“Oh, my little deer,” Mistress cooed to me as she tends to my wounded neck, “look how he has torn you so.”
I had just experienced something no eleven-year-old, or anyone for that matter, should ever experience. Rakin had met me, and he had forced himself on me, his fangs were in my neck, his...
“How it pains me to see you in such agony,” Thana continued as she strokes my hair, “I will be a much kinder master to you my deer. But you cannot remember my kindness, it will make me seem weak, and you will be torn away from me, do you understand pet?”
“Yes, mistress,” I had answered.
“When it is just you and me, you may call me mama,” she had said before lifting my face to meet her’s, “You must not tell anyone do you understand?”
“Yes...mama,” I had answered, I was exhausted with no fight left in me.
“Good girl,” Thana said, “Now, forget this, forget everything that just happened, forget my master and forget my kindness, you may only remember when I say so.”
I don’t know how long I’ve been left alone, when I wake the room is empty, I’m still strapped down to the table but none of the machines or lights are on.
I’m alone and I’m in the dark.
From above I can hear shouting and fighting, there is blood being spilt, undead blood... wait, how do I know that it is undead? My mouth is dry and my heart is still racing, I can feel the electricity still coiling around my mind as the room shakes.
“She should be with me,” a voice says in the back of my mind, the voice of my father, “I can keep her safe, if anyone finds out what she is...”
“She will be fine,” My mother says.
I remember this memory, as I close my eyes I can see it clearly.
It’s my eighth birthday, I was supposed to be in bed, my father had tucked me in, but I could hear him and my mother arguing about something so I snuck out to see.
“I can keep her safe,” my mother said, and I watched as she stood in the living room with my father in front of her, “If we were with you she would be found much sooner, she deserves a normal childhood, one in the light.”
“She is my daughter,” my father argues, there is pain in his voice, “I don’t want to be so far apart from her.”
“The closer she is to you the more danger she will be in,” my mother says softly, “Tristane, you know this.”
“I don’t want her to have to forget me every time I leave,” he says, there are tears in his eyes, his eyes which are shimmering blue, like a river, “Please, Emilia... come back to the cottage, it’s hidden, no one knows about it, we can be a family...”
The pair embrace, I watch as my mother takes my father into her arms, holding him, comforting him.
“What are you doing up?” Alec says, finding my hiding place and picking me up into his arms, “You are meant to be in bed.”
“I want father to stay,” I say, yawning as Alec takes me back to my room, “I don’t want him to go.”
“I know you don’t,” Alec says, sitting on the edge of my bed, “but he has a lot of responsibilities, little princess.”
“I know,” I say as I pull my blanket up to my chin, “he’s the king.”
“You aren’t supposed to remember that,” Alec says, brushing the hair off my forehead, Alec’s voice becomes a song as he compels my memories of my father away.
Tears are leaking from the corner of my eyes, the memories, they flood back into my mind, some are soft and gentle, but others are blood-soaked and physically hurt to remember; not only does my mind remember everything, but my body seems to as well.
I can feel the shadow of hands griping at my throat and at my breast, I can feel fangs in my neck and fingers between my legs.
“Please,” I beg to the darkness, “Let me go.”
“What do you mean she’s a siren?” I ask in disbelief as Sorin, Stella and I make our way back down to the experimental level, “Are you saying she’s a mermaid?”
The explosives have taken out the power so now we wander down the vast flight of stairs with three small torches lighting our way.
“She’s not a mermaid,” Stella sighs, “She’s like her mother.”
“A similar incident occurred on our wedding night,” Sorin says, walking tall with his head high, “Crina had the ability to call vampires to her, they would flock towards her cries of pain.”
“Pain?” I ask, “What kind of pain would Rowaelin’s mother have felt during her wedding night?”
There is a thick silence that hangs between Sorin and Stella as if they are gaging which of them should tell the story.
“Crina didn’t exactly want to marry me,” Sorin starts.
“It was arranged by our parents,” Stella says, “And the marriage needed to be consummated, Crina needed to produce an heir as soon as possible.”
“Did you rape her?” I ask, looking at Sorin with new eyes, eyes full of disgust.
“No!” Sorin and Stella gape in unison.
“She was my wife!” Sorin adds, “she just needed some convincing that we were perfect for each other. She was a virgin, and she screamed on her first time.”
“Her scream brought a thousand vampires down on the manor,” Stella continues, “all of them were trying to get to her. We had to flee and abandon our home as it burnt to the ground, my brother was killed and my mother was injured.”
