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I was once...
Author's note: This is just the draft, I'll have the better final copy up as soon as the last page is typed. Let me know what I can do to make it better.
If you are reading this I am dead. Difficult concept to grasp. I’m talking to you right now, but I am dead” The letter read in perfectly scripted cursive. The purple ink seemed to curl of its own accord. Martin read on. “As I said, I am either dead, or dying, because you are reading the explanation I promised you in the event of my death. I told Jasper to give this journal to you when I was dead, or again, dying, because I knew it was very likely to happen to me within the next year.” Martins eyes teared, Keller was dead, and she knew she was going to dye. But how? He read on. “Please understand Martin, the events described in this journal are the gospel truth, they couldn’t be any truer if God himself had spoken them. They are not the twisted workings of a lunatic mind, consumed by fear, or jealousy. You do not have to understand them, as long as you do not disbelieve them.” At this, Martin laughed. This was Keller’s usual “Believe, don’t understand,” motto. How he missed her. “Martin, my dear Martin. You have been my friend since second grade. My only human friend. You talked to me when everyone else avoided me. You shared your lunch with me, and, in seventh grade, when people told me I looked like an anorexic, freak, with my pale white skin, my bright red hair, my grey eyes, and freckles, which you called angel kisses, you told me that I was more beautiful than even the movie stars. When you wanted me to go out with you, I rejected, saying it was impossible.” “Oh yeah,” Martin mused. Keller had rejected his proposals for six years now. “I am truly sorry for the times I said no to you, but as you will soon discover, it was the best way. Please do not be angry with me for not telling you sooner, it was to dangerous for you until I was dead. Goodbye, Martin, my dearest human friend.
PS. I’ll try to convince God to make roses fall from the sky during my funeral, you know I love red ones. Please make sure they burry me with some.”
Martin closed the letter, and began to cry. He cried the copious tears that had been bottled up inside him for the last year. Ever since Keller’s house burned, and he knew she had died in the fire, because no one found any trace of her. He looked at the beautiful dark blue notebook the letter had come with that day in the mail from England. It had gold edging, and it read in beautiful cursive on the front “I was a Vampire for the CIA.” What on Earth did that mean?
“Martin, time for dinner.” His mother called, interrupting his thoughts. The notebook would have to wait until later.
Martin sat, only poking at his food. He was to distraught to eat anything. And worse, his mind kept wandering back to the blue leather notebook, sitting alone in the darkness of his room Untouched, unread, unloved. Just as Keller must have felt as she wrote that letter, right before she died.
A nurse had called to check in about an hour ago. She wanted to know if the notebook got there. She also told Martin that Keller was still alive but in dire condition, she had less than and hour, if that to live. She was in London, England, and had made it her last wish that the notebook and letter be sent to Martin. Martin wondered, could she still be alive, could she still have a hope of life. Whether she was dead or not, he would go and see her, or her grave anyway. “Mom, can we go to England?” He asked, already knowing the answer.
“Why on Earth do you want to go there?”
“Keller died, and I want to go see her.”
“Keller died, how do you know?”
“She wrote a letter, that she told Jasper not to send until she died, or had little time left to live.”
“Well honey, I’m very sorry, Keller was a good girl, and we’ll all miss her, but England is just too far away. Why don’t you send some flowers for Jasper to put on her grave. He’s with her isn’t he.”
“Yes, I guess that’s a good idea.”
Martin retired up to his room. He looked at the notebook. He chose to ignore it for the time being. Getting himself ready for bed, watching TV, and reading a chapter from his science book eventually took his mind off of Keller, and put him to sleep.
He was, however, awakened in the middle of the night, by a dream of Keller, imploring him to read the notebook. So, he opened the drawer, and read.
To you, whoever is reading this inconsequential story, I would like you to know now that this is the log, as it happens, of my journey, which appears at this time, to be straight down a craggy stone staircase into a dungeon, into death. I have no clue at this time what I am doing, just that I am on the highway, right outside Redwoods National Park, if you were to come in from the top, through Oregon or Washington, or even Alaska it seems, because it is snowing, and I HATE snow. I hate snow with a fervent passion, so fierce, that I melt snow at every chance. So what on Earth drove me to live in upper Washington, right near the top, in fact, I won’t be surprised if I have driven clear up into Canada.
Pain rips through my stomach for the eighth or ninth time since I left my home on the coast of California, near Sacramento. I hadn’t had any time to grab anything to eat in my mad dash to get out of California, and to an airport to the East Coast, before they found me. The pain again returns to my stomach, I can’t ignore it anymore “Alright, alright, we’ll stop and get something to eat, as soon as I figure out where we are.” I mumble, talking to no one in particular, just my empty stomach. I flip on the windshield wipers, and try to see through the hideous snow, that malicious snow, the snow that seems to want me to crash into the guardrail and perish. The snow that keeps grabbing at my car tires, for the record, Lexus Hybrids are not meant for driving in the snow, and neither am I.
I squint into the windshield, trying to see through. The awful snow has made a cake over the windshield. A big, icky, wet, blanket of snow. Don’t get me wrong, I love rain, rain is wonderful, I love life giving rain, but I hate its alter ego, snow. Like I said, there’s this giant cake on my windshield, have you ever tried to see through a cake? Well have you? Have you ever seen anyone walking around staring through cakes? No, so seeing through the windshield-cake, was very difficult. I curse snows existence, and crash into a tree.
“Dang it all!” I cry, “Why me, why me.” I pull on a coat, and get out of the car. The air is so cold, it freezes as it enters my lungs. More stupid snow cakes onto my face, freezing my nose, and ears, plastering itself to my hair. I take one step away from the car, and fall flat on my face into a snowdrift. “Is this some punishment for hating snow? Well is it.” I begin to cry, but I soon have to convince myself to stop, because the second the tears come into existence in the corners of my eyes, they freeze my face. Making my day even better. Really, first, my house blows up, then, I have to flee for my life, then, I end up in Canada, then, I crash into a tree, then, I fall face first into a snowdrift, now, my face is the same kind of snow-cake, that caused me to crash into a tree in the first place. I look at the car, instead of the beautiful black color it was, it is now an ugly, snowy white.
I look at the hood, no damage, luckily, the snowdrift stopped me before I hit the tree. I get back in the car, and turn on the engine, I try to pull out, but my tires are buried in the snow. I give up trying to back out, and stand on the side of the road instead, trying to flag down a car, or someone, more experienced in the dangerous art of snow driving than I am. You know, driving in the snow should be an olympic sport, really. I of corse would not participate, but, someone might want to.
After what seems like an eternity of waiting, a car pulls over. The man who steps out is not an old man, wearing suspenders and a red flannel shirt, who’s always reminiscing about his grand kids, or giving you the load of bull shark “back in my day kids were tough, we always knew how to drive in the snow, and if we got banked, we always knew how to get out of a snowdrift,” lecture that grandparents are always giving. He is, in fact, quite the contrary, he is a tall guy, not handsome, but tall. He is wearing a flannel shirt, but he’s not wearing suspenders. He is wearing rubber knee boots, and a pair of blue jeans. He has a baseball hat, and a parka on.
He walks with and effort at gallantry, but fails. I can see a smile beginning to creep across his face. When he reaches me, I can see his face. He is laughing at me! How rude. I am a native of Sacramento, and quite unaccustomed to the stupid snow. He notices I can see him laughing, and tries to straighten his face. “Hello.” He stutters, he hasn’t quite stopped laughing yet. “Did ya, drive into a snowdrift.”
No, I’m just standing on the side of the road, in a T-Shirt, in a BLIZZARD, for my health, how stupid is this guy. I don’t actually say this though, instead, I grin, giggle, and say shyly “Yes, I’ve never driven in snow. In fact, I don’t see snow very often. I live in Sacramento.”
“What are you doing here in Canada, the coldest place in the US, except Alaska of corse.”
“Family.” I lie. Well, it’s not like he would believe my true story, and I can’t think of anything else on the spot.
“Oh, need a lift?”
“No, if you could just push my car while I put it in reverse so I can keep driving.”
“Okay, I’m game if you are.” He smirks. How revolting, he wanted me to ride in his car. That is just disturbing and disgusting. He walks to the front of the car, and I get in. I put the car in reverse, jam on the gas pedal, and he pushes the car. The car doesn’t budge, until suddenly, without warning, it jolts into motion, and skids across a patch of ice, and into oncoming traffic. Thank God for anti lock brakes. Without them, I would’ve gone from stranded in a snowdrift and alive, to stranded in the road, and very, completely, dead. It is also a miracle there were no cars on the road, like there would have been had I been in Sacramento, but unfortunately, I’m in Canada.
I thank the guy who got me out of the snowdrift, and drive towards what would appear to be a town, but, its on vampire territory. An ancient treaty forbids me stopping there.
The next ten minutes are spent like this:
“Should I go, or should I stop for like ten minutes, and get a bag of chips and a soda or something at a 7/11?
If I stay, they might find out, and I could be killed, but then, this territory might be big, or abandoned. I think I’ll stop, or maybe not.”
The same train of thought reoccurs for the next 8.5 minutes, until I resolve to stop, I’d rather risk getting found out, then drive into a snowdrift, again, and die of hunger.
I pull into a gas station, I have to make this fast. I park and get out of my car. The vampires are close, I can smell them, and it is strong. I try not to look around, they sense me, and I can hear their conversation. The boy, who is about my age, suddenly look up, and around. “What is it son?” Says the a man, who looks to be in his late forties.
“I smell something, but it’s not human.”
“No, it’s not vampire, but it isn’t werwolf either. It’s almost like... a little of both, but it’s mixed with a strange earthy scent.”
“Uh-oh.” Says the man, “It’s...”
“A half-blood?” Says a girl, also my age.
“Yes, the most dangerous predator.”
“But, they’re not allowed to come here.”
“Well, someone has, and they’re in the store.”
Oh, so it was the vampires store. Well, maybe they wouldn’t know it was me. Half-bloods, as a rule, never travel alone when they are my age. If I just acted like a human, then they may not know it was me who was the half-blood.
“Which one is it dad?”
“That girl. The one who just stood up straighter and stiller when I said it was her.”
“What do we do?”
“I had hoped this wasn’t necessary, but it seems we will have to have a confrontation.”
Great, they not only know who I am, they are also going to confront me. I try to act like I don’t notice them, as they walk up behind me. The girl stands by me on my left, the boy on my right, and the father and mother take up a defensive position behind me. I act normal for a minute, but, they don’t buy it. I turn around. My eyes meet the girls eyes, and I read her thoughts. “half-blood, you had better hope nothing happens that would make you hurt anyone in my family, I would kill you.”
I know she means it. “Can I help you.” I try to control my face, but their scent is stronger than many I have smelled in several years.
“Would you mind coming and talking to us in my office?” The father asks.
“Not at all. Is there something wrong.” I know what is wrong, but I have to act ignorant. I follow them to a back room, decorated with a few chairs, a desk, and a computer. The mother daughter stand by the door. The father sits at the desk, and the son stands behind him. The father motions me to sit down, and I do. “Now, this is my family. Beth,” he points to his wife, “Jason,” the boy, “Stella,” the daughter, “and I’m Jacob. We’re the Marcsun family, and you are?”
“Keller Sanders. But you can call me Kelly. Um, why am I here?”
“Ms. Sanders, I believe you know why you are here.”
Well, they know I know, so there is nothing to do but to a) try to run for it, or b) tell the truth and get it over with. I feel anger growing inside me, and I can tell my eyes are glazing over, then, I can no longer control myself, and they flash from blue, to dark grey with flecks of gold. My skin grows pale, and I can feel my body and skin becoming cold, my werwolf side is coming out. They see it, and Beth and Stella move back, Jason and Jacob want to, but they stay put, I have scared them, I now appear to have the upper hand. I make my voice low, and icy, I stare at the father, and speak “Yes, a confrontation, I warn you, I am not alone.”
“Yes you are, you have brought no one with you, you drove up in a red subaru forester with bumper stickers on it. Why are you here, on our territory? Half-blood, you are not welcome here.”
“Look, I mean no harm. I’ve been driving for thirteen hours, and I need to rest. I have to be fast or...”
“They, I mean, my... my parents will miss me.” I lie, but what else am I supposed to say, I’m a four thousand year old half-blood, I’m being tracked by three werwolf clans, and I’ve just led them to this place.
“Well, we’ll let you be on your way, but don’t come back. This back door leads to the parking lot.” I go out the back door, and get in my car. I turn on my car, and pull out. They watch me drive off, but I know that the ones who are following me have already arrived at the store, and they will stop at nothing to kill the vampires who own it, if it means finding me. I pull back into a parking lot across the street, and get out and walk across the street. Sure enough, the four black hummers and one black Prius are in the parking lot. I rush to the door, but I wait for a minute, till the trackers are distracted. When they have the vampires butted up against the wall, I open the door. The leader, has the fathers head pushed up against the glass case. “We know she was here, now where did she go.”
“I swear I don’t know.” The tracker gets impatient and hits hits him in the eye.
“Take the daughter.”
“No, not Stella, please, we don’t know where she went. She was here, but she left.” The tracker takes the daughter and holds a knife to her throat. “Where did she go.”
“Hey, leave them alone, they don’t know where I went.” I yell, grabbing all their attention at once.
“Giving your life for a vampire family Keller, you do have a soft side after all. Or is it the young boy here.”
“None of these people have anything to do with this, come get me, if you want me.” I read the boy and the girls mind. She can’t take them, she’ll kill her self, or they’ll kill her. Should I help her? They underestimate my strength, probably because they have never seen it, half-bloods are very rare. Well, I am about to give them the show of a lifetime. The boy moves to help me, but the father stops him. Obviously, he doesn’t want him to die. But that’s okay, I can take them. The leader, as a rule, steps out of the fight, and the next biggest guy, about six foot six, probably weighing in at about two-hundred pounds, and I stand about three feet away from eachother. We bend down at the knees, as if we were surfing, and glare into each others eyes. A smirk creeps across my face, and his.
“When do we start?”
“Now.” I say, and hold my ground. He runs at me, not a good strategy on his part, and I trip him. He grabs my ankle, and I fall with him. He gets on top of me and slashes his claws across my gut. I scream, but it takes a lot more than that to take me down. I grab him by his hair, pull him to my level, and bite him on the neck. He screams, and falls to the floor. Two more guys set upon me, and I hold off each one, alternately, I have taken those two down, the only one left is the leader. I look at him, and he looks at me. “Are you going to take me down, or live life known as a coward because you couldn’t take a girl, instead, you had to break the rules, and call more than four people to the scene. That wouldn’t look good on your rep.”
“I know, but, you know how it is. If I die, the whole clan is lost.”
“Are you scared.” I know I probably look like I’m bluffing, I have blood dripping from my lip, my eye, my arm, one arm is probably broken, my ankle is broken and I have four claw scars on my stomach, but I am dead serious, I will kill him, and that is what I intend to do. “Come and get me Brad, if you’re not scared that is. Come and take me down.”
He steps forward and I bare my fangs. He growls, and then, lunges, and though I am strong, I cannot hold off the bite of a werwolf, not when he has sensed my blood, and seen and smelled it. He bites into my neck, and I fall. I was not expecting this twist. Now that he has tasted my blood, he cannot stop. He begins to drain every ounce of blood from my body. I feel weak and lightheaded, but I must beat him, if only to render him half dead and then get away. I kick him in the groin, but this only gets him to stop biting me. I use my energy wisely, I roll over, on top of him, and sink my fangs into the flesh under his ear. He groans, and then faints. I do not wish to drink his blood, so I stop myself. This is a tremendous feat, for, once we taste blood, half-bloods, werwolves, and vampires alike, we cannot stop drinking it, but I just did.
The Marcsun family looks at me in disbelief as I roll off of him, and lie flat on my back. There is a moment of silence, when no one moves. Then, the boy is beside me, and the girl is supporting my head, they look me over. The father becomes serious and says, “You have risked your life to save ours, why? When you could’ve just kept going and had a little time to get away.”
“Yes, why did you come back after we so rudely suspected you of trying to steal our territory and we drove you away. You could’ve just left us to die.”
“And how did you kill all those men? It was like you were invincible or something.”
“And...” I cut off the boy, I can only answer so many questions at a time. “Well, as to your question of why I saved me, you saw me drive away, you could’ve told them which direction I drove off in, and saved yourself some damage to the store,” I point to the shelves knocked over, and the smashed beverage cooler that I was thrown into, “And a headache.” Noting that the father has a nasty bruise on his head. “Are you all alright, no harm done I hope.”
“No none at all, but you, you can’t leave like that.” He indicates all the cuts and blood, and my two broken limbs. I reach down onto my leg and pull out a shard of window glass that imbedded itself in my thigh, it is about two inches long, and an inch and a half wide, and it is pretty much all the way in my leg. I smell my own blood, and I remember the taste of his blood, the scent of it, I have killed one of my own kind, well, he was a werwolf, and I was a vampire when I killed him. The boy, who is now as white as a sheet from the intoxicating smell of blood, and the fact that he just touched some, licks his lips, and then smacks himself. I can only imagine how pale I am. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll just be going. Your son must be new to the, “vegetarianism,” of only eating animal blood. I’ll be out of your way now.” I rise to my feet, and the werwolf leader, grabs my foot and pulls me back down. He was dead just a minute ago, I’ll swear it.
“I’m not dead Keller, but you will be soon.” He grabs my hair, and calls one of his boys over from the parking lot. The boy holds my hands down, and the leader sits on my legs. “I’m hungry, and I’m angry Keller, not a good combination.”
“Get off me,” I say, through my teeth. I struggle to get them off, but they are stronger than I am at this point.
“Aww, look at her struggle, and those poor vampires are defenseless against us. And they were hiding her all along. I guess we’ll have to kill them next.”
“No, don’t touch them.” He squeezes my wrist, I try to make him let go, but again, he is stronger than I am at this point. I read the boys mind, No, they can’t kill her, they can’t. She’s the first girl that has even sparked my interest in nearly two-hundred years. If only I could’ve gotten to know her more. We would be so good together, I could be the first one in my family to break the code and love a half-blood.
His thoughts are interesting, but I am about to be killed, and praying that I don’t get killed isn’t going to help me. I keep defending the family, it might buy me some time. “They have nothing to do with uggggggg.” I scream when he squeezes my hand harder. “They have nothing to do with this, I left, but I saw your car, and then I came in, to confront you.”
“I don’t believe you, but, if they try to protect you , it will just be more interesting.”
He jerks up on my hair, and my head follows, he bares his fangs, and bites deep into my neck. I writhe and scream in pain. I am powerless against him now, and I feel my life passing, see all the things I was to do in the future fly past in front of my very eyes.
I see my body falling from Earth to the places beyond. I see my soul fluttering past me, on its way to the afterlife. The world becomes a blur, and the pain turns to ice cold numbness, then, all I can do is hear. I hear the door crash, as someone slams through it. The leader is forced to leave me, to fight whoever it is that has come in. I begin to feel my energy slowly filling back into my body. With every blow dealt to the leader or one of his men, my energy is restored, till the only thing wrong with me is my broken ankle and arm, and many bleeding cuts. I can heal the bones, but not the skin. I focus, and a new warmth fills me, pieces my bones back together. The fight between the leader and the intruder is over. Only one still lives. I open my eyes, and my heart leaps.
There, in the center of the room, stands a vampire, one I have greatly missed since I left so quickly last week. It is Jasper, my love, my brave vampire!
We run toward eachother, and he lifts me up and spins me around.
“You came to protect me, even after what I said to you.”
“I couldn’t help it. I had to have you back.”
His nostrils flare, and then he looks at the Marcsun family, the father and son have taken an aggressive stance, and the mother and daughter stand behind them. I read the boys mind. So, she has a boyfriend, and, it is a member of our enemy clan. We will have to kill him, and drive her out.
Even after he prevented them from getting killed, and I did the same. Well, they won’t get past me easy. I may be scarred, but I have just as much energy as I did before. I glare into the fathers eyes, he glares into mine. I feel my skin go from warm to ice cold, my eyes change from green to grey. My hair begins to flow in the wind. Jasper is prepared to fight to the death protecting me, and he will. He takes up a stance on my side, but I signal him behind me. “They won’t dare take both of us,” I whisper, “They are going to take me first, then they’ll take you, you stay in the back, and take them from behind me.” He nods, and gets behind me.
