I slowly walked toward the counter, my feet making a light scraping on the hardwood since my feet were so dry from the summer sun and constant exposure of the elements. My eyes found the snoring figure of my mother on our beat up moss green couch, her hand dangling downward; she was out for the night. Bottles of booze surrounding her, some opened while others remained closed and untouched on our counter. Sighing heavily, I sauntered toward the bottles, taking two of the unopened bottles while one of the opened embraced my open lips. The tips of my fingers hungrily finding her package of cigarettes, taking four while sticking another in my now yearning mouth, my lips caressing the light and rewarding creature. I wouldn't feel relief while the creature wasn't alive, it would lie dead between my dry lips till it was lit with a flame that would give us both life.
I watched my mother for a few moments, her chest rising then dipping deeply before dipping deeply again. Our similarities were striking, same dull shade of brown on our heads that fell down passed out shoulders, the same cloudy grey eyes, and the same damn hollowness under our eyes and cheek bones. Too bad she couldn't see how alike we are right now. It was all too bad. Sighing heavily, I grabbed my phone off the charger and walked out of the house without a glance back. My feet hitting the hard pavement with a loud Thud as I walked away from the house. Booze in a bag, a smoke in my mouth with the three in the back of my pocket. Lighting the cigarette, I started walking while fumbling with headphones in my hands. Taking a long drag to calm my nerves, I untangled the headphones and put them in my ears, Grouch by Green Day blaring in my ears.
I couldn't hear anything, I couldn't smell anything besides the smoke between my cracked and beaten lips, my mind was taken up by the feelings I could no longer handle. Four of my senses were taken by my anger, by my hatred, by my loath. So when it happened, I couldn't do anything to stop it. Before I could even try to stop it, I had to go through eliminating everything that was already obscuring my thoughts for my survival instincts to kick in. It all happened so fast though, it happened faster then I was even able to try and get rid of the inability to hear, to smell, to even think properly. I was there, then gone within seconds. I remember my bag dropping, the wet feeling of a liquid crashing against my grey skinny jeans, the feeling of hands wrapping around my mouth then my hands to pin them behind my back. I was rendered helpless in seconds.
Headphones tugged out of my ears now, I could hear a vehicle, the engine loud. I could feel the softness of the grass as I was pushed the few steps to the curb, another pair of hands came out to pull me in. I landed hard on my front, a loud groan escaping my lips as the hands hauled me upward and flipped me on my knees with my hands behind my back, I hadn't realized my eyes were squeezed shut till a piece of cloth was put over them then my mouth. Thin ropes came and bound my hands behind my back tightly, then pushed me back down onto my stomach to rope my ankles together. The hands flipped me other onto my back the grabbed the collar of my concert t-shirt and howdy to yank me off the ground into a sitting position in a corner. My head smashed into the hard steal of the truck before I heard more doors opening to invite two others into the vehicle.
Mumbling was heard before the vehicle took off down the road, I could see where we were going in my head, the streets memorized by the nights where I couldn't sleep, of me just walking aimlessly walking around the small area occupied by hundreds of houses and a few businesses. I could tell they were taking us out of town; it wouldn't be had to tell. The mumbling subsided as I lost track of the turns they took, my mind becoming clogged and filled the strong smell of vinegar and cinnamon filled my nose. It was strange and alarming all in the same time, a sharp turn made my head slam against the door, a loud groan escaping my lips. "Shut up!” a loud, low voice shouted at me. I flinched backward, hitting my head again but forcing the groan back down my throat like pushing water down a small pipe.
The silence fell on us as bricks fell on an animal, painful and bruising. I let my body become limp, letting thoughts fill my mind as did the smell and the sharp turns. I couldn't let that get to me though, I had to find some way to at least know something, something like who they were or if I knew them, where we were. Just something. I shrugged my shoulders upward and tilted my head to the left, letting my shoulder brush against the cloth against my eyes, slowly bringing it down to just above my eye socket, I leaned my body over in a shrugging position. My head hanging over my body, I forced my eyes to look upward, the brown fabric catching most of my view but the thin sliver of the front of now what I know as a van with four seats, seat back to back. Three men were in seats, all facing forward, two with dark brown hair and one with light brown hair. Another bump made my head smash against the back again, a larger force making my head pound, still forcing the groan down my throat.
The cloth came back over my face again, the dim light shining through the thick material. A couple laughs from the front seats were my only indication that they were watching. Not an assurance, just a note. Just to let me know that they were watching. After what felt like an hour, but was really only minutes, they started talking again.
"How far are we?" one asked, voice low in trying to whisper and low in general.
