Sibling_Rivalry

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Emma has two strange encounters with the "stranger" from the teahouse. She learns a dark secret.

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Day Two

Submitted: June 21, 2008

Reads: 509

Comments: 14

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 21, 2008

A A A

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2. DAY TWO

A fiery pain was pulsing through my body. I was on fire. It was a terrible, burning pain—but a pain I had felt before. Last night. This was the same dream I had had last night, I realized with a jolt. Okay, I thought. Concentrate. There’s something in this dream I’m supposed to know.

But a shot of acid down my spine disrupted my thought process. Just like last night, this dream felt shockingly real—dangerously real.

And it was all happening exactly the same as it had last night—the feeling of acid through my veins, the convulsions from the pain, and the cold, strong body on top of me, holding back my flailing arms and legs and stifling my cries of agony with a firm, strong hand.

“Calm, my angel. Dream happy dreams and you’ll forget this pain. A pain all of our kind must feel. But soon it will be over. It doesn’t last forever. I know you won’t remember me, but I’ll remember you.”

And the pain was gone with the closing of his song—and so was he.

In the morning I woke with a start. A thin layer of sweat was covering my skin—just like yesterday. I glanced over at my clock. 5:30 a.m. it read. My alarm was going to go off in half an hour. It was weird that I had woken up before the alarm. That never happened.

I rolled over onto my stomach. I groaned. I ached all over. And my throat hurt. I rolled back over, threw my legs over the side of my bed, and sat up. I felt lightheaded—like the blood had been drained from my head over night. Actually, it kind of felt like my whole body had been drained. My legs, my arms, even my chest were tingling—as if the circulation had been cut off everywhere.

I stood up—and fell down immediately after doing so. I was so dizzy I couldn’t even stand up straight.

As I lay in a toppled pile on the floor, I heard a scrape on my window. I sat stock-still, listening for the noise to happen again.

When I didn’t hear it, I got up—this time making it across my room to open the window. I peeked out, searching for the source of the noise. I nearly had a heart attack when I found it.

The boy from the teahouse was crouched in the tree outside my window. I stood there frozen, unable to move an inch, staring at the gorgeous boy. Just as he was staring—frozen— at me.

The look on his face was one of shock and horror—the same as yesterday—as if he was a child who had gotten caught doing something naughty and was waiting for a scolding, but wasn’t sure how bad it was going to be.

Once I found my voice, I muttered, “Who are you?” The instant I spoke, his look of horror melted away, giving way to a look of— was it sadness? And indecision. It looked like he was contemplating whether or not he was allowed to tell me his name.

“What is your name?” I spoke, a little louder this time.

“Ryan.” His voice was gruff—but silky smooth at the same time. It was very attractive, and vaguely familiar.

“What are you doing in my tree?” I asked. I tried to sound calm, but inside my heart raced, my blood pulsed through my veins faster and hotter than lightning.

He didn’t respond.

“I’m Emma,” I said, encouraging him.

“I know,” he mumbled.

Whoa!! What is he talking about? Did he just say what I think he said?

“W-What?” I stuttered.

He was silent.

How did he know my name? Had he heard Meg yesterday at the teahouse? She hadn’t said it all but once, though, and not even that loud. And he was all the way on the other side of the store. Then how did he know me? I knew I had never seen him before yesterday—I would’ve remembered him for sure if I had.

While I fussed over why he knew my name, I stared into his stunning green and gold eyes; I noticed instantly when he looked away. But even though he did—I couldn’t. I watched his face, following his gaze. He was looking down toward the ground.

No. Don’t leave yet! My thoughts were frantic.

He turned to his right slightly and looked to be preparing himself to jump.

Uh-oh. He was really high up— higher than my second-story window. Plus he was kind of in the middle of the tree. There would be leaves and branches surrounding him the whole way down if he tried to jump.

He stood up, ready to jump. He put one foot over the edge of the branch he was on, leaned forward and—

“No!” I instinctively yelled before I knew what I was doing.

He put his foot back on the branch and turned to look at me questioningly.

“I have to,” he mumbled.

“No,” I said again. “It’s too far—you’ll get hurt.” He smirked and raised an eyebrow—for some reason—at that.

“I have to go.” He put his foot back over the side of the branch.

