I stand in the old church, now lying as rubble at my feet, below survivors are gasping and screaming in panic as they try to escape their tomb.
When the last explosives went off, I somehow leapt up the elevator shaft, my instincts filling my veins and leading the way to safety. Meanwhile, the hunters below struggled and panicked as they try to fight their way up to the surface, but there was no escape, not for them.
“Rowaelin,” Alec says, appearing by my side and looking on in horror at the scene before him.
“They’ll never hurt me again,” I say, pulling a match out of a matchbox.
I strike the match, watching as the redhead becomes alight with orange flame, when I drop the match, the rubble catches quickly and carries the flame down, down, down.
“...okay,” Alec breathes as he watches the flames light up the night, “You’re free, it’s finished, let’s home.”
“This isn’t finished,” I say, numbly turning on my heel and walking away.
“What?” he asks, following after me.
I can tell by his voice that he is shocked and horrified at what I’ve done; what I’ve become.
“I’m not done,” I say as he and I walk the streets, ignoring the sirens that desperately race towards the chaos.
“Rowy, I don’t understand? What happened to you?” Alec asks stupidly as if he doesn’t know.
“I am what you made me,” I snarl, baring to him my new fangs, “you let that boy go, you let me kill him.”
“It was for the best,” Alec whispers, “Thousands would have died...”
“Thousands will die,” I promise, my blood boiling, urging me to go, to seek him out and take him down, I stop and turn to look back at Alec, who is frozen in his tracks, "Now are you coming or not?"
“I won’t help you take him down," he says, his voice haunted, afraid of the 'big bad vampire'.
"Fine," I say, turning back around and continuing on my way, "I'll do it by myself."
"You don't need to do this!" Alec calls as he races after me.
"I know that I do."
"Once he sees that you're not at the castle he will leave," Alec says, stopping me by grabbing my wrist, "he won't come back, you can stay there, safe, protected by your father... and me."
"I will not hide away while Rakin gets to live and hurt other people like he has hurt me" I snarl, snatching my wrist from Alec's hold, "Everyone, everywhere is afraid of him... I'm not, not anymore."
"I have to do this," I say, once again continuing on my way, "That boy needs avenging."
"You're becoming full of hate," Alec says falling into step with me, "you're becoming something you will never come back from."
We reach the apartment complex and as I grip the door in my hand I turn to Alec and ask, "Who says that's a bad thing?"
I felt guilty about this morning, I let my anger get the better of me and I took it out on her.
But she pushed me, she would not answer me, and she kept avoiding my eyes, making me suspicious and desperate for the answers she was withholding, so yeah I got angry, and that’s not my fault.
Rose, bless her, kept her head high and her mouth shut for the whole drive to the institute, that is until we pulled into the parking lot, where she asked me if I was ok and that then stated that I looked rough.
“It’s just Rowaelin,” I said, pinching the bridge of my nose, “she’s just...”
“She’s dragging you down,” Rose replied, putting her hand on my shoulder, “You don’t need her.”
I didn’t argue with her, maybe she was right.
The sun was going down and Rose and I were preparing for a hunt when she pulled me into a supply closet and kissed me.
I didn’t object, I kissed her back, letting her grab at me and pull me closer. I had no guilt in doing what it did when I pushed her down to her knees and unbuckled my pants.
When she took me in her mouth it felt different to when Rowaelin would, nevertheless I still liked it, and I pushed her down further, making her gag on me as it filled me with a sense of power and manliness.
That’s when the alarms started going off, the lights turned red and smoke filled the rooms quickly.
“What the fuck?” Rose gagged, standing to her feet and looking around in shock, “What’s going on?”
“That’s a vampire alarm,” I said, straightening myself and buttoning my pants, “It’s never gone off before.”
Rose and I scrambled out to the institute stakes at the ready as we hunt for the intruder.
“How did it get in?” Rose asked.
That’s when the explosion goes off, rattling the entire institute right down to its foundation.
As the walls crack and the ceiling starts to chip and fall and through the chaos I see her.
She stumbled out of a room, with a bag over her shoulder that she reached into.
“Rowaelin!” I called.
She turned at the sound of her name, her eyes glowing violent red in blood lust. From her mouth, two fangs gleam in the flashing red lights, stained with their own red hue, like the stains around her mouth, bloodstains.
Her eyes narrowed on me, she took a step towards me, only to be stopped by a falling beam.
She was angry at the object separating us, I heard her roar in anger as she threw an explosive.
I wake up under rubble, groaning, barely able to breathe, my entire body burns with pain and fire is eating at my leg.
I groan and scream, shaking and trying to free myself from the beam that pins me down.
“Adrian!” Rose calls, rushing to my side and trying to help lift the beam.
