Tormented

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Monster

Salem

“Alright, baby, I’ll be back around ten, okay? Don’t go anywhere.”

I nod my response, but I’m not sure what Nathan just said. My brain feels fuzzy, my focus at an all time low. I sit on my couch and watch him leave, idly wondering where my mom is. She’s left me notes on the coffee table, but I haven’t actually seen her in… days? Weeks? I’m not sure. When I try and think about it, I realize I can’t actually remember the last time I’ve seen her.

Strange.

I get up, deciding to change from my school clothes into something more comfortable
I get up, deciding to change from my school clothes into something more comfortable. I throw on a dark green waffle knit spaghetti strap cami with matching pants and a light cardigan.

I’m not sure what to do now. I don’t need to study, I’m not particularly hungry. I slump back on the couch glumly, turning the tv on. Why can’t I go anywhere?

I can’t remember.

I contemplate going to the coffee shop, but I know that Nathan would be really cross with me if I left the house.

I put on a Hallmark movie. The plot is cliché, and the acting is terrible, but the chemistry between the main characters is perfect. Nathan and I have an easy banter. He takes care of me. But I don’t know that I can say we have any chemistry. I can’t even remember when we started dating. Did he make the first move? Did I? When was our first kiss? Who said I love you first?

Why can’t I remember these things?

I consider going to my dad’s house, but something about that idea feels wrong. Do I even know where he lives?

I don’t think so.

Do they make vitamins for this? My memory is shit.

I google it. Google has all the answers.

Sudden memory loss.

Transient global memory loss?

Well, it’s not dementia. I don’t believe I’ve had a stroke. Stress can cause transient global memory loss.

Am I stressed?

I can’t remember.

My mind is all over the place. I can’t focus, I can’t remember anything. Google is not helping me. What’s wrong with me?

There’s a soft knock on the door.

I open it, finding a chubby, balding man on the other side. He’s wearing a work uniform, a jug with a spray nozzle in his hand.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, ma’am, but I’m here to spray for a routine pest spray. I didn’t believe anyone would be home, this was scheduled a few weeks ago.”

“Oh,” I say, blanking. “I don’t remember that. Go right ahead,” I tell him.

“After I spray, the fumes will be strong. You’ll need to be out of the house for at least two hours, but three to four would be ideal. Is that a problem?”

Is it?

“No,” I answer. “Just let me grab my things and I’ll be out of your hair.”

He nods and I grab my phone, my wallet, and my keys. Once I’m outside, heading to my car, I distinctly smell Italian food, and suddenly I’m starving, and I know just where to go.

When I step into Antonio’s I’m already drooling. I’m not even sure why I’m here. I wasn’t hungry when I left the house, but here I am. I order a personal pizza and a Diet Coke. I sit in a corner booth in the back of the old Italian restaurant. I’m scrolling through social media when a voice startles me.

“Is this seat taken?”

I glance up to find a very handsome guy standing before me. He’s classically good-looking. He’s tall, with dark brooding features, and he has a wicked smile.

He sits without waiting for my answer. “What’s a witch like you doing all alone tonight?” He asks seductively.

I raise an eyebrow at him. “What’s a vampire like you doing all alone?”

He smiles at me like he’s just made a huge accomplishment.

“I’m Ezra,” he tells me, holding his hand out across from me.

“Ezra…” I say slowly, shaking his hand. “Have we met before?”

“I don’t know. Have we?” He asks, smiling at me, his eyes full of secrets. His mouth twitches, fighting a smirk, and I can feel the negativity emanating from him. I don’t shy away from his dangerous personality.

“I’m Salem,” I introduce myself.

“Badass name,” he compliments me.

“Thank you,” I tell him as he leans towards me, electricity crackling between us. He’s trying to use his persuasion on me. I pretend not to notice.

“I just got into town,” he informs me. “Maybe while I’m here you could show me around?”

“You grew up here,” a new, familiar voice chuckles.

I look up to find an auburn-haired guy standing next to us. He looks me over, almost as though he’s checking on me, rather than checking me out.

He sits next to me. “I hope Ezra isn’t bothering you,” he apologizes.

I blink a few times trying to clear my mind, and I shake my head no at him.

“I’m Leopold,” he introduces himself.

Leopold.

That name is so familiar. Why is that? I look into his blue eyes, filled with concern. Why is he looking at me like that? His lips are pulled up in a small, sweet smile, and I stare at his mouth for longer than necessary. He’s so close to me in the booth that I can feel the warmth of his body next to mine—it’s comforting, but strange. It feels as though we’ve been this close before.

I’m about to open my mouth to say something when the waitress shows up with my food.

“Hate to run,” Leopold says suddenly, “but we have somewhere to be.”

He and Ezra both stand then, and head out the back exit of the small restaurant. Weird.

I take a sip of my drink, pondering over the interaction I just had with the two familiar guys.

“You should have called me,” Nathan says, appearing out of nowhere as he sits across from me. “I went to your house and there was a guy there fumigating. I would’ve come to get you.”

I look down at the table. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think it would be a big deal.”

“It’s not,” he says quickly, as though he’s trying to normalize his obsessive behavior. “You just came here alone?” He asks suspiciously.

I think about telling him about the two guys that were here, but something in me realizes that that is the last thing I need to do. “Obviously,” I retort. “The only friend I have here is you. My mom is always working. I just thought, since I had to get out of the house for a while, I could come here and grab something to eat and play on my phone.”

“Of course, beautiful,” he says, but it sounds like he’s speaking to a child, as though nothing I’ve just said matters to him. “I just worry about you, you know that.”

I nod, playing along. “I know.”

Something weird is going on. The red headed (and handsome) dork seems more familiar to me than my own boyfriend. He’s working so hard to make sure I talk to no one but him. Why is he isolating me this way? Why have I been allowing it?

I’m putting the pieces together now, realizing that I don’t have any kind of amnesia. What’s going on with my memory has to do with magic. IT HAS TO. That’s the only explanation that makes any sense…

But who is doing this to me?

Nathan?

What for? What could he possibly gain from altering my memory? Do we even date?

My father.

Vincent St. Clair. Of course he’s behind this. Why didn’t I realize this before? The most evil warlock in the world. He’s using me for something.

I eat my pizza slowly, trying to stay calm. I can’t give away that I’ve figured any of this out. Nathan would do something to me if he knew. An image of a dark room flashes before my eyes and I shiver. Was I in that bleak, cold room? What happened to me there?

“Are you cold, beautiful?” Nathan asks, moving around the table to sit with me. He drapes an arm casually across my shoulders, as though it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Maybe it is.

No.

I can feel the dark magic now, foreign and tugging at my mind, trying to replace memories in my head as I have them.

Who are you?

Salem Miller.

And you’ve lived with your mother because?

Because she’s bitter.

I almost laugh out loud. Bitter my ass.

I can feel the rage building in my chest as I force my father’s and Nathan’s black magic from my mind. As everything rushes back to me, my magic flows freely, wanting to pounce.

“How dare you,” I hiss at Nathan through clenched teeth.

The darkness is taking over, clouding my eyes. My vision is blurred and I can feel my mouth twist into an evil grin. He backs away from me, afraid.

Good. You should be afraid.

I know that I should be stopping this, that I should try and get myself back under control but they’ve done this to themselves.

They’ve unleashed this monster on themselves.
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