✔️| The Gift of a Curse {1}

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CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY

I sit in Nick and Joshua’s childhood playroom as I eat the gummy candy my friend left for me. I smile as I go through their stuff. I have never thought about how Nick’s life was when he was a child, thus I did not expect him to be into literature. Although I think it makes sense since he has always been so wise and open minded.
My smile drops when I notice my hand starting to disappear. The possibility that I might be waking up crosses my mind, but I still feel a little scared.
Suddenly, I am thrown back into the darkness that Nick had rescued me from. Only this time, I do not fall; I just stand in the middle of utter darkness. I reach out my hands and try to touch something, anything around me, but I cannot feel anything. I cannot even see my own hands.
I feel the panic rise in me, but I will myself to remain collected. Freaking out will do nothing but worsen the situation.
I wait for a few minutes for something to happen. Alas, nothing occurs. Thus, I make a brave; or perhaps a stupid; decision and I start walking. I cannot see where I am going, but I choose to believe that I am still inside my own mind, which means I cannot be harmed.
Minutes, perhaps hours pass as I aimlessly walk in the dark. At some point, I become certain that there is nothing there.
When my legs become a little sore from all the walking, I decide to stop and somehow manage to sit on the floor. A while later, I fall asleep.
When I wake up, I lay in the middle of the woods; ones that I know a little too well. I try to remember how I got there; I try to remember how and when I returned to the Red Eclipse pack. Sadly, my mind is a total blank.
Finally, I allow myself to freak out. Being in the same territory as Stefan and Oliver is not a good thing. They have the right the lock me in the dungeons. What scares me though, is my brother. Since I grew up with him, I know that he will kill me without a hint of hesitation.
“Diamanda!” I abruptly hear a voice scream from a distance. The voice causes my stomach to drop because I have not heard it in years. Also, the fact that he screams Diamanda’s name makes me feel the way I felt when I passed out in Alec’s arms.
“Shadow, she is here.” The voice yells once again.
I force my legs to walk towards the voice; each step feels like a stab to my heart. I attempt to stop moving, but once I start walking there is no stopping. My body forces me to keep walking until I see Clay, Diamanda, and myself before my eyes.
I imagine myself killing Stefan ten thousand times as I watch an event that I have pushed to the back of my mind for the past four years. All this time, I have avoided thinking about this day; and all this time I have avoided thinking about my little sister. I chose the coward’s method, and I chose to pretend that none of it happened.
Yet, somehow, someway, it unfolds right in front of my eyes. For some reason, I cannot bring myself to look or walk away. I want to, but my body is frozen in place, it is glued to the ground. And I know that it is not my will to stay here and witness this for a second time. Alas, I cannot do anything about it.
“You are going to be okay little sister.” My voice assures Diamanda as Clay collects her in his arms. I can see the hope in my teary eyes; I could see the hope that my little sister will make it. If I knew then what I know now, my tears would hold anger and resentment rather than hope.
I believe it was a gift that I did not know. Otherwise I would have missed Diamanda’s last words. And even though I did everything in my power to forget about what she said, I cannot imagine not knowing any of it.
“Who did this Diamanda?” Clay asks her. I can see his wolf fighting for control.
“I am scared.” Diamanda’s shaky weak voice declares as she looks at Clay. She ignores the question, but I do not mind because I know that before she dies she mind links me and tells me who is responsible for her death.
“There is no need to be afraid. You will be just fine.” Clay assures her; a tear falls down his eye and falls into Diamanda’s face.
“I do not… think so” My little sister hiccups in the middle of her sentence.
“Do not talk like that, I just mind-linked a doctor. You just have to hold on.” My eighteen year old self assures her.
“I can feel it Shadow, I am going to die.” Diamanda looks at my younger self with fear. Still, she forces herself to smile at me.
I try to close my eyes, I try to block their voices, but I am forced to stand above the three bodies and watch everything that happened once before, happen again.
I know that I must be still unconscious; there is no way any of it is real. Diamanda died four years ago, Clay does not talk anymore, and I no longer have blond hair.
I try to think of why I am seeing this and why I cannot block it away, but all my mind can focus on is my dying sister.
“Do not dare say such a thing!” Clay becomes protective and holds her tighter to his chest while I sit on the ground next to him holding Diamanda’s hand.
“You are not going to die, you hear me? You are not going to die. You are going to be okay. You know why?” Even though his words are directed at Diamanda, it is lucid that he says them to convince himself.
“Why?” I did not know it back then. But now as I look at Diamanda’s face, I know she only asks him because she wants to hear him talk. It seems as if she already knew what he is about to tell her.
