Chapter 1 - Prologue/Training
I stare dazedly at the gory and blurry knife in my hand, trying to remember how it came to my possession as it fades in and out of my sight.
My eyes slowly blink, attempting to see clearly but unable to brush away the haze that clouds my vision and mind.
Where am I? What am I doing?
What is happening?
Distantly, I hear the sounds of coughing and gurgling and my head drunkenly turns towards the cause.
A smudge of a figure appears in the murky abyss.
As my vision heightens ever so gradually, the body morphs into a girl, and the girl becomes a barely recognizable face.
My sister, Camilla.
Her body; beaten and bruised.
A bloody baseball bat lying beside her prone form.
I’m absorbed in figuring out what happened to her when she coughs again, and slowly turns her head towards me.
She blinks a few times and takes a ragged breath:
Everything instantly comes into sharp focus and it’s like a harsh blow to my stomach.
I remember everything.
The carnage before me is spotlighted to full display.
The blood that covers the walls.
The bodies. Oh god, the bodies…
No. Not now.
I drop the knife and I didn’t realize it before, but I am shaking. Gripping my wrist with my free hand, I try to force myself to quit trembling, but it won’t stop.
Why won’t it stop?
No. I don’t care.
I let go of my wrist and walk towards Camilla. She is the top priority. Only, my legs are shaking as well.
I crumple to the floor before I can take a second step.
I hit the red-splattered floorboards with a loud thump, and my body sprawls limply across the floor as my brain rattles in my skull.
I shake my head as black spider webs crawl into my vision, but it doesn’t do anything.
My body slumps closer to the floor in resignation.
I am too weak.
No you’re not. Get to her. My conscious demands.
But I’m not strong enough. I say as the dark lines begin blurring my sight.
Yes you are! Now get your ass off the floor and help her now! She’s dying! The voice screams.
The words echo in my head, and every other noise fades as the phrase takes over.
No, I can’t let that happen.
I won’t let that happen.
I stretch my arms out to Milla; my courage is rising and I’m now desperate to reach her, even though I’m almost without eyesight.
Move god dammit!
I need to help her.
Come on! The inner voice screams again.
I feel my muscles droop with the weight of one hundred pounds.
The figure of Camilla gets smaller as the shadowy lines cover my sight completely, and my arms drop uselessly to the floor.
Camilla disappears entirely.
“Milla, keep your fists in front of your face; not your chest.” I say, exasperated.
Camilla drops her hands down to her sides, not bothering to follow my instruction. The golden eyes that are exactly like mine glance up at me and glare.
“I’m over this!” She exclaims in annoyance.
“Over what?” I ask her, honestly curious.
She puts her hands on her hips, and I have to fight a grin as she attempts to act angry and mature simultaneously.
Which is rare for me. I hardly ever smile anymore.
“I’m over listening to you teach me. Let Mace teach me!” She says.
My humor flees, and I scowl at the mention of Mace’s name.
“Mace is not teaching you how to fight. I am your brother. Therefore, I teach you.” I contradict.
She rolls her eyes and stamps her foot.
At 15 years of age, I expected a little better.
She’s probably still going through the ending phases of puberty Nasty River snorts. I almost chuckle with him at the joke, but halt.
What if she is still going through the ending phases of puberty?
Lord help me if so.
Camilla crosses her arms and glowers, as if she can read my mind. Her champagne-colored eyes glimmer with fake-anger and her long dark hair bounces as she harrumphs.
This time, I do chuckle a little. Milla watches me angrily and then hesitantly for a minute, before laughing along with me. Whether that was because she realized how ridiculous she was being, or whether she realized how much we both needed a good laugh, I don’t know.
I was two years older than Milla, placing me at 17, which also meant the growing pains had long since fled. They had treated me well considering.
I was about 6’4, stacked with muscle and totally toned.
I won’t lie; I was.
I had dark hair and golden eyes like my sister standing in front of me, as well as Caroline; my other sister and Milla’s twin.
Caroline was currently leaning against a wall, watching Milla and I toss our banter. Her slender arms were crossed and her eyes were alight with the amusement of an adult.
It was quite funny; Caroline was younger than Camilla and I, and yet she had always possessed a level of maturity neither of us could compete with. Caroline was 15 like Milla and they always did everything together.
We all were what you could call ‘genetic-miracle material’.
I shake my head to clear my thoughts and attempt to reason with Camilla again.
“Mace is too much of a distraction to you. You won’t focus when you’re spending all your time wondering what he’d be like in bed.” I say.
Admittedly, that was kind of harsh to say. Oh well.
Milla’s mouth drops open and she glowers again.
“Guys,” Caroline says, walking over, “let’s not get too caught up, yeah? Riv, just let her train with Mace. She actually is more likely to focus if she’s practicing with someone she likes.”
Angry, I’m about to retort right back before I catch the gleam in Caro’s eyes. This shouldn’t be an argument; her voice had worn a joking tone, but she was also trying to convey how important this training was.
Milla was more likely to focus if she enjoyed training.
Ugh, I really don’t want to do this.
I turn to Camilla.
“If I allow Mace to train you, will you actually follow instruction and learn something?” I question after a moment.
Milla’s eyes light up with hope and joy; something I hadn’t seen in a while. But it made me jealous to think Mace was behind the happiness and not me. That was the brother’s job.
Quit acting like a five year old Straight-Laced River barked.
She jumps up and down and claps her hands.
“Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!” She exclaims.
“Ugh, fine. I’ll call Mace and tell him to come over.” I inform her.
Milla stops jumping and looks at me with confusion.
“Wait, we’re still going to train today?” She asks.
“Duh, why do you think I’m going to call Mace?” I say dubiously.
She rolls her eyes for the second time that day, and begins to unwind the tape from around her knuckles.
“I need a break, Riv. Call Mace and tell him to come over tomorrow.”
“Are you kidding me?” I say to Camilla in disbelief.
Caroline laughs and punches me in the shoulder.
“Cheer up, Riv!” She says. “Camilla has been working hard; give her a break.”
I stare mockingly at Caro and she rolls her eyes at me.
“Anyway,” Milla intervenes. “Time’s up. We have to go home and make dinner before Daddy gets home.” She tries to mask it, but I can hear the slight tremor in her voice when she brings up our father.
Caro and I look at each other, and that one look says it all.
All we can say about him:
That fucking bastard.
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