Treaders: The lake of souls

Ruby has always known she was different. Now the only person she thought she could trust is hiding deep secrets from her. As she discovers more about who she is, she puts herself and others in more danger. Perhaps the one person she is supposed to fear most is the only one she can trust. Only time will tell or will it be too late.

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1. Secrets

I stood in the queue, which was still ten metres long, and waited. I stretched my aching fingers out in front of me, too check they were still working. Yep they where. Sighing I looked over to Jack, my uncle, who was doing the exact same thing.

He was a pretty cool uncle. However I had never really seen him as an uncle, being so young, he is more of an older brother to me. he's so protective of me, me, but he can be really immature and he has wild mood changes. Besides he's in his teens, like me, but a year or two older he has the right to act like a teenager, not an adult. He is also my best and only friend. He had his secrets, but I trust him.  

I had never had many friends. No one really liked me. Ever since I can remember I had been avoided and ignored and bullied. I had grown up with Jack. I can't remember anything before I was ten. I had asked him once about my parents, when I was twelve. he said he didn't know. I still don't know anything about them, part of me says he's not actually my uncle.  

We live in a huge mansion, in the middle of woods, I had inherited it when I was tiny. It's  massive. Seen as it is technically my house, I get to pick which bedroom I want- and there are a lot. When I was little I had the huge master bedroom with glass windows that went from the high ceiling to the floor, but as I got older the room made  me feel nervous. So I switched to the smallest bedroom in the attic- no windows. it feels more safe.    

We have a system at home: He cooks and does the shopping, I clean and do the laundry. I make no fuss, even though the house is huge and he only has to cook for two people and microwave meals don't really count.  

His eyes hovered over me as I rubbed my hands together, attempting to keep me warm. "Soz Ruby," he said apologetically, gesturing to my hands, which were now bright red, I seriously regretted not bringing my gloves. "I should't have let you come," he said   

"S'ok, I'm just a bit cold" I said lunging my hand into my jacket pockets, which were even colder. We stayed silent for a few minutes.

"do you wanna go? cause we can, I don't mind." he said. Even though he obviously did mind. He's been going on about this place for months, it only opens once a year and he clearly loves it. I've never been, most years I stay at home. In my opinion visiting a giant lake didn't sound very fun. However seen as this year I had even more people that hated me than ever. I decided being in the house alone might not be such a good idea. 

"I'm fine," I answered honestly.

  Noticing the queue had moved on without us, we took several paces forward. We where nearly at the entrance. Then I glanced back to see hundreds of people, behind us, looking at me coldly. Biting my lip nervously I tugged on Jacks smooth black leather jacket. He turned around and glared coldly right back at them, not seeming surprised. For some reason I didn't think that was a good idea.   

Before I could apologize (for what I don't know) I had been spun around and quickly led towards the gate. I risked another look back. Strangely I was not met by hatred or anger. In fact every single person, except me, looked entirely normal. It was as if that hadn't happened. Strange.  

I didn't dwell on the subject or even ask any questions. There was just something about me that made people automatically loathe me. I had never understood why, but I was kind of used to it by now. I have never told Jack, but he seems to know. Asking him wouldn't work, he hates questions. well questions specifically about me anyway.  

We slowed when we where out into the open. No longer in the dense uncomfortable forest. I felt relieved; jack looked relaxed. I walked for several minutes, behind Jack, following a faint wiry path through the trees. We stayed silent until we reached a clearing.   It was beautiful. The lake was invisible surrounded by the trees, except in this secluded spot. the sun hovered over the clouds, glowing warmly. The breeze was cool on my face, blowing back my brown hair.  

"do you like it?" Jack asked sweetly.  

"I love it" I replied, still shocked.  

"Right then," I could feel him grinning "ill go get some burgers." He said trying not to sound too excited. He ran back down the dry mud path we followed and disappeared back into the forest.  

I kind of regretted not asking him for ketchup, but I was too busy admiring this new world I'd stepped into. Carelessly I sat down, leaning back, my arms spread out. The fresh grass tickled my palms and for the first time in years I felt utter peace.

I lay utterly motionless for several minutes, my eyes closed.   