“You should never have come here, vampire, or you, half-blood. For we are now forced to kill you. We can permit a half-blood, as long as you are in your vampire form, but we cannot permit this vampire, he is of an enemy clan. There are four of us and two of you.” Their minds reach mine, I don’t even have to try to read their mind.
Boy: Father no, let them go.
Father: They are enemies, we cannot have anymore invasions on our territory.
Mother: She’s definitely strong, but I think we can kill her by using her boyfriend against her.
Daughter: I think we should take her boyfriend from the rear, and then she will loose energy, then we can kill her. If we bite, we can drain blood, leaving her weaker, then, we can probably kill her using our strength.
Boy: What if she kills one of us first?
Father: Then we avenge them, by killing her. The more of us she injures, the slower and more painful her death will be.
At this point, I use my power of implanting a phrase or image in some ones mind, using telepathy.
Me: Over and out guys.
They all look surprised, usually only people bonded by blood can communicate using their minds.
While they are looking around, dumbfounded, Jasper and I run out the door, jump into my car, and speed off down the road. Jasper looks behind us. “They’re right behind us.” A loud thud is heard , and then, in the back seat of my car sit Jesse and Caitlin, “Hi guys, whatcha running from?”
“I thought you were on good terms with vampires Jasper. I thought you were a vampire.”
“These are deranged vampires, Kells here walks into their store after running from the trackers for thirteen hours straight, causes no trouble, they confront her, let her go, her pursuers crash the store, try to kill these guys, she runs back in and saves their miserable lives, and now they’re trying to kill her because I’m from an enemy clan.”
“Wow Kells, you really know how to pick which guys to protect.”
“Thanks Jess, Nice to see you too.” It may seem odd to you, hearing that two people just showed up in the back of my car, while I was driving 75 miles an hour down the highway, but, they are werwolves, they have the power to change their chemical structure, and go through things.
You may wonder why we are not worried about school, or why we have given no explanation as to where we go to school, or what grade we are in. Simple, we don’t go to school. Well, we go to a school for people like us, Vampires, werwolves, and half bloods, they never wonder where we are, because we could be anywhere. Fighting, hunting, hiding.
So, we all travel together, and here we are, reader, racing along the highway, running from people whose life I have just saved.
“We could get better speed if we ran.” Says Caitlin, always keen to show off her new skill of running (Three years in a concentration camp kept this motor skill useless until last year.)
“Yes, but what if they can run just as fast as all of us?” I ask.
“They could never catch you.” Says Jasper, kissing my hand.
“Jas, so what if they couldn’t catch me, they could still catch all of you.”
“True. Lets just keep driving Katy.”
Just about then, another unexpected visitor shows up in the back seat of my car.
“Ken, how did you get in here?” It’s Ken, another person I saved by making him immortal. He and Jasper are vying for my love, they are best friends though. We all are, even though we really aren’t supposed to be. Ken’s a vampire, and, last we heard of him, he was on a top secret CIA mission in Europe. We all are special trained agents, though we don’t really need the training. Thats why the trackers are after me. I was supposed to be gaining information about a secret gang circle that was trading gunpowder and weapons in America, using innocent young girls about my age to transport them. Well, the tracker is the leader, he doesn’t know who is transporting what, until something goes wrong, then he steps in. I had to be one of the girls who fell prey to one of the gang members charm, and get inside their operation, unfortunately, they found me out. So now they are tracking me.
“Ken, what are you doing here, you’re supposed to be in Europe blowing a crime syndicate. Why are you here?”
“I heard Keller here was in trouble, so I came to lend a hand.”
“That’s very chivalrous of you Ken, but how did you “Hear” that I was in trouble, find me, and get here so fast, unless you’d been here for a while, and were waiting till an ideal moment to blow your cover as the suitcase in the back.”
“How did you know thats what I was disguised as?” (Ken can shape-shift, into inanimate objects, which is usually a pointless talent, but has come in handy on a few occasions.
“Suitcases don’t appear out of the blue, and they don’t snigger or sneeze.”
“Dang. It’s the stupid wool, why did I end up as a suit case with wool stockings in it, I’m allergic to wool.”
In order to change the subject before things get even weirder, I decide that we, as a group, should decide what we are going to do. “Hey, guys, um, not that I don’t find sneezing suitcases perfectly interesting, but, we’re almost out of gas, and there’s not a filling station for another 100 miles, we should probably decide what to do before we are completely empty, cause even though I can do many things, making gasoline out of thin air is not one of them.”
“We could turn around and fight. They think its just you two in the car, they’re outnumbered now, and Keller and Ken and I are more powerful than all of them anyway, we have the winning hand.” Jesse says. Trying to look on the less dangerous, less conspicuous side, I suggest “We should use that hallucination thing I picked up in the west Indies last year, and make the car crash, while we get away, on foot of corse. Jesse can carry Katy since she can’t run as fast, then, once we’ve lost them, we can climb up one of the trees in there, (the redwoods) and see where we are. Then we can figure out where we are and what to do.”
“Sounds like a plan, lets get out of the car now, it’ll crash involuntarily once we’re out.”
“I’ll jam something onto the gas pedal so it keeps going at full speed until that curve up there. Jess, get Katy, ready every one.” I count to three, then, we hurl our selves from the car, onto the side of the road, there’s enough of a fog that they can’t see us fall out, we lay low, watch my car smash into a ditch, watch them swerve, stop, and jump out. They run to the flaming wreckage of the car. They begin to throw dirt onto the fire, and we run for it. We run for a few minutes, which carries me about 60 miles, the rest catch up about five minutes later, out of breath and sweating.
“Everyone still intact I hope.” Says Jesse, trying to act more serious than any of us are. Jasper falls to the ground with laughter, Katy buckles at the knees, Jesse begins to sob from laughing so hard. Ken picks me up and spins me around. “We did it Keller, we’re safe.”
I control my laughter for a moment, and we all climb up the tree we are under. We go to the biggest branch we can find, close to the ground. We sit on the branch, and continue laughing. “Come on,” I say after about half an hour. “Lets head down and try to find somewhere to stay in that town over there.” I jump down out of the tree, Ken, and Jasper follow. Jesse and Katy, who never had heads for heights, stay up for a while. They say they’ll meet us in town.
We reach the ground, and an unwelcome scent reaches me. “Vampire, and its not any of us either. They’ve cracked our plan already, but they’ll be awhile in finding us, they never were much for tracking.”
“I smell werwolf over there.” Says Jasper, “I’ll bet it’s more of the trackers men. Can you see them in your mind Keller?”
“Yes, but they aren’t coming any closer, they plan to smoke us out. We have to fight one of the to groups we face, we can’t stay here forever.”
“We should fight the werwolves.” Jasper, the vampire, would never kill his own kind, well, not unless they were threatening me.
“No, there are too many.”
“How many did they bring.”
“I can see forty.”
“Fifty, sixty, I can see about 100 now. They are spreading out around the perimeter.”
“What are we going to do? They’ll kill us for sure, even if we take the Vampires, we’ll have to get past the werwolves.”
“I’ll climb up the tree and tell Jesse and Caitlin to stay up there. Then we’ll figure out what we should do. I think I have a plan.”
I scramble up the tree to meet Jesse and Katy.
“We need you guys to stay up here till one of us gets up to come and get you.”
“What’s wrong?” Jesse asks, looking worried.
“Vampires to the north, 100 werwolves, or more, to the south, west, and east. We’re trapped. The werwolves aren’t advancing, their waiting us out, but the vampires are advancing. They think there are only two of us. We can beat them, but the werwolves, we’ll have to out clever them. I’ll come get you when we get rid of the vampires.”
“Okay, be careful down there. We would help, but, Katy here doesn’t want to come down till her headache goes away, and I don’t want to leave her up here. Don’t get hurt, whatever you do.”
I climb down the tree, and we can see the vampires. I relay my plan to Ken and Jasper, and then Jasper runs behind a tree. Ken and I start a fire in a hole jasper dug, we sit around it, Ken has his arm around my waist, and is whispering in my ear. Then, as the vampires reach the edge of our “camp” he turns my face to his, and kisses me. This is all part of the plan. I hear the vampires planning how they will kill us, and I pull myself away from Ken. “Baby, I need to go walk for a minute. I’ll be back.” I walk off, in a direction that will lead me near the vampires.
As I walk, I hear them thinking, thinking that my senses must not be as alert as legend would have them be. I laugh to myself, thinking how surprised they’ll be. I walk ten more steps, and feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around, and have to act as surprised as possible. “Hello Half-Blood.” Says the mother in a sinister voice.
“What do you want?” I say.
“You.” Says the father.
“Oh,” it is now time for me to mind communicate to Ken and Jasper. Okay, come and ambush now. Ken and Jasper reply, then, they climb up the trees, across the branches, and to the branches right above my head. The father grabs my wrist, and the mother takes hold of the other one. They begin to pull me towards the boy. He looks hesitant, but he slowly advances, bares his fangs, and prepares to bite onto my arm. Didn’t they learn anything from the gas station? Oh well, my plan is working.
“Any last words?” The mother smirks.
“Well, there is one thing I need you to do, if I go with you without a fight.”
“Oh, and what’s that?”
Jasper and Ken are now right behind them, and they don’t even notice. “Look behind you.”
Jasper and Ken hit the mother and father on the head. Then, they turn and face the children. I guard the parents to make sure that they don’t get up. Jasper looks at the girl, then pins her against a tree. He gets ready to kill her, most likely to eat her. “You aren’t going to feel a thing girly, just the pain you caused Kelly here, by not helping her when she was risking her life to save you.”
“No please, I wanted to help, but my parents-” She pleads.
“Silence.” He prepares to kill her.
“Jasper, stop. She’s just a child, she can’t hurt us. Let her go.”
“No, now she knows who and where you are, they can all kill you Kells. She has to die.”
“Jasper, no. Let her go, se has nothing to do with this.” The boy looks a little relieved as I say this, he probably thinks I’m going to defend his worthless butt too.
“I can’t let her go, she’ll just go and tell some of our enemies where we are.” Before I can stop him he bites her. The bite of a werwolf is fatal to a vampire. I come up with a plan quickly to save her.
“Ken, Jasper, go back to the camp, get Katy and Jesse out of the tree. I want to kill the boy.” Ken and Jasper want to stay on my good side, so they obey. I turn to the girl still writhing on the ground in pain. I kneel down and take her hand. If I take away the venom, I may not be able to stop drinking her blood. If I use power, I have to give up a memory. I decide to draw out the venom, I turn to the boy. “If I don’t stop drinking her blood in 25 seconds, shove me off of her.” The boy nods. His face is filled with worry, and concern, maybe a little contempt.
I lean down and brush the girls hair off of the place on her neck where she has been bitten. “No, no just let me die, don’t hurt me.” She pleads, her voice breaking with pain.
“She’s going to make it stop sis, she’s going to make it go away.” I bend down, and taste the intoxicating scent of blood lingering on my tongue. I begin to feel dizzy, but I have cleansed the blood, the boy jumps onto me and pulls me off his sister.
“Thank you. I think I’ll have to give her some of my energy, and heal the scar she has.” Green fog begins to curl off my fingertips as I chant ancient incantations. Her skin folds over the wound, and you would never tell she had been bitten. Her eyes snap open, and she immediately bolts upright to a standing position. “Where am I Jason, what happened?”
A sudden change in temperature draws all of our attention. Then, before anyone has a chance to question anything, the wind starts to blow, and rain starts to fall. My red hair begins to blow out behind me, and my eyes lock onto the moon. It is blood red. My skin grows cold, my fingernails begin to turn into claws. “Get away, quickly.” I yell to the children.
“Why, what’s wrong?”
I feel myself wanting to jump at them, wanting to hunt them.
“Jason, I think she’s turning into a werwolf, she must be in pain.”
The girl is smarter than I thought. She knows that a transformation between werwolf and “human” is painful, and dangerous. I begin to have thoughts of hunting and eating these children, but why? They are vampire. Unless someone is controlling my mind, I never want to eat vampire, no one ever does. Before I can think any further, I must drive myself away. I hiss to the children “Go back to camp, tell them I’ll be along shortly, don’t tell them I’m transforming.” They rush off to the camp, and I run off. Trees speed by, I slowly turn fully into a wolf, if I don’t get human meat tonight, before the moon sets, I’ll be stuck as a wolf until the next full moon.
Werwolves can normally choose to or not to become a wolf on the night of a full moon, or on any other night, but as a half blood, I do not have that power.
The night wind blows into my face, and a cold rain begins to fall. I hear humans somewhere. They must be camping. I keep running, branches hit me in the face, then, in a clearing are the humans. The ground is crawling with fog, and I can hide behind a few rocks to watch them. They stay together for awhile, then, one walks off into the forest. I follow him. He stops at a tree about five hundred yards from his camp. He lights a cigarette, and begins to smoke. The smell is suffocating, but I cannot cough, he cannot know I am here. I turn fully wolf, and circle behind him. Then, when he is in a trance from the smoke, I strike. My mind is still telling me that killing is wrong, that I shouldn’t kill. But I can’t help it. I taste his sweet blood, but then, a wolf howl in the distance tells me there are other hunters nearby. I have to leave this victim, or loose my life.
I run as fast as I can, looking for more humans. But the moon has almost fully set by now, I have to get away from camp or I’ll kill them all, but I am drawn back to the camp. I wait outside our little clearing. “We need to go find her, she could be in trouble.” Jasper says.
“She said not to, that she needed to be alone and that she would be fine, she said she’d come back.”
The children did a good job covering, but I had to get help, I couldn’t change back, I needed Jasper’s energy to help me. I howl in the darkness, and Jasper bolts up. “I need to go for a walk.” He walks into the forest, I howl again. “Keller!” He shouts.
I howl again, and he locates me, a limp, broken wolf, lying almost dead on the musty forest floor.
“Keller, why didn’t you tell someone you were hunting, we could’ve helped you.”
I whimper in reply.
“Well, I won’t be able to change you alone, I’ll have to take you back to camp.” His strong gentle hands lift me up, and carry me to the camp.
“Jasper, where’s Keller?” Ken asks, then sees me, and says “Get her by the fire quick, Katie, take the children away.”
“We want to watch.” Stella says.
“Yes, and you may need my help. Let them stay, she can’t hurt them like this.” Katie speaks softly, her voice full of milk and honey.
“Alright, Kate, you win, go get some water and beef jerky.” Ken says, still stroking my head. “Jesse come hold her head for me. When I tell you too, force this water and jerky down her. She won’t like it, but she has to take it.”
Jesse takes my head in his hands, Katie comes back with the water and beef jerky. “Will she bite us?” Jesse worries.
“Only if we aren’t careful.” Ken says. Thank goodness we travel with two werwolves. Kate and Ken link hands, and begin to speak in ancient incantations. I feel my blood flowing warm again, and my fur begins to dissolve. “Jesse, give her the water and the beef jerky now.”
Jesse opens my mouth, and tries to get me to eat the beef jerky, my werwolf side hates it, and since I am still werwolf, I bite him. He withdraws his hand, and coddles it. Jasper takes the beef jerky, and opens my mouth. “Now Keller.” He begins, “I know there’s some Keller left in you still, and I know where ever it is, it’s listening. You have to eat this, if you don’t, you’ll die. You don’t want that do you.” He opens my mouth, and forces me to eat the beef jerky. I gag, and choke, and try to spit it out, but Jasper closes my mouth and holds it shut. I have to swallow. “There now, was that so bad?”
My fur continues to dissolve, and soon, my paws turn to hands and feet. My body turns back into a human form again. And and my red fur turns back to red hair. Jasper picks me up, and cradles me in his arms. “Give her some water,” he says to Ken. Ken hands Jasper the water bottle, and Jasper gives it to me. The water cools my throat, and then, I can speak again.
“I should’ve told you all. I’m sorry, but something about the children made me want to hunt them.”
“What, they’re vampires, you can’t hunt them, they have no human blood, why would your instinct tell you to hunt them?” We all turn to face the children, Stella is the first to speak. “We’re human.” She says, softly.
“Human,” we all exclaim in unison.
“You realize you almost got yourselves killed, not to mention the fact that you put Keller in great danger, she was almost dead when we found her. You should’ve told us.” Jasper yells, he grabs Jason by the collar, and yanks him into the light. “I should kill you right now.” Jasper pulls a knife out of his sleeve, and holds it to the boys throat. He pushes the boy up against a tree. The girls rushes up to help him, but Ken grabs her, and holds a dagger to her throat. They are both protecting me, and by the ancient oath, when one of us is hurt, we avenge them. I was left for dead.
“Jasper, don’t kill her, we never really asked her if she was human or not, we just assumed she was vampire.”
Suddenly, before anything else happens, a voice reaches my mind. Someone is in pain, or trouble, and they have reached out to me for help, but who is it. I listen harder, the voice says.
“Help me Keller, Help me.” The voice is a woman’s, it’s Victoria, my teacher. She teaches me how to control my instinct, what’s wrong. There’s no time for wondering now, I just have to follow the pictures she is already sending to my mind. “It’s Vikki.” I say, and then run off. Jasper tries to follow me, but I soon loose him in the dense forest. As I run, the pictures become more and more vivid, a picture of a clearing, in the middle, a circle of people, all wearing bright red capes, their hair, also a bright orangish red, is long and wavy, and is blowing out, as if they were all facing into a fan. They suddenly all turn to look, at something in the forest, and then, the picture shows me their eyes.
Vikki is in grave danger, the higher order I deserted almost 100 years ago is searching for me. They are all half-bloods, very powerful half bloods, even stronger than I am.
My heart beats faster in my chest, as I run, trying to find the clearing before it is to late for Vikki. Her voice pines in my mind again, but this time, weaker, softer. If I am getting closer, which I must be, her voice should be getting stronger, unless they have already begun to torture her.
My head is filled with images of Victoria dying, screaming and cringing as they drain the last drop of energy from her body. My heart beats louder, faster, filling my ears with the sound of it, like thunder. I begin to grow tired, but I have to keep searching for Victoria. I only she could send me the directions. Then, suddenly, as if in a dream, the clearing appears in front of me. Fog curls along the ground, there is the circle, then, just as in the picture, Victoria is in the middle of it. She has been drained of most of her energy, a single half-blood breaks the circle, kneels down beside her, and waits, motionless. Not a sound is heard, you could’ve heard a gnat fart just then, it was so silent. The half-blood turns to look at the only person in the circle with grey hair. Their leader, the oldest one, it can’t be the same leader they had when I was with them. He must’ve died ages ago, this must be a new leader, if it’s not, he will be invincible, or nearly. The older you are, the more indestructible you are. But then, as he raises his arm, I see the tattoo, he is Reagan, the old leader.
He gives the order, “BITE HER.” His voice is loud, it sounds like a much younger person, not the old man Reagan is. As the young man bends down to bite Victoria, she sends a message to me once more. “Keller, help.”
In a last resort to save her, I scream “NO, I’m right here.” And run across the field. I now see what the people in my vision had turned to look at, me. I don’t know what I’m doing, as the biter turns to look at me. I see his face, it’s my best friend since the day I came into the world. “Keller.” He whispers, and then, as if in envy, or hatred, for me, and the attention I have always gotten, all the people who looked up to me. My position had been second in command. He bites Victoria. “No, Joshua, don’t.” I yell, as I jump over a stream, almost trip over a rock, and arrive at the edge of the circle. I push my way inside, look at Joshua, and then Vikki. She is already dead, if not, nothing can save her anyway. “Vikki,” I whisper, “Vikki,” a little louder, then, I begin crying, “Vikki, Victoria, Vikki, don’t leave, don’t go. Please, don’t go.” I beg, I know it’s no use, but I can’t believe she’s dead.
Two of the order pick me up, and hold me back, I want to kill Joshua, and they all know I can. “How could you Josh, she taught both of us, she was your friend as much as mine, how could you.” The two men holding me drag me off to the edge of the clearing. They force me to my knees when the leader approaches. “Greetings Keller of the Silver-fangs.” Oh, so my name is still the same, they called me that because my fangs seem silver when I bite in the moonlight. My fangs are also sharp, and murderous, as silver can be.
“Bow to the master.” One of the men commands.
“I will not bow to a man who kills people who cannot defend themselves.”
“You kill someone like that every year.”
