Three hours later, I was still waiting for him to regain consciousness when I heard a knock on the door. “Come in.”
The door opened, and I saw Xavier. He looked tired, but he had changed into fresh clothes. I looked down at myself, and I saw that my dress was stained with my mother’s and brother’s blood.
Xavier noticed me looking down at my clothes. He walked over to me and said in a quiet voice, “I brought a bag with me. There’s a pair of jeans and two T-shirts in there. You should change.”
I looked up at him, gratitude shining in my eyes. “Thank you.” He nodded and gave me a slight smile. His eyes were worried when he looked at Aric.
“Will you stay with him while I go change?” He didn’t take his eyes off Aric, but he nodded. Before walking away, I touched his shoulder and made him look at me. “How’s your mother?”
“Go change first. We’ll talk when you get back. I have some stuff to tell you.” I raised my eyebrows in question, but he just shook his head. “Go freshen up first, Alexia.”
My shoulders dropped in defeat and I whispered. “OK. Give me ten minutes. I’ll be back quickly.”
I asked the nursing staff where I could get cleaned up and they pointed out a washroom with a shower that I could use. My hair was matted with blood. As I stood under the shower, I saw the blood washing away down the drain. I felt like throwing up. I even had blood under my nails. All the blood reminded me of everything that had happened.
After the shower, I put on the blue jeans and white shirt that Xavier had brought for me, and quickly made my way back to Aric’s room. As I approached, I heard voices arguing inside. I slipped in quietly and saw the Officers Grant and Pearson talking to Xavier.
I glared at their backs and felt the fury buried deep inside me, rumbling. I knew I was about to explode.
I stomped over to them and demanded, “What the hell are you doing here?”
Xavier winced at my loud voice, and Officer Pearson furrowed his eyebrows at me. Officer Grant looked scared of me. He took a step back and muttered something under his breath.
“Miss, we would like to have this conversation calmly and rationally. If you would please sit down?”
I looked at Xavier and he nodded his head and mouthed “please.” I huffed but slumped into the chair next to Aric while Xavier sat on the other side.
“Officer Grant and I are taking your case. I mean, your mother’s murder and the attack on your brother,” Officer Pearson started to explain slowly. I didn’t reply or interrupt. I let him talk.
“We’ve already been to the scene. Your house actually. It looked like an intended murder and whoever did it wanted to leave proof. That explains all the blood. They didn’t do it in a stealthy manner.”
I nodded in agreement. Officer Pearson was quiet for a moment. I looked up at him, and saw he was deep in thought.
“Do you have any idea who would have done that? Is there any hostility with someone who might think of killing your mother?” Officer Grant asked.
I looked at Xavier and saw his eyes were troubled. I looked back at Aric and decided to stay silent. When I didn’t say anything, Grant continued. “We talked to Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Summers again. We found bite marks on them.”
My head snapped up, and I looked at them in astonishment. “What?” I heard Xavier say.
Pearson rubbed his bald head and took over the explanation again. “Mr. Montgomery had a bite on his neck. We didn’t notice it at first because it was bandaged. Mr. Summers was bitten on his left wrist, which was also bandaged.”
I was still staring at the officer in shock. We had more proof that we were right. They had to believe us now.
“Your mother’s body was inspected and she had bite marks too. On her neck. Although her attack was the most savage.”
I nodded and Pearson continued. “We also talked to Mrs. Colleway and took into consideration what she told us.” He paused before finally saying something that I didn’t expect him to say. “We want to investigate what you two told us this morning.”
I stared at them for a moment, debating how to reply. “Why now? Why didn’t you take action after we told you this morning? Why wait until someone is dead?” I got up and paced the room. The fury inside of me was building again to a crescendo. I was sure I was going to explode any minute and that I would take it out on the officers and Xavier.
Officer Pearson released a tired breath and leaned against the wall. “Miss, what you told us seemed like fiction. Made up and fake. It was impossible for us to believe you. But we have some proof now. It makes it more believable. The bite marks and Mrs. Colleway’s observations. We want to investigate it now. Three people have been savagely attacked, and we have one dead woman. It’s time to figure out what that thing is and hopefully we can get rid of it without any more casualties.”
I leaned my head against my chair and looked at the ceiling. I stayed quiet. “What’s your plan?” I heard Xavier ask. He had been silent the whole time the officers were talking. I had even forgotten he was in the room.
“We are going to send a search party and warn the people about it. Tell them to stay in their houses with closed doors and windows, and not to come out until further notice.”
“The forest should be your first priority. Nobody has noticed him so far, so I think he goes back there after he attacks someone,” Xavier said now. I looked back at the officers and noticed them nodding at Xavier’s statement.
“Officer Grant and I will be taking our leave now. If anything happens, please give us a call. We will keep you updated about the search,” Officer Pearson said with a reassuring smile.
As both officers made their way to the door, I jumped up quickly and called, “Wait!”
Both officers pivoted around and looked at me with a startled expression.
“Maybe Xavier and I should go with you. For the search party.”
Xavier’s mouth dropped open and his eyes widened in shock. I looked at the officers, but they didn’t say anything. All three men continued to stare wordlessly at me until I finally shoved my hand through my hair in disgust. “Stop gaping at me like fish out of water.”
Xavier shook his head then blew out his breath. “Have you lost your mind?”
