IX. THE BEGINNING OF DISASTER
I feel like I’m living a nightmare. Finding out that the newly transferred friends of mine are not human but in fact, vampires who feed on our human blood to survive. But the end isn’t just there. The biggest shock of all was finding out that I belonged from the line of the mythical nine sisters who control every mortal’s fate and that I was born just to wipe out the existence of the supernaturals. And as if this wasn’t enough, I also found out that I am being hunted down by the one of the most dangerous hunter gang who would do anything to kill me and eradicate the supernaturals from the world.
Now I wouldn’t have believed any of these words and gone to sleep thinking that this was a nightmare and everything would be alright once I woke up. But the sight of Maria lying there on the floor unconscious with a huge gash on her abdomen and pools of blood surrounding her body made me stumble upon the cold reality. The room was a mess with furniture upturned, broken plates lying on the floor. The cracked screen of Maria’s phone reflected the amount of violence she and the room had endured.
This was a nightmare indeed. But a living one.
I thought of rushing to her and help her but considering her condition right now, my absolute incapability of saving her prodded my mind. I should have called the police and sought out to them but I knew this was no normal accident. And hence I did the only thing I knew I should.
Scrolling through my phone’s contact list with shaky hands, I dialed Carter’s number which he forcefully gave me while dropping me home. But now I’m thankful for it.
After the fifth ring, he picked up, “Missing me already huh?”
My voice trembled as I managed to choke out the words which were barely audible, “Maria. Hurt. The hunters,” but Carter must have heard them because immediately his tone turned serious as he muttered a quick ‘coming’.
After the line went dead, I looked at Maria and took cautious steps towards her, making sure to avoid the puddles of blood. My stomach churned at the sight and I could feel the bile rising to my throat. I placed a trembling hand below her ear and flinched at the unusual coldness of it.
No no. This can’t be happening.
I checked for her pulse again, which was a faint beat and I wouldn’t have even felt it if it wasn’t for the proximity. Her skin was ghastly pale due to the tremendous loss of blood and if it wasn’t for the blood surrounding her she would have looked like a glowing angel.
The sound of the door unlocking made me turn around in fear but it was only the three siblings. Everyone having a panic-stricken expression on their faces.
Carter’s eyes roamed around the room before finally settling on Maria’s bloody body, and then his blue cold gaze met my hazel ones as he asked, “Is she alive?”
“Barely,” I muttered.
Carter walked over to us and checked her pulse as his jaws clenched.
His gaze seemed to be calculating as if he was having an internal debate.
“Hazel. We need to turn her. There’s no way she’s gonna survive this with the amount of blood she lost. It’s fucking sea out here,” he spoke urgently.
Seeing me opening my mouth to reply something, he cut me off, “We can’t take her to hospital. She won’t survive the distance. There’s barely anything left in her Hazel,” his cold gaze turned sympathetic.
She won’t survive the distance.
There’s barely anything left in her.
“It’s not my decision to make. What if she hates me after this?” I asked as a single drop of tear escaped my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.
Carter leaned forward and wiped the teardrop from my cheeks.
“It is now Haz,” he spoke in a soft and soothing voice, “what’s more important? Her hating you? Or you saving her? You could explain her this shit once she’s okay. So what do you say?” he looked at me with pleading eyes.
I knew Maria would hate me forever after this. I also know that I don’t fucking care. I would do whatever the hell it is required to save my best friend. I couldn’t live with the guilt knowing that Maria could have been saved if it wasn’t for my indecisiveness. More importantly, I wanted my best friend back. No matter the cost.
“Yes,” I croaked. Carter gave me a curt nod and turned towards Christina and Cameron. I was so busy in my thoughts that I didn’t even notice when Cameron took me outside the room. A part of me was wary of them, but a part of me also thought that they wouldn’t harm Maria. I don’t know where this confidence came from and nor did I like it.
“I want to go out of the building,” I mumbled like a robot.
Cameron nodded at me and lead me outside. The basement was silent as a grave now as it was quite late in the night, and the night air gave chills to my spine. There was almost something eerie in the surroundings. The police were long gone and we were the only people standing there.
“Hey, Krystal?” Cam asked breaking the deadly silence between us.
“Hmm?” I mumbled.
“Do you trust us?” he asked.
I looked up at him in surprise due to his question. His brown hair looks messy as if he had run a hand through it a lot of times and his grey eyes lacked its usual warmth and luster.
