Ambra

I've had myriad names, so many I don't even remember them all, but now I use my true name. I've seen many, many things in my life; I saw the great pyramids of Egypt being built ( I helped build them, actually, I was a slave in Egypt). I witnessed the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. I lived through the Spanish Inquisition and the Plague. I've posed for Michaelangelo, I survived both the world wars, but I never could have been prepared for life as a 21st Century vampire posing as a teenager.

I've faced so many difficulties in my pseudo-life. I've had to watch the deaths of friends, lovers, and enemies . I was born a slave in ancient Egypt, the daughter of an ill-fated affair between a pharaoh and a servant. I was changed when my lover decided that I was never to "die", so I was killed. I though t that I had seen the height of pettiness in the Victorian Era. I was, alas, wrong. The Penacle of pettiness-so far- is a red blooded American teenager of the 21St century.

Tamyri (Tamyri)

I only want to be a normal person, but the goddess has chosen otherwise. I guess I should be used to this-I'm a witch-I always have been, in every single life. The soul of a witch is always reborn a witch.

I am terrified to write in this journal, even though I use a language long dead that only We are taught. I am terrified that someone will find out that I am not human. I am terrified that someone will think I am evil, believing the "fairy" tales.

I really don't want to think of the consequences, I know how evil humans can be. They are sick if they want to be. Witches do not have capability of being monsters, cannot stand to see a hurting creature. I just wish that humans could realize that.

(I only want to be a normal person, but the Goddess has chosen otherwise. I guess I should be used to this-I'm a witch-I always have been, in every single life. The soul of a witch is always reborn a witch. I am terrified to write in this journal, even though I use a language long dead that only We are taught. I am terrified that someone will find out that I am not human. I am terrified that someone will think I am evil, believing the "fairy" tales. I really don't want to think of the consequences, I know how evil humans can be. They are sick if they want to be. Witches do not have the capability of being monsters, cannot stand to see a hurting creature. I just wish that humans could realize that).

Shakira

Creativity, something we all are said to posses. I, or my kind, don't. The only gift I have is to steal others' creativity. I am a shapeshifter. I can take on any form I wish and hold power over all creatures. So, I can have all the creativity that I wish, but it's just not mine.

You ( I say you, as if someone is reading this) may find this horrible, criminal even. But, it isn't, it's the only way to survive. Yes, I do have my own form, and have been called beautiful, but if I don't shift I will die. My energy comes from the natural high (the creativity) of changing. No, my shifting doesn't harm the body I copy, just dislodges their creativity until I am done with it. I only borrow from those who are not needing it at the moment.

Chapter 1

Tamyri walked out of the club. The backdoor she used led to an ally. Most women would feel at least a little apprehensive doing so, but Tamyri was too incensed at the moment to notice. This club was her favorite and they had taken it. They were those who did not understand that her kind was not evil, those who hunted them down, believing that God was behind them. If only they had any realistic comprehension of who the God and the Goddess are, thought Tamyri. Finally out of the ally way, she hailed a taxi. The driver was a slimy man, he smiled at her, baring his decayed tooth.

" Baby doll, where ya headed?" The driver's voice was oily and his words slithered out of his mouth like a snake. Tamyri did not like snakes. She instinctively put out her magic, without realizing what she was doing, her magic entangled and constricted his neck. Tamyri tried to let it go, but the magic had gotten away from her. She had lost control. Tamyri would never want to cause pain to anything, even a snake. She mentally kicked herself, she would have to waste even more of her magic and time to resuscitate this sleaze ball.

As she finally fell into bed at 3:00, Tamyri let out a huge sigh. Within seconds she was in a deep slumber. Her dreams that night disturbed her. "Well, well Tamyri. You have finally decided to show up. It's about time. You don't know how long I've waited for my third daughter to come to me. The two others have been by to visit many times," a strange voice said to her. Tamyri looked around in the cloudy room. She couldn't see anything, A witch's worst enemy was blindness. The voice started to approach her, faster and faster until it was almost touching her. Ambra woke with a start.

Ambra was shocked, ever since her death, she had never been so affected by a dream as now. If she had had a heart beat it would be racing by now. Ambra dreamed of this strange girl numerous times, but could never quite make her out as someone she knew. Ambra headed to her mirror and looked at her amber skin, she could still see herself clearly, another myth destroyed, she thought, making one more mental tally. Looking at the time, Ambra headed to the shower. Ambra attended a local high school. This time around she was a Junior. Ambra had spent the last two years there and intended on finishing up at Ranestone. She played a life, using her illusions to appear to age, and when all her friends died she started a new one. Ambra's true self looked the age she had been when she had died-17. Climbing into the shower the cold water poured over her naked body, just as the loneliness did onto her soul.

