Chapter 1

The lightning struck thru the clouds, and I instantly sprung forwards out of bed. The covers stood still on my legs, but the part of the blanket that was protecting my chest now lay atop the other ones. My heart was beating fast with fear that it was going to be my Step-Dad that woke me up, not lightning. Well, the only difference is lightning kills you before you feel any pain. My Step-Dad doesn't. I looked around my "room", which really was just one of those bed compartments in a trailer. I had the one farthest back, so I had to walk the longest way to get to the door. I lifted the curtain that separated everything from me, and gasped in horror as I saw my Step-Dad standing right there, as if waiting for me to wake up. A grin spread wide on his face. I knew what was going to happen next.

"Hey there Cassie," his words slurred, signifying that he had gotten drunk in the past 10 minutes. I curled up into a ball in my bed, trying to put the pillow I had between me and him. It didn't help.

He grabbed my arm, using so much force in his grip that he was leaving red spots that grew like small bushes on my upper arm. His grip didn't loosen, even as I screamed.

"Shut up! Did you want people to hear ya?" he said this like we were playing a game that no one thought we would play. He acted like I wanted to do this.

I kept pain was too much. He clamped a hand over my mouth, letting me taste the horrid dirt of his skin. As he did this, he pushed me onto the small bed I had, me screaming the entire way. He placed his knee hard on my back, making me scream harder. My shirt was getting wrinkled, and a few parts of my bare back was being shown.

"What did I tell ya about bandages? They trouble, notin' but trouble, you need some more scars on that back till you learn ya lesson?" His drunken Southern accent was a hot, disgusting breath, polluting my back.

I didn't process what he had said until he started to take off his belt. I didn't think he would see the bandages I put on the scars he welted into my back. I don't know why he didn't like me to put bandages on, but he didn't like it if I did. But I had to, he made me bleed. A lot. I had turned my head to look at what he was doing now, but, when I saw him, I wish I hadn't. He had his belt off, it was the thick leather one, with the sharp copper head, and the indents and design patterns on it that wore away as he hit me with it. It was the belt that made me bleed so much. His hand brought up the belt, and he swung it down, whipping my back, as I cried in pain. He hit me 13 times before I felt the coolness of pouring blood erupt from me. I swear, I heard him chuckle to himself as he put my shirt back down.

"Oh wait, I almost forgot," he lifted my shirt back up, spreading the blood around, and he ripped off the bandages. The blood that was being sustained by them came out, mixing with the other wound. I winced and let more tears fall from my face as he put my shirt back.

I almost thought he was done, until I felt him rummage around my pants, looking for a spot to bring them down.

"Please, no," I tried to say between the sounds of my sobs and suppressed screams. He didn't hear me. But, he found where the elastic of my pajama pants reached my waist. He pulled them down to my knees, and I struggled to get free before he raped me again. I cried and cried, but he didn't hear my silent pleas for him to stop. He undid his pants, and brought down the ugliness that lay inside them. I cried even more as it touched my leg. I felt the pain in my back grow more intense as he pulled my panties down, and then he began to rape me.

I kept on crying, crying and screaming, crying and screaming, until he spanked my hard, whipped my butt with the head of his belt, and then left. He closed the curtain, at least letting me have some privacy to get myself together. I pulled my panties up, wincing at the pain it brought to my now bleeding butt. I brought my pajamas up too, and letting them slide over my new scars. I huddled into the corner of my small bed, and cried. I kept on crying, crying crying, until my tears brought me into sleep.

One place where I don't have to deal with my Step-Dad.

Chapter 2

I woke up at quarter till noon, and I had the same haze that protected me from the truth when I woke up in the morning. I was confused, but then I moved my body from the fetal position I was in, and felt the jarring pain shoot from my butt to my back to my arms and mouth. I remembered every second of the night before me, shuddering at the thought of it, and wishing I didn't remember. I pulled the curtain back slowly, preparing myself to see my Step-Dad's face right there.

I took a deep breath and let it go when I saw he wasn't there. Relief flooded me, and I saw that he had left for work already. I glanced around, everything was in order. But, I was looking for something deeper in there, something more important.