"Little over 30 k. Take the blind off her," the other demanded, voice more controlling.
Forcing myself to keep still, I let what felt like slimy fingers slid down my face to reveal the inside of the van and a male face only inches from mine. Eyes a spicy bright brown that laid a sparkle of something dark deep inside, no doubt the fact that I was sitting bound in a van. I stayed quiet and calm, my breathing mostly even. I'd seen the movies, person gets taken then once they have a chance they scream for help, next thing you know you see their body in the next shot either in a ditch of a shallow grave in the middle of some forest. I didn't want to die then, not like that. Not at the hands someone else.
We drove for hours, their eyes constantly looking back at me, checking to see if I were either still there or still alive. Both in a mental and physical tone, both I had regained and still held in my hand firmly. I could see trees passing, growing bigger and bigger with each town we passed. They kept to the back roads, only going through the towns when they had too. Finally turning off the road and into somewhere gated, the one man front the passenger seat got out and seemed to unlock the gate. We moved forward, slowly easing our way through while the branches of trees scraped against the van, making it feel eerie in the van. "Untie her legs." the driver barked at the one sitting in the back seats. He slowly got up, his light brown hair coming in front of his eyes as he got up from his seat. His slimy fingers gripped my ankles as he slowly untied the ropes, keeping eye contact with me, I felt his hand slowly slide up my calf to my thigh and gasped as he squeezed, a smirk spreading across his red lips.
The car jolted to a stop, his smirk fell as he kept his balance but my head banged against the back again. He crept to the van door and opened it to reveal the man in the passenger seat, his eyes a deep blue. Both were tall and had a strong build with broad shoulders, I clenched my jaw shut and waited for something else to happen. In the background I noticed a cabin, more like a shack, with tall pine and spruce trees hugging its grey sides, a rusty fireplace was thrown to the side with a few lawn chairs keeping it company. The ground was littered with red and orange leaves that looked damp from a rainfall, the smell of damp moss and depleting wood filling my senses. The driver got out of the front seat, my eyes didn't follow him, they stayed on the two in front of the shack, and they stared right back at me. My eyes hardened a little, the driver came into view as well, his structure the same. Dark shaggy black hair swept across his forehead, bright icy blue eyes took in my figure as a slow wide smirk took hold of his thin beige lips. "Bring her out and make the fire." was all he said before turning around and walking back up the road, now my eyes followed him.
"With pleasure." the passenger said with a large smile, he leaned forward before grabbing my strained arms and yanking me hard, making my front lean out of the van while my legs lay out in the back. I slowly dragged my legs out of the van, one foot on the ground at a time as my knees took my weight shakily. My breath came out in slow icy puffs as my head bobbed upward to view the rest of the area. Out away from the shack and fireplace, was a tree with winding branches that were aiming upward, begging the heaven's to reconsider their decision his death. The wind howled as I was pulled along towards the shack, my eyes stuck on the tree as its branches moved with the wind, dancing together. I tripped on a root the was sticking up from the ground, falling flat on my stomach as my cheek hits the ground hard, the feeling of rocks and sticks scraping against me. I was hauled back onto my feet, the feeling of something wet sliding down my cheek. "Looks like someone got a little dirty." Deep blue eyes stroked my cheek, hands cold as he wiped the wetness off my cheek, a dark red smudge on his thumb, then his thumb went in his mouth and sucked hard. A shiver running though my body. That's my blood... My mind screamed at me, as my eyes fell on the look of pure pleasure his features displayed.
"Stop playing around with her John, get her over there!" the driver bellowed as he sauntered towards me, a key twirling around his finger. His smirk smaller the before.
"Sorry Damon, just wanted to have some fun with her." John winked at me, my body willed itself not to hunch over and spill out everything it contained.
"Just, go get Dominick and start the fire and get the shack ready. I'll take care of her." Damon threw the keys at John as he walked towards me, his eyes locked on mine as his smirk deepened as he closed the space between us. He leaned over me, his mouth coming close to my ear as his eyes scanned my lips then my eyes as his forehead furrowed. "Such a quiet thing, aren't you? Come on, let’s hear that pretty little voice." His fingers skimmed my body, lightly but still forceful. I took in a deep breath.
"Why?" I asked, genuinely curious.
His smirk deepened as his hands found my neck, closing around it slowly tightening. "Because, I already know what your groan looks like, next is your whimper, then your scream, then finally," he paused, his hands so tight I could barely breath, the breath moving fast and hard through my lungs. "No breath will come out of you at all. I want to hear you speak." His voice was strong and hard, his hands shaking me.
