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Chapter 4 : Rebirth
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Two hours was all it took. Two hours, and I began to die, tied up alone on my bed in the dark room. Gabriel, my Sire, walked in occasionally, silently observing, but refused to falter as I cried out for help. Never before would I have prayed for the paralysis to return so I wouldn’t feel anything, but it didn’t.
The first to go was my digestive system. My stomach and intestines twisted and groaned, my liver shutting down, as the blood—the venom—oozed down, seeping into every inch of my body; crawling under my skin and veins. My entire upper body burned as if I were drowned in gasoline and swallowed a lit match as I went.
My lungs went next. Lead must have filled them as I couldn’t even bring myself to sit up with the amount of pressure bearing down on my chest. By then, I could no longer scream or beg as my lungs shriveled and withered away. Gabriel still, even as I squirmed against the tight ropes that held me down, remained stoic to it all. He was only waiting. Waiting for me to die.
Lastly was my heart. The intense beats began to lessen until it was dull thud echoing in my mind every other minute or so. A few minutes after, and it stopped altogether, no longer pumping my blood throughout my body.
Another hour. Another hour and my body officially died; my organs unmoving, even the bits of pure magic that coursed throughout my body had stalled and diminished. My eyes remained open though, staring up at the dark ceiling. Dying wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t get a flash of my past. I didn’t see any bright light.... I didn’t even see Vena. No, darkness was all that encompassed me; gloomy, obscure, darkness.
I couldn’t feel. My body had weakened, numbed. I couldn’t feel when Gabriel sat beside me, lifting my head and hovering above a see-through plastic bag that contained a dark, red liquid.
“My blood,” he whispered. “Drink.”
The bottom of the bag was soon pressed over my mouth. Against my will, my mouth tore into it, my teeth seemingly sharper than before, and the dark liquid rapidly poured out. My body jumped into autopilot, inhaling all of the blood in seconds. Gabriel moved the bag away, but kept at my side, running his fingers gently through my hair as the blood settled in. Once the first drop crash-landed in the pit of my stomach, my nerves jumped alive, shocking my organs awake.
“Brace yourself, my dear; this part is tougher to handle,” Gabriel whispered, his once cold voice sounding softer, gentler.
The blood sunk deeper, the electricity intensifying. My eyes slammed shut as tears flowed; I wanted it to end. I wanted to die. My body may have perished, my organs completely shut down for over an hour, but I had yet to die.
The weight of the bed shifted as Gabriel stood. “Tomorrow, love, and the pain will subside. Tomorrow and your rebirth will be complete.”
His remaining words were lost to me as another electric current shot up my spine, arching my body up off the bed. A cry that so desperately clawed at my throat ripped out, the husky sound ricocheting off the walls. Gabriel remained immune to it, and backed away toward the door.
“Tomorrow,” he repeated. “The pain will put you asleep and tomorrow...you will be reborn.”
The door soon closed and I was left to truly endure my anguish alone with only the sinister darkness to keep me company.
I awoke to the sound of the wolves howling about in the woods. The sound of the howls frightened me; it was like they were right in the room yet I was still alone.
Emitting a soft moan, I sat up, wincing as a prickling feeling washed over my body. I could breathe again. An ache struck my chest each time I exhaled, but at least my body was functioning again. The sounds though. The sounds of the wolves, the wind whistling...it unnerved me. The sounds and the smells; the smell of dirt, mud, and of-of an aroma so appetizing it made my mouth water.
“Gabriel,” I whispered, hardly able to hear myself.
Moving more, I noticed the ropes had been removed; great, they had begun to burn and itch.
“You stopped fidgeting a few hours ago. I knew I could release you without you harming yourself.”
That sweet aroma intensified; glancing toward the door, I spotted Gabriel. The soft light from the hall clashed wonderfully with him, giving him an odd, undeserving, angelic look.
Gabriel strode further in, a gentle smile playing on his rose-colored lips; it was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I crept back a bit as he sat beside me on the bed. “Wh-what now?”
He reached forward, playing with the loose strands of my hair. Surprisingly, my body remained as still as ever as he cool fingers graced my face.
“You eat,” he stated. “You eat. You heal. You grow. Come. I’ll hunt with you here, and then we move onto Britain to finish your transformation with the rest of the coven.”
“Why?” I asked, my stomach beginning to growl the closer Gabriel moved toward me.
“The coven has to meet with you,” he explained. “It is kind of a big deal when a Master such as myself sires someone. And someone as powerful as you are bound to become, they will have a lot of use for you. As of now, we need to get some human blood in you.”