I pondered on what to answer.
They never hurt me intentionally. Yet. They are saving Maria and Carter also healed me back in their house. So, maybe they weren’t as bad as I was making them out to be. But who am I kidding? I’m their biggest gamble. I remembered Carter’s words in the spare bedroom.
You lose. You die.
But the inner meaning was more of like:
You lose. We die.
I sighed, “I don’t know. Not really I guess. Nothing’s been alright since you guys came to Victoria Falls. And how long is it been? Only two days and now normal life feels like a lifetime away”
“That’s a fair point I guess,” he winced at my accusation and I felt a slight pang of guilt at his reaction.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. It’s just too much for me to take in,” I apologized.
“It’s okay Krystal. I don’t even blame you. I would have been worse if I were you though. Probably shitted my pants,” he chuckled.
“Really?” I found myself smiling a little despite the situation.
“Really,” he nodded smiling back.
A comfortable silence settled over us until a sudden thought pierced through my head.
“How didn’t the police see it?” I asked Cameron as I looked at him sideways.
“Cloaking spell,” Cameron replied keeping his focus on the huge road in front of the apartment.
“Cloaking spell? Then how come I got to see it?” I asked as I remembered the feeling I got when I approached my flat.
“Just like you can’t be compelled. Just like your life cycle can’t be controlled Krystal,” Cameron finally turned around to look at me.
I was dumbfounded.
“How did you...?” I trailed off.
“Christina told me over the phone,” Cameron smiled and then again turned to look ahead.
So Christina was speaking to Cameron at that time.
But why wouldn’t she tell me? She just termed it as important.
However, I shrugged not wanting to think about that. So instead, I focused on the situation on hand.
“What happens exactly? In the process?”
“Well, first the person needs to die with the vampire blood in their system. Then we need to wait until the colors return to their face and then we keep her in a coffin until the day she reincarnates”, he explained.
“How long is the reincarnating period?” I asked unsurely.
“For about a week,” he replied, his eyes steadily fixed on the road ahead. A small dry leaf, circles around my feet due to the gush of wind, and then finally rests behind my left heel.
“And what happens after they turn?” I looked at him out of the corner of my eyes and saw a dark look crossing his face.
“They hunt,” these two words were enough to send shivers down my spine, but his next words sent my thoughts into overdrive, “the first few days are dangerous, Krystal”
A stab of fear raced through my veins.
The first few days are dangerous.
“Oh, and Krystal?” he asked again.
“You know you could just tell me instead of asking me,” I yawned and my body felt terribly sore.
He chuckled, “Okay noted,” he replied but his voice became sober again when he said, “I just want you to know Maria’s gonna be fine.”
I wanted to believe him but I couldn’t. Nothing was ever gonna be the same, now that Maria turned into a vampire, me finding out my identity and the possibility of me getting killed is looming on my head. But somehow I knew that since the moment I crashed with Carter in the school hallways. I knew they were trouble. But turns out I’m here the real trouble.
Despite the internal conflicts going on in my head, I nodded to him.
Just then Carter walked into the basement carrying Maria in his arms with Christina trailing behind them. Once his blue orbs met my hazel ones, he looked almost relieved. Carter took Maria to their car and motioned for me to follow. Christina opened the backdoor, as Carter gently lay Maria down on the seat. Then he turned to me,
“We have to take her to our house because-”
I cut him off, “of keeping her in the coffin until her reincarnation period. I know.”
I looked up to see the amusement hiding behind Carter’s blue eyes and I realized I just completed his sentence. Oh, God.
“Cameron told me how this works,” I quickly added and saw realization dawning upon Carter.
“Okay then. Cool. Get seated”, Carter started to walk towards the driver’s seat when I grabbed his arm.
“Excuse me? What the hell do you mean by getting seated? I’m not going anywhere”, I spat at him.
Weird. I don’t lose my shit so easily.
He raised an eyebrow at my sudden outburst.
“Krystal,” he took my real name in a warning tone, “you’re coming with me.”
I was confused by his ‘me’ and then turned around to find Christina and Cameron driving off in a bike that I didn’t notice earlier.
“Is it for tonight only?”
“Nope. As long as we don’t get rid of those sons of bitches,” he shrugged and turned to move to his car.
He was talking about the hunters. But what infuriated me was what he said about me staying for a long time.
I grabbed his arm as he gave me a questioning look, “No I wouldn’t. Do whatever the hell you want,” I crossed my arms over my chest.
