The second Scarlett’s heart stopped beating, we started CPR. Amir made steady compressions on her chest whilst I blew air into her lungs.
A small voice in my head whispered that it was too late, but I refused to give up. I couldn’t lose her, not now. Her blood was everywhere, the floor and I were coated in it but I didn’t care.
“Scarlett, come on!” My voice was filled with barely contained panic.
Lillian watched helplessly, weeping silently. “It’s too late.” She said finally, sounding broken-hearted.
“No, it isn’t!” I couldn’t accept it.
“Yes, it is.” Her voice sounded strange. “Look.”
Despite myself, I paused my actions to squint in her direction. What I saw made me freeze in astonishment.
“What the hell?” I breathed.
Lillian held up her hand, which she had just cut with one of Scarlett’s knives. A thin line of bright red blood welled up and began to trickle down her arm.
Amir glanced up and stared. “Lillian what- how?”
A sob caught in her throat. “I- I think I’m alive!” Overcome, she collapsed to the floor, crying outright now. “Somehow, she must have- she gave her life to me. She knew she was going to die and she- oh Scarlett no!”
“You’re alive!” Despite his grief over Scarlett, Amir’s face lit up with joy for Lillian. “You’re actually alive!”
It was too much for me to process. I returned my attention to Scarlett, anguish consuming me. She was limp in my arms, the spark that had made her so uniquely her was gone.
Gently I closed her eyes, cradling her face carefully in my hands. It did not seem real, she was simply too vibrant, too fierce to die. I felt a spark of resentment towards Lillian; it didn’t seem fair that Scarlett had sacrificed her life for hers. The more reasonable part of my brain knew that it was not her fault, but my grief was too fresh for me to listen.
I could feel guilt welling up inside me, ugly and raw. If it wasn’t for me, she would still be here. Of course, I was grateful to be alive, but she was a much greater loss than I would have been. I never would have expected her to sacrifice herself, not for me. I knew how much I cared about her, but I had not realised that my feelings were reciprocated to such an extent.
If only we had had more time. How stupid I was wasting so much of it with my ludicrous hatred and prejudices. We could have had weeks or even months if I hadn’t chosen to walk away after that first glorious kiss. Still a short time, but it seemed like an eternity in comparison to the few short hours we had really been together.
Looking up I could see the ruined figure of Charlotte across the room. I had been dumfounded when we had first rounded the corner and saw her. When we had first met, I had assumed that she was just a poor and misguided girl. I had no idea she had the potential for so much destruction. I was a little sorry that she was dead, but only because I wanted to opportunity to kill her again myself. All of this was her fault, because of her Scarlett was gone. Stupid… vampire.
A tiny spark of hope suddenly flared as an idea sprung into my head. It was almost impossible, but perhaps it could work. If anyone could defy ridiculous odds, it would be Scarlett. I would have to act fast, time was of the essence. Suddenly energised I surged to my feet, scooping Scarlett’s limp body into my arms. Her hair trailed behind her like a fiery waterfall, escaping from its braid like it always did.
“What are you doing?” Amir demanded, distracted from his amazement over Lillian.
“I have an idea. It might not work but it’s worth a shot.” I looked at Vanessa; she stood staring blankly down at Charlotte’s body. Scarlett’s sword still hung limply in her hands. “Car keys?”
Wordlessly she fumbled in her bag and tossed them to me. She didn’t look in much of a state to drive.
“Where are you going?” Amir called. I was already walking towards the exit.
“Stay here and clean up.” I said, “I’m taking her to a graveyard.”