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By Hikari Chiisai


"Daddy, can I have a piggyback ride?"

01

He smiled. "Sure thing, Molly." He said, lifting the child onto his shoulders. His name was Vincent. He was a young, svelte fellow of only about 23 or 26 with deep, shining blue eyes that pierced the night, and a shock of black hair above them. He was thin, but not too thin, tall, but not too tall, and handsome and mysterious, clad all in black, adorned by multiple piercings and a spike collar. "Here we go!" He said, running around the park, the jade gem of this gritty city, with the little girl in tow giggling and squealing all the way. "Whee! Daddy, you're the best!" She said, hugging him as best she could. A small child, Molly was thin and pale. Long, jet-black hair streamed down her back, starting atop a round, adorable face with rosy cheeks and sunken, luminescent violet eyes. Adorned in a dress of black and violet, edged with lace, a delicate ebony shawl that looked as though it had been crafted from spider webs, and a gleaming silver locket, the child looked to be no more than five or six. He came to a stop, winded but smiling. Molly hopped down and hugged him tight, beaming and thinking, "I love my Daddy." As he caught his breath and stood upright, he said, "Well...time for some lunch?" "Yay!" Molly cheered. "C'mon Delilah!" A small pixie flew to her shoulder. "It spoke. "And what's on the menu?" Delilah asked, smiling at her. A mere four inches tall, but strikingly beautiful, Delilah had delicate dragonfly wings protruding from her back, and hair the colour of autumn leaves. She wore light-coloured, airy clothing, had long, pointed ears, and bright eyes. Molly looked thoughtful for a moment, then turned back around to her dad. "What's for lunch, Daddy?" she said, looking up at him with a blank stare. He bento own and smiled. "Your favourite, Molly." He said with a wink. She gasped. "YAY!! PB&Jandchipsandsodaandcookiesandpicklesand..." She cried out, running over to her father's backpack. Vincent smiled as he watched her. She meant the world to him, and Delilah was doing an excellent job filling in as mom. But still he wondered, what ever became of her real mother? Or, more importantly, his brother? 'She missed out on so much,' He thought, 'and she's still missing out. Her, and Molly for that matter...it isn't fair to her. Hopefully she got hers...' He looked to the sky and squinted in rage.

02

'Simon....someday. Someday you'll get what's coming to you. And I'll be the one to deliver it, after what you did to dad...' Lost in thought, something caught his eye; an elegant-looking man watched them from the sidewalk above. He was looking into the canyon of a park, watching Molly and Delilah play like he was staring at the TV. He was dressed in all black, and carried an open umbrella. 'That's weird...' He thought, '...there isn't a single cloud in the sky.' He was snapped back to reality by the sound of Molly's voice. "Aren't ya gonna eat, Daddy?" She said, confused, holding her sandwich. He shook himself off a bit and smiled. "Coming."



Walking down the sidewalk later that afternoon, Vincent seemed distracted. Molly didn't notice for the first few blocks, but after awhile she was confused. 'He's worried...' She thought. 'Poor Daddy, he works so hard for us. He needs a rest.' "Daddy, are you okay?" She asked, worried. "Huh...? Oh, yeah, I'm fine." Vincent said quickly, obviously off in space. Molly wasn't convinced. "Dad...." She said, annoyed, "no you're not." "I'm just thinking, Molly." He said, his eyes straight forward. She paused, giving a worried look to Delilah, who gave her the same look back. "Um...Dad?" "Hmm?" He responded. "Where are we sleeping tonight?" She said, her voice filled with worry. "We'll find a hotel soon, honey." He said, ruffling her hair.


03


Late that night, Molly sat awake in bed. Loud, strange moans and cries emanated through the cracked, peeling wall. Light streamed in through the window, falling to an old, stained couch where her father slept. Molly looked over to him. She paused, staring. Getting out of bed, she accidentally roused Delilah. "Mmmnh.....Molly...?" She said groggily, sitting up. "What are you doing up?" "Can't sleep," Molly said, annoyed, pointing to the wall as the moans got louder. Molly went over to her bag, fishing through it to produce a small, old-looking wooden music box. She carried it over to the couch and sat by her father. She turned the crank, making the little box spring open. Moonlight bathed her. She watched the little mechanics dance inside, then looked up to the moon, letting the divine twinkling sound fill the room. 'Mom...' She thought. Delilah flitted over. "Delilah..." Molly said, staring upward, "What do you think my mom was like?" "Hmm," Delilah muttered. "You'd be better off asking Vincent, Molly." Molly paused. "...do you think she was nice? And pretty?" Molly said, looking over to the faery." Delilah smiled warmly. "I'm sure she was very kind, Molly. After all, she made you." Delilah said softly. Molly smiled. "And," Delilah continued, "She was beautiful," She started tugging open Molly's locket, "Just look!"

