I didn’t how much Blyth tried to console me, but there was still a fear that laid within me knowing that Marcus had something planned against my love for Matt. Nothing would ever lay that fear to rest until the time had passed that it would no longer matter. That time I wouldn’t know if it would ever come. I did love Matt in the very core of me, and it was that love that I feared above all else. I couldn’t make it fade away, but I could stop it from growing. It was in the same way as I will always love Michael.
Blyth still implored me to find out everything I could about Matt. He understood my fear of getting closer to Matt, but he also assured me that he was going to find out what Marcus was up to. Right now my goal was just to get information. Get information without interrogating him.
I stared at his door and for the third time I raised my clenched fist to knock. My head fell along with my hand. I wasn’t even sure how he would react towards me because of yesterday. I mumbled to myself as I walked away from the door. “Nope, I can’t do it.”
I made it the back to the sidewalk before I turned around. I dearly wished that I could have just gone and forced the information out of Marcus like Blyth was doing right now. I would not be kind with it either. Much less kinder than Blyth I’m sure. Blyth told me that he would come to Matt himself, but he could look in Matt’s eyes again. Not until I discovered the reason behind his reaction. He wanted nothing more than to come back into Matt’s life, but he didn’t know how to. After all Matt had been running from him for two hundred and seventy years now, and he didn’t know why.
After pacing back and forth in front of his house I sat down on the curb trying to figure out a way that I could even face him without crying. Oddly enough it wasn’t because of what I had done last night. I wanted to know everything about him and I feared that it would make me love him even more.
I heard a car coming up the road, and I didn’t think anything of it until it began slowing down. My eyes fell on Josh’s car stopping right in front of me. I quickly got up and started walking down the sidewalk when the window started coming down. There was no way that I could face anyone from school right now especially not my best friend’s boyfriend. I’m sure he would just have as many questions as she would. A whole lot of why’s that I couldn’t answer right now.
“Hey Ash!” Josh called out, but I made a point not to look back. I slowed my breathing and tried to focus on listening to his fist pounding on Matt’s door. As soon as he goes inside the door I would go home. I wasn’t going to risk everyone knowing I was back just to talk to Matt. I would just tell Blyth that he wasn’t home all night. I couldn’t find him. It sounded good to me.
“Ash!” The door never shut and Matt was right behind me now coming up the sidewalk. “Ash, stop.”
My pace slowed against my will and I stopped. I knew instantly that odd feeling that Marcus was talking about when he entered the room and all of his powers went away. Whatever Marcus had given Matt to shut down my powers, he had it on him. It was obvious now that the only strength I had to walk away from him was within my power pushing me. I turned to face him but my eyes stayed planted on the sidewalk, “You don’t trust me.”
They weren’t the words that I wanted. I didn’t want it to sound like that, but I wasn’t sure how else to say it. He didn’t trust me or my power because of Marcus. I felt the world collapsing around me as he put his hands on my shoulders, “Ash, what is wrong?”
“Where is it? What is it?” I fought my tears trying to find out what Marcus had given him. “What is stopping my powers?”
Matt’s hands left my shoulders and I watched as he dug in his pocket. When his hand emerged and opened up the tears poured down my cheeks, “It’s just a ring. I’m sorry I didn’t know that you were coming back today. I thought you were still mad at me because of yesterday.”
I lifted the ring out of his hand. I recognized it at once. It was held within the trembling fingers at the tip of my finger ready to put it in place just before I said always. I couldn’t hold back my questions now. “Why does Marcus want me to love you?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Do you remember my scar? The one that you questioned me about and then you asked Marcus. I got that for loving someone. What were his words, ‘she got it for loving a man that she wasn’t supposed to?’ That man was Michael. He forced me into loving him and then he forced the blade through my heart because I didn’t love him. Now he wants me to love you. Don’t you find that a little strange Matt?” I tried to keep my voice down, but there was no control in me at the moment. All my control was lost with my powers. “Now he gives you a ring that binds all my powers. A ring that he had chosen from my future that I’m sure he planned for some unknown reason for me to see. Matt, I’ve seen this ring before in your trembling fingers just before you placed it on mine binding us together in marriage. You have to tell me what he is planning.”
“Wow, that’s heavy.” Matt pulled the ring out of my fingers, “Married?”
