“You want to know what the worst part was of entering the house later that night, after you’d slaughtered my entire family? Seeing my dead thirteen-year-old sister, still tied up to the chair and gagged, having her throat cut open with tears still running down her cheek and bruises all over her body. It’s not exactly a picture that’s easy to forget.” I said looking at the two men I’d been chasing for the past three years. Stark and Ethan Price. They had been exactly where they were supposed to be tonight. They were now, very unfortunate for them, beaten and tied up and gagged in two chairs, in an empty warehouse at the harbor, just like my sister had been.
“The funny thing is that I was supposed to be there that night, you see. I was supposed to look after her, protect her. Obviously that didn’t go quite as I’d wanted it to.” I said, all the while applying pain to the one I supposed was Ethan, with a knife. He tried to scream out in pain, which was hard considering he was gagged. It made me laugh.
“Seriously? I’m just getting started.” I said, laughing.
Stark looked like he wanted to say something, it might be entertaining, so I removed the gag.
“Don’t you hurt him, you psychotic bitch! You can do what you want with me, but let my brother go.” He said.
“You’re kidding, right? Of all the things you could say… You didn’t exactly let my sister go, now did you? She was thirteen years old! I would’ve giving anything to have been in that chair instead of her, but because I made the mistake of leaving her, I never had the chance. You made the mistake of taking her and my parents away from me, so you’re sure as hell not getting the chance to save your brother either!” I yelled and hit him as hard as I could, which was hard, considering my increased strength. I gagged him again. The angrier I got, the more powerful I was and when that became too much, the rage blackouts would kick in. That meant I had to try and control myself, otherwise they would be dead before I even got started. I took a deep breath.
“Amazing, isn’t it? I’m way stronger than the two of you combined. Faster. Better. It hasn’t been without consequences, unfortunately. Do you know what you have to do to trigger the curse? No? You have to take another’s life. You have to kill. He was just a homeless criminal, but still, I feel sorry that he had to die, for me to get where I am tonight. I guess he has you to thank for that. I must admit I could also live without the rage blackouts, they are very inconvenient.” I took a step towards Ethan again, smiling, with an even bigger knife in my hand. They both started screaming again the best they could, which just made me smile even more.
“Rose! That’s enough!” Sutton said. I turned around and stopped smiling.
“I know you’re dead and all, but honestly Sutton, you do not want to be here right now, okay? So go do whatever you do when you’re not bugging me.” I said. Stark and Ethan looked at me like I was some crazy person, but that was okay. It would make them fear even more what was in store for them.
“You’re acting completely insane right now, sadistic even! I can’t even recognize you.” She answered.
“They took you away from me, they deserve it!” I yelled. I could feel the rage building up inside me.
“Can you honestly look at yourself right now and say that you’re not entirely as bad as them?”
“I… What are you talking about? You were innocent! They’re not!”
“Maybe I was, Rose, but you made the choice to trigger the curse. How many innocent people have you killed after that in your rage blackouts?” She said. “You don’t even know, do you?”
The anger became more and more intense. I could feel my power increasing… fast.
“That blood is on their hands! I wouldn’t have had to trigger the curse if it wasn’t for them!” I yelled. And then everything went black.
Stark and Ethan
“We have to find them, Ethan. The boss isn’t happy with us at all right now, not after the stunt you pulled off with his wife. You’re lucky I covered for you; otherwise we’d both be dead. I may have handled the worst of your mess, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still suspicious and he’s literally waiting for any excuse to get rid of us.”
“Nobody asked you to lie for me, Stark. For the record we’ve been searching forever! It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. ”
“Not quite, little brother. I got another lead yesterday saying that somebody who know their whereabouts slipped up. According to my source, they should be somewhere in Boston. We can be there in a couple of days.”
“Somewhere in Boston? It’s not good enough and you know it. They’ll know we’re in town as soon as we start sniffing around and they’ll pack up and move… Again! You want to know how I now that? Because it’s the same damn thing every single time we get just a tiny bit closer to them! Why can’t we just take off and --”
“Don’t even say it. You know perfectly well that that’s not an option. We have a debt to pay and a big one at that. So if the boss says, “find the shadowhunters” we find them, if the boss says, “kill the shadowhunters” we kill them. End of story.”
