Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Matters2 - Incongruous

Family Matters

She steps carefully over the pile of fresh, dark earth. It is no secret why she is there, in the middle of the night, surrounded by darkness and moonlight. Family and friends have chosen to ignore these little trips into the graveyard. They look past the nightmare actions that she makes each night.

The young woman, seventeen and looking every year of it, has long dark hair that falls straight against pale skin. Her almond colored eyes are forever squinted into a hard expression of stoicism. Her name is Tamlina Gray and she is a vampire slayer. A thankless job that has brought her more pain than praise.

This night, she stares down into the freshly dug grave. Any moment now the full moon will rise and the ghost of the vampire victim laying in the coffin below will be released into the world.

Tamlina knows how to stop this terrible event from happening. She reaches into her coat pocket and pulls out a pair of silver scissors.

Removing her gloves, so as not to get dirt stains on them, she crawls carefully into the grave, one foot on either side of the coffin, she prepares herself for the sight within. It never gets easier, but she squares her shoulders and pulls back the lid. Inside the remains of a nineteen year old man are composed into a picture of endless slumber. She swallows hard, flinching at the thought of what she has to do next.

The scissors glint in the low light, twin blades of justice and revenge. She brandishes them with a familiarity of a lover, her hands tightening their grip as she swings her arm at a downward angle. The sickening sound of flesh being stabbed makes her feel revulsion at the deed overshadowed by the knowledge that it had been the right move. An hour later and the vampire would have risen from its new grave. Tamlina Gray would not stand for another vampire to be allowed life. They all deserved to be killed before they chose to take the lives of innocents.

She knew from personal experience just how devastating a vampire attack could be - stealing the life of a loved one without a single thought of regret or remorse. Tamlina let the scissors stay inside the dead body, the handles poking out at odd angles, then she reached under her shirt and fingered the necklace of garlic cloves hanging against her skin. They would need to be placed inside the dead body’s mouth. She hated this part.

A droll drizzle starts at that second and she shivers inside her thin coat. Winter was through and cold weather was suppose to be gone. With a heavy sigh, Tamlina blew a bang out of her blue eyes and, with a quick flick of her wrist, dislodged a clove of garlic from the necklace. Reaching down into the coffin she pried open the dead man’s jaw and thrust the clove inside. The garlic would keep the soul from manifesting outside the body, the silver would keep the body dead. As long as neither were disturbed, the vampire would never be allowed to live. She closed the coffin lid.

She crawled out of the grave and stood, looking down at the lavish wooden box. Tamlina patted the dust off her hands, her job was done. Any moment the graveyard attendant she had bribed would return to fill in the gravesite. Adjusting her coat, hugging her warmth to herself, the teenage girl walks towards the graveyard exit. It was almost sunset and she needed to get home before curfew.

Tamlina Gray had not been a vampire hunter for more than five years, but they had been very intense years filled with weapons training, research and hunts. The dark haired girl had become very adept at spotting and killing the creatures. It was a personal crusade that brought her family together. Five years before, they had lost Timothy Gray to a vampire - her older brother and confidant - to the violent whims of a bloodthirsty hell raiser. Now, she spent her nights hunting down those wicked animals. Human husks without a soul.

Just out of her site a dark shape flitted between shadows.


The haunting, fog enriched night circled around Tamlina a cold hurricane of colors and sounds as the young woman skirted her way around the front of her parent’s home, her eyes scouting the darkness for any signs of danger. It had become a life-saving habit.

Outside the scope of her trained senses, a form lurked in the dark.

She could already smell the home-made dinner waiting for her inside the house and with one last glance about the neighbor hood Tamlina sprinted up the steps and into the house. Inside the warm, cozy atmosphere helped her to shake off the somber attitude that always followed a slaying. She had extinguished a life - an undead life, but a life all the same. The young woman was acutely aware of just what she was doing, what she was ending, each and every time she chose to stab a silver blade into the cold flesh of a some poor victim of nature’s cruel ways.

Through the night, piercing eyes spied her every movement. A soft growl emitted a fog of breath into the cold air.