"If I speak more than this, I'll say something to make this worse on me," I forced out. He let me go, my panting filling the air between us. I knees wobbled from his words as I straightened up. My eyes glazing with tears as I took in his hard expression, my arms felt like dead weight, going past the point of hurt to the point of feeling nothing.
"Let’s make a deal. I... Let your arms go from that," he gestured to the knots keeping the dead weight behind me, "and you speak whatever is on your mind." He smiled sweetly, his head dipping downward. I nodded slowly, letting him turn me around to take the knots from my bound hands. His fingers softly gliding around my wrists, till finally my hands came free from behind me. I was about to pull them to my front to caress them against my chest when I felt Damon take them once again, slowly massaging the skin at my wrists before going to my forearms, his fingers moving in slow circles. I felt the coldness of him through my sweater, making me shiver. Finally I pulled my arms to my chest, not wanting him to touch me anymore. I spun around to face him, slowly backing up, holding onto my left wrist as I went. "Speak." He pronounced the word as if he were training a dog. I was stopped by a tree hitting my back, the bark comforting my back to know that they wouldn't be able to touch my uncensored back.
"Hello," was the first thing I said, clenching my teeth together. Then the sudden thought came into my mind, What if I could make him not kill him... try to become something to him. The idea hit me with a thud, but, there might be a positive to being with him. Like never going back?
He smiled a deadly smile, "Humor me," He flat lined. His eyes coming to level with me.
"My name is Lana. I'm fifteen years old with an average of 66% because I think it’s pointless to measure someone’s aptitude in exams. I live with a mother that is constantly away mentally but physically lying on our couch drinking and smoking, I never knew my father. My favorite colour is a reddish brown, like a fall leaf. I drink and smoke because I think it’s the only thing that will help me cope with my mother leaving me. I have to help pay the bills and the rest of my family wants nothing to do with me." I rushed it all out. Hoping to get a reaction. Which I did.
His shocked expression subsided before he spoke. "Lovely name. I agree with your thoughts on school and that's too bad about your family. My favorite colour is the colour of your eyes, grey and washed out." He smiled devilishly, as he grabbed my hand and tugging me away from the protection of the tree. I was slowly trying to hold the blush down, He likes one thing about you so far, and maybe I can make him like the rest. There was a fire started, John and Dominick were sitting in lawn chairs around it, their smirks outlining their faces as they took in Damon's rush towards them with me in tow. "Make sure you keep her here, if she tries to leave... You know what to do." He smirked at me, throwing me down to the ground. I caught myself with my hands, the palms coming in contact with twigs and rocks, the skin opening to the contaminants. I pushed myself up so I could see what was happening, not wanting to be left without another sense.
"Come on sweetie," John patted his lap. "Come have a seat and we can all talk" he grinned at me. His eyes shining from the light of the fire. Humor him, I stood and walked over to him, gently settling myself down on his lap. I silently hoped that this plan would work.
"Look at that, Mate!" Dominick laughed, "You actually got a girl to sit on you!" he laughed again. I only let myself grin, not wanting to draw too much attention, the force of the grin caught Dominick. He nodded at me, almost like he was praising me. My hope flared in my chest as I took in this action. "So Love, what’s your name?" He leaned in towards me, his grin spreading into a full out smile.
I spoke without hesitation. "Lana,"
"Well Lana," he drawled out. Looking down when he spoke now, "are you ready to have some fun with the big boys tonight?" his eyes flashed up, to look at me straight in the eyes.
Clenching my jaw, "I'm ready for you," I spoke with confidence. The only way I could get through this is if I played their game, if I acted like them.
It caught him off guard, his eyes showing it. "Great, I can't wait to get started." He stood, winked, then left. I slowly got off of John, before placing myself down in Dominick's seat and looking deeply into the fire. After a few moments I realized that John was doing the same, I decided to take the opportunity.
"John?" I asked sweetly, he looked up at me, his eyebrows raised. "Why me?" I asked, slowly realizing what I had just said. After everything I had built up, I could have just shot it all down with one question. I silently prayed I didn't ruin anything for myself.
John looked at me for a few moments, his eyes reeling before he decided on an answer. "You were the only one out, it wasn't that late but you were alone. You were smoking and we saw the bottles in your bag, which to us, indicated that your family was broken in a way and wouldn't know you were gone. Or that you left for long amounts of time. You seemed angry, but you were listening to music, so you wouldn't of known till we had you, till we touched you..." his eyes dipped down to my body then back to my eyes, "so, we took you." he finished bluntly. His eyes then went back to the fire.
