Lost souls

Talia has to make the biggest sacrifice, abandon her humanity to become a vampire in order to save her sister. However she gets caught up in the dark side of the realm where supernatural creatures dwell and she must try to survive ...

The amazing cover is by the talented @River_Summers :)

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17. Chapter seventeen

The snakes were writhing now, loosening their hold on Talia allowing her to slip through their coils and drop into a black abyss. She collided with the ground and broke a few ribs but this was a mild pain like a toothache to her now. When the ribs had healed she sat up. The rough touch of scales still lingered on her skin making her squirm uncomfortably to the point she convulsively rubbed her arms to rid herself of the feeling.

   “Talia, your blood trial officially begins,” Darina said.

   She glanced up to see her stood with three hooded figures on either side of her with their shining red eyes like those of the snakes. Talia rubbed her arms until they were red raw and tingling to avoid the repulsive feel of scales against her skin.

    “I and the Elders of the True Order are present to witness all in our spirit forms your innocence or guilt.” A flash of anger went across Darina’s face fleeting but enough for her to know what the verdict would likely be. And she was afraid.

     There was a low hiss slithering along the floor that made Talia flinch.

     “First question, did you conspire with the hunters to destroy the vampire nest in the Human Realm?” she asked.

     “No,” Talia replied, “I didn’t I didn-” She was cut off by the switch in location and she was thrown into the maze of tunnels in the vampire nest back in the Human Realm. The ever-twisting tunnels bringing back the nausea, the agonizing thirst for blood, the rapid fall of the hunter’s footsteps behind her.

    The slash of a hunter’s knife during the escape cut through the memory leaving her in the blackness again. It left Talia retching in front of the Queen who continued with her inquiries like there was nothing wrong.

    “Did you conspire with the hunters?”

    Matthew’s grinning face was placed near hers with his blue eyes sparkling menacingly, crouching with the severed head of the hunter held in his hand like a trophy hunt. The process of putrefaction starting to set in sent the smell of rotting meat to fill her mouth and sour her taste buds. Matthew’s face seemed to liquefy between human and insectile features as the horrifying hallucination she experienced during her transformation came to haunt her and reawaken that fear of helplessness and terror.

    “No I didn’t, I didn’t know about any hunters.” She spat on the ground to get rid of the taste of decaying flesh and wiped her tear-soaked cheeks.

    More hissing erupted and Talia cried uncontrollably.

    “I knew you were afraid of snakes since our talk at the ball,” Darina said, she glanced to the figures either side of her who had advanced forward, the hissing falling and climbing in waves. She kneeled down to her level. “The vampire who killed your mother looked like a snake didn’t he?”

    Talia was stood at the cot with Ella crying loudly behind her, a warm sensation was travelling down her leg as she wet herself in her fright and it had puddled on the carpet. She was staring into her mother’s cloudy blue eyes, noting the crooked curve of her broken neck, her own uneven loud breathing filled her head. Something darted forward, a long pale face was thrust into focus with a drawn down mouth filled with fangs, glaring down at her with those inhuman yellow eyes.

    She screamed and covered her face with her hands.

    “He did look like a snake and ever since that moment you have believed in vampires. Young Talia had been born with the sight which made her able to perceive the supernatural as a reality and so was unable to shake off her ideas of vampires throughout her whole life, she even warned her little sister about the big bad vampires.” Her hands drop to her sides and she saw Darina’s mouth distort into a cruel, amused smile. “This rare ability of sight has been wasted since she has been changed but you know the true purpose of this trial my dear elders, it is to officially brand Talia as a conspirator to our old enemy, you know who I speak of.” She stood up. 

    Shooting pains raced through Talia’s chest and brought feeling back into her limbs, made her focus on what was happening, her survival instinct.

    “What enemy? I’m not a hunter or anything!” she shouted, leaping to her feet and thinking that she had to escape or suffer a worse fate at the hands of this mad Queen.

   Darina had begun to shake and cackled, pointing at her in accusation.

    “You think you could hide forever that I would never find you!” she screamed in furious passion. The figures hissed louder and their eyes grew larger, pulsing like arteries with angry bloody tears.

    Talia backed away. “I’m not your enemy, I’m not anything, I don’t know what you are talking about!” She could feel her head being squeezed, her vision narrowing to Darina whose features morphed into those of a pale snake ready to strike.

    The hissing turned into a screaming high-pitch that disorientated Talia who fell along with Darina to her knees and was covering her ears to muffle the noise.

     Talia saw the figures crumble and fall to the floor as white ash. A Presence pressed past the figures, a presence that demanded absolute servitude and radiated power as easily as breathing. Rags of varying shades of black and grey clothed the Presence bit by bit like the beginning of a marvellous reveal.

    Darina was sobbing and was so small in this Presence. She locked eyes with Talia. Those huge eyes that lost hope as the Presence’s now pale hand brushed her face, her eyes closed and she collapsed into the blackness that consumed her.

    Talia went to get up and run but the presence’s face snapped up to watch her become paralysed and numb.

    “Hello,” the Presence said gently.

    Talia began to shiver. Her mind was untethered and became disconnected. She tasted the dryness of the air, its stillness. Eventually her numb tongue managed to gather feeling and her teeth unclenched, her vocal cords forced out a word from her mouth.

    “Mum.” She saw the same brown coloured hair and blue eyes.

    The Presence approached her and she saw that this Woman was actually a stranger, her nose was slim, pointed unlike her Mum’s wider nose shape, this Woman’s features had sharp angled cheekbones and a stern mouth not like her Mum’s softer features.

    “Why do you look like Mum?” she asked, as the Woman knelt in front of her.

    “Talia you are special to me,” the Woman said, her hand cradling Talia’s face, her touch was soft, familiar, comforting. “I need you to help me, you are the only one that can help me and I have been waiting a very long time for this opportunity to finally arrive.”

   She whispered into her hand and the words came out as little lights. They melted into a solid mass turning a dull stone grey, shaping into an oval shape that sprouted legs. It shook turning into a live stone beetle. The Woman’s expression turned cold with purpose. She gripped her face tightly and slammed her hand containing the beetle over her mouth before Talia could react.

    The Woman clamped down her hand harder onto her mouth and round the back of her head to keep her in position. She gagged at those spindly legs tickling her tongue and the inside of her cheeks. Talia struggled against the Woman feeling trapped, betrayed by her pretence of innocence.

    “Do no struggle, I am only bringing back my old world of magic, blood and darkness, you will be grateful that I saved your soul,” the Woman said.

    The beetle was squirming in Talia’s mouth and she tried to spit it out but the beetle managed to fight against the rejection and crawled its way into her throat. Once it had the Woman let go and disappeared from Talia’s side.

    Talia went to cough it up but it wouldn’t budge from her stomach which had grown hot, burning like it had been set alight from the inside. She screamed in agony as the fire spread through her veins under her skin, blackening the flesh to ash. The source of the fire grew hotter and hotter. Expanding until the pressure was too much and the fire exploded, scattering her soul into a million pieces in the endless blackness. 

End of Part I

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