I heard heavy wisps of wind behind me, it took me several seconds to realise it was actually someone breathing. Turning myself round quickly I looked over to the tall figure only four metres away, leaning against a tree. I knew it was not Jack. He had short dark brown hair- possibly black and wore a pair of faded jeans. No top. I could not help admiring his chest, which was pale, but had a full six pack. His arms looked like they spent most of their time picking up weights. I looked up to see his gorgeous emerald eyes looking straight at me. Embarrassed I looked away, but I couldn't stand it long.  

"who are you?" I asked feeling stupid and to be honest a little dreamy.  

"no one," he said blankly. Then smiled a wicked smile, a little crooked, showing his teeth.  My breathing increased, I knew he was doing it purposely.  

"your name?" I prompted.  

"hmm well, I already know yours," he said.  

"what?" I asked.  

"beautiful" he said. It was a long shot, but it worked. I blushed and bit my lip, a smile escaping.  

I'd never thought I was beautiful or even pretty. I didn't wear very much make-up  unlike the girls I imagined he'd go for, I wore jeans and jumpers. I had never had a great figure, apparently I had an hourglass figure, but all I could see was big hips and small waist. This was not the trend, if you wanted to be popular, which I did not, you had to be tall and have anorexia.

Like Cathy and wear skirts so short if you bent down everyone could see your pants, that's if their wearing any, but that was probably the point. That was also the reason, I guessed, I had never had a boyfriend.

"who are you here with?" he asked, changing the subject.  

"My uncle" I replied honestly.   "now why would you lie?" he asked puzzled.  

"I'm not lying" I said. He ignored me.  

"Perhaps to hide me from your boyfriend," he raised an eyebrow and showed a cheeky grin. I'm sure if I had of been standing I would have collapsed.   

"He's not, he is my uncle," I said defensively, even though I wasn't sure it was true myself.   

"We'll see," he said mysteriously. His smile gone and replaced with a serious look of what seemed like, a warning. He stood up straight and looked straight into my eyes, before smiling again.  

I heard footsteps coming towards me and immediately turned around. It was Jack. He smiled kindly and held up two burgers, one in each hand. He sat down next to me, only a few inches away and handed me one of the burgers. I looked back around and the mysterious, mouthwatering, boy had gone.  

Part of me was relieved to feel safe again, but another part was longing for the boy to come back and bring the same excitement and danger with him. As well as the over-powering hotness.  

"Aren't you hungry?" Jacked asked looking at the untouched burger in my hands. "do you feel ill?" he asked concerned. He was always worrying about me.  

"No, no I'm fine" I said digging in too my burger, even though I didn't feel like eating. I ate my burger slowly to keep my mind distracted. But there was no keeping him out. what did he mean "well see." See what? He didn't even tell me his name. Confused and feeling a little woozy, I tapped Jack on the shoulder and held my tasteless burger, out to him. He took it and scoffed it. It was as if he hadn't eaten in weeks. After watching him demolish the burger in a matter of seconds, I lay down -again. He joined me, tossing his backpack, down towards the lake.  

It was about ten feet away from us and there was a gentle slope leading to the water, It glistened in the gentle sunlight. I looked over to Jack who was looking up at the cloudless sky, smiling to himself. he had a lovely smile. It wasn't cocky or fake; It was sweet and completely real. The corners of his lips tilted slightly, his eyes wide, his hands behind his head.   

"When did you first come here?" I asked, turning my head towards him.  

"when I was ten," he replied. We stayed silent for several minutes, neither of us sure what to say.  

"Why is this place only open once a year?" I asked.  

"People took advantage of it," he said. I knew there was a lot more to it than that.  

"what do you mean?" I asked.  

"it's complicated." he said. I could tell he wasn't going to tell me anything else, at least for the moment.  

"why today?" I asked, staying on the subject. "Are they celebrating something?" I was pushing it. He looked at me, his mouth in a straight line, frowning. He was deciding whether to tell me or not.  

"it's the anniversary of..." he trailed off looking out to the lake.   I knew he wasn't telling me something and there was a reason for it. I had never seen him  like this: so deep in thought, so tense and uncomfortable. Normally he was so laid back and happy. Well kind of happy. He was making me feel nervous and to be honest it kind of scared me.  

"Jack-" I said, sitting up to look at him.  

"just drop it," He snapped harshly. It hurt. What had gotten in to him? I felt my eyes begin to well up with tears. I had always been really sensitive, he knew that more than anyone. He sighed deeply.  

