Authors: Connie Chance
A Dark Fantasy by Connie Chance
All right reserved
Copyright © 2014 by Connie Chance
Herein begins the journey of a woman determined to heal all the wounds of her past..
This book contains violence and heavy sexual content.
Anja believes that she began to live the day she fled from home, and nothing, or no one could convince her to go back to that life again. Hiding in plain sight has been her motto for a century now, and so far she’s been lucky.
But when her past finally catches up to her, Anja realises that she’d do anything and everything in her power to not go back. But those that term themselves her brothers are determined to see her redeemed, and are not about to give up.
After a while of fighting them, she gives in, and with it realises that she could, just might, be redeemed as well.
Cover art: Russian models by Din Muhammad Sumon shared according to the terms as outlined here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode
Changes for the Book Cover made by author
She shook violently out of her nightmare, finding herself perched on her fours like a cat against the ceiling of her small bedroom. It took her a moment to calm down before letting go, easing herself gently back onto the floor below.
Picking up her phone off the nightstand to check the time- 05:47!
No need to go back to bed now as her alarm would be going off in ten or so minutes, she thought to herself, shaking her beddings back into place swiftly.
Taking off her thin pair of cotton shirt and shorts she preferred for pajamas, she hurriedly changed into her night black running suit, grabbed on her running sneakers by the door before spinning quickly out of the small flat, its building, and out into the cold air.
It was a crisp spring morning here in New York City, just perfect for her to run in. It would be too cold for humans, but her body was more resistant than theirs.
She tore so fast across the streets that to the human eye she would appear as a blur, and they would assume it to be the wind or a play of light.
This had been her routine every morning; run across the city, buy coffee and a couple of croissants from a favourite coffee shop of hers located there, run back across the city into her apartment, take a quick shower, then change and rush off to the office. She’s a woman of routine, and this was no different morning.
Or so she thought.
She was standing before her closet one hour later, trying to figure out what to wear. She picked out an uptight beige blouse and buttoned it all the way right up to her chin. She then picked out a pair of brown high waist slacks and hurriedly jumped into them. Tacking in her shirt a moment later, she moved to complete the look with a soft satin scarf around her collar.
The outfit was a standard of Anja’s style, sophisticated and reserved. She’s a beautiful woman, with soft deep brown curls falling just past her shoulders in waves, small facial features and a gently lined long face. Her long aristocratic neck matched well with her 5’9’’ height. She’d a slim lithe body, whose beautiful female form was often hidden under the long loose flowing slacks and shirts she loved to wear. Beautiful as she might be, she did not consider herself a sexual woman, and as a result rarely accentuated that part of herself.
She walked into the bathroom and put on her colored contact lenses- light brown in color. This was to hide her opal black irises around her clear white pupils. They are a great contrast to the usual appearance of human eyes, whose pupils are always darker than their irises. Plus, whenever her emotions were heightened for whatever reason, the darker part of her eyes broke out into more rings. This was typical of all Draugrs, and is why their whole society was glad for the invention of contact lenses.
Humans always stared puzzled and scared at her eyes whenever she forgot her contacts, and she was then forced to reassure them that she had on contacts, just to calm them down. How ironic! As among her people, she was said to have one of the most beautiful eyes.
She scoffed at the sentiment as she secured a thin silver necklace around her neck, with a small locket hanging from it.
She pushed open the small locket and looked at the faded sketch in it with longing. Smudged strokes depicting her mother's tender face looked back up at her. Beside it was her face as a five year old girl.
She remembered that day as clear as it were yesterday. The masters were out, and her mother was cradling Anja to herself, as she let her sink her little milk fangs into her wrist to feed. Anja’s mother had often fed her herself, and had taught her how to control her urges, and how to feed in the least intrusive way. From the wrist, if there was no drinking glass about.
They’d been having a lovely day playing out by the gardens, free of fear of the masters of the house. Old Torben, the gardener, had then limped over to them, his charcoal pencil perched behind his ear.