Out of the shower, Ambra slowly got dressed in a black turtleneck and jeans. She hadn't worn black very often up until recently when she had been told it was "in". Ambra wanted desperately to fit in. The cheerleaders and the jocks at school didn't pay attention to her, but they were nicer than those who did. She was ridiculed by everyone else. But it was just as well because Ambra often wondered what would happen if she did make a friend and that friend wanted to come over. She had no parents. The school work was a breeze, she finished it all at school. Once you've gone to school for as long as she had, there was only so much you could learn. Ambra had a PHD in almost anything you could think of; Theater, Psychology, Business-You name it, she had it

Walking into the school, Ambra saw a girl she recognized. She smiled amicably, hoping she could make a friend. The girl shuddered and hurried away. It always hurt Ambra, because she had never done anything to alienate these people. Deciding to try to shrug it off Ambra headed to her locker. 23-69-05, the lock clicked open. Well, maybe today won't be any worse than usual, she thought. A couple of guys, sophomores, walked passed her making the stupid remarks that people always did. Great, she thought, now even the younger guys are making fun of me. She grabbed the rest of her books and started her trek down to her Honors Calculus class. BOOM! A girl collided into her. Ambra extended her hand out to aid the fallen girl. As the girl looked up and locked eyes with her she had a momentary feeling of uneasiness.

" Um, uh thanks," muttered the girl, flustered.

" No problem… I'm Ambra," she said once again extending her hand, this time to shake.

"Tamyri, I just transferred here. I'm a sophomore. Do you happen to know where room 355A is? It Honors Calculus, I think," Tamyri looked down at her feet, perplexed.

" Actually, that's my next class. C'mon follow me." Ambra, happy to make a friend, wondered why this girl was so self-conscious. But, maybe if she was at a new school for the first time she wouldn't be walking around like she owned the place either.

Ambra continued to feel uneasy around Tamyri, feeling a sort of de ja vu. It was possible that she had met an incarnation of her in the long life she had "lived". However, Tamyri's was a personality not easily forgotten. As Ambra headed home, she started to recall encounters of the past.

The tavern was empty spare the few weary travelers. Ambra was hungry, but human food would not suffice. To sate this hunger she needed blood. She did not like to take human lives and had done it only once (the woman had been about to die and there was no help for miles). Ambra could never, would never, forget her past. She had been a human and couldn't find it in her heart to kill. She could barely stand to live off of the animal blood she took. Ambra was lucky, she didn't need blood more than once a month. She could make do with human food (big, juicy steaks) the rest of the time. During her lifetime, Ambra had been vegetarian, but it was now impossible to continue and act as she wished.

A young woman walked into the tavern, immediately Ambra tensed. Her mind lashed out warning signals, but she ignored them. Almost mesmerized she wandered over to the girl.

"Welcome, I'm Quinne. Would you like something?" Ambra waited for the girl to respond.

" Like what? Oh…something to drink you mean? Yes I would like to have a flagon of ale. And please bring me any food in the kitchen, without meat that is." The girl was very flustered, but her eyes shone brilliantly. Amazingly, Ambra could not make out the color.

" Coming right up dear. Come sit."

" Oh, yes thank you."

Ambra woke from her day dream, the girl's eyes, they were the same as Tamyri's and Ambra had met those eyes other times too.

The hospital room was filled patients. The battle had scarcely ended and already the casualties were innumerable. Giving the room a quick panoramic, Ambra gave a heavy sigh. She would be here forever. Someone tapped her shoulder, lightly-almost timidly, Ambra turned around to see a young woman. She raised her eyebrows questioningly at the newcomer.

" Yes?" Ambra was growing impatient with the girl, didn't she see all the dying people?

" I was just assigned here. What do you want me to help you with? Where do I start?" Her eyes shone with great intensity. There was no doubt about it, she was eager to help these innocent, and not-so innocent people. Behind the eagerness, though, there was a deep pain that seemed perpetual. Ambra guessed that this girl was fresh and not yet immune to death. Ambra herself had taken a long time to become invulnerable and it was hard for her to watch those still susceptible.

" The rags and cloths are over there, to my right. The water is in a basin at every table. Bandages and such are at each table also. Start with the man on your left and move continuously clockwise once you're done with one." The girl did not falter once and she remained stolid as she continued to direct her. Once she had finished, she set to her tasks and healed everyone she worked with beautifully.

Ambra moved on to another, fresher memory

London was sodden by the recent rains and the sky remained overcast and dismal. Ambra felt as dreary as the weather. She wished fervently to be back in her cozy flat, curled up by the fireplace with a good book, a hot cocoa, and her two cats, Steve and Pepper. The shop was dark and empty, no one wanted used books any more.

