Author: coldestkiss77 PM
Nicole didn't realize she was being hunted...until it was too late to run.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Horror - Chapters: 3 - Words: 2,481 - Reviews: 266 - Favs: 177 - Follows: 55 - Updated: 08-30-12 - Published: 08-10-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2401744
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Nicole, honey! Come eat breakfast!"
I rolled over on my bed to stare at the ceiling, still not yet fully awake. I had the same dream again, the one I had nearly every night. For some reason I could never remember the details when I woke up, except for the name Dominik, but even that faded away after a while. Eventually I wrote the name down on a sheet of paper, but that mysteriously vanished soon after. At least I remembered the name.
Forcing myself up off the mattress, I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes before rummaging through the mess that was my room until I found a plain black t-shirt and a pair of black jeans. "Rebellious little Hungarian girl," my cousin Paul called me, due to my black-on-black wardrobe. Hungarian. The accent was still there, but so faint that no one recognized it to be from Hungary.
As I entered the dining room, I eyed my "family" curiously—they were picture-perfect until you threw me into the mix. Not that I minded that I was disturbing their perfect lives. After all, hadn't I offered to leave the country and visit Hungary every summer? Aunt Joanne and Uncle Calvin refused to let me go. Something about "unknown dangers" or whatever. They wouldn't even let me speak Hungarian under their roof.
The only reason I was here was because my parents died in a fire when I was four. My name wasn't actually Nicole Anderson: according to the birth certificate stuffed in a drawer in my room, it was Nikolett Szalai. Calvin was the only relative they could find to send me to. He was Hungarian, but had no trace of an accent and spoke none of the language. See, my mother, Ilona, was his sister. But their parents divorced, the father remaining in Hungary with Ilona and the mother moving to America with Calvin as a newborn. When my maternal grandmother took up her maiden name, Anderson (because her father had been half-American), she changed Calvin's surname to match hers.
But there were too many unanswered questions for me to accept my parents' cause of death. For instance, why had I survived? Our cabin was in the middle of a snowy forest; who lets their child play alone in the snow among all those wild animals? And why hadn't I gone to a funeral? Where were their graves? No one offered me any evidence of their deaths, so how did I know they weren't traveling Hungary trying to find me?
Calvin offered a smile as a greeting when I sat down. I forced a smile in return and snatched up a piece of toast, as well as a section of the newspaper. "Mary's gonna be late for morning ballet," I said in a sing-song voice, staring at a random article.
Mary pushed her chair back so fast she nearly knocked over her orange juice. Throwing a frantic glance at the clock over the doorway, she ran to grab her ballet slippers and rushed out the door. I almost laughed, but no one else seemed to notice her sudden departure.
Joanne looked up at me over her section of the newspaper. "Nicole, dear," she said dully. "Calvin and I are going on a cruise for a few days to celebrate our nineteenth anniversary. Paul has his basketball game tonight, so I hope that your ghoulish friends are not planning anything terrible for Mary while she is most unprotected from your pranks."
I saluted her. "Gotcha." It was difficult not to roll my eyes, but I managed. And this was my life; the one I was condemned to—the one I was desperate to escape.
Before I could answer, she turned her head and stared out at the snow through the window. She seemed terrified, and for a good reason, though I didn't know what it was. Her head turned toward the front door, which was cracked open enough for the snow to pour in onto the carpet. She ran to close it, looking to be on the verge of tears. When the door slammed closed, she breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
A cold, masculine voice came from the sofa. "Ilona, you seem to be expecting me. And yet you seem quite terrified," he said in English—though it was clear in his accent that he was Hungarian. From where I crouched, small enough at the age of four to keep myself hidden, I could see him clearly. His face was white, evincing no other color except for the bright green of his eyes.
Ilona's knees trembled, threatening to drop her onto the floor. The color drained from her face. "I don't have it, Dominik, I swear!"
"Wake up, sleepy!"
I cracked my eyes open to see a pale face framed in dark red hair peering down at me. Sitting up, I took in my surroundings: I had been napping on the couch in the living room, with Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat open on my stomach. "Kimmy, what are you doing here?" I mumbled as Greg came into the room.
Kimmy was the sort of person that my aunt and uncle hated to have around—"What would the neighbors think?" She was as Goth as they came: her red hair was streaked with black, and her pale face was partially covered by black eye shadow and black lipstick. Today she wore a black corset-like top with red lace and a black leather miniskirt, from which fishnets trailed down into her clunky combat boots.
Greg was completely different; the only reason he hung out with us was because he was a nerd and therefore as much of an outcast from Mary and Paul's friends as the rest of us. I peeked into the kitchen. Sure enough, Craig and Jimmy were in there raiding the pantry. Craig, the male equivalent of Kimmy, wore a Marilyn Manson t-shirt falling over black jeans that tucked into combat boots even larger than Kimmy's. Jimmy was much less dramatic, in a simple black shirt and dark blue jeans.
"We thought you were speaking in code, since Paul was nearby with his jock freaks," said Kimmy, hopping onto the back of the couch and swinging her boots to rest on the cushion. "You said your aunt and uncle would be gone for a while. We thought that meant we could come over and raid the fridge."
Greg shifted nervously. "Where's Mary?" he asked.
