Chapter 15: Candi...
I’m back in the woods, near where I watched Cam kill himself in my last dream. This time, I’m aware that I’m dreaming. I’m not sure why this one is different than the others, but it is. With that in mind, some of my fear of what’s around me lessens and I can concentrate on going where the dream is leading me.
The roar of the river is louder now and I feel like that’s what I’m trying to find. So, I stand still, close my eyes, and try to open up my other senses. It’s hard to tell what direction to go in just based on sound. Anyone who’s ever been even slightly lost in the woods can tell you that you can’t go by sound. It echoes around you at times and, if you follow it, you may become even more lost.
This being a dream though, there seems a clear-cut direction that it’s coming from. When I smell the damp in that direction, I figure that’s where I need to go. Opening my eyes, I continue on. It takes what seems like about ten more minutes and I stumble into a clearing, with the water directly in front of me.
The pale light of dawn is starting to break over the top of the trees, lightening the area a bit, just enough for me to see Isabella standing beside the water, looking down. As I walk closer, she turns to look at me.
With a sad shake of her head, she says, “I tried to tell you. Why didn’t you listen?”
“He has my family, Isabella. I HAD to come back.”
“No. You didn’t. You could have still stayed away. One person is not more important than the world. You were arrogant to believe that you could stop him.”
“I never believed that.”
She holds a hand up to stop me from talking, “Yes. You did. I’m privy to the thoughts you had about aborting a baby or killing yourself. He’ll never let that happen. This…” she points to the ripples that are getting more violent in the water, “This is what happens when you try to mess with things you don’t understand.”
As I watch, a head of dirty blonde hair starts coming out of the water. The remains of a woman… crawling out of the water and up onto the bank towards me. Her hair is lank and dripping around her, covering her face. Her crawl is jerky and uncoordinated. Her bare arms are grey and bloated looking, the skin cracked and oozing thick black fluid. As she gets up onto the bank fully, she looks up at me and her face is just as bad as her arms, the skin just as disgusting. For some reason, though, I’m not afraid of her. I feel like she won’t hurt me. Or maybe that she can’t? I know that the Cam from my other dream actually did hurt me and that I still have the ring of bruises around my neck, but this feels different somehow.
Ignoring the figure slowly crawling towards me, I turn back to Isabella and ask, “Why are you doing this? What reason could you possibly have to torture me with this woman’s death? It’s already too late to change what I’ve done. I’m already tied to the bed and drugged. I can’t even wake up, much less untie myself. So, tell me… why are you doing this, Isabella?”
She gives me a sad smile and shrugs, “Honestly? I don’t know. I guess I just got a bit angry that you ignored all of our warnings and went back anyway. I just wanted to tell you the consequences.” She points to the woman, who has now stopped and is staring at me with a feral gleam in her eye, “This is Marie.”
My head whips back and forth between Marie and Isabella, “The mistress?!?”
She nods, “The mistress. She was supposed to be my friend but she was sleeping with my sadistic husband behind my back.” As she says this, Marie turns her head and growls deep in her throat, “But, you see, she used some powerful black magic to try and keep him from the hell he belongs in. That kind of magic blackens your soul. More than all the other things she had already done. When Kieran was able to come back and search out a way to stay alive, she was there to coach him. She explained what she had done and, for a moment, they had happiness together. Of course, then she told him the truth. She was barren. They had an argument because he wanted to get someone with child immediately and not have to disappear to recharge. She, however, kept reminding him he had two hundred years and really, what would it hurt to spend her lifetime with her? The more she argued, the angrier he became. By the time this came about, she had already taught him all he needed to know about feeding on souls to keep himself somewhat corporeal. So, he killed her. He brought her to the river, telling her that he wanted to make love on the river back. When they waded into the water to “cool off” a bit first, he shoved her under and drowned her. He weighted her down on the river bottom with stones. Honestly, she’s probably still down there, or her bones are at least. This was a long time ago. I’d say that she has sunk down under the sediment at the bottom of the river by now.” She shakes her head and takes a deep breath, “Anyway. The point is, this woman didn’t fully understand the consequences of what she was doing. She helped create a monster for her own selfish gain. Now, she is doomed to spend eternity haunting this river bank. She’s not like him. She can’t feed off the living and become corporeal. His death by magic insured that he could do that, along with the spells she said to help him along. No one was able to say those spells for her and she couldn’t do it herself, as she was taken by surprise by her lover.”
“How is this helpful, Isabella? You usually have a reason for telling me or showing me things. Again, I’m tied up and drugged. This isn’t helping anything.”
“I know. Right now, I’m trying to show you what you’ve done by trying to save your boyfriend. If Kieran manages to get you with child… and let’s be honest, he will manage it… you won’t be able to stop him. He’ll be reborn and now he’s had two centuries to understand where he went wrong the first time around. Marie has given him the tools to use magic, as well. So, he will be able to hurt and kill a lot more people. And he’ll want to. His rage is also intensified. He’s spent this time planning what he’s going to do. I can’t help you get away. I can only manifest in your dreams, not in reality. Unlike my sisters, I was never that powerful to start with.” She walks over to me and grabs my arms, “But you must find a way to get away. Right now, he’s resting. But he’ll be back soon. I’m going to wake you up and you need to find a way to get loose before he comes back for you. While he’s in this state, he can’t hear you. Christopher is in the house with you. He’s in the basement, also drugged. Scream. As loud as you can. I’ll do my best to wake him as well. Perhaps between the two of you, one of you will be able to get loose and get you out of that house.”
I nod, bracing myself for whatever she is about to do. But she just says, “For what it’s worth, I would have loved to have met you had we defeated him and I came back.”