“You seem to forget, I only kill those trapped by painful and fatal disease, that has them wishing for death every day, whose only option is to commit suicide, or live six more months in excruciating pain.” I snap, I am not sad now, I am furious.
“Temper Temper. We don’t want to kill you, not yet anyway. Not while you are still useful to the order.”
“I will not do anything for the order while you are in charge.” I spit at him.
“Yes...you...will.” He says, and then grabs my neck. He pushes my head to the ground. He forces my arm behind my back, it will snap at any moment.
“Stop, you’re hurting me.”
“Keller Silver-fang, in pain? Is this backwards day?”
“Just you wait till Jasper finds out about this, he’ll kill you as soon as-” I can’t say anymore because he has shoved a piece of cloth in my mouth to shut me up. “I’d be careful what I said, seeing as there’s 14 of us, and one of you.”
“5 of us.” Comes a beautiful voice from across the clearing. It’s Jasper, and he must’ve brought Katie, Jesse, and Ken with him. I’ve never heard such a wonderful sound as his voice is right now.
“Keller once told me that the Order was about justice, and fairness. It’s only fair that we only fight five of you. Otherwise, the clans might get the wrong idea about the order.”
“You force me to do this your way. You’re right, it’s not fair for 14 of us to fight 5 of you. We’ll make it seven against five.”
“Five, against Five.” Ken demands
“Seven, you have Keller, and she can fight as well as two of my men.”
“Seven, and no reinforcements.”
“Deal. Three paces sound fair.”
Reagan releases me, and Jasper runs to pick me up. “Why didn’t you let me come?” He asks.
“I didn’t want you to get hurt too.”
We back up to three paces away from eachother, and stand in our formation. Jasper and I stand in front, Ken and Jesse stand next to but about one foot behind us, and Katie kneels behind us all, because she’s only fifty years old. She has to wait until we are all spread out to fight. She fights the one who must kneel behind the other team. This is the formation all the clans agree upon. Two strongest in the front, then the second strongest, then we keep forming up like that until we have no more people except the weakest link, then the weakest kneels on one knee behind us.
“Ready when you are.”
“Ready...down.” We all squat down into a position many people use when skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing. “Sight.” This command means to sight the opponent you will be fighting. “Lock.” We lock our gaze on our opponents. “Steady........ Advance, GO.” We walk slowly forward, then, my opponent and I circle eachother, waiting for the other to make the first move. My opponent, a lanky redheaded boy who looks to be seventeen, but is much older, decides to make the first move. He jumps at me, changing himself into a werwolf, this has laid down the basis for our fight. I turn myself into a werwolf too, and we circle eachother some more.
Then, he lunges, I jump up and out of his way, and turn around again to face him. Now it is my turn to strike, I wait until the moment when his side is most exposed to my, and I in turn lunge at him. I knock him to the ground and we roll about ten feet, before he gets on top of me, his strong forepaws pin me to the ground, and he strikes his head into my chest. I whimper in pain, and then try to get him off of me. I bark at him, and kick with my back legs. He yelps, jumps back, and regains his position. This time though, I am ready, I turn into a vampire just in time, and touch his skin with my hands. I feel his heart beating as I breathe in heavily, and suck the energy out of his body. he writhes, and begs for mercy, and I give mercy, telling him he must surrender.
“I will, as long as you let me live.” I give his energy back, and he backs off, licking his wounds. Suddenly, an earsplitting yelp pierces the air. We all freeze, and then turn to see who was killed. A surge of power had preceded the yelp, and, as I look around, I see Jasper lying limp next to a tree.
His body looks broken, and a trickle of reddish brown blood trickles from his head. There is a dead silence across the scene, and then, he opens his eyes. “Kell...Kell...” He says in an almost inaudible whisper. “Keller” He says, and then, his eyes close, and he rolls off of his side onto his stomach.
“Jasper no!” I scream, already running towards him, my red hair falling out of it’s clip, and blowing behind me. My tears run across my face, stinging my cold cheeks, leaving streaks of salt on my face. As I reach Jasper, I already fear for the worst. I am beside him in an instant, rolling him onto his back, cradling him in my arms. Begging God, if there is a God, if there’s anyone out there, begging whoever brought this upon us to bring him back, to give him back to me.
I close my eyes, to keep the tears from falling, from staining his perfect face. Maybe if I close my eyes hard enough, I’ll wake up from this nightmare, I’ll wake up next to Jasper, we’ll all be safe. But I know that is impossible. What happened is real, it happened, it can’t be undone. “God take me too. Please take me too.” I beg, hoping for the angel of death to swoop down and take my soul quietly to the next stop, the next phase of the endless game of life. As I pray, a finger falls on my lip. “Hush Keller, don’t wish ill on yourself before you know the truth.” A quiet voice says, the voice is pained, but has a hint of a joke in it. I open my eyes, and Jasper is alive. I lean down and kiss him, as if I hadn’t seen him in a long time.
“I’m sorry Jasper, I’m so sorry, I should never have gotten you into this mess. I’m so sorry.”
“Ssshhhhhh, It’s alright Keller, I just had the wind knocked out of me, that’s all.”
“I thought I lost you.”
“I’m not letting whoever is in charge up there, take me away from this world just yet,” He laughs “I still have you.” And then he kisses me. It is a kiss like he has never kissed before. I can feel pain, passion, cold, warmth, and sorrow, and joy, all in his kiss.
“They killed Vikki, and it’s all my fault. If I hadn’t deserted this would never have happened, but if I hadn’t deserted, I wouldn’t have you, and Ken, and Katy, and Jesse. I wouldn’t lead the life I lead today, I might even be one of the ones committing all the murders. I guess I chose the better path.”
“Well, no matter the consequences, I’m glad you chose this path, even thought it has nearly gotten me killed twice or more now, almost always on account of you thinking you are stronger than you are, or you thinking you are weaker than you are.”
“I see you won’t be fighting anymore.” One of the Order cuts in. “Which side will surrender tonight?”
“Well, the one with the most losses I suppose.”
“Wonderful. One of us surrendered, one of us is gravely injured, and two are dead, or almost. How about you?”
“Jasper almost died, I suppose that counts for you, I almost died as well. Jesse, Katie, Ken, how’s the situation with you?”
“Well, I’m alright, but Jesse is unconscious and Ken has a broken arm, but that is just the normal scar, so I say three points for them, how many for us?” Says Katie, hopefully.
“Four points. Looks like you’re surrendering guys, tough luck, but, better luck next time.” I say, shaking hands with the leader.
“Yes, and uh, sorry about Jasper almost dying, and um, sorry that one of you is unconscious.”
“Yes, and sorry you may be loosing some this evening, but, you do have a bit of a bigger order than we do. Good evening.”
We shake hands once more and walk away, each in our own separate direction. When we get back to camp, the humans are pacing, awake, nervously. “Have you been up since we left?” I ask.
“Oh my God, what happened.” Stella exclaims, noticing my bandage on my left leg, my torn and bloodied clothing, blood dripping from Jaspers face and hair, Katie’s beautifully colored bruise on her left cheek, Ken’s broken arm, and Jesse slung over Jasper’s shoulder.
“Um, the normal territory battle.” I lie, my mind still seeing vividly the pale, shriveled form of Vikki lying there on the forest floor, her black hair splayed out behind her on the bright orange fall leaves, like a deathbed. She looked beautiful, and royal, like a queen. Only her crown, was blood, and her funeral and reception was a fight between The Order, and our little band of people.
“We were worried about you.” Says Jason.
“Oh, thank you for your concern. You should get to sleep.”
They obey, pulling the blankets they bought while I was a werwolf. They bought everything we would need for a month of camping. Even hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, towels, and some cheap jeans and sweatshirts and socks and underwear for each of us. The also have all manor of camp food and junk food, lighter fuel, starter logs, lighters, charcoal, and a CD player/Radio.
“Ah, the werwolves are playing a waiting game then.” I say, understanding why they bought the stuff.
“Yes, and we should go climb the trees to see if there is any chance that we may get out past them, they’re surrounding us on all sides.”
We scramble up the nearest tree. Vampires climb fast, and werwolves can’t climb trees to save their lives. I unfortunately, got the blunt of the deal, and have to cling to Jaspers back for dear life, or plummet to my death.
When we reach the top, we can see the entire forest, sprawling out beneath us like a map. It seems to offer itself up to us, like a glorious offering to us, like we are Gods, and mere mortals are offering us the world with which to do our bidding. Jasper puts me down on the branch, and holds onto my hand for a moment while I catch my balance
“What can you see Keller?” Jasper whispers.
I communicate using telepathy so that no one can hear us, except those I speak to. “They’ve surrounded the perimeter of the forest. There are probably 45 or 50 guarding the perimeter. Maybe another 20 or 30 awake, and the rest are asleep. But the tracker isn’t anywhere to be seen.”
“Do you think we have a chance of getting out?” Jasper asks.
“No, they’d smell us, and then they’d be upon us in a instant.”
“We could fight.” Jasper Suggests.
“No, even if we could take everyone awake, any noise would wake up the ones sleeping, so we’d either be killed or have to surrender and follow the tracker.”
“Why don’t we climb down and let Katy and Jesse and the kids know what’s going on and find out if they can think of anything. You stay up here and use telepathy to tell us of any new developments, we’ll come up and get you in a minute.” Ken says.
“Okay. Careful.” I think, as they begin their 100 foot descent back to the ground.
“Hello Keller,” a sinister voice whispers in my ear just as Ken and Jasper reach the ground.
“It’s Brad,” I tell them.
“We know, we’ve been ambushed down here.” Jasper says.
“I’m coming down.” I say.
“How can you, you can’t climb down. See what you can do with Brad, we’ll see what we can do down here.”
“Be Careful.” I command. Then, I turn to face Brad. Brad the tracker, the one who has developed his senses so well that he can track you, with almost no scent or trail at all. His hearing is so good, he could hear a rat peeing on a piece of cotton, from 20 miles away. And, he could smell someone putting on unscented deodorant from 20 blocks, then, he could track you on that scent forever.
Brad, who, would trick you into following him, even off the edge of a cliff, with his unnaturally good looks. He has gorgeous short, brown blonde hair, and very dark, aqua blue eyes. He looks like an Adonis. If there wasn’t an aura of evil about him, I’d follow him everywhere, to the moon if necessary. Brad, who suddenly just pulled me onto his back and is climbing higher up the tree. I hang on for dear life. As if 100 feet wasn’t high enough, and now, he’s climbing up higher, and he’s climbing fast. Snow covered branches whip me in the face, leaving icy cold, stinging scratches on me already frozen face. My breath fogs up, and hangs around my head, like an incandescent, low hanging, earth scented cloud.
Higher and higher Brad climbs. Faster, higher, and as I look up, the tree seems to stretch to eternity. I fear that if we climb any higher, we’ll climb straight to heaven. Beauty unfolds around me, the air seems clearer, the snow, colder, but, more lustrous. More pure and fine. The stars seem to shine brighter from this height, and the tree seems greener. I can’t enjoy the beauty any longer because a terrible thought has just entered my head. What if Brad brought me up here to throw me off, or drop me. What if he just leaves me up here? I would never be able to get down.
“What are we doing up here?” I gasp, as Brad begins to climb onto one of the small branches of the tree.
“I need to show you something.” He says, curtly, but, with a hint of sorrowful regret. Why should Brad regret anything?
Brad stops on the end of a very high branch. “Look at the world, from here.” He says, his voice quiet, full of awe, and praise.
“Brad, I’d love to enjoy this, but I can’t hang onto your back much longer.” I say, it’s true, my hands are slowly slipping off his back.
“Whoops.” Brad laughs, setting me down on the tree branch. I cling to it, till my knuckles turn white, and begin to feel numb. I let go, but cautiously, scared to death that I’ll fall. Brad sees this, and, puts his arms around me. This move surprises me so much, that it takes a moment to get my breath back. “Thank you.” I mumble, still surprised. Even though part of me, wants to return the gesture, and hug back, I don’t.
“Why’d you bring me up here Brad?” I ask, still unsure of his motives.
“I needed to talk to you, and be alone with you. You needed to see this.” He says, nodding to the scenery.
“It’s beautiful.” I agree.
“It’s more than beautiful, it’s a work of art, the God put there, and offered up to people like us, so that we could see it, and use it, for good.”
“Yes, what’s your point?”
“My point is, that if someone, or something, created that all, for you and me, and people like us, to use, for good, and to help all the people on it, then why are we always fighting over it?”
“Some people would rather not use it for the good of the people on it.” I reply, still wondering where he is going with this.
“Why do you and I fight, I don’t want to hurt the people on the planet anymore than you do, I just can’t control my instinct as well.”
“Well, I fight because you fight, and I know you don’t want to hurt the people, but you are a werwolf, and you do what you do.”
“Look at all the things we take for granted Keller. Look at the beauty that is staring us in the face everyday. Are people blind? How can they not see the beauty all around them.”
“Some of them prefer not to climb 600 feet straight up a tree to see something”
He laughs, but it is a hollow laugh, his eyes are still sad, mournful.
“Keller, I have to kill your friends, you understand that right.”
“No, I don’t.” I say, indignantly.
“They killed the leader of our order, they killed six of my best friends, and since they know about you, they are dangerous.”
“What do you really want?” Brad would never kill someone on anyone else’s account.
“I want, need, deserve your blood.” He pines, stroking my face.
“If I promise to give you my blood, will you let my friends go free, and give them 100 acres of your territory?”
“Then my blood is yours, on my honor, I will not keep it from you.”
“Good. Lets go.”
Brad moves to put me back on his back again, but stops, and kisses me. He is a really good kisser, and I feel myself kissing back, until I realize that he wants to kill me, and I have promised him my blood.
“What did you kiss me for?” I ask.
“You have done a great thing Keller, to give yourself to death, for the sake of those you love.” He says, seriously. The words are full of truth, not many people would die for someone they love. But I would gladly do it any day of the week.
Brad swings me onto his back, and jumps. We fall, the air rushing in my face, chilling me, freezing the snot inside my nose, the tears in my eyes, and the saliva on my lips. The cold dries out my mouth, and my throat. I need water. I feel myself freezing to death, but the sensation ends soon, because as suddenly as we jumped out of the tree, Brad grabs a low hanging branch, only 20 or 30 feet from the ground. Beneath us, I see a dismal scene. Jasper lies on the ground, in a pool of blood. Ken is unconscious and tied to a tree, and five werwolves are guarding them.
“I thought you said they wouldn’t be harmed.” I snap at Brad.
“I said I would not harm them, I could not guarantee that they had not already been harmed.”
“Snake.” I spit.
“I do try.” He says, sarcastically.
He scrambles the rest of the way down. I jump off his back, and run to Jasper.
“He’s dead.” Says one of the werwolves.
“Don’t lie to me.” I say, throwing myself onto Jasper, trying to wake him up, not believing he’s dead. I shake him, call out his name, and get no response. I beg God to give him back to me. How could I even dream of living without Jasper. I couldn’t feel a pulse, I couldn’t feel him breathing, and he had grown dangerously cold. His skin was clammy, and he was pallid in color.
WIthout thinking, I draw a dagger out of my boot. I always keep one there just in case. I cut my arm, and lower it to Jasper’s lips. Somewhere in him, something has to be alive to sense my blood. His subconscious has to be alive, it just has to. And, it is. Without warning, Jaspers eyes flash open, and his fangs clench down on the soft, bleeding flesh of my arm. I scream out in pain, as he begins to drain my body of precious blood. I hold strong, despite the pain, for Jaspers sake. I feel my eyes growing heavy, my neck begins to get weaker, less able to support my head. The last thing I see before I die, is everything I could have done, and been in life, all that I could’ve had. I see a vision of three, beautiful children, all smiling, running freely in a field. They are running towards a figure, standing at the end of the field. As they get closer, I see that the figure is me, I shudder with sorrow, and then, my world gets cold, and black, and silent.
It has been said that the hardest part of life, is the transition between life and death. When you see the ones you love, crying, sobbing, begging God to give you back to them, and you are powerless to end their suffering.
I think I am dead, but if I am thinking, how can I be dead. Somewhere inside me, something is alive. And that tiny fraction of me, is willing the rest of me to live. Willing my arms to reach out, to hug and hold close the ones I love. Willing my feet to run to those who love me. Willing my lips to speak their names, to end their suffering. Willing my mind to think. But my body protests. Responds to the plea of life, by turning its back, how could my own body turn its back on the ones I love. My soul tries once more to bring me back to life, and this time, ever so slowly, it begins to convince my body to wake up. First, is my hearing, then, my breathing, then, my eyes finally agree to open. I see white curtains, creamy yellow walls, and it smells like a hotel. You know, the smell of too much fabric softener, carpet cleaner, and new stuff.
I then begin to hear cars, whistles, and people, many people. The sound is muffled at first, but it slowly becomes louder. I try to get up, and my bones refuse, downright refuse, to move. I command them to move, and let me tell you. Forcing your body, against its will, to move, is very difficult, and painful. My head spins as I sit up, my back is sore, and my arms are stiff. I swing my legs out of bed, and stand up. Which turns out to be a bad plan, because immediately, my legs object, and turn to jello, causing me to collapse onto the floor, like a statue of ice, that has just been melted.
I force myself to stand again, and this time, I am able to. I walk over to the window. The scene outside is a grey sky, over a wet city. The traffic is dead still, and honking. People are rushing back and forth about on the sidewalks, and I know, I am in New York City. Why the heck am I in New York CIty, and how did I get here, without waking up? Before I can contemplate the mystery, a knock on the door grates away at my senses.
“Who is it?” I ask, stupid question, its not like I know anyone in New York City.
“Its me, open up.” Brads voice comes from the other side of the door.
I walk over to the door, and undo the fifty gazillion locks that no one would ever need. I pull the door open, and smell bagels. I shoo Brad inside, and pry the paper bag he has brought from his fingers. I look inside, and the sweet scent of fresh bagels greets me. Oh heavenly scent! How I missed it. Inside the bag, are three beautiful bagels, smiling out at me.
“Good Morning to you to.” Brad says.
“Oh, sorry. Never bring bagels near me with any hope of ever getting them back.”
“I guess its a good thing I bought two for you then. Here’s the cream cheese. They should still be warm, they’ve only been out of the oven for about the time it takes me to get from the lobby to your room.”
“Why thank you.” I say, already spreading cream cheese thickly over the surface of an everything bagel.
“You know, you don’t really treat me like I am the one who is going to kill you for your blood.” He muses, blankly.
“And you don’t really act like the one who is going to kill me for my blood, so neither of us is acting the part very well.”
“Hmm, I could try harder.” He suggests.
“Oh, no, I like this set up so far. We don’t hate eachother, yet, that is, and yet we are enemies, by the stereotypical population of the kind of people we are. We don’t really have to be enemies, but if we weren’t we’d both be killed for law breaking, so I think mutual enemies forced into agreement because they are both going down to CIA headquarters for briefing on a new mission, most likely they’re assigning us to the presidents kidnapping case, in which we need to work together, so hating eachother would be bad because we would screw up the mission, and get the president killed, therefore getting ourselves killed or thrown in prison as co-conspirators in the assassination of the president of the United States Of America, which would be bad would it not.” I say at the speed of light, not breathing until the end when I had to gasp for air, causing Brad to burst out laughing.
“How the heck did you know that?”
“I read your mind.” I laugh.
“I couldn’t help it. You had an aura of secrecy about you, so naturally, I wanted to know why on earth I was in a hotel in New York City, and how I got here. Oh, um, how long have I been asleep?”
“Two, no, three days.”
“Yeah, you had absolutely no blood left in your body. Jasper was devastated and wanted me to kill him, so that he could be dead with you. Ken pulled him away, he dragged him away, saying that Jasper could never avenge you if he was dead. Then, we took you away.”
“But, I’m alive.”
“I gave you a blood transfusion. They also drugged you up and gave you a complete transfusion at CIA.”
“I’m alive because of you.” I say, my eyes tearing.
“Well, in a way. I shouldn’t have let you give your blood to Jasper, and its really my fault in the first place, I didn’t really have to tell the guys to kill him.”
“But you still saved my life, its not like Jasper wouldn’t have done the same thing, but you’re my arch enemy.”
“Mutual enemy forced into agreement due to the previously named CIA mission and briefing, which we are now going to be late for if we don’t get going.”
