Lili St. Crow
Dru wakes up from a half conscious state of seeing the snow owl that usually means bad news (she saw it when her grandma died). Her dad is getting ready to go out on a hunt for something, but doesn’t say what or plan to take her with him. She stumbles through the packed up house (refusing to unpack because they would just be moving in a few months anyway) to get to school in the cold Dakota winter.
While sitting in history class, Dru looks out the window feeling guilty she didn’t tell her dad about the owl. Her teacher tries to catch her off guard, but she answers flawlessly. The kid in front of her, Graves, doesn’t do so well. She tries to call home between classes, but there is no answer. She decided to skip the rest of the day and look around town for any signs of the Real World (only the women in her family have this ability). As she starts walking away from the building, Graves catches up with her and decides to tag along. Dru considers telling him the truth, but decides to go with the usual lies. he asks if she likes to play pool and she decides to hustle him.
After playing a few games with Graves, Dru goes home. She starts her Tai Chi to distract herself and then eats. Darkness starts to fall and her dad still isn’t home. She puts some of his Jim Beam in her coke and starts drawing irises and whatever she can find around her. She thinks about living with Gran when her mom died when she was five. She falls asleep and when she wakes up in the morning, her dad still isn’t home.
Dru dreams about her dad going down a hallway to a door. She tries to warn him, but can’t get the words out. As he turns the handle, everything goes dark.
The next morning, Dru wakes up and knows her dad didn’t come home. She checks the house for him and the driveway for his truck. She runs to the bathroom and starts retching up bile. He always comes back for her, so she decides to clean while she waits.
Just as it starts to get dark, Dru hears a tapping on the window. She grabs her dad’s spare bowie knife and takes cover. The tapping grows louder. She tastes wax oranges and knows it is something bad. She looks out the window to the back porch and sees her zombie dad. He breaks the window.
The phone rings and scares Dru into dropping the knife. She heads for the living room as the zombie makes its way in. She grabs a gun from the holster Velcro to a chair. She screams as she fires at the zombie. The rancid thing dies when Dru shoots out its heart. She gets away from the quickly decomposing zombie and cries over the loss of her dad.
Dru sits in the food court watching her cup of coffee go cold and wondering what to do next. graves comes along and tries to talk to her. He realizes something is really wrong when she says she can’t go home. He buys her food and tells her he knows of a place she can stay the night. She finally gives in and agrees. He offers up air hockey as a temporary distraction.
Graves leads Dru through a door and down a few hallways to the dumpsters and trash compactor. He squeezes past them and she follows. There is an abandoned office behind them that Graves has turned into a studio apartment with a half bathroom. Dru settles in, grateful to have somewhere to stay and start crying about the day’s events. Graves comforts her and lets her take the cot to sleep. When she wakes up in the morning, she finds a note Graves left saying he went to school. Dru tries to think and pulls out her sketch pad. There is a drawing of her dad’s truck at a building, but she doesn’t remember drawing it. Graves comes back and she instinctively goes for the gun in her coat pocket, but keeps it concealed. He gives her food and she asks about the place in the drawing. graves says he will help her find it after school. He wants to do well to become a physics professor and live a real life. He admits that he never skipped school before her because he doesn’t want to go back into foster care.
After the mall closes, Graves takes Dru out into it to look around. He leaves her to check on something and she starts wandering. She hears glass break on the second floor and realizes that is where the entrances from the parking garage is. She hides behind a potted plant with her hand on the gun. A large dog appears and then engulfs itself in flames. It hears her gasp and charges at her.
Dru runs down the hall to get away from the fiery beast. She instinctively dodges its leap towards her and she heads for the fountain in the food court. She leans in and uses a piece of sheet metal to yank the flaming dog in with her. the water heats up and starts to boil as it is dying. Graves appears suddenly and puts his hands in the air when Dru pulls out the gun.
There is a second monster - a wulf. Dru misses the wulf, but it doesn’t get Graves. She fires again and gets it. She tackles it, inflicting more pain, before she grabs Graves and starts running away. The wulf catches up and bites Graves, Dru realizes, after she is able to shoot its jaw. The fire alarms are going off and she knows she has to get them out before the police arrive. Her training says she should leave Graves behind because he’ll turn, but she can’t bring herself to do it.