“We figured it was Crina who called to them,” Sorin adds, “We figured we could use that.”
“You used her as bait,” I say.
“In an attempt to call out the vampire king,” Stella says with a nod, “My sister agreed to it.”
“We saw him that night,” Sorin says as we stand outside the experimental room, “He took her away from us.”
We step inside, and Rowaelin is awake on the table, she is panicking and crying as she tries to break her bonds.
“Rowy,” I breathe as I rush to her side, taking her hand, “It’s ok, I’m here.”
I release her and pull her off the table and into my arms where I hold her tightly, despite how she thrashes against me.
“How could you do that to me?!” she sobs, her shoulders trembling.
“I’m sorry,” I apologise into her shoulder, “I’m so sorry.”
I take her back upstairs, we stay at the institute that night, once the power is back on Rowaelin and I go to our room where I sit her down on the bed and explain what happened.
“Do you remember anything?” I ask as I hold onto her hands.
“I remember everything,” She says, her voice hard and her eyes are dark, “I remember everything.”
Her fists clench and she stands to her feet, she stands over me with angry tears streaming down her face.
“I remember how Rakin raped me,” she snarls, “I remember how he fed on me, and not just once, at least once a month he would come for me, he would hurt me. He would choke me while he fucked me, he cut me, chained me down and beat me.”
Rowaelin is becoming hysteric, she is angry and starting to become a danger to herself.
“Why would you do this to me?” She asks, pushing me back so I land on my backside, “Why would you want me to remember this, this pain?! I am suffering Adrian! And it’s your-”
I was afraid that she would become this unhinged, so I made sure to grab a needle of anaesthetic, which I plunge into her side.
As she falls I catch her and lift her off the ground and lay her down on the bed with a kiss to her forehead.
I re-join Sorin and Stella in a conference room where they discuss plans for a hunt.
“You want to use Rowaelin as bait?!” I exclaim as I read over Stella’s shoulder.
“It’s the same plan as we used years ago with Rowy’s mother,” Sorin says.
“The one where she was kidnapped by vampires?!” I say, “No, I won’t allow it.”
“Sit down Adrian,” Stella says with a cool voice, a voice that tells me not to argue and to listen.
Sorin explains the plan, in which Rowaelin will be attached to a bait pole and slightly injured so she can call to the vampires, she will be set up deep in the woods, close to where the king of vampires is rumoured to roam.
All hunters in the institute will be present and we will have many weapons, including strategically placed around Rowy to avoid any vampires even touching her. Stella assures me that this plan is more thoroughly thought out than the previous plan.
“She won’t agree to it,” I say, my arms folded over my chest.
“It doesn’t matter,” Sorin says, to my surprise, “she will do what is needed for this institute.”
“You’re not giving her a choice?!”
“It’s for the good of everyone,” Stella says, her eyes like cold ice, “Adrian, you can either come on the hunt, or you can stay behind. But regardless, this hunt will go forward.”
Surely I must have pissed off someone in my past life to win this shit of an existence. What have I done to deserve this? I look up to the full moon, tears sting my eyes as they streak down my cheek.
I was pulled from sleep by Adrian, he explained to me the plan, and although I didn’t agree with it, he once again ignored my protests and I was taken out into the darkness of the woods, illuminated only by the moon that hangs overhead.
“Don’t worry, Rowy,” Adrian says through the piece in my ear, “I’m here.”
I want to rip the small speaker out, but I can’t. My hands are cuffed behind a pole that stands stiff at my back.
This time they didn’t attach a microphone, so Adrian can’t hear me curse at him as I struggle to free myself.
“You can’t break them,” Adrian says, his voice is so irritating and makes my stomach clench in rage.
“Rowaelin,” another voice says, softer and more alluring than the one in my ear, “Little princess can you hear me?”
“Alec,” I breathe, my breath fogging in front of me.
Fear courses through me as I look around the area trying to find where the vampire hides. There are thousands of hunters hidden around me, not only that but I watched them plant dangerous-looking devices around in the dirt.
“It’s a trap isn’t it?” Alec asks, his voice calm and not at all surprised, “Hunters in the woods?”
“Where are you?” I ask, trying to peer through the darkness and find Alec.
“Somewhere far away,” Alec says, though his voice is clear and sounds close, “How many hunters are there?”