I nodded, "I get that, I guess. If there is a way to get it." I shook that off and said, "What I’m saying is that, I don't really think I want to go home, or well back. It never felt like home," I looked down at my now clasped hands in front of me.
"Whys that?" John asked, looking at me with curiosity.
"Well, it’s like you said. My family is broken, I don't think my mother will notice I’m gone for a couple of days since I do leave a lot. I'd rather go somewhere for a couple of days, then move on with no ties to anyone. Then stay in one place longer than a week." I bit my lip, focusing on the growing flames of the fire. I could feel John's gaze on my face, hear him shuffle his feet on the ground and the grunt of his voice as he hit his elbow on the lawn chair.
"I guess it’s a good thing you won’t be hanging around here for very long then," He smirked as I turned to look at him, eyebrow raised. "I might be able to make some arrangements with Damon... who knows?" With that he stood and walked towards the cabin, where a dark figure was standing and wrapping rope around a tree. I turned my back on them, my eyes focusing on the dark twisted tree in the middle of the plain and bare place. Its branches were exactly the same as before, in some tense I thought of that tree being brown instead of grey, it covered in green leaves branching off into different directions to welcome different animals and insects. Then it turned, made itself into something dark, maybe to survive. Maybe it saw that as the only way it could get out, only way for it to live.
That's when it hit me, I had to be them to get out of here alive. To live. My mind started to expand, possibilities coming into play. They might let me, just might. Make a deal, a deal they can't refuse... My mind screamed at me, as I could hear them shouting, Damon and John would hush each other down then slowly rise up to it again. I couldn't tell what they were shouting about, but I had an idea it involved me. Before my mind could come and contradict my body, I was off running towards them. My hair flaring out behind me.
"Damon!" I shouted as I neared them, I couldn't see his face very well but I could see his hard features. "Let’s make a deal!" I huffed as he came closer, slowly backing away.
He stood right in front of me, his breathing rigid, "What kind of deal?" His voice hard but curiosity lined his words.
"A deal," I took a deep breath to steady myself, "If I stay with you and you guys keep me alive, I’ll do anything." All I could come up with...
He mulled this over in his head, "Anything?" his mischievous grin came into play.
I nodded, my hair flying around my face. "Anything, I'm almost like you guys anyway. Just gotta teach me a few things..." I bit my lip hard, my hand gripping on a tree to keep my balance as he stepped closer to me.
"Almost like us?" he asked, his eyebrow raising. "So, you are willing to become like us? To kill people? I'm sure we can teach you that, as long as you have the heart to do it, because otherwise sweetie, you’re going to end up breaking into millions of pieces. That's when your time ends with us, when you break," his face was inches from mine, causing me to step backwards and closer to the fire to see his face lightened and hard, "when you cry and scream for forgiveness. That is the time when you die in the most painful way I can make it," his brow furrowing as he looked deep into my eyes.
I clenched my jaw and made my decision. "So we got a deal?" I asked. Making my voice as powerful as I could.
He smirked, his eyes glazing over as he tilted his head to the side. "Deal." was all he said before he turned just as Dominick came into view. "Change of plan!" he yelled to Dominick as he came closer, Damon stepped close enough to me that I could feel his body, taking my hands in his one large one and making me hold onto something. "We’re going to keep her, but there is something that does need to go..." he looked into my eyes, then I looked down at the gun that was in my hands. I made the smallest nod knowing I had to do this, to show him I was in.
"And? What would that be?" Dominick asked, stopping a few meters from us, my eyes locked with the left side of his chest then his neck.
"Well, Lana? What do you think that is?" Damon looked at me with a deep grin.
I didn't say a word, I didn't lose the place where one half of his chest met the other. I could feel the difference though, the change my eyes took as I lifted the gun to the spot as my jaw clenched. I could see the actions happening in slow motion if I didn't pull the trigger, if I let him run away and the gun drop from my hands, then the impact of something to my head, then there wouldn't be anything to come out of me but the smell of rot as I decomposed under that grey tree. All because I didn't follow the same path that it did. If I didn't follow the path before me, then I would never have a path to follow again. I had to play the game of life, a life that I had to become in order to survive.
The gun felt light in my hand as I pulled the trigger and let the first bullet fly, as it met with his chest I felt mine flare up with pride and happiness. I knew I was in, I knew that Damon accepted me. I let another bullet fly to meet inches from the first, pushing him down to the ground. I couldn’t help the grin that spread across my face as I heard his grunt of pain, the shuttering of his chest as it rose and fell. I walked to his body, his eyes wide open as he took me in. I raised the gun to level with his head, I could feel Damon's praise as I slowly pulled the trigger.
That was my first kill. That was the last time, I ever went home.