Astra

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4.) Detejction

My legs could not carry me fast enough to my apartment, despite the fast pace I carried the whole time. A mixture of the jogging and the previous choking made my lungs ache. But I didn’t let up, even as I was nearing my apartment.

At the front door of my building I almost ran into a neighbor of mine, he looks at me with shock as I almost plow through him. Through my rushed frenzy I think I muttered an apology, but kept going. My neighbor let out a strange sound of shock at the site of Ember and Beckett behind me, the beautiful woman wielding a sword on her back and blood splatters on her chest.

“Happy Halloween.” Ember grinned and then followed me up the stairs.

Ember and Beckett had both keep up easily, breathlessly. I remember their conversation earlier, that they’d been training their whole life for this. It makes me wonder what the training had been for specifically.

I finally reached the front door, it was slightly ajar with splintering cracks around the doorknob.

Gasping I reached for the handle but Ember grabbed my elbow quickly, pulling me back to her side.

“Hey-” I started, but she pressed a finger to her lips, her eyes wide with a serious fear. In my gut, I knew to be quiet. She and Beckett went ahead of me, pushing the door the remainder of the way open as silently as possible. Inside my home was wreckage.

Whoever had been here while I was at school had left no stone unturned. I followed them quietly but sadness jumped into my throat and caused it to ache.

The kitchen table I had sat at just this morning was in pieces, littering the kitchen floor along with utensils and towels. All of the cabinets were open and some were even hanging by just a screw.

They had torn through everything, my apartment was a total mess. This small apartment where I grew up, was in shambles; and my aunt was nowhere to be found. I flew through the small apartment quickly, searching my room and hers, as well as the living room and shared bathroom. Nowhere.

“S-so what? Did they take her? The...vamps?” My words tasted wrong, and my throat closed at the very idea of her being in their hands. I’m not sure if there are more, or how many there could be, but I knew deep down if they are anything like what I had experienced then my aunt was in danger.

“If I had to guess, yes,” Ember said, her tone milked with sympathy. I turned to her, meeting her sad eyes.

“We need to help her-” Beckett once again cut off my pleas, just as he had done earlier.

“No, enough chasing our tails. Your family isn’t our concern-” I can’t help it, anger flashed through me and I turned to him quickly; shoving him hard with both hands before I could even process my actions.

Despite my hard shove he barely moved, standing still like he was made of cement. So I tried to push him again, letting out an angry cry.

Tears wanted to flow, and for a moment I’m surprised. Emotion tends to evade me, and I cannot remember a time where I cried. But his bored face looking down at me brought another wave of emotion, one I could not explain, and I tried again to shove him.

This time he stopped me, grabbing my wrists and holding them to my shoulders effortlessly, he was strong. I could see that with arm muscles expanding his black tee shirt, up this close I could see the bluish veins that web his pale arms.

This close to Beckett the electricity was unbearable, it vibrated the walls around us. Surely, Ember could see it too.

“Stop with the merciful whining, sorry and all that for your aunt-”, no. I ripped my arms from his grasp harshly, my skin burning from the friction of the force.

“No! Screw you, and screw your stupid assignment! This is my life! And quite frankly my life was just fine until you two came around!” Yelling in his face did not faze him, and if anything he looked down at me as though I was a small child who was upset over candy.

“Now, I don’t know who you guys are... I don’t know why that ‘vamp’,” I use air quotes around vamp, “wanted to kill me, and I don’t know why they took my aunt! But I do know that if you want to complete your ‘assignment’”, I go heavy on the finger quotes, “you’re going to help me find my family.” There’s a heavy silence where my words lay. I huffed, my chest rising and falling heavily from my yelling. Beckett, however, was still unfazed. Ember, on the other hand, let out a laugh.

“You are not what we expected.” She laughed out, shaking her head, and leaning against a cracked counter. I looked at her, trying to make my face look angry, but I could not muster it over my emotional exhaustion.

“Ember-”, Beckett said but his voice let off, I think he already knows that Ember will do this for me. “Bullshit.” That is all he said, biting the word out and flopping down onto the last chair to not be broken.

“We help find your aunt and uncle, then you’ll help us complete our assignment?” Ember asked, her eyes serious in the deal-making. I nodded, my chest feeling suddenly lighter knowing I will find my family. It occured as an afterthought that Ember knew of my uncle. I don’t think I’d mentioned him at all? But I dropped it, having more pressing matters to stress about.

“Ember, we were told to keep the girl safe. What would Alatar say?” Beckett said, only half-heartedly. My chest rumbled at ‘girl’, I’m not just some helpless girl. Or maybe I am since I have not been able to protect myself or my family.

“We will keep her safe, can you not see that we cannot take her against her will?” Beckett looked hopeful for a moment, knowing damn well he probably could take me against my will. I was thankful Ember chose not to.

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