“But I thought we were just going to kidnap them so the boss can force them to do whatever triggers the curse and make them his own private little army.”
“Yes, that would be preferable, but we don’t exactly know what we’re up against and if something was to go wrong, the boss would rather have them dead. Which means, if I say kill you kill, are we clear? I can’t have you messing this one up. We just can’t afford it. ”
It’s funny how things can change in a blink of an eye, isn’t it? One moment you’re surrounded by loved ones, the next you’re not. This is the third time this week I’ve woken up from the nightmare, always the same one. I look at the clock, 11:45 pm. I guess I might as well get up. I know when and where they’ll be later tonight. I’ve spent the last three years waiting and preparing for this night, and despite the consequences; I know it’ll be worth it.
“Still having nightmares about me I see.”
“Jeez Sutton, stop doing that! You know I hate it when you appear out of nowhere, you always scare the shit out of me.”
“What would you expect, Rose? I’m a ghost, remember, I can’t help it.”
I gave my little sister an annoyed glare. For some reason, I didn’t quite get yet, I had been seeing the ghost of her ever since her and my parents were killed. Don’t get me wrong, I love having her around, even though she’s not really here, but she can still be a huge pain in the ass sometimes.
“So, I guess tonight is the big night, right?” She said with a very judging tone.
“Don’t start with me again Sutton. I don’t want to hear it.”
“Of course you don’t. Why would you? You haven’t listened to me the past three years, so why start now, right?”
I didn’t answer her. She knew perfectly well why I wouldn’t listen to her, why I just couldn’t. I started putting on my clothes, my battle clothes. It was sort of a black pants suit with a black belt to hold my weapons. Of course the outfit wasn’t complete without my black boots. Sutton looked at me with a look that showed both skeptical and judgment, but at the same time worry and disappointment.
“Don’t give me that look. You’ve always known this day would come, and as a matter of fact I’m kind of excited, so try not to ruin this for me, would you?” I said, maybe a little too joyful, everything considered.
“You should never have done it you know. Trigger the curse I mean. No one expected you to do anything but moving on, Rose. You know mom and dad never wanted the curse for either of us; they tried protecting us from it, from the consequences and everything that comes with it. Can’t you see how your vengeful behavior is acting like fuel to your anger and the curse? You’re not yourself anymore. ” She said, with almost a begging voice.
“That’s exactly what I wanted, Sutton, don’t you get it? There was no way I could ever do this without it, as the old me. You’re calling it a curse; I’m calling it a gift, one that’ll help me do what I have to.”
“A gift? There’s a reason it’s called a curse, Rose! You might have heightened senses and increased speed and strength, but you will never go around in daylight anymore, you’ll never be able to fully control you anger.”
“Well, I guess the damage is already done, right, so why not make the most of it? And for the record, yes, it would have been preferable to know about the frequent rage blackouts and the intolerance for daylight, but I assume that was just another tiny detail mom and dad forgot to mention. Oh wait, I forgot, they didn’t exactly tell us anything, did they now?”
I didn’t exactly mean to snap at her. Another consequence I presume. I’m pretty much angry all the time, and when it gets too much I just can’t control it. I can wake up the next day not knowing where I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve done or who I’ve hurt.
“You know perfectly well they were just trying to --”
“Trying to what, Sutton? Protect us? If by protecting us you mean lying to us our entire life, making us believe we were something we’re not nor will ever be and leaving me alone to figure everything out by myself, then yes, they did a pretty damn good job! Oh well, not exactly by protecting you, obviously.”
There were a few minutes of silence after I’d practically screamed at her. I guess she didn’t know how to respond. Before the curse she hadn’t exactly been used to me yelling at her. Sure, I could get angry with her sometimes, just like any other older sister, but never quite this intense.
“I don’t exactly think they planned on leaving you alone with this, it wasn’t really their fault that they died, Rose, or me for that matter.“
“Don’t you think I know that? There isn’t a day going by that I don’t hate myself for what happened to you. If I’d just done what mom and dad told me to… I’m responsible for the death of my family, which is why I have no other choice than to try and make up for it. ”
That was the end of the conversation. She knew she couldn’t change my mind, not now. I took my bag and headed out into the night.
