Murder and Curses

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Chapter 2

Rachel heard knocking on her bedroom door for what was probably the fourth or fifth time, but she continued to ignore it. She had no desire to answer it or to move from her spot on the edge of her bed.

Exactly three weeks ago, everything had been going wonderfully. She had graduated from high school, she had bought herself a car with the money she had saved up, and she had a nice job as a writer and editor for the local newspaper. She had plans to continue her part time job and get a college degree in the writing field--she had not worked out the particulars yet, but had every intention to do that after her graduation party.

However, things had taken a very wrong turn that night. She got into a car accident on the way home, one that left her with a few minor injuries and impaired vision. She had lost her sight in that accident.

The worst part of all was that she had avoided the booze at the party in order to stay sober, knowing that she would be driving herself home that night. Yet despite her caution, she was still the victim of a drunken driving accident, thanks to someone else who had not shown the same restraint as her. Apparently, the one responsible for the accident was still in the hospital with two broken arms and a head fracture, though the doctors felt he would be all right given time.

He can have all the time in the world to get better, but he deserves what he got, Rachel thought bitterly.

She heard the knock on her door again; this time the doorknob rattled and the person on the other side attempted to open it. Rachel, however, had locked it. It was one thing she could manage to do in her bedroom without sight, and she had no desire to unlock it.

“Rachel, open this door right now!” came the impatient voice of her Aunt Mae. “Your doctor’s appointment is in an hour and we need to get you ready.”

Ever since the accident, Rachel had been staying with her Aunt Mae and Uncle Richard, though she did not see much of her Uncle, metaphorically speaking, of course. Rachel was grateful that her aunt had allowed her stay with them, considering she had no other family to stay with, but that did not mean she had to be happy about anything.

Why should I bother going to another doctor’s appointment? Rachel thought miserably. They had all said the same things to her at every other doctor’s appointment ever since she had been released from the hospital. They all said that it looked like her optical nerves were damaged beyond repair and it was very unlikely that she would get her vision back. They had been to three doctors so far, and this was just another one.

“Rachel open this door right now or I’ll have your Uncle break it down,” Aunt Mae threatened in an authoritive tone.

Rachel sighed. She had no doubt in her mind that her aunt would definitely try that if she did not act soon. “Coming,” she said, with as much displeasure as she could pack into that one word. She gently eased herself up from the bed and then kept her arms out in front of her, moving one foot gingerly in front of the other as she went.

When her fingertips brushed the smooth wood of the door, she felt along the door until her fingers touched the cool metal doorknob. Turning it from the inside was what unlocked it, so that is what she did.

The door then opened, and she immediately felt gentle but firm hands on her shoulders. “There, that’s a good girl,” Aunt Mae said, with the air of someone who was looking over her charge. “Now we’ve got to get you dressed, brush your hair, and then get you some breakfast. We’re in a bit of a hurry this morning, so cereal will have to do.”

Rachel said nothing, merely moving her chin in sort of a nod. In many ways, Aunt Mae seemed to be fussing over her way too much. Part of her understood that her Aunt simply liked having someone to mother over again, considering her own kids were grown and had moved to other states; Mae seemed to be suffering far more from the “empty nest syndrome” than Uncle Richard was, or so it seemed. Nevertheless, Rachel was getting rather irritated by it. “I’m not helpless, you know,” she growled. “I can do some things on my own.”

“Then why aren’t you?” Mae asked in a motherly tone. “You keep yourself locked up in your bedroom all the time until I practically drag you out of it.”

“I just need time.

That did it as it always did; Mae backed off. “Yes, of course, Dear,” she said gently. “I know, it’s a big shock to you. Don’t worry; you can have all of the time and space you need to… process this. But right now we need to get moving so that you can get to your doctor’s appointment.”

“Why bother? He’s just going to say what the other doctors said,” Rachel stated. “That it’s hopeless.”