“Haz, these hunters know where you live. That’s why they killed Maria. Do you think I’m gonna take that risk? I can’t let anything happen to you,” Carter pleaded as he took a step forward.
I almost believed the words to be genuine.
A sudden rage filled my veins as I blurted out, “Huh? You’re only saying this because I’m a tool. I’m a pawn to you and every other supernatural being’s destruction and that’s why you don’t want me dead.”
I could see the anger flaring in his eyes which only fuelled me to continue, “You’re saying this not because you care Carter, nor because you think me your friend. You’re just worried about me getting in the wrong hands so that you don’t die. So that your friends don’t die. So screw you Carter!” by this time I was breathing heavily as adrenaline rushed through my veins.
“Because I’m not going with you,” I deadpanned.
Carter had not uttered a single word throughout the whole time and his eyes had turned icy cold - a look that scared me. It was just like the calm before the storm.
I was just about to walk away when I heard Carter’s sinister voice, “Like hell, you aren’t.”
And before I knew it, I was pushed against the cold wall of the basement. I hissed at the pain that immediately shot through my back, and felt a hard thing pressed against my body. I looked up to see Carter’s cold eyes settled on me and his entire body pushed against mine, while his one hand was resting on one side of my head on the wall and the other hand gripping my waist tightly, keeping me in place. I tried with all my force to wriggle out but Carter caught both of my wrists with his free hand and pinned them above my head. This led him to lean forward further as if that was even possible anymore since there was barely an inch left between us. My breath hitched at the proximity and my blood turned when cold when I saw his fangs elongated. I could feel his erratic heartbeat and I’m sure he could feel mine too.
A wicked grin curved his lips, revealing the full length of his long fangs.
“You’re right Hazel. You’re a pawn,” I knew that. But hearing it out loud somehow stung a little harder.
“And yes I’m only saving you because I need you to be alive for our lives’ sake. But that won’t restrict me from sucking your blood, Hazel. In fact, that would be a win-win for me. You will remain too weak to entertain us with little escapades,” he said, almost as if mocking me.
I clenched my jaw and seethed at him, “Let.Me.Go.”
“Nuh-uh. Not so easily Hazel. Besides, tell me, little weapon, what option do you really have?” he smirked at me.
“Why do you think I will go with you? It’s not like I need you. You need me, Carter,” I spat venomously at him.
“Think again Haz. You wouldn’t surely want your best friend dead, now would you? Nor to be my daily blood bag,” his lips curved as his eyes held a taunting gleam in it. My blood turned cold at his words.
He just threatened me to kill Maria and drink from me. He can’t be serious.
My vision was suddenly filled with hot rage and all I could see was red. Suddenly the idea of killing this man in front of me didn't sound so bad.
“You wouldn’t,” I gritted my teeth.
“Try me,” he grinned as he inched closer to my neck. I could feel his warm breaths fanning my skin and a tight knot of fear formed in the pit of my stomach.
The 'flight-or-fight' mode was launched in my body. But before I could react, he released me and moved far away from me. Suddenly, his face contorted and he looked like my skin burnt him. I peered curiously at him, trying to figure out his behavior when he suddenly looked up.
His fangs were gone, but he still looked agitated. He closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them again, his vulnerability in it was replaced by a devilish glint. A smirk curved his full lips as he swaggered back to his car - knowing that he had the upper hand.
So, I slowly released the breath I had been holding and saw Carter getting into the driver’s seat as he turned on the ignition.
But he didn’t drive away. He was waiting for me to come to him.
Taking slow steps and steady breaths I walked towards the car’s passenger seat and seated myself. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Carter smirking and a dark desire of punching him overtook me, but I kept my hands to myself. I wouldn’t give in to impulse. So instead, I glanced at the backseat to check on Maria and found her laying as still as a pole. Another round of tears started to well in my eyes, but I wiped them with the back of my thumb. I had already been weak in front of that asshole. I can’t do that again. So, I let my tiresomeness take over my body as I drifted into a not so peaceful slumber.
Moments later, I found myself laying on something soft. I opened my eyes and looked at my surroundings. I was in the Harveys’ spare bedroom. I looked down at my clothes and saw it wasn’t the tank top and leather jacket I was wearing. In fact, I was in pink satin pajamas. But that wasn’t the thing that made my blood boil. There in all his glory was sitting Carter Harvey in a chair right beside my bed.
And this time, I gave in to my impulse.