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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5. Tattooed

I woke up to a brush of something wet and slimy rubbing across my bare back, my eyes flew open before I spun my head around to see Leonora rubbing something green and plant-like on my back. I lay as I'd been found on a pristine, white sheet. Confusion crossed my face before she smiled suddenly her eyelids seeming to twitch at the sides as she did so,

"I see your awake" she said rubbing the rest on my back before throwing whatever she'd held into a bucket beside her. Looking down I looked down to see clear, slimy goo in the bucket in it mixed other clear pieces of solid yet slimy goo with green stuff heading on the other side.

"What is that?" I wrinkled my nose sniffing expecting to smell something horrid but was surprised that I smelt nothing. Literally, nothing.

"Aloe vera, it's a healing remedy for burns" Leonora said reaching over aimlessly to her other side before picking up a wet white cloth and began to wring it before bringing it over my back to start rubbing it over the goo, rubbing it into my back and yet also off my back.

"Was my back burning?" I asked slightly confused as I put my head back down to rest it's side on the pillow before me. I looked around to see a bare room with cream colored walls and a dark brown, wooden floor, though polished, marked with age.

"Well it seemed to be before you passed out you were complaining about it apparently, when you did however, you also cried a lot when people touched your back wincing and all... Your skin went bright red at the touch though it disappeared when they didn't. Your tattoo is fine though, there is no physical burn. You must have been spelled by someone before you were picked up and brought here" Leonora said her voice some how soothing which was surprising since she looked around 14 years of age.

"My tattoo?" I asked, even more confused as I reached around to my back prodding the slime covered skin with my fingers unsure of what she meant.

"I can't feel anything" I said.

 

The door of the room opened up and Callum walked in, my eyes widened in surprise and shock before his face suddenly went red before he left immediately, slamming the door behind him.

"Why did he go red?" I asked slowly though something told me I already knew, Leonora chuckled as she wiped off the rest of the slime.

"You will know in time little wanderer, Rose..." she said, before gesturing for me to sit up. I did so slowly before sitting down as she got up and carefully stepped away from her stool seeming to sense the placement of the buckets on either side of it. Heading to the right of the room she seemed to be familiar with the layout as she opened up a large box like object, with doors that swung outwards... a... cabinet. I smiled gently at myself, pleased I'd been able to remember what it was.

"You will wear this..." she instructed turning around to show a long white piece of fabric before handing me these two smaller garments.

"How do I wear this...?" I asked confused as I lifted up the see-through fabric of the smaller garments, one of a piece of fabric with 3 holes the other two cup like shapes connected with what looked like fancy string though it matched the rest of the garment...

"Zara!?" Leonora called out going back to the stool and picking up the buckets, I watched as the door opened and she left just as Zara entered. My face brightened up a little at the familiarity of the woman's face, who had saved me from Heath's wrath.

"Hello Rose" she said gently taking the items from me,

"Hello Zara" I replied.

 

*          *          *          *           *

A long time later I sat before a large glass like object frame with wood that I could see my reflection in, Zara had told me it was called a 'mirror'. It was a larger version of the one I'd accidentally shattered, and a somehow a small pang of guilt had settled itself within me without my knowing why. She adjusted the straps on the under-garment she called a bra, before pulling the white long fabric over my head. She pulled my arms through two holes before I sat before the mirror with a white dress on. It fell in two large straps that covered my chest and met at my waist in a tight, elastic like waist of the fabric before it fell flowing down to my feet. As I admired how it matched the ring on my left, middle finger Zara had already begun tugging on my hair with a comb and it barely took her three seconds before I looked up to see my hair pulled back into an elaborate plait, my eyes shining and my cheeks slightly flushed as I lifted a hand to touch one of the stray, tousled locks that kissed the top of my forehead like a butterfly.

"It's amazing, how did you do that?" I asked curiously as she laughed before leaning down to whisper in my ear.

"Don't tell anyone, but I learned that off the vampires" she whispered.

 

Lifting me from the stool with her hand she led me outside to see Callum and Heath in the middle of a heated argument.

"Boys" Zara snapped fiercely as we neared them. The bright morning sun sent me into a sudden waver as I grasped her arm to hold me steady, before I could glance up to see the bewildered expressions of both the men.

"Rose, turn around" she said gently, I did so slowly careful not to tread on the hem of the dress before feeling their eyes wash over my bare back the dress's back low yet fitting that it showed whatever 'tattoo' Leonora had been talking about. I was sure of it before when I turned around I could feel the tickle of where their eyes had been.

"What is a tattoo?" I asked Zara, sparking sudden surprise in her face before she glanced at the two men who looked at me with their same wide eyed expression, I clasped my hands together fiddling with my thumbs as I glanced down at the ground.

"Leonora had said my 'tattoo' was fine, I do not know what she is talking about" I whispered unsure of how to proceed after that, when I looked back up however Heath's face was back to his usually stony self as he glared at me. Callum was glancing at Zara for some kind of guidance and Zara slid her hand over my back,

"It's a black picture or writing that is part of your skin. Dye is injected into your skill cells to make them" she explained.

