“How does getting Lexton to end the competition bring Calvin and me down? That just keeps me here with Calvin, which I can’t do if I’m going to get to Rose.” I sighed, annoyed that Lexton was ruining things for me again. “If she’s alive, then why can’t we still have the competition?” I asked. “I don’t understand how her being attacked changes anything other than we need even more guards on her as well. I need her to compete. I need her to win.”
I sighed. “Can I go talk to her?” I asked, standing, but Octavia grabbed me by the wrist.
“No.” She said firmly. “You can’t see her for at least a few days.”
“Why not?” I asked, puzzle pieces falling into place in my mind.
Octavia looked over at Logan, then Patrick, before back up to me.
“They didn’t kill Lexton, they turned her.”
= = = = = = == == = = === ==
= = = = = = = == == == == =
What have I done now?
I looked up, the events of the last three minutes and twenty eight seconds a total blur of black rage, and stared over at Octavia huddled on the floor before me holding tightly to Rachel at her side. Rachel was crying. Crying hard, and looking at me with her big wounded crystal blue eyes. There was something in them that I’d never seen before. She looked…frightened. Frighten of what? Me? What have I done?
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I smell the strange scented blood in the room, and looking down I can see the
wounds on my hands healing, and the memories come slowly flooding back into
my fragile mind.
Lexton has been turned. She was jumped in a corridor. Here. Where I am supposed to be able to protect my people, but I failed at that too. Octavia said she was badly beaten first, and taken advantage of, before she was bitten. Her guards were ambushed like Cromley was, and then released afterwards. They went on to find Lexton in her coma state. Within a few hours she was awake and called for Octavia. The only thing I can even take relief in is that Lexton didn’t tell any of her guards or anyone else what the rebels said, or why she was attacked in the first place. For now this is just a high scale crime, not treason. I need to be sure that I
talk to her. She must be so frightened. The pain from turning is one of the most powerful memories I have. The flames of the change rip through your entire body before they pull you under and you sink into the abyss of darkness. Nothing but you and your thoughts. I remember fearing that something had gone wrong and that I had died, cursed to live in an eternal consciousness in nothingness.
I hate myself for all of this. If it weren’t for me, Lexton wouldn’t have ever been here, and she never could have been hurt by me, or these fiends. Every bad thing that has ever happened to her has been entirely my own fault. I should have sent her away too.
I should have never agreed to this competition. How many people have to suffer for my selfish needs of this human girl I love so much?
Rachel’s face comes back into view, my thoughts running back into the back of my mind for now. I want to reach for her, pull her over to me. Why are we all on the floor? Why is she so upset? She couldn’t possibly be this torn apart because of what happened to Lexton, and why is Octavia staring at me like that too? Like I’m a stranger she’s never seen before.
The door opens and I hear the boy and Patrick enter, sharp gasps coming from their mouths, and the heart in the boy’s chest hammers angrily against his ribcage. He’s yelling at me. I can’t remember what happened. Why can’t I? I remember Octavia telling me about Lexton. I remember hitting the wall.
After that though…it’s a blurry mess.
Suddenly I feel like a white hot acid is lurching up my esophagus as the images break through. I yelled at her. I screamed. I threatened her. I watched her fall beneath me and I did nothing to stop it. I was the monster that lives within me. I let her see it.
I showed it to her, and I let him scare her.
Looking at her now I can’t fathom what she must be thinking.
Even on her first night in this horrid place, filled to the brim with dangers, I never
saw fear in her eyes. She showed strength, even in the face of death, but
now…Now she looks more petrified than I ever imagined she could be of anything,
especially me. The look in her eyes when she used to look at me was one of the
things that gave me strength to do anything. She looked at me like I was someone,
not just the monster I’d always believed myself to be. I could look at her looking at
me, and believe that it was true. If this perfect creature can see something in me,
then maybe there is hope for me after all. Now I see her looking at the monster.
Everyone was looking at me, but I couldn’t look at them. I couldn’t watch the way the boy ran to her rescue…her rescue from the monster before her. The monster that is me.
I leaned back, lifting slowly to my feet. I shook as I stood, and ran from the room.
The monster was right. All I have ever done is hurt Rachel. I’m terrible for her. I
have tried everything I could to protect her, and every decision I make only makes
things worse. She’s better off without me. I am the reason for all of her pain as
well. If it weren’t for me, she never would have been here either. Rachel never
would have had to suffer here. She never would have had to see her friends die,
live through my betrayals, suffer when I sent her away, struggled alone for
years…Then just when things are going well for her, I ruin her again. Now all she
does is suffer. Suffer for me.
I needed to get away from the weight of all of their disapproving and disappointed looks. I still can’t believe I lost control like that. How long has it been since I’ve fed? I can’t even remember. I’ve been so preoccupied I haven’t even maintained my thirst. No wonder I broke out into a rage so easily. Between the hunger, and the overwhelming guilt of my choices causing the suffering of all of those around me, it’s a miracle that I didn’t kill her.
“Blood.” I choked out when I pushed open the doors to the blood supply room. The men working all gave me looks, probably wondering why I look like a crazed animal right now. “Blood.” I repeated. “B positive, please.”
A man in his white apron stepped forward. “Majesty, the shortage…” He reminded me. “We’re out of B positive in the bags, but I can get you a blood servant.” He offered.
“No.” I said firmly, shaking my head. “I don’t use blood servants.” I reminded him. “Just bring me what we have.” I told him, but then I looked around, noticing that the room looked even emptier than the last time I was in here. “Wait.” I called to him when he went to turn away. “How low are we at this point?”
