The moon shone brightly on the surface of the lake, seeming to make the whole place glow. The air was warm, and there was a slight breeze wafting in from among the various trees of the forest. He loved nights like this... too bad he's gone...
I can just remember the first time I saw this place; the first time I was allowed outside the cabin. I vaguely remember it was a chilly morning, probably around six. There were a few birds chirping, and the sun rising over the glass-like surface of the water was breathtaking.
Even though it was fairly cold outside, I felt warm by his side, which was kind of strange given the circumstances. He radiated this warmth; an unnatural warmth, but then again, he was an unnatural guy.
He had the bluest eyes. They were unlike any shade of blue I'd ever seen: a mix of the ices of the Arctic Ocean and the deepest depths of the Pacific. They always shimmered with emotion, whether it be compassion or concern; perhaps even hate. Eyes that were always unnaturally bright, with something lurking in the dark specks of indigo. He was always hiding something.
If it weren't for that small nagging voice in the back of my head reminding me of what he really was, I might have never noticed how much he truly kept from me. I guess it doesn't matter how much you try to be human when you just aren't. When you are the child of darkness and evil, nothing but a spawn of the night and its shadows, I suppose it can be hard to hold on to humanity. He was so sweet. It was hard to imagine he was anything but the cuddly, punk rock wannabe he made himself out to be.
"Rose? Please, let me take you home. It's getting really late, and you know that this is when the damned likes to play," I turn my gaze from the placid waves to the man- if I could even call him that- who stood a few feet away.
He was quite the good-looking fellow. The moonlight shone off his shaggy mop of dirty blond hair and made his skin glow with a dull shimmer. His angelic hazel eyes full of sorrow. Of course I was the one to cause this. I sighed and reluctantly nodded. His slightly tense shoulders relaxed with the knowledge that I wasn't going to fight him. I'm too tired. I'm mentally drained. All of this has been too much.
Getting up from my spot on the old dock, I slowly walk in the direction of the gentle creature before me. Just as I am about to enter his arm's reach, I turn and take one more look at the calm waves of the dark cerulean lake. "C'mon," he spoke softly, pulling me into an embrace and causing my body to tingle all over. I could no longer see the lake.
I could no longer see anything.
"You really shouldn't be here. Do you have any idea what happens to pretty little girls like you when they're alone at night?" The wind whipped my hair around and caused the clouds to move quickly across the midnight sky. It was so dark when they covered the crescent moon that the only thing I could see was the almost cat-like glow of the stranger's eyes before me.
"I'm not a little girl; I can handle myself. Please, get out of my way," I demanded, adjusting the strap of my backpack on my shoulder. The clouds moved enough to let light shine on the dark haired man. His brown eyes pleaded with me. The man took a step forward; his mouth open as if to let the waterfall of emotions portrayed in his eyes seep into my ears. However, before he could say anything, his eyes darted to the left. His body tensed up, and I could see a vein pulse in his neck. It was almost as if he was straining to hear something. I don't know what there is to hear besides the rustling of the trees and our breathing.
"Fine. Don't say I didn't warn you," he looked into my hazel orbs for a moment before returning his gaze towards the thick mass of vegetation his attention was previously fixed on.
"What are you looking a-" Where did he go? He was right here! There is no way he could have disappeared so quickly without making any noise. I looked away for a second! Maybe I'm just going crazy...
"Hey, guys! Look what we have here..." I turned toward the direction the voices arose from. I turned to the left.
"My, my. Isn't it a little dark out to be playing in the woods? The nearest town is 20 miles that way," a short, dark-haired man points to the East, "I'd recommend going there." That town is Fairfield. That town is where my family lives. That town is the reason I'm here in the first place. I'm never going back to that town.
"I'm not going anywhere," I stated firmly, my body still positioned along the tall, dead pine tree the encounter with the previous stranger- or illusion; I have no idea if he was real or not- backed me up against.
"It wasn't a suggestion," he said, a glimmer of mischief twinkling in his eyes. Looking around, I am surrounded by a party of six. Four males; two females. They look rather athletic. There is no way I could take them all out using force. I guess I'll have to try to talk my way out.
"Really? It sounded quite like a suggestion to me," I say, feigning innocence. One of the females snickered. That earned her a sharp glare from the short man.
"What? She has a point, you know. It probably would have sounded better if you would have said something like 'suit yourself,'" the woman with the long black hair and piercing blue eyes smirked.
"Shut up, Joan!" the short man groaned.
"Just because you don't have the charm your brother, Alpha, has, doesn't mean you have an excuse to talk to me that way, Ian," Joan said sternly.
"Nor does it give you the right to talk to me that way, Joan," Ian retaliated.
"Ian, give it a rest. We have better things to do than stand around all night listening to you attempting to defend your poor little ego," the other woman said, annoyed. She flipped her bright red hair over her shoulder and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Nina," Ian warned.