Not knowing whether any authorities would show up, Dru takes Graves to the bathroom and cleans them both up as much as she can. She knows it is risky, but she needs to get her bag from the secret apartment and then get back home. graves asks her not to leave him and she debates before agreeing. Knowing she doesn’t have long before he goes unconscious, they set out.
They make it to the bus and get off two streets away from Dru’s house. By the time they get to the door, Graves is leaning on her heavily and they are both exhausted. Inside, Dru does a quick sweep and realizes she needs to board up the back door. She takes Graves upstairs and takes off his wet clothes and then her own until they are both almost naked in bed together for warmth. They sleep.
Dru wakes up and ties Graves to the bed. She goes downstairs and boards up the window on the back door and forces down a bowl of cereal. She sits for a while trying to come up with a plan, but not thinking about what she has to do next. When Graves starts to yell, she makes her way upstairs with her loaded gun. She points the gun at him and ask a series of questions to find out why he isn’t turning into a wulf. She tells him that the imprint won’t take because he is a virgin. After going to throw up, she cuts him free and tries to apologize. He tells her to leave him alone.
After a while, Graves joins Dru and she explains what has happened the past few days and what her dad did. He keeps asking her what she is going to do, but she doesn’t really know, so she starts making lunch. He gets her to laugh and then explains that he doesn’t have anyone either.
Dru opens up the fireproof box and finds her dad’s contact book, trying to figure out who to tell her story to. She finds the only local phone number written on a receipt from an occult shop in Florida, but there are no markings to let her know if it is safe to call or not. Snow continues to fall and graves says the roads should be clear the next day. he tries to convince her to go back to school. She vacuums up her dad’s ashes and puts the sealed bag in the fireproof box, crying about her losses.
They spend several days snowed in the house. Graves wakes Dru up in the middle of the night because someone, or something, is knocking at the door. She goes part way down the stairs to investigate and gets the “tingles” telling her that something really bad is on the other side of the door. She sends Graves back to her room for the gun. By the time he hands it to her, the thing at the door is gone. they both smell blood. The next morning, Dru tells Graves that she needs to go out. He wants to go with her, but she leaves when he goes upstairs to get ready. He catches up with her on the street. She tells him that she doesn’t want him involved because it will probably kill them both. He points out that he chose to help her and she owes him. She stops fighting it and they start walking again.
At a coffee shop in town, Dru explains her plan to Graves. She leaves him behind and dials the number she found into a pay phone. She doesn’t speak, but a young man on the other end seems to know who she is and tells her where to go for more answers. She walks over to the transit center, signaling Graves to get out and meet back at the house in a few hours. She finds the location the man told her on the bus route and sees there isn’t much opportunity for escape. The world seems to freeze around her. Dru sees an owl on a bus and when it returns to normal, she gets on. She relies on her intuition to tell her when to get off. She follows the owl down an alley and finds the truck at the end. As she starts for it, she hears a growl and some yells at her to get down. She does and time freezes again for a moment. She looks up to see the werewulf from before over her. She runs for the truck as a boy appears and squares off with the wulf. Dru finds a gun under the seat and points at the wulf, Ash. She and the boy with the shotgun, Christophe, both fire as Ash runs away. She demands answers. He tells her to go home and lock the doors. She notices that he stands on top of the snow, and he shows his fangs. As he runs past her, she shoots him. When he is gone, she leaves in the truck.
When Dru gets the truck home, Graves is waiting for her. She lost in her own world wondering if the sucker, Christophe, she just met is responsible for turning her dad into a zombie. She knows that if she is his target, she doesn’t have much chance of survival. She falls asleep upstairs and has a reoccurring dream about her mom. She is very young and her mom hides her in a secret compartment under the closet. She notices that her mom’s eyes turn from brown to blue for a moment. Dru knows something bad is going to happen.
Graves finally gets Dru to go back to school. She enjoys the distraction at first by sleeping through classes. When the bully, history teacher starts to pick on her, she decides to not take it. She says she hopes she cokes and the teacher starts to do just that. Kids start screaming. the teacher starts breathing again and the dismissal bell rings in the middle of class. Dru starts walking home and Graves catches up. He tells her that he has werwulf symptoms, and they both don’t know what is going on. He convinces her to tell him what she knows as they walk home.
