Dissipating Darkness

Chapter Twenty-one

A gunshot rings through the air as I tear into the woman's neck. I see it pierce her heart at the perfect angle. She's dead.

I haphazardly throw her body to the ground and move at vampire speed to my next meal. Grayson Gilbert's wide eyes are unblinking as he looks down at his dead wife, Miranda. I can feel her warm blood running down my chin right before I sink my teeth into Grayson's jugular.

Another gun shot.

Grayson's body convulses as the bullet lodges itself into his heart. I feel the flesh of his throat tearing away as I harshly rip through it with my hands and teeth. As he falls to the floor, his head is barely hanging on by a thread.

No.”

The beast is still visible on my face as I look up at the sharp shooter who's surveying her mistake with tear-filled eyes.

No! No. Don't leave me here like this! I'm a murderer. I don't deserve to live.”

Are you begging?” I ask.

She nods her head wordlessly. I use vampire speed so that I am behind her; my breath on her neck. She stops breathing.

Beggars can't be choosers, now can they?”

I silently sit across the room from Liz's bed and watch her chest rise and fall with life. I remember the day she practically begged to die by my own hands. Raising her then-growing child meant less to her than living with her guilty conscience.

If I had known that child would be the love of my long life, I would've killed Liz that night without a second thought. She didn't deserve Caroline then, and she doesn't deserve her now. No one does.

Not even me.

Caroline deserves someone who doesn't have to lie because his truths are too dark, even for him these days. She should be able to have a boyfriend that didn't rip his own mother's heart out, or didn't murder her father in cold blood. She should be with someone that doesn't know what the life force draining out of someone else feels like.

I wish I didn't.

But I do, and although I wish more than anything that I didn't know what someone dying in my arms feels like, that dark, mad part of my being is glad that I do. The beast is lustfully tugging at the bars of its cell; waiting for me to let it loose just to feel it again. I so badly want to let it--

I shake my head slightly as a way of clearing it. I can't keep thinking thoughts like that. I need for everyone to know the truth about me. They need to know that I was a monster before they even knew me, and I'll be a monster when I walk away from them.

When I walk away from Caroline I'll tell her that I'm sorry, and that the light she brings into my world will never be enough. And she'll accept that explanation because she'll hate me. Everyone will.

My hands shake as I stand up from the chair in the corner and walk to the side of the bed that Liz is laying on. She immediately shifts from my presence, and her eyes soon bore into mine; like she knows what's coming for her.

“You're going to kill me, aren't you?”

Time stops around me as her soft words make me remember the night that Caroline had become a vampire; letting her guard down in the process. Much like her daughter, as she lay here on her should-be deathbed, Liz has completely let her guard down, too, and that is a heart breaking thought; even to someone like me.

Liz's eyes search around mine, and as they cloud, I can tell she hasn't found the answer she so desperately sought for.

I see her visibly tremble as I bring the back of my hand up to her cheek and gently caress it.

“Why would you even think such a thing, Liz?”

“I'm---I'm not sure.” Of course she wasn't. I had compelled her long ago not to be.

I feel my face turn to stone as I remove my hand from her face, and turn to exit the room.

“Good.”

I don't hide my vampire speed as I leave the room and securely shut the door behind me.

“What were you doing in there?”

I feel something close to surprise as I slowly turn away from the door and meet Bonnie's inquisitive stare.

“I was just checking on Liz. Caroline went to go learn a few more tricks about hunting woodland creatures with Stefan.”

The corners of Bonnie's mouth turn upward a little, but her body is still tense.

“You really don't like animal blood, do you?”

“I deal with it.” I reply honestly as Bonnie walks between me and the door leading into the guest room that is currently housing Liz.

“You sure about that?” The corners of her mouth are now straight lines as she looks at me, or rather, looks through me. I feel my eyes almost turn into mere slits.

“It's just that, well, I'd be surprised that human blood wasn't your first choice.” Bonnie's voice is cold; taunting in a way. She calmly crosses her arms over her chest.

“I never said it wasn't my first choice.” I flash her a smirk. “But just as I have said, I'm dealing with it. Rather well, actually.”

Bonnie smiles again, but it's one of her smiles that I am now considering her signature one; slight and tense.

“Well, to each his own, right? I didn't come here to question your dinner choices. I was wondering if maybe you knew a witch I'm thinking about training with. Her name is Alyssa Moore.”

The name seems to ring a faint bell.

“The name sounds familiar. I've never heard of the Moore lineage of witches, though.”

“I actually have a picture of her in the living room if you want to see.”

I nod my head in the affirmative as I follow Bonnie into the living room. I never forget a face. Maybe I've met this Alyssa Moore in a past decade.

Bonnie picks up a photo and hands it to me. It's a head shot of a young woman, around seventeen or eighteen. She's in front of a cream background, and she is in a dark orange colored graduation cap and gown. Her smile lights up the picture.

“Who's this?” I know who it is.

One photo is smacked out of my hand for another, and I am now looking at the photo of a girl in a cheerleader uniform. She is laughing with two of the other members of her squad.

“Do you recognize her now that she's wearing the clothes you murdered her in?”

Before I can respond, I am pinned up against the mantle by an unseen force. I can't seem to catch my breath as my feet rise further off of the ground.

“Bon--” Her name fails to topple from my lips as she squeezes her hand into a fist.

“Don't. You killed her! An innocent girl with her whole life ahead of her.”

An empty gargle makes it way out of my throat as she raises her hand higher into the air.

“And from what Alaric tells me, she's not the only innocent life you've taken from Mystic Falls besides Caroline's father!”

I grasp at my neck in an attempt to scrape away the imaginary bond around it. Bonnie walks toward me and stops a few inches away.

“You. You've ruined everyone's lives including your own. First it was Elena's, and whether you care or not, she's a mess. She may not know it, but she is. The moment she fell in love with those Salvatore brothers, I knew nothing but darkness would invade her life from then on out.”

Traitor tears are now running down Bonnie's cheeks.

“And now you're doing the same thing to Caroline. Caroline and Elena are both my best friends, but Caroline...Caroline is full of light. I won't let you dim her.”

If possible, the vice grip on my throat becomes tighter. The gasps escaping out into the room can barely be identified as my own.

I try to use the last of my strength to reach for Bonnie, but she takes a step back. She flicks her wrist sharply to the right, and I am immediately buried in darkness.

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