The whole journey to Tennessee was done with minimal stops. Only stopping for when I needed to eat or use the restroom. Jake and Tiffany didn’t need to go to the bathroom and Jake had a stash of warm blood in his trunk for when they need extra energy. The blood was inside a cooler like machine, similar to a fridge, that kept the fluid warm.
Jake and Tiffany only needed to drink once. Which they did quickly and asked if I could stay out of the car while they both drank. They didn’t like the idea of me watching or catching a glimpse of them drinking it.
They compared it to eating a cow in front of a cow, seemed rude. Which I completely understood and did what made them comfortable.
When approaching Tennessee, we had to drive through the snowy mountains. Which looked incredibly beautiful. For it being winter, it was nothing different for the people who lived in this area. For me, this was the very first time seeing snow in person. The way it illuminated the dusk sky, making it more visible to see as the night grew darker faster. The way the snow stacked up high on the ground while the road had no speck of it.
The drive was actually quite peaceful since I got to see many new places and see how the season differed as you travelled north. The feeling of the air getting colder as you travelled farther from Louisiana.
For my already dry skin, the cold seeped into my skin more painfully since I wasn’t used to it at all. My dry skin on my hands weren’t forgiving, cracking so bad it was ready to bleed from the dryness.
For the cold weather, I was lucky I had a few jackets in the luggage Tiffany packed for me, but not enough to keep me warm enough from the winter breeze. Jake’s car was great at keeping me warm but any time we had to stop to use the restroom, I dreaded getting back into the cold.
Deeper we got into the woods, the darkness of the sky grew in twilight. Turning the endless forest into a unknown abyss since the trees were hiding much of the light siting in the horizon. My magic felt different and alert as the light was becoming limited. The shadows hidden within the trees were not simply shadows. I could feel there were things lurking inside, even if I couldn’t see them there.
We slowed down after descending a large part of the mountain. On the right, there was a simple path that had snowy tracks leading further in the woods. Jake turned to that very path and the road was no longer smooth. Making the car drive differently since it had uneven tracks to drive on.
The sky was no longer visible from moonlight or stars. Trees blocking every space in the air above. The darkness was incredible blackening, only being able to see shadows of nearby trees through the windows. As well as the beam of light from the front of the car and everything that beaming light touched.
If anything decided to jump out from the trees, it would make my magic express without trying. I could feel it being ready to act, it knew the enemy was near. The magic was just tapping itself on the trigger and ready to shot when needed without my command.
“Calm down, Rebecca. You’re heart is racing way too fast.” Tiffany turned to me, as I was shaking my legs and holding tight to the straps of the backpack.
“Sorry, it’s just hard to see anything and it’s freaking me out.” Partly lying.
“You’ll be fine. Jake and I are here if anything were to happen. Just relax while you can, save the adrenaline for the upcoming battle.”
I tried to take a deep breathe to calm the magic a little. It just wasn’t helping. The magic was there for a reason and it’s reaction was explosive with the enemies lurking within the forest. The access of my magic was still so new and I had trouble understanding it’s true level of urgency. Since the world felt like a much different place, nothing seemed normal anymore. Everything felt like evil was around. Or was it my fear of the new world I inherited with people wanting me dead.
As we travelled farther there was a cross section, which Jake took the path to the right which didn’t have a track at all. Making the travel much slower and bumper.
We travelled for several minutes and the patches through the trees opened up more. Giving light from the plentiful stars above. For the first time, I got glimpses of the galaxy in the sky.
The stars grouped together and presenting a long oval patch in the sky. The endless amount of planets and worlds existing in our very galaxy. Making me feel much smaller than I was in this big world. The big universe. Even though I was so little compared, I had enough strength to blast a star away if I do desired. I could feel the strength, which only seemed to only evolved and grow everyday.
I couldn’t stop staring at the galaxy presented in the sky as we passed by less trees and into a hill landscape property . It was too dark to even try to see the house that was sitting on the land, we were yet too far.