Molly took the locket and stared at the pictures inside. One was of her father, who looked just a tiny bit younger there, and the other was her mother, who was a vision in herself, with starlight-coloured silver hair, olive skin, and vivid emerald eyes. Molly stared for a moment longer, then back up at the moon. "Ok Delilah," Molly said, closing the locket. She lay on her father, and fell asleep to the music box's light twinkling sound.


04


Back at the park the next day, Vincent lay against a tree half asleep as Molly and Delilah played nearby. Vincent was worried. "Ah man..." He said, "What the hell am I gonna do? Gotta Find a place soon..." He closed his eyes, focusing on the breeze which rustled the leaves.

"She's really a beautiful child."

Vincent heard a mysterious male voice come from nowhere. He sat up and looked around, but no one but Molly and Delilah were there. He lay back down, listening again to the soft breeze. He opened an eye to check on Molly, and saw her playing with a mysterious man, the man from yesterday. Vincent got up and went over. "Molly..." He said sternly. "Who's this?" "This is Mr. Argént, Daddy!" Molly said cheerfully, holding a ball. She tossed it to the man, who caught it and smiled. He was unusually pale, with dark eyes and jet-black hair. Vincent eyed him suspiciously. The man smiled at him and, handing the ball back to Molly, extended his hand. "Allow me to introduce myself." His was the voice from before... "Damien Argént. She really IS quite a beautiful child." Vincent shook his hand; it was oddly cold. "You're a vampire...." Vincent said distrustfully. 'FEH. Vampires. Almost as bad as Simon, those little bloodsucking leeches...' Vincent thought with scorn. Damien smiled, bearing fangs that looked as though they could pierce the very soul. "Yes," he said charisatically, "Of the clan Malkvian. And you are both fae, accompanied by a striking little chimera," He said, nodding towards Delilah. "Yeah....Do you even know what that is?" Vincent said, still distrusting. Damien smiled. "Magical creatures disguised as humans; An elegant blend of mystic and mortal. The last of the faeries, the enchanted ones, the good people, the chimerical creatures fused with humans, living among us in secrecy. We're not so different, you and I; kindred spirits, for we both are hunted." Damien chuckled lightly. Vincent gave him an odd, startled stare for a moment. 'Well THAT was long winded...the pompous ass..." He thought, turning to the child. "Molly," he said, shifting his gaze from Damien to her, "Did he bite you?" Damien chuckled. "Sir, I would never harm a hair on this little angel," He said, patting her head. "He gave me this ball, Daddy!" Molly said happily, holding it up for everyone to see. Damien smiled warmly and patted her head again as he spoke. "Well, Miss Molly, I'm afraid it's time for me to be going. And to you, Sir, good day." Damien bowed and walked off.

05

Later that evening, the trio of Vincent, Molly, and Delilah were walking out of a small restaurant. They were walking purposefully, as Vincent had found a place to stay. He smiled to himself. 'Good housing, with employment, things are looking up,' He thought, patting Molly's head, making her smile too. As they approached an intersection, they found it clogged due to construction. Vincent sighed heavily. "Goddammit..." Molly looked around. "This way, Daddy! We can take a shortcut!" Molly said happily, pointing to an alley. Vincent shrugged, then led them through it, which in turn connected to a deserted parking lot. As they walked through, Vincent looked around; something didn't feel right. There was an odd stillness in the air, the only sounds coming from a small breeze rustling some trash and leaves, and a streetlamp humming quietly overhead. Sensing something, Molly turned around. Stunned by the sight, she spoke, her voice shaking with fear. "Dad..."

06

He looked in her direction, only to see a group of large, bulky figures approaching. Coming into the streetlamp light, he identified them as part of a local gang. Vincent heard something behind him. He wheeled around to see a rival gang striding up. Time stood still as the gangs sized each other up. The air was quiet, as with the calm before a storm. Only the sound of their breathing pervaded the night. Several members cocked their guns, and a few started aiming. 'Shit...' Vincent thought to himself. 'I HAVE to get Molly out of here.' Looking down at his legs, he screamed in his head, 'Move, goddammit, why won't you fucking MOVE!?' All was still. Vincent heard his heart pound in his chest. As he thought of a plan, he began counting the seconds, one, two, three, when suddenly, the sound of gunfire exploded from the sky. A rushing hail of bullets rained upon them. Vincent tackled his daughter to the ground, their bags spilling to the pavement. He looked down.....it was too late. His daughter lay there in a growing puddle of her own blood, shot clean through the chest. He couldn't speak. He couldn't breathe. He just stared. Delilah screamed. The gangs, seeing what they had done. "Oh god..."

