Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cold Epiphanies by Kayden McLeod

The darkness of this night was eternal, always everlasting on Halloween. The veil between the worlds is lowered, and ghosts have free rein in our world to create chaos and mischief where they pleased.
It was a time when all kinds of things could happen.
But our concern wasn’t what caused havoc from the other world, but our own. What already lived here, year-round.
A small group of humans had been having a party, never knowing they’d invited a Rogue vampire in, one who’d been on the run from us. He was hungry from the chase, only seeing dinner, and laid perimeter spells at every door and window, locking them inside with no chance of escape.
He’d broken almost every conciliate law when he revealed himself to them for what he was. Chaos had burst forth, their flight or fight reflex kicking in, with no chance of survival.
By the time we’d arrived, four out of seven humans were already dead. It wasn’t in our power to bring them back, not like we could with our own. If we’d been minutes later- well you get the drift.
Because of that fact alone, we rushed in headstrong in an attempt to save what little we could.
Holly had broken the spells without preamble, instantly alerting the criminal to our arrival, and giving him time to escape through the backdoor.
And the chase was on.
For whatever insane reasons that were in my head at the time, I’d gone along on my first real hunting trip, even though my mate had begged me not to.
I could handle it. Couldn’t I?
But those were my thoughts then, and certainly not now.
Thankfully the pounding rain had finally bled into a bare trickle of frigid liquid, spilling into the perfidious water that had been calm only moments before.
“Marcus!” I shrieked loudly.
“I’m trying, Kelly.” Marcus stressed, again. His unusual turquoise eyes were lit with fierce perseverance.
He pulled uselessly at the rope, but it was unresponsive to both of us.
I’ll never ask to go on a hunt again. What the hell had I been thinking?
I had thought I could do this, tending to forget that while Sara and I were practically sisters, we were nothing alike. Our pasts were on two separate sides of the scale, and there was a very good reason why she could track Rogues so proficiently, and deal with the repercussions of such a job.
Sara would’ve found a way out of this predicament. Me? I was terrified, near tears, which tore Marcus up in ways I never would’ve willingly done otherwise.
The others had gone after the Rogue, and Marcus had taken me towards the river in an attempt to cut him off. He’d bid me stay while he materialized across to the other side.
Being alone, with the heavy rain and concealing night had creeped me out. Of course with me being me, I’d decided to create a dingy to cross the river, not feeling safe at all. At any moment the Rogue could’ve showed right behind me-I wouldn’t have stood a chance.
I’d manifested a tiny rubber craft, and Marcus hadn’t been paying enough attention to stop me.
At least until I screamed.
At some point during the hunt, the outlaw had bewitched the rain-swollen river, making it boil in a very unstable expanse of H20. The spell was far past my abilities to unravel, and considering it wasn’t triggered until I was about halfway, it was already too late.
Now, my previously nice, safe boat tossed and turned violently, twenty feet from shore, and my only salvation.
He’d tossed me a manifested rope, but at the water’s first touch, it began to fray like it was bathed in acid. The rope threatened to give at any moment, which would send me on a horrifying journey with no way to save myself.
I should’ve listened to Marcus when he’d begged me to stay home tonight, but like he normally did when I was insistent; he’d caved, thinking it would be a manageable Rogue to hunt.
Wrong.
“Well, try harder!” I screamed when a geyser-like wave exploded to my right, upsetting the frail rubber craft, until I was almost sideways.
With every passing moment, the water around me frothed and swelled more. The spell was working towards a peak, and we both knew I had to be out of the water before it was reached.
“I thought you said this was a nice river? You told me this was safe.” I requisitioned in a small voice, my normally steel-strong trust in Marcus waning under the pressure.
In my head, I knew this was my fault. But aloud? It was all on Marcus. I never claimed to have rationale when in such situations.
“You wanted adventure, love. I live only to serve you, and give you what you ask,” he said between clenched teeth.
The rope was wrapped around his thick forearms that bulged when he tried to yank it towards him with no avail. His frustration and panic just scared me more.
Which meant; going down river was entirely too possible, and that wasn’t an option I cared to consider right now.
“Oh, you’re in so much trouble when we get home, if you even get me to land first!” I yelled, holding on for dear life. “Can vampires drown?”
