No one slept that night. The Vampyres stayed at their door. Eris sensed them out there through the shadows. Even though they had given up breaking into their home, they knew they were unsafe until the sun rose.
Eris looked over at his sister, taking in her disheveled look and empty stare in her eyes. Her legs were pulled up to her chest; arms wrapped too tightly around them. On the surface, she looked unscathed, but Vampyres’ had more than one way to feed. Memories were powerful gifts fueled with passion and magic. Eris wondered what memories the male Vampyre had stolen from her, what thoughts had seemed the most delicious. It was all his fault she had lost whatever had been precious to her.
“Go to sleep you two,” said their mother, brushing her daughter’s hair away from her neck. Selene brushed her mother’s hand away, indifferently, as though swatting a gnat from her face, but nodded slowly, absentmindedly. Following Selene eagerly, Eris watched her bare feet step across the wood floors and up the stairs.
“Not now, Eris.” She grabbed her leather-bound spell book and let out a small scream trying to open it, letting the book fall to the ground. Selene collapsed into tears, the fear she had been holding in bursting out. Angrily, she covered her face with her hands, muffling her cries. Picking up the book, Eris took his sister into his arms.
“Hush, Selene,” whispered Eris into her ear, “it’ll be all right.”
“They stole two years of my life Eris. Two years’ worth of memories.”
Eris hugged her tightly, consoling her. “It’s all right. Sefti abree.” The book opened, and Selene looked through the pages.
“So now I have the last year of my life, but not the year before,” said Selene wiping at her tears.
“Well, you were very boring then. You slept in most days, very lazy—”
“Oh, hush Eris,” she said laughing, slapping him lightly on the arm. “I have enough sense to know that that was you.”
“A pity,” yawned Eris, soon followed by Selene. “You’ll be lazy today, though. No leaving the house for us.”
“Wrong. You know there will be a town meeting, we have to attend it, we’re witnesses. And I need to find out why the magic didn’t hold. This shouldn’t have happened. This was my idea, the barriers to mimic the central cities; I need to know why it failed.” Wiping her nose, Selene sniffled. So that was it; her pride and ego had been injured on top of it all.
“You’re insisting, aren’t you?” Eris yawned again, laying down on her bed. Selene pinched his side, making him look at her, and nodded, her big purple eyes wide with utter determination.
“Yes. You could have died Eris or been turned. They wanted my memories, but there was something in that girl’s eyes. She wanted you.”
He ignored the latter part of the conversation, patting the bed beside him. “Which would be worse? Me turning or dying?”
“It’s a toss-up.” Selene smiled at her brother’s coy smile before crawling under her simple blue cotton sheets as the sun rose.
The Leader of the High Council was missing and had been missing for days. The news was not greeted gracefully. Selene sat in the back row of the plain two-floor council hall with her brother. The sunlight washed in through the tall windows alongside the building walls. Together, the siblings watched the townspeople gather in expected outrage.
Beside her and Eris were two of their friends. Selene looked over at Jeanette on Eris’s left side. From her neck dangled a moon charm which she grasped so tightly the whites of her knuckles were visible, muttering a prayer to the Goddess of Light under her breath. On Selene’s right, Blake sat still, his eyes unmoving, the rising and falling of his chest the only signs of life.
Selene’s mother and father stood at the forefront of the angry mob. This knowledge should have been shared with the town, not kept from then in some misguided attempt to protect them. As far as the Sintas siblings thought, the lack of knowledge had done more harm than good. Something that incredibly pissed Eris off.
“They got through!” yelled Blake’s father, Hemion, holding onto his wife.
“We aren’t safe! You said we would always be safe within the town runes!” screamed Jeanette’s mother, Artesia. Jeanette’s crystal blue eyes looked back and forth between Eris and Selene. Eris took her hand and gripped it tightly. Her dark lashes brushed against her worry-drawn tears. Eris gave her a reassuring and charming smile to push her tears away. He was fine; it was Selene who was not.
Eris’s head shot up at the sound of the gavel. Lucita, the new leader of the High Town Council, looked around, staring down the crowd.
“Enough. I know my actions here were selfish, but I felt I had no other choice.” Eris glared at her. She had always wanted the role of leadership. She was barely in the position for two months and was already messing everything up. Hopefully, this removed her from office. Standing from her spot atop the podium that was, lucky for her, behind a low wooden barricade, it looked like she was having that same fear.
