Daughter of Darkness by Juliana Haygert

Daughter of Darkness

This is a work of fiction, of fantasy, and it’s not intended to be historically accurate.




I had fought against demons and ghosts and all sorts of evil beings, but humans took the trophy for the most horrible of them all.

From my spot under the dark awning of the pergola in the town square, I played with the ring hanging from my neck and watched as a group of young men, not older than eighteen years old, sneaked across the street from the square toward the old music store.

A sigh rushed past my throat.

These damn kids. I knew them all. I knew their names. I knew their families, what school they attended, and which classes they flunked. I also knew they were as drunk as skunks and had just made a bet to see who could steal the most vinyl records from the store before the alarm rang and they had to flee—they had done it before.

Fucking bastards.

The owner of the store was an old man whose only passion for life since his wife of forty years died not even a year ago was his fucking vinyl. And still, they thought this was a joke.

I tried staying out of this shitty town’s drama, but certain things, like teenagers messing with an old man and his livelihood, I couldn’t let slide.

Exhaling through my nose, I tucked the ring back inside my shirt and stepped out from the shadows—

A figure appeared in front of me.

“Ryder.” I checked the time on my phone. “You’re early.”

The warrior, dressed in his black armor and with his sheathed sword strapped to his back, shrugged. “I finished my previous mission faster than expected.”

He was bragging. I hated him. Not for bragging, but because he was assigned multiple missions, while I was stuck with a riddle to solve.

“Let’s get on with this," he said. "Report, Devon.”

“Yeah.” I glanced over his shoulder to the teenagers getting ready to break the window. “Be right back.”

I sidestepped the warrior and ran, faster than any human could, and reached the four teenagers as one of them—Paul—lifted his hand, ready to throw a stone at the glass window.

“I don’t think so.” I caught his arm and twisted it behind his back.

Paul yelped, dropping the stone.

“Let him go, man!”

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

“Dude, chill!”

I bent Paul’s arm more and he cried out.

“If you want your arm to remain attached to your body, I suggest you forget this stupid idea.”

“We were just having some fun,” Paul barked, his voice trembling with the pain.

Fury traveled through my veins, and it was everything I could do not to break his arm right there. Fun? He called destroying a store and giving an old man a heart attack fun?

I bent his wrist and he cried in pain.

“Let him go, man,” John cried. He brought his fists up. “Let him go or I’ll kick your ass.”

I couldn’t help it. Laughter, hollow and dark, bubbled past my lips. “In your dreams.”

John advanced on me. I seriously didn’t get it. The little bastard was drunk, and he could barely throw a punch. Why make a fool of himself?

Swift as the wind, I moved, dropping Paul on the sidewalk, his stomach hitting the pavement hard, and blocked John’s weak punch with my wrist. I twisted my hand, grabbing his wrist in turn, and pulled him forward. He tripped and fell beside Paul.

I stared at the other two boys. “Who’s next?”

The two boys trembled, their gaze shifting to something over my shoulder. What the fuck?

I followed their line of sight.

Ryder, in his full warrior’s armor and weapons, stood right behind me, his arms crossed over his chest. Although we were the same height, Ryder’s shoulders were wider, and with his face set into a scowl, he was easily one scary motherfucker.

I fought the urge to roll my eyes at him and faced the boys again. The two kids helped John and Paul up and ran off.

“That ought to keep them on their toes,” Ryder said.

“Humans aren’t used to seeing warriors in full garb, Ryder. They don’t even know we exist.”

“I know, but it worked, didn’t it? They ran.”

“I would have made them run with or without you.” I picked up the rock the kids had grabbed and put it back in the flowerbed on the edge of the sidewalk. “I just hope they don’t tell their parents about the weirdo with the swords wandering around town.”