“You will be fine because I need you, because you cannot leave me, because you are my mate. I wanted to tell you on your eighteenth birthday, but I am telling you now because I need you to hold on to it with everything you have, okay?” Clay’s voice breaks at the end and he starts crying.
“I cannot, I am so tired.” She tries to close her eyes but I do not let her.
“No, no, do not close your eyes.” I shake her a little, and she immediately looks at me.
“It is okay.” Diamanda tells both Clay and I.
“It is okay, I just need you to promise me something.”
“Please, please do not leave me. Please…” Clay cannot continue talking because he starts screaming in between his cries.
I start crying as I try to go back to the darkness. I do not want to see this; I do not want to remember how it felt like to hear her voice tell me who killed her. Most importantly, I do not want to remember the details of the day that changed me.
I am afraid of what visiting this memory will do to me. After all, I never really got over her death, and neither did Clay. I became the person I am today, and Clay stopped talking the second Diamanda stopped breathing.
“It is not up to me Clay.” She whispers.
“If it was up to me I would… stay and I would live a happy life with… you. Sadly, it is not… So I need you to make me… a promise. Well... two actually.” She requests again.
“What is it?” My younger self asks.
“I know it is selfish to ask this, but I want you to avenge me, I want you to bring down the people who took the life I could have had with you.” Her free hand, the one that is not holding mine, holds his.
“I will, we both will.” Clay answers as he tightens his hold on her hand and gives me a nod as if assuring me that we will get vengeance for what has been taken from us. Seconds later, he turns his attention back to her.
“What is the second promise?” He asks her as he accepts the fact that this is the last time they will ever get to speak to each other.
“I want you to live. For a while… For a while you will be sad, and that is okay. I do not want you; however, to drown in grieve. Shadow, I want you… I want you to… to one day find your mate and live the happy life that I did not get the… the chance to live.” A tear slips down her eye as it becomes a little hard for her to talk.
“I promise little sister. I love you, I always will.” That is the last sentence I ever say to her.
“I love you too. Clay?” She gives me a soft smile before she lets go of Clay’s hand and touches his faces with the little strength she has.
“Yes love?” I can barely hear him due to his constant crying.
“I want you to promise me to… to not allow my death to stop you from achieving your dreams. I want you to one day… to… to meet someone, anyone who will make you happy. Do not be afraid to… let them give you the life that I could not give you. Promise m… promise me that please, I do not… I do not want to be the reason you… you stop living.” Clay does not reply. Hence, Diamanda panics.
“Clay please, promise me…” He does not.
Diamanda takes his hand in her smaller one and moves it to her lips. She kisses it a few times before she meets his red teary eyes.
“I love… I love you Clay. I know… you think I am… I am saying that because I am dying, but it… it… it is true. I have always… always hoped and… prayed that you are my… my mate. I am… happy… and honored that you are. Please… please remember that.”
“I love you too.” Clay says the last sentence he ever says before Diamanda gives him a small smile and takes her last breath.
I watch helplessly as my younger sister’s body turns limb, Clay lets out a deafening grieving howl, and I scream my lungs out.
Seeing it happen before me is a different experience than actually being on the ground next to Diamanda’s Body. If anything, it is harder and more heart breaking.
As I study my eighteen year old self as she cries over her sister’s corpse, I realize how much Diamanda’s death has changed me, and I realize how much has changed since she died. I am stronger, wiser, more secure, and I am broken.
In addition, I realize how much Diamanda’s demise has destroyed Clay. He used to be a carefree and an outgoing person. He used to always smile. He used to see the good side of things. He used to talk and babble about his interests for hours.
Almost everything has changed. Some things changed for the better, while other things changed for the worse. Either way, I now realize that these changes are permanent. Neither Clay nor I will ever find the people we were before that day. That day does not only mark the day that we lost Diamanda, but it also marks the birth of our new selves.
I want to yell, I want to scream as I stare at Diamanda’s lifeless green eyes. Surprisingly, I cannot even move; I cannot do anything but cry. It is like I am being mentally tortured. I can feel myself parts of who I am as I remember every awful feeling I felt when Clay held Diamanda’s body to his own with all his might.
Suddenly, everything around me fades away. First, it is Diamanda, then Clay, and then the woods. Only my younger self and I remain.
She looks at me with teary eyes before she too fades away. She disappears like smoke that merges with the darkness until it becomes nothing. Then, I collapse. I finally can cry I finally can scream. Hence, that is exactly what I do. I scream as loud as I can, I curse, and I call Diamanda’s name as I recall every bright memory I have with her.
Suddenly, I feel a hand holding mine. I look down to see nothing. Nonetheless, I feel a larger and a more masculine hand holding mine. It is warm and comforting, but it is also strange and unfamiliar. Somehow, this foreign hand gives me the comfort that I need.

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