VII. NIGHTMARES AND COMPULSION
The room they took me in looked like a spare bedroom, to me, with the pink sheets crisp flat and the lack of furniture but just the necessary ones. There are lots of portraits like the rest of the house and the light of the candles formed an eerie shadow on the paintings.
Apparently, the setup Carter had in mind was just like the one you see in horror movies, where there’s a mat laid on the floor for the victim to lay down and candles surrounding her. I suppressed a giggle at how ridiculous the whole thing looks. If someone yesterday told me that vampires were real, then I would have laughed my ass off. But not today. Especially when I’m in their home knowing that every moment is dangerous; but somehow, I don’t know why I don’t feel threatened. Maybe because they didn’t hurt me yet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t.
“Alright. Everything’s done. We gotta wait for our champ now,” Carter rubbed his palms against his jeans.
“Who’s champ?” I quirked an eyebrow at him.
“Do you always raise your eyebrows while asking questions?” he asked giving me his trademark smirk.
“Do you always have that stupid smirk pasted on your face?” I answered his question with another question. My eyebrow thing was something I quite disliked because whenever I wanted to ask a question, my eyebrows automatically quirked. It was involuntary.
“Smooth,” he drawled in such a way that his lips rolled up and my focus turned to them. His lips twitched in the corners and I groaned in frustration.
“Will you tell me?” I scoffed at him.
“Fine,” he raised his hands in mock surrender and continued, “It’s Erik. That bitch you saw today in the morning. Blonde. Scary. Fake as hell. Her brother. Though he’s not like her.”
My eyes widened.
“Please don’t tell me she’s gonna be here,” I whined.
Before he could complete his sentence, came an all too high pitched familiar voice, “Aw. Carter. You wound me. I thought you loved me,” came strutting in the blonde thin girl. But she wasn’t alone. Came in her tow was a lean but built guy with green long hair that was tied in a man bun and looked quite grumpy. Well...that should be Erik.
“Fuck off Taylor,” he scoffed at her and turned to her brother with a huge grin.
“Ah. My man,” he enveloped Erik in a ‘long-time-no-see-buddy’ hug.
Erik seemed to be the kind of guy who generally is the bouncer outside of the bar, except he’s not so bulky, but the grim look on his face and the frequent clenching of his fists sure made him look like one. Suddenly his yellow eyes flicked towards me that sent a shiver down my spine. I’ve never seen eyes this yellow and the way he was looking at me was not only scary but also looked like he’s containing something within himself. Sensing this, his lips curled up in a devilish smirk, but he turned towards Carter nonetheless.
“So this is the work huh?” he asked pointing his blunt thumb towards me.
“Yep. And you know what to do. So I suggest you get started,” Carter grinning went out of the room for a second only to return with a glass of red liquid, which I presumed to be blood. God knows whose that it’s. Maybe it’s just of an innocent girl like me who fell victim to them. Maybe she has been tricked and Carter sucked her dry. Maybe they promised her to keep safe but couldn’t control themselves. Oh, God! What have I gotten myself into?
Carter probably sensed my fear as he walked up to me and placed both of his hands on my shoulders, ” It’s my blood. A vampire’s blood is required in this ritual. Don’t worry. We didn’t harm anyone.”
My nose automatically scrunched up at the thought of it and seeing this Carter chuckled.
“Please don’t tell me I’ll have to drink this. Please,” I begged.
“You won’t. Relax Hazel. We’re testing you. Not turning you into one of us,” he rolled his eyes.
After having set up everything, Carter ordered me to lay down on the mat to which I scowled but obeyed nonetheless. Erik rubbed his hands on his jeans as he seated himself near my head. He looked just like the scary doctor who wanted to experiment on his patients and made them go through hell. My body was covered with beads of sweat and the anticipation of not knowing anything made it worse. Christina was leaning against the doorframe and as soon as our eyes met, she gave me a slight nod as to reassure that everything is going to be fine. Taylor was nowhere in sight and I was glad for the absence.
“Close your eyes,” Erik’s sudden booming voice made me jolt in surprise, but quickly gaining composure, I did as he said.
“Now try to relax. Try to float,” he said in a calm soothing voice, however his words seemed ridiculous.
I quickly opened my eyes, “How the fuck am I supposed to do that?” I questioned.
“Which one? The first or the second,” this time Carter quirked an eyebrow.
“Both,” I replied while giving him an appalled look.
“Okay enough,” Erik’s voice again disrupted my thoughts as he continued, “I have not got the whole day. So you better do as I say,” his eyes gleamed in irritation.
