Beep, beep, beep! My alarm clock screams like it always does, I take my dagger from under my pillow and stab it until it is silent forever.
I’m drenched in a cold sweat from head to toe, and I can still feel my heart racing like it wants to run out of my chest.
My Uncle Percy of course immediately knocks on the door and I contemplate throwing the knife through the door. But just then Percy opens the door and folds his arms disappointedly, “I got a call from the school, were where you yesterday?” he asks.
“Ask Matthew,” I say.
Uncle Percy nods his head, “He’s not been here a week and he has already tried to destroy you, he has to go.”
“Its fine Uncle, he’s an idiot but, he’s harmless,” I say thinking about how he pounded on Zac the other Knight, maybe not completely harmless.
“You’re supposed to be a Knight, protect the innocent from unnatural,” he says, “anything that drives you from your righteous path a Knight is not harmless.”
“I’m still going to be a Knight,” I tell Uncle Percy.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Your tests begin today, if you can convince the counsel you should then you will be a Knight,” he says.
I glare at him and he backs off a bit.
“Hurry downstairs, don’t keep Jordan waiting,” he says, then leaves slamming the door warningly.
I roll my eyes and crash back down on my bed, I have to be a Knight, I have to be. I think to myself before jumping off my bed again after a while and quickly changing then running downstairs. Jordan is helping Zac try to walk again. He finally got his cast off well Matthew and I were gone yesterday, though probably a little too soon and now he gets to hobble around in a boot, which of course he hates.
“Hey,” I say, “How are you doing?” I ask Zac.
Zac just glares at me.
“He’s doing a lot better healing quickly, but I’m just trying to focus on strengthening his mind right now, preparing him to get back out into the field every way I can,” Uncle Jordan says like a robot stuck on repeat, he must be practicing what Uncle Percy told him to say.
I look at Zac sympathetically; I’ve really hurt him.
Zac growls then walks up close to me, “Come see me when you’re done,” he whispers.
I nod then Jordan and I start sparing.
I beat Jordan, today I am on the top of my game, more focused and more determined than ever.
“Well done Sara,” Jordan says panting and sweating, he wasn’t taking it easy on me, “I think that’s good for today,”
“Come on one more time I need to be perfect today,” I say.
Jordan huffs looking at me for mercy.
“You’re going to kill me,” he says getting in a ready position.
“Thank you,” I tell him.
“But once we’re done your father wants to see you today so make sure you speak to him,” We spar again then Jordan screams uncle minutes into the round I smile proud of how well I’ve done.
Someone at the door claps, I look back and see Matthew applauding my victory, “Woot, woot, go Sara!” he cheers.
I hold my hand out to Jordan and help him off the ground and he leaves the room huffing and complaining.
“You’re really going to be a Knight?” Matthew asks.
“Yeah,” I nod.
“I would tell you to be careful but, looks like you can handle yourself,” He says.
I laugh, “Thank you Matthew,” I say glad I finally have his approval for this, I was going to be a Knight anyways but I didn’t like the way he looked so sad about it before, now he has accepted it and I can let myself go for this with no distractions, nothing holding me back, nothing, but the boy I’ve fallen in love with. Why am I thinking of Jacob now, in the middle of this important day I can’t get him off my mind, if I become a Knight this will be my life and I can’t bring Jacob into this, which means, I’d have to say, goodbye.
“I have to go talk to Abraham really quick but I really appreciate your support,” I say to Matthew.
“No problem sis’,” he says hugging me and kissing my cheek, “Good luck today.”
I nod and run to Abraham’s room. I knock on the door and wait to hear something on the other side.
The door opens and I’m greeted by my father’s smile, “Sara?”
“Sara?” my Uncle Percy calls behind me, “Sorry sir, but she should be headed to school now,” he apologizes then Uncle Percy then takes my arm and leads me away, “There’s a young man waiting for you, you shouldn’t keep people waiting,” Percy says to me once we are away.
“Of course I’m sorry Uncle,” I say.
We get upstairs and the front door is open with Jacob standing on the porch. “Hey Jacob sorry I slept in, I’m going to take a while to get ready, you can go if you want,” I tell him.
