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Off the Beaten Path
by Stacey Turner
It was clever, Fifika thought. The way he’d tried to outsmart her curse. She’d cursed him to an eternity of staying put when everyone knew a vampire had to roam to survive. And yet, he’d not only survived, he’d thrived. The bastard. Who’d have thought he’d build himself a town and invite other paranormal creatures to come to him? The idea was brilliant really. And if she didn’t hate him so much, she might admire his intelligence. But hate him she did. He’d left her to weather the change alone. No sire to guide her through her thirst, the first hunt, the first spilling of blood. Thankfully she’d been raised on grand-mère’s stories of night creatures and semi knew what to expect. Semi, because nothing could have prepared her for the fever that had raged until she sated herself with her first human blood. Luckily her Romani blood and nomadic ways set her up well for the life she was forced to live after. And all for a debt that wasn’t hers.
She pushed aside the hurt and anger. She’d lived nearly a century in the dark. But gradually, as she aged she’d begun to tolerate the sun. She’d heard rumors only a certain clan of vampires could walk in the sun. An ancient Hungarian line. Anton’s line. Now, she walked the forest path over weathered boards towards her sire and his town in the light of the fading sun. She’d learned much in the intervening years. Spent the time wisely, gathering knowledge of her enemy, and of his enemies. They said “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” but Fifika had no wish to befriend his enemies. It boggled the mind, but they were worse than even he. She’d seen horrible things, things far worse than grand-mère’s stories had prepared her to witness. Always though, the need for vengeance spurred her on. A fire that warmed her even on the darkest, most soul crushing nights.
The town appeared out of the mist before her. It was beautiful. Charming houses lined cobbled streets, some wood, some stone. Each with a lovely chimney. All nestled in the surrounding pine forest. Pine Haven he’d called it. She’d been told only those with supernatural abilities could even see the town; to normal humans it was cloaked and appeared as nothing more than forest. Fucking brilliant bastard. He couldn’t go out into the world, so he brought it to him. Well she’d brought something to him as well. The end. She was going to end him and his charming fucking town if it killed her. She hoped desperately that it did.
Fiction © Copyright Stacey Turner
Image courtesy of Nina D’Arcangela
More from author Stacey Turner:
Stalking Hazel: A Pine Haven Novella
What happens when a naive mermaid decides to leave her underwater paradise to live on the land?
Hazel was the first in her clan to forsake the ocean in favor of land. She thought Pine Haven, a town founded for paranormals to live in safety, would be the perfect place. But her involvement with one of the town’s two human residents raises eyebrows and suspicion.
Why is her nosy neighbor, Leo, keeping tabs on her? And why does he look so darn good in those tight clothes?
When Hazel finds herself in trouble she learns who really cares about her and how powerful accepting your true nature can be.
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A terrifically intriguing story.
Thank you! It connects to a book series I’m writing.
Well, where is the next chapter? Good one!
Thank you, Marge! That means a lot. Actually, this will be part of the fourth book in the series I’m writing, Pine Haven. The first book comes out next month.
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