“Um, I don’t really think I should walk around NYC in blood-stained clothing, you know, might not really sit well with the police in the area, and I rather not be suspected of any murder that may have happened in the past eight hours.”
“Oh, yes, here you go.” He hands me a pair of dark jeans, a forest green shirt with a tree painted in brown ink, and a pair of tan fur-lined UGG boots. I run into the bathroom, and clean all the blood off. I look unusually pale, not the white-pale I am used to, but a strange chalky pale color, the kind people often are when they are very sick. I comb back my hair into a ponytail, and notice that I look odd. My long orange-red hair looks unnatural against my chalky pale face, and my ice blue eyes peer out, as if searching for someone or something.
“Ah, much better, no more blood, but your face is still uncommonly pale. Here, put on some powder. Its dark, so it’ll make you darker.”
I put on the powder, and it makes me look more normal.
“They can’t be stationed in the world trade center anymore, because its gone. So where are they stationed.?”
“Isn’t that a little obvious?” I inquire petulantly.
“No.” He replies, almost secretively, as if he is hiding something from even me.
We step out of the lavishly furnished lobby of the “Parker Meridian” hotel, and onto Fifth Avenue. A variety of different smells fill my my head. Pretzels, deep fryer grease, sewage, steam off the subway train, and a sweet smell, like peppermint, and pine trees, wafting in the breezeless air from the many department stores. Noise, everywhere, cars honking, people laughing, shouting, talking, walking, and just plain being. Beggars pine for money, most likely to spend on beer.
We descend a concrete stairway down to the subway station. People are rushing everywhere. We present the guard at the gate with our CIA badges. He looks at them for a moment, and then murmurs “Track 15.”
Brad power walks down the hall towards the tracks. Message boards display all kinds of products, and train times, airline fares, tours of the city. We pass tracks everywhere, trains and people rushing about. I’m about to question the fact that there are a lot of people, and that it is a little conspicuous that we are climbing down into a subway track, when Brad opens up a grate in the track, and we climb into a tunnel. We crawl down it or a while, until we reach two huge metal doors. He punches in a code on a keypad, and the doors open, making a sound similar to the one you often hear in Science fiction shows when an airlock is closing.
We walk into the room, and the door slams closed. We walk through a maze of tunnels, each leading to a door, with nothing but a number on it. Brad is about to give up, when I spot a door with the number 15 on it. “It could be through there, you know, track fifteen, door fifteen.” No sooner have I said this, then the door opens, revealing a darkened room with only a long table at one end. We walk inside, and the door slams shut again. We are locked inside a dark room, without a clue as to what to do next.
“We could always say track fifteen again.” I say, optimistically.
“That won’t work.” A voice says from the other end of the room. Brad and I spin around, only to see eachother mirrored in the shiny metal wall. Then, I spot it, a mirror, or rather, a two way mirror, allowing them to see us, but we can only see ourselves. A tiny micro chip computer microphone is next to it, and a small speaker. “Ah, ha, they’re behind that mirror, there’s a room back there, and we are in here, so that we don’t know who they are, but they know who we are.” I whisper to Brad, feeling superior to him because I figured it out.
“Very good young lady. Please, sit, you are our guest. Thank you ever so much for bringing her here Mr. Morgan, your services are no longer needed, you may go if you wish.” The voice from the other speaker chuckles.
“I think I’d better stay here, make sure Keller finds her way out.” Brad says, I know he just wants to know the mission.
“So be it, you may sit as well.”
We sit in two identical swivel chairs in front of the mirror.
“Now, as you know, we have called you here for briefing.”
“Your mission will not be easy, and it will require intelligence, and all your skill.”
“What is my mission to be?”
“Your mission will require much travel, all of which will be payed for in full by the United States Government.” The voice says secretively. “Your mission is a matter of national importance.” This is sounding more and more interesting with every word. “You must keep your findings top secret at all times.”
“What is this mission, that is so secretive?”
“You must find and recover the President of the United States of America.”
“Oh, is he missing, I didn’t know that.” I say.
“The general public have not yet been informed, they will be within a week though, if he is not found that is. We are however, highly confident that you will find him, and see no reason to scare the people of this country if he is not gone for more than a week.” The voice says, as if the president missing is nothing of great importance.
“We have reason to believe it is a band of people, like you.” He says sinisterly.
“You mean, not human?” It is sounding even more interesting.
“Yes, there have been several incidents involving complete and total loss of blood, and only two fang wounds, just below the right ear. All the incidents involved men we had hunting for the president.”
“Ah, and so, you summoned an agent who could fight people like them and actually stand a chance.”
“Yes. Now, would you like to meet the men you can choose from to work with?”
“I’d like that very much.”
The door we came in from opens again, and seven men walk in. They are all tall, muscular, and wearing black, with sunglasses. I survey them all, and then, a thought pops into my mind. I speak to the man behind the mirror. “Should more men really die because they cannot fight the kind of people we are up against. I would really like to take Brad as my accomplice in this mission. He can fight the kidnappers, and, I would be more comfortable working with someone who I know.”
“Of course, that makes perfect sense.”
“Is there any information about his whereabouts?”
“We have word that he is in Switzerland. You will be given plane tickets to Zurich, and all the necessary equipment.”
“Is there anything else I need to know?”
“No, you may go. Your hotel is Waldorf Astoria.”
The room gets dark again, and the door opens. We walk out, and down the tangled maze of doors, and too the tunnel. We come up in the subway track, and head back to the streets of New York.
An agent meets us at the hotel and gives us money for clothes and food. We will get more money each time we exhaust the amount we have been given. We head up to our rooms, with instructions not to re emerge into the city until tomorrow.
I get into my room, and take a nap. I sleep soundly until I am inexplicably awakened by a strange noise outside. I am used to noise, which is why this is unusual. I walk to the window, and see an unusual activity in the street below me. Men are standing on the sidewalk, staring up at my window, all cloaked in black capes.
I step out onto the balcony to see if I can see them more clearly, when suddenly, someone is beside me on the balcony.
“Meet me at the Empire State Building, as soon as possible.”
The person is gone, without a trace, as are the people who were standing on the street below me. I look about for them, and just as I am about to run inside, a face drops down right in front of me. I open my mouth to scream, as an involuntary reaction, and a hand clamps down on my mouth from behind me. The person in front of me drops down onto the balcony, and I chomp down into the hand covering my mouth. There is a swear, and then whoever it is says, “God Keller, hungry?” There is a hint of familiarity in the whisper, and also sarcasm. Prepare to scream again, if only to attract Brad’s attention to prevent me from getting kidnapped. The hand I bit whacks me on the head, and I turn around. “Alright listen, whoever you are, I’ve had just about enough of this. Either you go away, or you fight in the light.” I whisper harshly.
A mind reaches mine. “Keller, stop making a scene.” The mind came from behind me, so I spin around to face the other person who is on the balcony with me. It is so dark that I can’t see his face, but I can sense it getting closer to mine, as I feel his lips lock onto mine, and his hands lift me and carry me inside. We fall onto the couch, and I struggle to break his grasp, but he leans in harder, kissing me passionately. I reach behind my head, and grab the first heavy thing I find. I hit him over the head with it, and he falls off of me and onto the floor with a groan. I flip on the light, and see a horrifying sight, Ken is standing on the balcony, his hand over his mouth, trying to control his laughter. “Ken, you’re here! Then, that must be...” I say.
“Jasper.” He stammers through his laughter, which now has him tearing up.
“Crap!” I exclaim, whirling around and dropping to the floor beside him. I remove his dark hood and sunglasses, and trickle of blood spreads across my hand.
“Help me get him to the bathroom.” I command Ken.
We carry the heavy, unconscious form of Jasper to the bathroom, and lay him in the bathtub. I rip off my shirt, and Ken turns away. At this point, I don’t care who sees me with only my bra on, my main concern is that Jaspers skull is cracked and I need to stop the blood flow. I press the shirt to his scalp, and it is quickly soaked with blood. The intoxicating scent reaches my nostrils, making them flare, dizzying me. I look away from the blood, trying not to smell it, not wanting to believe that any minute now I will no longer be able to control myself. Any minute, I will bend down, overcome with hunger and thirst, and drain Jasper of his blood.
I concentrate now on healing the bones. I pull energy from all the people in the town, which causes such a surge of power, that in a split second, Jasper’s cracked skull is mended. I take a damp towel, and dab away the blood. Slowly, Jasper’s eyes open. He looks up at me, and laughs. How he can laugh after I hit him over the head? Well, I laugh too, I mean, if he can make a joke out of it, then so can I.
“Can we just start again?” I ask, switching from laughing to crying.
“Shhh, of course.” He whispers, calming me, drying my tears.
He stands up, and we walk back out to the balcony. Ken stays behind, stepping out into the hallway. Jasper lifts me up, kissing me gently, caressing my shoulders, and my back and arms. I loop my legs around his waist, and he falls down onto the couch, me on top of him. We kiss passionately for some ten minutes, when my doorbell rings. Jasper sits up, putting his shirt back on, and I pull my jacket on, because my shirt, as you remember, is covered in blood, and soaking in the bathtub.
I walk to the door, and look out, it’s Brad.
“Go.” I whisper to Jasper, pushing him towards the window he came in through. He kisses my neck, and I kiss back.
“Promise you’ll come back to us.” Jasper demands.
“I will always come back to you, no matter where I am or you are, I will always come back to you.” I promise, and send him on his way. I am walking to open the door for Brad, when I remember what the mysterious man who showed up in my room right before Jasper had said. “Meet me at the Empire State Building, as soon as possible.” He had said with an aura of mystery. I look at the fire escape, and make a dive for my backpack and jacket as Brad walks right through the door and into the room. I run out the fire escape, and begin to climb down. I hurry faster as Brad climbs out after me and climbs down. He gains on me quickly, and he is now arms length away. I look down. 21 floors to go, but I jump anyway, grabbing hold of the ladder right before I hit the ground, and taking off down the road.
I hail a cab, and tell it to get to the Empire State Building, and quick. As we drive through the streets, a distinctly familiar stench reaches my nostrils. Werwolf. I look around me, to try and see where they are. A hummer with a wolf on the license plate is parked on the side of the road. “You can just stop here.” I say. The cab driver stops and lets me out. I pay him, and run over to the hummer. I crouch behind it as three men come out of the store it is parked next to, and get in the car. They start it, and I grab hold of the bumper as they drive on. I am now positive they are the werwolves, so I pull myself inside through the open window, and crouch behind the front seat. “I smell something.” Says the man in the passenger seat.
A hand clamps down on my shoulder, and a sinister voice says, “So do I. Why aren’t you the little weasel.” He smirks, jerking me up to eye level. I smell him closer, and he is Torc Madra. The man in the front seat turns around and looks at me. “We better take her with us, she probably knows what we are planning.
The man holding me grabs a roll of duct tape from behind him, and tears one large strip off and places it over my mouth. He then proceeds to wrap copious amounts of the stuff around my wrists. He surveys his work, and then throws me against the side of the car. I hit my head on something hard, and I groan in pain.
We drive for what seems like hours, and no one speaks. Suddenly, the car lurches to a stop, throwing me into the seat in front of me, and I hit my head on the armrest. One of the men lifts me up, and drags me by my arm out of the car. He pulls me at a brisk pace towards the Empire State Building, which towers over us. He makes sure no one is watching, and signals to the other two men. He smashes a window, and jumps in. He pulls me up the stairs and never stops once, until we reach the top.
He throws me across the floor, and I hit my head again. This time, though, I hit my head so hard, that it begins to bleed, and tears begin to fall from my eyes. The tallest of the three men steps forward, bearing a briefcase. “What do you know of our plans?” He demands. I shake my head, I know nothing. He nods to one of the men, and I am jostled up into a standing position. The man asks me again what I know of their plans, and I again shake my head. The second of the men steps forward, and strikes me hard across the face.
“We shall start with human pain, if she does not confess, we will move on to interesting pain.” The tall man says.
He continues to ask me what I know, and I continue to tell him that I have no clue what their plans are. Each time, the second man strikes me across the face.
“She is not responding very well.” He remarks. The tall man nods once more, and asks me again, “What do you know.” I shake my head, crying with fear. The second man stares straight at me, and whispers the word “Pain.” An intense heat rips through me. I feel more and more angry, as the fire inside me grows hotter. I sink to my knees, clutching at my stomach. As a last resort, I try to divert the heat away from me and back into him. This trick has saved me several times, but it is unlikely that this heat comes from life force, but it is worth a try. The man instantly cringes, and sinks to the floor, and the pain inside me subsides. I continue directing the heat attack at him, until the third man jumps forward, and knocks me over.
He rips the duct tape off my mouth, and my wrists. He shakes me, and says, “This is no ordinary human.”
“I can see that, she may be blessed with the gift of power.” Says the first man.
“You can both shut up.” I command. “I’m not human, and I’m not blessed. I’m a half blood. I smell like human, because I was Tjorbanne, I can disguise as a human until the opportune moment.” I say, glaring at all of them, prepared to kill, but knowing I could only take one of them. It’s an eclipse, and I am weak from using the diversion.
“You can’t be. If you were, you would be... Keller Sanders. The long foretold and awaited legend. The man to save Vampires from total ruin. He is going to save us by keeping us from tearing eachother up inside.” The tall man muses.
“She’s an impostor. She’s not Tjorbanne, or vampire. My concentration must have slipped away when I was burning her, she isn’t blessed at all.” The shortest of the men comments.
“And now she knows of the prophesy. We must kill her.” The middle man says.
“Yes, but how, without looking conspicuous that is.” The tallest man cuts in again.
“We drop her.” The middle man comments. “From that window. It wouldn’t be that hard. All we’d have to do is push her. I say that’s the easiest way, besides, it will look like suicide.”
The tall man consents, and they drag me over to the window.
“You can go without a fight, or we can push you, whichever you choose, choose quickly.”
“You’ll have to push me, because I’m not going anywhere.” I hiss.
“Very well.” They each take a stance around me, and push with all their might. It must not be easy, because the speedy drop to the ground I had expected does not occur for some forty five seconds. But, the blissful joy of not falling to my doom soon ends, as they succeed in getting me out the window. I feel cold air rushing in my face, and see things flying by at the speed of light. I feel no pain, or regret, not even sorrow, as I look down, at the street, and the people, staring up, worrying, panicking, frantically pacing back and forth, and at the ground, which is rushing up to meet me.
The Following Conversation was recorded in the Emergency Care Unit of the hospital, at the bedside of Keller Sanders.
The people speaking are Doctor Marrion, Bradley Cooper, and Jasper Cavendish.
“Yes, right here Doctor Marrion. How is she?”
“I’m afraid she didn’t make it.”
“No, she can’t be dead. It’s not fair.” At this time, Jasper throws himself at Bradley, and sobs uncontrollably.
“You may be interested to know that she came in alive, with multiple spinal injuries, as well as several shattered bones. But she said right before she died “Tell Jasper I love him, and I’ll see him in heaven. Tell him not to worry, and not to tell anyone back home. Tell him not to do anything reckless.” She said to make you promise, so that her soul could move on to the next phase.”
“I promise Keller. I promise, anything for you.”
“And she told me to tell Mr. Cooper that the President was safe, that she had found him last night, and sent him back home heavily guarded.”
“You mean, she found him, before she died? She was instructed not to perform the mission without me.”
“I believe she knew she was going to kill herself. Maybe it was her last wish that she complete the mission. She said one other thing, “It wasn’t my fault.” And then she died.”
“It wasn’t her fault. That’s it, she was kidnapped after finding the President, and was questioned about his whereabouts, when she said he was safe with the CIA, they must’ve thrown her from the building, they must have intended it to look like suicide.”
“Who must’ve Jasper?”
“The Valtorie, they must be behind this.”
“I don’t know who they are, but advise you report this to the police.”
“Yes, of course. Do you mind if I see her, alone.”
“Of Course not. Go right on in.
“Keller, Keller, why, why you, why not me. Why God, why can’t you take me. I’ll go, she has so much to live for. I’ll kill myself to be with you Keller, it’s all my fault you died.”
“No it wasn’t, and you’ll do no such thing.”
“Who said that?”
“Me silly, who else.” I say in weakened voice.
“Keller, would you mind telling me how the hell you’re alive.”
“How are you alive?! You were thrown from the Empire State Building. No one could ever survive that, aside from the fact that Katie saw you, in a vision, you were dead.”
“I was only mostly dead. I used a glamour so that I looked dead. I took my spirit out of my body, and let an illusion of me plummet to my almost death. I only just now returned to the illusion of me and had to act dead.”
“You acted dead? Why, if you were alive.”
“How weird do you think it would look if I was thrown from the Empire State Building, and just walked away with no injuries. That would look like suicide, because no one would believe someone who just fell from the Empire State Building and lived.”
“Right, so what do we do now.”
“Go and tell the guy you are here to claim my body, and pick me up in a coffin, take me back to Long Island, and let me out.”
“It’s really that simple?”
“Of course, what, did you think it would be like the undoable task or something?”
“Quickly, go, I’ll be here.”
“Okay, don’t go anywhere now.”
“Sure, where am I going to go, I’m dead.” I say, exaggerating the “Dead.”
Jasper walks out of the room. I can’t hear the entire conversation, only the end.
“We can only keep her for an hour. Make sure you’re back by then, otherwise, we’ll send her to the mortuary, and you’ll have to try to get her out of there.”
“Of course, I’ll be back by then.”
Only and hour! Jasper had better hurry.
I act dead for what seemed like an hour, when I hear from the other room, “Doctor”
“I’m here for Keller Sanders.”
“Oh, yes, of course. She’s right in here.”
They walk into my room, the door slams open, and then closed.
“I am truly sorry about your loss.”
“Oh, thank you, it’ll be hard but, I think we can cope after a while.” What corny acting, but, if it’s getting me out of here, whatever.
I feel myself being jostled and lifted, and then laid down in something soft. It grows very dark, and then, I wait. It is a long time before I dare to remove the glamour. I open my eyes, breathe in thick, warm, humid air. I can hear a truck rumbling, and it is very bumpy. I use telepathy to talk to whoever is driving.
“Ken, Jasper? Who’s up there?”
“Hey, how long till we get to Long Island?”
“A few hours. You can get out of the coffin until then, we have a covered truck don’t worry.”
“Okay. Just hurry. I need to find the President.”
I shut off the communication, and begin to look for a way to get out of the coffin. I push up on the top, and it begins to lift. I use a lot of force, and it clatters open. I hop out of the coffin, and see that I am in a moving van kind of truck. “Any Light in here?” I wonder. No sooner have I thought this, a light blinks on. “Thanks.” I think. I look around. There, against the back of the truck, is my backpack, given to me by the CIA. I decide that now might be as good a time as any to look through it.
I pull a small black purse out of the backpack, inside it, are what look like makeup. A lipstick, and a compact mirror, a mascara, and eyeliner. A few pills, and a few other things that resemble CIA tools. The last thing that I pull out of the makeup case, is a folded piece of paper. It reads “To you who have been given this bag, the items inside are of great importance to your mission. They are as follows.
Lipstick- This is an audio recording device. It will begin recording upon removal from its cover. To playback the recording, turn it to the left once, to erase the recording, turn it to the right once, and then the left twice.
Compact Mirror- This is a rearview camera. You can record things that are happening behind you. It will also record forwards. Simply press the catch on the front, and it will record what is behind you. In order to record what is in front of you, press in the mirror, which acts as the lens.
Mascara- This is a high power hydraulic gun. It will fire the eyeliner up to 1000 feet, and it will penetrate into skin and bone. It is silent.
Eyeliner- This is a bullet for the mascara gun. Load it in by
unscrewing the brush on top of the mascara gun, slide it into
the cartridge, and fire it using the arrows on the side of the
These are powerful weapons, use them wisely. A radio is included in the backpack. Good luck to you on this mission. We sincerely hope you succeed, whoever you be, whatever your mission. It is of great importance.
Yours in secrecy
I fold the note, and place the weapons and camera back inside their case. I look in the rest of the backpack. I find a wallet, inside it is an ID, with the name “Berret Morgan,” and the Birthday “12-14-1993.” It also has a picture of me, and a bunch of other information. Apparently I am going to perform this mission with an alias, Berret Morgan, I have a brand new credit card, and about three hundred dollars in the wallet.