As if on cue, Mary's bedroom door swung open, and the Hollister Queen herself sauntered down the hallway, holding the phone to her ear. "I know, that was totally wrong. Trinity was so out of line. She actually—" Mary paused at the entrance to the kitchen. Then she turned on me. "Oh, my God, Nicole, they're all here!"
Greg stared down at the floor, while Kimmy and I glared coldly at her as she swung her long, wavy blonde hair behind her shoulders. Greg may have been one of us, but he was still a nerd who was prone to crushing on blonde ballerinas. "You're quick," I muttered, marking the page in my book and setting it aside.
Craig and Jimmy suddenly came out into the room. Mary scowled. "Mom said they weren't allowed!"
I raised my dark eyebrows. "Actually, she said we weren't allowed to 'plan anything terrible' for you. Which we aren't. Are we, Jimmy?"
Jimmy feigned innocent surprise. "'Course not, Nicole."
I gave Mary a 'told you so' look, and she turned away to go back to her room, saying into the phone, "Nothing, the circus is in town."
Craig dropped onto the second couch. "Can't believe she's your cousin," he muttered. He was undoubtedly one of the hottest guys in school. The only reason girls didn't fawn over him the way they did with Paul was because Craig didn't wear Abercrombie or play a sport. "So are they letting you go this summer?"
He was referring to Hungary, obviously. I frowned. "I wish. But I'm stuck here." I was only sixteen, so I couldn't just outright rebel and leave the country. Even though I hated this place. Not necessarily America, or even California. Just this house.
"Transylvania's near Hungary, isn't it?" Greg asked warily, eyeing my vampire book. "I mean, it's sandwiched between Hungary and Romania. Is that why you want to go?"
Unable to repress a slight smirk, I said, "Greg, I just read about vampires. I don't believe in them."
The VCR's red numbers told me it was three in the morning. "You can go to sleep, Craig," I said, looking over at him tiredly. "No one expects you to be the tough guy, and you're obviously tired. Everyone else is out."
He glanced at me briefly. "I'm not tired." To prove it, he stood up and stretched. I rolled my eyes. He grabbed the remote and switched off the TV, leaving us in complete darkness. "Why are you awake? You were asleep before anyone else."
I shrugged, as a pair of green eyes flashed in my mind's eye, like spots of light after looking into the sun, before vanishing. "Just woke up." There was a noise somewhere in the house, startling me. "What was that?"
Craig didn't say anything for a moment. Then, "I don't hear anything."
Feeling slightly alarmed, I stood up. There was another scratching sound. "Craig, don't you hear that? It's coming from outside, by the front door."
He laughed quietly. "Is Nicole Anderson afraid of the dark?" When I didn't respond, I felt his hand pushing on my elbow to lead me toward the door. "It's probably nothing. Maybe Paul's home."
Paul would not be coming home tonight. I'd heard him talking on the phone to one of his friends about going to his girlfriend's house to "get some" after the game. "I don't think so," I whispered as we came into the foyer.
"Nicole, what's up? It's probably just the wind, or a cat."
Even though I wouldn't tell him, I knew it was my dream that had spooked me, even though I couldn't remember it. Swallowing hard, I rested my hand on the doorknob, before turning it and throwing it open. The ugly welcome sign blew in the wind, scratching against the front door. I released my breath and laughed a little, yanking down the sign and tossing it onto the lawn.
"Okay, fine," I said to Craig, who stared at me through the darkness. "Well, go to sleep, because I know you're tired. I'll get some extra blankets from the basement."
"Not scared? Don't need me to go with you?" he teased.
I flipped my hair in a perfect imitation of Mary. "I'm fine." And we headed in different directions, Craig to the living room and me toward the hallway. The basement door was located at the very end of the hall. When I opened it, I reached up to tug on the string that turned the light on. Nothing happened.
Sighing in the frustration, I felt around the darkness for the light bulb. Something sharp pricked my finger and broke the skin. "Shit," I muttered, sticking my bleeding finger in my mouth. Who the hell broke the light bulb? With a groan of annoyance, I started down the basement stairs in the dark, groping around for a flashlight.
At the bottom of the stairs, I found one that worked and swung the light around the walls to discover the location of the blankets. They were on the top of a shelf in the back, so I made my way toward them, careful not to trip over the various boxes obstructing my path.
When I reached them, I heard a noise somewhere in the basement. "Craig, come over here. You're taller so you can reach them easier." No one responded, so I rolled my eyes. "Whatever, then I won't get you a blanket." I snatched down the only one I could reach, before making my way back toward the stairs.
At the bottom, I turned and shone the light into the darkness. There was no one in sight, but I heard whispered laughter. "I've found you, Nikolett," came a whisper.
I rolled my eyes again at the lame joke. "Oh, very good, Craig. Are you coming?" When he didn't answer, I walked up the stairs. At the top, I made sure to see if Craig was coming up the stairs. He wasn't, so I shrugged it off and closed the basement door, leaving the flashlight on the floor outside to remind me to change the light bulb in the morning.
Back in the living room, Craig was staring at the glowing television. I froze in my tracks. He glanced up at me. "You okay?"
Nodding vaguely, I dropped back down onto the couch and tugged the thick blanket over myself. I was chilled to the bone.