The Last Huntress

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They Should Have Let Me Die

“There’s a lot to discuss, to explain to you. Things have changed,” I could hear the sound of Donovan’s voice and the breathing of Hera who showed up not long ago. I wanted to put both of their faces through a large window making the glass shards embed into their face and eyes. I wanted them to suffer, but I wasn’t sure why. I had a hate boiling under the surface and I had questions trying to get through. Which one I would go with, I wasn’t sure.

I didn’t trust my voice, so I let them keep talking.

“You were dead, the moment you walked onto the grass before the thousands of vampires, you were dead. I knew his plan and I gave you that water to protect you. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more happening, I was turned and my mind was widened beyond anything I could have imagined. He still believes I am on his side, that by turning me I can’t go against him.” Donovan’s voice was like nails on a chalkboard. I had a tight cloth around my head and ears and I could still hear him clearly. Apparently, my hearing would be very sensitive for a while. They still haven’t explained that part yet.

“Just tell her what happened,” Hera spoke up and I nearly said something, but I decided to wait. I decided to hear them out instead of putting their heads through a window.

“It started with your imprisonment,” Donovan started and I pushed myself into the corner of the walls behind me while keeping my very sensitive ears on the situation.

“The moment those shackles were around your wrist and arm he put his plan into action. He kept me by his side for the most part because I was so close to you, he believed having me on his side would kill you faster. He believed he could get you through your emotions first.” I couldn’t help the slight snort come from my held back laugh. To get me through my emotions, what a laughable concept.

“I gave you the tiniest bit of my blood in that water so that you could escape. I knew it would give you enough strength to get the job done, but I didn’t know how many people would be waiting for you. He had me cuffed to the post in his second chambers because he had ideas in his head that maybe I would turn against him. That’s why I wasn’t there when you made your escape.” I followed his words and for the most part, I couldn’t really care about what he was saying.

I didn’t want to hear what the stupid master’s plan was before I was supposedly killed that night, I didn’t want to hear any of this, but they wouldn’t let me leave the room. So Donovan continued,

“That’s when I was visited by the goddess that saved your life-”

“-You mean took my death?” I interrupted and received a strange look from Hera and an almost scared look from Donovan. He can talk and act the way he used to, he was a vampire now and is incapable of being his old self. I think he took my glaring eyes to heart but kept talking instead.

“Regardless, Artemis asked for a favor. She told me she would be able to save you but she needed my help to do so. I allowed her entrance and I don’t remember what happened after that. The next thing I remember is seeing your bloodied body laying over Howl’s in the open field. All the vampires, including the master, had left the field. I could hear the shouts from the men and women around me, they thought you were dead. The lack of a heartbeat told me you were.”

Things were beginning to come back to me. Blurry blotches of red and dark blues entered my vision as I tried to think about that night. Unfortunately, I couldn’t piece everything back together and my head was starting to hurt even more. I only had their story to go off of at the moment.

“I remember being completely broken seeing your body there and not hearing your heartbeat, but then things changed. Everything changed. There was a low, almost warming, light that began to come from your center and spread to your limbs. Something in my head told me to pick you up but I didn’t get the chance to do so. I’m going to tell you something that you might not believe,” He started and I closed my eyes for a moment. I tried to remember the words he explained to me and then something crossed my vision as the memories tried to absorb back into my mind.

“Your eyes began to open but you didn’t seem like yourself. I reached down to pick you up but I was interrupted by someone,” He paused and looked over at Hera for a second. Suddenly, pictures of deep blues and reds consumed every inch of my closed eyes as I began to remember what happened that night.

“There was a tiger,” I started just before Donovan started talking again. I kept my eyes closed as if I was seeing the scene before my eyes. I was so consumed that I didn’t notice the sound of Hera shuffling her feet nervously next to Donovan.

“The tiger, she was licking me...My face and hands, she was making sure I was awake.” I brushed my fingertips over my flesh as I remembered the feeling of the tiger’s tongue. I know it sounds strange, but she was there. I opened my eyes slowly, only to see myself still in the same room. Still on the same white and tan bed as before with the same mirror sitting on the back of the door I wasn’t allowed to use.

I slowly turned to Donovan and Hera only to be met with two guilty faces.