“Stop that,” I demanded. I felt a little bit braver now, considering that his life pretty much depended on my willingness to speak up.

“If you have to go, at least come in and take the stairs.” And now I was inviting perfect strangers into my home. If my dad saw him. . . “How did you even get up there in the first place?”

“Very carefully,” he muttered.

“Okay. Well, then you either ‘very carefully’ get back down—which looks from here like it’s going to be hard to do—or, come inside and go out the front door. Your choice.” I suddenly felt extremely confident. Like I was an adult giving a little boy his options on how to get out of a stupid predicament and I knew the child would choose my suggestion because it was the only reasonable one.

But the person I was talking to was definitely not a little boy. He was a gorgeous, green-eyed man.

And he was caving.

I knew he saw the inescapable logic in my plan.

His face twisted. And my heart sank. He didn’t want to do this. I knew it. The last thing he wanted to do, it seemed, was come inside my house. But I wasn’t giving him a choice. I refused to let him get hurt.

I watched his every motion as he gracefully hopped down to the branch below him, and then sauntered forward.

My heart beat faster and faster until I thought it was going to explode from my chest.

When he reached my window—still holding my gaze—I backed up to give him room to get in.

As he crawled in, he looked up at me, refusing to break eye contact.

When he got fully in he stood straight up in front of me; He was closer than I’d thought he’d have been. With him this close, I had to look up to see his eyes. He towered over my 5’6” stance. He was probably at least 6’2”. And with him this close, it wasn’t just his height I noticed— it was his smell. It was an indescribably sweet and soft, but potent scent. It was like nothing I’d ever smelled before.

“Pardon me,” he murmured. His sweet breath blew in my face and knocked me speechless.

I stumbled backward, not quite able to regain enough composure to walk. He flew forward and caught me before I hit the ground, snagging my waist with one arm, my shoulders with the other. He pulled me towards him and I gasped. His skin was cold as ice. He didn’t let go. I was pressed against him, our bodies fitting together perfectly. I shivered, but not entirely from the chill.

I craned my neck up to look at his face; all I could see looking forward was his chest. He was looking down at me. He leaned his face in, getting closer to mine every second. I couldn’t breath. Closer, closer. I could feel his breath now on my face, my lips. My heart was beating faster and faster. My skin was tingling where he touched me. I could not believe this was happening. His lips parted.

“Are you alright to walk now?” he murmured.

I just continued to stare at him.

His hands moved and placed themselves on top of mine. He grabbed them and put them around his neck.

“Hold on,” he warned. I clasped my fingers together as tight as I could.

His hands left my fingers, moved over my shoulders, down my waist, and settled themselves on the backside of my thighs, right above my knees. I didn’t know what he was doing. And I didn’t care.

Then I felt the ground fall out from under me and he was lifting my legs up to hook them around his waist. I held on tighter.

He carried me across the room as if I were a feather, instead of my one hundred and twenty-some pound self, and sat me down gently on my bed. He gave me one more sad look and turned away.

“Thank you,” he said and then slid out the door, closing it silently behind him.

I sat there on my bed, where he’d placed me, for another fifteen minutes until my alarm went off, pulling me out of my trance.

I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as yesterday; I was exhausted and wanted to be able to get back to bed. So I walked over and turned on my TV. I hadn’t changed the channel since yesterday morning, so it was already on the news channel.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Sure enough—another snow day. It really wasn’t surprising. Cancellations usually came in groups of two or three; the one Gunnison snowplow could never make it around the whole city in one day. Plus, whenever there was a snowstorm, the electricity at the high school usually went out—one of the disadvantages(or benefits, depending on how you look at it)of a century old school that has only updated its circuits and wires once—in the ‘60s. Oh well.

I turned off the TV and went across the hall to the bathroom to get a drink of water, attempting to calm my heartbeat. When I came back to my room, I walked over to my bed and lied down again, and slept. And had dreams about strangers, trees, and fantasies that would never come true.

* * *

It was 4:00 p.m. when I finally woke up again. And the only reason I did was because there was something fuzzy lying on top of me.

I opened my eyes and Oscar was staring back at me.

“Mleep!”

“Oh!” I said with a start.

I sat up and Oscar jumped off.