“Okay big guy. No need for threats,” I joked trying to calm this volcano who was currently throwing glares at me. I closed my eyes again and tried to concentrate on relaxing.
“Try to remember the good memories. The one that is your world,” Erik calmly spoke to me.
“I don’t have any,” I replied with my eyes closed.
There was silence for a moment, and then Erik spoke up again, “That’s not possible. There has to be something. There’s always something happy happens in your life even if that’s a tiny thing. So, just hold into that fragment of happiness. Try to reach out,” I didn’t know he was so good in pep talk and if my eyes were open right now, I would have loved to see his expression but I couldn’t so I just nodded at him.
I felt a cold liquid on festering on my forehead and slowly trickling down my ears. I tried not to flinch as two extremely cold fingers touch my forehead and apply light pressure on it.
“Relive the memory,” Erik ordered.
I try to do as he says and try to rack my brain for any memory but nothing comes up other than my crappy childhood and my first heartbreak in school. I try again and this time, I found a very small fragment of me walking towards a little girl.
There were other kids in the park too, laughing, clicking pictures, and enjoying the humiliation of the little girl sprawled on the ground.
My blood boiled at the scenario and at the sight of the group of boys that were torturing the poor soul. But I was scared of doing anything. I was a tiny kid just like her, and I wondered how much I could do. But just then a boy with scruffy brown hair, kicked her in the stomach and she cried out in pain. This was a triggering point for me and I knew I had lost it. I have always been an impulsive person and the next thing I knew my fist contacted square in someone’s face. The scruffy boy stumbled a bit but soon tried to kick me when I moved away taking him by surprise as he fell on the floor face on. The other guy pulled me by my hair and my hands immediately flew around his wrists, as I twisted them as hard as I could using my every bit of strength. He immediately cried out in pain and jolted away from me pushing me forward. The scruffy boy by this time has regained himself but before he could do anything, the tiny girl came up behind him with a little stick and, which I presumed to be a bad attempt, at poking him hard. He turned around and my eyes widened in fear, as he reached out to pull her by the hair too, but got stopped by a voice. We turned around to see the headmaster.
“Bullying kids huh, Trevor, and Ryan? What a perfect education. My office now! Actually don’t bother. I’ll take you there myself,” he dragged the two boys by their ears towards his office who kept glaring at us all the way.
“Oh and Krystal. Please take her to the nurse, now would you?” he gave me a polite smile.
I nodded and approached the girl, “Hey you alright?”
The girl was shaking as she answered, “Yes. Thank you. I...I don’t know...” tears rolled down her cheeks as she trailed off.
“Hey shh it’s okay. The bad guys are gone,” I wrap an arm around her and she stiffened at first but slowly wrapped hers around me as well.
We stayed like that for a while and I realized this was the happiest memory I had. Meeting Maria. The only person who gave a damn about me. But soon the memory started fading away. Everything was getting blurred around me and I looked down to see that Maria was gone. I guess this is what it feels like to be compelled.
But are they going to wipe out my entire memory?
As soon as the thought came, it vanished. What the hell is wrong? The sky turned inky dark with thunder booming and I was stranded on the playground. The playground itself had an eerie look as the grasses were longer and they tickled my bare ankles. The building behind me which was once known to be our school is now just a broken manor. The trees have died and there is no greenery anywhere. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Something is very wrong, I feel it. I don’t think their compulsion was supposed to be in the way of giving me spooky nightmares. There’s a low wailing sound coming from far and it sent chills through my spine. Suddenly, a sharp pain shot through my back almost making me stumble back in pain. The pain refused to fade as I fell down to the ground clutching my back, my breaths coming shallow and ragged. Black dots filled my vision as the pain became unbearable. I cried out when I heard rapid footsteps, coming from all directions. I couldn’t see properly as every sense organ of mine was consumed in pain, but somehow I could make out the figure of the nine people, women to be specific due to their curves, huddling over me. They were chanting something in a language I couldn’t understand, and as their chantings were increasing so did my pain. I cried out again this time, “AAHGHHH! PLEASE STOP!“, and puddles of blood flowed from my mouth. Suddenly I felt hot and realized that my body was burning.
I could hear distant voices yelling, ” Stop it, bro! You’re hurting her,” a male voice laced with exasperation and worry.
“I’m not doing this. I don’t know what’s going on,” another nervous voice spoke up.
“Then bloody wake her up!” Carter yelled again, and I felt the voices, the chantings, the women, and everything floating further away as everything soon became blurred.