“Well, I can assure you that it isn’t going to come true. It wasn’t real. It was nothing more than something like a dream from lives gone past. But I know that he chose that ring because I would recognize it. Now please tell me what his plans are. I don’t want to be a toy any more. I want nothing more than to love you and keep you safe, but his plans are devious. I could turn a thousand and one ways before I finally discover the truth. You are his brother, a brother that he is trying to help. Now please help Blyth and I try to figure out what he is trying to do.” I felt like kneeling down and begging him for answers. Instead my eyes found their way into his hoping that I would find some kind of resolve saying that he would help me.
They were closed as a scowled took over his straight lips, “You said you weren’t going back to see him.”
If looks could kill I’m sure that as soon as his eyes opened that I would have died right there. More tears fell out of my eyes for the pain that he was thrusting at me, “I didn’t go back to, but I was left with very few options when they kicked me out for being a Phoenix. It was either go with him or deal with all of this on my own. Matt, it was foreseen that I would break the spell over Michael and Marcus. I can only hope that it will also break this curse on you as well. I only want to help you.”
Matt grabbed my hand and placed the ring back into it, “Good luck making it to your eighteenth birthday. I didn’t.”
I gripped the cold metal and threw it right back at him, “Keep it. Who knows, if I’m going to be uncontrollable, you would want to keep yourself protected from the likes of me.”
The ring bounced off of Matt’s chest and hit the ground, “He wouldn’t let you touch me.”
“I would kill Marcus without thinking twice about it.” I glared at him with the tears starting to freeze on my cheeks. “I know exactly how to kill him. It would kill me in the end, but I would end his life again if I ever got the chance.”
“Not Marc.” Matt turned and started away from me leaving the ring still lying on the ground. “My father, he would end your life before you could even threaten mine now that he knows I’m here.”
“Matt,” I now lost all the feelings in my legs and fell to the sidewalk, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Yeah, I know. Uncontrollable emotions as well as uncontrollable powers. I know better than most.” I watched Matt slow and finally stop. His voice was calm now when he turned around. “Why don’t you come back with me? We could invite Kate, Brian, and Mindy over. You can remember what a normal life is like.”
I shook my head, “I’m not normal Matt. I’m not even normal for those who are like me.”
Before I even realized it Matt was kneeling in front of me holding the ring between his fingers, “With this you can be.”
“I despise this thing. I hate this feeling being around it.” I ripped it out of his fingers and stood up. “I can control everything within me without this, but near it my insides churn and die.”
“Then give it back.” Matt demanded.
“No, I want my downfall to be my own.” I held it within my fist and turned. “If you can think of anything that will help me help you then call me. Other than that I really don’t want to see you.”
“Fine,” Matt’s anger came back just as quick as mine. “Have a fun life or death.”
I wasn’t turning back around or saying anything else to him. In my mind he was working with Marcus. He was no longer that Matt that I knew. The Matt I remembered was sweet and kind, nothing short of being perfect. There was no fighting back the tears now. The fell fast and sure and I didn’t try to stop them. It was a release holding it in would only make me hurt more and I knew that.
I clenched the ring so tight within my grasp that my nails were beginning to dig into my skin. As I walked down the road I walked quickly into the first store that I had found. Determined I searched each aisle for something that I could put the ring in to create a seal so that I could get rid of these emotions riding up inside of me. I spotted a box of zip lock baggies. They were perfect.
“Hey, you have to pay for those.” The man’s voice came after I ripped one out of the box. Placing the ring inside the bag and sealing it shut a sense of ease take over me. Swiftly I balled up the five dollar bill that I had gotten from my stash in my jewelry box. I tossed it towards the man who looked at me oddly, “Thank you Ash. Are you okay?”
When I began walking back out of the store I realized that the man who I had just thrown the money at was Kate’s dad. In the state that the ring placed over me, I wasn’t myself at all. It wasn’t just binding my powers. It was doing something else to me too.
Inhaling the fresh air with my powers back I felt better, but I didn’t know where to go. I wasn’t going back to Blyth to tell him that I had failed in getting information. I couldn’t tell him that I ruined everything.
“Ash, wake up.” Michael shook me lightly, “I ordered pizza.”
The smell of it weighed heavily on my stomach. Michael pushed the plate into my hand and quickly left the room. I looked down at my other one that was bandaged just like my leg. I could see the tiny lines just like the ones on my leg seaming out from under the white gauze. They were up past my wrist and trying to find their way to my heart. As I stared at them I wondered how I had become so susceptible to infection like this.
Michael raised his head as I appeared across from him. “Why is the infection spreading like this?”
“Start eating and I will tell you.” Michael got up from the bar and as he started pacing in his kitchen I realized it was just to get away from me. I did like he asked and started eating the pizza on the plate. “Your body isn’t fighting the infections like it should be, and since you so foolishly forgot to take the antibiotics they stopped working as well. I got you some stronger medication which I want you to take. Do you understand, Ash?”
