Song: Ed Sheeran - Give Me Love
I found no need to pause and think. If this by any chance had been an animal attack I knew Serena would lie low for a while and play around with her prey. I’d also come to conclusion that Lyra in theory had done nothing. I blamed her for something that wasn’t even true.
But I couldn’t worry about that, not right now at least.
I had some relief in this, but I wouldn’t rest until I lectured Serena for my worries. I ran the perimeter back to the campsite and to my luck; I had it all to myself for the remainder of the night.
A yellow strip of CAUTION had been placed around the full perimeter of the crime scene. I took a graceful leap and was already a good twenty meters into the area. Since Lyra or I had never explained Serena to the cops, her perimeter remained untouched by the tape. I pounced over it and fallowed her trails that lead another three fourths of a mile south away from the campsite.
I picked up her scent as well, far too dense to be recent. I moved about to what seemed to be light footprints, but looked smeared as if she was being dragged and then picked up her feet a few more yards before those familiar drags appeared once more and then vanished west. Whoever her attacker had been, it was carful enough to hide its own tracks but that didn’t match Cecilia’s description about an animal close to the height of a horse.
Now that I felt it, I had a few minutes ago allowed some spark of hope that now reflected the exact opposite against my chest. This was the end of the search and I had to accept it. Serena is one of the strongest women I had ever known. An animal—or even by any way a human, she would handle it. She would have called if there was any trouble. Either that or she somehow lost her phone.
Within the blink of an eye, I had already pulled out my phone and speed dialed Serena. It rang three times before any change of noise occurred. There was shuffling, as if the wind was blowing too hard, then, throbbing. Finally I had to say something.
“Serena?” I murmured expecting no answer.
“Let go of me!” She demanded.
I jumped. “Serena! Serena, where are you?”
A few more throbs fallowed my unanswered pleads until it sounded that someone had picked up the phone. “Jan, girl, listen to me. You have to get out of there—don’t go in the forest—I’ll—I’ll be fine. Do not go into the forest!”
Her voice was chocked off the line.
I didn’t move a muscle. I couldn’t say a word. No, this wasn’t something Serena could handle. Not on her own.
I also knew that whatever had Serena, it sounded pretty clear that her time there wouldn’t be for a span of days. I had lost the game. I had failed her. Her last words were still flowing back and forth across my forehead. “You have to get out of there—don’t go in the forest—I’ll—I’ll be fine. Do not go into the forest!”
And her final request I would obey. If there was nothing I could do for her, who knows what could be hunting me this late at night. I already felt unease coursing through my sense. I took of in the wildest dash I’d ever made that I stumbled over my feet but quickly stood back up. The ground wouldn’t be safe and leaving tracks wouldn’t help. I made a sprint for a tree and clawed my nails into the bark as easily as if it was cardboard.
I didn’t really ever notice exactly how I made it home, but I made it back in one piece.
I walked up the porch steps, sweaty and exhausted. My mind was lost that if Fern hadn’t walked up to me and told me I was sweating, I would have forgotten to shower. I was heading up the stairs when she stopped me again and stated urging me about something I didn’t really give a shit to listen to. I figured it was still about my refusing in giving her my blood since she repeated the word ‘spell’ twice.
From the nearby coffee table, I seized an empty glass someone had left there six hours ago and dumped the remaining water into the nearest plant. I chewed off a mouthful of my flesh and let it bleed until the glass filled to the tip. Once that was finished, I allowed my wrist to heal and shoved the glass into Fern’s hands.
“Here,” I said barley over a moan. That should keep her busy for the remainder of the night.
It wasn’t Lyra’s fault. Someone began to say. To my surprise, Serena’s disappearance had knocked down every barrier I had placed between Andy and me. She saw as clear as glass my suffering and my hatred against Lyra. January, I’m so sorry for Serena. We could all go, whoever it was wouldn’t go against all five of us—we have to find her.
I would had normally out of anger yelled at her and raise that wall between us again. Instead, I completely bulldozed the remains of the barricade and sighed. Serena is a strong person, if she can’t make it out there is no point in risking our lives. You heard her; she said to stay away from that area.
If this is something that is not Alec, then there is no need to worry. We don’t even really know what this danger is, and if it is a danger, than we have but only one life to lose.
No January, that is barbaric—she’s your cousin—
And I care for her no more than that.
It wasn’t that I was annoyed at her but that I was exhausted from the day, so I build that barrier between us again. I didn’t really know if I still felt that span of agony striking through my blood or that I’d felt a relief that there wasn’t any hope; any sort of way to prevent the inevitable. Serena will be dead by morning.
I forced my heavy footsteps up the last five remaining steps and crawled into my bedroom and found myself allowing rivers of scorching water run down my spine. Then, I found myself curled in a tight ball against the pillow as I saw the sun rise up into a bright knew morning. No, this morning would be everlasting.
How long had it been? Two—maybe four hours when my body regained conscious, I couldn’t be sure. I rolled my body to its back and trailed my eyes to the only source of light that was now a midnight quilt of stars. I slept through the entire day, slept through Serena’s torturous death. When my palms reached to rub my eyes, I found small wet trails flowing down my cheeks.
Yes, it was over, and now I could cry in peace.
After maybe an hour of silent tears, there was a light knock on the door.
“I don’t wish to be bothered.” I spoke.
But either way, the door quietly creaked open and Caspian’s light tan face appeared from the edge.
“Andy and Lyra told us everything.” Barley whispered. “I needed to know you were alright.”
I half smiled; already insane in my own misery. “You mean you were making sure I wouldn’t do anything stupid that could penetrate Andy.”
