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Forever, No Escape
“Do you smell that?” Dahlia asked quietly, poking me to get my attention. I inhaled deeply, tasting the hair with my enhanced senses. I caught the hint of sapphire in the air. Sapphire was lethal to witches like Dahlia. Even the touch of it to her bloodstream could poison her.
“Sapphire,” I stated simply. She looked at me with wide, emerald eyes. Although I didn’t show it, I was terrified for her and for myself, for where there were witch hunter, there were vampire slayers nearby. We were the most wanted by the Councils, especially by the leader, Night. Though I despised him, he was worshipped throughout what we called the Dark World. He had witch hunters, vampire slayers, and everything else available after us, trying to possess Dahlia, no doubt.
“And vampire slayers, too,” she replied bluntly. I sighed, a confirmation. “What do we do?” she asked calmly. After a while of having to deal with these things, we didn’t react as irrationally as we used to.
“Be quiet. I’ll go out there to distract them while you run away. The clearing that they’re in is right over there,” I told her, pointing in the direction of the scent. “Then I’ll get to you as soon as I can” After one step toward the clearing, Dahlia grabbed my hand, trying to prevent me from going another step.
“No, there’s vampire slayers our there, too, right?” she replied firmly in a don’t-argue-with-me tone, hands on hips.
I stood my ground, crossing my arms across my chest. “Uh, I’m kind of a vampire, if you didn’t know, and faster and stronger than you could ever hope to be. No, you are not.”
“Yes, I am.” It was like we were talking about the weather. Her tone was so casual and sure that I rolled my eyes.
“Why in the world would you want to? Do you not believe I can take care of myself?” My tone morphed the question into a challenge, begging her to say no.
“Of course you can take care of yourself! Of course, there is that small fact about the vampire slayers. What is that, like, one to probably ten? You’re going to need back up.” She smiled triumphantly, as if that just settled it.
“Yeah, sure, but what could you do to help me anyway?”
Immediately, her smile vanished. I narrowed my eyes, wondering what she was going to do to prove herself. I shifted uncomfortably as my clothes began to heat up. After a second, I looked down to find the edges of my lavender shirt black like it had been on fire.
“Oh, come on! This was one of my good shirts!” I growled in frustration. “Fine, but you’re staying behind me.” Every time this happened, Dahlia had to stay behind me.
“Whatever,” she replied, rolling her bright green at me. I positioned myself in front of her, lowering myself into a crouch. I step into the clearing, not thinking that the vampire hunters weren’t humans. The second I step out of our hiding spot with Dahlia right behind me, I find a wooden stake at my neck. When I glance at Dahlia, I see a rather sharp piece of sapphire at hers.
I glared into the face of the man who was holding the sapphire and recognize the silver eyes. Ash, my older brother who I haven’t seen in years, was standing there, threatening my best friend with a lethal weapon on her part. I snarled quietly, unable to hold it back, and his eyes flashed to me. I could see the hidden surprise in them . . . and the hesitation. From the look in his eyes, I guessed that he didn’t want to do this, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t hold it against him.
The stake pushed into my neck, drawing a bead of blood, and bringing my attention back to my main problem. My eyes widened before I could compose myself when I saw the face: perfect but pale skin, expressionless face, and cold black eyes. Coal gazed back at me with eyes devoid of any emotion at all.
The stake pushed into me again, drawing another few drops of blood, causing me to back up a few steps. I walked backward slowly until my back was pressed against a tree, rough bark under the palms of my hand.
The corner of his lip raised into a slight smile. I just glared at him, wondering how even he could accomplish being this cruel. Cocking his head slightly, he raised one eyebrow, challenging me to try to make one sudden or unexpected move.
A rustling in the leaves on the edge of the clearing cause my eyes to move from Coal’s to Night’s as he stepped out with a cocky grin on his face. I growled low, unable to control myself. I expected Coal to put pressure on the stick, but instead, he just chuckled quietly.
Night silenced him with an icy glare before switching his gaze from Coal to Dahlia, his target. A woman with short black hair stood in a crouch behind him with a small chuck of sharp sapphire. He motioned for her to leave.
“We got them now.Thank you; you may leave now.” With one doubtful glance and another jerky gesture from Night, the huntress stalked off. “Ash, you can back off if she’ll stay where she is.” He gave her a questioning look.
“I will stay,” she answered in defeat, bowing her head to look at her feet. Ash lowered his arm slowly, taking the sapphire away from the skin of her neck that was now red.
“Nice to see you again, Dahlia. May we talk?” When she raised her head to look him in the eye, I saw the determination in her eye and knew she wasn’t giving up that easily. I had taught her well. “Alone.” He put emphasis on the word.
I decided to speak up then, unafraid of my childhood friend who was holding the wood to my neck. “Whatever you have to say, you can say it in front of me.” I snarled in Night’s direction. He scowled back at me in disgust, as if my mere presents was a curse to him.
Dahlia put her hands on her hips like she had done to me, and spat, “I wouldn’t talk to you if you were the last person with a voice on Earth! Especially not alone!” The way she said alone made it seem like the most horrible word in the dictionary.
“Just get on with it, Night, so we can continue with our lives!” I snapped not a second late.
His head swiveled around so he could glare at me. “You had better shut up or you won’t have a life to continue with.” I did as he told me but continued to glare at the cruel man.
