Cornelius, A full-blooded baby with a taste for blood. He nipped Caleb’s fingers, growling like a puppy. He would giggle, refusing to let go as Caleb cringed, dreading the day his vampire’s teeth came through. Unlike his adult parents, Cornelius had a beating heart, common in born vampires. The natural blood flow helped them develop like human children. Caleb loved the opportunity to cook. The house was filled with smells to make mouths water and stomachs rumble. The plasma fruit enabled Cornelius to adjust over the years. He would control his yearning and become stronger than his parents.
Charlotte needed to steady her nerves. Patrick agreed to bring the girls to visit on Halloween. Her hands shook as she poured the bag of sweets into the orange plastic bowl, letting them spill on the floor. The knot tightened in her stomach; Charlotte had not seen the girls since she left. Patrick refused to share photos, saying they should decide what Charlotte could know. She crushed the bag in her fists, suppressing the cry.
Caleb seasoned the turkey, watching and wary of asking how she was. It was going to be a difficult day for everyone. Bringing her family, a group of humans Caleb was unsure he could keep the secret, made him nervous. Vlad was looking for reasons to take Charlotte from him, and bury them both in the graveyard. What would become of Cornelius? Vlad never objected to vampire children, he welcomed the purity. The issue Caleb could see was Cornelius was not of his blood. Would Vlad slay or bury him after reaching puberty when the changes began? Caleb wrestled with his loyalty to his sire and the vampire he created. The ministry of magic had blessed them, and for now, they were safe. Charlotte kept pushing the boundaries of Vlads house rules. Caleb rubbed his neck, and his adam’s apple bobbed in his throat, when would they reach the end of Vlad’s tolerance?
Eliza arrived first, a cautious Milly behind, taking tentative steps into the house. Milly felt the chills of Forgotten Hollow, and the dark, dank rooms did nothing to dispel her fears. A giggle of excited girls followed behind. Patrick came armed with a casserole, unsure what Caleb would offer them. He had strange visions of blood bubbling or sliced open for any visiting vampires. Shallow cuts allow the blood to ooze. Caleb placed a steaming bowl of roast potatoes on the counter. Eliza took a deep breath, making the first bold move to see if he needed help.
A pair of curious eyes followed Milly. Cornelius had snuck downstairs, lured by the nervous conversation. Charlotte made a cold introduction, hoping Patrick would not make a scene at the word son. The glassy eyes of Luliana were all Patrick needed to hold his tongue. His girls knew the truth, and the sense of abandonment solidified in the younger twin. He moved closer to her squeezing her hand, wary of accepting the offered food.
Charlotte shifted. The silence from her daughters gnawed at her as they avoided eye contact. Caleb had added plasma to meals given to her and Cornelius. He tried to appear casual in nursing his blood fill wine glass. The tension ached in Patrick’s shoulders. Despite the delicious meal, suspicions and concerns wavered in him. Daciana broke the silence praising the food. She met Charlotte’s gaze; her dad, referring to Patrick, was an excellent cook. Daciana took a bite of his casserole, humming as the flavour popped in her mouth. In truth, the food made her stomach churn, but she hid the pain. There was a smell making her curious, the thick liquid in Caleb’s glass. She watched as he swirled it, hypnotised by its glossy colour. Her stomach rumbled; Daciana covered her mouth. The acidity mixed with gravy, turkey and roasties. Patrick reacted, dragging her to the bathroom. Luliana excused her sister, having eaten sweets before they came.
Patrick was unclear if Charlotte believed him. Either way, Daciana was not her concern. She surrendered that right and the girls made their stance clear. Saying goodbye, Patrick pulled his daughters closer. He had no intention of bringing them back, Forgotten Hollow was not a place for humans.