Ellesmere Highburgs parents are murdered - necks ripped out and drained of blood - and Ella is sent to Romania to live with the Van Nells. When she recieves a letter from her godmother, revealing the Van Nells terrifing secret, they're vampires, she fleds to the woods where she meets the pack of werewolves. Ella begins to fall for Oliver and finds out a family secret. Then theres the battle between vampires and werewolves.
They were running as fast as their legs would carry them. Something was chasing them, something I couldn't see.
They turned a corner and I chased after them, tears streamed out of my deep brown eyes when I rounded the corner to find their dead bodies lying in the street.
Chapter 1: The Van Nells
I woke screaming. Tears ran down face leaving a wet trail behind them. I got up and walked into my bathroom. Leaning over the sink, I splashed my face with cold water.
I looked different now. My parent’s death -no murder- had taken a great toll on me and if it weren't for my curly, silky brown hair and olive complexion I would resemble a zombie.
I remember that night from three days ago very well..............
Mum and dad had taken me for a walk after dark. It had been a still night, but half way through our walk the winds picked up like a hurricane. Mum and dad had looked terrified. They took me to a video store and told me to wait there till they came back for me, they didn't. I waited, and waited, and waited…but they didn’t come.
I had become very worried, so I went looking for them. I heard screaming – my mother screaming – and ran towards the sound. I sprinted around the corner to find my parent’s pale figures lying lifeless in the middle of the road.
I came back to the present and found that I was crying again. It's amazing how much could change in three days, especially since just two days before they had died; we'd celebrated my seventeenth birthday like any normal family. I used to be loved and cared for, but now I was completely alone.
Staying in a hotel for three nights was boring and I was beginning to wonder if I should get my own place.
I walked to the bed and curled up under the covers.
"Knock, knock," said a voice from outside my room. "It's Mrs. Brooker, Ellesmere, let me in?" I groaned and got up to open the door.
"Hello." I mumbled. I didn't invite Mrs. Brooker in, but she pranced inside anyways.
"Ellesmere, we need to talk," she said and took a seat on the small sofa as she adjusted her glasses.
"Ella." I corrected her. I hate it when people call me Ellesmere, it was only ok when my parents called me that and Mrs. Brooker was nowhere near as close as my parents were.
"Ella," she overemphasized my name. "Come sit with me." She patted the spot next to her and I sat down. She smiled and I could see the red lipstick she'd gotten on her teeth.
"I've found you a family." I was going to interrupt saying I could look after myself, but Mrs. Brooker put her hand up to stop me. "There are six in the family. They live in Romania and sound like a very lovely bunch."
"No way! That's much too far from Liverpool," I protested.
"It's final. Your parent’s left me in charge of your affairs and I'm sending you to Romania to live with these people. End of story."
I couldn't argue. She was right and she knew it. Mrs. Brooker smiled at me when I finally reached defeat with a heavy sigh.
"Your plane leaves first thing tomorrow morning. You will be packed and ready to go. I am taking you to the airport myself so be ready nice and early. Good-bye for now, I have things to do," without another word, Mrs. Brooker got up and left the room.
I grabbed my suitcase from under my bed then started throwing random things inside.
The plane landed roughly on the ground. It rolled then finally came to a stop. I grabbed my bags, smiled at the old lady I'd been sitting next to and got off the plane into the cold air of Brazov. I groaned. I was moving from the lovely streets of England to the open wilderness of Romania. I was also unhappy about the fact that I had to leave my motorbike in England. Dad and I used to ride together for a fun pass-time.
There was a taxi waiting for me outside the airport. The driver helped me with my things then we drove away down the winding and unfamiliar road of Brazov.
"Where to miss?" asked the driver politely.
"13 Bloody Court," I answered and realized just how freaky the street name sounded.
"Good luck Miss. Some say that castles haunted," he shivered in fright as he spoke.
"Castle? Haunted?" I thought I was going to live with a lovely, happy family. I was feeling puzzled.
"Yeah. 13 Bloody Court is a castle. People say it’s full of ghosts and dark magic. I met the owners once, most definitely not happy looking people, pale with big red eyes. Gives me the hebegebees." He continued. He was serious; I could tell from his expression that he wasn't messing with me.
"Oh," I replied. Am I really going to live in a castle? Is it haunted? Question flew through my head.
It was snowing when the taxi pulled onto the curb in front of the iron gates. It was well and truly a castle, black as the midnight sky and it looked thousands of years old. It was like a graveyard. Everything was rotten or withering away. The trees all bare, the grass was brown and dead. I gulped.
The taxi driver helped me unload my bags then he got back in the car and smiled through the open window.
"Good luck Miss," I watched as he drove back down the winding road.
I tried to open the gate but it was locked. I noticed a black box on the gate and pressed the red button.
"Hello?" said a voice, like ice, through the speakers.
"I'm Ellesmere Highburg," I answered.
