Chapter One

Alexandria Phoenix shivered and pulled her jacket closer to her body. Her legs were freezing inside the jeans she was wearing; it was little protection from the night's cold breeze. She could've been sleeping in her nice, warm and cozy bed considering it was about three in the morning, but she had to be dragged out by her irritating brother.

"River," She whispered, "Can I just leave? I'll owe you one."

River turned around to look at her, his bright blue eyes fixating on her with a glare.

"No." Sheesh. All she did was ask.

Alexandria grumbled, flicked her black hair off her shoulder and looked around. Four streetlights dotted the street, flickering every few minutes. The moon was full and bright. Around her were crumbling buildings that were very old, maybe a few hundred years. There were a few alleyways here and there, but only one was what they were looking for.

They moved silently down the street until they found the alley with police tape crisscrossed over it. It was a strong indicator that this was what they were looking for.

River lifted up the tape while Alex crouched down and slipped underneath. He followed her.

Alex squinted under the lack of light, trying to find what they were looking for. She moved forward, stopping when she felt something squish beneath her shoe. Alex wrinkled her nose at the red slime. Ahead of her was what was left of a body.

"I found it."

Covering her nose, she inspected the body. Blood and skin were everywhere, and bone was left in splinters. The torso and head were the only things identifiable in the mess.

It was a girl with long, curly strawberry blonde hair. The torso was torn and clawed. She noticed thick, prickly hair caught on the girl's rib. Alex grabbed it for a closer examination.

Her brother looked over at her, silently conveying that he wanted to be filled in.

"It was a werewolf, and a messy one at that."

He came over and looked at the girl with an attentiveness Alex couldn't match. River was more careful and he was always double checking things before jumping to conclusions. He finally looked satisfied after about ten minutes.

"It makes sense. The killing was earlier today, and today's the full moon. That is the day that werewolves are most powerful. But something about this isn't right," River looked around, his eyebrows scrunched together in thought, "Stay here."

He easily jumped between the narrow walls of the alley and onto the roof of a building, disappearing.

Alex decided to do a little more investigation. The position of the girl suggested that she was trying to run towards the back wall so her attacker either came from the entrance to the alley or they jumped over the wall.

Alex jumped up and pulled herself over the wall. Behind this was a thriving, beautiful forest. Why would someone run towards where her attackers came from? A werewolf wouldn't have gone through the entrance; that would attract too much attention. Her boss would love to hear this quandary.

Alexandria and River worked for the Hunters Association. It was a group of people with the skills to exterminate paranormal nuisances, or people in training to become a hunter. Vampires, werewolves and witches could become a little…out of order. They just put them back in live by removing the problem at its source. It's a fancy way of saying that she killed supernatural beings for a living.

She let go of the wall and landed gently on her feet. Alex whirled around at the sound of scratching. She almost missed it, but because of a breeze that carried the sound over to her, she was able to detect such a small sound. Glancing around in confusing, she guessed it was her brother trying to scare her. At least, that's what she thought until he appeared, flying through the air. He hit the brick wall with a thud and he slid to the ground.

Alexandria wanted to run to him, to check and see if he was okay, or at the very least alive, but she knew that was a bad move. Whoever did that to him was probably expecting her to do just that, and then they'd attack while she was distracted. It looked liked a vampire's work; they loved to play with human's emotions.

Immediately, she slipped into hunter moved and silently slid against the opposite wall from where River was laying. She knew the vampire would be able to smell her if it was an older one. Alex hoped it was a younger one, they were less powerful but at least she was downwind if it wasn't. She was about halfway across the alley when she heard the footsteps.

They were light – almost as soundless as spring drizzle on a rooftop. The last step was a little louder, and she tensed.

An older man appeared in front of her, landing light on his feet. He was wearing a green turtleneck and slacks. He only dressed this way to blend in of course, since vampires aren't affected by weather like humans are. The vampire was well built but had a slightly bigger belly. He smiled at her.

She grimaced. No matter how many times she saw the milky white fangs coming out of a vampire's mouth, she still got the chills. It just looked unnatural and out of place when it was set on their perfect faces. It was a reminder of what they really were.

Alex instinctively reached down into her black knee high boot and grabbed the wood knife she hid there, prepared of the attack. She must've blinked because next thing she knew the vampire had slammed her into the brick alley wall. She painfully sucked in a breath as her head rocked back and hit the wall. Her grip tightened on the knife as she pulled it from the sheath.

The vampires hands pinned her arms to her side, immobalizing them. He hissed into her ear, nuzzling her neck. She kept still, waiting for his grip to loosen. Alex was panicking slightly, seeing as she could feel his teeth grazing her vein.