She shrugged out of her jacket and threw it on a living room chair as she made her way through to the dining area. Her two younger brothers, the twins Jared and Jensen, were already chatting loudly as they served their own plates of cold turkey sandwiches and gravy-covered mashed potatoes. Mr. and Mrs. Gray were seated at either end of the table and they both followed
Tamlina with solemn eyes as she sat in her accustomed seat.

“How did it go?” Mr. Gray asked, his honest blue eyes filled with unspoken concern.

Tamlina avoided his gaze. “Fine, Dad. It went fine.”

“Are you alright, honey?” Tamlina’s mother asked, her golden eyes wide.

Tamlina squirmed under their attentive gazes, a cloud of irritation falling over her expression.
She hated the overprotective qualities so apparent in her parents.

“I’m fine. Everything is fine.” She reassured them both with a forced smile. “Can we just eat, please.”

“Of course, honey.” Mrs. Gray said, passing a bowl of steaming rolls to her daughter.

Tamlina filled her plate with the delicious food. She avoided meeting her parents gaze and instead turned her attention to Jared and Jensen. The two young twins were always getting into some kind of trouble and she tried to stay abreast of their latest schemes. The last thing she wanted was for either of them to get hurt and both her parents and she worked hard to keep them safe.

“What have you two been up to?” Tamlina asked.

Jared and Jensen exchanged smiles. Their matching green eyes lit up with mischievous delight.

“We are going to -.”

“Compete in the science fair!”

Tamlina laughed softly at their enthusiasm. “Is that so?”


“Uh, huh!”

“What project are you planning?” Mrs. Gray asked.

“We’re making -”

“A volcano!”

“Really?” Mr. Gray’s eyebrows rose at the excited announcement. “I don’t know boys.” He continued. “Doesn’t that sound a little too…destructive?”

Mrs. Gray shot her husband a bemused grin. “Don’t you mean messy, dear?”

He chuckled. “Yes. I guess that I do.”

Tamlina frowned. She hated it when her parents adopted this light, carefree atmosphere around her brothers. They needed reassurance, sure, but they also needed to b aware that at any moment the world could go very wrong. They could not be cajoled into complacency. She stared down at her cooling food, suddenly no longer hungry.

“I think I’ll go up to my room.”

“Is everything okay, Tam?”

“Are you okay, Tam?”

The young woman gave each of the twins a wan smile. “Of course.”

Her parents knew where she stood on the subject so she did not feel compelled to state her annoyance. Instead, she politely excused herself and walked upstairs to her bedroom. Once inside she closed the door, only then relaxing a fraction. Tamlina knew better than to ever let her guard down, even inside her own home, but in her room she felt secure enough to sleep.

That was saying a lot.

Pentagrams, holy symbols, holy artifacts, knives of a multitude of varieties as well as a myriad other protection measures had been stored in carefully concealed places around her room. To an outsider, all that her bedroom housed was an over abundance of pink, fluffy pillows and stuffed animals, but for her family and herself, Tamlina had created a battle trench. Capable of warding off the enemy indefinitely.

Collapsing on her soft, pink bedspread Tamlina thought about the days events. She had done good. Three vampire spawn killed before dinner. A genuine smile pulled up the corners of her lips. Thomas would be proud of her, she could almost picture him smiling down at her from heaven. She had done all of this for him. For her older brother.

The very first time she had seen a vampire it had literally knocked the breath out of her, she had lain in shocked stillness as the savage beast bit into the neck of her only older brother, Thomas Gray. The paranormal creature had sucked his life-essence out through the conduit of blood and killed the boy. Tamlina had watched her father run out from the house, screaming in incoherent rage at the site he witnessed. At the time, Tamlina had not been aware of her father’s extracurricular jaunts into the world of hunting vampires, but after that night twelve years ago she became acutely aware. It would consume her every waking moment.

Her mother, Janice Gray, had also been a hunter by trade until she had finally settled down into the family lifestyle. Now Janice could barely go toe-to-toe with a ghost and live. Years of chauffeuring children to soccer games and gymnastic tryouts had loosened her shield of experience. Now it was falling heavily on Tamlina’s shoulders to protect her family. She was the family secret that they tried to hard to hide from the rest of the world.

