BERSERKER

prologue

The ceiling was white.

Nice, Behzad. Good to know you haven't lost your sense of reason in the last twenty four hours.

She blinked slowly, trying to orient herself. She'd been having a dream and by the fuzzy, squirrel taste in her mouth she could tell it probably hadn't been pleasant. But as with all her dreams in the past six months, she didn't remember much. Passing impressions, a few colors, and a rather brilliantly blue eye.

Razad should have locked you up in a padded room.

It only took her a few seconds to understand what had interrupted her sleep. Her cell phone. The two second silence lasted two seconds before the French songGabriel started up again. Martine was calling. Again.

"I can't get a moments rest," she groused as she reached to her night table and flipped her cell phone open.

"Quoi?" Martine's trilling laughter flooded her ears.

"Good, good! You're using your French!"

"Martine, it's," she paused to look at the glowing numbers on her alarm clock, "five thirty in the AM – what do you want?"

The French woman tsk'd chidingly, "You haven't had your morning vanilla coffee, have you?"

"I haven't set one foot out of bed and I don't plan on doing that any time soon. So, unless you wanted something in particular, foutre le comp."

"If you're maman heard you speaking like that, she'd be very disappointed."

"Martine." She sighed.

"What are you doing asleep anyway? It's a Friday. You're a senior. Leve-toi."

"I'm skipping today."

"Non." The response was immediate and sharp, "Non, tu n'es pas."

"Martine–"

"No," she snapped, "We have rules, Behzad. You must complete your education. It must be taken seriously."

"I'm not dropping out." She muttered.

"Perhaps not, but you are not putting in any effort in succeeding. Out of bed, now. If I call again and you are still sleeping I will come knocking on your door. Do you want to explain to your mother why a five centuries old French woman is coming to take her daughter to school?"

Silence.

A moment later she snapped the cell phone shut and rose from bed. She could hear the latest Chris Brown song pounding the walls in her brothers' room across the hall. She grimaced at the lyrics she could barely understand. Screaming and shouting with guitars blaring in the background she could understand. Really fast talking to a nonsensical beat, she could not.

A quick shower.

She stood in front of the mirror in her mother's room. Large brown, thickly lashed eyes, full lips, a semi-wide nose, thick, dark curling hair and a brown face. Sharp cheek bones. Slightly rounded chin.

She could see her collar bone too clearly. If she lifted her shirt she could see her ribs.

You look like a starving kid from Africa.

She snorted and finished braiding her hair while continuing her examination.

A black, double breasted, knee length tunic, slit on the sides. Black pants. Flat heeled boots.

A holster with a Glock would have been nice, but some how she didn't think Principal Bradbury would take to kindly to weapons on school property. And she was more than certain Razad wouldn't make any effort what so ever to grant her some sort of special license. No, if she happened to be attacked during the school day on school property it was her and her fists.

It's not like the boogey man is going to show up.

She tied off her braid and pulled the black scarf she'd draped across her shoulder, wrapping it around her head and pinning it under her chin, before heading downstairs.

"You look like a witch," her mother said with a sigh, "All that black."

"Love you, too, Mommy."

"Wait for your brothers, Behzad."

"They'll make me late," she called over her shoulder, "Besides; I think Ahmed is skipping today. And Hassan has some field trip to Pennsylvania or something to see the King Tut exhibit."

She could hear her mother shouting for her brothers as she stepped out of the door.

Some thing's just never changed.


Learning about the United States Bureaucracy first thing in the morning was about as pleasant as getting a tooth pulled. At least when you got your tooth pulled they didn't grade you on whether or not you decided to scream. She was sure if she got up and started yelling like a lunatic they'd fail her. Or expel her.

She forced her heavy eye lids to lift and glanced at the clock. It was almost ten thirty. Twenty more minutes and she could stop listening to her teacher exclaim about the intricacy of their government. Not that there was anything wrong with that, of course. More power to him if he found it exciting.

Unfortunately, her body protested that it should still be in bed. Even if they had told her she could watch a rocket launching live at Cape Cod she'd just ask for a bed.

"Behzad!"

She jerked upright, staring wide eyed at her teacher. At least he couldn't speak French. If he decided to chew her out in front of the class, he'd do it in a language she was completely fluent in.

Instead, he handed her a pink slip of paper.

"The senior office wants to see you." She stared at the slip of paper warily before she took it and gathered her bag and books to head out. Whatever they wanted might not take twenty minutes, but if she walked slowly enough, she was sure she could make it take that long.

The halls were empty and the only sound were her feet taking slow, dragging steps. Any minute now, she was sure, a security guard or hall monitor would snap at her to hurry it up.

She frowned when she recognized the head of curling blonde hair.

"Martine?"

She looked up to reveal a soft, angelic face. Plump lips, slightly rounded cheeks, wide eyes under fair eyebrows, a straight nose. Her face split into a wide smile.

"Maman is taking you to Paris for the day," she said in her French accented voice.

"Really?" she scoffed. Before she could answer, the door to the office opened, revealing Shehrazad.

"Razad! What are you doing here?" The woman who stood looking at her didn't look to be out of her twenties yet. Petite, dark skinned, with hazel eyes, and a countenance worthy of a queen, Shehrazad was a woman that Behzad had come to trust implicitly. It helped that in theory, Shehrazad was probably some sort of long lost ancestor whose age put her birth some where along the fall of the Persian Empire.

Coming up behind her was her husband, Jahan. So tall that his head was in danger of brushing the top of the doorway, with skin the color of tea and eyes just as dark, his age far surpassed that of his wife's. His hair was dark and would have curled just above his shoulders had he not held it at the nape of his neck with a rubber band. His beard was closely trimmed.

"We've come to take you home," he said. His voice was deep, his expression solemn.