“Too many,” I say, keeping my voice low while still trying to find Alec in the darkness, “And they’ve put something in the ground all around me.”
“What?” he asks, “Rowy, what did they put down.”
“I think they were calling them mines,” I answer.
Alec says something in a foreign tongue, something I recognise to be a curse word.
“How close are they to you?” he asks.
“I don’t know,” I sigh, looking to where the mines lay, “maybe two or three meters in front of me.”
“Idiots,” Alec snarls, “Rowy, are you ok?”
I can’t help but roll my eyes at the idiocrasy of the question, there is so much pain and rage burning though me as memories continue to rise to the front of my mind, and now I am being used as bait for a vampire hunt because they believe I’m some kind of siren for them.
“Do you want me to rescue you?” he asks, and I take a deep breath as he adds, “I can take you to your father.”
“Apparently Sorin is my father,” I say, knowing in my gut it’s a lie but wanting Alec to confirm my suspicion.
“Sorin is just some man who slept with your mother,” Alec says, his voice deep and dark, “He is not your father, something tells me you already knew that.”
I sigh and hang my head, being with the hunters has been nothing but more pain and more suffering, now perhaps I can find some peace and safety.
“It’s too quiet,” I hear Adrian say, “There are no vampires out here.”
“Not yet,” Stella says.
The next thing I know pain bites through me, radiating from my knee. When I look down, there is the tip of an arrow shot cleanly through the back of my knee and now it protrudes from the front.
I can feel a storm rising within me as I scream out in agony, I want to fall, to crumble to my knees, but the pole at my back keeps me standing.
“I don’t want to be here anymore,” I say through gritted teeth, “I want to go home.”
“Then I’ll take you home,” Alec says.
A growl rises though the silence, echoed by a thousand more as red eyes glow in the pale moonlight. My heart leaps into my throat, but I calm myself as I find red eyes off in the distance eyes that are so familiar to me, Alec, he is a fair distance away but now, as the woods erupt with the sounds of a battle, he closes in on me.
Vampires collide with hunters, and screams fill the darkness.
“I’m here,” Alec says, appearing by my side after jumping over the mine line, “What were they thinking? If one of us hit them, you would have been killed too... Don’t suppose you have a key, breaking cuffs can be a bit tricky and these look like they’re high grade.”
With a strong tug, the cuffs fall apart, and I stand in front of Alec who has shock written all over his face.
“How... never mind, we need to get out of here, may I touch you?” Alec waits for me to nod my head, and once I do he scoops me up in his arms and leaps over the perimeter of explosives.
“Rowaelin!” Adrian calls, as Alec sets me down on my feet.
The hunter charges through the battlefield, his sword gripped tightly in his hands, Alec takes my hand and with a squeeze, I’m able to take my eyes away from Adrian and look forward.
“We need them to let you go,” Alec says, and I spy his fangs barely hiding behind his lips.
I know what he means to do, I nod my head and Alec takes me in his arms and his fangs brush against my neck.
“No!” I hear Adrian scream.
But Alec doesn’t even bite me, he pretends to bury his fangs in me, he glares up at Adrian and hisses like a cobra before holding me close and retreating.
When Alec lets me go, we’re standing in the field of lavender and my head is spinning.
“I thought you were taking me to my father,” I say as he opens the cottage door and follows me inside.
“Not yet,” Alec says, closing the door behind us.
I take a breath, for what feels like the first time in a long time. I’m not afraid of Alec, I’m not scared to be in this cottage with him, I know that he’d never hurt me.
“So what now?” I ask, turning to Alec as he turns on some lights.
“You rest,” Alec says, gesturing to the bedroom to my left, “I’ll take you to your father tomorrow night.”
I make a move towards the bedroom, but as I do I realise that I am no longer feeling any pain in my leg.
When I look down the bolt is still lodged in my knee, but I feel no pain and I’m not bleeding.
It feels like I’m dreaming, I lean down and grab the bolt by the shaft, with a tough tug, I pull the arrow out of my knee and drop it to the floor. Before my very eyes, I watch as my wound heals and fades to nothing, not even a scar remains.
My face blanches and my body shakes, I turn to Alec and he watches with abject fascination.
“What’s happening to me?” I ask, my voice trembling in fear, “I don’t remember having your blood.”
My world shifts beneath my feet, shock sets in and I feel myself fall to the floor, losing consciousness as the past few days catch up to me and gnaw at what little energy I have left.