Dahlia laughed out loud, not even trying to hide it. “Yeah, the one where he’s not in it!” With one glare from Night, she quieted down and cleared her throat, a smile still on her full lips.
“Now, can we talk or not?” His impatience traveled off from him in tangible waves.
“Uh, I already told you; no, not in a million years,” she replied, looking him up and down like he was crazy, which he was probably. Ash snickered from where he was standing over to the side, but he tried to disguise it as a cough unsuccessfully.
“Just get on with it, Night,” Coal growled, turning his head away from me so he could see Night. I knew this was probably the only chance I was going to get to escape, but I couldn’t leave Dahlia behind. I just stayed put as he swiveled his head back toward me.
“Yes, please!” I seconded Coal’s suggestion.
Dahlia sighed in resignation and finally said, “Fine, what do you want?”
“You know what I want . . .” Everyone knew what he wanted. He wanted her; it was that plain and simple.
“Uh, so not happening,” she snapped with the right amount of her usual sass in her voice. She flipped her long golden blonde hair, making it swish over her shoulder and trail down her back in gentle waves.
“You really shouldn’t struggle because I’ll have you in the end.” With that statement, he took a step closer.
“Why struggle when I can walk away?” she questioned, looking up at him. As expected, she began to walk away, but he grabbed her wrist, dragging her back to him.
I hissed ferociously which was obviously the move they were expecting. Coal clutched one of my shoulders and spun me around, roughly grabbing one wrist, then the other, leaving me to struggle with his hold. After a second, he hissed in my ear, “Enough.” Holding the stake to my neck again, he walked me forward a few steps.
“Don’t make this hard Dahlia.” Night’s hand reached out toward her face, but Dahlia slapped it away.
She scoffed. “So you think I’m making this hard?” I knew she loved games, but I really wish she would get on with it. This position I was in wasn’t very comfortable on my part.
“I’m getting really tired of your games, Dahlia.” Night shook his head in frustration. He wasn’t the only one.
“Aww, really, but I was just getting started!” She grinned and laughed her flirty, tinkling laugh.
He laughed loudly, as if he wanted the whole forest to hear. “I very much like your spirit! Sorry, but you’re coming with me now.” Night reached for her waist, no doubt intending on throwing her over his shoulder like those cheesy movies.
I had to admit Dahlia was quick. She elbowed him, nailing him under the jaw, before jamming her heel onto his foot. After she brought her leg up to kick him yet again under the jaw, successfully knocking him out, she skipped lightly over to Coal.
Coal swung and his fist whistled through thin air. A smile formed on her lips and she slapped the stake from him; I could hear the bones breaking in his right arm. As he stumbled back, Dahlia stuck out her foot, causing him to trip and fall flat on his back, stunned for a second.
“Grab her, Ash!” Night choked out from his dazed state. Ash sprang out, mush faster than Dahlia because of his vampirism, and clutched her arm, dragging her to the ground. I was about to come at him when Coal grabbed my ankle.
He tugged hard, effectively causing me to fall onto the hard ground. I shoved my shoe into his face, kicking him, and causing him to let go of my foot.
I sprang up, gasping for a second, caught by surprise that he had gotten me, for I was the fastest vampire in all the Dark World. While Dahlia struggled with Ash, I crouch, low to the ground, preparing myself to launch at Night.
Night had finally stood up, rubbing his jaw. He glanced up just as I launched myself at him. I was a blur in the air before I was on top of him, pinning him to the ground. “Hello, Night.” I whispered, smiling down at him, showing him my elongated fangs in that threatening way that made his eyes widen, for I was the only thing he was honestly scared of.
I jumped off of him and was on my feet in a matter of milliseconds. I grabbed the front of his button-up shirt, lifting him completely off the ground. “We are going to leave now, Night, and you will do nothing about it. Alright? Okay, good-bye now.” I grinned at him for a second before thrusted him into the trees. I didn’t know where he had landed, nor did I really care.
With one good punch to the face, I knocked Ash, my own brother, into an oak tree across the clearing where he landed on the ground with a groan of pain. I hurried to Dahlia and helped her stand up. She brushed herself off and ran her fingers through her hair as if nothing had happened.
“Let’s get out of here!” I exclaimed.
“Don’t have to tell me twice,” Dahlia replied.
“Oh, no. I did not get dragged out here for no reason!” I recognized Coal’s voice and turned around just as he shot the dark into my calf. I gasp in pain, knowing exactly what it was.
“Idiot!” After extracting the dart filled with tree sap, I picked up a rock and threw it at him, hitting him square in between the eyes.
Dahlia laughed along with me for a second before she motioned for me to hurry up. I tossed the dart aside. It had no effect on me, for Night and his servants had hit me so many time that they would need to hit me about five times for it to even have an effect in me. My neck stung from where the stake had punctured me, but I knew it wasn’t near as bad as it could have been.
I rubbed away the drop of blood from my neck and pushed through the bush after Dahlia. She was half-vampire, so though she couldn’t keep up with me, she could run very fast. The dart had made my calf throb, causing me to run slower than usual.
Dahlia and I ran side by side for a while, each stride taking us farther away from the last encounter with Night and our victory. Of course, I knew it wasn’t over. Even if this happened, this constant catch-and-run, lasted for an eternity, he would never give up. It would never be over.
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