“No it’s okay, I’ll wait,” he says.
“Do you want to come in then?” I ask.
Jacob comes in and sits in the front room well I run upstairs to take a shower and get ready, when I get out of the shower, Zac is in my room laying on my bed.
“Well hi there,” I say.
“Hey,” he says, “I met your boyfriend, he seems really nice.”
“He is,” I say.
“Then for his sake leave him out of this,” Zac tells me.
“I will,” I tell him.
Zac nods satisfied, then stands up and hands me a small wrapped box, “Happy birthday,” he says then leaves my room.
I unwrap the box and see a beautiful hand crafted dagger.
I slip on jeans and a hoodie then run down to meet Jacob, “Sorry it took me so long,” I say.
“It’s okay I didn’t study for the test in English today anyways,” he says.
“We had a test in English?” I say.
“Yeah you probably missed that information, sorry.”
“It’s okay let’s just get going.”
“Ah Mrs. Knight nice of you to join us,” Mr. O’Brien said when I walked into his class late.
“Sorry,” I say and walk over to my normal desk.
But there’s something new there today sitting in the seat right in front of mine is a tall boy with striking black hair and a distinctly European face who was wearing a heavy leather Jacket and had a motorcycle helmet resting on his desk, a mischievous grin played on his lips and his dark eyes stared into mine as I passed by him to get to my desk.
The boy turns around to me smiling wickedly at me, “I didn’t know there would be another Knight here?” his voice seems to purr as he whispers to me, “I’m Xander,” he holds his hand out and I shake it.
“Sara,” I say.
“Holy shit, like from the main family?” he asks.
“My father is Abraham Knight,” I tell him.
“Well then it’s an honor,” he says then checks the front of the class then whispers a little quieter, “I’ve heard about you, you must be really strong to face off against the Knighthood the way you have,” he says.
“What do you mean?” against the Knighthood?
“Well girls aren’t allowed to be Knights and instead of accepting that you’re going to make them accept you,” Xander says, “I love it.”
“Well, I’m just trying to protect the world however I can,” I say.
“I’m sure you are,” he says studying me, “Let me take you out for lunch and you can tell me all about it,” he suggests.
“Xander I know you’re new here but in this class we face the front, please and thank you,” Mr. O’Brien scolds.
I smile and try to remain calm but my mind is freaking out, it’s true there’s another Knight, here, at my high school. Why didn’t Percy tell me about this? I pull out my phone and text him.
“Uncle I need you to look up a name for me.”
“What is it?”
“I’ll see what I can find, is there a problem?”
“Not sure yet.”
“I’ll check this out but you should focus on your tests.”
I close the phone and struggle to pay attention to the rest of the class.
I know about the Knights I’ve been tracking their movements in order to help me prepare for my tests and learned everything I could about how my father led the Knighthood, I knew there were no Knights in this area, except for us of course, everyone else was off fighting in the constant war against evil. He shouldn’t be here. Why is he here?
The bell rings, and Xander grabs his helmet and turns to me, “Why don’t we get out of here?” he asks.
I smile like everything is completely normal and nod, “yeah sure,” I say, I need to find out more about him, Percy might be upset I went off campus with someone I don’t know but I can handle myself and I need answers.
“Here,” he says tossing me his helmet, “I don’t usually take people on my bike so I only got one,” he gets on and pats the spot behind him, “you ain’t scared are ya’?” he asks.
I laugh, Knights aren’t afraid of anything, I think to myself then put the helmet on and hesitate before getting on, but I’ve never been on one before. I take a breath in and get on, I need answers.
Xander grabs my arms and wraps them around his stomach, “hold on tight,” he says and then were off.
“So Xander is that short for something?” I ask as soon as we get taco bell.
“Nah, just my name,” he shrugs.
“Why haven’t I heard of you?” I ask getting straight to the point.