 

A sudden change of the wind sent clouds quickly to shade the sun, Heath and Callum turned drawing sharp objects I recognized immediately as weapons as they glared outside the boundary.

"Nobody will be here, they don't come this close" Callum muttered to Heath as they looked at the forest that lay outside of the border. Heath scoffed his retort,

"Don't bet on it Cal" he growled. A sudden flash of pale yellow sent the boys turning in different directions before it stopped beside a tree.

"Byran" Zara called, her voice a bare whisper. I looked at her, had this been the vampire that had taught her how to plait? He smiled gently and bowed earning growls from the two Hunters as they stepped over the boundary. The vampire lifted his hands as he backed away into the shadows of the trees,

"I'm not here to harm anyone Hunters. I'm here to see Zara" the vampire spoke, his voice smooth and cool sending a chilling shiver up my spine though something told me I was not a stranger to this kind of voice. Heath turned and glared,

"Why did you have to fall in love with a vampire?" he muttered his growl as Zara left my side and crossed the border to gently touch the arm of the vampire. Their heads fell low beside one another as they dared not to exchange any romantic gestures, however spoke in low, soft, hums of a speech I wasn't entirely able to hear until I heard a snap of a twig not far off beside them in the forest. My heart pace quickened,

"Heath, Callum get back here now!" I called them, ordered them. Something didn't seem safe, suddenly Byran was pushing Zara back behind the boundary before he was gone. Callum sprinted over the line but Heath held his ground turning as if prepared to face whatever it was.

 

The screeching sound of metal against metal sent shivers up my spine as I saw the vampire from the forest using a finger to slice Heath's blade in half before disappearing. Heath swore before drawing another weapon,

"Heath don't!" Zara cried out reaching for him over the line as Callum wran to grab her other arm pulling her back in. It happened in almost a split second but each of us saw as if it were the slowest second of our lives as the vampire swept behind Heath a single piece of wire suddenly taking off the lower half of her arm before it dropped to the ground the sudden scream from Zara's lips deafening as Heath turned around horror spreading across his face.

"No, Zara!" Callum exclaimed wrenching her back as she fell to his side cradling the half-stump as her face twisted into an expression of pain and anguish. My heart hurt for her, but turning to see Heath pull out another weapon I lost it. Literally.

 

Running out across the boundary I grabbed his arm before throwing him back over the line with all my might, turning just in time for him to stumble backwards over the line and beside Zara.

"Rose, no!" Zara screamed. A pair of fingers tickled my cheek as my eyes widened in sudden shock, the strong arm that gripped my waist and spun my around before I met the red eyes of the man with silver-blonde hair, and shining pale skin from the forest. His other hand gently lifted up my left his fingers entwining in mine as he breathed a cool air over them sending shivers of surprising familiarity through my body. I looked down at his hand entwined with mine to see a black line, I looked curiously turning his hand to see it crawl up his arm and spread, jagged thorns on either side of the line before a single flower seemed to bloom on his skin not black, but red. Deep, blood, red. He shut his eyes and went still as if holding his breath as I lifted my right hand to brush my fingers over his skin,

"This is..." I whispered slowly, pausing in between as I felt the warm settling of my skin on his.

"A rose" he said his voice smooth and distant yet warm and embracing,

"I know you" I told him as much as I tried to tell myself knowing I knew him, as I lifted my right hand to stroke his cheek,

"Where do I know you from?" I asked confused, hurt, alone... This vampire knew me, and somehow once upon a time I'd known him. But right now, I was lost. Lost in a world surrounded by people who didn't seem to understand me as much as I did, myself. He gave a small, warm smile which seemed almost impossible before he leaned down from his majestic height, his lips brushed the top of my forehead, my eyes closing as I took in the feeling of the gentle touch of his lips.

"You will know one day" he breathed, in an instant his hand had left my own. I opened my eyes slowly to see him gone, turning I turned to see Heath back up and barreling over the line to grasp my shoulders. He shook me violently,

"You almost died, you idiot!" he shouted furiously at me. I blinked slowly, coming back to reality at a slow pace yet finding myself seeming to be still wrapped up in the strangers embrace. Zara and Callum looked up at Heath in shock. He glared at me before looking down and giving a loud sigh the tension from his shoulders easing before he pulled me close to his chest as he brought me back over the boundary line.

"What happened Rose?" Zara asked her lips turning blue as people came running from the buildings and began to wrap her arm the blood she'd spilled staining the ground and her dress, her beautiful face pale as the moon even as the clouds disappeared slowly to reveal the suns rays once more.

"I think I saw what you were talking about Zara..." I said, pulling away from Heath's side and kneeling by my fallen friend.

"What did you see?" she asked gently as she closed her eyes. I blinked before leaning down to her ear as people brought a stretcher and medicines beginning to shift her, I rose as she did before I answered,

"Roses" I whispered to her gently though fervently,

"I saw the tattooed roses"

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