The glass door slammed shut with the faint sound of jingling bells. I watched as Jared twisted the key in the lock and rattled the door to make sure it held.
“Well that’s that I suppose.” He said with a smile.
It was only seven o’clock, but Jared had decided to close early in order to go to the party that I clearly wasn’t allowed to go too. I had stayed to help him restock, and clear up the extra boxes that were lying around the store.
Jared spun around, his blue eyes piercing into mine. I held my breath and leaned away.
“Yes?” I spit out finally.
“You go straight home. If I catch you at that party tonight, I swear I’ll turn you in the next time you skip school.” He threatened, his eyes cold.
“That sounds like a threat…it’s weird, coming from you.” I shrugged and looked down at my feet.
“Trust me, you don’t know me that well. Do you hear me?”
I nodded my head slowly, my eyes watching the sun light up his dark brown hair. “Yes. Okay. I hear you.”
Jared watched me walk down the street before hurrying off in the other direction. I rolled my eyes.
“Like I even know where it is. He didn’t even offer to take me home.” I sighed and kicked a small pebble.
I had ended up sitting inside a Starbucks. I hated the smell and taste of coffee. Anything that had coffee in it I would always refuse to take, but I didn’t want to go home just yet. So Starbucks was my temporary hang out place. I tapped my fingertips on the table top, two hours had passed already and the women behind the counter were glaring at me suspiciously. I hadn’t bought anything so I was pretty sure they thought I was waiting for the perfect moment to pull a gun out on them and demand a life time of coffee. Yeah right. It was either that or money and even I wasn’t that stupid.
Finally, with a groan, I heaved myself out of the chair, the metal legs scrapped across the floor, causing the barista to jump and watch me. I rolled my eyes and pushed the front door open, cold air wrapped around me like a uncomfortable blanket. I wrapped my arms across my stomach and stood there, looking up at the dark sky.
“Shouldn’t this be the part where a shooting star flies across the sky, I make a wish and my life suddenly makes a turn for the best?” I said out loud, and began hopping from one foot to the other.
The night chill was really starting to get to me, and so I couldn’t wait for my shooting star any longer. I started off down the street, my left hand rubbing my right arm for warmth. I really hated feeling cold, and I cursed myself for not bringing a thicker jacket.
As I made my way out of town, my pocket started vibrating and I stopped to pull out my cell phone. One new message flashed across the screen and I opened my inbox.
Hey! Where are U? I was just at your place, but I’m guessing you’re either not home or your mom’s being lazy again. D: There’s this wicked party that’s going on tonight and I wanted U to come! Stop being such a stiff and live a little! Call me when you get this, K? ~Kate
Kate was one of my few good friends at school. She was THE party animal and not to mention one of the prettiest girls in our school. But that also came with a label: ‘The School’s Wild Child’ or the occasional ‘Slut’ which was given to her by jealous girls whose boyfriends left them for her.
That was how she lived life, but deeper she was like the mother figure in our little group of friends. Kate was always there for me whenever I was kicked out of the house, and she worried over me constantly. When she found out that I have never been to a party before she insisted that she was going to drag me to one this weekend. I smiled and shook my head.
My finger hovered over the call button, but I stopped. Jared’s threat rang through my head like a fog horn and I let out a frustrated sigh. Of course Kate of all people would get invited to that party. The same party Jared would be at. I bit my lip and let my finger hit the reply to message button.
Sorry Kate. Mom’s sick. I had to take her to the hospital. Maybe next time?
“I can’t be missing out on much. I’ve survived seventeen years without a party I’m sure I’ll be fine.” The words came out in a whisper. I hit send and shoved the phone back into the pocket of my jeans.
Just as I was going to start across the road, a whispered echo caught my attention. I spun around to see who was following me, but only a few people were entering restaurants or stores to escape the cold dark. Not one of them were paying me any attention to me. I froze as I heard it again, this time it came from behind me. Slowly I turned around to look down a dark alleyway between an old antique shop, that has been closed for months now, and a Chinese restaurant called: Chinese Gourmet. Only one swinging lantern lit the entire alleyway, but just barely. It cast an eerie yellow glow. I saw a tall black figure zip across the right side of the alley, then move with an abnormal speed behind the abandoned antique shop.
