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Part One

Everything is a dream.

That's all reality is. A long, never-ending dream. A dream from which you can never truly wake up. A dream full of suffering, full of heartache, full of hard lessons never fully learned. A dream that could, at any moment, spiral into an unforgiving nightmare...

Afterall, the line between Reality and Dream is very thin...and the line between the Dream and the Nightmare is even thinner....

Serena woke up that morning completely unrested. She was afraid to get out of bed, afraid to look out the window, even though it was daylight. She'd screamed for her mother to close the window, certain that some undead demon would peek through at her.

Her parents were worried.

It was daylight, they reasoned. Surely nothing would harm you with the sun shining brightly overhead! But she wouldn't listen, sobbing at the visons in her dreams, at the sight of the moon, the beautiful moon, which was now a hideous scarlet red...a blood red.

The moon wasn't supposed to be that color! It was supposed to be white..silvery...like her hair! But it had changed. Something had happened, and now the moon she had been so fond of was gone.

She pushed herself reluctantly from the bed. She couldn't stay there all day..and it was only a matter of time before the villagers arrived anyway. She warily made her way to the basin of water her mother had left at the foot of her bed. After washing her face, she quickly dressed, choosing a simple lavender tunic and her favorite calf-hide boots. She twisted her hair into the two familiar buns and went downstairs to breakfast.

She was greeted by her mother's worried smile.

"How do you feel now, honey?" Her mother asked, setting a bowl of porriage and a mug of milk down on the table. Her father was gone. He must have already left for work, she thought with a frown.

"I'm fine mama..sorry I worried you." But she didn't feel fine. She felt nervous...jittery. Something was wrong.

Her mother gave her a long look, seeming to accept her answer. And why shouldn't she?, Serena wondered bitterly. She'd never lied to her before. She felt terrible doing it now. Her mother set a piece of buttered bread before her which Serena instantly devoured. Her mother laughed.

"I see your midnight scare didn't do anything to taint your appetite!," she exclaimed sounding relieved. Serena just smiled and was about to reply when there was a sudden slaming of the door. She rose from her chair with a happy smile. Her father was back!

But when he entered the room, lit bright with their smiles, he didn't smile back. His face looked grave, and he was pale. Suddenly the whole room seemed as dark as his expression. Serena and her mother took on questioning looks.

"Sweetheart..what's wrong?" her mother finally asked aloud. He didn't answer for a moment, gasping for breath. And then he spoke, and Serena went cold with fear.

"The villagers...they're revolting! You have to run Serena! Run away!" His dark eyes were pleading. Her mother looked horrified.

"NO! She's not going anywhere! We-"

"It's too late!! It won't help! She has to go NOW! They're out for blood.." She only shook her head in confusion. Why would the villagers want to hurt her? She hadn't done anything to them! Sure they were uneasy, around her, but they usually didn't bother her. She stared wide eyed at her fathers grave face. A face lined and tanned from years of working in the sun. The life of a peasant in this century was a hard life. Now she could see something more in his face; something that hadn't been there before...

It was fear.

Not for his life, or his well being..but for her, Serena. For his only daughter, not even 18 years old. He'd made such sacrafices for her...both of her parents had. They had moved from the village to the isolated location of the woods, because when she'd been born, the villagers had banned them. She felt hot tears prick her eyes.

As if on que, the sudden roaring of a mob could be heard in the distance, and the quiet calm was shattered. Her mother suddenly grabbed her from behind, clutching the girl to her chest in a pocessive hug.

"NO!," she sobbed desperately, "I'll never let her go!! She's mine!! They can't take her away from us!!! I won't let them!," She heard a loud SMACK, and looked up startled to see that her father had struck her hysteric mother across the face. Now she was scared. This had NEVER happened before..things must be serious.

"M-mama..." her mother grabbed her again, weeping tears of despair into Serena's silver hair. Her father looked...deflated, broken. As if there was nothing left to do. He reached out, kissing his daughter lightly on the check before stepping away. The sounds of the mob were getting louder. Profanities and insults were being thrown into the air at them.

Thankfully they couldn't make out the words.

Her father gave her a watery smile, and she caught the faint glint of tears in his eyes. He was crying...he really did care.

She ran to him then, broke free from her mothers tight hold and embraced him in a hug. She understood now. If she died, then nothing was left. There wouldn't be anything left of their great family legacy. The family bloodline would end here...which was what the villagers wanted. Her father gave her one last squeeze, pushing her roughly away.

"GO!" he ordered, turning to the door. "Take the back door, keep to the wooded areas." He would hold them off for as long as he could.

Serena shook her head, looking at her mother. But her mother only stared back sadly, finally turning away.

"GO!" her father cried, this time with more force. And with one last glance, she turned and fled, taking the back door as her father had adviced. Her mother had stopped crying now, staring hatefully at the now clattering door. They would break it down any second, and she would let all her fury and hate reign on them before they overpowered her. She wouldn't go down without a fight. They had torn apart her family, but they wouldn't get her child. She clutched the butter knife in her hand, feeling almost a warm satisfaction in it's cool metal. She would have her revenge.

The door flew open, and with a cry of fury she launched herself towards the nearest person.

*****

She ran, not knowing where she was going or where she would end up. She couldn't count the times she fell, for her eyes were so full of tears that she couldn't see. The scratches on her skin were numerous, and she felt a large bruise starting to form on her knee. To top things off, it was getting dark.

She knew she couldn't go home.

Her parents were dead by now. She hadn't missed the looks in their faces. They had sacrificed everything for her..including their lives. But for what? She felt bitter tears form in her eyes. She was nothing special! Why had they done that? She would have rather died with them than be out here alone..in this darkness....she stopped. The moon would be out soon...that horrible red moon...that blood moon. She dropped to her knees in fright. Those demons...those creatures she had felt...the feel of death.....they would be here too. She was suddenly terrified. Even more afraid than she had been last night. Atleast THEN she'd been inside a house, with her parents.

But now she was alone.

She stood shakily, heading deeper into the forests. She couldn't quit now. Her parents had died so that she could live. She didn't have time to be afraid. She had to take cover in the trees.... had to-

But she was so exhausted. She had barely eaten anything that morning, save for the bread she'd had. And she was tired. She'd been running all day for hours, never once stopping. Surely it wouldn't hurt to take a rest now...surely.....

She sank to the ground against a tree, brushing a loose strand of hair from her face. Sometime ago it had begun to unravel from it's buns, so that some of it was now blowing loosely around her face, getting in the way. She huddled into a ball, hoping that there were no poisonous insects around. But why was she worried? If she died, then atleast she could be with her parents...atleast she wouldn't be alone......

And for the second time in her life, she settled into another fitful sleep.

*****

There.

He sensed it; could feel it in his bones as plain as the white gold hair on his head.

The Belmont was near.

But something was wrong..this one felt different..odd. He couldn't figure out how or why, but he was getting the strangest sensation from this particular Belmont..emotions..strong emotions. Saddness, fear, anger, pain. And yet he felt that none of it was directed at him or his father.

He frowned.

Something was off...it wasn't supposed to happen this way...the Belmont was still a good 4 miles from his castle..but it seemed that he had just stopped. Ah. He understood now. He was sleeping. That must be it. He'd forgotten how easily a mortal's body fatigued. He himself was weak. He hadn't feed in centuries..since he had first slept. He would have to rest soon...it would be dawn in a few hours. But that Belmont really needed to be here! However, from the looks of things, it didn't appear that the Slayer had any intention of coming.

He smiled.

He'd fix that. Oh yes, no one could escape their destiny.

He wanted to die, and no one..no one would deny him his wish.

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