Emmett’s and Alicia’s heads snapped towards me, both their expressions wide-eyed and in shock as I spoke.
“Hallie, are you sure? If you do this, there’s no going back.” I could hear the hesitation in Alica’s voice, but I smiled.
“Alicia, there’s no going back if I die either. Just promise me one thing.”
“Anything.” Emmett nodded sharply.
“If I can’t fight the instincts and I go bad, I want you to promise that you’ll kill me.”
“Hallie, no.” Alicia gasped, her hands clasping over her mouth as terror flashed in her eyes.
“Yes, Alicia, we will, but we know it won’t come to that. If it does, if that is her wish, then we owe her that. I owe her that. I’m sorry my selfishness has put you here, Hallie.”
I moved a little and wrapped my arms around Emmett’s broad shoulders, “It’s okay. I forgive you.”
“I love you like you were my child, Hallie. I couldn’t let you go.” Emmett’s arms wrapped around me tightly as his head rested on my shoulder.
“Hey, what about me?!” Alicia jeered before she pounced onto us to join the embrace.
We fell back onto the damp grass as we all laughed for a moment, as we relaxed, just letting the tense moment loosen for a minute.
“Do I have to kill someone?” I asked quietly after our laughter had died down.
“Thankfully, no.” Emmett reassured me, “Just drinking human blood from a blood bag will do it. I fetched one from the closet hospital, it’s in the fridge in the cabin.”
“You’re one hundred percent, Hallie?” Alicia asked in a whisper.
“Yes, I know as long as I got you both, I’ll be okay. So, I can’t get staked through the heart or have my head chopped off?”
“No. But you can eat garlic, and holy water does not affect us. I’m not sure where humans got that idea from.” Alicia chuckled softly, “You can eat and drink; however, it tastes vile, but you’ll find adding a load of spices or something helps. Adding garlic to meals makes it taste better.”
“Anything else the books got wrong?” I chuckled feeling slightly amused at the information.
“Well, we don’t turn into bats or cats, although I’d have loved if that were true.” Alicia joked as she softly nudged my arm, “Silver or scared bullet’s don’t kill us either unless they pierce our hearts. Oh, and we can enter anywhere, as long as it’s not holy ground.”
“So no churches, or anything.” Emmett proceeded, “Crosses hurt us but not as much as they think. Oh, and as you’ve seen, we have reflections. That’s about it.”
“So everything except the whole stake, head-chopping, and the holy ground is a whole heap of rubbish?”
“Humans, if nothing else are imaginative.” Emmett smiled before standing himself up. “Come on, let’s go do this.”
Alicia stood herself and held out her hand to help me up. “Hey, next time, you won’t need a piggyback either.”
“Once you’re adjusted, I’m challenging you to a race.”
“Bring it, Emmett, I’ll outrun you.” I beamed at his playful challenge.
Alicia stood there and rolled her eyes. “Why do I get a feeling life from now on will consist of a lot of headaches?”
“Aw, come on, Alicia, you know you love us.” Emmett smiled as his arms wrapped around my shoulders and I joined in with his smile.
“Sometimes, I wonder. Let’s go; you can carry her this time, idiot.”
Before I could say anything more, Emmett scooped me up in his arms as we took one last look around the waterfall, and made our way back.
I stared at the crimson liquid in the cup Alicia placed in front of me. Part of me felt a little nauseous at the idea of drinking human blood.
However, my body craved it as my stomach gnarled like a voracious lion.
Before, when I smelled the blood, it had a potent metallic smell and made me feel sick. Now it smelled sweet, like a fresh home-cooked meal that only moms knew how to make.
“You won’t feel much different in the first instance.” Alicia looked at me in the way my mother used too, lovingly. “It takes a minute or two for it to kick in. There’s another bag which we’ll give you straight away; it will calm you enough to gain some composure.”
“The first few days are the worst, and you won’t feel like yourself. You’ll feel more like some frenzied animal who wants to kill everything and anything. You’ll probably even try to attack us. But remember, Alicia and I will be right here. Okay?”
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
Alicia snickered, “Don’t worry, we’re pretty tough. You won’t hurt us enough to cause any threatening injuries.”
“All right, well, here it goes.” I picked up the cup and took a deep breath.
The last deep breath I’d be making for real. I felt my weak heartbeat, letting it beat a few more times before it stopped. The last two things that kept me in the balance of being human. I relished in them. I enjoyed them.
“I love you, both.”
“We love you, too, Hallie.” Emmett leaned forward and pressed a kiss to my forehead.
“Please, for the love of god, drink it before I need to go kill some cute bunnies unnecessarily.” Alicia laughed before kissing my cheek. “You got this. Love you.”
I nodded, and in one swift movement, I threw the cup of blood down my throat.
It felt strange, almost as if the blood was ice cold as it poured down my throat. As it trickled down, my body began to warm and the warmth spread across my entire body as I instantly felt stronger.
“Hallie?” Emmett spoke quietly, almost too afraid to say my name.
Before I could think or speak, I was flooded with a tremendous burst of energy, as if my insides had erupted and a blue flash lit the room.
“Shit! Oh, shit, that hurts!” Emmett’s voice boomed, and a howl of pain penetrated my ears and caused me to wince.
My head snapped up towards Emmett’s voice. He was on the floor, the broken wooden table underneath him. Then I saw his stomach, a thick piece of wood ran right through him and my hand flew over my mouth in dismay.
Alicia scrambled to her feet from the corner of the room, brushing herself off before she spoke, “What the heck was that?”
“I don’t know, but shit, give me a hand! Oh god, I forgot how much this hurts!”
I watched confused and bewildered as Alicia made quick work of helping Emmett up and pulling the wood from his body. The action caused Emmett to roar loud enough to cause me to blench and cover my ears.
They both looked at me in shock, and I pulled my hands from my ears. My own eyes grew wide as I watched the blue electric dance between the tips.
“Wait...her powers. Hallie’s powers must have overridden the transition.” I could hear the relief in Alicia’s voice, and I, too, felt the relief.
“But it was red before, why is it blue? Hallie?” Emmett spoke cautiously as he stepped a little closer.
I looked at Alicia, and suddenly I felt so much thirst. So much hunger it felt like I was being torn apart inside out — far more desire than I’d felt when I woke up before. It was like I had an itch inside my veins that couldn’t be satisfied.
My eyes fixed on the fridge behind them. I could smell the blood they’d stored in there as if it was right under my nose.
I lept towards them, but Alicia moved quickly and tackled me to the floor.
“Hallie! Hallie stop! Oh god, Emmett. Her face.” Alicia kept a tight grip on me but stilled herself.
“But she still has her powers! Emmett, what the heck does this mean?”
“Hallie is...she’s a hybrid.”