“It was Rowaelin,” I cough, stumbling to my feet as she manages to help me get out.
“I know,” She says, looking around, panicking as she searches for a way out, “I know, but that doesn’t matter right now...”
I look around, looking at the ashen faces of the few hunters who have survived this far.
“Adrian,” Rose stammers, looking to me with wide doe-like eyes, “How do we get out?”
I look around, looking at the blocked halls and barred doors.
“This way,” I say, finding an unblocked bath, which leads towards Stella’s office.
That is where we find her, crumbled on the floor but still alive.
“Stella,” I gape, falling to her side and taking her hand.
“Adrian,” she drools, her eyes weak and her speech slurred.
Sirens call above us, I can hear them, which means we’re close. Stella prepared for this situation, she had prepared, there is an escape hatch above her desk and once I pry it open and begin to yell, it’s only a matter of time before the paramedics find the entrance.
But as they start to clear the rubble away, the institute begins to tremble and cave in on itself.
We’re trapped for four hours, barely able to breathe, being cooked alive by the fires that are quickly closing in on us.
By the time we are rescued, five more have died and Stella’s condition has worsened.
When I hit the fresh air and it fills my nose, my head becomes dizzy and the ground tilts beneath me, making my knees buckle and dropping me to the ground.
She was human this morning, standing in the sun as she argued with me, so how is she now a vampire? Did she seek out the vampires and convince them to turn her?
Could this have been my fault? Did I push her too far this morning?
No, this can’t be my fault... she must have been transitioning this morning, which is why she was so brazen to speak against me, it explains why I felt a strong disliking to her, why I hit her...
It was my instincts telling me that she was not to be trusted, that she was not safe to be around.
The one thing I know for certain is that I’ll make this right.
When I wake, I’m in the hospital, with a mask over my face feeding me oxygen that I so desperately need.
When the doctor enters my room he explains what happened, what the basics are, is that he doesn’t know what happened. He doesn’t know about vampires about the institute or about what it is we do. But what he does know is that ninety-five people were found dead underground, with more being found and dragged out of the wreckage.
Five, five people are all that’s left of the institute, Rose and I accounting for two, two more hunters and then Stella.
Stella, she’s so badly injured, paralysed from the neck down.
This is Rowaelin’s fault, she did this and she will pay.
“Once I get the all-clear from the doctor, I’m going to go out there,” I say, sitting in Rose’s room, “I’m going to find her...”
“And what?” Rose asks, turning her head towards me although she can’t see.
During the rescue, rubble and smoke got into Rose’s eyes, blinding her temporarily according to the doctors.
“Will you kill her?” Rose asks, “are you strong enough?”
I look out the window, looking to the trees that blow in the wind.
Am I strong enough? To kill the woman I love, to hunt her down like a monster and kill her? Am I strong enough?
In the trees above, the bats flitter around, fanning themselves and flapping from tree to tree. They’re nervous, they’re afraid of what’s inside... who’s inside.
“Rowaelin,” Alec hisses beneath his breath as he follows me, “You can’t, we need to go back.”
I ignore him, I storm into the castle and immediately hear his voice.
“I know she’s here,” he says, growling like a feral animal, “I can smell her.”
“Leave, brother,” my father snarls back.
Rakin starts to taunt my father.
“I can smell her sweet cunt,” Rakin taunts, inhaling deeply.
Before my father can respond, before he can threaten Rakin with empty words, I crash through the door, kicking it in with a scream.
“Rakin!” I call, striding into the throne room, my hands curled into fists at my side.
All eyes turn to me, flaring red in shock as the doors slam behind me.
“There she is,” Rakin coos, causing my skin to crawl and a shiver to race up my spine, “My beautiful girl, it’s time to come home.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” I snarl, baring my fangs as I step towards him, “you don’t own me, you don’t have any control over me.”
As I speak I can feel the scars on my neck heal, vanishing from my skin for good.
Rakin watches me in horror, watching as I claim myself back from his control.
“You will pay for what you’ve done to me,” I say, closing in on him and the coven that stands at his back, “You will all pay for what you’ve done.”
The vampires snarl at me, angry at my proclamation.
“Bring her to me,” Rakin says, his fang bared at me.
Emry, a progeny of Thana’s steps forward, her mouth twisted in a sinister smile with her fangs bared and her eyes dark red.
She races towards me, her hands out to grab at me. But I’m tired of being grabbed, I’m tired of being taken and pulled around.
I grab her instead, pulling her towards me and grabbing her neck. I look over her shoulder, to Thana, who’s face is pale white and eyes wide in shock as I sink my fangs into her progenies neck, the vampiress screams in pain as I grab her hair and pull her head back, biting into her neck harder as she struggles, causing her blood to flow freely into my mouth.