The truck lurches. “Are we there?”
“Yes, get back in the coffin.”
I jump back into the coffin, and pull the lid on. The coffin is lifted, and carried somewhere, there is a light drizzle of rain, which I can hear through the lid of the coffin. It grows steadily harder. I hear loud, heavy footsteps, all marching in unison. I hear a loud engine running, a plane? I try to push up on the lid of the coffin and get out, but it is nailed shut. I feel myself being slid into the cabin of a plane. My heart beats fast in my chest as the door is slammed shut, and the noise in the plane grows louder. I feel my heart lurch, knowing we have taken off. My mind races, trying to figure out what on Earth I am doing here. Oh well, at least I won’t have to play dead anymore in just a few minutes.
I get out of the coffin as soon as I am sure we are cruising at altitude. I am thrown into a state of shock when I get out of the coffin, and see that besides being the only one in the cabin, I am not among friends. The ones flying the plane are The Order. The third clan in the vampire lineage. They are the most powerful and malicious clan still in existence. They will kill any vampire, or werwolf they find that does not belong to their clan, and any human when it strikes their fancy, which is very often. They won’t kill you if you are strong, or powerful, like me, instead, they will mandatorily induct you into The Order. Once you are in, there is no getting out. Unless of course you do like I did and commit treason and live on the run from them for quite some time.
I desperately search for a way out. I spot the emergency exit. Next to it is a row of parachute vests. I grab my backpack, pull on a vest, and open the emergency exit. I look to the door into the cockpit, a man is emerging, he sees me, and yells. I take a breath, and jump.
I feel adrenaline pumping through my veins at a million miles a second. The wind rushes in my face, freezing the snot to the inside of my nose, and saliva to the inside of my face. It is not long before the altimeter on the vest flashes, indicating that the time has arrived for me to pull the release cord on the vest. I jerk down on it hard, and I am slowed down greatly, very quickly. I fall slowly now, and slowly, the land beneath me begins to come into view. 100 feet, 75.... 50..... 25..... 10..... ooof. I hit the ground with a thud. It takes me some 15 minuted to get untangled from my parachute, and stow it back into its place.
I look around the quiescent scene, I am in a snowdrift, on top of a mountain. All I can see for miles is more and more stupid snow. I’ll probably die out here, and no one would know. How the heck did I end up here? Why the hell would God drop me here? I was better off inside the plane, at least there it was warm and I stood a chance against the order, one thing they believed in that was good, was that you should always fight equally. So I would be equally matched, and it would be easier to win. Quite the contrary, I stood no chance against the snow. It’s just me and stupid, wet, white, sticky, cold snow. I could never survive in this stuff. I turn to the north, and start walking, cursing, and pondering.
I don’t have much time to contemplate because a furry wet blob bounces up and knocks me to the ground. I roll around screaming, “Help!! It’s a rabid bear, help me!!! Oh God, I’m gonna die out here and no one will even know! My God, can anyone hear me.”
“Here Benny, come here boy, leave the poor girl alone.” A voice calls from somewhere around me. Benny? I sit up, and look for the murderous bear, and the mysterious voice. To my amazement, and embarrassment, the voice is a skier, and the alleged “murderous bear” is a Saint Bernard. My face turns bright red as the skier starts laughing.
He looks to be in his twenties, with handsome brown tousled hair, and pale skin. His eyes are a glinting brown, like his hair. He is wearing a bright red parka with a white square, and a red cross on the back. He must be a red cross guy. His dog, who is big enough to be a bear, trots obediently next to him as he walks over to offer his assistance.
“Do you speak German?” He asks, in German.
“Um, English.” I say, feeling more and more like an idiot with every step he takes toward me. I mean really, I’m wearing a t-shirt for heavens sake.
“Good afternoon, I’m with the American Embassy to Austria.”
“Oh, thank God, I’m in Austria. You don’t know how happy that makes me.”
“Oh, well, I’m glad I seem to have made your day.”
“Um, this is going to sound really stupid but-”
“I highly doubt that anything would sound stupid coming from such a beautiful girl as yourself.”
“Well, you see, I just, well, I kind of, jumped off a plane, but, could you tell me where in Austria I am.”
“See, that was not such a stupid question, you are in Vienna.”
“How far is Salzburg?”
“Oh, about four hours by train.”
“I have to get tickets to Salzburg fast.”
“Well, I can get you tickets, if you’ll come to dinner with me tonight.”
“I’d love to, just get me out of this snow.”
“Sure thing, my snow mobile is right over there. Come Benny.”
We walk over to a snow mobile, “My names Corbin by the way, what’s yours?”
“K... Berret, Berret Morgan.” I say, remembering the ID and credit cards in my wallet.
“Well Berret, hop on.” He says with a smile. I step onto the bike, and we tear off down the mountain, Benny running along at our side.
When we reach the bottom, there’s still snow, but not as much of it. Corbin leads me down a quiet street, and to a large, stately hotel. It has big wide windows, and balconies, and a huge oak door.
“Well, here we are.”
“Thank You so much.”
“Say, what were you doing jumping out of planes anyway?”
“I’ve got nothing but time. Why don’t you tell me.”
“Look, even though you have the luxury of time, I don’t, and even if I did, you wouldn’t believe my story anyway.”
“Oh really, come on Berret, why don’t you try me, at dinner tonight.”
“Great! I’ll pick you up at seven o-clock right here.” He smiles. I wave, and head to the front desk to check in. My CIA card will get me free rooms, but the CIA card says Keller Sanders, and I’m supposed to be masquerading as Berret Morgan. I finally resolve to show her both cards, and tell her my predicament.
“Hi, I need one room.”
“What name did you make reservations for?”
“I don’t have any reservations.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, we have to have a reservation.”
I sigh and pull out my CIA badge, “Will this take care of it?” She looks at it, and then turns back to her computer.
“What name shall I put you in under?”
“How long will you be staying?”
“Just one night.”
“Very well, here are your room keys, enjoy your stay.”
I look at the number on the card, I’m on the seventh floor, and there is only one, overused elevator. I locate the stairs, and decide that they are a much better option. I head up them, continuing up and up, until the number on the door says “7.” I locate room 719, and go inside. The room smells heavily of perfumed carpet, and shampoo. Everything is white with little blue flowers, the sheets, the pillows, the curtains, the towels, the walls. It is overwhelmingly white and blue.
I look at the bed, it looks like heaven. I pull the curtains shut, and dive into bed. The next thing I know, a loud knock on the door wakes me up. I roll over and look at the clock, it says it’s 7:45. I jump out of bed, a knock again comes, and with it, a voice.
“Berret, are you in there? It’s Corbin. Open Up.”
“Just a minute.” I call, pulling the curtains open, and making the bed. I open the door, and Corbin grins at me. “I thought you ditched me.”
“Why would I, I’m hungry, and you’re paying.” I grin back.
“Oh, well, it that case, let’s go.” He turns to walk down the hall.
“Wait, I have to get ready, this’ll only take a second.” I say, stepping into the bathroom and searching desperately for a comb or a brush. I find one, as well as some real makeup, not the dart and all that hi-tech stuff the CIA gave me. I touch up my face, and pull my hair back into a ponytail. Corbin sizes me up, “Wow, you look... Hot.” He says, swallowing hard.
“Thank you, now, lets go eat.” I smile, acting flirtatious. We get out of the hotel and onto a grand boulevard, lined with trees and and ice. The mountain air is thin and after a bit I have to struggle to keep up with Corbin. My mind wanders to Jasper, and Katie, and Jesse, and Ken. I miss them so much. A tear forms in the corner in my eye. The memory of Jaspers last kiss lingers on my lips, I can feel his warm lips pressing against mine. My eyes again see the beautiful soft face near mine. His amber brown eyes are staring deeply into mine, and once again, he is whispering words of love in my ear. He is again picking me up, and pressing into me, as if to pin me to the wall with love. His strong arms again wrap around me, and then, we fall onto the couch. My stomach turns, a lump settles in the pit of my stomach.
“Are you always this out of it?” Corbin laughs.
“No, just missing...” I hesitate, what am I missing. Home? I haven’t had a real home in a while, the only family I’ve ever known is far away, or dead. Anything I say will merit further explanation, so I use the thing that is sickening, but needs the least explanation. “Missing Brad.” I choke out the word, gagging at the sound.
“Brad,” he asks.
“Yeah, my... Husband.” I choke back a laugh, or a sob of mental anguish at hearing the word Brad come directly before the word husband.
“Oh, you’re married? But where is your husband?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know where your husband is.”
“Another long story.”
“Well, we’re here, why don’t we get a table, and you can tell me your story.”
We get a table for two, and sit down. Corbin orders a small salad, and I order a huge bowl of soup, and a giant salad, three sodas, four coffees, and six breadsticks.
“Hungry?” Corbin asks.
“Oh, sorry.” I laugh, between gulps of coffee.
“So, what’s your story?”
“Yeah, that. Tell me.”
“You really want to know?”
“You won’t believe it.”
“Okay, but you have to give me your full attention.”
“You got it.”
“Well, it all started with an explosion.” I begin.
“An explosion!” He sounds very concerned and interested.
“Yes, it was a month ago, if that, and I was asleep at my house. Along about 1:00 in the morning, I was awakened by a freezing cold hand on my shoulder. I turned over to see...” I decide to change the name, it might sound odd to hear that my “Husband” was the one who attacked me in my sleep. But, Corbin might also be able to help me deal with Brad if he knew his name. “I saw Brad.”
“Just let me explain. Brad is an ex-CIA agent, who uses his knowledge of the CIA and their agents to worm his way in and destroy the CIA from the inside.”
“Destroy, the... CIA. How do you know?”
I can’t think of a cover story, I’ll just have to tell him the whole truth, and be safe in the knowledge that there is no way he’ll believe me without proof, and I am not about to prove it to him here.
“I’m a member of the CIA, he and some other people, and the presidents kidnappers are after me. Now, where was I?”
“Oh yes, as I looked up at him, I screamed. A smirk crossed his face, he was silent, but his mind was in a frenzy, racing to convey his sinister message to me without making a sound.
“Hello Half-Blood,” He thought to me.
“What do you want Brad.” I replied.”
“Wait wait,” Corbin cuts in, “you were thinking all of this?”
“Yeah, anyway, we started thinking all of this, he was asking for information from the CIA, and what I knew of them, using the fact that I was among to many humans to hurt him in anyway, to try and get me to confess. I kept refusing the information, and eventually, he hit me on the eye. I hit back and he got mad. He grabbed hold of my arm and forced me to turn around with my back to him, or lose my arm.
When I had turned away from him, he placed a gag across my mouth. I couldn’t figure out why. Next he tied my hands, and then my feet. Then he just left the room.
I waited for a few minutes, then, the smell of smoke grew, and soon, blissful peels of laugher were heard from the hall outside my room. I turned my face to the door, and saw, not Brad, but billowing clouds of smoke. I tried to scream out, but I found my scream choked back by a fierce sob, which grew to an immense lump in my throat. I choked it back, and tried again to scream, no sound came. My eyes began to water with the smoke. It stung them, bringing me to tears, some intentional, others induced by the suffocating smoke now filling the room. I had to get to the window.
I began to crawl across the floor, staying low was no problem, but it also did no good. My eyes were blurry from watering, my throat stung, and my nose ran. I couldn’t open the window, it was nailed shut. I began to look frantically for another way out, searching everywhere, but not seeing any way I could get out of my room.”
“You were trapped?” Corbin asks, afraid that I was going to die in the story, even though I am standing right here in front of him.
“Yes, completely and totally trapped. My only option was to give Brad the information so that he would let me out.
“Tell us Keller, or we’ll let you burn to death.”
If I were to tell them, the United States would be turned into a nuclear bomb testing range, if I didn’t tell them, a nuclear explosion would soon occur in my house when the fire erupted the main gas line. But if I told, I would become their slave for life and would have to change my ways to those like theirs.”
“What did you do?”
“I waited, in suspenseful horror, allowing the tears to fall from my eyes. I watched the flames kiss the door frame, and cause it to crumble into ash. I heard, over the roar of the flames, sirens, rushing to my house, rushing to stop the flames from spreading, rushing to save my house, and me. But they will not arrive in time, they will not be there, they will get here to late, and they will find only a skeletal frame of a person, and her house. No one will know how it happened, everyone will think it was accidental.”
“How did you get out?”
“I didn’t, not yet anyway. I lay down on the floor, on my side, the rope binding on my feet catching fire and burning, I scream.
Just as I was about to suffocate or burn to death, tears streaming down my face, choking on smoke, and trying to scream, I saw a vision, or rather, a blurred image of the real world, bright, hot, fleeting, and blurry, but glorious. What I saw, was someone walking through the flames, and not burning, walking over to me, and picking me up. I heard a voice say in my ear “Don’t worry Keller, it’s gonna be okay, I’ll get you out of here.” I couldn’t speak, or see the face of my rescuer, so I was content with the fact that I was getting out.
I closed my eyes as we passed through the curtain of flames, they were burning my body, my clothing, my hair, but I stayed still, I was getting out. Suddenly, without warning, there was a huge bang, and then, I was flying. There was cold air rushing in my face, then, intense, excruciating pain and a hitting and rolling sensation. I opened my eyes, and could see just enough to know that I was rolling across concrete.”
“What happened then?” Corbin asks.
“People were running toward me, screaming. All wakened from their blissful slumber by whatever blast had just launched me across the concrete. “Does anyone have a cellphone with them?” an old man who lived next-door to me-and whose company I enjoyed very much-yelled.
“Yes, I have one here. I’ve already got 911 on the phone.” my neighbor across the street, a cheeky young lady in her thirties, who was also a nurse yelled.
“9-1-1? Hello, yes, I have an emergency. A woman’s house caught on fire, the fire department arrived, and before they could get it out, the fire erupted a major gas line and blew up. The owner of the house couldn’t get out, and has received third degree burns, and was ejected from her house when it blew up.” Despite the fact that I was lying on the concrete, surrounded by people, bleeding heavily, bruised, burned, and broken, and she is perfectly calm on the phone.
Ambulances arrived, and paramedics jumped out, and began to stick a variety of pins and needles into me, the sight made me sick. I’ve always been afraid of needles. The smell of bottled oxygen fills my nostrils. I open my eyes, and they become less blurry. I saw worried faces staring down at me. That was the last thing I saw in fact. They gave me a huge dose of something or other, but I was out before I hit the number one.”
“So obviously they took you to the hospital and treated your burns, and then...”
“I don’t know, I woke up in the hospital, but with that dreading sensation of needing to get out, needing to flee, like something bad was coming for me.”
“What did you do?”
“You just walked out of the hospital, with all that damage done to you?”
“Well, before I left, I talked to the doctor, he said I had been comatose for at least three months, and that he didn’t think I had much hope left until I woke up. He told me I could go in a few days, but I escaped.”
“So, your husband is the one who almost killed you?”
I can’t lie about my story anymore, soon Corbin will realize that Jasper had walked through the fire.
“Brad and I are on a CIA mission together, and I am supposed to pretend he is my husband.”
“You’re CIA? How? The training doesn’t allow women yet. They can be code crackers, but they can’t go on missions.”
“How do you know that?”
“I failed the CIA training and ended up as foreign relations consultant. How did you pass training?”
“I didn’t do training.”
“You won’t believe me if I tell you.”
“Try me.” I read his expression, it says he wants to know, and that he’ll try to understand and believe me. There’s no way to make him understand unless I tell him the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He wouldn’t even understand a tiny little bit. It’s better to have him understand but not believe than vice-versa. “It was 1914, and my foster father’s best friend worked for the CIA in covert operations.”
“1914?” Corbin asks.
“Let me tell the whole story, then you can ask as many questions as you could possibly need to ask. Now, in 1914, there was a very dangerous man on the loose. He had already killed 10 of the CIA’s best men. He wanted to bring down the country from our strongest points. The CIA soon found out, as it is with all anti-government conspiracies, and the group he worked for tried to kill anyone who knew. They wrote a fake letter to my fathers friend, telling him that they were a secret source that would give him the information he needed to find the whole gang out and capture them. He didn’t know the letter was fake, and so he went, all alone to a clearing in the forest far away from other people. I had tried to convince him that the letter was fake, but he wouldn’t believe me, so I followed him.” I knew Corbin wanted to interrupt, tell me that I was stalking killers, and that I was treading where angels fear to step, but I carried on.
“He thought that he was alone in the forest, but I knew otherwise. The forest was full of dangerous enemies to the CIA. Vampires, werwolves, totaling about thirty in all. And only then allied CIA agents. They must have followed him just like I did. It was at least a minute before one of our enemies stepped forward. I realized that Ken was too outnumbered, so I stepped out to protect him. I took a defensive stance behind him.
“What are you doing?” He hissed.
“Don’t ask now, wait till I’ve saved your life.” I hissed back. “Let me do the talking.”
Ken was a tall kid, only about 16, but he was following his fathers legacy, and was a CIA agent. He was handsome, but he would not be for much longer if I didn’t help him.
“I’ll explain later.” I could feel the CIA agents in the trees growing nervous. Would they step in now, and risk losing a few more of their good agents, or would they leave the fate of everyone in the clearing in my hands, which was a really bad idea for the record. It was too late to change my mind, I just had to hold firm, and fight back. I turned to the forest, and yelled a few words in elvish. The trees started to whisper, and they began to awaken, drawn by the ancient language which had awakened them. They were being called to, and drawn in by the ancient ones, the elves, who enchanted these forests. They told me in their whispers, the name of the leader of the “Bad Guys” and where they were hiding. “Bradley Cooper,” I yelled, “I know who and where you are, and I will find you even if you do not come out now. Trees started to whisper again, as I closed my eyes, held my arms fast at my sides, my palms turned outwards, and began to chant. “Delbnha, ra’ath mirroe, lasto reemay.” I repeated that over and over, each time raising my voice from a whisper, to a bit louder, and raising my arms higher. When my arms were extended perpendicular to my body, I lowered my palms, so that they were facing the ground, and chanted some more. The clouds moved over the moon, making it completely dark. I draw energy from the moon, continuing to recite the ancient spell. “Delbnha ra’ath mirroe lasto reemay.” Growing louder and louder, the trees echo their response, filling the night with the roar of wind as it howls through the trees, and the rocks.
A hushed silence fell across the whole clearing as the trees pulled themselves free of the ground, the only sound was my chanting, which had receded back into a whisper, and the faint whisper of the leaves. But slowly, forms started to step out of the trees. If you were to look closer, you would have seen that they were women, no, young girls, about nineteen or twenty, dressed in white gowns, with long flowing black hair, that reached to the ground, and longer, and they looked as if a gentle wind was blowing in their faces, their dresses flowing out behind them, their hair waving in the wind. They were not yet people, but more of shadow people. They still wavered and flickered in the breeze. I increased the intensity of my voice, and they began to solidify, becoming flesh like me.
There were now twelve of them, Dryads, as they are most commonly known, but they were really the ancestors of the Torc Madra, or the Land People. Oldest, wisest, immortal, they cannot be killed in combat; they are immune to all disease. They feel no pain, cold, hunger, they never feel tired. The Torc Madra are the strongest. And I was once one of them. But they want nothing to do with vampires, because they are the ancestors of the werwolves.
They walked toward me, graceful, peaceful, beautiful. There was nothing wrong with them, they were perfect, to everyone but themselves. I envied them, but I remembered the heartache I felt when I was one of them.
As they moved, the trees reached up, making a pathway for the air, which was forming air sprites, and walking down the roadway of leaves. The air spirits were like clouds, one minute you could see them, the next you could not. They Dryads and the air Sprites formed a circle around me, and I ceased chanting.
“You have summoned an ancient race from the slumber that they were trapped in. For that, we owe our lives.” One of the Dryads said with a voice like honey.
“My my, Keller has developed a terrific sense of power, she now has forty allies, against our twenty, and hers are far more powerful. Or shall I say, she has thirty, against our twenty.” Brad said
“Thirty?” I asked, wondering what he meant, with the thirty warriors I had just conjured up, and the ten CIA agents in the forest- “What have you done Brad?” I asked, stupidly, knowing he had killed the ten CIA agents in question.
“Oh, just a little evening out, you know, making sure you do not have too much of an advantage.” He sneered, almost laughingly.