Ha! I found it, I stood up, being careful as I walked towards it. I bore the pain as I bent down to pick it up, and brushed some dirt off of it, and then walked back to my bed, laying it out unzipping the old black excuse for a zipper that kept the contents from spilling out. I unfolded the stained red fabric of the cover, and then opened up the insides, looking to see if anything was in there.

Nothing, I smiled to myself at the fact that I could put something in here. I squatted down and opened my clothes drawers, pulling out my only 3 pairs of jeans, my 4 shirts, a couple of bras, a few pairs of panties, and a Cami or two, placed them folded in the bag, and then zipped up the main compartment. I reach for the other zippers, pulling it back, and the stuffing in it the small amount of money I had, then walked over to my Step-Dad's area, grabbing bills here and there, and also the half-empty bags of chips, and a few sodas, stuffing them in there along with some other odds and ends that I could use. I zipped everything up, and then grabbed my journal out from under my bed, flipping the pages ritously, glancing at my drawings, and my poems, and songs, the I placed it inside my bag as a last minute installment, along with my favourite pen. I slid the shoulder strap over my head, and carefully placed it one my scarred shoulder blade. I walked to the door, looking out of it to see if my Step-Dad was there. No sign of moving anything.

I opened the door, and walked out into the sunlight, it causing heat to erupt on my face, and then I glanced down at myself, in my pajamas. I mentally hit myself on the head for forgetting something so rudimentary. I walked back inside, unzipped my backpack, and pulled out a pair of jeans and a hoodie with matching black cami. I found my shoes which I would have forgotten, and then walked out once again. The sunlight came back again, not as bright, but still the humid Alabama sun I had grown up with. I looked around precariously, and then snuck around to the back of the trailer, to face the forest and turn my back on Mr. Golden Sun. I saw nothing in the forest but mossy trees, indicating that where the North was, and rocks. Some puddles in the indented ground, showing what the storm last night had wrought, and a few other pieces of vegetation in the ground. I headed into them, knowing that everything I was leaving behind me wouldn't care that I was gone.

I took 5 steps into the forest untill I heard the rough, hangover-ed sound of my Step-Dad screaming into the now-empty trailer, asking no one where I went. He was mad that his little slave-girl was gone. I dashed into the forest, not caring if it hurt me, I couldn't let him see me.

I jumped over bushes, and then ran between rocks and trees, the prickly thorns barely touching my swift movements. My black hair swirled around me in a fury of speed. I had gone 50 feet away from my home, the farthest I've ever been. And for once, a smile breached my face, letting me seem happy for one day in my life.

It was all behind me, and the only thing left were scars. The only story that can be told comes from the unspeaking pink lines of tissue, the red welts, and the yellow bruises.

Some from the razor, which was securely hidden in my shoe, some from the belt, which was holding up a bastards pants, and some from the fists and feet that he walked on and picked things up with.

And those were the only memories I had to keep.

The smile felt good.

Really good.

Chapter 3

I sat on the edge of a road, I wasn't sure what road it was, but it was surely a road. I was half asleep, and still waiting for someone to pick me up. I stood there, my hand out, and my thumb jutted. Waiting, waiting, waiting, I kept on waiting. A few cars came by and lifted my hopes, but they just rolled on by. Another car came thru, it started to slow, it was a black car, Nissan, maybe, and it stopped for me. Another smile breached my face, bringing up my hopes.

A man got out, he looked to be in his early thirties, not too old, not too young, and he had a nice face. A warm smile, and that 5 O'Clock aftershave. He wore a simple Polo and jeans, so he seemed to be the ideal father. But, no one else was in his car.

Oh no. I recognized this. It was just like home, just like him, but, he has a car, oh no, no no no, this cannot be happening.

I raced off in the opposite direction, leaving the man confused. I heard a car door slam, and then the screeching of tires as he drove off.

I couldn't but help to feel relieved.

I tried hitch-hiking again, and stood there. Again. Waiting, counting the seconds tick by, but I was mintues behind. After what seemed like days, but was only a few minutes, I drew someone I never thought I would see. I heard about them, but never saw them. My Step-Dad barley mentioned them. They were rich. They wouldn't be down in crappy Alabama. I looked again when they left the car to be sure. Was I? Yeah, I was.

