Lost: Rose

Atwood Forest is untouched by the human world surrounding it. All they know is whoever enters, never returns...

Inside Atwood Forest there are one type of prey and one type of predator. The Vampire Hunter's are a race of magically blessed men and women who hunt and kill those who stray from the vampire fortress in the west of the forest. It is known that occasionally humans venture in the forest but not once has a Hunter ever been able to successfully save a human without losing their life.

A young girl is one day found on the boarder line of the Hunter and Vampire territory. She is without food, clothes, and shelter. When she is picked up by a group of Hunter's she is given the name Rose, due to a cryptic tattoo of roses embedding the skin of her back. She is without memory of who she is and where she'd come from. Trapped in a forest where a century-long war still rages on, she struggles to find the truth behind her existence in a world where everything is not as it seems...

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15. Guilt

'It need not matter how others see you my dear, what matters is how you see yourself. How you deem yourself... To be truthful or full of lies, to be innocent of guilty - the latter and all linked to it my dear, is up for you to decide'

My childhood tutors teachings ran through my mind over and over as I walked mindlessly through the forest my mind blank, the luscious forest around me nothing but a bleak mass of endless vegetation that served to be nothing more than the endless prison leaving me to bear the endless torture of the thoughts and memories sparked and turned by my mind which led me to graciously deem myself to be near insanity...

 

It had been days since I'd last seen a single sight of civilization. The constant pain in my stomach forced me to remember I'd neither seen a single person nor building in sight since I'd lied my way out from beneath the pressuring gaze of Zara, a woman I was sure who would waste no expense of effort to bother searching for me. Nobody would. Laylan, Zara, Callum... They would all me fine without me. Heath, especially. His dumb founded expression flashed through my mind and I shut my eyes pausing for a moment resting my temple against the rough bark of a tree slipping into the shadows as I crushed any thought of seeing him again. Anger flared then disappeared as fast as it had came, and an overwhelming sense of guilt came over me followed by guilt. The tortured continued.

I continued to move, to walk. The pain in my legs, in my feet... It wasn't painful in the sense that I couldn't continue... Just painful in the sense that it reminded me that I was human. How the heck did that whole curse just happen to disappear anyway? It had ruined lives to make it... Taken lives to make it work... I refused to let guilt take over me remembering the story of Heath's first love's life being taken in an instant - before learning it was all because of me. Did I feel sorry for myself...?

"No" my voice was a hoarse whisper. My throat burning from being without water. I forced myself to swallow what little saliva was left in my mouth before pausing to hear the stream of water looking up and further before me I nearly collapsed at the sight of a river. I dipped my hands into the water and lifted my cupped hands to douse my face with the cool liquid, washing away the remaining salt from my tears... Why God kept me alive I had no idea. Sipping the water I looked up to see sleeping bats... My mind went to the last time we'd argued, Heath and I, how I had blamed him...

 

"Well look what we have here..." a voice spoke. I turned to see an unfamiliar face. He was neither from those of the former vampires but not from the tribe of Hunters either... Confusion spread across my face.

"What are..."

"Hey guys! I've got one!" he called out. I blinked frozen and unable to move, my head moved slightly before seeing others stumble through the forest before joining his side in the opening. Only then did I take in their appearances... Hunting gear, rifles and dirt stained appearances that let on they'd been in the forest for maybe a week.

"Is it?" one asked staring at my openly as did the others. I squirmed slightly under their speculation. In an instant one cocked his rifle so it was aimed straight at me.

"Don't move" he snapped. I paused. Did being human mean the vampire side of being shot didn't matter anymore...? I could die. I licked my lips. He fired the bullet slapping off the rock across the bank. I didn't have to move to know it could've easily been through my skull if he hadn't cocked the gun to the side for that shot.

"There aren't vampires in the forest anymore" I said my voice still raspy from the lack of water though I'd just sipped some.

"Don't lie to us girly, we know of your kind" another man growled.

"There aren't. The curse was lifted and they left"

"The curse?" one asked paling as he shot the other a nervous glance,

"She's lying"

"She's human"

"How do you know that?"

"I'm in the sun aren't I?" I snapped involuntarily, as their attention then went back to me as I sighed lowering my eyes as I adjusted myself my legs feeling numb after leaning sidewards for too long.

"What was the curse?" one asked.

"Confusing" I replied, more to myself than them.

"Don't joke with us girly, we've got the upper hand here" the leader reminded me gesturing to the others who straightened considerably liking the fact.

"Even I don't know the details and I saw them leave the forest" I lied,

"Don't lie"

"I'm not" I snapped furiously, my eyes snapping up with a glare that shut them all up before the leader regained his composure and sent me what was probably his attempt at an equally threatening glare. I looked down and suddenly felt what the whole situation was... I was alone. There were no vampires anymore... Just a wonderfully large amount of happy united people in the Hunters town. They were happy, where I was not. But somehow I couldn't bring myself to fall victim to these idiots monster-hunt.

"It was about a year ago..." I said gently confusion sweeping over my features as I tried to remember how long I'd been asleep.

"That's a long time..." one murmured,

"I don't remember what happened during that time but one day I woke up to see there were no vampires anymore" I said scrambling for some kind of way to tell them whatever it took to get them to give up their search.

"They were gone"

 

I was struggling to stand the pain of my walking and then all to long rest sending me to crash against a rock as I tried unsuccessfully to ignore the wary stares of the human men, probably from an outer region... a town, a city.

"How could you not remember that year" the leaders voice forced me to look at him. I took in his features, dark brown hair, heavy grey eyes and long thick lashes, his face was chiseled to show off his broad jaw - not to perfection, but handsome without a doubt.

"I was asleep" I said. When they didn't say anything I forced myself to stand upright and brush off the drying mud off my simple dress. It was brown but more brown now that it was dirty. I stepped away from the creak the dress swayed around my knees the long sleeves dirt stained as were my boots.

"Some called it a coma" I said filling the silence as I glanced up. They'd softened up quite a bit seeing I was as human as it seemed.

"What happened to you?" one asked worry creasing his brow. My eyes welled up and my eyes shot to the trees, this wasn't part of the plan. They weren't meant to feel sorry for me. Just learn that were no vampires and just leave. Leave the forest, leave their search, leave the Hunters and others alone... Leave me alone. A sob wracked my chest as I quivered stifling it as my tears fell.

"I became human" I whispered. I didn't need to hear their words the creak spoke to me on it's own, calling me... Offering what I'd wanted but had been to cowardly to take myself. Death, called my name - silent as a whisper in the wind.

"But don't worry, I'm the last" I said before falling back into the creak. Allowing the water to engulf me in it's embrace. My lungs filled quickly and my eyes opened wide for a moment startled as if finally realizing my mistake. But it wasn't, it was so much more...

'A life for a life - some would say. But Rose my dear, one should not die for the comfort of their self, but more for the lives of those they hold dear'

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