“It’s clear I have,” I bit out. When he tried to say something else, I cut him off. “Just listen to me, OK?” Before he could respond, I continued. “I feel like he is looking for us. He obviously saw us and recognized us from the forest. There must be a reason why he killed my mother. Remember, he killed my mother and beat my brother almost to death but left Mrs. Colleway totally unharmed. There must be a reason for that.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Officer Grant said in a hard tone.
“It’s just a guess. We don’t know why he is doing this. Maybe it’s his way of feeding or something, but all I know is that what happened in my house is a message. He left Mrs. Colleway unharmed for a reason. So what’s the reason behind it?”
When they continued to stare at me, I started to get mad. “Stop looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. I’m serious about this. We have no idea what he is or what he wants. All we know is that he has fangs and red eyes. He’s biting people, and maybe drinking their blood. We need to be careful and take every little bit of evidence into consideration.
“Please I’m going with you guys to look for him.” I turned towards Xavier, who was standing indecisively. “I don’t know about you, Xavier, but I want to help.”
“Alexia, I can’t leave my mom. She is feeling really lost right now. The doctors are monitoring her and this whole thing has had a big effect on her. I need to be with her.” I nodded my agreement and he continued. “But Alexia, you need to be with Aric right now. He needs you. You can’t put your life in danger like this. Think about him and what would happen if something bad happened to you.”
I sighed and Officer Grant said in a quiet voice. “Mr. Colleway, everyone is in danger at this moment, but I agree with you. I think it would be best if you stay with your brother, Ms. Mercier.”
I looked up at the officer and saw his unsure expression. I walked up to him and said in a hard tone, “This is my decision. I want to come with you. I might be able to help you guys in some way.”
When they didn’t reply, I finally started pleading. “Please, I need to do this.”
Pearson cleared his throat and looked at me with cold eyes. “If you come with us, you are not our responsibility. Yes, you can tag along with us, but we are not your bodyguards. It would be just like you are on your own.”
I swallowed hard. I knew what I was getting into, but I’d made up my mind. I knew my decision was dangerous, but I needed to do this. I nodded and stared into Officer Pearson’s eyes without flinching. He wanted to make me feel intimidated, but he wasn’t going to win.
“OK. It’s settled then. I want you to come at the station in two hours. We’ll be ready to head out on the search then.”
I stood up straighter and squared my shoulders. “I’ll be there.”
After both officers left, I turned towards Xavier who was looking down at my Aric. I walked over to me and touched his shoulder, but he didn’t turn around. “Why are you doing this?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said wearily. “Maybe it’s because I want to avenge my mother’s death.”
At Xavier’s instant scowl, I broke off and held up my hands. “I know you’re going to ask how I will do it, and to be honest I don’t know. But I can’t just sit here. I want to find out more about him. My mother is dead, Xavier. It still seems unbelievable, but I can’t just let this go.”
“You’re out of your mind,” Xavier said in disgust.
“I know! But I can’t sit here doing nothing either!” I snapped.
Xavier sighed. “You’ve already made up your mind. Nothing I say will change it.”
Xavier turned towards me with a solemn expression. He got up and put his arms around me. I hugged him back while he whispered softly in my ears. “Please be careful. Aric needs you back safe.”
I nodded and tears started to cloud my vision. Xavier stepped away and I walked over to Aric. I held his hands in mine and kissed his forehead. “I’ll try my best to come back, big brother. We just need to get rid of this thing first,” I said to him. I squeezed his hands and continued. “Please don’t worry about me when you wake up.”
I swiped the tears that were running down my cheeks and quickly turned away from him.
Xavier was looking down, and his posture was defeated. I knew he was finding it hard to let me go. He’d promised Aric that he would keep me safe, but now I was going away and he wouldn’t be there with me.
“Xavier?” he looked up at me. “You’ll be here with Aric, right?”
He continued to stare at me and then nodded. “Yeah. I’ll probably go home later though, but my mom doesn’t want to see me or anyone at the moment. That’s why I’m staying away for a little while. The doctors suggested it.”
I frowned and looked at him curiously. “What do you mean?”
He sighed and sat down on the chair. “My mom is having hard time. I mean I would too. She saw him murdering your mother in cold blood, right there in front of her. She keeps having panic attacks, so they had to sedate her. When she woke up, she didn’t want to see me or anyone. She just wants to be alone.” He broke up and pushed his hands through his hair tiredly. “The doctors are worried about her, but they suggested we leave her alone for now.”
I closed my eyes and tried to calm my breathing. That thing had affected all of us really badly. We needed to stop it before it caused more damage. I was lost in my thoughts when I felt Xavier’s hand on my arm. I stared up at him and saw that he was frowning down at me.
I shook my head, and looked away from him. “I will be back when that thing is dead.” Before he could answer, I walked away from him and towards the door. “I need to go.”
“Please be careful, Alexia.” I turned around and gave him my biggest smile. “I will be.”
I walked out of the door and closed it behind me. I leaned against it and put my head in my hands. I was shaking. With fear. With dread. With panic. I was brave enough to tell the officers I would go with them, but I really didn’t know what I was up against. I was putting my own life in danger and the realization was just hitting me now.
“You need to be strong, Alexia,” I whispered to myself. I walked out of the hospital with renewed confidence and courage. I was doing this for my mother and anyone else who would become that monster’s prey.