Flesh and Blood

In 2020 Britain, Avril is one of the very few humans left. Ravaged by malevolent demons, human Britain is hanging by a thread. A revolution of blood is taking over the world, drop by drop and Avril finds herself at the bleeding heart of it. Filled with hatred yet human desire, she fights for revenge and for everything she's known. Until someone deadly arrives, who is too alike to Avril. Torn by the presence, will she carry on fighting or will she do what so many others have done. Give in?

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4. Change

Avril frowned at the open suitcase, then sighed and reached in to pull out a bottle and a case. Together with her clothes, she hopped down the stairs towards the bathroom. She could feel gazes on her and squared her shoulders defiantly. Clicking the door shut, she set the bottle and case on the vast sink and looked in the mirror. Her shiny black curls framed her face, ending at the nape of her neck. Her green eyes hardened then she turned around and took her clothes off. The water felt lovely against her skin, foamy water sliding down her skin before gathering at the bottom. When the knots in her muscles eased, she stepped out, feeling a little rejuvenated. She rigorously dried herself off then turned her attention to her hair. Turning the hair dryer on, she teased her hair into a messy but reasonably straight style. She pulled the case across to her and unscrewed it, lifting out a filmy contact lens. Carefully, she inserted them into her eyes and looked at her reflection. The black curls were gone, replaced by blonde locks and her irises glowed violet instead of green. Satisfied, she hastily pulled on her clothes and walked outside. Her eyes snapped up to be met directly with Matthews. His face was twisted in confusion, eyes scrutinising her appearance. She lifted her chin rebelliously and stalked back upstairs to the safety of her room.

Eventually, she tired of her room and willed herself to go outside. The air was crisp as she walked to a nearby set of swings and sighed heavily as she dropped into one, unconsciously rocking back and forth slowly. Someone sat in the next swing.
"Is this your favourite spot?"
She gave a small, grim smile. Her bet had paid off.
"That's the best question you can come up with?"
Matthew looked sideways at her "No. But at least it got you talking."
There was a moment of silence.
"So come on then, ask me a better question."
"Alright...how are you?"
Avril smirked and ground the heel of her shoe in the tarmac.
"I'm fine...perfectly fine. I've just found out my father is a powerful predator of my species who had been hiding from me for the last 18 years. I am...fine."
Matthew grimaced "I'm not an animal."
She shook her head in mock understanding and her voice dripped with venom
"But see...what really gets me is why? Why would a father abandon his child, it's mother for 18 years and then show up?"
Matthew shook his head "I didn't abandon you."
"Really? Enlighten me then."
"I think this requires a long talk. Maybe we should go into the house."
Avril raised an eyebrow "What? So you can make up an alibi?"
He ignored her, looking up at the dark orange sky "It's getting late."
He got up, offering a hand out to help her. She stared at it and he withdrew it.
"How do I know you're not using that as an excuse?"
Wordlessly, he reached into his jacket pocket and took out a key, holding it out to her. Intrigued, she took it and inspected it. Pounding with curiosity, she jumped up quickly and followed him back home.

Her heart drummed as she combed through her wardrobe and began to draw out a wooden box.
"Where did you get this from?" she asked him.
He watched her "Your mother gave it to me."
She nodded then gave a last tug on the box, pulling it onto the floor. Kneeling down, she bent to slip the key into the lock...and turned.

There was a soft, almost inaudible click as the box opened. She lifted the lid. Inside was thick bound books, pushed together neatly. 2 crisp white envelopes lay on top. With a slightly shaking hand, she reached over and picked them up. Her mothers handwriting was scrawled on the envelopes. Her name across one, and Matthew across another. She hesitated, then handed Matthew his envelope. Taking a deep, shaky breath, she ripped it open.

Dearest Avril,
Don't cringe, I'm your mother. How are you honey? Well, I hope. The fact you're reading this means he's found you. Congrats! Scratch that, this is serious. I'm glad he's found you, but I don't doubt you probably have some suspicions. So, let me confirm this. Matthew De Silva is your father, my husband. Always was. I've put all the photos I've taken of our time in the box for you guys, to make sure you never forget. Now, let me explain. You, darling little Avril, were born on 5th May 2002 in Venice, Italy. Your full, real, name is Avril Matthieu De Silva. We adopted my maiden name for you because, well, we need to keep you safe. Your birth was before all the hunting started so don't blame Matthew. He never abandoned us, I don't think he would, especially not you. You don't remember this, but you spent the first 3 years of your life with both of us, in Venice. He loves you so much honey, and he always will, we both will, don't forget that. After the hunting started, things became dangerous for us. Your father was facing constant danger but he's strong. You on the other hand, you were just a baby. We know it was his blood they wanted, and god, they would rip through everything to get it. There's no doubt you're his daughter, and if they ever found out about you...well, I don't dare imagine. It was me who made us move away, back to England. I figured it was a safe place for us because I was born there, but I didn't realise it would become bad, but really, we didn't have anywhere else to go. Your father didn't want us to move, but I made him because all the time we had to keep you, our little secret, safe. I'm sorry you had to grow up without a father, I guess I should've always known that you'd have some sort of attachment to him still. It's hard to forget something like what you two had. But please, honey, believe him. Rebuild that relationship. I guess if you're reading this, I'm not here anymore. I hope it didn't take him long to get here, he's always bloody late. It feels odd writing goodbye, because you're sleeping on my lap right now, but I have to.
I will always love you honey, don't you dare forget. I wish you the best, happiest, longest life ever and remember, stay safe.
Your ever loving mother.

Avril's mouth pulled down as she folded the paper and put it neatly back. She reached over to a black book and laid it across her lap, opening it. Pictures were pasted everywhere. Her eyes drank them in, then stopped on one. Her mother was holding her as a baby, smiling at the camera. Matthew, her father, had his arm around them, and the picture had caught him kissing her mother on the cheek. He was smiling against her cheek and she felt herself smile a little too. She couldn't help it, the picture showed such happiness. She felt Matthew come up beside her.
"She kept them all, all this time."
Avril turned to look at him, closing the book.
"You didn't leave us."
He looked back at her "I never would. I'll never leave you."
Her brow furrowed in confusion as something surfaced in her brain. She closed her eyes tightly, clinging on to it as it came back. A home, her so small, green eyes. She pulled her eyes open, staring at him in wonder.
"Dad?"
He smiled "Avril."
Her vision blurred and she threw her arms around him, pressing her face into his shoulder.
"Dad, I remember. I remember you. You're back."
He hugged her back tightly "I'm not going again."
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