Tamlina Gray was a hunter first, daughter and sister second. She liked it that way, it gave her a sense of justice that she had always felt robbed of after her helpless viewing of Thomas’ attack. She had watched as he died, that night her father had showed her the garlic and silver ritual. He had performed it on Thomas’ gray corpse. She had cried through the entire experience, too young to truly understand what a good thing her father had been doing.

The young woman rolled onto her side, fluffing a pillow under her head. She felt the reassuring fabric under her hands and relaxed even further. Tamlina felt certain that even though there were dangers in the outside world, she would be safe in her bedroom. She felt a wave of exhaustion flood over her, closing her eyes she let sleep take her away from the chaotic world she lived in.

Outside her window, on the lawn below, a dark-shrouded form watched and waited.


Screams. Someone was screaming. Her brothers were screaming.

Tamlina jerked awake, her body instantly alert. Her hand closed around the throwing star in a hidden pocket within the pillowcase. She tucked it into her palm and jumped to her feet in one quick, graceful moment.

The young woman opened her door and peeked out into the hallway. She could see no one between herself and the stairway. There was a loud noise downstairs followed by another bloodcurdling scream.


Tamlina flinched at her father’s desperate cry. Something awful was happening downstairs and she had to stop it. She reached behind her dresser, beside the door to her room, and pulled out a hidden throwing knife set. There were six slim blades holstered together in a compact leather case. Tamlina took a calming breath before stealthily exiting her room and walking to the head of the stairs. There she waited, carefully glancing over the railing into the open living room area below. What she saw made her stomach knot in fear.



The twins were seated back-to-back on the floor, bound by a thick rope. Tamlina felt all the blood rush from her face. There was blood soaking through the collars of their matching sweatshirts. She had to swallow the urge to vomit when she saw both of her parents, similar bloody wounds on their necks, tied to the two living room lounge chairs. A stranger stood in the middle of the room, wearing a long black cloak with a hood. Tamlina could not see the face of the stranger, but she knew what it was - a vampire had just killed her entire family.
She wanted to scream, run, cry and kill something. Her almond eyes squinted into slivers of pure rage. Jaw clenched she vaulted over the railing towards the killer. Her body slammed heavily into the tall creature, knocking them both to the ground.

“I’ll kill you! You killed my family, I’ll kill you!” Tamlina heard herself yelling harshly.

The creature rolled out from under her and tried to stand, she grabbed it’s ankle and stabbed with the silver throwing star. An otherworldly sound of pain erupts from the hooded vampire. Tamlina goes to her knees, dislodges the weapon and then lunges to her feet, doing a back flip to give herself some fighting room. The last thing she wants is to become another of the monster’s helpless victims. Gripping the star she judges the wounded vampire. The silver has poisoned it, but not lethally. She could take care of that real quick.

With an expert flick of her wrist she sends the star whistling through the air until it comes to a stop, imbedded in the heart of her family’s killer. The vampire dropped with a shriek. She sneered down at the writhing form.

“I told you I’d kill you.” The girl’s voice shook.


A broken voice whispered from behind her, she turned. Jared’s brown eyes were wide and staring.

“What is that?” The boy asked softly. “What happened? Where’s Dad and Mom?”

She felt tears prickle against her eyelashes. Her chin shivered as emotions took over now that the crisis was over. Her family - her dead family - was waiting for her to rescue them. A part of her soul died at that realization. Tamlina bit her lip. Tears slipped down her face.

“I’m so sorry, Jared.” She knelt down in front of him, her eyes drawn to the blood-soaked sweater. The thick liquid had pooled around him on the floor, in a flood of red life-essence. She looked away, brushing at the tears.

“What is it, Tam?” Jared’s voice grew panicked. “Are you hurt? Why are you crying?”

He did not know that he had been killed. Tamlina felt her breath freeze in her lungs, she could not move. This could not be real. The teenager collapsed to her hands and knees, broken under the innocent gaze of her younger brother.

“Tamlina.” Janice Gray spoke from the chair.

Tamlina looked up, her eyes meeting those of her mother. She found her father’s unmoving, slumped form on the other side of the room and swallowed hard. Everything was happening to fast, this could not be real. She repeated that in her mind as her body starved for air.

