by Misty Singer
Excerpt #2 - first draft (unedited)
|He was back.
He was back, and my entire world had been effectively turned upside down.
I had just gotten over him. Okay, maybe that was a bit of a stretch. I hadn’t gotten over him, but I had finally found peace, found my center once again. Now, everything was cattywampus again.
I trudged through the dark forest noisily, hoping to make my presence known. Again, I found all the expected sounds I was so accustomed to, soothing in their normalcy. I hadn’t been back in these woods since that night Will had saved me from the very thing I now hunted. I knew now that he had saved me from a Vampire, I just didn’t know enough about them back then to realize it.
Who am I kidding, I didn’t know anything about them back then. I didn’t even know they existed outside of books and T.V. series.
I’m not even sure why I chose to come back out to this place. I hadn’t been really thinking as I drove… somehow, I just ended up here. Will wouldn't be happy about that.
That last thought gave me pause. I needed to remember that what did and did not make Will happy was not my problem anymore.
I was hoping to feel a familiar heat to rise up the back of my neck. I needed something to appear to take my mind off of him, and I knew these woods had, at least at one time, harbored a Vamp or two.
I snickered silently to myself - thinking how ludicrous that thought was. I was seeking out dangerous beings in the hope of not thinking about another dangerous being.
And he was dangerous.
He was much more dangerous to me than some blood-sucking Vamp was. At least with them I could defend myself. I knew what their intentions were.
With Will, I really couldn’t trust myself. And I certainly didn’t trust him.
And then I felt it.
It started at the little place, right between the shoulder blades, below the base of my neck. Just a fuzzy warmth at first, buzzing lightly. With each passing moment, the heat intensified, increasing in fervor until it was radiating out across my shoulders and crawling up my neck to the base of my skull.
He was close now.
Drawing back my hood and shrugging the woolen fabric off my shoulders, I hung my black, hooded cloak up on a nearby branch. It was warm and hid me well, but it would get in my way while fighting.
Unclasping my bracelet, I let out a heavy sigh, and dropped it inside the pocket of my cloak. I knew it was dangerous, but it wouldn’t be off of my wrist for very long and it would draw him to me quicker.
It wouldn’t be long now.
I pulled my stake out of the thigh holster that was secured to my tight-fitting, dark brown, leather bodysuit. The suit fit my body like a glove and didn’t hinder my range of motion. It also had a built-in back holster, full of little openings that securely held all my throwing knives, for easy access when in battle. The knives didn’t stop the vamps, it only stunned them a little, just enough to slow them down for battle, but the suit made me feel powerful, like the Dark Widow or something. Yeah, okay… I’ll admit it - I’m kind of a dork, but I’m a knife-wielding, stake-driving, vampire-slaying dork.
I waited for him to get closer, admiring the feel of the cool, smooth silver stake in my hand as I closed my eyes to concentrate on which direction he was advancing on me from. I listened intently for the nearly silent footfalls, and the telltale hiss that would shriek from his lips before he tried to pounce on me.
I didn’t have long to wait.
The woods suddenly grew quiet. No, not quiet. Silent. No woodland sounds, no chirping critters, not even a buzz of a bug flying by.
I whorled around landing a spinning side kick straight to his chest, knocking him back a few feet. He wasn’t expecting for me to be ready for him.
But, my surprise attack didn’t stun him for long. With a loud hiss, he leapt for me, teeth bared and clawed fingers stretched out before him. I ducked, rolling onto my back. When he advanced on me, I used my steel-toed boots to kick at him. One kick to the stomach. The next kick hit his chest. Then one to the face, snapping his neck back and stunning him again, long enough to get back up on my feet. Again, he advanced on me, swiping his talons at my neck. I ducked again, dropping down low to the ground, sweeping his legs out from under him with a low spinning heal kick.
He was back up in a second, swiping at me. This time he made contact, slicing a small scratch by my jaw.