The Mercer family
“Why can’t I take my driver’s license like everyone else? It’s so unfair!” Rose yelled at her parents.
“Because we don’t feel comfortable with you being responsible for other’s lives like that.” Her mom tried to explain.
“So what you’re really trying to say is that every other parents can trust their children with a driver’s license, but your daughter would surely kill a bunch of people and can’t possibly be trusted with that kind of responsibility!”
“No, of course not honey. We do trust you; it’s just not a risk we’re willing to take right now, when you’re older you’ll understand.” Her father said.
“When I’m older… Right. Just forget it!” Rose yelled and stormed towards the door.
“Don’t forget you’re on Sutton duty tonight. We have that meeting in town tonight and we’ll probably be home late, so don’t leave her alone!” Her mom said.
“Whatever!” Rose answered while heading up to her room and slamming the door.
“Maybe it’s time to tell them, John, or at least Rose. She’s sixteen; she might be able to handle it.”
“Ella, no. She’s still too young, she won’t be able to handle the truth. Hell, I’m still too young. Once you know what you really are, and what triggers the curse, you can’t stop thinking about it. My dad told my brother and me when we turned 16, and look what happened to him. He couldn’t think about anything else, and when the curse was triggered, the anger drove him mad.”
“On the contrary, look what happened to you. You became an amazing husband and father. You’ve lived your life knowing this, and the curse has never been triggered. Accidentally or willingly.”
“But that hasn’t happened without any consequences either, Ella. It’s been tough, no doubt about it. Knowing what I know makes it tough. It’s like it’s eating you up, trying to force you into making the wrong choice, but if I hadn’t known about it, if I wasn’t able to picture it, maybe life would’ve been easier. I know it’s hard for you to understand, but trust me, the best we can do right now is to prepare them as best as we can if anyone should ever find out about us.”
A few hours later Mr. and Mrs. Mercer went to their meeting in town. When entering the room the meeting was being held in, about a dozen people were yelling at each other.
“What’s going on in here?” Ella said.
“Haven’t you guys heard? Our location has been discovered. We have no idea whether they’re already here or what, but people are going crazy. That one guy, living above the post office, triggered the curse this evening after hearing the news, just so he would be able to defend himself. ” One of the people said.
Ella and John looked at each other with the same panic and fear in their eyes.
“The girls!” They said at the same time.
Ella dialed the number to the house. No answer.
“Try Rose’s cell.” John said, panic in his voice.
“What mom?” Rose said on the other end of the phone.
“Where are you? Are you okay?” Ella asked.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be okay? I just went over to Spencer’s house to borrow a book, since I can’t exactly drive to the library. I’ll be back with Sutton in 10 minutes.”
“What? You left Sutton alone after I specifically told you not to! Stay at Spencer’s until I call and say you can come home.”
“What? Mom, what’s going --” Ella hanged up the phone and hurried towards the car with John.
What met John and Ella when they entered their home had to be every parent’s worst nightmare. In the middle of the living room Sutton had been tied up in a chair. She was gagged and was crying.
“Welcome home Mr. and Mrs. Mercer. So glad you could join us.”
I woke up on the roof of the warehouse, after what seemed like hours, covered in blood. I could see the sun slowly starting to rise over the sea.
“You just had to ruin it, didn’t you?” I asked Sutton, whom I knew was around.
“I just told you the truth Rose, nothing more.” She answered.
“Are they dead?” I asked.
“Yes.” She said.
“What do I do now?” I asked her. “I’ve spent every second of every day trying to get revenge since you died. I can’t just go back to living my life now, can I?”
“If that’s what you want. You should know though, Rose, it will not be like it used to be. Nothing can ever be again.”
“Is there another choice?”
“There’s always another choice.” She said, smiling. “You can come with me.”
“With you? Where are you going?”
“Away from here, to a better place. It’s just beyond the edge of the rooftop.”
I walked over to the edge and looked down. The fall would definitely kill me. I looked at Sutton with a questioning look.
“Trust me.” She said. Then I jumped.