I somehow managed to cover about six miles before the sun started to set. I did my best to climb a tall tree, without being in a group you had no one to take a watch. It was much safer to sleep in trees than staying on the ground. There was less of a chance for Class X vampires to stumble across you and see you as an easy meal.
I managed to climb about five feet off the ground with my hurt ankle. I would have normally been able to climb higher but my physical and mental energy was completely drained. I took the blankets out of my bag and pulled up the hood on my army-green hoodie. I tried to forget about the group that kicked me out because their leader felt I was too much of a threat to keep around.
I laid my bag down under my head and used it as a pillow. It was lumpy and hard but it was much better than lying on a tree branch. I spread out my thin cotton blanket to cover my body but it didn’t do much against the cold night air.
After a few moments of drifting in and out of consciousness, I finally fell into a deep sleep.
Once I awoke the sun was just starting to rise. It took me a few moments to remember the events that took place yesterday. When I finally did I felt rage course threw my body.
Not directed at the group but at myself. I should have known better than to get attached to them. I couldn’t care less about Logan but I was starting to like Maya, Zackary, and even Michael. Not that any of that matters now, I will never see them again, and quite frankly I’m not sure I want to. I felt so close to Maya and that scared me. I vowed to never get too close to someone again in case they wound up dead. Just like my parents.
I quickly stuffed my thin cotton blanket into my bag and jumped down from the tree. I had completely forgotten about my injured ankle and when I hit the ground I felt an intense pain shoot up throw out my leg. My vision went blurry and I heard a ringing in my ears.
I don’t know how long I laid in on the ground in complete agony. It had to have been more than an hour. I haven’t realized just how bad my leg was until now. I knew I needed to rest it but I also needed to find food. If I rationed the last of mine out I had about enough to last me a week.
That would mean I had a week to find some kind of abandoned building or come across some wild fruit or some kind of edible plant. Maybe I could get really lucky and find something to help out my injured ankle. I would need some kind of bandages or pills to help ease the pain. Granted any pills I find nowadays will definitely be well past their expiration dates.
I grit my teeth and stood up, trying my best to ignore my body’s protest. I took a deep breath and started to limp my way in the opposite direction that the sun was rising.
As I was making my way through the forest I started to remember the stormy night I lost my parents. I remember that night so clearly as if it were a movie on replay in my mind. The ache in my muscles as my dad was pulling me through the forest, the Class X vampires on our heels, the pouring rain, and most of all the lightning.
The flashes of light that caught a huge tree on fire right in front of us and the loud boom that came after it. The sky flashing white as a loud crackle emitted from the night. Within every flash of lightning, I could see the vampires closing in on my mom. I can still hear her screams during lightning storms, I still remember the look of hopelessness on her face as she was pinned down by Class X vampires.
Now, whenever I see lightning I am reminded of that night and it is as if I am eleven all over again, being pulled through the forest by my dad.
Tears streamed down my face for the rest of that day. Logan was walking ahead of the group not looking back at us. It was probably a good thing, I don’t think I could look at him right now. Micheal and Zackary were walking on either side of me. Micheal was doing his best to calm me down but it wasn’t working. At that moment I just wanted Ella, I wanted Ella to walk next to me with my hand in her’s, I wanted Ella to wear the flower crown I made for her, and I wanted Ella to sleep next to me in our private little tent.
When we finally stopped walking it was about half an hour before the sun would go down. I had managed to stop crying somehow during our journey. Micheal and Logan were pitching the tents, it has been decided that having four boys in one tent was going to be too crowded so Zackary would sleep in the blue tent with me.
Once the tents were set up Zackary and I climbed inside and I broke down sobbing.
“Maya,” Zackary said to me in a quiet voice. “You’re upset about Ella, Aren’t you?”
I gave a small nod and my twin brother pulled me into a hug. It was the same hug he gave me when our mother died a year ago. She got sick one day and never got better, I think Andrew said something about the flu.
“It’s going to be alright,” Zackary said in his squeaky voice. “Everything’s going to be alright.”
“I miss her so much,” I cried into Zackary’s shoulder. “I even made her a flower crown. One of my special flower crowns. I never made them for anyone but Sara, yet when I first met Ella I wanted to find some way to get close to her. I don’t know how to describe it but I wanted to be next to her. It felt like she was the sister I never had. Whenever she was by my side the world seemed right. Now that she’s gone I don’t know if the world will ever seem right again.”