“Tamlina, you know what to do.” Her mother said softly, voice breaking at the end.

“I-I can’t.”

The older woman nodded slowly, painfully. “You have to, honey.”

“I won’t.” Tamlina choked out. “How can I?”

“Mommy? What’s happening?” Jared asked, his voice raising in alarm.

Tamlina sniffed, tears cascading down her cheeks. “Please, don’t ask me to do this.” She begged.

Janice Gray closed her eyes, resting her head back on the chair. “You don’t have a choice, honey. You know what will happen to all of us if you don’t do it. I am sorry.”

Tamlina could not even respond, her throat closing up painfully. She held the silver throwing knives loosely in one hand. There was garlic in the kitchen. She’d have to bury the bodies, alone. If the police found them, they would remove the knives and garlic, thus releasing the vampire soul. Tamlina could not even contemplate ever doing such a repulsive thing. Killing strangers was one thing, killing her entire family another entirely. She hesitated, unwilling to give in to what she knew needed to be done.

“Call Seth.”

Tamlina blinked up at her mother, she should have thought of the man. Seth would help them, he was a werewolf they had known for years. His family and he lived in an old, broken-down monastery several blocks away. He would help her do this horrible thing. He would understand.

“What?” Jared asked again, frustrated now that no one was answering his questions.

Tamlina ran a hand through his short, dark hair and kissed the dead boy’s forehead before standing to her feet. She would have to be fast, the neighbors would be getting suspicious soon, especially if they had heard the screaming. She would have to run.


“Seth.” A breathless Tamlina fell to her knees, heart pounding against her chest. She motioned over her shoulder in the general direction of her home. “They’re dead. My family, they’re all dead. I need your help.”

The furred, lank creature bent down to extend a helping hand, she took it and the werewolf carefully pulled her up. His eyes glowed red, but concerned wrinkles around them overshadowed any fearsome quality. Tamlina’s hands shivered uncontrollably inside his own. The werewolf hugged her for a brief moment. He smelled of damp fur, not quite unlike a dog.

“We have to hurry, they’ll change - the police - and then digging the graves.” Tamlina’s said. Her thoughts refused to order themselves and she found herself babbling incoherently to the furry family friend.

“Shhh, child.” Seth soothed her with his calming tone. “Let us go take care of this unpleasantness.”


Tamlina stood in the pouring rain, letting the damp soak through her skin to cool the aching loneliness lodged in her heart. She had done what needed to be done and the betrayed, haunting eyes of Jared would forever end her sleep-filled nights. A horrible thing to ask of anyone, she had been forced to kill her family before they could do the same to others. While it was possible to sate the bloodthirsty cravings a vampire was born with, very few actually managed it long-term.

It would have been a perfect hell for her parents and brothers to live through that. Now they did not have to, she had seen to it. With Seth’s help.

The werewolf had move the bodies, without a moment to spare as the police sirens had echoed off the walls of the house. They had escaped to the cemetery behind the monastery. The ritual took no time at all and Tamlina had focused on the job that she could do in her sleep - vampire killing. The fact that it was her family, she forced into the back of her mind. There would be plenty of time to mourn their loss in the empty years to come.

The darkness was silent except for the occasional sound of a car passing outside the walls of the cemetery.

Tears mingled with cold raindrops, both a reflection of the gaping hole in her heart. Pain magnified each time her eyes strayed to those freshly dug graves. The earth soaking up the water pouring from heaven as if thirsty for life. Tamlina watched through a blurred vision as her world slowly turned from night into sunrise. Pink flecks on the horizon mixing with gray clouds to guide the sun into the sky. She would never smile at that sight again.

A weariness embraced her soul then, an exhaustion that seemed to go beyond the physical. She would never be able to get past that night, at least, that was how she felt. Her soul had died with her family.


TLC's said...

Wow!!! GREAT JOB! I think I read all but the part of her family dieing sometime before.. not sure where but you did a good job. I hope this somehow has a happy ending? hint hint.

Ebbtide said...

lol. No worries. It does. Glad you like!! :).