I gasped, appalled. Brad had killed the ten CIA agents, and in cold blood, he had not even given them what little chance they might have had. But, that’s the way of the Bradley, and the Valtorie.
I held my breath, thinking of a plan. Ken grew nervous, he was in way over his head, the CIA was trying to overthrow a gun smuggling ring, but what they didn’t know was that the gun smugglers were werwolves, trying to raise a perfect race.
Anxiety mounted inside me, if I failed, I would let the nation down, if I succeeded, I would let my race down, because our secret would be out. I thought for a moment. It was decided. I would fight, regardless of the consequences to myself. I couldn’t stand by and watch the annihilation of the human race.
I took a deep breath, and thought my command to the Dryads and Sprites in the clearing. “Pain.” It was a simple command, but difficult to ensue and instigate.
The Dryads moved forward and formed a circle around Brad. They prepared to attack, but he was first. He yelled, and pulled a classic trick, he aimed at me. Since I had awakened the Dryads, they were sworn to protect me till I was out of danger, or I accomplished my mission. They moved to protect me, thus leaving themselves vulnerable to Brads attack, and vulnerable they were. He aimed a fire charm at them, and they fell. Those who had not been hit hard counterattacked with a charm that drew all oxygen from the air, Brads fire attack began to suffocate, useless without oxygen, he fell.
I heard a scream from behind me, Ken was down, next to him was one of Brads men. He had bitten Ken’s leg. I ran too him, but I was stopped, Brad had hit me with a water attack, blue sparks hit me hard, and I began to drown. There was no actual water mind you, just the thing water would do to you in a worst case scenario. I hit him hard with wind, blue and gold sparks clashing in the middle of the clearing, neither more powerful, just enough to hold off the other.
The dryads and sprites worked on the rest of Brads men, while I tried to keep my concentration on Brad, and help Ken at the same time. The werwolf blood was coursing thorough his veins, he writhed in pain. I knew it was not normal werwolf venom, it was the kind that allowed whoever had bitten you to control your mind, the moment you stopped obeying them, it would kill you. Ken would be evil in a matter of seconds if I didn’t help him now.
I broke the charm on Brad, and ran to Ken’s side. Without saying anything, I knew that the venom was almost to his neck, I would have to stop it there. I bit, right in his neck. Vampire venom is far more painful, because we come from fire, so it really feels like you are being burned inside, but the pain subsides faster. I hoped my quick bite would be enough to save him from a fate as an evil villain.
Brad hit me fast and hard, this time with a physical attack. He lunged at me, and caught me off guard. He tackled me and wrestled me to the ground. I fought him, but I was unsuccessful. He pinned me to the ground, and pulled a knife out of his boot.
“No more risking that you might live, I’m going to finish this the right way.”
I looked up into his eyes, it was then that I realized “You’re beautiful,” I began, “Your eyes, they glitter, like diamonds. They’re the color of the night, and deep.”
“Stop playing games with me Keller. I know what you’re trying to do.” He read my mind at that moment, and what he saw was truth. “You’re not lying.” He said, surprised.
“I wouldn’t lie about something like that.” I said.
Without warning, he pulled closer to me, and kissed me. Hungrily, but warily, I kissed back, afraid that it was he that was playing a trick. But he wasn’t, he was sincere.”
“What happened then?” Corbin asked.
“I don’t know. Brad and I kissed for a bit, then, it got cold, and really dark. I had no where to go, so we lay down on the ground and went to sleep.”
Corbins face developed a look of utter shock.
“Don’t worry, he only kept me warm, nothing else. And when I woke up in the morning, he was gone.”
“Why were they smuggling guns?” Corbin asked.
“They were planning another attempt at conquering lower and middle sectors.”
“Sectors of what?”
“Earth.” I said, not expecting him to understand.
“Yes, it is divided into three sectors, lower, middle, and higher. Lower is the domain of humans, middle is the domain of vampires and werwolves, higher is where the elders, the ancestors, and the clan leaders live.”
“Where did you come from? Middle?”
“My parents were from higher originally, but they did not give birth to me, I found them. I was placed here before the dawn of time, as a star, or a spirit, I watched over what was to be earth, there are only six of us left, we’re called seers. We don’t originate from any sector, we are high breeds. Half-bloods are outcasts. If you have the good fortune to have a werwolf as a mother and a vampire as a father, you can stay in both clan heads, because werwolves are matriarchal, and vampires are patriarchal. But not many of us have that good fortune, most of us are the other way around, and they don’t belong anywhere, they just wander.”
“But how did you become CIA?”
“The CIA saw my performance in the battle field, and realized I was irreplaceable. They inducted me, no questions asked.”
“That isn’t quite fair is it.”
“Well, I mean, its not quite fair that you got to be in the CIA without training, and thousands of people a year risk everything to get in, and you got in for free, no questions asked. Just because you’re a vampire doesn’t make you better than everybody else, you should have had to prove yourself to them too. It isn’t fair.”
I stepped back, shocked. “First off,” I began, in a hushed, forced whisper, “I would never want to be this way. Do you think I had a choice? Do you think I want to have to kill someone for blood every month. You think I wanted it this way? Second, life isn’t fair.” I said, my voice increasing to a shout, then, a sob.
I stood up, and threw down my napkin. I walked out of the restaurant, Corbin sat, a look of surprise on his face. I didn’t turn around, I just ran, crying all the way. I could hear someone hot in pursuit behind me, I could hear them shouting, I could hear him imploring me to stop and wait for him. I pushed on, ignorant of anyone behind me, never stopping.
Part Two, First Prophecy fulfilled.
The sky, it was... not right. Something in the air was wrong, terribly wrong. I slipped into an alley and tried to figure it out. I know it sounds odd, but, the sky, it seemed like it was calling out to me, asking me to see something, but what? I was at a loss for thought. My mind ran back to the prophecies that an old witch had told me long ago, during the scarlet fever epidemic.
“Seer, you will someday encounter a choice,” she had started, in a weak but powerful voice, “between love, or perfection.”
“But are they not the same. When has found love, have they not then found perfection?”
“When you found Jasper, was it perfect, have you encountered no trials and tribulations for his sake alone? Or do you have everything you want?”
“I guess it’s not perfect, Jasper’s perfect, and my life with him could be, but I have had to give so much up.”
“And you shall see, that much is to come ahead, that will keep you from Jasper. You may even be separated forever.”
“You mean Jasper will die?”
“Only by choice.” I took that to mean suicide, and that still seemed to hold firm.
“Will I then die?”
“All things die Keller. Even immortals soon reach a point when it is time to give up their spot in life for someone else.”
I knew then that I would be the one to separate Jasper and I. “But what did you mean about choosing between love and perfection?”
“Someday you will find perfection, without love, and you will have to choose which you will have.”
“But of course I would choose love, life would not be perfect without it.”
“But what if that love were not Jasper? What then would you choose?”
She had then given another prophecy, I would be trapped in a night in which two murders would be committed, unless I chose to stop them. I thought, could this be that night, was Corbin going to be murdered?
I could only think for a minute or two however, because a scream pierced the hollow atmosphere of the small town. I figured out what was wrong. The smell of the air, it was off, it was the smell of Valtorie. A vision flashed into my mind, six black cloaked figures, that would be the Valtorie, surrounding Corbin. He was not standing though, he was lying in a crumpled heap on the street. I couldn’t tell if the vision was past, present, or future, but I had to get there. I ran back in the direction I had just come, calling out to Corbin the whole way. It wasn’t hard to find him, no one else was on the street except them.
They were in an alley, separated from the rest of the world by a wall of shrubbery, they would be invisible, unless you had a clear mental picture of them, or what you were looking for. I ducked into the alley, making sure to be silent, and careful mot to step on anything that would go “Crack” or “pop.” I watched for a moment, they were not moving, but they were speaking. I could barely discern what they were saying. I only caught every few words.
“She...running...hiding...find her, kill her, and anyone who gets in our way. ...Prophecy...”
I stopped listening. Either I was the prophecy and they were looking for me and I should hide, or someone else was and I should stop the Valtorie from finding them. I settled on the second option-my doubts about the first were much greater-and stepped into the alley. “Berrett,” he choked out, “They want to know where Keller is, tell them we don’t know, they think we do.” he begs. I ignored him, and turned to the Valtorie.
“We knew you’d come for him Keller.” The man closest to me said.
“Oh, and how’d you know that?” I asked, acting like I didn’t know. Obviously they caught him as a trap for me, knowing I would come to rescue him because I would not want anyone to die on my account, and they needed me for something. Maybe they thought I knew something. The answer the Valtorie gave was just that, they needed something only I could give them. “What is it you need that was worth a mans life? And why couldn’t you just ask me to give it to you. If you had a good reason for needing it I would give it to you, I am reasonable.” Lie lie lie.
“We knew it was something you would not give freely, or even if you did give it freely, not to us.”
I thought, what could they want? Maybe I knew the prophecy? Maybe I was the only one who could get it for them. But neither of the prophecies I knew of could be the one they were after.
Without warning, the Valtorie hit Corbin across the eye. “Berrett, help, don’t let me die. Tell them we don’t know a Keller.” He implored me.
“What will it be Keller, give us what we want, or let him get killed, leaving a clear trail to you. How would you like life in prison? You know the electric chair wouldn’t kill you because you already have a more intense electrical protection field against bad energy, and you are going to live an awfully long life.”
“What are you talking about? You must have Berrett mixed up with someone else. She’s not Kel-” Corbin couldn’t finish his sentence, the Valtorie kicked him to the ground.
I walked over to him, lifted his head into my lap, and stroked his face. “Corbin, I’m sorry I ran off, I’m sorry I left you here, with them. I’m sorry I had to lie to you. But now, it’s over. I am Keller.” With that, I reached into my boot, and pulled out my dagger. It would put a glamour on Corbin, that made him look dead. It would also summon help. I didn’t know who would come, but whoever it was would have to help me. I plunged the dagger into Corbins heart. He groaned, and looked at me confusedly. Then, he flickered from this world into the shadow world. Glamours were dangerous to humans, if not deadly, but it was our only chance. I hoped the help would get here fast, Corbin only had about twenty minutes to live.
While I was busy waiting for the help, the Valtories managed to sneak up behind me and grab me by the arms. I struggled, but there were about four of them holding me. They dragged me to the end of the alley, and down main street, and to an abandoned building. It was far away from the town, we must have been at the edge of the town when I found them.
It was a tall wood lodge, maybe three stories. It had a solid stone foundation. I couldn’t see why the windows were all boarded up. Maybe it had Carbon Monoxide or something.
The dragged me kicking and screaming up the stairs and into a large, beautifully furnished living room. It had antique looking wood furniture, and a warm fire blazing in the grate. It was dim inside, fires are warm, but they do not light up a room. I had the strange notion that I had been here before. Deja Vu.
They threw me down on the floor. My arms already ached from being pulled on so much, now my head hurt, and on top of that, I was covered in dirt. I lay crumpled by the table. They began to talk, mostly in hushed whispers, but I could tell they were talking about me, and I managed to catch something else about a prophecy. They came over to me, and began to ask me questions.
“Have you fulfilled the prophecy?” A short fat man wearing a very business-man-esque suit said.
“I don’t know what prophecy you’re talking about.” I replied snidely.
“Oh really, you’ve never heard of The Prophecy. I think you’re lying.” He said.
“I am not.”
“Yes, you are. Now are you going to tell us if you have fulfilled the prophecy or are we going to have to do this the hard way?”
“You’d better pull the hard way, because I have no clue what prophecy you’re talking about.”
“Strip her down, prepare her for the hard way.”
Uh oh, this sounds like a little harder a way then I had bargained for. Where was my help? They would be here soon, but how soon, and would it be soon enough?
Two men stepped forward, and wrestled me to the floor again. They forced me onto my stomach. They took a knife, and cut open the back of my shirt. I struggled, trying to get them away from me, but they were much stronger than I was.
They pulled off my camisole and bra, and wrapped my chest in a scarf, tying it tight around me. The fabric was soft, but it smelled strange. I thought of something, perhaps the hard way was being fed to spekcers. They were allergic to cotton and almost all fabric except silk, maybe that was why I had to be stripped and put into a silk bathing suit kind of thing. They pulled off my pants and wrapped the cloth around my rear end before removing my panties. How considerate.
The fat man began to speak to the fire, or more, to the daemon controlling the fire. A large hole began to open up behind the fire. A chilly wind howled through the room. Yep, their plan was to feed my soul to spekcers. I had just chosen a slow, painful death. Where was my help?
They forced me toward the fire, I fought, but it was almost useless. Fear mounted inside me, I didn’t want to die yet, now that I knew that there was a prophecy that seemed to be important, that I needed to fulfill.
They forced me closer and closer to the fire. My mind raced, trying to think of an escape. There were people guarding every door and window. I screamed, there was nothing else to do. I worried that my fear would consume me, consume me before I even got a chance against the Spekcers. That was what happened to people. Your only chance against the Spekcers was courage, and most people got a little afraid at the thought of being eaten. I can’t imagine why.
I grew closer to the fire. In a last desperate attempt, I threw myself on the floor, their hands grasped at my ankles. I tried to fling myself forward, but their hands held fast. Something cut my face, a piece of glass. I cried, but the tears stung the bleeding wound on my face.
“Alright, I’ll tell you!” I cried out. The hands immediately let go. The fat man walked over to me, he grabbed me by the arm, and pulled me to a standing position. He pulled me over to the fire, and stood me in front of it, holding me there. I could hear the spekcers growing restless. They wanted flesh.
“Well, we knew you’d be reasonable. Now, what is your answer?”
“Yes, I fulfilled the prophecy.” I said, not really knowing why. I hadn’t fulfilled any prophecies.
He looked satisfied, but he threw me on the floor. “Let’s go check men. If she’s lying, we’ll feast tonight.” He said.
I was worried. Where the hell was my help?
“We’ll be back in an hour. If you’re lying, we’ll be very upset.”
They left. I lay on the floor, silently waiting for something, not knowing what. I hoped my help had at least gotten to Corbin. Maybe they just couldn’t find me.
I was so sore I couldn’t move, but there was a clock on the mantle, right in front of me. I remembered that it had been nine thirty when they brought me here, and it was now almost ten thirty, giving me only about fifteen to twenty minutes to live.
“Oh God, I don’t want to die, please dear God, help me.” I sobbed.
“Well, I guess I’m sort of an answer to your prayers.” A mans voice came from the other side of the room. I heard the sound of bootsteps, and knew someone was standing right over me. I tried to turn over, it hurt, so I stopped. A raspy laugh rang out and a dagger dropped down in front of my face. I gasped. Now turning over became dire. I gathered my courage, and turned over. Pain pulled on all my bones, grasping my chest, I rolled over.
I saw Brad. “Oh, thank you so much lord.” I mumbled sarcastically. But no matter. Brad knelt down by my side, and looked at me with an expression of what could have been mistaken for love, but I knew otherwise. He was looking at me like I was some pathetic little human, and that is exactly what he said next.
“Brad, why exactly are you here?” I asked, touching his face, remembering that night so long ago, when we had kissed under the moon, and he had kept me warm and safe, long into the night, and never even thought of taking advantage of me.
He bit my finger, I drew back my hand and sucked on my finger, trying to make it stop stinging.
“Pathetic little human.” He said.
“I am not human.” I complained, not wishing to be compared to a human, no matter how weak I was.
“Well, stop acting like one.” He laughed, his gorgeous smile begged me to kiss those lips. Lips like red wine. I didn’t fight my urge to kiss him. I leaned in and felt his lips on mine. It felt safe, but it only lasted a moment. I moved back again and asked, “Would a human kiss a vampire?”
“A very stupid human would kiss a vampire, and a very stupid vampire would not return a kiss from a human like you.” He said, and fell onto me, kissing me. My body fell limp, but my mind kept moving, churning, realizing that the second prophecy was coming true. I would have to chose between love, and perfection. Brad was perfect. His face was perfectly chiseled, with high cheekbones, and soft laugh lines around his mouth. His teeth were the most beautiful white, and his smile was perfect.
His hair was the perfect length, shoulder length, and chestnut brown. It curled just a little bit under at the ends. His eyes were a beautiful green, like a cats, or the sea. But did I love him only for that, or did I love him for his perfection?
Jasper was handsome, not perfect, but handsome. He had a soft face, short hair, a honey blonde color, which he kept spiked up on top of his head. His eyes were brown, and his nose was a bit longer than Brads, but it looked good on his face. I knew I loved Jasper, but did I?
“Do you love Jasper?” I asked myself.
“Well of course you do.” Myself replied.
“But are you sure? I mean, you could love Brad and not know it yet.”
“What if Brad is just playing a trick on me, what if he is not my help, he detained my help, and now he wants to keep me here until those killers get back.”
This conversation will have to be continued at a later date, for now, the clock has struck midnight, my time is up. My life is over.
The Valtories walked in, and Brad disappears. Some help God. Talk about a pathetic human.
The Valtories walk over to me, and the fat man kicks me. I stumble a little closer to the fire. The spekcers grow restless again. “We won’t feed you to them, I think you could live if we did that. I think we’ll kill you in a way that will make wish you were dead, before you actually die.”
The other six Valtorie with him formed a semi circle around me. They placed their index and middle fingers of their left hands on the palms of their right hands. A wind began to blow in the room, even though all the doors and windows are closed and boarded up. It became harder to breathe, all the oxygen is being sucked out of the air. The fire in the hearth went out. It was completely dark, and silent. My insides began to burn, as though the fire from the grate had been sent into me. I clutched at my sides, trying to calm the fire inside me.
I felt like Stephenie Meyer must have wanted to make Bella feel when she was bitten by James, in that Twilight book. But that was fiction, this is real, this is happening. I was really being devoured by fire, by heat. Soon it will consume me, consume me and ravage me, leaving only my limp broken body in its path. Bella would have lived, lived to fulfill her name, I will die. Never to fulfill anything. Nothing at all. My life passes in front of my very eyes, I see things no mortal should see. People dying, burning up just like I am. People running from monsters and daemons that are hideous, and should have remained invisible to the human race.
I see many horrible things, but at the end of it all, is a beautiful image, Jasper and I moving as one, together in the moonlight. I with him, and he with me. I decide now, that no matter what, I will live. I will not give up. Bella and I will have one thing in common, we shall both live, thanks to the ones we love.
I reach over to the place where the dagger lies. The handle is hard and cold in my hand. I listen carefully, the silence makes it almost impossible to triangulate their locations, but I listen hard, and soon, I discern a sound, only a small one, but any sound at all is helpful.
The sound is faint at first, but it slowly grows louder. It’s sort of a wheeze, or a cough. I aim at the place the sound seems to come from. I raise my arm to throw the dagger, but too late, a surge of energy hits me, I fall back to my stomach. Beads of sweat form on my skin, they cool me off, but not for long. I struggle back to my knees, with the thick inky darkness of the room as my cover.
It is almost impossible to find the sound now, but I listen hard. Any sound there might have been is now drowned out by a loud drum. Why on earth would there be a drum beating? I breathe heavily, the drum grows louder. It is not a drum, it is my heart. It beats louder and louder, I am sure that everyone in the room can hear it. I try to hush it, how can I hear a sound to aim at if the only sound in the room is the beating of my heart.
Just as I am about to give up, I feel a cool hand on my wrist. It is soft, and is big enough to go around my arm. A voice whispers close in my ear, “Let me be your guide.” The voice is soft, it slows and almost silences the beating of my heart. I hear no sound, but I trust that whoever is guiding my hand can hear better. A finger slides down my wrist to my hand, and then another. They lift my arm, and guide it upwards, and left, until they freeze, they have taken their aim, now, it is up to me. I pull my hand back over my head, and just as I am about to throw, I fall. The dagger flies free of my hand, and lands on the floor with a clatter. Heavy footsteps. Where is Jasper when I need him, he has a ring that is made of ice that combats fire spells.
Someone is at my side. I can’t remember how log it’s been, or even if I went unconscious for a bit. All I know is that Jasper is beside me, and I have a sort of silk bikini on. Sitting in a chair on the other side of the room is Brad, asleep and snoring loudly. This could look a bit worse than it actually is.
“Keller, you’re alive.” Jasper exclaims throwing his arms around me. His skin is hot, almost fiery. Despite the warmth he gives to me, I shiver. Brad wakes up instantly, and comes to my side. He wraps a blanket around me, and looks at Jasper. “You go get the others, I’ll stay with her for a bit.” Brad says to Jasper.