“Yes, by why?”
“You turned.” I watched as Michael turned from me and started twisting the faucet on his sink back and forth. “You turned and your body is fighting the infection of your power. It won’t stop fighting until you turn again on your birthday. I’ve seen it happen before. You turned before your body finished maturing. That is why you turn on your birthday and not before. It slowly builds before then letting you gain control over it, but you never turn before it truly time. Now your body will fight it as an infection. Your power will grow until your birthday, and on that day you will turn gaining even more power.
With everything else that you haven’t been doing it is just making it worse. Not eating or sleeping is wearing your body down making it even harder to fight this. I might sound rude, but it is only wisdom that I am sharing with you. You must take care of your body. Sleep. Eat even if it is just one meal a day. Make sure it is a big one. I can only tell you how to fight this. You have to do the rest on your own.
If I were you I would put off on trying to find Matthew until after your birthday or until your body heals completely. Marcus will just have to understand that your health should come first before his own wants. Believe me if Matthew knows that Marcus has sent you to find him, you won’t find him.”
“Wait!” I shot up from my seat making Michael look at me, “Are you saying that Matthew is alive somewhere out there?”
Michael chuckled and the light brightened his eyes, “As alive as any dead person can be.”
“You’ve seen him though?” I fell back into my seat, “But Blyth said that you dug the grave to see if he was there?”
“What are you talking about?”
I didn’t feel like explaining everything so I made it as short as I could. “In the fate that I had seen I saw you dig a grave for Marcus right were you guys buried Matthew. Blyth said that you only dug the grave to see if Matthew’s body was there.”
Michael started laughing again as he finally came back over to sit in front of me, “The only reason I would have dug a grave for Marcus was to make sure that he stayed planted there.”
“To bad he didn’t stay there.” I mumbled to myself.
I shook my head, “Do you know where Matthew is?”
“Why are you so determined to find him anyway? What did they promise you in the end that would push you to do this for them?” Michael leaned over and shocked me as he began fixing the bandage on my hand. “What life could either of them ever give you?”
“One free of them.” I balled my hands into fist not realizing that I had a hold of Michael’s fingers until he yanked them out of my grasp. “I swear I will break this spell only if it is to kill Marcus for everything that he’s put me through.”
“If he can see the future do you really think he would allow that to happen? Ash, if he sees you trying to kill him in whatever future it is he will kill you first.” Michael ran his hands down over his face as if he was just defeated. “He will do it and not think twice about it.”
I pulled Michael’s hands down to the table making him look into my eyes, “Third time’s a charm.”
Michael shook his head letting a smile quickly come and go, “He’s got you right where he wants you.”
“You could kill me and end this all right now!” I slammed my fists down on to the table. I had offered him to take my life before this all began, but he had refused. Maybe now he would to save us all this pain. In my hand I held one of Michael’s kitchen knives. I pushed it towards him, “Shove it right though my heart and end my suffering.”
As Michael took it into his own hand I knew that he was now seriously contemplating taking my offer. I got up and walked around the bar so that I was an easy target. I pulled down my shirt to reveal my heart to make it even easier for him. “Right here, just do it Michael.”
I closed my eyes to make myself ready for the pain as Michael shifted the weight of the knife in his hand. I listened as his body shifted in his chair. He would be standing right in front of me right now. My breathing slowed and I bit my lip still preparing myself. I felt relieved and a bit scared at the same time. Relieved that everything would be over once he stabbed me through the heart and scared fearing what would happen to him if Marcus and Blyth found out what he had done.
Finally I felt the tip placed against the scar. I held my breath as I stepped forward hoping to force it through, but it moved with me. “Michael, please you’ve killed how many people. What is one more?”
I opened my eyes when I heard Michael sat the knife back down on the bar. He stared at it rather than me shaking his head, “I’ve never killed someone who loved me before.”
Using my power I pushed the knife back to Michael’s hand, “You killed Matthew. Now kill me.”
The knife was thrown across his kitchen and Michael was right in my face. His amber eyes dug into mine full of hate, “That was an accident and you know that!”
My hands let go of my shirt and I pushed them forward hoping to shove him from me. I wanted to enrage him. Hopefully it would be enough, but he caught my hands before I even touched his chest. He brought them down bringing them behind my back ultimately closing the space between us. “I said don’t touch me.”
