With heavy heart, I started the car and headed out of the town. Images from the time we had just shared with Amanda flooded my mind, throwing in additional inserts of the times before. Without noticing, I dropped the speed, consumed, and when I reached the outskirts of New Orleans, it was barely making forty. I shook my head as if it could rid me from the reveries, turned on the radio and sped up while the highway seemed empty under the starry sky. Gradually, the shifted focus worked, and I tuned into the song. ‘And the message coming from my eyes says leave it alone.’
Suddenly Amanda’s face flashed in front of my vision, blinding me for a few seconds with how vivid it was. She looked terrified, a trickle of blood ran from the corner of her mouth. I twirled the wheel and almost drove off the shoulder of the road before the brakes rooted me into the ground. My breath hitched, I panted, asking myself how real it was. I didn’t need to question it, and I knew the truth in my heart of hearts. I also knew I needed no more trouble than I already had been loaded with when I came. And I knew she denied my help in getting her out of this mess. And yet I realized I could not leave it like that. I might be not as responsible, given my lack of awareness concerning their new order around here, but I had already stepped in and had a friend in trouble. I killed the engine, slumped in my seat and rubbed my face to clear my mind. Highway to hell, the radio roared. Damn right it was. Now it truly was, but I got too deep in to get out just yet.
I pushed the Camaro off the shoulder and left it behind the bushes, as concealed as possible. Then I dug my heels into the dirt and dashed back to the town.
It was deadly quiet around and in her house. There was no one there. I carefully scanned the surroundings and crept closer, searching for a quieter way in. The basement window was easy to force open, and I slid in. New scents hung in the air, beside the blood of the ones I killed earlier. There was a drop of blood in the hallway that I thought was Amanda’s. She had it trickle from her mouth, indeed. Not too much to leave more than one drop on the wooden floor. I winced and pushed the overthinking into the background, in need of clearer mindset. There was a mess in the bedroom – they were searching for any additional signs of me. Maybe, something I might have left behind. The bodies I left upstairs disappeared, as well as their hearts. Only pools of caked blood indicated where they lay.
Before I came up with any further plan, I sensed some activity outside. A few more were closing in as I stood here scratching my head. It was stupid to come here – I knew it to begin with – but I had to. It might have been pathetically heroic and something Stefan would have been more apt to do. But it was me standing here with my ass about to get kicked. I wasn’t sorry I came. And I wasn’t going to be sorry about ripping some additional hearts out, either. There were two more. One came through the window in the living room and stole across the first floor in the dark until I got him in the hallway. The other one entered through the back door and died three feet into the house. I had heard the whooshes of air and was twirling to face my new enemies when the concentrated vervain spurted into my bloodstream from three syringes. Stupid, I thought dumbly when the vision blurred and legs wobbled and gave way, and three pairs of arms caught me before I dropped on the floor where the heart I had ripped out of their pal’s chest a moment ago lay in the black blot. The stinging darkness quickly sucked me into the oblivion.
- Blood Ties (6)