“Lena, do you have any idea when Sarah will be back?” My eleven year old sister Mia asked me.
“I think work ended for her at seven tonight, but she said she had to collect some fire wood before she came back home.” I informed her.
“But even then, she should be home by now. It is close to nine. It does not take this long to collect wood.” My best friend, Rosalyn told me. I glared at her.
“I’m trying to make sure Mia doesn’t panic.” I hissed.
“Oh.” Rosalyn replied softly.
Rosalyn’s mother died during childbirth, and her father mysteriously disappeared around two years ago. Ever since then, she’s lived with us. Although it is hard to provide for a extra person it feels good to have everyone I love nearby me.
“Can we look for her?” Mia asked.
“No!” My voice came out more sharply than I intended. Mia flinched.
“What she means is that it’s too dangerous for us to go out looking for her after the sun has set.” Rosalyn explained softly.
“That’s exactly why we should look for her! Think of Sarah, our sister, all alone out there in the dark. We have to go.” Mia stressed.
“Don’t you think I want to look for her? I do, but I’m not going to put you or Rose in danger like that.” I stomped toward our bedroom.
Our cottage was really small. When you opened the front door, on the right there’s a living space where we sit and talk, eat, and use as storage. On the left there’s our very small kitchen. Then a few steps ahead, the bedroom on the right side is small, and where my dad sleeps alone. The slightly larger bedroom is where all four of us girls sleep. In between both bedrooms is our really small bathroom.
“Sarah! Sarah!” I suddenly heard my father shout. I went out of the room to see him coming into the cottage looking for her.
“Father, she isn’t here.” I said softly, glancing at Mia in worry.
“What?!” I watched as he gulped, his adam’s apple bobbing.
“Yes Jonathan. We were wondering if you could look for her?” Rosalyn asked.
“Okay. I-I will. Do any of you know where she’s supposed to be at?” My father questioned.
“She went to gather some wood for fire. Maybe something happened in the woods. Maybe that’s where the prob-” Pounding footsteps interrupted me.
I whirled around in shock, but relief swept over me as I watched Sarah running towards the cottage. The relief turned into concern as I noticed her normally perfectly braided hair out of it’s braid, her dress disheveled, and her breathing ragged.
“Sarah, what’s wrong?!” Rosalyn exclaimed. I hurried to Sarah and hugged her while Mia shut the door.
“Nothing. I forgot to go to the Plain Woods to get fire wood and I didn’t want to walk all the way back there so I... went to the Forbidden Woods. I got lost there and I was running from some random beast.” Sarah said quickly.
“A beast!” Mia shrieked.
“Why in the world would you go to the Forbidden Woods? It could be the end of the world, and I’d still allow none of you to go there! I wouldn’t have cared so much if we had to stay shivering in the night because you forgot to get the damn wood.” My father scolded her.
“What beast?” Rosalyn asked in concern.
“A- a wolf.” Sarah stuttered out. It was obvious that she was lying.
“Father, it’s late. We should eat.” I said sternly. With a sigh, he agreed.
I set down the food and stared in disgust.
Flavorless vegetable stew, stale bread, and boiled rabbit. But I am grateful for the food. We have starved for many days before.
We all talked as we ate, sitting on the floor. This is my most favorite time of the day because this is the only family time we ever get.
Later, the four of us were sitting on top of a pile of blankets, the three of us staring at Sarah.
“Spill.” The authority in my voice must’ve surprised her because her eyes widened.
“Spill what? I don’t see any food or drink nearby.” She said innocently, making me glare at her.
“I think it was quite obvious that you were lying, so yes, tell us about that.” Rosalyn said.
“Fine. It was nothing really. I was gathering some wood, and then I heard these footsteps. When I turned back around, it was this big... man. He started running towards me and I ran, but he easily catched me. And he held me against a tree and started... touching me. Everywhere. His hands in my hair, under my clothes, his lips all over me.” Tears started streaming down her cheeks.
“When I finally got the chance, I kicked him where the sun doesn’t shine and ran. Thankfully he wasn’t able to follow me back here. But the weird thing was those damn sparks. He was so attractive and everywhere he touched, my skin heated up. It was the best and one of the worst experiences in the miserable eighteen years I’ve lived.” She looked confused.
“That is not nothing.” Rosalyn said.
“He touched you without your permission.” I snarled, my protective instinct making me want to tear that man into pieces.
Mia sat there, her face pale, trembling. I gave Rosalyn and Sarah a look, making them understand that Mia was traumatized. That night, we silently fell asleep.