Suddenly I’m awake. Weak, but awake. I start struggling against the ropes, but after a minute, I start to realize that it’s no use. All I’m doing is hurting myself. I finally give up and do what Isabella suggested. I scream. As loud as I can and until my voice gives out, I scream for Chris and Cam.
Just as I start to think it’s hopeless, I realize I’ve been twisting my arms and jerking against the ropes the entire time. My blood is now running from my wrists to my elbows. Thankfully Kieran didn’t tie a knot that tightens when you struggle. I push my right arm up, giving the rope some slack.
I stretch up a bit and brace the part of the rope that’s around my wrist onto the edge of the bed post. My entire body is stretched as far as it will go but I have to do this! Narrowing my hand by touching my thumb to my pinkie, I slowly start working each side of the rope off.
As I get to the thickest part of my hand, my strength gives out and I fall back against the bed, wrenching my arm in the process. The pain in my shoulder tells me I won’t be of use to anyone soon but, thankfully, that last pull got my hand completely loose.
The other hand is actually harder because I’ve hurt my shoulder so bad at this point. I’m screaming the entire time I’m trying to pull that hand loose and then my feet.
I’m bleeding and in so much pain it’s making my vision waver but I don’t have time to fix myself. I have to find my family and get out of here.
As quickly as I can I search every room on the 1st and 2nd floors. With no sight of either Chris or Camden, I finally make my way to the basement. My fear of Kieran returning overshadows my fear of going back down there.
I finally find Chris, just waking up, lying in the basement floor. His feet and hands are tied together with the same rope that was used on me. I no longer have strength in my arm, so I have to waste precious moments going back up to the kitchen for a knife.
It takes a minute to get his hands free, but once I do, I hand him the knife and tell him to hurry as I go back up the steps. My brother is not here and I have to make sure no one else moves into this house.
I go into the living room and light every candle I have in the house. By the time I’m done my living room looks like it swallowed the sun.
As Chris comes up the basement stairs, I turn to him and say, “Get out now. Start the truck and wait out front for me.”
He shakes his head, “I can’t just leave you in here, Candace.”
“Yes you can. I’m gonna set the house on fire. We need to be able to get away quickly, before the gas line blows. Just go start the car.”
He pales, “You start the car. I’ll do this part.”
In frustration, I use my good arm to shove him, “Chris, he has ruined my life. I NEED to do this!”
Finally, he nods and hurries out the door. I turn back to the stove and then turn on all of the eyes and the oven. As the flames come up on the stove, I feel that hand running over my hair again. Just like it did in the basement. This time I accept the comfort it offers.
That voice whispers, “Go now.” And the fire blows out on the stove. I can still hear the gas hissing from the stove eyes, though, so I run for the door, calling “thank you” as I go.
I jump into the passenger side of the truck and Chris is spinning tires out of there before I even get my door closed. Once I’m settled into my seat I turn and watch out the back window as the house recedes from view. Just as we’re about to turn the corner I see the explosion. I can even feel the rumble of the ground with it.
Wait… that rumble is not from the explosion. I start smacking Chris on the arm, screaming “faster!” Because I see the sight that will likely haunt my dreams for years to come. An enraged Kieran is flying… yes fucking flying… after us. As we pass the property line, it’s almost like he hits a glass wall. I motion for Chris to pull over and we watch as he beats against the air and screams his fury at us.
2 years later…
There are still eight years left on Kieran’s time on earth. I’ve done everything I can to ensure he doesn’t get what he wants. I’ve even erected a fence around the entire property. That was actually slightly amusing… seeing the looks on the contractors face when I explained that no one was allowed to venture onto the property. You need to take a piss? Go the opposite direction. I made it perfectly clear that if my rules were violated in any way that their contract would be immediately voided and that they would not be paid for work done. They wrote me off as eccentric and a bitch but they did as asked.
Chris and I built a home right outside the fence line. Close enough to keep an eye on it but far enough away to keep from being affected. We weren’t able to go back for the remains of Makayla and her family, but our back yard holds a memorial headstone for them. I even went online and found a doll just like that creepy one from the basement and buried it there.
We still walk the property line every single day, making sure no one has come close, while still looking for signs of Cam. It’s probably pointless, as I had cameras installed all the way around the fence, but I can’t take any chances.
Everyone, including Chris, tries telling me that Cam is dead and that I should just live my life rather than waste it on fruitless searches. But in my heart, I know he’s alive out there somewhere. Just waiting for me to find him.
My twin has watched over and protected me my whole life. If I need to wait out Kieran’s time for him, I will. What’s 10 years in the space of a lifetime?
I have everything I want and need right here, with the exception of my brother. I have the love of my life and a home. I even have the chance to have children in the future without fear of them being monsters. So here I’ll stay, hoping for a glimpse of Cam in my dreams, while making a home with Chris.
The End… For Now
I hope you enjoyed the book. Reviews are always appreciated.
There will be one more book to this. Keep an eye out for that, to find out where Camden has been all this time.
Feel free to stalk me on social media…
All of my books are also available in print on Amazon.
Other books by Renee C. Leigh:
Unexpected (Sheffey’s Bar Book 1)
I decided to run from my past to build something that wouldn’t hurt so much. Jordan was a glitch in that plan. I never expected to find love again. And I never expected my past to follow me. What happens next is... unexpected.
***This book is for readers 18 and over only
Obligated (Sheffey’s Bar Book 2)
Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of year, right? Wrong... I’ve spent most of my life feeling obligated to take care of everyone and everything around me. This year, I’m almost to my breaking point. Meeting Zane seems to be the highlight of the holiday, but he’s only sticking around for a couple of weeks.
When a crazy stalker comes after me... Will anyone be there to take care of me? Or will I have to be my usual self and handle it alone.
*** This book contains violence, sex, and graphic language. For readers 18 and over, only. ***