He got into position to strike, opening his mouth wide. Alex jerked her hand out of his, spun and jammed her elbow in his face. He growled and stepped back, but Alex wasn't going to let him off that easy. She flicked her wrist so the tip of the knife was slightly digging in the base of his throat. The vampire let out a long laugh.

"You'll never win. Our plan has been put into action. I am nothing but a pawn so whether or not you kill me doesn't matter."

Alex cocked her head. This guy was obviously crazy but something urged her to dig deeper.

"And what plan might these be fangs? Or are you still feeling that big bowl of crazy you had for breakfast this morning?"

He lunged towards her, head on. She moved out of his way, and while he stopped she threw the knife. It was a distraction. As he moved out of the path of the knife, she grabbed it, turned and slashed. The knife sliced his neck, covering Alex with blood. The body collapsed on the ground.

Alex grimaced at the sight of herself. She was soaked in blood, but this wasn't exactly unusual. She kneeled over the body and wiped her knife clean before slipping it back into the sheath.

A smirk was displayed on her face as she stood and sprinted towards her brother. Alex kneeled down next to him, her hands on his face. Blood dripped down the back of his head.

"River? River!" She hissed.

Her brown eyes darted around. There might be more vampires crawling around here and Alex didn't want to stick around to find out. River groaned and tried to get on his feet but Alex pushed him back down.

"Sit here for a moment. I don't want you to hurt yourself."

He slowly looked around, recollecting his bearings.

"God my head hurts. Did you get him?"

Alex smiled and nodded. She pulled him up by the hand and led him to the car. It was a black Subaru with tinted windows. The license plate was yanked off the front and back.

River reached for the driver's door, but Alex swatted his hand away.

"With your banged up brain, we'd both end up in a ditch." She opened up her hand, palm up. He sighed and handed over the keys.

"I think with your driving skills, we'd end up in that ditch anyway."

Alex rolled her eyes, sliding into the drivers' seat and jamming the keys in the slot.

"Hey! I took drivers Ed!" She muttered.

"And you failed." He chuckled at the memory.

"Only because I didn't get in enough driving hours!" Alex protested.

At that time, Alex was tracking a clan of vampires and couldn't even begin to practice driving. She could drive fairly well, as she should at nineteen.

They drove on in silence, Alex following a new route to their home. Yes, River and Alexandria lived together. One con about the Association is that they have to. Not that they had much of a social life that it would interfere, but still. A little privacy was not too much to ask.

She parked twenty-five feet away which was usual for double protection against any supernatural creatures wanting revenge. They moved around often to prevent this. It was normal for them to walk on different sides of the street. Alex felt a pang of longing when she saw a couple walking past, holding hands. A lump formed in her throat, and she swallowed it. She pushed away the feeling. This was her life, nothing would change it now.

The apartment was gray and plain, with the basic necessities inside. Once inside, Alex ordered River to stay on the couch while she grabbed the first aid kit. Unlike a normal person's kit, this one was as big as a suitcase and it had wheels for convenience.

Alex was thankful that she wasn't squeamish because as she forced River to turn his head, she saw his wound. It was a five inch gash that split the back of his head, matting his blonde hair and making have a reddish tint. It wasn't very deep; it was just larger than a usual open wound.
She grabbed the scissors, pulling at a piece of her brothers' hair. River's hand shot out, stopping her.

"What are you doing?" His voice was as hard as steel.

Alex sighed, impatient. He knew exactly what she was doing. She shouldn't have to explain it to him!

"I'm going to cut away the hair from your wound."

He turned to face me, a hard look in his eyes.

"Absolutely not. Last time it took months to grow back."

Alex rolled her eyes. It was his macho man complex. His hair was everything to him. There was a flaw to his logic however and Alex planned to use it against him.

"River this gash will get infected and will bleed everywhere if we don't get it covered up. You have to cut the hair to get the band-aid to stick."


She narrowed her eyes at him. She knew that arguing with him was impossible – she had that same stubbornness too, except her was much stronger.

"Fine. Get an infection and die." She crossed her arms over her chest.

His resolve seemed to evaporate in seconds as Alex knew it would.

"Just cut the band-aid, not my hair please."

Alex rolled her eyes and did what he asked. In the end, all that mattered was that the wound was covered. She then packed up the medical supplies and wheeled it away. As she passed her room, she glanced at her alarm cock. 4:04 glowed in the darkness and suddenly, she felt very exhausted. The soreness in her muscles seemed to weigh her down, and her head felt like it was a huge boulder. She wanted to do nothing more than to curl up and sleep for a long time.