I hopped out of bed and stumbled my way out of my room, down the stairs into the kitchen.

“I’m so sorry, Oscar,” I apologized as I reached under the cupboard for his bag of food. I poured some in his bowl, then put some fresh water in the other one.

“Meup!” he approved, and started eating greedily.

I was standing there just watching the cat eat when someone walked up behind me. I listened closely.

“I fed him this morning for you. He just wanted his dinner.” It was only my dad, but I jumped as soon as he spoke.

“Th-Thanks,” I stuttered, still staring at Oscar.

“Don’t worry about it. You looked really tired.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, finally turning around to face my dad. I had been really tired. I had been exhausted for almost no reason.

Almost. I knew what the reason was. The encounter with the boy, Ryan, had left me not only mentally stressed, but also physically exhausted. It had felt like I had run a marathon the way my heart had been pounding, the way my blood had been racing through my veins.

“Emma?”

“Huh?”

“You spaced out there for a second,” said my dad, sounding worried.

“I did?”

He nodded.

“Sorry, Dad. Just thinking.”

“Oh, okay. Don’t think too hard, kiddo. You’ll put yourself to sleep.” He chuckled. He let the silence sink in for a few more seconds then broke it. “You should probably eat something.”

“Kay,” I replied simply. I really didn’t feel that hungry, but my dad was eyeing me scrupulously, waiting for me to follow his advice. I grabbed a banana and started peeling it. My dad nodded in approval, then went into the living room—to watch the four o’clock news, I assumed.

Once I’d exposed enough of the fleshy fruit, I took a bite. It tasted different somehow—not as sweet as it should have been, not as appetizing. Maybe it wasn’t ripe enough yet. I looked down at the yellow fruit and saw no green. It was soft, too.

I was squeezing the banana, testing its ripeness, when Splurp! It burst in my hand. Actually, it looked like I had crushed it. The banana was all goop, now, running through my fingers.

“Ehw.” I threw the banana in the trash, washed my hands, and gave up on food.

As I walked back up to my room, I thought about the crushed banana. I didn’t even remember squeezing it that hard. Maybe it was too ripe and that’s why it tasted funny, and that’s why it mushed easily between my fingers.

That must be it, I thought, closing my mind on the subject. I was feeling a bit nauseous from thinking about the banana so much. No. I wasn't feeling nauseous. I was nauseous.

I ran to my bathroom, opened the lid of the toilet and puked my guts out.

I felt a cool hand on my neck, holding my hair back. I figured it was my dad. Who else would it be? But I kept my eyes tightly shut and didn’t look back to see.

“Try to be as quiet as possible, please,” a smooth voice behind me spoke—the voice of the owner of the hand holding my hair.

And, holy crap! It wasn’t my dad!

I wanted to turn around and ask Ryan what the hell he was doing in my bathroom (holding my hair while I puked) but another stream of vomit stopped me from doing so.

I moaned and finally opened my eyes.

“Oh my god!” I shrieked. The toilet was full of blood. I started to cry.

“Shhh, shhh,” Ryan soothed. “It’s okay. It’ll be perfectly alright.”

I’d started breathing hard by then. What was happening to me?!

I coughed up more blood, then slumped down on the floor, exhausted—again.

Ryan dropped to his knees next to me. He grabbed me in his arms and whispered soothing things in my ear.

“Shh, shh. It’s okay. You’re going to be alright. It’s over for now.”

I would’ve just sat there in his arms, but I picked up the key words in his sentence—‘for now’.

“What?” I asked. He looked at my sympathetically. “Will this happen again?” I mumbled through the blood leftover in my mouth. I didn’t even know why it was happening now.

“Yes,” he replied. “But it won’t be as bad next time. This was your First Purge.”

“My what?” I asked, flustered. Ryan didn’t miss how I sprayed blood on his face, right on his lower lip.

He looked at me with a tortured expression on his face. I blushed. Ryan closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Then exhaled, seeming to calm himself. Was he that mad at me for accidentally spewing him with blood? I stared at the spot of blood on his lip with horror. Ryan exhaled therapeutically for the last time. In preparation to give his explanation, he licked his lips. I didn’t miss how he did not wipe off the blood spot before doing so. Or how he swallowed afterward.

