Inside a small yet cozy room, decorated with only one bed and a single bookcase, sat a girl at a desk that had meant to be a dresser. The girl was named Selene. A young witch with talent beyond her 17 years who was already working feverently on a new spell with her favorite quill, a gift from her brother.
From the corner of her eye, she saw the shadows shift about the room, growing, shrouding the room in darkness despite the numerous candle fixtures, before subsiding. In the darkness she saw her skin glow with stardust, a mark all Witchs had, connecting them to Reborns, children of the Goddess of Light. She sighed, somewhat annoyed, but a little charmed by her brothers boredom.
But she was not budging from her work.
The creak from her wooden door however, did make her look up. Her purple eyes looked past her black bangs, taking in the sight of her older brother Eris, leaning casually against her doorframe, arms crossed, shoulders slumpled, a spark of mischief in his green eyes. She knew better than most that nothing good came from his boredom.
“Haven’t you finished that spell yet, Selene?”
Selene bit the inside of her cheek to resist pursing her lips at him. He always teased her when she did that and she was in no mood.
“Do you think I’d be working on it right now if I had?” He rolled his eyes at her, stepping in and kicking the door closed. Her eys flicked to the shoes on his feet. A chill began to creep up her spine with each step he took towards her.
“Would you like some help, little sister dear?”
Selene, ignoring his condescending tone, returned her attention to her notebook. “Only if I want to fail. Spells are not your forte.”
“Your point?” Eris stopped in front of her bed, leaning against the post, his staring past her and into the dark wet night. This time she rolled her eyes. She was about to tell him how unbearable he was when he spoke again, filling the silence between them.
“We should go out.”
She flinched, nearly dropping her quill. “Now I know you’ve lost your senses. It is the middle of the night, and Vampyres are at the edge of town.”
“Vampyres are always at the edge of the town.”
“Eris, they broke through a barrier two towns over and we don’t know if the extra measures the Council took are enough. Home is where it is safest.”
“They’ll kill us whether we’re in here or outside.”
“At least at home we can defend ourselves.” Eris continued to stare past her, and she wondered if he had even listened to her. Sometimes you couldn’t tell with Eris. He did what he did, no matter the repercussions.
“We’ll be fine little witchling,” he soothed in a condescending tone, reaching down to pat her head.
Fury ebbed away her patience. Slapping his hand away she glared at him. “Don’t patronize me, brother. We’re Witches, we’re mortal, and being Touched-born does not save you, Eris.” It was an awful thing to say to him, to remind him they were only half-siblings, to remark on what made him different. But whatever would make him listen, she was willing to use. Unfortunately, it seemed to backfire.
His lips curled into an arrogant smile. “Oh, but I’m one of a kind, darling.”
Selene was edging closer and closer to punching him. She was faster, a better fighter than him. She could do it, knock him out, save herself the headache, and go back to work.
“Don’t be so obnoxious,” she began steadily, holding her building rage at bay. “Your ability to toy with shadows is unique, but you’re not the only Touched-born to exist. You, brother, are not one of a kind.”
He finally looked at her, a small smile on his face. “True, but I am the only one here in this itty bitty down. Besides, I thought you liked it when I ‘toy with shadows’.” The room darkened athis will. Annoyed, she looked back at her notes for her current spell design.
“Enough games. I’m not in the mood.”
“Then get in the mood, Selene.” His tone was cold, harsh. She could see that he was upset since he was being more childlike than normal. Thoughts of asking him what was wrong with him made Selene decide against it. When he acted like a spoilt child, she didn’t appreciate having to deal with him.
“I’d rather not. I want to perfect this spell before the Queen arrives on her journey.”
He sighed, his tone becoming harsher. “The Queen is just another Reborn. There is hardly anything special about her.”
She wanted to add, “The same is said of you,” but she bit her tongue and scanned the door for her mother.
“Don’t be so rotten, Eris,” she hushed. “What if mother hears you?” Selene kept an eye on the light that leaked in from beneath her door, worried that her mother was wandering the halls. But no lights flickered, no wood creaked under the pressure of footsteps in the dark.
“I don’t care.”
Confusion overtook her. Selene never understood her brother when he was in these moods, flitting from one emotion to the next, going from love to hate in an instant.
“You should,” she began softly; “your father was one.” It was what set him apart. What distinguished them. Eris’ father had been a Reborn, a higher race of beings with wings that shone as brightly as their hearts, while her father was a Witch.
“He was killed!” Her voice rose, and she looked back at the door. “It’s not the Reborns you should hate, and you know that. A Shadowling killed him. He’ll return when Reborn—”
“You don’t know that.”
That was how his brain was wired: from one state of mind to another. It made being his sister difficult at times. “What happened to all that arrogance,” she scolded, slamming her leather-bound notebook shut. “You’re usually so proud of being a half-breed.”
“Not for you, Eris,” she hissed. “It simply twists into resentment or anger.”
He eyed her, bemused. “Is there a difference?”
“Not for you.” Thunderstruck, causing Selene to flinch, caught off guard, and look outside. “Well, come on, we better go before you upset mother.”
“Really? That’s all it took to get you to agree. Hmm, I’ll have to remember this.”
“Shut up.” Selene grabbed her long, heavy leather coat for protection from the approaching storm, giving her brother one last scathing look before exiting the room and descending the stairs.
They passed through the dark fire-lit living room on the lower level. There were three oil lamps along the walls and a fireplace near the far wall in this small room. Their mother paused in observance, a woman of only fifty years old, still in her prime as far as witches went, with black hair, sat in her small armchair, knitting needles in her hand. The beginnings of crinkles around her brown eyes returned their concern. As she shoved her brother out into the rain, Selene tried to give her a reassuring smile. Her father winked at her with his purple eyes while smoking on his pipe. But, as usual, the wink told her to look after her brother.