“No, why me? Why did you save me?”
“Well,” he began, “you have something I knew I couldn’t let go. You’re a strong one, I know it. I can feel it. I felt it the moment I laid eyes on you over a year before when I began my observance of Christopher. Us Masters only get a few sires every century or so, and I wanted to make mine count.”
“Christopher?” I asked, feeling a pang just mentioning him. “He took my friend, he took my brother.”
“I apologize, dear,” Gabriel said, “but you cannot contact them. His clan had...gone a bit rogue and killed some of our coven. Any other wolf and I wouldn’t care if you communicated, but Christopher is off limits. That includes young Allen and the woman. The decision is final, so do not go out searching for them. Now, come.”
His stance sounded final, so I pressed it no longer; at least, I wouldn’t press it while I remained weak and unable to fully defend myself.
Gabriel’s hand soon moved down into my own, preparing to assist me out of bed. As he pulled me to my feet, I fell into his hard frame, my legs turning into mush.
“It’s alright,” he whispered. “The weakness will vanish once we get out and get more blood.”
“You,” I muttered, the gratifying fragrance almost hypnotizing me. “You-your blood.”
Gabriel chuckled, holding me up. “Oh, love, you will certainly taste more of my blood in due time. As of now, your body is craving human blood and you need it to begin to harness your strength and fully heal those wounds. Come now.”
I leaned into him as we strode out of the bedroom. We stalled near the stairs and he sighed.
“What?” I asked, the growl in my stomach beginning to hurt.
Gabriel gently pulled me away from him. “It’s frigid out there; you need to wash and get a fresh pair of clothes on before we go out. I don’t want you getting sick.”
“You’re a fledgling. Your immune system is still working with your blood and the vampire blood; you cannot risk getting injured or attracting any illnesses.”
“No more talk,” he snapped. His voice was hushed, tender, but the tone completely stiff. I could only stare into his gleaming, icy eyes, my body frozen and afraid to move or speak any further. “You do what I say; you always obey your Sire, understood?”
“Yes,” I said with a shaky nod.
“Good.” He cocked his head to the side, playing a bit with my hair. “You need a trim, love, it’s far too long to begin hunting.”
“Yours--?” I tried to ask, but cut myself off.
He smiled. “I manage; a newborn cannot show the slightest bit of weakness at the beginning of the transformation. Now, come and let’s get you situated.”
My first hunt went by with drastic results. I will admit the shorter hair did wonders; it didn’t get in the way nearly as much as it could have. However the hunt was still draining. The unsuspecting victim Gabriel had acquired nearly got away as I was still growing use to my raging senses; the sounds of dogs barking two towns over, the smell of rotting garbage, all of it jumbled together, distracting me. Gabriel had to step in to attain the victim for me; he didn’t argue, he didn’t fret. He just handed the man over, allowing me to feed until the man was almost dead.
My second hunt was much better. It occurred the night after, and I managed to obtain the victim after only ten minutes of running. The blood was...satisfying. It eased the ache in my stomach and somehow melted into everything, going into my veins and rushing to my heart. It pounded faster, harder, heightening my senses even more. Still, I pinned for another taste of the fluid that rushed through Gabriel’s veins.
By three weeks, I was ready to meet the coven. Gabriel made me a fake passport to get through security and we took a private jet over. Seeing the coven, the Elders, face-to-face almost made my heart stop again. They were tall, intimidating, and hardly emotional. I was yet to be given the title of full-member as I was only a fledgling. However, Gabriel insisted he would see what I could do for them in order to gain respect. Until then, I would be allowed out during the night to test my amount of control around a crowd with a guide: Raoul Sanguini. The man was older, but wasn’t nearly as liked and respected as the others for being, as they called it, a “wizard pet.” Of all the rules Gabriel explained to me, the main one was dealing with wizards. Contacting Christopher’s clan was highly forbidden as well, but keeping close contacts with the wizards was just as frowned upon. The Ministry treated vampires like animals, so contact with any wizards wasn’t liked. Doing magic itself, mainly for the younger vampires, could result in punishment. Sanguini was lucky to remain around the coven as long as he was useful when it came to watching fledglings like me.
During my first night out in crowd, Sanguini stayed dutifully glued to my side as my senses ran wild. I could hear, almost taste, the heart of each person passing by. Even though it was late, well after three in the morning, quite a few people remained out. Sanguini noted my troubles. At first, I believed he would drag me back to the Elders, have me undergo some sort of punishment for not fulfilling my task. Instead, he hauled me off to a small, cramped alley and told me to wait. In seconds, he returned dragging along some stumbling man.