“Now, now, you don’t know that. Maybe this one will be different,” Mae said encouragingly. “Think about it. We hear stories on the news all the time about how people go to different doctors until they find that one special doctor who finds what is wrong and fixes it. Don’t lose hope yet, Dear; we’ll find the perfect doctor for you soon enough.”

Rachel said nothing, only grunting a little. She allowed her Aunt to assist her in getting dressed and permitted it when Mae helped her downstairs to sit at a table in order to eat breakfast, and even tolerated it in silence as Mae continued to chatter away cheerfully about how they would find out what was wrong and fix it.

She’s just gonna have to get it eventually, Rachel thought to herself. It’s not gonna be fixed. I’m gonna be blind forever. Rachel did not know how she knew; she simply knew in her heart that she would never get her sight back. Her Aunt was simply clinging to false hopes, thinking that all of this would soon blow over.

Either that or maybe Aunt Mae was just ecstatic about having someone to baby over again, or possibly a combination of both factors.

Rachel hated life in general right now, especially since the shock of being blind had worn off. Now she was in the anger stage, knowing that she would never be able to drive a car or read a book ever again. Her whole life had been thrown out of whack, after she had been careful at her own graduation party.

Maybe I should have gone ahead and drank the spiked punch until I barfed, she thought bitterly as she shoved a spoonful of nutritious cereal into her mouth. At least then, I could say it was my fault and that I was responsible. But this… this is just not fair. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

She stoically tolerated her Aunt coaching her as she ate, though she did mutter a little when Mae took her hand and gently guided her spoon from the bowl to her mouth. In a way, Rachel felt like she was being treated like a deficient two-year-old, but at the same time she just did not care. I just want to get this stupid doctor’s appointment over with and go back to my room, she thought.

When breakfast was finally over, Aunt Mae gently lifted Rachel out of the chair to her feet and then led her to the door. “We’re going to the car now,” she said.

Yeah, because walking or horseback riding would be much more fun, Rachel thought sarcastically.

They were soon in the car and that was when Rachel zoned out, allowing her head to rest against the seat as she ignored her Aunt’s attempts at small talk and overly cheerful reassurances. Rachel simply paid attention to the gentle vibrations her body felt as she rested against the seat and she even managed to lose herself to the relaxing feeling. She almost managed to doze off, but then Aunt Mae tapped her on the shoulder and announced that they had arrived.

Rachel groaned outwardly. Now they would go into the doctor’s office, where she would go through more examinations and be told the exact same thing again. Well, I might as well get it over with, she thought reluctantly, and allowed her Aunt to assist her out of the car.

Melissa could not suppress her yawn as she slipped out of the classroom, moving toward the study hall. She felt she was doing fairly well in her classes overall and yet the fact that she was running around at night doing who-knew-what did not help matters anyway.

As long as I keep up my B-point average, I should be okay, she thought drowsily as she quickened her pace, wishing she had had an extra cup of coffee earlier while she would still had the chance.

When she entered the study hall, she made a beeline for one of the empty seats and sat down, setting her books out in front of her and preparing to study. She ignored the quiet chatter going on around her. Just a few weeks ago, she might have been interested in hearing all about who was on the cheerleading squad, who had creamed whom on the football field or who the hottest boys were, but right now, she could no longer afford to pay attention. All of her extra time was chewed up with eating, sleeping, studying and turning into a rampant werewolf. She did not even have a social life anymore.

This is ruining my life, she thought bitterly as she opened one of her schoolbooks and leaned forward to read it. I just… wish there was something I could do about it.

Her thoughts drifted as she began to flip aimlessly through pages, no longer paying any attention to what she was looking at. That vampire last night was really something, she thought. That had been the closest thing she had had to a social outing ever since she had been infected with the werewolf curse. It felt good to see someone who knew what she was going through, someone she could talk with. She knew that she definitely wanted to see him again, same time same place.