He picked up the tablet from his apron pocket and shook his head as he stared at the screen. “Your Highness, we’re severely short.” He told me. “Only a couple hundred pints left.”
I blinked wildly at his words. “A couple hundred?” I repeated.
“When is the blood from England supposed to arrive?”
I sighed. “Will we have enough to make it to then?” I asked, but the man shook his head. “Make sure that the servants are well fed, please. They’re going to be needed tonight.” I told him before I turned to leave.
“Wait, Highness!” He called to me. “I haven’t gotten you yours yet!”
I glanced back over my shoulder. “I can wait until the supply comes in.” I told him.
“My people eat first.” Then I left, wandering aimlessly through the corridors.
“Majesty!” I heard a familiar voice call. I turned slowly and waited for Major Renard to catch up to me in the dark corner. He looked around quickly before looking down at my bloodied clothes. “Are you alright?” He asked.
“No.” I replied. “What’s wrong?” I asked him.
He furrowed his thick brows, but he nodded his head in determination. “I’ve had a friend come through with a private plane.” He told me. “With your permission, I’d like to go ahead and move out tonight instead of waiting for tomorrow. The sooner we can terminate the threat, the better. I heard what happened with the human girl.” He whispered. “I think we should take out the heads of this thing quickly.”
I wanted to hug the man, but instead I clapped him on the shoulder. “Yes, thank you.” I told him. “I’d love for you to go ahead.” I sighed. “Please do keep in touch on things. Same plan?”
He nodded, looking up the corridor again. “Yes.” He replied softly.
“We will be moving in from a bordering town. We will stay there for one night, have a couple of guys visit the whore bar and scope out the rebels. My friend I mentioned will point them out to us. Once they’re feeling cozy, we’ll attack. Full scale, no mercy.”
“I wish I was going with you and your men.” I admitted. As bad as things could get, I always did enjoy fighting alongside my men for our cause instead of sitting back at home. In the years that Rachel was gone, I threw myself into it. Battle was not uncommon for me to join.
“We always have room for one more.” He smiled. “Especially you.”
“Well, I appreciate that.” I nodded. “I’d love to, but I have too many things to take care of here.” He nodded in agreement with me. “Safe trip.” I told him before he vanished.
I checked the time on my watch so I’d be able to track in my mind where the men are going to be. I need this mission to be a success. I can’t handle anymore failures. As I walked slowly, trying to block out the image of Rachel’s horrified face as she turned away from me, I looked up and realized where I was. Lexton’s room.
I supposed now was as good a time as any to check on her.
I opened the door, and her friends looked up at me, leaving her where she was laying on her side in her bed. “Calvin.” She whispered.
“I’m so sorry, Lexton.” I sighed, walking over to pull a chair to the side of her bed.
She pulled the blankets further up her body and tried to hide her tears in her pillow.
“It was…awful.” She muttered.
“I know.” I told her. “I remember being turned vividly.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “That’s not what I’m talking about.” She told me. “That was terrible too, but what was worse was thinking they were going to kill me.”
“How many of them were there?”
“Two, I think.”
I nodded my head. “Did you recognize them at all?”
She shook her head and sighed. “One of them…I feel like I’d heard his voice before, but I can’t place where. The other one I didn’t know. I couldn’t see them though. I was blindfolded.” She explained. “When I woke up though…I know it sounds weird, but I smelled…like fish and vinegar.” She said softly. “It was really strong.” She pinched up her nose.
I smiled a little. “Yes, well, when you’re first changed, your senses are the absolute strongest.” I told her. “That could be helpful to me though.” I said, making a mental note to find out what the kitchen was serving for dinner tonight, and what people may have ordered fish. “Are you ok?”
She shook her head and her eyes filled with tears. “Look, I know…I know you don’t love me.” She whimpered. “As much as I wanted you to, and hoped one day you might, I know…”
“Lexton, I’m so sorry.”
“No, I’m not finished.” She said. “But even still, I care about you and I’m afraid for you.”
She nodded. “The men, they were talking so fast, and it’s hard to remember some parts of it, but I really think they are going to harm you. I told Octavia everything they said, but I feel like when they said they didn’t want Rachel to leave yet, they said that because they have something planned. I don’t know if it is against Rachel, or against you, but it seems like it would be you not her. They said they already
messed with her. They could have done this to her, but they didn’t. They didn’t harm her at all.” She said pointedly. “Your little girl,” Lexton whispered. “Why do they want her?”
“I’m not talking about that with you.” I snapped.
“That’s fine, but I hope you at least do know the answer to that.” She shrugged. “They talked about plans. Do you have any idea what plans they were talking about?”
“No.” I admitted. “I just know that they want to get to…her.” I said simply. “They haven’t even let word of her existence slip out. I don’t know what they’re planning.”
“You need to find out, Calvin.” She said quickly, and I noticed how her fingers shook as she spoke. “I’m scared.” She whispered. “I’m scared for you, and for your child, and for all of us here…I can’t explain it, but I feel like something bad is going to happen.”
I could see the fear on her face, it was apparent. “You should leave here, Lexton.” I told her. “You’ve suffered enough for me, and for this place.”
“I think I want to leave.” She whispered, looking down at her sheets instead of at me. “I don’t feel safe here anymore.”
“Neither do I.” I told her.
I left Lexton’s side, feeling even more uneasy than when I had come in. I couldn’t stop repeating her words in my head. The more I repeated them, the more I feared them.
Something bad is going to happen.
How many ‘something bad’ things have already happened? Can we really withstand more?
My phone began to ring in my pocket as I wandered the halls, but when I saw Octavia’s name I ignored the call, however, she called back relentlessly.
ANYTHING FOR RACHEL