I could feel my heart hammering against my rib cage, my mind screamed at me to run, but I found my curiosity getting the better of me. My feet seemed to move on their own and already I was halfway into the damp alley. My fingernails dug into the palms of my hands as my foot kicked a trashcan lid. My breath stopped, and I looked up, seeing another, faster, shape run across the back of the alley.
“Curiosity killed the cat…” I muttered under my breath, I could feel my arms start to shake.
I screamed at the sound of a door being crashed open and I spun around to see a Chinese Gourmet employee step out with a huge garbage bag that had a small rip on the side. Our eyes locked and he pointed a finger at me.
“What are you doing? You are trespassing!” He told me, his voice heavily accented.
“I’m sorry! My dog ran back this way.” I wanted to kick myself for lying, this was probably going to be my last chance to turn back. But I had chosen death.
“There is no dog back there! Leave now.” He threw the trash bag into a tall garbage can and turned to face me.
“I’m sorry. It’ll be just a moment!” I began walking backwards as the man started yelling at me in Chinese.
When I nearly tripped he began walking towards me, and I turned on my heel and took off into darkness. I ran till I could no longer make out what was around me, except for a large dumpster. The alleyway branched off to the right into a large fenced area the left was much to dark to see where it led. I heard a low murmur and the sound of someone coughing. As my eyes adjusted I could make out a dark figure standing over something that was misshapen and lying on the ground.
I ducked behind a large metal container and peered out from behind it. I could see that the person standing up was female, she stood with one hand on her hip and the other held something long. I concentrated on her other hand and noticed in was a large curved sword. I looked at the figure at her feet and realized that it was actually two different bodies. One lay flat on his back while another was crouched a foot away from it. I could barely make out what they were saying.
“…can’t stand it.” Said a soft male voice, his voice sounded broken like he was going to cry.
“This is a disappointment.” The woman said, she kicked up gravel and it hit the far fence that faced the street.
“Damnitt, I have to get away, the blood is making me sick.” The guy that was crouched on the ground crawled over towards my direction and collapsed on the other side of the metal container. I bent down and moved backwards. Did I walk into a murder?
I realized that I wasn’t breathing, and that I was shaking uncontrollably now. Why did I let my curiosity get to me? If I didn’t walk away now they were surely going to find me.
‘Walk away and call the police.’ I took another step backwards.
“I swear they are making this harder and harder every time. Look at you! You’re a mess! At this rate I’ll have to track down these blood bags alone!.” The woman had a harsh voice.
“You don’t know how to find them.” The guy laughed weakly. His voice sounded oddly familiar, I froze as I tried to fit a face to that voice.
“I still don’t understand why we have to find these humans. It’ll be easier to just look for-” The woman stopped talking suddenly and I felt my pulse speed up. “Wait…do you smell that?” She asked. I heard the crunch of gravel as she walked closer, this time I took two big steps back, and it was a big mistake. My left foot kicked a heavy box into a row of trashcans, causing them all to let out a metallic clang.
“Found you.” The woman sang. I saw her running towards me now and I spun around to run the opposite way.
“No! No.” I screamed hoping that the Chinese man was still waiting for me at the end of the alley.
My arm caught the sharp edge of a broken metal pole sticking out of the trashcan and I felt it cut deep into my skin, I let out a gasped cry and stumbled over something round. I caught myself from doing a face dive into the grimy alley floor and reached out my injured arm to stop myself from crashing into a brick fall. I screamed as a fiery pain shot up my arm and I fell onto my knees.
“You’re a quick one.” The woman stepped out in front of me and I kicked at her knees, as she was knocked slightly off balance, I pushed off the ground and sped down the alleyway. I gripped my injured arm and felt warm blood seeping between my fingers. How deep had I cut it?
“s**t!” I stopped running and noticed that I had run down the wrong way. Instead of running back to the main alley, I had taken the way that branched off to the left and I found myself trapped in a basketball court that was boxed off with three large buildings. I ran to the far end, my eyes scanning for a way out. Then I found it. A small gate that led out between a gap between two of the buildings. My fingers yanked the gate open and I let out a whimper.