Shortly after they get home, someone knocks on the door. Dru tries to see out the window, but can’t get a good view. Graves points out that the lock is moving. Dru rushes back to him, but Christophe is through the door and grabs her wrist. She starts to fight him off. Graves rushes past her in a hairy blur. They fight in the front yard while Christophe tries to explain that he is there to help them. Dru starts carrying Graves inside, exhausted from the change that wasn’t supposed to happen. Christophe takes him upstairs while Dru keeps her gun pointed at him. He tells her that he is only part vampire, djamphir, and is surprised she doesn’t know what she is. Dru suggests they talk.
Christophe explains that Dru’s mom was a svetocha, a rare, female djamphir that becomes deadly to nosferat. Svetochas rarely give birth to another svetocha, but when they do, the girl is even stronger. He wants to protect her because when she matures, she will be stronger than most djamphir and more deadly to nosferat. On vampire, Sergej, killed her mom. Her dad, Dwight, has been hunting him, but in the process ruined the trap set by the Order. Christophe leaves to get supplies. When Graves wakes up, Dru fills him in. He doesn’t think letting Christophe into the house is a good idea, but Dru points out that they don’t have too many options. She shows him how to ward the house.
Dru and Graves go through Dwight’s books to find references to female djamphirs and loup-garou (shifters that don’t change completely), but the don’t have much luck. Most of what they find does back up the rest of what Christophe told her. When the djamphir returns, they act instinctively, Dru diving for a gun and Graves crouching down where he stood. Christophe tells them to calm down and help him with the groceries and weapons he brought back.
Dru wakes up form her bed and goes outside. She feels like she is being pulled somewhere and arrives at a house. Gran’s owl hoots at her in the background. when she goes to open the door, her hand is translucent and she realizes she isn’t really there. She suddenly can’t breath and wakes up swinging, almost hitting Christophe. He sends graves for water while Dru is convulsing and trying to breath. Christophe throws the water at her and he and Graves talk about the dream stealer that attacked her. Dru starts to recover and kicks both boys out of her room for arguing with each other. When she is finally alone, all she can think about is that she knows how to get to the house her parents once lived in and it is in town.
Christophe explains that Sergej is the oldest full blooded vampire in North America. He is drawn to mortal women, and then kills them and any resulting offspring. Christophe is part of the Order, which has been trying to kill Sergej for a long time. He explains that the vampire likes to break things and Ash, the wulf that bit Graves, has been his for a while. Dru is skeptical. Christophe tells her that her dad’s friend, August (who she has stayed with before) is also part of the Order, as was her mom. Christophe wonders how Dwight had planned on keeping her alive before he leaves her and Graves for the TV. Graves doesn’t trust Christophe, but Dru points out that they don’t have much to go on. She tanks him for getting the dream stealer off her before going back to bed.
When Dru wakes up, she calls August. Almost immediately, he confirms Christophe’s story and asks to talk to him. She tells Christophe and stays on the porch to talk to graves. She realizes that no one on the street has left their houses (porch lights on and no tracks in the snow). Dru realizes they need to leave and sucks down her pride to ask for Christophe’s help loading up the truck. Once everything is all packed up, Christophe demands the keys to get to the extraction point. Dru wants to drive her truck and Graves backs her up. Christophe fights over it and starts to strangle her. graves attacks him and goes flying. Other werwulfen show up and start to attack. Dru and Graves get to the truck and take off. Dru starts driving as baby dream stealers hit the windshield. She tells graves to navigate her to the address Christophe gave her.
Dru drives while Graves suggests they stop for help. She points out that they would be putting more people in danger. She tell shim to get the box from under the seat that contains a gun. While he fishes it out, she tell him that she’s happy he is there with her and is sorry he was bit. He gives her directions and she keeps thinking she sees something behind them in the mirror.
When they arrive at the address, Dru decides to go in alone. The door to the house is unlocked and she is able to go right in with her gun pointed. She finally meets Sergej. He says he is going to kill her, so she shoots him in the forehead. When that doesn’t slow him down, she starts to run. Graves drives the truck through the house and Christophe leaps off the hood to attack Sergej. Werwulfen follow his lead. Dru throws a hex at the vampire before Graves drags her away and into the truck.
Christophe eventually joins them in the truck having incapacitated Sergej temporarily. He wants to send her to the Schola to learn and be trained. Graves asks about the traitor there that gave away the extraction point. Christophe has friends there and it is still the safest place for her to go. Dru agrees once he tells her that Graves is allowed to go with her. Christophe plans to disappear once they are safe. A helicopter arrives to pick them up and Christophe drives the truck away. A boy named Cory welcomes them to the Order.