“Your First Purge. The first time you purge yourself of food and blood—mostly blood, as you can see.” He nodded toward the toilet.

“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked, growing angry because he was only giving me little snippety details.

“Shhhhh!” Keep your voice down, please!” he whispered fiercely. “If your dad comes up here—well, that would not be a good thing. Let’s leave it at that.”

“Why can’t my dad know?” I demanded. “What is happening to me?” I asked, a little more frightened by the fact that my dad couldn’t know I was vomiting blood.

He stared into my eyes—searching for something, it seemed.

This morning when I’d gotten a drink of water, I’d noticed that my eyes had looked even greener than they did yesterday.

“I suppose it’s time to tell you,” he said. “Then again, I really don’t have a choice now either way.

“Tell me what?”

“Shhh,” he ordered. “Let’s go to your room.”

Then he picked me up and cradled me like a little baby, flushed the toilet with his foot, opened the door with his right hand, supporting me only with his left arm, and carried me across the hall and into my room where he sat me on the bed.

“Wait there,” he commanded.

Then he left the room, leaving me alone on my bed, my head spinning. When he returned, he had a glass of water in his left hand and a washcloth in his right.

“Here you go.” He handed me the glass. I drank some, sloshing it around in my mouth before swallowing it. He took the glass, setting it on my bedside table.

“You’d better lie down,” he advised. I couldn’t help but listen to him—it was hard to resist. So I swung my legs onto the bed and he tucked me in under the covers.

“You look cold,” he noticed, for I had been shivering slightly. He placed the warm washcloth on my forehead. He looked into my eyes and trailed his fingers down my temple, over my cheek, resting it on my neck. “I’m so sorry you have to go through this. It wasn’t deserved.” It felt like he was starting his explanation, so I remained unmoving, unspeaking.

“Everyone is chosen at random—well, not complete randomness. If someone were the only one in their family, for example, they wouldn’t be chosen.” I couldn’t help but interrupt after that.

“Chosen for what?” I whispered.

“Chosen to go through what you’re going through. What so many before you, and after you, will go through.”

“But what am I going through? You said I couldn’t tell my dad. What’s happening that’s so serious that not even someone with my own blood can know about it?”

“He won’t be your own blood for long.”

“What?” I choked. I’d given up on the no-talking thing. “What do you mean my dad won’t be my own blood?! We’re family. We don’t have a choice.”

“Do you first want to know, then, why you purged yourself of about a fourth of the blood in your body just now?” Ryan asked.

My eyes widened in horror. A fourth of the blood in my body?! “Is that possible?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s very possible. You’ll soon lose more than that. And your body will stop making blood. Eventually it will all be gone.”

I started to cry. “What is happening to me?” I blubbered. “Just tell me! Tell me exactly. Don’t use metaphors, and don’t twist it all up to make me think. Just tell me. NOW.”

I looked up at Ryan with hope in my eyes. He gazed back at me, his face twisting in pain. “You will not believe me if I just tell you,” he said.

“What could it possibly be that I won’t believe you. I will believe you. Because I will know it’s the truth.Because you are afraid I won’t believe. That will make me believe.”

“Do you believe in monsters?” Ryan asked. What kind of random question is that? I thought, infuriated.

“Just tell me. PLEASE! Don’t try to distract me. This is serious.”

“Answer the question and I will,” he countered.

“What kind of monsters?” I asked hesitantly.

“Vampires,” said Ryan.

“Vampires aren’t real,” I noted.

“So, ‘no’, then?”

“No. And what does that have to do with anything?!”

“Seriously,” said Ryan. “Keep your voice down. You’re dad is still downstairs…And it has to do with everything,” he added, answering my question.

I raised an eyebrow. “How does it have to do with everything?” I asked timidly.

“Emma, please do not freak out. Your dad cannot know about this. Promise me you won’t make a sound.”

“Just tell me,” I demanded, anxious now. And a little afraid—despite my better judgment— of what he was going to say.

“Promise,” he murmured, almost seductively. Dang. He knew how to get what he wanted.

“I promise.” I was going to demand again that he tell me, but I didn’t have to. Because as soon as I sealed my promise, he did.

“Emma, you’re turning into a Vampire.”


© Copyright 2018 Catherine . All rights reserved.

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