The Vampire Hunter

By: Michele Hauf



Dear Reader,

I’m a little obsessed with Breaking Bad. It’s the characters that get me, not the subject matter. And yet, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if Breaking Bad was smashed together with vampires. Toss in a witch and a few faeries? It could make for an interesting story. So I did just that. No meth in this story, but the faery dust the vampires are dealing is similar.

Once I got beyond the mechanics of the story, I was once again drawn to the characters. Kaz and Zoë push and pull at each other in ways that made me smile, lift a brow in concern and sometimes even cheer. Life is about trust and belief and learning to trust when there is no belief.

I hope you’ll enjoy their story.

Michele




Prologue

The thing came at him so quickly, Kaspar had little time to react beyond putting up his arms to block the crazy long teeth that gnashed for his neck.

He’d been minding his own business, digging in the garbage behind Madame du Monde’s dance studio. He’d found a broken chair and had screwed off one of the wooden legs. If he whittled down the serrated edge he might use it as a weapon. Call it a sixteenth-birthday present. Living on the streets a guy needed all the protection he could get.

But after nearly two years of street life, he’d usually seen the attack coming. This maniac had lunged at him from out of nowhere, and it was as if he were on drugs because he growled and shoved Kaz to the winter-wet tarmac, then jumped on top of his chest, compressing his thin rib cage with a hard knee.

Twice as big as Kaz and dressed all in black, the attacker snarled, revealing teeth that belonged on a monster. Kaz yelped and swung the chair leg before him. The man batted it away.

“No way!” Kaz yelled. Using all his strength, he managed to kick the crazy guy off him, leaped to his feet and swung the weapon wildly. “Get away from me, you creep!”

“A tasty little boy,” the guy muttered like some kind of menacing villain a person only saw in the movies. “I can smell your blood. Starved for sustenance as you are, I’ll squeeze a few drops from your skinny neck.”

The man lunged for him, gripping Kaz’s shoulders and sinking sharp teeth into his neck. It hurt so bad, worse than all the times his dad had used him as a punching bag. Kaz kicked and yowled; he didn’t want to die. He was too young. He may not have much to live for, but—no, it wasn’t going to happen this way.

Pushing the thing off him tore the long, pointed teeth from his neck. Kaz whined at the pain, yet he didn’t take his eyes from the attacker. His blood dripped from the maniac’s mouth. With a hungry smirk, the thing again lunged.

Without second thought, Kaz swung around the chair leg, jamming the serrated end into the guy’s chest. The creep growled and swore at him, cursing him with all the bad words Kaz had learned to use to vent his anger, and then some.

And then a blast of ash formed where the guy had been speared with the end of the chair leg. Dark gray flakes formed the shape of a man, then sifted to the ground, leaving behind a pile of clothing—and no vicious attacker.

Swinging down the hand that still clutched the chair leg in a painful squeeze, Kaz stumbled backward, hitting the steel garbage can in a clatter, and slipping to land on his butt.

“What the—?”

Another man swung around the corner of the brick building, gripping the wall to stop his running pace. He wore a plaid vest over a fancy shirt and pants, and looked like one of those rich guys Kaz always saw escorting pretty girls in and out of shops on the Champs-Élysées. “You got him, kid?”

Got him? Got what? What was that thing? It...it had dissolved right before his eyes. There wasn’t even blood in the pile of ash. Human beings didn’t do that. And it had—Kaz slapped a hand over his neck—bitten him.

The man approached him carefully, hands held out in placation. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m one of the good guys.”

Kaz drew up his legs as the man squatted beside him. He was too scared to run, and he didn’t want to stab at him. One pile of ash was weird enough. Had he just murdered someone? He didn’t want to go to jail. He’d take the cold, tough streets of Paris over jail any day.

The man inspected Kaz’s neck with probing fingers that made him wince. “How old are you, boy?”

“Si-sixteen. Today’s...m-my birthday.” Kaz shivered because his windbreaker jacket was never warm enough for February. “Who are you?”

“You can call me Tor. Happy birthday, kid. Looks as if you got the grand prize. I didn’t expect to run into any action tonight. You’re lucky I was in the vicinity.”

“I’m luck— Really?” Kaz held up the bloody chair leg. “I’m the one who took him out. What...what was that thing?”

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