He hesitated. “We’re all honestly concerned about your feelings.”
For a brief second, coming from his lips made it sound true. “Thanks but no thanks. You have nothing to worry if you think I will commit suicide. You have but to ask.”
By now his full body stood in my bedroom and he shut the door lightly behind him.
“Why?” he whispered.
“Why what?” I asked.
He stepped closer. “Why do turn your back on Andy and allow me into your life.”
I hesitated. I didn’t even know the answer to that question myself. “I’m not sure Caspian, I guess you can say that I’m still disturbed by the idea that Andy is my identical twin—but with you—I” I paused for a sec. “I’ve spend all my ninety-two years of immortality seeing males as tyrants or something. I just can believe that someone like you could exist—in percent day at least.” I’d dropped my gaze on to the floor as I sat up against the edge of the bed mattress.
When the springs shifted under me, I flinched in seeing Caspian seated beside me.
“Why would you consider us tyrants?”
I snorted darkly. “My life hasn’t been the easiest, once upon a time.”
He curved his face to look at mine and gently placed his hand under my chin to slightly meet his gray crystalized eyes. “I’m I allowed to know why, or is that a personal era of your life?”
I dropped my gaze again; his hand leaving a trace of fire where it had been. “I was born on January first of 1900 in Mississippi where Serena and I lived in the countryside of our town. We eventually had to leave the place we grew up in 1919. I was almost twenty by then. Serena and I spent our days discovering the city life while my parents fought day and night,” I swallowed hard. “It eventually came to the point where my father began beating my mother. That was reason number one why I started avoiding men. The day of New Year’s Eve came along and Serena wanted to cure my fear by taking me to a midnight bar. I didn’t enjoy it much really, though Serena had a blast.”
I could read his face that he was suspecting on where this was heading. “When she crashed for the night—half drunk with some random guy, I was left alone with a group of adolescents she piled up and I grew nervous. I wanted to return home even if it meant that I would have to face my parents rage.
“When I began my stroll back home—it wasn’t far, just four blocks maybe. I began to presence that one man—one who desperately wanted to join my little club, began fallowing behind me. I knew I had been running that night, running from him. But the next night I regained conscious, I was already a vampire. If I saw the things my father could do to my mother, it wasn’t even a valid comparison to what that vampire did to me.”
I found myself silent after that but it seemed he was still waiting for me to say something. “When I finally was able to run away, I found Serena, changed her and brought her along with me. I figured then, that a cursed life of immortality—forced to live with our sins for eternity, was far better than living under a roof with two creatures that were bound to kill one another.”
He looked puzzled then. “What were your parents’ names?”
I gave a light shrug. “Their first names were Michael and Diana; there last should be Vagrant I’m guessing.”
“Is there any way to contact them now?”
I shook my head. Sure that would be helpful.
“I know that was a while ago, but I mean any of their decedents.”
I shook my head again. “I said their all dead; I took care of that myself.”
His expression became unreadable. “You killed them?”
I nodded. “When we saw them again after a year or so, we expected a welcome, but when they brought out their stakes to kill us, they didn’t leave us with another choice. You actually think I wanted them dead?”
“I’m not completely sure what to think about you. I’ll admit though, you hadn’t had it easy—nobody’s life is simple . . . it’s just maybe that no one has it so complicated.”
“How’d you find Andy?” Shoot, that one slip out. He didn’t seem to be aware of it.
“Andy saved me.”
I snorted. “Well there’s a twist, Caspian the damsel in distress.”
He’d joined in with a casual grin. “I really do mean she saved me Miss Vag—Jan.”
I hesitated. “Kay lets hear about it.”
He stared of blankly into space while he organized his thoughts and then strolled on back into reality and began speaking what he rehearsed. “I’m guessing you know about September 11.”
I nodded. “The terrorist attack, I was in Montana that year.” I wanted to correct myself and say we were in Montana that year, but Serena was long gone to be included.
“Well, my parents and I were in the World Trade Center. And then, as we all now, the planes crashed. I’d lost conscious and only one girl care to notice.”
“Andy.” I muttered.
“She took me out minutes only the first building fell. When she noticed that I was bleeding to my death, she had no other choice but to turn me.”
“So you stayed with her because you felt you owed her.” That one was another slip. Why was it so easy to let my guard down around Caspian?
“No, well, at first she was still a complete stranger to me. But after she lived with me through my first year . . . it . . . it grew hard to be away from her. It still is when I know she there are things she has to do on her own.”
I didn’t want a further explanation; I’d had to admit that Andy had that gift I didn’t: she’d care even if she were blind. “Not to be rude or anything Caspian, but why’d you come? Why are you telling me all this?”
He sighed. “I thought you would ask that and the truth is that I’ve noticed I’m more appealing to you than any of the other. Fern or Andy would have come to over their comfort, but they knew you wouldn’t want it from them.”
I smiled ruefully. “They did right, they would’ve gotten their feelings hurt otherwise.” I wanted to say more, but it wouldn’t be right to continue speaking with someone who’d probably wasn’t enjoying my presence. “Thanks Caspian. Thank you for distracting me for a while, I needed that.”
“And . . . ” I began saying as he was moving to leave. “As for Lyra, just go ahead and tell her she can unpack.”
He paused midway. “We could search for her you know . . . for Serena. I know you might not want to speak about it, but by what Andy’s been saying . . . she believes Serena is still out there.”
“She’s gonna send a search party.”
“How’d you guess?”
“Andy just thought it up.” I whispered.