As she closed the door behind her, Eris raised his collar against his neck and looked back at his half-sister. Selene noticed her rage-filled purple eyes reflected in his gaze. He was trying hard not to laugh at her, she could tell by the pinch of his cheek. The light from the oil-lit streetlamps revealed his idiotic happy expression.
“Oh, what now?” chuckled Eris, shoving his hands into his long, heavy trench coat pockets.
“You’re insufferable, Eris! We’re standing in the rain because you’re bored.” Selene spread her arms, exasperated.
“Your point being?”
“You should be more in tune with your spell casting instead of disturbing mine.” She turned her back to him and walked down the dirt path. “You won’t always be able to fall back on your tricks.”
“It’s a talent, not a trick.”
Selene looked back at her brother sadly. “It’s a great talent, but playing with shadows can only get you so far.”
“Really? And what was it you were perfecting, huh? What spell were you working on tonight?”
“If you must know, you arrogant ass, it was fire.”
“Fire, how amazing. That’s the thing that powers these lamps, right?” His tone dripped with sarcasm. “Why is it so important that you finish before the Queen arrives?”
“She’s an Original, a First Born, who just happens to specialize in Fire magic.”
“You just want to see the palace.” Selene smiled at his relaxing tone. Then, looking up at him, happy to see that he was returning to his simplistic self, she wrapped her arms around him.
“Yes, that would be a plus.”
“I see right through you little sister.”
“I know,” she said, smiling. So they continued their stroll, the thunder lightening their way as the clouds grew thicker, dimming the moonlight on the path. Shadows danced along their way, making Selene smile and laugh.
But something moved in the darkness to her right, a shadow with strange proportions, almost like a human shape. Then, out of the corner of her eye, a form caught her attention, and she jerked. The rain had dimmed the streetlamps and left condensation on the glass above them, making it difficult for her to examine the air. But there was nothing there, she assured herself, scanning the darkened sky for the two moons.
As the rain fell, her coat became heavier. Her leather-booted feet finally stopped moving in a puddle. Eris kept an eye on her, trying to figure out what was going on behind the shadows.
“Selene, there isn’t anything there.”
“I could have sworn I saw something.”
“It could have been Jeanette or Blake. Come on out, guys.”
“Shh.” She shook her head. “They have more sense to stay inside.”
“It’s probably just a cat then—”
“Eris, shut up for a moment and listen.” Eris obeyed and looked around. There was something in the shadows, and even with the rain and thunder, he felt silence surround them.
“Let’s head back home.” Selene nodded and grabbed her brother’s arms fearfully.
The rain pushed against them as they made their way back home. Her long black hair was drenched and clung to every part of her. A twig broke, and she jerked.
“Eris, please find out what that is.”
Eris was hesitant, but his curiosity got the better of him. He pulled away from the shadows, but whatever it was, was gone.
“Selene, we—ugh!” Eris collapsed. Water flew over his head, filling his nostrils, as his head hit the ground. He could hear his sister yelling for him, her struggle, her screams for help as something else attacked her, but his fear of what had hit him drowned her out. A woman stood above him, her skin as pale as the moon and devoid of any light. She snarled at him, licking her lips and perfectly exposing her long, thick fangs to Eris. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Selene do what he couldn’t: she got the animal off.
“Entida!” The Vampyre flew off him, leaving Eris shaky. He looked up at his sister, thankful she had appeared unscathed from her attacker. Except she wasn’t unscathed. Eris saw the glaze over her eyes as she lifted him off the ground. They were unfocused, as though she had just left a daze.
“No time, Eris. Ignis!” Fire flew from her fingertips and spun out in tendrils around them, living through the stormy rain that beat down on them. Selene dragged him along after her. Their feet pounded on the wet ground that the rain had turned to mush, splashing water all around. Sparing a look behind him, Eris could see the gazes of both Vampyres. They both reminded him of his dreams and people he thought he knew, but it was the girl who stood out. Her snarls and laughs had been blue in his dreams. Why did she resemble the girl from his dreams, or someone he recognized? Why did he feel so familiar when she touched him while pinning him to the ground?
Eris stumbled out of his reverie and fell to the floor as Selene shoved him inside. Eris raised his head to Selene as she slammed the door. Shavings of wood fell to the ground near their feet as she began to inscribe a rune across the back of the door, her blade digging deeper and deeper into the wood. Eris stood, using his gift to manipulate the shadows and fill the house with darkness, hoping to conceal their presence, if not their scent. Their mother and father fled to other rooms, their voices barely audible before Selene silenced them. When the banging started, Eris and Selene backed away from the door. As evidence that it was effective, the rune softly glow in the night.
Selene, on the other hand, was bracing herself. She was a survivor and a fighter. Selene was the girl who studied sword fighting; she was the one who could handle a sword and see her opponents move ahead of them. She was the one who would argue and fight until she died, who never let fear overcome her, even when it was right outside their door.
Eris sat terrified in front of the fireplace. This should never have happened; the magic that surrounded his home should never have failed. And who was to say that if that magic failed, Selene’s magic would hold? There was nothing to say his house was safe, and each pound on the door reminded him of the grim reality: Vampyres had broken through the barrier.
Blood Hunger (Eclipsing Trilogy, #1)
Eris and Selene Sintas thought their menial Witching lives were simple. That was until the magical barrier protecting their small town vanished in the night, attracting not just the Vampyre’s that go bump in the night. Suddenly, the two siblings discover that they have been dragged into a war between the sisters of light and darkness.
Now, hunted by creatures stronger than Vampyre’s and far more evil, the Sintas Siblings must find refuge before they lose their souls to the Goddess of Darkness.