"Ellesmere hello! Come in! Come in!" said the voice with much more enthusiasm. The gates opened with a high pitched creak and I made my way up the cobblestone path to the castle. My palms were sweating and I felt like vomiting from my nerves. I finally reached the door, took a deep breath and gave three gentle knocks. The door flew open and a man stepped into my view. He had black silky hair past his shoulders, pale white skin and eyes of blood red. He was beautiful, scary, but beautiful.
"Hello, I’m Benjamin Van Nell," he said, probably amused by my expression.
"Hello," I squeaked out, my voice shaking.
"Come in," he said while gesturing to come inside.
Benjamin's voice was like velvet, yet it wasn't a soft velvet; more an old and poison covered velvet. I stepped inside into what looked like a 15th century ballroom. It was dark so all I could see was a chandelier hanging from the ceiling and a piano near the far wall. Everything in the room was covered in dust and cobwebs.
"I will show you to your room" Benjamin startled me because first he was next to the door and then he was right next to me, close enough for me to feel his ice cold breath put goosebumps along my neck.
He glided past me and up a flight of stairs. I hesitated for a second then followed. We walked past hundreds of doors, most bolted shut. Paintings hung from the walls containing portraits of ancient people.
Dust clung to my clothes and with every step I took on the dirty floor; I made clouds of dust fly into the air leaving a slight path behind me.
"Here you are," Benjamin said opening the door marked 'guest'. I walked inside a fairly large room. It was dark and dust covered everything. All I could see in the darkness was a huge wooden bed, a fireplace and an old dresser with a stool and mirror.
"I will come and bring you food in the morning and then you will meet the rest of the family," he said as he gave me a quick smile.
"Ok, Thanks," I said and he left without another sound closing the door behind himself.
My mind was buzzing. This reminded me of a lot of horror films I had seen starring vampires and werewolves. No I wouldn't let myself believe in such foolish things. Vampires do not exist and neither do werewolves, ghosts, zombies or witches.
It was getting cold so I went to the fireplace and kneeled in front of it. There was wood inside so I clicked my fingers over it. A small flame appeared so I blew it across the fire until it lit. Within seconds the fire was warm and blazing. Ever since I was born I have been able to control the elements fire, water, earth and air. The only people I told were my parents and they were gone so it didn't matter anymore. I'd kept it a secret because I was scared to be locked up and called a freak.
I was warm now so I went to my bag and put on my pajamas. The bed had black satin sheets with matching pillows and blankets. I lay down and curled into a ball wondering what the next day would bring. It didn't take long to fall asleep; I was so tired and before I knew it someone was knocking at my door.
"It’s Benjamin. Are you awake? Let me in," he asked. I got up and opened the door. Benjamin was still dressed in all black, the contrasts making him look even paler then he was.
"May I come in?" he asked formally.
"Yeah sure," I stepped aside so he could enter. He placed a tray containing toast and porridge on my bedside table then went and sat in one of the two chairs I hadn’t noticed up until now.
"Do you like your room?" he asked me.
"Yeah, it’s great," I mumbled. I didn’t really like the room. It reminded me of a murder scene and this house – or castle – didn’t make me feel any better.
"Good now sit. We have to talk about some things." Benjamin looked like the kind of person you obeyed no matter what, so I sat in the chair across from him. "Ok firsts things first; these are the rules Shane told me to give you.
1: No going into the attic or basement.
2: No opening curtains or turning on the lights. Candles are everywhere so you may use them.
3: If someone tells you to do something, you do it right away with no questions asked.
4: Under no circumstances do you explore the castle at night."
"Are we clear?" he said sternly.
"Crystal," I answered.
"Ok then, eat quickly and be well presented for you are meeting the rest of the family. I’ll wait in the hall." he quickly finished. Benjamin got up and left the room silently and he closed the door behind himself.
I got up and rushed to my breakfast. Not pausing to taste it, I shoved the food into my mouth. I got dressed in jeans and a black blouse – it seemed like a suitable color. Pulling a white cardigan over the top, I went to the mirror. I yanked my hairbrush through the tangles and put a headband neatly in place.
I took a deep breath as I followed Benjamin back down the hallway and stairs to the ballroom. Five people stood in the room and they were all extremely beautiful, except for their blood red eyes that the taxi driver had warned me about. Everyone seemed to revolve around the pale man with the short black hair. I stood at the bottom of the stairs not knowing what to do. Benjamin gave me a small push to make me go forward.
"Hello my dear. I’m Lord Shane Van Nell," said the man that everyone seemed to revolve around.
"This is Elisabeth," she was also pale, but had long blonde hair. Shane went around the room and told me everyone’s names. Britany has fiery red hair; Sophia has long, straight, black hair, Aristro was the man with light brown hair.
"And of course you already met Benjamin." Shane smiled, showing perfect white teeth. Two of his front teeth were abnormally long, like fangs.......
"H-hello," I stuttered. Do they all know me?
"You’re Ellesmere Highburg. Welcome to the family." I smiled a small smile. Maybe these people weren’t too bad. Shane pulled a folded piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to me.