With a harder bite and a stronger pull, I sever Emry’s head from her shoulders, letting her body drop to the ground as I keep her head in my hands, holding it up by her hair. Thana’s mouth opens in a silent scream, she falls to her knees, being dragged down by the pain of losing her child, but despite the pain, Thana makes no sound.
“As I said,” I continue, letting blood drool out of my mouth as I drop the head to the floor, “I am not yours, I am not going to be controlled by you, and it is time for you all to pay.”
Rakin has a look flutter across his face, he stammers and takes a step back. It’s a look I’ve never seen on his face, fear. He is afraid of me, the colour drains from his face and his fangs bare in a silent warning.
“Stay away from me,” his body screams.
He pushes Thana in between him and I and my anger spikes further, so many dark memories plague my mind because of her. I remember everything she ever did to me, I remember the nights when she’d pull me into her room, feasting on my blood, touching and fucking me until I begged her to stop, until I was close to death.
Thana scrambles away, taking Rakin’s hand and pulling him back, begging him to flee with her as the rest of his coven does.
“This isn’t over,” Rakin snarls, looking to my father and then back to me, “I will have you again.”
Their fear is rolling off of them, I can taste it and it stirs the hunger within me and urges me to pursue.
But when Rakin and Thana flee, I am held back.
My father suddenly appearing behind me, wrapping his arms around my shoulders and stopping me from chasing.
“Let me go!” I scream, struggling against his hold.
“No,” my father says, tightening his grip, “You won’t win that fight, and I will not lose you, not again.”
“I want him dead!” I snarl, my anger surging and igniting my blood.
“Then let me teach you how to kill him,” my father says, causing all anger to leave my body as I turn to look at him.
His eyes are blood-red, shining with the same glow as mine, he too wants revenge.
“I know that I can’t kill him,” my father says, relaxing his grip, “but, you... you can, and I’m willing to help you, to teach you everything I know so that you can have your revenge.”
There are tears in my father’s eyes, he doesn’t want me to walk down this path, yet he knows I am already walking, so now he is offering to guide me so that I may run instead of walk.
“Fine,” I say, looking to his eyes as they fade to blue, “I’ll stay...”
My father lets out a sigh of relief and lets me go so that I can step out of his hold.
“I’m sorry for grabbing you,” he says, “I know you don’t like it, but...”
“It’s fine,” I say, wiping the blood from around my mouth.
We stand there awkwardly, not saying a word to each other but understanding what we’re both feeling.
When my father finally opens his mouth to speak, I cut him off.
“I’ve... I’m covered in blood,” I state, turning on my heel, “I need a shower, and sleep.”
The exhaustion of tonight’s events weighs down on my shoulders, I leave the throne room, retreating to my room.
Once in my own bathroom, I find my reflection in the mirror. The person staring back at me has the same face as mine, but there is blood staining her mouth and lips, and her eyes are a dark red hue that swirl with anger and hate.
With a deep, calming breath, my eyes fade to their normal colour and I step into the shower, letting the hot water wash my skin pure.
When I look in the mirror once more, I can’t help but still see the vampiress lurking under my skin. My face doesn’t look right anymore, it holds a false innocence in its features and makes me look younger than I am.
I run a hand through my still wet blonde hair and frown at the locks of gold as I formulate a plan to change my look to suit my new strength and power.
I sit by Stella’s side, holding onto her hand, wishing she’d squeeze back.
“Adrian,” she groans, her words half falling out of her mouth, “you can’t sit by my bedside forever.”
“What else am I to do?” I ask, watching her as my heart continues to break.
“The institute needs a new head,” Stella says, looking to me with icy anger.
“You’re the head.”
“Not anymore,” she responds sadly, “I cannot lead like this. I want you to take my place, reform the institute. The survivors need someone to rally behind, they need a leader to pick them up and give them purpose.”
“I don’t think I’m strong enough for that,” I admit, looking to my feet in shame.
I feel a deep sense of guilt in my stomach, I should have never gotten myself tangled up within Rowaelin’s life, after rescuing her I should have just moved on. It’s my fault this happened, I brought her to the institute unmasked, I showed her the way; I trusted her.
“You are strong,” Stella says, her eyes shining with pride, “My son...”
There are seldom moments when Stella proclaims me as her son, she raised me to be her ward and her successor, but our relationship was never overly filled with a bond of parent to child love, not that we acknowledged anyway.
“I want you to promise me something,” She says.
“Hunt her down,” she says, her eyes darkening, “Show that vampire the cost of messing with the institute.”
End of Book 1
*I've decided to en this here, for now. I'm going on a Hiatus from this work so I can add to other works for a while, but another book is coming and it will be epic.
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