I woke up with a start and found myself still on the floor. But the agonizing pain in the back never subdued, and once again I found myself crying in pain as tears rolled down my cheeks.
I saw Carter rush towards me, “Hey what’s wrong?” he patted my head.
“My....my...back. It hurts,” I cried out again at another sting. Carter moved towards my back and fumbled with my top, unsure of what to do. If it were under other circumstances, I would have teased him but not right now.
“Umm...is it okay...if I..you know...” his voice trailed off with uncertainty.
And before I could answer, another wave of pain hit me and I shrieked.
“Uh. Okay. Nevermind. I’ll do it anyway”, Carter replied as he pulled the top upwards.
I heard him curse and I instantly knew it was because of those blotches.
“Holy shit!“, he mumbled as he touched my back, and pain shot up again as his fingers touched one of the blotches.
“Uh sorry”, he said, “look you...you need to drink my blood in order to heal. I can’t do anything else”
“Will I turn?” I managed to choke out the words, despite the pain.
“Nope. You need to die with my blood, which you’re clearly not. Hazel, please. You’re in pain. Let me help you,” he said softly as he moved forward to sit in front of me. His eyes pleading me to obey him.
I nodded as I wanted to get rid of the pain as fast as I could.
Carter smiled at me and bit into his wrist. I have never seen vampires biting into someone other than TV shows, but I guess I didn’t even know that vampires existed so that’s fair. I waited for his eyes to change and veins to pop out, but they didn’t. His eyes remained as normal as ever except his fangs elongated as they pierced his tanned skin. The crimson liquid flowed out of his wrist as he brought it forward to me. I scrunched my nose.
Carter chuckled, ” Which one seems more appealing? Getting rid of the pain? Or not drinking my blood?”
I didn’t even need to think as I wrenched his wrist toward me and placed my lips over the wound. I felt Carter stiffen a bit, but didn’t look up. His skin was warm underneath my lips and I could feel the pulse beating beneath the skin hastily. The metal taste of blood twisted my stomach as it went down my mouth, but I also felt the pain subduing along with it.
“Looks like you had to drink my blood either way huh?” I didn’t need to look up to know that he was smirking. I kept drinking until the pain completely vanished and I could sit straight.
“Thanks,” I reply as I pull away and also pulling down my top.
“My pleasure,” he had that stupid smirk again, and that’s when his eyes dropped to my lips. He slowly reached out and brushed his finger against the corner of my mouth. My whole body tensed and the place where his fingertips brushed, there was a burning sensation. Something searingly intense ignited within me when he casually licked his finger, his eyes boring into mine. He looked like he knew exactly the effect he was having on me and just as he was opening his mouth to say something when Christina and Erik entered the room.
“Krystal! Thank God you’re awake. I was so worried,” she immediately engulfed me in a bear hug and I could smell her jasmine fragrance.
“Yep. I’m alive. That’s what I’m most grateful for,” I replied.
She tensed and moved away from me to look at me apologetically, “I’m sorry. I said we wouldn’t hurt you. We..we didn’t know what happened,” she looked down at her feet and I knew she was guilty but I didn’t know what to say. They did hurt me and I just can’t ignore it.
Carter healed you.
Not the time for debate brain.
Fine. But they hurt me first!
That’s fair I suppose.
“I think I know,” Carter suddenly spoke up and I noticed his wrist was completely healed. Just like Cameron.
“You know what?” I asked.
“That you’re not a human and that there’s a reason something happened there,” he walked up to us.
I gave him a horrified look.
“What?! Are you crazy? Stop pulling me into your supernatural drama as if I already hadn’t enough of it,” I exclaimed.
Carter gave me a devilish grin. Uh-oh.
“We didn’t bring you, Hazel. You were already in. Way before we knew.”
“What do you mean?” Christina voiced my thoughts before I could.
“I saw the blotches on her back,” Carter replied in a serious tone and all hint of amusement and humor vanished from his eyes and mouth.
I saw Christina’s eyes widening like a saucer pan.
“Umm...guys? What’s going on?“, I said, unsure of how they would react.
“You’re the one we’ve been looking for,” Carter fixed me with a heated gaze.
“Wait, back up. WHAAT?” I was taken aback.
They’ve been looking for me? What the hell?
“Yes,” Erik murmured and I even forgot he was there.
“You’re the descendant of the Nine Sisters,” Erik slowly looked up at me and the surprise of his yellow eyes matched with my hazel ones.
Looks like I’m in deep shit.