"C'mon, man. Let's just take her out and get going. Alpha wants us back with a report at 2," a taller, blond said.
"Hold on. Hey, girly, what's your name?" Ian asked me.
"Rose Hartford," I reply automatically, soon mentally backhanding myself for such a stupid action. You never tell the people that have you pinned against a tree your real name, stupid!
"Rose Hartford, huh? Rose, I'll give you one more chance to leave our territory. I'd suggest you take it," he threatened.
" Your territory? What makes these woods yours?" I ask.
"If I told you, then I'd have to kill you," he said, making Joan giggle and mumble something about that being cliché.
"Aren't you just going to kill me anyway? You might as well tell me," I press on.
He sighed, "You're really not leaving, then?" I shook my head defiantly. "Fine. You are trespassing in the territory belonging to the Ethewulf pack. How did you not know this, faerie?"
"Fae-what? Are you guys devil worshipers?" I asked, suddenly a lot more confused and frightened by the group before me.
"Whatever do you mean, little Rose?" Ian asked, amused. "I knew faeries didn't like werewolves much, but this has escalated to another level." My eyes widened.
"You think I'm a faerie? What drugs are you taking?" There is seriously something wrong with these guys. "Faeries don't exist, and neither do werewolves." I glanced around the group and saw Nina whisper to the blond guy from earlier.
"Listen, Rose, I don't know why you are pretending to be oblivious to the obvious, but I certainly don't have to spell everything out for you." Once again, the clouds moved to let the moonlight shine over us all. The group started to disassemble, and I started to relax a bit. Ian, however, didn't move. He just looked at me and gave me the most wicked smile. "It was nice meeting you, Miss Hartford." His eyes began to glow and suddenly his entire form began to expand and contract unnaturally. You could hear the cracking of bones and cartilage as the unidentifiable mass of skin and hair twisted this way and that. I closed my eyes and let out an earsplitting scream I didn't know I was capable of.
A few seconds passed, even though it felt like hours. Then the growling began. Opening my eyes, I saw the small form of a black wolf. It stopped growling, only to give me what seemed like a smile, showing off it's set of sharp canines. What is going on? Then it leaped; it's teeth snapping at my neck. I saw it before I felt it. The blood. It dripped down my front and stained my light blue top. It was hot and sticky; the pain was almost unbearable. I slid down the tree. My vision began to fade, and my lungs were screaming at me. 'Breathe!' they cried. 'Breathe, breathe, breathe!'
My vision cleared just enough for me to make out the black wolf. It bowed and gave me another smile; stained in red. Then I lost it completely. A man laughed, and I heard some twigs snapping as he left me to choke on my own blood. He left me to die.
No! That is not how it happened! I jolted up in my bed. Ian never got to my neck that night. Calum knocked him out of the way. He did end up scratching my leg, but the boys got me disinfected before anything could happen to me. Why did that dream feel so real, though? I only have dreams that vivid when it pertains to the present or future; nothing like that about the past. That was when I noticed my surroundings.
How did I end up here? Ashton took me to my apartment last night, not to the cabin. In fact, he took me away from the cabin. So, why am I in the confides of my old room? I got up and entered the hall. I'm going downstairs. I need answers.
It surprised me to see Calum in the kitchen. He was sitting on a bar stool stirring whatever hot beverage it happened to be; knowing him, it was probably some type of tea. "Cal?" He jumped at the sound of his nickname, gracefully springing up off of the bar stool and into a defensive position. It wouldn't have mattered how graceful he moved, he still would have ended up knocking over the stool and spilling his tea all over the counter. "The napkins are soaked," I laughed. The little rack holding the napkins on the counter is pretty low. His eyes flashed brightly, so quick you'd almost miss it, if you weren't trained to look for such things.
"Who are you? Why are you here? How do you know my name? How did you find us?" Calum asked, not moving from his defensive position.
"Are you messing with me? Calum, it's me: Rose. I have no idea why I'm here. I woke up in my old room," he looked at me strangely. "I lived here for almost two years." He shook his head.
"Who sent you?" I was unable to answer, as I was distracted by the creaking of a door and the sound of someone walking down the stairs. We both turned towards the doorway, waiting. A minute later, a figure finally appeared in the doorway. It can't be. He rubbed his eyes, and when he removed his hands, the irises were blood red. He flinched at the sunlight streaming in through the window, and soon enough, his eyes returned to their natural iridescent blue. His messy blond bed-head reflected the light wonderfully. Of course, he was only wearing boxers, the only thing he sleeps in. The only thing he used to sleep in.
"Luke?" He freezes and stares at me.
"I'm what?" he asked. I just gape at him. He turned to Calum.
"How'd she get in here?" Luke's eyes dart from Calum to me.
"I don't kno-" he starts, but stops as soon as his acute sense of hearing picks up the words I whisper under my breath:
"You need to get your head checked. Obviously, I am far from dead... or as far from dead as I could be."