“No, love. I’ve told you that.” He reminded me.
“Then why are you freaking out?” I demanded.
Marcus ignored me, beginning to frantically whisper under his breath in some last ditch effort. He knew so much more about spell work than I did.
We knew from the briefing, the vampire was older and more powerful everyone but Holly and Ryder, who were in charge of this mission, and weren’t anywhere near enough to help us.
But the possibility of victory was ever-present, though very unlikely.
Our only hope was for him to re-set the trigger before the rope’s last leg was up, and the lone prevention of my own demise would be gone. Totally breaking the spell wasn’t an option for either of us.
“I’m getting close cher. Stay calm, please.” Marcus assured in a thickly sweetened voice I would cherish in almost any other situation.
In other words; stay calm, because you’re driving me to insanity.
He switched to yet another language, the words slow and deliberate as he sought to find the key.
Please don’t let me die for this stupidity. If my life has to end, couldn’t it be for a good reason?
While Marcus worked, the tension on the rope solidified, and the dingy began to move towards land. Success!
And then another geyser exploded just in front of me.
My dingy tipped so unexpectedly, I hadn’t retained a good enough grip. My lungs filled with the icy-coldness of the river, the shock paralysing me.
Water whooshed around me, the swift unforgiving movements of the treacherous currents stealing my energy while I was tossed helplessly left and right.
After a long dire moment of not knowing how to get to the surface, a body jumped into the water with me. Strong, comforting arms closed around me.
And my anger immediately flared.
What’d you jump in for? Now we can’t get out of the water. You will…
Die? Love, you know if you go on to the next life, there’s no choice but to go with you. He chastised softly, never regretting any of the harsh decisions he’d made to get us to this time and place. Plus, give me a little credit. I found the trigger to the spell on the rope. Just let me think about the water spell for a moment.
Even with the tense wait, he was with me in this horrible mess. And true to his word, and after several more tries, the rapids calmed minutely. I had no idea what had worked in the end, but honestly I didn’t care.
We broke the surface, and he began to drag me to shore. Even as a vampire, my body was sore from fighting the strong current.
If I had the energy, I would’ve kissed the beautiful, welcome shore. As it was, we collapsed on the grassy shore.
I waited for Marcus to yell at me for not listening, at least some reprimand, but it never came. No matter how badly I screwed up, he never did.
Staring up at the overcast sky, the raindrops ironically began to fall from above once more. Lightening flashed in the distance, illuminating the tips of the trees on all sides.
The river eventually settled, the spell moving into a stationary status, until Holly had time to remove it completely.
“Never again.” Marcus murmured. His white-blond hair was a soaked mess when he turned his enchanting timeless face to meet mine. “You will not hunt anymore, love. There’ll won’t any talking me into it next time.”
“Yea, I agree.”
I might argue my case more often than not, but now there was more than enough proof to know I didn’t belong on these particular adventures. All of my brothers, my Leaders had bade me to stay away from this particular duty for the Council, and none of it had affected me.
But this had, in a way none of them could’ve ever dreamed. Reality really was a bitch.
“It isn’t often you give in this easily.” Marcus mused, shaking his head in exasperation. “Maybe I should allow you to be scared more often.”
Holly filled our minds, and I ground my teeth at his amused laughter when he read the situation. He had one weird sense of humour.
The Rogue is now in the Council’s possession. Everyone can come back in. Holly instructed. I knew you wouldn’t care for this, little sister. You’re as stubborn as Sara, but you don’t have her strength. And Marcus is right, this was a first, and a last for you.
Yea, yea. I huffed indignantly. It won’t happen again. I get it.
The lesson was thoroughly learned.

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful, Kayden!Enjoyed reading it very much and they are all great reads!

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  2. Maggie, thank you!! And yes, they were all excellent!

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  3. Great, Kayden,Of course I already knew you're a terrific author....*Hugs*...Tabs

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  4. Tabs..Hugz!!! Thank you for thinking so!

    Kayden

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  5. Awesome, I expected no less :)

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