She had learned to use her powers, to listen to the wisdom of the darkness, but most of all she learned how to survive. She became cold like the shadows that surrounded her now, their soft embrace greeting her, serving her. It wasn't as comforting as her mother's touch, but it was the only thing she had left.

When she saw the ashes of her home, she abandoned her name. She was no longer that girl, because that girl was dead, so she became Ephemera. Because her life had lasted only a short time and because she now knew that happiness is just for a second, the rest is darkness.

I could hear him calling to me. My family had a meeting and I was supposed to be there as well, but fell late because I had something else to do. Something more important. I decided to attend anyway, only for the sake of appearing like I care.

They were all around the table, my father at the head of the table, where he could observe his progeny.

"Ah, there you are, Ephemera. We were beginning to think you wouldn't show up."

"My apologies father. I did not mean to keep you waiting." My voice and my shadow's voice both speak together. A minor detail I had developed over the years. At first I said one thing and then my shadow would state another, like it suffered from some sort of Tourette Syndrome. But like with most things in my life I learned how to control it. Must not let anyone see or smell any weaknesses.

"Had you been any later we would have given your mission to Zerensky."

I look across the table and my brother gives me an alligator smile. He wants my place. A mediocre dream for a mediocre man.

He sits next to my mongoloid brother, Xerx. The guy looks like a failed experiment, like whoever made Zerensky made him first as some sort of trial. Still, I will give him that out of all my siblings he is the one I fear the most. He is smart, old and most of all, unquestionably loyal to father and to his dream. And because of that, he is, to put it simply, wasted blood.

"We wouldn't want to leave you out of the loop, sister. After all, had it not been for your talents we would have never found the perfect location for our plan." Ah, my dear sister, Ferril. How I loathe to even be near her, her mere existence is an insult. This pathetic misuse of space measures her power in how many punches she can give and how many punches she can take. Maybe some of those blows altered her brain, although I don't know if she had a brain to be altered in the first place.

My shadows speak to me about her. I have learned to trust these voices and to listen to their counsel, for their information always proves to be genuine. They seem to have insight into the lives of my peers far more than I could gather from spying on them. They tell me stories, well, they're not stories anymore because they are real, but these stories range from amusing to freighting. Most of the time, they give me trivial details that apparently have no practical use, still a lot of years with them have taught me that the wisest thing would be to listen. From what I could gather they seem to know the future, the past. And they tell me about Ferril, that she will refuse to die. They tell me about Xerx that death will be the most interesting thing that has ever happened in his life, and that he will take it on as a new subject to be studied. They tell me that Zerensky was a loser, is a loser and will die like a loser. I listen to these voices but do not construct my plans around them. I take pride in knowing that even if they tell me that my brother is no threat I will still be prepared. He is a vampire after all, a Dracula wannabe, but a vampire non-the-less.

They tell me that I will be smothered by the very darkness I sought to control. I could care less. I just said that I do not make my plans around their whispers, and besides I wouldn't mind that, so long as I live to see all of my relatives die.

And my father. They don't murmur, they scream threats from the shadows when it comes to him. It seems that the darkness hates him as much as I do, or maybe it's the projection of my own hate echoing in their voice? They tell me that it's his blood that will kill him in the end. And it's his blood that will destroy his dream, he will live to see it, but not enjoy it. A fitting send-off. I'm guessing it's my blood that they are referring to.

My family. We deserve each other.

...

He is my reason for being late. Severin. I've watched him for a long time, making his existence debunking paranormal phenomena. I watched his show where he would go to different so-called "haunted" locations and prove that they were mere hoaxes. He liked to see that the world works the way he says and that anyone who says otherwise is ignorant and idiot. He enjoyed feeling superior to others, showing that if they wanted to trust "faith" and "magic" over reason and science then they probably weren't as smart or educated as him. I liked what I saw.

I had tried so many times before to find someone worth my blood, but to no avail. After I got bored with them I turned them. I've made quite a large army like that. An army made out of rejects.

But he was different. I could tell. My shadows say he is different as well, but they refused to say more. They said that it wasn't necessary to know more for he will not be with me for long. Then silence. It infuriates me when that happens, when they leave me with questions and I know they have the answers.

I see him going into the house. His crew has already left and he's all alone, almost like he's tempting whatever creatures lurk in the darkness to come out, only so he could slap them and show them that if his world told them they didn't exist then they really didn't exist.

"Excuse me." Poor guy almost jumps out of his shoes. He turns around and looks at me stunned.
"What are you doing here?" I ask him a rhetoric question for I'm not really interested in his answer, just his reaction.

"I could ask you the same." He came to his senses quickly, good. "Who are you?"

"A…fan. Do you always work on Valentine's Day?"

He raised an eyebrow, but again I was not interested in his answer.

"How do you do that?" He gestured with his chin to my shadows. "Are those holograms? Or are you using different light sources to make the shadows move like that?"

A slight smile crossed my face, I like his inquisitive nature.

"I want to talk to you about your methods and beliefs."

"I don't meant to be rude, but it's late. Do you have any idea how it feels after 12 hours of work straight?"

I didn't answer right away, I was more preoccupied with his stance: a little defensive and just a little scared. I liked that he wasn't frightened of me, though. But I would soon change that.

"Mmm…." I murmured, appearing as if I were thinking.

"Stop if it starts to hurt." A joke, how cute.

I spread my arms and shadows black out any light in the room. I press my lips to his and let darkness overcome us.

I don't know why I took him. I wanted a new soldier, I liked him or maybe I was just bored. Sometimes I look into his eyes and I recognize how he feels from the choices he has left: death or captivity. I though about saying: 'don't worry, I'm going to take care of you'. Only I didn't say that because it's bullshit. I know it is. I fell for a lie like that once.

Or maybe I took him because it was Valentine's Day and I was lonely? No.

She could never admit why she took him. Or that just like her mother she was plagued by loneliness. But she knew that when he had been asleep, she had taken a part of his shadow and tied it to her own. This way if something happened they would find their way back to each other.