“Rude I know everything about you and you’ve never even heard of me,” Xander says and holds his hand to heart, “That hurts,” he laughs a little at his own joke, “Just kidding I don’t expect you to know anything about me, I never really became a Knight, my dad was though so that’s how I got the name and know general knowledge of the Knighthood. But I’m not a Knight, just before I became a Knight I backed out and decided that that’s not what I wanted, shortly after that my dad was killed, on a mission that I was supposed to go on,” Xander tells me, “But no, I know what you’re going to ask and no, I still don’t want to be a Knight, not even if it could bring my dad back, he made his decision to die for what he believed in, I’ve decided to live for what I believe in, myself,” he says. “What about you, what’s your story?” he asks.
“I don’t have much of a story, I was born and raised in the Knighthood, tonight I begin a series of tests for the leaders of the Protectors in order to prove that I can be a Knight, tI have to be a Knight, and if they won’t accept me I have to keep proving myself until they do,” I say.
“Good for you, motivation, spirt, and you’re pretty, I like it,” Xander says then leans forward, “So what are these test going to be like?” he asks.
“I have to prove my skills as a warrior by fighting a warrior the leaders agree on, he’ll be one of the best all the Protectors have to offer, but I have to win, and if I do, they will be testing my knowledge of how to kill, my ability to strategize, and my dedication to the Knighthood. After that I will be allowed to work a mission, if I complete my mission, I will become a Knight.”
“Sounds easy enough,” Xander says sarcastically.
“It doesn’t really matter, whatever I have to do I have to do, I have to be a Knight,” I say.
“Excuse me?” I snap.
“There are thousands of Knights across the globe, why is it so important that you are also a Knight?” he asks.
There’s no point explaining it to this traitor he would never understand, “Runs in the family,” I shrug.
Xander nods, “ran in my family too, but I still didn’t do it,” he says.
“There’s a lot people who don’t know what’s out there killing innocent people and I can’t just stand by and watch as that happens,” I say giving him the typical answer a Knight should.
“Sure but there are plenty of Knights already fighting do you really think that you, one little girl can do that much to help, chances are you’ll die on your first mission, you’re just talking up the leaders time with this nonsense,” he fumes.
“You’re right, the Knighthood would be fine without me, but I wouldn’t be fine without it. Have you seen hunters, they push themselves on rage and personal vendetta, they’re sloppy and get killed, they get other people killed. But the Knighthood has order, most Knights are really just searching for revenge, I’m no different. But the Knighthood takes that passion and gives it direction so we can protect people. With or without the Knighthood I know about the unnatural and I will fight them, but with the Knighthood maybe I can actually do some good,” I answer honestly.
Xander claps, “if you say that there’s no way you won’t become a Knight,” he cheers, “But be careful, think very, very carefully about this because once you’re in there is no getting out. Are you really prepared to deal with the war, ready to be a cold blood killer?” he asks, “I don’t think you are,” his eyes leer into my soul searching for the truth about what type of person I can be. He laughs.
My phone rings 2 messages from Uncle Percy,
“No record of a Xander Knight in your area.”
“Sara what is this about?”
6 messages from Josh,
“Sara where are you?”
“Where are you?”
“Why are you not in my class?”
“Get to class right now.”
“Sara are you okay?”
“I have a really bad feeling right now if you don’t call me I’m going to call your Father.” Not Percy? This is serious.
“Do you need to get back to school?” Xander asks noticing the concern on my face.
I nod, “yes please.”
Xander smiles, “That’s okay I didn’t expect a goody two shoes Knight to ditch school all day just for some tacos,” he jokes.
“Sara, where were you?” Josh asks as soon as I get to class, he sounds genuinely concerned then puts back on his professional face, “Why are you late for my class?” he asks.
I shrug, “Sorry I went out for lunch and lost track of time,” I say mimicking what other students say all the time.
Josh nods but doesn’t believe me at all, “Okay I’ll let you off on a warning this time but you only get one,” he warns.
I nod and go sit down in my desk. Only minutes later the bells rings. I get up to leave but.
“Miss Knight, a word?” Josh says from his desk.
I walk over to him and stand silently.
“Where were you?” he asks.
“I really was just out having lunch,” I tell him.