"Luke, you don't get it," I say, "I watched you die."
"Calum, take this girl to the spare bedroom. Lock her up. We'll decide what to do with her after breakfast." Calum nodded and grabbed me by my arms, walking me out of the room and up the stairs.
"You're one creepy faerie," he said, shoving me into my old room and locking it from the outside. I walked over to my bed and sat down, resting my head in my hands. How is Luke alive? Why don't they remember me? What is going on?
"Ashton?" I call. I wait a few minutes, and when there is no reply, I repeat my earlier actions. "Ashton?" I try again.
"Yes?" I merely blink and there he is before me.
"Ashton, something is horribly wrong."
"I've noticed. Why are you here? Why couldn't I contact you earlier?" I shook my head.
"I don't know. I just woke up here. What do you mean, you couldn't contact me? Isn't that supposed to be impossible? You're my guardian angel, after all!"
"Guardian angels are always supposed to be able to communicate with their Selected. I have no idea what had caused our communications to go awry," he starts pacing, obviously deep in thought.
"Ashton, Luke's here," he stopped abruptly and turned toward me.
"Hemmings? But he's dead!"
"And walking around downstairs like nothing had ever happened. Both him and Calum are down there, and neither of them seem to remember me," I gazed around the room. It looks different than it did when I last saw it. The wood flooring is shinier and the maroon curtains aren't as sun bleached. Everything appears to have been replaced. I got up and continued the examination of my surroundings while Ashton stood by, watching.
"How could they not remember you? You guys were so close." That's odd, this painting was here when I first arrived here. I ran my hand along the thick, elaborate frame of the picture before me. I found the landscape ugly, and the boys agreed that I could get rid of it, seeing as it held no sentimental value to them. So, why is it here? I threw this away. There is no way this painting could possibly be here. I grabbed the sides of the large illustration and lifted it off of the nail that was holding it securely in place. Bringing it over to the bed, I carefully lay it face down on the creaky mattress. I took a look at the back of the picture, quickly noticing that the back of the frame has been disturbed. After minimum fumbling, I finally get the back board off. There's a note...
"Rose, what is that?" Ashton walks over to get a better view of the crisp, white paper in my hands. The words sprawled across the page was written in an elegant cursive.
"It's a note. It says 'Those who oppose me chose to do so. Not all are given another chance. Use yours wisely. -M.'" I looked into Ash's hazel eyes.
"Who is 'M.'?" he asked. I shook my head.
"I don't know."
"According to this 'M.', you've done something bad and they've given you a chance to fix it. Do you recall getting into a bit of a falling out with anyone recently?" I take a moment to think, but end up shaking my head.
"No, I don't."
"So, our communications were disabled, Luke's alive, there's this mysterious painting, a note from this 'M.', and no one remembers you? Sounds like magic to me," Ashton concludes. Stop listening to my thoughts, Ash. You couldn't have known that the painting was strange. "Sorry. We just have to figure out what exactly the sorcerer's intentions are and who the sorcerer is." I sighed.
"Easier said than done. Besides, we don't know for sure that it was a sorcerer. There are other creatures that can bend time, and, from the looks of things, that could have been what happened."
"I suppose that might make sense as to why our communications were cut off," Ashton agreed. "Alright, you keep searching for clues, and I'll g-" he goes stiff. "Someone is coming. Call me only if it is absolutely necessary." He disappears at the same time the floorboards outside my door begin creaking. There were two knocks that sounded before Calum was in view. He just looked at me skeptically and made room for Luke, who walked in shortly after the door was opened. Luke gave Cal a little nod, and he was gone. It was like Calum was Luke's servant or maid... That's an interesting thought. Luke turned toward me.
"So, are you going to answer some questions now, or are you just going to stare at me like you're watching your dog die?" I looked away. "Who are you?" He gazed me quizzically. I raised my eyes.
"Rose Marie Hartford. I'm 18, my birthday being October 15th. I love the rain and music. My favorite sport is-"
"Ok, that's not exactly what I meant. What are you doing here?"
"I have no idea. I went to sleep like I usually would and woke up a world away in your home." He furrowed his brows.
"Why are you-"
"Luke, please, just hear me out. I'm not in the mood for an interrogation." He closed is agape mouth and slowly nodded. I sighed. "You and I have met long ago. In fact, we were best friends. Calum introduced us after he saved me from an attack by his old werewolf pack..." I told Luke everything. Well, almost everything. I left out certain details. Throughout the whole story Luke would either nod or switch between several generic facial expressions. The one he wore at the end of my story would be one of disbelief or shock.
"You and me... We... I... You're saying... Why should I believe any of this?" I shook my head.
"You shouldn't. The whole story is crazy, but I know you, and I know that you will make the right decision." He mumbled something incoherent and left the room, leaving me all alone in my prison of memories.