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Chapter 22

By the time I was done telling the story, the sun was setting. I looked outside the window. The deep orange sky looked beautiful and peaceful, but it also brought another disturbing thought to my mind.

Michael was going to come out. He needed to feed, and the whole town was in danger again.

“Alexia?” I heard Aric say. I turned around and saw Sarah at the door.

“Can I come in?”

Aric looked at her a second before nodding. Sarah came inside and stood beside me at the window

“I think Michael is going to come out now. We need to be ready,” she said quietly so that Aric wouldn’t hear, but he was staring intently at us.

“What’s your plan?” he asked.

Sarah looked at me. “You told him? Everything?”

“Yeah, he needs to know.”

“I’m sitting right here, you know,” Aric retorted.

“OK, so we don’t exactly have a plan and that’s what I’m worried about,” I said.

Sarah nodded in agreement before saying, “I was thinking about that while I was waiting with Xavier. We can’t be everywhere at the same time. We might be sitting here waiting for him, but he might attack somewhere else in the town. We can’t know.”

“So what do we do?”

Sarah walked over to the chair beside Aric’s bed and sat down with a sigh. “We need to lure him to where we want him to be.”

I stared at her for a moment as realization dawned. “So we need to make him come to me. How?”

“Blood. Your blood,” she stated simply.

Aric stared at her, horrified. I could felt the nausea building in my stomach. I suddenly felt cold with fear and my head was spinning with multiple scenarios of what could possibly happen. I leaned against the wall for support.

“It’s dangerous, I know,” Sarah said. “I don’t think he knows exactly who you are. He might have guessed it, but he never got a direct smell of your blood or tasted it, so he might not know that you are Jessica. Well, the reincarnation of Jessica.”

That was another direct blow to my chest. “So if he smells my blood, he’ll know that I am she and he is going to come?” Sarah nodded, and I continued. “He’ll come with vengeance. He’ll have revenge on his mind. He will be desperate to shed my blood.”

Sarah stared at me. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. Her face was unreadable, and she sat so perfectly still. “I’m sorry. It’s the only way.”

“Alexia, you can’t do that. There must be another way,” Aric said from the bed. He looked desperate. “I’ve already lost mom. I can’t lose you too. It’s too dangerous.”

“There is no other way, Aric. If we want to kill Michael, we’ll have to do this,” Sarah reprimanded. “I will also be there. As I said before, I will cast a spell that will weaken him. It will be easier for you then.”

“I know. And I agree with her, Aric. Although I don’t like this idea, I have to do this.” I spoke quietly. I turned away from my brother’s panicked gaze and stared at the landscape outside of the window.

“Where are the officers?” I asked Sarah.

“They went home to check on their families.”

I nodded my understanding while my hand tightened on the curtains. The sun was fully set, and darkness was falling upon the town. I couldn’t see anyone on the streets. All doors and windows were closed. People were sensibly staying at home.

Sarah noticed where I was looking and said, “By the time the sun was setting everyone was inside. They are really scared and don’t know what to do.”

I didn’t answer but closed my eyes. I listened to Aric and Sarah talking behind me.

“Is there any hunt going on? Are other people looking for him?” Aric asked, his voice tense.

“Yeah. We have plenty of police officers out here looking for him. Unfortunately, they don’t know that it doesn’t matter if they succeed in killing him now because he is going to come back. Again and again.” Sarah stopped and stood up. “Alexia, we need to go now.”

I nodded but didn’t answer and didn’t turn around when I felt Sarah’s breath next to my ear. Her next words almost brought tears to my eyes.

“I know you’re scared. I am too. I could get killed too in this game of life and death, but I’m not giving up now. If we succeed in killing Michael, he will never come back. This is the time I’ve been waiting for, waiting for centuries.” She squeezed my shoulder then let go of me.

But before she could get far away, I swivelled around and wrapped my arms around her. “Thank you. For helping us. We wouldn’t have figure it out without you,” I said with a scratchy voice. I had been an emotional mess those last few days. Everything was happening too fast, and I still couldn’t wrap my head around the situation I found myself in.

Sarah patted me on the shoulder, and I let her go. “No problem,” she whispered with a small smile before leaving. “I’ll meet you outside.”

I went over to Aric and hugged him tight. “I need to go now. I’ll be back.”

Aric was tensed but returned the hug just as tightly. “Please be safe. You’re the only one I have left.”

I let go of him and wiped the tears that were falling down my cheeks. I walked quickly to the door before I lost the courage. Before leaving, I turned to my brother. “I love you. Bye,” I mouthed.

I walked down the halls in a daze and when I reached the main entrance, I stopped before stepping outside.

I knew this was it. A sacrifice. My past-self had cursed Michael and now I had to undo the curse. I debated if I should run away. Go to another town or country. Forget everything. It’s not like Michael would be able to follow me there. He was cursed to stay in this town. To wreak havoc here. Everywhere else was safe.

But I shook my head quickly, disgusted with myself even for having thought of that possibility. How could I give up on my people? My brother. Xavier. Sarah. Lana. Samantha. If I left, it meant their deaths. All those people.

As if she could read my mind, I saw Sarah coming towards me in determined strides. I stepped out of the hospital with trembling legs and met her halfway.

“Alexia!” I heard my name being shouted behind me. I quickly turned and saw Lana and Samantha running towards me. My eyes widened at the sight of them.

I ran towards them. “Where have you been? Xavier wouldn’t tell us anything. We were so worried,” Samantha said to me when I reached them.