"I live right down the street," she said wryly, "I hardly need an armored escort."

"Non," Martine responded, "Home with us. We can't leave you alone anymore."

She backed away. They had a deal. She was left alone until she was twenty one, then she joined up with them. In exchange, she got money to take care of her family. The contract was rock solid. There was no early 'snatch you up' clause.

"We had a deal," she said, voicing her thoughts. Shehrazad shook her head.

"I'm sorry, Behzad. I wouldn't do this unless it was absolutely necessary."

"Explain 'necessary'." Her voice was wary as her eyes darted from one person to the next.

"A serial killer is on the loose," Jahan stated. Nothing about him changed; there was no excitement, no fear, no anticipation or heat. His face, his tone, his entire stance remained exactly the same.

"I'm pretty sure I can hold my own against a twisted freak killer. I was a guest to several for two years, if you'll remember."

"He's killing women who fit your profile."

"Excuse me?"

"Behzad, they're looking for you again."

If she had been the sort of girl, she would have fainted. As it was, all she felt was the room tilt a bit before she straightened up.

Bravado was all good and well in her book, but it wasn't anywhere as good as a gun. And even though she liked to pretend that therapy had cured her of all nightmares concerning the Ultimate Nightmare a year past, she wasn't fooling anyone. Normal serial killers she could handle. People who made her kind a specialty, absolutely not.

"Come on," Martine said gently, taking her by the elbow, "We have permission to take you off campus."

"Wait," she managed, "Can I stop at home? Leave a note or something? I don't want my mom to think I disappeared again."

Shehrazad and Jahan exchanged a look before he nodded.

"Let's go. But make it quick."


Her mother's car was still parked in front of the house.

The door to the town house was still ajar.

Behzad held her breath as she approached the house.

Something was very, very wrong. It was ten forty. Her mother should have been at work. And she would have locked the door behind her.

She paused only for a second before she pushed open the door.

Red.

It was everywhere. On the walls. On the floor. Against the door.

Pink.

The strange tuna color was gathered together in a small pile in the center of all the red.

White.

It peeked through the pink.

How pretty.Who's screaming? Why are they making that awful noise? Oh God, the neighbors are going to complain.

Something or some one was pulling her away from the colorful display.

A sharp jerk to the shoulder.

Everything suddenly hit her with vivid clarity.

She was screaming.

And that was blood.

And flesh.

And bone.

And that was her mother's face.

She broke loose, scrambling over the blood and meat, up the stairs to her brothers' room.

More red.

More pink.

More white.

More faces.

The screaming got louder.

And it wouldn't stop.

And in it she could hear some one praying, and some one talking.

And she could feel some one trying to pull her away as she cradled her brother's head and shoulders against her, screaming to high heaven for all the rushing pain to stop.


Mihangel dismounted from his Ducati Desmosedici RR and slipped off the helmet on his head. Jahan's truck was parked in front of a house he hadn't visited in almost three years. The door was shut, the neighborhood was quiet. He could even hear birds twittering in the trees. Any moment now he expected Behzad's next door neighbor, Grace, to come out with a plate of cookies and a cup of milk.

Despite all that, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. Shaking his head, he set the brake on his bike, tucked his helmet under his arm and walked into the heart of discord.

It looked like a butcher's shop. He swallowed thickly around his bile and moved passed the murder scene. He could see some one was already taking care of it.

"Angel?" He started at the sound of his surrogate father's voice and looked up. Jahan looked stressed, a small furrow between his dark brows, his lips pressed thin with worry. "What are you doing here?"

"Maman called me." He stated, before moving to walk around him and up the stairs.

"Angel," his father started gravely, then shook his head with a sigh, "It's not pretty in there. Razad has her calm, but barely."

"I know how to handle her, Papa." Jahan inclined his head to his adopted son, before moving out of the way.

"I have to take care of this." He said gesturing to the mess downstairs. Funny how some one's body become 'this' in their world.

No, it's not.

"Behave," his father warned before continuing on.

Behzad's room had always fascinated him. It was small, able only to accommodate a bed, a computer desk, and two small night tables. The computer was nestled into the nook with the window. There was a vase of dead flowers on the second night table in the far left corner. The bed and first night table were set against the front left corner. All around the room were piles of overdue books and papers from school.

But he didn't notice any of that. All he noticed was the young woman, on the bed, her scarf falling to her shoulders, her dark face devoid of blood, her dark brown eyes flashing to a brilliant, jeweled hue of blue, her knees pulled to her chest. Blood smeared the carpet, and the bed covers were she was sitting.

She'd gotten blood on her clothes.

"Behzad?" She looked up so suddenly he almost flinched. It was a purely animalistic move. And he suddenly recognized that jewel toned gaze. It was a tiger's gaze. More importantly, it was Behzad's beast.

A beast that wasn't supposed to appear until she hit twenty one.

Though her eyes focused on him, they continued to flicker between her brown and the tiger blue.

"Mihangel?" Her voice came out hoarse, as if she'd abused it over the past few hours. He could only imagine what she'd done to it if she was the one who had found the 'this' downstairs.

He bent in front of her as his mother moved to stand aside and brushed away a stray lock of dark hair.

The last he'd seen her was when they were signing their marriage contract.

Her gaze was feral, her eyes wide and showing too much white. Her entire body was coiled, the muscles tense, and she gripped her knees so hard he could see the white of the bone at her wrists.

Even as he tried to reassure her that she'd be fine, that things would turn out the way they were supposed to, he knew one thing. Sooner or later, those who loosed their beast forms too early always went wrong. She would turn Berserk.

They always did.


So, I realize the story has a ton of holes so far and some of the stuff doesn't make any sense and all that. But it will fill in, I promise. Seriously. Just bare with me.

Reviews are always welcome.