Beauty in the Beast

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Chapter 34

“Will you pass the potatoes, please?” I asked as I set down the plate of ham. A few second later, I had no potatoes, so I looked up to investigate. “Mom?”

“What was that dear?” My mother looked up at me, snapping out of her daydream.

“The potatoes.” I repeated.

“Oh, here you are, Hun.” She handed me the bowl of potatoes and I put them on my plate as I looked at her.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yeah, just thinking about things.” She smiled at me. Suddenly, I was no longer at the dinner table, but in my bedroom. I was staring at the mirror; my refection was dressed in a beautiful wedding gown with my mother standing behind me. I looked like a younger version of her. “You look beautiful.” She turned me around to face her. “Nick is very lucky.” I tilted my head to her, perplexed.

“Nick?” I questioned. “What about Derek?” She shook her head at me.

“No, no. Not him.” Suddenly my mother standing in front of me was engulfed in flames. I blinked and the flames disappeared.

“Mom?” I reached out and touched her, she was as real as the dress on my body. “It’s not safe here.” I could feel something in the pit of my stomach. “We should go.”

“We can’t leave.” She argued. “You’re not ready yet.” Once again, the flames appeared all around her, but with a few blinks she was back to normal.

“Mom, I really think we should go.” I reached my hand out to her, but she didn’t take it. “Mom, please.”

“Emma.” She scolded me. “I told you, you’re not going anywhere! You’re not ready to leave!” My mother was engulfed in flames as she spoke to me, but we were no longer in my bedroom, we were in a field surrounded by others who stood still while flames tickled their skin. I looked around desperately for help but found nothing. Unexpectedly, the people in the field vanished and I was left alone with only tombstones.

“Mom?” I called to her, but she was gone. I could see a figure emerging from the smoke. “Nick.” I felt a warm sensation in my body as he walked closer to me. His huge arms wrapped themselves around me in a sweet embrace. “Nick, what happened?” He buried his face in my hair.

“Don’t leave me, Emma.” He whispered. “I just found you. Please don’t leave me.” I couldn’t understand his sadness. I wasn’t going anywhere. Just as suddenly as he appeared, Nick vanished. I was once again left alone in the field, but now it had started snowing. I shivered and I could see my breath in the air. I was losing control of what was reality and what was delusion. “Nick!” I called out for him, but just like my mother, I received no response. I let out a scream, startled by Derek now standing mere inches from me. The friendly feeling, I always got when Derek was around was no longer there. I somehow felt threatened, but I had no desire to fight him. He reached up to me and brushed the back of his fingers against my cheek.

“Sweet little Emma.” He whispered. “You were never meant to get hurt.”

“Then don’t hurt me.” I whispered back. His fingers wrapped themselves around the hem of my shirt and lifted it over my head. I stood freezing in the middle of the field with only jeans and a bra covering my body. Snowflakes began catching in Derek’s dusty blonde hair. I locked my emerald eyes on his gray ones and held his stare.

“I’m trying to help you, but I don’t know if it will work.” Abruptly, my chest began to burn. I looked down to see a cross-shaped hole begin to form.
“Derek?” I looked up to him for comfort, but his stare was blank. “What’s happening to me?” The hole began to seep black puss.

“I’m trying to help you.” Derek repeated. “You were never meant to get hurt.”

“Then help me!” I screamed. Derek’s palm punched me in the chest, right in the black oozing hole. I doubled over and stepped back to catch my balance. When I stood up straight again, Derek was gone. My ear felt wet, so I reached up and touched it only to find the black ooze on my fingertips. My nose began to run with more blackness and I suddenly couldn’t catch my breath. I coughed and coughed until I coughed up the blackness. “What did you do to me?” I coughed again. “Derek?” I coughed and coughed until I vomited. I fell to my knees, vomiting more and more. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t breathe. “Nick.” I cried out for him, but he wasn’t there. I vomited again, the blackness now streaming out of my eyes like tears. A hand gripped my arm and I looked up to see my mother’s angelic face was back.
“Emma, you’re not ready to leave.” She said sternly.

“Mom, I can’t stop.” I vomited more.

“Emma! Listen to me.” She pulled me to my feet. “Fight this. You need to fight this!” She shook me hard, but I could barely focus on her words. “Go back to him, Emma.” She shook me again. “Go!” I gasped for air. I couldn’t breathe. I wrapped my hands around my throat and tried to scream, but nothing came out. I was choking. “Emma! Enough of this!” My mother grabbed my hands and pulled down. She put her hands on my cheeks and forced me to look at her. “Nick needs you. Your pack needs you.” I could feel a breath escape my lips. Then another, and another. I could breathe again. “Go to them.” My mother whispered to me.

“Don’t leave me.” I begged her. “Please, mom, I need you.”

“You don’t.” She smiled at me and wrapped me in her arms. I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay with her forever. Suddenly, she pulled back from our embrace and pushed me with such force I began falling. As if she threw me off a cliff, I couldn’t stop falling. I closed my eyes and let the darkness take me.

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