“What happened? Where are you going? Is everything OK? Did you know that Xavier has been attacked too?” Before I could reply to Samantha, Lana started to pepper me with questions.

“Lana, calm down. It’s OK. I’m OK,” I said to her.

In answer, she wrapped her arms around me. “I was so worried. Don’t ever do that to me again.”

I hugged her back but quickly stepped out of her embrace. “I can’t talk to you for long. I really need to go.”

Samantha started to protest, but I cut her off before she could say anything. “No. Please I know you have a lot of questions and are worried, but I need to go. I’ll explain everything later.”

Lana and Samantha reluctantly nodded. I wrapped them both in a hug and heard them sniffling. “It’s going to be OK. Please take care of Aric and Xavier while I’m gone.”

Samantha nodded. Before I turned around, I heard her whisper, “I’m sorry about your mom.” Her words were a blow to my chest, but I didn’t cry or break down. All I felt was anger. Anger at Michael but also a renewed strength at the mention of my mother. I had to avenge her death.

“We came to see you as soon as we heard about the attack, but we couldn’t find you anywhere,” Lana said.

I nodded and gave them a small smile. “I know. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you guys where I was going but I was in rush. I promise I’ll tell you everything when I get back.”

I turned away from them and walked back towards Sarah. “Where are the officers?” I asked when I reached her. When she shook her head, frowning, my heart sank. “They didn’t come back?”

Sarah pinched the bridge of her nose, and I knew she was trying to calm down. Her frustration was evident. But it was not frustration that was boiling inside of me. It was fear. Crippling fear.

“They were supposed to be here by now. Right?” My voice wavered.

“Yes, but I don’t know, Alexia. They may have bailed on us.”

I put my hand on my chest and started to rub the spot over my beating heart. It was racing with panic now. “We can’t do it without them. We need back up!” I panicked.

“Alexia, it doesn’t matter if they are with us or not. Michael is too fast for a normal person. In a way it’s better that they’re gone. It would have been a death sentence for them.”

Her words increased my panic and also my anger. “Why did you tell them to come then?” I asked through clenched teeth.

She sighed and her gaze skittered from mine. “It might have distracted Michael.”

My mouth fell open in shock, and I took a step away from her. “You were going to use them as bait. Are you crazy? I’m putting my life in danger here. I may not come out of this alive and you wanted someone else with us, knowing they could die?”

She took a step towards me. “Yes. It makes me seem like a bad person, but what can I do? I’m as helpless as everyone else is. You have no idea about the horrors that I’ve seen. I lived for centuries and I’ve seen what Michael is capable of. I was there every time he reincarnated. I was there when he attacked those people. I re-live those memories every day. And if now you are here and you can get rid of him forever then hell, yeah, I’d rather put your life in danger than have him reincarnated over and over again and killing more people.” Her words were laced with anger, and she was panting when she was done.

When she saw my expression of horror and sadness, she deflated like a balloon. I opened my mouth to say something. Anything. But she stopped me before any words could tumble out. “Alexia, I know what you’re going to say. It’s no use because there is no other way.”

“I don’t know if I can do this,” I said through gritted teeth. I looked up at the sky and it was getting darker. I looked around and noticed that Sarah and I were the only ones standing outside.

I swallowed hard, feeling the heavy lump in my throat. The wind was starting to blow a little harder. I hugged myself, pulling my jacket tighter around me. I hated that sound, the sound of the wind blowing. It scared me.

I saw Sarah looking at me with concern but also with persistence. I knew it was time. Michael would be coming out now. Looking for food. Looking for me.

“So what’s the plan?” I asked. The ever-present fear was choking me and made it almost impossible to talk. But there was no fighting this, so it was best to just accept it and go along with the plan.

Sarah chewed on her lips nervously. It looked like she was debating something. Was it possible that she didn’t want to go through with this plan? She could just kill Michael with her magic although he would reincarnate again, after a decade. But we would have time to plan something else in those ten years.

“There is something I need to tell you.” Sarah’s voice broke into my thoughts.

I raised my head towards her. She started to say something, but I quickly cut her off. “Make it fast, Sarah. We don’t have much time.”

She nodded and started walking towards the trail that led to the woods. “Wait.” I ran up to her and we walked together, matching each other’s strides.

“What were you going to say, and where are we going?” I asked her quickly.

She didn’t respond at first, but when I stopped walking, she turned towards me. “As you said we don’t have much time. I’ll tell you everything on the way.”

Sarah waited for my agreement and when I nodded, she gave me a tight smile and gestured towards the path. She turned her flash light on, and I did the same. We stared at each other but no words were uttered. Sarah turned back towards the trail and started walking. I followed closely behind her.

“I know you kind of hate me right now,” Sarah began after a few minutes of silence. I opened my mouth to deny it, but she shook her head.

“You do. You think I’m this evil bitch who doesn’t care if you die. You don’t understand why I’m so desperate to get rid of him. You can’t understand why I’m so ready to sacrifice you when I could just kill him every time he reincarnates. Am I right?” she said in a calm voice. She didn’t sound accusing and she didn’t even falter in her short speech. I wondered for a moment if she’d rehearsed it.

I stopped suddenly when I noticed Sarah wasn’t beside me anymore. I turned around and saw her standing behind me surrounded by trees. She was looking at me expectantly.

“You’re right. I don’t understand, so why don’t you try to explain it to me?” I said with a sigh.

Sarah gave me tight smile and resumed her walking. “I’m losing my powers,” she said in a soft voice.

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