“The day your tests begin I don’t think so,” he says, “What’s going on?” he asks.
“Nothing, can I go now?” I ask.
Josh nods, “I’m going to be talking to your father about this later.”
I laugh, “What not snitching to Percy this time?” I mock.
Josh stares hurt.
I smile and leave.
“Sara,” Jacob says smiling at me as I exit the class.
I smile back, all of this is going to be gone after today, I’m going to have to stop seeing Jacob, at all, I can’t talk to him at all, I’ll be a Knight, I have to act like one. But I’ve grown so fond of this stupid boy.
Jacob notices my sadness and tilts his head, “What’s wrong?” he asks.
“Nothing, just tiered,” I lie. I smile and lock my fingers with Jacobs.
“Do you want to go home?” he asks.
I shake my head. Not only would Uncle Percy kill me for ditching school again but I don’t want to be around anything that has to do with the Knighthood, I want to be with Jacob for a little bit, just Jacob.
“Do you just want to get away?” he asks.
I nod and smile, “Yes please.”
We walk to an empty park and lie on the grass I lie my head on chest and we look up at the clouds. Just completely still.
“So really what’s wrong?” Jacob asks breaking the silence.
“Family drama,” I say.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asks.
I sigh, more than anything, “No,” I say.
“Are you sure?” he asks.
“You know you can tell me anything you want to Sara, you can trust me. But I mean don’t feel like you have to tell me everything, if you don’t want to tell me that’s fine, but I do want to help if you’ll let me,” he says.
I sigh, “It’s not really something you can help me with,” I say.
“Hey I’m really smart, I can fix anything,” he jokes.
You couldn’t even begin to understand this insane world I’m wrapped up in, that’s why I do trust you, “I really just don’t want to talk about it,” I say begging him to drop it before I break and tell him everything.
“Alright, I won’t push it,” Jacob says then starts playing with my hair, “I love you,” he whispers as he kisses the top of my head.
I push away from him and sit up, “what?” I ask. He said it, he actually said it, he loves me. He can’t say that. I want him to say it again.
“I love you Sara, I love you,” he says as soon as I wish for it.
My eyes fill tears as I strain to keep my legs from running to him. My palms are sweaty and my heart is racing a thousand miles an hour, I feel like I’m dying yet I never want this feeling to stop. I want to him to say it again, I want him to say it every day, I want to be with him, forever, I can’t give him up, I don’t want to be a Knight. I love him too.
Jacob laughs, “It’s okay, I’m not expecting you to say it back, you don’t need to say it,” he whispers walking closer to me.
I shake my head and try to hold out my hands to stop him, but he just gently takes my hands intertwining our fingers as he whispers, “I already know you do to.”
He takes one of his hands and uses it to raise my head to look into his loving eyes, “You love me, don’t you Sara?” he asks with teasing confidence.
“Yes,” I whisper.
Jacob moves his other hand to my face and uses his thumbs to whip away the tears that freely fall from my face.
He moves his hand back down to mine and takes it then lifts my hand up to his chest, “Can you feel it? This I how I know my love is real because, you’re the only one that’s ever made me feel this way,” he says. My eyes travel from his eyes to his lips and its barley cold enough outside I can see his breath as he talks, how can it be cold outside, my body feels so warm next to his. I look back into his eyes and he pulls me closer to him until our lips touch making my whole body spark with new life.
“I love you,” I whisper.
I shut the door carefully behind me, I’m on cloud 9 from another of Jacob’s kisses.
But then I see Zac and my heart comes crashing down.
“Zac,” I whisper.
He smiles sadly at me then just turns into the kitchen. I chase him and see him pulling out a bottle of rum.
“What did you see?” I ask.
“You just want to know what you can lie about,” he says.
Zac groans and rolls his eyes, “Whatever, I don’t care about, anything anymore, I just need some time alone,” he says.
I nod and let him walk past me. As I watch him walk away I feel sick to my stomach. I don’t know why I keep hurting him, I don’t want to it just happens. He’s such a good guy and my oldest friend, he loves me so much and he wants me to love him it hurts him so much that I don’t. If I could I would stop caring about Jacob but I can’t, I love him.