“Here,” he explained, shoving him at me. “You could use a little snack.”
Without wasting any time, I tilted his neck to the side, jamming my teeth down into his throat while covering his mouth with my free hand. He squirmed, cried out, but I dug deeper, lapping up the thin, salty, alcohol-fueled blood that rushed out as that large vein I aimed for ruptured. The taste wasn’t as ripe as others Gabriel gave me, but it was enough to settle the thumping in my stomach.
“Enough, Morana,” Sanguini said. His hand landed on my shoulder and he forced me away. “I said enough, child.”
I stepped back as the man fell to the ground in the dirty alley, bleeding to death and moaning as he could hardly speak.
Sanguini chuckled. “You’re like a little lion cub; you just don’t know when to quit. You had best learn some control soon.”
“What’s the point?” I asked, a bit breathless. “Gabriel’s going to keep me locked up most of the time.”
“That wolf hasn’t gone back to that cabin of yours in America.”
I straightened up a bit. “What?”
“Yes, Gabriel’s been checking. He figures, with a little more control, you can go back home and live there without constant supervision. A fledgling with a Master Sire gets more freedom than the usual ones. You’re lucky.”
I stared down at the pool of blood falling out of the drunken man; going back to that place didn’t have me jumping for joy, but it was the only good option I’ve been faced with since traveling with Gabriel.
“It’ll be better than staying here,” I said.
Sanguini nodded. “Agreed. Come on now, I need to quench a thirst that doesn’t deal with blood.”
He pulled a folded, dark handkerchief from his pocket, wiping my mouth off with it.
“Thank you,” I muttered.
He nodded, taking hold of my arm. He began to walk, but stalled, glancing back at the groaning man.
“He’s going slowly,” Sanguini explained. “Someone could find him and he could talk. End it now.”
He pushed me forward, almost causing me to trip up over him. The man’s feeble hand reached for my boot, attempting to plead.
“Morana,” Sanguini warned, glancing around in case anyone came by.
I had never ended any of my hunts before; Gabriel would step in for that. But I had to do it. Eventually, I knew I would have to do it.
Bending down, I cradled the man’s head in both hands and twisted as hard as I could. A sickening crack filled the air for a second, and the man’s body slumped. His agonizingly slow heartbeat was no more. I swallowed a thick lump in my throat as I stood straight, stuffing my shaking hands deep into my pants pockets.
“Good work,” Sanguini said, wrapping his arm around my shoulders. “Let’s go.”
With his hold tight, he led me away. I glanced back as we walked, feeling the knots in my stomach loosen up. The thought of ever actually murdering someone never really crossed my mind until Gabriel entered my life, but...but it wasn’t as difficult as I had perceived. Maybe it was the blood settling or the fact that Gabriel had turned me into a hunter. Either way, I wasn’t as sick as I thought I would be.
“First kill,” Sanguini whispered as we walked. “Upset?”
“No,” I responded, equally as quiet, “full.”
A laugh escaped him. “Oh, you are certainly Gabriel’s. I see the vampire taking you over sooner than with the other fledglings. Good. You’ll need those animalistic skills because at the end of the day, we’re all animals, my dear. Just ones held in captivity waiting to break out into the wild.”
His ending words sunk in, stirring hints of apprehension inside me, as he led me to a tiny pub in some seedy little place a bit off of London. It was almost five in the morning by then, far too late for it to be opened, but a group of men remained in the place and the bartender only slid a pre-made drink toward Sanguini as he sat on a stool at the bar.
“Stronger one for my friend,” he instructed.
“I don’t drink,” I told him, shivering slightly as the blood smell from the few others in the room filled me up.
“It’ll help with everything,” Sanguini explained.
The bartender sat a foul-smelling drink in front of me, but I downed it. The smell of blood still remained, but wasn’t anywhere near as strong. I took three more, only smelling Sanguini and something that resembled a wet dog. By the time I worked on my fourth, Sanguini had left me alone to go to the restroom. Checking my watch, I saw that it was getting close to sunrise. Gabriel would go insane if I wasn’t back at the house.
