Perfect by nature…

A beautiful young girl sauntered across the street, followed closely by a blonde man. Her brown hair blew gently in the wind, her black gown twisting silently. Her eyes were intently focused on the theatre door, her thoughts, though were somewhere different.

When she was fourteen, her grandmother died. Her abuela. The doctors say it had something to do with her heart. "Her poor ticker just gave out," He'd said in monotone. As if this happened everyday, as if young girls lost their precious all the time.

She'd been her father's mother. Her death had hit him hard. No longer was he the kind, loving father he used to be. He was a grieving soul. He wanted to be there for his sweet girl; he just couldn't. She looked so much like her. It was just six months later when he acknowledged Maria's existence. Maria lay sprawled on her bedroom floor, sobbing her brown eyes out. Her papa had comforted her… and then disappeared, in spirit.

Maria's mother had left her at a young age. Not left like her abuela. She just spilt one night when Maria was five, disappearing to never return. When Maria was fifteen she saw someone who just had to be her long lost mama. She followed this lady around, stalking her.

She had always been a precocious little girl. Rowdy too, one of the boys. She was cruel to animals and people alike; spitting, kicking, bruising them. Nobody liked an angry Maria. Always the malicious one, she once beat a girl because she had pulled her hair. Grandmother and father both gave up on her at age ten.

And so she waited in the shadows, every night following her mother. One evening, three months before her sixteenth birthday, Maria had been stumbled upon. Not by her mother, as she hoped. But by a young man, with a beard and wild hair. He told her things she could only dream about, but he was rough. He'd rapped his cold fingers around Maria's small arms, and pushed her against the brick.

The man, Andrew as he became known, was her sire. He used her for his own advantage and dominated her and everyone else. He taught the newborn how to fight and merciless punished her when she failed. After she hit her three year mark, a feat, he raped her. Enraged and sick of the treatment, Maria began devising plans. She decided that in the upcoming battle she would try to lose. Try to get her leader killed. Maria wanted to start an army of her own.

As luck would have it, Maria got her wish. She rounded up Lucy and Nettie, two others from different covens. They began their partnership, seeking out men who held potential. She had a small army and little land when she spied him. The air coming off him was something she'd never seen. Something she'd never fathomed. The potential he held, she shuddered in pleasure.

He was changed of course, this Jasper Whitlock. Major Whitlock. Maria had always had a thing for soldiers. They worked well together and the volatile boy and her started a companionship. Not a romantic one. Hell no. Maria felt wrinkles of disgust at the thought. The companionship they had was of Master and dog. She was Mistress, and he was her toy. Replaceable, easy to break, and oh so ready to please her.

It took two decades but finally Maria had it all. She had the largest and most feared army in the south. She had the most land and most loyal assets. Sadly, she had to begin recruiting woman. With wars, and plain shortage, Maria had no were to turn. Maria did not trust girls. Not after Lucy and Nettie betrayed her. They'd called Jasper into the forest and told him to bring Maria to them. They would kill her together and rule the south. Jasper agreed. He left and told Maria. Tricking Lucy and Nettie. He was promoted to general the same day.

Maria had always been a lovely girl. She was small, just over five feet. Maria had a taut body, from all the running she did as a child. Curves, she had little, but made up for them in breast size. Maria had a soft, angelic, childlike face. Her beauty was stunning. She was like a goddess.

And to Jasper, she was. Maria was his leader, his sire, his mistress. She was a goddess, an angel, a miracle. She had always told him how special he was, how he was her favorite. She spoiled him, Maria once said. But, Maria had giggled, if you keep being so great, I will not need stop. You make me so happy. She loved him, she said so. And he loved her back.

Maria detested love. She lied to Jasper, wanting for him to be more loyal. Told him she loved him, which was a blanten mistruth. It humored her to think he believed her. Jasper was so naïve. Maria knew he had trouble believing her, had to keep lying to himself. So Maria brought him along on her scouting missions, made him feel important.

So here they crept, crouching in the shadows, waiting. Five men walked out of the building, three old and of no importance to Maria. The fourth was too young, twelve or thirteen. But the other, he was just right. Platinum blonde hair cascaded down to his shoulders. He walked a bit behind the others. Maria noted he looked like Jasper. So much in fact, they could be twins.

Maria nodded to her number two and stood, flouncing out of the alley. She placed a palm against his chest, just over heart. The seductress placed a kiss on his cheek, whispering the lies she loved to tell. He was scared, this man. They always were. Maria gave a sigh. Her cue to Jasper to calm him down. Maria could see him relax and smiled approvingly. "What is your name?" She asked the man. His friends had walked off, no clue to the fact that their friend was about to die.

"Peter," He breathed, mesmerized by the girls beauty. His green eyes shifted nervously to Jasper. Even though he could not see his scars, Peter knew he was trouble. Peter also knew the girl was in charge of him, something he found funny. Peter stood terrified as the angel lowered her lips to his neck. She kissed it softly. Peter noticed Jasper turn his head and close his eyes.

