Inside each of us there is the seed
of both Good and Evil
It's a constant struggle as to which one will win
And one cannot exist without the other.
Morning sun had just begun leaking through the dense copse of trees that shrouded Shadow Fall Estate’s southernmost yard, crafting little knives of sunbeams that penetrated Evelyn’s bedroom window. The rays set her cream-colored walls on fire; a pleasing effect that was rarely ever beheld by her eyes. The estate and all of its pretentious inhabitants were settled in for sleep after a boisterous night that would keep their drunken eyes shut for as long as she needed. It was the perfect opportunity for Evelyn to attend to unfinished business unhindered; she couldn’t have planned it better herself.
With stealth that was not necessary, she moved through the dormant house, swiping a shiny set of keys from a toile candy bowl near the entryway and retreating to the garage. The 300 year old estate had long ago fallen prey to Arlo’s profligate enthusiasm for man’s greatest invention: the automobile. Nearly a quarter of the estate's bottom level was a causality in the name of his thirst. For months Evelyn and all the others who called Shadow Fall home had been forced to listen to Arlo smash in the walls and expand the garage until he was satisfied that it would comfortably accommodate all of his toys. Patience was a virtue though, and Shadow Fall’s residents reaped the rewards of his renovation. Over the years he had filled the space with cars from every corner of the earth, and, save for a few select favorites, he usually was more than happy to share his stockpile with his family.
Parked near the door, directly under a strip of hideously bright fluorescent lights, the sleek black car that Evelyn usually laid claim to waited where she left it last. It was some Italian make and model; she didn’t have the time to pretend to care about the silly details that strung people like Arlo up for hours. All she knew was that the windows were as darkly tinted as was legally permissible and that it could get her out of tight situations in a pinch. Clicking the door controller clipped to the visor, she maneuvered her vehicle in between its brothers and left the garage behind.
Per the instruction of the very first Frey to emblazon the estate with their name all those years ago, Shadow Fall was encompassed by an evil-looking wrought iron fence that’s sharp tips and intimidating height discouraged any unwelcome visitors from trespassing. There was only one way in or out, and that was through the front gate that pulled Evelyn up to a stop. A balding man by the name of Bernard had played the role of daytime gatekeeper since he was 16. Evelyn assumed that money, familiarity, and ease of work were what had kept him committed to his job for all these years. But perhaps it was really because he knew that he had seen too much and that, upon quitting, they would have him eliminated before his unemployment could kick in.
Bernard squinted into the vehicle, but would not be able to make out Evelyn’s pallid face through the black that obstructed each of her windows. Quickly giving up, he wobbled on an arthritic knee and pushed open the timeless gate to release her. Evelyn waited just long enough for him to hobble back out of the way and then sped out.
When it was first raised, Shadow Fall’s location had been one of utmost seclusion. But many years had seen man conquer more and more land to satisfy its proliferating people. Now, Shadow Fall still remained tucked away, but was only a steady thirty minutes from the center of the city. Unfortunately, the city was not Evelyn’s destination this time. A text had been sent to her just as the sun was cracking on the horizon, containing intel on the man whom she was after. Apparently on his off days he fancied himself a relaxing retreat into the woods set an hour to the east. Humans were funny. This hunter trusted in and protected his fellow man, and yet it was man—two of them to be exact— that had been working for nearly two days straight to uncover his patterns and release them to a vampire that paid them prettily.
The forest that the hunter was keen on was known as Bleeding Sage, and was a protected piece of land that restricted camping or hunting on or in its vicinity. It was so densely packed with trees and foliage that most people avoided it anyway. Because of its relative anonymity, it was a favorite meeting spot among the Lycan and Vampire population. The two breeds could commence in their dirty deeds without ever alerting the human species. Bleeding Sage was the very place where she made the mistake of trusting a flea-bitten mutt by the name of Raphael to share in the glory of creating a powerful half-breed.
For months she had so carefully watched and chosen the boy she wished to lay her gift upon. Tirelessly she had plotted and planned, chose Raphael to sire, and then lured the boy to Bleeding Sage to be turned. It had been a flawless turning, one without the usual gory hiccups that so often occurred in transformations. Both were so in awe of their creation that they began to bitterly fight over him. As if Evelyn meant to let her protégé go to a Lycan. Even a powerful one such as Raphael was still pitifully inferior. In the chaos that ensued between them, the hybrid boy had wondered off—weak, delusional, and particularly vulnerable. He wondered out of the forest until he was picked up by a scent that was characteristically human; a human by the name of Kaden.
Today, she intended to take back what was hers.
The air was heavy with Kaden’s scent, even at the verge of the forest where she left her car. Jeans and a purple blouse donned her body, black flats covered her feet; her attire more closely suited a day at the park than it did a hike through raw forest, but she made easy work of the journey. Not a mile in and her keen eyes made out the silhouette of him, partially sheltered by the spindly birch tree next to him. A few more feet and she could see him perfectly. Her feet did not move with intentional silence, yet he still was unable to ascertain her presence until she was close enough to play an attack if she had so desired.
Finally, he became aware of an intruder and pulled his gun out on her. Though not invulnerable to the weapon, it’s effectiveness against her would have been minimal. But fortune was smiling on him for now; Evelyn meant no harm to him.
“Peace, hunter,” She raised her hands up, a human sign of surrender that had the corners of her delicate mouth pulling into a smirk.
“I am here because I’ve lost something very important to me and rumor has it that you are in possession of that something,” She dropped her hands down to rest at her sides, and said with a voice much harder, “I want him back.”