The sound of heavy banging woke me up. I sat up quickly and watched as my sisters also started to rise, wearing a startled expression.
Quickly leaving the bedroom, I saw a lean but muscular, pale looking man with black hair and blue eyes. But what shook me to the core was when opened his mouth to snarl at me and I spotted the two big white fangs. I took a step back, gulping.
A vampire. A damn vampire. What is going on here?
Behind me I heard Sarah gasp.
“Not you. Not you.” I heard her chanting softly, her voice sounding scared.
“Mate.” He flashed her a feral grin. In the blink of an eye, he was behind me, grabbing her around the waist and tossing her over his shoulder, caveman style.
“Let her go, or I’ll make you regret ever touching her.” I sneered.
“What could a little human girl like you do to me?” He smirked. His head snapped to the side and the snarl that ripped out of him made me feel shaken.
I followed his gaze to see it pinned on Rosalyn and Mia, both huddled in the corner, Rosalyn trying to hide Mia behind her.
“Elira!” He snarled. I watched in horror as his eyes turned completely black, and then red. He took a step towards them, but I intercepted.
“Let go of Sarah and leave them alone.” I tried to use every bit of strength in me to carry out the command.
“Sarah’s the name huh.” He gave me a cruel smile.
“I have lived for over seven centuries now and have finally found my mate. I am not going to let her go. The only reason you aren’t dead right now for trying to stop me is because you are my mate’s sister and it would disappoint her if you die.” His eyes narrowed in on me.
“Don’t try to come into Exousías girl. It will lead you straight to your death.” He warned me, as if he could read my mind. His eyes took in Rosalyn and Mia with menace before they returned to me.
“I take it that you are the strongest girl with the most leadership in the house. You have a evil witch with you. If I were you, I’d send her out, kill her if possible, before she does more harm.” His words chilled me.
Is he calling Mia or Rosalyn a witch?
Sarah pounded her fists on his back and kicked his chest, trying to make him let go of her, but he didn’t even flinch.
I heard footsteps coming from my father’s room and knew we were in more trouble.
“What is going on here?” His voice boomed. Icy silence greeted him.
I took in his expression and saw the shock, concern, worry, anxiousness, and horror flooded him.
“I have to go. Take care... Sarah’s sister.” The vampire said with something that sounded like concern.
He left in a flash. I ran outside, but couldn’t see him or Sarah in the inky black darkness.
“Sarah! Sarah!” I called out. I sunk to the dirty ground when I realized that she was gone.
Rose and Mia hugged me, tears running down their own eyes.
I stood up and walked inside, Mia and Rose following me.
“Go. Go and look for her.” I told my father.
“It would be a lost cause. We can’t go into Exousías. I’d rather kill myself instead.” My father’s voice was hollow, his eyes dull.
“That is not a excuse.” I hissed. “She is your daughter. Your eldest daughter. The girl that helped you raise all of us once mother died. Are you going to let her perish in that miserable land just because you are not man enough to face that vampire?” I glared at him.
“You do not understand, it would be a miracle if we even get past the Forbidden Woods and into Exousías. So how in the world are we supposed to fight that vampire and bring Sarah back? Forget that. How are we even supposed to find her when we have no idea where she is or what that land is like?” My father questioned me.
“I do not know and I do not care. We are going to save Sarah.” I said sternly.
“We are not. I will not set foot in that land.” My father glared at me.
“If you won’t, then I will.” There was silence. I could see everyone staring at me with shocked expressions.
“No. You will not.” He bit out. “I am not going to lose another daughter.” He looked exhausted, making me feel bad.
Understanding hit me. He really does love Sarah, and I know that while he does want to save her, he doesn’t think it’s possible. He wants to protect everyone else.
“Fine father. I won’t.” I said softly.
“You really won’t go after her?” My father asked skeptically.
“Yes father.” I replied.
“Okay then.” He nodded and went into his room.
The three of us went back to our room. Mia was still crying, but Rosalyn just stared at me.
“Your going, aren’t you.” She whispered. It wasn’t a question. My best friend knows me well enough to know that I won’t allow a random vampire to snatch my sister.
“Yes. Tomorrow.” I answered.
And tomorrow I would. Tomorrow I’d go on a journey and bring my sister back home as soon as possible. And maybe it is impossible. Maybe I’ll die. I don’t give a damn. I’d rather die trying than live while my sister suffers.
Tomorrow I go to Exousías to save my sister.