“Did I miss something? I’m not crazy, I saw the tiger there. I think I quickly passed out afterward but she was there. She helped me,” I tried to get them to see my side of the situation but they kept their eyes down and the guilt on their faces wouldn’t go away.

“Am I missing something?” I asked,

“Donovan spoke the truth when he told you about Artemis, something similar happened to me a very long time ago. Remember when you wanted to know my age and what I am?” Hera spoke up and gave my mind more questions to ponder. A lingering headache wanted them to go away but I needed the answers.

“The two of you are hiding something, aren’t you?” I rhetorically asked them and ignored Hera’s question.

“It’s not our fault, please believe that. We had to wait until you survived the change before we were allowed to say anything about it. It’s the same thing that happened to me, Artemis blessed us with a gift. One that saved both our lives and in turn gave us our other half back.” I wasn’t sure what she was talking about, other halves and stuff. I didn’t really want to be saved, I wanted to die in peace next to Howl’s body.

“I don’t consider this a blessing. I wanted to spend eternity next to Howl and now I have to survive knowing that Ba’al won.” I pushed myself into the corner even harder, I wanted to get away from them, from this whole situation.

“You asked me what I was when I snapped you out of that funk you had been in. It’s hard to explain what she gifted me with, maybe I should show you.” I slowly opened my eyes back up only to see Hera stand and begin to strip her jacket off. She got down to only a weird, skintight suit underneath and before she could take that off I heard something that almost made me throw up on the spot.

Her bones began to break. Right in front of me.

I held my breath and my vomit with my good hand while I looked at what the breaking bones were trying to show me. The tiger from my short memory of that night was standing and breathing before me. I slowly, very slowly scooted towards the tiger. She seemed gentle enough and the eyes that stared back at me reminded me of the night I saw a beast inside of Hera.

“Hera?” I asked but the tiger couldn’t say anything and the moment her face fell into my one good hand, I could feel the purr of her body telling me I was correct. “Donovan, how can this be real?” My voice cracked as my finger traced the thread of her fur over the large nose now in my lap. She was gentle and warm, I could keep her face in my lap all night. The sound and feeling of her purring made my heart rate slow down and my nerve calm.

I slowly began to remember Donovan picking me up off the ground that night and placing me on this tiger’s back.

“You brought me here, didn’t you? What does this have to do with the blessing Artemis gave me?” I asked her gently and when she removed her face from my lap I was all but warm now. She backed up and broke her bones again only this time she became a human before my eyes. The suit she was wearing before was still on her and that made me question everything that made sense.

“I showed you that because Artemis has blessed you in the same way. The tiger I shift into was once my best friend, just as Howl was yours. Now she is apart of you forever, even in death she saved your life.” Everything around me seemed to come to a halt, a horrible crash if you will.

Howl couldn’t be a part of me, she is dead and they’re playing a trick on me. I needed to get away from them and this situation. I think I noticed a bathroom door to my right.

“I need a minute. Is there a shower in the bathroom over there?” I asked and watched their heads nod without a word uttered. I quickly got up and shuffled over to the bathroom. Without another thought, I stripped my clothes off and turned on the shower. The blast of the water drowned out the terrible thoughts and answers that swam in my head. I gingerly peeled off the bandages around my head and ears.

I stepped into the shower and let the water absorb every pain and sound around me.

They’re wrong, both of them. I died in that field and now I am in hell. I’m in hell with people turning into tigers and telling me Howl lived inside of my body like Hera’s pet. This was a trick, hell was a place meant to trick and punish the dead, that’s what is happening.

I pushed my back up against the wall while the water ran over my body. I cried, hard and long, I tried to get everything out of my system while I was in here. I watched the dirt and blood from the other night run down the drain while I cried my eyes out.

“Howl, I should have saved you, I should have done something different. Howl,” I cried and spoke to someone that was long gone. But then I felt something odd. Something that could only happen to me if there was something else living inside my body and mind.

I felt something move. Just behind my rib cage and the walls of my mind.

“Howl?” I asked, knowing it was a stupid question, she wasn’t living inside of me but then it happened again. The thud against the inside of my body that couldn’t be explained by a normal and sane person. I didn’t know what was happening and my mind thought back to the bones that snapped in front of my face only a few minutes ago. Would that be me?

The only thing I did know is that if this isn’t hell and I wasn’t dead, they should have left me there to die.

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