Stumbling off the stool, I checked around the small room for Sanguini. All that remained was the group of men, three of which had passed out on the table. The bartender was gone, possibly preparing to finally close up. Sighing, I made my way out of the pub. Sunlight peeked out of the gray clouds from above, but not enough to do any damage. Gabriel had promised that my skin would be able to withstand small bouts of direct sunlight the longer I absorbed his blood as Masters and Elders could walk almost freely for long periods of time. The day that would come would be welcoming; not feeling the warm sun against my face was something I didn’t want to experience for long.
“A little late for you to be out, kid.”
I spun around, almost colliding with one of the other men in the pub. He smiled down at me, pushing away a strand of his perfectly combed, light brown hair.
“Duncan,” he said, holding out his hand.
I gently shook it, feeling the smell of dog growing. “Morana. What do you want?”
“Just to see why a vampire is out so late.” My eyes widened but he waved me off. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell.”
“How do you know?” I asked, taking a step back from him.
“I’m a wolf,” he explained, “that’s what you’re smelling.”
“Christopher,” I quickly said, “are you a part of his clan?”
He sighed, shaking his head. “I’m more of a mutual party. I know what he did to anger the coven that rests here. I figure you’re a part of them?”
“Oh, then I guess we shouldn’t speak much.”
“Then why did you follow me out here?”
A serious expression came to his face, and he moved closer. “You smell like him, Allen I mean. I was just a bit curious--,”
The hint of uneasiness I felt left at once. “Allen? He’s my brother.”
“Oh, no wonder.”
“How do you know him?”
“This mutt Fenrir brought him further into the clan once Christopher up and vanished with a few birds.”
“A few birds?” I questioned. “Girls, you mean? Was one of them a little young, around my age?”
“Yeah, only one young bird that looked barely out of school; Jordan or something,” he answered. Julie. This “Jordan” had to be Julie. At least she was still alive. “Anyway, Christopher is long gone, but Fenrir figured Allen would be a good addition to the clan. He’s been fishing for more young kids on his side since he’s pretty heavily involved with the Dark Lord and those Death Eaters or whatever they call themselves.”
“I thought the wizards didn’t like you wolves.”
“They don’t, but apparently when the Dark Lord was up and running, he promised a few a place with him. Fenrir figures the younger kids he have, the bigger and faster army he can build for whenever the Dark Lord decides to show up again. He knows Allen is a wizard, so he knows he can use him.”
“Allen doesn’t like the Dark Arts,” I said, knowing full well about what the Dark Lord was capable of. “He hated that our school taught it so much.”
“Fenrir is quite persuasive,” Duncan said. “He can make a lot of people do what he wants.”
“Will you watch him?” I abruptly asked. “I mean, are you a wizard?”
“No,” he said. “The only reason Fenrir keeps me and my brother Darren around is because we’re full wolves; apparently, we can help him out a bit more by getting other wolves to go along with his mutts.”
“Oh. Can you still…?”
Duncan smiled, digging around in the pockets of his pants. He pulled out a small white card, handing it over.
“This is the number to my workplace,” he said. “Give it a ring and I’ll get back to you. Don’t let that Sire of yours find out, okay?”
“Okay,” I said, staring up at him. “It doesn’t take much to get your help, does it?”
He shook his head. “Well, not for the people I like.”
“You barely know me.”
“But you’re not like some of the parasites I’ve met, no offense.”
“Well, you’re different. I can...see it.”
He stared hard into me as if trying to see through me; that uncomfortable feeling crawled up into me again, but it was easier to handle. It was the first time in what seemed like decades where I felt I could truly trust someone.
“Don’t worry about that animal inside,” Duncan said gently. “It’s possible to control it; you just have to find the will to do it.”
“Yeah, well, thanks,” I said, stuffing his card in my pocket.
In seconds, Sanguini burst out of the door, red in the face.
“Morana,” he exclaimed. “I was worried. Come on, let’s go.”
He walked off, not sparing Duncan a glance, taking me with him.
“Don’t tell Gabriel you know them,” Sanguini said from ahead, “or it’s both of our heads.”
“I won’t,” I whispered, fiddling around with the card in my pocket.
I stole a last look back, seeing Duncan keeping his sights on me the entire time. He gave me a small nod, and warmth began to take over the cold spot in my chest. If I couldn’t watch Allen myself, then at least someone trustworthy could help me. For Julie, I just had to resort to blind faith that Christopher will keep her alive for years to come.
With a small wave at the handsome wolf, I allowed Sanguini to pull me away, all the while hoping against everything that Allen wasn’t so gullible to align himself with the crazies that still believed the Dark Lord was returning.
A/N: Quote: Disturbed (The Animal)
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