" Ah! Finally, the smell of old books. Did you know, deary, that I came here all the time as a child? I'm surprised it's still open. I would spend hours and hours amid the books and read them. That was so long ago. I came here because I don't have much time left, this time around. Eh? Deary. Guess the nostalgia got the better of me." The old women had taken her by surprise and immediately Ambra's eyes fell to hers.

Constantly Tamyri's incarnations had entered Ambra's life and she had pushed them away because of the uneasiness she felt. This time she would not let it get the better of her. There must be a reason the Goddess kept putting Tamyri into her life, life in and life out.

Tamyri shuddered. The girl she had met, Ambra, was peculiar. She felt as if she should know her, like that wasn't their first meeting. One thing that was for certain, Ambra wasn't human. Her aura was brilliantly colored and old. Most teenagers did not have old auras. It plagued her that she couldn't figure out what Ambra was, it had been too long since she had encountered people other than humans.

Tamyri walked into her house, she could sense the presence of autumn in the house; the warm pumpkin bread, the essence of the turning leaves, and the vivacity of their colors. A witch's home always embraced the season. Nature was the root of all her magic and her raison d'être. No witch could live devoid of some appreciation for Mother Earth.

" Ma! I'm home," Tamyri called.

" I'm in the kitchen Tamyri." Kymyri yelled back. Tamyri walked into their kitchen.

" How was your first day at school dear?"

" It was fine…except that I met this girl…"

" Did you make a friend? An enemy?"

" No, its just…its just, her aura isn't human. But I can't tell what she is."

" Oh? This is odd.. What does it look like?"

" Well…umm…it is very colorful and old. I don't know what to make of her. I'm not sure if she knows what I am. She did seem a bit uneasy toward me. But there are always other possibilities. I dun know."

" I know you'll find out it time, meanwhile you best be careful," warned Kymyri.

" I know, Ma, I know."

Business is slow today, well, slow for a tiny café slash rare (magic) book store, thought Shakira. She didn't like working in the store, but it was a safe haven for those of her kind. All beings not quite human came. Humans couldn't see it for what it was, to them it appeared to be a small office building. But They saw it for what it was.

The store really was beautiful. It had a very Eastern feel, the warm tones used in the decoration filled one's spirit. The book store was hidden behind a stone wall covered with a curtain. It appeared to be a store room, just in case some human accidentally wandered in. Appearances and illusions, just like my life, thought Shakira

Thinking of the strenuous life she'd managed to live in only twenty-two years made Shakira sick. She'd moved here to New York City scarcely a year ago, after she had been run out of a small town in the mid-west. People misunderstood her magic, they called her a witch, an insult to any shapeshifter. Witches didn't have magic any where near to the capabilities of shapeshifters. Yes, shapeshifters had limited outlets of magic, but never could a witch alter her body the way a shapeshifter could. It took a witch a significant amount of power to alter ONE feature of her body. To add to their limited abilities, witches refused to associate themselves with shapeshifters, assuming they were higher beings.

Tamyri stormed into the small café. She hurried to the counter and attracted Shakira's attention.

" Hello. I was wondering if you could help me." Witch, Shakira's mind lashed out, but she held her control.

" Of course, what do you need?"

" I am looking for two subjects, actually, reincarnation and other beings." Tamyri was very aware of what this clerk was. She thought, however, it was best to not let her know that.

" Right. Well, follow me. We have many books on those two subjects. Can you tell me more specifically what you need to know?"

" On the subject of reincarnation I am looking for a generalization of people, souls, and remembering people from other lives. As for other beings, I need to find out to tell what species someone is."

" How old are you? Didn't they teach you this when your were little? Isn't that one of the basic trainings of being a witch?" Shakira gulped, good one Shakira. Tamyri looked around nervously. " Oh come on! You know I know what you are. And you know very well that I know that you know that I know that you know what I am! So cut the crap!"

" I wasn't aware that you knew that I knew that you knew that I knew that you knew that I knew!" Tamyri lost restraint and burst out laughing. Shakira soon began to laugh with her. Tamyri was the first to compose herself. " Well, then. Could you show me where the necessary items are?"

" Yes of course, right this way." Shakira led her to a corner of the back room. Tamyri found the books she needed, purchased them, and left. She did not look back once. Shakira growled, wishing that witches and shapeshifters didn't have such hard feeling towards one another.

" Ma! I figured out what Ambra is," shouted Tamyri from her room.

" What, dear?" Asked Kymyri, exasperated and exhausted from running up the stairs.

" A vampire."

" Oh my. You should be careful dear, but remember dear, what you are doesn't make you who you are."