Jasper looks at Brad, then at me, and then back at Brad. His hold on me grows firmer. “It’s okay Jasper, he won’t hurt me. I’l be fine.” I stammer, anxious to talk to Brad. Jasper nods, kisses my forehead, rises, and leaves the room, with a quick backwards glance at Brad that says hurt her and you die. I giggle, but it hurts, so I stop. Brad laughs too.
“I take back what I said about you being a pathetic human, no human could have survived that.” He says softly.
“Survived what?” I ask, knowing as soon as I have asked that it is a very stupid question.
“Well, a fire attack, and,” his voice grows quieter, “They bit you Keller.” He whisper says.
“No, that’s impossible, they can’t have, that isn’t fair.” I say, immediately wanting to eat my words.
“As Corbin tells me, that’s what started this all in the first place.”
“You talked to Corbin?”
“Yes, he said he was stupid for thinking you would want to be this way, and he still wants to know who Keller is.” Brad laughs, brushing my face with his hand lovingly. I respond, reaching up and touching his hand with mine, feeling his soft skin under my fingertips. His face grows closer to mine, and just as we are about to kiss, Jasper walks in with Katie, Jesse, Corbin, and Ken. Brad moves, and pretends to be kissing my forehead, testing for a fever. “No fever as far as I can tell, but her skin is colder than it should be.” he says, winking at me. I wink back.
Jasper runs to my side, he lifts me up, and Katie comes over to us. She holds my hand. I cover the throbbing spot on my neck. I don’t want to worry Jasper any more than he already is.
“Keller, we were so worried about you. We thought you might be in trouble, and then when this Corbin came and said that Brad had sent him and that you had been mistaken for Keller Sanders, and that you were really Berrett Morgan, and that Brad had told him that we were Keller’s friends and would be glad to get you out of a spot, we came right down.”
“Why are you calling her Keller?” Corbin asks Katie, he is flustered, bewildered, and confused.
“Corbin,” I begin, not sure how to tell him that what he sees before him is the one that these killers are looking for. “Corbin, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m Keller.”
“Wh... but, you said...”
“I know what I said, I was lying. You were one of those foreign service guys, I was CIA, who knows what you could have said about me, to anyone. I wasn’t sure if I could trust you.”
He tries to speak again, but he falls. I rush over to his side. Upon general inspection, he looks alright. I am about to pass him off as pathetic, tired, or drunk, when something catches my eye. A dark spot on his scarf. It appears to be nothing, but, curious creature that I am, I investigate. Unwrapping his scarf, the spot grows larger, darker, and, goes from black, to red. I unwrap the scarf with more urgency now, fearing what I may find when I reach the skin.
I turn my eyes away, almost afraid to look. The intoxicating scent of blood reaches my senses, mingles in my mind, hypnotizes my mind, tries to make me abandon my defenses, tries to make me kill someone who took a beating for me. Jasper notices what is happening to me, and runs over, he stands next to me, strong, muscular, and shirtless? What the heck? How can Jasper be shirtless, it’s like fifty below outside, and not much warmer inside, but at least inside, we don’t have to factor in wind chill. His hand reaches down and touches my neck. Oh, that’s how. His skin is like five thousand degrees. Like he’s been sitting in the oven roasting. Something must have really ticked him off. Or someone. I touch his hand. “I’m alright, calm down.” I lie, but my voice has truth in it, so Jasper stands back. Somewhere deep down I wish he wouldn’t. I wish he would stay next to me, always.
I look at Corbins neck. It is a gruesome thought, and it is just what I thought it would be. A large circle, glowing orange, and bleeding badly. If you looked closer, you would realize that the circle was not one line, continuing in a circle forever, but a series of several dozen small lines. Some larger than others. The two most distinct lines were turned perpendicular to those on either side of them. They were directly across from eachother, and were connected by a gruesome line that slithered across the skin of his perfectly sculpted neck, sometimes changing shape, sometimes rising off the skin, hissing, and then biting, causing Corbin to writhe in pain. A snake that cuts the circle into congruent halves.
“Who could do such a thing?” Poor innocent Katie gasps. She may be the only one in the room besides Corbin, and perhaps Ken, that does not know about it. The crooked lines show that it was neither vampire, nor werwolf. It was something horrible, something evil.
“I could.” I whisper. Jasper comes back to my side. He kneels beside me, taking my head in his hands. “You couldn’t have done this. You couldn’t have, you were here. Right Brad, you were with her, she was here all night.” He says, his voice at first hinting at urgency, which by the end of the sentence showed that he didn’t even believe what he had said.
“I can account for every moment she was in this house.” Brad says, rushing to my rescue.
“See, it wasn’t you Keller, I knew it couldn’t be.” Jasper says joyfully.
“Except fifteen minutes around two o-clock in the morning.” Brad says.
“What?” Jasper says worriedly.
“I can account for every moment she was here, except fifteen minutes around two a.m. That was when she rose with a scream, and ran out of the room, into the snowy black night. I don’t know where she went or what she did. But she was back soon after, she was pale. The scarf covering her breast had fallen, revealing her, but she didn’t seem to notice. I ran over to her with a blanket, but she didn’t even seem to see me. Her hair was very unkempt, her eyes were wild with fire and passion, and there was blood on the corner of her mouth, and also on her hands. She didn’t seem to be cold, even though she had stumbled out into a blizzard in almost nothing at all. Her skin was white as the snow outside, and it was cold as ice.”
“What did she do?” Katie muses.
“She just pulled me over to her, brought her mouth very close to mine, so close in fact that our mouths touched, and whispered. ‘We are safe, here, there be tigers.’ I didn’t know what she meant.”
“What then. Did you take advantage of your closeness and kiss her while she was in such a state?” Jasper accuses.
“No. She did. She kissed me, long and full on the lips. I won’t deny that I liked it. I liked it a lot. I would even go so far as to say that I loved it. But I didn’t ask her to do it.”
“Oh, but you didn’t pull away either.” Jasper says, fury mounting in his voice.
“Why would I. A kiss from a beautiful enemy is gratifying.” Brad laughs.
Jasper turns on me. “Is it true Keller? Did you kiss him?” He says, looking longingly into my eyes. I remain silent. “You can tell me, I won’t be angry.” He says, choking back a sob.
“Are you afraid.” I ask, hardly knowing the reason why.
“Afraid of what?” Jasper pleads. “Tell me Keller, I can help you. I’ll forgive you, I’ll even let you go if that’s what-” I cut him off, putting a finger to his lips to silence him. I bring my face to his, leaving my finger on his lips.
“Don’t, don’t say another word. I did kiss him, but, Jasper, I don’t know why. Maybe I lost my mind, maybe I was hypnotized, I don’t know. Say you’ll forgive me. Say you will.” I cry. Jasper, kind understanding soul he is, cradles my head in his arms. He strokes my hair. He lifts my hand up in his, and places something cold in my hand. “Marry me Keller.” He whispers in my ear, so quietly that even I have to strain to listen to hear him. “Marry me and be my wife, my love, my life.” He says, louder so that everyone can hear. He takes the ring and kneels down next to me. He takes my hand, and slips the ring onto my finger, “Say you’ll marry me Keller. Say you will.
I can only stand silent, awestruck. Mates don’t usually marry eachother. That would mean that they are stuck together for eternity, and have to go through all that legal rigamarole to get rid of eachother. I think to myself, do I want to be with Jasper forever? I don’t even have to think about it, I know my answer.
“Jasper,” I begin, trying to figure out how to break it to him. I take his hand and guide him to his feet. I take his other hand, they are still really warm, although they might have cooled down a bit since earlier. “Jasper, I...”
“Don’t say it Keller, you don’t have to, I know.” He lowers his eyes. I slip a finger under his chin and raise it to my eye level again. “I would like nothing better than to spend eternity with you, legally.” I whisper.
“Yes, I will marry you.” I laugh. Jasper picks me up and whirls me around. Everyone in the room claps.
“Bravo, bravo.” A deep voice says. “I am very happy for you both, believe me, I really am. But, it seems there is a slight hiccup.” The deep voice says. I look around to see who it is. A figure in a blue cloak stands by the door. He has a hood covering his face, and long black boots that reach to his knee.
“What? What Hiccup?” I ask, more like demand actually.
“Well, it seems you bit this young man here.” He continues, still in the same tone of voice, sinister, cold, almost evil.
“I bit him, so. I didn’t drink blood, no blood no foul right?” I say optimistically, not even believing myself.
“Not quite. You see, you bit him using the mark of Vaumarten. You didn’t change him to a vampire, or a werwolf, you changed him to a half-blood.”
“I didn’t know you could do that.”
“Yes, you can. A man named Vaumarten invented the mark, which allows the biter to change the bitten to a vampire, or a werwolf at your convenience. You can call them to your aid, and they are under your leadership. That is why it’s illegal. You could be raising an army.”
“But I’m not.”
“We have no way of knowing that now do we.”
“You could take my word for it.”
“No, we can’t, don’t you think everyone says we can take their word for it? And if we did, we might have thousands of little armies trying to overthrow us.”
“Oh, I guess I understand.” I say, somewhat disheartened.
“You will please come with us quietly, to avoid any misfortune to your friends.” He says. I can’t tell whether he means it or not, his voice says he doesn’t, but his words say he does.
“I’ll go willingly, but give me a month to find the president. If I don’t find him, they’ll kill him.”
“Who will kill him, where is he, and why do you have to find him?”
“The kidnappers will kill him, he’s somewhere in Austria in a salt mine perhaps, I don’t quite know, but he has to be in Austria.”
“And what if he’s not. What then?”
“I don’t know, I’ll look somewhere else, but he has to be in Austria.”
“Why, how do you know?”
I think for a minute, how do I know? Some weird instinct or hunch deep inside my gut? The truth is, I don’t know.
“Do you suppose some of your sources throughout the globe could give me a lead as to where he is?” I ask, knowing the answer will be no.
“That will not be necessary, you see, I know where he is already.”
“You do? How? Why haven’t you rescued him and brought him back where he belongs?”
“This is your fight Keller, your mission, you have to find him.”
“Oh. Well, where is he?”
“No clue as to where in Italy?”
“Rome to be exact. But I don’t know where in Rome. All we know is that he was kidnapped before leaving Rome, and, he has not gotten on any public flights out of the country. All the private jets are restricted from leaving the country, and there are car and vehicle checkpoints everywhere. He is still in Rome. I may know where, but that is the part you need to figure out for yourself.”
“And you’re just going to leave me here? All alone to find a bunch of killers and get them to give up their chance at ten-million dollars and an entire country?”
“That’s the plan.”
“Well then fine. But I’m going to marry Jasper while I can, and then hope I can find some way out of being killed by the Valtorie, oh, and Brad here has dibs on my blood apparently.” I say, indicating at Brad with my hand.
“Brad? A wanderer? Helping a weapon? I thought both things were smarter than that.”
“Wanderer, weapon? What are you talking about?” I ask, not knowing what the heck this guy is talking about.
“What, you don’t know? I thought Brad would have told you.” He said.
Brad looked down at the floor, acting shy. I began to suspect that there was something he had not been telling me, some lie, or secret. Brad looked up at me again, his face flushes bright red.
“Brad,” I begin, “There is something you are hiding from me. What?”
“Come on, tell me. I won’t be angry.”
“Well, I’m a wanderer.” He begins.
“A what? What’s a wanderer?”
“Someone who is forced to help those who need help, no matter whether they are from enemy bloodlines, or allied bloodlines. I had to help you last night because you were at a disadvantage, but I had to fight you a lot too because you had the upper hand. See, I have no choice who to help. I have to do what their mind tells me to do.”
“Oh, so, last night...” I begin, thinking of the kiss we had shared, “that was just because my mind told you to? Because my mind needed it?”
“No, that was my choice, that was true.” He winked, his voice growing deep and quiet. I smile, he smiles back, and moves to put his arms around me. I step back, my eyes say “Don’t touch me, please” even though my mind desperately wants him to reach out and touch me, wants to feel that new feeling, that feeling of, of ecstasy, of rapt happiness. That feeling that made me want to dance, made me want Brad to hold me forever.
But my soul knows otherwise, it knows that Brad can hurt me, that, now that I know he was a wanderer, he can turn against me, not wanting to, but still, he can kill me. I know that it will be dangerous for me, I know it will in the end bring me down, so I refuse his arms. I refuse his warm, inviting arms. His masculine scent, his cool, deep eyes. Refuse everything about him. Everything, but not willingly.
I turn to Jasper,I know he is the safe one. The one who truly loves me. The one I will never have to guess with, the one I love. I feel safe with him, safe, and guarded. I kiss him, letting my insecurity dissolve, and he kisses back, saying without words that he will make it all alright for me. He’ll make everything fine. And I know, he’s telling the truth.
“This is touching, but, you only have a month, and spending it kissing is a bad idea. May I suggest that you find the president?” The cloaked man says again.
“Good idea.” I say, turning to Jasper for guidance.
“Why don’t we get tickets to Italy by train.” He says, already heading out the door.
“Uh Jasper, I don’t have any clothes on, and you don’t have a shirt on.” I point out.
“Oh yeah. Here.” Katie says, handing me a pair of black slacks and a red and black dress coat. I pul them on, looking at my scary reflection in the mirror. My red hair is unkempt and tangled, falling over my shoulders in tangled curls. My face is somewhat broken out, not too badly, but I have never been able to boast perfect skin. I ask Katie for a brush, and comb through my hair.
“Come on, let’s go.” I say, anxious to get out of the snow. Did I mention that I hate snow? I am pretty sure I did, but just in case I didn’t, here goes. “I HATE SNOW!!!!!”
I pull on the knee boots I had been wearing before they tried to feed me to the spekcers. They feel tight, warm. They are kind of old fashioned. Suede, no heel, purposefully wrinkled at the factory. I love them. They are black which gives me an added bonus with my outfit. “What about Jasper?” I ask, remembering that he has no shirt on.
“Here.” Brad says, pulling off his shirt and giving it to Jasper. I feel a rush of joy, and run over to Brad. I am sure that this is not an act of wanderers, he wanted to do this, I know. I give him a quick peck on the cheek and hug him. Brad’s skin is warm and soft. I pull away before the trance begins, before I am trapped in Brads inviting embrace.
Jasper puts on the shirt, which was somewhat tight on Brad, but is really tight on Jasper. He always has had broad shoulders, huge six-packed abs, bulging arm muscles, and a strong chest. Ever since he was born he has been strong. He went to the war, in World War Two, got shot, and still has the bullet somewhere in his left arm, and one in his leg. Sometimes they hit a nerve, causing him to spasm into convulsions and seizures. He is my strong macho man.
He takes my hand, and places a ring on my finger. It is small, but it is solid gold, with a pure ruby in the center, that is surrounded by diamonds. I gasp. “This ring will keep you safe from fire attacks Keller. I couldn’t stand to lose you to fire if this ever happened again. Just call on its energy, and it will summon carbon dioxide, and kill the fire.” He whispers, his breath in my ear feels like a wind, gentle yet strong, pulsing in my ear and calming me.
I look into his eyes, and smile, I feel safe. Like nothing can harm me, as though I am invincible. He leads me out the door, Katie, Corbin, Jesse, and Ken follow us. Katie clings to Jesse, almost like something is wrong, like we should fear something. Corbin and Ken walk far from eachother, both staring at me, I cling to Jasper, never wanting to lose him again. Something in the atmosphere tells me I never will truly lose him. I smile confidently, knowing I will never let anything take him from me.
We get to a train station, and divvy up jobs.
“Ok,” I begin, “The next train is at ten thirty p.m.. That gives us three hours. Ken, you and Corbin get tickets. Katie, you and Jesse get us some clothes, we’ll give you our sizes and the things we’ll need. Jasper and I will get some food and find someone who can book us a hotel in Rome. We’ll contact the CIA and let them know we’re on the trail. Brad, you go with Katie and Jesse and help them with the stuff they need to do. We’ll meet back here in two hours.” I pause, everyone nods in agreement with me.
“Katie, the clothes you need to get for each person are five pairs of socks, five pairs of underwear, five t-shirts, two pairs of jeans, and a hooded sweatshirt. We may also need a dress shirt, just incase he’s in the capitol building or something. Get some sunglasses and too. You could also get me some tennis shoes. Here’s my credit card from the CIA, it should cover what you need.” We all give her our sizes and wish eachother luck.
“Jasper, here’s a grocery store. We should go in here and get our groceries. I think we should buy or food so we don’t have to max out my CIA credit in restaurants. Not that I can do that, but they might get suspicious that Brad and I are managing to eat seven plates of food at each meal between the two of us.”
“Yeah, that might look suspicious. We’ll just get enough for our train ride, and maybe tomorrow, then we’ll go to the store in Italy. That way we don’t have to tote all of this around with us until we find a hotel.
We head into the grocery store, it’s not a lame safeway or smiths, its a really nice store. It smells like good food, it has a wood fired oven bakery, it boasts its own cheese making place, and butcher shop where they will give you the whole animal, or pieces of it cooked or raw. I gag when I see a few live rabbits in hanging cages. There are also pigeons and quail. I have to remember that I hunt under a full moon when I am a werwolf, and barely manage to control my vampire urge to eat human flesh. I look away from the cages, not wanting to have to hear their pain. ‘
Oh, maybe I haven’t told you that yet. Of late, maybe the past three months, I have noticed that I can feel the pain, thought, feelings, of animals. I don’t do it on purpose, I think it happens when I look in their eyes, or they look in mine, or they are in pain. It hurts to hear them suffering, wanting free. I want to let them free, I want to heal their pain, but I know that I can’t. I know it would just get most of them hurt. They can’t hunt or fend for themselves anymore. Jasper doesn’t know about this, which is why it is a shock to him when I fall, clutching my throat. Feeling like it’s been cut, or I’ve had my neck broken. Some animal must have been killed on the butchers block just now.
“Keller.” He says, running to my side, worry in his voice and his eyes.
“I’m alright.” I lie, still feeling dead and short of breath.
“What happened, you look as white as a sheet?” He says.
“I guess I had a vision.” I stammer, finally deciding to tell him about the vision I had awhile ago when I was being fed to spekcers.
“What was it about?” He presses.
“Us. We were together.”
“Together you mean to say as in...?” Jasper gulps.
“Yes, I mean to say as in...” I begin, reading his mind and picking up what he’s saying. “anyway, we were together. But then, something was there, or someone. You left, I cried, but then, that someone got into the bed instead. And as we were together, I was, happy.”
Jasper just stares at me dumbfounded. He must not like the fact that I said I was happy with someone else.
“But understand that I will do everything in my power to stop this from happening.” I offer up as a consolation.
“Just...don’t sacrifice your happiness for my sake. Go to Brad if you want to. I’ll not hold it against you.”
“Really?” I ask, surprised that Jasper said this.
“If it makes you happy, I’ll find a way to be happy too.” He smiles, stroking my cheek. I touch the ring. It is cold against my skin, which has also grown warm like Jaspers. The ring glints in the sunlight, and Jaspers words echo in my head. “Don’t sacrifice your happiness for my sake.” Then Brads words, “A kiss from a beautiful enemy is indeed gratifying.” I think, Brad could never stay with me, never. I couldn’t hold him to me, it would hurt both of us too much. He would never be free, I would never be able to fight again, I wouldn’t be able to avenge my parents, never see Jasper and Katie again, it would be to dangerous for them as well.
“Jasper, I never want to leave, never. Let me stay with you forever. I love you.” I say, knowing I have done the right thing.
Jasper hugs me, I feel safe and warm. But then, a pang of guilt rings in the back of my mind. Just a small one, but big enough to be noticed. I am not telling the truth, I know it. Someday, I will choose Brad. Someday, that will happen. I don’t know when, or why, but someday I will, and that day, l will lose Jasper forever. I try not to think about that, I try to think about Jasper and I. We will be married, and we will not leave eachother for a long time.
“Let’s get married right away. I don’t want to have to risk changing my mind.”
“I love you Keller. Of course we’ll marry right away. As soon as this is all over.”
“Okay baby.” I sigh. A thought flashes in my mind. The wedding night. Jasper and I have never been together, never since we met. We were going to get married then, but with the whole leaving the order thing, it was hard, so we decided to wait.