“She’s not dead Maya,” Zackary said, slightly pulling away from me. “Stop talking like she’s gone forever. She is still out there somewhere.”
“She might as well be dead!” I snapped. “When Logan kicked her out of the group her ankle was hurt really bad! And if what he says is true, that vampires are after her, there will be no way she can fight them off alone!”
“You don’t know that. Ellas strong, I’m sure she would be able to take care of herself.”
“But what if you’re wrong?” I asked Zackary through the tears building up in my eyes. “What if she can’t take care of herself.?”
“Ella will be just fine, all we can do for her now is have faith in her. I’m sure we’ll find her again someday, and when we do Ella will be just as happy to see you as you will be to see her.”
“I hope you’re right,” I said in a quiet voice.
“Come on! When have I ever been wrong?”
I let out a giggle thinking of all the bad ideas Zackary has had that I went along with. There was the time we didn’t understand what a beehive was and Zackary decided it would be fun to poke it with a stick. Or the time he picked me some flowers so I could make a flower crown for Sara, but when he came back some of the flowers turned out to be poison ivy. We were both covered in rashes for weeks.
“See, you’re laughing already! And Micheal said I wouldn’t be able to cheer you up!” Zackary said laughing along with me.
“Oh shut up!” I yelled to him and after a while, we both collapsed on our blankets and fell into a deep sleep.
“Maya~,” A voice said somewhere around me.
I didn’t know where I was, Everything was dark around me and I couldn’t feel the ground under my feet. It was like I was floating in some kind of void.
I tried again to find the source of the voice but it was hopeless.
“I’m coming for you Maya~,” The voice sang again. This time I noticed it seemed to be coming from every direction at once.
“W-where are you?” I asked into the void. “Who are you?”
“Oh, you know who I am, little girl. You will learn soon enough, but by then it will be too late.”
“What d-do you mean?” I spun around in a full circle while listening to the voice trying to determine what direction it was coming from, but I could not pinpoint it. It was as if it was coming from every direction at once.
“You will know soon enough~,” The mysterious voice said again. “Unfortunately for you, you no longer have your little friend to protect you. It is already too late for her to save you.”
“You’re scaring me!” I yelled into the darkness at the voice. “Cut it out!”
“Scaring you. Scaring you! Oh, that is the least of your problems, little girl. How could a weak little girl like you wind up with such a powerful gift?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked while giving up on trying to locate the voice. “What gift?”
The voice let out a deep and evil laugh. “You really don’t know?! Of course, you don’t know! You are just a naive little child! At least your friend was starting to figure it out, but she was smart enough to get away while she still had the chance! But for you my dear, it is already too late~.”
“Who are you talking about!? What are you talking about!?” I yelled into the void.
“You still don’t get it, do you!?” The voice said while growing louder. “You, my dear, are an EM user.”
“W-whats and EM user!?”
But the voice didn’t answer this time. I just felt a sickening feeling in my stomach grow bigger and bigger until something stepped out of the shadows. It was some kind of creature, it didn’t look human. It was screaming or crying, I couldn’t tell which. Its eyes were the size of small apples and they were completely blacked out. Its skin looked like it had been melted off, and it was about my height. Even though I never have seen the creature before I somehow knew its name.
I was woken up by someone shaking my shoulder. I shot upright and looked around at my surroundings. I was still in the tent and I noticed the one shaking me awake was Zackary. However, right next to him was another little boy, Zagan.
“Maya!” Zackary yelled when I woke up. “You were talking in your sleep, I was trying to wake you up for over ten minutes! You must have been in a really deep sleep!”
“I guess I must have,” I said slowly. That didn’t feel like a dream, but what else could it have been?
“Well come on, we should get going,” Zackary said while getting to his feet. “Logan and Micheal are waiting.”
I got up and followed my brother and Zagan out of the tent. Once we emerged into the early morning light I couldn’t help but look over at Zagan. Something felt off before, but now I was sure of it.
When he caught me staring at him he just looked up and smiled at me. I couldn’t explain it but something was very wrong with that smile. It wasn’t friendly yet it wasn’t sarcastic, it was just...wrong.