" I know Ma. She seemed very nice, besides most vampires don't kill humans anymore. It's too medieval, almost cannibalistic."

" That is good dear. But remember, you are not human."

" Ma! Oh… and also-I've met her in many of my past lives. Almost all of them, actually."

" Oh, then Tamyri, I suggest you listen to the Goddess this time and find out what Ambra needs."

The next morning, Tamyri got out of her mother's car and walked up the stairs, into the halls and to her locker. Ambra crept up behind her, "Boo!"

" Ah! Oh. Its just you. Wow, you really scared me."

" Why?" Ambra asked Tamyri defensively.

" I guess I'm just a bit jumpy today, that's all."

" Is that it?"

" No…uh yes…No."

" Make up your mind girl!"

" I'm sorry. I was up late last night studying," Tamyri's eye's averted Ambra's.

" Oh, I'm sorry I forgot that people actually need sleep to function."

" Huh?"

" Never mind. Come on, we're gonna be late for class."

The two girls walked down the hallway without saying a word. Ambra was worried, it was completely obvious that Tamyri knew something. Just what Tamyri knew Ambra wasn't sure of.

" Ambra?" Tamyri asked

" Yes?"

" Do you kill humans?" The words escaped Tamyri's mouth before she realized what she had said.

" What!?" Ambra was taken aback by Tamyri's question.

" I'm sorry, I know what you are. That's why I asked." Tamyri was very mad at herself.

" What are you? Obviously you aren't human. If you were you could never have figured something out like that," reasoned Ambra.

" I'm a…witch."

" Really? Now that's interesting. How come I couldn't figure that out?"

" I learned how to alter the appearance of my aura and I never let my guard down. That is the most dangerous thing a witch can do."

" I knew that. I'm so stupid!" Ambra smacked her own forehead.

" You're not stupid. Wait, you didn't answer my question"

" No, no I do not kill humans. I was human once too myself, you know," Ambra sanctioned.

" Of course. I figured that you were past the killing of humans. That became somewhat outdated. Just how old are you exactly?"

" I was born in Ancient Egypt. I am…was… the daughter of a Pharaoh and a slave."

" That would explain your beauty, but who turned you?"

" My lover was a vampire who decided I was too gorgeous to be let go of. I was changed to this."

" That's so sad. I'm sorry. I don't know what I am supposed to say"

" Do not worry, it happened so long ago." Ambra outstretched her arm to Tamyri and they walked to class.

Tamyri hurried home that day. She decided it was a beautiful day so she left her car at school and ran home. Tamyri burst through the threshold of her house. Still not exhausted, she dashed up to her room and locked the door.

BRINNNNNNNG! The phone rang awaking Tamyri. " Hello?"

" Hello. May I speak to Tamyri?"

" This is she. May I ask who's calling?"

" My name is Shakira Tamble, from The Bookshoppe."

" Oh, yes hello. How may I help you?" Tamyri inquired.

" I was calling to see if you found the books helpful, to see if you know what you're dealing with," she stammered.

" How did you get this number?"

" It was on your check".

" Oh. I am not "dealing" with anything, thank you very much."

" I'm sorry. I just thought you might need help, that's all."

" I don't need help from anyone or anything for that matter. Good Bye," and with that, Tamyri hung up. She couldn't believe the nerve that she had. Witches did not associate with shapeshifters unless absolutely necessary. To presume that she needed help was an almost incomprehensible offense.

" Tamyri! Someone's here to see you," called Kymyri.

" Who is it?"

" Ambra".

" Ok be right down," Tamyri flew down the stairs in a matter of seconds.

" When you say 'right down' you really mean it," Ambra stated, awed.

" Well…ya know. Anyway, what's up? Why'd ya stop by?"

" Oh, was I interrupting anything?"

" No, not at all".

" This is a strange question, but what color are your eyes?"

" Hazel, why?"

" I can't see the color I just see light and shine. I have seen your eyes so many times. In your different lives, I mean."

" Oh really?" Tamyri flashed Ambra the sweetest smile she had ever seen.

" Yes really, they're gorgeous".

" Thank you," she gave her another heart melting smile.

" Hey, if you're not busy…do you wanna go do something".

" Sure. Why not?".

Tamyri woke exhausted the next morning. She and Ambra had been up until three in the morning. First they had gone to a local coffee house and stayed there, talking, until they got kicked out at closing time. Then they had gone into the woods. Tamyri had shown her secrete meditation area behind a huge waterfall. They finally left when Ambra realized that even though Tamyri wasn't human. She still needed her sleep.

Tamyri walked into her Calculus class the next day and saw that they had a sub…it was Shakira.