We get out of the grocery store with tons of stuff. More potato chips ad beef jerky than anyone could ever buy. We have four six packs of some kind of Swiss soda, and a bunch of apples, and random fruit. We have that sprayable cheese spread stuff, and ritz crackers. We got like 100 water bottles. The lady at the checkout looks at us like we are out of our minds. I smile a sweet smile, and she continues to check out our stuff.
We get back to the train station. Everyone else is there and waiting for us. I grin a huge grin when Corbin almost faints at all the stuff we have bought. He smirks. Brad runs over to help me with the ten bags I am carrying. I hand him five, but he insists on taking them all. I wonder what’s got into him. Oh yeah, schizophrenic guy with a hero complex. I give him a playful shove, but he is so loaded down with bags that he stumbles to catch his balance and falls. I laugh and help him up.
“I’m sorry Brad. I’ll play nice.” I laugh, grabbing some of the bags and helping him to his feet. He dusts off his pants, and hooks his leg around mine, trying to make me fall. He gets me into a headlock, and spins me around in a circle.
“Release!” I say, pounding on his stomach, which turns out to be a very bad idea, because he has more abs than it would appear.
Jasper watches in disbelief, most likely wondering how I can play so rough with Brad. I never play that way with Jasper. He must feel left out. I thud on Brads back, and he releases me. He straightens my hair out for me, and I see a now familiar look of longing in his eyes. I wonder if my eyes show the same thing?
Ken hands over a ticket to each of us. I study mine, “We’re riding caboose?” I ask, surprised.
“Yeah, it’s a private car, I thought you guys would prefer that. We couldn’t get seats together anywhere else.”
“Cool.” Katie says, handing each of us a backpack stocked with the clothes we need. I hand a pack of trail mix and beef jerky to everyone, and say that we’ll distribute everything else inside. We hop on the train, walking back to the caboose, we run into a man who, though we never make contact, grows stiff and jumps out of my way. He has a black leather jacket on and black pants. The smell of human reaches me, but I only pay attention because it is unnatural, like it shouldn’t be there. I dismiss this feeling, humans should smell like humans. Why would that smell incorrect? I smell one more time, and detect a strange sweet, familiar smell. I try to remember where it’s from, but I can’t recall a scent that odd, so I give up. Maybe I’ll ask Brad later.
We get into the caboose. It is lavishly furnished. It’s all gold tassels and red plush velvet and wood made to look antique. My house used to look something like this before I moved to California. I feel strangely at home. I can almost see my stepparents sitting in the corner, playing a piano. They always loved to read and talk in the parlor in our house in Chicago. I’ve lived in almost all the cities in the United States, and yet I haven’t lived in New York City, and I’ve never lived anywhere I feel safe, really safe. Or maybe I was sensing the fear of all the parents I have gone through. All the times people broke into their houses looking for me. I wonder how I lived with that. Knowing I was endangering peoples lives because of their innate goodness in taking me in.
We settle into the seats. They aren’t like normal train seats, they’re arranged around tables, made out of hardwood. A few are lined against the wall with a small side table by each one, the side tables each hold a small lamp. The chairs are all comfortable and large. They could easily hold two people, but that might not be as comfortable as having jut one person having the chair all to themselves.
I look out the window. It is a foggy night, and the windows have frost on them. I see ten or twelve men wearing black jackets standing in a circle around someone. On of them turns, and looks directly at me. His eyes glow red like coals from a fire. He raises a finger and points it at me. I stifle a scream with a hand over my mouth. The moon seems to lose luster or brightness. Jasper runs to my side. “What is it Keller?”
“That man, he’s pointing at me.” I whisper.
“What man?” He asks as if he has no clue what I’m saying.
“The one there, in the black jacket, can you see him.”
“There is no man Keller.” He says, with a slight hint of irritation in his voice. He smiles nicely at me, and then is called over to talk with Corbin and Ken. I look around the cabin.
“Where’s Kate?” I ask, noticing that I am the only girl amongst five guys, all of which seem to be vying for my heart now except for Jesse.
“What do you mean where’s Kate? She should be right here.” Jesse says, almost like he doesn’t believe it.
Suddenly, the figure that was pointing at me turns, and grins, and a figure inside the circle of men falls. It’s Katie. Jesse sees them too. He runs to the back of the caboose and onto a platform outside as the train starts moving. “Katie!”
Jesse tries to jump off the train, but I stop him with my arm, looping it around his waist and swinging him around so that he can’t jump. Brad seems to understand what’s going on, but no one else does. Brad comes to help me restrain Jesse as he claws at me and tries to make me let him go. I hold strong, not about to do that. Brad grabs Jesse’s hands, holding them against the wall so that he can’t claw my face off. I smile at Brad. Then, suddenly, Jesse throws a knee into my stomach. I sink to the ground, but I am up again in a second, anger now coursing through my veins. I try to control myself, but something makes me want to kill Jesse, something makes me hate him. He stares straight into my eyes, like they are exposing my emotions. I close them, trying to fight back the strange urge to tear Jesse’s head off. Brad seems to notice, a look of mournful shock crosses his face. I can’t resist reading his mind.
“I can’t have evoked this new hatred in her can I? Wanderer kisses only work if the two kissers are in love. There is no way she loves me, those are just the wandering ways of women.” Brad hasn’t been telling me something, I know it. That JERK!!!! But, this is not the urgent matter right now. The urgent matter is that I will not be able to not kill Jesse for much longer, and Brad may have a hard time holding me off. I have to think fast. What can I do?
I’ve got it, that feeling of intense, safe calm I get when in Jaspers arms. I need it now. Yes, that is what will calm me down and possibly save Jesse’s life. I hope it will work. I turn to go to Jasper, but one second too late. My urge to kill takes over my premonition to do good. I turn on Jesse so fast that my hair falls into my eyes, which must have glazed over and turned the watery-milk color they do when I am really, really angry. A strange wind begins to blow my hair about, and the train grows very dark. Jesse cringes, my mental attack has begun. Brad grabs at my arm, he, like I am, is unsure about me, what I’m doing, and even how. I’ve never had this much power before. Never had enough power to kill without even touching a man, or really reaching out with my mind.
I try to ask for help, try to yell for someone to take me away, but no sound comes out, save for a deep guttural growl. I hear voices in my head, and the room begins to spin. “Kill, kill him!” The voices seem to whisper. “No, No I won’t! I am good. I am not the enemy.” I yell, covering my ears so I can’t hear the voices, but it doesn’t work. The voices keep chanting in my head, “Kill, kill him, kill him. He’s the enemy here, not you.”
“But if I kill him I am the enemy. I will not kill him! You can’t make me. No, No, no! I will not! No! Just go away voices! I don’t know who you are, but you are driving me absolutely crazy! Go away.” I yell, now panicking. Jesse trusted me, he was only trying to protect the one he loved. Why? Why am I doing this? I don’t know. I don’t even know my own name anymore.
I try to think, try to calm down. What can I do? I don’t know. What will I do? I can’t kill Jesse. Katie would never forgive me. Finally, I realize, blood will calm me. But who’s blood? It’s not like anyone will give it too me. I panic some more. The evil voices in my head have almost taken over. Think! Think!
“Keller, Keller, this is no time to panic, this is an emergency! You can’t give in. Someone is controlling your mind. You don’t know if it’s a test, or someone is sick minded, but you can’t let them win. Do something!” I say to myself.
“But what?” My self demands, almost in tears.
“Cause yourself to pass out. Do it now before time runs out. Bite yourself.”
I obey without question. My teeth sink deep into my skin, and I scream. But this is the only to save Jesse, and possibly in the train. Someone is shouting my name, but I ignore them, even when they pull on my arm, I ignore it. I begin to grow dizzy, as the stunning effects of a half-blood bite. My upper-arm, where I have bitten myself, is the first thing to grow cold and dead, then slowly, moving downward, the rest of me dies. I don’t know how to describe the feeling, but it’s peaceful, calm, tingly. I feel safe, whether I should or not is a mystery. I get the feeling I am flying, well, more like floating, just hovering in mid-air. It feels nice.
It was awful to watch Keller, losing control of her very mind, and knowing she couldn’t control herself. It was awful to watch that happen. All she was trying to do was rescue Jesse from herself.
Right now, I am sitting next to Keller, not knowing whether her heart beats or not. She has always had an inner flame that cannot be extinguished, I mean, she did survive falling of the Empire State Building, though no one knows how she got there, or fell out, or survived, except her, and she’ll never be able to tell us. I think to myself, “Jasper, can you live without her, or should you follow her?”
“Dinner Jasper, come one, she might just be asleep, or, knocked out. She’s not dead, I know it.” Ken’s voice interrupts my thoughts. I kiss Keller’s forehead, and leave, closing and locking the door, and pocketing the key so that no one can get in or out unless they have my permission. She looks so peaceful there on the pillow, hair drenched with sweat, face pale as milk. I turn off the light, “Sleep well beauty.” I whisper.
I open my eyes to solid black darkness. Really, it’s darker than anything I’ve ever seen. At first, upon waking, I panic, but the rocking motion of the train soothes me. “Keller, we have to get out of here, they will hurt us.” Is my first thought. “Why would they hurt us, Jasper is our mate, Ken loves us, Brad is a wanderer and seems to love us, Corbin owes us his life, no one on this train can hurt us.” I fire back, not knowing why my mind is calling me “us.”
“But they will try to keep us from living, and look at us, we needs to hunt.”
“Oh alright, we’ll hunt if we must.” I say, and then cover my mouth, appalled that I would say such a thing. Hunting to a vampire never means animal hunting, it means human hunting. But, maybe I just need some fresh air. Without thinking I throw open the window. I walk to the door, and hear voices on the outside. Jasper’s voice is sad, calm, cool. I wish I don’t have to leave.
I stand in the open window, the cool night air blowing in my face, chilling me to the very bone. I steel my nerves, and... ooof. The ground is much harder than it looked to be. My shoulder throbs in pain, I squeeze it to stifle the pain, it doesn’t work. Biting myself might have been the stupidest plan I’ve ever had, but it worked. I saved Jesse, and killed myself. How I’m even alive I don’t know. All I know is that I need to get back on that train right now. I look at the train tracks. The train should still be there, I think. It shouldn’t have left, I need it there. But it’s gone. Everyone I love is gone now. Everyone leaves. But no one has left me, I left them this time. But not again. I’ll get back on that train.
I take off running, knowing that I will catch the train. I have too. I grow dizzy quickly, and I stumble, but I keep going. I don’t know what force keeps me going, but whatever it is, I am running very fast, for a train that seems to have disappeared. Everything disappears, nothing is certain to me anymore. Nothing. I hate that. That feeling of never knowing what is going to happen next, never knowing if you’ll live to tomorrow or die right now. I hate that feeling, but I love it. How is that possible? I don’t know, but it is, because I feel it now. It is the only thing that is certain, I feel. And tight now, I feel cold, hungry, and tired. Three things I am not supposed to feel. I sleep, I eat, but I never feel cold or hungry. Cold, heat, I never feel those as temperature, I feel them as a thought in the back of my mind, and I don’t feel them until it is painful. And right now, it is painfully cold, and it is raining.
I don’t know why, but I break down. I’m in the middle of a dense dark forest, its raining cats and dogs, and my legs choose now to not move another step? Why? It is not really fair. I sink to my knees and cry. Great, heaving sobs push out of my throat. I don’t care, I don’t care how childish I look right now. I deserve to cry. My stomach aches with hunger and from running while weakened by my own venom, which really, I am lucky to have survived.
Was that a noise in the forest? I don’t know. I don’t know how long I’ve sat here freezing to death in the rain and darkness. There it is again, a sound, almost like a snigger, but not quite. I know there is someone out there. I just know it. There is someone out there waiting to kill me as soon as I have managed to cry myself to sleep. I won’t let that happen. “Who’s out there?” I yell to the darkness, my voice breaking with fear.
No answer, not like I was expecting anyone to answer. If there is a serial killer, thy certainly won’t inform me of the fact.
“Hell, if there’s anyone out there, you better hope you’re just a freaking hunter looking for an innocent deer to murder, because I am not the right person to be trying to murder.” I bluff, knowing it probably won’t work because they’ve obviously heard me sobbing like there was no tomorrow. I begin to get afraid, and I don’t quite understand why.
“Why don’t you say anything. I know you’re out there, I can hear you, I can hear you stalking me, and I can smell...Ohmygod! You’re a werecat. I know it. I can smell you, and I wouldn’t mistake that scent very easily. You better freaking get out of here or I’ll kill you. If you can smell me you know I will.” Werecats have a distinct scent, they smell like the sea, for some unknown reason that no one can figure out, seeing as cats hate water. They smell like the sea, mixed with pine-trees, and sulfur. And I have a feeling that no one stalking through the woods in the dead of night would smell like that unless they were a werecat. No one would be stalking through the woods in the dead of night unless they were some kind of were beast.
Still no answer from the forest, they must want to kill me. I lie on my back, staring up at the stars, crying more. “Goddammit! Why can’t I just die! Please, kill me god just kill me! Why is it so cold, why are people following me, why do they want to kill me, why am I so hungry, why did I jump off the train, why is my forehead bleeding badly, who invented rain? I hate it all. Every last bit of it.” I complain to no one but the murderer and the trees, which whisper their snide comments.
“My dear Keller, what have you gotten yourself into?” A voice sniggers from my left. I look around, but no one is there. The voice speaks again, “I though better of my Keller. She is the last Tjorbanne after all.”
“Who the heck are you, how do you know that?” I yell to the voice in the darkness.
“Don’t you recognize my voice? That is insulting.”
“Why don’t you freaking answer me? Why are you messing with my mind? That is a really jerky thing to do.” For the first time, the moon comes out, and I realize that the ground is covered in snow. I shiver, really, why is it allowed to be so cold. How did I not notice that there was snow. I stand up, and head toward the voice, or at least, where I think it is coming from. I haven’t taken more than three steps, when the voice speaks again, this time from behind me. “Where are you going?”
“I’m looking for you dammit.” I yell, spinning around quickly.
“Well you’re looking in all the wrong places silly.” He laughs, making me really mad now.
“Where should I be looking, under rocks, maggot.” I insult.
“Ouch. Touche.” He says, and then falls silent again.
I turn, stumbling, and walk in the new direction his voice came from. I curse him under my breath, and stumble head first into a snowdrift. It is so cold, that I scream, which I soon add to the book of “Keller’s all time stupidest moments,” which is getting to be a very thick book. Anyway, screaming is bad when you are face down in a snowdrift, because all the snow gets in your mouth. I struggle to get to my feet, but my arm just burrows itself down far into the snow. Where did all this snow come from? How did I not notice it when I wandered into the forest in the first place?
Whoever is in the forest is soon beside me, hauling me to my feet. When at last I am upright again, I swat at the arms supporting me, and fall onto my butt. My jeans are soaked, I’m freezing, and now, some random stalker is hauling me around. He helps me to my feet again, and he doesn’t smell like werecat anymore, he smells like Brad, and Brad should not be confusing me in the woods.
He leans in, and laughs, gingerly licking the snow off my cheeks. I want him to kiss me, but my anger overtakes me. It’s not really anger thought, just somewhat-ticked-off-ness.
“You’re all wet.” He laughs.
“Oh, really. I didn’t notice.” I say sarcastically.
“Aww, you’re so cute when you’re angry at me.” He says, and leans in for a kiss.
“No, you do not get to kiss me yet.” I say, punching him playfully in the arm. He makes a pouty face. It does not melt my heart. Pouting does not become him.
“Why? Don’t I deserve it, I saved you from freezing to death in a snowdrift.”
“You also freaked me out in the middle of the night, and almost got me frozen to death anyway.”
“Don’t you what me, I know it was you in the woods. Though why you smell like a cat I don’t know.”
“What? I thought it was you who smelled like a cat. That wasn’t me in the forest. I just got here a moment ago.”
“You promise you’re not lying?” I say, giving him a skeptical look.
“I promise.” He says, holding up his right arm and crossing himself. “Can I kiss you now?” He pouts.
“Yes, you may kiss me now. But no more pouting. You look much cuter when you’re happy.” I say, leaning in to him.
He leans in, and I feel a feeling I have come to recognize as longing. I breathe in deep, our lips are so close, and yet we hesitate, as if we should be afraid of something. “Jasper.” Brad whispers, his lips brushing mine.
“I can’t help loving villains, that’s just my soft spot.” I say, and he pulls me into him in one fluid motion. His lips move above mine, working intelligently to dissolve all fear and pain I may have. His large hands squeeze my waist, my hips. I work my hands through his hair, down his neck, and to his strong chest. He moves his hand to the zipper on my blue hooded sweatshirt, and unzips it, letting it slide off my shoulders and into the snow. I now stand in a tank top, freezing, and not noticing. I slide my hands under his shirt, feeling his muscles. His chest is smooth, soft, like baby’s skin. His large hands caress my shoulders, my arms. He reaches down and raises my tank top just the smallest fraction of an inch.
His hands feel my skin, brushing themselves over the tight plane of my stomach. My stomach tingles, anticipating something. He moves his hands down to the button and zipper on my jeans. I pull away before he can undo them. “I can’t do that yet.” I say.
“I’ll wait forever if necessary.”
“Thanks.” I sigh, then, I notice something. There is a pair of red eyes staring at us. I have a hunch that it is the last person I want to see right now, despite everything. “Brad.” I whisper. He is at my side in a moment, carrying my sweatshirt. He hands it to me, I take it, but I do not put it on. He stands next to me, “What is it Babe?” He breathes in my ear.
“Those eyes, they’re...”
Brad gets behind me, putting his arms around my waist, and holding my hands. His head rests right next to my ear, he kisses my ear and whispers, “We can face ‘em.” I feel more confident now. I snuggle into Brad, not wanting him to leave, ever. The person I now fear most steps out of the forest, shrouded in a cloud of fog at first.
I’m not afraid anymore, not even as Jasper comes forward, grabs me by the arm, and stares into my very soul with bloodshot eyes. His eyes have obviously been crying, recently. “Jasper, what’s wrong?” As if I don’t know.
“I though you said you would be mine. I thought you said we’d be together, I thought you said you loved me.” He says. “Is that not true? Did you lie to me?” He says, and when I don’t answer, he shakes me. “Keller, answer me. I saw what you were doing with Brad. You can’t deny that.”
“No,” I finally say, “I can’t deny that. I can’t decide who I want anymore. I just can’t. I love you Jasper, for all the things you’ve dome for me, all the times you saved my life, all the things you went through to protect me,” this seems to bring Jasper comfort, his face grows a little less pained, “But, I love Brad for who he shows potential to be, for his danger. I guess that’s it, I love danger, everything about it is great. Don’t make me decide this now, please. I don’t know if I could stand to lose either of you. Let me think, I’ll choose later.” I look into Jaspers eyes, I see welcome, passion, desire, and something like hatred. He wants me, and I know it, he’ll leave me alone if I say Brad, but he needs me. I saved him, he is devoted to me, I can’t deny such devotion. I walk back to Brad, and take his hands.
“Brad, it will not be you.” I whisper. “I want it to be you, but it cannot be you.” I say, and give him a peck on the hand. Turning from Brad’s disappointed face, I start walking, Jasper leads the way back to where we can catch up with the train. I don’t know how he plans to do that, but I follow. We soon reach a place where the trains take on water and coal. A large wooden water tower stands resolute in the darkness, looking dark against the snow covered rooftops.
“Wow, how’d you know this was here?” I ask.
“Before we came to get you
The Colony, Texas
Mount Prospect, Illinois
San Francisco, California
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This book has 2 comments.
8 articles 0 photos 5 comments
Some things are highly unrealistic; That should not stop us from doing them.
The opening is COMPLETELY different, when I post the edited version you can tell me which parts you like better and which parts I should keep the way I wrote them in the first draft,
Thank you so much for the nice comments :) I will be reading your work :)
62 articles 0 photos 569 comments
"A guy walks up to me and asks 'What's Punk?'. So I kick over a garbage can and say 'That's punk!'. So he kicks over a garbage can and says 'That's Punk'?, and I say 'No that's trendy'!"- Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day
This is interesting and totally different. It's fun and dark at the same time, but mostly fun.
How different is the opening in the final version? What changed?
please check out my novel "SuperNOVA" and let me know what you think! Thanks :D