On the other side of the gate was the woman who had been trying to catch me. She wore a smug smile on her face and she took a step toward me. I turned to run the other way but a cold hand wrapped around my injured arm, right over the wound, and I screamed in agony. She threw me up against the fence and in one quick movement, I felt the sharp end of a knife at my throat. I let out a another scream as her fingers dug into the cut on my arm and she smiled.
“Humans are so slow. It takes the fun out of the game.” I could see her now in the dim light of the moon over head. She had long white hair, dark eyebrows, and an olive toned skin. She had a black tattoo that started from her left cheek and ran down her neck. It looked like a bunch of joined swirls and grim reaper scythes. Her eyes were startling to look at because of the fact that they were silvery in color and she only had dots for pupils. She was really skinny, but had hard tendons of muscle under the skin of her arms. What caught my attention was the two long and pointy ears sticking out through her hair.
“Aerien. Stop.” A whisper came from behind the woman and she froze, her eyes narrowing.
“We can’t just let her escape! She saw us!” She kept her eyes on me, the knife pressing deeper into my neck.
“What do you propose we do? Kill her? You know we can’t do that.” The soft voice was male.
As they began to argue, I took the chance to look for a way out of this situation. The woman, Aerien, turned her head slightly to the side towards the speaker. Slowly I used my free hand to inch into my pants pocket. Once my finger tips felt the smooth cold metal of my pocket knife, I closed my fist around it and pulled it out of my pocket.
“Let me see her.”
Aerien let out a growl and turned to look at me just as I flipped open the blade of my pocket knife.
“Looks like you have an appointment.” Her voice sounded flat.
“Looks like you will too.” I said through my teeth and I swung my arm up, aiming the knife for her face.
She was quick, but I heard her let out a scream and her right fist slammed into the left side of my face, the side that was already home to another injury. I hit the ground instantly and groaned. Pain erupted through my skull like it had been smashed into pieces. My vision was blurred slightly and I blinked as I sat up.
“You human b***h!” Aerien screamed, I heard two sets of fast footsteps.
“Aerien stop.” The man’s voice sounded close to me, but my vision hadn’t returned and I began to panic. I held the sides of my head and I could hear myself hyperventilating. There was a sound of rustling fabric coming from somewhere in front of me. “Calm down.” The voice was at my ear this time and I froze. His warm breath blew across my face.
“She cut me! My face!” Aerien still screamed.
“Looks like she’s tougher then you expected, Aerien.” I felt a hand on my face, lifting my chin up. I could make out a large shape in front of me, but just barely.
“Don’t touch me!” I pushed his hand away and felt the ground around me for my knife.
“I have it, don’t worry.”
“No!” I scrambled backwards till I felt the cold fence pressing against my back. “I’ll call the police I swear.”
I heard a high pitched laugh and I froze.
“Yeah. Go ahead, little girl. They won’t be able to find us.” Aerien spoke up from somewhere behind the dark figure that leaned toward me.
“What did you do to me? Why can’t I see clearly?” I demanded.
“Sit still and I will help you.” I closed my eyes when I saw a dark hand reach for me again.
“Why are you helping her! She should be disposed of.”
“If you don’t be quiet, I’m going to put you back into the shadows.”
His fingertips felt cold as they brushed the side of my face where I was hit. As they reached my cheek bone, I felt hot burning suddenly spread out and I pushed his hands away and screamed.
“Aerien! Did you have to do that?”
“She deserves it. You should be glad that I didn’t rip her heart out instead.” Aerien’s voice sounded far away.
“You both are nut cases! Don’t touch me!” I pulled away when a cold hand touched my fire hot face. I blinked and suddenly felt dizzy.
“So, do you want to die?” The man’s voice sounded strained.
“No…no!” I shook my head and regretted it at once when a piercing pain shot through my neck.
The man reached out before I could fall over and pulled me into his arms. My eyes felt heavy and I shivered violently.
“Don’t fall asleep.” His mouth was at my ear and I smiled faintly. If this was really my end, at least this voice was gentle. I turned my head in towards his neck, and inhaled a sweet scent. My thoughts raced, I knew this scent. But from where?
“Emelyn, open your eyes.” His voice sounded sad, and he gripped me tightly.
“How do you know my name?” My words came out in a whisper and one of his hands came up to touch my cheek. But I couldn’t hear his response, by then I was already spiraling into the darkness.
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