Chapter One: Things That Go Bump...
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Once Mia stepped out into the moonlight of Moonlight Falls a chill crept down her spine. As a child she had, indeed, enjoyed the stories of this magical land. But she had been in her home, in her bed, with her mother and father nearby and everything had seemed so magical...
She wasn't prepared for how real it would feel to be there... to be here.
The last few weeks had passed so quickly. The arrangements for the travel, her graduation, the last goodbyes to friends and relatives, everything seemed to have gone by in a blur.
She hadn't realised how nervous she actually was until she boarded the plane going away from Sunset Valley. Then there had been the bus. And then the train. And then another train, which had been an old locomotive that few other travellers had taken. It was, she had learned, the only way to reach Moonlight Falls. The entire city was almost cut off from the other cities, save for that old train.
It did, after all, have reasons to be hidden away.
Mia shivered again as the memories of her father's stories came rushing back, unbidden and unveiled. Stories of vampires feasting on human blood, fairies snatching away children from their beds, zombies rising from their graves, unrelenting in their search for warm flesh to consume...
Suddenly, normalcy didn't seem so bad.
The last bit of her journey had been by bus. After helping Mia getting all her luggage out from the storage compartment the bus driver gave her a friendly nod and got back behind the wheel and drove off. She had been the only passenger.
She looked around. The Town Hall of Moonlight Falls towered above her. It was here she was to meet Mr. Hallet, a man her father had listed as a trusted friend in his will. The will had contained contact information about Mr. Hallet as well as his address and the promise that he would, in the event that Bert himself couldn't, help Mia find her place as a witch.
A loud mewling noise came from the heap of luggage. Tammy was protesting about the lack of space for her to prowl.
Mia kneeled down and opened the cat's cage and picked her faithful companion up into her arms. The soft, warm body gave her some comfort in the cold night-time air. Tammy's purring was almost hypnotic, until the cat suddenly became quiet and stared intently into the darkness. Only when she followed the animal's gaze did Mia realize she was being watched.
'Miss Gilson, I presume?' a shadow in the darkness said. It stepped forward into the light of a lamppost before she could reply, revealing itself to be a man. Well, seemingly revealing itself to be a man anyway.


'I trust the journey went well?' the man said pleasantly, witch an equally pleasant smile gracing his lips. In her arms, Mia felt Tammy arc her back, fur standing on end. The man regarded the animal with unusually blue eyes.
'Easy kitty, I won't bite.' he said, and surprisingly Tammy relaxed completely at his words. Mia found her voice.
'A- are you Gregory Hallet?' She asked, wondering if the eerie atmosphere was getting to her. 'I am Mia Gilson, yes and, err, everything went well, I, umm...' she grew silent and drew a deep breath.
Gregory Hallet watched her with a bemused expression.
'This is your first time in Moonlight Falls, yes? Don't worry, normal people sometimes feel... uneasy when they arrive.' as he spoke, Mia caught glimpses of fangs in his mouth. She steeled herself.
'I'm not normal, I'm a witch. I'm just-' before she got any further the vampire started to chuckle.


'Forgive me,' he said, still with a slight chuckle, 'but if you intend to stay here you'll soon find out that you are, indeed, normal, as you know the word. No matter how prepared people might think they are, everyone finds that this place is more than they thought it would be.' He put his hand to his chest and gave a small bow. 'I am Gregory Hallet, a vampire and your new landlord. Charmed.'
Mia found herself conflicted. One part of her felt offended, another found itself blushing against her better judgement.
'Now,' Gregory said as he straightened himself, 'no point in standing here all night. As much as I'd love to spend some more time getting to know Bert's daughter better, I'm sure you must be very tired after such a long trip.' He fished up a key from his pocket and motioned towards the road. There, almost invisible against the dark night stood a black car. It seemed almost like a car-shaped hole, not even the moonlight reflected off it.
Mia nodded and got her packing into the car. The vehicle was clearly built for style rather than convenience so it took a while to get everything to fit.
'How far is it?' Mia asked as she sat in the passenger-seat.
'Not far.' The vampire smiled.