“Now, will all the Elders join me in reinstituting the runes at once? That is the more urgent matter that needs attending.” Lucita walked off without another word, her long council robe flowing behind her. The disgruntled, mumbling Elders followed, Selene’s parents included. Blake placed an arm on Selene’s shoulders. Selene looked up at him, a warm smile on her lips. However, it lacked the affection she had had for him. Affection attached to memories stolen in the night
“You’re gonna be fine, Selene. You’ll remember your life.” Blake kissed her cheek and walked off. Jeanette embraced her tightly, and Selene stiffened at the touch of a lie. Selene was aware that while Jeanette loved her brother, she had very little affection for her.
“Jeanette, please, how about we not do this now.” Jeanette’s delicate blond hair surrounded her delicate face.
“Selene, how can you be so calm?” said Janette, pulling away, keeping her hands on her shoulder. “A Vampyre attacked you! Stole—”
“Enough!” Selene’s purple eyes flared in annoyance and anger.
Selene spun around and left the council chambers. Her shoes pounded against the wooden steps as she made her way out into the warm embrace of the sunlight in the cloudless sky. Her skin glowed as she stood there, staring at the forest surrounding their small town of two-story houses circling the Council Hall, trying to penetrate the dark depths with her mortal eyes. The Vampyres would not be out now without any shade or dark cover to protect them. Their skin was not that tolerant. They hoped.
“Selene,” came her brother’s voice, deep and full of concern. Selene looked at her brother, his green eyes sparkling with concern. Selene waved him away, slipping off her sandals.
“Put your shoes on, you’ll cut yourself.”
“Oh Eris, you keep forgetting, magic is my friend.”
While it was nice to see her smile, he still worried about her. She had acted rashly in the night, carving runes on the back of her legs, right above her ankle. The wounds were still fresh, leaving a small trace of blood to trickle down her ankle.
“I wish you hadn’t done that, Selene. What if they don’t get the new barriers up in time? Your blood will be fresh in the air. They’ll come after you again.”
“I have faith, brother.”
“You and your faith.”
Selene spun at him angrily, pausing with her fingers outstretched like a cat, ready to strike and her back hunched to let her pounce. Eris was suddenly afraid of the feral look in her eyes. “Yes, faith, you arrogant ass! I just lost two years of my life! I need my faith!” Her chest rose and fell higher and higher, and her eyes began to water, her defenses weakening. Tentatively, still afraid that she would strike, Eris embraced her, patting her hair down to kiss the top of her head.
“I’m sorry, Selene. Look, everything will be fine, I promise.” Eris touched the back of her neck where she had asked the High Council to allow Eris to inscribe her Earth Rune, a rune shaped like an upside-down triangle with a wave through it. When Witches came of age at sixteen, they chose a rune to specialize and harness their magic. Eris wondered if that memory still lingered.
“Eris, I just want to go home.”
“I told you we should have just slept in; you need to learn to listen to me.” Selene almost laughed.
“Why should I? You’re rarely right.” She pulled away, smiling again, as she continued her way home.
“So fickle little sister,” he muttered, making his way back to Jeanette, who stood there waiting for him
“Is she alright?” asked Jeanette wrapping her dainty arms around his waist.
“She will be.” Eris looked after his sister, hopeful.
Eris sat outside Selene’s room, balancing himself on a tree branch. He had almost fallen three times and was already holding on for dear life. The new runes and spells were in place and seemed to be holding. No Vampyres were out, ripping throats, stealing thoughts or memories. Vampyres were a disgusting race, a race of hunger and hatred, creatures of resentment. Only Shadowlings were worse, creatures that sought death, destruction, and an ending to all light.
“Eris…” Eris spun around, caught off guard by the indiscriminate voice, nearly falling out of the tree. He was sure he heard something, but he remained alone. Extending his senses, he touched the shadows around, seeing if something was hidden in the darkness.
“Oh Eris…” The voice echoed in the wind. Eris jumped from the tree, landing on the cold ground. He sought out the owner of the voice in the shadows, sought out whatever it had been that had called out to him. There was something out there lying-in wait for him; he could sense it in the darkness that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
“Eris?” The voice belonged to Jeanette, whose blue eyes and skin glistened dimply like the stars in the sky.
“Oh, hey Jeanette.”
“You shouldn’t be out so late.”
“I could say the same for you. What are you doing out so late?”
Jeanette shrugged; her shall dropping a few inches past her shoulder. “I needed the fresh air. Why are you out?”
“I was keeping watch over Selene when I thought I heard something.” Eris looked around once again. Jeanette slowly moved toward him.
“Is Selene okay?”
“Good.” Jeanette kissed him and he wrapped his arms around her slender waist, pretending he hadn’t heard anything. But he knew, there was something out there watching him from the darkness.
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.