"River? I'm going to bed. Can we go report it to the Association in the morning?"

It was a rule to report all killings and sightings immediately. Alex had been up since six and she needed to sleep in a nice warm bed. She didn't even wait for an answer before flopping on her bed and promptly falling asleep.

Alex stretched, her muscles screaming in pain. A two hour car ride was not very good on the body. They had stopped at a gas station once they were in town. The Association base was here, and it was a perk to live close by. There were many Association houses where hunters reported back to, and where paperwork work was filed. Each hunter had a house they went to for missions, money, housing and etcetera.

Alex's house just happened to be where the head hunters lived. Apparently it was privilege for this to happen but she didn't feel lucky.
Many of the head hunters were older, boring and quite frankly, not all they were hyped up to be. Sure they had experience and skill, but did that really have to replace personality? She disliked many of them.

"Can I call him now?" Excitement edged into her voice.

'Him' was the esteemed hunter and grade-A crazy man, Rhett Harden. They had always been close, ever since she became a hunter. River hated him, thinking he was a bad influence and he was. That was why she liked him.

River sighed, disappointment ringing in his answer.

"I guess."

He handed her a sleek black Track Phone before walking inside the gas station. She had her phone privileges taken away when she kept breaking it. Alex dialed the number she knew so well.

It rang three times before Rhett's voice filtered through.

"What." The tone was flat and hard, the exact opposite of Rhett's' personality.

"Too good to say hello, Harden?" She teased.

His effortless laugh answered.

"Not when it's you, sweetheart. What brings you to call me on this fine day?"

"River and I are heading to the base. Are you still in that area?"

There was a long pause and then a whoop. "Hell yeah! Those werewolves are in deep shit this time. You'll find out when you get here."

Rhett was an expert on werewolves. There wasn't a single thing he didn't know about them. He was close with their royal family too.

"Okay, well I'll see you in a few."

She hung up on him as her brother came out of the gas station with two bags of chips in his hand. She raised an eyebrow at him.

"What? A guy has got to eat."
Alex laughed, grabbing a bag. River threw the other bag in the backseat while backing out of the parking lot. Alex sighed and threw her chips back there too. He drove down unfamiliar paths and twists until they pulled up to a lone warehouse. Faded letters on a sign said, "Private, no trespassing."
The building looked very plain, with black panels covering every surface. It was four stories with a few windows scattered here and there. Alex had a feeling of nostalgia as she looked at the building she'd known for years. Alex shook her head and reached in the backseat. There was a secret compartment there for weapons. She lifted the lid in the floor and pulled out a silver knife and a stake.

She slid the knife in her wrist sheath and put that stake in her boot. It was better to be prepared then to be dead.

They both walked in silence towards the entrance, gravel crunching with every step. Alex's eyes flickered from her brother and the warehouse. He had on his thoughtful expression, his eyebrows scrunched together.

They approached the door cautiously. Alex knocked twice, paused, and knocked three more times. It was a code, and it was changed daily. Only hunters got were sent the new passwords.

The silver dusted wood door creaked as it swung open, revealing what looked like a waiting area. Straight ahead was a curved desk with a computer sitting on it; plastic chairs covered the walls to her left and right.

An older woman sat at the desk, typing away. She barely glanced at the duo. She had her graying auburn hair into a tight bun. A scar marred her face, on her right cheek.

"Sophia. Could you tell me where Christian is?" Alex asked. Her gaze was fixed on Sophia.

She grumbled. "Young hunters and their manners these days.

Alex rolled her eyes, exasperated. She knew she wouldn't be let in until she said it, but it was completely unnecessary.


Sophia caught Alexandria's eye. "He's not here. Maddix is on the top floor. Rhett requested that you see him, however. He's in the basement." She sighed in disappointment.

Sophia mentored Rhett a bit when he was younger. He was a hellion. She hasn't liked him since. Alex didn't blame her.

Alex watched as her brother thanked her and sprinted to the stairway door. She shook her head. It was just like her do-gooder brother to go up the stairs when a perfectly acceptable elevator was working a few feet away. She walked in the elevator and pressed the basement button, knowing she'd much rather tussle with Rhett than face Maddix.

The elevator dinged and the chrome doors opened. As soon as she stepped out she was knocked to the side. Completely caught off guard, Alex felt her mouth pop open as she fell to the ground. Whoever it was was now on top of her. She twisted her body and kicked full force on the person's chest.

She heard a grunt and then a laugh. Alex sprung to her feet, ready to fight. Once she saw who was standing there, she relaxed. It was Rhett. That asshole surprised her.