"I'm sorry," He said, all traces of anger gone, replaced with regret and deep thought. He knelt beside me. "I- I just need to think." He slowly got up and stumbled down the slope towards his backpack. He slung it on his shoulder and left. His head lowered, he ran a frustrated hand through his shining blond hair as he headed of in the complete opposite direction that we came from.  

I sat there for hours until it started to get dark. Bye the time I realised Jack was not coming back, the whole place was deserted. I got up, my face red hot from the river of tears that had been flowing and began to walk towards gate. I had my hood over most of my face, hiding, and stared at the ground.

When I reached the gate it was almost pitch black and there were no lights. The trees seemed more sinister and there was no wind. I walked towards the iron gates, until I saw that they where locked. Suddenly I was even more alone and I was petrified.   

I hadn't been this scared since I was lost in the woods when I was ten. I don't remember where I was I just remember crying and falling in the water. Then I woke up in hospital. Jack was there. I was in a care home until they discovered I had inherited the house. I was twelve, Jack was thirteen and we where living in a house alone. In most places that would be illegal, but this town was weird like that.  

I took a clumsy step backwards and tripped over my own feet, falling to the moist ground beneath me.   

"Hello, again." A husky voice said from behind me. I turned, although it was dark, I knew it was him. His dark figure stood motionless a few metres away from me. He smiled at me and stepped forward, I flinched, He held out his hand towards me. I took it. He was unbelievably strong, he pulled me up effortlessly and when I nearly toppled over he steadied me. Suddenly in his arms I felt safe, then I was flooded with fear. I pulled away and stepped back.   What was he doing here? Has he been following me? Is he good or bad? Friend or foe? I look into his eyes which are emotionless and tell me nothing.  

"Who are you and why are you here?" I asked my voice shaking a little. I coughed hoping he wouldn't notice.  

"My name is Aro," "and I'm going to help you" he said taking a large step towards me. He was so close. I looked around, panicking. He sensed my fear.   "I'm not going to hurt you Ruby" he whispered in my ear. his sweet breath tickling my neck.   

"Leave her alone Aro." I spun around too see Jack standing there his backpack at his feet. i hadn't even heard him approaching. Knowing Jack would protect me, I pushed Aro away and ran into Jack's welcoming arms. He gripped me against his chest in a bear hug. "I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have brought you here." He said bending his head down looking into my eyes. I rested my head against his chest and began to cry with relief and confusion. Then Aro spoke.  

"Are you going to tell her or shall I?" I remained burried in his salty tear stained clothes, wanting to block out the whole world, and what ever Aro was about to say.  

"Aro just leave it you've had your fun now leave her alone." Jack said protecting me. Holding me close.

"Ruby do you know what you are?" Aro asked me. What did he mean? I'm a person, a human being. I looked at him puzzled- bad idea.  

No that was an understatement. if there was anything I could have done to make the situation worse that was it. His eyes flooded with black and were burning with power. He was no longer the beautiful God. Now a soulless monster.  

"Didn't think so, " He said, tilting his head. "Ruby walk into the lake." he ordered me, showing me his evil smirk. I couldn't stop myself. I had lost complete control off my body and mind. I pulled myself out of Jacks arms and began to slowly pace towards the dark, bottomless lake.    

"NO!" Jack screamed at Aro, charging at him with pure hatred in his eyes. He flung himself at him, shooting through the air. He knocked him back and forced him to the ground. Aro did not however fight back even though he probably had the strength to kill Jack with one lethal punch.  

"She needs to know," Aro spoke calmly, his teeth gritting, holding back Jack. Know what?   

"The'll kill her!" Jack shouted reaching toward Aro's neck. I continued to cry helplessly, my whole life shattering like glass around me. The sharp splinters piercing my skin, destroying me.  

One minute I'm eating a burger sitting next to Jack, then I'm being controlled like a puppet. No one was telling me anything.  

"Don't you mean you'll kill her," Aro challenged, attempting to keep Jack under control.  

I didn't understand, nothing made sense, Jack was going to kill me? I was getting closer to the lake. The world was closing in on me and all I could concentrate on was the water completely black, dangerous, empty. I looked back on my life remembering how bad I thought it was. Now look at me.

I was going to die.

I gripped my shoulders, digging my nails into my unprotected, cold skin. I hovered my left foot over the water. I counted in my mind. One... two... Behind me I heard a load thump and a shriek of pain. Dear god please let Jack be OK. At the last second I regained control of myself, but it was to late, screaming I fell into the deafening pool of hell.  

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