I decided I had played with him enough. His eyes squinted into tiny slits and his head started to turn away from me, almost like he had heard something in the woods beyond us.
I took that as my opening and went for the kill shot. An upward angled thrust with my stake, through the middle of his chest. Quick, precise, complete.
The vamp realized what I had in my hand only a second before it was too late. His coal-black eyes widened, as his mouth opened in a silent shriek.
A haunting growl reverberated in the darkness behind me.
Will emerged from the blackness, shoving me behind him as he went for my attacker. “What the hell do you think you—” Will’s voice sounded loud and harsh in the darkness. But, as he reached for my vampire attacker, all Will’s hands caught was inky-black smoke, as the vampire slowly blew away with the night wind.
He stared at the wispy black smoke of the slain vampire for several heartbeats before looking back to me, confusion etched in every part of his face. He looked back again, unable to piece it together at first. When he looked back at me, his eyes finally came to rest on the silver cylinder clutched in my right hand.
“You’re a…” he stopped, swallowing hard. “You’re a slayer?”
My mouth dropped open. “How do you—”
“Answer me.” His voice dropped an octave, sending a chill across my skin.
“Do not order me around.” My voice was steel. He had absolutely no right to waltz back into my life and start talking to me like that.
He shook his head in disbelief. “This is not happening.” His tone was bewildered. “This is just not happening.”
I shook the black soot from the vamp’s blood off of my stake before sliding it back in to my thigh holster. “You keep telling yourself that. Maybe it will make it so.”
“Mia, be serious.”
I shrugged. “I am being serious, Will. This is who I am now.”
“No. I don’t want this life for you. I want you safe. I want you away from danger, not hunting it down by the light of the full moon. I don't want to worry about you not making it home at night, or not living long enough to live the life you deserve to live. I don’t—”
“Stop.” I said, swiping my hand in front of me, cutting him off. “You left. You.”
“I know, but—”
“No.” I cut him off again. “You didn’t just leave, Will. You left me. Alone.” I saw guilt wash across his perfect face and it emboldened me. “You left me broken, confused… shattered. I was barely a shadow of who I once was. Because of you.”
He opened his mouth to speak, but I wouldn’t let him. “And then I found out what I really am. Bellator. It’s in my gypsy blood, passed down for generations. It isn’t just a daydream, or a desire. It isn’t a destiny with no purpose. It’s real.”
He frowned. “But, Mia—”
“And I began to heal. I have a real destiny. A real purpose.” I saw him piecing together what I wasn’t saying. This was my destiny, not him.
“You left, Will. And I learned something very important.” I took a deep breath. “I don’t need you.”
Those words cut deep, in my heart and in his. But, it was true, wasn’t it?
“Sara said my destiny would be a difficult path. Don’t you see, I’m fulfilling it now.”
He smiled, with no real warmth behind it. “Sara also said you and I would be on that path together. Or did you conveniently forget that part of your prophesy?” He was getting angry now, lashing out.
“Well, you are always saying that the future can change, right. Each choice takes you on a different path. Well, I’m exercising my free will. I’ve changed my path, and I think that path takes us in different directions now.”
“Lies.” He bit out, his voice heavy with emotion. “You don’t believe that any more than I do.”
I lifted my head in defiance. “And, please tell Jacob not to bother looking for serum anymore. I’m no longer interested.”
His eyes suddenly looked hollow. Devoid. Giving up on the serum meant I was giving up on us, and he knew that. “Mia…” He shook his head in disbelief.
“You never wanted that, anyway.” Never really wanted me.
He couldn’t deny it. For him, the serum meant a lifetime with me in tow. It meant forever with a girl he had only been pretending with.
I shook my head sadly. “I don’t belong in your world, Will.”
“No, Mia, that’s not—”
“And you don't belong in mine. Not anymore.”
In the moment that followed, that excruciating moment of silence, I think I heard his heart actually break inside his chest. I know I felt it.
Right along with my own.