"Excuse me Miss, but, are you a Nikki McCalan?" the velevteen voice echoed thru the air into my mind. It was beautiful.

"Y-y-yes, wh-y-y?" I stuttered the words, not sure of what to say. The blue designs on the man's face captivated me, and the Crescent in the center of his forehead was mystifying.

"I have been requested by my Priestess to find you. Will you please come with me? It isn't that far of a drive. Only to Oklahoma. That is, if you want to journey into the world of Vampyre," he said it. The word, the name of his people.

No, of my people. They would be my people now.

"Of, of course, th-th-thank you," and I got into the car. Well, I planned to run away.

This was ten times better.

Chapter 4

"Miss, excuse me miss, it's time to wake up. We're approaching the gates," the velveteen voice rang again, awaking me. I grabbed my backpack, unsure of what happened next. Where did he say I was?

"Ah, hello, you must be Nikki. Merry Meet," an even richer voice filled the air. A Woman's voice. It seemed to flow into the now opened car door.

"Y-yes, I'm Nikki. Um, where am I?" I had stuttered more, and then looked around the scenery. It felt so, alive. So beautiful.

"The Tulsa House of Night. Please, come into one of the buildings, you must be freezing. It's bad for you, you're Mark, what an interesting one it is, is new. It must hurt, please, come in," her hair flowed down her back, and I could see half of her shoulder. It was covered in Sapphire Blue markings, as well her face. And, something new seemed to be around her. Something weird. Like, the smell of the ocean, and of flowers, all at once. And there was a sudden warmness that surrounded me when she spoke. And, wind seemed to be around, but I couldn't feel it. Was she, no, no, she couldn't be. Could she?

"Um, excuse me, Priestess? Is it? Um, are you Zoey Redbird?" I couldn't stop myself from asking. She nodded her head. Oh My . . .

"Yes, I think you would have heard of me. I am not too fond of the newspaper, but, well, how else can the House Of Night have benefits?" She laughed, and it was apparently contagious. I started to laugh too, lowly, but still a laugh. She had an auroa of happiness surrounding her.

"Wait, you said my Mark was interesting? What did you mean?" I snapped back to what she said, part of my attentiveness for things that happened a few minutes ago.

"Well, darling, it's not full, and it isn't empty. It seems to be a Celtic Knotted Crescent. And, it isn't Sapphire. It's, what would you say, Damien? What colour?" a man in black came into the room, and gazed at my Mark.

"I would diffinatley say . . . Violet. Well, I can't be sure, so, dark, Violet," when he spoke the invisible wind picked up.

"Darling, as ever, you're right," another man came into the room and put his arm around Damien's. He had a girlish stance, and a high pitched voice. Not much happened after he spoke, but the wind seemed happier.

"Jack, have you seen Aphrodite? I believe she had a vision earlier, and I wish to talk to her. It might pertain our new guest," the woman, er, Zoey, glanced at me.

"Um, I think she is . . . busy, with Darius in her room," he smiled a sheepish smile, and it took me a while to understand. And then I wish I hadn't.

"That girl never changes," Zoey whispered under her breath, but chuckled.

"Do you need something, Priestess, I sensed you needed assistance . . ." a strong man appeared in the room, half clothed. I had to admit, for as emotionally deprived as I was, he was one cute man.

"Darius, it was Aphrodite I needed, but thank you," Zoey couldn't hold a laugh back.

"Oh, alright, but I must warn you, she drunk too much last night, and isn't in the best of moods," Darius sighed and called for someone quietly from out the door.

"Zoey, if this is about my goddamn vision, I swear I'll slap you . . . " the girl, who seemed to be Aphrodite stopped mid sentece when she saw me. Or, saw my Mark, really.

"Aphrodite, I'm afraid you're gonna slap me, so, release it now," Zoey laughed a bit, and then everything else happened too fast. Aphrodite had fallen, Zoey went to her, and I think I fainted. So far, my stay at the House of Night was a bad impression.