“What are you ashamed of your scar? So ashamed that you take it away with magic and if it ever shows you refuse to let anyone see it or come close to touching it? What is about that scar that you are so ashamed of? I would die to have one just like it.” I screamed defiantly at him hoping to continue in pushing him to kill me.
“I’m sure that you would.” Michael’s grip tightened on my wrists, “I think it is time you leave.”
My heart beat uncontrollably as Michael’s face came closer to mine. I used what power I could control at that moment just to keep my lips from wanting to touch his. “I’m not leaving until you kill me Michael.”
“Fine.” Michael released my hands and turned from me. I was thankful when I saw him walking to the other side of the kitchen. When he stopped short of where the knife had landed my heart dropped. Instead he shoved several prescription bottles across the bar, “One for your infections, one to help you sleep, one to help your appetite, and another for memory loss. There is also one for any pain that you might have, and if you are so willing to end your life take the whole bottle. I’m sure that it will stop your heart from beating.
Since you aren’t leaving, I am. So good luck on killing yourself. All I ask is that you don’t do it here in my apartment because I won’t be able to take you home to your father, and I really don’t think he would like to drive the whole way to the city just to pick up his dead daughter’s body. Just be gone by the time I come back.”
“Damn it, Michael!” I shouted forcing the pills back to him. I watched as the bottles exploded against the wall creating a firework display of different colors. “I’ll see you in Hell.”
The knife that I thought Michael was first going to get flew up into the air. Michael did not yell this time in reaction to the metal flying through the air. I refused to even see the look on his face. My eyes stayed firmly on the knife as it got closer and closer to ending my life.
My lower lip began to tremble and my breathing completely ceased. It was just as painful as the sword that Marcus had thrown at me. It was just as forceful in pushing me back. I closed my eyes taking me back home that way no one would be able to stop the bleeding. My dad would be at work, and hopefully Michael wouldn’t follow me. It would be nice and peaceful, a perfect place to die.
I had all intentions of landing on my bed, but it seemed my aiming was off. I choked on the air as I fell onto my floor forcing the knife further into my chest. The blood filling my lungs shot out on the floor in my attempts to exhale. The pain was slowly beginning to filter away and I knew it wouldn’t be long now. I rolled over onto my back unwillingly. My sweet release from this world was being ripped ruthlessly out of my chest.
“No!” My voice gurgled with the blood still making its way out of my body. I fought the hands that were trying to press against the wound in my chest. My strength was running out to fight against them and I prayed that their attempt to save me was in vain.
My eyes shot open when I heard my door open and I heard the voice come from over me, “Michael, save her.”
Tears filled the vision of Matt leaning over me. It didn’t take long before Michael was over me as well assessing the damage that I had done to myself. I shook my head trying to plead with them not to save me, but they went unknown as the blood flowed instead of my voice.
The blurring image of Michael’s face left my own to Matt’s, “I can’t. I have no power near her.”
The fresh air filled my lungs instead of the blood as the sunshine stung my eyes. My hands were tight against my chest still keeping Matt’s hands away from me. I was no longer laying on my floor but still standing in the doorway of the store. My voice nearly screamed as a hand landed on my shoulder, “Ash, are you sure you are okay?”
“I’m fine.” I told Kate’s dad and stepped out from his touch. I didn’t care that he saw me. He was just one person so I disappeared. I had thought about going to Blyth, but I didn’t. I knew exactly what I needed something to kill the pain. I repeated Blyth’s words vaguely as I appeared in front of the bar, “Give me two.”
“Darling, you are too young. I can’t serve you.” The bartender answered. It was the same one that had questioned Blyth. I let my id appear on the bar that Blyth had rendered to say that I was old enough. “No, I’m sorry.”
I slammed my fist down on the bar, “You can serve Blyth who is no older than me.”
“Blyth is years older than you.”
“Not technically!” I screamed. “Look I’ve had a horrible day. I’ve just died and now I want something to kill the pain.”
The man backed away from the bar and closed his eyes. My head fell down on the bar in defeat. I wasn’t going to get anything from him and now he was most likely going to have me thrown out. “Alright, Ash is it?”
I lifted my head to see the man handing me a bottle. “He said to serve you, but only this. He is on his way.”
“I’ll be gone before he gets…” I tried to open my eyes wider to make sure that I didn’t lose control, but it was no use. The world was going black. All of my senses were going. Blyth said it would be weeks, not days. I just fell backwards and let the feelings take over me. The numbness that I wanted came, but in a way that I wasn’t sure I wanted.
