, and looked around the café. "Do you really think he's going to show? It's been three days, with no sign of him yet."
"Plentiful night crowd, dim lighting, and eccentric customers? He'll show. We just have to be patient."
"You're the boss. Where are the others?"
"Charlie and Ursula are at the bar. Rex is flirting by the stage."
"So I'm covering the entrance again?"
"Don't forget your beret."
Karl picked up his stuff, and walked to the entrance of the café. There, he sat down on a green, overstuffed couch, and solemnly put on his beret. With an espresso in one hand, and the Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe in the other, Karl was the perfect picture of a young man desperately pretending to be something he was not. He even ignored the sneers of the other patrons who noticed that he never turned the pages of his books, and couldn't take a sip of his drink without wincing.
Drew smirked. People were always underestimating Karl.
As for Drew, he had a small table in the corner, his chair against the wall. He could see everything and everyone – the perfect view for the aspiring artist.
For the next hour, he sketched the other people in the café. Quick sketches, no more than figures and movement, but in doing so, he could watch the entire establishment without suspicion.
"You're really gifted," a voice purred from the table to his right. One soft, pale hand caressed the sketch he had made of the woman playing guitar on stage. He smelled sweet perfume as the woman leaned in, brushing her silky hair against his cheek. "I've seen you around. Why don't you do me? I could sit for a portrait …" Drew could feel her hot breath against his ear. "I could even pose nude, if you like."
Another time, another place; Drew would have accepted the woman's … generous … invitation. But not now. He was busy. "No thank you," he said as politely as he could, and removed the woman's hand from his sketchbook. Drew heard the scrape of a chair as his would-be seducer stalked away from him and headed to the bar. From there, he was able to take a good look at her. Long black hair. A slender, yet curvaceous figure and a face that would have been beautiful it if hadn't been both slathered in makeup and screwed in anger.
Obviously not one who was rejected often.
"You could have been a bit more tactful," Charlie said as she slipped into a seat at a table to his left. "Now she'll probably tell everyone who will listen that you're gay, just to save face. Every other woman here will know to avoid you, one tenth of the men will hit on you, and you'll lose your anonymous artist shtick."
"Aren't you supposed to be staking out the bar?"
"We're getting too cozy there," Charlie said, running a hand against her short cropped blonde hair. "We're going to pull a gradual switch. I'll sit here and pretend to hit on you until you blow me off and I storm off to the stage. Rex will grab a drink at the bar, harass Ursula, and then she'll join me to avoid him, and we gals will listen to bad poetry together."
"Good plan," Drew sketched Rex finishing his drink. "He's almost ready to make the switch."
"And now I'm hitting on you." Charlie fluttered her eyelashes and made a strange wiggling motion with her shoulders.
"That was flirting? No wonder I'm turning you down."
"Careful. I may just help to spread rumours questioning your sexuality."
Drew looked again to the stage, where Rex was now walking to the bar with three other men. Once there, he openly eyed the woman that Drew had rejected earlier.
"It looks like he's getting a head start on the plan."
Charlie swore underneath her breath. "Dammit, can't he learn to control his hormones?"
Rex caught Drew's eye and nodded toward the woman. The woman then looked over her shoulder to Drew, and smirked. One of the men that Rex had followed to the bar had wrapped his arm around her waist, and though Drew couldn't see the man's face, he could see that the man's hand wore a ring with the crest of a Fury clan.
"You're leaving with me," Drew said quietly as he began to put away his things.
"I was just kidding about the rumours-"
"Our guy's here. Signal for Rex and Ursula to follow them through the back exit. We'll go around the front and meet them there." Drew picked up his messenger bag and wondered how Charlie would deliver the message this time. A tug on Ursula's earrings in the direction he wanted her to go? An arrow made in sugar in front of Rex? He led Charlie out the door, his hand on the small of her back. Karl followed a moment later. When no one was looking, they sped to the back of the café. That was where all the action was.
Drew could smell the blood in the air. It made his nose twitch. Rex and Ursula had cornered the rogue vampire against a wooden fence. The intended victim was slumped against the back wall of the café, unconscious, but still breathing, and Rex held the rogue vampire against the fence with his forearm. "Is she all right?" Drew asked as he arrived.
"She's alive. We managed to stop it before she lost much blood." Ursula answered, never taking her eyes from the rogue vampire.
"Karl, keep a lookout. Ursula, check on her." Drew nodded to the unconscious woman as he walked to rogue vampire, taking Ursula's place in front of the strange vampire. "Who are you?" he demanded. The man before him had dark, tightly curled hair, and a strong chin. Drew supposed that some women would have thought him handsome if not for the blood dripping off his fangs.
"So the rumours are true. There are vigilante vampires out there, saving humans from the night." The rogue vampire grinned; a horrific sight with the blood on his chin. A messy eater. "I thought you guys were just story told by the Convocation Elders to keep naughty little vampires on the straight and narrow."
"Your name. What is it?" Drew asked through gritted teeth.
"I answer only to Shakari."
Charlie stepped to Drew's right. "What a coincidence," she said casually as she pressed a silver dagger against the vampire's throat. "That's the name of my knife. Now, why don't you answer our questions? What is your name?"
The rogue sneered. "Ivan," he spat.
"So, Ivan, what were you going to do with that lovely young lady over there?" Drew gestured to the woman being tended by Ursula.
Ivan shrugged. "Just a kill."
"He's lying," Rex announced from beside Drew. Charlie pressed her knife deeper into Ivan's throat. A fresh stream of blood trickled down from the vampire's throat. "Now tell the truth, or Charlie here will give you the closest shave of your un-life." Rex said with a hint of glee.
Ivan eyed Charlie anxiously. "I was going to Make her," he said finally.
"Under the orders of the Fury?" Drew asked.
Ivan gulped nervously. "Yes."
Drew smiled. Finally, some real answers. "How many others are scouting this location?"
"And exactly how many vampires does the Fury have doing your job?"
"I don't know." Charlie put more pressure on her knife, and the stream of blood widened. "I don't' know!" Ivan cried, panicked.
Drew turned to the other members of his team. "Rex?"
"He's telling the truth," Rex said, disgusted.
The back door of the café opened to reveal a confused bus boy. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, Ivan burst free of his captors and sped to the alley where Karl was keeping ground. Drew hit the wall painfully and could only watch as Karl fought Ivan, and, after a brief struggle, decapitated the other vampire with his carefully concealed katana.
"There can only be One," Karl intoned. At the other vampire's looks, he shrugged. "What? I couldn't help myself."
"What the …" the bus boy looked at the scene in amazement. A young woman unconscious on the ground with another woman kneeling over her. Two men and another woman slumped against the wall. A third man standing at the entrance to the alley where yet another man had crumbled into ash. "Who are you people?"
Ursula quickly stood up and walked to the shell-shocked young man. "Look at me," she commanded. She waved a hand over the boy's face. "You heard a noise and went out to investigate. You found a woman being mugged and bravely scared away her attacker. In twenty seconds, you will call the police and make sure the woman gets to a doctor." Ursula turned to the Drew. "I've already erased the girl's memory of this."
"Janine." The other vampires turned to Rex in surprise. "We should at least call her by name, and her name's Janine."
"So long, Janine." Drew rose to his feet. "Let's get out of here."
They disappeared into the night.