The Sacrifice

My name was Vanessa. I was a weak little girl with no mum, and that defined me. I could not fight and I was scared.

Now I am Caia. I am seventeen and I am strong. I will avenge my mother.

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3. Two

I wanted to get out there and find Them. I had all of this knowledge and all of this strength and I couldn’t use it. Lincoln, who had become my mentor, and Scot, who I found out was the head of the Sacrifice, told me time and time again that if I went out there unprepared, I would get myself killed. I argued that I thought the past six years had been preparing me and why couldn’t I go out there and fight? Wasn’t that what I had been brought here for?

I was finally allowed out, but not after the Ones I wanted. I later found out that no one knew where they were. I fought small-time Beings with Finn and Dayna. We would journey across the towns and country searching Them out and eliminating them. Occasionally a big mission came up, though I was never allowed to go. This caused walls to come up between Lincoln, Scot and me. I would fly into a rage and try to leave but Finn or Dayna or somebody else would find me and bring me home. I was never shouted at. I was never punished severely for my actions. The worst thing that happened to me was Confinement – being locked in a dark room the size of an airing cupboard. No light, no windows, barely any air. It was bad enough but it wasn’t horrible, it just got boring after a while. But seeing at least one member of your family being taken out a week, sometimes five or six in one night… that was the real punishment; that was the lesson I was trying to be taught.

But all I wanted was revenge. I wanted my mother’s murderers dead and I couldn’t understand why nobody would let me hunt them down. That’s what I was, after all. A hunter.

And then knowledge reached me that They’d been found. And they weren’t far away. So I waited. I waited complacently and the Gods were in my favour one day, because a mission came up that called for the best and strongest. Lincoln, Finn, Dayna and many others left the church, leaving me behind. Scot stayed. Scot doesn’t go out on missions, I was told. He just ran things from behind closed doors. He would be my main obstacle.

I took my time to gather the small snippets of information I had picked up and to plan my way out. Perhaps I had learned the lesson after all; if I just run out there, I’ll be caught. I needed time to think my way out.

The Ones that I was searching for were holed up in an abandoned warehouse twenty miles away. I would take me a while to get there, but I could hitch a ride once I hit the roads. They were led by a man named Aleister Locke. I’d heard of him before but I never realised that it was him. He was Their leader, meaning he gave the orders to rip my mother’s throat out. Meaning he had to die. They all had to die, but he would die last, after watching every other abomination burn.

They weren’t as easy to kill as the stories depict. They are vampires, but we don’t call Them that. We don’t call Them anything. They are just Beings. Scot told me Their namelessness – or everybody’s reluctance to name Them – came about because if you name Them, They know. They know and they swarm. They’re almost as good at hunting as we are, but we’re better. We’ve been trained to kill, whereas it’s just instinct for Them.

But They’re harder to kill. Sunlight won’t kill Them. It hurts, but it’s not lethal. A stake to the heart would kill anything, but it’s difficult getting that close to Them long enough to hit; They’re fast. Silver slows Them down, so we use knives and coated arrows and bullets, but that doesn’t kill Them either. Garlic just smells bad. The only sure fire ways to kill Them are fire or decapitation. Both is best. But you have about as much of a chance ripping Their heads off as you do staking Them.

I waited for four days. Four days of my patience slowly draining away, leaving me with ants under my skin. I knew where They were. They were so close! And I couldn’t get to Them.

But finally, finally, the monthly How Are the Trainees Holding Up? meeting took place. All of the trainers and Scot, anyone who could stop me, piled into a room at the back of the church. This was my only chance.

I waiting until they were ten minutes in, enough time to make sure no one was coming out, before making my way through the church. I was always told one of my strongest aspects was stealth. This rang true as I made it outside without seeing a soul.

The only thing that stood between me and Them now was the guarded gate. I needed to get through that gate. And the only way I was doing that was friendly fire. I hesitated only a second before they were gurgling on the floor, clutching their throats. I’d deal with the consequences later.

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