"As you will be living with us, we expect you to do these chores." Shane smiled and then everybody left the room leaving me alone in the dark. I unfolded the paper and read:
1: Dust and clean all furniture.
2: Cook your own meals in the first kitchen off the ballroom.
3: Mop and sweep floors.
4: Light all of the candles at night.
5: Do the dishes.
6: Clean the windows.
7: Tidy the gardens.
8: Repaint the entire castle black.
9: Feed the crocodiles in the moat.
10: Fix the broken stair.
Was I some kind of slave? What was with these people and their lists and demands? Maybe I’d spoke too soon. I reread the list of chores. How could these strangers expect me to do all these ridiculous jobs? I was having lots of second thoughts about living with the Van Nell’s; they seemed cruel.
I made my way back to my room only to realize I was hungry. I turned back towards my door when someone knocked.
"Come in," I said curious as to who would want to talk to me now. The door opened and there stood Aristro. Of course, he was as beautiful and pale as everyone else with the same blood red eyes but he looked different because the smile he had stretched across his face was warmer and more meaningful than the scowls of distaste everyone else seemed to wear around me.
"Hello Ellesmere," he greeted me kindly while shaking my hand. I flinched because his skin was as cold as ice and hard as bone.
"Hello," I mumbled. Aristro seemed completely comfortable as he sat in the same chair Benjamin had earlier this morning.
"I wanted to talk to you for a while." He didn’t go on and I realized he was waiting for a response from me. I sat down and smiled.
"You don’t talk much do you?" I shrugged and he laughed. It was a warm, happy laugh.
"I just came to see if you were alright. The rest of the family was pretty mean and disrespectful. But I’m not like them," Aristro said smiling and I could see that he wasn’t like them myself. His eyes were warmer, like running liquid than the others cold frozen eyes. His face was also brighter and more cheerful.
"I’ve noticed," I said smiling.
"She speaks!" Aristro crowed and I laughed.
"So what exactly happened to make you an orphan?" He asked out of curiosity and a small tear escaped my eye.
"Don’t worry; it’s none of my business anyway." Aristro looked away.
"No it’s ok. You were only curious," I whispered and he looked at me. A wave on unwanted and untrustworthy safety swept over me when I met his gaze.
"Are you ok? You look sort of sick," He sounded anxious. How could someone so caring come from such an unkind family?
"I’m fine. Well, my parents were murdered 5 days ago. We went for a walk and they were scared of something. They hid me in a video store and told me to stay, but I heard mum screaming and went to see if she was ok. I found them dead in the middle of the road. Some people thought they were run over but they had their necks ripped out and were completely drained of blood. I knew it was murder and if I ever find the person responsible for my grief, I will kill them and I will enjoy hearing their screams of pain." I started sobbing after my brave speech and Aristro stroked my hand to comfort me. Aristro looked like he was in pain and something about his expression made him look guilty. He knew something, something important and he didn’t want me to know about it.
"What’s wrong?" I asked trying to sound as sweet as possible.
"It’s just....." He hesitated.
I pushed harder for an answer. "You can tell me. I won’t tell them," I said nodding toward the door.
"I don’t know what to tell you..... I mean I want to tell you but I don’t know if I should," he hesitated, obviously struggling with what to tell me.
I patted his hand in comfort and he smiled a sad smile that didn’t reach his eyes. "I can’t tell you, I’m sorry. I can gives you clues though....." he smiled in triumph.
Shane gave you a list of chores didn’t he?" I nodded.
"Can I have a look?" I took the folded piece of paper and handed it to Aristro.
"Ok do you ever watch or read horror stories?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"Yeah all the time, especially vampires," he flinched.
I got up and grabbed the book I had just finished reading from the top of my bag. "I just finished reading ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker." I said showing Aristro the cover.
"Ok. Did you take note of everything that happened?" he asked me. I knew the book by heart because I had to study it for an English essay.
"Yeah why?" I asked.
"Let’s just say it might come in handy." He winked, trying to pass it as a joke, but I could see the seriousness in his face.
"Ok." I said, curiosity and confusion evident in my voice.
"I must be off now. Bye-Bye." He smiled and curtsied in a half bow.
"Ok bye....and thanks" I said smiling, even more intrigued.
"For what?" Aristro questioned.
"For being understanding and kind," I said with a returning nod.
He nodded then walked out through my door. I waited for the creak in the stairs then went and knelt by the fireplace. I clicked my fingers over the wood and a small flame appeared. Within minutes the fire was blazing as if it had been going for hours.
The door flung open to reveal Aristro again. I was startled by his sudden reappearance.
"Oh sorry," he said taking in my expression.
"I just remembered I had this for you. It was sent to Mrs. Brooker who sent it here. No one read it."
He handed me the faded purple envelope. My name was written on the front in a neat script I recognized immediately as my fathers and sure enough, on the back it said’ Mr. and Mrs. Highburg’. I gasped then looked up at Aristro for an explanation but he was staring at the fire.
"How did you start it so quickly?" he asked confused. I was a horrible liar, but I decided to give it a go.
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