07

"M...Molly?" Vincent whispered. "Dad...dy?" Molly said weakly. Slowly the gangs made their way over. Molly slowly looked at her chest, then back at her dad. "Am I.....gonna die?" Molly said, slow and weak. Vincent held his daughter as she bled onto the pavement. His eyes began to fill with tears. "It....It'll be ok, baby. It'll be ok now." The music box twinkled in the background. A couple of the gang members started to sniffle. Molly's breathing became slower and slower. Vincent kissed her head, as did Delilah, who was doing her best to keep from getting hysterical. Molly's breathing slowed to a stop. Vincent bit his lip, tears falling onto his broken little girl. He carefully shut her eyes, as the divine and tragic twinkle broke through the air.



"I must act fast."

A dark, pale figure stepped into the light, where the two gangs and guardians wept for the child. "Ama-zing Grace...♪" one of the bangers started belting out, but was quickly elbowed in the ribs by another, being told to "Shuh'up!" The slim figure continued striding up. Damien spoke. "Well, well, this won't do at all." He said, shaking his head as he looked on. "Tsk, tsk. What DID you do?" Vincent's gaze spun to the approaching Malkvian, his eyes full of tears of rage and sorrow. "What do you want, asswipe!? Come for a feast!?" Damien looked hurt for a moment. "Oh dear." He said. "I only want to help the girl. There's still time to save her, you know." Vincent was taken aback for a moment, Delilah thrilled, the gangs confused. Vincent soon looked upon Damien with a new hatred, however. "Don't fucking patronize me. She's DEAD." He started to cry again, and held her close as he wept, marinating in her blood. "There's no going back now." Damien went to the grieving man's side. "Yes," He said, placing a hand on Vincent's shoulder, "There is." Damien placed a hand on Molly's body. Vincent immediately pulled her away from him, holding her tight to his chest. He gave Damien an enraged look, as if to say, "MINE!!" Damien sighed, placing his face in his palm. "Give me the girl." He said. Vincent shook his head. 'Who does he think he is!?' He thought, forming tears of rage. "Give me," Damien said firmly, "the girl." A tear streamed down Delilah's face, and she placed her hand on Vincent's. "Vincent," She said sadly, "what have we got to lose?" 'What DO I have to lose...?' He thought as he held his bloodied daughter. 'She's already dead. I don't have ANYTHING anymore.'

Reluctantly, he handed her over, with a deep air of gloom. Taking her in his arms, Damien said, "Do you know any healing techniques?" The pair nodded. "Good, prepare them. And DON'T interrupt me." Damien mumbled something sounding like Latin, then opened his mouth wide, revealing his fangs had grown and now glowed a pale silver. He bit into Molly's neck, and she, too, began to glow. Damien struggled a bit, as if in pain, turning the glow from a pale silvery-green to blood red. Damien let go with a gasp, a single drop of blood falling from his fang. He breathed heavily. "Now..."

08

Delilah began to chant, placing her tiny hands on Molly, as they both then began to glow with a warm, golden, almost holy light. Vincent dug rabidly through his backpack, finally producing a thermometer. All the while, the gangs watched this odd process in silent horror and awe. "What's that?" One of them managed to get out. "A thermometer." Vincent answered. "How's that gonna help? It's just a thermometer!" The gang member shot back. "It's a MAGIC thermometer. Just shut up and go with it, ok?" Vincent said, annoyed, as he stuck it in Molly's mouth. The girl's wounds gradually ceased to bleed. The gangs continued to watch in surprise. They started to shrink and close. She stirred.

"Ungh....Daddy....?" Molly said, weak and groggy, waking up. Vincent stared at her with shock, developing into sheer joy. He was ecstatic. The gang members murmured to each other in shock. Damien smiled, though out of breath. Delilah continued what she was doing, the wound getting smaller and smaller. Slowly, Molly began to rise. Delilah let go, finishing her spell.

09

The gang members looked at Molly with a mix of shock, disbelief, and horror. "ZOMBIE!!" "VAMPIRE!!!" "LITTLE GIRL!!!!" They screeched as they bolted from the scene. The four of them laughed at this a bit. Vincent then pulled his daughter close, hugging her tightly. "Da-ad..." Molly said, wriggling. "I almost lost you..." Vincent said, burying his head into Molly's hair. Damien sat back, leaning on his hands. He sighed deeply, then laughed. "Looks like it's all working out." Delilah smiled at him, then at Molly and Vincent, crying out of joy. Stuck in her father's arms, Molly pouted, then sighed, sitting back and leaning on dad. She cuddled into him and smiled, her giggles echoing upward as the group sat there under the streetlamp in the cold night air.

10

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