Yet in the end, what good did it do? Neither of them could change what they were; being bitten by the monsters had changed their lives forever. Travis would never be able to go out into the sunlight again and he would always thirst for blood. Melissa herself would never be able to let anyone see her at night again, and she had heard rumors going around the school about a “large dog” that was howling at the moon at night.

The worst part was that she could not tell if it was true or not. It probably was true, since she did not know about any other large dogs running around and howling at the moon, but as far as she could remember, she did not howl at the moon… or howl much at all. Did that mean she sometimes did things as a werewolf that she could not remember? The thought deeply disturbed her.

A light tap on her shoulder nearly caused her to throw her book across the room. She flinched and turned to see none other than John Scum standing over her.

She sighed. “What do you want?” she demanded.

“You okay?” John asked. He was a short and scrawny high school student with a freckled face and glasses that had lenses as thick as bottle bottoms. He had ruffled black hair and he always wore a simple outfit consisting of a plain shirt and pair of jeans. “You just seemed kind of… I don’t know, spaced out.”

“Yeah well, I’m fine.” Melissa turned away from him and glanced at her book. She slammed it shut and put it aside; she was not getting anything out of it now anyway.

“Sorry if I bothered you,” John apologized in his nasal fashion. “You just haven’t been yourself lately, and people are starting to talk.”

“What are they starting to say?” Melissa asked in a bored tone, even though she really was interested.

“Some have noticed you’re sneaking out of the dorm at night, at least they think you are,” John said.

Oh great, Melissa thought. The last thing she needed was for the Dean to start wondering where she was off to; especially if people thought, she was up to something suspicious. “Well I’m not sneaking out,” she lied. “Besides, if I was sneaking out, where would I be going?”

“Some people think you’re going out to see a guy,” John replied.

Melissa rolled her eyes. Yep, typical gossip and rumors; some things never changed no matter what grade or school you were in. “There’s no one,” she said. Not unless you count the vampire I met last night. “Besides, why does everybody care so much what I do?”

“Because you never hang out with your friends anymore,” John supplied.

Melissa had half a mind to slap the little twerp for being such a busybody, but usually she never had the heart to. Especially considering that he was the kind of person who everybody always told to buzz off or they simply ignored him. Since the standard crowd seemed to dismiss his presence and consider him invisible, that meant that he could usually eavesdrop and find out things; sometimes people paid him for information he’d found out.

The only reason he’s over here right now is that he’s had a crush on me for a few weeks, she thought. She could definitely tell. “Look I’m just not in the mood to socialize,” she told him, hoping that that would be enough. With my luck he’ll go blab what I’m saying to one of my friends. “It’s very personal.”

“Oh?” John’s eyes lit up; he loved secrets. “What kind of personal?” He sounded like a little kid who would just had a piece of candy dangled in front of him. “You’re not seeing someone, are you?” Yeah, of course he would go back to asking that, considering the crush he had on her.

“No I’m not seeing anyone,” Melissa echoed in an annoyed, singsong voice. “Look, I just really want to be left alone right now.”

“Oh.” John’s face fell. “Okay.” He turned as if to go, but then he hesitated as though he had remembered something. “Hey Melissa,” he said, “did you hear about the werewolf?”

If she had been eating or drinking anything at that particular moment, she certainly would have choked on it. “W-what?” she blurted, stunned.

“Some people are saying that there’s a werewolf running around at night, howling at the moon and getting into all kinds of trouble,” John went on. “They say it’s even killed people.”

Melissa felt her blood turn to ice. She had been so certain that she had been aware of her actions and had not hurt any people. It seemed that that was not true after all. She was a murderer, just like that vampire boy she had met the other night.

She began to gather her books, stuffing them back into her knapsack. “Excuse me,” she muttered.

“What?” John asked, appearing concerned. “What’s wrong? You look awfully pale.”

“I just need to go,” Melissa said, zipping up her backpack and throwing the strap over one shoulder. “I just need to… splash some cold water in my face.” She then hurried out of the study hall, leaving a bewildered John behind her.

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