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32. The portrait


Too many things happen at once. The councillors all scramble from their seats, including Mark and Damien who both look tense and shocked. This was not supposed to happen. I sense the magic moving away from my body and I am visible once again. Thank goodness I am hiding behind the curtains.

At the far end, the alarms set off loud, breaking the deafening silence. All the vampires have their fangs and claws spring, with their eyes turning a few shades brighter. They are all in predatory mode and I watch everyone run out of the room from my hiding spots.

Shit, what should I do now?

I start regretting my choice, tightening my grip on the curtains. I debate on whether I should go out and follow them or just stay here and hide. I breathe deeply. I always make the wrong choices. Tears spring in my eyes and I shake my head, as if the tears will stop falling if I do so.

I always make the wrong choices. I think again and I can't stop myself from the upcoming evil thoughts.

I made the wrong choice for falling for a vampire. I made the wrong choice for being too curious and reading the records in the open. I made the wrong choice by stealing records in the first place. I made the wrong choice for remembering the memories Damien tried to hide by biting me. If you now think about it… wasn't it me who always tried to get myself killed in the first place? My curiosity was out of my control and Damien just tried to save me. Why was I ever angry at him? He tried saving me. Simple.

My knees can no longer hold my body and I fall to the ground. I bring my knees to my chest and lock myself. I don't care if I am visible, all I want to do now is just give myself a break. Did I ever do that after I read Jennet's diary? Probably not.

"Who's there?" I hear a familiar voice.

Shit, shit.

I find my feet sticking out the curtains. I pull them in immediately, but it's too late.

"Show yourself." I hear Damiens strong voice much nearer than before. I curse at myself. Removing the lethal dagger, I hide it behind myself. I won't kill him though, I will stab him in his collar bone and immediately hide in the forest. After that I would decide what to do next.

My grip on the knife tightens, it feels oddly cold and my heart is beating quicker than before, he must have noticed this by now.

Silence stretches within us and just when I think the time is right, I strike first head on.

A look of relief and shock overtakes Damiens and I try to take this to my advantage and attack him first.

With a gutteral shout, I lunge at him and aim the dagger at Damien’s collar bone, but due to his quick reflexes I miss.

Before I could crash on the ground, I hold on to the corner of the table to support myself. Once I am up, I glance at Damien sharply and our eyes lock. We stand facing each other in complete silence and while I look like I have sneaked away in my pajamas(which I have) Damien looks like a shocked businessman (his business is selling blood and breaking hearts).

"…knife?" He trails off and the muscles in his strong jaws bunch.

"Don't expect me to answer honestly after what you've done," I say, my voice hoarse and my body completely focused to perceive or act at the smallest danger.

"How are you here? I have been looking for you," he asks, his voice gruff with a frown forming between his eyebrows.

"Sure you have," I snap, unable to hide my bitterness towards him. He notices it too and steps forward almost about to stop me, but stops in his tracks.
"Is this your doing?" Damien asks more softly this time and I shake my head, "No, but I don't think you will trust me, after all your loyalties lies to Scarenville." I spit rudely and break eye contact. I cannot force myself to look at Damien anymore.

"That's right. So run."

"Huh?" I scrunch my nose and eyebrows.

"You were leaving anyway right? So go." He prods.

I look up at him and see him with his hands in his pockets. His eyes which were once readable to me are now dead and emotionless. Just like he was at the beginning.

"You won't catch me?" I question doubtedly and squint my eyes at him suspiciously. Why will he let me go like that?

"I won't. I want to play fair. What just happened today was a coincidence. Next time when we meet there will be no chances and I will definitely not let you go next time. So leave before I change my mind." He declares and I feel my legs moving on their own.

I want to ask him more questions but I don't take any chances. Still keeping my eyes on him I move backward and then cross the table. Alert I slowly exit, I stop in my tracks and watch Damien staring at me from his position.

He hasn't moved an inch.

The hallways are still bright and every portrait and furniture is still placed the way it was before. The only difference now is the stench of death and fear which has seemed to plague the entire place. My heart pounds quicker and terror mounts me in every step. Though I don’t't see any vampires or feel their presence, I still get goosebumps all over me.

My pace gets quicker and I no longer care about the clicking of my shoes. Something about this place wasn't right. I pause. Where exactly is everybody? Is Damien still here?

I turn around and find myself in an unknown location within the hall. This area seems old and I curse my stupid self for not focusing on the direction I was going in.

Spider webs devour the entire hall and strangely, this hall has similar features to the main ballroom. This hall has no chandelier but you can see the hook on the roof to prove that any chandelier was either moved or was never here in the first place. Broken chairs and tables fill the ground and portraits and mirrors were covered with clothes. I glance at the hallways by which I came from. I can return back and exit properly, but it would be a risk. I have a higher chance of being safe in an abandoned ballroom than going back.

Besides, I thought to myself. There is a glass window. It may look rusty but I am sure I could be able to open it and if not, I always have the option of breaking the Scarenville property just to get back at them.

I walk forward to the nearest covered object and yank the cloth.
The rug falls of easily and a portrait emerged within it.

It has specks of dust within it even though it was covered properly, but I can still see what the portrait entails. Four people are standing in the portrait in front of me, all with different expressions on their faces.

In the further right stood a man with sharp features. He has silver eyes and shoulder length dark hair. His fangs are out and his claws are visible yet it looks very professional. His aura is dark. Next to him stands an old woman with a green gown. She looks clean and withered and light wrinkles are visible in the corner of her eyes. She has a small smile on his face and she holds a wand with a green ball in it. Her aura is green. In the middle stands a tall werewolf with a mischievous glint in his eyes. He has a suit, but a few tip buttons were open and in it you could find its grey fur. He perhaps look the most unprofessional but still looked as if he was a part of them. Beside him stands a young lady with dark wings and a dark gown which hugged her body tightly. It is clear that she was trying to look seductive in the portrait and I doubt whether she succeeded or not.

"Rose." I hear a whisper and immediately break out of my thoughts and turn behind. I find no one. Maybe it is all in my head.

I walk away from the portrait and move to another object which I believe is a mirror hidden underneath the cover. I pull it aimlessly and find a hooded figure behind me.

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