Keeping my eyes on the galaxy kept my mind simple and at ease. Though my magic was still hollering at me, it wasn’t as much as it had been when we were on the plane. The moment felt dramatic and sudden. I absolutely knew if I hadn’t said anything, this moment wouldn’t have ever happened.
Closer we got to the house, the easier it was to see. The house was a mere house. It was about the same size as the mansion, maybe a little bigger but was extravagant as the Saltzman mansion. This house looked like a modern house instead of a glorious mansion. It appeared to be a white or a light grey color siding with black windows and black features. It was also quite strange for a home in the woods. The vegetation was minimal and covered in snow. Everything was covered in snow. Even the dark colored car sitting yards away from the house was covered.
The lights were on in the building but the glass didn’t give any visibility from the outside in. As if it was clouded on purpose to prevent and peeking eyes.
Jake parked as close to the house as possible. Once he did, he put the car at a hult.
“Alright ladies, it was great to be able to drive you here and to make sure that you are safe. Sadly, I must return back to Louisiana.” Jake notified us.
“Thanks a hundred for driving us on such short notice. I seriously appreciate it.” Tiffany told him.
“It’s my duty to our empire.” He smiled through the rear view mirror to her. “The empire I’m finally happy to be apart of.”
Tiffany opened her door and I followed her motion with the door next to me. We both attended to the trunk of the car and grabbed our belongings. This time I grabbed Tiffany heavy luggage as she grabbed my light one.
Stepping through the fluffy snow and feeling how soft it was with every step. How dense it became on compact underneath my feet. I wanted to touch it to see how it felt but it didn’t seem like the right time to do so.
The house was leveled with the ground so no upward steps were required to get the door. Tiffany opened the door but it was done with incredible ease. As the hinge of the door was about to fall off and the handle of the door appeared to have been close to ripping off.
“I have a bad feeling about this.” Tiffany whispered as she quietly stepped into the luminous home.
Turning left towards the staircase, we both jumped to a crash to the right side of the house. Which I saw a dining room with a modern table set. Assuming the noise came from the kitchen.
My magic was ready. Only a trigger away.
“I’m going to check what that was. Stay here.” She told me to stay in front of the staircase. Which I knew was a bad idea so I shook my head.
She rolled her eyes but seemed to understand why I didn’t want to be left alone now.
Walking quietly along the seamless wooden floor. Making no noise, since it appeared to have been new flooring and done pristinely.
Tiffany and I weren’t extremely close to each other, she was a few steps ahead of me to have a better look at what was ahead of us.
Turning her head around the corner, she gasps.
“Father.” She runs fast into the kitchen and I hear duct tape being ripped off quickly.
“Tiffany. Oh how it’s good to finally see someone.” I heard him say with a gargling voice.
When I turned the same corner, I nearly vomited in my mouth. Forcing me to look back towards the door.
Andrew was in horrible condition. His legs and arms were covered in dry blood. His bone was sticking out of his right arm and it was whiter than the walls around us. His right eye was bulged from being punched in so hard, which only left him his right eyes for seeing anything.
Part of his mustache was ripped off from the duct tape, which meant he had it on for quite some time.
He had no shirt on and he was losing weight in front of our eyes it looked like. With large cuts exposing what little fat he had on the inside of his body. His pants were cut with similar cuts but instead of fat you could see muscle exposed.
His appearance stood in my mind as I looked away. Even though I couldn’t stomach it, I felt terrible for him having to deal with such agonizing pain.
“Who did this to you? Why aren’t you healing?”
Tiffany was completely worried and picked her dad up and settled him onto the beige sofa we had passed by to get to the kitchen. Only making me think about how hard it was going to be to get all the blood out of the sofa after all of this.
“I need blood, I feel myself dying. I’m scared.” Sobbing for life and I knew I needed help.