“Marital problems?” Matthew asks when I walk upstairs to my room.
I ignore him and start heading up to my room but that only makes him double down.
“Wait Sara, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything, I don’t know how to shut up like I used to. I just need to talk to you for a little bit,” he begs.
“Okay,” I say, and we sit on the stairs.
Matthew hands me a small wrapped box, “Happy birthday little sis’” he says to me.
I take the box and stare at it, “what is this?’ I ask.
“Open it,” he says.
I untie the red bow and unwrap the shiny paper surrounding the box, I open the box and see the small pearl on top of tangles necklace chain.
“Mom’s?” I ask.
Matthew takes the necklace and puts it around me, “Yeah.”
There’s a loud banging on the door. Someone is trying to get into the house.
I stare at the door wondering why they don’t just come in but my stomach turns in fear as my mom grabs my arm and pulls me so fast I barely have time to realize it’s her, but her blonde hair blurs in my vision as she pulls me down the stairs to my room. I hear the door upstairs burst open. My mom opens a box of my toys in, dumps out all the toys and shoves me in it then pushes me and the box into the closet as the footsteps get close.
There’s more banging on my door, growls, howls, snarls, then for a moment complete silence, even my mother stops praying, I try to breathe but my body won’t let me, I’m to afraid. Then there are footsteps that boom down the stairs. Mom tries desperately to move things in the room to cover the door. Then as the footsteps stop there is more silence. My mom comes over to the closet and whispers, “please stay alive my love,” then the door bursts open sending everything in the room to shatter against the wall.
There are more snarls and howls and one crackling, striking laugh. “Vivian Knight,” a calm voice hisses, “Where is your husband at today?” he asks.
“My family is visiting the Guardians this weekend,” mom says completely calm.
“Not your whole family though,” he says running something against the closet door. I start shaking with fear.
“Please,” Mom whispers.
“I like that, the sound of you begging, do it again,” the voice commands.
“Please,” she says, “don’t do this, don’t hurt—.”
The voice laughs again, “Oh it’s going to hurt,” he tells my mom, “But if you beg I just might leave you alive,” he says.
There’s a silence that fills the room, a silence so strong even the shallowest breath would cut their air like a knife.
The man clicks his tongue, “shame,” he whispers, “take her upstairs, gut her, rip her to pieces, I don’t want a single drop of blood left in her body,” the voice yells.
“Don’t do anything!” my mother yells before every sound is drowned out by her screams.
I try to push the lid off the box so I can’t get out to help her but something is on top that holds the lid down. I start to panic, every breathe I take is sharp and full of fear. I push harder and harder onto the lid.
I feel light headed and stop for just a moment and notice, every sound in the house has stopped, my mom’s screams, the growling, and the laughter.
The closet door opens and I see a shadow outside the box. It leans down, “Stay here, don’t you dare try to leave, if you do I can’t keep you alive,” the voice that was talking to my mom says, the knocks the stuff on top the box to the ground and closes the closet door again, and shoves something against it.
I wait for what feels like hours until after I heard the voice say they are leaving and heard the front door close, then I try to push off the lids and step out of the box. I try to open the closet doors but they are stuck.
I hear the front door open back up again and I duck into the box trying to put the lid back on top of me again.
Then I hear more screams.
My Dads screams.
“Thank you,” I whisper, feeling a stinging in my eyes and heart.
“She’s the reason I became a Knight too,” Matthew says wiping a tear from my cheek, “I was already going to become a Knight because, well I am our father’s son, I sort of had to, but after she died, I had a reason, a reason to hate them, I don’t hate them anymore, I’ve changed, grown tiered from all the hate, but, thinking about mom, how she died, it makes me want to kill every last one of them. So if that’s what you need to be a Knight, hate, a reason, I hope this will remind you of what happened to her, who did it to her, the justice you owe to her,” Matthew desperately tells me, “Do you hate them?” Matthew asks.
“I do,” I whisper.
“Then you’re already a Knight,” he says.