"And how is our little Anja today?" Old Torben had asked kindly as her mother bound her own wrist after her daughter had drunk enough.
Old Torben didn’t look away in distaste at the sight of a five year old sucking blood from her own mother’s wrist, like most of the servants did. He’d never once been unkind to Anja, despite her nature. He pinched her cheek playfully as he took a seat beside them. Anja had smiled back up at him gleefully, for she loved the old man dearly.
"Do you want me to make a little drawing of you, little mouse?"
"Yes, yes!" Anja screamed with glee then, her energy restored after having just fed.
Old Torben had then torn out a small corner of the parchment in his hand and sketched out her thin long face. Her mother had been very glad for it, and the pleased gardener had then gone ahead and drawn her mother's face too. They were beautiful portraits, and her mother had folded them in a thick silk handkerchief that she’d gotten from her mistress one christmas and had carried it around with her everywhere she went thereafter.
Months later, the mistress of the house had caught sight of the parchments when the handkerchief had fallen out of her maid’s collar. She too had loved the likeness of the sketches, and had immediately insisted that her maid must accept one of her intricate lockets in which she could put the sketches, and a matching necklace from which it could hang. Anja's mother had won that chain everyday thereafter, and Anja had done the same after her mother’s death.
Anja shook out of her tour down memory lane, not wanting to relive the sad memories of how it came to be that she got ownership of the necklace. She snapped the locket shut and dabbed some mild perfume onto her neck. She then planted her feet into the dull black court shoes, grabbed her handbag hanging by the door and left for work.
Her office building was just a fifteen minutes' walk away from her apartment. There’s nothing glamorous about it. It was a drab old five storey building, housing among others Smith & Jones, the law firm she was working for as a low level legal secretary. It was a boring dead end job- just how she liked it.
She’d taken the job after she’d graduated for the umpteenth time, this time from a community College upstate. She’d chosen the firm because it was small, and appeared to have no chance of ever growing. The last thing she wanted was to work in a high end firm that would probably attract high level clients, some of who might be from her past.
The secret to successfully hiding from the high and mighty, is to throw yourselves into a pool of the low and gritty. None of the high and mighty would be interested in trudging in the grime, so chances of getting caught were comparably lower there.
She’d been working in the firm for five years now, and was very much loved by her bosses and colleagues. This was because she’d never once complained about the working hours or asked for a raise, and had, regardless, always done her job diligently.
A few weeks ago, Anja began to worry. The two partners seemed chirpier than usual, and there’d been talk of a merger with a big international firm. Anja had been a little disappointed to hear that, for she’d hoped to continue working there for the next ten or so years. Stability is so hard to come by in this century.
She planned on confronting her bosses that day, and if her suspicions were confirmed, she’d give in her notice and ask for a recommendation letter. There’s really no need to wait and find out what firm would buy them. Words like big, international, lucrative were her enemy, and a threat to her freedom.
"Hi Anja," the kind female guard called as she walked in through the front doors.
"Hi," Anja responded with a smile as she ignored the elevator and pounced onto the stairs. More often than not the elevators don’t work, so she never bothered with them. Plus physical exercise has never scared her, so she often opted for the stairs.
Their office was at the top most floor. She called a good morning to the secretary, a kind older woman with sharp eyes, as she made it to her desk. It was stifling hot in the building as the AC was highly unreliable. She pushed open the windows to let in the fresh cool air from outside before sitting down.
They were the only two people in the office for a while, but soon enough Smith walked in with his typical cheerful humor. They all exchanged some niceties before he locked himself into one of the offices separated by a thin glass partitioning.
Her other boss, a middle aged man called Jones, came in next with a large coffee in his hands. He said hello to them and handed Anja a list of files she should pull up, before he too disappeared into his office.
