The Last Huntress

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Awaken the Beast

Sparks danced behind my eyelids. All I could feel is the pain, a fire that stretched from my toes to my head and into my body like a sponge slowly soaking everything up. I don’t know where I am and I can’t open my eyes to see anything. As if there was something covering them. I couldn’t hear my surroundings, again like something was covering them, and when I tried my limbs nothing happened.

My muscles hurt, if they were even muscles anymore, I wasn’t sure of anything right now. A pulse of dizzying pain danced in my head. My body melted against whatever I was laying on when I tried to struggle against anything I could. It was futile, at best, and soon I just laid in the nothingness that seemed to be my new existence.

I think I remember dying, does death feel like pain and nothing at all? I couldn’t answer my own questions, maybe I am dead.

It would make sense, the pain is what I deserve and the still and silence I’m consumed with is my after state. It would all make sense if this is what I get for killing beings my entire life, even if they were vampires. Being trained as a killer should get me a good, dirty spot in whatever is waiting for me on the other side but I would be prepared for anything they want to throw at me.

Then something strange happened, something that stopped the ongoing pain traveling through my blood and bones. Someone spoke out and the more amazing thing is that I could just barely hear them. Maybe I wasn’t dead.

“YOU DON’T-” The sound was muffled, I could barely hear them. There were at least two people, the felt angry. I wasn’t sure how I knew what they were feeling but it was easier than knowing what they’re saying. The anger was almost consuming my body when I heard another, what I could almost hear was a shout, from whoever is doing the yelling.

“BLOODS-SUCKING SON OF A -”

Things seem to be escalating and the word vampire was almost comical. If I was dead and surrounded by vampires then that would be my prized end. Being surrounded by the ones I’ve killed would be even better. It would be a horribly poetic end to an even worse life led by my dead parents and the thirst for being right and saving something impossible.

Then I felt it, a pulse on the side of my body. Then, where my hand should be, I felt a sharp pain in my fingers but it was the best feeling I’ve felt in a long time. I could actually feel my fingers! Maybe I wasn’t dead...Then it hit me again, if I wasn’t dead I was turned and I didn’t want that. The fire in my veins made more sense if I had been turned. If Donovan didn’t do as I requested and didn’t kill me after I came back from being turned.

That made everything worse because now I am one of them and I can’t just kill myself while laying down. I needed to wake up, I needed to know if my theory is true, I needed something!

The more I fought the harder the sharp pain came from my hand. Then it stopped, suddenly and frustratingly. It felt almost as if someone was holding it down. I tried to move against whatever was holding me down but it wasn’t working, the struggling wasn’t helping anything when I didn’t have any strength to give to it.

Then things stopped.

The tingling pain, the fire in my veins, and even the pulsing against my side. Everything stopped and things seemed more silent than before. The purple, almost blue, spots in my vision blossomed behind my closed eyes. The sparks were long gone but that didn’t mean my eyes were open to see the world again, but I was going to change that.

I willed my arm to move, I know I couldn’t see it and I barely felt it, but I willed it as hard as I could to move. The slow, unbearably slow, movement of my arm wasn’t stopped so I kept it going up and over my torso. There was a cloth over me, I hoped it was something appropriate and not just a blanket. My arm dragged along, there was no strength in it whatsoever. My fingers fumbled over the cloth as they made it to my throat, then my chin, I made them crawl up to my mouth. Everything seemed normal. Then I got to my eyes.

I didn’t feel my closed eyelids, no instead I felt a thick bandage over them. I tried to pick at it, to get it off so I could open my eyes but I wasn’t even strong enough for that. When a suddenly much warmer hand covered my own and it scared me. It made me jump and then a sharp pain shot through me.

The hand let mine go and then there was a tickle at the sides of my head. The sound of fabric ripping made me freeze with curiosity and a bit of fear. My ears must have been covered as well, that’s why I can barely hear anything. The ripping sound stopped but I could tell there was still some left on my ears. Then the pain, the horrible pain pierced my ears and I cried out.

“Listen to me, Redley, you’re hearing is very sharp right now. I need you to calm down before we wrap them again. Just calm down...” A familiar voice I couldn’t pin down spoke softly to me. It was almost a sort of medley that made my heart slow down and my breathing even out. The pain was still there but it wasn’t as sharp when the voice spoke to me.

“That’s a good girl, you’ve been out for quite a while and we’ve been keeping your room here as quiet as possible. You should have woken up at least a day ago, slacking off as per usual.” The voice continued its soft whispers. I lulled me into an almost trance until I realized what they were saying. I’ve been out for a while? Does that mean I’ve turned completely?

“Turn. D-Did I...Turn,” I tried my voice and voice it half gone but I was still able to get something out to the person singing me back to sleep.

“It’s complicated, Red, very complicated...It’s best if you heal first before you find out what happened. But I can safely say you are not a vampire. Not now and not ever.” Her soft words were a comfort, I wasn’t a vampire, not now and not ever. But that didn’t explain the pain, explain the fact that I was alive now when I was dying earlier.

It didn’t explain the sharp hearing or the bandages, and if I needed to heal then what would I be when I was done?

I squirmed on the table or bed or whatever I was laying on. I struggled to get the blinders off my eyes but it wasn’t working. I felt the person that was speaking to me seconds ago jumped up from be next to me. I could feel the air they left behind. When the creak of a door stopped me for a second I waited for someone else to stop me from getting my eyes and the rest of my hearing free.

“Red, you don’t want to do that. You need to calm down,” Donovan’s voice, I know that is his voice. It came from where the door creaked open but he sounded weird. His voice sounded slightly deeper but it was his voice. I knew that much. But I couldn’t contain my sudden anger. A surge of energy made me snap up from the flat spot I was laying on. The pain in my left hand came back and this time it felt like my bones were about to snap.

“Calm down, Red, please calm down.” His voice was further away now and louder. I could hear the fear in his voice and I was sure it was misplaced. Why would he fear me? He’s never been scared of me...

“Ca-can’t,” My voice strained and I couldn’t get the words out. The second my arm was strong enough to reach the one over my eyes I peeled it off softly, trying not to rip anything important off my face. The moment the bandages were off my face was the moment I knew how different I was going to be. The pain and silence couldn’t prepare me for what I saw in the mirror on the back of the door only a few feet away from me.

Before the mirror stood a woman that I didn’t recognize. A woman that was completely different than she was only days ago. What stood before the mirror was a beast, one that I’ve never hunted before and one that wasn’t completely a beast but was not human either.

I took a slight step forward, then another and another until I met the mirror. My fingers reached up and touched the cold surface of the mirror and I realized that the thing with fur covering its face on the left side, a scar that ran from its collarbone and down to a place I couldn’t see without moving the clothes that draped over the misformed body that stood before the mirror held my eyes.

I am the beast in the mirror.

“We wanted you to completely heal before you saw what happened. There’s a reason behind everything we did. Please just come with me and we can figure everything out together.” Donovan’s voice was like glass to a chalkboard. I suddenly clutched my head in pain and crumpled under the weight of the world around me.

I couldn’t be the thing I saw in the mirror, I just couldn’t be. I must have died in that field and this is my hell. Forced to see my dead best friend in my features while seeing myself as a beast. I’m in hell, and it’s where I belong.

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