“I’ll give you some of my blood.” I offered my arm out to him.
“What? No, you need your energy!” Tiffany pushed my arm away. “We have blood in the basement.”
“We don’t, they took it all.” He struggled to speak and he was coughing uncontrollably
Tiffany was shocked with Andrews news. I wasn’t sure why Tiffany didn’t want me to use my blood to help save her dad. Was she worried that he was going to drink me up dry? If anything I wouldn’t think my magic would even let that happen.
“Okay. Just don’t tell Tony.” She turned away.
I kneeled to the floor next to Andrew and I offered my arm. He wasn’t shy to grab it and bit me quickly. Which hurt tremendously but not enough to pull my arm away.
He shivered with excitement at the taste of my blood. Seeing his eyes de-puff and his wounds heal right before my eyes.
He didn’t drink for long at all and when he let go my arm was still bleeding. Andrew squeezed his hands around my wrist, giving the blood no room to escape.
“You young lady have the best tasting blood I’ve ever had. AB positive.” He was trying his best not to lick his lips in front of me. “Good thing I can control my thirst, or else I might have emptied you dry.”
“I think my magic would have killed you before you got the chance.”
He eyebrows and eyes panicked.
I let my arm go from his grasp and my bite wound was no longer there. I felt my magic heal me which felt warm against Andrew’s chilly hands.
“Magic?” He said worried and looked shocked at my wrist being as flawless as the moment I gave it to him.
“Yeah. Why?” Saying nonchalant.
“Are you related to Richard Hanson?”
“He’s my dad.”
Andrew’s eyes were so wide and could pop out of his eyes if he pushed them out a little further.
“What are you doing here? Why haven’t I known this? I didn’t even know he had children!” Instead of Tiffany freaking out, now it was him. “Does that mean your a wizard too? That means you’ll just die too!” He kept talking so fast.
“Can you stop father. She isn’t like them.” Tiffany spoke out defending me.
“What do you mean? She’s the same.”
“I’m not.” I stood up proudly.
Andrew quickly got up.
“Father. She killed Victoria and Dexter, as well as all the minions that were with them at the mansion. She killed them with such ease.” Tiffany defended me.
“What?” He settled down in his tone. “The very thing Eunice was trying to do all her life. And you did with ease? I don’t believe it!”
Then he squinted his eyes as he stared deeply at my face.
“Had I just looked at your face when I first met you. I should have known. You look like a female version of your father. What a small world. And your with my son. What a very small world.”
“Yeah.” I awkwardly grinned, since there was so much unknown to him. The coincidence wasn’t merely coincidence.
“I can’t believe he didn’t tell me he had children.” He paused. “I thought we were so close.”
“I’m sure you were. The thing is he needed to protect us. That was his duty as our father.”
“Us? There are more of you?”
“Four in total. It would have been five it the first one didn’t miscarry.”
“Oh wow.” He grabbed me into a large hug. “I apologize for acting Ike such a jerk when we first met. There is no excuse for my actions and words towards and about you. I except you as part of our family.”
Squeezing me with his gracious hug.
“You were also compelled. A lot of the things that you experienced were also managed by Victoria.” Tiffany told her father.
“I knew I was compelled that whole time and couldn’t do anything about it. The moment she killed me and I was brought back to life. Turned into a vampire. The moment she...” He did his best not to cry in front of us. “The moment she killed Marionette. The moment she told you both that you were going to be turned into vampires and that wasn’t what your mother wanted. My true self was hiding underneath all of the compelled lies that only brew deeper and deeper. Struggling at every action I was forced to do. To the point Victoria didn’t need to compel me anymore. So many years of being manipulated, you just do everything they want and need in command. Even when my true self was caged inside”
Tiffany started to tear up, a small ball of blood sat at the outer corner of her eye. A blink would easily release the tear, and she refused to blink it away from her eye.
“I’m sorry, my lovely daughter.”