Lindsey, the young and beautiful paralegal, blew in dramatically as usual, complaining about the busted elevator again and how she couldn’t wait to get out of this dump. She’d only been with the firm for six months and was already looking for a job elsewhere.
It started out as a typical work day for Anja, spent between flipping through files, sitting in on a client's meeting, making calls and booking appointments with clients and courthouses.
Anja always listened to everything that went on in the office as she did her work, her heightened senses allowing her to overhear all conversations. When you have been on the run for so long, you learn to always be attentive and on the lookout.
"Smith, you have a call from the proposed buyers," Angela, the receptionist talked into her phone to their boss in one of the offices. Anja looked up, and through the transparent partitioning caught sight of Smith holding the receiver against his ear as he talked with Angela.
"Put him through, Angela dear," he said cheerfully.
A low buzz sounded.
"Hello, this is Smith."
"Mr. Smith, it's good I caught you." The voice on the phone chilled Anja’s blood instantly.
I must get out now when I can!
Her mind screamed at her, even as she saw Smith summon her with his fingers through the transparent wall partitioning. She stood up stiffly and walked towards his office.
"I hope this is not a bad time,” the voice in the phone continued.
“It is as good a time as any,” Smith answered amicably.
“I could be at your offices in a short while. Is that alright with you?”
Anja froze before Smith’s door at those words. She turned away hastily and had to bite down really hard on her lip so as to stop her adrenalin from kicking in and causing her to move too fast, faster than it’s humanly possible. That wouldn’t do. There were too many witnesses around, and it’d take a while to glamour them all.
She walked back to her desk as slow as she could manage, and picked up her handbag. There was not enough time left to give notice, nor to lobby for a recommendation letter. She needed to get out now before whoever was on the phone arrived.
She nearly jumped out of her skin when Smith tapped on her shoulder then. She knew it was him by his scent, but her mind had been too preoccupied to hear him approach. She turned around slowly to find him looking at her questioningly. Guilt ate at her at the fact that she had to quit now.
How will they manage without her? The workload is great, and none other would agree to do so much work for such a low salary and the horrible office location. She couldn’t stay however. Her freedom depended on it.
And that voice on the phone had seemed so familiar! It could have been..
“I..” She started as she looked back at him sadly, unable to think up of a good enough explanation as to why she couldn’t stay on. "I.."
She was unable to proceed though, for the heady wave of his presence hit her even before the office doors burst open. Her face must have communicated her fear right then, telling by the onset of Smith’s worried look. Her heartbeat quickened, and she began looking around her for a place to hide. She knew however that there was nowhere to go, and that whoever had come in had sensed her already. The least she could do now was go about her business and act like this was her territory.
What are the chances that he’d know her?
Very small indeed, Anja reassured herself as she lay back her bag on her desk. If whoever that was coming here wasn’t important, he might just believe that this was her territory and choose to leave peacefully without causing any trouble, and therein give her a head start to run before he blubbered about her to any authorities.
Smith looked very relieved to see her set her bag back down again, but was interrupted from saying anything as two men and a woman walked into the offices. Smith rushed towards them to welcome them, while Anja sat back on her desk quietly, attempting to be as inconspicuous as she possibly could.
Surely.. It cannot be,
she thought to herself with a sinking heart when he walked into her view. She shut her eyes for a split second, as she tried to calm her nerves down, clenching and unclenching her fingers in the process. She finally forced her eyes open again, as Smith introduced Jones, and then Angela and Lindsey.
Smith looked her way then, so she rose to her feet and walked cautiously over to them, her exterior displaying an embodiment of serenity while her interior battled against her raging emotions.
Suddenly she felt like a little helpless girl again, a feeling she’d been battling against for the last two centuries. The child in her wanted to run away from here as fast as possible; to jump out the window, cry, to feed, to engorge herself in so much blood that she’d pass out in a drunken stupor. She wanted to hide, dig the deepest grave there was and bury herself deep in it. Anything, but stand before him right now and shake his hand.