Maria sunk her teeth into his sweet flesh. She drank for a moment, marveling at the beauty of her drink. She was alerted to Jaspers distress and pulled away from her newest minion, Peter. She let his body flop to the floor. Peter was wriggling, squirming in pain. Maria found this comical. She kicked his body into the alley. She let Jasper gag him and she hid him behind some crates. No one would know.

She took him hunting. Maria offered Jasper a fair lady, asking if he wanted her for his pleasure. He declined. He always did. When day was creeping up on them, Maria got Peter and allowed Jasper to drag him back to camp. Camp, of course, was a two story house in the middle of nowhere. It did not look lived in, something Maria prided herself upon. Jasper dropped Peter into a spare room and joined Maria in the execution chamber. Things needed taking care of.

Peter didn't want to go out. It was his father's birthday and he was taking two of his friends and his younger brother to see a show. Peter had never been one for social gatherings. He preferred soliatude and he found solace in a book. But, as a child, he had no choice in the matter. Peter was twenty-one. He thought himself old enough to decide what he does and does not do. He was living with his parent, that in itself limited what he could and could not do. And, it was his father's sixth year. How could he not go?

So Peter dressed himself in his Sunday clothes; the only formal things he owns. The show was to his father's liking, as it should be. Peter busied himself with munching on popcorn while he thought of over things.

He was born in Galveston, Texas but had moved to Dallas when he was six. His mother was murdered – mugged and strangled. Peter was left with his cranky, lazy little brother. His father, George, worked two jobs, late into the night. So, Peter spent a lot of time on his own, something he cherished.

Peter had always been a smart child. He excelled in school, and attended many different functions. He'd been a member of Beta Club, and head of others. He didn't have many friends but he didn't mind. Peter wasn't social, but he was skilled in those matters. If you were to strike up a conversation with him, you'd instantly feel comfortable.

The show ended and Peter took his time following his family and friends out of the theatre. He noticed two people – a pretty girl and a scary man. They walked quickly over to him, faster than things can go. Peter tensed when the young girl paused in front of him.

Charlotte busied herself with skipping about the room, smiling at the perfection. Her mother was in the kitchen, humming something Charlotte wasn't famioer with. The front door opened and in sauntered her father. "Daddy!" Charlotte cried happily, racing over to give her father a hug.

James chuckled and ruffled his daughter's hair. "I'm too old for that!" Charlotte complained half-heartily. Secretly, she liked it. Charlotte was a sixteen-year-old cheerleader from Laredo, Texas. She was a very popular girl, and very smart. Charlotte was beautiful and seemingly perfect.

In truth, Charlotte was anything but perfect. Yes, she was nice to her fellow classmates. But when she was a little girl she had witnessed a murder and hadn't said a thing about it. Ever. The womans' death is still a mystery, the man who killed her still walking free. In fact, Charlotte can point out the man. He works at the post office. His name is Kevin Hopt.

Charlotte was too scared. She didn't want to come clean. And anyway, what if she told the police and they didn't believe her? Would Kevin kill her too? Charlotte shuddered. What if the police believed her? What would she have to go through and what would they say to her about not telling sooner? Could she get in trouble for that? She was paranoid.

Sometimes, Charlotte could swear she heard things or saw things that aren't real. Only sometimes. She hears screaming. But it's shrill, and high-pitched. Like the murdered lady's. Or sometimes when she is alone she can still here the cruel laughter. Charlotte doesn't like being alone.

Maria reached her spoiled butt onto her throne. On the other end of the table, in a chair slightly less grand than hers, sat Jasper. Along the others chairs – boring, hard wood, was her army. Only her and Jasper got the padded chairs. Maria licked her lips, her eyes running down the ranks. Closest to her were her oldest soldiers, and down by Jasper were the younger ones.

It did not escape Maria that most all newborns were glaring with jealousy. Everyone but that Peter. He was a curious one. Peter and Jasper seemed to have formed a friendship. That was something Maria was going to keep her eyes on.

Anyway, how was she to know that that one man was to be the downfall of her entire army? How was she to knew Peter would leave with a newborn, three years later? That he'd come back and take Jasper? Maria had no idea how beneficial Jasper is to her army. When he left fights became more frequent, with no one to control the emotions. Her numbers would have to get smaller, to avoid these sorts of things. Whispers of munity would fly. Maria would have to kill those.

By 1982 she would lose everything but her hometown. Then she would hunt down Jasper. She'd tell him to come back. He would saw no! Maria would return, but twenty years later she would have to flee north. Maria would lose all of her land by 2002. She'd stay in North Carolina, plotting. She turn them slowly, pay special attention to them. Then she would return south with her superior army.

But Maria didn't know that. All she knew was that at this moment she held the largest and most powerful army in her grasp. Nothing else matters. Maria sees Jasper and Peter conversing, friendly, pleasant. The thought of killing him passes through her mind. She decides not to. What could he do to her?