I opened my eyes to see everyone in the bar staring straight at me. Almost touching the ceiling I could understand why they were. I brought myself down to the floor staring straight at Blyth. Almost afraid of what he would say to me I turned quickly back to the bar and grabbed my bottle. I tried to fight the feeling of everyone staring at me and Blyth just made it worse. He leaned in against the bar with me, “Ash, what happened?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I pushed the bottle away from me. “I turned again.”
“Yes, but why?”
I scoffed at our first meeting, “It would seem that in another lifetime I was more suicidal than when we first met.”
“You dropped this.” Blyth sat the ring in the bag on the bar in front of me. “What is it?”
I started laughing to keep myself from crying as I lifted it. I studied the inscription inside of it, Always. “It was my wedding band, except Marcus gave it to Matt to bind my powers. He gave it to me saying that he hoped that I made it to my birthday because he didn’t. He’s really pissed.”
My eyes went from the ring to the glass that was being slid across to Blyth’s hand. I quickly took it from his grasped and swallowed it before he could object. Again I did the same thing as another one slid into his hand. I looked up at the bartender who just glowered at me. “I got them anyway.”
I envisioned the stereo system that was hidden behind the bar. I snickered as stopped what Blyth had playing. I wanted something that I could dance to something that would get me out of this depression that I was being forced into. The band that I had first heard when Blyth brought me came to mind. I smiled at Blyth went I flipped his whole doom and gloom sound that he was listening to. Move It came on and I let the beat take me as I stared at Blyth.
My lips mouthed the words as I got up dragging Blyth out to the floor. Never once did his grin come, “You know they play this in strip clubs, don’t you?”
“Is that supposed to make me not want to listen to it?” I nearly had to force him to dance with me like he had done my first night here. “I just want to have some fun before I die again. Twice in two weeks is more than any one person can handle I think. Who knew that somewhere in this future that I would have driven a knife straight through my own heart, or the future that I had seen rivaling from this one.”
My head fell on Blyth’s shoulder, “It’s alright. We will figure this out.”
“Can I just have fun? I want to dance and enjoy tonight.” I pleaded with Blyth as I backed out of his embrace. “Would you become the Blyth that I first met here? The carefree and always happy guy that I knew before I broke you down into complicated.”
The grin that I missed flew back onto his face as he ran his fingers through his hair, “Anything for you.”
Blyth and I fought over the different songs that played throughout the night. We challenged each other on who could pick the song that would get the most people dancing. After a few hours it didn’t really matter who won. It became more of a game of who could get the most provocative and dirtiest song to dance to.
I threw up my arms and shivered under Blyth’s hands winding around my body. Instant memories of our night together escalated inside of me. I swayed back and forth getting lost in the memories. When my hands grasped a hold of something I opened my eyes to find that I was not lost in memories, but back in a fate. This time I had realized that I was there, and I wasn’t about to leave.
I grasped the pipe above me as I looked down on Blyth gripping the metal bars above his head. The look of ecstasy on his face let me know that he was enjoying this just as much as I was. The necklaces were swaying back and forth on his neck moving the sweat lying on his chest. Like I had done the other night I forced my own feeling of rapture into him. Blyth sapphire eyes shot opened as he echoed my moan. He sat up letting his hands run rampant over my body.
My fingers lost their grip on the bar as I was thrust towards him. The sharp agonizing pain drove through my back and through me. I could hear Michael’s voice laughing as the pain came again and again through me.
I tried to push myself off of Blyth while choking on my own blood. It was no use as Michael continued to stab me pushing me back down on him. I feared that whatever Michael was forcing through me was going through Blyth as well. It wasn’t until Michael finally stopped and yanked my lifeless body off of Blyth that I could see it wasn’t the knife that Michael had causing Blyth such pain. My blood was eating through Blyth’s chest.
Michael threw the knife straight at me as he fell to his knees in front of Blyth. I could see that he was trying to help him. I reached out for Blyth’s lifeless hand as it fell off the bed. Michael stood up and stepped on my arm that I was reaching out for Blyth with. His eyes went straight through me as he lifted his foot and stomped on my chest forcing all the blood up out of my mouth and nose.
I forced the blood out of me trying to get air. The smell and taste of it made me nearly pass out, but as it came out all over Blyth’s chest I couldn’t stop more from being forced out of me. This time it came from my stomach instead of my lungs. Blyth ripped the shirt off of him and I looked up just in time to see it beginning to eat through his skin. It took everything that I could to stop the blood from coming out of me just long enough to watch as I let the water pour over him removing him from any danger. I forced him back as more was choked up out of my throat.