***

'Now now, don't fall asleep just yet.' said Gregory's voice beside her. Mia shook her head, for whatever good that did, and looked out the window. There was nothing there.
'Other side.' Gregory told her, with a hint of amusement in his voice. She looked to the other side. A large, Victorian-styled house loomed in the darkness. She felt her jaw drop.
'Wow. This is where I'll live?' She asked, looking up the walls of the huge building. 'It's amazing...' she managed to say before a yawn rose in her throat. Gregory gave another chuckle.


'Come on in, I'll give you a quick tour so you can go to sleep soon.'
As she entered to house she let Tammy loose, smiling as the cat quickly surveyed the new area before finding a place to nap. Gregory led her into a room.
'This is the living room, here is the dining room, next to that is the kitchen...' As he spoke he pointed in the various directions of the rooms. 'On the first floor we also have a small study and an indoor garden, on the second floor is a hobby-room, on the third floor is a large study. The basement is that way, it is there I sleep and where you'll find the laundry room. Once you get to he third floor, walk around the hall and you'll find your room.' Gregory smiled as Mia looked around with an even bigger smile. He gave her a friendly pat on her shoulder.


'You should get some sleep soon. Try not to disturb the others.' Mia's smile fell slightly.
'Others?' she asked. Another chuckle.
'Yes, I hope you didn't think you'd be alone here. I am the only nocturnal one here, so the others should greet you tomorrow.' he smiled again. 'They are a friendly bunch most of the time, don't you worry.' Mia nodded and mumbled goodnight as she started to walk up the stairs.
'Oh, one more thing.' the vampire called. 'I found something that used to belong to your father. It's yours to keep if you want. I left it on you nightstand.'
She reached her new room. It was cozy enough, with a large mirror and a desk with a computer. She looked to the nightstand and felt herself gasp.
An old wand lay on a cushion.
She picked it up and examined it. It was much more beautiful that hers. A wand by itself is not magical, it is the witch that makes it so. A wand could be an elaborate work of art, or it could be an old twig found by the pavement. Hers was an old twig.
She put the wand back down. There was so much she wanted to do now that she was here, so many things she wanted to try. But, in this moment, all she wanted to do was sleep.



***

Mia woke when she heard something outside her door. She looked outside, it was still dark. Something went bump in the night outside her room. Probably another tenant, she thought. She tried to go back to sleep.
Bump.
Where they clumsy or where they doing something? Mia asked herself.
Bump.
Insomnia could be a real annoyance for many people.
Bump.
Still, that was no reason to disturb those who could sleep.
'Uuuuuh...'
Mia got up. If her new house-mates where up she might as well say hello and ask them why oh why didn't they let her sleep in peace.


She went into the hall. There was no one in sight.
'Hello?' she said quietly, not wanting to disturb those who still slept. The same feeling of unease she had felt when she arrived started to creep up her spine.
Something in the corner of her eye caught her attention. Some sort of light. She turned and looked across the hallway into the face on a ghost.
Something came over her. Something primal that spoke to the very core of her heart and mind. All the bravery she had felt as a child listening to stories evaporated. What was left was only the nothing that something dead was in front of her and she had no way of knowing whatever killed it was still there or not.


She screamed. Whatever reason was still there in her mind told her she shouldn't but it was overcome by the pure instinct that told her to flee.
'Can I help you ma'am?' A voice that made the listener think of gravel on a graveyard came from behind her. She turned around, eyes wide in terror. A skeleton, dressed in a rather fetching maid outfit stared at her with empty eye-sockets.
Mia didn't even realise she had run away until her hands twisted the lock to the door of her room. Her body and her mind where in conflict which left her confused and frightened. Her head was spinning, her stomach heaved. She managed to reach the bed before she passed out.


And the sun rose over Moonlight Falls.

***

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